The Fresh Loaf

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Quantum's picture
Quantum

Sourdough Bagels (recipe!)

 

For my first blog post (on what my girlfriend refers to as "the bread facebook"), I'd like to share my recipe for sourdough bagels. I started with Hamelman's bagel recipe from Bread (a fantastic technical book, as I'm sure many of you know!), adapted for sourdough starter in lieu of commercial yeast. The end result is lightly sour and wonderfully chewy, and pairs exceptionally well with savory spreads. This recipe makes a dozen ~~120g bagels.

A note on ingredients: I used King Arthur brand Bread Flour (blue and white bag), and my sourdough starter is fed exclusively with King Arthur Whole Wheat (red and brown bag). Hamelman's recipe calls for a high gluten flour (e.g. KA Sir Lancelot), which I do not have ready access to--- I've instead added a small amount of vital wheat gluten to the recipe in order to bring the protein level of the bread flour up to that of Sir Lancelot. If you have access to high gluten flour, I'd imagine you can substitute the vital wheat gluten for an equivalent weight of high gluten flour.

I've tried to include as many photos as possible, but I'm limited to using my cell phone's camera so I apologize for any quality issues/the aspect ratio!

 

Preferment:

84g bread flour

84g water

171g 100% hydration sourdough starter

 

Bulk dough:

753g bread flour

20g vital wheat gluten

19g salt

1/2 teaspoon diastatic malt powder

377g water

 

The recipe also requires 4oz of malt syrup (or honey) per gallon of water used to boil the bagels prior to baking.

Mix the preferment ingredients in a plastic covered bowl, and allow to ferment at room temperature for 10-12 hours. After this period of fermentation, the preferment should be very bubbly--- you should see bubbles on the surface and gently knocking the bowl on a countertop should liberate more bubbles.

Dissolve the preferment in the bulk dough water in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the bulk dough ingredients and stir together to form a shaggy mass.

Knead for 20 to 25 minutes if kneading by hand--- when I first developed this recipe, I didn't have a stand mixer and kneaded this dough by hand exclusively. It's a stiff, strong dough, and is a heck of an upper body workout. I gifted myself a Kitchenaid model 7581 mixer, and used it to knead this batch of bagels (I've included some thoughts on its performance at the end of this post). Using a stand mixer, knead for 15-17 minutes on speed 1. The gluten should be very well developed, and the dough should feel strong and heavy.

Let rest a few minutes and form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour (it was a chilly day in the SF bay, and my kitchen was quite cold, so this particular batch of dough rested for an hour and a half). These two pictures show before and after--- note that the dough has not really visibly risen:

Scale and divide the dough into approximately 120g portions. When I scale the bagels, the portions I cut using a bench knife usually come off in a "log" shape--- the next step in shaping this log will determine the size of the hole at the center of the bagel. Option 1: roll the log out as is to a length of 10" to 12". Option 2: fold the log back onto itself (like a horseshoe) and then roll out to a length of 10" to 12". Option 2 stretches the gluten in the dough more than option 1, and will result in a bagel with a smaller hole (and a rounder bagel overall) since the gluten will snap back after forming the bagel, while the relaxed gluten in option 1 will yield a bagel with a larger hole. Note: shaping bagels requires a decent amount of work space--- I often just work directly on my (well cleaned) countertop.

Take the rolled out log and wrap it around your palm like so:

Now roll the ring of dough (palm down) on your work surface to seal the two ends of the bagel together:

Place each formed bagel on a sheet of parchment paper sprayed with Pam:

Note: the bagel in the right column and second row was formed as per option 1 above, while the bagel right below it was formed as per option 2.

Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for an hour (since my kitchen was cold, I again lengthened the rest to 90 minutes). Note the bagels have risen visibly, but just barely:

I've only ever tried this once, but at this point the bagels should pass the "float test"--- they should float in a bowl of cold water.

Place the sheet of bagels in the refrigerator and allow to cold ferment for 12-24 hours (the longer the ferment the better the flavor!).

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and move a rack to the middle position. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and stir in your malt syrup/honey (4oz of syrup/honey per gallon of water, I generally use 7-8 quarts of water).

Boil the bagels four at a time for 1-2 minutes (the longer the boil, the chewier the crust of the bagel--- I generally boil mine for the full 2 minutes). The bagels tend to sink at first, and can stick to the bottom of the pot if you're not careful. Stir them around at first to keep them from settling onto the bottom. The bagels should float by the end of the boil. Remove the boiled bagels to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet to drain.

While the next set of bagels is boiling, press the drained bagels into a plate of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc. My personal favorite topping is a sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh ground telicherry peppercorns. Place the topped bagels topping side down on a sheet pan.

Once all the bagels have been topped and placed on the baking sheet, put the sheet in the oven and bake (topping side down) at 500F for 10 minutes. Flip the bagels (topping side up now), and bake for another 6-8 minutes (or until bagels are golden brown.

Note the untopped bagels on the bottom row have browned quite a bit--- I like the color, but if the bagels brown too deeply for your taste, bake with a second baking sheet underneath the first.

The crumb looks great--- plenty of nooks and crannies for cream cheese! My favorite spread is a little butter mixed with marmite.

The bagels toast extremely well, and will keep fresh for a few days in a breadbox. They keep well in the freezer--- wrap in a paper sack and place in a plastic freezer bag. Thaw, toast and enjoy!

A special thanks to dmsnyder, whose San Joaquin Sourdough inspired me to experiment in naturally leavened breads.

A note re: my Kitchenaid Mixer's performance:

I know that KA mixers are somewhat... contentious... 'round these parts, but sadly a Hobart mixer is beyond the means of my PhD student teaching stipend. I ordered a refurbished Kitchenaid model 7851 7 quart stand mixer for just over 300 USD, and hoped that it would hold up to stiff low hydration dough. The mixer performed impeccably in this respect--- it was able to handle a full batch of bagel dough on speed 1 with no difficulties whatsoever, and the top of the mixer was not even perceptibly warm after 15 minutes of kneading. The mixer head itself was warm to the touch, but I would not call it "hot". I did try to knead the dough on speed 2 for a few minutes (the mixer manual warns not to knead dough at speeds higher than 2), but at points the mixer seemed to strain slightly, probably not enough to damage the motor in any way unless kneading for hours at a time. I should say as well that I have used my mother's 6 quart KA mixer to make this same recipe, and while it was capable of kneading the dough, the top of the mixer was quite warm afterwards and it seemed to strain even at speed 1. The more powerful motor in the 7 quart series mixers seems to make the difference. In short, the 7 quart series of KA mixers can easily handle a batch of a dozen bagels. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Sage & Onion Levain

This is one of my favourite breads at this time of year. It smells just like stuffing and makes the best leftover turkey sandwiches! It's also great with turkey soup. This is a naturally leavened bread made with fresh, ripe sourdough starter so you can only imagine the smell permeating my kitchen when this bakes - sourdough bread with sage and onions! I usually bake the bread in the Italian bread pans in long loaves, but wanted to see how it turned out baked in the cast iron pots. In a word, it turned out good!

I used 100% hydration bread flour starter, fed and left to ripen overnight. The basic ingredient list is pretty simple:

  • 85% bread flour (I use Rogers Silver Star bread flour)
  • 15% whole wheat flour
  • 70% water (warmed to around 90 degrees)
  • 2% sea salt
  • 25% starter

Note that the overall hydration is higher than 70% as I just calculate the percentage of starter as a single ingredient, without breaking it down into flour and water percentages. As the starter is 100% hydration this affects the overall dough hydration. It works, at any rate.

The added ingredients are onion and sage. For the onion, I rehydrate dehydrated minced onion in an equal amount of boiling water and let it sit until cool. Use as much as you want (probably around a quarter cup of rehydrated onion per 750 gram loaf). The sage is sometimes chopped fresh sage from my garden, and sometimes rubbed dried sage from the bulk store, depending on the season.

Mix the flours, water and starter well and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Add salt, onion and sage and incorporate well, using whatever method suits you best. I sometimes do this in my stand mixer, and sometimes use Ken Forkish's method (folding and pincering; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoY7CPw0E1s).

I stretch and fold the dough three or four times over the next couple of hours, and the rest varies depending on what kind of time I have available or what my schedule is. This last batch was fermented at room temperature for about four hours, then in the fridge for another three or four hours. I then shaped it and put it in baskets lined with floured napkins (seam side down as per Ken Forkish). We then went out to see Star Wars and I left the proofing loaves, tucked into plastic bags, in the cool basement. My starter tends to be very vigorous so I didn't want them to overproof.

Once home, I pre-heated the cast iron pots in the oven at 475 degrees, for about 45 minutes. The loaves went into the pots seam side up so I didn't have to score them (they bloom naturally at the seams). 20 minutes with lids on, then another 20 minutes with lids off. The bottom crust was very dark, the top was awesome and the interior temperature was around 205 degrees. They sang as they cooled and I went to bed (late) with the scent of fresh bread filling my head!

This morning I cut a couple of slices to take to work with me, along with a pot of home made turkey soup. Very impressed with the crumb - it was moist, creamy and shiny. I had thought the dough was under-proofed when I put it in the oven, but any more proofing and it would have been a bit too holey for me. All in all, a success!

 

 

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

Rye Levain

I have been busily working away on my Rye levain formula and the one I just baked off this morning on one of the best yet. Recently I have started to shy away from my standard 100% hydration white or primarily white levain towards much firmer entirely whole grain levain starters. I still keep my chef at 100% hydration and I think that going from a cold wet chef to a warm dry levain to a warm wet final mix is really contributing to the flavor complexity.

Here's how I made it.

Levain build #1

  • 3g 100% hydration rye chef
  • 21g fresh milled whole rye
  • 10g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Levain build #2

  • 5g 50% hydration rye levain
  • 50g fresh milled whole rye
  • 25g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Final dough

  • 480g bread flour 70%
  • 170g fresh milled whole rye 25%
  • 45g levain 7.5% (5%rye, 2.5% water)
  • 55g rye chops 8%
  • 536g quite warm water (hold 36g) 79%
  • 13g salt 2%

First I mixed the flours and rye chops and hydrated them with all but 36g of the warm water and let it sit for 45 minutes. Then I added the salt and in a different bowl I moistened/mashed with a fork the 45 grams of firm levain in the remaining 36 grams of water and added that to the dough. After a quick mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the salt I mashed the whole dough in my hands and as adding water to already partially developed dough isn't always the easiest thing to do. 

Once the dough came back together I gave it a firm two or so minutes of slap and folds followed by a twenty minute rest, then I gave it another quick set of slap and folds and a ten minute rest then another quick set and a fifteen minute rest then another quick set and an hour rest.

After an hour I have it a good stretching and folding in the bowl followed by a very quick slap and fold half an hour later and one more another half an hour later. 

By now the dough has been fermenting for around 3 hours and forty minutes. I gave it an additional 5 hours and forty minutes of room temp bulk fermentation shaped it and popped it in the fridge for 19 hours.

Around noon today I put the loaf in a 500 degree oven, poured hot water over my preheated lava rock and baked it for 55 minutes turning the oven down to 450 after the first two minutes.

This is one heck of a good loaf with a pretty prime aroma to boot. Earthy, hearty and lactic with that characteristic rye spiciness followed by a light acetic zing. So tasty.

emkay's picture
emkay

Mexican buns aka coffee cookie buns aka rotiboy buns

The Chinese like soft and fluffy white breads. The whiter, the better. It might explain why something called Hong Kong flour exists. The HK flour is bleached and low in protein so that the resulting bread is super white and super soft. I don't really mind if my Chinese breads turn out white or not. So I just use what I have on hand which is Central Milling's Artisan Bakers Craft, a 10.5% protein, organic, malted, unbleached flour. The results are definitely more off-white than white. Soft and fluffy is easy. Enrichments such as butter, egg and milk will do the trick. Using a tangzhong aka water roux helps with the softness and keeping quality.

mexican_bun_crumb_1

This bun is a purely Asian creation. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with Mexico although buns with a cookie-like topping are reminiscent of conchas. I don't know who invented it first and I have no idea why the Chinese like topping breads with a cookie batter, but it's pure genius. The cookie melds with the bread dough and creates a thin, crispy, cookie-ish layer. Depending on the ingredient ratios in the cookie batter, the layer can be fused with the bread and cannot be peeled off. Or if the cookie batter is stiffer, the baked layer can be peeled or flaked off the bread and eaten separately which is the way I did it as a child when eating boh loh bao aka pineapple buns (which have no pineapple in it at all).

I used instant espresso powder in my cookie topping, but instant coffee powder can be used instead. You can leave out the coffee and have a plain vanilla topping. I used a tangzhong milk loaf for my buns. They turned out super soft, fluffy and shreddable. The topping was crisp on day one, but softened considerably by day two.

mexican_bun_proof

mexican_bun_swirl

mexican_bun_baked

I left a few without topping. The topping weighs down the bun a bit so the topped ones spread out instead of up.

mexican_bun_crust

The bottom of the bun.

mexican_bun_bottom

The crumb.

mexican_bun_crumb_2

mexican_bun_crumb_3

Bakers' percentages for the bun dough

100% flour*, 75% whole milk*, 10% sugar, 12.5% egg, 1% instant dry yeast, 1.5% salt, 10% butter

[* 5% of the total flour was used in the tangzhong. TZ ratio was 1:5 flour to milk.]

Bun dough recipe

To make the tangzhong: In a saucepan whisk 20 g AP flour into 100 g whole milk until it's pretty smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 149F/65C. It should be pudding like. Allow the tangzhong to cool before using it in the dough.

380 g AP flour

200 g whole milk, 85-90F

40 sugar

50 g egg

4 g instant dry yeast (SAF red)

6 g salt

40 g unsalted butter, softened

all of the tangzhong

  1. In a KA stand mixer, mix everything except the butter on speed 1 for 3 minutes.

  2. Add the butter and mix on speed 2 until all the butter is incorporated, about 2 -3 minutes.

  3. Bulk ferment at room temp until doubled, about 1 hour.

  4. Scale each bun at 55 grams. (I got 15 buns.)

  5. Proof on sheet pans at room temp for 30-45 minutes.

  6. Pipe cookie topping onto each proofed bun.

  7. Bake buns at 375F for about 15 mins or until golden brown. Best served warm.   

Coffee cookie topping

50g unsalted butter, softened

50g granulated sugar

50g egg, lightly beaten

70g AP flour

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1 tsp water

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. Dissolve the espresso powder in the warm water and mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.

  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Beat in the egg until well combined.

  4. Beat in the espresso mixture.

  5. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.

  6. Transfer topping to a pastry bag fitted with a round pastry tip.

  7. Store in the refrigerator until needed. (Can be made 2 day in advance.)

  8. Allow the topping to soften a bit at room temp for about 5 or 10 minutes before piping it onto the proofed buns.

 :) Mary

Mebake's picture
Mebake

illustration: Stretch and Fold in the Bowl

I thought i'd share my piece of illustration on the Stretch and fold in the bowl technique:


 


Khalid 

Poolish Baguettes

JMonkey

I don’t make white breads often, but there’s nothing quite like a few homemade baguettes to accompany an elegant meal. This recipe was adapted from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hammelman.

Overall formula:

    * White flour: 100%
    * Water: 66%
    * Salt: 2%
    * Instant yeast: 0.36%
    * 33% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast

Poolish:
    * White flour: 160 grams or 1.25 cups
    * Water: 160 grams or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
    * Instant yeast: Just an eeny-weeny pinch (about 1/32 of a tsp)

Final dough:
    * All of the poolish
    * White flour: 320 grams oz or 2.5 cups
    * Water: 160 gram or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
    * Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
    * Instant yeast: 1 to 2 grams or 1/2 + 1/8 tsp

The night before: Preferment
The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell really nice - sweet and nutty. Mmmm.

Mixing and dough development
For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and, once everything is hydrated, knead it the traditional way, until it passes the windowpane test. Cover and let it ferment for two hours, giving it a stretch-and-fold at the one hour mark.

Shaping
If you’re making baguettes, divide the dough into three pieces, and preshape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes about 12 inches longg and cover, letting them rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes.

Score and bake on a preheated stone in a 460 degree oven with steam for about 25 minutes.

If you want to make a round or a batard, you’ll need to bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.

San Francisco Style Sourdough

San Francisco Style Sourdough
JMonkey

I don’t make white breads very often, but I make this one every so often to satisfy the occasional, overpowering hankering. If you like, you can substitute whole wheat flour for up to half of the white flour, or you can simply use a whole wheat starter. You’ll probably want to increase the water, though by 1 to 3 Tbs.

Formula:
White flour: 100%
Salt: 2%
Water: 72%
30% of the flour is in the starter. (I’ll give two recipes, one for starter at 100% hydration and another at 60% hydration)

Ingredients
White flour: 350 grams or about 3 cups
Salt: 10 grams or 1.25 tsp
Water:

  • Using a wet starter: 210 grams or 1 cup MINUS 1 Tbs
  • Using a stiff starter: 270 grams or 1 cup +3 Tbs

Starter: Two options

  • Wet starter (100% hydration) 300 grams or 1 ¼ cup
  • Stiff starter (60% hydration) 240 grams or 1 cup

Mixing
Dissolve the starter into the water, and then add the salt. Finally add the flour and mix until all is hydrated.

Dough development and the first rise
However you develop the dough, from the time you mix until the time you shape the dough, it’ll take about 3 to 4 hours for the first rise at room temperature.

Shaping
Be gentle. You want to retain as many of those air bubbles as possible. Rounds and batards are the traditional shapes for San Francisco-style sourdoughs.

Second rise and retarding
Sourdoughs benefit quite a bit from retarding – many people think loaves that have been retarded taste better. You can simply cover the shaped dough and place it in the fridge or, if you’re lucky and the overnight temperature will be between 45 and 55, you can simply place it outside, in which case the bread will probably be ready to bake when you wake up.

If you put it in the fridge, it’ll need to warm up for 3-4 hours to complete its rise.

If you don’t want to bother with retarding, you can let it rise for another 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. You can also speed things up (and increase sourness) by placing the dough on an upturned bowl in the bottom of a picnic cooler, throwing a cup of boiling water in the bottom and covering it quickly. After an hour, throw another cup of hot water in. The rise should only take a couple of hours this way.

Baking
Score the bread as you like. Hash marks are traditional for rounds, and batards usually take a single, bold stroke down the center or a couple of baguette-style slashes.

While you can certainly bake this bread on a cookie sheet, it benefits from a stone and some steam, or a covered baker. However you do it, bake at 450 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

BrotBoy's picture
BrotBoy

Converting a recipe that uses Instant yeast to a sourdough starter recipe

Can anyone tell me... Is there a simple approach to convert  a recipe that uses commerical yeast to a sourdough starter , I have been very happy with the sourdough starter that i am using  and now want to convert more recipes to this style of bread making,

  Looking forward to some ideas

 Brotboy

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Ciabatta Integrale from KAF Whole Grains Baking

For my birthday, my mother bought me the brand-new King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book. It's well timed. Their first book turned me on to bread baking, but after a few months, I moved toward whole grain breads almost exclusively, and the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion is about 95% white flour recipes. I learned a lot from it, but I wasn't baking much from it. So, suffice to day, I was itching to knead something up out of this book as soon as possible.


 I've made a few of the quickbreads. The Sailor Jack muffins, in particular -- an incredible cake-like concoction with raisins steeped in spices, molasses and brown sugar, along with whole wheat flour and oats, topped with a lemon sugar glaze -- are very, very tasty indeed. But I'd not tried a yeast bread until this weekend.  The first recipe to catch my eye was Ciabatta Integrale, a ciabatta made with half whole wheat flour, olive oil and a bit of powdered milk. I love ciabatta -- nothing is better for a sandwich or simply a bit of oil and balsamic vinegar. But whole grains just don't do ciabatta. Those holes? Forget it. Or so I thought. This recipe isn't 100% whole grains, but it's half, and I'll take it, given the results.  Here's one loaf all sliced up for sandwiches.
   And here's the other loaf, which served as dinner bread with some stuffed acorn squash (stuffed with quinoa, maple syrup, raisins, almonds and cinnamon), fresh corn and a green salad composed of our morning trip to the farmers' market. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are in the gravy boat, natch. 
  I was really impressed with the results, especially since the recipe said it's impossible to mix completely without a stand mixer. I don't own a stand mixer, so here's how I did it, thanks to a little help from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Ingredients  Pre-ferment  1 cup or 4 oz. whole wheat flour 1/2 cup or 4 oz cool water Pinch of instant yeast  Dough  All of the pre-ferment 1 1/4 cups or 5 oz. whole wheat flour 2 1/4 cups or 9.5 oz white bread flour 1 1/4 cups or 10 oz. cool water 1/4 cup or 1.75 oz olive oil 1/4 cup or 1 oz. nonfat dry milk 1.5 tsp salt 1/4 tsp instant yeast  Yes, you read that right. This recipe makes two loaves of ciabatta with less than 3/8 tsp yeast.  The night before mix together the pre-ferment. The next morning dump all the ingredients (including the pre-ferment, which should be spongy and full of bubbles) EXCEPT for the salt and additional yeast into a bowl, and mix it together with a large spoon or a dough whisk until it seems mostly hydrated. Cover and let it stand for 45 minutes to an hour.      

After the autolyse (that's what you're doing when you soak), add the salt and yeast.

DON'T FORGET, OR YOU'LL REGRET IT. :-)

                  Get a small bowl of cool water, and dip your hands in it. Shake off most of the water (important, otherwise you'll end up overhydrating the dough and you'll have soup) and then, using your hand like a dough hook, impale the dough with all five fingers. Turn your wrist clockwise while you turn the bowl with your other hand counter clockwise. Continue to do this, occassionally changing direction and wetting your hands if the dough starts to stick, for about 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but it will stick to the bottom. Adjust the flour or water as necessary. Put the dough in a pre-greased bowl and cover it.  Every hour or so, copiously flour your work surface, remove the dough, copiously flour the dough and give it a good stretch and fold, brushing off as much of the flour as you can before folding. By stretch-and-fold, I mean gently pat out the gas, stretch the dough to twice its length and then fold it in thirds like a letter. Give the dough a one-quarter turn, and then stretch-and-fold once more. Place it back in the bowl and re-cover it. Here's a good lesson on the technique.  After about 3 hours and 2 or 3 folds (depending on how much strength the dough needs), remove the dough, and divide it into two. Gently stretch and pat each loaf into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle, and place them in a baker's couche (essentially, well-floured linen that you bunch up around the loaves so that they rise up instead of spreading out) or on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cover with greased plastic.  It took mine about 4 hours for the final proof, but then my house is a chilly 62-64 degrees F. If your house is around 70-75 degrees, you may only have to wait two hours or so. In any case, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and put the loaves in the oven either on a preheated baking stone or a cold baking sheet when they're good and puffy. Steam the oven (I keep a cast iron skilet in the bottom of mine and usually toss about 1 cup of boiling water in it) and turn the oven down to 425. The loaves should take 20-25 minutes to cook and should register 205 degrees when done. With all that oil, the crust is not as crisp as I usually like ciabatta, but I find I do like the flavor it adds.  Enjoy!
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread in the spirit of FWSY

12 September, 2014

 One of the attractions of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast bread baking book is that a concerted study of it will teach you how the important variables of ingredients, time and temperature can be manipulated to produce different flavor profiles and how, keeping most methods constant, you can develop procedures that accommodate to your own schedule and still produce a variety of outstanding breads.

Well, that's the theory. In fact, most of us don't have complete control of ambient temperature, one of the most important variables controlling fermentation. That means results can be very different from those Forkish describes. Nonetheless, if you do understand the basic principles, you can juggle the variables you can control to obtain really outstanding breads using Forkish's formulas and methods.

 In my Central California kitchen, about 9 months of the year, the temperature is significantly higher than it was in Forkish's Portland, Oregon kitchen when he developed his formulas. As a result, fermentation proceeds very much faster than described in the book. An “overnight” bread from FWYS will get way over-fermented if left overnight at room temperature. I have successfully followed Forkish's times only in Winter, when my kitchen temperature runs 65-68ºF.

 On top of that, my personal time demands do not always fit with the schedules Forkish describes in any of his recipes. So, sometimes … well, almost always … , I end up using Forkish's basic approach, but use my ability to control time and temperature to make it work for me. For example …

Today, I baked a couple loaves based on Forkish's “Overnight Country Blonde” formula. It calls for a final levain feeding at 9 am, mixing the final dough at 5 pm, letting it ferment at room temperature overnight, shaping the loaves at 8 am the next morning and baking at noon. I kept the formula (ratio of ingredients) and most procedures the same but altered the time and temperature a lot. Here's what I actually did:

 Three days before baking, at 10 pm, I activated my refrigerated stock starter by mixing 30 g of starter (50% hydration) with 75 g water and 75 g flour (a mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% medium rye).

 Twelve hours later, I fed the levain as follows:

 

Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Mature liquid levain

50

50

AP flour

200

80

WW flour

50

20

Water

200

80

Total

500

230

 

  1. In a medium-size bowl, dissolve the levain the the water. Add the flours, and mix thoroughly.

  2. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  3. Ferment until moderately ripe. (In my 78ºF kitchen, this took about 6 hours. The levain was tripled in volume. It had a domed surface. In the transparent, plastic container, bubbles could be seen throughout the levain.

  4. Cold retard at 40ºF until the next morning.

 

At about 8 am the next morning, I took the levain out of the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter. At about 10 am, I proceeded to mix the final dough as follows:

 

Final Dough ingredients

Wt (g)

Levain

216

AP flour

804

WW flour

26

Medium Rye flour

50

Water (90ºF)

684

Salt

22

Total

1802

 

  1. In a 6 L Cambro(R) container, mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass. Cover and let stand for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse).

  2. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the salt and add the levain in chunks.

  3. Mix by folding the dough over itself while rotating the container, then complete the mixing by the “pinch and fold” method described by Forkish. Wet hands in water as necessary to reduce dough sticking to hands. (I wet my hands very liberally and frequently. My dough weighed 1820g at the time I divided it, implying that using wet hands added 18g of water to the dough. This increased the final dough hydration from 78% to 79.8%.)

  4. Bulk ferment until the dough has increased in volume to 2.5 times with stretch and folds 4 times at 30 minute intervals at the beginning of fermentation. (This took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in my kitchen.)

  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Pre-shape as rounds. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15-20 minutes.

  6. Shape as boules and place in linen-lined bannetons that have been well dusted with a mix of AP and Rice flours.

  7. Place bannetons in plastic bags and refrigerate overnight. (This was actually from about 4 pm to about 2:30 pm the next day.)

  8. Bake at 475ºF in Dutch ovens, as Forkish describes.

  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.

 

In summary, I altered Forkish's procedures by drastically shortening the very long, room temperature bulk fermentation and adding a long, cold retardation of the formed loaves. And the levain was also cold retarded overnight.

 Forkish describes the flavor of this bread as having a mild tang that mellows over the first couple days after baking. My bread had a sweet, wheaty flavor and a moderate tang, tasted when just cooled to room temperature. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was quite chewy. Pretty good stuff.

 

Happy baking!

 

David

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