The Fresh Loaf

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Forkish Overnight Brown and Bacon SD

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FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Forkish Overnight Brown and Bacon SD

In addition to Breadsong's post and Toad.de.b's post, I have a couple more loaves to add from Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast.  

I have to say I've really been enjoying baking from this book, it has opened up my repetoire to include a style of SD bread featuring low levain amounts (only 10-12% of the main dough flour is used to build the levain) and extended bulk ferments.  This style is different from Hammelman, and bears some resemblance to Chad Roberston's loaves, though Mr. Forkish seems to be a better teacher and to include more of the details needed for a novice to succeed.  The only drawbacks- and they are small compared to the deliciousness of his breads- are the narrow scope of recipes (no soakers, high percentage rye, brioche, baguette or long loaves, olive bread, fruit & nut bread, croissants, etc.) and the "supersize" scale of both levains and recipes (every recipe is made with 1,000 grams of flour).  

First up is the Bacon Sourdough, which I have to say is one of the best tasting loaves that has ever graced my kitchen.  I followed this recipe to the T, even mixing up the large levain.  Since I like bread best on the day it's baked, I generally prefer to bake smaller amounts more frequently and am not set up for this quantity of dough, so it was a bit of a hassle to find or jerry-rig enough containers, baskets, dutch ovens, proofers, etc.  But the incredibly moist crumb and crisp, red-brown crust on this loaf were superb, and the bacon hit just the right note- plenty to appreciate, but in balance with the crust and crumb flavors.  The photos on this are only of a small demi-loaf made of dough that I siphoned off of the two larger loaves; I wanted a small loaf to try the bread, as the two large loaves were given away as gifts.

The glossy, translucent walls on the larger holes:

The bubbles on the crust:

 

Next up is the Overnight Brown, a pure levain dough with 30% whole wheat.  For this bake, I decided to scale things back and also tried some whole grain spelt instead of traditional red wheat for the 30% whole grain portion of the dough.  For the scaling, I only made one loaf (50% of the main dough) and scaled back the levain to just a little more than what I needed for the main dough (150g of levain or 15% of what was called for).  Not sure that spelt was the right choice for this bread, it was good but not great.  I'd like to try it again with red wheat.

Here's the loaf, which Forkish doesn't score but rather bakes seam side up for a gnarly, rustic look.

The crumb:

And the bubbly crust that comes from his long room temp ferments:

Pizzas
I also made the levain pizza dough and the high-hydration poolish pizza dough, but my renditions did not turn out as well as the loaves.  They both seemed a bit over-fermented, in that they ended up a little too dense, without enough oven spring, and the flavors were a tad off.  These may be my fault, I suspect both my SD starter and my (commerical yeast) poolish were a little more ripe than was ideal, so I plan to try them again, being more careful to follow the times and temps exactly.  They were both a little harder to shape (elastic) than most of the pizza doughs I mix, which I attribute to the extra acidity from the long ferments.  In the case of the poolish, my pre-ferment only doubled in 12 hours, rather than the triple that is specified, so I let it go to 14 hours (recipe states 12-14 hours) in hopes of getting a bit more rise, which never happened.  This experience has taught me that with Forkish's recipes, it is better to err on the side of underfermenting than the other way around.

All in all, a great book that I've thoroughly enjoyed.


 

Comments

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

That's a lovely bake, FlourChild.  That deep, dark crust must taste phenomenal and the glossy crumb bespeaks a thorough bake, too.

Paul

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Thanks, Paul, for the kind words!  

Julie

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Side note:  The waxy-looking aspect to your crumb is the result of exopolysaccharide-production, a beneficial, almost-microbially-impermeable gel excreted by several species of lactic-acid bacteria that helps prevent staling and rot in bread.  Strong fermentation produces this, not a good bake.  Good-looking bread; did it have similarly good-quality bacon?

Might I suggest moving Forkish's breads outside a pot and see how they turn out.  I.e., if his breads are among the best-tasting to have ever graced your kitchen, focus on his method of fermentation (which, again, is among the best out there for home books at the moment).  I think you'll be astounded by the results.

 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I knew the lengthy fermentation had something to do with it, good to know the details!  Yes, the bacon was good- Vermont Smoke and Cure, a small, local producer that makes bacon with a complex flavor.  

Have you been baking with his method?  Do you think the large levain builds (1,000 grams, when only 200-300 is used in the main dough) are important to achieving his results?  Would love to hear your thoughts.  

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

I love pig (as a foodstuff), and love to hear when people are sourcing pigs that have been treated well (it results in a better product that is better for everybody).  I have a pig guy here, and I have transformed dozens of his whole pigs into a whole range of pig-product.  It's harder here (Australia) to find heritage-breed and free-range pork. (My guy is Austrian, and misses the pig quality he had growing up!)

I have baked with his method before, yes, and there are many things similar to the styles of fermentation I prefer.  Large levain builds are irrelevant if there is controlled temperature stability, which is a lot harder at home, but this is okay:  Lb sanfranciscensis displays a diurnal metabolism similar to humans (it's more active at day, when it's warm), as it co-evolved with us on our schedule.  Hence, good stress-response mechanisms to wide temperature fluctuations.

You are really asking a separate question, though, and that is one of mass effect and its implications.  From reviewing the majority of technical bread literature out there, I can say that very little is understood about it, other than to say that larger amounts equal greater temperature stability, and for obvious reasons.  Scientists know there is a quantitative, as well as qualitative, difference in the types of changes that occur while fermenting in greater masses, but there is also a mass-to-density relationship that produces physical forces that begin to negatively impact fermentation.  This theoretical limit is much greater than what home, or even most professional, bakers can achieve. (Please note that there are quite a number of good hypotheses about how mass effect works, but all of these remain untested.)

There is also another question I would like to point out, and that is the practical concern of fermenting in larger quantities.  The more you bake, the better you become.  I most often bake at home based upon at least two kilos of flour, and this is beyond what I do professionally.  I still love to practice, learn, test, experiment, and so on.

I would encourage you to focus on the way he builds his leavens (inoculation percentages, as well as substrate type), how long he lets each stage of the leaven-building process and at what percentage and hydration, and then map that to the results.  These are the stages that most influence final flavour, and this is where a home-baker can learn the hows and whys to achieving the flavour he or she wants.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts- it is most appreciated!

"Large levain builds are irrelevant if there is controlled temperature stability"  This is reassuring- I would like to scale back the large levain builds- I'll use my home proofer and take extra care with water and dough temps.  I'm trying to figure out what, aside from temp stability, I'll be giving up with the smaller builds, perhaps I should bake a couple of loaves side-by-side and compare.

"Scientists know there is a quantitative, as well as qualitative, difference in the types of changes that occur while fermenting in greater masses"  Thank you for pointing me in this direction, it's something I'm interested in finding out more about.

"I most often bake at home based upon at least two kilos of flour"  It sounds like you're also a proponent of the advantages of fermenting in larger (or perhaps I should say not overly small) quantities. 

I'll continue to explore Forkish's method, focusing on the things you're pointing out (inoculation, etc.).    Thanks again!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I just love the way that you boldly baked them on the outside.  DO's do have a way of putting the blistered and tasty brown on bread that we love so much!  I always thought is was the steam that put blisters on bread but who knows?  For all I know, it could be any number and combination of things and your breads have those combinations aplenty!

Very nice baking!

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I think that the red-brown color and blistered texture of those crusts are a result of Forkish's combination of a long fermentation with a small levain- I think he hits the sweet spot in balancing amylase activity with fermentation, then lets it run for a long time.  The little bacon SD boule was baked on a preheated pizza stone without steam, scoring or a dutch oven (two DO's were already in service baking the other two loaves), and yet it still developed that same beautiful crust.

Julie

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

those colors are just beautiful!  Re the pizza dough, I had some leftover last time I baked pizza and after a day in the refrigerator it was even better. Used the recipe for the overnight poolish.

Barbra

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Barbra, thanks re: the crust color.  

I really need to try the pizza doughs again and be more careful with them- mine were just sort of spent- not much oven spring left, despite high hydration, and they tasted a bit too overripe for me. 

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Those look really nice FC.  Glistening crumb on the O/N Brown tells the tale of Forkish-ish full fermentation.  Spelt!  Now there's an idea.  Sorry to hear you weren't so pleased with it.  I can attest that the 30% ww version works.  And I love those laissez-faire 'scores'.  So organic.  And the blisters are textbook.  Nice thick crusts too.   Great baking!

Tom

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Tom, thanks for the inspiration, without your blog, I might not have posted.  It's fun to compare notes after baking some of the same formulas. :)

Julie

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I love it!  Beautiful, beautiful loaves.

-Floyd

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Bacon and sourdough bread...works in a turkey club so why not directly injected INTO the bread??  Pure genius.

Great blustering too.

John

varda's picture
varda

Very nice.   Love the blisters and the little bits of bacon.    -Varda

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

@John, Floyd and Varda, thank you very much for the compliments!

John, I wasn't sure how I was going to like the bacon SD, but it turns out to be great with beef stew, in the morning topped with a fried egg, and with white bean soup.  Lots of tasty ways to serve it.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

White bean soup with bacon bread.  Sounds a lot like Serbian food to me :)  Grew up on that stuff.  Except my health fanatic father would throw any bacon in the garbage.

Now I am craving this bread. 

John

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I can buy fresh pork bellies (the part that bacon is made from) at my local butcher shop, they get them in to cut for fresh side pork which is bacon without being marinaded and smoked. Then you rub a mix of brown sugar (not the pale stuff but the dark brown stuff, not raw) salt, and pepper all over the outside of it, hang it in a place to that is cool but not not cold, and let it meld, take it down in a few days, rub again with the mixture, hang again, let drip, the mixture draws the moisture from the bacon, when its firm but not hard (just not floppy like it was when it started out) place in a smoker and smoke with a medium hot smoke, to an interior temp of at least 90F for two to three hours. My mother never said the temperature  but I worked for a butcher shop and they smoked their own bacon and that was the level they smoked it to. They didn't do the dry rub, they did a brine method with the pink Morton's curing salt, and it went into the salt brine for a week before being hung in the smoker, they usually smoked the contents of the brine tub for two to three days taking out the product that had attained the proper interior temps for the proper length of time. You can buy propane run smokers and simply add the smoking chips or you can smoke in a BBQ.

isand66's picture
isand66

What a great collection of mouth watering and eye appealing breads!

I'm stuck in China right now and I can only drool over your wonderful looking breads.

I will have to get a copy of this book for my collection soon.

Regards,
Ian

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

@John, by all means, give in to that craving :)

@EvaB, curing bacon sounds like a great project, thanks for all the details.

@Ian, hope you find plenty to keep you interested and challenged while in China, looking forward to seeing more of your bread after you return.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

the bacon or ham cured by the dry rub method will taste different to the brine cured commercial stuff, it will be drier for one thing, and less salty.

I think you could say the ham would be more like what I've been told the Smithfield or Virginia ham would taste like. When we did hams at the shop we pumped them with the curing liquid first, which is exactly what it sounds like, you take a large syringe type thing, and pump the liquid deep into the ham, then the whole thing goes into the brine. When you do a dry rub cure its simply rubbed on the outside of the meat, and hung up, the salt and sugar draws out the moisture and eventually its smoked and since you bring it to a certain temp for so long its actually cooked (mostly I still wouldn't eat it raw) but being dry rubbed it will be much less salty than the brined for a week and pumped up with brine hams or bacon.

I know there are good books out there for doing smoking of all sorts of meats, and sausages etc, I think the term is chacoterie that may be mispelled, but I do know someone was reccomending a book in the thread about smoking ones own corned beef. Try looking for threads about Eric's favourite rye, since I think he also had instructions to make the corned beef and smoke it using a BBQ.

One word of warning, do not use table salt, use coarse salt like pickling salt, and crush it up, no iodine, I don't know what the iodine might do to the meat, but mom said it has something added to the salt to allow it to run free and that is not good to use.

isand66's picture
isand66

It's actually Patrami that Eric had provided directions for smoking.  Corned Beef is not usually smoked, but I'm sure it would taste good that way too!

EvaB's picture
EvaB

put that down to a huge long lasting senior moment, darn those 60's anyway, am loosing my mind. Of course its pastrami! Which ever it is, I think smoking only enhances the flavour of almost anything, I really want to try brining a turkey and smoking it! We did brined turkey for Canadian Grey cup weekend (football for those who haven't a clue what Grey Cup is) and it was fablous. The turkey had sat in the freezer for almost a year, it was supposed to be cooked January 2012, for DH's birthday, so it wasn't exactly a fresh bird at all. The brining made it so moist it was fabulous. I hadn't done a turkey in a whole lot of years, as my daughter took over that. It was so good in fact that I brined the one for Xmas, as daughter was too tired to do the cooking this year, as she is having twins, and trying to have stuff ready for them. May have to try one in the summer and slow smoke/roast it in the bbq.

isand66's picture
isand66

I have smoked a brined turkey before and it came out great so I think you will not be disappointed. I love to smoke pork shoulder, brisket, and ribs as well as grilling my fish with some smoke as well....basically anything is better in my opinion with some charcoal and wood!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello FlourChild,
Those are really nice-looking boules, even one with bacon!
We tried smoking some bacon this past summer - we brined ours, found it a little salty around the edges, but once it was sliced further in, it was perfect.
There's a lot of good-looking breads in Mr. Forkish's book - can't wait to try making more of them (especially the bacon one, after your description of the flavor!).
:^) breadsong

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

breadsong, thank you for the nice feedback!  Loved seeing your Forkish boule, and now I'm off to check out your smoking project :)