The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking the Richard Bertinet way

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kah22's picture
kah22

Baking the Richard Bertinet way

The past few months I've been baking the Rchard Bertinet way. Using ordinary yeast, weighing all ingredients, and working the dough rather than kneading it.And I'm loving it!

There is a difficulty I'm experiencing and that is in the wetness of the dough. I work the dough pretty well giving it anywhere up to a 150 slaps but a lot of the times it remains sticky. That's the odd thing it's pretty regular but doesn't occure all the time.

Bertinet is pretty definate in his directions 'stick to the recipe all the way!/ I'm wondering, however, what difference different types of flour might make e.g. is Tesco's any different than say Sainsbury's?

Of course it is simple to just decrease the volume of water been put into the dough, I've done it and you don't have to reduce by much.. Still before doing that I'd be interested in hearing from any Bertinet followers who had the same problem.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

No two flours are exactly alike.

Jeff

Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

and I will also add that RB makes French kneading look exceedingly easy.  While it is not a hard movement to mimic, its mastery likely takes many years.  I think our difficulites are in mastery, not ingredients.  In a few decades we'll be French kneading like pros!

I'm in the same boat you are, and I just try to manage the dough as well as I can.

 

Side note:  Youtube "Nicolas Supiot" to see someone hand knead an INSANE amount of dough.

foodslut's picture
foodslut

.... the humidity/weather where you are can also make a difference.

Fatmat's picture
Fatmat

What I do know about the Richard Bertinet Way is that he charges £20 (approx $30) for his sourdough starter culture on his website!!! I assume that you hear the 'voices of angels' when you open the jar :)  

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi kah22,

I am UK-based, and familiar with Bertinet's technique to develop dough.

Whilst I agree with Jeff that no 2 flours are exactly alike, you can expect similar performfance in both the 2 brands you list, so long as you are comparing like with like [ie. white bread flour, I assume]

I think it is about developing your own technique for developing the dough effectively.   Using Bertinet's method as a basis for doing this is absolutely fine.   But, be sure this is about technique, and not raw materials.

Best wishes

Andy

kah22's picture
kah22







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Since my original post I’ve been doing a little research on the net and two words in particular started to make the issue much clearer for me:
Formula and
Hydration

Bakers work by formulas not recipes. Baking by formula gives them the ability to scale the amounts up and down quite easily.

Hydration in essence is the amount of water content in bread so RB’s bread works to a formula of 70% hydration i.e. there is 70% water to 100% flour.  That means of course that working with that figure you can quite easily scale your amounts up and down, e.g. RB uses 350mls of water to 500g of flour, now say you had only 400g how much water would you add? Answer 70% of 400 = 280mls

While Richard Bertinet uses a 70 per cent hydration level, I’ve had a look at the BBC website and Paul Hollywood uses 60 per cent hydration and Delia Smith uses almost 61 per cent but that would be effectively reduced when they start adding flour to keep the dough from sticking.

Taking into account what has been said about different flours, humidity etc I’ve altered RB’s formula and used a 67.5% hydration level 2.5% less which gives me 338mls water as opposed to 350. While this is only my first loaf I’ve found that it was much easier to work with and it seemed to rise much better. It looked more like and felt more like the loaf Bertinet was describing. I still had a little bit of difficulty shaping it when I turned it out onto my work surface – it still stuck a bit. It is now going through its second rise.

kah22's picture
kah22

What happened my post?  where did all those strange commands/figures come from

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

with that dough:-)

ananda's picture
ananda

Bertinet does like to work with a wet dough kah22,

For hydration, it really does depend to a large extent on your choice of bread type being made, plus your own preference in terms of working the dough.

If it helps, I use 68% when working with a standard lean white bread dough.   But for a more conventional English commercial bread [eg Bloomer, or tin] I'd work at 63%...but those doughs would be fully developed, and Bertinet's method doesn't seek to do that.

You will probably find the errors in your meposting come from the version of Word on your pc conflicting with TFL.   Floyd will most likely correct this for you if you email him.   Look for floydm in your email list.   He takes care of the site.

Best wishes

Andy

Cob's picture
Cob

I can't help passing comment, but Tesco's flour is sh*t. One of the worst. I hope they change their suppliers/crop whatever.

As for Sainsbury, I could wax lyrical. Now, I hope they maintain the high standard they have set.

I'm happy you found a method you can work with. I don't have the patience with slapping dough about, I used to have to not only clean the board, my hands and table, but get on my knees and scrub the floor and a ladder and clean the cupboards too! Flying dough is not my thing. And dough is incredibly strong, and doing it RB's way, I could lift the board too. Unfortunately, I'm not blessed with a worktop surface onto which I can 'knead'.

 

 

booneatl's picture
booneatl

I would suggest to keep trying and really work on your technique.  I just started using Bertinet's technique about a month ago and have gone from a sticky mess that won't come together to the beautiful "alive" dough that he shows in his videos.  I must have watched his videos hundreds of times trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and seached for other videos on this site and youtube. 

I came across this recommendation of a video :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dUZ0O-Wv0Q&feature=g-all-u      

This really helped me and I am confident working with hydration up to 80 % now.  I am definetely a novice at bread but I decided that I was going to master it over the summer months.  I am baking bread almost daily and have quit buying store bread so that I can get the practice of working the dough.  Of course..........my wife is dieting and not happy with all of the tasty treats that I am making !!

Heath's picture
Heath

Thanks so much for the link to that video about french kneading - very informative for a new bread baker like myself.

ananda's picture
ananda

Pour the flour into the weighed water, and use a plastic scraper to turn the flour into the water to form a cohesive mass before you get your hands involved.

Forming a basic dough in the first place can be quite tricky if your hands get glued up; but if you can keep at least one hand clean, it becomes so much easier.

Also it is easier to mix flour into water than it is the other way round.

Best wishes

Andy

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

for all of my breads. One of the keys is to have the dough properly hydrated before starting,  I use 2 hours of autolyse or white breads and at 4 hours for the whole grains and try to get the whole grains in the levain if possible if making a low percent whole grain bread.

1 do about 150 slaps in about 4 minutes or less, taking it easy. I do a minimum of 8 minutes of slap on folds for the easy breads and up to 2 sets of 15 minutes each of them for panettone.  12-15 minutes for a 78% hydration dough with AP flour whole grains is pretty standard.  If the dough is sticking sticking to the counter after 10 minutes, then just add a little bit of bench flour to the dough until it doesn't. That is s good rule of thumb for a 75% hydration dough.

For breads under 72% hydration I do 2 slaps for every fold since the dough is so tight and I let the dough relax for 8 minutes after 4 minutes of slap and folds before doing another 4 minutes of them.

Happy slapping

Cob's picture
Cob

1 do about 150 slaps in about 4 minutes or less, taking it easy.

 

LOLOLOL, totally read in the right context of course.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

My baking really took a turn when I got Bertinet's "Dough", watched those videos while commuting (replicating the hand movements, my fellow commuters must have thought I was nuts ...) and made Bertinet's white dough obver and over again.

What I found is that this technique works very well with wetter doughs, but - say - below 65% hydration the dough gets to a state very quickly where it tears. I use other techniques ( rolling with lower arm, stretch & fold) for those doughs.

And with respect to flours from different supermarkets in the UK - I found huge differences in the cheaper range (I did a little experiment ages ago) - probably due to different amounts of vitamin C added. 

Where in the UK are you based?

 

kah22's picture
kah22

I'm based in Northern Ireland

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

 

but as ruralidle said,

the waitrose flour range is good. 

A few other good supermarket brands: Carrs, Marriages, Allisons.

Shipton Mill and Doves Farm have a mailorder service, and you can order Bacheldre flours (wich I currently use) via Amazon.

And there might be a mill around the corner from you ...

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

RB recommends Shipton Mill flours or, failing that, Waitrose Leckford Estate but I doubt that you can get the latter in NI.  The real trick in the RB slap and fold method is the way you stretch the dough just before you drop it back onto the bulk of the dough.  Stretch it both "lengthwise" and "widthwise" to incorporate more air and form the gluten strands.  Having attended an RB course in 2007 it am still amazed that he can develop a dough by hand quicker than my Kenwood can mix it :) .

You will find that 65% to 68% hydration is easier to work and still produces a decent (white) loaf.

Happy baking

kah22's picture
kah22

I think I'm inclined to agree with you about the hydration level. As mentioned above I’ve altered RB’s formula and am trying a 67.5% hydration level 2.5% less which gives me 338mls wate. I'll work with that for a while and when I develop a proper technique increase the hydration level upto the 70% mark.
Did you enjoy the course and more important learn much. I'd droped hints that a weekend course with RB would be a great 65th Birthday but there were no takers - shame

 

 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi kah22

I went on the "Introduction to Bread Baking" course.  I don't think it was too long after RB started his school because he was teaching almost every course and it cost just £100.  My wife says that it was the best £100 she ever spent ! :)  It was a great course and truly life changing as, once he had taught me to make bread not bicks, I've never stopped baking!

Cob's picture
Cob

I don't understand why he believes we need to "incorporate air into the dough" because yeasted dough is not a cake, whipping cream, etc. It does not manual aeration. What is the yeast/leaven for? It produces carbon gases by feeding on the starches via a complex conversion.

Sorry, if this is a idiotic question. Maybe he just wants to speed things along. Kneading surely is simply to prep the gluten.

ananda's picture
ananda

A degree of oxidation is important for achieving optimal gluten development during the mixing process

Andy

Cob's picture
Cob

Oxidation? Is that not maturation of the dough? Yes, well, that's what i use yeast for. Or what one captures the wild beasties for.

I only know that term in terms of cosmetics, so that's what I'm guessing. Gluten developent comes with kneading, that's pretty clear, but slapping dough about to trap air is just illogical.

I'm fine working wetter dough with a scraper and board. I don't think I'm losing out not throwing it about.