The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gérard Rubaud Miche

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Gérard Rubaud Miche

I dedicate my Gérard Rubaud Miche to MC.


(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)


First build



  • 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).


Second build



  • 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..


Third build



  • 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%. 


Note:


(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.



  1. Autolyse 20 minutes.

  2. Five sets of S&F's of 30 strokes each at 30 minutes intervals.  

  3. 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).

  4. 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).

  5. 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:



  1. 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);

  2. 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.) 

  3. 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.


 


Shiao-Ping

Comments

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

As usual your description is poetic...and with Van the man playing...could it get any better! It sounds like a real winner...This is going to be my first bread I experiment with when I get my new starter going in France, ala Gérard Rubaud! I think it will appropriate to take it back to it's birth place. Thank you Shiao-Ping and Mc for the new insights...


Judd

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Yesterday I took my son to the orthodontist for his routine visit.  The orthodontist announced that my son could have his braces off next visit in 3 1/2 weeks' time.  When we got into the car, my son told me he needed to know his next visit in terms of days (rather than weeks), so I gave him the appointment card for him to work it out himself.  For the past 18 months, he has not played his trumpet (because notes would not come out right, he said).  Sometimes you don't exactly know the effect of certain things on kids.  So, the happy countdown has begun for him....


Today, I dropped Andrew at the ferry.  He will spend the weekend with his best mate's family on an island - the last little holiday before the school begins.  So, I am home alone without the kids.  I knew this coming and had been planning in my mind what I would like to do for this special home-aloneness.  In the end I decided what I most wanted is an unrestrained Van Morrison-ness like in my old graduate school days in dormitory studying, except that this time it would be Debra Wink's "Lactic Acid Fermentation in Sourdough" that I will be studying (haha).  So my countdown has also (happily) begun...


Shiao-Ping


p.s.  Thank you, Giovanni, for sending Debra's link to me.

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Just flour, water, salt and passion. I hope you are closer to the "full-colored rainbow" sourdough.


Giovanni

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Giovanni,  


That is most descriptive.


Shiao-Ping

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I don't understand your explanation of how the crackled crust is achieved. i would think that it would be harder to achieve with a high-hydration dough. There is more internal moisture that would migrate to the crust during cooling.


Are you saying that a higher baking temperature is the key?


David

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... the oven (when the baked loaf first came out) is the key.  And, it is better that the difference is great (if you want crackling crust).  When you turn off the oven for the last 5 - 10 minutes of the bake to "dry off" the dough, the temperature difference when this loaf comes out of the oven would be less.  When there is an extreme difference, the heat inside the loaf escapes into the open in a much greater force and results in cracks.  That is what I think what happened to my loaves this time.  In this post, I made three bakes, all done in 230 degree C throughout the baking time (without temperature graduating down) and these are 80% hydration doughs as you know.  The cracks I got is not just in one spot of the crust; they are all over the entire surface of the three loaves!!  Frankly, I am surprised myself.  I didn't set out to get crackles; it really just happened that way because of the way the loaves are baked and cool down.  This is the best I can do in explaining but I really can't be sure if this is correct.  


You are right that there is more moisture that would migrate to the crust during cooling in a high-hydration dough.  And perhaps that helps in the crackled crust?!  The reason I said that is because I think the moisture inside the dough retains more heat than otherwise.  I am speaking from my own experience that I have had more crackled crusts when my doughs were higher hydrations.  


To me, the heat difference as mentioned above, coupled with a high-hydration dough, result in crackled crust.  But I really don't know for sure.  I am only going by my own experience.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for the clarification, Shiao-Ping.


I'm sure you are correct about the temperature change, but for the crust to crack, it must also be dry.


The cracks occur because the crust is contracting faster than the interior. If it were not dry, it would be more elastic and could shrink without cracking. So, the effect of leaving the loaf in the cooling oven helps dry the crust, even though it reduces the temperature differential the loaf experiences when you take it out of the oven. Hmmmm ... Perhaps baking at a higher temperature does dry the crust enough, and you get the synergistic effect of dry crust plus temperature drop.


I'm interested in your finding more crackling in breads with high hydration doughs. I've always found the opposite. Moisture migrating to the crust during cooling should soften it and, thus, inhibit cracking ... unless the crust is already so hard it is impervious to the moisture. 


You have certainly provided food for thought. I'm going to be baking a couple boules of San Francisco Sourdough from AB&P today. Suas' formula makes a wetter dough than most for SF SD. I'll try it "your way."


Addendum: I baked two 1 lb boules of SF SD. I pre-heated the oven to 500ºF. Baked with steam for 10 min. and dry for another 15 min. I set the oven 25ºF hotter than recommended (475 vs. 450ºF) and baked for 10 minutes less. I moved the bread to the cooling rack without any extra time in the turned off oven.


The loaves were darker than standard. One loaf did have a few crackles (little baby ones). The other did not. FWIW, these loaves sang for an extra-long time, although not as loud as sometimes.


I think this technique question is worth exploring further. Does the size of the loaf matter? I've gotten crackles on miches and on baguettes, so probably not. Does dough hydration really matter? My hypothesis is that it does not, until you get to some very high level of hydration (80%?), where crackling is inhibited. Is the sudden change in temperature really the most important variable? Maybe. If it is, than transferring a loaf directly from the oven to the refrigerator ought to generate crackles like crazy. I'll try it when my wife won't be home, I think.


David

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi David


I am getting a bit confused now.  So I am going to examine what you said word by word very carefully -


Firstly, you said "The cracks occur because the crust is contracting faster than the interior."  Now, I would ask what gives or makes it contract?  To me, this is the key.


Secondly, you said, "...the effect of leaving the loaf in the cooling oven helps dry the crust."  Now, I would say that, if the oven is not turned off and is still full on, the crust is even drier.  Wouldn't you agree? 


Next, you said, "Moisture migrating to the crust during cooling should soften it and, thus, inhibit cracking ... unless the crust is already so hard [meaning, dry] it is impervious to the moisture."  I agree.  This tells me moisture or otherwise is not so much an issue.  The issue is whether or not the loaf temperature is high (more below).  


"Does the size of the loaf matter?"  To me, it does.  I have had more crackled crusts in bigger loaves than small ones.  Why is that?  My crackled crusts always come with crunchiness too.  Why is that?  I observed that in a bigger loaf there is more self-generated moisture in the oven.  It is baked longer, coupled with more absolute moisture (some of which is turned into steam before it evaporates in the oven), resulting in more absolute internal heat that needs to be evacuated in a cooling rack when the loaf comes out of the oven.   


You said, "...very high level of hydration (80%?), where crackling is inhibited."  The thing is, with my three Gerard Rubaud miches (one two were shown in the post), all have crackles all-over the crusts, top and sides all round - and these are 80% hydration!  They are large loaves too!  Two were 1.77 kg each and the last one was 1.92 kg!  


"Is the sudden change in temperature really the most important variable [as Shiao-Ping claims it is]?"  Well, I should add, not just change in any temperature, because when we take our loaf out of the oven, there is the change in temperature straight away.  It is (A) how much internal heat mass of the loaf that is escaping outwards, together with (B) how hard and dry the surface of the loaf is, that gives the crackled crust, I think.  


Do I talk gibberish?  I want you to know I do like your idea of cooling your loaf directly from the oven to the refrigerator.  Ha!


Shiao-Ping

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Shiao-Ping.


I appreciate your critical thinking. My response to your very good questions follows:



 "The cracks occur because the crust is contracting faster than the interior."  Now, I would ask what gives or makes it contract?



I believe I misstated here. It is the crumb that is contracting faster than the crust causing the cracks. I assume that the contraction is from cooling causing the carbon dioxide and water vapor in the crumb to exert less pressure - the reverse of what causes oven spring during baking.



"Does the size of the loaf matter?"  To me, it does.  I have had more crackled crusts in bigger loaves than small ones.  Why is that?  My crackled crusts always come with crunchiness too.  Why is that?  I observed that in a bigger loaf there is moreself-generated moisture in the oven.  It is baked longer, coupled with more absolute moisture (some of which is turned into steam before it evaporates in the oven), resulting in more absolute internal heat that needs to be evacuated in a cooling rack when the loaf comes out of the oven.   



A larger loaf will also be baked for a longer time and will tend to have an absolutely thicker crust, even though there is relatively less crust than crumb compared to a small loaf. Simple geometry. Geometry also determines that the absolute amount of contraction will be greater in a larger loaf. Interesting! Yet, the most crackly crust of all is in baguettes. Hmmmm ....



You said, "...very high level of hydration (80%?), where crackling is inhibited."  The thing is, with my three Gerard Rubaud miches (one two were shown in the post), all have crackles all-over the crusts, top and sides all round - and these are 80% hydration! 



Okay. Maybe the threshold for crackling inhibition is 81% hydration. ;-) Seriously, I suppose that, if the crust is dry and hard enough, the dough hydration doesn't matter.



"Is the sudden change in temperature really the most important variable [as Shiao-Ping claims it is]?"  Well, I should add, not just change in any temperature, because when we take our loaf out of the oven, there is the change in temperature straight away.  It is (A) how much internal heat mass of the loaf that is escaping outwards, together with (B) how hard and dry the surface of the loaf is, that gives the crackled crust, I think.



I'm not clear on what "internal heat mass of the loaf ... escaping outward" means. From my understanding at the moment, the absolute change in temperature (reflected in the amount of contraction of the crumb) in the presence of a rigid (hard, dry) crust causes the crackles. The speed of contraction, which would relate to the oven-room temperature differential, may not be so important.


Hmmm ... I need a physics consultation! Mr. Boyle? Are you there?


David

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

SOS, young physicists in Belgium (and Paris)!!

paddyboomsticks's picture
paddyboomsticks

unless the crust is already so hard it is impervious to the moisture.



That's the key for me, David. I have had great success with crackling on long (>90-120 minutes), high (>230 celsius) bakes with (as Shiao-Ping mentions) larger loaves. I have also personally found that (usually overnight) retardation helps me get crackle.


My crazy baker theory about this is because it increases the simple sugars on the surface of the loaf, the temperature is high enough to caramelise them a lot, caramels is brittle of course and thus when coupled with the rapid cooling, it affects cracking. I have no science or knowledge to bake this up; it's purely crazy baker theory!

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Great stuff.  Wish I had some here to eat with my soup.


--Dan DiMuzio

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

For some of my breads I really need to psyche myself and feel motivated and inspired before I proceed, and once they're done, I don't feel like ever doing them again.


Thank you.


Shiao-Ping

korish's picture
korish

I wass thinking of skiping baking bread tommorow but after reading your post I think I might as well get my starter ready for baking. Thanks for sharing this wonedrfull bread, and the stencill is lovely, I'm afraid to even atempt something like that.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Stencils are a lot of fun.

marc's picture
marc

Your loaves are beautiful. True works of art.


What technique do you use to apply the stencil? Do you brush the loaf with water first—or at least the section where the stencil is being applied. I've tried in the past, but my stencil either sticks to the bread, or the design is not nearly as sharp and defined as yours in the photo.


Are you using rice flour for the design, or regular bread flour?

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I did not brush my loaf with water before dusting flour on the stencil design.  I find that the flour sticks to the surface of the loaf quite well.  I used regular bread flour.  Rice flour won't be good, as it is too loose and dry, when you move your loaf, the rice flour may move. 


For how I did the stenciling for this loaf, see here.


 

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

That's edible art.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you.


How do you go with your starter?  Do you refresh it twice these days before you  use it?


Shiao-Ping

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your loaves are just gorgeous all around.  I love the crackle.  I've never had any luck getting a crackled crust by leaving the loaf to rest in a vented oven and I was happy to hear that you say the temperature change does have an effect.  In the beginning of my baking I had felt that the temperature change when the bread came out of the oven was what made the crust crackle...I think sometimes first impressions tell me a lot.  Thank you for the very nicely written formula.


Sylvia

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thanks, Sylvia.  Once the numbers were worked out, it was easier to proceed.  I find the formula for the three levain builds very helpful for other bakes too.  If you keep it handy (just use the amounts and you don't have to restrict yourself to Gerard's flour compositions), you've got yourself a good schedule for building a healthy levain in preparation for a final dough or any dough. 


And about the crackled crust, it sounds like our experiences are the same.


Shiao-Ping

dwhite0849's picture
dwhite0849

i agree  i call van morrison my sunday morning laid back time

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

And it can be a teenagers' music too.  My daughter, 17, loves it and tells me she listens to it before bed or when she needs to calm down.  Funny that, his music would do the opposite to me.


My high-school classmate from my hometown in Taiwan is married to a European and has lived in Europe for over 25 years.  Her husband recently told me that, in the sixties during the many, many student parties, they had one song Gloria (which is Van Morrison's all time hit) was "top of the bill, why ?  The law students community, named Sofia, were singing that song at least a couple of times a night.  Gloria became SOFIA.  That's the reason Van Morrison became immortal in our city (Antwerp) and greater environment."   I was surprised to learn that; Sofia reminds me of Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Further to your comments Shiao-Ping, I've been using the GR builds and his flour compositions for other breads, such as your 'house miche'. Works very well and I fancy his flour combo adds something to the flavour of the bread, regardless of the recipe. Also, his starter seems to produce great spring...or perhaps it's just that - as you suggested elsewhere - the lower hydration starters harbour more yeast, which adds more muscle to the rise.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Do you have big, really big, stainless steel mixing bowl?  I have one that is 30 cm in diametre.  If you have one, use it to cover your loaf for the first 20, or even 30 minutes of baking, and see how much oven spring you get.  You would be amazed.  If you use this method, you need no steaming no lava stone.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I don't have a stainless steel bowl that big, but after that recommendation, I'm sure gonna get one!

MC's picture
MC

...Shiao-Ping, and a very moving post! It is the first time ever that a bread has been dedicated to me and, coming from you, it is a great honor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for being you + a great baker! What a winning combination...


I'll be sure to show your gorgeous miches to GR when I next see him. He'll be very touched.


Taste-wise, I don't think I would have gotten the same aromas as GR if I had proofed my dough at a warmer temperature. I have been reading a lot about aromas these past few days: so many factors come into play that it is truly impossible  to reproduce anybody's "signature". But that's fine, isn't it? It makes the bread world so much more interesting.


I just made Pavés au levain using a beautiful (almost golden) hi-extraction flour from an old mill in Québec, no freshly milled flours and my own (not GR's) liquid starter (fed 3 times with 60% AP and 40% same hi-extraction flour). The pavés' flavor is deliciously aromatic and complex. I do think the ingredients we use play an enormous role in the final taste.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you, too, MC.


What is Pavés au levain?  60% AP and 40% hi-extraction flour sounds like a lovely combination.  By the way, have you ever found out what the protein % is in KAF's all-purpose flour?  The plain flour I used in this post is Australian Laucke's Wallaby bread flour with 11.8% protein which I know is slightly on the high side, but I have not yet tested out other lower protein flours.


Shiao-Ping

MC's picture
MC

...will be the subject of my next post on Farine (maybe tomorrow if I get a chance). Knowing you and your tastebuds, I think you'll love it. :-)


From the label, w the protein level in KA's AP flour is 11.7% but when I asked customer service, I was told it was an approximation. See here for more flour info.

Thor Simon's picture
Thor Simon

...is supposedly controlled +- 0.2%.  General Mills seems to hold their conventional (non-organic) flours to within a 0.3% spec.  Organic flours are all over the place (for example, the spec for GM's organic bread flour is +- 1%), and KA claims some other brands of conventional flours are, too.


All the spec sheets are available on KA's web site.  GM does that too, it's one of the nicer things about them.  Information on other brands can be harder to come by, particularly the tolerances.  Anyway, the KA AP should be about as consistent a flour as you can get.

MC's picture
MC

...I have heard from two respected bakers, Didier Rosada and Gérard Rubaud, that KA flour can vary a lot from one bag to the next, at least under the Sir Galahad label which, I believe, is the all-purpose sold to homebakers, the reason being that KA isn't a milling company and actually combines flours from different millers.


I have asked Jeff Hamelman directly about that and he said that all the incoming flours are tested, etc. in order to produce a consistent product but I guess, not all bakers agree that the goal is necessarily achieved.

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Shiao Ping - your baking is a piece of art....they turned out so beautifully....

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hello, Jenny, welcome!

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

WOW, crust and crumb spectacular.


Do you draw and cut your own stencils? If so, what type of paper do you use? Is it stiff, like card stock..or flexible like paper? and cut with an Exacto?


Betty

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I used Microsoft Word for choosing a calligraphy style I like.  The particular style in this post is Palace Script MT.  I like Edwardian Script, but it is impossible as a stencil without altering the style.  


I printed it out on a piece of A4 copy paper and enlarged certain strokes so they are more dramatic.  Then I placed this on top of a piece of harder paper (from my drawing paper book, which is quite hard but not stiff like card stock).  For a large stencil, a harder paper is necessary or the flour on it will bend certain parts of it and won't keep the stencil shape integrity.  I cut it using a very small pair of scissors I have for sewing.  I've got all sewing gadgets from the old days.  What is Exacto?  Someting for sewing?


I've said it once before in another post that the way the stamp (or stencil) shows up can be ying or yang.  In a Chinese stamp (chop), the red ink is the medium (in our stencil, flour is the medium).  When the character shows up in red ink, it is yang; when the surrounding area shows up, it is ying.  In the case of my stencil in this post, it is yang.  I had thought about doing it in a ying way, but the whole surface of the dough would be covered in flour so as to show up the stencil; I didn't think it would be attractive that way.  Yang is harder to cut out.  In a Chinese chop, a yang chop is normally more expensive than a ying chop.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I do appreciate the definition of Yin & Yang. I always thought that I understood it and now I see it more clearly. Like positive and negative in black and white photography?


An Exacto is a razor tool. It looks somewhat like a pencil with a pointed razor.




One of these days when I find extra time (ha-ha) I will try making and using a stencil. It makes the difference between special and extraordinary.


Betty

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Betty, your pictures did not show up, but I think I have something that matches your description of "Exacto."  I have a couple of sets of Chinese chop-carving tools.  The tools look exactly like your description of Exacto.  I have completely forgotten about them.  After I bought them some years back, I lost interest in them and moved on to something else and that's why I forgot about them.  In fact, they would make excellent tools for cutting out stencils.  Scissors are in fact not ideal.  Thank you for telling me about Exacto.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Shiao-Ping,


This is your best work yet. Very nice job with this reconstruction.


It sounds like you preferred the first loaves without the pate fermente as they were less sour. I think I liked the crumb structure a little better. Does the finished bread carry a deep and unique aroma?


Are you keeping the starter at 5 hour feeding intervals? The hyper active starter activity certainly reduces the ferment time. Quite interesting indeed.


Eric

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

My best work yet?  I think so too (because of the stencil).  I love the calligraphy effect of the stencil.


I had a slice of the miche with the pate fermente this morning with my son, and surprisingly it was not sour compared to the day before.  The sourness seems to have mellowed or blended in with the other flavours, resulting in an even more rounded taste from yesterday.  This is strange.  Don't most sourdough breads get more sour as the days go by?   I am experiencing new things with this Gerard Rubaud miche.  I did say in my post that the miche with the pate fermente is more sour than the one without, but on an absolutely term, both are not what I would call sour.  


Does the finished bread carry a deep and unique aroma?  I did say that the whole grains roasting fragrance (in the absence of a better description) filled the whole house when the bread came out of the oven, right?  That moment was a most beautiful experience for me, seeing the stencil like an emboss on the bread and smelling the bread fragrance at once.  Oh, I have to tell you a story here (and Mini Oven, if you are out there, you would enjoy this story).  In the Chinese late Ch'ing Dynasty (before it was overthrown and the Republic came into being), people were very poor (still are today with a few glaring exceptions).  There was a gourmet who is a beggar (who incidentally is the writer himself, but the name escapes me now).  He bought a Da-bin, a Northern Chinese dry bread that is shaped like a thick pancake but much larger.  He was very hungry and would kill for a few slices of stewed beef to eat with his Da-bin.  But he only had enough money left to buy one stalk of spring onion.  So, he went and sat in front of a restaurant where beautiful stewed pork and beef were being served.  He took a bite of his Da-bin, then a bite of his green spring onion, then a good sniff at the aroma streaming out of the restaurant, then chewed the two ingredients (in this mouth) with the aroma (in his nose), and what he got was a wonderful meal (in his head)!  I don't know why this story came to my mind.  Perhaps the reason is there is a similarity how I bake and how that beggar ate his Da-bin - using our imagination.  My enjoyment is not solely on the physical level.  So, to answer your question - does the finished bread carry a deep and unique aroma?  To me, it does but maybe in reality it doesn't.  Sorry, this is a bad answer.   


No way I am feeding my starter 5 hourly.


Shiao-Ping

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

That's the only word I have.  Just "beautiful"!  Al


Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

How could anyone possibly make a loaf of bread possessed with such beauty?  Wow.


Jeff

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Is the issue bread with such beauty or the beauty itself?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Shiao-Ping,


You quite obviously have a natural gift for transferring the beauty you see to the loaf you bake and you do it in splendid fashion. This does not even touch on the fact that you compose and produce equally beautiful photographs.


Simply wonderful,


Jeff


 

jleung's picture
jleung

I have had the fortune of trying Gerard's extraodinary Pain de Tradition - he delivers Wednesday and Sunday at 2pm to City Market in Burlington (VT), and some are so passionate about his bread that they know exactly through which door the staff appears with the loaves before they're placed on the stand for sale. It's quite the sight.


The fragrance and appearance of the crumb, as you have mentioned, is unlike any other. Your miche are astounding and I love the look of the cracks. Bravo, Shiao-Ping!


- Jackie

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Oh my gosh, Jackie, I had forgotten that you live in Burlington, Vermont!  


Jackie, would you be so kind to take a few pictures of Gerard Rubaud's breads at the City Market for us?  Either Wednesday or Sunday's market would do us great.  No pressure, just when you get time from your busy lab. hours, Please, Please?


Shiao-Ping 

jleung's picture
jleung

Gerard Rubaud's bread, purchased from the local co-op (City Market, Burlington, VT)


In the bag



 


Back of the bag





Crumb



Crumb (close up shot)



 



Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

That is beautiful crumb.  Jackie thank you soooo... much for that.   I couldn't read the back of the bag "Breads of Tradition," so I blew it up but still can't read.   What does it say?   Any more info. than what's in MC's meet-the-baker story here?  And thank you so much for taking so many photos; they are all very good.   


Shiao-Ping

jleung's picture
jleung

Sorry about that - was trying to keep the photo size small to fit the page.


* * *


Breads of Tradition


Inside this bag you will find a hand-shaped, 3-grain sourdough bread made from nothing more than spelt, wheat, rye, sea salt and well water. Because Gerard's breads are made with organic "levain" (starter), they have a deeper flavor and go stale less quickly than yeast-risen breads. The loaves are baked in a traditional woodfired brick oven early each morning and sold that very day.


3 Grain Country Loaf. The best way to store Gerard's Country Loaf, once you've cut a few slices, is to stand the loaf on a wooden cutting surface, cut side down, with a paper bag loosely covering the loaf. It will remain fresh for 2 days. Storing the bread in plastic will keep it fresh for a week, but the crust will lose its distinct character. For longer keeping, Gerard's Bread freezes beautifully. Freeze the loaf (or 1/2 loaf) in a plastic bag. To serve, remove the bread from the plastic and let it sit out for 1 hour (1/2 hour for 1/2 loaf). Then heat the loaf in a hot oven (450F-475F) for 7 minutes (4 min. for 1/2 loaf). This second "baking" actually improves the taste of the bread. Reheated bread is best enjoyed within 24 hours.


Flatbread. The ideal way to enjoy Gerard's Flatbread is after heating for 4 to 6 minutes in a hot oven (450F-475F). The flatbread is made with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese and can be served plain to accompany a main course, garnished with a few pizza-like toppings to make a meal, or split in half horizontally for sandwiches. Whatever your taste, if you don't plan to eat the flatbread within a day, please wrap it in a plastic bag and freeze it. You'll find that it freezes perfectly. To serve, remove the plastic, let the flatbread defrost for 15 minutes and then heat it for 4 to 6 minutes in a very hot oven (450F-475F).

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Jackie, that is very good of you.  Now we are all on the same page.  THANK YOU.


Shiao-Ping

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