The Fresh Loaf

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jeffrey hamelman

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dmsnyder

Today's bake was the Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread. It is the "whitest" bread I bake - the opposite end of a spectrum from the 80% rye I recently posted - yet I also characterize it as a "real bread." 

For some reason, this 3-cut scoring of a bâtard is more challenging to me than the 5 to 7-cut scoring of a baguette. This is my best attempt yet.

These loaves sang long and loudly during cooling. The crust had some nice crackles.

A nice, open crumb, too.

The 1-cut loaf was gifted to friends, along with a big hunk of the 80% rye. We enjoyed the other pain au levain with our dinner of chicken fricasee and Swiss chard. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was nice, sweet, wheaty pain au levain with no perceptible sourness.

David

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dmsnyder

Durum Bread from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

The second edition of Hamelman's Bread includes 40 new recipes. This is the first of the new recipes I have made. Hamelman writes that this formula for “Durum Bread” is the best of a series of “test batches” he made some years ago. He does not describe it further and does not identify it as an Italian-style bread, although it does bring to mind Italian breads made with durum flour.

To me, the most remarkable features are that Hamelman's “Durum Bread” is 90% durum flour. (Bread flour is used in the liquid levain feeding.) It is a high-hydration dough at 80%. It uses both a yeasted biga and a liquid levain. Hamelman recommends a bassinage technique (“double hydration") be used for mixing.

 

Overall formula

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

900

90

Bread flour

100

10

Water

800

80

Salt

20

2

Yeast

5

0.5

Total

1825

182.5

 

Biga

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

300

100

Water

195

65

Yeast

0.3

0.1

Total

495.3

165.1

 

Liquid levain

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

100

100

Water

125

125

Mature liquid culture

20

20

Total

245

 

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

Durum flour

600

Water

480

Salt

20

Yeast

5

Biga

495.3

Liquid levain

225

Total

1825.3

 

Procedures

  1. Mix the biga and ferment for 12-16 hours. It is ripe when domed and just starting to recede in the center. Note that, because of the great ability of durum flour to absorb water, this biga is firmer than the usual “firm levain.”

  2. Mix the liquid levain at the same time as the biga and let it ferment for the same time. Note: My levain ripened faster than the biga, so I refrigerated it for a couple of hours to let the biga “catch up.”

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all but 1/3 cup of the final dough water along with the liquid levain and mix to disperse the levain. Then, add the biga cut in 5 or 6 pieces, and mix at slow speed to dissolve it somewhat. Then add the remaining durum flour, yeast and salt. Mix at slow speed for 2 or 3 minutes to combine the ingredients then at Speed 2 for about 6 minutes to develop the gluten. Scrape the dough off the hook and make a well in the middle of it. Pour the reserved water in the well, lower the hook, and mix at low speed until the water if fully incorporated. The dough will be quite loose.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment the dough for about 2 hours with stretch and folds at 40 and 80 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them as balls. Let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes or so to relax the gluten.

  7. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couche. Proof, covered, for about 1 hour.

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 1 hour with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Turn down the oven to 450ºF. Transfer the loaves to a peel, score the loaves, steam the oven and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  10. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 23 minutes or so. (After the first 15 minutes, I continued baking at 425ºF with convection for the remainder of the time.) The loaves are done when the crust is nicely browned, the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  11. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

 

The loaves had a somewhat crisp, chewy crust. The crumb was less open than I expected, but I think this may be characteristic of bread made with mostly durum flour. Maybe it has to do with the quality of gluten in this flour.

The flavor of the bread was distinctive. I don't know how to describe it, but it was like that of the other breads I have made with durum flour. I was thinking it was not a flavor I especially like, until I tried it dipped in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar. That was spectacular! It was a magical combination of flavors that was delightful. It made me wonder about using this bread in other characteristic Italian ways – as garlic bread or toasted and eaten with a hearty ribollito soup.

I gave one of the loaves to a friend who grew up in a village near Rome. I am awaiting her assessment with the greatest interest.

David 

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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dmsnyder

Somehow, I had overlooked the formula for Whole Wheat Multi-grain bread in Hamelman's Bread. Thanks to Khalid (Mebake) for calling it to my attention! When he named it his favorite bread, I knew I had to try it.

This is a 50% whole wheat bread made with a liquid levain and added instant yeast. It has a soaker of mixed grains and seeds. I found I had to add about 15 g of water to the dough during mixing to achieve a medium consistancy. 

The dough weighed a bit over 2 kg. My wife has been wanting some soft, whole wheat rolls for sandwiches. I thought this formula might make rolls she would like, so I made four 3.5 oz rolls in addition to two 840 g bâtards.

I baked the rolls first at 480 dF for 12 minutes and cut one for sampling. It had a sweet, wheaty flavor. The crust softened with cooling. The crumb was firm and chewy. My wife judged it suitable for its intended purpose. 

The bâtards were baked at 460 dF for 15 minutes. At that point, the crust was already getting dark. I lowered the oven temperature to 415 dF and baked for another 23 minutes.

The bâtard crust was somewhat crunchy. The crumb was more open and more tender than that of the rolls.

The flavor of the bâtard was more complex than that of the roll. It has no perceptible sourness and a slightly sweet, wheaty flavor like the roll. It is indeed a delcious whole wheat bread and one I will definitely make again. I expect it to make wonderful toast and sandwiches.

Thanks again, Khalid!

David

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dmsnyder

This is certainly one of the most delicious breads I've ever tasted. It is amazing for its complex, wholesome taste. It also has always had astonishing oven spring and bloom for me. I'm not sure why.

I suppose I need to acknowledge that brother  Glenn recently posted his beautiful bake of this bread, if only to claim another instance of Snyder Bros. Synchronicity and deny competitiveness. I did watch out for pixies. They played no role in the baking of this bread. They may be responsible for how much of it my wife ate at dinner, but I do believe that was attributable to how delicious this bread is. 

And, from last week's bake of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW, here's a point for Varda:

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

A neighbor and I have a 15 year old tradition of exchanging baked goods at this time of year. His wife always bakes a delicious rum and nutmeg-flavored cake, and I give them a loaf of bread. This year, my gift was a 1.5 kg loaf of Hamelman's pain au levain. 

They say "fences make good neighbors," but I think exchange of fresh-baked goodies does too.

Crumb photo of the other loaf

Happy holidays to you all!

David

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dmsnyder

Hamelman's "Vollkornbrot" is a 100% rye bread with sunflower seeds. The flour Hamelman calls for is "rye meal," which I just happend to have in quantity due to my error in ordering "medium rye meal" when I had intended to order "medium rye flour" from nybakers.com. Well, as Kubler-Ross wrote, "There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from."

As it happens, I have intended to work on baking 100% rye breads for some time, my  past attempts having been less than wonderful. Clearly, my unconscious mind highjacked my nybakers.com order. So, after blessing my unconscious ... or something like that ... I proceded to takle this project.

Hamelman's formula for Vollkornbrot calls for 68.4% rye meal and 31.6% rye chops. I had abundant rye meal (see above), and I had a pound of cracked rye from Central Milling, which I used in lieu of rye chops.  60% of the rye meal is pre-fermented. The cracked rye is included in the form of a 100% hydration soaker. The overall hydration of the dough is 82.1%.

Other than substituting cracked rye for rye chops, I followed Hamelman's formula and procedures to the letter. The dough was drier than I expected, but still very sticky. It had no difficulty holding together. I shaped it on a wet board with wet hands and, after shaping a log, placed it in a pullman pan and smoothed it out with a spatula. The top was dusted with more rye meal, as instructed by Hamelman. I baked it with steam for 15 minutes at 470 dF then for another 60 minutes at 380 dF. I then dumped the loaf out of the pan and baked another 15 minutes with the loaf sitting on a baking stone. This was to firm up the crust, although it was very firm already when taken out of the pan.

After baking and cooling on a rack for several hours, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen and let it rest for about 30 hours before slicing. The crust was very firm and chewy. The crumb was very dense, as you can see, moist but not gummy. The aroma and flavor were earthy and slightly sweet. I had some for breakfast with cream cheese and smoked salmon and enjoyed it. I think this bread would make great Danish-style open face sandwiches.

I have never had this type of bread before, except once long ago from an imported package. So, I really don't have a good model with which to compare my bread. From what I've read and pictures I've seen, I think I hit the target. I wish I knew how close to the bullseye I got. This bake was certainly superior to my few previous attempts at a 100% rye bread.

I'm hoping TFL members with more experience than I have of this type of bread will offer constructive criticism and suggestions.

David

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dmsnyder

Many TFL baker's have blogged on this bread, and for good reason. It is delicious. I haven't made it since last October. Today, I made three 568 g boules. I started with a liquid starter which I converted to a firm starter and fed twice before mixing the final dough. The formed loaves were cold retarded for about 16 hours then proofed at 85 dF for 2 1/2 hours before baking.

I have been making Hamelman's Pain au Levain frequently for many months and enjoying it a lot. This week, I just felt like something with more of a whole grain flavor and recalled this bread. Looking back at my earlier blog, today's bake was significantly better when tasted after a couple hours' cooling. There was none of what I had described as a "grassy" flavor. This bread was simply delicious with a sweet, nutty, crunchy crust and a  chewy crumb with a nice wheaty, mildly sour flavor. 

I'm going to stick with this one ... except I do want to try the mixed levain version again.

David

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dmsnyder

I am retired. This is the first full week since I retired, July 31. Already I see big problems. I no longer have to limit my baking to weekends and vacations. In principle, I could be baking bread any day ... or every day. But, I do not need to be eating more bread than I have been eating. I will certainly be gifting more loaves, but I have to find a new equilibrium. Ah, well. Life is good.

Anyway, this explains how I happen to be baking bread mid-week. 

My San Francisco-style Sourdough quest of last Spring was a ton of fun. Of the various tweaks I tried, my favorite version was "Take 4." (For the formula and procedures, see: My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4.) I believe I have baked this version about 5 times now, and, for me, it has been pretty consistant in producing my personal ideal bread of this type. Today was no exception. Crunchy, sweet crust and moist, chewy, complex-flavored crumb with moderate sourness. Excellent keeping quality.

It's been very hot in Fresno. My fermentation times for the levain builds were shorter than those indicated in my methods. "Watch the dough, not the clock" applies to levains as it does to final doughs. The times were not so short I felt I had to refrigerate any build, but I would have done so if the times to maturity were so short I thought flavor would be compromised.

Diamond scoring pattern

Cross-hatched scoring pattern

Crust close-up for the bubbly crust lovers

SF-Style Sourdough crumb

I also made the Sourdough Seed Bread from Hamelman's Bread today. In the past, I have generally made this as 500-600 g boules. Today, I shaped two bâtards of 1 kg each.

Sourdough Seed Bread cross section

Sourdough Seed Bread, crumb close-up

This particular bread profits greatly from overnight cold retardation. It is not bad baked the day it's mixed, but it is fantastically delicious if allowed those extra hours of flavor development. 

There are some gastrointestinal conditions for which the standard advice is to avoid eating seeds. If you have the misfortune to suffer from one of these, I suggest you not eat this bread. However, the heavenly aroma of this bread when it is sliced still slightly warm from the oven is not to be missed. So, bake it even if you can't eat it. Give it away ... but only after cutting a loaf and taking a few deep breaths. 

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

I haven't made this one in a while. It is still a favorite. I made it with Central Milling's "Type 85 Organic, unmalted" flour. I retarded the firm levain overnight, but the bread was baked on the same day the final dough was mixed.

Episodic supervision and taste testing were provided by granddaughter, Naomi.

Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere, crumb

Tasting notes

Crunchy-chewy crust. Chewy crumb. Sweet, nutty, wheaty flavors with moderate sourdough tang, tasted 18 hours after baking. Naomi, who doesn't eat the crust on bakery bread, 1. Asked for a second slice. 2. Finished both slices to the last crumb and said the crust was her favorite part. 

David

Happy baker/grandfather

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