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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Section II: Bread Basics

You can jump right in and start baking without knowing much about the ingredients or how the process works, but if you'll take the time to learn a little bit about the baking process you'll find baking to be much more rewarding.  You'll also be equipped to modify recipes to fit your taste if you first understand how those modifications will change the results.

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Sourdough sandwich bread

It's been a while since I've had the luxury of daily check-ins with TFL. Lots going on this summer, and actually I really don't have the time even now! But I made some sourdough sandwich bread today for the first time (so far I have only made rustic loaves with my starter), and I wanted to get the recipe written down and share it with anyone else who might like it.

I already have a favorite sandwich bread, but wanted to try using my homegrown 100% hydration starter in a sandwich loaf. Specifically, I wanted to use my starter in my favorite sandwich bread. I started with a google search and came up with a method for using starter in your favorite recipe. The website (which I can't find now, typical) stated that this was a method modified from one in Sourdough Jack's Cookery. Take 2/3 of the flour from your recipe and add it to all of the water, plus 1 cup of active starter. Stir, cover, and set on the counter overnight. Then add the rest of the ingredients and proceed as usual. This method as written, however, only allowed for a 10 minute rest after mixing, followed by final shaping. I wanted a bulk fermentation followed by shaping and a final proof. So, here's what I did, using amounts from my recipe:

Night before baking:

Combine 1 C starter (at feeding time, I feed mine every 12 hours at a 1:4:4 ratio) with 4 C KAF bread flour and 2 C Brita-filtered water at room temp (or it might have even been straight from the fridge). Stir, cover with plastic wrap and leave out overnight.

Day of baking:

Pour sponge mixture into mixer bowl and add 1/4 C melted butter, 2 TBSP sugar, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1 C flour. Mix until combined, then add remaining cup of flour until dough is fairly stiff (my usual yeast-raised dough uses about 6 C flour and 2 C water, plus 1/4 C melted butter, for around a 35% hydration level). The dough will clear both the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead at speed 2 for about 4 minutes or until dough passes the windowpane test. Transfer to oiled bowl and let rise in warm place until doubled, around 2 hours.

Shape into loaves and place into greased pans. Let rise for about an hour, or until light and risen nicely, then bake at 375.

This bread is tangy but not terribly sour. It tastes a little like Panera's sodo, actually, but is less chewy and has a very thin and soft crust. Moist, tender and fine crumb. Can't wait to try it in a ham sandwich!

sodosandwich1

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Pumpkin Sourdough Rye - for BBD #62

Hello everyone,

It was lovely see all of the breads bakers around the world contributed for World Bread Day in October –
thank you to Zorra for her work to round all of these up!

                                                                               
BBD #62 - Bread Baking Day meets World Bread Day (last day of sumbission December 1st)

November’s Bread Baking Day (BBD #62) celebrates the breads contributed for World Bread Day,
inviting bakers to bake a World Bread Day bread for BBD #62.

One of the rye breads contributed for World Bread Day really caught my eye:  a Pumpkin Rye Sourdough bread, kindly posted by a Polish baker on the blog ‘The Scent of Bread – Zapach Chleba’.

Wasn't this an incredibly gorgeous rye? The beautiful, airy crumb and glorious color – I had to try making this one! This is my attempt at re-creating this amazing Polish baker’s bread.

                                       

I couldn’t find any information on the type 720 flour this baker used, so I used some whole, dark organic rye flour from Nunweiler’s.  This is a really, really nice flour to work with – I was very happy with the fermentation.
My rye levain was very happy, too – this picture was taken just before mixing the dough:

 

This bread has a fantastic flavor. I used squash and roasted it until it was really caramelized.
The sweetness from the squash is delicious in the baked bread!
                                                  (another picture of the crumb)

 

Here are the quantities I used for a 9x4x4 Pullman pan:



Thank you Zorra, for providing a venue for bakers around the world to share bread, and thank you to the baker from Zapach Chleba for baking this Pumpkin Sourdough Rye.



Happy baking, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!
:^) breadsong

(submitted to YeastSpotting)

 

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Aroma Bread - A Love Story

 

One of my most favorite cookbooks is "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals".

Award winning Author Maria Speck combines her German father's love for hearty grains, and her Greek mother's culinary talents in dishes that make you grab your shopping bag, hop on the bike or in the car, and drive to the next natural food store to buy those ancient grains, veggies and fruits for Maria's mouthwatering meals.

Normally I consider a cookbook worth its money, if it contains at least one recipe I really like to cook. "Ancient Grains" has so many, that I still haven't prepared all the ones I want to try. (No, I DON'T get a commission!)

 A few of the dishes are breads, among them the Aroma Bread. A no-knead bread by trade, its evocative name spiked my interest, and my love affair with the spicy loaf began.

"Ancient Grains" is very user friendly, with detailed, easy to follow instructions, no sophisticated culinary equipment needed. No-knead breads meet these expectations, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a clean kitchen towel, a Dutch oven, and you are all set.

These low maintenance breads don't want you to slave over them, they are free spirits, and perfectly willing to go and develop themselves, if you give them enough time (and a little bit of yeast.) They show their gratitude by rising eagerly, and tasting better than many other loaves that had been kneaded, slapped and punched into submission.

You have the choice between a crunchy, and an XX-crunchy Aroma Bread. If you opt for the super chewy, you need to soak whole grain berries for several hours, before mixing them into the dough. This is definitely no impulse bread, so plan to bake it 24 hours ahead.

Maria called her loaf "Aroma Bread" for a good reason. This truly aromatic loaf is not for the faint hearted! But in our old home country Germany breads are often flavored with coriander, fennel and caraway, these herbs are even commonly referred to as "Brotgewürz" (bread spices.) You can use them whole, or coarsely ground.

Bread spices fennel, caraway and coriander

As easy as no-knead breads are to mix, handling wet dough always remains a bit of a challenge. And here comes the sticky wicket: the dough has to be shaped into a loaf, and transferred from the mixing bowl to a place where it can rise. And, after that, it has to be turned out into a piping hot Dutch oven.

That leaves you with two choices: either to lower the bread gently into the pot, risking nasty burns (aka Baker's Badge of Honor). Or you let it drop from a secure height - and have your bread sigh and deflate!

Maria solves the problem by having you scrape the bubbly fermented mass onto a well floured countertop (flour is your friend, creating a barrier between the sticky dough and its surroundings), so that you can fold it into a round.

Then you place the loaf on a floured kitchen towel, fold the corners over it, and, voilà, you have a cozy proofing place. Of course, it takes a rather amorphous shape from being bundled in a kitchen towel. 

My first bread went into a large, oval Dutch oven (I didn't have a smaller one), and eagerly spread to fill the void.

My first Aroma Bread - shaped like a roly poly!

Baked into a rather flat loaf, it reminded me of those little things that scurry away when you lift a stone. But when I took the first bite, my eyes glazed over. My flat roly poly bread tasted awesome!

The next time I decided to set the bread more boundaries, changing its Armadillidiida appearance. Instead of proofing it simply in a towel, I used my pretty brotform to contain it.

Proofed in a rising basket, the bread is round but still...

 

 

It came out of the oven nice and round, but still... way too much room to spread during the baking.

Alas! My main source for discounted kitchen gadgets, Home Goods, was letting me down when I needed it most. Still without the right sized pot, I decided to experiment with a free-standing, self- contained sourdough version, made with pre-doughs à la Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads".

Aroma Bread made as free-standing loaf (with sourdough)

My hearth baked sourdough loaf turned out beautiful. Though I couldn't find much difference in taste, this method is a good alternative for people who either have no Dutch oven, love wild yeasts, hate wet doughs, or prefer to bake their bread as free-standing loaf.

The next time I visited Marshall's (another treasure trove for kitchen stuff) I found a snazzy turquoise cast iron pot in just the right size - for half the price! And soon was mixing the ingredients for my fourth Aroma Bread - again the no-knead version.

And out of the oven came (TATAAA!): the perfect Aroma Bread - looking just as good as it tasted!

The last task left to do for inquiring minds, was to try the sandwich version of Aroma Bread, baked in a loaf pan. A cold cut-friendly shape, and the easiest way to make this wonderful bread. And it has an additional benefit: you can bake more than just one loaf at a time. (My customers will be happy!)

Aroma Sandwich Bread - the easiest version

 

COMMENTS:

  • If you use the optional whole grain berries (I made the bread with and without, both versions are great) add more salt: 9 g/0.3 oz instead of 7 g/0.25 oz. 
  • Instead of sunflower seeds you can also take pumpkin seeds (or a mixture of both.)
  • Toast the seeds, before adding them to the dough.
  • For an easier, risk free transport of the proofed bread into the hot pot, use a large piece of parchment paper as a sling to lower the bread gently into the pot. You don't have to remove it.

 

AROMA BREAD    1 (2-pound) loaf

 

Grain Berries (optional):

1/2 cup whole wheat, rye, kamut, or spelt berries

cold water, for soaking

 

Dough:

340 g/12 oz whole spelt flour (3 cups)

107 g/ 3.75 oz whole rye flour (1 cup)

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium stone ground cornmeal (1/2 cup)

  67 g/ 2.35 oz sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted (1/2 cup)

  35 g/ 1.25 oz flax or sesame seeds, toasted (1/4 cup)

   2 tbsp. aroma spice blend*)

    7 g/ 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 9 g/0.3 oz if using whole grain berries)

    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

     all soaked whole grain berries (if using)

475 g/2 cups cold water

cornmeal, for sprinkling

 *) Aroma spice blend: mix 6 tablespoons whole coriander seeds with 3 tablespoons each fennel and caraway seeds (enough for 6 loaves).

 

 DAY 1

In the morning, place whole grain berries in a bowl and cover with at least 1-inch cold water. Cover, and leave at room temperature to soak. Before using, drain them through a strainer (by the way, the soaking water is an excellent fertilizer for your plants.)

Mixed dough - I used black sesame seeds for a nice contrast

In the evening, whisk together all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl, except for soaked grain berries and water. Scatter grain berries on top, and add almost all the water. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until all flour is hydrated. (Dough will be wet and sticky, if not, add a bit more water.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature to ferment for 12 - 18 hours.

Overnight the dough grows to a puffy, swollen mass

 DAY 2

Use a rising basket, (or improvise by placing a clean kitchen towel over a basket or bowl.) Sprinkle with fine cornmeal (other flours work, too). Generously flour your work surface. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape the stringy, bubbly dough onto the work surface.

Scraping out the fermented dough you will see its spongy structure

 With floured hands (or two oiled bench knifes or bowl scrapers), fold dough exactly 4 times, always towards the center, from the top, the bottom, the right and the left side. Turn the dough package around and place it, seam side down, into the towel lined rising basket. Sprinkle with cornmeal or flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour.

After 30 minutes, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat oven to 475ºF. Place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart cast iron pot or Dutch oven (with lid) on the rack to heat up.

When the dough has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size, poke it gently with your finger. The dimple should not fill up again (it can come back a little bit, but should remain visible). If not, wait another 15 minutes.

Fitting snugly in the Dutch oven, the bread will rise more than spread

Remove hot pot from the oven and open the lid. Gently turn out the proofed bread from the rising basket into the Dutch oven, seam side up, guiding it with your hand, (or turn it out onto a parchment paper and, holding the paper on both sides, gently lower the bread into the pot (with paper).

Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 20 - 25 minutes, until the loaf is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and an instant thermometer, inserted in the middle, registers 200ºF.

Remove bread from cast-iron pot and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

 

AROMA SANDWICH LOAF

Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with oil, and sprinkle it with 1-2 tablespoons of flax- or sesame seeds. After folding the risen dough, place it, seam side up, right in the prepared loaf pan. (My suggestion: brush top with water, and sprinkle it with more flax- or sesame seeds.) Let it proof as described.

Preheat oven only to 425ºF, placing an oven proof pan or broiler tray for steaming on a the lowest level to heat up.

When loaf is proofed, place in the middle of the oven, pour 1 cup boiling water in the hot steam pan , and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees for even browning, and  bake it for about 30 minutes more, or until it registers 200ºF.

Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, than turn it out onto a wire rack (if it sticks to the pan, loosen it with a butter knife or spatula.)

 

AROMA SOURDOUGH BREAD 

Starter:

64 g/2.25 oz rye mother starter (100%hydration)

205 g/7.25 oz whole spelt flour

124 g/4.4 oz lukewarm water

 

Soaker:

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium ground cornmeal

  75 g/2.65 oz whole rye flour

  92 g/3.25 oz whole spelt flour

168 g/6 oz water

    4 g/0.15 salt

 

Final Dough:

   all soaker and starter

  43 g/1.5 ozwhole spelt flour

    5 g/0.2 oz salt

    5 g/0.2 oz instant yeast

  67 g/2.35 oz sunflower- or pumpkin seeds, toasted

  35 g/1.25 oz sesame seeds, toasted

    2 tbsp. aroma spice blend (see original recipe)

182 g/6.4 oz water, add more as needed

 

DAY 1

In the morning, stir together all ingredients for soaker. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

Mix all starter ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 minute, until all flour is hydrated. Knead for 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand.) Let rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

In the evening, mix all ingredients for final dough for 1- 2 minutes at low speed (or by hand) until all flour is hydrated. Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 4 minutes, adding more water as needed. Dough should be very tacky and not dry to the touch. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 more minute. (Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.)

Gather dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it around to coat it with oil. Cover well, and place it in refrigerator overnight.

 

DAY 2

Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using, to warm up. (It should have risen nicely overnight.)

Preheat oven to 500ºF, with bread stone and steam pan.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and shape into a round. Place boule, seam side down, in a floured rising basket. Sprinkle with more flour. Cover, and let it rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size, and a dimple stays visible when you gently poke it with a finger.

Turn bread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or use a peel) and place it in the oven, pour a cup of boiling water in the steam pan and reduce heat to 475ºF. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 425ºF. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, rotate bread 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and bake for about 30 minutes more, or until it is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers 200ºF.

Cool on wire rack.

This Aroma Bread was made with whole kamut berries

 You can also follow Maria Speck on facebook or on twitter (I do!)

 (Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)

 Submitted to YeastSpotting

nellapower's picture
nellapower

Dresden Christmas Stollen

I have been lurking in the forum for over two years now, soaking up all that I could about sourdough bread-baking. All this time, I wished there was something that I could give back, that I could share with the community. Seeing that I am still a bread amateur compared to you guys, I thought I will have to wait a few more years for this blessed moment. But today, as I was getting my kitchen ready for baking, it hit me. There actually is something I can share with you: my recipe and my experience with baking Dresden Christmas Stollen. I know, there is already one recipe around by harrygerman. My recipe is similar, but with even more butter and fruit. This stollen is an amazing thing: rich, heavy, and fruity. The dough is different from anything else I know and a little tricky to work with. Before I give you the recipe and the technique, I will start by telling you a little about the history of Dresden Stollen. Seeing that there are very different stollen recipes around, I think you need this little introduction to understand how the Dresden stollen is different and why it is worth making, despite all the effort.

In Saxony (the region in the East of Germany, where Dresden is), stollen has been a tradition Christmas bread for centuries (the first written documents about stollen are from the 1329). At that time, however, stollen was a light, yeasted bread, containing nothing but flour, water, yeast and sometimes oil. It was sold and eaten during he pre-Christmas period of Advent fast. Saxony was then catholic, so the use of any richer ingredients such as butter or milk was strictly forbidden. The Saxon rulers, however, were apparently dissatisfied with their Advent bread, so they applied to the pope for a permission to use butter in their stollen. The pope allowed this in 1491, on the condition that they atone for their sin by donating liberally to the church. Although meant only for the rulers and gentry, the pope's permission was quickly applied with much more liberation. Maybe to compensate for centuries of butter-free fasting, the Saxons transformed the stollen into a rich, buttery bread stuffed with fruits. No longer a fast meal, the stollen became a Christmas celebration bread. After a while Saxony turned protestant, but the stollen remained. Of course, with its centuries of tradition, the title "Dresden Stollen" was soon used for trading purposes, unfortunately not always with high-quality products. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional Dresden stollen bakeries fought against the on-slough of so-called Dresden stollen. Today, "Dresdner Stollen" is a registered trademark and only selected backers from Dresden area can use it, provided that their stollen meet criteria with regard to the minimum amount of butter and dried fruits.

Enough of history, let's look at the bread. A real Dresden stollen contains at least 500g Butter and 650g sultanas per 1000g flour. This makes it extremely heavy and rich. Furthermore, the stollen is traditionally heavily coated in icing sugar. The bread needs to ripe for at least 3 weeks in order to develop its flavours and texture and keeps in proper conditions easily for several months. I have started baking stollen some ten years ago, when I moved to Dresden. I now bake 2-3 batches each year before Christmas. For my husband, stollen is something to look forward to throughout the whole year. Even when we spent six month in Finland last year, there was no questions that I will bake his beloved stollen. The recipe that I have here is based on a century old recipe for Dresden Christmas stollen, that Dresden bakeries use as a foundation. Of course, I have adapted it to suit our tastes. You are free to do the same. Just what ever you do, do not cut down the fat! Without the fat, the stollen will never keep as long and it will not develop the proper texture and taste. The same goes for the amount of fruits. You can play with the sugar though, for example leave out the sugar coat (I prefer our stollen uncoated).

Right, enough said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1000 g flour (fine, weak flour; all purpose flour should do nicely)
250 g cream
42 g fresh yeast (or 14 g dried yeast)
500 g butter (or 450g butter and 50g lard or tallow)
1 g ground mace
0,5 g ground cinnamon
0,5 g ground cardamom
zest of 1 lemon
150 g sugar (I use Muscovado whole-cane sugar)
50 g candied lemon peel (instead I make my own by soaking peel from two lemons in honey
for several days)
150 g candied orange peel (instead, I soak peel from 4-5 oranges in honey)
500 g sultanas
250 g currants
100 g rum (optional, I use Amaretto instead)
200 g ground almonds
+ extra butter (approx. 250 g)
+ extra fine castor sugar (approx. 100 g)
+ extra icing sugar (at least 250 g)

0. Save the date
It's important not to start baking stollen too late. My personal experience with this recipe is that they need at least 4 weeks, ideally 6 weeks before you cut into them. Really! We always cut our first stollen on the first Advent Sunday, so I bake my first batch 10 weeks before Christmas. I bake my second and sometimes third batch about 5-6 weeks before Christmas, partly for us and partly as presents for friends.

0. Preferment
The stollen dough is very heavy and it will need a strong yeast activity to raise it. For this purpose, I like to preferment a portion of the flour. I take 300g of the flour, break in 21g yeast, and knead it with 250g cream. I leave it to ferment for 1 hour by room temperaure and than for 12-24 hours in the fridge. You can also use sourdough in the preferment. I have successfully baked sourdough-only stollen, you just need to let them rise longer.

0. Soaking
Place the sultanas and currents in a large bowl. If you are using alcohol, pour it over the fruit. Add enough boiling water to cover the fruit. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes, but best over night. It is important to soak the fruit even if you are not using alcohol, or else it will burn in the oven. Don't forget to drain the fruit well before you start making the dough to make it as dry as possible.

1. Dough
I sieve the flour onto a working surface (this definitely does not work in a bowl). Break in the remaining 21g of yeast (you can leave this out, just adjust the rising time). Rub the lemon zests into the sugar and mix the sugar into the flour, together with the mace, cinnamon, and cardamom. If you are wondering about the small amounts, the stollen is not supposed to taste very spicy. However, this is your stollen, so you can add any spices you like. Cut the preferment into small pieces and distribute it on the edges of your flour mound and do the same with the butter/lard. Now comes the kneading. Be warned, that you will need about 30 minutes to knead the dough. You can try it in your mixere, but make sure your mixer can take it. Better invest the time or coax a physically strong friend or relative into helping. Start by taking a few pieces of the preferment and the butter and kneading them together. As you do this, the dough-lump in your hands will turn sticky. Place it in the middle of your flour mound and knead it there, until so much flour has been incorporated that it's dry again. Now take some more preferment and butter and knead them in your lump. This will make it sticky again, so add flour. And so on and so on. At some point, the dough-lump may become difficult to handle. Feel free to cut and put aside about two thirds of it and continue kneading with the rest. You can put the pieces together in the end. Do not be tempted into adding more flour or any liquids. Trust me, just keep kneading, it will all be well in the end. As you work, the kitchen will be slowly filled with the smell of lemon zest and the spices - Christmas is on the way!



2. Fruits
You are tired, your fingers ache and you are a proud owner of a homogeneous dough lump that reminds you of short-bread dough. Congratulations, let's add the fruit. Take your drained sultanas and currants and mix them with the ground almonds. This will help soak up the remaining liquid. Mix them with the candied orange and lemon peel and pour the whole lot on your working surface. You might have the urge to check the recipe now, because you think you have too much fruit. But it really can be incorporated into you dough-lump. First, cut the dough-lump into 5 pieces. Start by working the first piece into the fruit. As the fruit is wet, this will make it all turn into a strange paste. Keep adding piece by piece, until the whole lot is incorporated. Don't worry if you feel more like making mudpies. Place the whole mass into a bowl and clean your working surface with a dough scraper. Now evaluate the dough. Is it like a soft short-bread or cookie dough? Than you are done with it. If it's too wet and soft (probably it will be), dust the working surface with flour, turn the dough onto it and carefully work in a little more flour. Not too much, though, the dough should be just about manageable. You won't need to make anything fancy with it, so as long as it does not stick to the work surface or your hands like crazy, it's fine.



3. Divide, form, and rise
Divide the dough into 2-5 pieces. For us, I prefer to make two large stollen. This size apparently has a positive influence on the texture of the stollen later on. But you can make several smaller stollen, too, for example as gifts. Just don't forget to adjust the baking time. Form each stollen into a rough, high log. Just pat it into shape - no rolling, no stretching. Just a note here: the traditional Dresden stollen has no almond paste inside. With all the dried fruit and its sugar coat, I also think that it does not need it. But it's your stollen, so if you like, add it now. Put the formed stollen on a baking sheet with baking paper (make sure the stollen are far enough apart) and let it rise for about 2 hours (more, if you are using only sourdough or less yeast). The stollen will become a little puffy, nothing more. It will definitely not double.

4. Score and bake
There is a traditional way of forming a Dresden stollen. I use a different, simple way used for stollen from Thuringia (another region in Germany). It's easier and the stollen are less flat, so they are also moister. Basically, you just make a log and then you score it with a single cut all the away down the stollen's back. That's it. I score the stollen directly before putting it into the oven. I don't preheat the oven, just pop it in and bake it at 180°C for approx. 1-1,5 hours. Keep a watchful eye on the stollen. Cover it with aluminium foil if it has turned brown before its time and adjust the time according to the size of the stollen.


5. Coat
This is an optional step. Traditional stollen is heavily coated in sugar. If you want to  coat the stollen, brush it with liquid butter (as much as the stollen can soak up) immediately after taking it out of the oven. Than sprinkle it heavily with fine castor sugar. The castor sugar will soak up any access butter. Wait for the stollen to cool and sprinkle it with a very thick layer of icing sugar. As I wrote, I skip this step. Firstly, I find the coated stollen too sweet and secondly it makes a mess when storing. Alternatively, it is also possible to store uncoated stollen and brush it with butter and coat it in sugar right before cutting into it.

6. Store
The stollen has to be stored for at least 4 weeks (I recommend 6) before cutting into it. If you cut it earlier, you will be disappointed. Cutting it later is even better. Stollen store best in an old fashioned cool celler, with high humidity. If you don't have such a cellar, you can store stollen outside in wooden boxes provided that your climate is cool enough (that's what I do). Otherwise store the stollen in the coolest room of your house, but not in the fridge. Some people like to freeze the stollen, I don't think its necessary and it has a negative impact on the texture. If you are storing stollen in a cellar or outside, simply wrap it in cotton cloth and put it in a wooden box, so that it can breathe. Otherwise wrap it well in a plastic or aluminium foil. The idea is that if you cannot provide an environment with high humidity, such as cellar or outside, you should prevent the stollen from drying out. That's it, now wait.

7. Eating
If you cut into a stollen 2-3 weeks after baking, you will be disappointed. It will taste fine, but the crumb will be far too dry. Don't give up and put the stollen away again and wait a little longer. The texture will change over time and after six weeks it will have a short-bread-like crumb and the taste will be a mixture of spices and fruits, all rolled into a buttery, sweet bliss.

So to sum up, a Dresden stollen is not hard to bake. All it takes are good quality ingredients, some muscle and a lot of patience. The reward is a truly unusual bread. Although I am not German and grew up baking other Christmas goodies, stollen has become to me a personification of Christmas. You take the best, you do your best, you wait for the occasion, and then you enjoy it in full.

I hope someone might have a go at my Christmas stollen. I'll be happy to help you.

Best, Nella

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

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Converting starter hydrations: A Tutorial. Or through thick and thin and vice versa

 


Questions regarding how to convert one kind of starter into another are frequently asked on The Fresh Loaf. The easy answer is to just take "a little bit" of seed starter and add enough flour and water to make a mixture of the desired thickness. This is fine and it generally works very well. However, sometimes a recipe calls for a precise hydration level levain and changing this, even a few percentage points, will make the dough consistency quite different from that intended by the formula's author. For those times, one needs to be more precise in making up the levain. 


To convert a starter of one hydration to a starter of another hydration - For example, if you have a 50% hydration starter and want to build a 100% hydration starter from it. 


 


Here's a general method for a precise conversion:


First, you need to know four things:


1. What is the hydration of your seed starter?


2. What is the hydration of your final starter?


3. How much of the total flour in your final starter comes from your seed starter?


4. How much (weight) final starter will you be making?


Second, you need to calculate the total amount of flour and the total amount of water in your final starter.


Third, you need to calculate the amount of flour and the amount of water in the seed starter.


Fourth, you can now calculate the ingredients of your final starter. They will be:


1. Seed starter


2. Flour (from seed starter plus additional)


3. Water (from seed starter plus additional)


 


So, let's see how this method works with some specific assumptions. 


The four things you need to know:


Assume you have a 50% hydration seed starter that you want to use. Assume you want to make 100 g of a 100% hydration starter. And assume you want the seed starter to provide 25% of the total flour in the final starter.


Note: Using "Baker's Math," Flour is always 100%, and all other ingredients are proportionate to the flour. So, in a 50% hydration mix, the water is 50% (of the flour, by weight). If hydration is 125%, the water is 125% (or 1.25 times) the flour.


To calculate the total amount of flour and water in your final starter:


Flour (100 parts) + Water (100 parts) = 100 g


So, the 100 g of starter is made up of 200 "parts." The weight of each part is calculated by dividing the total weight by the number of parts. So, 100 g /200 parts = 0.50 g.  This number is sometimes called "the conversion factor."


Then, since there are 100 parts of flour, its weight is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.


The total water in the final dough is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.


To calculate how much flour will come from the seed starter and how much will be added to make the final starter:


We now know that the total flour in the final starter will be 50 g. But we decided that 25% of this flour is going to come from the seed starter. This means that the seed starter must contain 50 g x 0.25 = 12.5 g of flour, and the flour added to this to make the final starter will be 50 g - 12.5 g = 37.5 g.


To calculate the total weight of the seed starter and the weight of water in the seed starter:


We now need to calculate how much seed starter it takes to provide 12.5 g of flour, and how much water is in this amount of seed starter.


If the seed starter is 50% hydration, it contains 100 parts of flour and 50 parts of water. We know then that the amount of water is 50 parts water/100 parts flour = 0.5  parts of the flour.  Since we already know that the flour has to weigh 12.5 g, then the water must weigh 12.5 x 0.5 = 6.25 g and the total weight of the seed starter is the sum of the water and flour or 12.5 g of flour + 6.25 g of water = 18.75 g.


To calculate the weight of water that must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter:


Now we can calculate how much water must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter. It is the total water in the final starter minus the water in the seed starter or 50 g - 6.25 g = 43.75 g.


 


Now we know "everything!" To make 100 g of 100% hydration starter, beginning with a 50% hydration seed starter, we would mix:


1. 18.75 g Seed Starter.


2. 37.5 g Flour


3. 43. 75 g water


 


This method can be used to build any amount of starter of any hydration using a seed starter of any (known) hydration. 


 


David


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

San Joaquin Sourdough

The "San Joaquin Sourdough" is my own recipe. It evolved through multiple iterations from Anis Bouabsa's formula for baguettes. Most of my deviations developed in discussion here on TFL with Janedo, who first suggested adding sourdough starter and rye, and, then, leaving out the baker's yeast and making it as a "pure" pain au levain.



I got a pretty nice ear and grigne on this one.



 


 


Ingredients

 

Active starter (67% hydration)

100 gms

KAF European Artisan-style flour

450 gms

Giusto's whole rye flour

50 gms

Water

370 gms

Salt

10 gms

Note: Whole Wheat flour or White Whole Wheat flour may be substituted for the Whole Rye. Each results in a noticeable difference in flavor. All are good, but you may find you prefer one over the others.

 

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 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using the plastic scraper, 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 an hour, then place in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. (In this time, my dough doubles in volume and is full of bubbles. YMMV.)

 

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 as desired or leave in one piece to make a 980 gm loaf. To pre-shape for a bâtard, fold the near edge up just past the center of the dough and seal the edge by gently pressing the two layers together with the ulnar (little finger) edge of your hand or the heel of your hand, whichever works best for you. Then, bring the far edge of the dough gently just over the sealed edge and seal the new seam as described.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes, with the seams facing up. (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, fold the near edge of the dough and seal the edge, as before. Now, take the far edge of the dough and bring it towards you all the way to the work surface and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Rotate the loaf gently toward you 1/4 turn so the last seam you formed is against the work surface and roll the loaf back and forth, with minimal downward pressure, to further seal the seam. 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 both a cast iron skillet (Mine is filled with lava rocks.) and a metal loaf pan (or equivalent receptacles of your choosing) on the bottom shelf. Heat the oven to 500F. Put a kettle of water to boil 10 minutes before baking.

 

Proofing

After shaping the loaf, transfer it to parchment paper liberally dusted with semolina or a linen couche, liberally dusted with flour. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel or a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaf has expanded to about 1-1/2 times it's original size. (30-45 minutes) Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

 

Baking

Put about a cup full of ice cubes in the loaf pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and close the door.

Slip a peel or cookie sheet under the parchment paper holding the loaf or transfer to a peel, if you used a couche. Score the loaf. (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 loaf and parchment paper to the baking stone, pour one cup of boiling water into the skillet, and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door.

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 loaf is done, leave it on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry and crisp up the crust.

 

Cooling

Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.

Enjoy!

David

 

Submitted to Wild Yeast Spotting on Wildyeastblog

Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Buttermilk Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
JMonkey

This is one of my favorite breads. The honey adds a touch of sweetness while the buttermilk gives it a slightly tangy flavor. It’s great for toast and sandwiches. And, as Laurel Robertson (whose recipe I’ve adapted) in “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book”  wrote, “It keeps well, when hidden.”

Formula:
Whole wheat flour: 100%
Salt: 2%
Instant yeast: 0.6%
Water: 38%
Buttermilk: 38%
Honey: 8.4%
Unsalted butter: 2.8%


Ingredients

Whole wheat flour : 500 grams or about 4 cups
Salt: 10 grams or 1.25 tsp
Instant yeast: 3 grams or 1 tsp
Water: 185 grams or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs
Buttermilk: 185 grams or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs
Honey: 42 grams or 2 Tbs
Unsalted butter: 14 grams or 1 Tbs

Mixing
Add the salt to the flour. Mix them thoroughly and then add the yeast, also mixing. Melt the butter (or, if you like, work it in later while kneading) and add the water, buttermilk, melted butter and honey to the flour, mixing well until everything is hydrated.

Dough development

You’ve got several choices on how to develop the dough.

  • Traditional kneading: Let it rise 2 to 2.5 hours in the bulk rise at room temperature.
  • Stretch and fold: After the final stretch and fold is finished, give it 2 hours at room temperature.
  • French fold: Give it two hours after the French fold is finished.

If you’re not retarding the bread, deflate the dough after the first rise with a stretch and fold, and let the dough rise once more before shaping. It’ll take about 1.5 hours or so.

Shaping
This dough makes a great sandwich loaf, and I usually bake it in a greased 8.5” by 4.5” bread pan.

Retarding
I’ll often make the dough after dinner. After the first rise is complete, I’ll shape it, put another pan on top and then place it outside if the temperatures will get down into the 45 to 55 degree range. If it’ll be colder than that, I place it in our “cold room” which is unheated, but rarely gets below 40 degrees.

If it’s going to be a hot summer night, I’ll pop it in the fridge, but that usually means that I’ll need to let it warm up for 2-3 hours in the morning. I’ll sometimes speed up the warming by putting the pan on an upturned bowl at the bottom of a picnic cooler, throw a cup of boiling water in the bottom of the cooler and then close it up quick.

Scoring and baking
I usually score the dough with a single slash down the center, but it’s not necessary. I bake at 350 degrees F for about 55 minutes. If you like, you don’t even need to preheat the oven. Just pop it in cold and turn the oven on.

Sourdough Starters

(These instructions have been adapted from a posting at thefreshloaf.com by Sourdolady.)

Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

Day 1: mix...
2 T. whole grain flour (rye and/or wheat)
1 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.

Day 3: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.

Day 4:
Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup add...
1/4 cup flour*
2 Tbs water

*You can feed the starter whatever type of flour you want at this point (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye). If you are new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best choice. Unbleached all-purpose flour is fine.

Repeat Day 4:
Once daily until the mixture starts to expand and smell yeasty. It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead. If the mixture does not start to grow again by Day 6, add 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding. This will lower the pH level a bit more and it should kill off competitors to the yeast, allowing them to thrive.

How it Works
The yeast we are trying to cultivate will only become active when the environment is right. When you mix flour and water together, you end up with a mixture that is close to neutral in pH, and our yeasties need it a bit more on the acid side. This is why we are using the acidic fruit juice. There are other microbes in the flour that prefer a more neutral pH, and so they are the first to wake up and grow. Some will produce acids as by-products. That helps to lower the pH to the point that they can no longer grow, until the environment is just right for wild yeast to activate. The length of time it takes for this to happen varies.

When using just flour and water, many nascent starters will grow a gas-producing bacteria that slows down the process. It can raise the starter to three times its volume in a relatively short time. Don't worry--it is harmless. It is a bacterium sometimes used in other food fermentations like cheeses, and it is in the environment, including wheat fields and flours. It does not grow at a low pH, and the fruit juices keep the pH low enough to stop it from growing. Things will still progress, but this is the point at which people get frustrated and quit, because the gassy bacteria stop growing. It will appear that the "yeast" died on you, when in fact, you haven't begun to grow yeast yet. When the pH drops below 3.5--4 or so, the yeast will activate, begin to grow, and the starter will expand again. You just need to keep it fed and cared for until then.


Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.


After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings. Every week or so, take it out of the fridge, feed it by retaining only ¼ cup of starter and then feed it ¼ cup flour and 2 Tbs water.

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