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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread” is one of my favorite breads. I've made it a great many times. But I have a confession to make: I've never made it with the proper hydration level.


It started out by my finding one of the very rare errors in this marvelous book. Hamelman's ingredient list in the “Home” version of the Final Dough calls for “1 lb., 6.4 oz (2 ¼ cups)” of water. Now, 2 ¼ cups of water weighs less than this. I initially assumed the volume measurement was correct, and I used 1 lb., 2 oz. of water. You know, this made an outstanding bread. It did have more oven spring and a higher profile than expected, but the crumb was nice and open with large holes, and it tasted great, so I kept using my “corrected” formula.


Now, “Bread” has been such a reliable book, I always doubted my solution. Finally, I compared the ingredient quantities in the 3 listings Hamelman gives with the baker's percentages he gives. It turns out that the error was really in the volume measurement, not the weight. The home recipe should call for 2 ¾ cups of water, which is 1 lb., 6.4 oz.


So, today, for the first time, I made the Miche at the 82% hydration called for in Hamelman's formula.


At the higher hydration level, this dough is not just slack. It is truly gloppy. Hamelman says to mix it 2 to 2 ½ minutes (in a professional spiral mixer) to get “moderate gluten development.” I mixed it in a Bosch Universal Plus for 17 minutes to get something less than “moderate” gluten development. Hamelman then calls for 2 or 3 folds during a 2 ½ hour bulk fermentation. I implemented the “stretch and fold in the bowl” approach and did 30 folds at 30 minute intervals over 2 hours, then I let the dough proof for another 45 minutes. (This is much like the method McGuire uses in his “Pain de Tradition,” as Shiao-Ping has shared with us. Since the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière is also a McGuire bread, according to Hamelman, using this method seemed entirely reasonable.)


I “shaped” the miche by dumping the dough onto a heavily floured board and folding the edges to the center. I made 6-8 folds. The loaf was then transferred to a linen-lined, floured banneton and proofed for 2 hours and baked with steam.



 


I am cooling the miche overnight before slicing. 



Miche profile


This miche still has a higher profile than those pictured in Hamelman.



Miche crumb


The crumb is about right, but, interestingly, I've gotten more open crumbs on previous bakes using somewhat lower hydration. My hunch is that the difference is related to how I did the bulk fermentation.


David


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


A bowl of cherries


Hi, loafers!


I just returned from a week on the Oregon coast vacationing with our sons and their families. <sigh> It always seems too short.


I took along some previously baked breads - a Miche, Pointe-à-Callière, a Susan from San Diego's Ultimate Sourdough and Salome's Sourdough Potato-Walnut Bread. I also baked a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough while there, again hazarding an unfamiliar oven and no baking stone. The breads I baked there suffered most from the scoring not opening up well. One I baked under a stainless steel bowl to steam. The other loaf was steamed by pouring boiling water into a heated skillet. The magic bowl technique worked better, I think.




I believe my older (3 years old) granddaughter ate the lioness' share of this loaf as PB&J sandwiches!


I also made AnnieT's Sourdough Pancakes with local blueberries twice. One time, I made some with roasted pecans. Yum! Highly recommended.


I took along starter in two forms: I dried some starter, and I made a very firm ball of starter about the size of a golf ball. I only ended up using the latter. It traveled for two days at room temperature without appreciable expansion. (No problems with Homeland Security.) I cut it up into very small pieces and soaked them in water for a while, then mixed the slurry well and added enough water to make an intermediate starter of about the consistency of my usual 1:3:4 (S:W:F) starter. This fermented overnight and was reasonably happy the next morning.


The other essential equipment I took along included a large Silpat mat for stretching and folding and forming loaves, an instant read thermometer, a plastic scraper and some instant yeast. I purchased a couple of large stainless steel bowls and a large cookie sheet in Oregon before heading to the beach. 


There was nothing I didn't take along that I wished I had. I think this is a good, minimal equipment list for bread baking on vacation.


My only regret is that my vacation coincided with Shiao-Ping's SFBI adventure. It would have been so neat to have met her face-to-face while she was in California! And tomorrow, I start Jury Duty. Not my choice for how to ease back into the real world after a wonderful vacation.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


There has been quite a bit of discussion on TFL regarding cold retardation of late. This is a recurring issue, as a site search on “retardation” will reveal. My overall conclusion has to be that, particularly for sourdough breads, there is no hard and fast rule. This is not surprising, since review of several highly-regarding bread books reveals considerable variation in how this subject is approached.


Most home bakers are fundamentally pragmatic. Some groove on the science and want to understand each process in detail, but most just want to make really good bread. Retardation is mostly a matter of convenience – to fit bread baking into a busy schedule – for both the home baker and the professional. For some, retardation during bulk fermentation works better. For others, retardation of the formed loaves is more convenient. But does the choice effect the quality of the bread?


I have generally made my own choice according to the procedures specified in the formula I was using. I've made breads that call for retardation in bulk, like Nury's Light Rye and Anis Bouabsa's baguettes, and I've made breads that are retarded after the loaves are formed, like most San Francisco-style sourdoughs. But I've never switched a recipe from one to the other, until today.


The bread I chose to make was Susan from San Diego's “Ultimate Sourdough.” I have made it several times before. I have made it without any cold retardation and with cold retardation of the formed loaves. I decided to see how it would turn out with overnight cold retardation in bulk.


Susan's formula makes one smallish boule. I generally double the recipe to make 2 small boules. This time, I tripled it to make two somewhat larger (22.5 oz) loaves. For your interest, I have included a table of ingredient quantities for one, two and three small loaves.


 


Ingredients

 

 

 

 

1 loaf

2 loaves

3 loaves

Active starter

12 gms

24 gms

36 gms

Water

175 gms

350 gms

525 gms

Whole Wheat Flour

25 gms

50 gms

75 gms

Hi-Gluten Flour

225 gms

450 gms

675 gms

Salt

5 gms

10 gms

15 gms

For this bake, I used KAF White Whole Wheat and Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached flours.

Procedures

 

  1. I dissolved the starter in the water in a large bowl
  2. Both flours were added to the water and mixed thoroughly.
  3. The bowl was covered tightly and the dough was allowed to rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.
  4. The salt was then added and folded into the dough using a flexible dough scraper.
  5. After a 20 minutes rest, the dough was stretched and folded in the bowl for 20 strokes. This was repeated twice more at 20 minute intervals.
  6. The dough was then transferred to a lightly oiled 2 liter glass measuring “cup” with a tightly fitting plastic cover and refrigerated (10 hours, overnight).
  7. The next morning, the dough had expanded very little. I took it out of the refrigerator and left it at room temperature. After 3 hours, it had expanded only slightly, and I was concerned how little gas formation was occurring. I transferred the dough to a lightly floured bench and did a single stretch and fold. The dough was then returned to the bowl. From that point, it became more active and doubled in another 2.5 to 3 hours.
  8. I then divided the dough into 2 equal parts. One was preshaped into a round and the other into a rectangle. After a 10 minute rest, I shaped one boule and one bâtard, each of which was placed in a floured banneton and then in a plastic bag to proof.
  9. I proofed the loaves until they were expanded by 75% or so. They were then transferred to a peel, slashed and transferred to a pre-heated baking stone. The oven was then steamed.
  10. The loaves were baked at 480F with steam for 10 minutes, then another 17 minutes at 460F without steam. They were left to dry for another 10 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

 

      The dough did not become too extensible during cold retardation. This may have been due to the very strong flour I used. However, I did find the crumb less chewy than expected. The crumb structure, on the other hand, was not appreciably different from what I got when I retarded formed loaves of this bread. There was no significant difference in the flavor. You might note, however, the absence of the "birds eyes" - the little bubbles of CO2 under the crust surface. 

      I would not hesitate to cold retard this bread in bulk again. When I do the cold retardation would be governed by my scheduling needs. The end result is about the same: Really good sourdough bread.

      David

      David

       

       

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

      A couple days ago, I baked some baguettes with a new (to me) flour – Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour. The dough was much more elastic than I expected, and the baguettes had a thicker, crunchier crust and chewier crumb than expected from a flour that is supposedly 11.7% protein, the same as KAF AP flour. (The Nutritional Information on the BRM bag specifies 4 gms of protein in each 34 gm serving.)


      The BRM flour acted more like a higher gluten flour than it's protein content would suggest. Now, the packaging does say it's made from hard red spring wheat. As Dan has been telling us, that's what bakers look for when they want the strongest flour. We've also heard that “protein content” is not the same as “gluten content,” and also there are differences in the “quality” of gluten in different wheats. Is that what I encountered?


      I decided my next step had to be to make another bread with this flour, to be sure my baguette experience wasn't the result of something other than the flour. I wanted a recipe that I had made before and knew how the dough should be, and I wanted one that was meant to be chewy, unlike baguettes.


      Today, I baked a couple loaves of Susan from San Diego's “Ultimate Sourdough.” Susan likes chewy bread, and her recipe calls for “High Gluten” flour. I used the BRM Organic Unbleached Flour, rather than the KAF Bread Flour or Sir Lancelot I had used for this bread before.


      Again, the flour acted like a high-gluten flour. It absorbed more water than KAF Bread Flour. It made a very elastic dough that was dryer than usual – just barely tacky. I fermented the dough until doubled (7 hours) and formed two boules which were cold retarded overnight after proofing 45 minutes at room temperature.


      This morning, I allowed the boules to warm up and proof for 3.5 hours to about 1.5X their original size before baking. I baked them on a pre-heated stone with steaming by pouring boiling water over lava rocks in a cast iron skillet. (Forgive me, Susan! No magic bowl.)




       


      The result was indistinguishable in chewiness and flavor from the other loaves I've baked with this recipe. (And that is very good!) The crumb was okay but noticeably less open than usual.


      My conclusion is that this flour, which has a protein content of 11.7% (by my calculation), acts like other flours I've used with 14+% protein. 


      If anyone else has more information about this flour or personal experience using it, I'd love to hear about it.


      I also wonder if anyone knows if "hard red spring wheat" usually has higher protein content than winter wheat, or is it's gluten content a greater percentage of the total protein, or is it of higher quality.


      David

      SallyBR's picture

      Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

      July 27, 2009 - 5:15am -- SallyBR

      It's been quite some time since I posted, but I wanted to share with you my new blog (about 6 weeks old only!) - I hope it is ok to post a link to it? If it is not, please let me know and I will remove this thread.


       


      I started blogging because of he Bread Baker's Challenge that I joined in a moment of lunacy  :-)

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

       


      Even before the recent crop of beautiful breads made with James McGuire's “Pain de Tradition” formula, I had been planning to bake the “Miche, Point-à-Callière” from Hamelman's “Bread” this weekend. Hamelman attributes this bread to McGuire, whose intention was to replicate the type of bread baked by the first French settlers of what ultimately became Montreal. The name of the bread, “Pointe-à-Callière,” was the name of their first settlement.



      Miche, Pointe-à-Callière


      The other, more well-known, bread meant to approximate French bread of that era is Pain Poilâne. Hamelman's formula is for a 82% hydration Miche (very large boule) made with high-extraction flour. It is a pain au levain with no added yeast. The principal difference between McGuire's and Poilâne's miches is the higher hydration of McGuire's. Actually, I make this bread with 2 oz less water than Hamelman calls for, which makes it a 76% hydration dough.


      I have made this bread with first clear flour, Golden Buffalo Flour (a high-extraction flour from Heartland Mills) and with a mix of bread flour and whole wheat. Personally, I prefer the results with first clear flour over the others.


       


      Overall Formula

       

       

      High-extraction whole-wheat flour

      2 lbs

      100.00%

      Water

      1 lb, 8.2 oz

      76.00%

      Salt

      0.6 oz

      1.80%

      Total

      3 lb, 8.8 oz

      177.80%

       

      Levain Build

       

       

      High-extraction whole-wheat flour

      6.4 oz

      100.00%

      Water

      3.8 oz

      60.00%

      Mature culture (stiff)

      1.3 oz (3 T)

      20.00%

      Total

      11.5 oz

       

       

      Final Dough

       

       

      High-extraction whole-wheat flour

      1 lb, 9.6 oz

       

      Water

      1 lb, 4.4 oz

       

      Salt

      0.6 oz

       

      Levain

      10.2 oz (all less 3 T)

      Total

      3 lb, 8.8 oz

       

       

      Procedure

      1. Make the levain about 12 hours before you want to mix the dough. Dissolve the mature culture in the water, then mix in the flour. Cover tightly and ferment at room temperature. (I let the levain ripen at room temperature for about 10 hours overnight. I then refrigerated it for another 6 hours. This was a matter of my convenience. It probably did increase the sourness of the final dough, which happens to be fine with me.)

      2. To make the dough, mix the flour and water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one that can handle this much dough. Cover and let stand for an autolyse of 20-60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the dough, add the levain in chunks and mix thoroughly. Hamelman says to mix the dough at second speed for 2 to 2 ½ minutes to get a loose dough with only moderate gluten development. This time would be for a professional spiral mixer, of course. DDT is 76F. (I mixed the dough in a Bosch Universal Plus. It took about 4 ½ minutes to get what I regarded as “moderate gluten development.” I think one could easily use the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique with this bread and achieve equally good results, if not better.)

      3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, large bowl, cover tightly and allow to ferment for 2 ½ hours. Fold the dough twice at 50 minute intervals. If the gluten development was less than “moderate” after mixing, a third fold may be needed. If so, do the three folds at 40 minute intervals.

      4. After fermentation, transfer the dough to a floured board and lightly pre-shape into a round. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes, then gently round up the dough and transfer it to a well-floured banneton. Cover with a slightly damp towel or with plasti-crap. (The miche could be proofed on a well-floured linen couche, in principle. I have never attempted to transfer a slack dough loaf of this size from a couche to a peel. I imagine the results would be … amusing.)

      5. While the bread is proofing, pre-heat the oven to 500F and set up your steaming method of choice. (Hamelman calls for heating the oven to 440F.)

      6. After steaming the oven and loading the bread, turn the oven down to 440F. After 15 minutes, remove the steam source and turn down the oven to 420F. Hamelman says the total bake time is “about 60 minutes.” You can leave the miche in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes after the bread is done. This will dry out the crust somewhat, but this is a very wet bread, and the crust will soften.

      7. Cool thoroughly on a rack. Hamelman prescribes covering the cooled miche with baker's linen and delaying slicing for at least 12 hours. (I think I actually did forgo slicing it for 12 hours once. It is an excellent idea, but I am weak.)

      Miche Crumb

      Miche crumb close-up

      The flavor of this bread, like Poilâne's Miche, definitely improves over 1 to 3 days. I personally like the flavor best the day after it was baked. Of course, the next day is also pretty terrific, and the next … Hamelman says that the bread gets more sour and the “wheat flavor intensifies” over several days. My experience has been that the sourness does increase. I would describe the change in flavor as “mellowing” rather than intensifying. I think that is the same as what Hamelman describes as “the flavors melding.”

      This bread has excellent keeping quality. Kept in a bread bag or bread box, it is very enjoyable for a week. It also freezes well. I usually cut it in quarters to freeze, wrap each quarter in 2 layers of freezer wrap and place them in food-safe plastic freezer bags.

      Enjoy!

      David

      Submitted to YeastSpotting

       

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

       


      When Shiao-Ping showed us the “Pain de Tradition” of James McGuire, I knew I was going to make it. The bread she made was gorgeous and good to eat. The techniques used were very congenial to me, since I have really had good results from “stretch and fold in the bowl” mixing with other breads. Besides, the one bread attributed to McGuire I've made (repeatedly) – the “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” in Hamelman's “Bread” - is a wonderful bread.


      I immediately thought of making this bread as a sourdough. Shiao-Ping and then Eric beat me to the draw. Here is mine.


      I followed Shiao-Ping's formula. My starter has some rye and some whole wheat flour, but I used KAF Bread Flour exclusively to make the dough. I did add 2 gms of Instant Yeast, although my feeling was, like Eric's, that less would be better, particularly since my kitchen temperature was around 80F.


      As I did the repeated stretch and folds, I felt the dough was not developing as well as I was accustomed to using this technique. So, for the last two sets of stretch and folds, I folded 15-20 times, rather than 8-10 times. At the end, the dough was still very loose. My inclination would have been to do a tight pre-shaping, but I stuck with the directions and just transferred the dough to a floured board to rest for 15 minutes under the bowl. I shaped a boule by gathering the edges of the dough to the center and sealing the seams. I then transferred the loaf to a well-floured, linen-lined banneton to proof.


      I proofed for about 40 minutes, at which time the loaf had expanded no more than 50%. I transferred it to parchment on a peel and loaded onto my pre-heated baking stone. The rest of the baking procedure was as Shiao-Ping described.



       


      This is the lightest-colored loaf I've baked in years. I might like this bread baked darker (by baking at a higher temperature), but the light-colored crust sure shows up the yellow pigments in the flour. Others have remarked on how yellow or “cream”-colored the crumb is on this bread. Well, my crust was too!


      I baked the loaf to 210F internal temperature, then baked it 5 minutes more, then left it in the oven for 10 minutes more with the oven off and the door ajar. The crust still softened as the bread cooled.



      The crumb is classic sourdough - randomly scattered holes of varying size. The mouth feel is cool and tender yet chewy. When first tasted, completely cooled, it has a lovely aroma and flavor. It is actually more assertively sour than expected.


      This is a lovely bread. I'll make it again. I'd like to try it with a darker crust and a thicker one. 


      David


       


       


       

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

       


      The San Joaquin Sourdough has been my wife's favorite bread for quite a while now. It's not that she doesn't like other breads. She thought Salome's Potato-Nut bread that I baked yesterday was “amazing.” But, if I had an “everyday bread,” I guess this would be it. The recipe and background on this bread are described in my blog entry for Pain de Campagne.


      While this loaf used the method I have described a number of times, the ingredients were a bit different. I had about 20 gms of 100% hydration starter left over from another bread, so I used it and made up the rest of the 100 gms of starter from my stock 1:3:4 mixed flour starter. I'd exhausted my stock of Giusto's whole rye flour, so I used KAF Pumpernickel, which is more coarsely milled. I figured the 100% hydration starter provided a little more water, but the pumpernickel probably absorbed a little more, so I used 10 gms less water to mix the dough. In other words, I kind of faked it.


      The dough tripled during cold retardation in bulk! That's probably why I didn't get much of a rise during proofing or much oven spring. The poor yeastie beasties must have been starved. <sniff>


      I baked under an aluminum foil roasting pan for 10 minutes at 480F/Convection, then another 20 minutes at 460F. There wasn't a lot of oven spring, and, while there was respectable bloom, no real ear formed.




       


      It turned out that the bread had a nice crumb structure, and the taste was as good as I've ever made, if not better. It was assertively sour, which we like. Interestingly enough, while I'd been having mild problems with the retarded dough being slacker than I wished, this dough was a bit more elastic. I can't explain it, unless it was due to the slightly lower hydration (73% vs. 75%).


      I think I'll bake this bread again with 10% pumpernickel flour.


      David


       


       

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

       


      This recipe was contributed by Salome, who recently joined TFL. She is Swiss, and the breads she bakes represent a bread tradition which is new to me. The Southern Tyrolean Potato-Nut Bread (Südtiroler Kartoffel- Nussbrot) particularly appealed to me, since I have made potato breads a couple of times and really enjoyed them, and I like sourdough bread with nuts. It seemed to me that the combination of the potato and nut flavors would be delicious.


       


      Ingredients

      Potatoes (steamed, roasted or boiled)

      400 gms

      Active 100% hydration sourdough starter

      200 gms

      Bread flour

      500 gms

      Water

      250 gms

      Salt

      10 gms

      Ground coriander

      1-2 tsp

      Walnuts (Lightly toasted)

      100 gms

      Hazelnuts

      150 gms

       

      Notes: Salome's recipe calls for a mix of hazelnuts and walnuts. My usual source of hazelnuts has very poor quality stock at present, but their walnuts are very good. So I just used walnuts.

       

      Procedure

      1. Prepare the sourdough starter by mixing 50 gms of starter with 100 gms AP or Bread Flour and 100 gms of water. Cover and let ripen until it has expanded somewhat and is actively bubbling. (8-12 hours)

      2. Cook and peel the potatoes. Mash them or put them through a potato ricer. (Salome says she usually steams the potatoes for this bread, but I decided to roast mine, thinking I would get a more intense flavor. I used Yukon Gold potatoes and roasted them in a covered pot at 375F for about 35-40 minutes. I peeled them and put them through a ricer, directly into the mixer bowl on top of the flour.)

      3. Place 200 gms of the sourdough starter in a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Add the water and dissolve the starter in the water.

      4. Add the bread flour and potatoes to the dissolved starter and mix to a shaggy mass with all the flour moistened. Cover this tightly and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. (This “autolyse” allows the flour to get fully and evenly hydrated and the gluten to start to develop.)

      5. Add the coriander and salt and mix them into the dough. I then mixed in a KitchenAid Accolade using the dough hook for 13 minutes at Speed 2. There was some gluten development, but the dough was very loose. It never cleaned the side of the bowl

      6. Transfer the dough to a floured board and, with well-floured hands, stretch it into a 14 inch square. Distribute the nuts over the dough, roll it up and knead for a couple minutes to get the nuts evenly distributed in the dough.

      7. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl.

      8. Ferment the dough until it has doubled, with stretch and folds at 40 and 80 minutes. (I think a third stretch and fold wouldn't have hurt.)

      9. Transfer the dough to a well-floured bench. Divide it into 2 equal pieces. Pre-shape into logs. Dust with flour and cover with plasti-crap. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.

      10. Form the pieces into bâtards and place them on lightly floured parchment paper. Dust again with flour and cover with plasti-crap.

      11. Proof the loaves until they are about 1.5 times their original size. (1.5-2 hours)

      12. 45-60 minutes before baking, place a baking stone in the oven and make pr

        eparations for

        your oven steaming method of choice. Pre-heat the oven to 450F.




      13. Bake with steam for 10 minutes, then in a dry oven for another 20 minutes. If the loaves seem to be getting dark too fast (and they  probably will), turn the oven down 10-20 degrees.




      14. Bake until the internal temperature is 205F. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack.




      15. Cool completely before slicing.





      Potato-Nut Bread from the South Tyrol



      Potato-Nut Bread crumb


      This is a very enjoyable bread eaten without any spread or addition. It has a mildly chewy crust, once cool. The crumb is tender, as expected, and has a cool mouth feel, like many high-hydration breads. There is a mildly sour under-tone, but the predominant flavor is from the toasted walnuts. The walnuts also gave up some of their oil into the crumb, so the crumb feels like it is oiled.


      I thought this bread might be good with a blue cheese, so I tried it with some Point Reyes Blue. This is a rather strong-tasting cheese, and it overpowered the bread. Maybe a fresh Chevre? A nutty Compté?


      David


      Submitted to Yeast Spotting on Susan FNP's  Wild Yeast blog (This week, hosted by Nick at imafoodblog)

      dmsnyder's picture

      Advice regarding sourdough baking in hot weather

      June 29, 2009 - 4:24pm -- dmsnyder

      Janedo currently has a nice entry on her blog about sourdough starter feeding and sourdough baking during the heat of Summer. (It's in French, and I haven't checked the English version.)


      Anyway, Jane offers some good things to think about as the weather heats up. (It's 106F where I am today.)


      Here is a link:


      http://aulevain.canalblog.com/archives/2009/06/22/14168757.html


      Enjoy!


      David

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