The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vermont soudough

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Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Inspired by dmsnyder's post about Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, and is recommendation of it to those seeking "a more sour sourdough" (sign me up!), I decided to make that my Sunday bake.  Friday morning I refreshed my firm starter, and changed some of it to a 125% liquid starter, then made the preferment levain friday night, and was all ready to mix the dough Saturday morning.


What I did not realize, at first anyway, is that the amounts of ingredients in my printing of Bread are horribly, horribly wrong. The dangers of not consulting Hamelman's errata before making a new formula, I guess.  The percentages, as given in the book, are supposed to be 85% bread flour, 15% whole rye, 65% water, 1.9% salt, with 20% of the total flour prefermented in the liquid levain, and is supposed to be based on 2lbs of flour.  If you follow the home-baker amounts, however, you'd end up with 70% bread flour, 30% rye, 3.8% salt and a ridiculous 30% water, based on 1 lb of flour.  If figured this out in stages.


It was pretty easy to figure out something was wrong when I did the initial mix and had a 4.8 oz. of water in 16 oz. of flour.  Doesn't make much of a dough, funnily enough :P.  So I add some more water to bring it up to 65% hydration.  But something seemed off.  The dough seemed kinda pasty.  At this point it occurred to me to check the math on the rye percentage.  I wasn't really wanting to deal with a 30% rye bread so I improvised, threw in more bread flour and water to make the bread to make 2lbs of flour with 65% hydration.


But then I only had 10% of the flour prefermented, and only half as much levain as the formula needed.  Improvisation again! I still had about 4oz of firm starter in the fridge from the day before, so I threw about 3 oz in when I added the salt (the formula is made with an autolyze.


I ended up bulk fermenting for much longer than the 2.5 hours Hamelman calls for, more like 4 hours, and even then it seemed pretty sluggish.  But I eventually went ahead and shaped two big loaves, placed them in brotforms and retarded overnight.  I baked them this morning and...drumroll...


 


It actually worked!  Great crumb, pleasant flavor.  Not overly sour, but I imagine that will change when I have some for breakfast tomorrow.  I got so much oven spring on the boule that I was sure there was just a single giant hole at the top and nothing else.  I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least!

jennyloh's picture

Liquid Levain - How do I know its ready?

June 14, 2010 - 3:44am -- jennyloh

I'm wondering if anyone can proivde me insight as to how do I know if my levain is ready?  I'm trying to make Vermont Soudough by Jeffrey Hamelman.  My kitchen is measuring 28 degree celsius.  Much higher than the recommended temperature.  The levain looks healthy and bubbly. It's been in my closed cool oven (not on) for the past 6 hours.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

SusanFNP's "Norwich Sourdough" is her adaptation of Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough from his book, "Bread." The recipe can be found on Wildyeastblog.com, Susan's wonderful baking blog, under "My New Favorite Sourdough."


I followed Susan's recipe with the following differences: 1) I used Guisto's Baker's Choice and Guisto's whole rye flours, 2) I baked three 500 gms loaves and froze the remaining dough in two pieces for future pizzas, 3) I cold retarded the loaves overnight, and 4) I baked the boule at 440F, 20 degrees cooler than the bâtards, to see how I liked this bread with a lighter-colored crust.


We had a few slices of the just-cooled bread with a salad for lunch. It was delicious - moderately sour with a crunchy crust and chewy crumb.



Something for blister lovers: The crust of the boule



 


And for the crumb-obsessed:



 


David

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