The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Altus & formula

  • Pin It
erg720's picture
erg720

Altus & formula

Hi guys.


Does anybody know how do we build formula that have an altus (left over bread)?


I mean, is this is part of the flour/the water or what? 


Thanks, Ron.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi Ron.


Altus is “old” rye bread cut into small pieces, soaked in water until saturated and wrung out. It was originally a way for bakers to re-use bread they hadn’t sold. "Waste not. Want not." However, it does make for a more tender and flavorful bread and has become traditional. It is optional. I keep hunks of leftover rye bread in a plastic bag in my freezer to use as altus.


Most recipes that I've seen (all for rye breads) that call for altus use about 1 cup of altus per 1 lb loaf.


David

erg720's picture
erg720

Thanks David.


I'm asking this because of your recent pumpernickel post.


What i didn't understand was how i make this kind of bread of my own.


How should i build a formula?


Ron

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Ron.


I'm not completely sure what you are asking. What kind of bread do you want to make? Why don't you use an already "tried and true" formula and, if you don't like it, make modifications to achieve what you want?


David

erg720's picture
erg720

I'll refries it again.


If u want to build a french bread u know that normally the precent of the yeast is 2%. I'm asking if there's som' like that with altus or i can put whatever i want?


is there a limit? is there a rule for that?


Ron

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Ron.


I don't know if there is a theoretical limit to the percentage of altus you can use. I've always worked from recipes that include altus.


I understand that there was and may still be a legal limit on the use of altus in breads in Germany.


FWIW, none of the books I have discuss altus quantitatively. Hamelman has one recipe that uses altus - a heavy German "Black Bread" - that uses 20% altus by baker's percentage.


David

erg720's picture
erg720

I know about the black bread.


Thanks for your patient and your answers.


 


Ron


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm not a professional baker but I use altus in heavier bread recipes and this is my guide.


I don't include it as flour weight or water.  Salt and spices don't figure in because Altus is already balanced.  After soaking I press out as much water as possible and weigh it.  I have added as much as 1/3 total dough weight into a dough without any noticeable problems.


max:  1 kg dough recipe, add up to 333g of re-hydrated rye altus.  Dry weight might be 40% ...133g?   That would still have to be put into baker's %  if that is what you want to do.


 Altus that hasn't been dried is simply no more than one third of total dough weight.  It is made into crumbs (Kitchen machine or blender) and added to the dough.  Keep in mind that as bread becomes altus/old it looses some moisture and some additional liquids may be needed to compensate.


Mini


 

erg720's picture
erg720

It was truly helpful.


 


Ron

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I'm assuming the 1 cup is before soaking?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Altus, Barm, and Cooked Cereals


Barm has yet to join (or maybe it already has) my long list of bread ingredients.  Barm and Cooked cereals are similar only barm has the addition of yeast and time allowing it to ferment.  (I suspect someone was tired of porridge and tried to turn it into ale but discovered "barm."  Those of you adding leftover cooked oatmeal or mush may now be temped to "Barm it."  Anyway...)  These ingredients are known to add moisture and flavor as pre-gelantanized grain products.  Adding boiled water to flour?  Similar effect.   Altus or old bread is also gelantanized, and I believe has a similar influence on the dough.   The phrase "waste not want not" does not in my mind pay proper tribute to what altus really contributes to a dough.  


I think it is important to add that altus cubes & bread crumbs,  should be in good condition and free of mold or foreign growth, void of "off" smells and have a pleasing aroma to be used in cooking and baking.


I was cleaning out my fridge (off smells...  how many times has that led to discoveries?) and found amoung other things half a two week old sourdough rye loaf.  It must have gone in one day after baking.... accidently.  It was perfectly good, wraped tightly but a bit dry.  So I cut it up thinking I'd push the limits of altus.  I cut up the loaf into small cubes and crumbed them soft in the blender.  When I was done, I had half a bowl of wonderfully aromatic, fantastic soft sour crumbs that bless my rye loving soul, just must have reached out and touched heaven.  I felt like crawling into the bowl breathing crumbs all day long.   Well fine, I could do that, really I could, shrink myself down, bla bla bla, but... the room was already fragrant and...   I needed bread.   You know, stuff to bite into for lunches.


So... I added about a cup of water one tablespoon bread spices and stirred, letting the crumbs sit half an hour.  Then I added more water (about 400g) 100g rye flour, 100g left over starter and let it sit another half hour.  Stirred in 1 teaspoon instant yeast (I already had the sourdough flavor)  1 teaspoon salt,  and high gluten flour utill it pulled together and made a soft dough.  Covered and left it another half an hour.  (I'd say the finished dough was my standard 1-2-3 only I skewed the "1")  I turned out a very wet dough and added flour as I kneaded.  I figured the high gluten flour needed some work to distribute the flour mass thru the crumb mass.  I planned on using a form to bake.  


I treated the dough like a straight one, letting it double in a bowl.  Then knocking it down ( I wanted a fine crumb) and adding a little AP flour to control the dough (darn sticky stuff) and shape into a "round" and placed in a round form.   Because of the crumbs and my eager tightening of the the skin using flour, the dough had a small 1/4" deep rip in the final proof.  I scored with a wet scissors and baked it for 45 minutes.  Cooled down it had a soft outer crust -- got bagged overnight.


The loaf came out "medium"  not as firm as the old rye loaf but closer to fluffy, soft crust, medium to fine uniform crumb, no big holes.   I managed to get an end for breakfast before the loaf went off to the office.  Very tasty nutty lightly chewy.


Mini O Crumbs

Elagins's picture
Elagins

they make kvass, which is a mild rye-wheat beer. break up the old bread and put it in a large pot filled with water. bring the whole thing to a boil, let it cool to blood temperature and add some yeast, then cover it and keep it in a warm place for 2-3 days. Strain out the old bread, store it in the fridge (if it lasts that long) and enjoy a glass every now and again.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Very good!


Mini

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Back in 2007 I took a rye bread class given by Jeff Hamelman.  I won't get into quantities, but one bread we made was a flax seed rye bread that had a good bit of altus in it.  He soaked chunks of old bread in water overnight,along with the flax seeds.


 


Chunks?  Yes.  About an inch on a side cubes.  They were intact, but soft, the next morning.  He didn't bother cutting off the crust or turning them into crumbs.  He told us we could use just about any bread, but a dark bread is better than a light bread and a rye bread is better than a wheat bread for this.


 


The water, chopped up bread and flax seed all went into the mixer.  A few seconds later, there was no trace of the old bread.


 


While I have your attention, barm is an often misused word.  With the exception of Spillar and Reinhart, every use of the term I've seen in the professional  press has indicated barm was the process of using fresh and active beer yeast from a brewery to raise bread.  It is not, as some people have suggested, a sourdough practice.  It is the anti-sourdough.   It was the process that probably led to the development of cultivated yeast.  The most recent widespread use of barm was in England.  This makes sense, since they use top fermenting ale yeast which will raise bread more quickly than a bottom fermenting lager yeast which is more commonly used on the continent.  There's nothing wrong with barm, but it ain't sourdough, it ain't porridge, it's beer yeast.


Mike


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And you are so great! 


I guess I should have been clearer.  What I meant to get as is: Can altus (with added moisture) like porridge or other cooked cereals and cooked flour mixtures be used to feed a barm?  A barm (like you explained) that will eventually end up combined with sourdough or instant yeast in making a bread dough?  Surely it has been tried.  The trick would be to have the correct beer yeast or barm to add for fermentation.


The reason I placed these thoughts under "altus" is because I think what is now bread, stale bread, can be also used to successfully feed a barm.  It has changed chemically after baking and becomes a target food.  It could also be that a sourdough altus is not the best food for a barm and that straight dough altus is better because of the available sugars.  I would love to know.


I'm glad you cleared up the top & bottom fermenting yeasts for me.  I have namely a bottle here of Korean white beer (Makalie ?) that looks interesting to me...  A very traditonal drink with a short life span and it smells like it should be in a loaf!  But I like the thought of letting it grow first in gelatanized something, even cooked potatoes.  (I'm thinking food for barm.)


Mini

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Thanks for the kind words.


 


Can you use old bread to feed a barm or sourdough?  I have no idea.  All I can suggest is to try it.  I am inclined to think that the carbs are less available than the carbs in flour... but they could be available enough.


 


If you try it, let us know what happens!


Mike

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

The confusion might come from the German word:  Bärm, plural Bärme, that is translated as: barm, yeast, leaven in the New Cassel's German Dictionary.  English has a klepto vocabulary, and the spoken language at home for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was German.  No surprise that the word crept in.  I've heard it used in England to mean both beer yeast and leavening agent of just about any sort.  Wonder if it matters much?  Starter works just fine for me.  In some parts of Italy, I've heard the term madre acido to refer to the mother culture.


CJ


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Altus amount is much higher in bread dumplings. 


There is an Austrian dumpling recipe that asks for cut up white bread.  Then sprinkled with a mixture of water & egg to moisten the outside of the bread cubes.  Flour is then tossed in until the cubes have a little bit of dough around them.  This mixture is pressed together with wet hands to form baseball size balls and then boiled in salt water.  The resulting bread is called Semmelknödel  and served mainly with roasts. 


The cold bread balls are served with roast left overs, cold cuts or recut and browned with onions and scrambled eggs.  This goes to show that altus levels can be quite high, the technique changes a little as size changes.  Sort of like french toast where the larger structure and size of the altus plays a larger role.  The outside surface bakes/fries/steams to set and holds in the steam refreshing the old bread with heat and moisture.


Mini