The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh Milled

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PiPs

I have baked and baked. Through a long winter I baked. Early mornings in my cold dark kitchen I baked. Every weekend I baked. For my friends I baked. For my family I baked … it was the same bread that I baked.

The fresh smell of spring surrounds us and the star jasmine hanging on our back fence is about to flower and flood our senses further. On our small porch a tomato plant has been busily producing a steady supply of tasty treats. Bruschetta nights have never tasted better. Bushfires colour the air.

With the coming of spring has also come change—unplanned change and unpleasant change—change I must learn to embrace. Our graphic design studio within a government agency has been affected by workplace change and my work colleagues and I have become surplus to requirements. This uncertainty has been ongoing for the past few months and it now seems we finally have some resolution and closure—just in time for the fresh beginnings of spring.

Baking has been a constant throughout this stressful process. Every weekend I would mix large batches of ‘Pain au Levain’ using Gerard Rubaud’s method to share with friends and family. I might perhaps adjust the amount of the freshly milled wholegrain flours in the levain or final dough but I never strayed from the path of consistency.

But consistency requires change. Spring means temperatures have risen (good grief, it is 31°C today). My levain expands quicker and the doughs proof faster—I have to change to adapt.

Spring Levain (4 x 900g batards)

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

3600g

 

Total flour

2057g

100%

Total water

1543g

75%

Total salt

41g

2%

Pre-fermented flour

205g

10%

 

 

 

Levain – 5-6hrs 25°C

 

 

Previous levain build

77g

50%

Flour (I use a flour mix of 70% Organic plain flour, 18% fresh milled sifted wheat, 9% fresh milled sifted spelt and 3% fresh milled sifted rye)

156g

100%

Water

90g

58%

Salt

1g

1%

 

 

 

Final dough. DDT=25°C

 

 

Levain

323g

17%

Laucke Wallaby bakers flour

1575g

85%

Freshly milled spelt flour

277g

15%

Water

1425g

77%

Salt

40

2%

 

Method

  1. Mix levain and leave to ferment for 5-6 hours at 25°C
  2. Mill spelt flour and combine with bakers flour.  Mix with water holding back 100 grams of water.
  3. Autolyse for 5-6 hours.
  4. Add levain to autolyse then knead (french fold) for three mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 100 grams of water. Squeeze the salt and water through the dough to incorporate (the dough will separate then come back together smoothly). Remove from the bowl and knead a further three mins.
  5. Bulk ferment for four hours untouched—no stretch-and-folds!
  6. Divide. Preshape. Bench rest 30 mins. Shape into batards and proof in bannetons seam side up.
  7. Final proof was for 1.5 hours at 24°C before being placed in the fridge for 12hrs.
  8. Bring dough to room temperature for an hour while oven is preheating. Bake in a preheated oven at 250°C for 10 mins with steam then reduce temperature to 200°C for a further 30 mins.

It makes beautifully simple bread. Unfussy but elegant with a crust that shatters and sings—a silken crumb within.

So I continue to bake—and soon, who knows, maybe I will be baking even more that I could ever imagine :)

This post is dedicated to my amazing Miss Nat who watched over me and carried me through …  thank you XX
Phil

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PiPs

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

1600g

 

Total flour

969g

100%

Total water

630g

65%

Total salt

19g

2%

Prefermented flour

242g

25%

 

 

 

Starter build – 8 hrs 27°C

 

 

Rye starter @ 100% hydration

50g

20%

Sifted Wheat

242g

100%

Water

121g

50%

 

 

 

Final dough 25°C

 

 

Starter

363g

50%

 Sifted fresh milled Spelt

727g

100%

Water

510g

70%

Salt

19g

2%

 

Method

  1. Autolyse 45 mins
  2. Knead 5-10 mins
  3. Bulk ferment 1.5 hours with stretch and fold at 45 mins
  4. Preshape and bench rest for 15 mins
  5. Shape and proof for 45 mins
  6. Bake in steamed oven for 10 mins at 250°C then 30 mins at 200°C

I have come to the realisation that I don’t enjoy working with large proportions of spelt flour in dough.  The flavour of the bread was ok, but considering it contained 75% sifted spelt flour I found it rather bland, left me wanting more from it. As the temperatures continue to climb here (yesterday was a hot and humid 32°C) I am finding the spelt breads ferment way too fast for my liking even when using cooler water.

I think I will stick with wheat breads and smaller proportions of spelt (30% is a favourite of mine)

… also looks like a busy weekend of baking coming up … and with Christmas fast approaching it seems just about all of our upcoming weekends have social events hopefully requiring bread :)

Cheers, Phil

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PiPs

Saturdays are my day of play in the kitchen. I rise early in our quiet house to bake bread for the week. A boiled kettle, a cup of tea, then I start mixing and planning my day just as the sun pokes through the kitchen window. After mixing, we enjoy a lazy breakfast while I watch the dough and wait. By midday the baking is done, enticing me to cut a slice (or two) for lunch.

Last weeks Dark Rye disappointment also fuelled a rye test bake, but I will save that for another post in the next few days as I am waiting for the crumb to set.

With the rye bake keeping me busy both mentally and physically in the kitchen, I decided to be kind on myself and bake a simple adaptation of the country bread with two starters by using a proportion of wholemeal spelt in the final dough. I think I have found a winner both with flavour and texture.

Milling and Sifting

While last weeks light rye was certainly delicious and moist (with the soaked cracked rye) I found the sharp flavour of using only the rye starter too assertive. The overnight rise in the fridge compounded this further and the sourness became quite pronounced a few days after baking. Using a combination of the two starters and a room temperature proof seems to restore a balance that I felt was lacking in last weeks bread.

I prepared the flour the night before. The wheat was milled and sifted. The caught material was remilled and sifted again before being used in the final flour with the caught bran set aside. The spelt was milled and then added to the final flour mix without sifting while the rye grains were milled coarsely and fed to a hungry rye starter for use in the morning. My usually wholewheat starter was fed sifted wholewheat and 30% wholemeal spelt before being mixed to a 50% hydration and placed in a cool spot overnight.

 

3 grain country bread with two starters

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total flour

1100g

100%

Total water

900g

82%

Total salt

25g

2.3%

Prefermented flour

167g

15%

Desired dough temperature 23°-24°C

 

 

 

 

 

Final dough

 

 

Rye starter @110% hydration

115g

12%

Sifted wholewheat starter @ 50% hydration

168g

18%

Sifted wholewheat flour

603g

65%

Wholemeal spelt flour

330g

35%

Water

784g

84%

Salt

25g

2.6%

Last fold, shape and proof

Method

  1. Autolyse flour and water for one hour.
  2. Incorporate starters by squeezing into dough with wet hands until smooth and feel no lumps then knead for 5 mins (I used a gentle slap and fold because of the amount of spelt). Rest dough for five mins. Incorporate salt and knead for a further five mins.
  3. Bulk ferment three hours with three stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 1.5hrs.
  4. Preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Shape.
  5. Final proof was roughly two hours at room temperature (23°).
  6. Bake in preheated dutch oven for 10 mins at 250°C then a further 10 mins at 200°C. I then removed it from dutch oven and baked for a further 25 mins directly on stone for even browning.

 This is such pleasant dough to work with. Spelt and rye bran are flecked throughout. The kneading and folding gives strength so the shaped loaves hold themselves proudly before being placed in bannetons.

I had massive oven spring considering the amount of freshly milled wholemeal flours … the “Pip” was very pleased.

I played again with the scoring this week. My partner’s nickname is “Rat” so in her ratty honour I scored one of the loaves with a giant “R” … the “Rat” was very pleased.

The flavour for me is a balance between the tang in the rye and subtleness of a wheat starter. This not a boring bread, but it does not dominate the senses either.

… and after a busy day in the kitchen I prepared a simple lunch before we headed outside to continue the rest of our day in the spring sunshine.

Cheers, Phil (and the Rat)

 

 

 

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PiPs

Richard Sennet describes the essence of proper craftsmanship as: the fluid process of deliberately setting up questions and challenges in order to solve them and increase ones skills.

This quote reminded me of so many of the wonderful TLF bakers....

The busy weeks continue in our tiny household. My partner and I both had our children staying this week with school holidays as well as her parents for a few days which allowed us to celebrate her fathers retirement.  Amongst all the chaos we prepared a roast dinner and a rhubarb and strawberry tart.

This also meant fresh bread for dinner and parting gifts...

For this weeks bake I prepared two wholewheat boules and two fig and anise batards, all with freshly milled wheat.

Refreshing desem starter

As we had so many bodies sleeping in our house I changed my usual method of milling right before mixing to allow them a more dignified morning wake up. Instead I milled the night before and added all the water and salt and soaked the fresh flour until the morning where I added the ripe starter. The same dough formula was used for both batches with the batards having extra mix-in ingrediants added during folding.

Wholewheat sourdough (with optional fig 'n' anise)
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 85%
Prefermented Flour: 10%
DDT: 23°C

Whole wheat starter @ 60% Hydration: 175g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled: 973g
Water: 855g
Salt: 21g

Optional Mix-ins
Figs sliced: 375g
Anise seeds: 15g

Night before
Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with all water and salt.

Next morning
With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starter into overnight soak until smooth and feel no lumps then place in oiled see-through container (for checking dough development).

Bulk ferment roughly 4hrs with four stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 2hrs and another gentle stretch and fold at 3hr mark.

For the stretch and folds I tip the dough onto a bench which has been lightly sprayed with a water spray bottle/mister. The water stops dough sticking and I can give it a really good letterfold before placing back in container.

Optional: Figs and anise are squeezed through dough after 2nd stretch and fold.

Watch temperatures and dough like a hawk nearing the end of bulk ferment...I sometimes cut it short by half an hour if he dough is starting to move to quickly.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping. Shaped dough placed into bannetons with floured cloths.

Adding mix-ins and bench resting wholewheat

Final proof for wholewheat boule was roughly 1.5hrs at room temperature (23°)

Fig and anise proofed in fridge for 3hrs and was baked directly from fridge.

Bake boules in dutch oven at 250°C for 20mins then dough removed from dutch oven and baked at 20mins at 200°C directly on stone for thoroughly browning.

Batards were baked on stone with steam for first 10mins at 250°C then 200°C for 30mins.

Wholewheat boules

Wholewheat crumb

Fig and anise batard

Fig and anise crumb

Breads were very well received and performed admirably at soaking up gravy...my roast was swimming in it :) The dutch oven really does give theses wholewheat breads the perfect crust....

The overnight soak is something I may use more often with my only issue being that it could be a little difficult to control dough temperatures. I can't say I have noticed any real difference with the bread itself using this method....just another handy option to have.

All the best

Phil

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PiPs

We cut the miche today, three days after baking...and after a lazy Saturday lunch sent my parents home with half.

This miche was made on the fly...with these thought processes.

Total dough weight: 1.8kgs
Hydration: 82% (Freshly milled flour is thirsty...did not seem this hydrated)
Prefermented Flour: 25%
DDT: 24°C

Whole wheat Levain @ 60% Hydration: 400g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled and Sifted: 517g
Spelt freshly milled: 122g
Rye freshly milled: 100g
Water: 661g
Salt: 20g

Milling

Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with cool water. Autolyse 1hr

Knead (slap and fold) 20mins with 5 min break in the middle.

Bulk ferment for 2hrs with two stretch and folds in the first hour at 30min intervals as dough needed some strength.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping into boule. Shaped dough placed into mixing bowl with floured teatowel.

Final proof was in fridge as the miche had to wait for oven. I judged that the size of the loaf would take a while to cool and the proof would be complete in the fridge as the dough was pretty lively...was a good guess.

Baked under SS bowl at 250°C for 20mins then 40mins at 200°C

Really enjoy working with dough this size and was happy with the spring the oven achieved....the rye flour adds a touch of tang and earth. A bread of this size sure gets noticed.

One of my parents dogs, Mr Hermann spent some time cleaning crumbs off the floor.....

Cheers

Phil

 

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