The Fresh Loaf

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sourdough bread

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dmsnyder




The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread has been one of my favorite breads and was my favorite miche for a long time. It's been quite a while since I last baked it. Since then, I've been doing more hand mixing of doughs I formerly machine mixed. I've found a new and wonderful high-extraction flour, Central Milling's “Organic Type 85.” And last, but my no means least, I've baked miches according to the formula we used in the SFBI Artisan II workshop last December. Many TFL members have baked this marvelous miche since I posted the formula, and they know what a wonderful bread this can be.


After these months of enjoying the SFBI miche, as well as Chad Robertson's somewhat similar “Basic Country Bread” from Tartine Bread, it seemed time to revisit the “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière.” I made it using Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I followed Hamelman's formula. I altered his procedures only by mixing the dough entirely by hand.


 


Overall Formula

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

2 lbs

100.00%

Water

1 lb, 10.2 oz

82.00%

Salt

0.6 oz

1.80%

Total

3 lb, 10.8 oz

183.80%

 

Levain Build

Wt.

Baker's %

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

Wt.

 

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

1 lb, 9.6 oz

 

Water

1 lb, 6.4 oz

 

Salt

0.6 oz

 

Levain

10.2 oz (all less 3 T)

Total

3 lb, 10.8 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.

  2. On the day of the bake, mix the Final Dough flour and water to a shaggy mass and autolyse in a large covered bowl for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the Levain in several chunks. Mix thoroughly.

  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment the dough for 150 minutes, with stretch and folds on a floured board at 50 and 100 minutes.

  6. Form the dough into a tight boule and transfer it, seam side up, to a floured banneton. Place the banneton in a large plastic bag or cover with a towel or plasti-crap. (Note: Hamelman recommends the usual pre-shaping and resting before the final shaping. I did not do this, since the dough was rather slack, and the gluten did not require “relaxing,” in my judgement.)

  7. Proof for 2-2 ½ hours.

  8. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Transfer the miche to a peel. Score it with a single square, “tic-tac-toe” pattern or diamond pattern. Load the miche onto the baking stone.

  10. Steam the oven and turn it down to 440ºF. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 420ºF, and bake for about another 45 minutes.

  11. When the miche is fully baked (internal temperature is 205ºF), turn off the oven. Leave the miche on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 10-20 minutes to dry the crust.

  12. Transfer the miche to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Then wrap it in baker's linen and let it rest for at least 12 hours before slicing.

Note: All times are approximate. Watch the dough, not the clock.

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: Profile

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: crumb

I rested the loaf for about 18 hours before slicing. The crumb structure was similar to that pictured in “Bread,” but I think I slightly under-fermented the dough and over-proofed the loaf.The crust was chewy. The crumb was rather dense and chewy. The flavor was not really sour but was very wheaty – more intense than I recall from other bakes with this flour.

Next time I make this miche, if I hand mix it, I'll add some S&F's in the bowl during the first part of the bulk fermentation and lengthen the fermentation, hoping to increase flavor complexity.

David

 

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dmsnyder

This weekend, I baked a couple of breads I have enjoyed, but both were made with variations.


I have made the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Baking a couple of times before with fresh-milled flour (100% Whole Wheat Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour). I think it makes a delicious bread. This weekend, I wanted to make it with finer-milled flour and with a whole wheat starter, rather than a yeasted "biga."


The flour was milled from hard red winter wheat using the KitchenAid grain mill attachment. I milled the berries once on a medium setting and then twice on the finest setting. The result was a fairly fine flour, but still not as fine as KAF Organic Whole Wheat flour, for example. The levain had a somewhat gritty consistency. It ripened quite a bit faster than the yeasted biga does for this bread. The dough was quite soft and very manageable, but while quite extensible, had little elasticity. It was difficult to judge the proofing because the dough never was really springy. The modest oven spring I got suggests I may have over-proofed somewhat. The crumb was quite a bit more open than I got with previous bakes of this bread. I attribute this partly to the finer-milled flour and partly to the levain.



100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour



Loaf profile



Crumb close-up


My wife liked the flavor of this bread. It has a rather pronounced sourdough tang over a sweet, wheaty flavor. It confirmed my aversion to this combination of flavors, sadly. I will make this bread again, but I will stick to the yeasted version.


Franko's gorgeous 80% rye with rye flour soaker ( See 80% Sourdough Rye Bread- adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread') reminded me how much I loved this bread from Hamelman's Bread (See Sweet, Sour and Earthy: My new favorite rye bread). I had expected to make it again sooner, but got distracted by other baking projects. Franko's bake in a Pullman pan was so lovely, I thought I'd use mine, but, at the last minute, decided to bake it as one large, almost 2 kg boule.


For this bake, I omitted the instant yeast. The dough was raised by the rye sour only. Also, for this bake, I used fresh-milled rye, milled as described above.



80% Rye with Rye Flour Soaker from Hamelman's Bread, made with fresh-milled rye flour


After cooling, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen to rest for 24 hours before slicing.



80% Rye crumb (Note: The uneven color is an artifact of the lighting.)


After unwrapping the loaf, the crust felt very hard, but it was delightfully crunchy. The crumb was soft and moist. The flavor had a nice caramelized tone from the crust. The crumb flavor was mildly sour, sweet and very earthy - just a good whole rye flavor. Delicious. I had some with dinner, without any topping. I have some cream cheese and smoked salmon to eat with this for breakfast. 


This remains my favorite high-percentage rye bread. I just love the flavor and the texture of the crumb.


David

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dmsnyder


 


One of the breads we baked at the SFBI Artisan II Workshop last month was a miche. Everyone thought it was one of the best breads we baked. I made it at home for the first time two weeks ago, but used “Organic Type 85” high-extraction flour from Central Milling rather than the mix of white and whole wheat with the addition of toasted wheat germ we had used at SFBI. (See This miche is a hit!)


This bread was delicious, but I did want to make it at least once using the formula we had used at the SFBI, just to see how it turned out at home compared to baked in a commercial steam injected deck oven. Certainly the several TFL members who have baked this miche in their home ovens since I posted the formula have found it to be good. Also, at the SFBI, we had found that miches scaled at 2.5 to 3 kg somehow had an even better flavor than those scaled at 1.25 kg. So, today I baked a 2 kg miche using the original SFBI Artisan II formula.


For those who would like to make this larger version, here is the formula for a 2 kg miche:


 


Total Dough

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

96.67

1087

WW Flour

3.33

38

Water

73.33

824

Salt

2

23

Wheat germ toasted

2.5

28

Total

177.83

2000

 

Pre-ferment

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

75

112

WW Flour

25

38

Water

100

150

Salt

0

0

Liquid starter

50

75

Total

250

375

 

Final Dough

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

100

975

Water

69

675

Salt

2

23

Wheat germ toasted

2.5

28

Levain

31

299

Total

204.5

2000

The procedure used was the same as in my previous blog entry about this bread with one exception – shooting for a slightly lighter crust, I baked with steam for 20 minutes at 450ºF, then turned the oven to convection bake at 425ºF for another 40 minutes. I did not leave the miche in the turned off oven to dry out before removing it to the cooling rack. I did leave it in the oven while I heated the oven back up to 460ºF conventional bake for the next loaves (about 5 minutes).

I was concerned about over-proofing this loaf, and it was lined up ahead of a couple San Joaquin Sourdough breads waiting to bake.

Miche after baking 20 minutes with steam at 450ºF

The blowout I got suggests the loaf was a bit under-proofed. I also shaped the boule really tight, which may well have been a second factor.

The miche sang loud and long while cooling. The crust had some crackles, but not like the last miche.

Crust crackles

Loaf profile, cut through the middle

Crumb

Crumb close-up

2 kg miche beside 514 g San Joaquin Sourdough bâtards

The crust was crunchy-chewy - much thinner than the last bake. It was much less caramelized, and this was apparent in the less wonderful crunch and flavor. The crumb was nice. It was quite noticeably denser in the center of the loaf. I think this is expectable with a miche of this size. I thought the crumb structure was pretty consistent from the center of a slice to the crust.

6 hours after baking: The aroma of the crumb had a pronounced whole wheat grassiness. The crumb was moderately chewy. From past experience, I expect it to be softer tomorrow. The flavor was good - mildly sour with a nice wheaty flavor - but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the miche made with Central Milling's "Type 85" flour. I think the flavor would have been better had I used fresh-milled whole wheat. That's what I will do the next time I bake this miche.

24 hours after baking: The aroma and flavor have mellowed and melded. The grassy aroma is gone. It just smells like a good sourdough country bread. The flavor is now delightful - very complex - nuttier and sweeter. A very thin smear of unsalted butter makes this bread ambrosial.

I froze half the miche. The other half will be croutons for onion soup gratiné tonight, breakfast toast with almond butter and crostini with ribollita for dinner tomorrow. (The ribollitta was my wife's all-morning project.) That should leave another quarter loaf for sandwiches, panini, French toast ... 

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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dmsnyder


 


We baked a miche the last day of the SFBI Artisan II (sourdough baking) workshop. This was one of the breads we mixed entirely by hand. The students' miches were scaled to 1 kg, as I recall, but our instructor baked a couple larger ones, using the same dough.


These miches were among the favorites of all the students for the wonderful texture of their crust and crumb and their flavor. I gave one of mine to brother Glenn, who has stopped reminding me in the past few days that I promised him the formula.


This formula is substantially different from the miche formula in Advanced Bread and Pastry. I blogged about the background of that miche last month. This one is more similar to contemporary versions such as that of James McGuire, Hamelman's adaptation of which is found in Bread.


The formula we used at the SFBI calls for mostly white flour, with a little whole wheat in the levain refreshment and a little toasted wheat germ in the final dough. From my reading, a high-extraction flour is preferred for miches. I had some of Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” high-extraction flour on hand, so that is what I used.


 


Total formula

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

702

100

Water

515

73.33

Wheat germ (toasted)

18

2.5

Salt

15

2.08

Total

1250

177.91

Notes

  • The SFBI formula used 96.67% “Bread flour” and 3.33% Whole wheat flour. All the whole wheat flour is used in the levain. I used Central Milling's “Organic Type 85 Flour” for both the levain and the final dough

  • I did not use wheat germ since I was using high-extraction flour, but this ingredient did contribute to the great flavor of this bread as we made it in Artisan II.

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

93.7

100

Water

93.7

100

Liquid starter

50

46.8

Total

237.4

246.8

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water and mix in the flour. Desired Dough Temperature: 78ºF.

  2. Ferment for 8-12 hours.

 

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

586

100

Water

398

68

Wheat germ (toasted)

18

3

Salt

15

2.5

Levain

234

40

Total

1251

213.5

Procedure

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. DDT: 75-78ºF.

  2. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  3. Ferment for 3-4 hours with 4 folds at 50 minute intervals. (I did this by the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique.)

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Pre-shape as a tight boule.

  5. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.

  6. Shape as a tight boule and place, seam side up, in a floured banneton.

  7. Cover with plastic and retard overnight in refrigerator.

  8. Remove the boule from the refrigerator and allow to warm and complete proofing for 1-3 hours. (Watch the dough, not the clock!)

  9. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the over to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  10. When the loaf is proofed, transfer the boule to a peel. Slash the boule as desired, and transfer it to the baking stone. Steam the oven and reduce the temperature to 450ºF.

  11. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove any water remaining in your steaming apparatus.

  12. Continue baking for another 40-50 minutes. (If you have a convection oven, switch to “Convection Bake” and reduce the oven temperature to 430ºF at this point. But see my tasting notes.)

  13. Remove the boule to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Notes on procedure

  • Traditionally, we were told, this bread is scored in a diamond pattern, but any scoring pattern that pleases you is fine. Just be aware that the diamond pattern tends to yield a flatter profile loaf than a simple square or cross.

  • This bread benefits from a very bold bake. The crust should be quite dark. It may look almost burned, but the flavor and crunchiness that is desired requires this.

  • This type of bread often improves in flavor very substantially 24 hours after baking.

    Crust

    Crumb


    Crumb close-up

Tasting notes

I sliced and tasted the bread about 4 hours after removing it from the oven. The crust had crackled nicely and was very thick and crunchy – the kind that results in crust flying everywhere when you slice it. The crumb was well-aerated, but without any really large holes. The crumb structure is similar to that I got with the miche from BBA made with this flour, but a bit more open. The crumb is chewy-tender.

The flavor of the crust is very dark – caramelized-sweet but with a bitter overtone where it is almost black. The crumb is sweet, wheaty, nutty and absolutely delicious. My note above notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine the flavor getting any better in another day.

I am enormously impressed with the flavor of the breads I have baked with Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I want more of it, and I want to try some of their other specialty flours, including those they mill for baguettes.

I will definitely be baking this bread again. I would like to make it as a larger miche, say 2 kg. Next time, I will lower the oven temperature to 420 or 425ºF when I switch to convection bake for the crust to be slightly less dark.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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I've read with great interest discussions of home milling flour since I first joined TFL, but not wanting to get into the more arcane techniques of grain tempering, multiple graduated sifters and the like put me off. My interest was boosted by MC's interviews with Gérard Rubaud, who uses fresh hand milled grains to build his levains. (See Building a levain "à la Gérard": step 1) My recent experience chopping rye berries by hand did it though. I ordered the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid Accolade mixer.


I'd been looking at grain mills for some time. I considered the Nutrimill, but I don't need to grind pounds and pounds of flour, and, from what I've read, it does not grind as coarse as I'd like to make cracked and chopped grains. Hand-cranked mills look cool, but my tiled kitchen counters don't work with appliances attached by vises. So, the KitchenAid attachment was a nice solution. I used it today for the first time.



KitchenAid Grain Mill


Based on my reading of reviews of this device, I ground some hard red winter wheat and some spelt berries by putting each through three passes of increasing fineness. I just ground about 200 g of each. There was no indication that this strained my mixer motor in the least. Each pass took 30 seconds or less. The resulting flour was a tad coarser than what I buy already milled, but finer than, say, semolina.



Fresh ground spelt flour



Fresh ground hard red winter wheat flour


My formula and procedures take off from Chad Robertson's “Basic Country Bread” in Tartine Bread.


 


Total Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour*

800

73

Fresh-ground WW

200

18

Fresh-ground Spelt

100

9

Water

850

77

Salt

20

1.8

Total

1970

178.8

*Note: The small amount of WW and Dark Rye in the levain are not calculated separately in the Total Dough.

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour

70

70

KAF WW

20

20

BRM Dark Rye

10

10

Water

100

100

Ripe levain

40

40

Total

240

240

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight).

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour

700

Fresh-ground WW

200

Fresh-ground Spelt

100

Liquid levain

200

Water (80ºF)

750

Salt

20

Total

1970

Procedures

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve 200 g of the levain in 700 g of the water.

  2. Add all the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly.

  3. Autolyse for 25-30 minutes. (Longer would be okay.)

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add 50 g of water.

  5. Knead in the bowl by squishing the dough between your fingers until all the water has been incorporated and the salt is well-distributed. Then, still in the bowl, fold the dough over itself a few times.

  6. Transfer the dough to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl or other container, such as a rising bucket. Cover tightly. If possible, place the dough in an ambient temperature of 75-80ºF.

  7. After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough in its container 15-20 times. (By the end of this, the dough should be smooth, and it should pull away from the container easily when you stretch it.) Re-cover the dough. Repeat this at 30 minute intervals for two hours, then one more time an hour later. (The dough should have expanded by 25-50% and be light and full of small bubbles which you can see if your container is transparent. If it has been fermented at a cooler temperature, give it another hour, or even 2 hours.)

  8. When the dough is fully fermented, transfer it to a lightly floured board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  9. Pre-shape the pieces as rounds. Cover with plastic or a towel and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as boules or bâtards. Place in bannetons or en couche and cover.

  11. Proof for about 90 to 120 minutes, depending on ambient temperature.

  12. Pre-heat your oven to 500ºF. If not baking covered, pre-heat a baking stone and prepare your oven for steaming. (I baked these boules in Lodge Combo Cookers.)

  13. If baking uncovered, bake at 460ºF with steam for about 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust. If baking covered , bake at 480ºF for 15 minutes, then at 450-460ºF uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  15. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Boules after baking 15 minutes, covered

Boule, cooling

Crumb

Chewy crust and tender crumb. Whole wheat dominates the aroma of the bread sliced still warm but the flavor is sweet and mellow without any perceptible sourness. I'm looking forward to tasting it toasted tomorrow morning.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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Most of the breads we baked in the Artisan II workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) are found in Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” (AB&P) textbook. A couple of the breads I and the other students enjoyed the most are not, and one of them was a delicious Walnut Raisin bread made with a firm levain and a small amount of instant yeast.


The following is my scaled down version which made two loaves of 563 gms each. (The 26 g by which the dough exceeded the ingredient weights must be due to water absorbed by the raisins.) I incorporated an autolyse in the procedure which we did not use at the SFBI.


 


Total Formula

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

71.57

383

KAF Whole Wheat flour

19.77

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

8.66

46

Water

67.62

362

Walnuts (toasted)

15.81

85

Raisins (soaked)

19.77

106

Salt

2.13

11

Total

206.41

1100

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

95

77

BRM Dark Rye flour

5

4

Water

50

40

Stiff Starter

60

48

Total

210

169

  1. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

  2. Ferment 12 hrs at room temperature.

     

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

65

275

KAF Whole Wheat flour

25

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

10

42

Water

72

305

Yeast (dry instant)

0.1

0.4

Walnuts (toasted)

25

85

Raisins (soaked)

20

106

Salt

2.7

11

Levain

40

169

Total

259.8

1100

Procedure

  1. Mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  2. Toast the walnuts, broken into large pieces, for 15 minutes at 325ºF. (Can be done ahead of time)

  3. Soak the raisins in cold water. (Can be done ahead of time)

  4. Add the salt and the levain and mix at Speed 1 until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).

  5. Mix at Speed 2 to moderate gluten development (about 8 minutes).

  6. Add the nuts and raisins (well-drained) and mix at Speed 1 until they are well-distributed in the dough.

  7. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead/fold a few times if necessary to better distribute the nuts and raisins.

  8. Round up the dough and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  9. Ferment for 2 hours at 80ºF.

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape as boules. Let the pieces relax for 20-30 minutes, covered.

  11. Shape as bâtards or boules and place, seam side up. In bannetons or en couche. Cover well.

  12. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  13. An hour before baking, pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them. Transfer to the baking stone.

  15. Turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes with steam, then another 15 minutes in a dry oven. (Boules may take a few more minutes to bake than bâtards.)

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 8-10 minutes.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  18. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Because of the water in the soaked raisins, The dough was wetter than expected from the 67% hydration given for the total dough. It felt more like a 70-72% hydration dough.

The crust was thinner and got soft faster with this bake than that done in the deck oven at SFBI. I might try baking at 460ºF and also leaving the loaves in the turned off oven for longer. Perhaps a shorter period baking with steam would help get the crunchier crust I would like with this bread.

This bread has a delicious flavor which is exceptionally well-balance between the grains, nuts and raisins. There is a very mild sourdough tang. Definitely a bread I'll be baking frequently.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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Some of the breads I baked on Day 2



The second day of the Artisan II workshop was spent mostly baking the breads for which we had fed the levains and scaled the ingredients yesterday. We also mixed levains and scaled for tomorrows bakes. Classroom time was bits and pieces between dough foldings and during fermentation, but the content was very good.


The instructional goal of today's baking was to see the effects of different types and proportions of levains on flavor. We baked four breads which differed only in these respects.




  1. Bread made with a levain fed once a day. (All the others were made with levain fed twice a day.) This bread was notably more sour than any of the others.




  2. Bread made with liquid levain at 100% hydration. (All the others were made with firm levain at 50% hydration.) This bread had notably less acetic acid tang and a noticeable milky lactic acid flavor – very pleasant.




  3. Bread made with 40% firm levain.




  4. Bread made with 70% firm levain.


     




The last two were not very different from each other in sourdough tang, but the 70% levain bread had a less pleasant, “metallic” after taste, according to some. I didn't perceive the after taste myself. The main take away lesson was that the frequency of starter feeding has more impact on bread flavor than the amount of levain used in the final dough and that the use of liquid versus firm starter really does make a difference in the balance of acetic versus lactic acid flavor in the bread.



Preparing to taste the breads


In the classroom today, Frank reviewed the application of baker's math to breads made with levains and the SFBI's recommendations for levain maintenance for home bakers. I won't go over the baker's math topic, but I'm sure the recommendations for levain maintenance are of interest to many.


The SFBI staff clearly favors keeping liquid levains and twice a day feedings. They also favor keeping your mother/stock starter at 400-500 g. They say smaller amounts result in poorer flavor. However, they also favor feeding your starter in a manner which minimizes the amount of starter you end up discarding. This is accomplished by determining exactly how much starter to feed to get the amount of levain you need to make your dough and not making too much excess.


For a liquid levain feeding, the recommended formula is:


Flour 100% (75% AP flour + 25% WW)


Water 100%


Starter 40%


Again, it is recommended that you feed every 12 hours and that you do two feeding prior to mixing your final dough.


For a firm levain feeding, the recommended formula is:


Flour 100% (same mix as above)


Water 50%


Starter 50%


For the weekend baker, it is recommended that you feed your levain (liquid or firm) as follows:


Flour 100%


Water 50%


Starter 25%


And refrigerate this immediately after the feeding. Activation prior to baking should done with 2 feedings (as described above) at 12 hour intervals. In other words, to mix a dough on Saturday morning, the refrigerated starter should be fed Friday morning and Friday evening.


Frank told us that all of these recommendations derived from extensive experimentation with different formulas and schedules. SFBI staff believes that they result in the best tasting bread. (Need I say that, if your taste differs, you come out of this workshop knowing just what you need to change to get the flavor you prefer?)


At the lunch break, I asked Frank about the formula for miche in AB&P which violates almost all these recommendations. I have described this previously in my TFL blog. He thought this was interesting enough to provide the answer in the next class session.


Michel Suas' intension with his miche formula was to reproduce a bread as close to the traditional miche as possible, and that required knowledge of traditional French village home baking. In the old days – say 150 or more years ago – home made bread was mixed at home but taken to a communal oven or to the village baker to bake in a wood fired oven. The loaves were huge, by today's standards, because baking was a once-a-week chore. So, after the dough was mixed (before adding salt), a portion was removed to perpetuate the culture. This was fed through the week every day, without discarding any of the growing levain. On baking day, some additional flour and water were added, as well as the salt. But, the bulk of the dough consisted of the built up levain. Little additional fermentation was needed. The resulting loaf was very large, very dense and very, very sour. (Frank describes this with a look of disgust on his face.)


While today's breads were baking, we mixed the levains and scaled ingredients for tomorrow's bakes. We will be baking a variety of breads with levain that were made with commercial yeast during the Artisan I class: A whole wheat bread, multi-grain bread, rye bread and challah. We also fed our “from scratch” starters with which we will make breads Friday.


David


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The Artisan II Workshop at The San Francisco Baking Institute is all about sourdough bread. The first day of the SFBI Artisan II workshop is spent mostly in the classroom. The instructor reviewed the content of the Artisan I workshop and then introduced basic concepts of sourdough baking with emphasis on starter elaboration and maintenance. At the end of the first day, there is a quick review of baker's math.


In the bakery, we started elaborating a new sourdough culture with which we will be making bread on Friday. We also scaled the dry ingredients and mixed the levains for 4 different breads we will be making on Day 2


Our instructor for Artisan II is Frank Sally. My classmates are a different mix from that of the Artisan I workshop I attended in August. This group is almost entirely professional bakers who have come from Australia, New Zealand and New Jersey, among other exotic places.



Frank (in the center) and some of my classmates



A couple of my bench mates, both professional bakers from Australia (on the left) and New Zealand (on the right)



Mixing levains and scaling dry ingredients for mixing final doughs tomorrow



Our scaled ingredients awaiting tomorrows mixes


Much of the material presented today was familiar, but Frank touched on a few concepts which, while not completely new to me, I'd never thought much about.


He spoke of the “mass effect,” which occurs during bulk fermentation. He could not tell us the mechanism, but said that there is improved flavor development when the dough weighs more than 2 kg. Most of us home bakers generally work with batches of dough smaller than this most of the time. Evidently, we are missing out on some flavor enhancements by doing so.


Frank described the differing rates of growth of homofermentative and heterofermentative bacteria during sourdough elaboration. The former develop earlier. Moreover, it takes longer for the acetic characteristics to develop in the starter due to the greater volatility of acetic acid compared to lactic acid. This is a factor in the well-known improvement in flavor complexity as a new starter is fed over the first weeks. It takes about 3 weeks for a good stable balance of yeast and the various lactobacilli to develop


These differences also effect the balance of acetic versus lactic acid one can manipulate through differences in feeding schedules. More frequent feedings result favor lactic acid production. So a once a day feeding schedule yields a more tangy starter than a twice a day schedule.


The first set of breads we will be baking will provide comparisons between 1) once a day versus twice a day levain feedings, 2) liquid versus firm starters and 3) breads made with different proportions of starter (relative to the amount of dry flour in the final dough).


Stay tuned!


David


 

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This is the Miche from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice” (BBA). I followed the instructions Reinhart provides, with the following modifications:


 



  1.  I used “Organic Type 85”flour from Central Milling as the high-extraction flour.

  2.  Rather than using 100% high-extraction flour, I substituted 10% Whole Spelt flour in the final dough.

  3.  I did two S &F's at 1 and 2 hours into a 3 1/2 hour bulk fermentation  

  4.  I pre-heated the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and the oven steaming apparatus recommended by the San Francisco Baking Institute. I bake with steam at 450ºF for 25 minutes, then turned the oven to convection bake, set the temperature to 425ºF and baked for another 40 minutes. (This is a higher effective temperature than Reinhart calls for, because of the convection setting.)


 



 


It produced a boldly baked, high risen loaf with a dark, crackled crust. It has a wonderful aroma.





The crust stayed crunchy as the bread cooled. The crumb was dense, which was not surprising at this hydration level, but it was not as well aerated as I had hoped. The crumb was somewhat chewy, and the flavor was wheaty and moderately sour. There was no grassy-bitter flavor.


Poilâne said that the flavor of his bread was best on the third day after baking. I'm taking some of this loaf to San Francisco for a taste comparison to the Miche that brother Glenn baked today, and we'll see how the flavor develops over a day.


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 

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I have made miches from Peter Reinhart's BBA, from Daniel Leader's “Local Breads” and the Miche, “Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread.” All were good breads. Reinhart's was the closest to the Pain Poilâne I remember from my single tasting in Paris some 25 years ago.


This weekend, I baked the miche from Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread and Pastry” for the first time. Suas references Pain Poilâne as the best known miche, but he does not say his formula is an attempt to replicate it. His “miche” is a 2 lb boule. This is smaller than my notion of a miche, but what do I know? I'll ask M. Suas the week after next when I'm at the SFBI for the Artisan II class and report back.


Suas' formula and procedures are quite unusual in several respects. It uses 3 builds and specifies a mixture of high-extraction, bread and medium rye flours. The final dough has 50% pre-fermented flour from the levain, and almost all the water comes from the 120% hydration levain. Even more remarkable is the very brief bulk fermentation of 15 minutes. I assume this works because of the very high percentage of pre-fermented flour. After shaping, the miche is retarded overnight before baking.


 


First levain feeding

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

1 3/8 oz

100

Water

1 ¾ oz

120

Salt

1/8 tsp

0.6

Starter (stiff)

1/8 oz

10

Total

3 ¼ oz

230.6

  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF

  2. Ferment 16 hrs at room temperature.

 

Levain formula

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

8 1/4 oz

100

Water

9 7/8 oz

120

Salt

1/4 tsp

0.6

First feeding

3 1/4 oz

40

Total

21 5/8 oz

260.6

  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF

  2. Ferment 8 hours at room temperature.

Note: I fermented at room temperature for 6 hours, then refrigerated overnight. I allowed the levain to warm up and ferment another 2 hours before mixing the final dough

 

Final dough formula

Wt.

Baker's %

Bread flour

5 5/8 oz

60

High-extraction flour

1 7/8 oz

20

Medium rye flour

1 7/8 oz

20

Water

7/8 oz

10

Salt

3/8 oz

3.8

Levain

21 5/8 oz

230.6

Total

21 5/8 oz

344.4

Note on ingredients: I used "Organic Type 85" flour from Central Milling for the high-extraction flour, KAF Bread Flour and KAF Medium Rye flour.

Process

  1. Mix water and Levain

  2. Mix flours and salt. Add to water/levain mixture and mix to medium gluten development. (I mixed this dough in a Bosch Universal Plus for 3 minutes at first speed and 6 minutes at second speed.)

  3. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 15 minutes.

  4. Pre-shape the dough into a light ball and rest it for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Shape into a boule. Place it in a banneton and cover well with plastic or place in a food grade plastic bag.

  6. Retard overnight in the refrigerator. (Suas specifies a temperature of 48ºF, actually.)

  7. The next morning, pre-heat your oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  8. Pre-steam the oven. Transfer the miche to a peel. Score the miche. (Suas specifies a diamond pattern.) Transfer it to the baking stone. Stem the oven. Turn the oven down to 440ºF. (See Note, below.)

  9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 205ºF and the bottom gives a hollow sound when thumped. (Note: I baked this in a Lodge Combo Cooker – Convection bake for 20 minutes covered at 460ºF, covered then 25 minutes at 440ºF, uncovered.)

  10. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Suas doesn't mention it, but most authors recommend waiting 12 to 24 hours before slicing this type of bread.

The miche

Miche crumb

I sliced and tasted the bread after it had cooled for about 4 hours. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was chewy. The aroma and flavor were unlike any bread I've ever tasted. It did have a mild sourdough tang, but the flavor was uniquely wonderful. It had some nuttiness I associate with wheat germ and sweetness I've only tasted before in some baguettes that have had a long, slow fermentation or were made with pâte fermentée. I assume the wonderful flavor can be credited to the combination of the "Type 85" flour and the unusual process commented on above.

I'm looking forward to baking some other miches using this flour. It's wonderful.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

 

 

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