The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW Hydration...again!

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VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW Hydration...again!

I feel both excited and like an idiot.

It's been awhile since I posted, but I had been having trouble with Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW. It was just sloppy dough, more scooted around the counter than kneaded, and more scooped into a loaf pan than shaped. Prone to air pockets. Yummy, though.

For whatever unknown reason, this last weekend I poured part of the liquid in, stirred waited a minute and poured some more, until all of it was in the dough.

PERFECT! I could knead it, shape it, all that stuff.

And yummiest I've ever made, at least if you ask me. :)

Why did I change the way I put in the liquid this time? I dunno! I knew WW took awhile to absorb the liquid before. I just hadn't thought to apply that knowledge in this way. Oh well...

SUCCESS! 

Blessings,

Voni

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Try soaking overnight.

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

That's an idea! I'll have to experiment. Thanks! I take it you simply put the dough in the fridge overnight and let it come to room temp before kneading, shaping, proofing and baking?

 

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

You can certainly do that, but the normal technique is just to hydrate the WW and leave it on the counter. This softens the bran enough so that when you mix the dough the next day, it doesn't do as much damage to the gluten.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Isn't it amazing how small adjustments can have such big effects?

Paul

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Such a small thing, Paul. Such a silly, small thing. Huge difference!

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

If you like baking with ww you might like to give Whole Grain Breads a go too.  Peter Reinhart's epoxy method really takes a 100% ww loaf up a notch.   I love Laurel's stuff too but now I bulk overnight soakings with all the breads of hers I bake.  Makes a big difference.

~Janet

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Wow, Janet. I got Reinhart's book for last Christmas but have been too intimidated to try it, especially when I couldn't even get a basic whole wheat recipe to work right. I'm going to have to re-read and give it a try. I needed your encouragement. Bulk overnight soakings? How does that work, if you don't mind sharing?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I used to use Laurel's book when my children were young and I could never get my loaves to be anything but a brick.

When I found PR's book when I took up baking in ernest a couple of years ago it made a huge difference in all of my loaves.

The best I can recommend is start with his Master Loaf recipe.  It really is quite simple due to his step by step directions and it is a loaf that has always turned out great for me.

The overnight soaking are used for it and that is when I learned about them.  They are really pretty simple to do.  YOur just have to plan ahead a bit.

The evening before baking he instructs you to mix up a Biga (which is just flour, water and a touch of IY).  Once mixed it is placed in the refrig. for the night.  The 'technical' name for a Biga is a pre-ferment since it has IY in it so it begins to ferment a portion of your flour prior to be added to your final dough.  This adds more flavor plus added softness to the final loaf.

The Soaker is also mixed the evening before baking and that includes flour, water and a bit of salt.  It can be left out on your counter overnight. ( When it is hot I put mine in the cellar where it is cooler.)  A soaker allows gluten to begin to develop plus it softens the grains too.

The next morning you take the biga out of the refrig. a couple hours before you are going to mix the dough so it can warm up.  When you are ready to mix all the ingredients the biga and soaker simply get added to the final ingredients and the mixing time is generally shorter due to 'wet' time for the grains the night before.  I generally break the bigs and soaker up into smaller pieces and then add the final ingredients on top of them.  I do use a mixer to knead.  I also cut down on the final IY and use only 5g.

This formula produces a wonderful ww sandwich loaf and a base to add all sorts of ingredients to.  Once I baked it I went through the entire book and baked many more of the breads in it and found them all to be great.  By the time I had done that I had the 'hang' of what he was doing and I began to convert other recipes from Laurel's book to use his epoxy method.

 If you do a search for Hanseata's Blogs you can find a lot of her breads baked using this method too and she bakes with a lot of ww too.

Good Luck! 

Janet

Jolly's picture
Jolly

I bought a tub of Spectrum's Organic All Vegetable Butter Flavored Shortening (non-hydrogenated). What a difference it made in baking whole-wheat breads. It really conditions and helps in softening the grains. I did a (Window Pane Test) after 6 minutes of kneading, and produced the sheerest window pane ever. The Butter Flavored Shortening gave my whole-wheat loaves greater volume (good oven spring), and a soft moist crumb.

I'm using Laurels Basic Bread recipe and Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe %50 Whole-Wheat Sandwich Loaf. And the recipe I liked best was Rose Levy's, which I adapted. I like the (50/50%) combination of whole-wheat and using natural white whole-wheat bread flour, best. I freshly mill my own wheat flour, and my mill coarsely grinds the grains but, the Spectrum's Organic All Vegetable Butter Flavored Shortening, its softening the sharp bran flakes. So, I'm able to produce light, soft silky dough. Plus I'm adding sourdough @ 100% to all the above recipes mentioned and producing beautiful light loaves of bread.

I'm in awe of Spectrum's Organic All Vegetable Butter Flavored Shortening (non-hydrogenated). "Give it try!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

or lard or even bacon fat makes anything with flour in it more .....tender.  Biscuits, rolls, bread, pancakes, cakes, short crusts all are more tender with shortening.  My favorite pie crust is half butter flavored shortening and half butter with the little bit of water water replaced with vodka.  Water means gluten and gluten means tough  in pie crusts.  In vodka, even at 100 proof half the water is replaced with alcohol  which means tender too. 

Happy baking

Jolly's picture
Jolly

 I've been sick with allergies and I had to eliminate butter for period of time.

That how I discovered Spectrum Organic Vegetable oil (Butter Flavor and Basic).

So, I began using it for whole grains baking. I can now use dairy products in my baking, it wasn't the culprit after all. So, I have an open field for baking now. "Thank goodness!

I'm baking everything with the organic shortening, its allowing me to add more fresh milled whole-grain to my breads because it actually softens the razor sharp grains. The dough rises and proofs beautifully. Its hard to believe I'm actually eating soft, light fuffly whole-grain breads.

I can't use pork fat it really makes me sick, but last year my husband brought home bear fat while hunting wild game, so I rendered the fat. And I can tolerate the bear fat pretty well. They say bear fat is very medicinal and healing especially for anyone fighting cancer. Its very concentrate so you don't need much for baking breads, cookies, pies and so fourth. Because, its so medicinal you need to use less. I have about a gallon.

I'm going to combine bear fat with spectrum vegetable shortening. I want more cancer fighting nutritional values in my breads.

I'm hoping my husband will bring home more bear fat.

I have a question my husband hobby is "Bees" I have scads of honey right now. What temperature do I need to help kill the enzymes in the honey that are not compatible with sourdough.

"Fats are interesting!