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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.

  

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Lesson: Squeeze more sour from your sourdough

I am far from a sourdough expert. I’ve only been baking sourdough since February, and I still have a lot to learn about shaping, scoring and proofing to perfection.

However, there is one thing I have learned well: how to squeeze more flavor out of my naturally sweet starter. Here's the basic tips.

1) Keep the starter stiff
2) Spike your white starter with whole rye
3) Use starter that is well-fed
4) Keep the dough cool
5) Extend the rise by degassing
6) Proof the shaped loaves overnight in the fridge

Photos and elaboration follow.

It’s a common lament that I see on bread baking forums – Why isn’t my sourdough sour?

Personally, I blame Watertown. My evidence? I gave some of my starter to a friend who lives six miles away in Lexington. Within 6 weeks, she was making sour tasting sourdough. Her local yeastie beasties are clearly more sour than mine.

I don’t know what it is about the microflora that live in the little hollow between the hills that I occupy in Watertown, Mass., but treated traditionally, my white starter and my whole wheat starter pack as much sour taste as a loaf of Wonder Bread. That’s not to say that the loaves don’t taste nice. They do. They’re wheaty with a touch of a buttery aftertaste.

But they don’t taste sour, which is how I think sourdough ought to taste.

Anyway, I’ve finally figured out how to get the tangy loaves I love. If you’re facing the same sweet trouble as me, perhaps some (or all) of these tips will help.

1) Keep your starter stiff:

Traditionally, sourdough starter is kept as a batter. The most common consistency is to have equal weights of water and flour, also known as 100% hydration because the water weight is equal to 100% of the flour weight. That’s roughly 1 scant cup of flour to about ½ cup of water. Jeffrey Hammelman keeps his at 125%, and quite a few folks keep theirs at 200% (1 cup water to 1 cup flour).

I keep my sourdough starter at 50% hydration, meaning that for every 2 units of flour weight, I add 1 unit of water.

Barney Barm, my white starter is on the left; Arthur the whole wheat starter on the right. The bran and germ in whole wheat absorb a lot of water, so that starter is even stiffer than the white.

There are two basic types of bacteria that flourish in a sourdough starter. One produces lactic acid, which gives the bread a smooth taste, sort of like yogurt. It does best in wet, warm environment. The other makes acetic acid, the acid that gives bread its sharp tang. These bacteria prefer a drier, cooler environment.

(Or so I've read, anyway. I ain't no biochemist; I just know what they print in them books.)

A hydration of 50% is pretty stiff, especially for a whole-wheat starter. You really have to knead strongly to convince the starter to incorporate all the flour.

For example, here's my white starter after I've done my best to mix it up in the bucket. Time to knead a bit.

Here's what it looks like after kneading.

And here's what it looks like 5 hours later once it's ripe.

Conversion from 100% to 50% isn't hard to do if you've got a kitchen scale.

Take 2 ounces of your 100% starter. Then add 5 ounces of flour and 2 ounces of water. This should give you 9 ounces of starter. Leave it overnight, and it should be ripened in the morning.

From there on out when you feed it, add 1 unit of water for every 2 units of flour. I'd recommend feeding it 2 or 3 more times before using it, though, so that the yeast and bacteria can acclimate to the new environment.

There are additional advantages to a stiff starter beyond producing a more sour bread.

First, a stiff starter is easier to transport. Just throw a hunk into a bag, and you’re done.

Supposedly, the stiff stuff keeps longer than the batters. You can leave stiff starter in the fridge for months, or so I hear, and it can still be revived. Never tried it myself, though, so don't take my word for it.

Finally, the math for feeding is easy at 50% hydration, much easier than 60% or 65%. Just feed your starter in multiples of threes. For exmaple, if I’ve got 3 ounces of starter and I need to feed it, I'll probably triple it in size. To get six additional ounces for food, I just add 4 ounces flour and 2 ounces water. Piece of cake.

Converting recipes isn’t hard either. First, figure out the total water weight and total flour weight in the original recipe, including what's in the starter. If the recipe calls for a 100% hydration starter, then half of the starter is flour and the other half is water. Divide it accordingly to get the total flour and total water weights in the final dough.

Now, add the total water and total flour together. Take that figure and multiply by 0.30. This will tell you how much stiff starter you’ll need.

Last, subtract the amount of water in the stiff starter from the total water in the final dough, and the amount of flour in the stiff starter from the total flour in the final dough. The results tell you how much flour and water to add to the starter to get the final dough. Everything else remains the same.

2) Spike your white starter with whole rye flour:

It doesn’t take much. Currently, my white starter is about 10-15% whole rye. Basically, for every 3 ounces of white flour that I feed the starter, I replace ½ ounce with whole rye. That small portion of rye makes a big difference in flavor. Rye is to sourdough microflora as spinach is to Popeye. It’s super-food that’s easily digestible and nutrient rich. That’s why so many recipes for getting a starter going from scratch suggest you start with whole rye.

Here I am, about to add rye to "Barney Barm," my white starter. I haven’t added rye to my whole-wheat starter, though. It hasn’t needed it – there’s more than enough nutrients in the whole wheat to keep the starter party going strong.

3) Use starter that is well fed: Early in my search to sour my sourdough, I’d read that, if you leave a starter unfed and on the counter for a few days before baking, it will make your bread more sour.

I’ve found that’s not the case. The starter gets more sour, but the bread doesn’t taste very sour at all.

The better course is to take your starter out of the fridge at least a couple of days before you use it, and then feed it two or three times before you make the final dough. Healthy microflora make a more flavorful bread.

4) Keep the dough cool:

When I first started out, I was following recipes that called for the dough to be at 79 degrees, and I’d often put it in a fairly warm place to rise. Warmth kills sour taste. Nowadays, I add water that’s room temperature, not warmed, and aim for a much cooler rise, no higher than 75 degrees and often as low as 64.

The cellar is your friend.

5) Extend the rise by degassing:

When I make whole wheat sourdough, I usually let the dough rise until it has doubled and then degass it by folding until it rises a second time. Along with cool dough, this means the bulk fermentation usually lasts 5-6 hours.

When I’m making pain au levain or some other white flour sourdough, I usually have the dough very wet, so it needs more than one fold to give it the strength it needs. In this case, I fold once at 90 minutes and then again after another 90 minutes. Usually, the full bulk rise lasts about 5 hours.

Here's a sequence showing how I fold my whole-wheat sourdough.

First, turn the risen dough out on a lightly floured surface (heavily floured if your dough is very wet).

Stretch it to about twice its length.

Gently degass one-third of the dough, fold it over the middle, and degass the middle section to seal.

Do the same for the remaining side. Take the folded dough, turn it one-quarter, and fold once more before returning to the bowl or bucket to rise again.

6) Proof the shaped loaves overnight in the fridge:

This final touch really brings out the flavor. So much so that, if you’ve incorporated all the other suggestions, proofing overnight might make your bread a bit too sour for your taste. My wife and I like it assertively sour, however, so this step is a must.

Normally, I’d suggest proofing your loaves on the top shelf where it’s warmest, so as not to kill off any yeast, but I find that if I put my loaves in the top, they’re ready in about 4-6 hours, at which time I’m usually sound asleep. So I started putting them in the bottom, and had better luck.

I hope this helps those of you who dread pulling another beautiful loaf from the oven, only to find it looks better than it tastes. Best of luck!

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Polenta Pepita Sourdough

I haven't made this bread in a long time but it is a real treat, and gets devoured as treats tend to do.  The precise formula doesn’t really matter so much with this bread – any light sourdough will do - it is the addition of polenta and pepitas (aka, pumpkin seeds, “polenta pepita” is just more fun to say) that makes the magic.  The combination is featured in Tartine Bread with the addition of rosemary and corn oil but I’ve never tried it that way.  I like the versatility of this herbless version.  A little cranberry sauce on a toasted slice really sings.

 Marcus

  

 

Day One-

Build starter and ferment for 8-10 hours.

Prep the polenta – mix with boiling water and leave to soak 8-10 hours. Use plenty of water, the excess will be discarded before the polenta is added to the dough.

Day Two-

Lightly toast the pepitas if desired.  Allow time to cool before adding them to the dough.

Drain the polenta.

Mix flour, water and polenta.  Autolyse 20 minutes.

Add the starter and salt.  Knead about 2 minutes to incorporate

Stretch and fold about every 15 minutes until the gluten is developed.  Add the pepitas on the second or third round.  I think I did five rounds of S&F, but this varies depending on the flour so I go by the feel of the dough rather than a set number.

Total bulk ferment was about 4 hours at 76⁰F.  Final ferment was about 2 hours.

Bake at 450⁰F for 45 minutes total.  Steam the first 15 minutes.

 

Eclairs

eclair tray

Want to impress your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? REALLY impress your sweetie? Then make these éclairs.

They look like they'd be a ton of work, don't they? I thought they would be, but they really aren't that hard. From first flipping open the cookbook (the 1997 edition of the Joy of Cooking) to the moment I was getting blissed out eating them was under two hours. Not bad at all, and fresh out of the oven these were the best éclairs I've ever had.

Eclairs

There are three parts to éclairs: the pastry (pâte à choux), the filling (crème pâtissière), and the topping (chocolate ganache). If you are strapped for time you could cut corners on one or more of the parts by doing things like using frozen puffed pastry for the pastry, pudding or whipped cream for the filling, or some other frosting for the topping. Take a look at the recipes before doing so though: none of the pieces are that hard. There are a few places where you have to bring things to a boil carefully to prevent scalding, but I've found that if you warm the ingredients in the microwave before combining them in your sauce pan you can easily cut 10 or 15 minutes of stirring out of the process.

Choux Paste (pâte à choux)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

Combine the water, milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Stir in the flour and, while mixing, cook another minute or 2 to eliminate excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

choux paste

Beat in one egg at at time. When they have all been beaten in and the paste is smooth and shiny, set aside to cool. The paste may be use immediately or covered and refrigerated for later use.

Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

1/3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons corn starch

4 egg yolks

1 1/3 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the sugar, flour, corn starch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.

egg mixture

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Gradually pour the milk into the egg mixture, stirring it in as you do so. When fully combined, pour all of it into the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes then remove mixture from heat. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.

Cover the top with wax paper or parchment to prevent a skin from forming. This cream may be refrigerated for a day or two before use or used immediately.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

Heat the cream. Stir in the chocolate and continue heating and stirring until all of the chocolate is melted.

ganache

Éclairs: Assembly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Form small logs out of the Choux paste on a baking sheet. If you have a pastry bag with large tips, you can squeeze them out neatly. I do not, so I just formed the logs with a spoon and my fingers.

eclair shaping

These were about an inch across and 3 to 4 inches long.

Bake the pastries for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the eclairs you are making.

When they are golden brown, turn the oven off. Poke a hole in the small end of the eclair and place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes to dry out. Remove the eclairs from the oven and let them cool a few minutes.

baked eclairs

For the topping, dip or dribble the eclairs in the chocolate ganache.

eclairs

To fill the eclairs, you can either use a pastry bag and squirt the pastry cream in through the drying hole as I did. Or you can slice the eclairs lengthwise and scoop the filling inside and place the top half back on top.

filling eclairs

There you have it: chocolate, creamy bliss.

The eclairs keep OK for a few days in the refrigerator in an air tight container, but they are not nearly as good as when they are first assembled. Take my advice: make all of the elements in the same session, bake them up and make a fresh pot of coffee, and enjoy them immediately. You won't be sorry!

tray of eclairs

Related Recipes: Pain Rapide au Chocolat, Brioche.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread in window
I love pumpkin bread and muffins any time of the year, particularly with chocolate chips in it and while sipping a cup of dark coffee, but pumpkin bread seems particularly appropriate this time of year.

This is a recipe for your standard pumpkin quick bread; yeasted pumpkin breads are rare, though not unheard of. Fresh pumpkin can be be used, though I usually take the easy way out and just use canned pumpkin puree. Whole wheat flour can also be substituted for some or all of the all-purpose flour for a change of pace.

Because the moisture content of the pumpkin can vary, as it can in the flour, the recipe recommends between 3 and 4 cups of flour. I used about 3 1/2 cups, but don't be afraid to trust your gut and adjust according to conditions.


Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Makes approximately 12 muffins, 3 small loaves, or 1 large loaf
1 3/4 cup (1 15 oz. can) pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 eggs
3-4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chopped walnuts or chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and eggs and mix until creamy. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except the nuts or chocolate chips. Mix 3 cups of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then add as much of the 4th cup as necessary to achieve the proper consistency (moist, but thick enough to stand a spoon in). Add the nuts or chocolate chips and stir in.

Pour or spoon the batter into greased muffin tins or bread pans. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick poked into the center comes out dry. At sea level, muffins should take between 20 and 25 minutes to bake, small loaves between 25 and 30 minutes, and full sized loaves between 50 minutes and 1 hour.

pumpkin bread on cutting board
Autumn is here!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Sourdough 100% Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread - whole grain breads can be soft too


A while ago, I posted about how to make "shreddably soft" sourdough sandwich bread (see here). I got some questions regarding whether the same thing can be achieved with whole grain breads. Well, yes and no. The more whole grain flour there is in the dough, the lower the gluten is, so 100% whole grain breads won't be exactly AS SOFT AS the white flour one. However, with the right formula, and proper handling, 100% whole grain breads like this one CAN be very moist and soft - even shreddably so.This one is made using just sourdough starter, extra delicious when the rich flavor of ww is combined with the slight tang of sourdough.


First of all, there needs to be enough ingredients in the formula to enrich and moist the crumb. This bread is adapted from my all time favorite whole grain bread book "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" , in addition to oil, honey, and sourdough levain, oatmeal is soaked in boiling water the night before to add moisture to the final dough, which contributes to the soft crumb. My adaption to the formula is to chagne the dry yeast to sourdough, and increased hydration a tiny bit.


Secondly, ww doughs have lower gluten level, which means while you still have to knead it really well (to full developement), the windowpane you achieve won't be as strong as the white flour one. This also leads to a denser bread, which means for the same tin, you will need to add more dough to get the same volume. Since ww flour absorb more water, but absorb it slower, so it really helps to autolyse, and autolyse longer (40-60min) than for white doughs. It's easier to overknead a ww dough (in a mixer) too, so be very careful - for that reason, I usually finish kneading by hand.


Thirdly, it's also easy to over fermentate ww doughs. I kept the levain ratio in this dough pretty low, and made sure when it's taken out of fridge for proofing, the temperature is relatively warm(~72F). I found if it takes too long for the dough to finish proofing (once I left it by the window, where it's only 68F, it took 10hours instead of 6 hours to finish proofing), the crumb gets rough, and the taste gets unpleansantly sour.


Finally, the ww flour I used here is King Arthure WW, I have used other ww flour before, but KAF gives me the most consistent result.


 


Sourdough 100% Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread (Adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book")


Note: 15% of the flour is in levain


Note: total hydration is 89%, higher than usual because of the oatmeal soaker


Note: total flour is 375g, fit a 8X4 loaf pan. For my Chinese small-ish pullman pan, I used 330g total flour. For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I have not tried it myself, but I would suggest using about 600g of total flour. Obviously for pullman pans, you can bake with or without lid.


- levain


ww starter (100%), 16g


water, 26g


ww bread flour, 48g


1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.


- soaker


rolled oats (I used old fashioned), 53g


boiling water, 240g


salt, 8g


2. Mix and cover for 12 hours.


- final dough


ww flour, 319g (I used KAF)


water, 60g


oil, 30g


honey, 38g


all soaker


all levain


3. Mix together everything, autolyse for 40-60min.Knead until the gluten is very developed. This intensive kneading s the key to a soft crumb, and proper volume. The windowpane will be thin, but NOT as strong as one would get form a white flour dough. For more info on intensive kneading, see here.



 


4. Bulk rise at room temp (73F) for 2 hours, the dough would have expanded noticably, but not too much. Fold, and put in fridge overnight.


5. Divid and Rest for one hour.


6. Shape into sandwich loaves, the goal here is to get rid of all air bubles in the dough, and shape them very tightly and uniformly, this way the crumb of final breads would be even and velvety, with no unsightly holes. For different ways to shape (rolling once or twice, i.e. 3 piecing etc) see here.


7. Proof until the dough reaches one inch higher than the tin (for 8X4 inch tin), or 80% full (for pullman pan). About 6 hours at 72F.



8. Bake at 375F for 40-45min. Brush with butter when it's warm.



Nice and soft crumb from both the 8X4inch tin (rolling once) ...



Baked another one in a small pullman tin (rolling twice, 3 piecing, baked without lid)



 


Excellent ww flavor enhanced by sourdough, without any hint of bitterness. Stays soft and moist for days.



 


So, yes, 100% whole wheat breads can be soft, like THIS



Sending this to Yeastspotting.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Firm Sourdough Starter - Glezer recipe

I’m finally getting around to posting Maggie Glezer’s firm sourdough starter recipe.  For those of you having problems with your starters you might wish to give this a try.  Most people here are using batter-style starters so it might be interesting to see if there is any discussion on firm starters.  Plus I need help in learning to convert properly for use in recipes which don’t use a firm starter and there are always questions that come up. I have photographed my starter from mixing the dough ball and pressing it into the pint-sized jar through several hourly increments where you can see how grows and finally it quadruples in 8 hours, or in this case just short of 8 hours, which is the “gold standard” Maggie talks about for a firm starter to be ready to leaven bread.


I realize there are many opinions and methods on sourdough starters and this is only the one I’ve chosen and that works for me.  But as many of you know, I’m a bread newbie and a sourdough newbie and I’m interested in all the information.  Some of you were asking about a firm starter so thought this might help. 

PHOTOS on firm starter: 

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/2617049#138085923

(NOTE: Edited to correct recipe 9-25-07 so if you copied it prior to this date please recopy and accept my apologies!)

SOURDOUGH STARTER DIARY – © Copyright, Maggie Glezer, Blessing of Bread

(How to make sourdough bread in two weeks or less)  

To begin a starter, you need only whole rye flour, which is rich in sourdough yeasts and bacteria, bread flour, water, time, and persistence (lots of the last two).  Amounts are small because I like to use the minimum of flour practical for building the sourdough, as so much of it will be thrown away.  If you are baking bread in the meantime, you can add any of these discards to a yeasted dough for extra flavor. 

WEEK ONE: 

SUNDAY EVENING:  Mix 1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) whole rye flour with 1/4 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) water to make a thick paste and scrape it into a clean sealed jar.

TUESDAY MORNING:  The starter should have puffed a bit and smell sharp.  Add 1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) bread flour and 1/4 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) water to the jar, stir it well, and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to clean them.  Reseal the jar. 

WEDNESDAY MORNING:  The starter should have risen quickly.  It is now time to convert it into a stiff starter.  In a small bowl, dissolve a scant 2 tablespoons (30 grams/1.1 ounces) starter (discard the rest) in 2 tablespoons (30 grams/1.1 ounces) water, then add 1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) bread flour and knead this soft dough.  Place it in a clean jar or lidded container, seal it, and let it ferment.

THURSDAY EVENING:  The starter will not have risen at all; it will have only become very gooey.  Repeat the above refreshment, throwing away any extra starter.

WEEK TWO: 

SATURDAY EVENING:  The starter will not have risen at all; it will have only become very gooey.  Repeat the same refreshment.

MONDAY MORNING:  The starter will finally be showing signs of rising, if only slightly!  Repeat the refreshment.

TUESDAY MORNING:  The starter should be clearly on its way and have tripled in twenty-four hours.  Repeat the refreshment.

WEDNESDAY MORNING:  The starter should be getting stronger and more fragrant and have tripled in twenty-four hours.  Repeat the refreshment. 

WEDNESDAY EVENING:  The starter should have tripled in eight hours.  It will be just about ready to use.  Reduce the starter in the refreshment to 1 tablespoon (15 grams/0.5 ounce) starter using the same amounts of water and bead flour as before.

THURSDAY MORNING:  The starter is ready for its final refreshment.  Use 1 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams/0.4 ounce) starter, 2 tablespoons (30 grams/1.1 ounces) water, and 1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) bread flour.THURSDAY EVENING:  The starter is now ready to use in a recipe or to be refreshed once more and then immediately stored in the refrigerator.

     

Refreshment for a complete Sourdough Starter 

MAKES:  About a rounded 1/3 cup (90 grams/3.3 ounces) starter, enough to leaven about 3 1/3 cups (450 grams/16 ounces) flour in the final dough 

This stiff starter needs to be refreshed only every twelve hours.  Use this formula to refresh a refrigerated starter after if has fully fermented and started to deflate.  If the following starter does not quadruple in volume in eight hours or less, refresh it again, with these proportions, until it does.  If your kitchen is very cold, you will need to find a warmer area to ferment your starter.

1 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams/0.4 ounce) fully fermented sourdough starter

2 tablespoons (30 grams/1.1 ounces) water

1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) bread flour 

MIXING THE STARTER:  In a small bowl, dissolve the starter in the water, then stir in the flour.  Knead this stiff dough until smooth.  You may want to adjust the consistency of the starter:  For a milder, faster-fermenting starter, make the starter softer with a little more water; for a sharper, slower-fermenting starter, make the starter extra stiff with a bit more flour.  Place it in a sealed container to ferment for 8 to 12 hours, or until it has fully risen and deflates when touched.

  

Conversion of a Batter-Type Starter into a Stiff Starter 

MAKES:  About a rounded 1/3 cup (90 grams/3.2 ounces) starter, enough to leaven about 3 1/3 cups (450 gram/16 ounces) flour in the final dough

If you already have a batter-type starter – that is, a starter with a pancake-batter consistency – you will need to convert it into a stiff starter for the Glezer recipes, or to check its strength.

1 tablespoon (15 grams/0.5 ounce) very active, bubbly batter-type starter

1 tablespoon (15 grams/0.5 ounce) water

1/3 cup (50 grams/1.8 ounces) bread flour 

MIXING THE STARTER:  In a small bowl, mix the starter with the water, then stir in the flour.  Mix this little dough until smooth, adjusting its consistency as necessary with small amounts of flour or water to make a stiff but easily kneaded starter.  Let it ferment in a sealed container for 8 to 12 hours, or until it is fully risen and starting to deflate.  If the starter has not quadrupled in volume in 8 hours or less, continue to refresh it with the proportions in “Refreshment for a Completed Sourdough Starter” until it does.

 
sortachef's picture
sortachef

Real Italian Hoagie Rolls

Homemade Hoagie Rolls fresh from the Oven


 


Real Italian Hoagie Rolls


 


After a week in the Philly area rediscovering my local sandwich joints, I came back to Seattle with the fresh taste of hoagie rolls lingering in my mouth. Over the next few weeks, with some hints from the folks at the Conshohocken Italian Bakery, I managed to replicate them.


I'd had Conshohocken Bakery's rolls at Pudge's, famous for steaks and hoagies in Blue Bell, PA. My first attempts came out more like baguettes, and so I tweaked the humidity and the flour content, but once I got close the cross-section of my rolls were not super round, and the bite was still too dense.


One morning I called the people at Conshohocken Bakery (voted #1 Italian bakery in the region) and told them what I was doing. Their head baker listened to my techniques and sorted a few things out.  


So here you go, sandwich rolls that are as close to authentic East Coast sandwich rolls as you're ever likely to get in a home kitchen. Call them what you want: torpedos, hoagie rolls, subs or zeps. In any case, I think you'll agree they make the best sandwiches around!


 


Makes 6 rolls, 9" long


14 hours for overnight rise (8 hours for fast rise)


 


2 teaspoons dry yeast (+ 1 teaspoon for fast rise)


4 teaspoons sugar


½ cup water at 100°


 


14 ounces (2 ¾ cups) unbleached all purpose flour


6 ounces (1¼ cup) High Gluten flour


2½ teaspoons salt


¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid, available as Fruit Fresh


2/3 cup whey*


2/3 cup water at 100°


 


½ cup extra flour for bench work


2 Tablespoons of cornmeal or semolina to coat pans


 


Necessary for producing high-rising rolls:


2 heavyweight cookie sheets or jelly roll pans


6 quarry tiles to line oven rack, or a pizza stone


A good spray bottle to create steam in your oven


A humid 80° environment


 


*To make whey: 32 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt will yield 2/3 cup whey in about 2 hours. Line a strainer with paper towels or several layers of cheese cloth and set it over a pan or shallow bowl. Pour in the yogurt, cover lightly and set it to do its stuff in the refrigerator. The whey will drain from the yogurt and collect in the bowl. Measure carefully before adding.


(The resulting strained yogurt is great drizzled with honey for breakfast. You can also mix it with shredded cucumber, salt, garlic and thyme to make tatziki - our favorite Greek dip.)


 


Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and ½ cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foam forms on the mixture. Add 20 ounces of flour, salt, ascorbic acid, whey and water and mix to form a cohesive mass, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.


Knead for 10 minutes, using as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to your counter and hands. Clean out the mixing bowl.


 


First rise: You can start these rolls in the morning (using an extra teaspoon of yeast in the dough) and let rise, lightly covered, for 4 ½ hours at room temperature. In order to have the rolls ready for lunchtime, however, it's best to make your dough the evening before and let it rise, covered, in a 55° environment overnight. Set the dough at room temperature for an hour or two in the morning before continuing. By this time either method will yield dough that has roughly tripled in bulk.


 


Second rise: Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the dough into a fat snake and fold it into thirds. Gently push the dough into a fat snake shape again, letting it rest for a few minutes as it resists. This method will elongate the gluten, yielding the best rolls. Fold in thirds, put back in the mixing bowl, cover lightly and let sit at room temperature (70°) for 1½ hours, until nearly doubled in bulk.


 


Shape the rolls: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a snake again, tucking the long outer edge over itself and squeezing in to the bottom seam by using your fingers. Your emphasis from here on out is to create a gluten cloak, a continuous skin on the top and sides of the rolls.


When the snake of dough is about 2 feet long, cut it in half. Form each half into an 18" snake and cut it into three equal pieces. You will now have 6 portions of dough, each weighing between 6 and 6½ ounces. Tuck into cigar shapes and let them rest for 15 minutes.


Sprinkle cornmeal onto the cookie sheets or jellyroll pans and have them handy. Warm your 80° humid environment. (See Creating an 80° Environment at the bottom of Aunt Marie's Dinner Rolls.) Your environment should include a pan of hot water.


After your rolls have rested, flatten them somewhat to expel the largest gas bubbles, and then fold them gently into torpedoes of dough that are 9" long. Pull the gluten cloak over each roll evenly and tuck into one long seam. Put three rolls on each pan, seam-side down onto the cornmeal.


 


Third rise and preheat: Let finished rolls rise for 1 hour to 1 hours 10 minutes in an 80° humid environment. Line the center rack in your oven with a pizza stone or quarry tiles and preheat the oven to 450° a half hour into this rise. Have a good spray bottle with water in it beside the oven.


 


Bake with steam: Put a pan of the fully risen rolls directly on the quarry tiles or pizza stone and quickly spray the hot sides and bottom of the oven with 6 or 7 squirts of water. Clap the door shut to keep in the heat and the steam. Bake rolls for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn oven off for 2 more minutes, and then remove rolls to a rack to cool. (As oven temperatures and spray bottles vary, your results may as well. Rolls are ready when the crust is medium brown.)


 


Repeat with the other pan of rolls.


 


When rolls have cooled, split them and pile on your favorite sandwich ingredients. My favorite Ham Hoagie is shown below. Enjoy!


 


Many thanks to the Conshohocken Italian Bakery for advice on this recipe. If you live nearby, run - don't walk - to their bakery.


 


Copyright © 2011 by Don Hogeland.  For original post, sandwich stories and more photos go to  http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=1657


 


Ham Hoagie made the a Real Italian Hoagie Roll


ananda's picture
ananda

Laminated Yeasted Dough Construction

Hi,

I thought some detail on creating laminated dough for croissants etc may be a popular subject.

 

CROISSANT DOUGH

 

MATERIAL

FORMULA

[AS % OF FLOUR]

RECIPE

[GRAMMES]

RECIPE [GRAMMES]

Strong White Flour

100

600

1000

Salt

1.3

8

13

Milk Powder

5

30

50

Fresh Yeast

6

36

60

Cold Water

63

378

630

SUB-TOTAL

175.3

1052

1753

Butter

41.7

250

417

TOTAL

217

1302

2170

Method:

  • Mix the ingredients for the dough to form cool, developed dough.
  • Put in a plastic bag in the chiller and rest for 30 minutes. Cut the butter into 4mm thick strips and put back in the chiller.
  • Roll the dough out to a rectangle 8mm thick. Put the butter pieces flat onto 2/3 of the rectangle, and fold as below:

 

  • Turn the dough piece clockwise through 90°. Roll out to the same size as before, fold as above, and turn. Repeat once more.
  • Chill the billet for half an hour and give 2 more folds and half turns as described. This gives 168 layers of butter in the croissant dough. Chill again for half an hour.
  • Roll the dough piece out to 5mm and use a croissant cutter to cut out triangle shapes. Stack into piles of 6 and rest covered for 2-3 minutes.   You can use a template made from wood, or, cardboard, to cut out the individual triangle shapes instead.   Please see the video, at 1 min 35secs, for a brief view of the croissant cutter on the left of the screen.
  • Tease out each triangle, fold up the top edge and roll up tightly. Roll out the feet to pointed ends and move round so these feet join up to make the classic shape.   See Vicki demonstrating this in the pictuure below.   For Pain au Chocolat and Pain Amande, cut the dough into strips, 6 x 10 cm; cover with small chocolate chips, or a thin layer of almond paste, and roll up so the seam is well pressed down on the bottom.
  • Place on silicone lined baking sheets and brush with beaten egg.   For the pain amande, dip in flaked almonds
  • Prove at 38-40°C, 80%rH for 40 minutes.

Bake in a hot oven, 235°C for 12-15 minutes; a deck oven should be set at 7 for top heat, and 5 for bottom.   No steam is used, and a damper is not needed.

[Almond Paste to make Pain Amande]

150g Icing Sugar, 150g Caster Sugar, 300g Ground Almonds, 50g Egg, beaten, 1 tbsp Lemon Juice

 

 

Key Principles of successful laminated dough:

  • 1. The dough should not be too wet. If the dough is soft, it will stick to the bench and the pin, and the laminations will quickly be ruined. If the dough is too tight, it will be difficult to roll out without the dough insisting on springing back. Some have advised that the dough need not, therefore, be fully-mixed. This is because all the rolling and folding will continue the dough development. My own thought on the matter is that the dough should be developed to the level allowed by the choice of flour used. So if a top grade flour is used, the dough should be mixed accordingly. If the flour is not so strong, it will not tolerate intensive mixing anyway; by hand, or, machine.
  • 2. The best way to deal with dough which springs back is to allow extra resting time. Allowing plenty rest between turns is the first key principle to grasp. If you compare the folding process to working out bicep muscles in the gym, you should not go far wrong. Bicep curls would be repeated to the point where the muscle is so tensed up it cannot do any more. After a period of rest the same moves are repeated. The moves are designed to strengthen the muscle by continued work. But there has to be rest in between to allow the muscles to relax. It is exactly the same for the gluten-based protein fraction in the dough.
  • 3. The other key principle is to be able to work cold. It is generally cold and raining here in the UK, but I am aware many who write on this site have problems creating cool enough conditions in the kitchen to lessen the burden of making these items; I wish I lived where it was warm too, don't you believe it! Here are a few options:
  • Use a chilled marble slab, or, a refrigerated work surface.
  • Use crushed ice in the dough, or chill the dough water for an extended period prior to dough mixing.
  • A good trick is to chill the dough overnight. Give the dough 3 half turns, then bag and chill overnight. Waken up early the next morning, give the dough its last half turn and process from there. Bake off the croissants and serve straightaway for breakfast. You have just made yourself soooo popular with everyone in the house, forever!
  • 4. What about the choice of laminating fat? Commercial croissants tend to be made with specialised and plasticised fats. This means the final product tends to be just a lot of air! Worse still if the fat is cheap, the melting point will be high, and the product will stick in the roof of the mouth [palate cling] These fats are not exactly renowned for their health-giving properties, either. So they are used on cost and performance grounds. As far as I am concerned croissants are made with all-butter. It is possible to buy a concentrated butter commercially. This is great, because all the water has been removed, so it means the butter block can be rolled out to a sheet, without it melting. Household dairy butter has a water content of 15-20%, so the problem with not working cold, is that the butter can easily start to melt, meaning the death of all the laminations you have worked so hard to achieve. So, performance-wise, butter is not the best, but for flavour, it obviously has no competition. I'm pretty sure concentrated butter is only available commercially; this is definitely the case for the UK and rest of the EU too.
  • 5. Regarding lamination; due care and skill is the 3rd principle. I teach that croissant are given 4 half turns. Danish are often given only 3. Full puff paste employs equal laminating fat to flour used in the dough. This is usually given 6 half turns. The more turns, the more layers created. Above I state 4 turns gives 168 layers. Another 2 half turns works out as follows

168 x 3 = 504   504 x 3 = 1512.   So many layers is incredibly difficult to achieve.   Yet, to commercial bakers it is essential.   The number of layers dictates the amount of "lift" in the product, giving greater volume to weight ratio!   This affects product yield; well-aerated puff paste yield more products.   Given these doughs use expensive ingredients, a baker cannot afford to miss out on achieving correct product yield.

  • 6. In terms of volume and lift, it is important to explain how this works with yeasted doughs like these. When the product goes into the oven, the fat layers melt into the dough layers beneath, creating cavities between the dough layers. These cavities are filled with steam from the water content of both butter and dough. The steam exerts pressure on the dough layer above, causing the product to expand. See diagram below. So, it follows that the more layers, the greater the pastry will rise. So, what of the yeast? Well, the benefit is in terms of a first fermentation for sure, but it has to be achieved in cold conditions, as we have noted. This should mean the yeasts are far from worked through when the croissants are set to prove. Note the yeast level is relatively high. Any benefit has to be derived from rapid expansion as the croissants hit the hot oven. So, testing the dough for evidence that fermentation is slowing down is not a relevant test. We have no need for any sort of complex fermentation at this stage.

7. Lastly, oven treatment tends to be incredibly forgiving to croissants , so long as the oven is hot enough. Although, I think I'd be hedging my bets with items that were becoming tired and spent, in line with the notes just above.   My practical classes last anywhere between 3 and 5 hours.   3 hours is really not very long to make these items with skill from start to finish; and the resting between turns really can be so crucial here.   But I cannot think of a single class I have facilitated on this product where the students have been anything other than delighted by the tasks they have carried out, and the products they have made. It's the colour, and aroma; these items just look and smell great when they are baked. Fabulous!

 See the photos attached below, and the link to the video below that.

 

Here's the video:

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Another one for Norm: onion rolls?

Norm, I haven't had a decent onion roll since I left NY about 25 years ago, and I'd kill for one -- you know the kind I'm talking about -- the big ones, 4" in diameter, browned with a crisp crust and flecked with chopped onions and (maybe) poppy seeds ... the kind that needs nothing more than a schmear of cold, unsalted butter ....

Can you help?

Stan

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