The Fresh Loaf

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Biga vs. straight dough Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Bread experiment

I'm still not ready to write a review, but from my first hands-on experience with their work, I can confidently say that Laurel Robertson and her compatriots know a thing or two about whole wheat bread.

I started my foray into the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book with their Buttermilk Bread, a loaf that they say "keeps well (when hidden)." It's true. These loaves are moist and delicious days later, but they're so deliciously sweet and light, they won't likely stick around that long.

I made two different loaves. For the first loaf, the night before, I took 30% of the flour and mixed it with the appropriate amount of water from the recipe and a bit of yeast to make a biga. The next morning, the biga was nice and ripe, so I took the remainder of the recipe, reduced the yeast from 1 tsp to 3/4 tsp, mixed it up and started to knead.

And knead.

And knead.

Then about an hour later, I mixed up a second loaf, this time following the straight-dough recipe to the letter.

Laurel recommends a long, hearty knead for whole wheat bread if you want a light, high rising loaf, which I do. About 20 minutes or 600 strokes. A few more weekends of Laurel's Kitchen-style kneading, and I'll not only have great whole-wheat bread, but enormous, rock-hard shoulders to boot. Or a herniated disc, whichever comes first.

But it does make an enormous difference in the quality of the bread. I have never seen whole-wheat bread rise so high. It's astonishing.

Her other piece of advice, which I'd heard of second-hand long before buying the book, was to let whole-wheat doughs rise twice during the bulk rise before shaping. This step takes a lot of the edge of the whole-wheat flavor, and also helps with the final rise.

I'd wondered previously in this forum whether the double rise would make a pre-ferment unnecessary. My experiment lacks a wide enough sample (2 loaves does not a sample make) to make a conclusive finding, but ... well, see for yourself. I wasn't able to put them in the oven at the same time, because kneading them seperately takes 20 minutes a piece, but I did keep all other factors equal to the best of my ability. I can't guarrantee that they proofed for exactly the same amount of time, but the age-old finger poke test showed both loaves were ready.

On the left, the straight dough. On the right, the dough made with a biga. Now, the loaf on the right did suffer from a bit of poor shaping that left a moderate gap in the top middle of the loaf, but that gap alone can't account entirely for the difference in size. Clearly, the biga loaf rose higher.

Here's another view. I scored the loaves differently so that I could tell them apart during the tasting.

So, what about it? How did they taste?

Both breads were excellent. Nevertheless, the difference was noticeable, though subtle. The loaf with the biga had a richer, stronger aroma, a deeper sweetness and a longer finish than the straight-dough. If you plan to eat this bread primarily in sandwiches or with jam, the biga will make little difference. As a bike commuter, however, the first thing I usually do after removing my helmet after my ride home is to run to the kitchen for a slice or two of plain bread to tide me over until I can cook the family meal.

If you eat the bread plain, the biga does make a difference.

Here's my version of the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book Buttermilk Bread, with a biga. NOTE: I made this using the flour and water weights, not cups (except for the buttermilk). Laurel seems to have a heavy hand with a cup of flour, so you may need to add some if you use volumetric measurements -- let the dough be your guide. Some of the cup measurements don't match grams / ounces. That's OK. It all comes out even in the end.

Biga 5 ¼ ounces -- 150 grams -- 1 cup water 250 grams -- 8 3/4 ounces -- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final dough All of the biga 1 ½ tsp instant yeast 4 3/4 ounces -- 135 grams-- 3/4 cup warm water ¼ cup honey 1 ¼ cup cold buttermilk 580 grams / 20.5 ounces -- 4 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 2 tsp salt 2 Tbs butter

The night before, make up the biga. Knead it until it forms a relatively smooth dough, and then cover it to sit overnight for about 12-14 hours.

The next day, tear the biga into about 12 pieces and mix it up with the rest of the ingredients. Start kneading -- it'll take about 600 strokes and 20 minutes, but once you're finished, the dough should stretch nicely into a translucent, whitish pane, flecked with bits of bran. This dough may start a bit sticky, but should lose the stickiness and become simply tacky about halfway through. Add water or flour as necessary.

Form the dough into a ball and put it into bowl or bucket. Cover it, and allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes or so. Poke the dough with a wet finger. When the indention starts to fill in very, very slowly, the dough is risen.

Gently degas the dough, and tuck it back into a tight ball for the second rise. Fold the dough if you wish, but really, after 600 strokes, the dough shouldn't need any additional strength. Once it has risen, divide the dough into two and shape it into sandwich loaves. Place the loaves into pre-greased 8.5 x 4.5 pans. Cover the pans with plastic for the final rise.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. (I like my oven a little hotter than Laurel does -- she prefers 325). Once the dough is risen and has crested one to two inches above the side of the pan in the center, slash the loaves as you wish with a serrated knife or razor blade. Personally, I prefer a single slash down the middle, but do whatever makes you happy. Place them in the oven and steam it if you wish (I find it helps with oven spring quite a bit, even with panned loaves), and bake for about 35-40 minutes, turning once to ensure even baking.

The loaves are done when they register 195-200 in the center. Let them cool for one hour before slicing.

If you want to make this as a straight dough (no biga), just dump everything together and increase the yeast to 2 tsp.

One other point. The quality of the whole wheat flour you use will make a big difference in the quality of your bread. Whole wheat flour, unlike white flour, goes rancid and if your brand has sat on the shelf for a while at the store, it may not make good bread. Also, you want the flour to be high in gluten, so look for flour made form hard spring wheat, if possible. Hard winter will do, but it won't rise quite as high. I use King Arthur Flour, myself, and it's worked fine.

Lesson Five: Ten Tips for Better French Bread

I've been baking something along the lines of what Americans call French Bread (a simple bread containing flour, salt, yeast, and water baked directly on a hearth or baking stone) almost every weekend for over a year now. Sometimes I bake more than one batch a weekend.

Over these 50 or 60 batches of bread there has been consistent improvement in the quality of my breads. Certainly there have been failures but, without question, I've gotten a lot better. Compare the tightness of the crumb of the breads I baked in my early lessons with the openness of my recent loaves. Much closer to what French Bread is supposed to be.

Through trial-and-error, by reading a lot of good baking books, and through numerous discussions with folks on this site I've learned a number of things worth passing on to other folks who want to try making artisan bread at home. Most of these rules hold true whether you are trying to bake pain sur poolish, pain de campagne, Ciabatta, or a rustic bread by any other name. Keep these tips in mind and bake regularly and you'll be making top notch artisan breads (whatever you want to call them) in no time.

Without further ado, the list:

Ten Tips For Better French Bread

10. Use Good Ingredients

9. Use a Preferment

8. Autolyse

7. The Wetter, The Better

6. Folding & Shaping

5. Slow Rise

4. Scoring

3. Bake with High Heat

2. Use a Baking Stone

1. Steam the Oven

0. Practice!

On to Number 10: Use Good Ingredients.

Sourdough Lessons

Community members have contributed some great information about baking naturally leavened breads. SourdoLady's pieces (who, as the name implies, knows a thing or two about sourdough) Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter and her Deluxe Sourdough Bread are among the most popular articles on the topic. JMonkey posted a great lesson on getting a sourer sourdough. Gaarp has also posted a wonderful sourdough tutorial. Other folks contributed some excellent recipes for sourdough pancakes and sourdough banana bread.

When I had my first starter going, I was able to write a couple of introductory articles on sourdough: When Yeasts Attack: A First Experience with Naturally Leavened Bread and More about Sourdough. These two articles contain enough information for an amateur baker to learn how to bake with a starter.

More recent forum posts, blog entries, and articles have included information on sourdough as well (and new information gets posted all of the time), so use the site search and look for terms like "sourdough" and "starter" to find the very latest.

buddye's picture
buddye

Sourdough Banana Bread

This is an outstanding sourdough banana bread that I would like to pass on. This came from Don and Myrtle Holm's Sourdough Cookbook in 1972. I have used it many times with excellent results.

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp grated orange rind

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add egg, and mix until blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough starter. Add orange rind or vanilla. Sift flour, measure again with salt, baking powder, and soda. Add flour mixture and walnuts to the first mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour into greased 9x5" loaf pan. Bake in moderate or 350� oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Hint: I used 1/2 cup cooking/baking Splenda for regular sugar. Came out beautifully.

San Joaquin Sourdough

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Description

While I enjoy a variety of breads, the San Joaquin Sourdough remains my “go to” bread. It's easy to fit into a busy schedule. It uses few ingredients. It always tastes delicious. It's wonderful freshly baked but also makes great toast, French toast, garlic bread and croutons for salads or onion soup. It is almost as good after being frozen as fresh. What's not to like?

I first developed this formula about 3 years ago. Since then, I've tweaked the formula and methods in many ways. I know many TFL members have made this bread and enjoyed it. So, I thought an update on my current recipe might be of interest.

To summarize the changes I've made in the past 6 months:

  1. I substituted 25 g of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of the rye flour in the original formula. The difference in flavor is subtle, but I like it better.

  2. I adopted the oven steaming method for home ovens we were taught in the SFBI Artisan I and II workshops. 

Summary

Yield
556 g Bâtards
SourceMy own recipe.
Prep time6 hours
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time6 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

450 g
all-purpose unbleached flour
25 g
Medium rye flour
360 g
water
10 g
salt
100 g
Liquid levain (100% hydration)

Instructions

Procedures

Mixing

In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using a plastic scraper or silicon spatula, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals.

Fermentation

After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes with a stretch and fold after 45 and 90 minutes, then return the dough to the container and place it in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. 

Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

To pre-shape for a bâtard, I now form a ball rather than a log. Place each piece of dough smooth side down. Pat into a rough circle, degassing the dough gently in the process. Bring the far edge to the middle and seal the seam. Then go around the dough, bringing about 1/5 of the dough to the middle and sealing it. Repeat until you have brought the entire circumference of the piece to the middle. Turn the piece over, and shape as a boule. Turn each ball seam side up onto a lightly floured part of your board.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 60 minutes. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, I now favor the method portrayed in the King Arthur Flour instructional video. I encourage you to watch the video, but here is a verbal description of the method:

  1. For each piece of dough, place it in front of you on an un-floured board.

  2. Hold down the near side and stretch the far side of the piece into a rough rectangle about 8 inches front to back.

  3. Now, fold the far end two thirds of the way to the near end and seal the seam with the heel of your hand.

  4. Take each of the far corners of the piece and fold them to the middle of the near side of your first fold. Seal the seams.

  5. Now, the far end of the dough piece should be roughly triangular with the apex pointing away from you. Grasp the apex of the triangle and bring it all the way to the near edge of the dough piece. Seal the resulting seam along the entire width of the loaf.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side up and pinch the seam closed, if there are any gaps.

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and put your steaming apparatus of choice in place. (I currently use a 7 inch cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks.) Heat the oven to 500F.

Proofing

After shaping the loaves, transfer them to a linen couche, seam side up. Cover the loaves with a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaves have expanded to about 1-1/2 times their original size. (30-45 minutes) Test readiness for baking using “the poke test.” Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

Baking

Pre-steam the oven, if desired.

Transfer the loaves to a peel. (Remember you proofed them seam side up. If using a transfer peel, turn the loaves over on the couch before rolling them onto the transfer peel. That way, the loaves will be seam side down on the peel.) Score the loaves. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Steam the oven. (I place a perforated pie tin with about 12 ice cubes in it on top of the pre-heated lava rocks.) Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door. (If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake, and turn the temperature down to 435ºF.)

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 7 minutes to dry the crust.

Cooling

Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.

Notes

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Laminated Sandwich loaf - best of both worlds

Sending this toYeastspotting.
Click here for my blog index.


After weeks of driving, moving, and settling down, I've finally gotten my new kitchen more or less in order and ready to start baking/bloging again. Loving everything about Seattle so far, the active lifestyle, the urban living environment in downtown, the seafood, the "green" mentality -- I even like the grey weather! It's good for making laminated dough... :P


Now back to bread, this is a very Asian bread, I don't think I have seen anything similar in a western bakery. It's essentially the love child of Danish and Asian Style Soft Sandwich bread, inheriting the best qualities of both parties: nice and crispy on the outside, soft inside, and full of buttery goodness. While still a laminated dough, in order to rise high in the sandwich tin, it differes from croissants(tips here) and traditional danishs in following ways:
1. For croissants and danishs, we usually keep the dough fairly dry to ensure crisp and clean layers. While more kneading would make layers seperate more, resulting in a better crumb, we usually don't knead the dough to fully developement for the ease of rolling out. However, Asian style soft sandwich breads need to be kneaded very well to pass a very thin and strong windowpane test, otherwise the bread volume would suffer, and the texture won't be shreaddably soft (see details here). For this bread, we do knead the dough well (similar to other Asian style soft sandwich breads). In the mean time, the dough is kept pretty wet to have more extensibility, which make it possible to roll out.
2. Since the dough is fairly wet, and shaping procedure is different from traditional croissants, we don't expect as many honeycomb-like holes in the crumb, instead, crumb just need to be fairly even and open. In the mean time, the final dough doesn't need to be rolled out very thin (15mm instead of 4mm for croissants). For those reasons, the amount of roll-in butter is considerably less than croissants.
3. While for this particular batch in the first photo, I did one 4-fold, and two 3-folds, but this bread usually requires less folding than croissants. The most common method is one 4-fold, and one 3-fold, which I tried in another batch with good result.
In summary, since the dough requires less folds, and doesn't need to be rolled out very thin, it's an easier laminated dough than croissants and danishes. However, it does have different challenges: the intensive kneading to full developement, the final shaping which requires concise cutting and weighing, as well as braiding.

Laminated Sandwich Loaf (Adapted from many different sources)
Note: for details and tips on making croissants, please see this post
Note: for tips on kneading soft sandich loaves see this post
Note: this recipe makes about 930g of dough, less or more depending on how much you trim off the edges etc.

-levain
starter (100%), 44g
water, 75g
bread flour, 134g

1. mix and leave at room temp for 12 hours.

-final dough
bread flour, 361g
milk, 145g
egg, 77g
sugar, 60g
salt, 10g
instant yeast, 7g
butter, 41g, softened
levain, all
roll-in butter, 245g

1. Mix everything other than butter, knead until gluten starts to form. Add in butter, mix until fully developed. see this post for details.

2. Round, press flat, put in fridge immediately for 2 hours.
3. Make butter block, put in fridge for at least one hour before using.  Take out the dough, roll out, and enclose butter. (see this post for details)
4. Roll out to 20X60CM, fold one 4-fold as in the following pictures. Put in fridge for one hour


5. Roll out again and do one 3-fold, put in fridge for one hour. (see this post for details)
6. Repeat 5. (optional)
7. Roll out dough to 1.5CM-2CM thickness. Length of the dough piece  would depend on the tin you use. Since we are braiding them, you will need the length to be about 2X length of the tin.
8. Cut the dough into thin pieces. This is where experience becomes important. We are braiding 3 pieces into one group, each group need to have a certain weight. Do note that if a tin requires more than one group of dough, each group should weigh the same, otherwise bread would appear uneven at the end. In another word, for each tin, select a weight for each dough group (less for flat top, more for round top),  then stick to that weight for each group of dough.
a) For my bigger Chinese pullman tin (pictured on the left), I need 2 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 225-250g (225g if cover of the tin is used to make a flat top shape, more if cover is not used to make round top as in the picture).
b) For my small Chinese pullman tin, I only need one group of 3 pieces, each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 150g (if cover of the tin is used to make top flat).
c) For 8X4 US loaf tin,  I suggest to use 2 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 250-270g.
d) For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I would suggest to use 4 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 195-215g.
9. For each group of 3 pieces of dough, braid them. Make sure the cut surface is facing up, to expose the layers. Fold ends under, put into tin.

10. Proof at around 27C until 80-90% full, about 4-5 hours in my case. Egg wash if you are not using the pullman pan cover.


11: Bake at 425F for 10min, lowered to 375F and bake until done. The bigger Chinese tin which took 450g - 500g of dough, needed about 40-45min of TOTAL baking time. The smaller tin which took 150g of dough, needed 30min in total. If colors too much, cover with foil.

 

If the gluten network is fully developed, the bread should be proud and tall, with clear layers visible.

If the pan cover is used, the dough amount needs to be fairly accurate for the pan, other wise it's each too short (not reaching the top), or bursting out (the cover can literally be blown open). This neat rectangle shape is nicknamed "golden sticks".

The crumb soft but open with honeycomb structor.

In general, I feel it's easier than croissants, since you can fold less and doesn't have to roll out as thin. However, the success does depend on proper kneading and careful piecing and shaping.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Walnut Raisin Sourdough Bread from SFBI Artisan II


 


 


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

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Leinsamenbrot - German Flaxseed Bread


Ingredients (2 Loaves)

SOAKER                                                            APPROXIMATE VOLUME MEASUREMENTS
200 g rye flour                                                  1cup + 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. rye flour
111 g whole wheat flour                                     3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. whole wheat flour
5 g salt                                                             1/2 tsp.  salt
150 g flaxseeds                                                 1 cup - 1 tbsp. flaxseeds (whole)
272 g buttermilk                                                1 cup + 3 tbsp. buttermilk


 


BIGA


311 g bread flour                                               2 cups + 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. bread flour


1 g instant yeast                                                1/4 tsp. instant yeast


203 g water                                                       3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. water



FINAL DOUGH


all soaker and biga                                            all soaker and biga
78 g bread flour                                               1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. +  1 1/2 tsp. bread flour                                         
7 g salt                                                            1 tsp. salt
10 g instant yeast                                             2 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
19 g honey                                                       1 tbsp. honey
14 g pumpkin seed oil (or other vegetable oil)     1 tbsp. pumpkin seed oil (or other vegetable oil)
milk, for brushing                                              milk, for brushing

Directions:

DAY 1

In the morning, stir together all soaker ingredients until well hydrated. Let sit at room temperature for 12 - 24 hrs.


Mix together all biga ingredients at low speed (mixer or hand) for 1 - 2 min., until no flour is left on bottom of bowl. Knead for 2 min. on medium-low speed. Let dough rest for 5 min., then knead for 1 more min. Place biga in lightly oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate.

In the evening, mix together all ingredients fo final dough until well combined (1 - 2 min. on low speed or by hand). Knead for 4 min. on medium-low speed. Let dough rest for 5 min., then resume kneading for another min.  Divide into 2 portions and place dough balls in lightly oiled 1-quart plastic containers (or bowls). Cover and refrigerate overnight.


DAY 2

Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using. Shape into 2 boules and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk. Score with big star shaped  (or round or square) cookie cutter.

Preheat oven to 425 F, including steam pan.

Let breads rise at room temperature for 45 - 60 min., or until they have grown to 1 1/2 times their original size.

Bake breads at 350 F for 20 min. (with steam), rotate them 180 degrees and continue baking for another 25 - 30 min. (internal temperature at least 195 F). Let cool on wire rack.


 


STRETCH AND FOLD TECHNIQUE:


Leinsamenbrot can also be made with stretch and fold technique. Prepare only soaker as pre-dough. Add biga ingredients to final dough.


For final dough, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Mix it with soaker and all other ingredients for 1 min. at low speed. Let dough sit for 5 min. Knead on medium-low speed for 2 min. Dough should be supple and very tacky, bordering on sticky (adjust with water if needed). Continue kneading for 4 more min., increasing speed to medium-high for last 30 sec. Dough should be tacky.

Stretch and fold dough 4 times, every 10 min. (40 min. total time). Refrigerate overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator 3 hrs. before baking.


Shape cold dough into 2 boules. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk, then score with big cookie cutter. Let breads rise for ca. 2 - 3 hrs., or until grown 1 1/2 times their original size. Continue as in recipe above.


 


VOLUME MEASUREMENTS are only approximate calculations - you have to adjust with water or flour according to what the dough consistency should be like!!!


 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Mr. Nippon's Baguette Formulas

It was raining outside my tea room.  Polly my dog was happy in her house.  I was in heaven painstakingly (not contradictory in terms) typing the French letters (the annoying à and é and ç) into my on-line translator.  The music was vibrating the thin rice-paper calligraphies on my mahogany-colored wall.


I consulted a couple of translations for Lionel Poilâne's Pain Rustique recipe in his Le Pain par Poilâne, page 143.  The 390-page book contains a dozen recipes.  I studied the translations.  I read the recipe very carefully.  And in the end, I said to myself, disbelieving, "Is that it, so simple?"  "Is this the recipe that makes the famous Miche Poilâne?"  (No.)


One of my sisters told me there is a single product hawker's stand in Taipei which sells red bean pancakes.  Any time of the day you go there, there is a long queue waiting to buy the man's red bean pancakes.  He has a dedicated pot to cook his red bean paste at home; the pot is never used for anything else.  He has several other dedicated utensils for the job.  My sister gave me his recipe.  It sounded so simple, I said, "Is that all? You are not leaving any steps out?"  She said, "No."  She gave me the man's list of ingredients: red beans, sugar, flour, and water.  I said, "You are not leaving any secret ingredients out?"  She said, "No."


Still disbelieving from reading the Poilâne formula, I got up from my chair and walked past a neglected pile of books left there since I came back from Taipei last October.  At the rate I buy books there is no way I can finish reading all my books in my lifetime, but I keep on buying.  The postman, the DHL man, and the Fedex man, as well as the occasional sub-contractor for Australia Post, all know there is somebody whose name sounds like (to pronounce slowly) "shopping" that lives behind that gate (and what an annoyance having to ring the bell for the gate to open!).


Anyway, I retrieved from that pile a book which is, on the surface, dedicated to baguettes, a Mandarin translation of the best Japanese baguette formulas.  And, boy, can you get any more perfectly shaped baguettes than those any where else in the world?  My oh my, the formulas are so detailed!  And, interesting!


 


                                                                    


                                  Baguette no Gijutsu (Baguette Techniques), published by Asahiya Shuppan, Japan    


          


   right: Totszen Baker's Kitchen, Yokohama (page 28)    


   middle: Fournier Bakery, Osaka (page 8)


   left:  Lobros Bakery, Tokyo (page 124)


The way I see it, this book is about methods of pure fermentation of flour.  Baguette is only the form in which the result is show-cased; the bread could be in any shape or form.  There are 35 very detailed baguette formulas by today's top Japanese bakers in a very easy to follow format.  The bakers play with fermentation possibilities in a wide ranging ways and dough hydrations of between 57 and 83%.  The book reads to me like 35 flour fermentation love stories.  The baguettes are solid works of fine craft and done in tightly controlled environment (the Japanese way!).  Using the simplest ingredients, their objectives are all the same: to bring out the best flavour in flour through their individual fermentation methods.  Only a third of recipes use levains, and not even at high baker's percentages, for a more clean taste of flour.  Some use other pre-ferments; but pre-ferments are nothing new.  What I find interesting is pre-fermenting the main dough flour. 


Have you ever heard of autolysing flour and water for 12 hours?  Maybe you have, but I haven't.  With this post, I am making baguettes using Fournier Bakery's formula on which the gorgeous looking crumb pictured in the middle above is based.  The book says Fournier won the 2006 French Baguette Competition organized by Torigoe, the oldest Japanese miller of French style of flours. 


Fournier Bakery's baguette formula


Ingredients in baker's percentages



  • 100% bread flour (I used 650 grams of Australia's Kialla Organic unbleached plain flour)

  • 70% water (I had 455 grams)

  • 15% liquid starter (I had 98 grams. See note * below)

  • 0.1% instant dry yeast (I used two-thirds of a 1/3 tsp)

  • 1.9% salt (I had 12 grams)


Overall dough hydration is 72.1%.  My dough weighed about 1200 grams.  I did three times the formula in three days, totaling 18 baby baguettes of 200 grams each (see below).


Note *: As most of us are weekend bakers, it is best that our starter undergo at least two refreshes (ie, refreshment build and levain build) before being incorporated into the final dough.  I did three builds for my levain, each time discarding all but 20 grams for the next build.  I timed the last build to coincide with the 12 hour autolyse of flour and water (see step 2 below). 



  1. Place only flour and water in the mixer, turn on first speed for two minutes.

  2. Autolyse for 12 hours at 16 ºC.  (I did about 9 hours.  As it is summer here in Australia, my temperature averages around 25 - 27 ºC.) 

  3. Add liquid starter and instant dry yeast and mix in first speed for one minute.  (The book says the levain is ready for use when its pH is 3.7.  I had no way of knowing the exact pH of my levain but because it had just gone through 3 builds, I would guess that the pH value might be a lot higher than 3.7.)

  4. Add salt and mix in first speed for 2 more minutes, and second speed for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  When kneading is complete, the dough temperature should be 22 ºC.  (Note: I did all my mixing and kneading by hand.  It was very messy, especially trying to get the liquid starter mixed into the dough.  I did not use ice water to try to get my dough temperature exactly as per the formula.  I figured that I would just watch the fermentation carefully.)

  5. Bulk fermentation is 3 hours in total at 22 ºC as follows: three times 2 letter-folds in a plastic container at 20 minutes intervals, then twice more 2 letter-folds at 60 minutes interval, totaling 5 times.  (As my room temperature and dough temperature was about 25 - 27 ºC, I did only 2 hours bulk.)

  6. Divide the dough into 350 grams pieces and pre-shape them (I divided my dough into 6 pieces of 200 grams each because my baking stone is small, 34 cm x 34 cm.)

  7. Shape into baguette, 60 cm long. (I shaped mine into 32 - 34 cm long).

  8. (Note that it should only be 30 minutes from Divide to Shape, including the rest in between, during which time the dough pieces should be placed in temperature controlled room at 22 ºC.)

  9. Proofing is 60 minutes at 22 ºC and 70 degree humidity.  (The book says when the dough completes its fermentation, its pH should be 5.2.)  (For the last 30 minutes of proofing, I moved my dough into the refrigerator as I was afraid that it might over-prove.)

  10. Pre-heat oven to 250 ºC.  Score the dough with 7 slashes.  Steam the oven before loading the dough.  Once the dough is in the oven, turn the oven down to 240 ºC.  After 3 minutes of baking, steam the oven again.  Bake for a total of 30 - 32 minutes.  (My dough only needed 23 minutes of baking at the highest temperature my oven could go.  I could only manage 4 slashes on my dough.)


 


                 


 


To recap: Fournier's fermentation is 4 1/2 hours all-up at 22 ºC.  I did 3 1/2 hours at 25 - 27 ºC, including 30 minutes in the refrigerator, which had an added advantage of chilling the surface of the dough for easier slashing.


 


    


                                              


                                                                   


The challenge of baguettes to me is how to shape them uniformly.  There is no better way than repetitive practice.  It was only towards my last 3 baguettes (those pictured above) that I worked out how to do them with same length and thickness.  The key for me is, after pre-shaping and rest, pat the dough out to very flat (not to worry, I was not squeezing the gas out by patting).  Then, use minimal movements possible to shape the dough.  I find that excessive handling serves no purpose.   Out of the 18 baguettes that I made, the three next best ones are below:


 


        


 


I find slightly under-proof works better than slightly over-proof.  As my dough pieces were small, just 15 minutes more than necessary could make it over-proved.   Once the dough is done fermenting and ready to go, no amount of chilling in the refrigerator can arrest it because of the internal dough temperature.  The flavour will still be good but oven spring would suffer.


 


         


                                                            


 


It would be interesting to try out more formulas in the book to learn more ways of pure fermentation.  There is nothing wrong of using other type of flours (for instance, various whole grains flours) on these baguette formulas, paying attention to temperature and time issues etc., and see how they affect fermentation outcomes.  I learn in this book that there are infinite possibilities.


Just as I was cleaning up from today's mess, it's almost time to go and pick up my son from his tennis.  I tied up two baby baguettes to give to Andrew's coach.  Don't people just envy us because we possess these presents to give away?


                                                      


I was late collecting my son.  When he saw me, he said, "Soft effort, Mum, soft effort."   Gee.


It has stopped raining now.  It is lush and green outside the window.  Polly would not be allowed to go out for a while yet, not until the grass is dry.


 


                                      


 


Shiao-Ping

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Naan

For the most part, I have had a lot of luck with bread recipes.  If it does not work out the way I want on the first try I begin the tweaking process.  It is not always fast but I get there in the end.  I say for the most part because I have had one bread nemesis.  One bread that, no matter how I tried, would never work out the way I wanted.  


That bread was the delicious Indian flat bread called naan.


Naan Fixins


Naan is my nemesis no longer.  Now I have a recipe for naan that is tender, chewy, crispy, and soft all at once, and is terrific stuffed with curry.  The recipe is adapted from one found here.  


Along with a good recipe I have a good cooking method.  Naan is made, traditionally, in a tandoor oven which produces an insane amount of heat.  If you want naan that has the right texture, the soft inside with the chewy exterior, you have to find a way to replicate a tandoor at home.  I tried the grill with average results.  I tried the stove, in a similar way that I cooked my tortillas, but it was not hot enough.  


I make pizza at home from time to time and have two very well seasoned pizza stones.  On the internet I had read that some bakers use their pizza stones, in a smoking hot oven, to achieve a tender interior with a crisp exterior.   It sounded promising, so I tried it.  I heated the oven to 500 F with my pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven.  I let it heat for thirty minutes and then added one rolled out piece of naan.  It was as close as I will ever get to perfect, and it is pretty darn close!


Naan Dough Divided


Another thing I discovered is that you need to have patience.  Don't rush the naan.  Give the dough a two hour ferment, then after they dough is divided give it the full half hour proof on the bench before rolling.  Letting the dough develop will give you the taste and texture you want.


Naan 


Naan   Yield 12 naan


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 cup milk, heated to 110F
1 tsp sugar
ghee to taste


Activate the yeast in the warm milk with the sugar added.


Combine the flour and salt.  Once the yeast is active, combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.  Mix in a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.


Allow to rest for two hours, covered with a towel or plastic.


Naan DoughNaan Dough Divided


After the dough has rested turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces and round them into balls.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.


While the dough rests heat your oven to 500 F and place a pizza stone, or cast iron skillet, on the bottom rack of the oven.


Naan Rolled Out


Once fully rested roll out the dough until it is about 6″ to 7″ wide.  It should be fairly thin.


Naan on the StoneNaan Baked


Moisten your hands with water, gently pass the dough between your hands to moisten gently, then lay on the hot pizza stone.  Close the oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to get brown spots.


Remove from the oven, brush lightly with ghee (or melted butter) and cover with a cloth.  You may need to press the naan to release the air inside.




Serve warm.


Posted at www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/27/2009

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