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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

After several not-so-happy outcomes, and one pleasing outcome, it was obvious that I needed to get better acquainted with the South African flours that I have.  Previous bakes seemed to indicate that the flours' absorbency was different than I was anticipating, based on my previous experience with U.S.-produced flours.  The only way to find out what was going on with any certainty was to do side-by-side bakes of identical breads, adjusting only one variable (hydration, in this case) at a time so that I could compare the outcomes.


For this bake, I decided to use a 50/50 mix of brown bread flour (protein content in the 12%-12.5% range) and bread flour (protein content in the 11.5%-12% range).  Although the label isn't altogether clear, I think that the brown bread flour is either whole wheat, or possibly de-germed wheat.  It contains large particles of bran.  Note that the same miller also produces a "Nutty Wheat" flour that they describe as white flour with the bran mixed back in.  I used 2% salt and 1.6% yeast (IDY).  Hydration levels ranged from 55% to 80%, in 5% increments.  Each dough contained 100g flour, to make the math easy.  (It also makes a pretty decent size roll for sandwiches.)  The dry ingredients for all of the doughs were premixed in one batch, then weighed out for individual mixing with the selected quantity of water.  These are straight, lean doughs; no preferments or enrichments were used.  This was to eliminate the potential for other ingredients masking the effects of differing levels of hydration.  Autolyse was not used for any of the doughs.  All mixing was by hand.  No bench flour or water was used.  Room temperature was 75ºF-77ºF.  The temperatures of the ingredients and the finished doughs were not measured but are assumed to be within 3ºF-5ºF of room temperature. The water came straight from the tap, compliments of the City of Pretoria.  All doughs were fermented on a lightly oiled granite countertop and covered with oiled plastic wrap.  Each was preshaped after the bulk ferment, then given 15-20 minutes to rest before final shaping.  Breads were baked for 25 minutes on a sheet pan in a 400ºF oven, with light steam.  


Observations are as follows:


55% hydration - this dough was very stiff and did not want to come together in the bowl.  The dough was dumped out on the countertop to finish mixing/kneading.  All flour was incorporated and after several minutes of kneading, the dough smoothed out and became pliable with almost no tackiness.  This dough was the slowest to rise.  Due to an interruption in the process, this dough had approximately 2 hours of bulk fermentation and barely doubled in that time.  The finished bread was the smallest of any in this test bake, having risen less after shaping even though it had the longest final fermentation duration.  The crust was thick, hard, and tough; the crumb very tight and dense and slightly gummy, even though the bread was thoroughly cooled before slicing.


60% hydration -  This dough was also somewhat stiff, although it was fully mixed in the bowl, unlike the 55% dough.  Pliability was better than the 55% dough and the dough was just slightly tacky at the conclusion of kneading.  The bulk ferment was slightly less than 2 hours and the dough was a bit more than doubled in that time.  The finished bread was only slightly larger than the 55% hydration bread, exhibiting a similarly hard/tough crust and dense crumb.  However, the crumb was not gummy in the finished bread.  


65% hydration - Early in the mix, this dough was sticky, although that improved to being moderately tacky by the end of kneading.  The dough cleaned the bowl with all flour being absorbed.  The bulk ferment was approximately 1:20 and the dough inflated to about 2.5 times its original volume in that period.  The finished bread still has a tight crumb, but the crust is thinner and less resistant to cutting.  Size is slightly larger than the two preceding breads.


70% hydration - This dough was noticeably stickier during mixing and kneading than the previous doughs.  It did clean the bowl during mixing.  I wound up using a combination of standard kneading and stretch and fold to manage this dough (not easy with such a small sample).  I don't think it would have come together without the stretch and fold technique.  At the end of kneading, it was still more sticky than tacky, with some sticking to my fingers.  It had about a 1 hour bulk ferment, during which time it nearly trebled in volume.  This bread also rose more after shaping, and was significantly larger in volume than the preceding breads (and, consequently, felt "lighter" because of the reduced density).  The crumb was the most open of any the breads made to this point.


Intermission - a co-worker stopped by to drop off some things just as I was finishing kneading the 70% hydration dough.  That inserted about an hour's delay between the 70% dough and starting the 75% dough.  All of the first four doughs were baked on the same sheet pan at the same time.  The last two doughs were baked on a separate sheet pan.


75% hydration - This dough never stopped being sticky.  It did not entirely clean the mixing bowl.  Standard kneading techniques were not working, so I switched to using the French Fold.  Kind of a challenge with such a small quantity of dough.  This bulk proofed about 45-50 minutes, easily doubling in that time.  Slashing before baking was problematic because of the dough's stickiness.  The finished bread was larger than its predecessors, felt "lighter" still, had a thinner crust and a more open crumb.  


80% hydration - This was an extremely sticky dough.  It had to be scraped out of the bowl after mixing and repeatedly scraped from the bench while kneading.  The only kneading technique that worked was the French Fold method.  Even that took several minutes (not several cycles) before the dough started to exhibit some structure.  This dough expanded the fastest during the bulk ferment and grew the largest after shaping, even though it had the shortest times in both ferments.  The knife dragged a trench in the dough, but did not actually slash it.  The finished bread had the thinnest crust and most open crumb of any of the breads in this test bake.


Follow-up thoughts:


1. One of the notions going into this test was that the city water might be a culprit in some of the former bakes.  Based on the results of this test bake, I think I can get good bread using city water, without going to the effort of running a similar test using bottled water.


2. For this blend of these particular flours, a hydration of approximately 70% seems to offer the best dough handling traits and a pleasing finished bread.


3. None of the doughs experienced much oven-spring.  I would attribute that to handling during shaping that was not gentle enough (too much degassing) and to baking on a cold sheet instead of on a hot stone.


4. It appears that the jury is still out on my starter.  Most (not all) of the previous bakes that experienced problems were sourdoughs, rather than yeasted breads.  This starter may be too acidic or too enzymatically active, either of which might be leading to gluten attack.  I'll see how it behaves after a few days of rye feedings.


5. I'm still not sure how much effect, if any, altitude is having on the results (I'm at approximately 4200 feet elevation in Pretoria, compared to having been at about 800 feet elevation in Kansas City).  I can't control for that, so I'll use the results of this test as an indicator of what to do with future bakes.


6. Weather today was mostly sunny, with outdoor temperatures nearing 80ºF while I was running this test.  I didn't think to check the relative humidity while running the test.  It's now 47% at 75ºF, about 7 hours after starting the test.


7. Since this is a whole wheat blend, I'll be interested to see whether I can get better results at either the 65% or 70% hydration levels by utilizing an autolyse step in the process.



Front row: right, 55%; center 60%; left 65%.  Back row: right 70%, center 75%, left 80%.  The 75% and 80% doughs have just been mixed and kneaded.  The others have been on the bench anywhere from nearly 2 hours (55%) to just over an hour (70%).  It's a good illustration of how hydration affects the fermentation rate.



Right to left, finished breads, lowest (55%) to highest (80%) hydration.  Note that these were initially shaped to be the same size.  Growth occurred during final proof and baking.



Crumb of, right to left, lowest (55%) to highest (80%) hydration.  I think the crumb of the three higher hydration breads (70%, 75% and 80%) ought to have been more open than this.  That they aren't is probably an indication that I was too forceful during shaping and degassed the breads too much.  An autolyse step might also help.


That's today's effort.  It's one datum, not a trend, but I can use it as a benchmark for future bakes for gauging how much hydration is required and to make some educated guesses about the effects of added fats or sweeteners for enriched doughs.  Now I suppose I should do something similar for panned breads...


Paul


 


 

Smita's picture
Smita

Clint is doing well. Tried making a sandwich bread using sourdough starter. Heres what I did.


2 Nights before:
Added about a cup of whole wheat flour and half a cup of water to half a cup starter (100% hydration)


Day 1:
Added a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of white whole wheat flour and a third cup of AP flour, 1.5 cups of water, 2 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon each butter and sugar.


Steps:
1. Mixed flours and water to get a shaggy dough. Rest for 30 mins (autolyse)
2. Added salt, butter, sugar and kneaded 8-10 minutes till the dough windowpaned.
3. Rest. Phew.
4. Bulk ferment for 90-120 minutes or till the dough doubles in volume, with stretch and folds every 30 minutes.
5. Shaped and stuck into a loaf pan.
6. Day 2. Pulled dough out of fridge and kept at room temperature for 2 hours. Baked at 375 for 40 minutes.


Results:
Soft and pillowy. Good crumb and rise. However, my shaping skills suck. Need to develop a feel for tension in the dough. Looked a bunch of YouTube videos but need to develop a better feel. Also want to try this with whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat. Just a personal taste preference. 


 



Smita's picture
Smita

Three weeks of sourdough. Got my starter from a baking class and named him Clint. After Clint Eastwood - full of potential!


The basic recipe is as follows:


Ingredients:


1/2 cup starter


2 cups whole wheat bread flour


1 cup AP unbleached flour


2 t salt


1.25-1.5 cups water


Methods:


- Mix flours and water to form a shaggy dough. Autolyse - rest for 30 mins.


- Add starter and knead 8-10 minutes, till you get a windowpane.


- Add salt and rest.


- 3 stretch and folds at 20-30 minutes apart.


- Proof till double in size. Deflate and place seam side up a linen lined bowl or floured banneton.


- Then retard overnight in fridge.


- Next morning, set dough at room temp for 2-3 hours.


- Pre heat oven to 485. Plop bread into dutch oven, seam side down. Score and lower temperature to 450 or 440. Bake 35-35 minutes or till internal temperature is 210.


- Cool for an hour and slice.


 


Lessons so far.


1. Week 1: The loaf tastes terrific, but is a shining example of how not to fold and shape.



2. Week 2. Started paying attention to details: weighed EVERYTHING this week, checked temperature and in a rush of enthusiasm, made english muffins with excess starter.




3. Week 3. Best lookin' loaf yet! Big holey crumbs, perfect for dipping into some olive oil.




Lessons learnt:


1. Decided to be as empirical as possible but also not try to control EVERTHING. Must tell self to bake by feel as much as bake while following instructions.


2. This bread is great for sandwiches and for dipping. My next goal is to consistently reproduce them, and perhaps to try a celebration bread using the starter.


Feedback is welcome and appreciated.


Thanks in advance!


 


 


 

SumisuYoshi's picture
SumisuYoshi

Walnut Pear Sourdough


Last week a friend brought us a box of Korean Pears (delicious, by the way) and seeing and tasting them, I thought they might make for a really yummy bread. I've never been a big fan of pears, don't like the texture, but I hadn't had asian pears before. The crisper texture, and not quite as sweet flavor was so much better than the pears I'd had previously. The crisper texture also seemed to lend itself better to inclusion in bread, not as likely to get lost. Then it came time for something else to add to the bread, and walnuts seemed like the natural choice. In the future I think I'll consider adding some chunks of blue cheese into the mix as well, but I didn't think some of the intended consumers of the bread would be happy with that.


I also decided to experiment with stenciling a bit with this bread, which was partially foiled by the flour from the couche, but by the time I was baking the third of the three loaves I'd manged to get it working a bit better. These loaves were also a testing ground for what differences using a cloche made. I played around with the slashing on them a bit too, somewhat successfully. The loaves that were baked in the cloche definitely had slashes that opened a bit wider, and somewhat crisper crust. The loaf volume appeared to be very similar, that is likely because they were verging on overproofed from being a little too warm when they went into the fridge overnight as shaped loaves.


I was very happy with how they turned out overall, though. The crust has a nice bite to it, while the crumb is creamy and very moist. The flavor has a lot of depth as well, just the slightest bit sour with some nuttiness and graininess from the rye and white whole wheat flours, yet exploding with bursts of fruity sweetness from the pears and nutty richness from the walnuts.

Walnut Pear Sourdough Recipe

Makes: 1 large loaf, 2 medium, or 3 small loaves (I made 3, just over a pound each)

Time: 2 to 3 days, 2 if you shape and bake the same day, 3 if you retard. First day: Make starter. Second day: Mix final dough, ferment final dough, divide and shape. Third day: Bake

Ingredients:

  Ounces Grams Percent
Starter      
Bread Flour 8 oz 230 gm 100
Water 5.25 oz 150 gm 67%
66% Levain 3 oz 85 gm 38%
Final Dough      
Starter 16.25 oz 465 gm 88%
Bread Flour 15.5 oz 440 gm 84%
Dark Rye Flour 1.5 oz 43 gm 8%
Whole Wheat Flour 1.5 oz 43 gm 8%
Water 9 oz 255 gm 49%
Pear Puree 4.35 oz 125 gm 24%
.25-.5″ Crisp Diced Pears 7 oz 200 gm 38%
Chopped Walnuts 7 oz 200 gm 48%
Vegetable Oil 1 oz 28 gm 5%
Salt .25 oz 7 gm 1.4%
Final Weight      
  63.35 oz 1806 gm 342%

Directions:

  1. Cream your starter with the water (adjusting the flour and water to accommodate the hydration of your starter) and then mix with the flour, it should just come together into a loose ball. Let the dough sit 5 minutes, covered, and then knead or mix it briefly to make sure all the flour is well incorporated. Leave the starter out to ferment overnight, or until doubled if making it earlier in the day.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the salt, bread flour, whole wheat, and rye flours. In another container, mix the starter with the water, pear puree, and oil until it starts to break apart and mix into the liquids. Pour the starter mixture into the bowl with the flours and mix until it just forms a ball. Let the dough sit, covered, for 5 to 20 minutes to allow it to come together.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl to a kneading surface and knead briefly, just enough that everything is evenly incorporated. Have about 2-4 oz of flour close by, and flatten the dough out to provide as large a surface as possible. Leaving a border around the edge of the dough, spread an even layer of diced pears and walnuts across the top of the dough. Fold the dough over itself, trying to seal the pear and walnut pieces inside, give the dough another fold, and then flatten it out again and repeat with more pear and walnut pieces. The dough will start getting very wet as you incorporate the pear pieces, this is where the extra flour comes in. The dough will probably be so wet from the pears that it will become harder to get it to stick to itself, so just keep spreading a bit of flour out over the kneading surface. Be careful not to add too much flour though, you want the dough to still be tacky.
  4. Once you have incorporated all of the pear and walnut (if you are having trouble incorporating everything, you can leave out 1-2 oz of the walnuts, it may seem like a lot in the dough but by the time it has gone through two rises it will be well distributed!) form the dough into a ball and put it in a large oiled container to rise, and cover it.
  5. After the dough has been rising for 1 hour, give it a stretch and fold. Turn it back out onto your kneading surface (making sure what was the top side in the bowl is face down) and gently stretch the dough out to approximately double length left to right, then give it a letter fold (bring each end in to the center). Repeat the stretch and following fold in the opposite direction (the closest edge and furthest edge). Place the dough back into the bowl, making sure the side that was face down on the counter is facing up again in the bowl. After another hour of rising, repeat this process again. Repeat this once more time after another hour of rising.
  6. Allow the dough to double, for me about 3.5 hours at ~70°F, remove from the bowl, and gently degas.
  7. Divide and shape the dough however you desire, I divided it into 3 pieces of just over 1 pound each, and shaped all of them into boules. Round each piece into a ball, and create surface tension by spinning the dough between your hands while applying slight downward pressure. Once each loaf is shaped, place in a banneton, a floured cloth in a bowl, or on a baking sheet. Cover the loaves well, or place inside a food safe bag and leave to rise overnight in the fridge, or on the counter depending on your timing.
  8. In my case, the loaves in the refrigerator were already close to fully proofed, so I only gave them 5-10 minutes to warm up before going in the oven, if yours are not fully proofed allow them to warm up and proof, probably at least 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 500°F with baking stone (and cloche, if you have one) in place. Just before you place the loaf in the oven, score it in whatever pattern you like. A hash mark (#) or a semi circle on each edge works well. If using a cloche, load the loaf into the fully preheated oven and lower the temperature to 425°F. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the cloche lid, rotate the loaf 180° and continue baking 15-25 minutes until the loaf is a bit past golden brown, and sounds hollow on the bottom. If you aren't using a cloche, lower to 425°F and steam the oven using a plant sprayer or by pouring water into a preheated pan when loading the loaf. Again, bake for 15 minutes then rotate the loaf and continue baking 15-25 minutes until a bit past golden brown. Remove the baked loaf to a cooling rack and let cool at least 1 hour before slicing.

Notes: Asian pears are intended in this recipe, although crisp European type pears would probably work well too. Yes, I realize the character on the top of the loaf is missing the top part of the upper left radical, I accidentally brushed it off when moving the loaf. If you want to make this bread with commercial yeast, in the starter dough replace the levain with an extra 1.8(51gm) ounces of flour, 1.2(34gm) ounces of water and 1/2tsp (.055 ounce, 1.5gm) yeast.

I'm happy this recipe turned out so well for me, it really hit what I was envisioning when I came up with it. Hopefully it will work as well for anyone else who decides to try it.

Walnut Pear Sourdough Walnut Pear Sourdough

velogrrrrl's picture

looking for a quick 100% whole wheat sourdough pizza crust recipe

December 2, 2009 - 11:15am -- velogrrrrl
Forums: 

hi all,


 


can anyone recommend a relatively quick recipe to make a 100% whole wheat pizza dough using a sourdough starter?


my starter is out of the fridge and fed, and i want to eat pizza tonight so i can't let the dough rise overnight. i am looking for immediate gratification ;-) or at least a recipe that needs only a couple of hours to ferment/rise. thanks for any recommendations you can provide.


 


cheers,


dana

LLM777's picture

Whole wheat panettone?

November 30, 2009 - 9:00am -- LLM777

This could be a really stupid question but...Could I just add rum soaked dried fruit to PR's master formula (Whole Grain Breads) to make a comparable panettone for Christmas? I am going for the tradition in a healthy way. What other suggestions would you make, increasing honey/agave nectar perhaps? And would that throw off the formula?


Thanks for the suggestions.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Peter Reinhart's  Thin Wheat Crackers on p.291  in  Whole Grain Breads


My interpretation used Spelt Flour type 700 glatt (fine) with additional 30g flour to the recipe.


Twentyfour hour rest on the counter top before cutting into small shapes and making windowpanes.  Place on parchment and continue to thin out the crackers...  Keep a towel handy to wipe off oil.  If I do this again I will use two tablespoons less oil in the recipe.  I like mine without the salt wash, which does give the crackers a little more strength but the crunch is better without it.


1000 words:


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