The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

To toast or not to toast? That is the question.

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LindyD's picture
LindyD

To toast or not to toast? That is the question.

I plan to start Hamelman’s five grain sourdough rye tonight, now that my KAF order arrived and I have high gluten flour.

While the recipe doesn’t call for it, have any of you who have  baked this bread toasted the sunflower seeds before making the soaker?  

Any reason not to?

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I love my seeds toasted and the hubby likes them raw. You could always divide the dough into 2 portions and put toasted seeds in one and raw in another to see the difference in flavor and texture of the bread.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

But I couldn't do that with this Hamelman recipe because the seeds are included in a soaker.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lindy.


You could make 2 half recipes, each half recipe with its own soaker, one with toasted seeds.


However, the recipe per Hamelman is soooooo good, I wouldn't mess with it. Anyway, the seeds that end up in the crust get toasted during baking. The ones in the interior add to the bread's chewiness. Mmmmmmm .... Yummy!


Of course, you could just make two full recipes. I did that the first time I made it. Seven loaves for my office staff for Christmas presents. The husband of my office manager told her I should quit my day job and just bake bread full time.


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'll take your advice and not mess with anything.  At least for now, until I've baked this bread at least once.  


My memory of the aroma of those toasted sunflower and sesame seeds in the sourdough seed bread had me just about drooling today and skewed my normal inclination of following the directions precisely on a bread I've not baked before.


Alas, when I looked at the recipe again I realized I'm going to have to put off making the soaker and sourdough until Friday.  Even if I put it together at midnight, I won't get home until after the 14-16 hour window for the sourdough - and don't want to start out with a SD that's peaked and plopped.  At least I can try cracking rye tonight.


 

plevee's picture
plevee

This is my favorite bread of all time. The sunflower & flax seeds change in the soaker & in my opinion taste even better than toasted. It is incredibly light considering all the grain; it's wonderful with jams, chesses - mild and strong, and makes the most wonderful toast. Try the recipe as is & see if you think it can be improved on.


Patsy

plevee's picture
plevee

I have made this with and without the instant yeast. Retardation in the fridge works well for the bulk ferment or the shaped loaves. The timing is very flexible. Patsy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Every word is true!


I've never refrigerated this bread during bulk fermentation, but I have baked it with and without retarding the shaped loaves. Retardation improves the flavor very significantly.


Without retardation, it was good bread. With retardation it is just the most wonderful flavored bread I've every tasted. Truly astonishing flavor.


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I appreciate the tip on retarding the loaves, Patsy and David, as I don't think that's mentioned in the book.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

A question for those of you who have retarded this five-grain sourdough rye:  When did you refrigerate the loaves?  Immediately after shaping?


I baked this bread this weekend, but wound up playing musical shelves because I also had two batards of wheat sourdough that needed retarding.   I used Arrowhead organic rye and KA Sir Lancelot high gluten flour for the five-grain.  


The rye berries were run through my grinder at the coarsest setting, then the flour was sifted out.  I tried using a hammer on a small quanity and got a better result than using the grinder.  I think a stone might produce even a better result.  Will try that another day.


I baked two of the five-grain sourdough rye rounds without retarding them.  The third was refrigerated for about six hours, then baked under the "magic bowl."


The two rounds had nice oven spring - the third one did have oven spring, but nothing comparable to the first two.   I did not refrigerate the third round after shaping; I think it went in the cooler about 45-minutes to an hour later.  I now wonder if it would have looked like a pancake had it been left in the cooler overnight, or gotten a second wind.


It is a lovely bread, was enjoyed by all, and there's but half a round left.  I expected more of a sourdough kick than I tasted (my rye sourdough was at full power and was used within 14-16 hour timeframe), but maybe that's because it's only a 25 percent rye.  


The bread does have a nice complexity and the crust was terrific, but I think the next time I make this I will toast the sunflower seeds.


Any feedback on your timing will be much appreciated.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lindy.


I follow Hamelman's directions pretty closely. After shaping the boules, I let them proof at room temperature for an hour or so, until I see them starting to swell. Then I retard them overnight at 40F. The next day, I generally proof them until they are expanded by 50% at least. This is usually 3-4 hours in my kitchen. Then I bake them. I have always gotten good oven spring and bloom.


I do think this bread benefits from a longer retardation.


Note that dough temperature before retardation will influence how much expansion you get in the fridge before the beasties wind down.


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD


I follow Hamelman's directions pretty closely. 



Now I'm quite confused, David, because there is no reference to retarding the five-grain sourdough with rye sourdough (pp 227-228 of "Bread.")  Bulk fermentation is one hour with no folds.  Final fermentation is 50 to 60 minutes at 80F.


There's a five-grain levain at pp 174-175 as well as a five-grain bread at pp 238-239.  The intructions for both note they can be retarded overnight.


The bread I baked is in the rye section of the book.  None of those breads are listed as candidates for the cooler.


So I'm wondering if the bread you and Pasty said you retard overnight is the rye, or one of the other two recipes.  

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lindy.


My error. I was thinking of the 5-grain levain, not the rye.


David

plevee's picture
plevee

I have baked this bread every weekend for several months & haven't had a problem retarding the recipe. I keep back a few tablespoons of water to adjust the dough consistency according to the weather


I  have bulk retarded only when I had timing problems but regularly retard the shaped loaves, putting them in the fridge for ~12 hours directly after shaping. They don't rise much in the cold & take ~ 3hours at room temperature to proof the next day. I have had good oven spring and a nice light crumb. I bake them uncovered with steam.


I only use the yeast in the recipe if I am planning to bake without retarding.


I think the sunflower seeds become part of the crumb after soaking, rather than tasting like an addition. This is a delicious bread and the taste is even better after retarding.


Patsy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Thanks for clearing that up, David.  I"ll have the try the five-grain you've raved about - not that the SD rye isn't great, but I haven't yet developed a good technique for baking three loaves (only two fit into my oven) without slightly overproofing one of them.


Patsy, my apologies for misspelling your name in my last post.  It makes sense not to use any yeast if the loaves are going to be retarded and I've made a note of that in my rather beat-up, marked-up copy of "Bread."   Your tip is much appreciated.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Lindy,


I don't want to play the role of grim reaper every time someone has a fun idea, but I am going to say that retarding rye breads as loaves is often risky, and retarding the dough in bulk might make it more acidic than you'd planned.


That formula is only 25% rye, and the white flour component is high-gluten flour, so it might make it.  The seeds and grains, though, are even more weight pulling down on the dough structure over time.  I can't tell you it won't work, but it is risky.


Rye is so high in sugar and amylase (making even more sugar) that it can act like rocket fuel to yeast and bacteria.  Notice how the regular bulk ferment times and proofing times are pretty short in Jeff's formula?  I do know Jeffrey a bit, and I think he'd tell you that retarding a bread with significant rye and cracked grains is risky.  Not impossible, but risky.


That being said, go ahead and do it.  Why not?  It's just flour and water, and it might work.  If it doesn't, though, don't blame yourself.


Oh -- I toast sunflower seeds or nut meats all the time.  Maybe even sesame seeds.  Big difference in the complexity of the aromas. 


Good luck!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Oh, your'e correct, Dan, as far as the boules I baked.  The two that weren't retarded had fine oven spring - the third, which had been in the cooler for about six hours, didn't.  It wasn't flat.  Just sort of deflated looking.  Am guessing it would have been worse had it been retarded overnight.  


On one hand, I've thought of scaling down the recipe to make one boule without yeast, per Patsy's method, retard it overnight, and see what happens.  On the other hand, I'd rather experiment with flours cheaper than organic whole rye and Sir Lancelot high gluten.


I've baked Hamelman's flaxseed bread a few times, which is a 60 percent rye, and really enjoy the bread.  I like rye, both in the eating and baking, since it's almost like a quick bread given the short fermentation.  


Some day (next winter), I want to give Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel a try, using a cast iron dutch oven and my woodstove.  Nothing like having dreams of grandeur!

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hey Lindy,


If you have any sort of family-run bakery near you, they might be willing to sell you some high-gluten flour.  Might even sell you a 50# bag. 


Vital wheat gluten is another option.  I think Bob's Red Mill sells it at the supermarket many places, or you could break the piggy bank and get it from KA.  If you already get KA's Bread Flour, it's at 12.7% protein, so just 1 - 2% or so of vital wheat gluten could do about the same job as a high gluten flour there.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

We're on similar wave lengths, Dan.  I was thinking of substituting Gold Medal Better for Bread flour and adding some vital wheat gluten (which I do have).  At two bucks for five pounds, I wouldn't feel bad about a disaster.  Also thought of using Bob's Red Mill whole rye rather than my Arrowhead Mills.  


Moved my SD cultures out of the refrigerator to wake them up, so we'll see how it goes this weekend.  With any luck, it will rain Saturday and I won't have any excuses.


 


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Are you not able to get KA's Bread Flour where you live, or is it the price?  I know it's more expensive than the usual brands, but it is much stronger than any other bread flour at the supermarket.  KA's AP flour is stronger than most supermarket bread flours, as well.


I use their AP flour for a standard bread flour.  Their "Bread Flour" would be great for making rye or whole wheat blends, and probably good for Challah.  It's a bit too strong and inextensible to use with most long-fermented French or Italian doughs.


If you want to go the Gold Medal route, see if you can locate their "Harvest King" brand.  Lot's of bakeries use Harvest King as a standard bread flour, though it's stronger than KA's AP flour, in my experience.  It's unbleached, a mixture of winter and spring wheats that leaves the protein level higher than the standard G.M Bread Flour. 


--Dan DiMuzio

plevee's picture
plevee

Hi LindyD,


I loaded photos of a retarded loaf I baked by this recipe at the end of March. I put it with "thefreshloaf" group photos on Flickr since I've never been clever enough to load photos on this site.


The oven spring & crumb are pretty good for so much grain?


www.flickr.com/groups/thefreshloaf/


- they are from patsylvee.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Gosh, those really look nice Patsy.  I'm impressed with the nice height and crumb.  You've got one heck of a strong rye culture to carry that off after 12 hours in the cooler.  What brand flours did you use?  Thanks so much for posting those.


Dan, the Harvest King brand was replaced by Gold Medal Better for Bread - at least for home bakers.  Supposedly it's the same flour but in a different bag.  I use it primarily to refresh my SD culture.  Apparently the  Harvest King remains available for pros.  BTW, the closest nonsupermarket bakery is 40 miles away.


I have about 25 pounds of KA bread flour on hand, but didn't want to use the good stuff on what I thought would be an experimental bread that would wind up a flop.


However, after seeing Patsy's photos, I think I'll follow the original formula but omit the yeast and toast the seeds.


 

plevee's picture
plevee

I don't use anything special, Lindy.


I feed my regular white starter with fresh ground rye  2-3 times before I use it. I use Morbread unbleached bread flour - a non-organic 12% protein flour from Pendleton Mills( I think Floyd uses this, too).


The rye is from some organic berries I get from the local Co-op. My not-very-efficient mill yields a mix of coarse meal & cracked rye on the biggest setting & I sieve the result.


So far, I've never had a failure from this recipe. Good luck with your experiments.


Patsy