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75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread from FWSY

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread from FWSY

I thought about titling this entry "With failures like these, who needs success?" This morning, I baked another new-to-me bread from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. It is called "75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread," and it is a 75% whole wheat sourdough bread with a little instant yeast but otherwise just - You guessed it! - Flour, water, and salt.

This bread is supposed to bulk ferment for 5 hours and then cold retard overnight after shaping. My dough was mixed at 5 pm. At 6:15 pm, I left home for a class. When I returned at 8:40 pm, the dough had almost quadrupled in volume. It was so fluffy, I thought it was a lost cause. After a moment's consideration of tossing it, I went ahead and shaped it, placed it in a banneton which went into a plastic bag which went into the fridge. This morning, after preheating the oven, I took the loaf out of the fridge and baked it with no further proofing.

I had put the boule in the banneton smooth side up, which is what Forkish recommends. That way, it bakes with the seams created by shaping facing up and no scoring. The seams open up with oven spring and can make a pleasing, chaotic pattern, when everything works as it is supposed to.

Because the dough had over-fermented, I planned on no room-temperature proofing. The loaf coming out of the fridge showed no noticeable expansion but the poke test suggested it was only slightly under-proofed. Before baking, again, I heated the top of the combo cooker. The boule was transferred to the cool bottom, covered with the pre-heated top and placed in the oven. Bake time was 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered.

Note: The true color of this bread's crumb is a much darker brown than it appears on my computer screen.

The loaf had great oven spring. It did not achieve the volume of the other boules I have baked from FWSY, but I attribute that to the high percentage of whole wheat flour. I really saw no evidence of damage from the over-proofing.  The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was well-aerated (for a 75% WW loaf). It was moist and tender.

The aroma was just wonderful - very whole wheaty. The flavor was good whole wheat with no bitterness or grassiness. The sourdough tang was on the high end of moderate, by my standards. A delicious bread. I'm expecting it to make outstanding sandwiches and toast.

The breads from this book continue to amaze me - on the one hand by their accelerated fermentation and on the other by how incredibly delicious they are.  I am seriously considering abandoning my planned attempts to bring their fermentation rate down in favor of just keeping an eye on the dough and enjoying the ride.

David

Comments

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi David,

you've just made the right choice if you stick with the latter sentence!   From everything you have written it is clear to me that the timings in the book will not work for you in the warm temperatures.   They might work for me in the depths of a Northumberland winter!!!   For instance, this beautiful bread you showcase surely needs the instant yeast taken out of the formula if you are hoping to achieve 5 hours bulk time?

Follow his formulae and use your own knowledge when watching the dough.   You know more than enough!

Lovely bread, of course..as ever

All good wishes

Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I was going to leave out the instant yeast (as you suggest) but then decided to stick with my policy of making a new recipe according to the written instructions the first time. After that, it's fair game for modifications. 

Not having to achieve consistency and predictability to meet a production schedule, I have the great luxury of being free to take risks, and to reap the rewards of "interesting" outcomes. I only really get upset when I produce an inedible product, which is, thankfully, quite rare. If it's not quite right, then I can improve it for the next time.

In the California Winter, my kitchen runs about 10 dF cooler (65-68 dF). I will surely re-visit most of the Forkish breads I have made to date, and we'll see if they follow his schedule better. They certainly should.

I'm still bothered by one question: Why are these breads deviating so radically from Forkish's times? This is not true of most of the breads I make. My current thought is that maybe it reflects their higher hydration, not just the temperature difference. We do know that yeast multiply faster in a more liquid environment, all other things being equal. Do high-hydration doughs require more adjustment for differences in ambient temperature than lower-hydration doughs?

Thanks again for your kind remarks.

David

ananda's picture
ananda

would be, David,

to agree with you that water activity is significant in terms of helping to aid microbial multiplication.   My main experience of this is in the applications of "flying ferments" used by some of us commercial bakers in the manufacture of enriched doughs, buns and rolls and what are oft referred to in the UK as "morning goods".   The idea is to give the most favourable start possible to the bakers' yeast to counter the adversity created by higher levels of enriching ingredients such as fat, spice, fruit, and even egg and sugar at sufficient levels.   That is by-the-by.   The ferment usually contains all the liquid in the formula [not egg], plus all the yeast, a small portion of sugar and anywhere between 20 and 30% of the flour.   The resulting ferment is a batter, and often a fairly thin batter.   The ferment is made very warm, deliberately designed to have reached peak in around 40 minutes.   So you can watch the progress as it happens quite easily.   And it is very obvious then just how much impact the wetter ferment has.   I remember when I was at College asking my tutor  if there was a minimum level of flour to use [or maximal liquid] in a ferment.   The answer is of course rather obvious, in that there has to be sufficient food available  [in the form of the flour] for the yeasts to feed off to get to work.

So a hierarchy builds up doesn't it?   Food is clearly the most important factor for achieving microbial growth.   A degree of water activity is also essential, but I'm not sure it has as much impact as temperature does.   And, of course in the long ferments Forkish is using at ambient temperatures we will also experience significant acidity developing, which also has notable effect on general microbial activity.   Oxygen is another factor, and I was at first tempted into thinking it might not be so significant here.   However, bulk fermentation produces an abundance of carbon dioxide gas, which yeast does not like as it cannot move around.   Hence with the tighter doughs where folding is less appropriate, and we use a knockback, the result is a feeding frenzy for the yeasts which have once more found oxygen available to move around in.   Applying that to folding wet doughs [and the extreme is ciabatta where one is deliberately trying to hold as much carbon dioxide in the structure as possible] one would assume that folding will release less carbon dioxide in the wetter doughs than one would expect to achieve by knocking back a bulk dough of more regular hydration.

Short answer is that I'm tempted to think high hydration doughs will require more careful temperature control, but I don't have any data to support it.   I know Stan Cauvain and Linda Young have written in depth on the subject of water availability in bakery manufacture.   It's a specialist and very complex text, here is the Harvard reference for it:

Cauvain, S. P. and Young, L.S. (2009) "Bakery Food Manufacture and Quality: Water Control and Effects, 2nd Edition" New Jersey [I assume]; Wiley-Blackwell

It seems to be available as an E-book, but it's one of those hellishly expensive academic texts of course!

You can also read extracts from it here: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=HrRULLtfakMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=cauvain,+Young,+Water&ots=gWikpHSnCP&sig=sK_fCTkyWTQG_boJSnZY1lx8A7o#v=onepage&q=cauvain%2C%20Young%2C%20Water&f=false

I know your quest is to replicate breads from the masters here.   I just happen to think you are as good as, and knowledgeable as they are in many, aspects of breadmaking...certainly in the understanding of dough fermentation.   Maybe Mr. Forkish will sign up to TFL and come on to discuss this matter with you?

All good wishes

Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My understanding of the science is pretty commonsensical. To replicate and metabolize, yeast need food (including micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals) and need to be able to get at it. In a more liquid environment, the concentration of nutrients is lower, but it is easier to move around and get at what's there. Increased temperature speeds up the metabolic rate. It may also speed up movement, if only due to increased brownian motion. I don't know about that.

The down side of liquid media is that the nutrients get used up more quickly, so they need to be refreshed more often.

I believe what I have encountered is that the increase in metabolic rate with increased temperature is very steep. How much of this is attributable to the faster rate of increase in yeast population and how much to metabolic rate, I don't know. But it really doesn't matter as much in a final dough as it does in a pre-ferment.

You discussed another factor that I had not considered. I have been doing 2 to 3 times as many stretch and folds each time as Forkish prescribes. That is, Forkish recommends going around the dough in about 5 folds (as in pre-shaping a boule) 2 to 4 times during bulk fermentation, depending on the bread. I tend to continue the folding until I feel the dough getting tight. That might be 12 to 15 folds. Could my excess folding be oxygenating the dough to the point it is also speeding up fermentation? 

The combination of science, craft and nurturance in bread baking is what makes it so compelling for me.

I have thought it might be fun to have Ken Forkish participating in this discussion. I could try to invite him, or maybe the invitation should come from Floyd.

I really appreciate your kind words and your willingness to respond to questions in such detail.

Best regards,

David

ananda's picture
ananda

So David,

I think your commonsensical explanation is great.   To help you answer your question, I have 2 for you:

If you didn't fold the dough to the degree that you do, would you be confident in having sufficient strength in the dough to be able to mould it up as beautifully as you did?

Would you not fear that fermentation could become too compromised if there remained excess carbon dioxide in the dough? eg Ciabatta would ordinarily be made with a yeasted biga, and bulk time of 2, maybe 3 hours, no more.   You are trying to extend the bulk time here.

And another thing to think on in light of your discussion with Josh on DDT.   They say that for every 1*C divergence from the DDT, you will generate 6% more, or, less [depending on whether you are over, or under target] gas.   So Josh is very right to point that one out.

The dough temperature calculation is always worth doing.   But, you need to know your mixer, as the frictional heat rise due to mixing is always the most difficult to get right.   If you mix by hand, then that's pretty easy.   If you use a Kitchen Aid, then reach for the ice bucket!

Best wishes

Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you didn't fold the dough to the degree that you do, would you be confident in having sufficient strength in the dough to be able to mould it up as beautifully as you did?

Well, it's a matter of degree, isn't it? I do like having a more spherical boule. I think I am pretty much optimizing dough strength with my current routine. It would be a very easy experiment to cut back on S&F's and assess the change in loaf profile and the change in fermentation speed. I better work on consuming the bread in my freezer first. ;-)

Would you not fear that fermentation could become too compromised if there remained excess carbon dioxide in the dough? eg Ciabatta would ordinarily be made with a yeasted biga, and bulk time of 2, maybe 3 hours, no more.   You are trying to extend the bulk time here.

Here's another thought about that: I believe it was Hamelman who said one should never let a pain au levain dough ferment for more than an hour without folding it. I can't find that in the 2nd edition of Bread. Now that I think about it, maybe it was Frank Sally at SFBI who said that. Anyway, Hamelman prescribes spacing out S&F's evenly, not all in the first hour of bulk fermentation as Forkish recommends, and none of his bulk fermentation times are really long. So, it's not just how many folds, it's their timing.  I'm pretty sure Hamelman would not like Forkish's procedure. And I don't think decreasing folding would be his preferred method of prolonging fermentation.

Re. DDT: Here's the calculation I didn't do before:

Calculation of water temperature to achieve DDT = 77 dF

 231 dF - Base temperature (DDT x number of factors = 77 x 3 = 231)

-78 dF - Room temperature

-78 dF - Flour temperature

-0 dF - Friction Factor (with hand mixing)

----------

75 dF = Water temperature

Forkish is recommending water temperatures of 85 to 90 dF. He assumes that the dough will cool down some during the autolyse. If room temperature is 78 dF, obviously, the dough isn't going to cool much. On a previous bake, I used water at 63 dF, and still got accelerated fermentation.

It really does look like something is screwy. He cannot be using the same calculation of water temperature I learned, or he keeps his flour in the freezer. Or something .... 

David

ananda's picture
ananda

may be screwy, David,

but it isn't your baking.   Maybe Mr. Forkish isn't as good at making kicking leavens as you are???

Take care

Andy

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

David. - you beat me to the punch. This bread is on my short list of new formulas (formulae?) to try. Your results appear, as usual, very encouraging and inspiring. Thanks for decreasing my anxiety level!

Sjadad

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I had quite a start when I arrived home to find the dough about to overflow the container, which should have been big enough for a much larger batch of dough. So, if your kitchen is over 70 dF, my advice is, "Don't leave your dough unattended." 

Anyway, I am happy with the bread, and I expect you will be too. But let us know how it turns out for you.

Happy baking!

David

fibbity3's picture
fibbity3

wow quadrupling in 3.5 hours is impressive. I've been making breads from FWSY for a few months and have more or less followed his schedule for bulk fermentation and proofing. I'm not sure if your levain is that much more active, but mine seems to require the full amount of time to reach the desired volume. I've also noticed your loaves have a much nicer round shape and better oven spring than mine do, could that be due to overproofing? The temperatures in my kitchen this time of year is in the low-mid 70's. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Certainly, starter activity is one important variable. My kitchen has been running around 78 dF. In the 65 to 80 dF range, as small change makes a surprisingly big difference. I will have a better handle on this in another 6 weeks or so, when I expect the temperature to cool down. 

Over-proofing would be associated with poorer oven spring. Really good loaf shaping - getting a good, tight gluten sheath - helps support the loaf's shape and can improve oven spring.  And that requires really good gluten development, which happens during bulk fermentation with your stretching and folding. I do more S&F's each time than Forkish prescribes, andI have been shaping really tight boules. They don't spread out hardly at all when I transfer them to the combo cookers. 

Hope this helps.

David

fibbity3's picture
fibbity3

yea my dough is often difficult to get into the dutch oven because it spreads out so much as soon as I take it out of the proofing basket. I will work on my S&F's and folding techniques. Thank you so much for your advice David! 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I'm not sure if this follows fact but when my baking kitchen is running hot and the doughs are moving fast the wetter the dough the more dramatic the acceleration.  Just a note and something worth looking deeper into. Does Forkish give DDT and temps to bulk ferment in?  It could be that he aims for his doughs in the lower 70's (72-73).  I've noticed dramatic differences in dough that is handled at 73 then 75 then 78.  Its quite amazing what just a few degrees can do in the case of bread.  Fortunate as you said you are not baking commercially and you get to have fun with it.  Its sure hectic when this happens in the shop.  

Regardless another fantastic loaf and I bet that warm bulk ferment created quite the flavor profile. 

Josh

PS:  Are you still using fresh ground grains?  That would also increase fermentation times wouldn't it?  Just a thought.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your experience certainly is like mine. Look at Andy's response, above.

Forkish does give a DDT - 77-78 dF. He also prescribes mixing both the levain and final dough with warm water. Hmmm ... Since the calculation of water temperature (which I never actually do) takes into account flour and room temperatures, I wonder how this would turn out if I actually did the calculation. Gotta do this!

I have not been using fresh-ground grains for these breads.

These breads have had outstanding flavor. They may be more sour than some would like, but there is a lot of complexity and sweetness underneath. I just had some of this bread toasted and lightly buttered for breakfast. If I didn't know better, I would think it had some sweetener in the dough. It is still a little sour, but I would describe it as "mellow."

David

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Want to stick to a formula from a new book to the "T" but when it comes to dough temps I like to do the math because it is common that our ingredients and rooms are at different temps.  

After reading through I think since you broke his folding technique may quite well be the reason your dough had the ability to quadruple and not be the failure you anticipated.  Had you folded the dough the way he specified and the dough still continued at the accelerated speed (maybe it wouldn't have with less folding) then your dough would not have had the strength to maintain itself.  I've made the mistake of giving a dough an extra fold and/or missing a fold and have certainly noticed huge changes in the dough characteristics.  In fact this has led to changes in formulas to either add or retract a s/f to the process.  Okay those were the instance of good results. its also crippled some doughs along the way.  

While I continue to study the science of bread I'm not a science geek and it comes slow so I very much balance this with hands on "touch and feel" to guide me as well.  I'm currently under the assumption that the slower and more gentle we develop gluten the more viable it becomes.    You were able to slowly develop this dough to what we might assume is its absolute greatness.  I mean you quadrupled a 75% whole wheat and got fantastic results with a wonderful open crumb.  Before long we'll be making beautiful loaves with Pastry Flour via technique and getting all we can from what little gluten is available.  

As Andy pointed out a few times you are an excellent baker and you've taken this formula and turned it into your own.  Brings me back to the idea that any single formula can create oodles of varieties of bread.  In many cases all great in their own right.  

I'm loving your "battle" with FWSY and look forward to more. 

Josh

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Stretch and folding effects are simply magic. 

This has been a most peculiar battle. Usually when a recipe "doesn't work," the result is a failure. These failures are so delicious, it's downright confusing. It reminds me of the blues verse, "I've been down so long, it looks like up to me." 

As long as the failures are as tasty as they have been to date, I'll keep "fighting." 

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that 'if loving this is wrong, then I don't want to be right!'   If you can over ferment to a quadruple and get great results like that then .....Better to just go along for the ride.  This bread has to taste great too...and with high moderate sour ...just yummy!  I would still dump the yeast as it seems to just be getting in the way....

I also think I see the mark of Zorro with no slashing required.  Now that is real talent!  Well done David 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

NanusT's picture
NanusT

Looks superb! You keep inspiring me; I'll have to try this one too now :)

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You're not inspired just because the dough volume quadrupled, are you? ;-)

David

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

Great to see a TFL Master so thoughtfully working through FWSY.  It was Breadsong's post of that 75%WW that motivated me to put FWSY on my Christmas list last year (though I have yet to try that formula).  Yours looks great, although certainly different from her rendition.  I found that Forkish's prescription of heating up water beforehand to assure his DDTs really kickstarted the bulks every time.  I haven't been doing that since summer heat came on here in the midwest, lest my dough similarly quadruple almost beyond retrieval.

But you haven't mentioned:  Were you using your ODO Sprouted WW PEF here (still ducking sanctions from BBGA)?  That could certainly have contributed to the runaway fermentation you successfully reeled back into your very successful bake.

Cheers,

Tom

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The WW flour was a fine milled organic WW flour from Giusto's that WFM has in its bulk foods section. I really like this flour. It gives me a more open crumb than coarser WW flours, and the breads I have made with it all have tasted great.

I have to look up Breadsong's post. Thanks for alerting me to it.

David

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

There are lots of information to digest when reading your discussion with Andy. It is an interesting topic so I am better to bookmark this to read them all over again. :)  I have been following your SFSD series and now FWSY series too!

The loaf look great. So is there any rye flour in this 75% whole wheat loaf?

Annie

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Andy's a great resource, and I always learn from discussing baking issues with him.

There is no rye in this bread other than a possible trace, since there is 10% rye in my stock starter. 

David