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San Francisco Sourdough Bread

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dmsnyder

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Figs

March 3, 2013

I like sourdough breads with nuts and dried fruit, but not very often. They are enjoyed as something special and “different,” but I much prefer an unadulterated San Francisco-style sourdough or Pain au Levain as my daily bread. Well, it has been quite some time since I made a sourdough bread with dried fruit and nuts, and I have developed a craving.

This year, the quality of locally grown dried Calmyrna figs has been outstanding. I've been going through a pound of them every 10 days or so for the past several months. I would eat even more, but my gut wouldn't take it. (Let's just point out that dried figs are an excellent source of soluble fiber.)

I have made walnut bread with my San Francisco-style sourdough several times, and it has been delicious. Therefore, I decided to make a bread based on my San Francisco-style Sourdough with walnuts and dried figs. I took the baker's percentages of the nuts and figs from Hamelman's formula for Hazelnut-Fig Levain.

 

Total Dough Ingredients

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

AP flour

76

416

WW Flour

8

46

Bread flour

14

78

Medium rye flour

0.7

4

Water

69

378

Salt

2

11

Stiff starter

12

66

Walnuts

18

98

Dried figs

18

98

Total

217.7

1195

 

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

Bread flour

95

78

Medium rye flour

5

4

Water

50

41

Stiff starter

80

66

Total

230

189

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 16 hours.

Final dough

Wt (g)

AP flour

416

WW Flour

46

Water

337

Salt

11

Stiff levain

189

Walnuts

98

Dried figs

98

Total

1195

 

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes

  3. Coarsely chop or break apart the walnut pieces and toast them for 8 minutes in a 300ºF oven. Allow to cool.

  4. Coarsely chop the dried figs, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside.

  5. Add the salt and levain to the autolyse, and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 5 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom.

  6. Add the walnuts and the figs to the dough and mix at low speed until well-distributed in the dough. (About 2 minutes)

  7. Transfer to a lightly floured board, do a stretch and fold, and form a ball.

  8. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  9. Ferment at 76º F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

  11. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  12. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  13. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  14. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  15. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 2-3 hours.

  16. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  18. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 435º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)

  19. Bake for another 15 minutes.

  20. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

  21. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

The crust was crunchy. The crumb was stained by the walnuts and, perhaps, somewhat by the figs. The flavor was very good, mildly sour sourdough with hits of nutty and figgy yumminess. The nuts and figs are sparse enough so the good bread flavor still comes through. This is a bread I could make a meal of. I think it will also be great with a thin spread of butter or cream cheese or with a tangy gorgonzola or sharp cheddar.

 This bread is delicious and highly recommended.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've been working on the requested update of the Scoring Tutorial. I was expressely asked to use "real" bread, instead of the dishtowels I used to demonstrate the use of a transfer peel. I made a batch of my San Frandisco-style Sourdough for this purpose. So, after finishing the third video for the new tutorial (one more to go), I had to dispose of my instructional materials. 

No expressions of sympathy are called for I assure you.

A nice crab salad and Anderson Valley Chardonney complemented the bread quite nicely.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Last Friday and Saturday, I hopped over to San Mateo for the San Francisco Pen Show to indulge another of my addictions hobbies. We needed a fast breakfast to get an early start. So Thursday I baked ...

Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA

Returning Sunday, I activated my sourdough starter and mixed enough levain/biga for ...

My Pugliese Capriccioso (Formula here: Pugliese Capriccioso)

Baked Monday, and ...

San Francisco-style Sourdough (Formula here: My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4)

Baked Tuesday. My formula for the SF SD levain and the Pugliese biga are essentially identical, so I just mixed a double batch of levain and used it for both breads.

Tuesday night, I mixed a levain for more San Francisco Sourdough and made a couple boules with toasted walnuts. I added Walnuts at 40% of the total flour weight (185 g for my 1 kg recipe).They were retarded baked Wednesday. 

Happy baking!

David

dmsnyder's picture
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

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We are back home (as of last weekend) from a week with 18 Snyder family relatives in Ft Bragg, a few days in Prague and 4 days  with 62 of Susan's family members, coming from 7 countries, in Warsaw, Poland.

At Glenn's Ft Bragg house, we had Glenn's home-made pastrami on my sour rye breads and many more yummy breads from Glenn's and my ovens. And Glenn's pastries, which were delicious. In Warsaw, we were so involved with socializing and with events the reunion organizers had scheduled, there was no time to explore bakeries. However, the fresh-baked bread assortment for breakfast at the Warsaw Marriott was almost "worth a journey." There were both French-style breads and pastries and Eastern European-style multi-grain and whole grain breads. Every one I tried was excellent. 

Back home, I refreshed my stock starter last weekend, revved it up Thursday evening and baked a couple loaves of San Francisco-style Sourdough yesterday. It was good.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Yeah. French makes everything seem fancier. Anyway, today I made three kinds of bread from the San Francisco-style Sourdough dough I've been playing with for the past couple months.

The dough was basically version 6. I put my stock starter through 3 builds of 75% AP and 25% WW at 50% hydration. The builds were fed at approximately 12 hour intervals, and the third build was cold retarded for about 14 hours then fermented at 85 dF for 3 hours before mixing the dough to make 2 kg. After dividing and shaping, all products were cold retarded again before final proofing and baking.

 

Boule made with 1 kg of SF-style SD dough

Boule crumb 

Boule crumb close-up

Mini-baguettes made with 250 g of SF-style SD dough each.

Baguette crumb

These breads had a very crunchy crust and a complex, moderately sour flavor. The flavor was more like the version 4 bake than the last version 6 bake. It had a distinct milky, lactic acid element as well as the sharper acetic acid tang. Very, very yummy. I am happy that this formula and method are delivering consistant results for me.

The remaining 500 g of dough was divided into two pieces, shaped into balls and put in Ziploc sandwich bags along with a tablespoon of olive oil, then refrigerated for 24 hours.

Mozzarella, tomato, mushroom pizza

Pesto, mozzarella, mushroom pizza

Pesto, mozzarella, mushroom pizza close-up

The pizza was fair. The crust was chewy. My wife liked the flavor of the crust. I prefer a really thin, cracker-crisp crust. However, it's nice to know this dough makes fair pizza crust. If you like chewy rather than crisp, this may be for you.

Happy baking!

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My series of San Francisco-style sourdough bread bakes has featured several variations of levain elaboration, leaving the final dough ingredients and procedures essentially constant. Today's variation involved using a firm starter to activate the stock starter and building the stiff levain which is mixed in the final dough in three steps, rather than two. In addition, rather than retarding an intermediate build, I retarded the stiff levain.

You may also note that the activation and intermediate builds used a flour mixture of 75% AP and 25% WW flour. Re-reading my class notes from the SFBI Artisan II workshop, I was reminded that this was the feeding mixture recommended by the SFBI instructor. I thought I would give it a try. 

Feeding the starter twice in 24 hours demonstrated a dramatic increase in the leavening power of the starter. The second feeding expanded dramatically faster than the first. And, even though the total fermentation time (not counting the overnight retardation) of the stiff levain was shorter than previous versions, it was very nicely expanded.

I started with my stock refrigerated 50% starter that had been fed last weekend. That feeding consisted of 50 g active starter, 100 g water and 200 g starter feeding mix. My stock starter feeding mix is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour. 

I activated the starter with a feeding of 20 g stock starter, 25 g water, 37 g of AP and 13 g of WW flour. This was fermented at room temperature for 16 hours. I then built an intermediate starter using 40 g of the activated starter, 50 g of water, 75 g of AP and 25 g of WW flour. This second build was fermented at room temperature for 12 hours. I then mixed the stiff levain.

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

Bread flour

95

78

157

Medium rye flour

5

4

8

Water

50

41

82

Stiff starter

80

66

132

Total

230

189

379

 

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 6 hours, then refrigerate for 14 hours.

  3. Take the levain out of the refrigerator and ferment at 85ºF for 3 hours.

Final dough

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

AP flour

90

416

832

WW Flour

10

46

92

Water

73

337

675

Salt

2.4

11

22

Stiff levain

41

189

379

Total

216.4

999

2000

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 90 minutes

  3. Add the salt and levain and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid) and mix to get early window paning. (This took about 10 minutes.) Add flour and water as needed. The dough should be rather slack. It should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom.

  4. Transfer to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold and form a ball.

  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  6. Ferment at 76º F for 3 1/2 to 4 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  7. Divide the dough as desired. (Note: I had made 2 kg of dough which I divided into 1 1 kg piece and two 500 g pieces.)

  8. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  10. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 2-3 hours.

  11. Cold retard the loaves overnight (12-14 hours).

  12. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 3 hours. (If you can't create a moist, 85 degree F environment, at least try to create one warmer than “room temperature.”)

  13. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.*

  15. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 435º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)*

  16. Bake for another 15 minutes.*

  17. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

*Note: I baked the two smaller boules first – 15 minutes at 460ºF with steam, then 15 minutes at 435ºF convection bake. I then baked the 1 kg boule after reheating the oven for 25 minutes – 15 minutes at 450ºF, then another 25 minutes at 430ºF.

 

San Francisco-style Sourdough, large boule

San Francisco-style Sourdough, large boule crumb

San Francisco-style Sourdough, small boule

San Francisco-style Sourdough, small boule crust close-up

San Francisco-style Sourdough, small boule crumb

San Francisco-style Sourdough, small boule crumb close-up

The appearance of the loaves was like those previously baked, as were the crust and crumb structure. However, the flavor had a prominent sourdough tang. This bread was quite similar to the bake I blogged on March 19, 2012 (See: My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4)

This is the crunchy crust, chewy crumb, moderately sour loaf I was after … at least it's close. I cannot say it replicates the “Wharf Bread” from Parisian Bakery I ate in San Francisco years ago. It has a less sweet, more whole grain flavor. The crust is thicker and crunchier. The crumb structure is more open. But it's a keeper. This is the one I'll be making from now on ... or until I can't resist tweaking it further.

I think it would go great with Dungeness crab!

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Syd's picture
Syd

 I made this loaf using Josh's process which he outlined in my previous blog post on San Francisco style sourdough.  (You will need to scroll down to about the halfway mark to view the post).

 

Levain Build

  • 20g refrigerated starter @100% hydration
  • 100g water
  • 15g light rye flour
  • 85g all purpose

Allow to mature for 12 hours.

*  Josh uses 60% levain in the build, 100% water and 100% flour of which 5% is rye.  I can't use 60% starter in my levain build as it would ripen in three hours with our temperatures over here.  If you plan on following this recipe, you would need to adjust the amount of starter in the levain build so that it matures in 12 hours.  20% starter works out perfectly for me at temperatures of 27C.

 Main dough

  • 300g water
  • 500g bread flour @ 11.4% protein
  • 11g salt

Refrigerate the dough immediately.  Josh  divides into pieces that aren't super thick and retards in lightly greased tubs.  He retards at 40F.

Retard for 22 hours.

Remove dough and allow to come back to room temperature (one to two hours).  Now shape and Josh advises to proof for 3 -5 hours but once again that was not possible for me to do because it would have been overproofed with our warm temperatures over here.  I let it proof for 1 and a half hours.  It was just starting to show signs of activity.  

Retard for another 20 hours.  I retarded for a full 24 just because I only got home late Sunday afternoon.  

Bake loaves with steam for 15 minutes vented for 20+(200 deg internal).  Josh didn't mention the oven temperature but he did say:

 don't forget to bake it dark.  Deep red and a hint of black.  Yum.

Taste


This made for some of the tastiest all-white sourdough I have ever eaten.  It really was worth the wait and despite taking almost 3 days to make it was quite effortless.  There wasn't much to do except wait.  Fortunately I have been extremely busy lately and had no time to camp outside the refrigerator waiting anxiously.

The crust is very chewy on the day after the bake.   It had the kind of flavour in it that I would normally only associate with a loaf that had some whole grain in it.  The crumb was light but consistent with the 11.4% protein flour that I  used.

My only quibble is that it only had the tiniest hint of sour.  I don't think this is a problem with the recipe, but rather with my flour.  I know if I used this process with only 15% wholegrain, I would get a very pronounced sour flavour. It just seems very difficult for me to get a really sour all-white loaf with the flour I use.  I know all flours are not created equally and could it be that my flour is lacking in something that will let it get really sour?  The only time I have got a really sour all-white sourdough with this flour was when I added sugar eggs and butter.  I could smell the sour while it was baking in the oven. Recently, I have been experimenting with adding maltose at a rate of 5% and getting very good results with that, too.  Not as sharp a sour as I got with sucrose but a very mellow sour which lingers in the mouth long after it has been swallowed. 

And a crumb shot.

 So now I still not finished with this one, yet. It seems I still have some experimenting to do.  If could marry the crust that I got with this to the sour I was getting with my previous recipe and then dial in a little more acetic acid flavour, I would be a happy camper and would file this recipe in the tried and tested tray.  For the time being, it is back to the drawing board. Happily, though.:)

Syd

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with and without Walnuts

This weekend, I continued trying variations of my San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread. Those who have followed this little adventure will note changes in my starter fermentation, the length of the autolyse and the use of this dough for a Sourdough Walnut Bread.

I started with my stock refrigerated 50% starter that had been fed last weekend. This feeding consisted of 50 g active starter, 100 g water and 200 g starter feeding mix. My starter feeding mix is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour.

I activated the starter with a feeding of 40 g stock starter, 100 g water and 100 g starter feeding mix. This was fermented at room temperature for 8 hours. The starter was very active. It had tripled in volume and was bubbling. I then mixed the stiff levain.

 

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

Bread flour

95

78

157

Medium rye flour

5

4

8

Water

50

41

82

Stiff starter

80

66

132

Total

230

189

379

 

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12 hours, then refrigerated overnight.

 

Final dough

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

AP flour

90

416

832

WW Flour

10

46

92

Water

73

337

675

Salt

2.4

11

22

Stiff levain

41

189

379

Total

216.4

953

2000

Note: For today's bake, I actually mixed two 1 kg batches of dough. For one, I added about 20% (baker's percentage), or 110 g of lightly toasted walnut pieces. This was mixed at slow speed for a couple minutes after Step 3., below.

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 20 minutes

  3. Add the salt and levain and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid) and mix for 5 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should be rather slack. It should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom.

  4. Transfer to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold and form a ball.

  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  6. Ferment at 76º F for 31/2 to 4 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  7. Divide the walnut bread dough into two equal pieces. Leave the other dough in one piece.

  8. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  10. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  11. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  12. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 3-4 hours. (If you can't create a moist, 85 degree F environment, at least try to create one warmer than “room temperature.” For this bake, I took two loaves out of the fridge and started proofing them. I took the third loaf out about an hour later and stacked it balanced on top of the other two. I did one bake with the two loaves of walnut bread and a second bake with the third loaf.)

  13. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F for the smaller loaves or 450ºF for the larger one, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  15. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 430º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)

  16. Bake for another 15 minutes for the smaller loaves or 25 minutes for the larger loaf.

  17. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

 One of my personal objectives in making this bread for so many weeks running has been, first of all, to develop a formula and procedures that produce a particular style of bread, and secondly to see if I could make small changes that accommodate to my other needs without changing the end product too much.

 

The bread without walnuts was very similar to the last San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread I had baked. The crust was crunchy and nutty-flavored. The crumb was chewy-tender with a moderate sourdough tang and excellent, balanced flavor.

 

The bread with walnuts was just delicious. I love the flavor of toasted walnuts in sourdough bread. I don't know why I had waited so long to make it again.

Tonight we'll have an appetizer of sourdough walnut bread with an interesting Spanish goat cheese followed by roasted herbed chicken/gruyere panini and a green salad.

David

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I almost decided not to bake this past weekend, but I activated some starter, thinking I might make some sourdough pancakes for breakfast Sunday. But, then, there was this starter, and I thought maybe I'd bake something or other. Well, I might as well have some fresh-baked bread for Sunday dinner, and it had been a while since I'd given a loaf to my next door neighbor who really appreciates my breads. I guessed I'd make some San Francisco-style sourdough to share.

I didn't want to be completely tied to the time-demands of my dough, so I relaxed the rigorous procedures with which I had been working to accommodate the other things I wanted to do. I expected the bread to be “good” but maybe not quite as good as last week's bake.

To my surprise and delight, the bread turned out to be the best San Francisco-style sourdough I had ever baked. So I am documenting what I did and hope it's reproducible. And I'm sharing it with you all. The modifications in my procedures were determined by convenience of the moment. This was sort of “a shot in the dark that hit the bullseye.”

So, here are the formula and procedures for this bake:

I started with my stock refrigerated 50% starter that had been fed last weekend. This feeding consisted of 50 g active starter, 100 g water and 200 g starter feeding mix. My starter feeding mix is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour.

I activated the starter with a feeding of 40 g stock starter, 100 g water and 100 g starter feeding mix. This was fermented at room temperature for 16 hours, then refrigerated for about 20 hours. I then mixed the stiff levain.

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

Bread flour

95

78

157

Medium rye flour

5

4

8

Water

50

41

82

Stiff starter

80

66

132

Total

230

189

379

  1.  Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 16 hours.

Final dough

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

for 1 kg

Wt (g)

for 2 kg

AP flour

90

416

832

WW Flour

10

46

92

Water

73

337

675

Salt

2.4

11

22

Stiff levain

41

189

379

Total

216.4

953

2000

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 120 minutes

  3. Add the salt and levain and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid) and mix for 5 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should be rather slack. It should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom.

  4. Transfer to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold and form a ball.

  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  6. Ferment at 76º F for 31/2 to 4 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  7. Divide the dough into three equal pieces. (Note: I had made 2 kg of dough.)

  8. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  10. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  11. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  12. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 3 hours. (If you can't create a moist, 85 degree F environment, at least try to create one warmer than “room temperature.” For this bake, I took two loaves out of the fridge and started proofing them. I took the third loaf out about an hour later and stacked it balanced on top of the other two. I did one bake with the first two loaves and a second bake with the third loaf.)

  13. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  15. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 435º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)

  16. Bake for another 15 minutes.

  17. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

Note: Because these loaves were smaller than those baked in “Take 3,” the oven temperature was hotter , and the baking time was shorter. I also wanted a slightly darker crust, which this modification accomplished.

The crust was thick and very crunchy but not “hard.” The crumb was more open than my last bake. The crust had a sweet, nutty flavor. The crumb had sweetness with a definite whole grain wheat overtone and a more pronounced acetic acid tang. It had a wonderful cool mouth feel and was a bit more tender than the last bake.

This bread was close in flavor and texture to the best tasting bread I've ever had which was a half kilo of pain de campagne cut from an absolutely huge miche in Les Eyzies, France some 15 years ago. It's a taste I've never forgotten and often wished I could reproduce.

I need to make me a miche like this!

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting 

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