The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

levain

davidg618's picture
davidg618

or Too Many Changes Addle the Brain

Recently, I made some sourdough levained baguettes, Sourdough in Baguette's clothing and was delighted to find their flavor included a distinct acidic tang (sourness) that I especially like, but my wife usually doesn't. However, with this bake, I caught her returning more than once for another slice of the cut loaf. When I confronted her, she allowed the flavor was "interesting"--and took another bite.

 The baguette dough was similar to the dough I bake weekly in batards: our daily bread. The differences are:

                         Original Formula                                          Baguette Formula

Flour ratio:     45%AP/45%Bread/10%Whole Rye          66%AP/24%Bread/10%Whole Rye

Preferment:    28% (100% Hyd., all Bread Flour)            49% (100% Hyd., all Bread Flour)

Additionally, I routinely build levain from refrigerated seed starter in three progressive steps, feeding 2:1:1 at eight hour intervals. For the baguettes I allowed the third feeding to ferment for 12 hours.

Salt and Hydration was the same for both: 2% and 68% percent respectively, and, except for the loaves' final shape, all the dough handling, fermentation times, fermentation temperatures, and baking temperatures were the same. Batards are generally proofed at 82°F, baguettes at 76°F (RT) because they won't fit into my proofing box.

Over the last two days I built levain, made dough and shaped three batards. The intention was to duplicate the dough I used to make the sourdough baguettes, and experience the same flavor.

However, I have a very strong Imp of the Perverse in my flawed character. I couldn't resist making more changes. Specifically, I built the levain in three progressive stages reducing the hydration of each build by one-third the difference between the seed starter hydration (100%) and the final dough hydration (68%). I let the final build, at 68% Hyd., ferment for 12 hours. Seduced by the sourdough lore that stiffer levain favors bacterial acid production, I reasoned "Hey, it can't hurt!".

Furthermore, I returned to the original flour ratio 45%AP/45%Bread/10% Whole Rye. And, to exacerbate my sins, I put three teaspoons of diastatic malt powder in the final dough. I wanted a darker crust.

I cannot detect any flavor difference in the finished loaves compared to our weekly sourdough bake. The distinct tang has vanished. Of course, with all the changes I've nary a clue why.

But I did get a darker crust.

David G

breaducation's picture
breaducation

I love a good country bread as I think most people do. It is one of the most fun, beautiful and often times challenging styles of bread to make. However, I find myself becoming bored of the standard 10% whole wheat flour in the formula. In an attempt to changes things up I will often raise or lower the percentage of whole wheat in the dough. As little as a 10% change can have drastic effect of flavor. I've also tried putting all the whole wheat in the starter, something that adds quite a bit of sourness to final flavor.

Lately, I've  been playing around with different flours to accent the flavor. In my latest effort I have used spelt flour in place of the whole wheat. The result is quite nice! It has a subtle nutty flavor that is quite pleasing. I think in my next bake I'll try upping the spelt to 20% and see if I like it as much.

Here are the spelt results:

 

Juergen's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong - bakers formula

May 12, 2012 - 3:14am -- Juergen
Forums: 

I've never been good at math but decided to make a bakers formula spreadsheet based on the Bread Bakers Guild format. This in order to make it easier for me to work with bakers formulas. 

Now that I'm ready for baking with it, I'm just looking for a confirmation that what I'm doing is right. Below is the formula with which I want to bake this weekend. It's a basic 2-stage levain/sourdough formula using white wheat flour only. The goal is 1,5 kg of dough (1501 grams to be exact) with 25% levain/sourdough starter at 100% hydration.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I bought a new book. Yes! another bread book. I wasn't planning to ...  and thinking back I'm not completely sure where the inspiration came from, but sometimes inspiration just happens. (or in Nat's version of events ... self indulgence just happens...)

A week ago a second hand copy of ‘The Taste of Bread’  by Raymond Calvel, Ronald L. Wirtz and James J. MacGuire was delivered to my doorstep and I have been trying to absorb as much from it as I possibly can. I find it such an interesting read─on so many levels─from heavy discussions on the effect mixing has on dough maturity to small soulful snippets on French bread.

The chapter that captured my attention most and had me obsessively re-reading it was the chapter on flour. The classification and choice of flour available in France intrigues me. Finding such depth within a seemingly simple ingredient as white flour was something I wanted to explore and as luck would have it I had recently been given the name of a bakery─‘Uncle Bob’s Bakery’ that was stocking imported French flour.

Not only that, but the owner of ‘Uncle Bob’s Bakery’, Brett Noy was recently given the honour of being a jury member for the 2012 Coupe du Monde del la Boulangerie─the Bakery World Cup!!! … mmm … another French connection to this story it seems.

In France the purity level of flour is determined by mineral content measured by the ash level. So at different extraction rates you may have different ash content depending on the type of wheat, procedures used, mill equipment and the skill of the miller. As the ash level rises you will have flour that is richer with bran particles and darker in colour.

Choosing flour was the easy part but trying to make a final decision on what to bake was a bit trickier and in the end the flour dictated the final choice.

T45

This flour is normally associated with viennoiseries such as croissant, brioche and specialty breads containing high fat, sugar and eggs. As winter is slowly creeping upon us, it was time to revive one of my favourite traditions over the cooler months─brioche for weekend breakfasts with café au lait. 

The formula I worked with was Raymond Calvel’s ‘Brioche Leavened with Sponge and Dough’. It has a butter content of 45% (I used a cultured butter) and a small sponge of flour, yeast and milk which is mixed into the remaining dough after 45 mins of fermenting. As is usual when mixing this type of bread by hand I was kneading at the bench for at least 30 min by the time the butter was fully incorporated smoothly into the dough. Day-by-day a mixer looks increasingly tempting! (only if Nat gets to pick the colour!)

The dough was rested in the fridge overnight and shaped in the morning for the final proof. Oh, it has been such a long time since we have had brioche around our house. The  soft golden crumb teared so easily and when dipped in coffee─made my soul smile.

 

 

T130 Rye

For my experiments with this medium rye flour I took inspiration from photos of the amazing crusts of the tourte de seigle found in the boulangerie windows of Paris. It’s the contrast I love─the dark well baked crust scattered with flour coated islands.

Tourte de Seigle adapted from Denis Fatet’s formula at www.cannelle.com

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

1200g

 

Total flour

678g

100%

Total water

522g

77%

Total salt

13g

2%

Prefermented flour

319g

47%

 

 

 

Sourdough build: 1h 30 @ 35°C

 

 

Levain at 60% hydration

240g

141%

T130 rye flour

170g

100%

Water at 70°C

170g

100%

Salt

5g

3%

 

 

 

Final Dough: 1h 45 @ 40°C

 

 

Rye flour T130 sifted or T85 rye

358g

100%

Water at 70°C

262g

73%

Salt

8g

2%

Sourdough

580g

162%

 

Method

  1. Prepare sourdough: Stir hot water into rye flour then add levain and mix until smooth. Sprinkle with rye flour and allow to rise for 1hr 30 at 35°C. Cracks will appear on the surface of the sourdough. 
  2. Prepare final dough: Stir hot water into rye flour and salt then mix in sourdough until smooth. With wet hands round the dough and flatten into a round disc. Set to proof seam side down on floured parchment paper. Dust with flour and smooth with hand to ensure an even coating.  Proof uncovered and away from draughts.
  3. Proof for 1h 45 at 40°C. Cracks will appear on surface during proofing.
  4. Load into oven with steam at 270°C for 10 mins then reduce temperature to 250°C and bake a further 60 mins.

I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the idea of mixing the levain into the hot water and flour mix. But my worries were unfounded. The hot mix cooled as I stirred it and cooled even further when I added the levain creating a warm sourdough sponge that really went off fast.

I have heard that keeping a correct proofing temperature greatly assists with even cracking over the surface so the tourte de seigle proofed in our tiny bathroom under the heat lamp. I pushed the proofing to two hours but think next time I will reduce it to the specified time as the crumb shows some signs of slight over-proofing.

This is a crust lovers bread. The crumb is smooth and mild with only a hint of sourness. After many bakes of whole-grain ryes this bread is a pleasant change─A perfect balance of flavour and texture. But most importantly I love the way it looks. Dramatic bread! Breakfast during the week has been slices of this slathered with cultured butter.

 

 

T65

The classic French bread for a classic French flour. Looking again to ‘The taste of Bread’ I used Raymond Calvel’s Pain au Levain formula substituting the T55 flour with the T65 I had on hand. At 64% the hydration was quite a bit lower than what I have been mixing recently but after an autolyse and solid 15 min mix by hand it produced a smooth and silky dough. It certainly felt different to the Australian flours I have been using but I am not sure how to put it best into words. Softer to the touch perhaps?

While the book uses a spiral mix followed by a 50 min bulk fermentation I was mixing by hand so opted for a gentler mix followed by a longer three hour bulk ferment to build strength and maturity in the dough. The final proof stretched out through the afternoon as the temperatures dropped but all the time increased the flavour of this delicious bread.

Nat is torn. She loves the flavour and texture of this bread, more so than the some of the Australian organic flours I have been using …  but it has come all the way from France … sigh. We are mindful of our footprint ...

I love the flavour as well so I am keen to keep experimenting with it … for the time being anyway.

Cheers,
Phil

jdchurchill's picture
jdchurchill

ayo tfl-ers

dig my bread this week.  twas a good week:

is this photo too big?  i changed the dimensions to (800X535) what size do you guys make your pictures for this type of stuff?

and i know all you bread-nerds dig the crumb shots so here you go:

and even closer up:

omg its so nice and soft.  i am so pleased.  i think lately i have not been letting the final proof go long enough so this one went about 8hrs, but i probably could've gone even longer.   maybe this week i will try the same recipe, but do final proof for closer to 12 hrs.  anybody has an opinion about this?  ok guys thanks for looking and reading, take care.  -jdc

Mini Oven's picture

Sourdough starter from whole wheat & cumin

February 24, 2012 - 11:52pm -- Mini Oven

Sourdoughs starters methods vary.  Here is one from a Julia Child program featuring Joe Ortiz

Always good to know if you can't get a starter started, try a different method  (but please don't think you are capturing yeast from the "air," they come from the flour)

http://youtu.be/gEP3QW-V0sw

I haven't tried this myself but if you do, come back and comment,  Please!  

PiPs's picture
PiPs

It has rained and rained and after a week of soggy grey we finally have a glimmer of sunshine. And with all the rain and cooler temperatures I have really noticed how intertwined my bread making is with the weather. Every feeding and levain build is a unique decision – the balance between the temperature and feed ratios.

Wandering through the kitchen I throw a glance at the thermometer resting beside my rising levain and through the day I feel subtle change of temperature between rooms in the house. I notice this most among the quiet and peaceful times for me, scattered and far between though they are.

After arriving back home from my parents we had a house emptied of bread and I left it that way until the weekend. We have all been settling into the routines of a new year. Nat and I both back at work, plus we have had two new school milestones for the kids with one starting grade one and another starting her first year in high school.

With cool morning air and some time free on a drizzly Saturday I prepared my desem starter plus milled and soaked the fresh wheat flour. To me this is the simplest, purest form of bread - whole flour, water and salt. Later that day the dough was developed using stretch-and-folds over a three hour bulk-ferment before a quick final proof and bake. There is a fascination for me by using a longer bulk-ferment and developing the dough slowly and carefully - subtle changes over time – slowly becoming alive. It slots nicely into the rythem of a rainy day at home. Relaxing ...

After a long hiatus I finally baked some whole-wheat Fig and Anise loaves. Again these were raised with the desem starter with the chopped figs and aniseeds incorporated early in the bulk ferment.

These are a special treat for us and are consumed with utter joy - toasted, with a drizzle of honey, topped with ricotta cheese. We sit at breakfast with a slice or two and appreciate our morning amongst the din of school preparations and children slurping down breakfasts.

The sun is shining again ... all the best
Phil

PiPs's picture
PiPs

My stocks have been running low. Grains, flour, salt and even the bread in the freezer have all taken a beating over a busy Christmas period.

With suppliers back on board after holidays I was more than a little relieved when a new shipment of biodynamic wheat and spelt grains finally arraived.

Along with the grain, I was also in need of white flour. The idea of leaving a gentler footprint to me means that if I have to use processed white flour then it should be from a local and organic producer. So for this reason I have switched to organic plain white flour from the Kialla Pure Foods mill only 150 km away. (90 miles) Kialla’s plain flour with a protein level of 12.5% is stronger than the bakers flour I been currently using but has a slightly creamier colour and chewier mouth feel. For this weekends bake though, I wanted wholegrains and organic. I hadn’t planned on baking any rye until a friend suggested she would like to try a lighter rye sourdough. Nat and I have a strong appreciation for caraway seeds with rye so this was suggested as well.


Organic 40% Rye Sourdough with caraway

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

1800g

 

Total flour

1071g

100%

Total water

769g

72%

Total salt

19g

1.8%

Prefermented flour

428g

40%

Desired dough temperature 26-27°C

 

 

 

 

 

Rye sour build – 12-14 hrs 22-24°C

 

 

Starter (not included in final dough)

21g

5%

Freshly milled rye flour

428g

100%

Water

428g

100%

 

 

 

Final dough

 

 

Rye sour

856g

133%

Organic plain flour

643g

100%

Water

341g

53%

Salt

19g

1.8% of total flour

Caraway seeds

19g

3%

Method

  1. Mix rye sour and leave overnight to ferment
  2. Next day disperse rye sour in remaining water and add flour.
  3. Knead for 5 mins (this is sticky and uncomfortable)
  4. Add salt and knead for a further 10 mins until dough starts to show signs of smoothness.
  5. Gently mix in caraway seeds until combined.
  6. Bulk ferment one hour
  7. Gently preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Gently shape into batards.
  8. Final proof was one hour at room temperature (27°C).
  9. Load into oven with steam at 230°C for 10 mins then reduce temperature to 200°C and bake a further 30 mins. 

The rye sour had developed nicely and apart from the seemingly unending stickiness of kneading, the dough eventually bulk fermented into a smooth dough that shaped quite easily.

The final proof kept me only my toes as I was mowing the backyard and ducking inside every 15 minutes to check on it’s progress, as it has been quite hot and humid recently.

I am particularly fond of the crumb colour with the caraway seeds hidden amongst the rye bran. The flavour is a really nice balance of a subtle rye tang with a puff of caraway scent on some bites.

 

 

I also baked a pair of simple organic wholegrain sourdoughs - the first breads for our household this year. The levain contains a proportion of Kialla plain flour so approximately 90% of the flour is freshly milled wholegrains.

I tried a few new procedures with this bake. I milled the wheat grains in two passes. The first pass cracked the grains before passing them through the mill again at a finer setting. This didn’t produce much heat in the flour and I ended up with softer feeling flour than in the past.

The other change was the fold in the bulk ferment. I recently read a comment by proth5 on the timing of a stretch-and-fold in a two hour bulk ferment. (sorry Pat I can’t remember where you posted it) If the dough is already well developed before the bulk ferment, perhaps a stretch-and-fold could occur earlier in the bulk ferment allowing some larger gas pockets to develop in the 2nd half of the bulk ferment.


Organic Wholegrain Sourdough

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

2000g

 

Total flour

1081g

100%

Total water

919g

85%

Total salt

21g

2%

Prefermented flour

270g

25%

 

 

 

Levain build – 4-5 hrs 26-27°C

 

 

Starter (60g not included in final dough)

100g

40%

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

240g

100%

Water

120g

50%

 

 

 

Final dough

 

 

Levain

405g

50%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

703g

86%

Freshly milled organic rye flour

108g

14%

Water

784g

96%

Salt

21g

2%

 

Method

  1. Mix levain and leave to ferment for 4-5 hours
  2. Mill flours and allow them to cool before mixing with cold water from fridge (hold back 50 grams of water) and autolyse four hours.
  3. Add levain to autolyse then knead (French fold) 5 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 50 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 10 mins.
  4. Bulk ferment two hours with one stretch-and-fold after 30 mins.
  5. Preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Shape.
  6. Load into oven with steam at 230°C for 10 mins then reduce temperature to 200°C and bake a further 30 mins.

 

This has become familiar dough for me to mix. At 85% hydration doubts can creep into my thinking as the initial mix feels sticky and loose. Press on, add the salt and feel relief as the dough tightens up and releases cleanly from the bench.

The dough felt strong even after shifting the stretch-and-fold forward 30 mins so I left it untouched for the remaining time and was rewarded with light bubbly dough ready for preshaping. I am quite pleased with the proofing on both of the loaves and find I am becoming braver at judging their readiness for the oven. They sprang beautifully on a hot stone.

Some rye bran is visible scattered throughout the moist crumb which contains no hint of sour. The change in bulk ferment procedure has possibly led to a slightly more irregular crumb, but this will need to be experimented with and expanded.

 

Another busy day in the kitchen which was balanced by an equally busy day doing yard work.  The sun is finally shining here after a day of humid grey skys. We plan to make the most of it.

Cheers,
Phil 

 

Onceuponamac's picture
Onceuponamac

Sourdough Raisin Boule :)

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - levain