The Fresh Loaf

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Home with bread / Fighting gravity

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PiPs's picture
PiPs

Home with bread / Fighting gravity

For the first time in five months I baked bread at home and it made me very nervous.

It is an entirely different proposition to make a hand full of breads in a home oven as opposed to the rhythm and flow that working in large batches provides. My attention and perfectionist streak is focused on too few ... the dough is essentially the same (though not quite as rewarding) ... but the loading of a home oven is problematic and inefficient.

... the nicest dough in the world can be ruined by a lousy oven.

So while my time with a wood-oven at Chester St has come to a close it seems that more possibilities may be ahead of me soon. Bread is my way forward ... it is my future ... but in the meantime I am thankful for some time to spend with my family and friends ... they have missed this busy baker.

 

 

 

There has been sadness this week though, as my good friend Daryl sadly lost his father Keith Taylor. Daryl worked with me in the kitchen at Chester St and his parents would visit us on occasions which was always a treat. Keith would stand opposite my bench and chat as I busied myself shaping or rounding loaves. He loved bread ... it was from his past ... it was a part of him.  As a young boy his father owned a bakery in Brisbane running a large scotch wood-fired oven and Keith was granted a special license at the age of 14 to deliver bread to the local community. The smell of dough and baked bread transported him back and he had many tales to tell. I will cherish those talks.

These breads are for you Keith ...

Keith Ian Taylor 23/12/1933 - 3/6/2013. R.I.P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

My time at home has also allowed me to catch up on another activity ... reading. The latest book I am ploughing through is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael PollanIn it he has a chapter called "Air" which is related to bread fermentation where he discusses the many aspects of bread and its production with the likes of Richard Bourdon, Chad Robertson and Dave Miller (my biggest bread influences).

While reading this I was inspired to begin milling and fermenting freshly milled flour. I couldn't help but do it ... I had to ... It has been so long since I have made honest heart-felt bread like this. This formula is influenced by Dave Miller's method of milling and mixing on one day then shaping and baking the next.

Fresh milled wholewheat (4 x 1000g)

Formula

   

Final starter build – 3 hrs 27°C

 

 

Starter

93g

50%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

186g

100%

Water

120g

65%

 

 

 

Final dough - 24°C

 

 

Whole wheat starter @ 65%

348g

18%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

1899g

100%

Water

1709g

90%

Salt

44g

2.3%

 

Method

  1. Mix final starter and leave to ferment for 3 hours at 27°C
  2. Mill flour and allow to cool to room temperature before mixing with water (hold back 100 grams of water) and autolyse for a one hour.
  3. Add starter to autolyse then knead (French fold) 5 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 100 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 10 mins.
  4. Bulk ferment for one hour at room temperature. Stretch-and-fold after one hour and place in a fridge at 4°C for 12 hours.
  5. Remove from fridge. Divide. Preshape.
  6. Bench rest 30 mins. Shape.
  7. Final proof was for 1.5 hours at 22°C
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 250°C for 10 mins with steam then bake for a further 40 mins. 

 

 

 

 

 

While shaping the bread the words of Dave Miller resounded in my head "You're always fighting gravity with wholegrains" ... I shaped them tight ... If I was going to struggle to get loft then I wanted bloom!

... and after 5 months of baking in ovens without windows I was again awestruck as I sat before my glass fronted home oven and watched oven spring unfold ... perhaps my home oven is good for something :)

Happy baking everyone ...
Phil 

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Phil,

  What a delight to sit down at my computer and find your newest blog piece.  Sorry to hear of your friend's loss.  I hope the passing was a gentle one...

Beautiful loaves and I can see the impact of using a WFO has had on your baking technique.  These loaves have what I have learned is called that 'bold' look - almost charred.  Beauties :)

Curious to know if you sifted any of the bran etc out of your grain as you have in the past.  These appear to have the full grain  based on what I get with my loaves.  Holes but not huge gaping ones.  I tend to get more spring if I keep HL lower - like 65%-70% and watch the proof time like a hawk so it only proofs to about 70%....I don't always achieve that if I have a hectic day and now I am adjusting to warmer temps. that really impact proofing times.  Almost time to use the basement as a proofing box :- ).

Thanks for sharing here and for the photos as update.

Take Care,

Janet

P.S.  Do you keep the temp at 250° the entire bake????

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Janet,

Yep these wholewheat loaves are the real deal ... no sifting ... in fact, the starter I am currently using has never tasted commercial flour ... has only ever been fed fresh milled wheat ...

We have hit winter here so I am in bread making heaven ... perfect temperature for fermenting levains and doughs.

I kept the temp at 250°C for the entire bake ... it drops quite a bit after loading and steaming so its only about half way through the bake before it reaches those temps again. They look great baked dark ... and crust flavour is awesome!

I felt the dough could have taken more water ... especially after the bulk ferment in the fridge ... dough was very easy to handle.

All the best,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I will have to try the higher hydration again....I do retard overnight too but my lean doughs loosen as they ferment.  Easy to handle which is one of the benefits of a long retardation time with whole grains.

 Lumos has a formula HERE which is a delight when using whole grains - I always convert using whole grains only and increase the hydration due to the whole grains.  Maggie Glezer has several really good lean dough formulas in her book too.  Her Tom Leonard and Essential's Columbia loaves are beauties when done with entirely whole grains.

Glad to know you have switched to a 100% whole grain starter :)  Your builds are like mine too.  Daily builds are about 3-4 hours apart but I do 2 builds prior to using in a dough to build the yeast/boost power while minimizing too much sour flavor.  I use only 15% flour rather than your 18% or else I end up with too much fermenting in some of my loaves.  In the summer I decrease to 13% - or at least I did last summer.  Will see what happens this summer.

I have  lean dough in my bread line up to bake in a couple of days.  I will give your temps a shot and see what results so thanks for the temp. info.  Do you bake in convection mode or regular conventional mode for the entire bake?  How much water do you add to your skillet for steaming?  

Time to feed the dogs, shape and proof today's bread and feed my leaven for tonight's dough.

I look forward to more of your 100% whole grain bakes.  I am secretly delighted that you have entered the 'dark' side but I guess it isn't much of a secret....

Take Care,

Janet

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I have been doing two builds as well ... each are three hours long. The 18% is the ratio of starter to final flour ... prefermented flour would be around 10%.

My oven only does convection ... I have to turn it off for the first few minutes to allow the dough to spring without the fan causing issues. I use a ladle full of ice and then some water spray after I turn the oven back on. I am still playing around with different options to get the best result.

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Results make sense know its 10%.  I was reading it to total flour in your formula....

Why do you use ice?  I would think that would drop the temp. in your oven considerably as well as cooling your baking stone if you steam from the bottom of your oven.

I used to use ice with my old oven.  I would simply toss it onto the oven floor after loading the breads but it warped the bottom ot the stove and I do not want to do that to my new oven.

I began using hot water with this new oven hoping to maintain the heat better when it is added.  I am also pouring the water into a cast iron pan with lava rocks that I now place on the top shelf in my oven so that the steam created doesn't cool my baking stone down either.  (Debra Wink posted a photo of the differences she experienced in the spring of her loaves based upon which loaf was situated above her steaming pan so it made me re-think my set up....So far it appears to be working and I have experienced no electronic glitches due to the steam....I am keeping my fingers crossed * - }

I am rambling...time to do some dishes and replace a dish I just broke....

Thanks for the reply!

Take Care,

Janet

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Your journey has taken a path that is not finished yet. All of these stories are a part of the journey, shaping building and guiding you towards a more meaningful life. You are lucky that you stand up and see the beauty in all the little things along this path. Never stop seeing what is overlooked by the rest of us.

As usual, your bread is bang on perfect. And thank you for sharing mate.

Cheers,

Wingnut

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks for your meaning filled words Wingnut,

I also wait with wonder to see where the path leads ...

Cheers,
Phil

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I never seem to be able to decide if your presentation or your baking are the more impressive.  I'll declare this one a tie, and congratulate you on both.  As Janet noted, the WFO experience is readily apparent in your loaves.  I find it no surprise, either, that you are also influenced by Chad Robertson.  Your very first photo could have jumped right off the cover of "The Bread Builders" by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott, where Chad and his loaves take center stage. Beautiful presentation of a beautiful bake Phil.

I too offer you and your friend condolences and a prayer in your loss.  It is hard to lose someone, but you have beautiful memories to cherish, and in those he is not fully lost to you.  May he, indeed, rest in peace.

OldWoodenSpoon

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you OldWoodenSpoon,

I would say I am influenced by Chad's perfectionism and aesthetics but probably leaning more towards the idea of nourishment as I get older and more boring :)

Cheers,
Phil

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Inspring bakes, even at home Phil! 

The bloom and ears are exemplary And flawless. Beautiful bold crust and an excellent crumb to go with. Poetry!

I'm glad you are doing what you enjoy doing best, Baking and photographing the process. Time with family is precious, i'm glad you are content to be with them. 

I'm expecting part 2 of your bread career adventure.I trust it is already brewing in your mind as we speak!

Wishing you all the best,

-Khalid

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Khalid,

It is nice to be at home for a bit ... I really threw all of myself into working with the wood-oven ... more than is apparent in my postings. Nice to have the time to appreciate what I have around me.

Part two is brewing ... 

Cheers,
Phil

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Is it me or are you baking more boldly?  I don't remember your loaves being so dark till you went wood on us :-)

Back to the home oven but the loaves are darker now.

Happy baking

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

You know dabrownman ... once you've gone 'wood' there's no turning back :)

I just want my breads to show that high heat ... I think they taste better for it as well!

 ... loaves are darker but the crusts are really crisp and flavoursome ... getting great cracking in them too.

I will probably destroy my home oven in the process ... so I am looking at options there as well.

Cheers,
Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Phil.  Good to hear from you back in your own kitchen.  These look amazing.  I agree with dabrownman, these loaves got a bit extra bold looking.  Is it perhaps due to the whole wheat?

While you had been away, I was busy reading your old blog posts, studying your ingredients and methods.  I owe a lot of my recent improvments to your sharing on here.  Thanks a bunch for the continued inspiration to bake better breads!

Take care and enjoy a little down time.

John

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hey John,

I tend to get a lot of colour in my crusts due to the amount of fresh wholegrains I use ... but on this case I think it was just high heat and a lot of steam :)

Your last posts and photos were great ... what camera did you end up getting?

Cheers,
Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Phil.  Thank you, as you have seen, I got a few much needed bread baking items to up the quality of bakes.

Actually, I did not get a new camera.  Still using the Nikon D5000.  I got a tripod to get better results with longer exposure.  Got the new Photoshop program.  Also, eager to try out the polarizing filter for some great long exposure water flow/misty photos.  I am still quite the amateur newbie photography nerd.  Much to learn.  I am still in the 'hey did you see that great close up of the bug!?' phase.

Happy baking and good luck in everything you move into career-wise.  Keep us posted.

John

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Such a beautiful and inspiring post! Wish I had one of those beauties to grace my table right about now.  

Your breads are spectacular, but so is your photography- my first thought on seeing the opening picture was that Jeffrey Hammelman should have used you to do his cover work for the second coming of Bread.  

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks FlourChild,

Your too kind ... I really like the illustrations used in Jeffrey Hammelman's book ... and indeed the one on the cover ... I just think the layout on the cover was a little poorly executed.

It's been good to dust of the camera and get behind it again ...

Cheers,
Phil

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

... for your writing, baking and photography, Phil.  All are just splendid.

David

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you David,

All the best,
Phil

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

...is our gain.

And your family's.  

You certainly are going boldly.  Can almost taste those extreme crusts.  Exquisite.

That first dark image is so dramatic. -- i would have believed it was the cover a book you'd decided to author. 

Best of luck.   And thanks for sharing your latest, as always. 

Tom

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Tom,

Baking boldy ... but still not to my liking ... looking at ways to improve the baking qualities of my home oven ... a short term fix :)

Looking forward to sharing more

Cheers,
Phil

lumos's picture
lumos

I know it's your home, not mine, but welcome home!  :-)

Was really great to see you in the professional environment but it's lovely to see you (and your breads) back In your own  kitchen after a long time, too. Interesting insight on adjusting back to the domestic oven after experiencing the pprofessional + WF ovens. Whatever the plan you have in mind for the future, I wish the very best luck and look forward to hearing what's coming up next. I have a feeling something exciting is on the way, again.

Interesting you're reading Michael Pollan's latest book. I was thinking of reading it, too. Is it good?  Just happened Food Programme on Radio 4 (UK) did an interview with him last Monday. If you're interested, here's the link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02116zc

 

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Nice to be home Lumos :)

It's hard to go back to a home oven ... i'm still struggling :)

I am really enjoying the book ... I like his style of writing ... he has a very hands on approach and gets really involved in all the cooking style discussed. It has depth but is still easy to read.

All the best,
Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

Just such a great post Phil,

It has everything....especially the bread!

Very best wishes

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Andy,

Good to hear from you!

All the best,
Phil

ml's picture
ml

Hi Phil,

I echo all of the above admiration :)

I am familiar with Robertson, but can only find small snippets on Bourdon & Miller. What was the source of influence for these two?

ml

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks ml,

I don't remember exactly where I first started reading about Richard and Dave ... but they are more the quiet achievers of the bread world I would say. Dave sells his breads through the Chico Farmers Markets and Richard has the Berkshire Mountain Bakery ... google searches will bring up a bit of info about them. They are both interested in nutrition and fresh milled flour. I like that!

Cheers,
Phil

grind's picture
grind
ml's picture
ml

Me again,

Now that you are baking at home again, how are you maintaining your levain, and in what quantity?

ml

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi ml,

Feeding it twice a day ...

20% Starter
65% Cold water
100% Fresh milled wheat flour

Usually keep a couple of hundred grams going ... increase it when I know I will be baking soon.

Cheers,
Phil

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

as to the wheat berry mix...hard red or white or a mix. What would you recommend in the USA to duplicate? Thanks