The Fresh Loaf

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wally's picture

My Excellent Adventure at King Arthur Flour

July 27, 2009 - 3:00pm -- wally

In response to a prior post where I mentioned my recent experience at King Arthur Flour, David (dmsynder) kindly suggested a fuller account of the class, and was even kind enough (at my urging) to provide a list of topics I should include. I've attempted in what follows to touch on all of them, if in revised (and perhaps stream-of-consciousness) order.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Shiao-Ping's blog entry on James McGuire's Pain de Tradition  certainly stimulated a lot of interest. I made the sourdough version a couple days ago. Today, I made the straight dough version.


The formula is in Shiao-Ping's posting. I followed it, changing only the flours. I used Giusto's Baker's Choice rather than KAF AP, and I used 10% KAF Organic White Whole Wheat. 


Shiao-Ping, in her excellent write up, mentioned that this dough could be used for baguettes. I was a bit skeptical regarding a 80% hydration dough for baguettes, but I gave it a try. 


The dough developed beautifully with the stretch and fold in the bowl procedure. By the 3 hour point, it had moderate gluten development and was already pulling away from the bowl. In my warm kitchen, it was quite puffy and expanded.


I treated the dough to pre-shaping and shaping as I would any straight dough. I lost some of the openness in the crumb, but it was still pretty nice. I baked at 460F with light steam. I removed the steaming skillet at 10 minutes. The baguette baked for 20 minutes, the bIatard for 30 minutes. The loaves were left in the oven for another 10 minutes with the oven off and the door ajar.



The cuts didn't open up as well as I had wished, but the crust ended up the closest to classic, crackly baguettes as any I've baked. The loaves sang for a long time, and the crust cracked during cooling, which I take as a positive sign of a thin, crisp crust.



As I said, the crumb was nice, but not as open as expected, given the high hydration. This may reflect my firm-handed pre-shaping and shaping. I may have erred on the side of under-steaming, too. I had proofed to 1.75 times the original volume. I feared over-proofing and may have slightly under-proofed. Oven spring was fast and large. 



Baguette Crumb



Bâtard Crumb


The flavor was amazing. It was wheaty and slightly sweet, and it had an almost herbal overtone and complexity of flavor I can't say I've ever tasting in a white wheat, straight dough bread before. Perhaps this was due to the White Whole Wheat. I'm sure the long fermentation played an important role. Whatever. The flavor was there in both breads. It was not there when I first tasted the baguette but developed about 3 hours after baking.


This is a remarkable bread.


I like the results from baking it at the higher temperature, especially on the crust crispness. A longer bake at a slightly  lower temperature is worth a try though. This is my new method to fiddle with on the continuing baguette quest for sure.


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I'd planned to do yet another bake of classic baguettes ala Hitz' formula, but after seeing and reading Pamela's blog entry a week ago, and after comparing Dan's formula with what I've been doing--they are very similar except for the liquid levain--I gave into my temptation and made the DiMuzio formula. The only change I made was to scale the formula to 1000g final dough weight (four 250g small baguettes) which isn't really a change, merely a diminuation. The DiMuzio formula calls for instant yeast, in addition to the liquid levain. I considered not using it, ultimately deciding to be faithful to the formula.


I prepared the liquid levain from my starter cache, using the 3-Build process I've made my own, over a nineteen hour interval. I mixed all ingredients together in my stand mixer for five minutes--bread hook, on lowest speed--then 3 minutes on second lowest speed, rested the dough 30 minutes, did a stretch & fold, and started to chill the dough for overnight retarded bulk fermation. I did two more S&F at 45 minute intervals before I was satisfied with the dough's development. Left to ferment overnight in the fridge, approximately 12 hours. Next morning, I divided the dough, and returned half to the refrigerator. I let the dough rest for thirty minutes. It didn't reach room temperature, but it had doubled in volume so I divided it again in two,  preshaped, rested 20 minutes, shaped, and proofed for an hour. Baked for 10 minutes, with steam, at 480*F, cleared the steam as much as possible, dropped the temperature to 450°F and baked further to 208°F internal temperature. I had decided to do the bake in two two-loaf batches. The one time I baked four baguettes simultaneously, despite the convection oven, I experienced uneven baking among the loaves.


Meanwhile, I'd removed the remaining dough from the refrigerator.


I was pleased, with the first batch's oven-spring, but one of the two loaves had a minor blowout. I'm still not confident my shaping and slashing is what it should be, and the visual results of the first two loaves didn't boast my confidence even an iota. I prepared and baked the second two loaves like the first batch with two planned changes--and one mistake. Planned: I allowed the shaped loaves to proof 15 minutes longer, and I slashed approximately 1/4 of an inch deeper than the first batch. Unplanned: In a senior moment, I forgot to lower the temperature to 450°F after the first ten minutes.  I think this only effected the crust thickness and color. The second two loaves are on the right in the picture below. I removed the loaves, like the first two, at 208°F internal temperature.


The crumb is all I could ask for, and the flavor, in my perspective, not surprisingly, is better than the poolish initiated baguettes I've been baking. Let me hasten to add, I love their flavor as well, but the sourdough levain adds complexity absent in the classic baguettes. I especially like the crust's nutty flavor bursts, and the chewier crumb. Furthermore, the flavor is only mildly sour.


So, I'll claim a conditioned success: Taste: A, Visual: C. Procedures: C+; I got a lot of them right, but not all of them. I've watched shaping and slashing video's and read shaping and slashing instructions ad nauseum, but my hands haven't yet developed the muscle memory to be able to do it rightly, without thinking about it. More practice, practice, practice. At least I've got lots of mouths that love to eat my bread, regardless of how it looks. I did, however, see one neighbor close her eyes while chewing a mouthful. I had assumed it was a gesture of ecstasy, and felt flattered, but maybe, that wasn't the real reason!


 



DonD's picture
DonD

This past weekend, I made a batch of Baguettes au Levain based on the recipe that Janedo had adapted from the Anis Bouabsa formula. This is my third try at this recipe and each time I tweaked it a little bit to correct some aspects that did not turned out to my liking. This time the loaves turned out pretty good with nice oven spring and airy crumb. The crust had nice golden color with small blisters, thin and crackly and deep caramel flavor. The taste was not sour but is rich and sweet with a slight tang.


The formula I used consists of:


- 125 g of stiff white flour levain at 67% hydration


- 300 g KAF AP Flour


- 150 g KAF Bread Flour


- 50 g Arrowhead Mills Organic Stoneground WW Flour


- 350 g water


- 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast


- 10 g Atlantic Sea Salt


I autolyse the flour mixture with the water without the yeast or salt for 30 mins prior to mixing in the levain, then added the yeast and the salt during the stretch and fold. I followed the 20 movements 3 times at 20 mins interval using the stretch and fold from Richard Bertinet (I like slapping the dough!). I let the dough ferment for 1 hr then refrigerate for 24 hours before dividing, shaping and baking.


I reduced the hydration to 70% to make the shaping and scoring of the baguettes easier. I also found that that little extra yeast really helps with the oven spring.


I proofed the shaped baguettes and scored them on a perforated pan lined with parchment paper which helps keep the shape, especially when working with a high hydration dough. To help me comtrol the scoring, I made a full size cardboard template as a guide while scoring.



I tranferred the loaves by sliding the parchment onto a jerry-rigged wooden peel made from a top cover of a Bordeaux wine case and from there onto the baking stone.



I baked 10 mins at 460 degrees F with steam from a cast iron pan filled with lava stones (thanks David!), reduce to 430 degrees and baked without steam for 13 mins, turned off oven and kept them in the oven with door ajar for another 5 mins ( thanks again David!) before removing them to cool on a rack.




 


I hope these little tidbits will be of help. Happy baking!


Don

Baker_Dan's picture
Baker_Dan

Hey everyone! I'm an avid reader as of a few days ago and finally decided to add some content! I"ve been baking at home for a couple years, attended Oregon Culinary Institute for Baking and Pastry, and now work in a test kitchen, baking up yummy deliciousness. I, as many others, have high hopes of someday opening my own bakery right here in Portland and focusing on artisan breads.


Last night I took one of my favorite Italian bread recipes and simply changed it from one loaf to three smaller baguettes. At the time of the picture, one had already been consumed by my girlfriend and a friend that was visiting. I've been working on getting my slashing down on baguettes and think that I finally nailed it here. Let me know what you think!


proth5's picture
proth5

 What is this?  Loaves made with commercial yeast, no pre-ferment, and all commercially ground flour?  I'm flashing back. 


 Must...use...only...iceberg...lettuce...in...the...salad.


 Can...not...find...love beads.


But I promised I would try this as part of the baguette surprise and challenge.  It was like riding a bike.  How fast those commercial yeasts do their little thing! (6 hours from scaling to bread and 2 of that was my slow mixing!)  How easy!


I made my standard baguette formula (65% hydration) adapted to commercial yeast.  I feel that my % of yeast - which was .5% - was a bit high, but looking at dmsynder's formula it seemed ok.


I did not use any whole wheat flour because I wanted to go "single factor" on this try - my sourdough baguettes vs. commercial yeast.


I've written up the technique and formula before and I followed it as only I can (like a maniac) - although I did have to adjust the timings for the bulk ferments (1 hour, fold, 1 hour) and proofing (40 minutes).  Shaping went "as usual" - I did not try to be especially light in my shaping although I have been told that I have a "light but firm" hand "naturally" (yeah, after years of practice...). I got a little distracted during the scoring, but steamed and baked as usual.


Oh my goodness!  The oven spring!  I remember when bread sprang quite like that!  This commercial yeast is the bee's knees! No wonder so many people use it!  Wow!


 Here' a picture of the cooling loaves where my haste in scoring is clearly evident.  But even so, the slashes opened well and have some nice grigne.  Alas, it seems that no yeast wild or commercial will improve my photography skills, though.


Cooling Loaves


 


I did NOT leave them in the turned off oven for 5 minutes, as again, I wanted to go all single factor on this.  When the loaves came out of the oven the crust was crackly and fragile.  I kept poking my fingers through it as I squeezed the loaves to test doneness and it came off in flakes.  As the loaves cooled, however, they lost the crackly quality somewhat.  I really think the slower cooling has some virtues and some role to play in that "crackly crust." (I also now think that excess steam is the culprit on cuts not opening...)


Here are a couple of crumb shots.  The crumb is not as open as my normal baguette, but it is not horrific.  The slashing flaws have a role to play there.


 Crumb End


Crumb


The bread had a "fluffy" feeling when I bit into it.  Very soft  and springy as compared to my normal levain baguette.


And the taste?  Well, bland.  Nice, sweet, wheaty, no hint of yeast, but bland.  This would make a lovely "carrier bread" as far as I am concerned - some really good butter and jam would go nicely and is almost required.  I'd gladly toast it up for a breakfast tartine.  Remember that I haven't eaten any breads not produced with wild yeast in at least three years now, so my perspective is somewhat skewed.  But so easy! This commercial yeast is the best things since - well, since sliced bread!


 (Seriously, you can see why bakers, pressed to get bread on the shelves for morning customers, embraced this marvelous yeast when it first appeared.  Taste?  Close enough.  People will eat it if that's all we sell and if we sell it warm, who will know?  For my personal baking I would never forgo the preferment - even using commercial yeast - because it is just so easy to do and can be done during non working hours.  But for speed from mixing to baked loaf after long centuries of baking with wild yeast, this must have been viewed with tremendous enthusiasm.)


At some point I will try the 10% whole wheat.  I mean, why not? The whole process is so fast...


David, I hope my experiences are helpful to you in some small way.


 Happy Baking!

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