The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Insanity can be defined as...

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Insanity can be defined as...

"doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome."


Then the counterpoint must be, "Sanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and getting the same results." If so, I'm sane! Well, maybe that's going a little too far.


Nonetheless, I am delighted, so far, with my results. I repeated D. DiMuzio's pain au levain formula, and my processes, and techniques as nearly as possible on two renderings seperated by a week in time. "As nearly as possible" is the key; for example I used up all the bread flour I had on hand the first week, so the second go used a new bag, probably for a different lot, but the same brand (King Arthur).



A photo of the two bakings: The loaf in the upper left corner is week one (we ate the second, and bigger loaf). The two front loaves are this week's effort. There are slight differences in appearance--nothing significant--the biggest being the difference in crust color between the two same week loaves. After 10 minutes baking, with steam, at 480°F I turned the oven down to 450°F for the left hand loaf (the smaller one, by weight), and 440°F for the right hand loaf, which had to bake an additional 10 minutes. (I'd done the same the week before, but the crust color was more nearly the same.)



This is the crumb from the first week's loaf. We haven't cut either of this week's loaves, but by the feel of them we expect the same degree of openess. The flavor of the first week's loaves is excellent: good sour from slowly building the starter (30% of the flour weight) over 24 hours, and overnight retarded bulk proofing; the whole wheat flour lends a distinctive base note, surpirsing because it's only 10% of the flour weight; and the high initial heat, and steam, give the crust a delightful toasted nuttiness. The final test will be the taste of the second week's loaves, but we don't expect any significant difference.


We entertain a lot; additionally, we live in a community that frequently comes together for potluck dinners. It's reached the point that I'm expected to serve or contribute a loaf or two of my bread, and a bottle or two of my home vinted (if that's not a verb it should be) wine. I want to be consistent, or nearly so, that's why I'm focusing, at the moment on only two formulae: DiMuzio's pain au levain, and Hitz' baguette's.


Next week: Baguette's for the second time.

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I especially like the "palm leaf" scoring. Very attractive.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Very nice loaves, David. I, like the other David, think the palm leaf scoring is very attractive.


--Pamela

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I have to agree. it seems like you found a good way to make these and stuck with it. The loaves are very pretty!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

David:


Your loaves are very attractive!


Yippee

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Very nice scoring! Everyone will certainly enjoy these boules!


Sylvia

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Beautiful breads! You have very lucky friends.


weavershouse

bblearner's picture
bblearner

Hi David


The first time I followed your 3-build levain I actually mixed up the dough hydration with the starter hydration.  Last week, I attempted again with a 60% hydration starter elaborated 3 times within 24 hours, for dough ingredients and ratio of starter to dough, I followed Richard Bertinet's book.  The result was excellent.  I dare say the crumb nearly matched some of the photos in books.  Hehe!  Because it was a big batard and my scoring was poor, especially the colour of the crust wasn't pleasing, I didn't take any picture.  I need more practice on scoring and shaping - the surface tension you mentioned in your exchange with Mr DiMuzio - to achieve my ultimate crust.


Very nice looking breads.


Happy baking for now, Enid

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Very nice stuff, David.  Your neighbors and friends are truly lucky to have you as their village baker.


--Dan DiMuzio

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...and I promise, this is the last for this thread. My goal was consistency: Barring surprises, I feel I am now comfortable I can produce this sourdough formula, using my specific starter, and doing the best possible to use the same techniques, temperatures, etc, yielding a reasonably consistent result.


Trust me. I ain't claiming mastery! And never will.  I'm just trying to get two or three common artisanal breads in my repertoire. I've chosen SF-like SD, classic baguettes, and brioche--which I've yet to bake--as most common, and everyday useful. Last week's second try at classic baguettes was also successful.


Here's this morning's result.



David G

xaipete's picture
xaipete

The loaf looks real nice, David. I think you've achieved your goal.


--Pamela

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Fine lookin' stuff.  I'd eat that.  I might even steal that.


--Dan DiMuzio

davidg618's picture
davidg618

for all the kind words, advice, and encouragement.


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It looks like you got enormous oven spring and gigantic bloom.


I'm looking forward to seeing your baguettes and brioche.


David