SF Sourdough & Pain de Beaucaire - plus a book review
Both are from the book "Advanced Bread and Pastry". I have been baking from it a lot lately as you can tell from my blog entries, my feeling about the book is mostly positive, with some caveats. It''s a textbook for SFBI students, and stays true to that premise. I like the fact that it not only has interesting recipes, but also solid theories. Some material doesn't apply to home bakers (flour enhancement etc.) and instructions mostly assume a professional baking environment with all the neat tools, but I don't mind, I like seeing the behind the scene theories and operations, with the principals explained, it's entirely possible to adapt the instructions to my own kitchen. The bread part is only 1/4 (if that) of the book, but it's a lot of material since the whole book is huge and dense - dense in both abstract and physical sense, I am getting an arm workout just holding it! However, textbooks often require in class instructions to make them complete, and this book is no exception. There are blanks in the book I can't fill by just reading it: various starter hydration ratios are not specified, formulas just say "stiff starter", "rye starter" etc.; some breads have interesting shaping procedures, but they are NOT outlined at all in the book, this Pain de Beaucaire is a well known example, the pear buckwheat bread is another; as I found out recently, some formulas have mistakes, the two castle rye I blogged last was a good example, there's also no picture of the bread, so I can't even guess from the crumb/crust. Unlike reliable cover-all books like BBA or "Bread", this book often leaves me feeling like a student who has skipped one too many classes (a scenario I am familiar with :P). However, these flaws can be easily overcome with the help of internet. I found shaping instructions (with step by step pictues) for both the pear bread and this pain de beauaire from wildyeast's wonderful blog; got the formula error figured out after noonesperfect emailed SFBI for me; other minor details like starter hydration can be approximated with educated guess. All in all I am glad I bought this book, and I will keep baking a lot of breads and other items from it (all those beautiful cakes!) - with the help of knowledgable resources from TFL and blogs of ex-SFBI students.
Now the breads:
1. Baked SF Sourdough a few weeks back. Recipe can be found here. Probabaly not a good idea to make the Auvergnat shape, then proof it upside down in the brotform overnight. Part of the "hat" got stuck, and it became crooked during baking, kinda a funny look huh?
Nice open crumb, not nearly as sour as I expected, probably due to my "not very sour" starter. However it IS more sour than my usual sourdough which uses a liquid levain with an overnight proof.
2. Baked the Pain de Beaucaire last weekend, what an interesting shaping procedure! Without Wildyeast's instruction, I would've never guessed how it's done.
The big holes in the middle are created by pockets of wheat bran and water/flour paste (as you can still see some wheat bran on the wall of the hole), sort of a "cheater's way" of getting holes in the crumb. :P However the rest of the crumb is pretty open too.
It's a bread with both levain and commercial yeast, so pretty quick to make. The taste is clean, crumb is nice, cool, and chewy, crust is thicker than a baguette.
Still amazed that a 60% hydration dough can lead to a bread this light and open.