Some time ago, Pat (proth5) posted her formula for baguettes. This was in the context of our "great baguette quest" of some months back. We were playing with higher hydration doughs and cold fermentation à la Gosselin and Bouabsa.
Pat's formula is levain-based and employs a 65% hydration dough. She has insisted repeatedly that, while higher hydration is one route to a more open, holey crumb, fermentation and technique in shaping the baguettes are at least as important and that good technique can achieve the desired open crumb even with a dryer dough.
Okay. It was past time I tested my own technique against Pat's claim.
Pat's formula is as follows:
This is for two loaves at a finished weight of 10.5 oz each
.75 oz starter
1.12 oz flour
1.12 oz water
Mix and let ripen (8-10 hours)
All of the levain build
10.95 oz all purpose flour
.25 oz salt
6.6 oz water
Dough temperature 76F
Mix to shaggy mass (Yes! Put the preferment in the autolyse!) – let rest 30 mins
Fold with plastic scraper (30 strokes) – repeat 3 more times at 30 min intervals
Bulk ferment at 76F for 1.5 hours – fold
Bulk ferment at 76F 2 hours
Preshape lightly but firmly, rest 15 mins
Shape. Proof 1 hour or so
Bake with steam at 500F for about 20 mins
I followed this except I baked at 480F. I used Whole Foods 365 Organic AP flour. The result was an excellent, classic baguette with a crunchy crust and cool, creamy crumb. It was slightly sweet with imperceptible sourness when eaten just ... well, almost ... cooled.
I bake a lot of sourdough bread. Over the past several months I have been trying a lot of new techniques and trying to perfect the quality of my loaves. The recipe below is how I am currently making my white bread. Next year I may have a whole different approach, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.
Deluxe Sourdough Bread
1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt
Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.
Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.
Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.
While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.
When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.
Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.
The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.
“Scoring” is the word used to describe the cuts made in a loaf of bread before it is baked. Some breads are not scored. For example many loaves baked in pans are not. However, almost all free-formed “hearth breads” are scored.
When is scoring done?
Scoring is generally performed just prior to loading the loaves in the oven. French rye breads (pains de siegle) are sometimes scored right after shaping, before proofing.
Why are breads scored?
Intentionally creating a weak spot on the surface of the loaf prevents the loaf from bursting at weak spots created during shaping.
The type of scoring performed controls the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.”
The pattern of cuts made, the angle at which they are made and the depth of the cuts influences the rate of expansion and the formation of an “ear” - a raised flap of crust at the edge of a cut.
The pattern of cuts can create a pleasing visual pattern on the surface of the loaf. While there are some very traditional patterns, for example for baguettes, the baker can use the scoring pattern to identify the type of bread or to create an unique pattern that identifies the loaf as coming from his or her oven.
The effects of scoring on loaf shape are discussed in more detail below.
What do you use to score bread?
The blade used to score bread is often referred to as a lame (pronounced “lahm.”) This is simply a French word with means “blade.” Breads may be scored with straight or curved razor blades, either held in the hand or mounted on a handle. Scoring may be performed with other sharp, straight blades, even with a straight razor. Some bakers prefer serrated blades.
For some types of scoring, a straight blade is preferred. Straight bladed knives are preferred for cuts made with the blade held perpendicular to the loaf's surface. This sort of cut is generally used for round loaves (“boules”). For other types of scoring, a curved blade works better. Curved lames are generally used for long breads like baguettes which are scored with cuts parallel to the long axis of the loaf.
Video on Choosing a Blade: http://youtu.be/vF7eFluzHXc
How are the cuts made?
The scoring stroke should be firm, rapid, smooth and decisive. For the beginner, it may help to take “practice swings” or to visualize the movements and totally focus one's attention before making the cuts. Understanding the functions of scoring and the effects of the variables described can help, but there is no substitute for experience. In this respect, scoring bread is no different from an athletic skill or any other art or craft. (Tourist: “Please, sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” New Yorker: “Practice, practice, practice.”)
The cuts should generally be 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. A wet, sticky dough requires a more shallow cut than one would make in a dryer dough.
Scoring a boule (round loaf)
The angle the blade of the knife makes with the surface of the loaf is important in determining how the cut will open up. If you want the cuts to spread equally from the cut and to open quickly, as is traditional with round loaves (boules), the knife should be held vertically – at 90 degrees to the surface of the loaf.
Video on Scoring a Boule: http://youtu.be/gnL7mvR9wFg
Besides the “tic-tac-toe” pattern, boules can be scored with diamond patterns, simple crosses or much more elaborate and creative patterns.
Miche scored with a diamond pattern
Scoring a long loaf (bâtard)
If you want the cuts to spread more slowly and create an “ear,” as is generally desired with long loaves (baguettes and bâtards), the knife blade should be held at a shallow angle with the surface of the loaf, at about 20-30 degrees or so. Many find using a curved blade helps make this type of cut. The blade is held with the concave surface facing up (away from the loaf). A flap of dough is created that will lift up to create an “ear” as the loaf expands and, by lifting gradually, slows the expansion of the loaf. This prolongs the time during which new areas of dough are exposed to the direct heat of the oven and results in greater overall expansion – a larger “bloom.”
Video on Scoring a Bâtard: http://youtu.be/UC5HLCWAyMo
The effect of scoring on loaf shape
Michael Suas, in his book "Advanced Bread & Pastry," provides some information about how scoring patterns influence loaf shape. Scoring is not just to make a visually pretty design on the top of a loaf. It is also how the baker controls the direction in which the loaf expands. This impacts the shape of the loaf cross section (rounder or more oval), the height of the loaf and, for a boule, whether it stays round or ends up more oblong.
According to Suas, long loaves like bâtards and baguettes are traditionally scored parallel to their long axis. This may be a single long cut or multiple cuts that are almost parallel and overlap somewhat (for ¼ to 1/3 of their length, generally). This pattern promotes sideways expansion of the loaf, resulting in an oval cross section when the loaf is sliced.
Baguette showing overlapping cuts, almost parallel to the long axis of the loaf
For breads with high-rye content which have lower gluten and less oven spring, the traditional objective is to encourage a higher rise in the oven spring resulting in a rounder cross section. This is achieved by "sausage" or "chevron" cuts.
"Sausage cut" on the left. "Chevron cut" on the right.
Boules are scored in a variety of patterns with differing effects on how the loaf expands. The common "tic-tac-toe" pattern and a simple cross will direct the expansion upward. More complex patterns like diamonds result in a relatively flatter loaf.
One of most interesting effects is that scoring a boule with multiple parallel cuts encourages expansion at a right angle to the cuts. This results in an oblong loaf shape.
Two boules scored differently. Note the effects of the scoring pattern on the final shape of the baked loaves.
What's the point of an ear? Controlled bloom!
This topic is not about the auricular anatomy of elves (or Vulcans). It's about scoring breads.
Scoring loaves creates a visually pleasing pattern, and it helps control the expansion of the loaf as it bakes.
What Suas called "the classic cut" is parallel to the long axis of a baguette or a bâtard. The cut is made with the blade at a shallow angle to the surface of the loaf. The cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch deep. Paradoxically, this shallow cut results in the flap lifting better than a deeper cut would, thus forming a nice "ear." Hamelman (pg. 80) points out that "a deep cut will simply collapse from its own weight."
The angle of the blade is important. "If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development." (Suas, pg. 116.)
These photos illustrate nice "ears," but they also show that the bloom occurred slowly, as it should. Notice that the color of the crust in the opening has 3 distinct degrees of browning, decreasing from left to right. The darker part on the left obviously opened first and was exposed to the direct heat of the oven for longer. If the bloom occurred too rapidly, it would have a more even coloration.
In summary, in order to achieve an optimal bloom in baguettes and bâtards, one must attend to 3 variables when scoring them:
The cuts should be almost parallel to the long axis of the loaf.
The blade should be held at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf.
The depth of the cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch.
Variable shading of the bloomed crust confirms that the desired slow but prolonged opening of the cut during oven spring occurred.
A final word
This tutorial focused on the mechanics of scoring, but the other steps in bread making impact the behavior of the cuts you make and the final appearance of your loaves. In fact, every single step, from your choice of ingredients and their proportions – your formula – to how you steam your oven plays a role in how your cuts will open. Your best looking loaves will result from a series of choices that are mutually dependent, where how you score a loaf takes into account the other choices you have made about the formula, mixing, fermentation, shaping, proofing and baking.
(I wish that it could be transported across the Pacific Ocean to reach the other shore.)
It was one of those soulful Van Morrison nights. The music in my tea room could not be any louder; any louder, the gods of silent teapots would have protested. John Donne was in the air. Van Morrison, my muse, dreamt of this miche for me....
I have neglected my teapots for the longest time now. They have not been polished for ... dare I reveal ... a year? Sounds criminal. Just as well, with all that flour coming out of the surface of the miche, do I need to bother dusting my teapot stands?
Gérard Rubaud starter (re-sized to 2% of his formula as recounted HERE in MC's blog; my figures are for a final dough yield of 1.9 kg, you are welcome to half my quantity again)
6 g ripe stiff starter (at this quantity, any starter you've got going is fine, preferably not liquid starter)
8 g water
14 g flour (2 g WW, 1 g spelt, 1 g rye, and 10 g plain flour)
Note: Gérard Rubaud's starter hydration averages 55.5%. The main thrust of his starter is three refreshes and built with the same flour compositions as for his final dough; ie. 30% whole grains flours (60% wheat, 30% spelt, and 10% rye) and 70% all-purpose flour.
At 30 degree C, this build took 10 1/2 hours for me (overnight temperature might have dropped to 24 - 25 degree C in my kitchen).
28 g starter (from the first build above)
16 g water
30 g flour (5 g WW, 3 g spelt, 1 g rye, and 21 g plain flour)
At 30 degree C, this build took 6 hours for me..
74 g starter (from the second build above)
56 g water
100 g flour (18 g WW, 9 g spelt, 3 g rye, and 70 g plain)
Note: Watch your starter fermentation carefully, depending on your room temperatures. As flour (fresh food) is not even 1.5 times the starter, it is very easy to over-ferment at this stage. It was not an issue for the previous two builds as the yeast adjusted to the new flour compositions and began its activity slowly.
At 30 degree C, this build took 4 hours for me (and it was already too long because when I touched my starter, it shrank back very quickly; 3 1/2 hours would have been better). It rose 2 1/2 times.
Gérard Rubaud Final Dough
Main points about the final dough construction are (1) final dough flour is 30% whole grain flours and 70% all-purpose flour as for starter; (2) starter is 25% of final dough flour (ie, 25% baker's percentage); and (3) overall dough hydration is 80%.
230 g starter (all from the third build above)
920 g flour (165 g WW, 83 g spelt, 28 g rye, and 644 g plain flour)
772 g water (every 10 -11 g of water is 1% dough hydration; feel free to reduce water if you wish)
20 g salt
Total dough weight was 1,920 grams (minus 150 g as pâte fermentée = 1,770 g, see below) and overall dough hydration was 80%.
(1) I did double my own formula here (both starter and final dough) because I wanted to do a stencil with Gérard Rubaud initials and I wasn't sure if it would be successful.
(2) I reserved 150 grams from each dough and I had 300 grams as pâte fermentée (old dough) in total from the two doughs. I wanted to try a Poilâne style of miche. Giovanni has done extensive research on Poilâne Miche. Without going into the specifics, all that I wanted to do at this stage was to use Gérard Rubaud's stiff starter and dough with the addition of a reserved old dough to make a miche and see what happens, which I did.
(3) So, in total I made three x my own formula here at two separate occasions, the last being a Gérard Rubaud Miche with pâte fermentée.
Procedure - without pâte fermentée
Gérard Rubaud autolyse flour and water, then he cuts up his stiff levain into small pieces and adds them to the autolysed flour and water mixture. However, the way I did the bread in this post was that I first diluted my starter with water, then I added flour and salt into the diluted starter, then I followed the procedure below.
Autolyse 20 minutes.
Five sets of S&F's of 30 strokes each at 30 minutes intervals.
At the end of the last S&F's, section off a piece of dough weighing 150 grams (and placed it in the fridge) to be used as pâte fermentée (more below).
Pre-shape and shape, then place the dough in the fridge for overnight retarding. (My room temperature was 30 degree C. It was exactly three hours from the time the ingredients were mixed to the time the shaped dough was placed in the fridge. You may need longer depending on your dough temperature and room temperature. Gérard Rubaud does not like to retard dough, but I did 9 hour retarding for convenience).
The next morning, stencil, then score the dough. Pre-heat your oven to as hot as it can go. Bake with steam at 230 C for 50 minutes.
Gérard Rubaud Miche (without pâte fermentée)
Only one of the two miches that I made is shown here, as the stencil of the other one was completely smeared. The proved dough of that one was quite high (its profile was like a tall hill); when I placed the stencil on its surface and dusted flour on it, the flour did not sit well on the surface. I knew there might be problem but went ahead any way. I should have tried to press the stencil closer to the surface of the dough before I dusted flour.
Notwithstanding the above, the aroma was most amazing when the miche was being baked. When the oven door opened, the whole house was filled with the wonderful whole grains roasting fragrance.
The loaves cooled down to have the cracks all over their surface - the top and all around the sides. Part of the reason for that is because these are very high hydration doughs, but more because I tend NOT to leave my dough in the oven with the oven turned off for the last 5 - 10 minutes of baking as many of TFL home bakers do. I tend to give my dough full but shorter bake. The extreme difference in temperatures inside and outside the oven results in the crackling effect on the crusts.
With this Gérard Rubaud formula, I am witnessing the most amazing crumb that I have never seen before. It has a translucent quality about it. It is almost as if each and every particle of the flour had been fermented and each and every cell of the dough has been aerated. I have never seen anything quite like it. It is light and yet a slice of it on you palm feels a weight, a substance. While the crumb looks translucent, it has a sheen as if it is oily (but it is not). You can clearly see the specks of the whole grain flours in the crumb. Had I not made this bread myself, I would not have believed that 30% whole grain flours would give me a crumb like this.
So that is the texture. What about the flavor? I cannot tell you any single flavor. No one taste stands out. I cannot say that it is sour because sourness does not stand out. The taste is very "creamy" if I may use that word. The creaminess and the sourness are beautifully balanced.
MC said of her Rustic Batard that it tastes more whole grains than Gérard's and she wondered if temperature had made a difference as Gérard's bakery is a good 15 degree F warmer than her place. Now, my miche does NOT taste whole grains or wheaty at all. I cannot single out a wheaty taste, but it is there, blended in with all the other flavors. I wonder if my high temperature indeed had made a difference in this. Or, put another way, had MC bulk fermented and proved her Rustic Batard in a proofing box to control temperatures, would she have gotten a closer taste in her Rustic Batard to Gérard's.
Procedure - with pâte fermentée
(Note: the formula is exactly the same as above except with the inclusion of 300 grams of pâte fermentée)
Follow the procedure as for miche without pâte fermentée except for the following:
One hour after the dough was mixed (ie, at the end of the second set of S&F's, section off a piece of dough weighing 300 g ( reserve it as future pâte fermentée);
Total fermentation time is shorter by 1/2 hour because fermentation happens faster with this dough. (From the very first set of S&F's, you can already see some strength in the dough because of the acidity from the pâte fermentée. To me, this is quite something, considering the way I mix my dough is that there is no kneading whatsoever, merely stirring to hydrate the flours.)
As this is a slightly bigger dough (1,920 grams as opposed to 1,770 grams), bake it for one hour.
Gérard Rubaud Miche (with pâte fermentée)
I learned something in this bake: that sourdough pâte fermentée will give you extra dough strength because of the acidity in the old dough (provided it is not over-fermented to start with). I am amazed at the volume that I get in this miche. (Let's recap: this dough went through 2 1/2 hours of fermentation at room temperature of 30 degree C, then went into the refrigerator for 9 hour retardation, then baked at 230 C for 1 hour. That's all.)
The taste of this miche is a lot sourer than the previous miche.
This has been a very fulfilling exercise for me. Thank you, MC, for the wonderful experience.
Billowy Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
I was inspired from Teresa at her Northwest Sourdough website to try her sourdough cinnamon rolls pictured there, but the closest actual written recipe I could find to that was her Festive Hawaiian Roll recipe. After studying a lot of other sweet dough recipes and brioche recipes, I decided to make a hybrid dough with what I thought were the best aspects of each, that would also use only sourdough starter as the leavening agent. The main differences from NWSD's recipe is my addition of eggs and buttermilk, plus I added 4 times the amount of butter, bringing the butter content up to 11%, which is still not as high as many sweet doughs and not nearly as high as brioche.
This recipe will make about 16-24 large and airy, but rich and tender Cinnamon Rolls. We don't like excess cinnamon flavor in our rolls and so use about half the amount of cinnamon usually called for in the filling of similar recipes. We are also not *fond* of white fondant glaze, so I made up this cream cheese/buttercream glaze to provide a more flavorful topping that complements the flavor of the rolls well. I also did not use any nuts in these, but they could also be added to the filling if desired.
Beware of these rolls: Due to the potato and buttermilk in the dough, these are by far the richest, most moist, tender, and flavorful cinnamon rolls we've ever had, the dough itself is fragrant with vanilla and butter, it almost does not need the filling or icing. The sourdough made these extraordinarily airy and puffy with no commercial yeast added. Because these are so rich, they will be reserved for special occasions or special visitors in our house, they are far too addictive to keep around otherwise. Because they are also so light and billowy - similar to a good sourdough waffle, they are not overly filling and heavy in your stomach.
The total preparation time is about 36 hours to allow for the long cool ferments. If you want to serve these rolls on a Sunday morning, you need to build the levain the preceding Friday evening.
Approx. 12 hours before making the final dough, build the levain as follows:
grams Item 150 100% hydration sourdough starter, recently fed and ripened 340 Lukewarm water 340 AP flour 850 Total Wt.
Let this mixture sit at room temperature until doubled (usually overnight, if your starter is fast and the levain is active early, keep it in the frig. until ready to make dough). Meanwhile, make a small amount of mashed potato by boiling or microwaving (covered) 1 medium peeled & sliced potato in a little water until soft. Mash with fork and a little milk until smooth.
grams Item 113 1 stick Unsalted butter, softened 225 3 large eggs 42 1 ½ TBSP Honey 24 2 TBSP Vanilla Extract 130 Mashed potato 195 ¾ c. Buttermilk or whole milk 850 Levain 700 AP flour 21 Salt 2300 Total Wt.
Once levain is ripe, make the final dough. First cream the softened (not melted) butter by hand or in mixer with paddle attachment, then beat in eggs, honey, vanilla, and mashed potato and continue mixing. Stop to scrape down sides of bowl with spatula as needed and continue to mix just until well-blended. Switch to dough hook and add buttermilk and levain until blended, then gradually add flour and salt and continue mixing with dough hook until well-blended. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, cover, and let rest 20 min. After rest, uncover and continue to mix with dough hook another 2-3 minutes (or by hand, fold in bowl with plastic bowl scraper for 3 min.). This will be a very soft, sticky dough, around 71% hydration if you count the liquid from eggs and milk, but not counting the butter.
Place the dough into a container sprayed with cooking oil, cover, and bulk ferment in a cool location (55-65F) until doubled, approx. 8-12 hours depending on temperature and how fast a riser your starter is. Every few hours, give the dough a stretch and fold, for a total of about 2 folds.
Meanwhile, make the filling as follows:
grams Item 170 1 ½ sticks Unsalted butter, softened 85 Cream or half&half 300 Dark brown sugar 180 Raisins 3 1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon 12 1 TBSP Vanilla extract 750 Total Wt.
For the filling, add all above ingredients to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat while stirring. As soon as the mixture boils, take off heat and chill to a spreadable consistency before using.
After dough has doubled, divide it into 2 pieces on a flour-dusted surface (it may be sticky even though the butter should be solid from the cool temps), then roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle shape about 10 x 16 inches across. Spread the filling across each rectangle of dough, leaving 1 inch clean where the outer seam edge of the roll will be and then taking the opposite edge, roll up the dough gently but firmly and seal the seam.
Slice each log into 8 or 12 rolls (depending on how big a rectangle you rolled out and how large you want the rolls to be) with serrated knife and place them just barely touching each other on baking parchment on sheet pan. Don't worry if log gets flattened as you slice each roll, you can straighten them out once placed on the sheet pan, and they should rise very high and straighten out when proofing. Spray tops of rolls lightly with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and slowly proof rolls overnight or up to 12 hrs. in the refrigerator or cool place between 45 and 55F until the dough is about doubled and puffy looking. Bake right out of frig. at 400 degrees for about 25-35 minutes until light golden, or until the center of dough registers about 195-200F on instant-read thermometer. Do not let the rolls get very brown. Melt about 4 TBSP of butter in microwave and as soon as rolls are out of oven, brush them with the melted butter to keep crust soft before icing them.
Here are the rolls right out of oven and after being brushed with butter, they had a great amount of oven spring and rose tremendously during the bake:
While rolls are baking, make a glaze/icing as follows:
Cream Cheese Glaze:
grams Item 56 ½ (4 TBSP) stick Unsalted butter, softened 56 4 TBSP. Cream cheese 165 ¾ c. Confectioner's sugar 65 ¼ c. Milk, whole 2 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract 344 Total Wt.
Microwave the butter and cream cheese together until very soft but not melted. Whisk them together while adding the vanilla, powdered sugar, and enough milk to thin out the icing to a drip-able consistency.
Let the rolls mostly cool before glazing them with icing. Dip a wire whisk in the icing and drizzle across surface of each roll in crisscross pattern. Serve and enjoy.
(NOTE: I've not yet tried this, but it should also be possible to chill the un-sliced logs in frig overnight and slice just before baking, or freeze the logs for up to 1 month, take out the night before baking and defrost in frig. Next morning, remove from frig., slice, and let warm up at room temp about 1-2 hours before baking.)
It's a good thing we had a house full of guests this past weekend to help us put away not only the cinnamon rolls, but also these Vermont Sourdough boules, and cherry-sunflower-seed levains.
This bread is an attempt to improve on the results from a previous blog entry. This one also has a spelt levain, but it was designed to rise overnight with only a small quantity of 90% hydration white flour starter added. The levain was added to the dough when it was not very ripe, before it had peaked and dipped. The percentage of fermented flour is about 32%, but the less ripe starter results in flavor and dough handling more like what you would expect if you used a lower percentage of fermented flour. The whole spelt flour contributes a characteristic nutty, slightly sweet flavor to the bread. I was very happy with the flavor resulting from this combination of flours and plan to use it more often for this bread and for my favorite mixed grain miche recipe. The hydration is about 83%, which for a whole grain bread is not enough to make it very wet or difficult to handle. However, it is a slightly slack and sticky dough. It should spread out only a little bit after sitting on the counter, not like a very wet ciabatta dough that might spread out more quickly and more or less pour out of the bowl until it has been folded more.
I have posted some photos, videos of my version of doing a "French Fold" and of periodic "Folding" during bulk fermentation, and also a spreadsheet with some further information such as baker's percentages, fermented flour percentages, and hydration.
90% hydration storage starter 11g (0.4 oz) (use any healthy active sourdough starter here, ideally contributing the same amount of fermented flour, e.g. use more like 9 grams of 60% hydration firm starter)
whole spelt flour 298g (10.5 oz)
water 184g (6.5 oz)
Overnight Soak Ingredients:
malt syrup 40g (1.4 oz)
diastatic malt powder 5g (.16 oz)
whole red wheat flour 397g (14 oz)
whole white wheat flour 170g (6 oz)
KA rye blend 57g (2 oz)
water 581g (20.5 oz)
Final Dough Ingredients:
overnight soak from above
firm levain from above
salt 17g (.6 oz)
olive oil 28g (1 oz)
Mix levain ingredients the night before you plan to bake. The levain is designed to rise by about double in 10 hours at a temperature of 75F. Adjust accordingly if you have different temperatures. It is not a problem if the levain rises by more than double or peaks and dips. However, if it is allowed to ripen too much, you may experience a sluggish rise or other symptoms similar to overproofing sourdough, since the amount of fermented flour contributed by this recipe is fairly high. I added this levain when it had a little more than doubled, but it was clearly not at its peak yet.
Mix all the flour and other dry ingredients for the overnight soak together well, so they are fully integrated and uniformly distributed. Mix the malt syrup and water so that the malt syrup is fully dissolved and well distributed in the water. Pour the water into the bowl and use a dough scraper to work around the bowl and mix the flour and water well enough to fully and uniformly hydrate the flour. This should be very easy and take only a couple of minutes of mixing. You can also use a mixer, but use very slow settings and do not overdo it. The idea is to just mix the ingredients. Cover and put in the refrigerator.
Mix Final Dough (next morning)
Chop up the levain into small pieces about the size of marshmallows. Wet your hands and rub the counter with water. Pour the dough from the overnight soak out onto the counter and spread it out like a pizza. Distribute the pieces of levain evenly across the dough. Press them in with the heel of you hand. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Again wet your hands and the counter if it needs it. Spread out the dough again like a pizza. Evenly spread the salt and the oil over the surface of the dough and press it into the dough again with the heel of your hand. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other. Let it rest a few minutes. Spread it out one more time like a pizza. Work across the dough pressing the heels of your hands deep into the dough to integrate any oil and salt that may not have already been well integrated into the dough. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other.
Let rest for 15 minutes.
Do two or three "French Folds", as shown in the video. Note that this is a good technique for developing the gluten in a wet dough that may not respond well to conventional kneading. Also, note, when I say two or three, I mean literally about 10 seconds, like two repetitions of the motion, as shown in the video. That is all the "kneading" that was done to make this bread. Place the dough in a covered bucket or bowl to rise.
Bulk Fermentation and Periodic Folding
The dough should rise by double in about 4 hours at 75F, but the folding will degas the dough somewhat, so lean toward less than double, depending on how much you are degassing the dough while folding. Also, adjust accordingly if your temperature is different or your starter is faster or slower. Try not to let this dough ferment too long. The high percentage of fermented flour in the dough and the spelt flour will conspire against you if you allow the dough to rise for too long. If in doubt, stop the bulk fermentation and go on to shaping, even if the dough doesn't rise by double.
Fold the dough about three times approximately on the hour, as shown in the "Folding" video. If the dough appears to be wet enough to relax significantly before one hour, then fold sooner. If the dough appears to be fairly stiff and holding its shape or is hard to stretch when you fold it, then fold less often or fewer times.
Create sandwich loaves using a typical batard technique or whatever method you prefer. Place loaves in typical loaf pans that are about 9 inches long by 4.5 inches wide. I sprayed the pans lightly with oil beforehand to avoid any sticking.
Allow loaves to rise by roughly double in about 2.5 hours at 75F. Again, adjust your proofing time as necessary for different temperatures or different starter. Once again, avoid overproofing, which is easier to do inadvertently with less tolerant spelt flour and the higher percentage of fermented flour in this recipe.
I slashed the loaves and baked them from a cold start for 1 hour and 5 minutes at 400F after proofing for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Although the dough is not as wet as some, it still should be thoroughly baked. Otherwise the crumb will be overly moist and the crust will become soggy.
When the loaves are done, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on a rack. Do not cut into them, if you can resist, at least until they are no longer warm to the touch.
I was very pleased with the flavor of this bread. The sourdough flavor from the spelt starter is delicious, there is no bitter flavor of whole wheat that I can detect, and the spelt adds a unique and mild flavor. The bread toasts very well and carries any type of topping, since the crumb is open and light but not so irregular that honey or other wet ingredients fall right through it.
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.
And some melted chocolate chip to drew the eyes and mouth .
1-Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients , Turn out on to a floured surface ,Knead it to get a nice smoth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes). Place in a bowl ,Cover ,let rise in a warm place till double ( about 1 hour).
2-Cut the dough to 64 equal pieces , Flat each one with your hand , And fill it with 6 pieces of chocolate chip , close it and shape it to a nice round ball. Place it in a baking sheet ,Brush it with the Glazed , then take a small piece of dough to make round nose.
3-Let it rise about 30 minutes, Bake in 350 Oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
4-Let it coll for 10 minutes ,Then drew the eyes and mouth . And serve
I based this on the Onion Twist Bread in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I reduced the amount of yeast and used a poolish, and went for a braid instead of a twisted and panned loaf, but otherwise it is basically the same.
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
The night before, in a bowl, mix together the poolish until it form a batter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.
The next morning, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, the sugar, the onion soup mix. Mix in the poolish, the milk, one of the eggs, the butter, and the Parmesan cheese with a wooden spoon. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time until a proper dough forms, one that is dry enough that you can hand knead it yet moist enough that it is still tacky to the touch.
Pour the dough out of the bowl onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic, and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it however you like. I tried a braid this time. I'm not good enough that I want to give directions on how to do it yet (for that please see your cookbook), but I will include the pictures my wife took of the process:
Cover the loaf with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap and allow it to double in size again, approximately 45 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat the oven (and baking stone, if you have one) to 450.
Just before baking, glaze the loaf with the egg wash. Put it into the hot oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for another 15 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake until the loaf is done. Total baking time may vary based on shape. My loaf took about 45 minutes.