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Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

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xaipete's picture
xaipete

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

I know many TFLers have made Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough, but this will be my 1st time. I've owned Hamelman's book for less than a month and the only thing I've tried so far was the Irish Soda Bread. I'm going to use one of my Reinhart starters, both of which are made according the the formula in WGB (one is WW the is white)--LindyD thought that would work fine. But Hamelman's methods are a little confusing to me, so I thought I'd put this post out for comment on and/or correction!


I'm going to make the liquid levain this afternoon and let it stand overnight.


Tomorrow, will be mixing. I'll add the levain to the remaining ingredients, mix it together briefly, and let it undergo autolyse for about an hour, put in the salt, and mix again.


All the above seems fairly straightforward, but the bulk fermentation phase is a little confusing. So everything is mixed up and then right away I do one stretch & fold, wait 50 minutes, do another stretch and fold, and then wait until 2 1/2 hours is up?


Then I shape and do the final fermentation in the refrigerator for up to 18 hours.


Baking: It goes straight from the refrigerator to the oven? No wake up time?


Thanks, in advance, for any help.


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pamela.


Hamelman's formulas are quite telegraphic. That's because he puts the detailed general instructions on techniques at the beginning of each section of the book. As you are just getting into Hamelman, my recommendation is that you read (or re-read) the introductory material for the section each time you bake a new bread, just to refresh your memory regarding his techniques. After a while, you will appreciate the "right to the point" formulas.


So ... If you cold-retard a just-formed loaf, you need to proof it before baking. The refrigeration adds an hour (or more) to the proofing time, since you have to wake up the critters that make the loaf rise from their hibernation.


I find I like to proof loaves a bit - say for an hour - before retarding them.


If you fully proof a loaf, then retard it, I think you could put it directly from fridge to oven. I don't personally do that.


I hope this helps.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, David. I did read over that section of the book, albeit it was a fast read, and I agree with what you say about "wake up" time, but I don't see that information in that section of the book. In fact, Hamelman seems to be saying the opposite. See pg. 152 and the very telegraphic paragraph that begins with the words, "How to bake bread".


What do you make of that paragraph?


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sorry, Pamela. I somehow neglected to bring "Bread" to the office today. I'll have to look it up this evening.


Well ... No "Bread," but I did bring bread - Sandwiches made with Nury's Rustic Light Rye (from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads"), baked last December and thawed last night. Mmmmmm ... Still one of my favorites.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

But I might have begun to worry if you had lugged that book to your office.



How to bake bread that has been retarded overnight? Some people feel that breads should never go from the retarder directly into the oven, the theory being they have to come to room temperature before baking. I have found this to be untrue. If the bread is fully risen when it leaves the retarder, allowing it to come to room temperature before baking is a sure way to get flat bread. After all, when we look at things from the perspective of a hot oven of 460ºF or more, there is not that much difference between bread temperature of 40º and 70ºF. I would say, therefore, that once again the needs of the bread should dictate our actions. When it's ready, bake it (Hamelman, Bread, pg. 152).



Well, maybe he means if it is fully risen, then you can shove it directly in the oven. I think your idea makes more sense: let it come to room temperature then bake it. I think it would to be difficult to determine whether a dough proofed in the refrigerator is fully risen, and in this case I presume "fully risen" doesn't mean 100% either. Thanks for giving me the heads of on Hamelman's telegraphic style. That piece of advice is worth a lot!


--Pamela

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Pamela,


I'm not sure, but it sounds to me like there might be a step missing. Hamelman uses a liquid levain (125% hydration) to make a "final levain" before mixing the dough. The amount of liquid levain he uses is very small, like 1 teaspoon if I recall, and adds this to flour and water totalling somewhere around 10 or 11 ounces, again if I recall correctly. This ferments for 8 or 12 hours until ripe. It's this final levain that he mixes with the flour, water, and salt of the dough.


Or did I miss something?


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Hi David. He uses 2 tablespoons. So I think it will be OK if I use my regular starter since is is such a small amount. The whole levain build ends up being 11.8 ounces.


--Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

I have the on-line version...


Anyway, the directions are really quite clear.  You have a bulk ferment of a total of 2.5 hours.  You can either bulk ferment for 1.25 hours, then do a fold and then bulk ferment for 1.25 more hours or bulk ferment for 50 mins, fold, bulk ferment for 50 mins, fold, and then bulk ferment for 50 mins.  Either way the total is 150 mins of bulk ferment.


If you don't think your dough was very strong after mixing, you want to do the two folds.


Then you divide (if required) and shape (usually Mr. Hamelman includes a preshape and a rest of 15 minutes in his definition of shaping).


Then you can do the final ferment.  If you retard after shaping, you bake when the bread is ready.  I put forth that probably Mr. Hamelman means that if you open the refrigerator and examine the bread -if it is ready to bake, you should bake it right away.  If, it is not yet ready to bake, you should do as you see fit - either remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to finish its final ferment at room temperature or allow it to continue to ferment in the refrigerature (which will, of course, take longer.)  You should be paying attention to the bread at that point and it will tell you if it is ready to bake.  If it is ready to bake when you open the refrigerator, allowing it to come to room temperature will mean that it is past ready, thus giving you the flat bread. "Ready to bake" is somewhat enigmatic, but it normally means nearly doubled in size with some room left for oven spring.  If you are in the habit of retarding your breads for the final ferment, you should train yourself to recognize this readiness just as you would in a loaf that went for final ferment at room temperature.


Trust me on all this, please.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

this is my first time to bake this particular bread, so I'm not yet trained to recognize this loaf's readiness. Assuming you proof in the fridge, do you use a banneton?


--Pamela

saraugie's picture
saraugie

I've done web searches, I can not find the electronic version. I checked Amazon to see if they had a version for my Kindle, they do not.  Please tell me where do I get or be able to access the on-line version ?

proth5's picture
proth5

often do the final ferment in the refrigerator.  On the occaisions when I have, I have used a lined, well floured banneton, which, I speculate Mr. Hamelman might use for this loaf.  Using a banneton will give support to the loaf during the final ferment.


I'm going to channel "my teacher" here.  What type of bread are you making?  You are making a sourdough with mostly white flour.  How would you judge the readiness of any other loaf that you baked that was mostly white flour (sourdough or not)?  Do you think it would apply here?  Probably. Then bake it when you think it is ready and evaluate the results.  Not to foist my blogs off on anyone, but in my homemilled baguette blogs there is a little pictoral evidence of "under proofed vs correctly proofed."  You make the judgement and then evaluate.


Some people use the "poke" test.  They gently poke a loaf and see if it springs back slowly.  I hear "my teacher" saying "Poke it?!!  What did it do to you?"  "My teacher" advocates feeling the actual loaf to see if it is ready - yes, actually cradling it lightly in your hand to understand if it "feels" right.  Then one bakes and evaluates.  This method takes awhile to learn but at some point you touch the loaf and it feels "ready" or "not ready."  It's kind of amazing that we can develop that kind of tactile memory.  Or you can use the "poke" test which is very popular and much easier...


Hope this helps.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Please send the link to this thread. I'm sure it will help.


Thanks, --Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

You have asked me to do something beyond my computer ability, but if you type proth5 into the search engine you can find my blog (on these pages) - or I think my latest entry is still on the home page.


Part deux shows a correctly proofed baguette.


My earlier entry shows a (deliberately I will add in self defense) very underproofed baguette.


Both of them after baking...

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I guess I was looking for a picture before baking. --Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

But it wouldn't be much help.  The reason I knew the first one was under proofed was that it felt "tight"  Looking at didn't tell me a thing - and my photography would have been even less  useful...


What I did -over and over - was to feel the loaf - bake it - and then evaluate the results. If it baked like the first loaf, I learned that that feeling meant under proofed.  If it baked like the second one, I knew that the feeling meant correctly proofed.


There is some trial and error to any method  - even the "poke" test...


Good luck!


Pat


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Late to the party.....


After the autolyse, I set my timer for 50 minutes, fold once when it goes off the first time, fold again when it goes off the second time, then when the buzzer sounds the third time, the dough is shaped.


I bake this bread weekly and have never used a banneton - it's only 65 percent hydration.  The dough has a wonderful feel and can easily be shaped into a batard or boule.  It also is easily scored.  After shaping, it's moved to parchment (except for Monday night during a brain burp), covered, and refrigerated.  This is my midweek bake so I keep it in the refrigerator the full 18 hours.  I've never made it without a long retardation.


My dough has always risen quite a bit during the final fermentation, so once it is removed from the cooler, it is in the oven within 45 to 55 minutes. I judge it more by looking at it than feeling it and go for a slightly underproofed dough.  It always has had great oven spring.


I had mentioned in our other thread, Pamela, how forgiving this dough is.  Let me tell you just how forgiving it is:


On Monday night I had mixed a batch of the Hamelman sourdough, tweaking the hydration just a tad higher. Sticky dough but still manageable.  I formed two nice boules, placed each one on a dish, slid each dish into a plastic bag and into the fridge for the night.


Yesterday I pulled out the boules and prepared to bake them using Susan's magic bowl technique.  The oven was nice and hot, my stainless steel bowl filled with warm water, and when I removed the plastic bag from the first boule so I could slip it on the peel, I did a double take because I saw that I had neglected to use parchment under the boules.  No oil or flour on each plate, either.  Just sticky dough adhered to a plastic dinner plate.  I was not thinking happy thoughts and wondered if maybe I needed a prescription for Aricept.


It wasn't pretty getting the boule off the plate, but it held its shape and even got pretty good oven spring after the manhandling,  The second one was a bit flatter not only because of being literally wrenched from the plate, but probably because it was fully proofed by the time it got into the oven.  


I have a great deal of respect for this dough.  It doesn't disappoint and even survived one of my dumber baking moments.


Am sure your bake will be terrific.


 


 


 


 


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks so much for all the support! Today is day one. I'll let everyone know about my results on Friday.


--Pamela

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Pam, I can tell you I have abused this loaf in one way or another each time I made it and it didn't turn out to bad at all...how about proofing it in tupperware with spice jars rolled in sprayed parchment for support!!  I had to make room in a small frig... I have to agree with LindyD it is a nice dough to work with...the flavor is wonderful and keeps getting better!


Sylvia 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Well, it's in the works. I'll let everyone know how it comes out in 3 days after I abuse it. --Pamela

rolls's picture
rolls

i've heard so much about this bread can someone please post the recipe? thanks i just got a sourdough starter going and can't wait to use it. today it suddenly got beautiful and bubbly and risen. i think its day 7

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think David (soundman) posted it here:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11001/when-my-starter-ready#comment-59716


--Pamela

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Vermont sourdough  About 4/5 of the way down the thread.


Found it using the Search tool.


Paul

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I make this recipe every weekend.  If you stick to Hamelman's process paying attention to ingredient %'s and temperature calculation, it takes all the guess work out. I never miss with great consistent results.  Both the 10% rye or 10% wholewheat are terrific.  Like David, I give my doughs about 1 hour floor time before retarding just to get things going.  If I'm out of bread I retard one loaf and bake the other after a final proof of 2.5 hours.  Hamelman also states that you don't need to wait for the dough to come up to room temperature after being taken from the refrigerator.  I take mine out while the oven is warming up, score and straight into the oven; the oven spring is great and the loaf volume is equally as good as the loaves un-retarded, however I find that the flavour development is better with the retarded loaves.


Regards,


Gavin.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I'm out of bread so that is what I'm going to do: bake one today and retard the other and bake it tomorrow. Everything appears to be going well. I was please to see that my liquid levain look bubbly this morning. It also had the a pleasant tangy aroma and taste. I'm executing the bulk fermentation right now.


--Pamela

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I think that's the recipe where the conversions from ounces to grams are incorrect. That is, if one wishes to use the actual Hamelman recipe. 


We had talked about it in another thread (but I don't have time to search for it right now).

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Final dough:


680 g bread flour


91 g whole-rye flour


420 g water


17 g salt


306 g liquid levain


Liquid levain:


136 g bread flour


170 g water


28 g mature culture

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Overall Formula lb oz g Baker's %
Bread Flour 1 12.8 816 90
Whole-wheat flour 0 0 0 0
Medium rye flour 0 3.2 91 10
Water   1 4.8 590 65
Salt   0 0.6 17 1.9
Total Yield 2 21.4 1514 166.9
           
Levain Build        
Bread Flour 0 4.8 136 100
Whole-wheat flour 0 0 0 0
Medium rye flour 0 0 0 0
Water   0 6 170 125
Mature culture (liquid) 0 1 28 20
Total Yield 0 11.8 335 245
Use       306  
Leftover for next build   28  
           
Final Dough        
Bread Flour 1 8 680  
Whole-wheat flour 0 0 0  
Medium rye flour 0 3.2 91  
Water   0 14.8 420  
Salt   0 0.6 17  
Liquid levain 0 10.8 306  
Total   1 37.4 1514  
xaipete's picture
xaipete

My first Hamelman Vermont SD is out of the oven and it looks real nice. I baked it under a turkey roaster for the first 10 minutes, checked it for doneness at 30 minutes and removed it from the oven. I'll post pictures in a while (= how long I can wait--not very patient on this score) on a blog.


Wish me luck!


--Pamela