A Magyar Kultúra Napja.
I hadn’t baked for over a fortnight; very unusual. I didn’t have any plans to bake either. But, early on Thursday morning I knew I needed to bake. Alison and I are following quite a strict diet, so we are not eating grains at the moment…quite a tough call. I had made 4 Brazil and Hazelnut, Raisin and Apricot Scones on Tuesday as samples to celebrate the arrival of 1kg of the best commercial baking powder available in the UK today from my colleague at Kudos Blends…thank you Dinnie. So light! These are English Tea Scones, somewhat different to the US concept, I believe, and much-loved here in the UK. But I wanted to bake bread, and I wanted to fire up the oven; the winds have finally subsided, and today was cold, but beautifully still and sunny.
I built both the wheat levain and rye sourdough over Thursday afternoon and night, so I could start very early this morning. This is what I made:
1. “Rossisky” using the Auerman Method
One Pullman Pan
Rye Sour build:
Formula [% of flour]
1a. Rye Sourdough
Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour
Sifted Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour
Red Malted Barley Powder
Rye Sourdough [from 1a.]
“Scald” [from 1b.]
3. Final Paste
“Sponge” [from 2]
Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye
Gilchesters’ Organic Pizza/Ciabatta Flour
% pre-fermented flour
30 + 20 = 50
% overall hydration
% wholegrain flour
Photographs below; no crumb shot, sorry. I took these photographs straight after the loaf emerged from the oven and Alison came downstairs mesmerised by the aroma and, frankly surprised bread was emerging from the oven so late at night.
2. Gilchesters’ Miche/Boules
Makes 6 loaves: 2 Boules @ 400g, 1 Boule @ 800g and 2 Miche @ 1200g.
Strong White Flour
The leaven was then allowed to prove slowly overnight in the fridge
Formula [% of flour]
1. Wheat Levain
Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour
2. Final Dough
Wheat Levain [from above]
Gilchesters’ Organic Farmhouse Flour
% pre-fermented flour
% overall hydration
% wholegrain flour [approx 85% extraction]
There is stacks of flavour in this bread. It’s not sour, but the crust is dark and well-fired, and the crumb as moist as could be, nicely gelatinised, soft and very tasty too. Photographs below:
On Tuesday I had arranged for the local Food Safety Officer to come and visit to look over my operation and food safety systems. She used the visit to scrutinise all my traceability systems and to go through all the baking operations thoroughly, ending up listing the visit as a full inspection…which I passed, with just some bits of advice how I can build on the work already in place. So I made these Scones just before she arrived using the paperwork trail I had devised, in order for me to test the systems and her to verify them. Here’s the recipe and formula:
Formula [% of flour]
Marriage’s Strong Organic White Flour
Gilchesters’ Pizza/Ciabatta Flour
Pell Opti-Scone Baking Powder
Organic Slightly Salted Butter
Full Fat Milk
Free Range Egg - Beaten
Chopped Brazil Nuts
Chopped Dried Apricots
I kept the small scone, and found good homes for the other 4 on condition of getting feedback. Very positive on 2, still waiting to hear back about the other 2. Here are a couple of photographs:
The New Year has been all about developing the new business. I have a website but it just has the bare essentials of a frontpage and a bit more besides. I have a food safety system approved, but still to be completely perfected and implemented…nearly there though! Trading Standards have confirmed my retail plans are all compliant and I have an Insurance Policy in place too! Best of all, I’ve been accepted onto the Local Farmers’ Market at Alnwick, taking place on the last Friday in the month, every month…just 2 weeks to get ready for this now. And, I have an up and running financial package on my pc to take care of the accounts too. I had a meeting on Monday afternoon with a Community baking group and have some consultancy work with them commencing a week today, Friday. I am also in negotiations with the soon-to-be ex Chief Exec at Allied Bakeries Gateshead. We are looking at training packages to sit alongside the Management Consultancy project he is setting up. I also have a timetable to work to of 2 days a week baking and gathering wood; 2 days for study and the remainder for training and consultancy work. Busy and exciting too; sufficient to mean I can delay preparing the Business Plan for a few months all being well. The plan in my head is working out sufficiently well so far.
Happy New Year to you all
I was so inspired today by Freerk's post about this 15th Century bread, well I just dropped everything I was doing and made a batch. The video recipe is inspired genius in my humble opinion. Very stylish and well thought out. My wife inquired if this was a dessert. I smiled and said no, just a snack:>)
These are fun to make, easy and fast. They are also history as they disappeared quickly. I highly recommend giving these a try. I backed these for 9 minutes. Any longer and they would start getting crusty. I did sprinkle some sugar topping over each piece just before baking.
Thank you Freerk for sharing this wonderful old recipe.
These are a little out of order but you will get the idea.
Proofed and ready for bake.
The 1/4 sheet pan is perfect for these. They fit nicely in the proofer.
I pre shaped them and used a mid stage after coating the ropes in sugar mix. I found I needed an 18 inch rope to easily tie the knots. If you look at the far right you can see the coated ropes waiting to be stretched and knotted.
The second layer of proofing rolls.
Is there a "standard" format for communicating a bread formula? If there is, I'd love it if some whould guide me to it.
I think Bakers' math is wonderful: a tool that carries so much information, in so few symbols. It's akin to tensor analysis. However, when I both read or write a bread formula I find myself stumbling. How do I "correctly" communicate the amount of preferment (sourdough starter, poolish, biga, pate fermente, etc.)? What useful information does the bakers' percentage of the total dough weight communicate? A check-sum digit?.
For example, as a home baker who keeps his seed starter refrigerated, I don't have a bubbling pot of fresh levain handy on the kitchen counter, for those moments when I think, "Why don't I just whip out a loaf before dinner time." Before each sourdough bake--or for that matter any bread incorporating any preferment--I have to build the budgeted amount of ripe levain needed by the amount of dough planned for. Of course, I have to account for the water and flour in the preferment in the final dough's balance. In my head (and in the spreadsheet program I wrote more than two years ago) I simply account for the flour in the levain--its weight(s) and type(s)-- in the planned flours' budget. Similarly, I account for its liquid weight in the planned liquid's budget. This has worked for me since day one; however, since day two--wanting to post/boast of my success--after I'd looked throughout TFL for a way to list, not a recipe, but this new found tool, a Formula--I was, and remain to this day confused. Now when I post the ratios of ingredients on a bread I've baked, I report the baker's percentage of the flour(s) used building the levain, and the levain's hydration. I think it is an accurate and complete communication, but it seems cumbersome. Furthermore, on both TFL, and in published breadbooks, I've not found a "standard" practice.
I've never listed the bakers' percentage of the total dough.Mea culpa.
In the words of the Beatles, "Help me, if you can!
Managing the Water
Secretly I enjoy the way all of us here in the Low Lands are stumbling into 2012. After days of continuous rainfall and storms coming in, the water levels are rapidly rising. A small stretch of dike in the North has broken, but much worse has been avoided so far by doing what the Dutch were born to do, or so it seems; managing the water. In some parts of the country dikes are broken on purpose to give way to the water in a controlled way. Storm barriers are lowered, risen, unfolded, or whatever which genius technical way they have come up with to protect us from the ever hungry rising water. Don't you love it when a system works? These are the moments that your hard-earned tax money is worth every cent you paid, and more! For instead of huffing and puffing and dragging sacks of sand around, I can sit here behind my computer, with dry feet and not worry about a thing. 'Cause I got some one watching out for me, and all of us out here! The Dutch province of Zeeland ("Sealand") is, when it comes to water, the "epitome" of what it means to be living at or under sea level. Looking at this map, I guess you can figure out why.
Luctor et EmergoThe slogan on their weapon shield reads "Luctor et Emergo", translating into "I struggle and emerge". Even though that slogan goes back a long time and actually refers to the struggle against Spanish occupation in the 16th century, the average Dutchman will associate Zeeland with the biggest disaster ever to hit the province on the 1st of February 1953. In a big storm and the flooding that followed, almost 2000 people drowned and 100.000 people lost everything they owned; their houses, their livestock, everything... They struggled, together with the rest of the country and did indeed "emerge". I an epic mission never to let this sort of thing happen again, they constructed this little baby;
Brought to Zeeland by the bakers of the Portuguese Sephardic Jews who were forced to flee north at the end of the 15th century, these sticky sweet rolls, traditionally shaped in a spiral, quickly became popular with the locals as well, to such an extent that the "Zeeuwse Bolus" has become the signature bake of the province in modern days. That is another thing the Dutch are quite good at; all through history the Netherlands has been a refuge and safe haven for people on the run. Or should I say; another thing the Dutch WERE good at, because nowadays, even though the biggest part of the world still thinks of The Netherlands as a liberal and tolerant place, the Dutch authorities are sending kids who were raised here out of the country just to set an example. Let this recipe for "zeeuwse bolussen" remind us all how something really good can come from opening up to "strangers" in dire need! Luctor et Emergo indeed...
500 gr. All Purpose Flour
7 gr. Salt 5 gr. Instant Yeast
320 gr. Lukewarm Milk
75 gr. Unsalted Butter
250 gr. Brown Sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
zest of one lemon
Combine the flour, yeast, zest and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Work in the softened butter with the tips of your fingers. Add the lukewarm milk. Depending on your flour, you may have to add a little more milk or need to hold a little back. Start with 300 gr. of milk and add more if needed; what you are looking for is a slightly slack dough that will be easy to roll out in strands. Mix until the dough is well-developed, it should pass the window pane test; approximately 10-15 minutes on medium low-speed.
Lightly oil a container, transfer the dough and coat all around with the oil for a first rise of about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, divide the dough into equal pieces of about 45 grams. You should end up with 14-16 dough pieces. Form the dough pieces into balls and let them rest for 20 minutes, so the dough will be slack enough to form into strands. First roll out all the balls into short strands of about 20 cm.
Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and cover your work surface with it . Then roll out the strands in the sugar mixture to a length of about 40 cm. If the dough really resists, you might have to go for a third round of rolling strands after giving it another 10 minutes to relax. Shape the strands into spirals or knots. The spiral is the more traditional way of shaping, but since the rolls come out of the oven really dark brown, I prefer to knot them, just to avoid associations that I won't go into here and now :-)
For spirals: start in the middle and just drape the dough in circles. It is okay to make it look a little rustic and not too neat! For knots: Place a strand horizontally in front of you. Take the ends and form two loops, leaving some space in the middle for proofing. Make a knot on each side of the loop.
Place the formed bolus on a baking sheet, cover and let them proof until puffed and doubled in size, for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F. Bake the "Zeeuwse Bolussen" for about 8 minutes. You want them to be just done, so keep a close eye on your oven. Too long and they will be crusty, too short and they will be gooey.
Please feel free to comment and subscribe if you want me to keep you updated. Also I want to ask you to endorse my growing BreadLab initiative on Facebook; every like gets me closer to realizing a 6 episode "breadomentary", chasing the beast bread the world has to offer. Thanks in advance!
German Style-Many Seed Bread
When Hanseata posted her last bread of the year, it was a reminder of a recipe I have seen in Peter Rhinehart’s “Whole Grain Breads”. I hadn't made this one yet but it looks like it has promise. Actually, I love this book. Peters “Epoxy or pre dough” method is inspired. The need for less kneading during the final dough mix delivers delicious results every time. I get rave reviews on all the breads I bake from WGB.
A couple of days ago, Khalid (mebake) posted his results on the same bread and reported his family loved the flavor. I know Khalid to be a very talented baker so for his family to make a big deal on this one, well, that is enough to drive me to try it. I checked my supplies and prepared for a 4 times multiple batch. I decided to follow Khalids lead and add crushed and toasted walnuts to the toasted seed package. Somehow toasted walnuts sounds perfect for this bread.
The bread I am baking is on Page 210 of WGB under the International section and is considered a Transitional bread as the Biga is made of Bread flour or Hi Gluten flour. Considering the amount of seeds added, I used All Trumps Hi Gluten and fresh ground WW.
My initial plan was to hand mix this 9 Lb+ batch. But as I started to chop the large amount of seeds into the soaker and biga, the DLX was calling my name. One of the things I try to avoid when baking PR’s recipes in this book is ending up with a crumb that has swirls because I didn’t distribute the ingredients well enough. Maybe a single loaf batch would be easier but this one looks like a physical challenge. The DLX handled the incorporation of the seeds with the soaker and biga with no problem. The aroma of the dough is remarkable.
The dough proofed quite well for being so rough. There are over 775g of seeds in 4200g of dough so I wasn’t expecting a large rise. The oven spring was nonexistent however so I was glad for the proof results. As you can see, it browned well and the baking profile was perfect to get a done interior crumb that is still moist. This bread is loaded with good wholesome flavor.
I highly encourage those who enjoy whole grain hearty breads to pick up a copy of Whole Grain Breads. Read the chapters on the process and the Master formula. Reinhart’s method on this is unique. Once you do it a couple of times, I find it’s very easy to fit in the schedule. He gives a conversion in most recipes for using your sourdough starter instead of yeast in the biga. His formulas and methods produce everything I am trying to accomplish with baking.
As good as this was last night just slightly warm, toasting brings yet another level of flavor out.
Here, a freshly cut slice shows the many seeds.
Glistening with melted butter, the flavor is amazing!
What is the end difference between using a poolish, or portion of the dough fermented overnight, vs. letting the whole loaf sit overnight? In an Italian bread baking class I took the teacher leaves his whole batch just sitting overnight at room temp in a bucket.
Do you just get a stronger flavor that way?
Do the two methods affect texture?
C B Findlay
I have been taking a pretty relaxed approach to my first attempt at starting a starter and I think it's working out ok. I got some wholemeal spelt flour and put it in a jam jar with water, then put a grape in, with bloom on the surface. When it started to show some activity I took the grape out and I have been stirring the stuff and adding spelt and then white bread flour, and pouring off liquid from the top. There was some acetone and then some blue cheese smell, but I made the mixture a bit drier and now it smells pretty good and yeasty and it's bubbling well. It's been going for about 10 days. It's on a bench that gets warm in the evenings and at lunchtime for an hour. Currently it's 25 C there.
I only have a small amount. I have taken a small quantity off to a different jar, as insurance, now I want to use some of what I have to make a loaf. Suppose I put some honey in a glass, dissolve in warm water, add a couple of tablespoons of my starter, leave somewhere warm for 10 mins, then add this to my flour? Then maybe expect a long slow rise? Is that the right sort of idea? Or am I rushing things?
I'm a 'returning' baker. I did a short tour of duty at friends' Tassajara-inspired breadshop startup in the early 70's, but hadn't made a loaf since, until my son miracled me Lahey last year. NKB broke the ice, but didn't cut the mustard for flavor & texture. So I'm studying Reinhart, Magee, Buehler et al. to up my game. I have a question that none has answered. I apologize in advance for how long this post will probably be.
More preface: I teach university-level botany, including the physiology and enzymology of the hydrolytic reactions that release stored, polymerized substrates when a cereal seed imbibes water. Reinhart is warmly inspring in his fascination with enzymes and his consequent advocacy of pre-ferments. But there's something about soakers in particular that contradicts botanical dogma.
Imbibition of water by cereal seeds (barley being the longstanding research model here) allows the stored hormone gibberellin to diffuse from the embryo ('germ' in baker-speak) through the endosperm to its outermost aleurone layer where it binds to protein receptors in aleurone cells. That binding sets in motion a series of biochemical reactions that ultimately result in starch-degrading enzymes being made de novo in, and secreted from, aleurone cells. Among these enzymes are the amylases familiar to anyone reading this. Other stored polymers -- proteins, fats, nucleic acids -- are also hydrolyzed by newly syntheized and secreted aleurone enzymes. So far so good -- Botany 101 cereal seed germination physiology.
As far as I know, these aleurone-synthesized hydrolytic enzymes do not exist in desiccated cereal grains of the sort we mill into bread flour. They only get made (to be precise, translated de novo from messenger RNAs) in intact seeds that have imbibed water that allowed diffusion of the hormonal signal from the embryo. This implies that there shouldn't be any amylase enzyme activity in a soaker consisting of flour and milk, soy milk, buttermilk, etc., unless the milk introduces them. I don't recall any writers claiming that. So where do soakers' hydrolytic activities come from? Addition of yeast or diastatic malt changes everything of course. But I'm talking basic liquid+flour soakers.
On the other hand, if sprouted grains are used in a soaker, and perhaps importantly, if they are gently mashed first, to release these enzymes to better expose the flour's starch to them, then the latter might indeed be acted upon by aleurone enzymes to release simpler sugars (read: flavors) from the flour. (I'm dying to try this)
So why do soakers work? Starch-hydrolytic enzymes should not be present in them, because the cellular integrity of the seed that is required to initiate their synthesis is destroyed in milling. Empirically of course, soakers do work. It isn't the milk: I've used ultrapasteurized (Meijer organic -- good!) milk in my Reinhart soakers with delicious results. Ultrapasturization oughta nuke any enzymatic activities for sure. Is my dogmatic view of germination and amylases overly simplistic, ignoring rogue amylases conveniently present in milled grain? Or are these writers giving enzymes more credit than they're due, ignoring some non-enzymatic, physical process?
Sorry for the verbosity. Incorrigible. I have more questions, but they can wait. Thanks.
My wife likes her sourdough sour. And a happy wife is better than the alternative. Not that I dislike sour sourdough. Indeed, for some purposes (along side a salad, or as toast, or as an appetizer with cheese, or….), I like my sourdough sour, too.
I hadn’t changed anything up in my usual sourdough bread (which I call San Francisco Country Sourdough) for a while. I’d been meaning to try it with some toasted wheat germ added, a variation taken from the SFBI Miche formula many of us have played with. Also, the talk recently about the Larraburu Brothers bread, and means of achieving sournness, had me thinking I should go for the sour.
So I followed my usual formula, but I added 2% toasted wheat germ (18 grams) and an additional 20 grams of water. To encourage sourness, I let my liquid levain ripen longer than usual (14 hours), retarded the loaf for 16 hours after a three-hour primary ferment, and baked the loaves four and a half hours after the dough came out of the fridge (90 minute warm up, 60 minutes between pre-shaping and shaping, and a two hour proof).
The bread is nicely sour. The crust is crispy as usual. The crumb is moist and toothsome but not tough. The crumb is more regular (less full of irregular holes) than usual; this might be attributable to the wheat germ cutting gluten fibers. All in all, a good variation.
My sour-loving wife liked it, and noticed the extra wheaty flavor.
Here’s the formula:
San Francisco Country Sourdough—With Wheat Germ (version 12-8-12)
Yield: Two 770g Loaves; or Three Mini-Baguettes (245g each) and one 800g Loaf; or One 1000g loaf and two 270g baguettes; 0r Three 513 gram loaves; or…
100 grams AP flour
24 grams Whole Wheat flour
12 grams Whole rye flour
170 grams Water, cool (60 F or so)
28 Mature culture (75% hydration)
FINAL DOUGH (67% hydration, including levain)
640 grams All-Purpose flour (83%)*
85 grams Whole wheat flour (11%)**
45 grams Whole rye flour (6%)
18 grams toasted Wheat Germ (2%)
455 grams Warm water (80 F or so) (58%)
17 grams Salt (2%)
306 Liquid levain (48%)
1. LIQUID LEVAIN: Make the final build 12 to 15 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F
2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary. Cover the bowl and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency.
3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F: 3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 20-strokes at 45-minute intervals. Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes. If the dough has not increased in size by 75% or so, let it go a bit longer.
4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional): After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.
5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: [Note: if bulk retarded, let dough come to room temperature for 30-90 minutes before pre-shaping.] Divide the dough into pieces and pre-shape. Let sit on board for 30-45 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.
6. PROOFING: Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates. Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.
7. BAKING: Slash loaves. Bake with steam, on stone. Turn oven to 450 °F after it hits 500F after loading loaves. Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes (10 for baguettes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (for 750g loaves; less for smaller loaves). Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary. When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.