The Fresh Loaf

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Two more breads from "Flour Water Salt Yeast"

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Two more breads from "Flour Water Salt Yeast"

Ken Forkish's “Pain au Levain” and “Overnight Country Brown”

September 2, 2013

I continued my test baking of the formulas in Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast last weekend. I baked two new (to me) formulas. One calls for an overnight bulk fermentation and the other for overnight cold retardation of the shaped loaves.

I have yet to bake anything from this book that works according to the prescribed schedule. This is so different from my experience with any other bread baking book, and I still haven't figured out exactly why there is this systematic difference. On the other hand, I do understand what Forkish is after and how he adjusts his formulas to achieve a long fermentation, either in bulk at room temperature or of formed loaves under refrigeration. And, on the third hand, even though it's frustrating to not be able to bake according to the author's intentions, every single bread or pizza I have baked from Forkish's formulas has been outstanding. Except, if the timings are so far off, they are really not his anymore. <sigh>

Forkish's take on pain de campagne is a 10% whole wheat pain au levain, spiked with instant yeast. 20% of the flour is pre-fermented. After an autolyse, the dough is meant to be fermented in bulk for about 5 hours, then divided, shaped and cold retarded for 12-14 hours before baking in a hot oven.

My dough had doubled in 3 1/2 hours, so I shaped it and retarded it overnight at that point.

His Overnight Country Brown contains 30% whole wheat and 12% pre-fermented flour. It is supposed to be bulk fermented at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours (overnight), then divided, shaped and proofed at room temperature for about 4 hours.

My dough had grown 2.5 times in volume and was very gassy after 5 hours. It clearly wasn't going to survive an overnight at room temperature. I shaped a boule at that point and retarded it overnight.

 In summary, both doughs fermented much faster than Forkish's procedures called for. They ended up being treated very similarly. I was not surprised, from my previous experience, but I did want to see what kind of bread the very long bulk fermentation would produce. I think the only way I am going to be able to stick with Forkish's times is to radically reduce the levain.

The breads that were produced were quite similar. I would generally expect the bread with more whole grain flour to be more sour, especially with the long bulk fermentation called for, but the much greater amount of levain in the pain de campagne made it significantly more sour than the Country Brown. I would rate the latter as mildly sour and the former as mild to moderately sour. Both breads had a crunchy crust and soft, tender-chewy crumb. The flavor was delicious, especially the boldly baked crust.

 

Overnight Country Brown and Pain de Campagne from FWSY 

 

Overnight Country Brown crumb

 

Pain de Campagne

I am delighted with the eating quality of both these breads. They are wonderful. But I sure would like to be able to taste them as Ken Forkish meant them to be. Maybe in Winter when my kitchen temperature runs in the mid-60's (Fahrenheit) I will.

David

 

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Another set of breads skillfully executed by you, David! I think you nailed the flavor despite the fast fermentation. What a beautiful crumb!! 

-Khalid

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

may be way off but his bread comes out OK with reduced times,  Maybe his house is 60 F, his starter is weak or he can't tell time or all three :-)  Maybe the errata will fix these things.  Well done David.  We love those bold bakes too!

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I may never know about Ken's kitchen, starter or timepiece. And I'll never know if his breads actually taste better coming from my kitchen or his! I have no complaints about the product coming from mine, just the discrepancies in process.

Le shonah tova!

David

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Beautiful bakes David.  Among the things we love about baking bread is it's alive!  As bakers we need to be in touch with what's going on in our doughs and make adjustments because every day, and set of environmental circumstances, can be different.  You are very adept at it!

 

Sjadad

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

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

Exquisite adaptations of Forkish formulae.  I concluded, after frustrations with his long bulks, that they work more consistently in Portland's cool, tempered climate than where I live with wild winter/summer extremes, or perhaps in central CA this time of year.

Thanks for the master class in Watch The Dough, Not The Clock.

Tom

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We'll see what happens this Winter in Fresno. In the meantime, I'll be in Portland for a few days later this Month and hope I can sneak in a visit to Ken's Artisan Bakery. I have meant to visit it and try his breads for a few years now but have never seemed to fit it in. I never get past the Pearl Bakery or out of Powell's book store. Maybe an extra double espresso at Stumptown will speed me up enough to get over to Ken's. 

David

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Lovely breads (gotta say that first!) So, here's the question:

Are you baking using a cast iron dutch oven or simply on a baking stone? I know Forkish recommends the dutch oven, but I believe in an earlier bake of one of his loaves you decided to bake directly on a baking stone.

If you are using a dutch oven, what size do you use?

Thanks so much. Always enjoy reading your blog entries. - Best - SF

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for the kind words.

I did one bake of the "Overnight Country Blonde" as a 1.8 Kg miche on a baking stone. The other bakes have all been in Lodge Cast Iron "Combo Cookers." My recollection is that they are 4 qt size. Amazon has ones that are 3 qt currently. I may mis-remember, or this product may have replaced what I have. Lodge has different 4 qt and 5 qt DO's that would also work.

I have also used enameled cast iron DO's for Tartine breads. They work well, but the enamel stains, and my wife vetoed further use of those options. 

David

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Loving that bold crust, David!  These loaves are beautiful inside and out, not that that is unusual for your breads.  Posting these beauties may just sell a few more books for Mr. Forkish!  I know I'm thinking about it now, in spite of my efforts to kick my buy-every-bread-book-that-comes-along habit.  Great stuff!

Marcus

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I know all about that habit ... except how to kick it!

Actually, I've been pretty good lately, but when I started reading FWSY in a bookstore, I knew I "needed" it. And, in spite of the frustrations, I think the breads are easy to make and fabulous to eat.

David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

crust and crumb!  Your version sure looks delicious!  Just more reasoning to watch the dough and not the clock. 

A long time ago I had a bread that required a long overnight ferment that wasn't refrigerated.  So long ago I can't even remember the bread I made but, I do remember putting the bulk dough into a pan in my cool bathroom sink that was filled with ice cubes and my inexperience just hoped nothing was going to go bad,  It worked fine, the dough was kept in the high 50's as I remember.  My kitchen will never be that cool.  Maybe outside in the winter months.  I thought about using my cold WFO interior for proofing in the winter; if I planned on baking indoors..that way no critter's could get at it.   

K.F. must be living and baking in a very cool environment or maybe he has a cold room just for fermenting.  

I'm looking forward to here and maybe see some photo's of your visit to his bakery.  Have fun..sure wish I could taste some of his baking.

Nicely written up.

Sylvia 

PS..I will be flying up to Sonoma area to visit my grandson at college this month.  I'am not familiar with the area and look forward to seeing it.

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sonoma County is a very large and diverse County. Besides wineries, it is a real center of artisan baking and fine food. Is your grandson at Sonoma State in Rhonert Park? What is he studying?

I'm sure you can get lots and lots of recommendations if you ask for them. Petaluma, which is very close to the State University, has a super bakery cafe - Della Fattoria. Keith Giusto's own bakery (Full Circle Bakery) is in Penngrove, right outside of Santa Rosa. If you get up to Healdsburg, there are two very good bakeries and good restaurants. It's a good base for winery visits. Oh my ... a great place to visit.

And, if you are a Peanuts fan, you must visit the Charles M. Schultz museum in Santa Rosa.

David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

We are going on a Friday and coming back Sunday.  Not much time to do anything other than eat close by.  It would be nice to see more.  

Robbie is just 19 and going to Sonoma State University to study business.  I'm looking forward to seeing him, even though he hasn't been gone that long.

Sylvia

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Too bad you can't explore more. Well, there's time for lunch at Della Fattoria. (recommended).

The Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State, Bill Silver, is married to my first cousin once removed. She is also a pediatrician, as it happens. He probably wouldn't remember me, but I was at his wedding. 

Have a nice visit!

David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

but lunch sounds great.  Thank you for the recommendations.  

Sylvia  

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Lovely, David!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I enjoy your posts and thinking about the formula  . The  practical "make it your own" or follow the directions do or die and then be frustrated and deplore the book. Common sense wins again!  I think Sylvia is on to something as far as a cold room. I have not looked at his book and have no plans to buy it but I wonder that he isn't more precise in his writings to insure the accurate reproduction  of his breads as much as possible . Ah well with bakers such as you ....we all benefit. Carry on !  c

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Paraphrasing what others have said---fantastic set of boldly baked loaves!

Zita

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your comments are appreciated.

David

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

I love the blonde colour of the crumb. I could taste the flavour by looking at the crumb shots. The loaves look incredibly delicious!

Thanks for sharing.

Annie

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Can you share your method for tasting bread by looking at crumb shots? Synesthia is a great mystery to me.

David

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

I guess the creamy colour of the crumb in the photo reminded me the last experience not long ago when I baked country loaves (Shiao Ping's version of Gerard Rubaud's recipe). Your crumb photo resemmbles the flavour of my most favourite type of bread. :)

Annie

isand66's picture
isand66

Great looking bake David.  What temperature is your kitchen at when preparing his recipes?  Like you have already figured out or surmised his kitchen must be a bit warmer. If only our proofer had a cold cycle instead of just a heat cycle....hmmmm I may have to just develop that at some point.

Happy Rosha Hashanah!

Ian

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

When I was fermenting those breads, my kitchen was running around 78 dF. I'm sure this is quite a bit warmer than Forkish's Portland kitchen.

Thanks for the New Year wishes.

David

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Gorgeous loaves, David!  I love that you kept with your signature style of crust, and didn't do Forkish's non-scored crust :)

Interesting to hear that you're having the same results I did with the timing of his formulas.  I remember I wondered if he had a thermometer that was off.  I found that something like 65F seemed to come closer to the mark, even though he says his room temps were 68-70F. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I cleaned up a medium size portable ice chest that will hold the containers I use to bulk ferment dough. I am going to use it next time I make a Forkish sourdough, if I remember. I will monitor the temperature and try to keep it around 65-68 dF, which I'm guessing will be close to what Forkish had when testing his formulas.

David