The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast Water Wheel Buns

  • Pin It
bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Yeast Water Wheel Buns

Yeast water + Water wheel + Buns = Yeast water wheel buns (I hope my math checks out)

Incubated for over two weeks, the yellow hued liquid bubbled and frothed, wafting a mild but sweet aroma. It was time, I thought. Time to test my very first yeast water---a culture of microbes created and substained by only three ingredients: mineral water, honey, and loose tea leaves.

 

Based on Akiko's Japanese sandwich loaf recipe (from her highly informative blog on yeast water, I might add), I divided the dough into twelve portions, 100 to 104 grams each, and baked them in the shape resembling water wheels. What I did was, I rounded the portioned dough during the shaping phase, compressed them with modest pressure, slit five cuts along the rim of each flattened ball of dough, then applied an egg wash consisting purely of yolk for that glossy sheen.

 

Not only was shaping the dough into water wheels was new to me, but the way I shaped the dough into balls was new as well. As demonstrated by Mark in this video, in a smooth, circular fashion I rolled the portioned dough between the counter and the palm of my hand. Initally, however, I fumbled---quite badly---and relinquished all thought but one:

"How the heck did he do that?!" 

Undefeated, I re-attempted the ball-shaping technique with steady effort and a tongue peeking from the corner of my lips.

Ever seen a bread baker with a stupefied grin while shaping dough? Well, you would have if you were observing me that day. Never in my life had I felt this peculiar but pleasant sensation: a small ball of dough tightening beneath my palm.

 

As experimental as I am, I wanted to test and observe the effects of cinnamon on dough and yeast. Of course, that's what I did.

Prior to hand kneading, the dough was divided into halves (631 grams each), where one would contain less than a gram of ground cinnamon. To reduce any confusion, I sprinkled poppy seeds onto the portioned cinnamon dough to indicate that they were spiced. In contrast, the portioned but non-spiced dough was topped with white sesame seeds.

My results?... 

 

Both baked simultaneously on the same baking tray, the crumb on the left does not contain cinnamon, whereas the crumb on the right was spiced with cinnamon.

In general, the buns containing ground cinnamon were more porous, with slightly larger holes. However, I'm not totally convinced that this was caused by the addition of cinnamon.

During the shaping phase, did I apply less pressure onto the portioned cinnamon dough compared to its non-cinnamon counterpart? Well, it's a possibility.

Nevertheless, this particular experiment was fraught with valuable lessons. Boule shaping. Single-hand ball shaping. The cold oven method. The slow metabolism of yeast water. The effects of yeast water on dough. The possible effects of cinnamon on yeast. The differences between French type 65 flour and American all-purpose flour. And oh, so many more.

:) Thanks for dropping by. Keep well and happy baking.

Zita 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

YW sandwich loaf recipe a good one?  When I'm making white bread, not that often, that is the one I use too!  I'm not sure if that was the first YW recipe I made but it had to be close. 

Boldly baked and I see some blisters on the crust too.   

Did you use Sylvia's steam?  You say you started these in a cold oven too?  Nice baking Zita!  You've come a long way in one bake!

Some folks think that cinnamon hinders the yeast but I haven't found that to be true at leas tin reasonable amounts.

Bake On!

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

You know, I was surprised to see the blisters! Makes me wonder how the blisters on my buns came about. To my knowledge, there are several ways to get blisters on the crust, one of which is retarding dough during the proofing period. I'd be very interested to learn about the science behind it.

For these buns I figured steaming wasn't required because of the egg wash. But I'd really, really like to try Sylvia's steaming method. However, it seems a microwave is required, which I don't have nor am I interested in buying. (This may be a good thing, since it deters me from eating microwavable meals.)

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

1 C Pyrex measuring cup with a dish rag.  Put it in the mini oven in the back as it heats up.  Wait for the water in the cup to boil before loading the bread in.  Sometimes I use 2 of them if they will fit with the bread.  No MW required.  It's the steam working on the retarded dough that makes the blisters. 

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

:) Thanks, DA! You're so helpful. I'll give that a shot---or something similar to it---on my next bake, if suitable.

varda's picture
varda

Those look so great.    I am going to have to go back to yeast water.   Really excellent work!  -Varda

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Thank you, Varda! Appreciate the compliments.

If you like working with wild yeast (and I know you do) but would like to bake for individuals who don't enjoy the sourdough tang, YW is definitely the way to go. In fact, that's my primary reason for experimenting with YW. :)

Wishing you well,

Zita

isand66's picture
isand66

Zita, what a great bake.  They look perfect!  Great job.

ian

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

:) Thank you!

Zita 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Zita,

These are beautiful!

I use YW too but I blend it with my 'regular' sourdough starter and I get great results.  

I find it very interesting that your rolls with the cinnamon rose higher than the plain ones.  Whenever I add cinnamon to a dough it slows things down but I have never done a side by side comparison as you have done.  Wonder if it had to do with the YW?  

Thanks for the photo and post.  You write very well.

Take Care,

Janet

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Thank you, Janet. You're too kind. :)

I read somewhere that small quantities of cinnamon can accelerate yeast growth. However, beyond a certain point, the effects are reversed---yeast growth sharply declines. I was curious and wanted to test that claim, and it seems that claim may be true. Although, it's possible that I unknowingly did something, causing the cinnamon dough to have a more open crumb.

Best wishes,

Zita