The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% sourdough bread from The Taste of Bread by R. Calvel

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mariana's picture
mariana

100% sourdough bread from The Taste of Bread by R. Calvel


 


 


 



 


Formula for bread made with natural levain


(French Pain au Levain)



 


This formula gives very regular and extremely good results, said Calvel. It includes two successive cultures: a refresher culture and a fermented sponge, and thus is termed ‘work from two leavens’. The volume of refresher should reach at least 3.5 times the beginning volume. Add 5% of light rye flour to the second sponge to improve the taste and keeping quality of bread.



 


Refreshed Culture


52g starter


67g flour


40g water


 


Mix at low speed for 10 min until smooth dough stage. Dough temperature should be 77-79F. Proof for 5-6 hours. In my case, this particular batch, tripled in volume in 3 hours and I proceeded to mixing sponge.



 


Sponge


160g refresher culture


176g flour


15g light rye flour


115g water



 


Mix on low speed for 10 min until smooth dough stage. Dough temperature should be 77-79F. Proof for 5-6 hours. It will rise to 3.5 times starting volume. Again, it took only 3 hours this time.



 


Bread made from a naturally fermented sponge


465g sponge


1900g flour


100 g light rye flour


1280 g water


35 g salt


4 g fresh yeast (occasionally)



 


Mix wheat flour and water for 5 min on low speed. Autolyze for 30 min. Knead for 6min on low speed, add salt, yeast (if using), rye flour, and sponge and finish mixing for 6 more minutes. Dough temperature will be 77-78F.



 


Primary fermentation will take 50 min. Take 10 min for division and rounding of loaves, 30 min for bench time and 10 min for molding. Naturally leavened loaves have better oven spring when shaped in round or slightly oblong loaves.



 


Proof for 4 hours; loaves will increase in volume 3.5 – 4 times. Oven spring is slower with naturally leavened breads, so it is important to get maximum rise before crust formation. These loaves took exactly 4 hours to quadruple in volume before baking.



 


Bake at 445F for 30-40 minutes.



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

It looks gorgeous!

I shouldn't be looking on here when I haven't had lunch yet!

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, they look absolutely fantastic - I can hear them calling out to me...make me, bake me! Can I refuse? No...but first a few questions of course.

- when making the refresher culture and sponge, it is mixed until the smooth dough stage. Does that mean windowpane, or not quite? In the dough are we looking for a windowpane?

- when making the refresher culture and sponge, why is it ok to go on to the next step when it only reaches 3.5 times it's volume rather than waiting for it to reach it's full size?

- according to the time schedule above I think I'll have to split it up into 2 days so I imagine I'll put it in the fridge sometime after the sponge is made. How far do you think it should rise before I put it in the fridge? or could I make the sponge and put it in right away, and the next day let it finish rising out of the fridge before starting on the dough?

Sorry for all the questions...

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

Thanks, KipperCat. I must confess that I have two rules: never shop when hungry and never come to this site when hungry, LOL. How are you doing? What's baking?

L_M, thank you. I am amazed at their looks as well. It's my first time I tried a formula from a professional baking book without 33 pages of commentaries accompanying them, LOL. I feel like I graduated or something.

I must admit, once again, that you come up with brilliant questions, L_M. Gosh, you are good!

1) Just mix for 10 min, knead by hand for 10 min using kaiser petal method, if you don't use machines. It aerates the sponge (gives yeast oxygen they crave) and mixes the sponge until smooth. Here, smooth means just plain smooth - a mass of moist dough without spots of dry flour in it. 

In sponges and bigas, preferments that have dough-like consistency, it is never about windowpaning. We don't develop gluten in them at all. I.e. it is not our goal to develop gluten in a sponge or biga.

2) Answer to your question is about 'why use pre-ferments at all'. What is their purpose? Believe it or not, but their purpose is to develop dough's acidity!!! 

We don't use refreshers and sponges because we want to multiply the number of the yeast cells in them. Nope. If we wanted more yeast cells, we would just thow in more baker's yeast. We use preferments to increase production of lactic and acetic acid, and other minor acids in the final dough.

Why do we want those acids? Because acids chemically condition gluten in bread, make it stronger. Because acids improve shelf life of baked goods. Because acids improve bread flavor, both its taste and its aroma.

So. in yeasted pre-ferments, we MUST let pre-ferments mature, or else, there will be no desired acidity.

In sourdough pre-ferments, we already have lactic bacteria working full time, so acid is much less of a concern. Here, we use sponges to dilute acidity of storage culture and at the same time make the most fragrant bread ever.

I waited until pre-ferments tripled and then proceeded to the next step, because I was working with sourdough culture and I wanted mild sourdough bread, French mild. Tripling in less than 5 hours is a comprobation of the leavening power of the sponge/culture. It was enough for me.  i.e. the culture was proving itself as vigorous and I didn't want to let it fully mature (rise and start falling) for a huge sourdough flavor. For really sour sourdough, I would bake a San-Fran sourdough loaf or a German sourdough loaf, not a French pain au levain.

3) question about refrigerating sponge(s) is an excellent one, L_M. A++ question.

Sponges are never refrigerated. Never. Ever. Ever. Only final dough can be refrigerated, before or after shaping. Remember that sponges are about developing lactic bacteria, and acids that they are producing. Cold inhibits and kills lactic bacteria and stimulates yeast. You want lactic bacteria thriving in sponges (big flavor and gluten conditioning) and you want yeast thriving in the final dough (where volume is all you want, big volume, holey dough).

If you want to make a pre-ferment last longer until the next step, just use smaller amount of starter culture in it and 60F cold water. That's all you have in your toolbox for pre-ferment retardation.

Final bread dough can be refrigerated, for as long at it is immature, just mixed.

So, if you want to split the process, to work on it for 2 days, do sponges on the first day. Mix the final dough. Now you have 2 choices

1) refrigerate immediately. Tomorrow, warm it up. Divide, shape, proof, bake.

2) let it ferment for 1 hour. Shape loaves. Let them stay at room T for 1 -2 hours. Refrigerate to finish tomorrow.

OK?

I must mention that the recipe above gives 6 loaves 1.5 lb each (raw weight).  If you want a smaller batch, divide everything in half or in 1/3, or 1/4. OK?  Also, my starter is really fresh, young and very mildly acidic. Yours is a bit more aged and stronger flavored. I don't know if it will make a difference. After all, you like milder tasting breads, don't you?

best wishes,

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana I must say that you have such a wonderful way of explaining so clearly many  parts of this whole process that have confused me for a very long time. Thank you so much. My questions all come up because things don't work out for some reason or other like the recipe says it should, and even though I've read up on these subjects quite a bit, I find there are still some missing links - the ones I need to actually bring theory into practice, and sometimes to work them into the slightly unusual circumstances I have (i.e. heat, flour ). The most frustrating line I've read in some of these bread baking books is " the baker will know ...how/when/what to do". So many times I felt like yelling back at the book..." Help - this baker DOESN'T know what to do!!!"

Mariana with the 'toolbox' you suggested for pre-ferment retardation, along with the options for the dough, it seems easy enough to fit it all into everyday life. The only reason I wanted to split it into 2 days was that when adding up all the hours, it didn't seem possible to start in the morning and eat the bread for dinner.

You are right...mild breads are my goal. I will try to find a wide mouthed thermos like you suggested in another thread - it might be the easiest way for me to keep the starter at an even temp for now. I'd like to try starting a new one using the method in your blog, but I will wait for another month or so until the weather cools slightly, otherwise I'll be running into the same problems as I am with my current starter. Room temp without AC can easily be 30C for many hours during the day, and at night around 26C -27C. When do we put on the AC? When we're at home and just can't stand the heat any more... so that isn't a very reliable way to control the temp for a new starter!

I've got boule batch #4 proofing at the moment so I"ll post the results later on in the other thread.

Thank you again -I really appreciate all of your help.

L_M

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

Simply gorgeous! Thanks for your write-ups!!!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mariana, what is the one book you would recommend (in English), that would be most helpful in learning this bread style? I take it that you make the 6 loaves when you bake this bread. Are you able to get two in at a time in a home oven?

The next time you bake this bread, it would be very helpful if you would post some  photo's of the proofing process. I'm curious to see how much dough you have in the basket and how large it is when you put it in the oven. I have a limited supply of coiled baskets so I usually do free form for large batches or a cloche for batards. The coiled baskets I do have are for a2# loaf I believe and I also have some from sfbi that are linen covered I haven't had much luck with. Now I'm wondering if a 1.5 lb loaf would fit in my 2# basket, fully risen to 3-1/2 times volume.

Thank you Mariana,

Eric

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Thank you, Blue Zebra. I like your latest photo in your blog. You look so pretty, colorful. I also love your pink gums and white teeth! : )

 

Eric, Calvel's book The Taste of Bread is a must have. After you work through it, consider yourself a Baker. It's the most complete and useful bread book ever. I received a series of films with Calvel, where he explains how to bake bread, including sourdoughs pictured above, today from Bread Baker's Guild of America. They are in VHS format. Thank God, I didn't get rid of our VCR yet, although we haven't used it in years. I will convert the movies into DVDs and can send them to you to watch, if you wish. When I see how this old baker touches bread dough, I want to be that dough, LOL. He is so gentle and skilled, amazing.

 

In the movies you will see how bread should look like and how stretchy and supple it is when it is well mixed and how it is shaped and proofed, etc. How the best baguettes, and rustic loaves, and sourdoughs, and tinned breads are handled and baked, etc. There are things in Calvel's book that I have never read anyplace else, useful knowledge, and I have several dozens of books on bread making in my library and dozens of dvds illustrating different aspects of this craft. Once you learn to bake breads as taught by Calvel, the core, the staple breads, everything else if fantasy breads, artsy stuff from other authours and bakers.

 

Bannetons are a serious issue, Eric. This particular bread is better proofed in bannetons. I used 7,5" round and 6+10" oblong bannetons, coiled as you call them, dusted with mixture of bread and rice flour. I find that mix doesn't become as soupy and the excess is easily brushed off when I take loaves out to bake.  A 600g piece of dough looks rather small inside initially, but then it rises as it proofs and fills the baskets completely and forms a dome above its edged.

 

A have two rather large baking stones from Fibrament and a roomy LG oven (over 5cu. ft, I think), so I was able to bake them all six loaves at once. Now I want to go and buy 6 bricks to try 700F temperature in a preheated oven and see how it affects oven spring. People say it's amazing.  I know it should be. I learned form qahtan on this website to use inverted flower pots for round loaves to imitate brick oven conditions, and oven spring is indeed breathtaking, like nothing you will ever achieve in a simple oven. These sourdough loaves are not large and they go up, instead of sideways, in the oven, so even on a medium sized baker's stone you should be able to accomodate 3-4 at once.

 

Of course a 1,5lb loaf would fit in a 2# basket. Of course. They expand very well inside and dome above  the basket, but will not hang on the sides like love handles, lol. A strong dough doesn't do that to you.

 

best wishes,

mariana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank you Mariana, I look forward to seeing the videos.

Eric

browndog's picture
browndog

Mariana, I'd be happy with a thick slice of that bread with a bit of butter and marmalade.

Your passing reference to your LG oven sent me scampering. I am on a minor quest for a new mid-range oven and had never heard of LG. Their products look really good, and seem surprisingly affordable. Can you tell me more? I quite liked the look of  their 30" gas ranges.

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Browndog, yes. Fresh butter and orange marmelade. Every morning on my fresh bread : )  I am still working on those muffins. My Elizabeth David's book is in Newfoundland, while I am in Ontario now. So I purchased another copy online yesterday, the one that has this funny looking piece of dough on the cover. Once it arrives, I will bake them muffins and will be relieved of green envy I feel now when I look at your muffins.

 

I can't really write a promotional piece for LG products. I got mine without research. I remember I went for a walk a few weeks ago and saw something in a store window that caught my attention. It was a new line of LG appriances, brightly colored and elegant looking. When I heard their motto "Life is Good" and saw the color of the oven inside, a unique bright indigo blue, I was no longer thinking rationally.  I bought it right away.

 

Now, I could'nt be happier. It's a very pretty range/oven. And it's my best friend now. It cooks and bakes like a charm, extremely reliable, oven reaches 600F easily when convection bake feature is on, so we enjoy great hearth breads and pizzas. And with convection roast feature, our roasts now are something else. You can read about LG ranges and ovens online of course. All I can say, I am totally in love with mine and I LIKE IT.

 

For bread baking, I found that it has a huge, very well sealed oven which holds steam, when I inject it, and produces tremendous crusts on my loaves. Browning is very even, with or without convection, so I never have to rotate my loaves and cookie sheets. There are 3 stainless steel racks and 9 levels to set them up, I think, or maybe more. So this feature allows me to bake everything on 2 - 3 stones, if necessary, lightning quick. It's important when I cook something like individual pizzas for a crowd.

browndog's picture
browndog

Mariana, looks like you should be collecting a comission from LG, between Annie and me. Your recommendation capped off my own research and my new range is on its way. Thanks, now we're even--I hope you like Good Omens as much as I plan to like my Good Oven.

You're right, what an odd little creature on Elizabeth's book. Let me just clarify that I used Katie's sourdough muffin recipe and tweaked it a touch according to Ms. David's notes.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Mariana, what a totally cool interior color! I would love to replace my stove and that looks like a great choice. Nice to get a first hand recommendation, A

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

AnnieT

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Sorry, guess I had already posted. Yet another senior moment, A

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi Annie, I have more senior moments than I care to admit. I just use Edit button : ) 

 

Browndog, I am happy for your choice! I think now we can afford to own not just useful things, but beautiful too, can't we? 

 

I have ordered Good Omens from the library, and meanwhile I am reading Brautigan. If Pratchett doesn't come soon, I will purchase a copy in a neighbourhood bookstore. My husband likes that kind of reading too. It takes very little to make us laugh, so Pratchett will have us laughing for hours non-stop. Elizabeth David's book on English breads was the first book on bread baking I read ever. It was long time ago. I like her recipies and narrative style.

 

I am a little tired of sourdough baking, browndog, so I want my muffins simply yeasted with a fresh cake of contemporary yeast .  Of course, a piece of sourdough will find its way in, but not as a primary agent of rising muffins: ). Today, I baked cuban breads with yeast, pan cubano and midnight bread, and the process feels so much easier, breads behave great and cooperate as I worked with them. I dunno, sometimes sourdough baking feels like speaking foreign language to me; a bit strained and difficult to express myself fully. I guess there is time and place for both kinds of leavens.

skier14's picture
skier14

I don´t own a mixer.  How about mixing by hand?

browndog's picture
browndog

Richard Brautigan, really? Gosh, I haven't thought of him in years, but in my distant past college days I read him. He seemed exotic and other-wordly to a timid little mid-western girl. I wonder how I would find him now? Or do you mean some other Brautigan?

English Bread was my first 'serious' baking book, and it taught me to think much differently about bread. I still cherish it.

Oh, tired of sourdough! Goodness. Well, I really do understand. My interest increased with the warmth of the weather. If I have to struggle to keep warm dough in my cold house come November, it may become a seasonal occupation. My own experience, not backed by your extensive knowledge, is inconsistent and unpredictable. But when it works it's wonderful.

Midnight bread? A dark rye?

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi Browndog,

 

yep, I mean that very same Richard Brautigan : )

 

Midnight bread is a very soft, thin, ultralong sandwich loaf used for small snacks, like when you are hungry at midnight and don't want anything heavy, but a small piece of midnight bread, an inch and a half or two inches long, with a tablespoon of pulled pork, or egg salad, or maybe tuna salad. Something really light and feathery, yet a snack. This bread melts in your mouth. I like it with mayo and fresh tomato, or butter and fresh herbs. Cubans call it pan de medianoche (midnight bread) or pan de flauta (flute).

 

browndog's picture
browndog

I'm happy that 'midnight bread' is not simply dark rye. What interesting bread--a beautiful photograph--what a delightful name for it. It conjures up images of padding through a dark hallway and fumbling for the kitchen switch, or carrying you through just one more chapter of a good book. And a perfect size for tossing a scrap to the dog...Thanks!

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

How do you actually make-up the bread? I would love to try smaller versions of these midnight bread.. maybe about 10 inches long and 1 inch wide. Do you just roll it on the table and tuck the ends underneath as you would with french breads? What's the scaling weight of each piece? Thank you! =)

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Mariana:  Do you use the convection bake setting when baking bread? At first, I was wary of using convection as I thought it might dry the bread out too much.  Then I experimented recently with using regular bake during the first steaming part of the bake, and then switching to convection for the last half.  It worked out well, and I thought the crust may have come out a little crisper.  Was wondering if and when you use the convection setting for bread.  I agree with you completely that for roasting convection is absolutely wonderful.

Am in the midst of trying your formula for Calvel's bread (near the end of refreshing the culture).  Since I just realized that I have been seriously underkneading my dough, I am curious about the effect of the 10 minute mixing on the culture and the sponge.  I got started later than I intended (some drop in visitors), so I may be needing some of your 'midnight bread'!

 I've tried reading Calvel's book and must admit I have found it tedious.  Perhaps it's a poor translation or perhaps it's not for the novice baker.  I shall give it another try.

Thanks,

Liz

mariana's picture
mariana

 

 

Hi Liz,

 

Yes I use convection bake setting all the time. When I bake enriched dough, it’s on all the time. When I bake lean bread , and use steaming technique for thin and glossy singing crust, I begin baking on regular bake setting for the first 15 min, then briefly open the door, close it, and switch to convection bake to finish crust formation.

  

Convection bake doesn’t dry the bread too much. Not at all! If your oven is a self-cleaning oven, like ours, it is well sealed and doesn’t let moisture to escape, unless you keep your oven door open a little all the time or open it way too frequently while baking. 

 

I use convection bake setting for bread

 

-         when I bake on 3 racks simultaneously,  or when I bake on one rack, but breads of different sizes and heights simultaneously (convection eliminates the need for rearranging and rotating and all that mess)

-         when I bake pizzas and want to preheat the stone(s) to 600F,  convection feature allows me to reach T that high

-         when I bake enriched breads at low to moderate temperatures, about 325-370F.   When oven is on regular bake setting, its temperature fluctuates up to 50F which can be undesirable, frankly speaking. When oven is in convection bake mode, its temperature fluctuates much less, about 10-15F, very steady oven. I adore that feature.

  

10 min of mixing on low speed does little to the refresher and to the sponge. It just mixes until smooth stage. Basically it's a 10 min long fraisage. It doesn’t develop gluten. Long rise does that.  Now, after long rise I don’t want to over mix the sponge, so I incorporate it very late, when the final dough is nearly ready. To know when to place your sponge into your mixer, so that it joins the final dough, run mixer efficiency test of your mixer, like Cook’s Illustrated did

 Quote from CI, Standing Mixers, 11/2005 For a measure of a mixer's efficiency, I devised a test. Mixing 4 cups of pizza dough in a bowl, I added 10 drops of yellow food coloring to one side of the dough and 10 drops of blue to the other. How long would each mixer take to knead the dough completely to a uniform green color--with no individual specks of yellow or blue?

Incorporation times varied significantly. The slowest mixer had gone from speckled blue and yellow to a uniform green in just over 11 minutes. The quickest? A speedy 3:45. From fastest to slowest: KitchenAid Professional 600 (3:45), Bosch Universal (4:45), DeLonghi 7 (5:03), Hobart (5:30), Viking 5 (5:30), DeLonghi 5 (5:33), Hamilton Beach (5:39), Viking 7 (6:30), KitchenAid Artisan (7:20), KitchenAid Accolade (7:42), KitchenAid Classic (8:52), and Electrolux (11:15).  

So, my KA thoroughly incorporates sponge into the final dough in 3.5 min. Therefore, I wait until there are 4-5 min left to finish kneading bread dough and drop my sponge into the mixing bowl, to join the happy dance : ) 

 

Calvel’s book is hardly entertaining, Liz, I agree. It is not meant to be read, but to be memorized, as a textbook. Very informative, very. I struggle with it 1 chapter per month. One recipe at a time and reading around it, to let practical concerns help me with learning.

 

Here’s midnight bread recipe for you, if you ever feel adventurous enough to give it a try

 

http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/3416.html

 

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Mariana:  Thank you for your suggestions on how to use convection for baking bread.  My oven does retain heat exceptionally well so I will give your recommendations a try.

I also appreciate your comments on mixing/kneading.  The sponge is now fermenting on the Calvel recipe you posted above and the 10 minute mixing did mix the levain and the sponge really well, much more than I typically do at that point.  Also was interested in the mixing time data you quoted from Cook's Illustrated. I have both a KA 600 and the Electrolux DLX. I use the DLX for bread (particularly when using large quantities of flour).  This confirms how much longer it takes to mix with the DLX (between 3 and 4X longer).

My Calvel loaves will have to retard overnight in the refrigerator after fermentation. I am intrigued by Calvel's method as so many aspects of the formula are unfamiliar to me (longer mixing time, shorter fermention, shorter kneading time after adding sponge, and longer proof).

I won't give up on Le Professeur...

Thanks,
Liz

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Here's my attempt at the Calvel loaves for which Mariana so graciously posted such detailed instructions.  Despite a few 'operator errors' (added the rye flour with the wheat flour during the first mix, an off schedule that forced me to retard the dough after bulk fermentation, and some slight overproofing), I must say this is absolutely delicious bread, and this coming from someone who usually appreciates bread with more whole grains.  The flavors are wonderfully balanced, the holes in the crumb are not large, but well spaced, and the texture is moist and chewy.  The crust is very crispy and crackled when cooling.  A wonderful blend of flavors!

Next time I will plan my time better so the process isn't such an ordeal. I will also cut the formula in half, as Mariana suggests.  At least I shall be popular with the neighbors and my co-workers!  Thanks, Mariana.

Liz

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Wow, Liz, wonderful loaves, wonderful. I was waiting for your results all day long, And heare you are. Gread breads.

 

This recipe is indeed a bit long and multistep. Calvel shows a similar bread but with only one sponge, not two in his video about sourdough. And it's really fast: after mixing, 80min  1st fermentation and 2,5 hrs proof and you are ready to bake.  I'll go now and post an image and brief formula for you. OK?

 

Congratulations with your first French sourdough, Liz.  Thank you for sharing your bread with us!

 

mariana

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Thank you, Mariana!  The taste was truly wonderful -- nutty, wheaty, with just enough bite. Lots of after flavors. Really, kind of a multi-level of flavors like a good wine.  And, even though they were a bit overproofed, there was great oven spring from the Cloche. The crumb also had that sheen (gelatinization?) that I associate with good bread. 

The most intriguing part is Calvel's methods:  long mixing times for the levain and sponge, shorter knead time post addition of  levain,  short bulk fermentation, and very long proof.

As I said, I usually favor breads with more whole grains, but this one really won me over.  It's worth the effort.  I will cut down on the quantity  next time as it was alot of dough to handle.

I look forward to seeing the next Calvel formula.  It will have to work hard to compete on taste.

Liz

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

I'm getting ready to jump back into baking with my starter since it now seems to be in good condition. So, here's the dilema... which one of your breads am I going to start with? Your blog is filled with fantastic pictures and information but you've made them and tasted them, so please help me out here :

- I'd like to start with the very mildest tasting bread, without any additional commercial yeast.

- Thin and delicately crisp crust.

- Light weigh and moderately fine crumb.

- If it's possible to stay reasonably within a schedule, then I want to bake sometime between 3pm - 5:30pm.

- We can't count on me waking up in the middle of the night...but I can easily stay up til midnight, and report for kitchen duty between 8:30 - 9:00 in the morning.

- I'd like to make about 800 gm - 900 gm of dough for now.

- My perfect spot for the starter keeps it at 24C -26C and there is room for a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup. The room temp during the night is about 26C - 27C.

 You can be sure I'm not giving up on sourdough yet, but I still have to find a recipe that is workable for me and that we like. Do you think you have something up your sleeve that will fit in to most of those guidelines?

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

 

Hi L_M,

I am so happy to hear that you are back to sourdough baking! good for you!

Start with this very recipe, for which I gave photos above. Just make 1/4 of the batch, which will make 945g of dough. Or make 1/2 batch and bake it on two separate days to have hot bread for dinner.

http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/1122.html

The schedule will be very convenient for you, and the bread(s) will be ready exactly at 5:30PM.

Night before: refresh the culture. You can do it as late as midnight.

8AM: mix the sponge

Noon: Mix the dough, give it 30 min autolysis.

12:30PM. Knead for 12 min on medium speed (6+6). Divide and round.

40-50 min bulk fermentation at room temperature.

1:30 PM shape the loaves. Proof for 3-3:5hours. Slash and brush with water.

4:30-5PM. Bake for 30-45 min depending on the size of the loaf or loaves. Bake under stainless steel mixing bowl during the first 20 min of baking to achieve spectacular oven spring and great crust (thin and crackly).

OK?

Mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

Thanks for suggesting which one to start with.

 I'm getting ready, so just to make sure...you say to leave the refreshed culture for a full 8 hours even though the recipe says 5 -6 hrs, and you left it for only 3? No reduced amount of starter or salt?

Next, the only rye flour available here is whole rye, so should I stay with the same amount as written?

The bread flour has 6 mg Vit C per 100 gm flour - should I add anymore?

Last question for now...you mentioned a stainless steel mixing bowl for covering in the oven, and I don't have one - would pyrex be ok? if not, how about a stainless steel pot with handles that can withstand the heat? Or if you think it really makes a difference I can easily buy one.

Getting excited....will this recipe be THE recipe for me????

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

Good morning, L_M!

I modified the schedule for you, as to avoid refrigeration and gray tone of the crumb, and account for the peculiarities of your starter. My starter quadruples very quickly, I made it using Calvel's instructions (the 2.5 days method). So I was able to do it 3h+3h in the preferment section of the schedule. A small amount of very ripe refreshed culture will not spoil your bread, for as long as the sponge is good.

 I suggest you do the full amount of refresher (as in original recipe, above), but only use 1/4th of it to mix the sponge (if you intend to mix just 1/4th of the dough recipe). Late in the evening of the baking day (next day), refresh the chef, it will be 24 hours old by that time, just like your starter likes it, to get ready for the next day's baking. OK?

If you have only whole rye flour, either sift it, to take coarse parts and bran out, or omit it from the dough (still add to the sponge, to feed the bugs). It is introduced to improve the fermentation and keeping qualities of the bread, but you intend to bake fresh every day, don't you? Remember that even after sifting whole rye will still contribute to the grayish color of the crumb. Some people don't mind it, but if you want really white crumb, use light rye.

If your bread flour already has vitamin C added to it, there is no need to add any more. It will not add anythig to the taste, since vitamin C is destroyed by heat, and you don't want your dough to be too strong.

Sure, you can use pyrex, although I would be careful (afraid of breakage). I heard people say that old Pyrex was made from really good glass, and modern Pyrex is not as heat resistant and is vulnerable to downshock.

 http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/03/pyrex_panic.html

Susan, a member of this community, succesfully bakes under pyrex bowl

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2398/question-about-baking-pot-and-steam#comment-9907


Stainless steel pot with metallic handles is good, for as long as it lays completely flat on the surface (doesn't let steam escape) and you don't mind polishing it after using for baking, or just dedicate it for baking bread.

This bread is incredibly good. I hope you will like it.

mariana

SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Hi Mariana, I enjoy reading your posts.  Do you know where I could find Calvel's 2.5 day method other than finding his book?

Thanks,

SD Baker

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

I'm familiar with the grey colour from rye flour and it doesn't bother me at all. In fact my bread is never white, even if I've only used AP or bread flour - the crumb is always sort of sandy coloured. So if a little rye in the dough will keep the bread fresher for longer, all the better. I don't bake everyday - otherwise I wouldn't get anything else done :-) For the first time round I'll try it with the rye only in the sponge and not in the dough.

About the schedule...how do you manage it? If your preferments each take 3 hours, do you start very early in the morning in order for the bread to be ready for supper?

If I understood you correctly then you are suggesting I keep refreshing the culture every 24 hrs in the ratio that the recipe suggests, (52 gm starter : 40 gm water :67 gm flour ) in order for it to be ready for the next day's baking, but only using what I need in the sponge for the specific amount of dough I'll be making that day. Yes? If so, it does sound like it would be a convenient routine, but I'm wondering if my starter would last that long on so little food. My current feeding ratio is 10 gm starter: 30 gm water: 50 gm flour , every 24 -26 hours. Any thoughts on this?

I'm really looking forward to the first bite already!!!  

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

 

Hi SD baker,

I like reading your posts, can you imagine? LOL. Thanks.

I documented creating Calvel's starters in my blog. You can read those entries if you wish. One is made of rye and wheat flours. Another - from whole wheat kernels and wheat flour. Both took me 2.5days to be fully functional starters (quadrupling in volume in less than 5 hours and proper acidity level).

Here they are

starter #1: mixture of dark rye and bread flour

http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/3748.html

starter #2: mixture of soaked wheat berries and bread flour

http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/4757.html

Starter#2 is very convenient, because feedings are farther apart and you are still done by 2.5 days mark!

Make sure to knead your starter when you make it as if it was bread dough - fairly thoroughly. Remember that yeast likes oxygen, kneading helps trap oxygen inside sourdough mass.

good luck!

mariana

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, even if you don't bake daily, do that: refresh as Calvel suggests. OK?

For example,

tonight, refresh your sourdough culture as in the recipe above

tomorrow morning: prepare a sponge, dough, bread

tomorrow evening

1) if you won't bake the next day (the day after tomorrow), then refresh 10:30:50, as you feel you like to do it

2) if you will bake tomorrow, then refresh as Calvel instructs us to do it. OK?

 

Not to confuse the matters, but don't keep a line of starters, refreshed on their own. I always use a piece of sponge, once it is ripe (prior to mixing it into dough), to keep as a chef (mother dough, storage culture). 

 

That's more traditional in baking. By then, culture is thoroughly refreshed twice (in culture refresher and in sponge) and its microflora is really well balanced and acidity brought down, so it is vibrant, alive and healthy.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, you are so terrific - I really mean that! Now everything is clear, simple, reasonable, and workable. Thank you sooo much. I will still keep a separate one using my regular feeding routine as a back up for a little while until I become comfortable with this new rythum, since I just might forget to save some of the sponge. I do have a storage starter stuffed away in the fridge though, and as soon as the temp cools off a tiny bit more during the day I'll try starting up a new one like you suggested to SD baker above. 

Almost ready to begin....

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

The boules are proofing right now, so in the meantime I'll give you a run down on how things went so far. First of all I want you to know that I devoted my day entirely to this dough - no distractions whatsoever, full focus. I figured that's the only way to learn.

So, I printed out your instructions and tucked them under my pillow at night :-)

Amost everything went perfectly according to your timetable. The sponge even tripled its volume in 3 hours. I was very pleased.

When it came time for the autolyse I knew I was going to have trouble keeping the dough cool enough during the kneading, so I started with ice cold water and flour cold from the fridge. During the autolyse the dough rested in the fridge. So far so good, but soon after the kneading started I could see it was warming to quickly. I know the problem is the room temp, and it's not the mixer's fault because in the winter everything is fine. Anyhow I had to put the dough in the freezer for a few minutes, quite a few times during the kneading, and still it wasn't coming together properly. The dough was sticky and far from anything like a window pane. Finally I realized I was loosing the battle, so I just let it knead and knead as it got hotter and hotter. This whole process took 1 /12 HOURS!!!!! but in the end the dough was ready, and interestingly enough it even started to cool off. The highest was 94F and it ended at 92F. I was totally exhausted, and ready for a nervous breakdown.... believe me, I'm usually very calm and patient.

It was then 2:00 so I quickly divided rounded and shaped all within 20 min. so that means I completely left out the bulk fermentation. I hope that was the correct thing to do under those circumstances. After all of that I forgot to leave a little piece of dough for checking how much it is rising, so I'll go by my 'jello test'.

Back to the kneading ... I don't want to go through that again, and this whole scenario has happen before, but I've never gone that far, so I was thinking of ways to avoid it in the future. So far I've only come up with 2 options so if anyone has ideas please let me know.

1 - Mix the autolyse part of the dough and put it in the fridge for several hours(sort of like Rose's sponge resting overnight in the fridge). I've found the dough temp stays much cooler that way during kneading, rather than having the cold water and cold flour seperate.

2 - Knead, knead, knead until it's ready, paying no attention to the temp since it seems to stop gaining heat and even cooling down a bit at some point.

 OK it's 6:00 and ready to bake. Preheated oven but no baking stone today - it'll be convection oven and baking under pyrex bowls. My oven isn't large so just figuring out how to fit everything in wasn't easy.

So far the dough smells very good - no hint of sour at all.

Results later....

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi, L_M, can’t wait for your results! Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

You did well by letting your chilled dough autolyze in refrigerator, I would pat the slab of dough thin and place icepacks on top and bottom, to chill it further. And place ripe sponge in refrigerator, surrounded by ice packs as well, while it is waiting its turn to be mixed into the dough in the last 3-4 min of fast kneading.

 

Then, as you knead, use waterjacket, if you have KA mixer, filling it with ice and water. Next, do bulk fermentation in the fridge, dough surrounded by ice packs. Didier Rosada says that to make the most out of the fermentation process, use pre-ferments, small amounts of yeast , keep dough temperature around 24.4C (76F) after mixing , and use a mixing technique that will allow the dough to adequately ferment before dividing.

 

Proof is ok to do at [hot] room temp, it will not affect quality of the dough or your schedule.

 

Please, don’t worry too much about high temperatures. C’est la vie. I have traveled a lot and can tell you that in tropical countries breads, in old-fashioned bakeries, are made without sophisticated chilling tricks and taste just right, although they are supposed to be consumed on the same day, within hours. The pre-ferments are usually done overnight and in early hours of the day, just like you did, when air cools down a bit, to normal temperatures, and pre-ferments are responsible for flavor. That’s the important part. Just remember, when dough ferments at higher temperatures the balance of lactic to acetic acid in your dough will shift more toward lactic (less acetic, less ‘sourdough’).

 

Temperature during mixing is quite important, since hot dough mixed on high speed oxidizes quickly, dough becomes bleached, and bread taste deteriorates somewhat. You did right, by kneading your hot dough slower, with attempts to chill it in between. I am sorry this issue took you by surprise. Ouch!

 

Summarizing means of temperature control, step by step.

  

Place sponge in the fridge as soon as it has tripled in volume.

Place mixer bowl and hook in freezer. Use ice cold water and flour from freezer/refrigerator.

Autolyze a slab of dough in refrigerator, surrounded by ice packs for 30 min. Return mixer bowl and hook to freezer.

Knead for 6 min, using iced water in waterjacket if available, add salt, yeast(if using), rye flour and cold sponge. Finish mixing for 6 more minutes.

Place in refrigerator on ice and covered with ice packs for 50 min. Proceed with shaping and proofing at room temp.

 

OK?

 

Good luck!

Mariana.

  
L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

I'm very proud to report that you are a very, very good teacher!!! The taste was wonderful and the texture of the crumb was very good in spite of "the kneading episode". I took some pictures but it's been so long since I posted pictures here that I've forgotten how. Tomorrow morning I'll try to get my son to figure it out.

Next time I bake this I'll lower the oven temp a bit because there were some spots that ended up white and dry looking, and it was not flour. Lately, I've been reducing the oven temp slightly and this doesn't happen anymore. I found that baking at 215C in my oven gives me better results - maybe the bread is closer to the source of heat since my oven isn't very large. The oven was quite crowded with the 2 bowls and there really wasn't enough air flow around them so although the convection fan was on, the heat wasn't flowing properly and one of the boules is blonde. The crust wasn't crisp at all but had a pleasant chewiness.

Mariana your suggestions for temperature control are very helpful. I'm going to print it out so I can refer to it during each stage. The only one I won't be able to use is the waterjacket. My mixer is a Kenwood Chef and it dosen't have an attachment like that. I have tried using a gel filled icepack to place between the base (motor) and the bowl but I'm not sure it really made a difference. All of your other suggestions will now become part of my routine. Again, I can't thank you enough - you have been so kind and patient to go over again and again your wonderful explanations, time schedules, and suggestions.

I won't be baking tomorrow but maybe on Thurs.

There are a few more of Rose's recipes that are I think are exceptionally good so if you're in the mood for something new to try...just let me know

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

 

Thank you for good news, L_M. I am so happy that you finally are able to bake good sourdough in your own kitchen. Hurrah! You see how much depends on a good recipe? I have never had a failure with Calvel's formulas, some other authors are very good as well, but it will take me years to try them all. To crisp the crust, turn off the oven heat and let the boules sit for 10 more minutes. This technique I learned from Reinhart, I think. You did remove Pyrex bowls after the first 20 min to finish formation of the crust, didn't you?

 

I will patiently wait for the pictures of your bread. I have no idea how to post them on this website either, unless we have them posted on some other website.  

 

Please, I am all ears, which other recipes I must absolutely try from Rose's book? I will bake on Thursday as well, my desem starter and white starter will be ready to be deployed by then. : )

 

Thank you so much for persisting and baking a good batch of sourdough. Awesome, L_M, wonderful!

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

 Pain au Levain - CalvelPain au Levain - Calvelcrumbcrumb

Hi Mariana,

I hope the pictures come out ok. As you can see, the loaves are far from perfect but at least I'm now headed in the right direction.

It does look like a good recipe is top priority if one wants to succeed as you said, but finding and trusting a good author-baker that you can relate to can take quite a lot of time because of trial and error when you are just starting out. At least that's how it was for me.

Here are some recipes that I've found to be excellent :

Our all time all round favourite is Qahtan's oatmeal bread. Special thanks to Qahtan again :-)  It is an everyday sandwich bread and always gets raves from everyone. The recipe is posted somewhere on this site and hopefully someone will be able to point us in the right direction. I noticed that you also posted some fantastic looking oatmeal buns on your blog, so they might be hard to beat!

Back to Rose...The Rosemary Focaccia Sheet pg 205 is amazing. Please note that it is one of the breads mentioned in the corrections. I needed to add a few extra teaspoons of flour in the end because after 20 min of beating it still didn't come together. I also found that it wasn't necessary to use so much oil for spreading the dough - it left me with oily hands after picking up a baked piece of focaccia.

Next is the Ciabatta pg 355. So light and tender - somewhat like the pizza dough. Just very, very good. 

The last one I can think of right now is the Tyrolean Ten-Grain Torpedo pg 394. This is my husband's favourite bread. Here I've tinkered a bit : the grains are soaked in potato water, and I add 50gm -75gm of discarded starter to the dough and an additional 1/8 teasp salt.  It has a very light texture and the toasted sunflower seeds are sooo good.

So whenever you have time I'd love to hear what you think of them - just to make sure we have the same taste - I don't want to keep suggesting recipes of breads you don't like!

Tomorrow I'll be doing a re-run, this time using the 'keep the dough cool' methods. I'll try to improve from the last time.

About the crust - yes I did take off the bowls but I probably should have left them for a longer time uncovered  to crisp up, but at the time I was afraid they would get too hard.  

I'll let you know how it all goes

L_M 

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Geez, you guys are such bread teases!  Here I'm thinking I'm going to get set up to make my basic sourdough this weekend, then I see photos like these, or read about crumb bum's miche, and now I don't know what to do!  Too many fabulous breads!

Sue 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi, L_M,

Good bread indeed! congratulations again.

The crust being pale and somewhat leathery, instead of three shades of orangy-reddish and crisp, reminds me of my first sourdough loaves with Italian culture from Sourdough International. They were pale. Like yours. Both in the outer crust and inside the grigne, where the dough opens up during oven spring. There was no way I could make them nice orangy brown. Higher temperatures would burn them, but not brown them!

I think after I washed the culture several times and then fed it well in medium large amounts, the issue of pale crust was solved. Try washing your culture for a day or two and switch to a slightly larger inoculation amount (larger than 10g) and larger batches (about 1 cup or 300g of chef) to get a decent starter. Pale crust is not something you should agree with. Something with sugar/protein metabolism in the dough is not right, so the caramelization and Maillard reactions haven't proceeded as they normally would in these particular loaves. 

 I like quahtan's baking. Everything she bakes looks so pretty and tasty, classy and just right. She is a wonderful baker, indeed. I haven't seen her oatmeal bread recipe yet. Dolores Casella's cracked oatmeal dough was so tasty, I could have eaten it raw. Just amazing. And the bread!!! I am head over heals in love with those little rolls that I baked from cracked-oatmeal dough. I would have to bake quahtan's loaves to see if they are superior. I will. I believe you that they are superb, already.

 

Thank you for the recommendation of new breads from Rose's book, L_M. I don't know what to do with the flatbreads (focaccia and ciabatta). I have never had them before at home and don't even know if I would be able to use them for sandwiches. Tyrolean torpedo is OK. I will bake it next week, if you don't mind. My desem starter finally begun smelling fruity, like deliciously ripe pears, so it would be good to use it in a fragrant multigrain loaf. For tomorrow, I will bake da crumb bum's miche with ripe desem leaven that I prepared today.

 

mariana

 

browndog's picture
browndog

Mariana, I tackled this yesyerday, here are the results:

 

Calvel levainlevain crumb

The dough was pleasant to handle and rose well but my crumb isn't as nice as yours, Liz's, and L_M's. I wonder if I under-proofed--I did not take your good advice and have a little control dough in a measuring cup. Next time...

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

You have some beauties there. Did you use a mixer or by hand. I don't think you use a mixer but not sure.                                                                               weavershouse

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Good morning, browndog! These are very beautiful loaves, very. With crackling crust and everything. Congratulations! Is is tasty?

 

Your crumb doesn' t look underproofed. More like your hearth was not hot enough. In sourdough, the bubbles usually look elongated and oriented upwards, as raw dough touches the baking stone and gasses stream to the top. When holes are round and they are evenly distributed, to me it's a sign of cold oven and, maybe, special kneading and shaping technique.

 

That said, I want that bread! It looks so good, so tasty. You are a very good baker, my friend. I am very happy for you!

 

OK, gotta go back to the kitchen. I am struggling with Da Crumb Bum's miche today. At 75% hydration, it's a very soupy dough. I am at the end of my wits, trying to figure out how to bake a decent loaf out of that pool of dough in my proofing backet.

 

mariana

browndog's picture
browndog

* Weavershouse, thanks, I was happy enough with them on the outside...they were hand-kneaded, I don't even own but a little hand-held mixer.

Mariana, you are a diplomat--special, indeed! The only thing I did notably different in my routine was to knead the heck out of the dough, the oven was presumably at 450 and I rarely do use a stone, I do the pre-shape and the 'rotating' business to get surface tension on the boule.

I kneaded well past my usual feels-done point, because of past problems with flattish loaves, and came near to but not quite window-pane. The dough had much more strength than I am accustomed to--very smooth and firm, not to say dry. And I did get my oven-spring, but though the taste is mild and good, the baked loaf resembles the dough--firm, tight, almost rubbery.

Trying to find a balance, arghh.

I feel quite sure that whatever your miche may be thinking at present, it will learn after it meets the oven that at least in Mariana's kitchen, resistance is futile, and it will emerge a thing of grace and beauty.

Thanks for all your generous input!

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Mariana, how did the "pool of dough" turn out? Mine ended up in the community dumpster! I think I know where I went wrong after reading more of crumbum's hints and comments - my dough wasn't developed enough. Oh well, onward and upward, A

mariana's picture
mariana

Anne, I was sure my loaf would join yours in the dumpster, but I managed to bake it into a decent loaf. A sparkling red crust and creamy and moist crumb, fragrant, fruity and tasty.

 

My main problem was hydration. Too high. I had to fold an insane number of times to make it hold a little shape. In the end it was sitll more extensible than elastic, so I baked it in a clay pot.

I was also afraid of too much sourness, but it turned out fine. Just enough of a sour to know that you eat a light rye sourdough, but mild enough for me and mine to like it.  I will continue to work on that bread. The idea is good and techniques are interesting, plus there is an ample space for modifications of the basic idea to different schedules and flour combinations. Da Crumb Bum is a genius.

Please, let me know when you will bake this bread another time. I would like to join you and try a pure wheat version, something like a 24 hour desem loaf. OK?

mariana

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Hi Mariana, so happy to hear that you had success! Maybe one day I will have the knowledge to figure out how to cope with a ball of elastic. I tend to panic, and the clay pot might have saved the day. MiniOven will be cross with me but last night I started Eric Rusch's (Breadtopia) whole grain sourdough and it is in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The dough behaved well after an autolyse and one stretch and then some kneading. I like the idea of more grains and also it is a smaller loaf. I will definitely try CrumBum's recipe again - at my age I feel as though I need to try as many recipes as I can, even after MiniOven's gentle chiding. I also have to confess that some of the technical talk scares me silly - I have read and re-read the method of starting (making?) a desem starter but that's as far as it goes. So my breadmaking is an adventure, sometimes good, sometimes not so much, and my neighbors are always happy to receive a loaf no matter what I think of it. Thanks for your interest, A

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm hearing ya.   No, I won't get cross, why should I? :)  I'm just a home baker that loves to bake too.  And like you, got neighbors who love to share things . I was out sneaking around in the dark because one neighbor shared her thought: cacti would be blooming at midnight. I warned her that if she heard anything going bump in the night, it could be me. (I wanted to bring margaritas with my camera but somehow thought it inappropriate. ...and if she wasn't awake, would have to drink everything!)  I did take my dog. The cacti were in full bloom! About 30 blossoms and this last happened 10 years ago! I now have a big bowl of fresh plums and pears! But they're from another neighbor, I got to get to my printer... How did your bread turn out?

Cacti Flowers

Cacti Flowers

Mini O

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Mini, I was recalling the time when you told me to slow down and not try to bake every recipe that came along. Well, I promise you I have really really tried - but then someone posts a fantastic looking bread with beautiful pictures and all is lost. My loaf of sourdough whole grain from Eric Rausch had some good points and some not so good. The crust is fantastic and has the highly prized color, sorta reddish? I'm pretty sure I overproofed it and it did spread slightly, baked on a preheated stone with a ss mixing bowl as a cover. The oven spring wasn't great and the crumb could have been more open, plus the bottom appeared to be scorched, but I just ate a slice and it is GOOD. Next time I will bake it in my ss dutch oven, the one I use for the No Knead Bread, which should take care of the bottom crust. But, I did resist the temptation to start something else while this one was proofing, so there is hope. Your cactus flowers were well worth venturing forth in the dark and your picture is lovely. Is the plant under cover? Thanks for sharing, A

L_M's picture
L_M

Good evening Mariana,

Your miche ended up like the fattest pancake I've ever seen :-) I've never been able to transform a dough like that with just some folds - wow!

Here's how it went this time :

Today I used almost all of the tricks in our 'keep cool' bag, and probably one too many...

First of all I see that in my mixer even with the dough at the correct temp, it still takes longer than 12 min to knead - more like 16. Nearing the last few minutes of kneading I had to flatten the dough and put it the friidge for a rest so it wouldn't heat up more than 78F. Next time I think I should let it knead for 10 min then put it in the fridge, then add the rest of the ingredients and continue for 6 more min. Does that sound right to you? The dough was 78F at the end of kneading.

Then I divided, rounded and put it in the fridge, and that was a mistake. The dough cooled off to 71F by the end of fermentation. Maybe only 15 min in the fridge would have been enough, if at all.

Next I shaped, and proofed in oiled pyrex bowls ready for baking. I don't think it took that long for the dough to warm up to room temp, but the proof took 4 1/2 hours which seemed quite long and part of that time it was in the proof setting in my oven. I hope nothing else was wrong.

I preheated the oven to 215C . Slashed, sprinkled about 1 tablespoon of water on top of each boule, covered with a pyrex lid and baked for 20 min with the lid on, and then 25 min with the lid off. They rose to amazing heights in their bowls and even started bumping into the lids. Nearing the end I wanted to take them out of the bowls to finish up free standing, but...they were stuck, and the fight began...I heard them cracking ( the bread not the bowls) as I managed to free them so they did get a bit mashed. This time there was ample room in the oven because I baked right in the bowls. I probably could have raised the oven temp to a bit higher than 215C, but I do think the extra sprinkling of water in the bowl contributed to the larger size of the baked boules.

Since it was really late they only cooled for about 1 hour before I sliced - we were so hungry already! It was so much better than yesterdays batch. the crust was crisp, the crumb was lighter  - both in colour and weight, and the flavour was amazing.

The picture isn't that accurate, but the colour of the crust is golden brown and again a bit too light, but my bread has never had an orange hue.  The crumb is a bit too mushed because I cut it too soon so I didn't think a picture would be of any help.

Washing my starter would be guess work unless you can tell me exactly how much and when to feed etc. Also my perfect spot for optimal temp is not large so I'm not sure if there would be room for a larger amount. A 500ml measuring cup can fit in.

Focaccia - I agree this isn't your eveyday bread. I've made it on several occasions and I served it along with roasted vegetables, dips, salads etc. since it is good for sopping up...whatever.

Ciabatta - these makes nice sandwiches, instead of a roll shape. Many coffee shops here use ciabatta as the main option for sandwiches. They use all sorts of fillings - cheeses, roasted/fresh veg, salami etc. It's too bad but sometimes they squish and toast the living daylights out of them so they are as hard as rocks! Honestly I was so surprised how tender the ones I made were! Anyhow, if you are ever in the Mediteranean mood, they are both very good.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur and even though we don't fast, I won't be baking bread. It will give me a chance to figure out what to bake next!

Happy baking in the meantime

L_M

Pain au Levain #2PS I can see that the picture didn't come out but I don't know why... I'll try to figure it out tomorrow

Pain au Levain #2Pain au Levain #2Pain au Levain #2

L_M's picture
L_M

pain au levain 2pain au levain 2L_M

OK - finally got it posted ...

mariana's picture
mariana

 

These are beautiful loaves, L_M. Well done! They look like a healthy batch of bread: crispy, fresh, proud to be seen and served. awesome!

 

10+6 kneading on medium speed sounds good if your flour can handle it and crumb doesn't become too regular in structure.  I don't see anything wrong with 71F inside the dough during bulk fermentation, except that you feel that it takes later too long to proof the loaves and you would have to bake them too late for dinner. Blisters on the crust due to refrigeration of the preshaped loaves can be a problem though, if you try to avoid them. As you know, in France they are considered to be a defect, but in the US they are highly prized by many : ) go figure, LOL.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

Those blisters seem to be on almost all of my lean breads with preferments of some sort whether they've been in the fridge or not - so it's lucky I don't mind them :-) and I also don't know how to avoid them ...

This last batch was made with AP and a bit of Vit C and about 1/2 teasp of diastatic malt (for 1/4 of the recipe) - I ran out of bread flour and 2 supermarkets were out of it as well, so I used what I had. It looks like it held up quite nicely but again there is no sign of an orange hue - should that only be the case with sourdough? I was thinking maybe a little bit more malt in the dough would help out breaking down the starches - or after seeing this last picture, do you still think it has to do with the starter? When you said 'healthy bread' is that what you were referring to? - or does it look ok now? 

You are right about the proofing time - it was just too late for supper, that's all.

If I cut down on the kneading time then the dough will be strong when I tug at it but not so extensible (not a very clear window pane at all)  - if you think it's not necessary then I can use the 6 + 6 min as you suggested before. Any thoughts?

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

L_M,

 

I don't think you need to tinker with the dough anymore. Your schedule and ingredients are OK. Since I am not familiar with your mixer, I cannot comment. Touch your dough, as you mix it to get to the desired degree of stretchiness. OK? Sourdough requires a shorter mixing time, compared to regular yeasted dough, due to a large amount of preferment in its composition. Still it should be extensible, so that it can open nicely along the slashes, without ripping or tearing apart in the oven. A good sourdough looks like a regular yeasted dough and is easy to work with.

I do believe you could wash your starter and bake a better looking crust, though. Or just create a calvel's starter or derive one from your starter. After all, it takes only 2-3 days. Not a big deal.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Good morning Mariana,

I'm ready to start a new starter. Your consistant but gentle nudging has done the trick! LOL! Ok, I have wheat berries and wheat bran but the bran is toasted so just to be sure I'll use the berries. They are promising 'mild' weather for the next few days so I hope it will be ok. Can I cut the recipe in half or is it important to use the full amounts as written in the instructions?

I was wondering whether the reason I'm finding that this dough was taking longer to knead than it usually takes other doughs, is possibly because it was firmer - I usually work with a looser dough. Could that have something to do with it?

I'll let you know how things progress with the new starter.

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

Good morning, L_M,

I haven't tried cutting amounts in half. Please do as recipe says. Theoretically, I understand that it 'shouldn't' matter, but both Hamelman and Mike Avery say that it doesn't work if you cut the amounts. I don't know what's the reason. It's not a big expense anyways.

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/professorcalvelsstarter.html

Calvel developed 2 recipes for starter: one in France and one in Japan in 1974. Below is the procedure for Calvel's French starter for wheat breads.

1) soak berries in 35C water for 1/2 hour

2) add 600g white flour, 3 g salt, 6 g of honey. leave for 22 hours.

3) make a dough from 300g of white flour, 150g or slightly more water and 1.5 g salt. spread it a little, put 300g of yesterday's starter inside and roll. Knead a little. Leave it for 20 hours.

4) repeat as in (3), adding 1.5 g of sugar. Once it peakes, refresh it again as in (3) without sugar, this will be refreshment number 5. At this point, you may reduce the amounts somewhat.

By now, once (5) has peaked, more than quadrupling in less than 6 hours, it will be fully functional and you may bake with it, reduce it drastically for keeping, derive other starters from it: liquid levain, rye sour, desem, etc.  If you keep it in your special place in refrigerator's cache for ice, then refresh it once a day, by tripling. I.e. prepare 1/2 cup of pure dough (ice cold water and white flour), and put a small chunk, no larger than 1/4 cup, of old starter inside it, roll it in, knead a few strokes, cover and store in a cool place (above 10C). That easy.  

Calvel says that this starter benefits from slightly elevated temperatures (27-28C). By the time it quadruples in less than 7 hours, 1 g of starter will contain 20 million yeast cells and over 1 billion lactic bacteria cells. It will also have an appropriate pH of about 4.5.

I'll be waiting for news report from your kitchen : )

 mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

Ok, berries hit the water at 15:00, so we're off...I have a feeling I'm going to give myself a good kick for not trying this a long time ago :-) It really does sound so easy!

The only reason I was thinking of cutting the amount in half is because that perfect spot of mine is small and I knew a whole batch just won't fit in there, but now I understand my currently moderate room temp will be fine until it gets going.

In step 1, I used the amounts as written in your blog (1 lb berries and 2 cups water) since you didn't specify any in your last post here.

In step 2, I used all the water from above but I didn't use the extra 180 grams water. I hope that was right - otherwise it would have been very, very loose.

In step 4 when you say peak, is that maximum volume or just as it starts to wrinkle?

When it is ready to use and living in it's perfect spot, and I'm refreshing every 24 hours like you suggested, should that include the same percentage of salt as in step 3?

Wish me luck!

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Sorry, L_M. I corrected the 180g. They were not necessary, of course. It's a stiff dough.  No need to salt the chef once the starter is ready. It will be refreshed thoroughly prior to baking bread, so gluten quality in the storage starter is of no consequence. It can even go for 2 days at room temperature w/o refreshment and still will be ok to initiate the series of bread sponges/poolishes/bigas says Calvel.

 In the process of creating a starter, you add salt to protect gluten from being 'cut' into shreds by enzyme protease, so that you can observe quadrupling.

Peaking is the maximum volume. You will see it, it's obvious. It looks like souffle, you touch it and it doesn't resist at all, may even deflate a 1/3 of an inch.

 

GOOD LUCK!

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Thanks Mariana,

It's all clear now. Fingers crossed...

 L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

There is not really much to report. All went according to plan, and as a matter of fact today when I dug in to take out 300 gm for today's mix, I could see that it was all webby and very slightly puffed up.

It has now been several hours since step #3 and there is already evidence of it rising.

Looking good so far...

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, I am so excited to hear good news from you. Any news would be exciting, LOL. When you can, please display the pics of your Calvel's starter. OK? I am so curious, can't wait to see that baby swell into a big ball of spongy starter. 

 

When ready, Calvel's starter is very pretty and stays strong and webby and smelling gorgeous for full 4 days at 10-15C. It's a very powerful starter in a sense that it ferments very well, leavens quickly, and produces good looking breads that are unmistakenly sourdough. I hope you will like it. 

 

thanks for your updates, L_M!

 

mariana 

L_M's picture
L_M

Calvel - step 3 - 8 hoursCalvel - step 3 - 8 hoursCalvel - step 3 - 20 hoursCalvel - step 3 - 20 hours20 hours - inside20 hours - inside

Good morning Mariana,

It's a good thing you reminded me to take pictures! I really forgot, so they start at step 3 about 8 hours after kneading it all together. The top of the little yellow sticker shows the original height. By the end of the 20 hours it had risen by about 30- 40%.

At the end of step 2 the pH was 5.3. At the end of step 3 the pH was 4.2. From what you mentioned above, when it is ready the appropriate pH should be about 4.5. Does it sound like everything is ok? Shoud I keep going according to the instructions? I've already mixed step 4. 

It's very interesting to see that surrounding many of the berries there is a large gap. Last night there was a huge tunnel in there!

The aroma has been quite like tea. I'm not familiar with wheat berries so I imagine that's where it's coming from.

I'm looking into a way to keep the starter at a low temp like you suggest, but in the meantime it'll stay in it's present spot. So to maintain a once a day feeding schedule I would feed like you suggested above? Approx - 100 gm dough made up of 60gm flour and 40 gm water, then put a chunk of about 50 gm starter inside, and knead a bit. yes? That IS easy!! 

More later, as it happens... 

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Looking good, L_M. Well done! Your pH is very safe and insures that there will be no contamination and only the appropriate strain of yeast will survive.  The baker's yeast strain is probably gone from it by now.

 

How do you measure your pH with such precision? I use lithmus paper which allows me to measure in 0.5 increments: 5, 4.5; 4.0; 3.5 etc.

 

There is more activity around berries because bran, enveloping them, contains nutrients. Yeast cells and lactic bacteria need more than sugar to proliferate. They need vitamins and minerals that white flour is not rich with. That is why a successful starter is best initiated with whole grains, or some version of it.

 

To maintain a chef, you either take a piece of sponge from the dough that you are fermenting for bread, or , on non-baking days, do a simple tripling in any comfortable for you amounts. 50g -> 150g is ok. It is important to bake with that starter from time to time, because in a series of starters prior to mixing into bread dough it gets throroughly refreshed and its microflora gets rebalanced really well. OK?

 

When you make dough out of 60g of flour and 40g of water, it's 67% hydration. Starter dough must be much firmer than that. With French flours, its hydration should be about 50%, with US milled flours a bit higher, 50 to 58%.  67% is too high. OK? I don't measure grams anymore, just pour a bit of water into a bowl and add flour, water, flour, kneading by hand, until a chunk of dough has formed, about 1/2 cup in volume, or a bit larger, up to 1 cup. Then I spread the previous chef on it and roll it in.

 

Calvel says that a "culture will be suitable for seeding a levain when it quadruples in volume in 6 hours and has a pH ranging from 4.4 to 4.6."

 

excellent progress, L_M. very good.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

So I'm ok with that low pH already...whew! I was getting worried, but I remember checking my starter a few weeks ago 24 hours after it's meal and it was around 3.6, so how low can it go and still be alright? (They're not at home, but close by I have access to an industrial pH meter and a scale that measures in 1/10 gm.)

60 flour - 40 water ....I made a mistake - I was thinking about 60% hydration :-)  but a bit less than that, around 55 - 58% makes a nice feeling dough that doesn't stick to the counter or my hands, but it sounds like I should be making it a tiny bit firmer than that. Also I forgot that 150 gm of newly fed starter is going to puff up to much more than a 2 cup measure can hold, (and that's all my spot can hold) so I'll have to work with smaller amounts. And yes, I promise to bake with it!

This rise from step 4 with the sugar is taking at least if not longer than the last one : it is now 7 hours and it has risen by about 10 %. Should I let it go for let's say 20 hours like the last one if it seems to be still rising and the top feels strong?

I've got my eye on a portable 15 liter fridge that can also heat up. It can be plugged into the lighter socket in a car or the electricity at home. It isn't very big, but for the amounts of dough or starter that I use it seems just right.  I know they are sold here and a few stores were sold old of them for now, but I'll look for something like it on the internet and post a link so you can have a look. Somehow I have a feeling that the heating option will also come in handy in the winter.

Waiting patiently for it to rise...

 

Edit: here is a link showing this type of fridge :

http://www.minicoolers.co.uk/

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, on that site that you found they have a wine acclimatizer (Waeco 6 bottle wine cooler) which is perfect for starters and dough. It can be preset to 10-12C and it will keep temperature at that level forever. Portable refrigerators don’t have the preset temperature feature, they are not good for this purpose.  My wine acclimatiser is a little larger, for 50 bottles, but we do keep bottles of pop and wine it it, not just my starters and sometime dough/sponges.

 

pH of 3.6 at the end of fermentation is about right. Below 3.6 lactobacillus sanfrancisco will not grow, although other lactic bacteria, for example, L.pontis, will still grow at pH between 3.4-3.6.  Make sure your sourdough ball is quite stiff: flour buffers acidity and makes a more favorable environment.

 

Timing is like that: each refreshment should be held for 20 hours or less, if it peaks sooner. It’s impossible to predict the exact trajectory of your particular starter. Mine deviated from Calvel’s timing in his tables. A starter made from the mix of rye and wheat flours was very slow in the middle, i.e. refreshments did rise as high as his,  but was ready by the end of the third day, nevertheless. A starter made from whole berries soaked in warm water took off sooner than his table suggests and I was ready in 2.5 days instead of 4.5 days.

 

I am waiting for your starter to be ready and for us to bake in tandem some recipe with the same starter. : ) Nice, eh?

 

mariana

 

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, that will be lots of fun - our around the world baking session! I do hope this starter will prove itself worthy... so far today it's really just sitting there doing almost nothing. Early tomorrow morning I'll refresh again, making sure it's stiff.

From what I understood some of those portable fridges have a thermostat so even though it may not be accurate, I think it could certainly be close to 10 - 12C if that was the temp it was set at. Won't it take a very long time for the sponge and dough to ferment at that temp? (I'm thinking of getting the loaves ready in time for supper) The advantage of it heating slightly in the winter sounds like it'll be a good place to keep the sponge and dough at 24 -26 C. So far I haven't found any place in the house that comes close to those temp in the middle of the winter.  Again I've only seen these so far on the internet so maybe I'm hoping they are better then they really are, and maybe I'm also overlooking some other advantage the wine coolers have over them. Any other thoughts on this? 

L_M

ryaninoz's picture
ryaninoz

Mariana,

Noticed you mentioned that you could convert his video to DVD's. Could I persuade you to make me a copy on DVD to mail to Australia. I've tried to purchase the Video's but they will not send them to Oz and not sure the VHS/TV system would work over here. I am happy to pay you for your time, cost and effort to recoup some of the cost of the VHS. My computer will play any region DVD's so I don't have to worry about that issue. I am considering purchasing his book Taste of Bread from Amazon.

Thanks for your consideration in advance. 

Ryan Propst

Sydney, Australia

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Ryan, give me your e-mail address, please.

mariana

ryaninoz's picture
ryaninoz

r_propst@hotmail.com

 

Ryan Propst

Sydney, Australia

driechel's picture
driechel

Marianna

because I dont think I can sent personal messages I reply like this.Sorry for kicking a old post. Is there a possibility that you can sent me a copy of this dvds as well? I live in europe though.

ryaninoz's picture
ryaninoz

Mariana,

 Your loaves look lovely and have inspried me to go ahead and order Calvel's book. I've decided to bit the bullet & purchase 'A Taste of Bread' from Amazon and have it shipped here to Oz. I've found some whole Rye berries today that I am going to grind myself into flour and make a starter. I think I am going to try and make two types of starters, one the normal 'wet' and another 'dry' starter as I've seen some discussion on another thread to see what differences they produce in the baking process.  

Ryan Propst

Sydney, Australia

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Good luck with your starters, Ryan. I have never tried to create a wet starter, maybe I should attempt to see if that works as fast as firm starters. Eric Kayser says they are as fast, but different. Liquid starters require high temperatures during the first 2 days of creation (30-40C). Interesting.

What do you use to grind berries? I can grind them with the help of KA mixer attachment, but for small amounts I just use coffee grinder. Works just fine.

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Calvel - step 4 -20 hoursCalvel - step 4 -20 hoursStep 4 - top viewStep 4 - top view 

Hi Mariana,

That's all that's happening here, but I'm still patient. I waited the full 20 hours in the first part of step 4 (with sugar). As you can see from the picture it only rose a little bit, maybe 10 - 15% from it's original volume. In the top view there are 2 big bubbles so at least a bit of something is going on in there. The pH was 3.85

It has now been about 7 hours from the last feed (again step 4 but this time w/out the sugar) and it has only risen by about 2 -3 mm so far. 

Our moderate weather isn't so moderate anymore. We're up to about 82F - 83F during the day, and at night around 78F -79F. They're are also predicting it will get a bit hotter during these next few days.  Do you think it needs a cool water bath during the day?

20 hours from the last feed is going to be right in the middle of the night. Now I know it's best to stay on schedule, but I just can't see that I'm going to be able to rip myself out of bed... I'll have to change the feeding time - is it better to move it earlier or later?

It has now passed the 72 hour mark so it looks like this one is just taking it's own sweet time to get going.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi, L_M, how are you today?  I see your starter is doing ok. Nice. I don't know whether earlier is better than later when it falls to the middle of the night. I won't get up specifically for that either. I would probably refresh right before going to bed. I don't know. I am not as patient, LOL, and it is hotter than 25C in your kitchen, so feedings might be a bit more frequent?

 

Also, I see your dough is not as stiff as mine. It looks kind of flat, smooth.

 Below is exact schedule that Calvel presented for this starter, kept at 25C or higher temperatures.

First 22 hours - zero increase in volume, refresh

20 hours later, 1.7 increase in volume, refresh adding sugar

23 hours later, 2.5 increase in volume, refresh w/o sugar

20 hours later, 3x increase in volume, refresh

12 hours later, 3.5 increase in volume, refresh

by the 7th hour mark this last sourdough t will have quadrupled and ready to be used in baking. Total time 104 hours, or 4 days and 8 hours.

As I mentioned, my timing was never exactly like his: not as precise, I always kept intermediate sourdoughs at higher than 25C temperature,  and I observed a slightly different dynamic in terms of volume. I think you could just continue with feedings and discover what will happen. That's the fun part. The suspense!

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

Thanks for suggesting when to feed - I hope the starter will be happy!

So feed time turned out to be at 16 hours and it did rise another few mm by then. I think, (but maybe I just hope) that it is starting to smell a little bit like yeast.

 This time I made the dough exactly 50% hydration, but as soon as the starter gets added in it all becomes sticky, and as you saw from the pictures it certainly isn't stiff after the 20 hours, so in the end I added more flour trying to get it to feel as firm as dough was before, but it wasn't really, really stiff.

Yes, the suspense - who knows what will happen overnight? When will it really come to life? 

Guess what I found on your blog... Erik Kayser's starter sounds like it was developed for the current temp in my kitchen  - I don't think I can resist giving it a try as well. It would be very interesting for me to find out if I'd be able to taste the difference in breads made from each starter. Have you tried it yet? Tomorrow morning I'll start mine.

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Good morning Mariana,

Yes indeed, very nice progress. It's been 12 hours so far and it has at least doubled. I'm still waiting and watching in awe as it rises! Next feed I'll have to half the amounts because there won't be enough room in the container at this rate.  I still add salt until it quadruples in less than 6 hours, is that right?

I've also mixed up a batch of Eric Kayser's starter, so we'll see how that goes. 

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, I bet it was a good night indeed, LOL.

 

Yes, please, make the sourdough ball firm and not so sticky to touch, and always add salt to protect gluten from liquefying. I haven't tried Eric's starter yet. I am baking today with calvel's bran starter, the one that you are nursing now.

Watch your pH carefully, please. It might be low at the end of fermentation, but it should be high enough for lactic bacteria to ferment in the beginning, when you refresh it. OK? Remember that lactic bacteria is responsible for 1/2 of gas production in sourdough. So if it is not able to proceed, the volume will be low or abcent.

I am very proud of your persistence and discipline, L_M. Way to go!

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

 Hi Mariana,

What did you bake today with your starter? I'm sure it's delicious!

The final height at 16 hours was 2.5 the original volume. The top view shows lots of cracks, and they started a few hours earlier while it was still rising. I haven't been fully developing the dough - is that why I have cracks? Does it matter?

I was very busy in the kitchen today (not with bread though) so I didn't have time to go get the pH checked at feed time, but this time I made the ball very stiff. I wonder if part of my bread problems before were due to the starter's pH being too low. Besides keeping the dough stiff is there any other way to control the pH? How can I keep it closer to the 4.4  - 4.6 that Calvel suggests? 

 When I stick the spoon in to mix at feed time, the aroma is now strong and exactly the same as my other starter - yeasty beer.

So far in step 6, it has risen by about 2.4 in 8 hours...but...I just realized that I made a mistake. I cut the amounts in half and I just was not fully focused, so I used only half the amount of starter that I should have : 150 gm flour, 75 gm water, .75 gm salt, 75 gm starter. I guess it's better this way than using too much starter, but I was hoping it would be really to feed again before I go to sleep, but now that it's going more slowly I'm not sure again when to feed. I'll just have to see what it looks like at the time. I think this starter is almost ready to bake with!

Erik Kayser has doubled it's volume in 12 hours, but I don't want to get excited yet...we'll see how it progresses. No pictures of it so far.

L_M

Calvel - step 5 - 16 hoursCalvel - step 5 - 16 hoursStep 5 - top viewStep 5 - top view

mariana's picture
mariana

L_M, your starter looks very pretty already. I like it so much! 

You don't have to do anything special to keep your starter at 4 - 4.5 pH. It will happen naturally. That's what my starters measure at their peak. After storage for several days at 10C, pH of a piece of sourdough declines to 3.5 or so, but then I use it to prepare a sponge or a series of sponges where pH gets back to normal range.

I think when a starter smells like yeasty beer, it's past its prime. A good starter smells like bread - delicious mild smell. 

 I have also initiated Erik Kayser's liquid starter today, to accompany you. It's active, yes, typical of rye-water mixtures.  I keep it in my oven on PROOF setting.

Today I baked a plain sourdough bread, using the simplest recipe by Calvel, which he presented in Las Vegas at the Sourdough Seminar hosted by the Bread Bakers Guild of America.

 

Crust


Crumb in black and white to show the structure

 

I posted the recipe here

http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/6830.html

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

Your pictures are fantastic, again! That bread looks sooo tasty.  Does that recipe make a mild, medium or strong tasting loaf?  I'm starting to see how much the 10C -12C range of temp is used with Calvel's recipes. I haven't had time to investigate any further the wine cooler vs mini fridge/heater yet. 

The Calvel starter is still progressing well. I'm now getting a peak at triple volume within 6 hours. The starter now smells much more of yeast than beer, and the consistancy when it has just peaked, is no longer sticky - more like just a looser dough that doesn't stick to my hands or the container at all. No more cracks on top, just a soft souffle. As soon as it is ready I'm going to reduce the amounts further so that I can keep it in the special spot.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the Eric Kayser starter, how/if it performs differently from your others. At this point I have had so few good experiences with sourdough that I'm not sure I'll be able to say for sure what is or is not effecting the results in bread. The creation of Eric Kayser's seems much easier as far as 'hands on' time in the kitchen, but so far neither of them are ready to use yet, so I'll just have to wait and see.

I've been keeping it directly on top of the cable box, on top of the TV, and covered it completely with a towel to keep the warmth in. I found that the starter temp stays constantly between 32.5C - 32.8C. I'm not sure that in the winter it would stay so warm but for now it is perfect. For tonight's feed, instructions say 27C, so room temp will be just right. Today it doubled in just under 6 hours.

I'm looking forward to one of them being ready to use.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

Hello L_M,

 

Thank you so much for coming back to tell me about your starters. I care about your success. The one-sponge-sourdough made with Calvel's starter is very mild tasting, yet distinctly sourdough in appearance and flavor.  It possesses the kind of fragrance that yeasted breads never have. None of Calvel’s recipes for French sourdough produce strong tasting loaves, strong acidity is just not typical for French wheat breads. I will soon bake his recipes for San-Francisco sourdough, which is supposed to taste strong, and will see the difference.  

 

Judging from what you tell about your wheat berry starter it is practically ready to bake with after this last refreshment peaks.  I think that making a firmer dough made a lot of difference, n’est pas?  Have you measured its pH this time: ripe and recently mixed? Will you take any more pictures of it? What are you going to bake with it?

 

My first Kayser’s batch has about tripled in volume in one day, so I derived 2 lines of starters from it, to see the difference, if any.  Half went to propagate liquid sourdough and another half gave the beginning to French Traditional Starter. Both will be ready at about the same time in a couple of days, I hope.

 

Meanwhile, I would like to bake something with my desem starter. I have no idea what. I am going through Clayton’s book to see if he has any attractively named breads made from whole wheat or multigrain.

 

Please, don’t disappear, L_M.  I am waiting for the next chapter in your illustrated Book of Starters : )

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Kayser - end of day 1Kayser - end of day 1Kayser - end of day 1 - topKayser - end of day 1 - topKayser - end of day2Kayser - end of day2 

Hi Mariana,

Please don't think I'm disappearing! I know that you care, you have put in so much of your time guiding and helping me - I am detemined to make this work. Honestly I've been trying for about 2 years to make and maintain a healthy starter without much luck. Usually within the first few days everything looks fine, but then trouble sets in.

I keep on thinking the Calvel starter will be ready with the next feed, but so far it doesn't rise beyond triple. This moring I checked the pH of the starter just after peak and it was 3.91.  The pH of the new freshly mixed starter was 4.5. I do think that making a firmer dough has made a big differnce. Maybe it is a bit slow because of those first few days - I'm now about 8 hours into day 6. I'll take more pictures of it now when I feed, and I'll post them tomorrow morning and also continue answering your last post. 

Fingers crossed for great things to happen during the night!

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, I think your Calvel starter is ready. No need to proceed any further. Instead, try to prepare a bread sponge (unsalted), or a series of bread sponges (even  better) and bread with it, and keep a piece of the last sponge as a storage starter in a cool place.  If your bread sponge increases 3.5 times in volume in less than 7 hours at 25C (i.e. overnight), its functional and you can mix it in a bread dough. OK?   

Hopefully, soon you will get yourself a good cooler for your starter and dough keeping and your 2 years of starter struggle will finally end, along with problems of timing sourdough fermentation of loaves to be ready for dinner.

Your rye chef looks phenomenal. Wow. What an explosion in a cup! Amazing force. I also like the darkness of your rye flour. Looks like pumpernickel. Mine is a little lighter and the second mixture hasn't bubbled as vigorously as yours, instead producing fine meringue-like bubbles.

 

Kaiser: mixture #1, pure rye and water, after 24 hours

 

 Kaser: day 2, mixture #2 after 12 hours at room temperature. Blend of 50% rye chef and 50% white flour and water batter.

see you tomorrow!

mariana

 

L_M's picture
L_M

Calvel day 6Calvel day 6Calvel day 6 - topCalvel day 6 - topKayser - now ending day 2Kayser - now ending day 2 

Good morning Mariana,

I'm getting a bit worried about Calvel, as it is slowly losing it's power to increase in volume. The time of peak is the same, about 6 hours but it's not even making it to triple anymore. Could it be that I'm making the dough too stiff?  Or not kneading enough? Does that matter at all?

Now in regards to Kayser!!!! I've never had a liquid starter rise that high so I misjudged the size of container! The picture was actually taken 7 hours after the second feed of day 2, so it's even more of a mess by now. Instructions say one more feed and it'll be ready to use in bread making. Does that mean ready to mix with the dough, or ready to make a sponge to later mix with dough?

Now, which bread to make? I will probably use one of Hamelman's recipes in 'Bread' using a liquid levain, maybe the Vermont Sourdough pg 153 but he says to use a sponge that has fermented for 12 -16 hours at 70F. That is quite different than what Kayser suggests as far as times and temp, so here is where I start to get confused. If you suggest another recipe to start with then just let me know.

It's very interesting to see the colour of your rye flour, since all I'm familiar with is ours, and yes your bubbles are a bit smaller than mine...hmmm what are those bubbles saying???

More later

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Kayser -day 3 - 5 hoursKayser -day 3 - 5 hours 

Hi Mariana,

Just wanted to let you know that things are really happening here!

Calvel : I'm doing as you suggested, refreshing as if I were going to make bread using your recipe above (the one I made before). It is now small enough to stay in it's 'cool spot'. I plan to refesh it 1 more time if possible before I actually start on the first refreshment of the recipe, that will ferment overnight and tomorrow morning proceed with the sponge, (and save some ). So far it has tripled in 3 1/2 hours. :-))))

Kayser : This one is going crazy! It got it's final refreshment this morning. I'm letting it ferment for 12 hours at 30C because first of all it was very easy (room temp is 29.5C today), and second I wanted to observe the proccess so I'll know in the future how to judge progress. Within 2 1/2 hours it tripled and it didn't even look very bubbly on top - the whole thing was just puffy. By 3 hours it had risen a bit more but then it started popping and all the bubbles that were just beneath the surface broke and the whole thing started to sink a bit. If I wasn't going according to these exact times and temperatures, then at that point I would have either fed or used it. That is what I've understood to be peak for a liquid starter. But now I don't know... there are still 9 hours left at 30C before feed time according to Kayser.

By now (2 hours later) there are new bubbles forming on the top as you can see in the picture so I think later on there will be a lot of frothing like the last time.

This is all very interesting, and now it looks like I'm going to have 2 very vigorous starters. 

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Wow, L_M, Wow, wow and triple wow! Look at what you have done!  I have never seen starters as pretty or healthy. You have a gift, you know.  A special touch. I am so happy to hear good news from you this morning. Thank you!

 

I will bake Hamelman's sourdough with you. Once your rye starter is ready, i.e. after 6 hours of fermentation of the last liquid mix, prepare 'the final build' that is in the recipe - in essence, it's a poolish, with bread flour and water, and let it ferment for 12 to 16 hours at 70F. For you, it would probably mean taking it in and out of refrigerator every 3-4 hours to keep it on the cool side. OK? Or, if you do the build overnight, then simply leave it on the counter, if you know that room temp will be in the low seventies, OK?

 

Remember that liquid starters are different from firm starters. They tend to produce breads with larger holes but the price for that is more time-consuming upkeep. You can't keep them at room temp, unless you are willing to refresh every 8 hours. Keep Erik Kayser in the fridge during the day, on the counter overnight (to refresh in the morning), until your cooler arrives, OK?

 

I am happy to hear that there was nothing wrong with Calvel. It was simply hungry : )  what a happy starter you've got: pure wheat and pure beauty. Ay.

 

On my side, Erik Kayser is developing differently in Canada. It is highly acidic and produces a foamy, not bubbly, batter with tiny bubbles on top. It will be ready to be used in baking in 4 hours, when I will initiate Hamelman's sourdough. OK?

Erik Kayser. Day two, mixture #3 after 12 hours fermentation. Surface detail.

I am very proud of you, L_M.  You are simply a terrific baker. Congratulations!

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, hold on! Don't start yet...let's use your recipe first. I have to figure out all the timings and temp for Hamelman's. It will too be too hot on the counter at night (high 70's) and I'm already familiar with your recipe so I'd feel more comfortable with it. OK?

Calvel almost made it to quadruple in 5 hours.  We are going out for dinner soon so I'll refresh now, and again late tonight so that one will count as the first refreshment in the recipe.

I'm going to let Kayser continue for now, and feed again before I go to sleep. Tomorrow morning I can start on the routine you suggested.

Maybe more pix later, if not, then tomorrow - we'll see

Good luck with your Kayser!

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

L_M, by the time I read your 'hold on' message, my Vermont leaven was already mixed. No problem. It's just a loaf of bread. 

I hope your starters are doing well today and you are on your way to bake a French French sourdough : )

Kayser behaves perfectly well, it has tripled in volume and looks like a beautiful milkshake after feeding.

 

I am satisfied with this starter and after Vermont Sourdough will bake a few Eric Kayser's recipes with it: his famous baguette and some other loaves from his book "100% Bread".

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Kayser - readyKayser - ready 

Hi Mariana,

Tomorrow I'll try Hamelman's. I've gotten everything figured out as far as timing goes, and I hope it'll be ok. Please tell me what you think:

Yesterday at midnight I fed Kayser and let it sit overnight at room temp which was conveniently 27C. This morning when it started to get warmer I put it in a cool water bath until about 1:30, then fed. I've reduced it, so now it can also sit in the cool spot. When it peaks this evening I'll feed according to the recipe using very cool water and put it for the night in the cool spot if it fits, if not, then in a cold water bath. I hope it'll work out ok. 

Your starter looks very nice indeed. The Kayser method was much easier for me to start up and I really am anxious to find out if either of us will be able to detect a difference between them in the bread.

In the meantime the boules are now proofing. Everything has gone according to plan so far. The kneading was 8 min, rest for 10 min flattened in the fridge, continue kneading after adding the rest of the ingredients for another 6 min. The final dough temp was 79F. The preshaped boules were in the fridge for the first 15 min of fermentation.  

I'm looking forward to these boules!!!

L_M

npsmama's picture
npsmama

Is it OK to use my batter-like starter in making the refreshed culture?

 

So it would mean:

Refreshed culture:

30g of 70% hydration starter

130g flour

50g water  (30g made the resulting dough very dry and stiff and did not incorporate the flour - so I added 20 ml more)

mariana's picture
mariana

 Hi,

you can use your higher hydration starter in baking doughs that require stiff starter. For that, convert it into a firm starter and do a couple of  builds. OK? 

 What I mean is

1) take your wet starter, and knead into it as much flour as it can take. Leave it for 6 hours.

2) refresh, approximately tripling it in volume, i.e. from 2 oz of starter, make 6 oz of refreshed starter. Leave it for 7-8 hours.

3) refresh, approximately tripling it in volume. Leave it for 6 hours. If you see that it has increased in volume 3.5-4 times by that time, it is ready to bake with. OK?

 

mariana

npsmama's picture
npsmama

Thanks Mariana.

I had already gone ahead with the recipe using my 70% hydration starter and adapting the consistency. It tripled nicely.

The loaves are proving right now...we'll see...it wouldn't be the first time a loaf didn't work out! 

L_M's picture
L_M

Calvel's first breadCalvel's first bread...crumb...crumb 

Good evening Mariana,

The bread was wonderful - very flavourful and not sour at all. The crumb was soft and moist, with a very pleasant texture. The crust was still a bit too tough though - and I don't really see any orange hue...could it have to do with different flours? All in all - a very succesful day.

I decided on a different method for keeping the sponge cool for tomorrow's Vermont Sourdough. Kayser was ripe at 7:30 pm so I fed it according to the recipe right away. It sat out on the counter for 1 hour to start fermenting, then I put it in the fridge and I'll take it out just before I go to sleep. In the morning I'll have to see what state it's in and that will determine when to start the dough. If it's not too ripe then I'll put it back in the fridge to cool off a bit because otherwise I may have a problem with the dough becoming too warm during kneading.

If mine comes out looking anything like yours does on your blog, I'll be very happy. How did you like kneading with the food processor? Did you do an autolyse at all or just mix it all in one go? Any difference in the crumb? It sounds very tempting since the kneading stage takes me a long time with the extra rest in the fridge.

I'm feeling much more confident now that I'm sure my starters are in top condition. Starting up these 2 new ones was a very good lesson for me. Schedules don't seem as complicated and I don't think I'll panic if something doesn't fit exactly into a given timetable. I feel that I'm slowly easing into the sourdough rhythum. Mariana thank you again and again.

Hoping tomorrow's bread will be just as good!

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

L_M, good morning,

 

I am so happy to see a better bread coming out of your oven! Good for you! Even more important is to lose fear of starters or of creating them. It is not as complicated or difficult or time consuming.

 

Your crumb looks much more like a sourdough crumb now. Good! For less tough crust, don't steam at all. Place a dry boule under a dry bowl. Or bake without covering it at all.

 

Kneading with food processor is OK, there is a book that goes into an excrusiating detail about how to do it properly: The Best Bread Ever. Maybe you have it.  I understand that with sourdoughs it is important to use plastic blade because it is not overheats the dough when it kneads it.

 

Liquid sourdough works like a charm. The holes it creates are really mindboggling: very large. It's a very light loaf that had a gynormous oven spring. I couldn't believe my eyes!  Very tasty, with distinct rye flavor and taste - that part I don't really like. I like pure wheat and pure rye breads, not high % admixtures. Calvel's tiny addition of white rye to white wheat flour didn't bother me that much, it was barely perceptible.

 

Lood luck with Vermont boules! This is a very fast recipe: 2.5 hours of bulk fermentation and 2.5 hours of proof. I can't believe that it actually works, but it does!

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

 Kayser's first loavesKayser's first loavesKayser ...crumbKayser ...crumb

Good morning Mariana,

Here we have them! Everything went on schedule except for the final proof. That took much longer than expected. I don't think that the starter was overripe and other than that I really can't think of anything else that I might have done wrong. Anyhow it was just later than I planned that's all. I tried a side by side experiment with the steam to see if that was causing my tough crusts : the batard I baked using my regular steaming method in the oven, and at the same time I put the boule under a pyrex bowl and baked them at the same time. The boule took about 10 min longer but they both had the same (very nice) oven spring and came out with the same crust. So my theory on this was what I had though was happening...I was just too impatient before, and the loaves were underproofed. I always get a tough crust when I do that, and it's about time I learn from my mistakes!  :-)

The taste was hearty, or maybe just rye, so I would save this recipe for special times, not so much as an everyday bread.

This morning I tried Qahtan's oatmeal bread recipe in the food processor - it certainly does save time!!

Both starters are still doing very well.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Good morning L_M,

 Good looking loaves you've got! congratulations.

 I baked vermont sourdough loaf two times with dark and light rye and decided that I will leave that recipe behind. I don't like 10 % rye, no matter how I bake it. And I decided against using liquid starter in recipes. Firm starter is better, IMHO. I can incorporate it after dough was developed by kneading and as a result have a much better crumb.

I will bake a loaf with French traditional starter to see if it is any better or different from Calvel's starter and will post the results later.

 

Vermont Sourdough

 

Vermont Sourdough, crumb detail

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mariana I would love to see what those loaves looked like just before they went into the oven. You always have such nice artistic slashing patterns.

Was it the flavor of the 10% rye you didn't care for? The breads look wonderful from here.

Eric

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, I totally agree with Eric - what can you see that is wrong with it, besides the flavour? Was texture of the crumb inferior to bread made with the Calvel starter?

Now that I made a yeast dough again today, I realized that the sourdoughs I made were firmer in texture - during kneading the dough was a bit stickier, but not as loose and also the baked bread was heavier. Did you add more water in those recipes, or did you use exactly the amount listed? Today's oatmeal bread is much lighter and I think it should be the opposite or at least almost the same. Yes/no? 

I was also wondering if you ever let a sourdough proof as a free standing loaf? Can they support themselves, or will they always turn out a bit squat shaped?

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi Eric, what are you baking now?  I plan to bake Blue Ribbon French soon, maybe tomorrow!

The Vermont loaves were not looking like much prior to baking, because proofing is so short, just 2-2,5 hours.  They barely had a chance to maybe increase 30-50% in volume, just slighly swollen. The loaf felt very heavy for its size. I guess that explains huge oven spring.

My problem with that bread is that the rye content of that formula is so high, it needs much higher acidity level to be successful. Hamelman says that they nearly always retard this dough prior to baking, up to 18 hours, and I can see why.  This bread has too much rye and thus has lost its pure wheat character, but the fermentation/acidity level, if you follow 2,5h+2.5h method, is way too short for it to develop as a light rye sourdough properly.  So, I ended up with extremely finely textured crumb, light and feathery, punctuated with larger holes.  A strange hybrid.

L_M, hello, how are you?  How are you doing? I am taking a break from sourdough baking as well and as we speak I have a loaf of French bread, pure yeast, baking for breakfast. So easy, ahhhh.

Yeah, Vermont crumb was horrendous, the ugly thing. I had to discard this bread out of shame. 

With shourdoughs, when I was mixing them in standing mixer, I was misting the bowl from time to time, when I saw that the friction of dough against the bowl was a bit too much for the machine.  Now that I knead in food processor, I use exact amounts of water specified in a recipe and don't use flour or water when I fold the dough or shape it; dry wooden cutting board is ok.

I think at certain level of expertise it no longer matters whether you bake with baker's yeast or with wild yeast or with a mixture of two. If you try Maggie Gleser's recipes, you will see what I mean.  Her yeasted and sourdough versions are both light and voluminous, flavorful and wonderful.

The stickiness of the dough leavened naturally usually means that the starter was very ripe and that only one step sponge was used.  In 2 sponges and 3 sponges method or when you refresh the culture very thoroughly prior to baking, stickiness due to gluten damage is not an issue.  The opposite is true - mild acidity of fresh starter strengthens the gluten and the dough feels dry to touch, moist  but not sticky. OK?

Sure, sourdoughs can be proofed free standing, no problem. The trick here is shaping technique. You must know how and how many times to fold and how to preshape and shape the loaves that will be proofed without support.  Also, it is best done with loaves that don't proof for too long. Like this Vermont Sourdough Boules or Batards would be perfect. In 2 hours of proofing time they won't become soupy and amorphous, but they will relax enough for a gorgeous oven spring to happen.

So, what's your next project, L_M? : ) You must be full of desires to bake something else, aren't you?

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

I think I understand now why my loaves took so long to proof -I was thinking they were supposed to be light and ready to bake at that time. By 2.5 - 3 hours they were like yours, just slightly puffed up. Anyhow I'm not sure I'll try that recipe again.

You know I did follow all the refreshing instructions so I'm not sure why my dough was still sticky but I have a feeling that's where the level of expertise comes in, and of course I've still got a lot to learn...

I think my next adventure will be Maggie Glezer's challah that Zolablue posted. That one calls for hand kneading, which I'm quite unfamiliar with, so it'll be interesting to see how I make out. My family prefers a softer sandwich type bread/rolls rather than rustic, so what I would really like to do is attempt some slightly enriched sourdough bread with my starters. I don't think I'll have time in the next day or two to bake bread though.

Thanks for posting those pictures and explainations about kneading with the food processor on your blog. Mine can only handle 400 gm of flour in a bread recipe, but that's certainly enough for one day and leaves me some for give aways as well. I'll be experimenting...  

I finally found and bought a portable fridge. There is no control of the temp - it is either in cooling or heating mode. It wasn't expensive at all and if it gets too cold for the starters (which I really doubt) then we'll just use it for picnics or as an extra little (tiny) fridge to have on hand. I've got it working and I put a glass of water with a thermometor in it to see just how cold it gets. If it turns out to be ok, then I'd like to know what feeding schedule you suggest for each of the starters. I think that by the morning it will have gotten to be as cold as it's going to get.

I started with 30C water a few hours ago and so far it is down to 16C.  I'll let you know the temp in the morning.

And what will you be baking next???

L_M  

L_M's picture
L_M

Good morning Mariana,

Good news I think - in the morning the temp of the water in there was 15C. In this weather it seems to hold  between 15C - 17C. The temp of the starter was slightly higher than the water (maybe fermenting activity?), so it was just over 16C. Last night I feed Kayser, let it sit on the counter for about 20 min, then put it in. About 9 hours later it had risen by about 30%, now it is 11 hours and it has almost reached double volume.

The surrounding area is warmish from the fan, so as an added bonus that may be a good place to keep the dough cozy in the winter.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hello, L_M! Long time no see : )  I missed you!

 Yes, some sourdough breads are not proofed at all, they have a long bulk fermentation and then shaped, barely let to relax and put in the oven to bake. That's the old way to bake sourdoughs.  It's a little unusual to see that Vermont sourdough should be let to rise only for 2 hours, but then it is a high % whole grain bread and wholegrain sourdoughs, usually, have longer bulk fermentation and short proof times, says Calvel.

I hope you will like your Challah. I think there is no wrong way to bake that bread. It's delicious always in any form and shape or composition.  I love it.

Kneading in food processors does wonders not only to the structure of the crumb, but also magically, just magically improves the taste and keeping qualities of bread.  I've been baking Van Over's recipes before and never paid attention to that aspect. Oh well, if it wasn't my broken mixer, I would have never returned to kneading in a food processor.

Congratulations with your new mini fridge! Hurrah! Finally your starters found a great home. 15C or 60F is perfect for them, couldn't be perfecter.  At that temperature you can safely refresh your firm starter just twice per week, make sure you use cold water for feeding and knead it into a stiff ball for keeping and bake with it from time to time, OK?  Baking with it is important because then it goes through several feedings at room T and gets its microflora rebalanced.

Liquid starter would have to be refreshed either daily or at least once every two days at that T.  I decided not to keep mine after I use it all, because it is easy to create one or convert a firm into liquid, if necessary.

I am not in a hot baking mood right now. My husband left to work overseas for a week or two and I am taking a breezer for a couple of days. Don't want to learn anything big or complicated or startling new.  I am going to see Didier Rosada in a few days, so that would be several days of intensive baking and an avalanche of new info. Right now I am working on a Blue Ribbon French loaf that Eric recommended (ehanner), and he also baked yesterday astonishing croissants which inspired me to bake some laminated dough items as well, maybe tomorrow. Little chocolate pastries, flaky twisted rolls, etc. not croissants per se which are not my favorite little breads on their own.

Happy baking, L_M.

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Good afternoon Mariana,

Gosh it has been a long time since my last post - sorry about that, somehow things just got in the way. I'm sooo excited for you!! Going to bake with Didier Rosada - what a wonderful opportunity. Have a great time!

Sometime in the week following next, I'll most likely be joining my husband on a trip to Italy :-)) He wants to attend an exhibition there so we'll add on a few days for vacation. Have you ever been there? I love the food, and ice cream... pizza is so different though. Huge portions and cracker thin crusts. They aren't my favourites but somehow when we're there, they seem just right.

Mini fridge is keeping the starters happy, and so far when I've taken them out to refresh or use in bread, it seems that they bounce back to their regular rise times when kept in the 'cool spot'. The lowest air temp in there so far was 13C.

The next few breads I make will be in the food processor and I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe in the end I'll find it to be a better method for me, we'll see.  

Trusting the baker/author, hmmm...that is sometimes one of my weakpoints. When is it best to use my own judgement and when should I follow the instructions blindly. That is a huge question that I find myself facing many times. For some reason I often think my circumstances are different then from what the author had in mind when developing the recipe...like the flour, or the temp.

The challah is in in the oven and starting to smell sooo good! I'll post the results on the thread that Zolablue started.

For my next adventure I think I'd like to use the liquid starter again so I might try SourdoLady's 'Sourdough Deluxe'. On my list as well, is the other recipe of Calvel's you posted that has 3 refreshments. I imagine that would be even milder than mild, so I'd like to give that a whirl - in the food processor of course :-)))

How did the little flaky twists come out? They sound like a real treat.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi L_M, wishing you the best of times in Italy. Maybe you could take pictures of italian breads, if you have a chance to take them in some busy bakery : ) 

 

Italy is nice, and I love people there, although I prefer Spain, and that is where we are heading with my husband in a few weeks.  His father's family are from Barcelona.

 

I agree with you that no recipe is the same in hands of different bakers. I usually try to be fair and do as I told and if I suspect that the outcome of my labor is not what the author had in mind I would persist until I get what is shown on the picture or given in description. 

 

Sometimes it is not something that I can willfully achieve, because it is a matter of my own skill as a baker which evolves with time. I started baking bread 6 months ago and good breads were not that frequent back then, although I was following the recipes to a T and knew my way around the kitchen, oven included. These days, everything comes out fine or at least good and I no longer have to hide or discard ugly loaves or grind badly tasting breads to make another huge bag of bread crumbs, LOL.  So I am reducing the number of new recipes to bake now and shifting gears to some other thing.

 

I haven't stated the laminated dough project yet. Right now I am baking a wheat boule from King Arthur Flour book on whole grain baking and it smells terrific. I have never seen a dough so pretty, ever. It behaves like an obedient child and grows like a teenager - fast and tall! LOL Also in works is a good Challah. I can't live without some version of that majestic bread and always have some freshly baked by Friday evening to last us all weekend.

 

OK, L_M, I'll be waiting for your pictures of challah in zolablue's thread. Good luck (with the pictures, the bread is great, I know : )

 

mariana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Mariana,
I haven't posted in a few days, sorry, I have been dog dead with a cold and not interested in the kitchen. The Croissants did turn out wonderful! Thank you for your help with that project. The lamination is so unique to anything I have done I was amazed at how perfectly they turned out and how delicious they are.

Today I'm baking a 25% semolina rustic boule with a mix of SD and Instant levain. I made a preferment that sat for 14 hours using 30% of the flour. I'm going to try your square top slash pattern. Wish me luck, that loos great!

L_M,
Your trip sounds like an interesting opportunity to see some unique breads. Hope you get some good pictures.

Here are the croissants.

EricCroissants first tryCroissants first try

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Eric, I can't see those croissants of yours anymore! You are hurting me, aaaaa... they are so pretty, so good. I see a piece of good chocolate in that little hole inside, in my mind's eye, LOL. I want to bake like you too!!!!!!! (I am scared of laminating and dragging my feet, yes)

Are you feeling better today? How's your cold, can you eat or drink at least hot liquids: tea, coffee? Get better soon, OK? I miss you.

 Good luck with the semolina loaf. I have a bag of semolina flour that I have to use in something and nothing comes to mind. Show me your boule and your recipe and I will follow your steps, OK?  You taught me how to bake Blue Ribbon French and it was awesome. I trust you with the semolina loaf recipe as well.

 

get well, Eric.

 

mariana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mariana you are such a cheerleader. If only I could stand up to the publicity you put out. Here is the Rustic Semolina Boule. I was surprised at how well it held shape as a free form boule. No basket or form of any kind, just well developed dough at about 65% hydration, maybe a little less. I'm embarrassed at the slash pattern. I was trying to emulate yours but I must not have gotten the rise you did.

This was a preferment from 40 grams of sd chef, 200g water, 300g AP and a Tablespoon of rye. The next day I added another 200g water, 150G Semolina and 150g AP and 1 tsp instant yeast along with 12g salt. Mixed well in KA (still no energy :>( . I kneaded with the hook for 8 minutes adding AP flour to get the right "tacky" consistency. Almost forgot I added a single Tablespoon of Olive Oil at the end. Hand kneaded by French Fold to be certain of gluten development for 3 cycles and primary ferment for 1-1/2 hours. Shaped as tight ball and reshaped in 10 minutes on a plastic cutting board with semolina dusting. Transferred to Parchment dusted with Semolina, cover loosely with plastic wrap and proof for 1-1/2 hours. I tried to not hurt myself with the Lame while slashing this boule. The dough was fine for slashing and I got a big spring under SS cover with steam injection for 25 min at 450 F then another 20 min at 400 F. This was about 2.2 lbs baked.

I won't get a crumb image since this was a thank you gift for a neighbor that brought me some chicken soup for my cold. A life saver no doubt!

Eric

Rustic SemolinaRustic Semolina

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi Eric,

I baked your semolina bread and IT IS FANTASTIC. A great recipe and a great loaf of bread. Thank you very much for sharing, my friend. 

thank you!

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana thank you for the good wishes for my trip. I still have about a week or so before I leave. How about you? Have you packed your aprons yet?

The Challah was a bit of a let down, and I don't really know if I did something wrong. (This is probably when you would make it again and again until it was perfect, yes?)Was the one you posted on your blog really, truly and absolutely the best one you've made so far? Maybe it sounds unheard of, but we actually enjoy the ones from the supermarket...

Tomorrow during the day I'll refresh Kayser at room temp and then make the final refreshment at night to start on SourdoLady's Deluxe bread straight away on Monday morning. I'll knead with the food processor and post the results on her thread.

Wow, Eric, those croissants look so light and tender! I must admit that I haven't  looked into laminated dough yet, but they seem just perfect to me.

I'm sure your Rustic Semolina bread tastes a good as it looks - lucky neighbour! Was it made from durum flour, or semolina? I haven't been able to find durum flour here so your bread just made me think - where is the best place to find some...Italy!!

Hope you're starting to feel a bit better by now, sometimes those colds can really knock you out for days.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi, L_M! How did you know I was shopping for aprons this week? LOL. I got a few beautiful ones, but not for the baking class. For the baking class I got myself a new chef's jacket and will wear the chef's apron I got from the Quebec's chef #1 Jean Soulard as a gift when we visited him.

Ahhhh, sorry to hear about the challah problem. :( So, no pix this time?  What was it that you didn't care about in that particular loaf? 

 The challah loaf that you are referring to is THE challah, for me at least. As you know challahs are a spectrum of breads from fairly lean to very eggy and fatty and sweet, almost cake like, resembling brioches. This particluar challah recipe is as far away from brioche as it can get and still be challah. It is more like bread than like cake and it is nothing like challahs from bakeries.  It is very light and makes tremendous sandwiches and grills like a dream. Another recipe that I liked a lot was sourdough challah by Maggie Glezer: a denser loaf and much more cake-like, good on its own and in salads.

I will keep my fingers crossed for your Deluxe sourdough loaf. Kayser will not disappoint you, I am sure : ) I have baked Eric's semolina loaf with French Traditional starter derived from Kaiser and it is both explosive in leavening power and very gentle of gluten, a keeper.

 

happy baking!

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Mariana, a chef's jacket sounds just perfect for you! When does your course start?

The sourdough challah was Maggie Glezer's and it was too cake like for our taste, but mostly the problem was that it was too dry, not dense, just dry. I posted pix on Zolablue's thread. Your's sounds closer to what we usually have so I might try it out for the weekend.

Just wondering about the semolina loaf - is that fine durum flour or the coarser semolina? Both yours and Eric's look mouth watering. There is a recipe in the BBA with semolina and I remember it was very good.

Hoping sourdough deluxe is really deluxe!

L_M

ehanner's picture
ehanner

L_M, the Semolina was stock I purchased from King Arthur. As far as I know it's not Durham. I realy don't know much about Durham or Semolina. It was my first time buying the product.

Thanks for the well wishes, the cold is improving ever so slowly. This one has a grip on me. I hate not being able to taste much. I don't trust myself to season by how it tastes at the moment. Need more chicken soup (Jewish Penicillin).

I made another Semolina loaf last night as the reviews from the neighbor were positive. It seems they devoured nearly the entire loaf (2.2lb) after returning from the local High School football game that night. There are a couple teenage boys in the crowd that have hollow legs I hear. It's a strange condition :>) Anyway my loaf was very good. I tried again to discover Mariana's slashing secret, again with dismal results. The cuts expanded but alas they are not artistic in the least. I think I may have to resort to begging her for the secret!

 Eric

edh's picture
edh

Mariana,

First, a big thank you to both you and L_M for your in-depth tracking of starter creation and use! Thanks to this thread I finally got it together to try the directions from your blog to create the Calvel wheat bran starter.

I didn't have any wheat berries, so used bran as in the original, and after about 5 days of not very much happening, it suddenly exploded yesterday. I fed it again last night, and now it's huge, and I'm not exactly sure what to do with it? I mean, I'll be using it to bake, probably tomorrow, but at what point can I reduce the amounts to a smaller storage size? 300 grams of flour every day is quite a lot, not to mention the size of the container on the counter.

With my other starter, also stiff, I generally keep 10 grams, and feed it with 20 g water, 40 g flour. Can I reduce this to that size? I'd love to convert my original over to whole wheat and keep one of each.

I also wanted to thank you for the recipe that started this thread. I made it once to very odd effect; I don't have a mixer, and wasn't nearly thorough enough in my hand kneading, so ended up with very underdeveloped dough. That, and a disaster in the steaming department resulted in the densists, most thick crusted bricks I'd made in a while, but they were delicious! We ate almost a whole loaf in one sitting!

I tried again yesterday, but this time wasn't shy about getting my hands right into the dough. I also fiddled the fermentation schedule and did it more like Hamelman's Pain au Levain; 2 1/2 hours bulk, with two folds at 50 minutes each, followed by 2 hours proof. The kitchen was a little warmer than I'd expected during the proof, so they were slightly over proofed, but only just. Nonetheless, they made it onto the stone, and I squoze a roasting pan over both for the first 20 minutes. I couldn't believe my eyes when I took the cover off! Huge oven spring. After another 25 minutes they came out a lovely reddish brown. We only managed to hold off about 30 minutes before attacking one of the loaves, and I can easily say it is the best thing to come out of my oven yet. The mild yet complex flavour is out of this world.

Thank you so much!

edh

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi edh, I am happy to hear about your successes with calvel's starter and his bread. Good for you!!! The old baker must be happy in heaven : )  No matter how much I bake his recipes, they always surprize me with their flavor and lovely looks. So, I am with you, edh. Welcome to the club! : )

If your starter is functional: smells right, has a good taste, and is beautiful in appearance (rises strongly in under 6 hours), then you can use it and reduce it for storage purposes. I don't do the 10g method. I usually do tripling for storage purposes and at least quintupling when I refresh for baking. This means the following

Storage starter: make a 100g of plain dough (water and flour) and add to it 50g of old starter or ripe bread sponge (i.e. refreshed sourdough about to be mixed in bread dough). Knead a little and store. If storing at room temp, I would add a few grains of salt. This will allow me to refresh less frequently: once every two or three days and the gluten will stay practically intact - the sourdough won't be sticky and it won't dissolve in water by the time you will refresh it again. 

Refreshed culture, one step method: make a piece of plain dough that you need for bread baking later, and add to it a piece of starter 1/5 th of its weight. Knead a little and let it ferment until at least triples in size.  Take a piece away to prepare a storage starter and use the rest in breadmaking.

 

Happy baking, edh, and keep us updated, OK? I would love to hear more about your breads.

mariana

edh's picture
edh

That sounds a bit more manageable; I like how long the starter seems to keep with a little salt added. I don't bake every day, but if I can, I like to several times a week.

I'm a little daunted by this Calvel starter; I fed it at 7:30 this evening, and it had doubled by 9:30. I've never seen a starter do that before!

I'm not sure what I'm going to make next. I've reverted to white flour for the last several batches of bread I've made, just trying to get sourdough to work for me, but I'd like to find my way back to more whole grains. I'm not really in a position to be buying expensive new cook books right now, but I'm enjoying the buzz about Peter Reinhart's that I've been reading about on the sight.

I'll probably just keep muddling along, messing about with other folks' recipes...

We had a thoroughly New England day here today, complete with pressing cider this morning, a ham supper, followed by a cranberry duff with molasses sauce for dessert. Given the heat wave we're having here, it was a bit out of season, but not according to the calender; proper Fall food, that was!

Thanks again,

edh

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi edh,

Calvel starter is a wunderkid, for sure. It's a very good method and it produces a great starter.  Have you decided on the bread you'll be baking next?  The huge semolina loaf that I baked yesterday seems to be disappearing very quickly, once we discovered that it tastes even better than it looks. So I too must come up with an idea for the next loaf to bake tonight for tomorrow's breakfast. 

We also have an impossibly hot and humid weather here.  Air conditioners working overtime. Way too hot.  Your supper sounds delicious and very New England, indeed. Classic Fall food!

mariana

edh's picture
edh

Hi Mariana,

Those semolina loaves look amazing! Maybe I'll have to give that a try at some point. First though, I'm trying a rye bread for the first time. What I really want to make is a proper dark pumpernickel, but I haven't any rye berries or chops. Besides, it sounds like working with rye can be a bit tricky, so I'd better start at the beginning...

The weather is behaving a little more normally here now; lovely sunny day, but brisk and windy as all get-out. Makes baking tomorrow sound good!

Calvel has been fed as you described, though I forgot the salt so I'll have to feed again tomorrow. Or maybe I'll set up another batch of Calvels sourdough bread for Tuesday...

Thanks!

edh

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

my sponge is almost ready to go..the formula says 1900g of flour, but in the text says wheat flour. Does that mean whole wheat flour or bread flour, which is wheat flour ?

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi Paddyscake,

in the formula there are 2 kinds of flour: wheat (unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour, in France it would be type 55 flour, the kind they use for baguettes) and light rye flour. In the text it says that first you knead the dough with wheat flour only and only after the autolysis you add rye flour. OK?

let me know how it will turn out, ok?

mariana

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

perfect timing..I'm just ready to mix everything. I will have to retard overnight and bake tomorrow. I will let you know how it all turns out..   :  )

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hello, L_M,

I took a look at your challah loaves and they are very pretty! So cute, those mini-loaves, so pretty. : )

Artisan Breads with Didier Rosada is in a week, Oct 16-18.  I am totally unfamiliar with the breads mentioned in curriculum: German lemon and butter bread, Rotolo di Natale, green tea bread, pave au levain, royal crown, etc, so it will be good for me, I think.  An adventure.

I think Eric used coarsely ground durum wheat (semolina flour, coarse grind) and I used in this particular loaf durum flour (fine grind, the same yellow color and taste, from the same wheat), also sold in our grocery stores under the name of atta flour (for Indian breads).  I use them interchangeably in the recipes, they give me the same results, especially when I autolyze first.

When does your deluxe bread come out of the oven? I am impatiently waiting to see what you are talking about. I have no idea.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

OK Mariana and Eric - now you've both got me going...if this loaf is so great, I've got to make it! And Eric I agree - Mariana is a super slasher!

I've been hesitant to bake anything with semolina that calls for durum, but Mariana if you think that an autolyse will make them interchangeable then that's all the reassuring I need, and I'll have a look in the specialty stores for atta flour.

Mariana it sounds like you really are in for an adventure - that is an interesting list of breads!

I'll be making the deluxe bread tomorrow. It is basically a slightly enriched loaf that includes potato flakes. The recipe is somewhere here on this site, but I don't know how to set up a link bringing it up for you to see. If you use the search option in the top left hand corner of the page, something should come up, or else, it'll just be a surprise !!

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

You better not sit up and wait for this one...it's not happening. I don't know what went wrong. Kayser's refreshments at room temp were fine - everything was normal. I used the FP, with cold water added to the starter (maybe that knocked it out?) to pour into the opening while it was on. The dough felt fine, and it calls for a 45 min bulk fermentation. Shaped into hamburger buns and let them proof at room temp. 5 hours later I started to use the proof setting, and they have been there for almost 2 hours. Believe me, they have hardly grown. At some point I'll decide either to bake them or dump them:-(

L_M 

mariana's picture
mariana

L_M, I am so sorry to hear about the buns. Sorry about that. 

 

No one can tell what went wrong. I think there are gazillons of ways of making things wrong and only one that will make them right. Have you had success with that recipe before?  I read the original posting and you reported back then that it wasn't the greatest bread you ever baked. So, you thought that the problem was starter and this time attempted to do it with a different liquid starter?

 

I will bake that deluxe recipe with Kayser liquid starter, using FP method and see what gives, OK? You don't give up. Not yet. Refresh your Kayser, adding a tsp of rye and a tsp of honey,  every six hours, until fresh, bubbly and NOT ACID when you taste it, and attempt that recipe again, exactly as the author says. OK?  I think you could do the entire process inside your mini-fridge, since it simulates pretty closely the temperatures in her house in winter (about 65F).

 

I wonder why you added cold water to the starter? It wouldn't kill the microorganisms, I am sure, but when I intend to autolyse, I mix a shaggy dough first by hand, it's just a few strokes of spoon anyways, let it rest for 20-60 min, then add starter and enriching agents (the jelly roll method) and knead in a food processor until homogeneous and silky, about 20-30 sec. 

 

I don't remember if I ever tried sourdough buns, i.e. w/o baker's yeast at all.  In any case, it shouldn't take them 5-7 hours to puff up, for sure.  They should double in volume in a couple of hours. You know that what's happens when you refresh your starter, it doubles very quickly in volume.  I will test that recipe and report about the outcome in my blog, OK?

 

Cheer up!  It's not like we can't get a decent loaf in a corner bakery : ) We bake for fun and experimentation. You  are doing just great, L_M.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Thank you for your kind words Mariana,

But don't worry, no way - I'm not giving up:-))

I baked them just for fun, to see what would happen, and they did rise a bit in the oven so now they look like puffed up cookies! LOL! They taste a bit sour and funny, but not as bad as I expected.

I've tried this recipe several times, but it hasn't ever turn out well for me. I wanted a sandwhich type bread, and SourdoLady says she makes it all the time and it is very good. so I figured my starter was at fault.

That would be great if you tried it as well with the FP. I used the instructions on your blog for "The best bread ever", and with the temp formula  ( 130 F - flour temp = correct liquid temp) I needed cold water. I mixed it all in the FP, including the autolyse.  I haven't tried it, but I'm wondering if there is enough liquid in the recipe without the starter to moisten all the flour for the autolyse - I think it may be more like a dry clump rather than a shaggy dough.

I'll do some refreshments as you suggested keeping it in the 'cool spot' 24C -26C.  By "the entire process inside my mini fridge " do you mean just the 45 min of bulk fermentation? A shaped boule or a small loaf pan will fit in the mini fridge, nothing bigger. Funny you mentioned it, because I rarely taste my starters, but today I did, and yes it was very acid.

I don't have powdered milk so either I'll use reg whole milk, or what I used today - a half and half mixture of mild yogurt and water, without the lemon juice. There was no other tinkering :-)))

 I'll try it again as soon as Kayser is mild tasting, OK?

I'm looking forward to seeing them on you blog!

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

 Mini semolinaMini semolinaSemolina crumbSemolina crumb

Eric and Mariana, thanks to both of you for both the recipe and instructions. This was very good! I really like the flavour the semolina flour gives.

I mixed the flours and water in a bowl, then autolyse, and added the rest of the ingredients jelly roll style, just making sure the salt didn't come in direct contact with the yeast or sponge.  Then I kneaded for about 25 - 30 seconds in the FP. It was very easy using that method, and now I'll be able to make larger amounts - just splitting up into small batches for kneading 30 seconds each. Wow, that is such a difference compared to my mixer. Maybe in the winter when I won't have the heat to deal with, I'll go back to the mixer, but for now, this THE way for me. 

The AP four seemed a bit too weak by the time it was ready for the oven, so maybe I slightly overproofed even though the dough stood up to slashing and rose very nicely in the oven, but by the end of baking it shrunk quite a bit. It's lucky I baked in the mini pans otherwise a bigger loaf may have collapsed. Maybe next time I'll add a touch of ascorbic acid and/or gluten, since I'd like the crumb to be a bit more chewy. 

Mariana I'm still feeding Kayser every 6 hours when I can, but after a few feeds I went back to just flour and water (no honey). It still tastes sour after the 6 hours are up, but not as much as before. I have noticed that on a regular cycle after feeding it : 1 part starter: 2 parts water: 2 parts flour by weight, then it will double in 4 hours and pretty well triple in 6 hours. If I feed it then after 6 hours, the next time it takes longer to rise. If I let it go for 8 hours then it goes back to it's schedule. Those timings are for the 'cool spot'. In the mini fridge it takes about 24 hours to get to the same stage. I don't know if that is significant in my case or not.

 So far I haven't tried the deluxe recipe again - how about you? 

L_M

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Nice job on the mini's L_M. That would be a nice size for a day's consumption around here. Keeping them in the freezer for a few days or a week would be good to have for a rainy day. Isn't that a nice flavor? It's a little like corn meal and just a little sweet for some reason. Glad you liked it.

Eric

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Gosh, these look good!

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi L_M,

these are very pretty loaves and I am sure they are very tasty. Very good oven spring too! We liked semolina bread here. Eric tends to give us great recipes, have you noticed?   I am very grateful to him for his guidance.

I am glad that you have reduced the acidity of your liquid starter somewhat. Generally speaking, it should be slightly acidic, but not acid, more like tangy. Liquid starters ARE more acidic than firm starters to taste. Have you measured pH of ripe liquid starter, to see where it is at the time of feeding and by the time it is ripe?

I see that you can safely use your mini-fridge for storage. Whew! once a day is better than every 6 hours, for sure! I am talking about refreshing starters, LOL. I use my wine cooler for storage and for fermenation of dough and even proofing loaves.  This achieves full fermenation instead of delayed fermentation (as in the fridge) and bread tastes and smells slightly better.  

 I baked the deluxe sourdough bread and it was a nice dough that behaved well, although I got the impression that sourdolady puts less flour than me into it - mine was on the firmer side, i.e. lower hydration than I usually work with. The taste was very rich: milky, buttery, potatoui, hint of lemon, but not sweet at all.  I understand why she called it deluxe. It's not a plain white loaf, it's a rich white bread leavened with sourdough starter - whose flavor was completely masked by enriching ingredients.

I think it would be great if baked with baker's yeast. Also, this recipe makes a lot of bread. I would halve it to bake one loaf for one day consumption. I am not a big fan of yesterday's bread.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Very nice looking loaves, Mariana! Thank you for trying my recipe. I don't know why L_M is having a hard time with his. I usually mix my dough in the bread machine. Did you do yours by hand or with a mixer? My starter is liquid, and I just eyeball the consistency but it is more than 100% hydration. My dough is fairly soft before folding but firms up nicely after fermentation and folding. I always bake my loaves free-form and they hold their shape quite well without the use of a banneton.

L_M's picture
L_M

Round # ???? is on it's way... I can't let this bread get away from me - I've got to get it right! SourdoLady, I'm very glad you've joined in here, and I don't know if  I'll ever figure out what has been going wrong, but I've trusted your recipe all along, so hopefully today I'll get it right. Is it ok to use a mixture of half mild yogurt and half water instead of the milk powder and lemon juice?

Mariana I haven't checked the pH lately so I'll do that later. My mini really is a mini, but it does hold a tall shaped bowl and I think I might be able to squeeze in a 1 lb loaf pan plus 2 mini pans, so I could also spread out proofing time to suit my convenience. I find that yeasted doughs keep on rising well in the reg fridge, but the sourdough really slows down and takes forever to warm up and continue rising again, so the mini is certainly a better option for me.

All fingers crossed pleased!

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

You're probably getting ready to go soon, and from your blog, I can see that you have been very busy baking! When I get back I'll try those softies you posted. Did you prefer any particular one?

Yesterday I tried Calvel's bread using the three sponge method (no pics). I used half the recipe and split the dough into 2 small boules, so it was the  perfect time to use the mini for retarding one of them, so I could compare the taste the next day. Everything was perfect until the proofing...again they just died out on me. Until that stage everything is fine - starter rises on time, isn't acid tasting, and I think 'ok'  this time it'll work, and then it's like they just pull out their plug and give up. So that got me thinking - once in a while it does work and I think (hope, wish, want) that those times I used diastatic malt. Lately I've really stopped tinkering for sourdough and I've used bread flour as is, not AP, believing that it was more suitable.

Yesterday evening after about 5 - 6 hours it had risen by 30% but I baked it anyway. No luck. The result was a mouthful of heavy, sour, and doughy bread. It was then that I remembered about the malt, so I took the other boule out of the mini, kneaded in 1/4 teasp malt, reshaped, back in mini, took it out about noon today - (it hardly had grown at all), but a couple of hours later I looked and surprisingly it was at least triple and ready to be baked! AND the taste was very smooth and buttery...amazing! I still have to work on the crumb because it isn't as light as it should be, but I hope I've now discovered the source of my dud dough problems.

Just to make sure I haven't lost my touch, or my mind, today I also baked one of Rose's breads - Cracked Wheat Loaf - pg. 289, (here I do lots of tinkering) and it was delicious as usual.

Tomorrow I WON'T be baking - I've got to pack already.

Hope you have a great time! I'll be back in a little over a week.

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hello L_M,

that is so wonderful that you discovered that your flour is hypodiastatic and you have means to correct it. Of course, hypodiastasticity explains it all: sluggish fermentation, lower loaf volume and a pale crust. 

All breads with preferments should have diastatic malt added to compensate for diastaticity eaten up during long fermentation, absolutely!  I haven't thought about it, because all my flours have alpha-amylaze added by the millers and even when I use organic unbleached hard wheat flours, I blend them with a portion of enhanced APF to lower protein content and add alpha-amylase along the way. But you are a genius for figuring this out. I am in awe, L_M. That is a big discovery, indeed.

Peter Reinhart clarifies the hypodiastasticity phenomenon in his Q&A postings on this site. Have you read them?

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4276/interview-peter-reinhart

I understand how you feel, or felt, when those darn sourdoughs were not behaving properly. I was at the end of my wits many times like you, each time relieving my stress by baking something yeasted.  It's important to take a break and then attack the problem with renewed enthusiasm.

 For your fluffy crumb, make sure that your dough is well developed, mature. The last loaves of the Deluxe bread were looking as if you baked a very young dough. Maturing dough (in abcense or very vigorous mixing/kneading) means about doubling in volume during primary fermentation (bubbly dough) and, of course, at least tripling in volume during proofing stage (light loaf, given its size feels like it weighs nothing), and maybe using the sponge method (part flour and part water from the recipe, fermented until at least doubles in volume). This will create a beautiful gluten network and fill the body of dough with lots of gas pockets which will expand later on to give beautiful look to the crumb, lace-like.  

My family was very impressed by the soft sourdough loaf that I baked using teresa_in_nc's recipe that she kindly provided on the same thread where Sourdoulady shared her Deluxe Bread tricks.  This bread is so tender and delicate - in smell, taste and chew - not in a million years you would suspect that it is a sourdough.  I hope you will like it if you decide to bake it too. I wish teresa_in _nc shared more of her recipes with us, I looked at the photos of her breads and they are stunning beauties. Oh My! Check it out, she has several galleries of bread pictures with very useful comments here and there

http://thibeault.smugmug.com/Food

 

Please, make sure you come back from Italy, L_M. OK? Have you checked your documents? Do you have the return tickets??? I am already missing you!  Come back. OK?

 

hugs,

mariana

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Those photos from Thibeault's Table are Ann T's who is a poster on another forum.  She often posts photos for other members if they have something special they want to share but don't have a photo sharing site themselves.  Just want to make sure Ann T gets credit for all those baked goods as she is the cook and baker of all those lovely photos.  Teresa, I believe, had some photos that Ann posted for her of a bread baking get together some of those members had a few weeks ago so those are the ones that are of Teresa and group.  Otherwise all those photos of food are the work of Ann T (Thibeault).

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Thanks, zolablue. Good to know that those breads are by Ann T. I read her posts about sourdough baking on Garden Web and they are superb. She was one of the reasons I mastered kneading dough in food processor after my KA mixer broke up. She convinced me that it was superior to all other means of kneading. It's nice to see pictures of her breads.

L_M's picture
L_M

Good afternoon Mariana,

Passports, ticket, credit card...all ready! I leave home after midnight, how 'bout you? It's quite a coincidence that we're both going away approx at the same time - maybe next time I'm back in Toronto we can meet?

I think the clue that got me really thinking was that Q&A thread with Peter Reinhart. Many times I've looked at the ingred on packaged breads here and they all list a combination of malt, AA, and often gluten as well, but it just took me time to put it all together ( and I still only think it's the reason - I'll have to test it out when I get back) I have Staff Of Life to thank for asking the question in the first place!

As for the deluxe crumb - I'm sure it wasn't fully developed, and I was worried about it but I was more worried about the dough heating up too much in the FP and even so I had let it run for almost 30 sec longer than I thought I was supposed to. Then I just followed the instructions in the recipe, not taking the dough maturity into account ...here is where my lack of experience comes in. Thank you for bringing that to my attention so I can correct it next time. 

Creating a sponge is an easy option but without knowing the correct ratios to keep the whole formula in balance, as far as timings and how it affects dough maturity, is not a task I'd like to tackle on my own. If you are referring to Calvel's recipes with 2 or 3 sponges, then all I have to do is follow instructions - whew!

I'll try teresa_in_nc's recipe when I get back - hope my family likes it as much as yours.

Have a safe trip, and don't forget to ask lot's of questions for me (LOL!!)

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

How have you been? Did you enjoy your bread course? There is a notice that your blog has been deleted, and you haven't posted here for a while - is everything alright? - give me a sign please! I miss hearing from you and seeing your beautiful breads!

We had a very nice time in Italy, but as always, it's great to be back home! 

I've tried Calvel's recipe using the 2 sponge method again, as you posted in the beginning of this thread, this time with the addition of diastatic malt in the dough. I was hoping all my problems would be solved but unfortuately that wasn't the case. So today I made up another batch, this time full tinkering...I used AP flour this time so I could experiment. I added gluten, malt, AA. and a bit more water than was called for in the recipe and kneaded in the FP for at about 1 1/2 - 2 min. The dough felt much better this time - very alive. By the time bulk fermentation was over  (45 min) it already had lots of bubbles. Now it is proofing, and I can't wait to see the results! I do hope it's going to be good because I'm running out of ideas by now.

I'll let you know how it comes out.

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

Yes, I think it broke the world record (LOL)! That dough spent 5 hours on the counter at 26C , then when I realised there was no way it was going to be ready for supper I put it in the mini fridge (which is usually approx 15C ) overnight and part of the morning - altogether 16 hours, then it spent another 7 hours on the counter. During the bake it did manage to rise quite nicely and even ripped apart. The colour of the crust is getting better. The crumb was not bad at all, but it did have a slightly more sour taste than I like.

So...... in conclusion, the extra tinkering didn't really make too much of a difference from the last loaf.

But.... today I decided to phone up the malt company and ask how much to use. Until now when I have used it, I've been adding approx .5% (by weight) of the flour in the main dough. I was very surprised by what I was told today: the gentleman explained to me that the range is from 1% - 3%, depending on certain factors. It was a short conversation so I hope I've got it right. He said to add more malt when using a large proportion of white flour and/or a short fermentation, and on the other hand to use the smaller amount when there is a greater percentage of whole grains and/or a very long fermentation.

Either the malt here isn't as effective, or our flour just needs more, but now I have lots more experimenting to do. Hopefully I'm headed in the right direction though.

Any thoughts on this?

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi L_M,

 

finally you are back! And baking!!!! Hurrah!  I am all smiles ))))

I didn't go to Chicago for various reasons, one of them being that my passport arrived too late (I had to renew my passport), and I exchanged this course for one with Hamelman in spring, or with Didier, but in autumn. We'll see.

I don't bake now, and cannot even eat bread in any significant amounts for God knows how long, a minimum of 6 months: doctor's orders.  I re-activated the journal, so if there is anything you want to see illustrated, it's there. 

 

I don't know about malt, L-M, since I have never used diastatic malt deliberately. I used malt sirup and malt powder which does nothing to the flour, 'tis just a sweetener of sorts.  In Calvel's videos he adds literally a pinch to a huge vat of dough. Or maybe it was ascorbic acid that he was addinng in such minute amounts ? don't remember. Yeah, he was adding malt extract, a liquid form of diastatic malt, small amounts, literally a tenth of a percent to flour, maximum 0.20-0.25%. It is very powerful.  In his book, large percentage of malt to flour, like your consultant from the malt company said, 4-7%, are mentioned only for non-diastatic malt, i.e used as a sweetener, as a flavoring agent in specialty breads.  

 

Before I quit baking, I was testing recipes for sourdough breads that suggested doubling in volume during primary (bulk) fermentation and then shaping loaves and proofing them. I loved the outcome; large, light, holey breads. Delightful.  In other words, it's a reversal of Calvel/Glezer's method of short bulk+long proof. Instead, it was about a 3-5 hour bulk, until sourdough doubles in volume, then shape, give 1.5-2hr proof and bake.

 

How are your starters doing, L-M?  I used up and discontinued all of them, except classic Calvel that was originally made with wheat berries. It has evolved since and became strong and clean in flavor and much more powerful - creates gorgeous breads, beautiful, well developed crumbs, astonishing volume and flavor.  I can't bring myself to discard it, and keep feeding it twice a week. It is too pretty and delicious.

 

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

 It's nice to be "talking" to you again! My goodness, you must be very disappointed with your doctors orders - are you feeling ok? If I had to stop baking that would be very difficult for me since I enjoy it so much.

Your journal is very informative and inspiring so thanks for getting it going again, but if it's too much trouble or making you miss baking (or eating bread) even more, then never mind - just do what 's best for you.

Before I went away I packed both of the starters tight with flour, and left them in the mini. Since I've been back I've only used Calvel and I don't think I'll keep 2 stiff starters, but I haven't got the heart to discard Kayser yet.

I would really like to move on to new recipes but I feel that I must solve this basic problem I have first. Any previous attempts making new breads using a starter with no additional yeast have not been consistant, so there is no way I can tell if I like them better or not.

My malt experiments are still a work in process, because so far I haven't hit upon the best amount. I chickened out with going full extreme to the 3%, but I might do that tomorrow. So far I've gone up to 1.5 % with a recipe that Bill constucted for me a while ago on Zolablue's Glezer thread. Yesterday it produced a lighter weight loaf than before and the crust colour is getting better, plus oven spring is getting to be dramatic, so it's going in the right direction, but it still takes a very long time to rise.

Tomorrow I'll be trying the Calvel recipe again, and if I have the courage I'll use 3%. I might as well - I've made so many loaves already that were not very good, so even if this one turns out to be all gummy, at least I'll know I've gone over the limit, and I'll gradually start cutting down.

I'll let you know how it goes.

L_M

L_M's picture
L_M

 Basic with spongeBasic with sponge

Hi Mariana,

So far no luck yet with the malt and as a result I started to get the feeling I should be looking elsewhere for the answer. That basically meant - back to the drawing board. 

 Finally I came across some recipes that start off with a sponge like you suggested earlier, so I tried out the first simple basic recipe and to my surprise all went well. This was using bread flour as is - no tinkering. The total time from mixing of the dough to bake was 6 1/2 hours, and the free formed dough held up very well during the proof.

There still is a lot of room for improvement, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to figure out what was going wrong before, but at least it worked this time. Here is the link leading to that recipe and much more...

   http://www.innerlodge.com/Recipes/Breads/Sourdough/index.htm

I haven't heard from you in a while - how are you Mariana? What are you up to lately? I saw a very pretty loaf of rye bread :-)))

L_M

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi L_M, how are you today?

 I am green with envy, looking at your slashes on the loaf. Whoa. That's the hand of a master. Amazing beauty. You can actually carry that loaf by its lip.

I agree with you that it makes no sense to try to figure out what went wrong in the past. Who even remembers those days, LOL?  If your flour performs well with the yeast (as in RLB's recipes), then the problem is not in flour, but in sourdough techniques. Eventually, you will find which techniques work perfectly well for your flour and your starter and will perfect them, instead of trying to re-engineer the flour and other ingredients.

I baked that rye loaf almost by accident. We were discussing this recipe here on forum and I felt an acute desire for a fresh loaf of rye.  It turned out one of the best rye breads I have ever tasted and certainly the best I ever baked. With butter and radishes, as RLB likes it, a slice of that rye transports me right to heaven, LOL.  I envy you that you have a large family to feed and can bake every day. I wish I could do the same.  Oh well, maybe when we'll have grandkids there will be a dozen of them : )

Since I have to refresh my starter at least once a week, I will probably be baking some new recipe of bread once a week. My son can't get enough of challah, in any form and shape and implementation. So I will be baking every recipe from the Blessing of Bread by Glezer, I guess.

 OK, back to work. The markets are moving. 'Tis a good day today.

hugs,

mariana

L_M's picture
L_M

Hi Mariana,

 I'm back with a couple of reports, but first of all let me say that I'd trade your crusts for mine any day! I just love the way yours look - so even and delicately crisp. Mine on the other hand turn out thick very rustic looking so I'm not particularly happy about it :-(((

 Yesterday I tried Teresa's bread posted in the "Deluxe" thread, and aside from the fact that it took a very long time to proof, we just didn't like the taste - it was too sweet and sour even though I used only 3 TBSP sugar instead of 4. When I compared it to her other recipes I noticed that this one uses only 1/2 the amount of starter for the same 3 cups of flour, so no wonder it is a slow riser.

Today I had to go back to yeast...and we're nearing the end of the week, and you mentioned challah, so... I made my first Howard Kaplan Challah. It was ** absolutely excellent** , still very different than our store bought ones, but very good!

Mariana, just so you don't get the wrong picture - I don't have such a large family to feed, and many of the sourdough loaves end up as a treat for the cows (LOL). My son actually refuses to eat sourdough, but I keep telling him to be patient and that one of these days it'll come out good. I keep on trying because I've just got to figure it all out. I don't want to make bread that is just ok or good. I want to make great bread, and I'll keep at it until I do.

I'm looking forward to seeing your next "bread of the week".

Take care,

L_M

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I had saved this recipe and finally got around to baking it. The starter was refreshed on Thursday and Friday and the dough mixed up Saturday morning. I left it to ferment overnight in the garage. On Sunday night we baked 3 of the six loaves - after all the slow fermentation the flavor was like no other bread I've baked before. Beautiful crust, wonderful slashes and of course the flavor. I made boules and baked in my dutch ovens. David and I agree this is by far the best bread I've ever made and the recipe is so easy if you just have patience. Thanks for a great recipe!

Trish

mariana's picture
mariana

Ah, Trish, thank you so much for this story of your successful French bread baking. I am glad you liked it. I would like to bake French breads again. It's been a while since the last time I opened prof. Calvel's books. I am ashamed.

I baked yesterday zolablue's Brown Bread (sourdough version) and it's breathtakingly good. Have you tried it? I think it is so quintessentially American. Big, soft, strong and substantial. My family is head over heels in love with it.

 

 

jbrawlings's picture
jbrawlings

Mariana, I'm excited to have found your entries on 100% sourdough from the taste of bread and tried to go to the links for your blog on the two starters that you mention in the entry dated 17 Sep, 2007, 10:42 AM.  Apparently the blog does not exist or has been moved.  Would love for you to republish your links!  --jb

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Good Day Marinana:

In the recipe that you posted above there is included in the ingredients "starter" what is the recipe for that please? I have the book, "The Taste of Bread by R. Calvel" a very expensive book here in the United States. I found a recipe in there, on page 93 that resembles yours. It too, includes "starter." But I can't find where "starter" is reciped in the book. I remember when I first got the book I was so disappointed cuz I couldn't figure out what to do with any of the recipes. Then I was directed to BBGA and started to learn about the Bakers Math/Percentages. Then I came accross your post here on TFL and I find myself trying again. Any help you can offer, any direction, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Some time ago, just after I got Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" I tried to get into "SOURDOUGH" bread. What a failure. The seed culture from his book failed 3 times for me. I ended up writing him, getting some direction, some suggestions and tried a fourth time. Eureka! It worked, or at least I think it did. I keep it in my refrigerator and when I plan on baking sourdough will fed it a couple days before and then bake. In that regard, am I on the right path?

Look forward to your reply. Happy Holidays.

Be well,

Bruce

Brookings, OR

mariana's picture
mariana

Hello Bruce,

the recipe for the French-style starter is in the book. English version (the Taste of Bread) - pp.89-90. Table 10-1

 

This  book has 2 recipes for bread with starter: pure sourdough on p91 (Pain au levain) and Sourdough bread with yeast  on p 93 (Levain de Pate).

French-style (stiff starter made with white wheat flour) is very mild tasting, doesn't give sour bread and has nice complex aroma with clear sour milk smell (smell of yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream etc) Calvel's recipe in the book is one of the fastest I know. It makes ready to use sourdough starter in 2 days, starting from scratch! The key is to knead it a lot with your bare hands when you mix the first dough and each time when you refresh it - 10 or 15 min of thorough kneading. by hand (to transfer bacteria from your hands into dough).

French style starter is never kept in the refrigerator, but mixed (refreshed) in such a way as to be ready to use by the time you mix your next batch of bread dough. on p 92 you will find illustration as of how it works. You feed your starter, give it 1-3 hrs at room T, depending on when you need to use it, and then let it ferment at 10C the rest of the time (1-3 days). I.e. you need to use 'warm' refrigerator (wine cabinet) for that, not a regular fridge, where you store milk and bologna.  This way French-style starter will last you for about 3-6 month and then slowly but surely will begin to lose some of its complex flavour. After that you prepare a fresh starter from scratch.

 

The only problem that I know of when developing a starter is with the choice of flour. You are supposed to start it with the mix of white wheat flour and whole-grain rye flour, to populate the mix with lots of bacteria from whole-grain portion. Yet even orgainc whole rye flour from Whole Foods sometimes fails to start a starter. I have never had that problem, but I know it happens to people now and then. There is something wrong with the flour sometimes.

 

With Peter Reinhart's formula ... I have no idea. I bake using his bread recipes which are extraordinary, but I have never created a starter using his method and I don't know how to keep his starter (does he describe the maintenance and refreshment schedule in the book? )  and what it looks or smells like when it is ripe and healthy. Judging by my results with his recipes, his starter is very slow and weak, because all my starters, either bought or created at home using recipes from other authors, lift and acidify dough in Reinhart's recipes much quicker. I.e. if I leave the dough ferement for as long as he indicates for his starter in the recipe, I get overfermented dough and substandard bread with pale crust and coarse crumb.  So with my starters I follow other indications of readiness in his recipes, i.e. when the dough doubles, or when it triples in volume, etc, which is always much faster than what he indicates in his recipes.

 

I also have a starter in my regular refrigerator (San-Francisco sourdough starter), it is a liquid starter (can be rye or wheat). I put it into fridge after feeding it 1:1, i.e. 200g starter+110g water+80g flour. Let it ferment for 8-12 hrs at room T and then store it in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If it stayed in the fridge for less than 3 days, I use it straight in the recipe. If it stayed for 3-4 days refrigerated, I might refresh it once. If it was refrigerated for a week, I would refresh it 1:1 3 times in a row. If I kept it refrigerated for up to 2 weeks w/o refreshment, it might take up to 2-3 days and even 5 days  to restore it to proper health. It is clearly visible, it changes with each refreshment and eventually becomes 'model' sourdough with proper balance of bacteria and wild yeast and proper balance of acetic and lactic acid.

 

let me know if I can be helpful with anything else, Bruce.

wishing you happy holidays,

mariana,

Toronto, ON, Canada

 

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Good Day Mariana:

Whew, what a reply. For sure we are way apart on bread baking. You without a doubt are very very good, while I am still at point to understand things and get my baking to look like all of the photos one sees. I do thank you, sincerely for taking the time to reply.

 

Regarding the recipe/formula for the "starter," I must have gone right by that Table 10-1 not realizing that that was the formula/recipe. I reread page 89 which I believe has the explanation, 50% wheat flour, 50% rye and 50% water by weight. But then I remember way back on page 44 there is a paragraph (right side, next to the end) that sets forth the amount of water for starters/preferments at 68% to 69% because of the North American flours. EH? I guess what I was looking for was someone that had done something out of Calvel's book and was willing to share with me a straight forward way to do it. Like I say, I see the formula, I read the text, but am wondering what I should do.

Considering my level of bread baking versus yours maybe this is not the place to be writing back and forth. You say, that the starter in Calvel's book is the fastest you've ever run into. Do you think I should use it rather than going through all of the "unknowing" in what I am doing? As I shared with you before, my seed cultures failed three time before I was able to get one to make it. I blamed everything, the white whole wheat, the rye pumpernickel, the water, and, and. Then Mr. Reinhart shared with me knowledge about the flour bacterias and the pineapple method. So I went that way with just 50% AP flour and 50% Bread flour. I use KAF flour. Add to that confusion, many of the articles I read spoke very high about "high gluten flour." To that end I ordered KAF Sir Lancelot Flour with a gluten/proten level of 14.2%. In the end as things turned out - I wasn't let things take their own time to do what was supposed to be happening. If it said 4 hours, I waited 4 hours. If it said, over night, I gave it over night. If it said, double, it was supposed to double. My inability and absolute unknowning of what I am doing is probably my biggest short-coming.

I do thank you greatly for your reply. I recently joined BBGA and read something on there about "any person wanting to learn more about baking and wanting to bake better should consider taking a course from CIA or KAF. I'm here in Brookings, OR. The end of the "food-train" as I refer to it. We don't even have a bakery in town to go and ask questions. The bakeries in our super market, the people there just thaw, bake, bag, price and put it out on the shelf. Asking them a baking question is not a option. And for me to go to a class, I would be laughed out of the room. I'm 72 years old and am guilty of loving to cook. For the past 5 years I've been doing more and more baking but, like I say, I don't think things are coming out like I want them to.

Be well,

Bruce

mariana's picture
mariana

Hello Bruce,

what can I say. Life forces us to learn, our own passions force us to learn new things. For as long as we are alive, being spring chicken or not, we always are in touch with the unknown and not always free to choose to avoid or ignore it. I didn't choose bread baking passion. It found me and often it feels more like a curse than a blessing, truly. Still, when I am in a good mood, I love baking bread.

 

Anyways, with bread baking it is always about one particular bread, one recipe, one loaf. You check the recipe and see if you have everything on the list: ingredients and equipment. With starters, they are usually recipe specific too, just like kind of flour or yeast or sugar (white, brown), etc. You basically ask yourself: what can I purchase and what can I make myself of substitute? Such is the situation with starters. I assume that if I wanted to bake from P.R.'s book, I would have to make HIS  starter and keep it the way he instructs to and bake his recipes. Then I would know whether his starter is just like the starter from the store X or another starter Y that I already have in my collection. For different book , different author, different bread -  a different starter. Otherwise you never know whether you repeat the result or not.

 

I would absolutely, definitely, for sure never attempt to bake something from Calvel without approximating his ingredients, starter included.  Other starters will not give you autentic French pain au levain given by Calvel. I was in a better situation than you, without confusion, when I started, because Calvel has only one recipe for starter in his book and only one recipe for bread using that starter. So I worked and worked on it, until I managed to understand the instructions, translate them into 'common English language' and bake bread. I have repeated this bread until it was just right and then moved on. Tried another staretr, another bread recipe, etc.

 

When I started I was unaware that starters are all so different. So for the bread from Calvel's book I simply created his starter, using his recipe and baked his bread. The problem with Calvel (as a book) that there is a group of books for the newbies|homebakers (cooks who also bake, essentially) and a class of books for the professional bakers and then there is a chasm in between. That is why it is useful for the newbies/homebakers use home baking books. And that is why if you want to bake and read books for professional bakers it is worth to go to the class. Not because they will teach you how to be a baker, but because you will hear their language and see and touch their dough and their mixers and ovens and connect experiences with new words, or old words with new meaning. It only looks and sounds like English and common math, but it reality it is a very specific professional language that they use and communuicate their processes among themselves.

So Calvel is highly technical and not easy to understand for the outsiders. But when translated into the common English with step by step instructions with photographs, his recipes are just that. Simple and doable by anyone without any schooling in any kitchen in the world, however sofisticated or primitive.

 

Let's say you touched upon the issue of % of water by weight. It's such a touchy topic, because of the differing qualities of flours. It would be more correct to indicate dough consistency: soft, medium, stiff dough, etc. But bakers use grams of water per 100g of flour to communicate how soft the dough should be. I.e. they don't say "medium consistency dough". They'd say 40-45% water (in Russia) , 50% water (in France), 65% (in US), about 70-75% in Canada. Only for that number you need either a foto or a movie or exactly the same flour as theirs.  So when a French or a Russian baker tells me that he uses 50% hydration dough, I understand that I must pour not 50g of water into 100g of my canadian flour, but 70g and even 80g!  In that sense their 50% of european hydration is my 70-80% hydration in Toronto Canada. I saw Calvel kneading his starter (in the movie), I know w h a t I should get, that same consistency. So I would pour water and mix and pour and mix, until I get my dough exactly that soft, as in the movie of Calvel with his starter in his bakery.

 

Calvel's book had two translators, one from the US and another from Canada and they attempted to adjust whatever they could in the book to the realities of the US and Canadian flours, but still you have to go by touch when mixing your dough. North America is a huge continent with a huge variety of flours on the market.

So don't get stuck on numbers for water. Anything else, yes. Should be very precisely scaled, but water is always added by touching dough and seeing whether you have reached the prescribed consistency.  Then you write down the number of grams of water you have added to obtain the proper result for your flour with which you bake on a daily basis.

- Do you think I should use it rather than going through all of the "unknowing" in what I am doing?

- If you want to bake Calvel's bread, yes. It's not like you will undo something or that something before could have prepared you for the new recipe. You will simply go through another recipe for a starter, most assuredly ending up with a starter with different characteristics in the end. Each starter, ingredient, recipe, bread is unique and you treat them as such. You befriend them and don't treat them as something else.

In the same vein, should you try some other recipe from Calvel, let's say baguettes, which are with yeast, you should account for the fact that Calvel baked with traditional compressed yeast, not active dry , nor instant,  or fast acting instant, or instant osmotolerant yeast and adjust accordingly. Bakers are very specific about yeast, starter, even soda and baking powder, because dough is very sensitive to the changes in chemistry of the leavening ingredients. It's alive.

I don't mind helping others, you included, Bruce. I am learning myself and I've been helped a lot too.  So if talking about this and that helps you bake bread, I am all for it. Let's keep talking.

mariana

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Mariana:

For sure you sure hit the nail on the head in a couple of areas. If  you're going to bake RC use RC's starter, if you're going to use PR use PR's starter. To that end, the starter or seed culture the product you make first before you make the dough for the loaf of bread. Now in RC's book he calls for whole wheat flour, (and mentions white whole wheat) and whole rye to make the starter that is set forth in Table 10-1. That whole process takes 54 hours right? After the initial 2 flours there is only one quanity called for, does that mean only use whole wheat, white whole wheat, or whole rye? I see there are a total of 7 stages to make this starter, correct. You mentioned before that starters should not be refrigerated, just made before you plan to bake, correct?

If I were to do like I read at so many websites and in so many books and refrigerate the starter. When I go to fed it to prepare to bake should I use the same kind of flour or can I just use AP flour or Bread flour? I for one am not a great lover of the dark whole wheat flour. I like the white whole wheat color wise. Ever since I had such a bad experience with rye pumpernickel flour in a failed sourdough seed culture/starter I haven't ever used it. In fact, I guess, that is the bases of my question; if I make the starter with white whole wheat/whole wheat and rye pumpernickel can I regenerate/fed that starter with AP flour or a combination of AP flour and Bread flour?

By the way, thank you so very much for your very straight forward replies. There is a very big part of me that really wants to become "unconfused" about this whole thing "SOURDOUGH!"

On the subject of attending a baking course, CIA has one day, 5 hour, classes available several time a year. What would you get in one day? You wouldn't even be able to ferment - proof - bake a loaf of bread. Then KAF has baking classes that are 4 days long and you spend more than 5 hours a day in the kitchen. That to me is something I think would be a better learning tool. KAF is in Vermont, while CIA has a couple different locations, CA, NY, etc.. But like you say, in a class I would be exposed to the language, the tools, the whole experience of learning about BAKING (growing and learning).

I just did a Panettone today and am not to pleased with the results. The loaf seems to dense, doesn't seem as light as I thought it was going to be. I was planning on giving these as Christmas gifts. I guess I'd better work on this some more before giving them, eh? I melted the butter and that might not have been cool enough. A lot of things... it didn't proof up as much as I thought it was going to either. I gave it 6 hours! Taste alright, but it just isn't what I thought it should me. Back to mixing, learning and growing.

Be well,

Bruce

mariana's picture
mariana

Hello Bruce,

 

- Now in RC's book he calls for whole wheat flour, (and mentions white whole wheat) and whole rye to make the starter that is set forth in Table 10-1.

- Not exactly, to make French sourdough starter, you mix equal parts of white bread flour and whole rye flour  and enough water to make soft, kneadable dough. He doesn't mention white whole wheat anyplace. Where did you find that in the book?

 

- After the initial 2 flours there is only one quanity called for, does that mean only use whole wheat, white whole wheat, or whole rye?

- Neither. In the table 'Flour', means white bread flour (unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour in the US).

 

- I see there are a total of 7 stages to make this starter, correct.

- I don't know about the stages. It takes about 5 feedings, i.e. 5 steps. In the recipe you you begin by mixing rye-wheat dough, leave it for 22hrs, when it is supposed to about double in volume .

 

 

 And then you take 300g of that and feed it (blend it with) fresh soft dough made of 300g white flour with water, salt and malt

leave for 7h, it should about triple in volume.

Next,  feed a 300g portion of it with pure white flour dough (no salt, no malt)

thoroughly knead it by hand, and leave for 7hrs at room T, so it could about triple in volume

Repeat 3-4 more times, every 6 hrs, and you've got your starter, if after feeding it quadruples in 6hrs.

And bake your bread with it. Photos from S. Kirillov's blog (http://registrr.livejournal.com/9959.html)

- You mentioned before that starters should not be refrigerated, just made before you plan to bake, correct?

- stiff white French starters can ferment slowly (t 8-10C) or fast (25-30C), but never refrigerated in a kitchen fridge (2-4C), because low temperature will chage the microbes in starter and it will lose its character.

 

Other kinds of starters, i.e. San-Francisco starter and other liquid types, can be successfully refrigerated for up to 2 weeks without feeding.

 

So, with French starter, you follow the schedule of maintenance as shown in Fig 10-1, bottom of the page 92 in Calvel'

s book The Taste of Bread. You extend its fermentation for 1-3 days between feedings, by keeping it in a wine fridge (at 10C). Once you have successfully created your first French-style starter I will explain you the details. French starters are not 'just made from scratch before you bake'. You can create one, immediately dry a portion of it for storage, and keep the remainder alive for about 6 months of baking, then either restore a portion from the dried fresh (24hrs), or create another one from scratch (48 hrs).

 

- If I were to do like I read at so many websites and in so many books and refrigerate the starter.

- there are no websites and books that discuss Calvel's starter, Bruce. You take the recipe from Calvel and you follow instructions from Calvel. You do not refrigerate French starter in the kitchen fridge, where you store milk. Kitchen fridge is for milk storage, i.e.it prevents milk from fermenting, from becoming sour. Guess what, if you put your starter next to milk in your kitchen fridge, microbes in your starter will die. Kitchen fridge doesn't let microbes in the starter (or mik, or soup) to live and propagate. They will die out.

 

- When I go to fed it to prepare to bake should I use the same kind of flour or can I just use AP flour or Bread flour?

- there is a portion of starter (the Main Form) which should be kept always as such, as the original one. I.e. for French starter, it is always white bread flour (in the US - all-purpose flour or  bread flour). But for any specific bread you can take a portion of the Main Form and feed it with a different flour (rye or wheat, white , or dark) to suit the recipe.

 

CIA courses are excellent and KAF courses are also great. Also, take a look at the courses with San-Francisco baking institute, they offer a variety of programs, including one focussed specifically on starters and sourdough breads. The next one is in January:

http://www.sfbi.com/workshops.html

http://www.sfbi.com/artisan_breads_ii_baking_sourdough_levain_and_wild_yeast.html

 

I cannot discuss pannetone with you, Bruce. It requres a different starter altoghether! (a san-francisco type starter, which you can create at home using Nancy Silverton's recipe, or purchase from sourdo.com).

best wishes,

mariana

 

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Yes Mariana:

Do not refrigerate the starter that I make from RC's book. And as far as the formula/recipe goes, I have yours - which you must have down sized to be of use to the ones and twos like me. Your direction to the SFBI is fantastic. In fact that is exactily what I have been looking for. I wonder why it never came up on my Google searches. Eh! 5 day courses, and the Artisian 1 & 2 seem ideal. Now all I have to do is see if I can get them back to back. Go down and stay for two weeks. They even direct their students to lodging right there close. Thank you, gal.

By the way how did you manage to down size the formula/recipe from RC's book. I guess that's another area of baking I need to give attention, the BAKER'S PERCENTAGES/BAKER'S MATH. How'd I ever get into this mess. All I wanted to do was bake a nice loaf of bread, then it was this, then that, then sourdough, and, and. Thank you for all of your direction. You're super.

The underlying truth is, "when baking RC's sourdough bread, use RC's starter. When baking PR's sourdough bread use RC's starter." I was looking for something that would work for all sourdough. Tsk, tsk. If baking was easy so many other people would be doing it, eh?

Oh yeah, the white whole wheat flour, I didn't find that in RC's book, I think you might have mentioned it in one of our first communiques.

A Warm and Happy Holidays Fair Lady.

Be well,

Bruce

Brookings, OR