The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan II workshop

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Today, we mixed and baked ciabattas and challah, neither of them sourdough. We mixed and shaped olive bread, walnut raisin bread and miche to be retarded tonight and baked tomorrow. We also scaled ingredients and mixed pre-ferments for baguettes to make tomorrow. The baguettes will be made with two pre-ferments – a pâte fermentée and a liquid levain. The doughs for the ciabatta and for the miche were hand mixes, and all the levains were mixed by hand.



Scaling water for the miche mix



Hand mixing dough for the miches


Frank had us make 6-strand challah but he also demonstrated a variety of other braids. His challot are pictures of perfection. (Mine are pictures of squid who ate some special mushrooms.)



Challah pieces ready to be rolled into strands fro braiding



Frank's challot, ready to be egg washed prior to proofing



Frank's challot, baked



Challah crumb



My Ciabattas and Challot 





Stretch and fold



Dividing ciabatta dough



Placing ciabatta on the proofing board



Ciabatta baking in the deck oven



Ciabatta crumb


Both the ciabatta and the challah are delicious. I'm looking forward to the breads we are baking tomorrow.


We spent all day in the bakery and only were in the classroom to list our tasks for the day, first thing in the morning. Most of Frank's teaching dealt with dough handling issues, but I picked up a couple pearls worth sharing.


I asked him about how levain is calculated differently from other pre-ferments. (See my blog entry for Artisan II-Day 3.) Here's the answer: It's a matter of convention. Levain and other pre-ferments can be calculated either as a percent of dry flour weight in the final dough or in terms of the percent of pre-fermented flour in the total dough. No big deal. Your choice.


Frank also made two interesting comments as we were scaling and shaping the miches. The first was that long loaves like bâtards have a more open crumb structure than boules made with the same dough. I have found that to be true but attributed it to my shaping skills. The second was that the size of the loaf has a significant impact on flavor. I had also observed this with the miche from BBA which I made once as two 1.5 lb boules, which had a different flavor from the 3 lb miches I usually make. Again, I didn't generalize from that one experience at the time. Interesting, eh?


I am anxious to get home and practice some of the skills I've acquired before I lose them.


David


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Today, we mixed and baked four types of bread – whole wheat, rye, multi-grain and semolina. We also scaled ingredients for tomorrow's breads – ciabatta, challah (non-sourdough), olive, raisin-walnut and miche, some of which will be retarded overnight and baked Friday.


The educational goal of today's bakes was to demonstrate the impact of different ingredients such as whole grains and seeds on fermentation rates, dough consistency, crumb structure, etc.



Some of my breads from today's bakes


Personally, I found the sourdough whole wheat and rye rather un-exceptional. The multi-grain made with levain was much superior to the one we made with commercial yeast in Artisan I. (It's going to be my breakfast bread tomorrow.) The semolina bread was difficult to handle – a very slack, sticky dough that fermented and proofed really fast – but was the best bread of this type I've tasted. It was very similar to the semolina bread in Maggie Glezer's “Artisan Breads,” for those of you familiar with that wonderful bread.


In the classroom, most of the time was spent discussing retardation of the 3 types covered in AB&P – basically, retardation during bulk fermentation, retardation of formed loaves and retardation and proofing in a cabinet which allows you to warm the product after a period of cold retardation. The advantages and disadvantages of each were covered, as was the types of breads for which each is best suited.


I think I learned the most in the bakery today. The highlights for me were a better grasp on a way to shape bâtards and how to make a chevron cut correctly, two techniques of which I had a poor understanding, in retrospect.



Frank's breads. He made these to demonstrate pre-shaping and shaping. At the end of the day, we sliced one of each type for our tasting and discussion.



Some of the other students' ryes with creative scoring patterns, on the loader ready to bake.



Frank's rye breads, with various scoring. (The rye breads were scored prior to the final proof.)


The whole wheat breads were dusted with flour prior to scoring. Some had a cooling rack placed over them as a sort of template before dusting which makes an pleasing design on the loaves.





 


Frank also discussed more about using baker's math with levains and spoke to a question that Pat raised in a reply to my blog of yesterday. He said that, when you work with preferments like poolish, you think in terms of the percent of prefermented flour in a formula. When working with levains, you think of the levain as a percent of the final dough's dry flour. He didn't go into detail regarding the reason for this difference. I could speculate, but I'd rather try to get him to explain his reasons tomorrow.


David


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