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White Flour Warm-Spot Levain from FWSY

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

White Flour Warm-Spot Levain from FWSY

White Flour Warm-Spot Levain from Flour Water Salt Yeast 

February 12, 2014

On my way to the Pizza section towards the back of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast a few days ago, I stopped in the “Advanced Levain Dough” chapter (Chapter 11) to see what Forkish regarded as more “advanced” than the other breads in his book. There are just two formulas in the chapter, and both are different mainly in calling for more frequent levain feedings. I was reminded of the day in the San Francisco Baking Institute Artisan II (Sourdough Baking) workshop when we made 4 breads which differed primarily in the levain feeding schedule. The one with the best flavor was made with a liquid levain fed twice a day. The aim was to bring out the maximum flavor from the wheat itself, unmasked by excessive acetic acid sourness or off flavors from over-fermented levain. It was an impressive demonstration.

Anyway, rather than making pizza dough, I made one of the “advanced levain” breads which Forkish calls a “White Flour Warm-Spot Levain.” This bread is made with a levain that is fed 3 times over 2 days before mixing in the final dough. These builds are supposed to be fermented at a warm temperature. I used my Brød & Taylor Proofing Box set at 85 dF.  I modified the schedule Forkish gives just a bit to accommodate other obligations, but I don't think those changes impacted the quality of the product.

 

It has been a very long time since I have made a lean bread with no whole grain flour. In fact, my taste has evolved in the direction of preferring higher proportions of whole grains than formerly. But, I have to say, this bread is a paragon of its type. It is delicious. I think the photos show the pale yellow color of the crumb. This is from the carotenoid pigments in the flour which are oxidized by machine mixing. The crust of this bread was crunchy and sweet. The crumb was very open. (The loaves felt very light for their size.) It was tender and only a bit chewy. The flavor was complex and sweet with a hint of the mellow tang of lactic acid. My wife, who seldom eats more than half a slice of bread at a meal, had her half slice with a bowl of bean soup. Then she had the other half. As I was clearing the table after lunch, I heard the unmistakable sound of a crunchy loaf being sliced and saw her walking off with another slice (minus a big bite) in her hand. Not a word of the “put more whole grain flour in it” mantra.

 Now, I will have to make the other “advanced” levain in the chapter, which does have some whole wheat flour and could certainly be made with even more.

 

Before having this bread with lunch, I had planned to give a little update on what I've been baking since my last blog entry. Here are some photos and some comments on those breads:

 

Jewish Sour Rye after Greenstein and Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour from Hamelman's Bread

The Pain au Levain was made following Hamelman's formula and procedures, but the rye had a few tweaks that are worth mentioning. The formula I developed from the one in Secrets of a Jewish Baker can be found in Jewish Sour Rye. I build up my rye sour in 3 builds, essentially doubling each time, up to something like 800 to 1000 g. This time, I fed the second build with Bob's Red Mill "Dark Rye," which is a fine-milled whole rye flour. The other two builds were fed KAF Medium Rye. So, the breads had more whole grain rye than usual and were darker and more intensely flavored.

Secondly, I used Sir Lancelot (high-gluten) flour rather than First Clear flour. I think this made for a dryer dough and also a stronger dough. That may have contributed to the absence of any "blowouts," which I usually get with this bread. But I also let the loaves proof a little more completely than usual, which also contributed to the lack of blowouts. 

The third change is one I had been wanting to try for a long time and finely remembered to do: I usually bake this bread at 375 dF for 35 to 45 minutes. This time, following a procedure Hamelman uses for light rye breads, I baked at 460 dF for 15 minutes and then at 440 dF for another 20-25 minutes. I got of firmer, darker crust. I think I prefer this procedure.

 

Last Sunday, we had dinner with a couple with whom we share a love of Northern Italy. They cooked dinner, and I contracted to bake some bread. I chose to bake the Pain de Campagne from FWSY, modified to use 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% Rye flour. This has become one of my favorite breads. it is actually quite similar in flavor to the Hamelman Pain au Levain with WW flour, pictured above. 

They say "man cannot live by bread alone." I'm not sure this is what that means, but I cannot make bread alone. I don't have Ian or dbm's kind of help, but I do have ....

Happy baking!

David

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

while David,  All of it just perfect and so professionally done by a dedicated armature.  Many pro's can't do it this well especially without an apprentice or 6 under foot:-)   You coffee is probably as smart as my apprentice but she dose have her  moments of formula flame...

Well done indeed David and happy baking.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Wow.  just Wow.  Your FWSY warm spot levain is so very appealing, wonderfully rustic and beautiful.  I chuckled when I read about your wife's second slice- what a good recommendation.  Like you, I tend to make breads with more whole or high extraction flours, but every once in a while a wonderfully made white bread is a treat.  

Loved reading about your modifications to the sour rye- Hamelman would argue that the gluten in first clear flour lacks tolerance and is inferior.  Interesting to hear about your experience with the substitution.

The Hamelman SD loaves are sublime.  

And now I have coffee envy :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

For the compliments and for your comments.

I think it was Pat who once wrote something like, "If Jeffrey Hamelman and I disagree, Jeffrey Hamelman is always right." However, I don't disagree. The thing is First Clear flour has a distinctive flavor of its own. If you grew up on Jewish Sour Rye, that flavor may be part of what makes a loaf "authentic" to your taste. Be that as it may, I have already departed from tradition by using a more complete rye flour than white rye. I happen to prefer the fuller flavor of the rye.

David

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I should have known that the beautiful boule that caught my eye on the home page was yours!  You are certainly a talented baker. Your bread must rival the best bakeries in the world. Please tell me that it is years of experience and I might one day hope to pull something as beautiful from my own oven if I just keep practising. I wish we could taste via the internet!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I did some bread baking in the 1970's but really didn't get into it (after a 30 year hiatus) until about 6 years ago. I have taken a couple of workshops at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and they taught me a lot. However, I must honestly say that I probably learned most from other bakers on TFL and from reading bread books, some over and over.

In music and calligraphy, two of my other avocations, the best teachers put a lot of emphasis on "critical practicing." In other words, pay attention to what you are doing, and, when things don't turn out as good as you wish, figure out why and correct your errors. Don't keep making the same mistakes over and over. I've found the same principle applies to bread making. And, just as knowledge of music theory and music history helps the musician perform better, so understanding of bread science and bread history/traditions helps the baker, professional or serious home baker.

So, yes. Keep practicing, but practice reflectively and based on knowledge of why you are doing what you are doing.

<Lecture ends here>

Happy baking!

David

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Then a lot of practice and better concentration will be my lot! I have always thought there is often more to be learned from my mistakes than my successes, but watching someone skilled at work is one of my favourite ways to learn. I have always found that they do things that they are often not even aware of themselves, and when I ask why, they generally give an excellent reason, but it has become so second nature to them that they don't think to mention it. I would love some proper lessons. Having said that, I have to agree with your statement about TFL, I don't think any course, however good, could impart the wealth of information to be found here. In the meantime, I will enjoy looking with envy at your beautiful loaves!

isand66's picture
isand66

David, if your wife went back for seconds and thirds you know you are doing something right!  I usually have to beg to get mine to even try my bread...so kudos to you!

I really like the look of that KF bread at the beginning of your post and will give that one a try soon.

Great tips about the rye...I can't get myself to start off my deli ryes at that low a temperature either and prefer the temperature range you mentioned.

Thanks as always for sharing.

Ian

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Wow, I just love the very nice photo's, especially the delicious crumb shots.  The finale looks just like the books photo.  Nicely written review of the breads.  I hope you found time to go onward to having a little pizza in the house too!

Sylvia 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pizza's still pending, but not forgotten!

David

isand66's picture
isand66

Let's try this again....if your better half goes back for seconds or thirds you know you're doing something right!  I can barely get mine to even try my breads so I would probably die from shock if this were to happen to me.  Anyway I really like the way that KF loaf looks and have to try that one soon.

I too can't bring myself to bake a rye loaf at such a low temperature and follow a similar temperature plan.  I used my own freshly milled rye flour in my last deli rye and lived the way it came out.

Regards

Ian 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My wife is definitely more discriminating than I, so these behaviors (differences in quantity of breads consumed) are meaningful. The principal meaning is that I'm likely to bake a bread she seems to enjoy more more often.

I've baked that Sour Rye at 375 dF for years, and it's always been good. It just might be better baked at a higher temperature. 

Man, you are reminding me I want to get back to milling at least some of the flour I use.

David

chouette22's picture
chouette22

the one made with the warm-spot levain (great pictures too) and I am really intrigued by it! That crumb!! I don't have the book (yet), but ordered it at my library yesterday to check it out (I have hesitated to add yet one more bread book to my collection). 

There is this German bread blog I follow, "Hefe und mehr," and the baker, a Ph. D. in microbiology, has experimented several times with what she calls a sweet starter, explaining also some of its scientific qualities. These types of sweet starters (also called Italian starters) are typically used for making panettones and pandoros, but she has used it as well for an experiment for baguettes as well as regular breads. According to her descriptions, her starter is handled very similarly to your levain, she refreshes it at 4 hour intervals and maintains it at 30C. Once ready, it is apparently super powerful.

Your barista talent is fantastic!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Ken Forkish says this starter feeding routine came from a bakery in Northern California that uses it for baguettes. I had thought I might use half the dough for baguettes but made two boules. Next time, I will try it for baguettes.

David