The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Formula issues in Leader's Local Breads

  • Pin It
dolfs's picture
dolfs

Formula issues in Leader's Local Breads

Based on a few comments in different threads here and there, and the fact that I am just starting trying to bake recipes from this book, I am also finding (potential) errors in the book. I figured it might make sense to start a separate thread where we can all exchange errors we found, and perhaps even solutions.

For starters I have tried to contact Bread Alone with the message that there appear to be errors and asking for contact info for Daniel himself. I don't know why, but I am not hopeful in getting a response, but we'll see. Meanwhile in some follow up posts, I'll describe some issues that I have found so far.

--dolf 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

In the formula for liquid levain, page 77 the table lists 160 grams of water and calls that 60%. The combined flour is 50 grams and adds up to 100% (as it should). Thus 160 grams would be 160%, not 60%. However, that seems to produce and excessively wet initial step. If, on the other hand, the 60% was correct, the weight should have been 60 grams (oz of course would also have to be adjusted to 2.1).

Not knowing enough about this build method, either one could be true. The final starter, after 10 days or so, settles at 130% hydration. The answer may be important in that the build may fail completely with the wrong numbers.

Note also that the instructions do not call for discarding any of the starter built so far until a regular feeding schedule with 50 grams is reached. If it takes the full 10 days you will have accumulated 1,245 grams (2.74 lb) of liquid starter.

--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Daniel's response: 

I have found that have a very liquid starter the 1st 24 hours can help activate. The bakers % is incorrect as noted, i will adjust it in the 2nd printing. As you noted the final % is 130% in the mature starter.



--dolf

My Bread Aventures 
Pevnak's picture
Pevnak

Just a comment about the percentage to be absolutely clear. If total weight of the flour is 50grams and weight of the flour is 160 grams, than the percentage would be 100*160/50 = 320%. I am confused, what is correct right now. Is the amount of water 160g and the percentage is 320%?

dolfs's picture
dolfs

To recap, percentages are always 100% for the total flour in a formula, everything else is relative to that. Preferment formulas and final dough formulas are treated indepenently as far as computing percentage is concerned.

The initial levain contains two kinds of flour, each listed with a weight and a percentage. The sum of the weights is 50 grams, and the sum of the percentages is 100%. The latter, per definition of baker's percentage is required and thus correct. So we know that 100% equals 50 grams.

The confusion, and possible indicator of an error, comes from the fact that it also lists 160 grams of water and calls that 60%. This is equivalent to 160 * 100/60 = 266 2/3 grams equals 100% and contradicts the 100% = 50 grams. If we assume the percentage and weight for the flour to be correct, than the 160 grams of water would have been 160 * 100 / 50 = 320%, as you mention.

Daniel's answer(s) so far, leave this somewhat unclear as we still believe that if the amount of 160 gram water is correct, the levain will be excessively wet. So, another interpretation is that the percentage of 60% was correct, and the weight should have been 60% of 50 grams, or 35 grams. Pick whichever you believe, bake and let us know what you think is right. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

dolfs's picture
dolfs

This may not be news to you, but I had to think a little to figure out what the hydration level of a given starter is. After each feeding, the new starter has water from the feeding itself, plus whatever amount of water was in the old piece of starter. The new ingredients, over time, dilute the old starter away, so the stable hydration percentage can be calculated as follows:

Add the percentages new water and flour in a feeding together, and then compute the percentage new water divided by this total. That is the final hydration level.

--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I don't know what I was smoking. The first part is correct in that final hydration settles on the combination of old starter plus new food. Of course, over time, this is the same is the percentage water in the feeding schedule. Duh!

--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

On page 82, the table for putting together the buckwheat levain calls for 300g liquid levain, or 60%. The flour component is 125g (100%), so 60% should be 75g. As stated, 460g of levain would be produced, with correction it would be 235g.

The final dough formula in the table calls for 125g buckwheat levain (25%). Flour component is 500g (100%). Thus 25% is indeed 125g. The text below the table, mentions to discard the rest of the levain. Thus we would be discarding either 335g, or with the correction 110g. The latter seems more reasonable, unless the original amount was correct because that amount/ratio is needed. Suggestions anyone?

--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Daniel's response: 

The correct amount should be 75 grams of liquid levain or 60% of the flour in the starter. I am not sure how this mistake occured as I had a recipe tester check all the weights and percentages. I will correct this in the 2nd printing.
 
Following this step as you found will produce unneeded starter for the bread. The final bread will be fine though.



--dolf

My Bread Aventures 
zolablue's picture
zolablue

Thank you for doing this - much appreciated.  I want to make the buckwheat batards and just wanted to clarify so I don't make a goof.  Making the buckwheat levain is as follows: 75g liquid levain (100% liquid?); 35g water; and 125 grams buckwheat flour.  Correct? 

 

Then the amount this makes requires a discard of 110g in order to use the correct amount of 125g buckwheat levain in the dough recipe.  Is there any reason not to make the amount that would result in producing exactly 125g?  Not trying to split hairs.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

With Daniel's correction, you start with the liquid levain (described on page 76). According to its formula this levain is at 130% hydration, once finished (page 79). Based on that levain you indeed use 75g, add 35 g water, and 125 g buckwheat flour. That produces 235g of starter and the recipe for the final dough uses 125g, so, as you say, your discard is 110g. This is also the amount I mention in the original description of the issue.

I suppose there is no real reason why you could not scale down making the buckwheat starter to have a smaller discard if it bother you. 


--dolf

My Bread Aventures 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I just mixed up the levain for the buckwheat batards but something is just not right.  If you now use the above (supposedly corrected) amounts there is simply no way to mix in the flour.  It is so very stiff it just cannot be done; like trying to mix only a few drops of water into a bucket of flour. In the text Leader says it should be a paste but no way.  Maybe that is why he printed to use 300g liquid starter to make the levain into buckwheat.  I don't know.

 

I had converted some of my firm starter to liquid this morning so it would be ready for using in the levain tonight.  I ended up dumping the whole amount I made in but still feel I should dump some more water in it.  I'm stumped.  I'm not sure I should even attempt this recipe tomorrow.

 

The levain is simply a big ball of heavy clay.  What to do?

dolfs's picture
dolfs

BTW I'm called "Dolf" not "Dolfs", but that's a detail.

I haven't actually baked this bread, so what I can offer is some analysis of the formula. I think it confirms your suspicion in terms of hydration of the final dough being impossible, but also suggests that the "correction" is correct, but there may be a hydration error in the final dough.

  • Start with the assumption that the liquid levain from page 76 is (once mature) at 130% hydration.
  • That means that any given mass of this levain contains 56% (in weight) water (130/(130+100)). Thus the required 75g contains 42.4g water and 32.6 g flour.
  • The buckwheat levain is then completed with 125g flour and an additional 35g water.
  • Thus the total flour in the buckwheat levain is 32.6 + 125 = 157.6 and the total water is 42.4 + 35 = 77.4g.
  • That makes the hydration of the resulting buckwheat levain 77.4/157.6 = 50%, a firm, but not unreasonably so, levain.
If the "original" amount of liquid levain had been used, using same math: final water is 168g from liquid levain + 35g = 203g. Final flour (in buckwheat levain) is 132g + 125g = 257g. Thus buckwheat levain would be at 203/257 = 80% hydration. Still more firm than liquid.

Let's use these numbers to compute hydration for final dough.
  • 125 buckwheat levain contains (77.4/235)*125 = 41.17g water, and 83.83g flour (for "corrected" recipe), or (203/460)*125 = 55.16g water and 69.84g flour for the "original".
  • Final dough adds 300g water and 500g flour.
  • Final dough hydration for corrected recipe: (41.7+300)/(83.83+500) =  58.53%
  • Final dough hydration for original recipe: (55.16+300)/(69.84+500) = 62.33%

I can see how you consider the "corrected" buckwheat levain to stiff. On the other hand consider that I feed my firm starter with 45g water and 90g flour, or 50% hydration, which is the same (and works fine). I just made an Essential's Columbia with it (pictures tomorrow) with a final hydration of 70%. If you continue with the "corrected recipe," however, you end up with a very stiff final dough. Way too stiff to be reasonable for the results you want I think. So you are definitely right about that.

This conclusion is supported by the description of mixing the final dough, which states "the dough will be smooth and very stretchable" and "the dough will not clean the sides of the bowl". The original approach would have produced a wetter final dough, but still 62% puts it in the category of a "firm" dough (firm enough the clean the sides of the bowl), which still does not sound right.

I'll pass this same info on to Daniel, and we'll see what he says. My suggestion would be to approach final hydration of around 67%. You could get there by using more of the liquid levain to make the buckwheat levain, but even going back to 300g will not get you there (only brings you to 62%, see above). The innoculation of the buckwheat levain is quite reasonable, in the corrected approach, so instead I would do it by adding more water to the final dough (because I still believe the 50% hydration for buckwheat levain is quite reasonable, and likely correct).

Since I don't know what you already did, you'll have to do your own calculations, or go by feel and dough description.  Hope this helps!



--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
zolablue's picture
zolablue

I think I have you name corrected now at least. :o)

 

Thanks for that super detailed response.  It is so late forgive me if I cannot digest it all right now.  In the essence of time I think I will take your advice and add more water to the final dough or I may just skip the recipe entirely.  I'll make that call when I wake up tomorrow morning.

 

I think I ended up using 200g of 100% liquid levain instead of the 75g.  I had already mixed up the firm-to-liquid conversion and later realized I should have formulated it to 130% hydration but figured that wouldn't be such a big deal to correct.  Still, this hunk of levain could take an eye out if I hurled it at someone's head.  :o)  I'll just leave it and head to bed and see what it looks like in the morning.

 

I've never eaten buckwheat and have no idea what it will taste like.  Not sure it is worth all this trouble.  Dolf, thank you again for your kind response - I really appreciate your help.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I'm waiting for my "Traditional Challah" dough (Rose's new version) to complete rising so I can stick it in the fridge for baking tomorrow. My Essential's Columbia is cooled now, but it is too late to cut and eat (as a diabetic I shall not be eating carbs at midnight), so I'll cut and take pics tomorrow AM.

I fully expected the analysis to be over your head (at least for the time of day), but just look at the final numbers. As you're "thank you" came in, I was just writing another note, which is partially pre-empted by your reply. 

I realized you had probably started with a 100% hydration levain. In the corrected formula, that would result in a 44.6% hydration, very stiff, buckwheat levain (the ball you describe), and 57.7% hydration final dough (yes, I am an engineer so I have a spreadsheet for this). Since you also told me you applied 200g of that, rather than 75, it means 160% and makes for a 60% hydration buckwheat starter (that's doable). Then proceeding with the final dough formula unmodified would give the final a hydration of 60%. Still way to low.

The suggestion would be to add more water to the final dough, in the amount of 340g total (corresponding to 68%, and 40g extra), for a final hydration of 66.9%. Use 71% water, 355g or 55g extra, for final hydration of 69.5%. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf, the levain had puffed a tiny bit before I went to bed but it was so unsavory looking this morning and no puff in it at all I decided I'm not interested in putting good flour and hard work into a recipe for which I'm so unsure.  I am making a note of all your notes - (you sound like Bill...hehe). 

 

That levain doesn't even have any spring or give when touched.  Note Leader says to stir it to invigorate and deflate it before applying to the dough.  It can't do that since it is a heavy lump of dough.  Based on the description of the dough not cleaning the bowl I think I would have to add far more water which would be fine but I just don't trust the outcome at this point.

 

Hey, I'm all for a challenge but this has quickly lost my interest.  Darn, and they look so good in the photo. 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Hey, I don't blame you. I sent the question to Daniel last night. He wrote back saying:

I will make the bread over the weekend and get my feedback to you ASAP. Thanks for sending this to me.

I suppose at this point he is unsure to and needs to replicate and work out what the issue is.



--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf, thanks so much for the correspondence to Daniel and please thank him on our behalf for taking time to bake this bread to test his recipe again.  I do still intend to bake it so I'll be anxiously awaiting the final outcome.  I baked the Genzano Country Bread a couple days ago and it was outstanding.  I am looking forward to trying many more recipes from this book!

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf, I won't keep bugging you about this but I'm curious if you ever heard from Daniel about the buckwheat recipe test.  If not, no problem, I'm sure he's very busy and will get back to you plus I have lots of other recipes on the list to try.  Thanks again.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I contacted him on 9/28 and he responded that because of the Jewish holidays, he had been too busy. He then mentioned he would have it by the end of what was then next week (in other words, this week).


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Many thanks, dolf.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've got my hands on the book and after 10 min. wanted to try this recipe.... It looks interesting and the buckwheat portion seems about right to me.  I have noticed that a lot of buckwheat acts like rye, no gluten, so that the levain on page 82 will not rise much.  If made with the 300g of levain, it just might rise but if made with 75g I'm betting it will just form little cracks and gasses will escape without any rise.  Better to go by the clock on this one and not by "double."   I remember combining buckwheat with yeast and didn't get much more than a hockey puck.  My instinct tells me to use 75g of levain more water and about 30g wheat flour too.  For the desired effect as written on the page.

Mini Oven 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I haven't heard yet. I sent a follow up once a little over a week ago, and he apologized, but nothing yet. I get the impression he is not in his bakery much and is very busy. I do not want to "remind" him every few days, so I'll wait a little longer. Read this thread carefully and you might get some pointers as to how the formula should really read.


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is set in my sights and I'm plowing ahead using my firm rye starter.

I'm onto the recipe (page 81) and took Bill's conversion numbers to make a liquid levain from firm starter:   "You can just feed 24g with 143g of water and 100g of flour." I found this to be too dry for 130% (60g rye and 40g wheat) so I added a little water,  when I was done, it came out to exactly 300g. (???)  After 8 hours it has expanded a little more than one third (see page 80) so I added 35g water and 125g Buckwheat flour with no problems.  (The left over 335g buckwheat levain will go to pancakes in the morning when I mix up the dough.  It does seem like quite a waste but maybe the mass is important.) Will report back later with the loaf.  Nighty night...

Mini O 

 

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

I'd hate for someone to be put off buying or baking from this wonderful book by these errors.  I would say bake from the metric, to reduce your chance of hitting an error.  Every bread I've made from the book is outstanding.  It is a wonderful book!!

 

OK, here's another minor error I came across.  I'm baking the Whole Spelt Loaf.  There is a little inconsistency, in that the introduction states a rye sourdough and so does the ingredient chart, then later in the recipe it says a spelt sourdough.  The other issue I came up against is the confusion about the number of loaves the recipe makes.  It tells you to first "shape the loaf" singular, "form the dough into a pan loaf", then in the next section, it says "Let the loaveS rise until they have expanded to 1-1/2 times thier original size."  I am guessing from the amount of flour that you should only be making one loaf here (?), but it could be confusing as to whether this should make one or two loaves.  It doesn't give loaf pan size either.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

page 101   agreed, one loaf

I also noted that instead of 2 to 2 1/2  hours to ferment, took 6 1/2 hours for me and 1 to 1 1/2 hours to proof, took 3 hours.  I also changed the rack position to lower instead of middle (Prepare the oven).  I like the lip of my pan to be "in the middle."

klemenv's picture
klemenv

I have scale down buckwheat starter in order not to waste anything.

I have used 60% of starter.

As  levain wass simply a big ball of heavy clay, I have added small amount of additional water, to be barely able to mix it. Similar like stiff levain, perhaps a little on dry side.

I have not reduced any water in dough. 

I got great loaf. One of my favorite.

Personally I also add a zest from an organic grown orange in the dough.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Table on p 117 shows 50g water as 65%. Total flour is 75g (100%), so 50g should be 50/70 = 66.6%, even rounded to whole numbers that is not 65%.
 --dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Daniel's response: 

I don't agree with your calculations here, 75 grams of flour or 100%....65% of this equals or 48.75 grams which I rounded up to 50 grams.

Clearly he is right, and I was smoking something.



--dolf

My Bread Aventures 
beenjamming's picture
beenjamming

 yeah, I tried to make the volkornbrot and noticed some funny business with his percentages. i adjusted the recipe to match his percentages and I wouldn't recommend doing that. the bread was not very good- tasted very gummy. the german farmhouse rye, parisian daily bread, and pretzels have all worked out incredibly well. let me know if you hear back from daniel.

caryn's picture
caryn

I made the German farmhouse rye today, and I have a question for you since you have also made it.  I followed the directions fairly precisely, but my loaves after baking were only about 6" in diameter.  I cut a small taste (even though his directions suggest waiting until the next day to eat it!), and it tasted very good with a good chew and nice crust.  I may have added a bit less yeast than called for because of his incorrect translation of grams to teaspoons. However. I may have let it rise a bit longer than was suggested too since I had to go out for a while while I was letting the loaves rise.  So about how big were your loaves? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

page 293   Could not understand where 400g of sourdough starter should come from (p294) so changed the Rye sourdough recipe to German sourdough 100g,  water 150g, and rye flour 150g.  That makes 400g starter for the next page.   Also recipe calls for 125g soaked rye berries (p294)  but in preparing the berries (p 293), 125g berries absorb 175g water, should then be corrected to read 300g soaked berries.   

Mini O

sphealey's picture
sphealey

In many sourdough-based recipes, particularly ryes, it is assumed that when your sour build has reached the same proportion as the original starter you will remove from the dough an amount equivalent to what you put in originally. Had I missed the tiny little note in Hammelman explaining this I would have had a much harder time understanding his rye bread percentages. Could something similar be happening here?

sPh

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I encountered a discrepancy in instant yeast weight-to-volume conversion when I made the Rye-Fennel Crackerbread. The formula says 1.5 t = 0.3 oz = 8 g = 2% (baker's percentage)

All of the above is correct, except the 1.5 teaspoons. Eight grams of instant yeast is closer to 2.5 teaspoons. The book consistently uses a conversion factor of 1 teaspoon = 5 grams, but the reality (and I've checked this with my scale as well as seeing it published in several places) is that instant yeast weighs just a little over 3 grams per teaspoon.

Also 2% instant yeast seems like a lot, but it is the amount called for in almost all of the book's commercial-yeasted formulas. I wonder why so much? Most of the formulas I have worked with before call for 1% or less, if it's instant.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Good catch. I have done my own measurements too (a while ago to support a formula based spreadsheet I use for automatic scaling), and I have calculated/measured a specific gravity of 0.66 for Instant Dry Yeast. That makes 8 grams equal to 2.5 teaspoons indeed.

Ironically it is because before baking for the first time I enter the percentages (and never weights or volumes) into my spreadsheet, I never caught this since my spreadsheet has the correct SG value for the yeast. I suppose I could have noticed if I bothered to compare the computed grams with the listed ones, but I only check flour and water. (In case you are wondering, I do enter one weight, which is the total weight of the final dough, or the listed total flour weight, all the other values are calculated).

--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Daniel's response: 

I  always use metric in my baking and the person who did the recipe testing did this conversion for me. I am going to double check this using your suggestions and get back to you. I did not want to use any volumetric measure in the book but Norton insisted on tspoons and cups (yuck) 



--dolf

My Bread Aventures 
dolfs's picture
dolfs

I have received an email from Daniel with a request to call him, so that is encouraging. I will speak to him later today.


--dolf

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Spoke to Daniel. It was fairly brief as he was traveling (on the initial call I caught him on a bus, and he asked to be called back 1.5hr later, where I caught him in a taxi). He was very nice and asked about who I represent.

I told him that while I do not represent "The Fresh Loaf" in any official capacity, I am a member and offered to be a conduit to him regarding the questions about his book. He has seen TFL, but it appears not in depth, so we talked about our community a little more. We also talked about the various books out there, like Reinhart's, and Nancy Silverton, Hamelman etc.

Anyway, he mentioned that he would love to get the comments, in particular since this time, unlike when he wrote "Bread Alone", he will have an opportunity to make corrections for a second printing, when that happens. He asked that I email him the questions/issues and he will answer. I, of course, will put the answers on TFL.

The initial list (taken from this thread), is now in his email box.



--dolf 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Glad you got through. :) Mini O

dolfs's picture
dolfs


Daniel has replied. He writes: "I hope you will stay in touch and I will look at your website. I really appreciate the detail of your questions and you interest in my book." The "web site" refers to TFL for which I supplied the URL. It appears he was not familiar with it. He supplied answers to the issues I presented him with on our collective behalf and I will add replies to each respective post with this response. Since we now have a conduit to him, keep your questions coming and I will send them on. 

--dolf

My Bread Aventures 

Liam's picture
Liam

Please pass along that Bread Alone is my favorite bread book.  I appreciate the metric measures as it is more precise.  Every loaf is perfect and the instructions are well set out. 


Cheers


L

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

It's great that Daniel Leader is listening to concerns about errors and is eager to fix them.  Thanks, in case you read this posting.

Rosalie

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Today I’m baking Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche, page 118, and there is another recipe with errors. 

 

First, I noticed while preparing the levain that the text states to “add the bread flour and whole wheat flour” when the recipe grid only contains wheat flour.  You can probably assume it means only wheat flour but then you have a little voice that makes you wonder.

 

Then the same issue as with the buckwheat batards on page 119 where the ingredients grid states to use 225 grams of the levain but the text says to use 125 grams and store and refresh the remaining levain. 

 

I decided to use the entire levain which oddly only amounted to 219 grams.  I did weigh carefully and I have an accurate scale but for some reason that’s what it ended up to be. 

 

When I started mixing it was clear that the water was not correct either or the text was wrong because it stated that the dough would not clean the sides of the bowl.  It was a big lump of rather dry dough.  So I poured in more water which I did not measure but it was close to a full cup more.  Now, this could have been because he really did mean 125 grams of levain but how do we know for sure?  I mixed only a couple minutes longer than the time listed and ended up with a beautiful gluten window and the dough seemed a great consistency.  So I'm happy about that.

 

I love this book and have found some incredible recipes but these errors are very problematic.  It shakes the confidence in the entire book, it feels often like someone went crazy with “cut and paste” without making the necessary revisions to a specific recipe and just plain hurried if these recipes were not simply read through and checked very carefully before publishing.

 

The other thing that bothers me is his always recommending a 2-quart rising container and clearly most of the recipes I’ve made simply would not fit in them.  So I just don’t understand what went on with people in charge of editing this book.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

ZB,

I just input the formula in my spreadsheet. The initial levain is 50% hydration, so the levain starter (ingredients 100/75 flour/water) ends up being 68.75% hydration. The final dough formula has the levain starter at 40% and 225 grams, so that indicates to use it all. If you do, overall dough ends up being 73.68%, which is quite slack. Had you used only 125 grams, overall hydration would have been even higher, at 74.26%. This does mean that whether you use 225 grams, or 125 grams of levain, it will not change overall hydration of the dough all that much so this can not be the explanation for your "big lump of rather dry dough".

Couple of questions for you:

  • Are you sure you are starting with a 50% hydration starter? (As long as it is close, it won't matter)
  • I assume that you are weighing ingredients. Is your scale working correctly? (Low battery perhaps). Check this by putting an empty measuring cup, zero, then fill cup as best you can to the 1 cup mark with water. As long as you then measure close to 237 grams it is ok.
  • Are you using the kind of flours it calls for? Some flours need significantly more water.

Were it not for the fact that I am already set for one of my most ambitious baking days (6 loaves today, 3 different kinds), I would try the recipe myself. May be soon.

More and more I too am coming to the conclusion that much of the book was put together by "Copy and Paste". While I understand that a lot of the text is repetitive and this is easier, it appears not enough care was taken to check for correctness. Having "test bakers" as Dan says he had, is not enough if you have them work from a manuscript alone and not a (near) final proof.

It is about time to "tickle" Dan again for his promise to make and correct the Buckwheat bread, so I'll do that and include this feedback too. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
zolablue's picture
zolablue

I used my 60% hydration starter as I always do on his stiff starter recipes.  So that’s pretty close to 50% and besides I dumped in a vat more water (:o) so it would compensate, I’m sure.

 

My scale is always accurate because I use a 50 gram weight (that came with my pocket scale to calibrate it - same brand) to check it often.

 

I always use the flour Leader specifies as in most recipes it is the King Arthur Select Artisan AP.  In this recipe however I did use some new whole wheat flour I’m trying from Heartland Mill in Kansas but he only said stone ground WW and didn't specify brands as in some recipes.  Since it is very freshly milled that could be a reason to have it soak up more water, right?  At any rate I sure did slosh more water in and really could have used more.

 

What I really don’t know is how the total levain ended up being 6 grams short of the 225 grams when I was so careful to double check that I measured properly. 

 

Dolf, you know, when I made his pain au levain it also was very dry and I definitely should have added more water.  Did you notice that as well when you made it? 

 
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and have added water.  My old habit of holding back that last bit of flour when using a written recipe, holds true. 

Mini O

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I just made the Pain au Levain. This is the second time I've made it, both time with the exact amounts according to the percentages. Both times dough worked out beautifully. Maybe I am just lucky, but I suspect there is something else going on.

Since there are now two separate reports of people finding their dough to dry, I am wondering if different kind of flours are at work here. Mini Oven, you're in China, right? ZB, where are you located?

I am in the San Francisco Bay area. Today my kitchen started out at 72 and is now 77F (oven has been on for a while). Relative humidity is low (<25%). For my pain au levain (Local Breads), I am using Giusto's Baker's choice (as a close approx to Type 55 flour), KA Whole Wheat. I am also making Tom Leonard's Country French, and I am using some "simulated" high extraction flour by sifting Giuoto's Coarse Whole Wheat, combined with Giusto's Ultimate Performer (pretty much high protein bread flour). Both dough's seem to have worked out very nicely. Doing their bulk ferments right now.

Let's get some insight into your locations, kitchen temperatures, relative humidity and flours (Brands and types) you use(d) for these recipes. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sitting here in my Austrian kitchen with lots of flour available.  The heat is on, we're cold and rainy here.  Kitchen humidity 38% which is rather low. I just think there is always little adjustments that have to be made with water or flour.  If a recipe works perfect, fine, but flours do absorb at different rates so, important is to note it on the recipe and maybe mention the flour.  I've seen enough recipes that give aproximate amounts.  I just stick a little "+" note on the liquid. 

The interesting thing about using weights, is that if the humidity is high, the flour will absorb more from the air and actually weigh more so one uses less.  When humidity is low, the flour is dryer and it weighs less so one actually adds more flour.  At first this may seem like it proposes a problem but in reality helps the formula in relationship to air pressure.  Not worth breaking one's head about it, it just happens. Especially when open bins are involved.   

Mini O

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Note that I didn't say "super dry" but I said it was rather dry dough.  What I should have said is that the WW miche was a very firm dough, which is quite different than "will not clean the sides of the bowl."  There are errors in the recipe so it is hard to know what part is wrong.

  

In the case of the pain au levain I found no errors there, Dolf, I was only asking out of curiosity because I knew you had made it.  Leader said it will form a ball of dough so I think that it was right however I just wanted to know how firm it came out for you and if I did it right or perhaps should have adjusted the hydration a little.  The problem is when you find these errors it does cast doubt on other things and maybe more so for me since I’m a relatively new baker.

  

What I’m most concerned about is conflicting information between ingredient grids and text that we have noted.  And because of those errors I think you can't always rely that the percentages are correct either. 

 

I still love the book and I will keep baking from it.  I think Leader went to an incredible amount of work to research and write this beautiful book and it still boggles the mind at how one ever gets all these important formulas correct.  It took me forever just to work out properly the recipe for my aunt’s sweet dough recipe!  So I definitely empathize.  I just hope we get the corrections.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

On October 24, 2007 - 4:52pm you mentioned "super dry" (see below). Anyway, doesn't really matter what you call it, it was a problem. For me the pain au levain was rather soft/slack and just a little sticky.

You are right about the general "unease" after discovering so many errors.

Got a response from Dan. Bread Alone is just in the busiest time of your so he hasn't gotten to it yet. He will not soon either as he is leaving for South Africa tomorrow (www.sawgbp.com)). He now says he'll have a test baker check it out.


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf, maybe I should have said "super firm"...hehe.  But I still would attach the "super dry" to the buckwheat batards.  Actually stuper dry would not even begin to decribe it since I basically had a pile of flour on my counter that was never going to turn into bread dough.  :o)

I'm glad we have a good contact there to get these errors worked out.  I'm baking pain de campagne again today.  OMG, that bread is TDF!

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf, we were posting at about the same time because I just asked you about pain au levain which was super dry for me.  I tripled the recipe and really needed to add more water - don't know what stopped me except I like to try and follow a recipe as written the first time I make it.  The bread was fabulous though.

 

I am in Omaha and the temp when I made that bread (pain au levain) was probably around 68 - 70 in my kitchen at most since it was getting very cool outside especially at night.  It had been raining almost daily for a couple weeks and was during that time.  I'm guessing the humidity inside was around 40% or lower.  I don't understand humidity so well so I might be off a little.

 

Again, using type 55, KAF Select Artisan for AP and KA bread flour.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Seems like all the flours are as specified. I do not believe that the Whole Wheat would use so much more water than to go from a relatively slack dough to a "super dry" dough. Like I mentioned earlier, so far the pain au levain has worked out fine for me. I am at a loss to explain your problems. I will try to make the miche one of these days and see how that works for me.


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I received a response from Daniel, as well as one from his wife, both below. Check out the South African bakery project: quite neat: www.sawgbp.com. Unfortuntely still no resolution on this issues. I have written back to ask not to wait for publishing of official errata, but rather to send them to us as they become available. 

I apologize for not getting back to you. This is our busiest time of the year at Bread Alone and I have not had the opportunity to check the recipe. I am going to have my recipe tester and co-author do this immediately. I am leaving for South Africa tomorrow to work on my community baking project www.sawgbp.com. I hope you will find in interesting. I should have the recipe to you by middle of next week.
My apologies,
Dan 

Dan Leader asked me to speak with you regarding your findings. I'm not sure if he mentioned to you that he is leaving on a 3-week trip to South Africa where he is helping to build small bakeries for AIDS clinics where moms and orphans can learn a skill and a trade.  He apologizes for not getting back to you.  "Local Breads" were the work of many people, myself included, so I can assure you that your expertise is appreciated!  I have looked over your experience of the Buckwheat Batard and am quite impressed by the depth of knowledge and understanding that you and the others you mentioned have taken!
 
I am compiling a list of corrections for "Local Breads" which will be made upon the next printing and am sure to include yours.
 
thank you so much for contacting us!  This book was 13 years in the making and while much of the work was in the travelling and the meeting of so many interesting bakers (many of whom no longer bake with a written recipe as you can imagine!!) much of the testing and retesting was done by a number of very good bakers.  Compiling all that testing was quite a task, as you obviously know, being that you are so engaged in bread baking formulas. 
 
Blogging is very far from anything that we are familiar with, but you have given me an idea!  I am going to attempt to put up on our website a place for this kind of discourse that you mention.  I say 'attempt' because I'm not completely clear what will be involved and I will have to speak to my friend, Don, who has helped us put up our website.  If all goes well, I will include an 'errata' section for these persnickity (and repeated) inconsistencies.
 
Thank you again, and please feel free to contact me.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sharon

-- 
Sharon Burns-Leader
Bread Alone Bakery & Cafe
President


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I hope that the "list of corrections" will be available to us who already have the book.  That wasn't clear.

Rosalie

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I have found more errors and just wanted to toss out whether it would be better for me to email those to you rather than to keep posting them here.  Or I can just keep my own running list and give them to you all at once at some point.  I am assuming you are keeping a list of what those are since you have had direct contact with Leader's company.  I'm a little torn about this but frustrated and not sure how to best go about getting answers to the questions in these recipes or to just alert them to the errors that continue to pop up.  I just don't want to appear as if we are disparaging them or piling on.  Opinion?

dolfs's picture
dolfs

You can just send them to me if you like. I do, indeed, keep track of all of them, and once we have resolution, both problem and fix should be published. I am frustrated too because while it appeared, initially, that Daniel was eager to hear about the problems and fix them, nothing is really happening. He went to Africa and passed the baton to what I assume is his wife and her approach has been to thank us for mentioning the problems, but not to provide any answers.

I am not worried about disparaging them, or piling on. Errors are errors, plain and simple. Errors can be corrected, but it takes a little work. If they don't get corrected, we, and others, are going to have to see this book in a different light. It is still a great book and provides lots of information, but it will have to be clear to anybody but advanced home bakers that, unless you are capable of "fixing" the recipes yourself, this book is not a recipe book. That would be a shame. So let's give them some more time and show that we are still active on this by getting him the additional comments.

Send them to me: dolf at starreveld dot com 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Pevnak's picture
Pevnak

Hi,
I baked twice Flax, Sesame, and sunflower rye (page 282) and always with a great satisfaction with the result, but I think that there are some typos in the recipe.
The total amount of flour is 500g. The volume of water is 22 cups and I strongly believe that it is supposed to be 2 cups, as the recipe says: soak seed in 1/2 cup,  mix 1 1/2 cup water with flour.
Thus, I would adjust  metric weight to 2*246g = 492 and baker's percentage to 100%.

If I missed something, please correct me. I love this bread but with this amount of water, hand kneading is very messy business (but the bread is so good that it is worth to do it).

Does anyone tried to make Classic Auvergne Dark rye from page 158? I tried that and it turned into brick, which I kind of expected, because 50% hydration seems to me not enough for this kind of bread.

Anyway, I absolutely love this book.
Thanks for answers and posted errors.
Pevnak

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I just saw this and am interested because of another error just pointed out to me on the thread where I posted about the (wonderful) Semolina Sandwich Loaf.

 

On that recipe's ingredient grid, page 252, the volume measure for water says 1 1/2 cups; 10.6 ounces; 300 grams; 60%. Based on the ounce and gram measurement I am assuming Leader meant the volume amount to be 1 1/4 cup.

 

I checked the recipe Pevnak is referencing (grid page 283) and Leader does list 22 cups - cannot be correct but I also don't think he means 2 cups either because he again lists 10.6 ounces and 300 grams for 60% water the same as in the semolina sandwich loaf recipe.

 

This is really off and just adds to the confusion. Once called into question, without any printed errata from Leader that I've been able to find as of yet, it makes you wonder what is truly correct in these recipes. Those are two huge discrepencies.

 

I still gotta say it, I love the book. I just would appreciate the courtesy of helping those of us who have purchased the book to be given answers to what is in error.

 

 

manfredtex's picture
manfredtex

I agree that the liquid measurements seem off for this recipe.  The baker's percentage for the water is 60, which would be 300 grams, but 2 cups of water is about 472 grams.  So which one is correct?

I have baked it twice and think the bread tastes great, but I am not getting a great rise and the bread seems to lose some of the rise during the baking. It does taste good, but the slices end up being small.

Are you baking 2 loaves and are they rising above the loaf pan during the proofing?

 

Thanks,

 

Manfred

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and finally got around to reading about the search for Authentic German Ryes (p 269). So much is true and worth reading if you want to get into rye breads. I did find his mention of Cumin quite disturbing. I believe he means Caraway.

Very often a recipe will say cumin when it should read caraway because the German word for caraway is Kümmel. The German word for cumin is Kreutz, Mutter, or Roman Kümmel and so when a translation is made from Kümmel, unfortunately cumin pops up. Just pronouncing the two, one can see why there is a mix up and often thought to be the same spice. In English, caraway and cumin are two very different spices, just as Kreutzkümmel & Kümmel are different. I've run into this before.

So, Reader beware! Most references to cumin from German translations is really caraway.

 

Dan, if you are reading this, go chew on some cumin (or kreutz kümmel) and honestly tell me you put this into your bread!

Mini O

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Mini - Are you saying that, for instance, in the German Farmhouse Rye that I've been planning to make, I should substitute caraway seeds for the cumin seeds? In that recipe he also lists coriander, fennel, and anise seeds so I didn't think much about the cumin seeds not being familiar with rye breads. Then I would assume this is the same for the Spiced Rye Rolls, page 289, that also calls for ground cumin seeds?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm saying, that it is not common to put cumin into traditional German & Austrian breads.

I would taste the two, compare them and then make up your own mind. Let your own tastes be your guide. Cumin is traditionally used for Mediterranean - India for baking and other foods.

Look up this site it is a google search for brotgewürtz (bread spice) in German, then hit the "translate this page" and all the caraway has been changed to cumin. I have looked at many different packages of breadspice and checked out a site where it was a topic, "What do you put into your bread spice?" and nowhere do I find the German words for cumin.

Also look up breadbaking recipes in German, no where can I find a German recipe in German using cumin or kruetzkümmel. When translated, bang!, suddenly cumin is there and the caraway has vanished. Go figure. Try under Brotrezepte.

Mini O

zolablue's picture
zolablue

That is amazing info. Really, how would the novice of rye bread ever realize that with all those other spices in the bread. I honestly can say, since we use cumin so much in Mexican food, that I questioned it when I saw it on the ingredients list. There would be quite a difference between the two.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It doesn't heip that schwartzkümmel (or black caraway) is actually black cumin when translated into English.  It can also be used in bread, sparingly, has a bitter strawberry note, also a Med. spice.   Clover seeds (klee) are also mentioned.   I don't think Daniel Leader really ment cumin or black cumin.  It would be good to know if he ment caraway.  

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Most US rye breads use caraway seed - that is the distinctive smell and taste that almost all US ryes have and which is actually what most USians are thinking of when the say they don't like "rye". Actually they don't like caraway.

That said, I discovered by accident that whole cumin seed makes for an interesting flavor in rye bread too ;-). And I have since found several recipes that call for cumin, or a mix of caraway, cumin, anise, celery, poppy etc seeds.

Just be aware that cumin is a powerful flavor and most people consider it "hot" or "spicy". When I put it in a 2 lb loaf I use 2 tsp compared to 2 tbs of caraway.

sPh

zolablue's picture
zolablue

sphealey - You just stated why my husband thinks he doesn't like rye bread. He says he can't stand the caraway seeds! (Despite the fact that he ate a loaf I purchased a year ago last new year's day for our traditional Reuben's that very much contained them...hehe. Hey, I had only been baking bread for a couple weeks by then and certainly had not tried baking my own rye.)

 

Anyway, I think that is also why I feel I'm relearning the flavor of rye bread because so far in the few rye recipes I've made I don't use the caraway and you do get an entirely different flavor and I'm lucky I like it both ways - caraway or not. Thanks for the info.

 

(PS...We both love cumin and are not at all afraid of its strong flavor.) 

 

annamikemc's picture
annamikemc

How long from now is this second printing expected? I am not confident that I will be able to figure these solutions out myself, and I just ordered the book today based on the praise I've read about. Thanks!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

W. W. Norton & Co of NY is the publisher. You may be able to find a contact at their website, www.wwnorton.com to ask about the second printing and, more importantly, whether it will contain corrections.

I'm disappointed that there's no addendum or other information addressing the errors at the Bread Alone website. Other bakers have noted the errors as well, such as Ye Old Bread Blogge

 

 

 

 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

As you all know, I was communicating directly with Daniel about these issues and, initially, he appeared very responsive and enthusiastic about receiving comments. There were promises to bake the supposedly errant formulas to check them and to report back. It never happened. As you can see in the email below, I received a response from Sharon in October, as Daniel went to Africa and delegated to her. Since then there has been silence. On March 8 I decided to try once more, but so far I have not been awarded any response.

At this point I have to assume that Daniel is consumed by other activities and does not really work on addressing these issues. Given that the book originally took many years to put together, perhaps that is the best we can/could expect. I am sad at this lack of interest or time. We all paid good money and this book is, in the end, just sloppy. It is worth having, but if you are not a fairly serious home baker, you may lack the skills to work with/around the many errors and ambiguities.

I sent this on March 8, in response to the email from Sharon received in October 07: 

Sharon/Daniel,

This was one of the last communications I've received from you and we (myself and other folks at The Fresh Loaf) have been hoping to see some of these corrections before a possible next printing (which could be a long way away, and those who have already spent money on the first printing would not buy the second just for the corrections). Since this communication, quite a few more errors/issues have been found, but since we've essentially never received an actual correction (Daniel you promised to have some of the issue recipes baked to confirm/fix the problems, but apparently never did), we've kind of stopped sending them to you (although they are mentioned on TFL).

Should we leave it at this and simply let the comments stand and live their own life (generally: I love the book, but it is full of errors and ambiguities), or would you like to try and pick this up and send us corrections as you determine them (after checking I suppose). I'm still interested in coordinating this.

On Oct 25, 2007, at 2:04 PM, Sharon Burns-Leader wrote:
Hello Dolf!
 
Dan Leader asked me to speak with you regarding your findings. I'm not sure if he mentioned to you that he is leaving on a 3-week trip to South Africa where he is helping to build small bakeries for AIDS clinics where moms and orphans can learn a skill and a trade.  He apologizes for not getting back to you.  "Local Breads" were the work of many people, myself included, so I can assure you that your expertise is appreciated!  I have looked over your experience of the Buckwheat Batard and am quite impressed by the depth of knowledge and understanding that you and the others you mentioned have taken!
 
I am compiling a list of corrections for "Local Breads" which will be made upon the next printing and am sure to include yours.
 
thank you so much for contacting us!  This book was 13 years in the making and while much of the work was in the travelling and the meeting of so many interesting bakers (many of whom no longer bake with a written recipe as you can imagine!!) much of the testing and retesting was done by a number of very good bakers.  Compiling all that testing was quite a task, as you obviously know, being that you are so engaged in bread baking formulas. 
 
Blogging is very far from anything that we are familiar with, but you have given me an idea!  I am going to attempt to put up on our website a place for this kind of discourse that you mention.  I say 'attempt' because I'm not completely clear what will be involved and I will have to speak to my friend, Don, who has helped us put up our website.  If all goes well, I will include an 'errata' section for these persnickity (and repeated) inconsistencies.
 
Thank you again, and please feel free to contact me.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sharon

-- 
Sharon Burns-Leader
Bread Alone Bakery & Cafe
President
Route 28, Boiceville, N Y 12412
845-657-3328
"BREAK BREAD ~ MAKE PEACE"




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

So will there be corrections for us already-own-the-book people or not?  I often am explicit in my request, like you were, dolf, and then feel that nobody tried to read my e-mail or wants to be bothered.

Rosalie

dolfs's picture
dolfs

In all communications I've had it is unclear whether there is any intent to make errata available separate from the 2nd edition of the book. The only mention is as an extra section in the 2nd edition. I doubt those of us who have the first edition would want to pay to buy the second edition just to get the errata. Based on what I've heard so far, I would not even hold my breath for a 2nd edition. Second printing, yes that might well happen and is purely a matter for the publisher (how much was produced, and how much was sold).

A second edition requires writing/editing effort by Daniel. If he can't/won't even make corrections (or find the time to go back to his source material) for those that ask directly I doubt he'll have time or will make time to go write again.

If, by any chance, a second edition comes out, and if it has all these issues fixed, it should not be too hard to extract the differences and produce an errata sheet to be published online. I'll consider doing that, if an when the time comes.


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

If all goes well, I will include an 'errata' section for these persnickity (and repeated) inconsistencies.

call them what thay are errors downright mistakes. 

yes i know i type like crap but to have errors like this kind in a book that is ""teaching" other people to bake.  it sets up the new baker to fail and then thinking it is their fault and not the books they don't try again.

i realy dislike books such as this.

 

timfm's picture
timfm

I am very frustrated by all the errors in this book. I would be even more so if I had paid for it and not simply checked it out from my local library.

If your teaching someone how to cook, your recipes MUST be accurate. It is inexcusable. Get an editor! 

I'm attempting to make a spelt sourdough seed culture based on the instructions beginning on p 276. I had a couple of failures and then found Reinhart's suggestion to use pineapple juice in place of water for the first two days. I did this as well as using rye flour on the first day and everything seemed to be going well. It was very active and rising fast — especially in my tropical (Hawaii) climate. 

So day four comes around and the seed culture had easily double and fallen in much less than 12 hours. I figured it was ready to refresh and start making The Whole Spelt Loaf the next day.

As per "Refreshing The Rye Sourdough" instructions on p 278, I measured 1/4 cup of my culture and stirred in 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup spelt flour. At that point I had an inclination that something was off. It seemed much to watery -- how would it rise? We'll sure enough It did not rise. And seems to have drown and become inactive.

Having exhausted all other variables (bad flour, hard water, temp., juice for the first two days, etc.) it occurred to me that there may be an error in the recipe. I then checked the "Refreshing The Semolina Sourdough" steps on p 256 an it says 1/4 culture mixed with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. additionally Reinhart's Barm refreshment instructions in his BBA are similar in terms or weights/%age.  

Having found this thread I assume I found an error. Can someone corroborate this?

For all Mr. Leader's his romantic prose about the world of bread making it would have been nice if he'd spent even a fraction of his time actually getting the recipes right. If I had paid good money for this book I would chuck it through the window of his bakery on my next trip to NY.

End rant.

Disclaimer -- this book has the potential to be great, but went to press long before it was "proofed." 

 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And what I've noted is that the table on page 278 is for a starter older than 11 days and that from day 3 to 10 (previous page), a thicker mixture is used.   I would keep with the thicker mixture for a while to strenghthen the starter.  Your starter is now about 7 days old, so your instincts are right, it should be thicker.   

Mini O

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You have every right to be frustrated. Alas, I paid good money for the book but have no plans to visit upstate NY.

I do always recalculate his baker's percentages and read through the instructions a few times before making any attempt to bake from his book.

What's even worse than the errors is Mr. Leader's failure to acknowledge that there were errors or post a corrective addendum at his website.

Local Breads had been nominated for the 2008 James Beard Award. I am so glad the award went to Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, and not Leader. Mr. Reinhart had the courage and honesty to acknowledge there were typos in BBA, but tooks steps to publicly correct them.

timfm's picture
timfm

I'm not a skilled enough baker to deal with fixing Leader's errors on my own. I'll simply have to return this book and pick up Reinhart's. It's a shame, cause it seems like there's many a delicious loaf in Local Breads. Maybe V2 will be better, but I'm not sure I'll bother as I'm so disgruntled. I think Dan should step up though and get the errata published on his domain. 

Great news about Peter's book. I've just requested the Library system pick it up. I'm currently delving into the BBA, but whole grains are really where my interest lies. I'm determined to make whole gain breads with a light, open crumb. It CAN be done!

GalacticOverlordDesignate's picture
GalacticOverlor...

 

 

Love

 

John

sullivantp's picture
sullivantp

Dolf,

First off, thanks for taking charge of this. It's incredibly helpful to a solitary bread making student! 

After drooling and drooling over the photograph adjacent to p. 84, I made the Quintessential French Sourdough from Local Breads. Here's where I should pause for a quick footnote that because I did not have Learner's Levian on hand, and wanted to make it right away, instead I used a white flour sourdough starter that I keep (Reinhart's barm from Crust and Crumb). That starter, by the by, worked perfectly. 

Back to the question at hand -- and this might be nitpicky, I concede. The formula, p. 124, creates darker bread than I'd have expected from looking at the p. 84 photo. This could also be my own judgement. Anyway, have you made the Quintessential French Sourdough, or has anyone else, and, if so, did it come out darker than you expected? What I'm wondering is if that formula contains mistakes as well?

It was great the way it came out, for the record, enough so that I'll make it again and again. But I have picked up a French sourdough at Bread Alone that was lighter and I suppose I expected this one to come out similarly. And since I typically make whole grain breads I was thinking of adding a lighter one. 

I'd be much obliged for any insights you or anyone can provide! 

 

Thanks,

TS

 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I did make this bread on September 7 a year ago (2007). You can find pictures of my results here, and here (for the interior). I actually blogged about it here on TFL as well.

I too did use another starter that I had around. Its hydration was slightly different so I compensated a little. As you can see from the pictures my outside is not heavily floured, as Leader's is, but I believe the color to otherwise be about the same He does not show a crumb picture, so I can't compare that, but you can compare yours with mine!

--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

sullivantp's picture
sullivantp

Thank you kindly. Very helpful, indeed. That is about the color mine turned out so all is good, though I suppose I might test out some slight changes just to see what I can come up with.

 

Thanks again! 

suave's picture
suave

I have never really had an issue with formulas in Local Breads, but last week I had to chuck a loaf of bread for the first time ever, courtesy of Bread Alone.  Even our local squirrels wouldn't touch it.  I share some of the blame though as I knew his numbers weren't right.

Mike

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

While this thread is great, I wish there were a more succinct list of errors specified by page number and/or recipe name.  The discussion is useful, but in places where there is an obvious typographical error in the volume, weight or percentage, I'd really just like to know the 'correct' value.  I have had good luck following the metric weights thus far.

dolfs's picture
dolfs


When we started this thread I communicated every issue found to Daniel, the idea being that, eventually, an errata sheet would be produced. As you can read earlier in the thread, after a promising start and enthusiasm from Daniel, has and his partner have disappeared from the face of the earth as far as this is concerned. Too busy with the bakery and interviews/publicity I gather.

There really is no excuse for producing a book with recipes with so many errors in it. As bakers we always learn about the need for precision, using scales etc, and then this. What is worse is not owning up to it and supporting the people who put money down for your product. 

--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I recently acquired a copy of "Local Breads". I'd like to thank you Dolf for your efforts in communicating many of the typos to us and to Dan. It seems that probably Dan had most of his measures correct (the metric column), but that someone without the proper spreadsheet abilities messed up several of the conversions in recipes. Some of the errors are very obvious, so it's a shame that publishers/author(s) didn't take the time to review the text before it was sent to the press. If it's true that Dan and co-workers spent the better part of thirteen years collecting and working out the recipes, I feel really bad for them that it ended up as such a rush job in the end.

I failed at my recent attempt to get a liquid levain going, so this time I'll try Leader's approach. There's the obvious discrepancy in the measurements for day 1: Well, it's anyone's guess, but since the final levain should be at roughly 130% hydration, I think I'll have a go with 160% hydration for this first day. That means 80g water for 25g each of rye and AP. It's probably not crucial for the recipe, but with this tweak, the levain will have a 140% hydration after day 3 feeding, which is not very far from the 130% that it will approach in the long run.

There's also the buckwheat dilemma: The baker's % in the levain is way off. To complicate matters, the metric column calls for a sizeable chunk of liquid levain (300 gr., which is ALL but 60 gr. of the total refreshed liquid levain following Leader's directions). In the text below, it reads "Pour 1/4 cup of your liquid levain..." You can't fit 300 gr. into 1/4 cup, so there are more typos floating around here. I've found two different blogs about the buckwheat bread from Leader: One following the volume/metric recipe (300 gr. levain) and a customized version. Both seem to turn out well, but the first one, that follows volume/metric, looks quite similar in consistency as Leader describes the levain to be ("a smooth, pasty dough").

I've never used buckwheat myself, but it's obviously not your standard fare flour. I'll have a go at this if I get the Leader levain up and running. And yes, I think it would be worthwhile to collect errors and typos in a document that we could provide to TFL'ers (since the publisher seems reluctant to do anything).

jdbaron's picture
jdbaron

I am a fairly novice baker and had enjoyed reading through this book, but I believe I am encountering mixed results due to extremely frustrating editing errors.  I immediately began with a stiff dough and a liquid levain on day 1, and I'm absolutely astonished that these two foundations of all other recipes do not have the correct measurements.  Totally inexcusable, and it makes the book completely worthless for me.


Has anyone mastered the correct proportions for both the liquid and stiff dough levains?  Would you be willing to post here?  It would be a tremendous help in getting this novice on the right track.

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

The only advise I can give you with regards to 'Local Breads' is to use the metric weights listed.  These are the most consistent units of measure for Leader's books.  I was able to get the stiff dough levain to work as described in the book.  When I need liquid levain, I use a piece of stiff levain and adjust the hydration for one feeding.

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

Dolf,


 I like to ask how to do spreadsheets for the dough.I do have lot's of books for excel but I do not know how to make spreadsheets.Please, help


 


                        Saintdennis

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Dear Saintdennis,


I appreciate this is an older post so am not sure if you are still looking for information on spreadsheets? I too am new to spreadsheets and have found the automated version provided by Duane Jardine (Sourdough Companion's 'LeadDog') useful for a beginner. It is available via this link http://oakflatsourdough.homeunix.com/index.php/2009/Spreadsheets/bakers-percentage-calculator.html. It can be simplified quite a bit for bread with fewer ingredients.


i'm sure there are more complex procedures that can be done if you are able to input and calculate everything manually. For example, you still have to work out hydration of the final dough for sourdough, given that the starter also contains flour and water. This is testing me at the moment so any help welcome! However I found Jardine's version really helped me to make sense of baker's percentages, work out formulae and percentages where they were not given, scale recipes up and down and recognize in general whether a recipe would yield a wetter or drier dough. 


In following through to Jardine's own blog I also noticed that he had identified errors in the formula for Classic Auvergne Dark Rye in Leader's Local Breads and had been able to 'clean it up' in ways that made for a successful loaf. I include the link in case it is useful for others on this thread who are looking for solutions to errors in this recipe http://oakflatsourdough.homeunix.com/index.php/2009/Bread/classic-auvergne-dark-rye.html   Daisy_A


 

kgpowell's picture
kgpowell

I was happy to find this thread, because I was just getting ready to bake this bread and realized the recipe did not make sense.


In particular, the water called for is 60%, which he converts to 300 grams (OK), 10.6 ozs (still OK), and 22 cups (doubly wrong).  I say doubly wrong because there is 1) an obvious typo, presumably 2 cups and 2) 2 cups is 16 oz.  He seems to have used the flour weight to volume conversion, rather than the water weight to volume conversion, to get this.


To compound the confusion, in the written directions, the water is split into 175 grams for soaking the seeds, and the "remaining" 350 grams (300-175=350?)


So, I'm not quite sure what to do here. 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Have a look here: Dreikornbrot. Pamela is a Leader fan and she's baked several of his loaves with great success. I think you'll find what you're looking for in that post.

DakotaRose's picture
DakotaRose

Does anyone know if he has posted anywhere the corrections to all the formula issues in the Local Breads book?  I got the book last year as a birthday gift and only tried one bread in it so far beings I got 6 books for my birthday.  I really wanted Mr. Leader's book beings it deals with sourdoughs which happens to be our favorite bread medium.


Blessings,
Lydia

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

I'd been waiting for him to post corrections before I considered buying his book and it looks like some of them are posted now. I'm not really sure how long this has been up or how complete it is of course, but at least it's a step forward.

http://www.breadalone.com/PDF/local-breads-corrections.pdf

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

This seems to be a very short list for what we saw.  I think I found more errors than that.


Rosalie

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

From the file properties it looks like it was first posted on October 10th, maybe we can generate some interest in emailing to the address in the document all the errors people have seen?

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Wasn't there a re-print with errors corrected?  Maybe this is just the corrections for the new edition.


Rosalie

MissTati's picture
MissTati

It is incomplete...I've got some too that I can e-mail Sharon.

starwitness's picture
starwitness

Hello!  I've been baking my way through this book, made the first three recipes to much success, and I think I've successfully cultivated the liquid levain.  I am trying to make the Old World Baguette but have had the same problem twice: When I mix up the bread dough (150g water, 300g flour) it yeilds a VERY dry dough.  When I mix in the levain after letting the dough stand for 20 minutes, there is no way to mix the two together.  I get flat, gluey globs that won't absorb the levain at all.  I tried to knead (by hand) for over 20 minutes, and was left with a gelatenous mess with lumps of hard flour pellets. I'm incredibly frustrated and disappointed. I've measured by volume and by weight for each.  What am I doing wrong? 


I couldn't find that anyone else had a similar problem in this thread.


I just mixed up the buckwheat batard dough this afternoon, hoping that it works!


thanks in advance for any help. 

blaargh's picture
blaargh


Hey there... looks like no one ever responded to you about the old world baguette... you're probably not trying it anymore, but just in case...

Your fat gluey globs were perfectly normal. The dough is a mess for a long time, but trust me, you need to knead for a LONG time - I'm sure 20 minutes isn't nearly enough. Don't try to time it with a watch, it comes together when it wants to. I've taken to sloshing with my hands in the bowl until it gets somewhat sticky, then lightly oiling my counter and holding a scraper in one hand and the heel of my other hand above the mess of dough on the counter, push the dough forward, then scrape one side back. Push again, then scrape the other side. You get into a circular yin yang sort of rhythm (helps to have music on, I like Broken Social Scene, but anything you're into works :). When I feel the dough start to firm a bit more - you just notice a difference - I let it rest for a few minutes, wash my sticky hands off,  take a breather. I've been letting the dough rest 2-3 times during the process, I think it helps. After a while, the dough really firms up, and it happens quite unexpectedly. You will be able to pass the window pane test with flying colors, the dough is still tacky, but smooth and like Leader says, the consistency of marshmallow. Don't stop until you really can pass the pane test - it will happen!


So far, I've gotten good, but not brilliant results with this recipe. The taste is excellent, but the first few were a bit flat, and I'm not getting the rich color I was expecting. I'm sure this has more to do with how I'm baking them than the recipe.


I'm moving on to some Reinhart recipes from his new book for now, as I think I can get better results with less work. The basic ideas seem to be similar, but stretch and fold seems to be a better way of handling the dough without beating it into a pulp.


Would love to hear if anyone got good results with this one...


kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

I just had the exact same problem with the Old World Baguette. Thankfully I was directed to this thread. I had wondered about mixing time and speed. Leader says to mix at 4 on the KA mixer for 8-9 minutes. I wanted to go for at least 20 but had no clue if that was right or not. This book is apparently rife with erors and some may be Leader, some may be the publisher, but all of them affect us.  Why in the world would Leader have asked for 8-9 minutes of mixing with such a dough? I have to believe there were too many hands working this book and not enough tresting ot proofreading. In either case it is unconscionable for a book to go to press in such poor shape.

 I have to start again as the first attempt has been tossed out. Alas!

Thanks for tis input. I had suspected more mixing time but with such a short time in the recipe who would have guessed 20 minutes? Or more.

Kim

benspinks's picture
benspinks

Hi There

I'm new to this wonderful forum and am in a bit of a quandary over this book.  I ordered it after reading good reviews and having an interest in thecontents, but then started noticing the many threads here and elsewhere regarding the errors in the book.  I immediately decided that when it arrives I'd send it back, but I'm un-sure as to weather that is a hasty decision.  I am a new baker so I won't at this time be paying much attention to the bakers %'s (which seems to be the main source of frustration), but I still wonder if buying this book would cause me more disappointment than good.   If on the other hand the book is 90% amazingly good then should I just bite the bullet and when wanting to try a recipie search the forum first for any erros?

 

I think part of my reason for reacting badly is down to the inability of the author to provide a comprehensive list of known erros.  Personally I find it inexcusable, but at the same time the content looks incredibly fascinating.

 

Not sure really, but I would be grateful for the forums advice

Best regards

Ben

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If you're new to bread baking, then I'd suggest you return it (or keep it (but don't bake from it) until you're more experienced).

If you have enough experience to know when something is clearly wrong (and how to adjust/fix), then it's easily a "90% amazingly good" book worth keeping. The chapter on troubleshooting is worth the price alone.

There's an errata somewhere, but I can't find a link. If I recall correctly, it's not comprehensive (and wasn't even the author's doing (his wife, maybe?)). Then again, errata sheets seldom are.

jdbaron's picture
jdbaron

Having been one of the original naysayers about the book's issues, I have to say that I ultimately used it for a great many wonderful recipes in the past few years.  If you have a metric scale and are able to measure by grams rather than ounces, that measurement appears to be the most reliable.  Do not under any circumstances use this books' method for creating your own starter as it is shamefully inaccurate and will only be a source for frustration, but yes, the book does contain many fantastic (metric) recipes.  If you don't have a metric scale, you really should either get one or return the book.

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

but it seems to have become one of my "go to" books, in spite of the errors.  The breads are just too good to ignore.  If I were just starting out with bread, it would probably be tremendously frustrating.  I've acquired enough experience (much of it thanks to the past few years of having TFL available) to be able recognize a problem before I get into it, or to dig my way out once I see that things are going off the rails.  The lone exception to that would be the Auvergne rye; I still haven't figured that one out yet.

So, your decision.  I'd vote in favor of keeping it, even if it's a bit above your head just now.  But that's my call and you need to make your own.

Paul

ssor's picture
ssor

I have a 1993 edition of "Bread Alone" By Leader. Apparently he had not at that time discovered bakers percentages. I have not read the book in discussion here but I suspect that the errors cited are arithmatic and comprehension of bakers percentages on the part of the author and editors.

I found "Bread Alone" to be very useful. I also found "The Italian Baker by Carol Field" to be very informative in both the text and the recipes. BUT I didn't learn about bakers percentages until I read "Artisian Bakers Across America" bu Maggie Gleaser

benspinks's picture
benspinks

Thanks to all for the comments.  I've come back from a few days away to find the book waiting here for me.

 

After a day of perusing I've decided to keep it.  Errors not withstanding there is a great amount of information that even if the book were just that it would be worth keeping.  As far as the rest I is concerned think i'll subscribe to the thinking that when I'm more experienced baker it will become a more agreeable tool.   Having said that I will be using the metic exclusively, so i've probably cut down on the likelyhood of finding errors just by taking that step alone.  I'm based in the UK so scales are fairly normal in the kitchen.  

 

This in combination with the many TFL posts on Local Bread recipes here, and of course the ability to ask for advice should see me right (I hope :-).  

 

I'll probably go through the error thread again and mark the faults down in the book, but I will ask here to JD Baron, when you say "starter" do you mean all of them in the section from P41 onwards (liquid, stiff, biga), or a specific one?

 

Again, many thanks for the comments and advice.  This site is fantastic for information and i'm so glad glad I found it. 

BR

Ben

jdbaron's picture
jdbaron

Hi Ben,

Apologies for the delayed reply - we're in the midst of moving and I must have missed the emailed question.  My book is packed at the moment, but I seem to recall it being an issue with the stiff starter.  It was the first starter I tried to make and the first recipe from the book I attempted. If memory serves, I believe it was an issue with there being far too much water as the days continued if I followed the recipe in ounces or cups (it was a number of years ago so I can't recall if I'd started using a scale at that point).  Incidentally, I used the sourdough starter 101 tutorial on this site to make the mother of all mother starters, which lasted for 4 wonderful, bread-filled years; it would have continued to flourish had our realtor not mistakenly thrown out the "junk" left in my fridge as we awaited our closing.  Still a little shell-shocked from that one, but looking forward to using that tutorial again to start anew in our new home.

Good luck!

 

Bob R's picture
Bob R

I recently found this thread, although I have been using the book for almost a year now.  I haven't tried a lot of recipes, but I have made some fabulous breads.  But I also noticed errors and inconsistencies right from the start. Using only the metric measurements helped avoid some of them, but there were still many more. Sometimes it just was a question of trial and error.  I did see the PDF of corrections, but it was just a drop in the bucket.  Fortunately, one of the corrections was for a bread I was just about to make (Wheat sourdough a la Polaine), and I was in a quandry as to whether to follow the measure in the directions or the measure in the table for the weight of the levain.  The correction settled that, and the bread was fabulous.  In any event, this forum is very much appreciated.

ananda's picture
ananda

I very much agree with your strategy BobR, in your decision to use metric weighing in the Leader book.

I am not trying to open up any discussion here about metric/imperial/volumetric measuring.

This comment is meant to look at how Mr. Leader probably put these formulae together in the first place.   I do not have first hand knowledge of this, but I would expect that he used Bakers' Percentages, at the very least to balance the formulae.   If that is the case, then using these in conjunction with the metric would allow him to double check that everything balances properly.   That is how I construct recipes.   Remember, in the formula, flour equals 100, water may equal 75, salt 2, and yeast 2 as a working example.   If you translate that to metric weight than you have the same numbers in grams.   You can do the same calculations for imperial, but it is very awkward, as imperial works with numbers like 12, 14 and 16, whereas metric is decimal, so it runs along the same lines as %.   Volume doesn't work in the same way at all.   I work in this way with Hamelman's book as well as Leader's.   I use his metric column and the Bakers' % to put down the recipe and formula I want to make using a factor to either divide down, or multiply up.

I know the focus of many comments about recipes and formulae printed in all the different books over the years comes from frustration about following the recipes as stated and finding they don't work out.   The more experienced bakers come to realise that a bread formula can be quite complex, and there are numerous factors which can impact on how the finished bread turns out when made in different parts of the world, for numerous good reasons too.

This is just my best suggestion to help those who have struggled using books such as Leader's in the past.   I have just used it as a basis for a bread course I want to run soon, where students will make 3 Italian Regional breads..and have based my formula for both the Genzano and Altamura breads on the recipes published by Leader.   I have changed them both quite a bit, but did so using his bakers' % as the starting point.   There are some fabulous breads in this book; a romp around Europe visiting some of the finest bakeries around, meeting up with their owners and coming away with recipe ideas and samples of the bread.   It is such a good read, regardless of any issues with recipe quantities and errors.

Best wishes

Andy

Best wishes

Andy

Bob R's picture
Bob R

I've noticed several people having problems with the Auvergne Dark Rye, and saw a link to a corrected recipe by Duane Jardine. Unfortunately, that link is no longer active. Does anyone have a recipe for it that's worked? I'm in the middle of making it and realize that it's not going to work.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Bob,

I posted on this not too long ago, here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27970/seigle-d%E2%80%99auvergne

I've since made it using the hot water in the secondary stage of fermentation..and it works really well.

Best wishes

Andy

Bob R's picture
Bob R

Thanks very much Andy. I just tossed out the dough from the Local Breads eader recipe, and will be using this one from now on.

lumos's picture
lumos

This book has always been the one I was most jnterested, having seen loads of beautiful breads baked by many of the forum members based on the book, but the issue of erratas's been putting off me from buying it.  But a few days ago when I went to London to see my friends,   I popped into s large bookshop to kill a time because I was too early. There I found a lone copy of this very book, the first time I'd seen the real, physical copy..... Oh my god, it's a full of sort of breads that I really, really love to eat...and bake myself, if I'm capable of!  Possibly much more so than any other book I've seen or own.  Gosh, I'm buying this! (... from a cheaper online shop :p)h

Just wanted to say big THANK YOU to Dolf  (if you're still seeing this) and all the people who have contributed to this thread. I'm sure this will be my life-saver when using the book. Thank you!! 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I still log in every now and then. You're welcome, but since the original thread started, many others have contributed, possible more than I have. So thank your fellow TFLers.

Bob R's picture
Bob R

Lumos, I don't think you'll regret getting the book, as long as you do some research on this site for errata.  I have made several breads that have become staples, and are among the best breads I've had anywhere.  These include Pierre Nury's rye, the whole wheat a la Pain Poilane, and the Auvergne dark rye.  The one that took the most research to fix, and which had the most glaring error, was the dark rye. Ultimately I just raised the amount of water to 550 grams and used all the starter, and it worked great.

Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

I just baked the Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread (p.205) and had some problems with incredibly fast rising times.  The recipe calls for 1.5 tsp of instant yeast, or 8 grams.  1.5 tsp of yeast is about 5 grams.  I checked my other cookbooks and they all have 1.5 tsp as 5 grams for various recipes.  I went with the listed metric weight of 8 grams, not the 1.5 tsp, and the dough took off.  It more than doubled in a half hour for the first rise, and again in a half hour for the second.  I started preheating the oven in the middle of the second rise knowing that proofing would be fast as well.  I only let the loaves proof for maybe 40 minutes.  My kitchen was around 72 degrees.  I know there was a discussion about this above and Leader responded that the metric weight is the accurate one, but I'm feeling like next time I'll try 5 grams instead.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

As you read through the whole thread you will find that general consensus is that when in doubt, you should use the metric numbers in the formulas. Dan Leader himself commented (also mentioned above), that he only provided metric and volume conversions were done for him, at the insistence of the publisher. While that does not absolve him and/or the publisher from the many conversion errors, it does tells us where to start looking for the truth.

Having said that, if you do not have a scale so you can tackle the metric weights instead of volumes, you should get a scale asap. While you wait for that, you should use a different source of conversion than the book, as the person doing them clearly had incorrect data and/or was sloppy. One such source is the dough calculation spreadsheet I posted about elsewhere on TFL.

That spreadsheet finds hat 8 grams of yeast if 2.5 teaspoons. This is also confirmed in a post earlier in this thread. It is almost always true that longer rise gives better taste and any given formula may cause the rise to be faster than you want in your circumstances. No big deal. Do exactly what you are planning, and reduce the amount of yeast. Also be aware that there is a difference between the two kinds of instant yeast (instant dry, and active dry), so same volume of both will not have the same effect.

Good luck!

Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

Thanks, that's helpful.  I do have a scale which is accurate the 1/10th of a gram, but after reading about all the formula problems folks have had with Local Breads I got nervous.  I probably should've let the dough ferment for the full 1.5 hours both times, in which case it would have at least quadrupled instead of doubled.  The flavor was pretty bland since it clearly didn't ferment long enough, but shaping it wasn't hard at all.