The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

boule

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have been baking larger (2# ) loaves of rustic Italian formula free form recently. I decided to double the mix and drag out the large linen basket and try one more time to get the proofing right. Usually I over proof and the dough falls with a thud as I approach the slashing table with bare blades. I have been following Mariana's procedure for crusty Italian and my handling of the dough has been more on the gentle side with a strict 1 hour limit on the bulk ferment.

I had just watched a video of a french baker demonstrating how he shapes, slashes and handles his large boules. He bounced the boule out of the basket and onto the peel, slashed with confidence and into the oven. Very inspirational with little care of over handling. So I dumped the proofed dough out and slashed like I knew what I was doing and--well it worked out pretty well.
4# Crusty Boule4# Crusty Boule

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zolablue's picture
zolablue

I baked this very large, rustic Italian loaf (pagnotta) a couple weeks ago from Daniel Leader’s wonderful new book, Local Breads, page 197.  He states that it is to bake until almost black or charred for the most authentic loaf.  I didn’t go quite that far but you can see it developed a lot of color which I always prefer in my loaves.

 

 

I generally don’t bake the large boules since there are only two of us rather I prefer to divide a larger recipe and make more loaves so I can share them.  At any rate, I wanted to try the large boule and it was quite an impressive loaf.  (It reminded me of a fully expanded Jiffy Pop for those of you that can relate to that visual.) 

 

 

It is renowned in Italy for its great keeping quality, staying fresh up to 7 days.  Unfortunately, ours was not entirely eaten, I hate to admit, but it did allow me to see just how long it stays moist and fresh as is its reputation.  Nearly 10 days after baking it I was shocked to see that the bread still appeared very moist and had no signs of mold having been kept at room temperature in a KAF bread bag.

 

The recipe uses a biga naturale which Leader calls “Italian sourdough” and also uses a very small amount of commercial yeast.  I’m not sure why the instant yeast is there but that is the recipe.  I do not add commercial yeast to my sourdoughs but I wanted to bake it the first time following the recipe.  I would really like to try it again without the addition of the instant yeast to see what happens.

 

The flour in the recipe, except for the sourdough, is all high gluten for which I used Sir Lancelot high gluten flour.  The bran sprinkled on the top makes a really beautiful loaf although it is very messy to cut but very well worth it.  I would like to incorporate that in other loaves for the beautiful texture it creates. 

 

 

The crumb had a beautiful color and texture.

 

 

The Genzano Country Bread was a lot of fun to bake, wonderful tasting and seems an easy recipe for a great boule.  I hope you give it a try.

 

More photos can be seen here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3585722#203734681

  
Joe Fisher's picture

Those look good enough to eat!

August 6, 2007 - 7:26pm -- Joe Fisher

If you saw my previous picture, you know my starter is alive and well! It's escape attempt was so inspiring I decided to bake, even though it's been in the 80's and disgustingly humid lately.

I ended up producing two of the most beautiful loaves I've ever made. Great oven spring, good hard crust with those bubbles and blisters I've been trying to duplicate since visiting Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

I think it was Susan that begged for bubbles. :>) Well here it is! My basic SD bread formula slashed with custom sharpened cookie cutters!

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yesterday morning I started a batch of my basic all white SD dough. I had meant to include some white ww and a little rye for flavor but I was having a senior moment and so today we are enjoying white sourdough. I have been experimenting with varying the amount of starter in the batch to effect the final consistency. I find that the smaller the amount of starter I use, the more slack the dough is when it's time to form. With that in mind one could simply add more flour to stiffen up the dough but in my experience the condition of the starter is not a stable value so my thought is that I should learn to adjust the amount of starter based on how healthy it is at the moment to arrive at a consistency I can work with.

Today I am using 50g of active starter to rise 1100g of AP flour (Harvest King) at 65% hydration which works out to 710g of water. This is double the amount I have been using for this bread. The usual 2% salt is 22g. I mixed all ingredients in a bowl by hand and frisaged on the counter, gathered into a ball and let it rest for an hour covered.

After the rest, the dough is smooth and elastic. I now get to enjoy the maneuver I feel is the single most helpful in the kneading step, the French Fold. In just a few moments of French folding one can transform a slack untrained mass into a well formed and tensioned dough. There used to be a video here showing this maneuver but alas I think it was taken down by the poster. Anyway the bulk ferment is planned for 12 hours in the oven with the light on.

Dividing, shaping, PAUSE 10 mins, and shape into boules for the final proof of about 1 hour. With a little creative cutting of parchment I can manage to get two boules in the oven on a cookie sheet. I boiled a cup of water and placed it in the oven alongside the dough. After an hour, I pulled the water glass, slashed and baked from cold at 425F for 30 minutes + -.

The dough spread like a turtle and I feared I would be submitting these as "out takes" but to my constant surprise the oven sprung as advertised and all is well after all.

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This is another in my series of large boules of whole grain sourdough. I may have finally found a way to make a crumb to complex. Using perhaps more rye than I should have, this is a little more dense than I like but still flavorful. My wife made me a tool to create a round slash for the top. She is an artist with all the skills to make what ever tools she needs for sculpting or jewelry making. I was doubtful that it work but alas, the proof is here for all to see. I'm resisting the call for a polka dot pattern (artists are a demanding lot).

Today I will be starting some Tomsbread 100%WW. I think I have decided that it is better from the standpoint of flavor to to use fewer types of flour and therefore develop a more distinct taste that can be identified. The same is true in European style cooking. Some of the best dishes I make are simple distinctive flavors that stand out on their own. Pizza is a good example I think and Focaccia with a little olive oil and tomato/balsamic vinegar topping. Or maybe a slice of Ciabatta dipped in expensive olive oil. Mmmm delicious!

ehanner's picture

My Daily Bread

April 22, 2007 - 10:54am -- ehanner

My daily bread,

I wrote an entry into my new blog today which I plan on continuing. I thought I would post this so Susan doesn't think I can only bake pale boules compared to some of the magnificient images I have seen here. I tend to find a way to bake 3-4 times a week now that I have the work flow figured out. So, if you have an interest in seeing more of "My Daily Bread", check it out.

Eric

 

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yesterday morning I was busy feeding starters and I recalled some recent mentions on the forum about using the excess starter instead of discarding it. I decided to quickly put twice the amount I normally use (100g) into a bowl and start a soaker for later. My starter was very happy, bubbling away and smelled great! So I weighed out 200g and finished feeding the boys.

When I got around to finishing the soaker, I decided to make a SF style 50% whole grain combination using a "everything but the kitchen sink" blend. This is a highly random selection whatever I see in the flour pantry and never ever gets measured, except that the total weight equals the AP weight. A look at today's gumbo; WW, white WW, rye, seven grain mix, wheat germ and milled flax. This was a lean mix with no oil or malt or honey. I set the hydration at 85% based on the total flour weight and set it in an 80f spot for the day.

I managed to remember to stretch and fold once before I started my Saturday run around routine. Today was going to be a challenge to get everything accomplished and still do justice to the bread. Off to deliver 2 lap tops, repair a stubborn router, bank, take daughter bowling, Stretch and fold, drive to Milwaukee with son to move band equipment, another stretch and fold, groceries an pick up a pizza (no energy for home baked tonight).

A side note; My son is an aspiring musician. He teaches/plays the saxophone and most everything with a reed, flute and guitar. While Jazz is his passion, rock and roll funk style is the band focus. The drummer is a tall good looking boy who is a self described Vegan. My son tells me he is struggling trying to find tasty food that fits the vegan profile. Always looking for a justified excuse to bake something I decide to look into what this means. From initial research it looks like most of my breads would qualify since I don't add butter or milk as a general rule and honey is my sweetener of choice. Maybe I could just make most of my breads "OK for Vegans". The Tomsbread style 100% WW would be a hit for sure.

After dinner I declared the bulk ferment finished. One last fold and a decision about the final consistency of the dough. I added a little more flour at the last s&f so it's now about 80% hydrated. Formed into a boule and set on parchment for a free form proofing. My daughter had a friend over for the evening so they picked the movie. Had to be a thriller sci-fi flick for them. Movie's over and the oven is heating up again.  Checker board slash, hold my breath (no it didn't fall on slashing) and into the oven. Tonight I'm ignoring all the steaming gadgets/covers and unceremoniously toss a 1/2C of hot water onto the brick in the bottom of my oven. Quick cover the vent and set the timer for 10 minutes so I don't forget the towel covering the vent. Another 13 minutes and it looks done. The question now is will 2 teenage girls let it alone long enough to cool?. I better take the picture now, just in case!

It looks about right but I could of rotated it for a more even browning.

Look at that structure! I might try and remember how I did this! I do love the taste of whole grains caramelized on the outside and chewy in the inside.  

 

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I've been real busy the past few weeks so have not been online much, but did make time to bake each weekend.

Back in Feb., I was lamenting that my Thom Leonard boules, which I had been making successfully for weeks, were suddenly getting overproofed and collapsing when hitting the hot stone (thread here). I was wondering if it was my switch to 100% organic King Arthur Artisan flour, or if my starter is getting too strong and acidic. I took the advice people here gave me about folding the dough more and paying attention to shaping better. So I did a test to see if the flour played a role or not, but also incorporated the advice given on folding, and I was careful to ferment them at about 70-75F rather then 80-85F as done earlier. To see if my flour switch played a role, I bought some regular King Arthur AP flour and made two batches of the Leonard loaf side by side, one batch with KA organic artisan flour and the other with the KA AP. I folded each batch 4 times, 30 minutes apart during the first bulk fermentation. I also carefully shaped each loaf into a tight boule, rested for 10 min., then placed in the bannetons, and I could not believe how high the loaves rose during the final proof, after only 3 hours:

I was in for even more surprise when I baked them - the oven spring was HUGE. Here are the loaves made with the King Arthur 100% organic artisan flour on the left (oval shape), and to the right are the ones made with the King Arthur AP flour (round shape). No discernable difference in the quality of the rise, oven spring, or crumb structure, they all came out excellent, and all because I paid a lot more attention to proper folding and shaping, and note that these were wet doughs:

I also retarded 2 of the loaves in the frig for about 6 hours before baking right out of the cold frig and into the hot oven, and got equally huge oven spring as for the ones I did not retard.

Here is the crumb shot of yet another batch a week later done by the same folding/shaping method, but using King Arthur organic whole wheat flour for 30% of the flour in the recipe (I have not been able to get that yin/yang symbol again in my bread that JMonkey likes though, ha!):

Conclusion of the experiment: My earlier overproofing problems were not due to the KA organic flour. It performed equally as well as the KA AP flour. The extra folding of the wet dough, and tighter shaping of the boules seemed to make all the difference, plus probably cooling the fermenting temps down to 70-75F I think helped. Thanks especially to gt and Bill Wraith for pointing out my lack of folding as being the main culprit. I've been having consistently great outcome with this recipe ever since.

I also made some sourdough spelt blueberry flaxseed muffins. These rose nice and high, but needed a little more sweetening and perhaps a bit more salt than my usual recipe calls for, probably because of the extra liquid and flour brought in by the sourdogh levain, otherwise they were quite nice. Somehwhat dense due to 100% spelt flour, including in the levain. The regular recipe for my muffins is here, but I modified it by expanding my regular batter white SD starter with 1 c. spelt flour and 1 c water (similar to how the King Arthur baking book makes a levain for sourdough waffles), which replaces the same amount of flour and liquid (oil) in the original recipe. Then followed the orginal recipe using baking soda rather then powder to get even more rise. Next time I will add a bit more oil, brown sugar, and salt:

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