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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:

balabusta's picture

Scoring Issues

July 29, 2009 - 7:47pm -- balabusta

I always seem to have difficulty scoring my baguette dough.  I believe the dough is well hydrated, not over-kneaded, and it is properly proofed. There is no "skin" on the dough.  I use a new, sharp razor blade, but the blade gets "stuck" in the dough when I try to score it at a slight or perpendicular angle - the blade does NOT slice through the dough.  Baked, the baguette is gorgeous and the crumb, wonderful. 


Any suggestions how I can score my dough without a tug of war?


Thanks,


Diane

DrPr's picture

Grigne

May 29, 2009 - 2:25pm -- DrPr

I know I ask a lot of questions!!


 


I am trying to improve the grigne on my loaves, but I realized that I don't know what a "good" one actually looks like.  I personally like a little bit of a ragged look, but not so ragged that it looks like  a mistake. I like to see some of the hole structure, and for there to be some color contrast between the scoring area and the rest of the crust.  Are these indicators of a "proper" grigne?  If not, what should I be striving for, aesthetically?

rryan's picture

Second Sourdough Loaf - Great Flavor, Great Crust, But Lousy Scoring -- and Still Hooked

February 26, 2009 - 10:02am -- rryan

A few days ago, I posted about the success my first sourdough loaf, and the fact that I am now totally hooked. I baked a second loaf today, and I am both ecstatic and disappointed by the results. Ambivalent feelings aside, the bread tasted great, and the crust was that delightfully crunchy-yet-chewy texture I was looking for. The crumb was moist and delicate, but there were no large and irregular holes that I would like to have seen. The flavor was mildly sourdough (as expected), and the oven spring was amazing.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

It's been quite a long time since I've actively participated on this forum, but I have the flu this week and am cooped up inside with plenty of time to bake and web surf, so thought I'd provide an update on how I think I've improved on some of my old sourdough techniques, as well as show some fun results with brioche.


French Fold on Sourdough


After all these years, I still find that my favorite sourdough formulas are either the Columbia or the Thom Leonard boules from Glezer's Artisan Baking. I always return to them over again, and often make some of each in a given week, as they have some different qualities that I like in both.


I've posted the formulas for these breads here a few years ago, but I've since changed my methods a bit. For quite a long time, over a year, I abandoned my KitchenAid Pro 600 stand mixer and started using the no-knead technique as many here have used, extending the bulk fermentation to overnight at room temp, and giving 3 good stretch-and-folds the first 90 minutes into the first bulk ferment before going to bed at night. That sure made things easy, and I was able to fit it into my busy summer schedule especially, but it didn't quite give me the open and flavorful crumb I really wanted. I think the dough just wasn't getting quite developed enough via that method.


I don't think my dough hook on my stand mixer, however, was really doing such a great job developing the gluten as well, so recently I began really studying the French Fold in more detail, and I really find Richard Bertinet's video extremely helpful for this, thanks to people on this site pointing me there when I lurked earlier this Fall. To make my sourdough I now continue to do it all by hand, relatively quickly, with really superior results to what I got before using no-knead or even stand mixer.


Here's my long-ferment adaptation of the Columbia Sourdough from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking:


Makes two 44-ounce (1250 g) round boules or four 22-oz batards (original recipe doubled)
Time: about 36 hrs. with 20 minutes of active work


This method works well if you are busy with work during the week and don't want to be baking all day Saturday either. I begin this process on Friday Morning. Once you get comfortable with it, you could even begin it Thurs. evening and make the final dough before work on Friday morning, letting it rise while at work and shaping as soon as you get home.


Approx. 30 hours before baking (e.g. Fri. Morning) make the Levain as follows:
90 g ( 2 oz) fermented white/wheat-flour sourdough starter refreshed 8-12 hrs before (I use a batter-like starter made with equal weights water to flour, not a firm starter.)
140 g (6.6 oz) lukewarm water
320 g (10.6 oz) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour


Dissolve starter in the water, then add flour and knead this stiff dough until smooth. Place in covered container and ferment at room temp (@70F) until doubled, 8-12 hrs.


That evening (e.g. Fri. Evening) make the final dough as follows:
1200 g (42.4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
110 g (3.8 oz) whole-wheat flour, finely ground
30 g (1 oz) whole-rye flour, finely ground
40 g (1.4 oz) toasted wheat germ
40 g (1.4 oz) non-diastatic barley malt syrup (This is sold in most supermarkets or where home-beer-brewing supplies are sold.)
970 g (34 oz) warm water
all the fermented levain you made the night before (550 g or 23.2 oz)
32 g (1 oz) fine sea salt

Mix By hand: combine all 3 flours, wheat germ, and salt in large bowl, and mix thoroughly with rubber spatula or mixing spoon until all dry ingredients are perfectly distributed. Measure the warm water first and while it's sitting in a container on your scale, use a clean tablespoon to scoop a little syrup at a time into the water until the correct weight (40g) is added to the water. If you accidentally spoon in too much, just scoop a little syrup out of the water before it dissolves, stir well to dissolve. Pour the malted water over the ripe levain and mix well until dissolved, then pour the water/levain liquid over the flour mixture and mix with spoon, dough whisk, or hands until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest 1 hour at room temp. (@60-70F).


So, my dough handling method now is:


1) mix all dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl: flours, salt


2) add water to the ripe levain to dissolve and mix in its own bowl


3) add watered levain to flours in large mixing bowl and mix until well-combined by hand with my trusty King Arthur dough whisk (or use spoon or hands).


4) cover bowl and let rest for 1 hour.


5) tip rested dough onto clean counter (no flour, no oil, no water) and begin the French fold a la Bertinet. I do this for at least 5 minutes before giving it a rest, scraping the dough together with a bench scraper, and continuing for another 5 minutes. It is amazing how well this works even for very wet doughs. The first minute or so, it is tough, you feel the dough tighten and not stretch yet still be sticky and you're ready to give up, but keep at it and all of the sudden, the dough starts to stretch while simultaneously becoming less sticky, you can really feel it change. By the second 5 minute stretch, it really starts to look like in the video andd tightens up really nicely, leaving almost nothing sticking to the counter.


6) After 10 min. of the French fold, place dough ball into lightly oiled container and cover, let rest 30 minutes, and then do a regular gentle stretch and letter fold after 30 minutes. Repeat this rest and stretch-fold 1 more time, then let dough bulk ferment overnight in cool location (50F-60F) until a little more than doubled in bulk.


7) Next morning, shape dough into loaves as desired and let rise until doubled again, around 4-5 hours in my chilly 60-65F house. Bake as usual.


This total 10 min. French fold develops the gluen just as well as traditional hand kneading with added flour for 15-20 min. and I think works better than my stand mixer ever did. The benefits are less time kneading, no added flour to toughen up the dough, but better gluten development, and easier to work with large batches that don't fit in my stand mixer anyhow.



The Thom Leonard boule (above) crumb from the French Fold. This was a wet dough and I had not yet studied David Snyder's scoring video when I baked these. After seeing David's scoring tips, my Comunbia batards (below) turned out with better ears, even though those were also wet doughs. (Oops, my batard shaping still needs practice as I left a "baker's cave" in there).



FYI - my adaptation of the Thom Leonard boule (also from Glezer's Artisan Baking) is the same mehod as above for Columbia, just different formula and quanitity of dough, as follows:
Makes one 4 lb. (1.8 kilo) large boule or two 2 lb boules.
Time: about 36 hrs. with 20 minutes of active work


The evening before baking make the Levain as follows:
45 g (1 oz) fermented white/wheat-flour sourdough starter refreshed 8-12 hrs before (I use a batter-like starter made with equal weights water to flour, not a firm starter. If you are using a rye-flour starter, substitute the 30 g of the rye flour in the final dough with more white AP flour.)
120 g (3.3 oz) lukewarm water
140 g (5.3 oz) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour


Dissolve starter in the water in a small bowl, then add flour and beat this batter-like dough until very smooth. Place in covered container and ferment at room temp (@70F) until doubled, 8-12 hrs.


Next day make the final dough as follows:
250 g (8.8 oz) Whole Wheat Flour (If you like your bread a little darker add up to 350 g whole wheat here and use less white flour below.)
30 g (1 oz) whole-rye flour, finely ground (If using a rye-flour starter in the levain rather than wheat, substitute the rye flour here with 30 g more white AP flour.)
850 g (29.9 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
780 g (27.5 oz) warm water
all the fermented levain you made the night before (305 g or 10.6 oz)
23 g (0.8 oz) fine sea salt or course Celtic Grey Sea Salt


 


Brioches a Tete


Since my husband's family are visiting here from France this winter, I decided to make some brioche, which I have't done in a long time, using some lovely non-stick molds they brought me from France. I made Peter Reinhart's Rich Man's Brioche from the BBA, and I also used Bertinet's French Fold method to mix and knead the dough, but this dough was really too wet and full of butter to do this properly (really like a cake batter), still, I persisted, and it eventually did come together a bit, and turned out nice and light, despite having a fine-textured crumb. I think next time I will try Peter's middle-class brioche, which has about half the butter. This version here was heavenly with a good cup of coffee on a cold snowy winter morning though  :-)



dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This topic is not about the auricular anatomy of elves (or Vulcans). It's about scoring breads.


Scoring loaves creates a visually pleasing pattern, and it helps control the expansion of the loaf as it bakes. This was discussed not long ago in this topic:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9046/effect-scoring-loaf-shape


The San Francisco Sourdough breads I baked today illustrate a more "advanced" aspect of scoring that is alluded to by both Hamelman (in "Bread") and Suas (in "Advanced Bread & Pastry.")



San Francisco Sourdough Breads (from Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb")



Detail of bâtard crust, with "ear," grigne" & "bloom."


So, what is the point of an ear?


What Suas called "the classic cut" is parallel to the long axis of a baguette or a bâtard. The cut is made with the blade at a shallow angle to the surface of the loaf. The cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch deep. Paradoxically, this shallow cut results in the flap lifting better than a deeper cut would, thus forming a nice "ear." Hamelman (pg. 80) points out that "a deep cut will simply collapse from its own weight."


The angle is also important. "If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development." (Suas, pg. 116.) 


The second photo, above, illustrates a fairly nice "ear," but it also shows that the bloom occured slowly, as it should. Notice that the color of the crust in the opening has 3 distinct degrees of browning, decreasing from left to right. The darker part on the left obviously opened first and was exposed to the direct heat of the oven for longer. If the bloom occured too rapidly, it would have a more even coloration. For example, see the photo of the boule, which was slashed with the blade held at 90 degrees to the surface of the loaf:



Boule scored with the blade held vertical to the loaf surface. Note the even coloration of the bloomed crust.


In summary, in order to achieve an optimal bloom in baguettes and bâtards, one must attend to 3 variables when scoring them:



  1. The cuts should be almost parallel to the long axis of the loaf.

  2. The blade should be held at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf.

  3. The depth of the cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch.


Variable shading of the bloomed crust confirms that the desired slow but prolonged opening of the cut during oven spring occured.


Cool, isn't it?


 David

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