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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

On Friday morning, I did a rather large refresh of my starter, thinking that it would be the makings of a levain for something to bake this weekend.  There was no specific plan, mind you, just the notion that I needed to bake something and that sourdough would be preferred.  In taking stock of my pantry after a late dinner Friday evening, it became evident that whatever I made wouldn't contain rye--I needed to restock.  That may be good news to Nico and the rest of the crew at Eureka Mills but it did steer my considerations out of one path and down another.


What to bake, then?  After riffling through some books, the bread that looked most appealing to me was the Pain de Campagne from Leader's Local Breads.  Yes, it wants 30g of rye flour, too, but I substituted WW and was happily on my way.  My starter was at, or just passing, its zenith.  Since I keep a firm starter, I needed to add water to achieve the hydration of Leader's liquid levain.  Before doing that, I made sure to set some starter aside to refeed and put back into storage.  It's no fun to find out you've baked up all of your starter and need to start anew.  Even worse, there are no T-shirts after you've been there and done that.


In reading the formula, I found that I had just about the same quantity of levain (after adding the requisite water) that would be required for a double batch.  Good!  One mess and four loaves instead of one mess and two loaves.  That would yield two for us and a couple of loaves to give to friends.  Leader recommends mixing the water and flour for a 20-minute autolyze, then add in the levain and salt.  I varied by mixing the flour, water and levain for the autolyse and left it for 25 minutes, on the presumption that the coarser bran particles of the WW flour would benefit from additional time soaking.


Upon returning to the now-autolyzed dough, I found it to be wonderfully elastic even before adding the salt.  I worked in about half of the salt using a stretch and fold in the bowl process, then patted the dough out on the countertop and worked in the rest of the salt.  Leader directs the baker to knead the dough for 10-12 minutes.  For once, I followed directions.  The dough was a joy to handle.  It verged on being sticky at the beginning of the knead.  Per Leader's directions, I did not add any bench flour.  Instead, I would dust my hands with flour occasionally.  As the kneading progressed, the stickiness reduced to a light tackiness (and I mean that in a good way).  The dough left very little of itself on the countertop even though it was quite capable of latching on if left to sit for more than a few seconds.  It was able to produce a window pane at the end of the kneading, something that I don't usually check for, especially in a dough freckled with flakes of bran.  In spite of the addition of some WW flour (and rye, if you have it), this is essentially a white bread.  And I suspect that the dough felt so responsive to me because my previous bake was a 100% rye.  Two different worlds!


By this time, it was already close to 9:00 in the evening, so I had to consider my next step.  Should I stay up late through two fermentation cycles and baking, or should I retard it in the refrigerator?  Since I was dealing with a sourdough, I opted to leave it on the counter for about an hour more before placing it in the refrigerator.  My experience with sourdoughs is that they are rather slow to develop and I did not want to sacrifice that much sleep.  Imagine my surprise at about 7:00 this morning when I opened the refrigerator door to find the dough well above the rim of the bowl, straining against the plastic wrap!  It had at least tripled, perhaps quadrupled, in roughly 9 hours in the refrigerator.  I've never seen a sourdough bread do that before.  It must be that this starter, even though only a couple of months old, has a potent strain of yeast!


So, I divided the dough into four pieces and shaped each piece into a boule.  I only have two bannetons that size, and only two loaves would fit on my stone at one time, so I opted for using two half-sheet pans with two loaves on parchment on each.  While I can fit those into my oven, it does not leave any room for a steam pan.  When the loaves had doubled (visually) and the poke test indicated that they were fully risen, I scored them and brushed their surfaces with water before putting them in the preheated oven.  Leader recommends baking at 450ºF for 15 minutes, then dropping the temperature to 400ºF for an additional 20-25 minutes.  I opted to use the convection setting, with temperatures that were 40º-50º lower, supposing that I would get a more even bake.  I also planned to rotate and switch the pans at the 15-minute mark.  When I opened the oven, I found that the lower loaves were pressing against the rack above them.  Instead of the planned switch-and-rotate maneuver, I took all four loaves off the pans and placed them on the top rack, with the paler pair at the rear, to finish the lower-temperature last segment of the bake.


Here's how they look:


pain de campagne


As you can see from the crackling in the crust of the left-hand loaf, they sang as they cooled.  Two of the loaves suffered small blow-outs along their bases, indicating that they weren't as fully proofed as they seemed to be (or that I really did need more steam in the oven).  I'm very happy with how they expanded upward more than they did outward, since I was careful to get a tight gluten cloak while shaping.  I'm less happy with the scoring; it's a skill I need to develop further.  I anticipate some good eating from these.  We'll see how the crumb looks when I've cut into one.  That much kneading could lead to a fairly even and close crumb, even though this is a moist dough.


Stay tuned!


Paul

SaraBClever's picture
SaraBClever

I keep my own blog with my sisters at www.threecleversisters.com, but as I have a question about this bread I figured I'd repost it here too!  I'm not sure if that's how TFL community works/if others do this as well?  Do people keep parallel blogs around here?  I think my bread stuff is a little technical sometimes for the rest of my blog, though here probably pretty basic stuff ;-)  All in the name of better bread, right? 


Anyway here is the post (link is http://threecleversisters.com/2010/09/12/dark-pumpernickel-bread-with-raisins/)



This bread, Dark Pumpernickel Bread with Raisins, from Dan Leader's Bread Alone, was a lot of fun to make.  However, it takes a LONG time-two ferments rather than one (that's three rises) and 1 1/2 hours in the oven. 


I halved the recipe (and Lord knows how I would have kneaded all that dough if I hadn't) and as the rye starter I maintain (from Dan Leader's Local Breads) seems to be different from the Bread Alone book in composition (and since my starter is drastically smaller in amount than required for this recipe), I built the necessary proportions using the rye sourdough elaboration from the Local Breads recipe for Whole Rye Berry Loaf.  (I added about 5oz of water rather than the 4 oz called for in the pre-ferment as the Bread Alone sourdough seemed wetter).   I meant to only add 9oz of the final starter but ended up adding the full amount which was nearer to 11 oz.  This turned out not to be a problem, as far as I could tell. 


The recipe gives a wide range of flours, I stayed within the lower end of this range.  This seemed to work out well.  The only problem was that I think my oven got too hot over the long baking period, so as is obvious, the crust was burnt.  The inside is just fine, and I was thrilled by the dramatic oven spring.  Plus it's the first pumpernickel I've made that was truly dark (which is what I think of for pumpernickel).  It was quite sweet from the molasses and raisins, and deliciously moist:  I was happy to eat it plain.  I put half in the freezer as this is one massive loaf (and I only made a half batch!  Unbelievable.  I'll have to keep this in mind when making more out of Bread Alone-Leader is clearly baking for a crowd!)


Final question:  if anyone uses both of these books, do you know if the starters are interchangeable, as they seem to be different formulas to me?  If you use a local bread starter, how do you convert to the Bread Alone starter (not only in the hydration proportions but in the quantities required!?)









 

SaraBClever's picture

Dan Leader's Pain au Levain and Local Breads

August 21, 2010 - 12:39pm -- SaraBClever

I love this bread!  See my blog post.  I also successfully converted my wet starter to a stiff dough starter.   Has anyone else baked much from this book?  I know about the errata but any other thoughts?  Any "must-try" recipes?  How about that Pane di Altamura with its special semolina sourdough?


http://threecleversisters.com/2010/08/21/dan-leaders-quintessential-french-sourdough/

jombay's picture
jombay

Here are my sourdough croissants from Daniel Leader's Local Breads. It's the nicest croissant dough I have worked with thus far.


Formula;


Ingredients

Weight

Baker's Percentage

Whole Milk

Liquid Levain

Instant Yeast

300 gms

100 gms

15 gms

60.00%

20.00%

3.00%

Unbleached AP flour

500 gms

100.00%

Unsalted Butter (for dough)

60 gms

12.00%

Granulated Sugar

15 gms

3.00%

Salt

Unsalted Butter (for roll in)

10 gms

200 gms

2.00%

40.00%

 

 

CyclingCraig's picture

Something doesn't look right with my starter

February 9, 2010 - 7:49am -- CyclingCraig

 Hi All


I am totally new to bread, except for the "No-Knead" from cooks Illustrated.


I received "Local Breads" as a gift over the holidays and found out how much fun making bread really is.


Anyway, here is my issue:


I am trying to make my first starter (Actually second, first time didn't work either) for sourdoughs and following the instructions from Local Breads.


Start with 25g Rye, 25g AP and 160g H2O. Each subsequent day add 50g AP and 65g H2O (Giving a stir every 8 hours)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Between last weekend's experiments with varying hydration levels, locating rye flour, and tuning up my sourdough starter over the past few days, things took a turn for the better with this weekend's bake.  If I had to rank the importance of those three, it would be a difficult choice.  I'd probably nominate the improved starter as the most important but that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't obtained some rye flour.  Of course, having a notion where things were headed because of the hydration experiments gave me confidence in what to expect, so, I suppose I'm back to where I started...


I'll start with the starter.  It was initially propagated with whole wheat flour and orange juice (didn't find pineapple juice at the store until several days later) and has always had an intense acidity.  It's residents may also have been a little too active in pumping out enzymes because it tended to go gooey after a few hours at room temps (it's summer here in South Africa) in spite of being maintained at approximately 50% hydration.  I took a tablespoon or so of the starter, mixed it with another couple tablespoons of mineral water and enough rye flour to make a soft paste.  I repeated this regimen with morning and evening feedings for two days.  Over the next 3-4 days, I introduced bread flour until the mix was mostly bread flour and a couple of pinches of rye flour, always discarding all but a tablespoonful before the feeding.  By the end of the third day, the starter was much bubblier and the odor and flavor were much less acidic.  The starter now has more of a yeasty/fruity odor.  


With a now lively, less-acidulated starter in hand, I decided that Leader's pain de compagne looked like a good candidate for a trial run.  The hydration level is approximately 67%, which is right in the sweet spot of the previous week's hydration tests.  All of the required ingredients were on hand, so I mixed up the liquid levain on Friday evening before going to bed.  The next morning it was evident that the levain had more than tripled overnight and was already subsiding, so I mixed the dough before breakfast.  Here's where I have a slight quibble with the process.  Leader directs you to mix up the final dough, sans salt and levain, let it autolyze for 20 minutes, then mix in the salt, followed by the liquid levain.  Nothing unorthodox there, except that the final dough without the levain is about 50% hydration.  Try mixing a liquid levain into bagel dough!  By hand!  At least I had the good sense to chop the dough into small pieces before starting to mix in the levain (the directions do not suggest this step).  Still, it was a long, slow, laborious process to mix the dough and the levain into a uniform mass.  Toward the end, I was effectively doing stretch and folds with the dough in the bowl, trying to get everything folded in and combined.  Needless to say, I settled for a few rounds of French folds instead of the recommended 12 minutes of kneading on the bench.  I can attest that the dough was well developed by that point.


Bulk fermention, shaping, final fermentation and baking all proceeded pretty much as advertised in the book.  It was extremely gratifying to see strong oven spring with this bread, after having had a few less-than-stellar bakes.


Here's how the finished bread looked:



 


I like the coloration of the crust.  Apparently I'm starting to get better acquainted with the oven, too.


The crumb, shown below, has a mix of smaller and larger alveoli.  Not classic pain de compagne texture but it will work well for sandwiches, which is how most of it will be consumed.



The crust, though thin, was more chewy than crunchy.  After sitting overnight in plastic, it has softened considerably.  The flavor is definitely more French than San Francisco: only slightly tangy and thoroughly wheaty.  The crumb is somewhat moist and feels slightly cool upon the tongue.  Very pleasing to the palate.


All in all, a very pleasing outcome.

occidental's picture
occidental

I baked the buckwheat batard from Leader's Local Breads yesterday.  This is my third or fourth attempt at this bread, and by far the most sucessful.  The first time I tried this bread I was unaware of the errors in the formula (if you do a search of the site you will find posts on the errors of this book) and ended up experimenting just trying to get a buckwheat starter that I could work with.  The flavor is so unique that I did not give up and have come up with a formula that works for me.  For the buckwheat levain I used 75 grams of my liquid levain that is approximately 100% hydration.  To that I added 35 grams of water and 40 grams of buckwheat flour, which totals 150 grams, close to the 125 grams needed for the dough, with just a little to spare.  I let this sit and ferment overnight.  There was not much visible fermentation as far as rising or bubbles coming to the surface with this levain, however upon stirring it up it was evident from the texture that it was active.  I then followed the rest of the formula as written in the book, except that I made 3 loaves instead of the suggested 4.  I'm not a big butter fan however I really enjoy this bread warmed with a little butter on it, and the buckwheat flavor is very unique.  Now on to the pics... 


 


From bread

From bread

From bread
occidental's picture
occidental

Inspired by Txfarmer's post ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14636/auvergne-rye-baguette-bacon ) last week I baked Leaders Auvergne Rye with Bacon today.  I didn't have the really open crumb txfarmer had but I'm pleased with the results.  These loaves were proofed in the fridge overnight which, if anything else developed a good 'skin' that made scoring easy.  I expected more of a bacon flavor - I'd say there is a hint of flavor but not much more - which is disapointing after adding seven slices of bacon!  I can't say this is one of my favorites from Local Breads but I may try it again some time.  On to the pictures...


 


From bread

From bread
SumisuYoshi's picture
SumisuYoshi

Baked Méteils au Bleu


This recipe comes from Pierre Nury via Daniel Leader's Local Breads, this is the second recipe I've made from the book (and it went a lot better than the first, which I still need to write up). I picked this recipe because it looked like it would make cute little loaves, and one of my friends is a fan of blue cheese. It had also been a while since I made a bread with a significant amount of rye flour, and that one turned out a bit brick like. I had some trepidation starting this recipe because I had heard of many errors in the book (and experienced some of them in the first bread I made), but I didn't notice any glaring errors in this recipe.

This recipe is built on a stiff levain, which I definitely prefer, seem to get better results from it, and I already keep a stiff levain so no conversion needed. Once you have the starter build for the recipe you mix the bread flour (55%) and fine ground rye flour (45%) with the water and let the mixture autolyse for 20 minutes. After the autolyse the small portion of starter is incorporated into the dough and the salt sprinkled on top and kneaded in.

Flours and Water for Méteils au Bleu

Autolysed Dough and Starter

Sea Salt

Méteils au Bleu Dough

Méteils au Bleu Dough ready to rise

This was a dense and very sticky dough to knead, thanks mostly to the rye flour I would imagine. The new (large) cutting board I got to handle dough on seems to help make the sticky doughs easier to handle than the plastic mat I used previously though, I was able to get this dough kneaded well enough with minimal flour use. I wasn't expecting a huge rise with the dough, both from comments seen online and experience with how my starter likes to rise, and it was good I wasn't expecting much!

Risen Méteils au Bleu Dough

I couldn't find the cheese called for in the recipe locally so I picked out an interesting looking selection at my local Whole Foods, Hook's Cheese Company Blue Paradise:

Hook Cheese Company Blue Paradise

It was a little tricky getting the 4 separate pieces of dough evenly sized because the dough was so sticky! A little dusting of flour to control that stickyness for weighing and I got my 4 roughly equal pieces, and preshaped them into little rectangles (it called for squares, but the dough didn't want to go that way). Each of the 4 got stuffed with cheese, rolled up into little loaves, and put in the loaf pans. I was initially surprised that this recipe calls for scoring before proofing, but I guess that helps it to open up a bit more to make a cavity for the cheese you place on top.

Preshaped Dough for Méteils au Bleu

Shaped Méteils au Bleu

Slashed Méteils au Bleu

When it came time to bake, I changed up the instructions a bit. I preheated the oven to 500, used nearly boiling water instead of ice cubes, and then turned the heat down to the suggested temperature as soon as the loaves were in the oven (the ice cubes just don't work so well for me). These loaves smelled really great as they were baking!

Baked Méteils au Bleu

Méteils au Bleu Crumb

After they had cooled a little bit, I brought one out to show the person I had baked them for more intending just that he could see and smell it, but it must've smelled really good because he took a big bite out of it! It was really good warm out of the oven like that, I also made a few slices into crostini the other day, topped them with pesto and chicken!

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