The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

soaker

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cranbo's picture
cranbo

I make a 60% rye bread, and I use a buttermilk & rye soaker. Hydration is around 65%; remainder of flour is generic bread flour. I knead in a Kitchenaid for about 7-10 minutes total. I also stretch and fold 2-4 times, depending on how lazy I am. 


The unbaked dough of the last 2 I've made starts to "rip" after I start to fold it. I doubt I could windowpane it. Is that typical? I know rye is low-gluten, but could I be overkneading it? Seems unlikely, but I'm looking forward to feedback.


Thanks!

crazyknitter's picture

soaker: buttermilk/yogurt verses water??

November 1, 2010 - 7:25am -- crazyknitter
Forums: 

I am wondering something.


I made Peter Reinharts' whole wheat bread with soaker and biga.  In the soaker, since I didn't have any buttermilk (and my buttermaker died on me - and I didn't have time to make butter by hand) I used some fresh (but older milk).


My bread turned out wonderful!  I was so pleased.


Well, now that I am back to square one with no butter milk, I am wondering how water will fare in a soaker in my bread?


Can anyone share some insight with me?


 


Becky

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We were in Portland, OR last week. While I was in meetings, my wife bounced between Powell's (the biggest book store in the US of A) and the Pearl Bakery. I got to taste a number of their breads in sandwiches my wife brought back to the hotel, but I didn't taste their "multigrain roll," which my wife had one day and really liked.


Susan often asks me to make rolls for her lunch sandwiches, so with her description of the Pearl's roll in mind I went looking for a multigrain roll to make. I've made several of Hamelman's multigrain breads and liked them all. I think any of the ones I've made would make good rolls, but I wanted to try something new. Reading through "Bread," I found the "Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker." (Pg. 126) It is a 50% bread flour/50% whole wheat dough with a soaker of cracked wheat, coarse corn meal, millet and oats. I had all the ingredients but for the millet. I substituted flax seeds.


This is one heavy dough. I added quite a bit of water, which Hamelman says is often needed, to get the consistency I thought was "right." I formed the 4+ lbs of dough into 2 bâtards and a half dozen 3 oz rolls.





Whole-Wheat Bread with Multigrain Soaker bâtard crumb


I baked the rolls at 450ºF for 15 minutes. The bâtards baked at 450ºF with steam for 12 minutes, then at 440ºF for another 15 minutes followed by 7 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.


The crust was crunchy. The crumb was tender but chewy. The flavor is assertively honey whole wheat, mellowed somewhat by the soaker ingredients. It's outstanding with a thin spread of sweet butter.


My wife liked it but says it's nothing like the Pearl Bakery's multigrain rolls. Hee hee. An excuse to bake more rolls.


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

ericjs's picture
ericjs

Prior to the one-loaf mystery result of my last post, the openest crumb I've gotten from the BBA pain de champagne recipe was a few weeks ago when I modified the recipe to use a dose of the KA levain du jour (dried levain starter), the mild version. I basically made the sponge from this starter as per the instructions that come with it, but made sure the amounts of eveything in the end would total to the same as BBA recipe using the pate fermentee as usual. A second alteration I made was to put most of the rest of the flour (including the whole wheat) into a soaker. The end result was this:



Because I'd changed two different things at once, I wasn't sure if it was the levain or the soaker or both that produced the opener crumb. So I did another batch a few days later with no levain, but with the soaker. The result was the typical crumb I get from this recipe (which has improved a bit over time, as I've pushed the hydration a little, improved my kneading technique, and switched from my somewhat alkaline tap water to bottled water). Interesting thing about this batch though. It had the slight tart tang to it, just as if I had used the levain! I assume that by chance either my pate fementee or my soaker picked up some good beasties...perhaps there were some floating around left over from the levain. Maybe I should start making a point of not cleaning my kneading board!

avatrx1's picture

request help on adding soakers to recipe

August 21, 2009 - 7:16am -- avatrx1
Forums: 

Somewhere on this site when I first started looking there was a photo of the most wonderful multi-grain bread.  I can't find it and I didn't think to save it at the time.


Can soakers be used in any recipe?  What is the procedure and what exactly do I buy in order to do it?


My every week bread is a standard one consisting of


3-1/2 c bread flour


1/2 c wheat flour


1-1/2 tsp salt


2 cups water

Edthebread's picture

Soaker / no-knead question

April 10, 2009 - 11:11am -- Edthebread

Hi everyone


I've had great success with the approach described in Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread book, where the whole wheat flour is mixed into a soaker overnight with no yeast, then combined with the levain the next day.  But I also love the convenience of the no-kneed approach, as I can do all the work the previous day and bake the bread in the morning. I wanted to try to combine the two techniques.

gaaarp's picture

Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread Recipe

January 21, 2009 - 7:41pm -- gaaarp

I have been tinkering with PR's Basic Sourdough Bread recipe for a while and have come up with the following recipe, which I really enjoy baking and eating:


Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough


 Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread


 (based on Peter Reinhart's Basic Sourdough Bread, The Bread Baker's Apprentice)


 


Firm Starter

bwraith's picture
bwraith

100% Whole Grain Hearth Breads

100% Whole Grain Hearth Breads - Crust

100% Whole Grain Hearth Breads - Crumb

After following the recent adventures of JMonkey with 100% Whole Grain Sourdough and working on answering some of the questions concerning whole grain sourdough breads posted by Ron, Shai, and Taygirl, and wanting to make some bread my wife, who is more of a "true believer" in whole grain breads, would be happier to eat, I've decided to do some experimenting again with whole grain hearth breads. Just to be up front about this, I'm not a "true believer". I'm happy to have some "Work Horse Sourdough" or even a white "Pane Casarecio di Genzano" or a "Sourdough Pagnotta" or a "Thom Leonard CF" or the like in smaller quantities, and just eat other foods to get the nutrients and fiber from the bran and germ that might be missing due to indulging in less than 100% whole grain breads. Nonetheless, when my granola eating friends give me that disapproving look, I just feel guilty if I can't come up with a good 100% Whole Grain Sourdough Hearth Bread to settle their doubts.

With the caveats mentioned above, I still thought this bread had good flavor and texture. My wife was especially happy with it and asked me to keep a small quantity of it on hand at all times in the freezer, along with other favorites. The only other time she has made such a request was for the Sourdough Focaccia, which is an addiction, not a healthy choice.

I made this bread in two different ways. The first is a one-step approach with a very long somewhat cool rise from a very small amount of starter added directly to the final dough ingredients. The second is a two-step approach with an overnight levain allowed to somewhat more than double in volume and a soaker of the remaining whole grain flours that are combined in a final dough with salt and a little malt syrup the next day for a faster warmer final rise. Note that to satisfy the "100% whole grain true believers", I have gone to the trouble of making a whole wheat starter, which I did by taking a tiny amount of my white flour starter and feeding it repeatedly over the course of the past week with exclusively whole wheat flour. Given that I feed the starter 1:4:5 (starter:water:flour by weight) every 12 hours, there is still about 1 billionth of a part of white flour in it. Sorry, I just didn't have time to get it any closer to pure whole grain. However, I then dilute it by a factor of about 100 in the dough, so the final dough is 1/100 billionth white flour or so, just in the interests of full disclosure.

I have spreadsheets for both the two-step version (html, xls), and the one-step version (html, xls). Photos of the process, including a nice pair of roast chicken and some roast yams, later mashed, covered with marshmallows, and allowed to brown in the oven. Kids love those marshmallow covered yams, let me tell you.

Version 1 Mixing and Initial Rise

Version 1 Dough:

  • 15g 80% hydration whole wheat starter (you can probably substitute any whole grain starter, or a white flour starter if you don't mind going a little below 100% whole grain).
  • 41g whole rye flour
  • 141g whole spelt flour
  • 383g Wheat Montana Prairie Gold (high protein white whole wheat flour)
  • 375g Wheat Montana Bronze Chief (high protein red whole wheat flour) or just combine the whole wheat flours and use whatever whole wheat flour(s) you like.
  • 10g organic barley malt syrup
  • 18g salt
  • 758g water

Mixed at 9:55PM with DLX mixer on medium/low for 8 minutes, then folded a couple of times and dropped in covered rising bucket for the night. It started at 74F after mixing and dropped to 70F over a few hours. It was at about 69F the next morning.

Version 2 Levain and Soaker

Levain:

  • 15g 80% hydration WW starter (same notes as above)
  • 41g whole rye flour
  • 141g whole spelt flour
  • 146g water

Mixed at 10:15 PM and let rise overnight, covered, at 70F down to about 69F.

Soaker:

  • 375g Wheat MT Prairie Gold (same notes as above)
  • 375g Wheat MT Bronze Chief (same notes as above)
  • 604g water

Mixed at 10:25PM and allowed to rest overnight at 70F down to about 69F.

Version 2 Mixing

Version 2 Dough:

  • Levain
  • Soaker
  • 10g organic barley malt syrup
  • 18g salt

The mixing of Version 2 was done at 7:30 AM. I spread soaker out on wet counter like a big pizza using wet hands. Paint levain onto soaker using a spatula. Paint organic barley malt syrup over levain. Roll up and fold a couple of times. Spread out like a pizza again. Spread salt evenly over the dough. Roll up and fold a couple of times. It was mixed in DLX mixer at medium/low for 8 mintues, folded a couple of times and placed in a covered dough bucket to rise. The dough bucket was put in my "proofing cabinet", a spot above my coffee machine that sits at about 76F in the winter. I knew that if I want to bake "Version 1" and "Version 2" together, I would need to speed up the rise on "Version 2" a little to get them to coincide. So, Version 1 was left in a cool spot at 70F for the morning, while version 2 was placed in the proofing cabinet to get a boost.

Version 1 and Version 2 Folding

At this point both versions are in their respective rising buckets, one in a warm spot, the other in a cool spot. I folded both of them about once per hour during the remainder of the bulk fermentation for a total of 3 folding sessions each. All the folds were typical of the description in Hamelman's "Bread". I pour the dough out on a lightly dusted counter with the smooth side down, fold each side in toward the middle, from the north, east, west, and south, brushing off any flour after each fold, and then turn it back smooth side up and drop it back in the rising bucket. The remainder of the bulk fermentation, measured from the point Version 2 was mixed (7:30AM), was 3.5 hours.

Shaping

At 11:00AM, both loaves were shaped into batards. Each one is about 17 inches long, and both were placed in a half sheet in couche cloths smooth side up, put in a Ziploc "Big Bag", and allowed to proof for another 2.75 hours, until 1:45 PM. The ambient temperature of the kitchen was still about 70F. Version 2 therefore proofed at an average temperature of about 74 or 73F as it started at 75F and dropped to room temperature during the final proof, while version 1 proofed at 70F the whole time.

Slash and Bake

The loaves were turned onto a peel, slashed, and put in my brick oven. The hearth temperature was about 425F and I sprayed a few ounces of water on the loaves and into the oven chamber with an orchid mist sprayer, and sealed the oven with a wet towel covered door. In a kitchen oven, bake at 425F for a few minutes with steam, then drop the temperature to 375F and allow to fully brown. The final hearth temperature was about 375F after 45 minutes of bake. The loaves had browned, the crust seemed done, and the internal temperature was about 209F.

Cool

The loaves were allowed to cool completely.

Results

The crumb is somewhat soft, but not fluffy, the holes are irregular and mostly small, but the crumb is open for a whole grain bread. It doesn't feel dense or heavy when you chew it. The crust is crunchy and fairly chewy with a good toasty flavor. The sourdough flavor of these loaves was mild and the crumb clearly had the characteristic nutty sweetness of spelt in it, even with just 15% spelt. It was hard to tell the difference in flavor between version 1 and version 2, but version 2, with the levain, seemed slightly more sour. Also, version 2 had a wetter, more proofed feel at both shaping and slashing time, even though both had increased in volume almost exactly the same amount. When I shaped version 2, it was harder to shape, as it was more gloppy, and it ended up being longer and flatter after shaping. However, the crumb texture, the crust, and the flavor were virtually identical after baking. Version 1 held its shape better and sprung in the oven, while version 2 seemed to spring up very little but did spread out a lot during baking. Although version 2 was flatter, the crumb was slightly more open. The Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread I blogged a while back had a slightly lighter and softer crumb, even though the method was almost identical to version 2 with the levain. I suspect this is because in the sandwich bread version, the loaves were raised and baked in pans at slightly warmer temperatures and allowed to proof a little longer. Also the hydration was slightly higher in the sandwich bread.

Some Thoughts

I have had better luck with one-step versions and with two-step versions where I only allow the levain to just double and no more and with two-step versions with about 10% fermented flour, as opposed to this "Version 2", which had 20% fermented flour in the levain. I think that delivering the extra acid in a riper levain that constitutes 20% or more fermented flour causes a breakdown in the gluten structure of the final dough. This may be why Peter Reinhart's recipes in his whole grain book recommend using instant yeast with the larger levains in his recipes, which works well as many of us have verified. However, if you want to do a sourdough only recipe, my experiences so far point toward doing long slow rises from tiny inoculations, as in the one-step method, or if you are doing a two-step method with a levain, then only allow the levain to rise by double and not more before refrigerating or combining with the final dough. You won't get a big flavor boost from the levain the way you would with a riper levain, but it does allow for a convenient break in the timing, as the levain and soaker can be refrigerated for a day or two, and the the bread making process can be resumed at a convenient time.

umbreadman's picture

PR's Whole Wheat Hearth Bread - Nutty? Or just plain crazy?

November 6, 2007 - 9:52pm -- umbreadman
Forums: 

Hey everyone,

I recently tried making the whole wheat hearth bread from Peter Reinhart's whole grain breads book. It calls for the use of a soaker (not a heated mash) and a pre-ferment. The result was a beautiful round with great coloring and (a rare event) scoring I was proud of. Alas, I was visiting my parents and didn't have my camera so i can't share pictures, which is sad because i really appreciate your feedback. Anyways...

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