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Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

My imitation of Chad Robertson's Country Sourdough

Have you ever seen a photo of very stiff starter wrapped up tightly in cloth then tied up in string (as if making absolutely sure that the little beasties have no way of escaping)?  I never understood the purpose of the tight string until the other day when I was writing about Chad Robertson.   A Day in the Life at the Bay Village Bakery in The Bread Builders says Chad "uses a brief two-hour final stage of leaven expansion before he mixes up his dough" (page 221).  In both of these two cases maximum natural yeast population is achieved without them further fermenting (because there will be plenty of fermentation once final dough is mixed).


Chad Robertson's rustic sourdoughs from Tartine Bakery were my most favourite during my recent stay in San Francisco.  I wanted to see if it was possible to reproduce his style of sourdough at home.  I was told that a bread cookbook is coming out soon (in addition to their existing pastry cookbook), but no date is given.  Alain Ducasse's Harvesting Excellence quotes Elizabeth Prueitt as saying that Chad's breads were hand-made from the very beginning to the very end, and that "it is one person's expression" (page 19).


By the time The Bread Builders wrote about him, Chad Robertson had acquired a mixer from Europe which helped him in meeting the growing demands for his breads.  A brief description of timeline for a typical load of breads that he baked at his (then) one-man bakery at Point Reyes, Califorina (before he and Elizabeth moved to San Francisco and opened Tartine) is as follows (according to The Bread Builders): 



  1. At 8 am, he mixes his final intermediate levain and let it sit in room temperature for two hours (note: I assume the levain is fully mature before the two-hour final expansion);

  2. At 10 am, he mixes the final dough by first putting all the ingredients or all except the levain into the mixer and running it for 2 - 3 minutes at 45 - 50 revolutions a minute;

  3. Autolyse 15 - 30 minutes

  4. Adds the levain if necessary, then mixes it for 4 - 5 minutes

  5. Bulk fermentation 4 hours (counting from 10 am to 2 pm), during which time several stretch and folds in the tub are done;

  6. At 2 pm, divide the dough and pre-shape them, then rest for 15 minutes

  7. Shape the dough and place them on the bannetons or couche dusted with a mixture of bread and rice flours;

  8. Proof in room temperature for 2 hours before going into proofing boxes (at 55F) to retard for 8 - 10 hours (Harvesting Excellence says up to 12 hours); and

  9. The next day, start baking between 4:30 - 5 am.


Based on this timeline, my formula for Chad's sourdough follows:


My formula for Chad's Sourdough


Two nights before bake day - first stage of levain build-up



  • 82 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 164 g bread flour (i.e. two times starter amount for me)

  • 124 g water


Mix and ferment for 6 - 8 hours at 18C / 65 F (depending on your room temperature, you may need more than 2 times bread flour, or shorter or longer fermentation time for your starter to mature)


The morning before bake day - second (and final) stage of levain expansion



  • 370 g starter @ 75% hydration (all from above)

  • 370 g bread flour (I figure one time starter amount in flour is enough)

  • 277 g water


Mix and ferment for two hours only


Formula for final dough



  • 1,017 g starter (all from above)

  • 1,017 g bread flour (Australian Laucke's Wallaby bakers flour, protein 11.9%)

  • 651 g water

  • 30 g salt


Total dough weight 2.7 kg (divided into three pieces) and total dough hydration 68%



  1. I followed the timeline above but I did everything by hand.  I fully intended to fold as many times as necessary to build up dough strength but as my dough was not very wet the gluten developed very fast and by the end of first set of stretch & folds, the dough already felt silky and smooth.  I did only two sets of stretch & folds in the bowl.

  2. After the dough was divided into three pieces, I pre-shaped them to tight balls, rested them 20 minutes, then shaped them into batards and placed them on bread & rice flours dusted couche.

  3. The shaped loaves proofed for 2 hours in room temperature then went into my refrigerator to retard overnight (for 12 hours).


Bake day



  1. I baked the loaves cold (straight from the refrigerator).  I pre-heated the oven to 250C / 480F.  Once the loaves were loaded, I poured 2/3 cups of boiling hot water onto lava rocks (enormous steam was generated), and turned the oven temperature down to 230C / 450F.  They were baked for 20 minutes, then another 15 minutes at 210C / 410F, and rested for 5 minutes in turnoff-off oven.  (You can bake them for 10 minutes more if you like darker crust.)

  2. There was an impressive oven spring with this bake.


              


                 


                                                 


I am quite pleased with the result, although without rye and whole meal flours, I probably cannot call this country sourdough.  Also, Chad's country sourdough has a very rustic look (quite dark) as if from a wood fired oven. 


As I was drafting this post and looking at the black and white picture of Chad's bread in Harvesting Excellence, my daughter came by, I said to her he is the reason why I bought this book; she asked, is he "hot"?  I never understand teenagers' lingo - why "hot" and "cool" mean the same thing.


                   


                                         


                                           


The crumb is really tender and moist.  It has a very supple texture and open crumb that I did not believe I would have been able to achieve with low hydration dough.  I really don't know what hydration level is Chad Robertson's sourdoughs; I did 68% here because I wanted to have good volume and, possibly, good grigne.  Well, it worked. 


I like the flavor very much, more so than my Sourdough 50/50.


Shiao-Ping

DonD's picture
DonD

Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

My first post in April of last year was about a side by side comparison of two of my favorite baguette formulations by Philippe Gosselin and Anis Bouabsa that David Snyder had previously published here on TFL. It was a tough choice to decide which one was better. The Gosselin baguette had an unequaled sweetness due to the overnight cold autolyse and the Bouabsa baguette had an incredibly complex taste due to the cold retardation. I was thinking why not have the best of both world so I started to experiment with combining the two formulations. After a couple of tries, I have succeeded in making a baguette that has the best attributes of both.


Yesterday, at the request of my wife, I made a batch of Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation for her monthly Book Club Party. The formulation follows David's transcription of Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne with a few slight variations. I have to clarify that this is not the formulation that Peter Reinhart and Daniel Leader had adapted from the original Gosselin technique but the true ice cold overnight autolyse method that David had published. After the overnight autolyse and the incorporation of the reserved water, yeast and salt the next morning, instead of bulk fermenting, shaping and baking the same day, I partially bulk ferment the dough at room temperature for 3 hours then retard it in the refrigerator for 18 hours before shaping and baking. I use a mix of 94% King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour (11.3% protein) and 6% Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour with 70% hydration. I also reduce the yeast amount by 2/3 because of the extended fermentation. Here are the results:




The crust has nice caramelization from the extra sugar produced by the long cold autolyse.




The crumb is open and soft with a slight chewiness. The taste is sweet and nutty with a complex aftertaste.




The crumb is medium thin with nice crunchiness and the crumb shows good translucent gelatinilization.


P.S. Following a number of requests, here is the entire formulation.


Formulation:


 Flour Mixture:



  • - 470 gms Unbleached AP Flour

  • - 30 gms Dark Rye Flour

  • - 300 gms Ice Cold Water


 Dough



  • - 10 gms Sea Salt

  • - 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast

  • - 50 gms Cold Water


 1- Mix flour blend and ice water w/ flat beater for 1 min. and refrigerate overnight.


 2- Add yeast and water and mix w/ flat beater for 3 mins or until all water has been incorporated. Add salt and beat for 3 mins or until dough slaps side of bowl.


 3- Let rest 15 mins and do S&F 4 times at 30 mins intervals (1 1/2 hrs total) and 2 more times at 45 mins  intervals (1 1/2 hrs total).


 4- Refrigerate for 24 hours.


 5- Divide dough in 3 and gently pre-shape in torpedo shape. Let rest 1 hr.


 6-Gently shape baguettes and proof on linen couche for 45 mins.


 7- One hour before baking, preheat oven to 490 degrees f w/ baking stone and cast iron skillet filled w/ lava rocks.


 8- Mist sides of oven then slash baguettes 4 times and transfer baguettes to baking stone in oven. Immediately pour 2/3 cup boiling water on lava rocks.


 9- Reduce oven temperature to 460 degrees f and bake 10 mins.Remove cast iron skillet, reduce temperature to 430 degrees F and bake for another 10 mins on convection mode.


 10- Remove baguettes from oven and let cool on wire rack.


Happy Baking!


Don

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini's Favorite 100% Rye Ratio


I've been playing with rye loaf ratios (starter/water/flour) and I came up with one using any amount of rye starter that when refreshed is a paste (100% hydration) and as it ferments loostens to a thick batter.  I was looking for basic numbers (like 1/2/3) and I found them they're  1/ 3.5/ 4.16.   It makes Rye so much easier!  The starter should be generously refreshed 8-12 hours before and mixed into the dough just before peaking and in a 22°c room (72°F) the dough ferments 7-8 hours before baking.   Dough should not be folded or shaped 4 hours before going into the oven.


Basic Ratio> 1 part starter: 3.5 parts cold water: 4.16 parts rye flour    


4 tablespoons bread spice for 500g flour    Salt 1.8 to 2% of flour weight


Hydration of dough aprox 84%.  Handle dough with wet hands and a wet spatula.  Combine starter and water then the flour, stir well and let rest covered.  Add salt about one hour after mixing and any other ingredients.  If room is warmer add salt earlier.  Three hours into the ferment lightly fold with wet hands and shape into a smooth ball.  Place into a well floured brotform or oiled baking pan.  Cover and let rise.  Don't let it quite Double for it will if conditions are right.  Before placing in the oven, use a wet toothpick and dock the loaf all over to release any large bubbles.  Bake in covered dark dish in cold oven Convection 200°C or 390°F (oven can reach 220°C easy with the fan on.)  Remove cover after 20 to 25 minutes and rotate loaf.  Reduce heat by simply turning off convection and use top & bottom heat at 200°C.   Remove when dough center reaches 93°C or 200° F.


All kinds of combinations are possible including addition of soaked & drained seeds and or cooked berries or moist altus and whole or cracked walnuts or a little spoon of honey.


How it works:  I have 150g rye starter at 100% hydration.  I figure for water: 150 x 3.5 gives the water amount or 525g.  I figure the flour: 150 x 4.16 gives 624 g Rye flour.  For salt:  2% of 700g (624g + aprox. 75g in the starter) makes salt 14g or one level tablespoon of table salt.


This amount of dough took 1 1/2 hours to bake and included moist rye altus.  It was baked in two non-stick cast aluminum sauce pans (20cm diameter) one inverted over the other .  The rounder of the two on the bottom.  No steam other than what was trapped inside.  Top removed after 25 minutes.  It has a beautiful dark crust with a light shine.  Aroma is heavenly.



 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Sourdough Semolina Bread

I just posted the Semolina Sandwich Loaf ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4213/semolina-sandwich-loaf ) and wanted to share my experience making this sourdough version of Maggie Glezer’s.

This was really a nice little loaf with a great crust and also a very moist and beautiful crumb. It surprised me with the nice oven spring it had for such a seemingly small loaf.

The crumb has a beautiful yellow cast as well but the recipe uses AP flour in addition to the semolina (durum patent flour) so it was not as intensely yellow as the sandwich loaf which was 100% semolina flour.

I only proofed these loaves for 4 hours, rather than the 5 estimated by Glezer but I generally have a fast starter or it could have been the room temp that day. They were not large loaves and I goofed and preheated my oven to about 550 as I normally do but would not repeat that. I ended up baking them about 40 minutes but I did cover them at the end to keep them from getting even darker. Preheating the oven to the correct temp for this type of loaf would be much better.

I have to say again, this bread was wonderful. My neighbor who got the other loaf just loved it. I baked this bread the same day (last weekend) as the semolina sandwich loaf and it is still extremely moist. It was delicious last night used to sop up sauce from eggplant parmesan served with juicy grilled chicken (yum!).

This was, again, what I felt was a straight forward and rather easy recipe. Most of the time you spend is waiting but it was really fun to mix up and so easy to make into little loaves. I loved it and it you try it I hope you like it, too.

More photos here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3506188#197819612

Sourdough Semolina Bread – Maggie Glezer, A Blessing of Bread

Skill Level: Expert

Time: About 20 hours (about 8 1/2 hours on baking day)

Makes: Two 1-pound (450 gram) breads

Recipe Synopsis: Make a sourdough starter and let it ferment overnight for 8 to 12 hours. The next day, mix the dough and let it ferment for 2 hours. Shape the dough and let it proof for 5 hours. Bake the breads for about 45 minutes.

For sourdough starter:

2 tablespoons (30 grams/1.1 ounces) very active, fully fermented firm sourdough starter, refreshed 8 to 12 hours earlier

1/3 cup (80 grams/2.8 ounces) warm water

About 1 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) unbleached AP flour

For final dough:

1 1/3 cups (225 grams/7.9 ounces) fine semolina flour

1 2/3 cups (225 grams/7.9 ounces) unbleached AP flour

1 1/3 cups (300 grams/10.6 ounces) warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons (11 grams/0.4 ounce) table salt

1 tablespoon (18 grams/0.6 ounce) mild honey or 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (21 grams/0.8 ounce) granulated sugar

Fully fermented starter

EVENING BEFORE BAKING

Mixing the sourdough starter: Rub starter into water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until it is smooth. Remove 2/3 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) of the starter and place it in a sealed container at least four times its volume, to use in the final dough. (Place the remaining starter in a sealed container and refrigerate to use in the next bake.) Let the starter ferment until it has tripled in volume and is just starting to deflate, 8 to 12 hours.

BAKING DAY

Mixing the autolyze: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the semolina and AP flour. With the paddle attachment on low speed, stir in the warm water until well combined. The dough will look very granular and wet. Let the dough rest covered for 20 minutes.

Mixing the dough: Add the salt, honey or sugar, and starter to the dough and mix on medium speed with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, or until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and becomes very extensible. If you did not weigh your flour to measure it, be prepared to adjust the consistency of the dough. The consistency will also be profoundly influenced by the degree to which the semolina was milled and its freshness. Add at least a tablespoon or two of water if the dough is very firm, or at least a tablespoon or two of flour if the dough is impossibly sticky and does not clean the sides of the bowl. The dough should feel very soft and tacky but be easy to handle and have a smooth sheen; it should clean the bowl at the beginning of kneading.

Fermenting: Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for about 2 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.

Shaping and proofing: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or oil it, or flour two linen-lined bannetons. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Shape it into simple rounds or long shapes and position the loaves seam side down on the prepared sheet or in the bannetons. Cover well with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature. It should triple in size; about 5 hours.

Preheating the oven: One hour before baking, position an oven rack in the upper third position and remove any racks above it. Place a baking stone on it, if desired, and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C/gas mark 7).

Baking: When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, they are ready to bake. If you have proofed them in bannetons, flip each one onto your hand first, then flip it seam side down onto an oiled baking sheet or, if using a baking stone, onto a semolina-sprinkled peel. Score the loaves with a single-edged razor blade in a decorative pattern. Spray or brush them with water and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 30 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on a rack.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Tortas de Aceite

Our family traveled to Spain this past Spring, and Sevilla was our favorite city on the trip, we were there during Semana Santa.  We particularly enjoyed the Tortas de Aceite- yeast-leavened olive oil wafters laced with sesame and anise.  This version is a little different than the standard torta in that it is leavened with sourdough and uses star anise instead of anise seed.

 

A view of the courtyard in Sevilla's Alcazar, the Royal Palace.

 

Tortas de Aceite Recipe

 

Levain  Baker's   %  
 Sourdough starter, 60% hyd.6g  Total flour200g 
 KAF AP30g  White flour100% 
 Water, room temp18g  Hydration60% 
     Salt0.7% 
Main Dough   Levain flour10% 
 Unbleached AP, 10% protein180g  Sugar6% 
 Sesame seeds, toasted1Tb + 3/4 tsp  Olive oil27% 
 Sugar1 Tb     
 Salt1/4 tsp     
 Water, room temp108g     
 Levain32g     
 Olive oil54g     
        
Topping      
 Star anise1 piece     
 Granulated sugar2 tsp + 2 Tbs     

 

Night Before:

Mix levain, allow to ferment ovenight at 68-70F.  It should rise but not yet be fully mature.

 

Next Morning:

Weigh flour into mixing bowl and coat a 3-4 cup bulk ferment container with olive oil.

Use spice grinder to grind toasted sesame seeds, salt and main dough sugar until fine.  Stir into flour.

Add 32g levain (the rest is for perpetuating the culture), water and oil to the flour mixture and mix until combined, then knead by hand about 10 minutes.

Transfer to oiled container and cover. 

Ferment until dough has doubled, about 5 hours at 81F.

Using olive oil to grease work surfaces and dough, stretch and fold 3 times in first 3.5 hours, then allow to rise.  Ready when rounded peak reaches a little past 2 2/3 cups.

 

Afternoon:

Divide and pre-shape into 12 rounds.  Place on oiled sheet pan and rest one hour, covered.

In spice grinder, grind star anise with 2 tsp sugar until fine, then scrape into bowl.

Preheat oven to 450F, placing rack in middle of oven.  Prep a half sheet pan with silpat or parchment.

Spread 2 Tbs granulated sugar on a plate.

Flatten dough balls slightly, then sprinkle the top with 1/4 tsp of the anise-sugar mixture.  Spread mixture over dough disc with fingertip.

Shape six discs into pizza-like tortas about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, then turn face down in sugar plate to coat with sugar. 

Place six tortas on one half sheet pan and bake 8 minutes, then rotate and bake 3-5 more minutes, until nicely caramelized.

Repeat with remaining six tortas.

 

Editing to add notes:  

Don't be tempted to add the anise into the main dough- it has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities and will kill off every discernable trace of sourdough culture (did this with my first go at these).

These re-heat and re-crisp beautifully in the toaster.

 

Dough Rounds:

 

Flattened Discs with Anise-Sugar Mixture:

 

The Shaped Tortas:

 

Plaza Nueva at Sunset:

 

Sevilla's Cathedral:

 

Torta Crumb:

More Tortas:

 

Looking for Tapas:

 

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Thom Leonard's Country French

I'm posting this recipe for discussion as we have been talking about it on the Glezer firm starter thread.  I have made this bread often with variations because I did not have the high-extraction flour yet.  I recently purchased the Golden Buffalo flour from Heartland Mill in Kansas and it was superb.  I didn’t take photos of those so will next time I make it.

 

The one pictured here was made using Hodgson Mill WW graham flour sifted for the WW portion (250g) and mixed with the 750g King Arthur bread flour.  I’ve also made it sifting the King Arthur traditional and organic WW flours but I like the sweetness of the graham flour.  Still, I think after using that high-extraction flour the flavor was so extraordinary I would choose to make it that way more often.

 

Mountaindog has also posted her variation on this bread here and she makes beautiful loaves of it. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1806/thom-leonard-country-french-boule-recipe

This is a great recipe to play around with and it always comes out fabulous bread.  Another note – I generally like to make four smaller boules but when I made them with the high-extraction flour I made two boules and they were large and fantastic. 

 

Here are the some photos of the ones I made a few months ago (more photos here: http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/2671417#141408937 ) and the recipe follows:

Thom Leonard’s Country French Bread - © Maggie Glezer, Artisan Baking  

Makes one 4 pound (1.8-kilo) loafTime: At least 18 hours with about 30 minutes of active work 

Much of what makes this bread so special is the high-extraction flour used in it.  This is a bolted whole-wheat flour much lighter in color and sweeter in flavor than a whole-wheat flour (at 100% extraction), but much darker and more flavorful than a white flour (at 72% extraction).

 

The method I give here for making your own high-extraction flour will work best on coarsely ground whole wheat flour.  If you already have a good high-extraction flour, substitute it for the whole-wheat and bread flour in the final recipe.  Thom also includes a little of his sourdough rye starter in the dough, but it is such a small amount that I have bumped up the levain slightly and added rye flour to the final dough instead.

RECIPE SYNOPSIS The evening before baking - making the Levain: 

25 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons or 0.8 oz) fermented firm sourdough starter refreshed 8 hrs before (17%)

140 grams (2/3 cup or 4.9 oz) water, lukewarm (100%)

140 grams (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon or 4.9 oz) unbleached bread flour (100%)

 

Dissolve the sourdough starter in the water in a small bowl.  Add the flour and beat this batter-like dough until very smooth. Place in a covered container and let it ferment overnight for 8 hours, or until fully risen and just starting to sink in the middle.

Bake Day – Mixing the Dough: 

350 grams (about 12 oz or about 2 1/2 cups) Coarsely ground whole-wheat flour, preferably milled from an organic, hard winter wheat (eventually 25%)

750 grams (26.5 oz or 5 cups) unbleached bread flour, preferably organic (75%)

30 grams (1 oz or 1/4 cup) organic whole-rye flour (3%)

660 grams (24 oz or 3 cups) water (66%)

Fermented levain (30%)

23 grams (0.8 oz or 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) salt (2.3%)

Preparing the flour: 

Sift the whole-wheat through your finest sieve or flour sifter.  The large flakes of bran should be caught in the sieve (use them for flouring your peel or for muffins).  Measure out 2 cups 3 tablespoons (8.8 ounces, 250 grams) sifted flour.  Mix this dark flour with the bread flour and the rye flour in a large bowl or in the work bowl of your mixer.

 

Add the water to the fermented levain to loosen it from the container.

  

Mixing the dough: 

By hand:  Pour the watered levain into the flours and stir with your hands or a wooden spoon just until a rough dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto the unfloured work surface and continue kneading until the dough is very smooth and shiny, about 10 minutes.  This is a lot of dough and will take some muscle.  Sprinkle on the salt and continue to knead the bread until the salt has fully dissolved and the dough is very smooth and shiny.

  

By stand mixer:  Add the watered levain to the flours in the work bowl and stir the dough together with a wooden spoon or your hand (this will make the mixing go more quickly).  Using the dough hook, mix the dough on medium speed for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and almost cleans the bowl.  Add the salt and continue mixing until the dough is much tighter and cleans the bowl, about 5 more minutes.

This should be a soft, sticky, and extensible dough.  

Fermenting and turning the dough:  

Place the dough in a container at least 3 times its size and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment until it is airy and well expanded but not yet double in bulk, about 3 hours.  Turn the dough 3 times at 30-minute intervals, that is, after 30, 60, and 90 minutes of fermenting, then leave the dough undisturbed for the remaining time.

Rounding and resting the dough: 

Flour the surface of the dough and your work surface and turn the dough out.  Tuck the edges of the dough in to tighten it, round it, and cover it loosely with plastic wrap.  Let it rest until well relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, sift flour over a linen-lined basket or line a large colander with a well-floured tea towel.

Shaping and proofing the dough: 

Shape the dough into an even and tight round loaf without deflating it.  Place the dough topside down in a linen-lined basket or large colander, lightly sprinkle it with flour, and cover it well with plastic wrap.  Proof the dough until it is well expanded, about doubled in volume and remains indented when lightly pressed with a floured finger, after about 4 hours.

Preheating the oven: 

At least 45 minutes before the dough is fully proofed, arrange a rack on the oven’s second-to-top shelf and place a baking stone on it.  Clear away all racks above the one being used Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

Baking the bread: 

If desired, just before baking the bread, fill the oven with steam.  Turn the bread out onto a sheet of parchment paper or a floured peel and slash 3 to 4 diagonal slashes and 3 to 4 horizontal slashes into the top.  It will look like a skewed grid with diamond-shaped openings.  Slide the bread, still on the paper, onto the hot stone and bake until the bread is dark and evenly browned all around and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 70 to 80 minutes, rotating it halfway into the bake.  If the bread is browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (205°C), but still bake the bread for at least 70 minutes.  Let the bread cool on a rack.

  

Struan Bread

In the 15 years since I first tried Brother Juniper's Struan Bread, I've tasted a lot of great bread, but I still don't think I've tried anything that makes as great toast as Struan Bread does. Nor have I tried any bread is so universally enjoyed: everyone who tries it agrees that this bread makes killer toast.

It isn't bad for sandwiches either.

I have to admit though that this bread occasionally gives me nightmares. Click "Read More" to learn why.


The Nightmares

When I was in high school I worked in the Brother Juniper's bakery and cafe. For the most part I worked on the slicing machine, but I also helped scale and shape the loaves. Oh yes, and top the loaves with poppy seeds.

The poppy seeds. The poppy seeds are what give me nightmares.

I have no idea how many pounds of poppy seeds we went through a day, but I know we made as many as 500 loaves of Struan Bread, each one covered with hundreds of poppy seeds. Those seeds would get everywhere: in your hair, under your fingernails, in your clothes, everywhere you can imagine. Even a few places you can't imagine: I recall a number of times pulling poppy seeds out of strange places (like my book bag for school or a clean pair of pants) and wondering "How in the world did poppy seeds get in there?!?

I still avoid poppy seeds most of the time, though I'll admit they are wonderful on top of this loaf.

About Struan Bread

Struan Bread (properly pronounced "STRU-en bread", but most people I know call it "STRON bread") is a harvest bread. I believe the story is that Peter Reinhart read something about a traditional bread that Irish villagers baked into which they threw a little bit of everything they were harvesting. Struan Bread as we know it is an attempt to capture the spirit of that loaf.

Regardless of the origin, this bread is wonderful. One is certainly free to experiment with including different or additional grains. I've done so a bit and the bread has turned out quite good, though I don't think any of them have be as excellent as the combination found in the original recipe (reproduced below).

Oh yeah, I need to add that this recipe is roughly the recipe found in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. I believe he includes versions of it in most of his other baking books (Crust & Crumb and Brother Juniper's Bread Book come to mind). If you don't already have one of his bread books on your shelf you owe it to yourself to pick one up.

Struan Bread

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

Soaker
3 tablespoons polenta
3 tablespoons rolled oats
2 tablespoons wheat bran
1/4 cup water

Dough
3 cups unbleached bread flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup water

topping
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Mix together the ingredients for the soaker. Cover and allow to soak for at least half an hour or as long as overnight.

In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then stir in wet ingredients and soaker. Add more flour or water until the dough can be formed into a ball that is tacky but not sticky. Place the ball of dough on a clean work surface and knead it for 10 to 12 minutes, then return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

struan bread

Remove the dough from the bowl, degas it gently, and split it for two loaves or shape it as is for one. Place the loaves in greased bread pans, spritz or sprinkle water on top, and sprinkle a handful of poppy seeds on top.

struan bread

Cover the pans loosely with plastic and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size again, approximately 90 minutes.

struan bread

Bake these loaves at 350 for 40 to 60 minutes, until the internal temperature is around 190 degrees. When ready the loaves will be quite brown on top and will make a hollow thud when tapped on the bottom.

struan bread

struan bread

Doesn't that look good? Trust me, it is WONDERFUL! Try it, it is worth the work!

Related Recipes: Maple Oatmeal Bread

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Croissants - in Buttery Heaven!

 

When my husband decided to open up a furniture store in Portland, ME, he found a big old garage in Fore Street. After spending a month with scrubbing, painting and cutting new panes for each of the high windows, he turned the dark and dirty place into a beautiful, light space, to showcase his contemporary furnishings.

Eventually Richard Parks Gallery moved to Commercial Street, and the first floor of the old store became Fore Street Restaurant, one of Portland's foodie temples.

The souterrain was turned into a bakery, and, instead of housing French sofas and bistro tables, it's now home of Standard Baking Co., maker of the best French breads and pastries in Maine!

Richard Parks Gallery on Fore Street in the early Nineties

Whenever we visit Portland, we get Pain au Levain, Seeded Fougasse, Croissants, or, on Fridays, Rugalachs.

Last time we came into the bakery, I saw a pile of books: Standard Baking Company had published "Pastries" with many of their recipes, including those of the croissants and rugalachs we were just about to buy. Of course I didn't hesitate one second, grabbed one of the little books, and, while driving home and munching on a walnut filled rugalach, studied the recipes.

Though I bake (and sell) lots of breads, I have little experience with French baking, and couldn't wait to try making one of those mouthwatering pastries myself.

I was also wondering whether Alison Pray and Tara Smith had dumbed down their formulas to make them "everybody's darling". Or, jealously guarding their secrets, changed them so that the home baked pastries would never taste the same as their professional counterparts at the store (try finding the original Sachertorte in Hotel Sacher's pastry book!)

Worth every penny!

To my utter delight neither was the case. Every piece of pastry I made so far was outstanding - and tasted as good as its sibling at the bakery. (No, I don't get a kickback for my gushing!)

Croissants, with their multi-layered, buttery dough, are the gold standard of pastry baking. I had made them only once before. Those had turned out quite nice, and I was curious how the Standard Baking ones would compare to them.

I found the formula easy to follow, with clear, detailed instructions and explanations for every step of the way. Involved as the process is, it's not rocket science, and you really can do it at home!

You have to plan ahead, though, because you'll achieve your best results when you allow the dough sufficient time to rest. As with most of my breads, time and the refrigerator are your friends, achieving three important goals: relax the gluten (readying the dough for the next turn), keep the butter cold (preventing it from seeping out) and develop the taste.

Therefore, make yourself familiar with the whole procedure before you start! This is your schedule for the 3-day process (no worries, the actual hands-on time is much less!)

Pure buttery, flaky goodness!

 TIME PLANNER

DAY 1 (Mixing the dough)
Hands-on time: 20 minutes mixing           Resting time: 1 hour plus 1 night

DAY 2: (Laminating the dough)
Hands-on time: 2 to 2 1/2 hour                 Resting time: 2 hours plus 1 night

DAY 3: (Shaping and baking)
Hands-on time: 30 minutes                       Resting time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
            

If you don't want to use all the dough for regular butter croissants, use part of it for Pain au Chocolat or Ham & Cheese Croissants or Morning Buns. You can also freeze the laminated dough up to 10 days, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking.)

And if you have leftovers, recycle them into utterly delicious Almond Croissants!


BUTTER CROISSANTS   (12)  (adapted with Alison Pray's permission from Standard Baking Co. "Pastries")

Dough
630 g all-purpose flour (4 1/2 cups)
    7 g instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
  14 g salt (2 1/2 tsp)
  28 g unsalted butter*) (2 tbsp), cool, cut in pieces
186 g water, at room temperature (about 70ºF) (3/4 cup)
186 g milk, at room temperature (about 70ºF) (3/4 cup)

Butter Roll-In
280 g/10 oz unsalted butter*), chilled

Egg Wash
1 egg
2 tsp. water
1 pinch salt

*) If you have the chance, get European style butter with a higher percentage of fat (like Cabot's European style butter or Plugra)

DAY 1
For the dough, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until it is evenly distributed and coated with flour mixture.

  
Rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients is easy

Using a stand mixer with dough hook: Combine water and milk in mixer bowl. Add dry ingredients on low speed and incorporate for 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Increase to medium speed, stopping mixer after 2 minutes to check consistency of dough. It should be medium-soft. (If it feels stiff, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.) Resume mixing for 2 minutes more. Dough will not be completely smooth, but hold together. (Don't over-mix, you don't want the dough to become tough!)

Using a food processor: Pulse for about 2 minutes, or until dough comes together in a ball. (Don't over-mix, otherwise dough becomes more difficult to roll out, and result in less tender croissants.)

 

Place dough in lightly oiled container, turn around to coat with oil, cover, and let rise in a warm spot (ideally 75ºF) for about 1 hour, or until it has grown by about half.

The dough has risen 1 1/2 times its original size   

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle about 2 inches thick. Wrap it in plastic and seal it well to prevent it from escaping when it rises. Refrigerate dough overnight (or at least for a minimum of 4 hours.)

(I placed the dough on lightly floured cutting board, sprayed it lightly with baking spray,  put the whole thing first into an unscented garbage bag, and then in the fridge.)

 


DAY 2
About half an hour before rolling out the chilled dough, prepare butter roll-in: cut cold butter into large chunks, and place them in mixer fitted with dough hook. Beat butter on medium speed until completely smooth and pliable, but not warm (about 3 minutes.)

(You can also pound the butter with a French rolling pin until it is flat and pliable, but the mixer works great.)

After kneading the butter is pliable but still cold

Transfer butter to a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Press it into a 6-inch square, 1/2 inch thick. (I measured and marked parchment paper at 6 inches, and folded it into a square, then closed it with the butter inside, and pressed on the package until the butter filled the edges.)

Chill butter square in refrigerator for about 15 minutes (it should be just firm, but not hard.)

Folded parchment paper helps pressing the butter into a square

And now the fun starts: you are about to create something absolutely wonderful, a tender, buttery, multi-layered (laminated) croissant dough.

Room temperature and work surface should be on the cool side, and each step should be done as quickly as possible, to prevent dough and butter from getting warm. Put everything you need (flour for dusting the work surface, roller pin, brush for excess flour, and ruler for measuring) within easy reach.

The butter square covers half of the dough rectangle.

If the chilled butter feels too firm, take it out of the fridge a few minutes before using. Dust work surface lightly with flour. Remove dough and butter block from refrigerator. Roll dough into rectangle twice the size of the butter square: 12 x 6 inches. Brush off excess flour from top of dough. Place butter square (unwrapped) on one half of rectangle, so that edges are neatly stacked.

Fold other half of dough over butter, and press open sides together to seal butter in. Lightly re-flour work surface, if necessary, and roll out dough rectangle into a square, about 1/2-inch thick and twice as long as it is wide (the long side should be facing you.) Brush dough surface to remove loose flour.

Roll out dough into rectangle twice as long as it is wide

Fold dough lengthwise in thirds like a business letter, always brushing any loose flour from the surface before you fold: first fold left third over center, then right side over left. Using a bench knife, straighten and square edges, so that layers are neatly stacked. Congratulations! You just made your first turn (aka envelope fold.)

Wrap the dough "envelope" in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 45 - 60 minutes, so that you and the gluten can relax and cool down. In the meantime, clean your work surface from any remaining bits of dough, and dust it again lightly with flour.

After its workout the dough needs another break in the fridge

Unwrap cooled dough and place it on work surface, the long, folded side facing you. Roll out dough as before into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold it again in thirds, always brushing off excess flour between folds. The second turn is done! Re-wrap and re-chill dough again for 45 - 60 minutes.

Now you're already a pro, and know how to handle the third and final turn. Unwrap, roll out, fold, and use the brush in between! You don't want flour to keep the layers from adhering.

Brushing off any flour from the top of the dough is important

So, that's it for the day, wrap your (beautifully laminated) dough in plastic and place it in the freezer. Before you go to sleep, take it out, and put it in the fridge so that it can slowly thaw overnight. (Or, if your mouth waters too much, and you need to bake it the same day, give it at least 2 hours chill-out time before shaping.)

TO MAKE AHEAD: You can also freeze the dough up to 10 days, thawing it in the fridge overnight before baking.

DAY 3
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into 12-inch x 25-inch rectangle (1/4 inch thick.) Re-dust with a little flour, if needed, to prevent sticking. If dough springs back and is difficult to lengthen, let it rest a few minutes, before you continue. When desired length is reached, trim and straighten narrow ends with pizza wheel or chef's knife.

A same size piece of parchment paper with markings helps with the cutting

Cut rectangle into long, skinny triangles, 4 inches wide at base and 10 to 12 inches long on sides. (It's easier if you cut parchment paper into a same size rectangle, and measure and mark bases and tips of triangles on it. Place paper over dough, and then mark dough in the same way with little incisions.)

Make a 3/4-inch incision in the center of each triangle base (this notch helps to create the desired length in the final shape.)

To shape each croissants, pick up a triangle, holding base edge with one hand. With the other hand about 1 inch from base, pull dough gently to lengthen it slightly, without causing any tears. Place triangle down again, base towards you, and gently but firmly roll it up towards the tip. (If done properly, you should have 6 to 7 tiers.)

Leftover dough scraps: Place cut off half-triangles from both edges side by side, pinch the middle seam together, put any other small scraps on top, and roll this patchwork triangle up, too. It will be a little "malfatti" (badly made) as my half Italian spouse calls it, but nothing of your precious dough will be lost.

The triangles get a notch at the base to make lengthening easier

Put shaped croissants on prepared baking sheets, evenly spaced, the tips should be tucked underneath.

For the egg wash, whisk together egg with water and salt in small bowl until smooth. Brush croissants lightly with egg wash, carefully avoiding open edges, so that the egg can't glue them together and prevent tiers from rising. (Refrigerate remaining egg wash for the second application.)

The croissants need to proof for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Place baking sheets in the (unheated!) oven, then put a pan with hot, steaming water on the bottom to provide the ideal rising environment: humid, to prevent a skin from forming, and warm, but not too warm - you don't want the butter to melt, resulting in less flaky, greasy croissants.

Half an hour before baking, remove proofing croissants from oven. Position racks in upper and lower thirds, and preheat oven to 430º F.

Cover croissants, and continue to let them rise, until they have almost doubled in size, and dough springs back slightly when pressed gently with a finger tip, but the dimple should remain visible. Each tier should still hold its distinct shape. (Check croissants frequently after the first hour of rising, if they overproof, they will have loose their flakiness and have a bread-like structure. The room temperature should not be too warm.)

Proofed croissants. The "malfatti" on the upper right is not much different from the others
  

A few minutes before they go into the oven, brush risen croissants again with a thin coat of egg wash, carefully avoiding the edges (you don't want to screw up now!)

Bake croissants for 10 minutes, then quickly rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and from front to back, for more even browning, taking care not to leave the door open too long. Continue baking for another 4 - 6 minutes, until they are evenly baked, with deeply browned, crisp edges.

Remove sheets from oven, and transfer croissants to wire rack, to cool a bit. They are best when eaten while still warm, or shortly after baking.

 

If you cant eat all of the croissants right away, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and re-crisp them at 375ºF for a few minutes.

OR YOU TURN THEM INTO HEAVENLY ALMOND CROISSANTS!

There is no such thing as stale croissants when you recycle them into these!

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Susan's picture
Susan

Eric's Fav Rye

Eric's Fav RyeEric's Fav Rye

My first try

at Eric's favorite deli rye.

Eric's Rye CrumbEric's Rye Crumb

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Croissant with Sourdough Starter - TXFarmer VS. TX summer

In my last croissant post(see here), I said I am practicing once or twice every week to perfect my lamination skill. It's been more than a month, and my croissant fever is getting hotter -- sadly, what's heating up faster is TX temperature. If you look up "mission impossible" or "self punishment" in the dictionary, you might see the following picture (28C is about 82F):

 

However, making croissant in warm weather is "mission difficult", not "mission impossible", the following are some tips I learned in the past month, I hope they will be helpful to my fellow warm weather TFLers.

1) Avoid direct sunlight. My kitchen has huge windows, and the counter space that's large enough to roll out the doug is right by the window. Under direct sunlight, the temperature could shoot to 90F in no time. My husband jokingly calls me "cold blooded" since my hands are always freezing cold, however, the few times when I was rolling out dough under the sun, my hands quickly warmed up -- so did the dough. Not a good thing. Lately, I have figured out the optimal schedule: Sunday at 5pm, mix dough and put in fridge for 2 hours; make butter block during that time; at 7pm enclose the butter and do the roll out. The temperature at 7pm is uaually still 28C (hence the picture above), but since the sun is on the way down, it won't keep heating up. After that just follow the schedule and do two more folds, usually I am done by 9:30 or 10pm. Next morning I usually get up early to run, so I do the final roll out before/during/after the run. 5am is the coolest time of the day, which is still around 24C/75F, but that's the best I can get. Usually by 7:30am, after resting a few times in the fridge, I can finish shaping. I usually freeze half for later, and put the other half in fridge until after work to bake.

2) Use the right butter. Not all European style butter are created equal, even if they have the same butterfat content. I have tried 4 or 5 different brands, when it's cooler (like a month ago), most of them would work, but now, only Plugra gives me consistent results, other brands are simply too melty.

3) Use the right rolling pin. I use a heavy duty metal rolling pin to make up for the lack of arm strength. However, lately, when it's this warm, I find it's necessary to put the pin in fridge along with the dough. At first I put it in freezer, thinking "the colder the better", nope. It was too cold for the first two folds, butter simply broke between dough layers, creating uneven crumb. Now I put it in fridge for the first two folds (when butter layers are still thick), freezer for the last fold and final roll out (when butter layers are thin and easier to melty but less likely to break).

4) Only work on the dough a few minutes a time, and put it in fridge more often than you would expect. That's the most important thing. When it's this warm, time is not on your side. Several times I tried to push my luck and roll the dough for a bit too long - warm dough == melty butter, never fails. This is where practicing comes in handy - at first I can't roll out much in the 3 to 5 min time span (longer for the first two folds when butter layers are thicker, shorter time for later folds and rolling out), which means the whole process drags on forever since the dough has to be in and out of the fridge many times. However, as I practice more, 3 to 5 min is more than enough for me to roll out the dough completely. For the last fold and final roll out I still let the dough rest in fridge once during rolling just so it's relaxed and easier to roll, but for the first two folds, it's all done in one shot.

Other than dealing with the warm temperature, I am also adjusting the formula to get more flavor. I replaced the poolish in previous attempt with 100% white starter. Since there's still dry yeast in the final dough, I though it would be an easy switch - not so. Starter is more acidic than poolish, which made the dough too soft. I then mixed it longer and reduced hydration slightly. Got the even layers with no butter leakage, however, the crumb is not open enough, indicating that the dough gluten is still too weak (shown in the following picture).

So I changed the AP flour to Bread flour, KAF bread flour at that, which has very high protein level. To my surprise the rolling out was not as impossible as I expected (or maybe I have practiced enough so it seems easier?), but the crumb became a lot mroe open (shown below).

The formula I am using now is as following:

Bread flour (KAF), 362g

milk, 130g

sugar, 67g

salt, 10g

osmotolerant instant yeast (SAF gold), 3.55g, 1tsp+1/8tsp

malt, 3.55g (I used a tsp of barley malt syrup)

butter, 22g, softened

100% white starter (fed with bread flour), 320g

roll-in butter, 287g

1. Mix everything but the rolling butter, knead until gluten starts to form. In my KA mixer, 3min at first speed, 4 min at 3rd speed.

Then following the procedure illustrated here.

 

Other things I have noticed:

1) For the final roll out, while it needs to be as thin as 3mm to 5mm, don't go over board and roll it too thin, other than it will look like this - not bad, but not as open as possible

2) Don't squish any parts of the dough during shaping, here I must've pressed down the tip a bit too hard, look at the thick top

3. Don't roll the croissants too tight during shaping, it will explode as following, even when proofed fully (no leaking butter during baking)

 

 My ideal croissant has very open, but even crumb with honeycomb holes, and thin walls. Still not quite there yet, but heading in the right direction. The addition of starter in the dough adds another dimension of flavor. When I brought some to my coworkers, who has no knowledge about yeast/starter, they all much prefer the starter version.

 

Sometimes I would make some chocolate ones, those are always gone first.

 

The temperature is still rising here in TX, let's see how far into the summer I can keep up this crazy croissant project.

 

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

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