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Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread: Adaptation of a Jan Hedh Formula

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Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread: Adaptation of a Jan Hedh Formula

 

I was led to Swedish baker Jan Hedh's book Artisan Bread by Dan Lepard's recommendation on TFL. I owe him thanks for that as it full of great formulae and beautifully photographed by Klas Andersson. There is lots in it to inspire.
One of my favourite Hedh breads is a lemon bread flavoured with lemon zest and green olive oil (pp.126-7). Created by Hedh when lead baker on a Swedish cruise ship, this aromatic bread was designed to work well with fish dishes. It can be made in the shape of a lemon-shaped, small dinner bread or a more traditional round roll. The breads are dusted in yellow semolina flour during the second proof, to make them even more lemon-like.

Hedh's recipe gives enough for a small batch,  In fact this is one of the few breads that I can batch bake in an hour after preheating my small domestic oven, baking 3 dinner breads in the first firing and 4-6 round rolls in the second.

The bread has a great texture. It is moist but remains firm even when sliced thinly. It takes savoury toppings well without bending or getting soggy, making it also ideal for open sandwiches and canapés.
We have enjoyed it with fish dishes and also topped it with tomato, oil and vinegar or tangy cheese and pickles. It is also good dipped simply in olive oil. However one of my favourite ways to eat it is sliced thinly with no accompaniments, so that the subtle and delicious lemon taste can be enjoyed to the full.

Even before recent discussions on TFL about copyright  I had been trying to contact Hedh's British publishers to get permission to reprint the recipe. I have had no success so far as it looks as though they have gone into receivership.

This means also that Hedh's book will become harder and harder to find.  Large sellers like Amazon and Smiths are logging it up already as out of stock. The bakery that Hedh co-owns - St. Peter's Yard in Edinburgh  - still had around 60  copies of the book when I rang them a couple of months ago. They don't post out; however if you have friends in Edinburgh do sweet talk them into getting a copy for you as it could be your last chance to get your hands on this great book!

Hedh's original lemon bread is a yeasted bread made with a preferment of yellow durum wheat flour (grown traditionally on the Swedish island of Ven), and light rye flour with stone ground, strong wheat flour added to the final, machine-mixed dough. The version I am writing up here is my adaptation, a sourdough made with semolato, whole rye flour and wholemeal flour, which is hand mixed.

Some pictures of the different stages plus a chart of the adapted formula and process follow:



Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread: Adaptation of Jan Hedh Recipe

This bread is flavoured with lemon zest rather than lemon juice. This results in subtle highnotes in the final bread, rather than a widespread lemon taste. It is well worth getting organic and unwaxed lemons to zest if available. When grated and mixed with the flour the lovely aroma also fills the kitchen! The wholemeal, olive oil infused dough has a lovely, silky consistency and is good to work with.

I have baked this bread several times. The original instructions make no reference to scoring the bread. I made the first batch without slashes and they came out well. However the picture in the book shows a loaf with an open top. I later read in the Introduction that Hedh proofs and bakes some of his breads with the seam side upwards. The loaf then splits along the seam, giving it an attractive rustic look. My shaping skills are not yet so good that I can prevent an unscored loaf rupturing elsewhere. I now normally score the breads with one long stroke along the top and this has worked well to date.

I was concerned that a predominantly whole grain formula at lowish hydration might produce too dense a crumb and loaf. I imagine that the loaves might rise higher when Hedh's original formula is used. However the preferment seems to work well with sourdough as well as baker's yeast and I have been able to get quite an open crumb and good rise for the size of loaf and type of flour used.

My sourdough starters are quite feisty but the relatively low levels of starter in the preferment and final dough have meant that the overall fermentation has taken place without the dough losing elasticity. The amount of starter and fermentation times I give are relevant to my own situation. I am realizing more and more now that with sourdough starters any formula is just a guideline! Please feel free to adjust this to suit your own starters.

I hope that other TFLers might enjoy this bread. If you do try it I would be glad to learn from your feedback.

Daisy_A

 

The quantities below are for 4 dinner breads:

With this formula I used a wholemeal starter at approximately 66% hydration. I have made this bread successfully with wholemeal flours from Dove's Farm, Waitrose and Bacheldre Mill. Bacheldre Mill was the most fruity and aromatic. I used Dallari semolato because it was the only one available locally at the time but would prefer to use DeCecco, a brand that is sometimes available, also recommended by nicobdv.

I estimate overall hydration including starter hydration at 530/945 = 56% but I'm always open to correction!

Total FormulaWeight 
Wholemeal flour695g 650+45
Semolato or other yellow durum wheat flour150g 
Whole grain rye flour100g 
Water530 250+250+30
Green, virgin olive oil50g 
Sea salt or other salt20g 
Zest of 2 medium lemons, preferably unwaxed, organicApprox. 10gWill weigh next time!
Total1555

 

PrefermentWeight 
Semolato or other yellow durum wheat flour150g 
Whole grain rye flour100g 
Whole meal starter at approx. 66% hydration30g 
Water250g 
Total530g 
Final DoughWeight 
Wholemeal flour

650g

 
Water250g 
All preferment 530g 
Wholemeal starter at 66% hydration45g 
Green, virgin olive oil50g 
Sea salt or other salt20g 
Zest of 2 medium lemons, preferably unwaxed, organicApprox. 10g 
Total1555 
Method 

 

Preferment

Make the preferment approximately 12 hours before baking, normally the evening before:

Mix a small amount of starter with water to form a paste

Add the rest of the water to the starter mixture

Combine the flours and pour the water and starter over the flour.

Mix for 8-10 minutes in preferred fashion. (I 'air knead' in the manner of Andrew Whitley in order to incorporate the starter fully)

Cover and leave in an oiled container in the fridge

 
Mixing of final dough

Wash and zest lemons, mix into flour

Add preferment to flour

Dissolve second lot of starter in second lot of water and pour over flour

Mix by preferred method for 3 minutes

Add oil and salt and mix by preferred method for 8 minutes. (I air knead for 8 minutes then perform one stretch and fold on the bench). 

Make sure that all new starter and preferment are mixed in well.

Mix for another 7 minutes if needed, to form an elastic dough.

Place in a lightly oiled, covered container

 
DDTC26 
First proofApprox. 90 minutes with 1 S&F at 45 mins. Adapt as needed. 
PreshapingQuarter, form into balls and leave covered for 10 mins. 
ShapingShape dinner breads into tapered, lemon-like rolls and smaller rolls as small rounds. Brush with water and dust with polenta or other yellow flour. 
Second proofProof on a floured couche for 60 mins. or until doubled in size 
PreparationPreheat oven to C250 and prepare to steam. For steaming I preheat 2 small fajita trays and pour boiling water onto them as soon as the bread is in the oven. 
Baking

I bake the dinner breads for 10 minutes at C250 with steam, open door to releas steam and turn the oven down to C230 for the rest of the bake

Check internal temperature after another 12 minutes, bake for further increments of 3-5 minutes, if needed, until internal temperature of around C90 is reached and crust is an attractive light golden colour.

Jan Hedh recommends baking rolls for around 12 minutes

 

Comments

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Chefscook,

Many thanks for your kind words! Daisy

chefscook's picture
chefscook

I was wondering do you think I could add lemon to sourdough and how that would taste
Thanks
Chefscook

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Chefscook,

As this formula is basically sourdough with lemon, I'm sure that adding lemon to regular sourdough would be fine.

I don't know if you were thinking of lemon juice or zest? Hedh recommends against using juice in his original formula as he says it will be too sour. In this formula there is 10g of zest per 1.5kg of dough. This is in line with Hedh's original formula, but some bakers have found that  2-5g of zest per 1.5kg is more to their taste.

In the formula above, the wheat adds a kind of sweetness to the formula, although Hedh uses more bread flour, so it must work with that also.

If adding lemon to a regular sourdough appeals, why not try a gram of zest in a small loaf and see how that tastes? If it appealed you could work up from that. 

Hope you find a way of getting the taste you want.

Best wishes, Daisy_A

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi chefscook,

Citric acid is known to break down gluten.   I am aware that Ascorbic Acid, [Vitamin "C", also in Lemon juice] will strengthen the dough, but this is largely achieved through relatively intensive mixing.

De-naturing the protein in the sour is highly undesireable, so I would take Daisy_A's counsel, and stick with zest only.

Best wishes

Andy

chefscook's picture
chefscook

Daisy thank you for your prompt reply I did not specify what I was going to use lemon zest or juice it was for lemon zest that I was going for and my sourdough is ready to go and I will be adding the lemon zest and pepper I like to. Experiment with different recipes
Thank you
Chefscook

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Chefscook.

Sounds great! Do let us know how it turns out.

Best wishes, Daisy

freerk's picture
freerk

Coming home from work to find out that the last lemon in the house - completely and utterly dedicated to be zested and transformed into a wonderful loaf with delicate high tones- was... you feel it coming... already transformed into a salad with a tzatziki dressing :-| Both dressing and salad were wonderful... I am just going to put my preferment back in the fridge I guess, and see what's going on in there tomorrow morning. It might actually hold. Let's call it an experiment :-) we'll see!

 

Freerk

 

update! My hands are smelling of olive oil and lemon :-) I had to come to the dough's rescue this morning (this is not going to be a flawless bake I'm afraid). I halved the recipe, and the amount of olive oil got somehow "lost in translation" I was kneading away at a very very stiff dough, wondering if that could be right. I managed to develop some gluten nonetheless. But in the end I thought it couldn't be right. I upped the hydration a little (just on sight, my estimate is it was about 15 grams more or so, and then in the end I discovered the olive oil fail.... The dough was already in its first rise, but I dared to knead in the extra olive oil anyway.... oops, hope this is still going to work! Let's see what's going to happen! There are some variables slightly out of balance now, so I'm not holding my breath for a perfect "first timer".

Did the preferment survive the extra time in the fridge? Did the dough give up on me after disturbing its first rise? Will I make it in time before I'm off to work?.... Find out on the next episode of Lemon Bread!

 

I guess I should have waited 'till the peace and quiet of the weekend, like I was planning originally.... :-|

 

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi freerk,

You made me laugh about the lemon. Should've put a label on it ;-0. Still how nice to come home to freshly-made tzatziki salad!

Hedh says that he designed this bread to be eaten alongside seafood on cruise ships. So although it seems like a special bread for him, the dough is actually quite robust - as it would need to be if you might have to make it at sea as well as on shore!

I think your dough could be all right. Even though this adaptation is sourdough and Hedh's used fresh yeast, both preferments start off with a small amount of yeast for the total formula, so I imagine that the preferment might still have been viable.

As for olive oil: I'm not an experienced baker so I'll stand open to correction here, but I've found that because of its viscosity olive oil can be much easier to work into a dough in the later stages than say butter or egg. The hydration is low - only 55% before the oil. Some other bakers have added a little more water in either the preferment or total dough, for preference. However even at 55 plus oil the formula has the uncanny ability to produce an open crumb, so a stiff dough in the early stages isn't necessarily problematic. 

I'm hoping that you get a bread you like that you can build on. Could be good with tzatziki salad as well as fish, but you'd need two lemons!

Best wishes, Daisy

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

sit at the very edge of the chair, feel the goose bumps coming, all in anxious anticipation of your sequel, Freerk....don't torture us any longer!

Karin

freerk's picture
freerk

Start breathing again Karin! I produced a total fail :-|

I was trying to squeeze this bake into my work schedule, and dough just won't have that..

After leaving instructions to put the bread in the oven I rushed of to work. It went in underproofed, alas. Very attractive looking little bricks!

Patience is indeed a virtue! Lesson learned...

;-) freerk

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi freerk,

My sympathies...I know what it's like to try to mix work and baking when work is hectic. Hope it hasn't put you off having another go...

Hope work is going well. 

Best wishes, Daisy

freerk's picture
freerk

It didn't kill me, so I guess it made me stronger :-) i'm getting back in the saddle as we speak; working on a new nice and feisty starter especially for the occasion.

Work is fine! Tuesday I'm off and it's going to be a beach day! Yeah!

Freerk

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi freerk,

Good to hear about your new starter!

Was going to ask about the beach but was it hailing?

It's great that so many bakers are picking up on this bread as it is one I really wanted to share. It made me want to bake it again so I did it at the weekend.

The scoring shows my usual aesthetic once I move beyond straight lines: looks like a big cat got up on the bread, gave it a good mauling and got down. However rise was good and flavour delicious. We went for intense - 15g lemon, which gives the mouth a lemon after burn, a bit like an oaked rioja but with lemon and wheat! Might blog some more on this as I took more notes on process this time.

Best wishes, Daisy

 

freerk's picture
freerk

it's a beauty!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Thanks freerk :-)

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