The Fresh Loaf

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liquid levain

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breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Hey All,


Just wanted to share with you a very large 2.225 kg mixed levain miche that I baked on 2/23/10.  It is roughly 12 1/2" in diameter by 5 1/2" tall.  It was well worth staying up late on a weeknight to do.  We cut into it on 2/25/10 at a dinner part, and it was worth the wait...


Please excuse the crumb shot as it was from my friend's iPhone under less than stellar lighting conditions...


Tim






Formula:


Stiff Levain


216g - AP


129g - Water


22g - Firm SD starter (60-65% hydration)


366g total




Liquid Levain


144g - AP


144g - Water


14g - Firm SD starter (60-65% hydration)


302g total




Final Dough


576g - AP


286g - BF


144g - Organic Hard Wheat Berries (freshly ground)


44g - Organic Spelt Berries (freshly ground)


30g - Organic Rye Berries (freshly ground)


762g - Water


26g - Kosher Salt


366g - Stiff Levain


302g - Liquid Levain


Approx 2500-2600g total dough


 


Directions:


7:00am - Mix stiff and liquid levains, place each in covered containers and let ferment on counter for 8-10 hours.


6:40pm - Measure out final dough ingredients.  Prepare a bowl of water for dipping your hands to knead.  Place all water in large mixing bowl.  Cut up stiff levain and place in mixing bowl along with liquid levain.  Add all try ingredients on top and mix well with wooden spoon.  After all is combined, with wet hands, knead dough in bowl using french fold method squishing out any lumps.  Knead for about 5 minutes until relatively smooth dough, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.


7:15pm - Turn dough using stretch and fold method, cover and let rest.


7:45pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.


8:15pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.


8:45pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.


9:15pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.


10:15pm - Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and shape into boule.  Cover and let rest for 15mins.


10:30pm - Final shape and place into floured linen lined basket, lightly flour top of dough, place towel on top, place basket in plastic bag, proof for 60-90 minutes.


11:15pm - Place baking stone on 2nd rack from bottom, prepare steam pan, preheat 550F with convection.


11:45pm - Add 1 cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Turn boule out onto floured peel, slash, place directly onto baking stone, add 1 more cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Turn oven down to 460F, no convection.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate loaf, bake for another 15 minutes.  Then turn down oven to 400F and bake for another 55 minutes, rotating half way.  Loaf is done when internal temp reaches approx 210F.  Cool and rest for 24hrs before eating.


 


 

Ryan Sandler's picture

Sourdough baguette experiment -- Success!

September 27, 2009 - 10:40pm -- Ryan Sandler

Usually when I get it in my head to cobble together a formula based on two or three things I've seen mentioned on this forum, two more in my head, and a bit of whimsy, the results are not pretty.  Especially when it comes to baguettes.  The last two or three times I've tried to make baguettes, they've come out flat, with closed crumb and, with the sourdough versions, crust that provides a thorough jaw workout.


But not this time, oh no!  This time I tasted victory.  Victory, and some very yummy bread.


Here's what I was trying for:

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!


 



xaipete's picture

Liquid Levain petered out

May 19, 2009 - 1:57pm -- xaipete

My liquid levain was going great gun while I had it out on the counter and was feeding it twice a day. I wasn't planning on using it for a week so I put it in the fridge. I took it out yesterday and refreshed it; it rose only a little and had a bunch of liquid in it. I stirred the liquid in, but it is refusing to grow. Any idea what is going on and what I should do from here?


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I wanted to try one of Dan's breads for Mother's Day and thought his Double Raisin Bread with Toasted Walnuts sounded delightful!


Dan gives several options for making it: as a straight dough, as a pain au levain, and as a pain au levain with a little added yeast. I chose to make the bread without the addition of any yeast.


Early yesterday morning I created a liquid levain from my stiff levain on the thought that it would take about 12 hours to fully ripen. At 8 hours I could see that it was just starting to recede, so I went into to action thinking I would have enough time to complete the bread before going to bed. (Just to clarify, I had planned to make the liquid levain in the AM and refresh it in the PM for use today, but when I saw it was proceeding faster than I expected, I just went for it.)


Results: I didn't get any oven spring but I think that was because I let them proof too long in the pans and I didn't have the oven hot enough (see below). The crumb is slightly wet, but pretty open. The flavor is quite delicious. This is the best raisin walnut bread I've ever had. I especially like it because it doesn't have a sugary or cinnamon flavor to it, just the pure pain au levain taste mixed with the natural sweetness of the raisins and nutty walnut flavor. I would definitely make this bread again. It is a real winner.


I'm hoping Dan will critique my method below. Dan's book, like Suas', is a big jump for me. But I figure if I don't try to learn to use this type of book, that I will never make real progress, and I really want to understand what I am doing so I will be able to develop my own recipes some day. I have given a detailed description below of how I understood Dan's method. Dan: you won't hurt my feelings so please don't hold back on any comments! Many of us will benefit from what ever you have to say.


dan dimuzio double raisin bread with toasted walnuts


dan dimuzio double raisin bread with toasted walnuts


From: Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective


Liquid levain:


133 g bread flour


133 g water


67 g ripe levain (I used about 60 g of my stiff levain and added a little more water to get to the total of 333 g)


 


Final dough:


467 g bread flour (I used KA bread flour)


67 g whole wheat flour (I used some I had ground about 30 hours before)


347 g water


13 g salt


167 g dark raisins (I pumped the raisins with warm water, but drained them before incorporating)


167 g golden raisins


167 g toasted walnut halves


266g of the liquid levain at the peak of ripeness


 


My interpretation of Dan's method:


1. Mix the levain and the water together with the paddle attachment on speed 1 until the levain is well incorporated, about 1 minute.


2. Add the bread and whole wheat flours, and the salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on speed 1 until everything is combined, about 1 minute.


3. Let dough hydrate with mixer off, about 5 minutes.


4. Resume mixing with dough hook on speed 2 until dough reaches improved mix stage (window pane forms but breaks when stretched), about 5 minutes. I had to add a small amount of additional flour, approximately 1/4 cup, to get the dough to sit right on my dough hook.


5. Reduce to speed 1 and add in the nuts being careful not to break them up too much.


6. Fold in the raisins with a kidney shaped bowl scraper. Dan warned me to be careful not to cut the raisins because they are high in calcium propinate, which is a yeast retardant.


7. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let bulk ferment at room temperature for 30 minutes.


8. Do one stretch and fold, return to covered bowl, and continue to bulk ferment until dough doubles. (Although the dough was a little sticky after one stretch and fold, it seemed to have good strength so I only did one. I thought bulk fermentation would take about 3 hours--my kitchen was about 74º--but it took more like 5 1/2 hours).


9. Preshape the dough into two balls and let rest under plastic for 30 minutes. (The dough was difficult to preshape because it was loose/wet/a little sticky--not sure what the remedy was here, but I floured my hands and the board in an attempt to make it easier to shape.)


10. Shape into two loaves and place in 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch oiled bread pans. Cover with plastic and let proof until about 1 1/2 times. (It was now 10:30 PM and I didn't achieve very good surface tension.)


11. Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 55 minutes. (I think the oven should have been hotter because the loaves didn't brown as much as I thought they should. Also, I didn't get any oven spring, but that was probably my fault because I think I let them almost double in the pan--of course in my defense I had gone to bed. I got up at 2 AM to turn the oven on and again at 3:15 AM to put them in. By that time they were doming the pans and were probably more like double.)


--Pamela

xaipete's picture

Liquid levain vs. stiff levain

April 22, 2009 - 11:41am -- xaipete

Is there a standard hydration level for a liquid levain vs. a stiff levain? I was reading Leader's Local Breads this morning and noticed that his liquid levain has about 130 % hydrated vs. his stiff which has about 50% hydration. I've also been readin Michael Suas's Advanced Bread and Pastry and notice that some of his SD formulas call for a liquid levain while others require a stiff starter.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My usual sourdough starter is semi-firm. I make it at a 1:3:4 ratio of starter to water to flour. Many of the sourdough bakers on TFL favor a 1:2:2 ratio, but fewer seem to use a true "liquid levain" which is more like 125% hydration. I was curious to try a pain au levain using a liquid starter and found the Pain au Campagne recipe in Leader's "Local Breads."


This recipe calls for a 50% hydration dough to which you add 62% (baker's percentage) liquid levain, ending up with a moderately tacky dough. The levain is added after the flour and water are mixed and allowed a 20 minute autolyse. The autolyse mixture is very, very stiff, and it takes a lot of mixing to get the very liquid levain incorporated into the dough. 


The resulting bread has a very nice flavor, but not significantly different from the pains de campagnes I make with my usual starter.


Of greater interest was the final shape of the loaves. They are formed as boules, and I proofed them in round, linen-lined wicker bannetons. I scored them with 3 parellel cuts, as Leader recommends. The loaves took an oblong form even before I could load them in the oven. This is a graphic illustration of the effect of this pattern of scoring on loaf shape, as described by Suas in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" and referenced in my Scoring Tutorial. (See the TFL Handbook.)


http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/scoring




David

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