There are small variations in the leaven proportions used; this is purely for availability reasons, and not anything more technical.
I used overnight retard, again to fit my schedule, not for flavour purposes. The bread is loaded with flavours whether using the yeasted or the sourdough process [retarded or not]
Both cultures given 2 refreshments prior to use:
Formula [% of flour]
1a] Rye Sourdough
Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour
1b] Wheat Levain
Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour
2. Final Dough
Rye Sourdough [from 1a]
Wheat Levain [from 1b]
Marriage’s Organic Strong Wholemeal
Tamari-Roasted Seeds – Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame and Blue Poppy
% pre-fermented flour
% overall hydration
Combine wholemeal, water and rye sourdough and mix until clear with a dough hook on first speed. Autolyse for one hour.
Add the wheat levain and mix for 2 minutes on first speed and 3 minutes on second speed. Add the salt, mix 5 more minutes on second speed. Add the roasted seeds and mix on first speed until clear. DDT 27°C.
Retard overnight in the chiller.
Bulk ferment dough for 2 hours allowing the dough to return to ambient temperature.
Knock back the dough gently, and scale and divide. 2 Miches @1350g and 4 pieces @ 300g for a four-pieced Sandwich loaf in a Pullman Pan.
Final proof: 3 hours @ 28°C.
Bake the loaves with steam…I used my electric oven for today’s bake, pre-heated to 280°C, then settling at 235°C for 10 minutes with steam. Then I switched to convection and baked out the breads at 210°C.
Cool on wires
We ate some of this bread for lunch, not long after it had come out of the oven....I know, I know, we really should have waited, but a family lunch prior to a cinema trip just meant we could not wait any longer. Well the bread tasted great, but it was difficult to cut, and I apologise if it has impacted on the crumb shots at all.
Every so often, I like to make a batch of sourdough English muffins. My go-to recipe is one from the King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which I have blogged about previously. Today's post is just a series of photos showing the muffins as they cook for your viewing pleasure; something only a bread-head would love.
Up first, the muffins waiting their turn on the griddle:
Last weekend, I had a number of errands to run and it occurred to me that I could plan a route that allowed a stop at Fervere Bakery and then go on to the River Market and (since it was close by) The Planter Seed and Spice Company. Think of it as a trifecta for a foodie.
Fervere is a not-so-old bakery in an old neighborhood to the south and west of downtown KC. They are known for turning out some of the best breads in the area and for a rather quirky business model. For pictures and a lengthier description of their products and process, I'll refer you to their website. There's also a short video on youtube that you can watch.
Having heard a lot about Fervere and their breads, I was eager to try some. I chose their pain de campagne, reasoning that I would be tasting the bread without any other influences (although I have to say that I sampled their orchard bread and it was wonderful!). It turned out to be a really good choice!
The loaf is round and miche-like in shape and size, like this:
I would guesstimate it to be about 4 inches high at the tallest point and 12-14 inches in diameter. As you can see, the crust colors range from golden browns to deeper, more caramelized russet tones. The bottom crust, where it was in contact with the oven sole, is darker still. The color and size of the slash indicates an early and large expansion after the dough was loaded in the oven. This is borne out by the texture of the crumb:
The cells are random in size and distribution. Although some of the alveoli are fairly large, this bread worked very well for sandwiches; protecting the diner from unexpected drips of condiments. The crust is fairly thin. By the time I got home from all of my running around that day, the crust had softened from crisp to chewy, due to being enclosed in a plastic bag. The crumb was very moist and cool; this is evidently a high-hydration dough. Oddly enough, although the crumb is relatively soft, it isn't mushy. Press gently on the loaf and it yields, then immediately rebounds. There's a firmness, a sturdiness, to this bread. And it has excellent keeping qualities, having lasted nearly a week at the present cool room temperatures with no appreciable staling. (My wife was out of town most of the week and, good as it was, a man can only eat so much bread by himself!)
Opening the bag and inhaling the aroma is almost intoxicating. Deep, toasty caramel, roasted malts, a suggestion of chocolate, a mild tanginess and other notes that I don't have the vocabulary for. These carry over into the flavor, which also boasts a forward wheatiness while the sourness virtually disappears. A bite with crust is entirely different from a bite without crust. If Wonder Bread is at one end of the chewiness spectrum and vollkornbrot is at the other, this lands just about squarely in the middle. Firm, yes, but it yields to moderate pressure. This is seriously good bread. If I weren't a home baker, this is the kind of bread that I would want to buy. Given the trek from my suburban location, I'm glad that I don't have to depend on Fervere for my daily bread but it is nice to know that it would be worth my time if I were in the vicinity. And I would recommend that you stop in if you find yourself in Kansas City someday.
I have read where people name their starters... I was calling my the beasties... (as in yeastie beastie)... but after reading a really pleasant book wherein the pets were named Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy... I decided I like those names for my starters. So my white flour starters are Goodness and Mercy and the Whole Wheat one is Shirley. Quite funny I think.
A number of years now reading and posting here and the sentence that rings in my ears as the best advice I've ever had in home baking is Pat's "Get the fermentation right," which I guess could also be said as "Watch the dough, not the clock." Now that the rest of you have moved on to the nicely controlled environment of proofing boxes , I am left to my analog temperature probe and the vagaries of kitchen temperatures. So I've practiced on some basics, watching the dough. Here are three recent examples: A basic boule, Tartine-ish for the relatively young starter and for the covered cast iron bake; Silverton-ish for practicing the half moon score. I'm liking the cast iron right now. Proofed overnight in the fridge and baked from cold.
A combination of Hamelman's five grain and his seeded levain. This one has whole wheat, steel cut oats, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds. Need to bear in mind that when fewer cereals go in the soaker (and more seeds not needing to be soaked are used,) the water for it should be cut back. As it is, the dough took some more flour and turned out fine. It's not for nothing that Hamelman says this is one of the most delectable of breads. Despite all the inclusions, the crumb is light and properly aerated. Again proofed overnight in the fridge, but not baked from cold because they hadn't come up enough. I like the zigzag scoring on the large one. Next week I think I'll add a couple of tablespoons of dark rye and/or buckwheat to this formula, just to see what they do to the taste and the form.
Wet baguettes. For a long time, I had mixed feelings about these. I couldn't put my finger on it. But now I think I know what's bothering me: this isn't a baguette. A dough this wet, one that can't be properly shaped or scored, doesn't really fulfill the complete idea of the baguette, with its beautiful pointed ends and caramelized ears. This is more likely to be a baton, a long narrow loaf that doesn't need to be scored. Its natural form is ciabatta. Next week, I may try these as batons. If you picture these loaves below, a little wider and a little shorter and unscored, that's the idea. I hydrated the non pre fermented flour and water for 24 hours in the fridge. I also fermented the bulk dough for 24 hours in the fridge. I proofed the formed loaves for too long on the bench, about six hours. So, the appearance is a work in progress, but the taste from the long cold fermentations is fantastic. The crumb speaks for itself.
edited to add: Maybe the nicest baguette-type crust I've produced in an all sourdough version. Pretty thin and very crispy.
Today I went back to Andy's Pain au Levain with Light Rye which I made last spring. At the time I didn't know there was a difference between light rye and white rye. I know it now, but I still have access only to White, so that's what I used again. This bread acted like a balloon all through the preparation - I was very careful not to puncture it, and quite worried that it would deflate instead of rise in the oven, but it didn't. Just spring and more spring.
When it was time to shape, I didn't really - it's hard to shape a balloon - just kind of pressed it a little and then folded it up and flipped into a lined basket. I didn't think it would score, so I just ran my razor over some lines that had opened up during proof. So not a tidy bread.
After it came out of the oven, the sun was out and it was sort of pretend warm, so I took it outside to photograph. When it hit the colder air, the loaf started singing like crazy. I set it on the table and a hawk flew overhead. I wasn't fast enough to catch it on the wing, but then it settled down in an oak to rest.
Then walked back through the garden, which is looking more like a garden in waiting this time of year.
My oven is waiting too it seems. When will it be spring?
Didn't have to wait long to cut into the bread though, as it cooled quickly what with its trip outside.
It's been a while since I made my own pizza so I figured it was time to make a go of it again. I have been reading many posts about using 00 style flour and how it really only works best when you can get your heat source over 700 degrees. I don't have the ability to do that just yet, so I decided to combine 50% Italian Style Flour from KAF and 50% KAF Bread Flour and see what happens.
I adapted a recipe from Peter Reinhart'sArtisan Baking Everyday and after a couple of days with the dough balls resting comfortably in my refrigerator I decided to bake a couple of pizzas for lunch this past weekend.
I recently read another blog by Steve B. at http://www.breadcetera.com where he suggested to put your pizza stone on the highest shelf of your oven and set your oven to broil. The purpose of this is to get as much heat as possible to be retained by the stone. I have to say it worked perfectly so give it a try!
I decided to add some pepperoni and some parmesan cheese to add some extra flavor and I do have to say I was very happy with the end results. My wife did complain that one of the pies was a little soggy which was due to my putting too much sauce on the pie, but I ate it all anyway!
Heres the recipe:
12 ounces Italian Style (00) Flour
12 ounces Bread Flour
2 teaspoons salt (sea salt or table salt)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
17 ounces water (90 degrees)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix on the lowest speed possible for 1 minute. The dough should be rough and a little sticky. Let it rest for 5 minutes so the flour gets fully hydrated.
Knead the dough on medium low-speed (or by hand) for 2 to 3 minutes until the dough is smoother. Next put some olive oil on your work surface and your hands and transfer the dough to your work area. Do a stretch and fold and form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 5 pieces weighing about 8 ounces each and form into balls. Spray the inside of a mini plastic storage bag with oil and seal each dough ball in the bags. Put them in your refrigerator overnight or up to 4 days. You can freeze them also for several months if desired.
About 90 minutes before you are ready to bake your pizzas take how many dough balls you plan on using out of the fridge and put them on your lightly oiled work surface. Stretch the dough balls and reshape them into a tight ball. Cover the dough balls with either plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray or a clean lint free kitchen towel sprayed with some water and let them rest until you are ready to bake.
One hour before you are ready to bake pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature and put your pizza stone on the highest shelf possible in your oven.
Prepare your favorite sauce and get your cheese and toppings ready. I used a simple fresh tomato sauce consisting of 1 can of diced tomatoes with red peppers, salt, freshly ground pepper, oregano, basil, 1/2 of a lemon and a dash of red wine vinegar. I also used fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan and pepperoni.
Put some bench flour in a bowl and dip each dough ball in the flour as well as your hands. Flatten the ball of dough on the work surface with your hands first and if desired either use a rolling-pin or pick the dough ball up and using both hands start stretching it out using your thumbs and the back of your knuckles. Your thumbs should actually be doing all the stretching and not your knuckles. you want dough to be fairly thin, but not too thin or it will end up ripping.
Turn your oven on broil 10 minutes before you are ready to bake your pizza and get the stone as hot as possible. Assemble your pie and brush some olive oil on the crust if desired. You can either sprinkle corn meal or flour on your bakers peel and place the pizza on your peel before putting the topping on it. Alternatively you can put your pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper and slide the peel underneath when ready to put in the oven. The worse thing that can happen is for your dough to get stuck on your peel and make a mess in your oven, not to mention ruin all your good efforts.
Make sure you turn the oven off broil before you put the pie inside and turn it back to your highest setting. Let the pizza cook until the crust is blistering and the bottom is nice and brown.
I strongly advise not to put too much sauce on this style of dough or you will end up with a soggy mess. Less is actually more in most cases of making a good pizza.
This dough is also excellent for making calzones which I did a few days later. I added some grilled chicken, mozzarella, ricotta cheese mixed with basil, oregano and garlic salt and parmesan cheese inside and baked at 400 degrees for around 25 minutes. Just make sure you use a little water to seal the dough and cut some air slits on the top so the dough doesn't built up too much pressure.
I hope you give this recipe a try yourselves. It is actually fun to make and relatively easy.
An inside look into Sonoma Valley baker Mike [the bejkr] Zakowski's process. Zakowski, of Sonoma's Artisan Bakery, is one of three members of team USA which has secured its place at the famed Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Cup of Baking), which will take place in Paris in 2012. Zakowski also bakes bread out of his home shop which he sells direct-to-consumers at Sonoma Valley farmers markets.
I've never been much of a political animal. But ever since you, Mr. Job Cohen, former mayor of Amsterdam, were called upon by national politics and gave up your position, there has been a growing unease within me.
Sometimes things are as futile as they are; you just happen to be the man in charge for the biggest stretch of time in the city that I live in and love so much. And quite frankly: I miss you here. Even though your successor is doing just fine, I'd rather have you back tomorrow if that would be possible, which it probably isn't.
You are in my heart for all the times I have seen you rushing past through the streets and for all your strolls with your wife on a sunny afternoon along the canals. Might I have lived a little further away from your residence, I probably would not have crossed your path as many times as I did, but in the end that doesn't matter.For me you were simply there, like all the rest of us. Visible, down to earth and devoted as much to our city as to your wife. As we say in Dutch; "kom er nog maar es om"
You were called onto the national political stage to find an answer to the populist politics that are quickly gaining ground in The Netherlands. The political game is changing fast in troubled times. Scaring people into believing almost anything has never been easier.
Now you are there, and not here.
The plan was to have you lead the country, you ended up in the opposition instead. The government that was formed has all the characteristics you would expect from a political field that is jolted by something new and unexpected; the populist was put on a special bench where he was thought to do the least harm.
That hasn't turned out to be quite the case. As a matter of fact the opposite was happening; the populist knew his game quite well and found out he could simply shout some populist doo dah, draw the curtains whenever he felt it like it and become invisible.
It's been said that populist politics can't be beaten without joining them, and there, my friend, (for even if I have not spoken to you in person I hope you will allow me to call you just that) you stand out from the crowd.
Time and time again, also on the occasions where you were reportedly "slashed" in a public debate, I have never ever seen you make one populist move.
My guess is some milder forms of populism are inherent to politics, and maybe you are just doing quite well at hiding it from me, but even if that is the case, it doesn't really matter.
For every time I see you struggle to find an alternative to this apparent new set of rules in politics, I like you a little more, even if you "lose" the argument whilst trying.
I don't think things are as simple as left and right or black and white. Regardless of the polarizing times we live in, the only right thing to do is what you are doing; refusing to play THAT game, even though I suspect you could be quite good at it, I can't really imagine you ever giving into the temptation. Ah, well, maybe when you were younger.
If you ask me (but then again don't!) the populist's game is nearing its end. That seems to be inherent to populist politics: its effects peter out quite fast if not fed regularly by tangible results.
This blog you are (probably not) reading is about bread. So, as much as I like you, I have to come up with something BREAD in this letter to you for it to have any sense whatsoever. I have been forgiven before for making rather odd connections between bread and.... well, almost all other stuff in life :-), I hope I have enough credit left to throw around a lot of words before sharing what I'm here for; a straightforward recipe for something good!
I could be really corny and say; well people, here is your recipe; Do as Mr. Job Cohen, the former mayor of Amsterdam; Don't pay too much attention to squeaking wheels that get all the oil; after a while they get so slippery, they will derail themselves! That wouldn't work though... because they can't eat it!
So instead I will dedicate my latest bake to you; the humble rusk, or "beschuiten" as you and I would call them. It's hardly the sexiest bread in the world, and it doesn't promise you more than it can live up to. We all keep a roll of them in our cupboards though. For when we need them; for comfort, for joy and when it is the only thing our sometimes sick bodies will accept. Straightforward, simple, honest, reliable and here to stay!
The Humble Rusk
The Romans called it "biscotum"; it was the sort of bread that was great when you were conquering the world. ""Baked twice" is what it means. With most moisture baked out of the bread it will keep almost indefinitely! Nowadays that same word still reverberates in the French "biscuit" and the Italian "biscotti".
In the "Golden Age" (that period in the Netherlands between 1600-1700 where at a certain time a tulip bulb would sell for the price of a house...) the merchant ships, leaving all from an area just above Amsterdam, took the "beschuit" on board as their preferred bread. In no time there were 150 bakeries in the area, all dedicated to baking "scheepsbeschuit".
Around the 18th century, the rusk started to look like the airy biscuit it is today. Bakers started using yeast to make the rather tough biscuit lighter. Later on they added eggs as an emulsifier, and sugar. Around this time as well, the "Zwieback" started to gain popularity. The baked biscuit was cut in half, baked again to dry it out, and lightly toasted.
Beschuit met muisjes
The tradition to serve "beschuit" at the birth of a child started in the same region. When the "beschuit" was still a luxury item that was eaten on festive days, the rich would buy them to celebrate child birth in the community. The "beschuit" was (and still is nowadays) sprinkled with pink, white or blue sugarcoated aniseeds, an echo of the ancient tradition to sprinkle the baby with rye kernels for blessing.
The sugarcoated aniseeds are called "mice" in Dutch. The coated aniseeds with their little tails resemble a mouse (symbol of fertility) . The anise was also said to have a wholesome effect on breast milk production.
The beschuit can be found in literally every cupboard in the Netherlands. Even those who are not too crazy for them will keep a roll on their shelf for when they need them. When ill it is the perfect comfort food, dunked in some sweet pudding. When you feel queezy and nothing else goes down; the beschuit is there to help. It is reliable, it is no nonsense, it is here to stay! Enjoy!
A note on Rusk Jelly and Baking Shells
In this recipe I use "rusk jelly". An ingredient not really easy to obtain when you are not living in the Netherlands. Here is where you can buy it if you are eager to give it a try. Rusk Jelly emulsifies by making your dough more alkaline (the opposite of acid). All that is in there is sugar, glucose, vegetable fat, water, emulgator and an alkaline agent. The rusk can be made without the jelly as well by replacing the jelly with the equal amount of corn syrup and egg yolk. Your rusk will be a little less brittle, but still way better than anything you have ever eaten from the supermarket!
The baking shells are essential to get a good shape on your rusk. If you don't have baking shells and want to invest in buying some, here is a place that sells them for a very reasonable price. If you are in the States it might be harder to find them. No worries though, because 9,5 cm baking rings will also work. Provided you have a baking sheet, or even a silpat mat to cover them with, you will do just fine!
for about 24 rusks
210 gr. AP flour
17 gr. fresh yeast
84 gr. water
34 gr. corn syrup
5 gr. sugar
5 gr. milk powder
25 gr. egg yolk
30 gr. rusk jelly (optional)
1½ gr. salt
4½ gr. anise powder
I bake this recipe in two batches. When the time comes to divide the dough I put half of the formed balls in the fridge and start processing the first batch. By the time the first batch goes in the oven, you can take out the slightly chilled dough to prepare them for the second batch.
6 round baking shells with a diameter of 9½ cm. Baking rings of that size, covered with a baking sheet will also work!
Mix together ⅔ (140 gr.) of the flour with the water, the yeast, milk powder and ½ (17 gr.) of the corn syrup. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
The Final Dough
Mix in the eggs and the remaining corn syrup with a few tablespoons of the remaining flour. When incorporated add half of the rusk jelly. When that is mixed in add the remaining flour and salt. Finally add the remaining jelly, sugar and anise powder. Mix on low speed for about 20 to 30 minutes until the dough is very well developed. The ideal dough temperature is 25°C.
Preheat the oven to 240°C
The First Bake
Cover and let the dough rise for about 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces of about 30-35 gr. each. Leave them to relax for 10 minutes and then form tight balls and place them on a baking sheet. Cover and leave them to rise for 10 minutes. Flatten and round the pieces to roughly the diameter of your baking shell 2 times during this short rise. Place the well oiled baking shells over the dough and leave them to rise until you can see the dough peep through the little holes on top. Alternatively, place oiled baking rings over the dough and cover with an equally well oiled baking sheet. Bake when almost fully proofed for about 8 minutes on 240°C, turning the tray halfway through the bake to ensure even browning. Take the golden biscuits out of the molds and let them cool completely on a rack.
The Second Bake
Preheat the oven to 50°C. Slice the biscuits in half and put them cut side up in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes, until they are completely dry and crisp. Place the biscuits under a hot grill until the tops are nice and golden. This will go very fast, only a few seconds!
Leave the rusks to cool completely before eating.
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