The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wow - Essential's Columbia Country French Sourdough recipe from Glezer's "Artisan Baking" book

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Wow - Essential's Columbia Country French Sourdough recipe from Glezer's "Artisan Baking" book

After making a decent BBA Pain Polaine the other day, I next made two breads from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking" book that use a very firm starter. I've made Thom Leonard's Country French bread before (p. 133) and that came out very good, but I was really blown away by how good the Essential's Columbia bread (p. 82) came out! After tasting this Columbia bread, it was disappointing going back to taste the Poilane, I liked the Columbia much better, although granted they are somewhat different styles of bread:

columbia.jpg

This Columbia is by far the best bread I've ever made, no contest, in fact my French husband and I agree this is the best bread we've tasted outside of France. The taste and texture are wonderful: crispy, chewy, with a very complex sourdough flavor, really not much sour but a lot of flavor! I wonder if it is all the combination of different flours in the recipe, plus the wheat germ and malt syrup...all I can say is this will be my new standard bread to make weekly, as well as to give away as gifts. Next time I make it I may try using oblong bannetons to give the loaves more of a football shape rather than the batards I made here. By the way, that crust is not burnt, the malt syrup makes it carmelize very darkly. I followed the recipe in the book exactly except I retarded the final dough overnight in my cold mudroom for the first ferment. Check out Columbia's excellent crumb and crust:

columbia_crumb.jpg

Comments

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

That looks wonderful! I have that book but haven't made too many recipes out of it for some reason--but I like the flour mix it uses. Thanks for the inspiration!

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Breadnerd - thanks, I hope you have a similarly good experience with the flavors. I have had the Glezer book for awhile but it was only after reading BBA and becoming more confident of overall sourdough baking skills that I felt ready to tackle some of the recipes in other books that may not offer as good instructions as BBA. I guess the main reason I decided to try the Glezer recipes is the photos look so good!

 

I'll bet this bread would turn out great in your mud oven - I just received the Kiko Denzer book last week and am in the middle of it right now, it sure does seem like a do-able project for us, I have a good location for it and most of the raw materials on site here. If we continue to not have any snow or very cold weather in the Northeast this winter, it may even become a winter project! (Although I'd much prefer to have the snow, as would my Bernese Mountain Dogs!)

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Isn't it funny how you can have a book for years and not use it? My problem is often just that I have too many bread books, but I also get in a rut of making the same recipes. That's another reason I like this forum, is the inspiration seeing other people's loaves!

 

I think I'll do a test run of the columbia sourdough before making in the oven. I was planning on firing it up over the holiday long weekends, but I've been rather lazy, and the weather predicted has been blah, though so far it hasn't actually rained (we're having a warm winter here in wisconsin, I'd rather have snow too). I've found one of the reasons sourdough is great in the mud oven is that it's so flexible with longer rising times. If the oven is running a little late on reaching temperature, it's a lot easier to push a levain loaf to rise an extra hour without ill effects!

 

Have fun planning your oven! I had the book and even the firebricks for the floor for YEARS until I finally cleared the to-do list and got the better half inspired to do it :) Though that's good in a way--there were a lot less people who had made it (at least who talked about it on-line) than there are now. It was very handy to read up on other folk's experiences.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Here's my "blog' entry:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1662

 

I didn't quite get the large holes that you did--was your dough fairly wet? Mine turned out smooth and soft, but stiffer than I would expect for larger holes to form. No complaints though, the taste and texture is wonderful. I did alter the recipe slightly, and will try it in it's exact form on another day (perhaps with an overnight rise though).

 

Thanks again for the inspiration!  :) 

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Hi Folks:

 Have been trying to find the "columbia bread" formula or recipe and have been unsuccessful.  Doe's anyone have the recipe that they could post ?  Have also tried to find a copy of Gelzer's book at a far price..  No success.  Have made most of the recipes in BBA and would like to try this one.  Any help would be appreciated.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

This may sound like an obvious question, but did you look on Amazon.com? You can buy the paperback version there used or new from one of their affiliated vendors and there are some cheap prices there, like $10 new, here is the link (better yet, click on the link for the hardcover version of this book to Amazon that Floyd provides on this site, as that helps support him in maintaining this site for us all to enjoy):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1579652913/ref=dp_olp_1/105-2949417-3306033?tag2=froglallabout-20

 

It is an excellent book worth getting for the other recipes such as Thom Leonard's Country French bread as well, with a lot of interesting chapters on various aspects of artisan baking, from growing wheat to milling to baking in brick ovens. I'm a little hesitant to post the recipe here as I don't know if that violates any copyright laws...if Floyd is comfortable with me posting the recipe, I'll try to find time later to type it up and do so.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I believe recipes themselves cannot be subject to copyright, so if you post the recipe and paraphrasing the instructions we are fine. Photocopying the pages and posting them or a word-for-word transcription would be a no-no. And giving credit to the source, as you have clearly done, is also the ethical thing to do.

Wayne's picture
Wayne

 

Thanks mountaindog for the reply.  I did try Amazon, but only for the hardback edition which was $70  I didn't think to look for a paperback edition.  Anyway,  thank you for your quick response.  I did find the hardback edition on ChristianBooks web site believe it or not at a fair price ($30) and have placed an order there.  It is currently on back order but expected in around the end of Febuary.  Thanks again.

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

I get a lot of my books at www.half.com  I find good prices there and plan to get BBA shortly.  That is where I have bought 90% of my books... 

Rena in Delaware

Wayne's picture
Wayne

 

 

Hi Rena:

 I am aware of, and use often, half.com.......last time I tried they did not have Gelzer's original book.  I know you will enjoy the BBA very much if you do purchase it.   Thanks for your response.

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Sorry,

 One final question, are these two books identical in content with one just in paperback and the other hardback ??  Wierd, but now Amazon has the hardback listed for about $30.  Did look at link mountaindog supplied.  Thanks.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I could be wrong, but I assume they are the same book - in any event, I have the cheaper paperback version and that is where you can find the Columbia recipe and the Leonard recipe.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Here is the Columbia recipe from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking" book. My own comments are in italic:

Essential's Columbia (Country French-Style Bread - by Seattle's Essential Baking Co. and named for the Columbia River)

Makes two 22-ounce (625 g) batards

Time: about 24 hrs. with 20 minutes of active work

 

The evening before baking make the Levain as follows:

30 g ( 1 oz) fermented firm sourdough starter refreshed 8-12 hrs before (see my note below on starter)

95 g (3.3 oz) lukewarm water

150 g (5.3 oz) unbleached bread flour (see my note below on flour)

Dissolve starter in the water, then add flour and knead this stiff dough until smooth. Place in covered container and ferment at room temp (@70F) until doubled, 8-12 hrs.

NOTE: I use 45 g of an active wet starter above, mixed with about 70 g water and 160 g flour until the consistency seems right, as long as it totals to 275 g of levain. I also use only King Arthur All-Purpose flour rather than bread flour as it has a high enough protein content, too much protein as in most bread flours makes the crumb too tough for my taste.

 

Next day make the final dough as follows:

300 g (10.6 oz) unbleached bread flour (see my note above on flour, I used only AP flour here)

300 g (10.6 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

55 g (1.9 oz) whole-wheat flour, finely ground

15 g (0.5 oz) whole-rye flour, finely ground

20 g (0.7 oz) toasted wheat germ

20 g (0.7 oz) non-diastatic barley malt syrup (this is sold in most supermarkets or where home-beer-brewing supplies are sold)

450 g (16 oz) warm water

all the fermented levain you made the night before (275 g or 11.6 oz)

16 g (0.5 oz) salt

 

Mix By hand: combine all 4 flours and wheat germ in large bowl. Measure the malt syrup with an oiled tablespoon and dissolve in the warm water. (NOTE: I measure the water first and while it's sitting in a container on my scale, I scoop and add a little syrup at a time until the correct weight is added to the water. I don't oil the spoon as I don't want to contaminate my can of syrup.) Pour the malted water over flour mixture and mix with spoon, dough whisk, or hands until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest (autolyse) for 20-30 minutes. Turn dough out onto work surface, add levain and salt, and knead for about 10 minutes until very smooth.

Mix By stand mixer: same as by hand except leave in mixer bowl after autolyse, then add the levain and salt and knead in mixer at low speed for about 4-5 minutes until very smooth.

The dough should feel smooth, dry, and firm at end of kneading.

NOTE: I like my dough a little softer and wetter to get bigger holes, so I may add a few extra drops of water when kneading in mixer until it just barely clears the bottom of the bowl when fully kneaded. I also only use King Arthur AP flour here rather than the mix of bread flour and AP, this probably also makes the dough softer without even having to add any extra water.

 

Fermenting: Place dough in lightly-oiled bowl at least 3 times its size and cover with plastic wrap. Let ferment for 1 hour at room temp (@70F). Turn dough once by gently folding like a business letter and flipping upside-down, then continue fermenting for about 3 to 5 hours until nearly doubled. (NOTE: I ferment at room temp. for one hour then retard overnight in fridge, warming up again next day at room temp. for 2-3 hours before shaping).

 

Rounding and resting: Turn dough out onto floured work surface, cut in half with pastry cutter, and lightly round the 2 pieces into boules. Cover with plastic and let rest for 10-15 min. to relax the gluten.

 

Shaping and proofing: Very gently shape each boule into batards (see Floyd's video for how to, but be sure NOT to degas dough at all, just gently fold and tuck into the batard shape). Set batards seam-side down into a linen floured couche or on a semolina-dusted sheet pan or peel. (The couche will prevent the batards from spreading out too much during proofing). Cover the batards with plastic wrap and proof for 3.5 to 4.5 hours at room temp. until well-expanded but still springy when lightly pressed with finger. (NOTE: I find it's better to proof a little longer until a slight dent remains when pressed with finger if you want bigger holes in your crumb).

 

Preheating oven: At least 45 minutes before dough is fully-proofed, preheat oven with baking stone on middle rack to 425F. (NOTE: I preheat to 500F then turn down to 425F after first 3 minutes of baking and misting.)

 

Bake: Gently place loaves on semolina-dusted parchment on over-turned baking sheet or peel, slash the batards with razor (see Floyd's slasher video). Slide parchment onto hot baking stone in oven and quickly mist side walls of oven with water in a mister (do not spray near the oven light!) and shut the oven door.

My notes here on out: Turn oven down from 500F to 425F and set oven timer for 15 minutes and continue misting every 30 seconds just 3 or 4 times for first 3 minutes. When first 15 minutes are up, open oven and rotate loaves around to even out browning. Set timer for another 15 minutes and check the loaves when that time is up. If they are still a light color brown, leave in for another 5-10 minutes until they are a deep brown but not burnt, then probe center of loaf with instant-read thermometer, loaves are done when thermometer reads at least 205F in center. The malt syrup in the dough should give the crust a very deep brown color. If they are getting burnt but center is not done, your oven is too hot, turn it down another 25 degrees or so next time. Let cool thoroughly on rack before cutting as the centers are still cooking, at least 1 hour for batards, longer if you make a large boule out of this recipe.

 

 

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Mountaindog,  thanks so much for the recipe, this was very nice of you.  I have ordered the book, but this will allow me to try this right away.  Thanks again.

Baking Soda's picture
Baking Soda

Mountaindog, thks so much for the recipe. It is really hard to find bread baking books here in the Netherlands and as a result we (a bunch of friends from a dutch bread baking forum) are buying american books. As a matter of fact we've been trying to get our hands on a copy of Joe Ortiz' The Village Baker....impossible to get! Apparently it's out of print and Amazon and the likes are still offering but once you order you'll get a message that it's not available... )

I do own MG's A blessing of bread but that's a lot of challah, maybe this is one I should buy? In like: do I really "need" another bread baking book? Yes!

Love the levain types of bread, will start this tonight! Thank you for using weight measurements!

 

 

 

http://bakemyday.blogspot.com/

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Baking Soda - I imagine the Netherlands are like France in terms of good bread being readily available, so no one bothers to make it at home. You would probably like Glezer's Artisan Baking book, there are a lot of good recipes in there, I find myself going back to it more and more, now that I have a good idea of what I am doing with natural yeast starters especially. People find the recipes somewhat advanced, but if you've made it through the BBA and other bread books, you will do fine with this one. In especially like that this book has metric weights too, which I prefer to use to be more precise for small amounts of ingredients.

 

Tomorrow I have a friend who is from Poland coming over to my house to learn how to make the Thom Leonard loaf from this book. She tasted the Leonard loaf I made about 2 weeks ago and was crazy for it, saying she hadn't had bread that good since leaving Europe. So now she wants to learn and I think we'll have fun - this is the rewarding part of breadmaking - sharing not only the fruits of your labor but also what you've learned. I'm just happy to have someone to give my excess starter to!

Baking Soda's picture
Baking Soda

You are so right! We have lots of good bread readily available in all different shapes and sizes (and flavours) that's probably why people here call me crazy baking my own bread...:P But to make your own is so rewarding in terms of flavour and freshness and of course accomplishment. Now even my kids know the difference in flavour between a bread made with a levain, or a plain yeasted one, whether I added sugar or not. I think that's great.

Every now and then a friend and I share kitchen and coffee and bake bread, exchanging recipes and ideas, double fun. All I need to do now is convince her to bake with starters so I can share my excess too! thks for the hint on the book.

Have fun tomorrow.

http://bakemyday.blogspot.com/

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Mountaindog:

 Did you use a firm or wet rye starter for your latest Columbia ??

 Wayne

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Wayne - the photo on this blog page  - my first Columbia attempt - used the firm white starter specifed in the book.

My second attempt was with a wet rye starter (100% hydration), and it came out equally well in texture, with a bit more of a rye taste and a bit heavier crumb.

My latest attempt this past weekend I used a wet white starter(100% hydration), and it was the best one yet in terms of how well it rose, how open and light the crumb was, and how well you could taste the mix of flours and wheat germ in this recipe.

Also noteworthy - my latest attempt this past weekend for the Leonard loaf used a wet rye starter (100% hydration),  (replacing the rye in the  final dough with white AP) - this was the best one yet, it was very flavorful, had a nice sourness to it that I attribute to the rye starter, and it rose beautifully with great oven spring and great holes.

I am happy to keep both the rye and the white starters at 100% hydration as I seem to have a place for each in specific recipes. The rye gives a nicer bite to primarily white loaves (eg Leonard), while the white starter does not overwhelm the flavor of mixed grain loaves (eg Columbia) but helps them rise a little more effectively. I no longer maintain a stiff starter as that seems to take too long to make active again if it's been in the frig., my more recent loaves using the stiff did not rise well.

Baking Soda's picture
Baking Soda

Hi Mountaindog,

I tried and made this one this weekend, using a 100% hydration rye/white starter I had available but had a lot of trouble rising. I will definitely try this again and use a fresher, more active starter, I think that was the problem.

At first I thought the rye was a bit too much but reading that you used yours with rye as well it must have been the starter and I think I have to tweak the amount of flour vs liquid a bit. The US flours are stronger and can handle a bit more water. I used a Dutch flour right from the mill.

 

http://bakemyday.blogspot.com/

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Yes, sounds like your starter needs to be more active, or could be your proofing environment was too cool or drafty - this time of year is tough to find a good warm spot for the final loaves to rise. Good luck!

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Thanks mountain dog...belive I will stick with wet starters for now. 

Baking Soda's picture
Baking Soda

Hmm no, definitely the starter...it was not exactly alive and kicking...but I wanted ::stamps feet:: to make this one and ploughed ahead anyway... and got rewarded with a blub of dough.... I should have known better! Entirely my fault!

http://bakemyday.blogspot.com/

caryn's picture
caryn

I posted a similar question on another topic, but it may be more relevant here.  I just made the Columbia bread yesterday.  It worked fairly nicely, except for losing some air when I transferred the loaves to the parchment paper from the cloche.

I was wondering if any of you got a crustier result than I did.  My bread was favorful, chewy and nice, but not as crusty as I like it.  I don't know if that is the nature of this recipe, or my particular result.  I am just curious.  If it is possible to get a thicker crustier result with this recipe, I will try to work on that next time.