The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Variations on Breads by Hamelman and MacGuire

  • Pin It
wally's picture
wally

Variations on Breads by Hamelman and MacGuire

    


This past weekend I decided to continue my experimentation with ryes and hot soakers. After my experience spending 7 hours making a mash for my last rye, I took Hamelman's comment on my attempt to heart: "it's always seemed to me that historically people would have been grateful to be able to make a simple manipulation of ingredients and wind up with a little sweetness in their bread."


So I decided to trade-in further chemistry experiments in favor of seeing if greater simplicity could still yield greater flavor. I selected Hamelman's 66% rye in Bread because I wanted a sandwich loaf and this seemed like it would fit the bill - sufficient rye content to provide a flavorful loaf, yet not so much as to yield a dense crumb.


The variation on his recipe was to add a hot soaker as well as toasted sunflower seeds. To create the soaker I took his rye levain, which accounts for a little over 40% of total dough weight, and halved it, creating a soaker with equal portions of flour and water that would have gone into the levain. This also raised total hydration from 75% to 80%. I then upped the percentage of yeast slightly to account for the smaller amount of levain used.


The night before my bake on Sunday I mixed my levain, and then poured boiling water over the rye. According to Hamelman this is called brühstück (a scalded soaking) in Germany. Using equal parts water and flour you end up with a very dense mixture. Both levain and soaker were covered and left overnight.


The next morning I mixed levain, brühstück and water, and then added the remaining ingredients. My toasted sunflower seeds were salted, so I gave them a quick rinse in a sieve.


Because I wanted sandwich bread - and because the hydration was so high - I air shaped the loaf and placed it in a somewhat smaller than standard bread tin. After 55 minutes proofing it was baked at 460 F initially, after which the temperature was decreased to 400 for the remainder of the bake. I wrapped the loaf in a tea towel after it cooled, and allowed it to rest 24 hours before cutting.


                  


This, it turns out, was a good move, because it was quite moist, and over the past few days while it has dried somewhat, it remains moist. The soaker did in fact impart a noticeable sweetness that balanced nicely with the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds. Not as sweet as a mash soaker, but much simpler. This is bread I'll bake again.


    


While waiting for the rye to finish baking I was reading through old articles I've accumulated related to bread, and stumbled upon James MacGuire's wonderful The Baguette, printed in The Art of Eating in 2006 (Number 73 + 74).


                                                         


I've read a number of times his wonderful accounting of the history of the baguette, how French baking underwent near ruination after World War II with mechanization, and of the pivotal role played by MacGuire's friend and sometime collaborator Raymond Calvel in resuscitating the art of baking through the introduction of autolyse. James MacGuire is a master baker, but he is as well a masterful narrator and commentator on the history of bread - particularly in France. I cannot too highly recommend this article to anyone unfamiliar with it. (Reprints may be obtained from The Art of Eating.)


The surprise for me, however, was that I had neglected to ever look at his recipe for a pain tradition at the article's end. And I delighted in what I found there. MacGuire is keenly aware of the challenges baguettes present to the home baker, starting with the fact that most home ovens will not accommodate a true baguette's length, and including the travails one confronts with steaming, especially in gas ovens.


And then there too is the fact that his pain tradition is a super-hydrated dough at 80%, meaning that for the vast majority of bakers it would present formidable obstacles in shaping and slashing.


MacGuire says, in effect, Ok, you want a baguette but it is very hard to do. Here instead is a baguette dough which we'll shape to an easier profile (more like a miche), and through this achieve basically the same crumb to crust ratio a baguette has.


Again, simplicity is chosen over complicated schemes. (A theme is emerging I think).


His recipe calls for hand mixing and hand folding over many hours. Because I machine mix dough at work I'm inclined to do so at home - it just seems easier. But as I followed his process I was struck by how much more in touch you become with the gluten development of the dough. It is truly fascinating to experience over many hours what transpires in mere minutes in a mixer.


My one variation on his recipe was to give it a bulk retarding overnight in my refrigerator to develop more flavor since it is a straight dough.


Next day, after 16 hours in the fridge, I preheated my oven, and turned the dough out on a floured counter. Shaping, such as it is, is equally simple: MacGuire advises patting it out to a diameter approximating that of the bottom of your floured banneton or mold, and then plopping it in for final proof. That's easy.


Final proofing was about 75 minutes. The secret to this bread is a long bake which dries out the loaf so that its crust does not go soft after coming out of the oven. And to accomplish this means an initial bake at a fairly high temperature, followed by a long bake at a much lower temperature.


    


The loaf, just under 1 lb., was in the oven for 70 minutes. The trick is to achieve bread that has dried sufficiently, but not in the process developed a dark crust which overwhelms the delicate flavor of the crumb. The profile in terms of height is comparable to that of a baguette and it has a crisp crust and an amazingly light, airy crumb.



I love baguettes, but I tend to avoid baking them at home because the results are never as good as what I get in a commercial steam oven. And that is frustrating. But here, in this marvelous little recipe that MacGuire tucked at the end of his article, is a simple and enjoyable method of enjoying everything good in a baguette with the exception of its form.



Not a bad compromise!


Larry


 

Comments

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Larry,


Your breads look fabulous!


Especailly, your baguette!  I stopped and watch the crumb for a while..  I was reading Susan's sourdough bread recipe and I was wondering if I could retard the baguette dough for overnight after Stretch and fold method.  Wow, That is a professinal job.


I will copy your technigue too :)  It will be great for pizza dough too.


Thank you for sharing! 


Best wishes,


Akiko

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Akiko!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Very nice write up, too.


The crumb of the pain de tradition is amazing. My impression is that you do minimal de-gassing in shaping, thus preserving the extremely open crumb. This would be challenging to replicate shaping the dough for baguettes, to say the least. It reminds me of Calvel's "pain rustique," made by simply dividing traditional 65% hydration baguette dough and baking the pieces with no shaping at all.


The baking method you describe, while resulting in a crust that stays crisp, also results in a thicker crust than in a baguette baked at a higher temperature for 22-25 minutes. 


I baked this bread last Summer. My bake was at 460ºF for 30 minutes (and another 10 minutes with the oven off/door cracked) for a bâtard. My crust was thinner than yours and very crackly, although my crumb was much less open, presumably because of differences in dough handling. FYI, here's mine: McGuire's Pain de Tradition: Baguette & Bâtard


David

wally's picture
wally

I went back and looked at your pain de tradition baguette and batard.  I'd say pretty nice crumb given that high hydration.  As far as degassing, because of the overnight retardation, the dough had risen considerably, so I degassed it pretty much like I degass a pre-shaped baguette before final shaping (flat palm with some force, but trying not to completely flatten the dough).  I think the reason I was able to get the nice airy crumb here is because that was the extent of my handling the dough.  I suspect what tightens the crumb more on my baguettes is the additional handling as I fold the dough up and then roll it out to length.  The pain rustique I've baked a number of times and never really been happy about. My problem isn't getting getting an open crumb but the openness of the crumb - I'll end up with huge holes running throughout the loaf that a family of mice could inhabit.  I'm guessing that the extra s&f's in the pain de tradition, combined with my pat-down of this dough prior to its final proof, was sufficient to provide more internal structure to the loaf, while still getting an open crumb.


My best guess, anyhow.


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


The rye has turned into a lovely bold shape here; are they little holes on the surface which you have docked with a needle?   Good trick, neatly done.


Hamelman's brühstück is the equivalent of the Russian zavarka  sometimes termed "boil-up" in English.


Yes, being patient when it comes to cutting into these loaves is essential.   But, what a joy that the bread will easily keep a week, and still stay moist; that's what I love about rye.


Great contrast to bake the baguette-style pain tradition alongside it.   That must be a bread with just the opposite sort of keeping qualities.   I do agree with the others: beautiful crumb, and great ratio with the crust too.   I'm thinking there's a wonderful photo in Jeffrey's book of freshly baked loaves made with baguette dough...yes?


Great write up with some fine points


Best wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Thanks for your comments Andy!  I have a plastic dough docker, but while it works well for pizza dough, with a high hydration rye it's like a wrecking ball, so yes, I took a fork and pricked it all over.  Works well, just takes a bit longer.  The rye continues to be nice and moist on Day 5 since the bake.  But it's nearly gone, so I won't get to find how long it might have lasted.  And yes, the pain tradition, what little was left over the next day, was like a day-old baguette: crouton material!


Best - Larry

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Nice write - up and photos too.  When Shiao-Ping first introduced the Pain de Tradition I also had to give it a try.  What a wonderful formula and article in the magazine.  I remember how much I enjoyed making it...Shiao-Ping was so kind to have a copy of the magazine sent to me as a gift.  I baked it a couple of times under my 'La Cloche' here. Added HERE without the bell cover, it was able to spread without the confines of the bell cover, but with bell cover it had a little more oven spring.


Sylvia 

wally's picture
wally

That is an amazing amount of oven spring you managed to get with your cloche!  And your crumb is very much like what I was able to achieve.  A great little bread that doesn't require that much effort - and a very delicate flavor to boot!


Larry

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovel breads, and writeup Larry!  simple shaping! wow, i'd have to try that one day. Its seems from the lack of color on your baguette bread that your chronic gas oven venting issue has caught up with your late bake. Is is frustrating isn't it?


khalid

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Mebake!  Actually, as Sylvia pointed out, you don't want a 'bold bake' here, but a long bake at a relatively low temperature.  Otherwise the excessive caramelization of the crust pretty much overwhelms the flavor in the crumb.


As for my gas oven, it's excessive venting leads to excessive venting by me on occasion!


Larry

arlo's picture
arlo

I am loving the rye loaf, a wonderful adaptation. Scrumptious!

wally's picture
wally

I think the combination of the sweet soaker with the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds is a winner.  I might at some point try incorporating toasted walnuts or pecans that are chopped up to about the size of sunflower seeds.


Larry

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

It was my understanding that when making the 'Pain de Tradition' taking several hours to develop the dough was to bring out as much flavor as possible in a day, and gentle handling achieves a cream colored crumb and that the crust is to be light in color.  It was the first time I had reduced this type of bread to a 350F oven for over an hours baking time.  It's a great technique IMHO to achieve a  baguette bread with this much flavor' in a matter of a few hours.  You can see the crust on my loaf, and others posts, 'Shiao Ping has a gorgeous example and write-up' who also made it is not dark.  My post above includes a link to the one I baked and I believe Erik also made a beautiful example.


Sylvia

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Larry,


Great post Larry, I really enjoyed it. Your sandwich rye looks wonderful and moist, nice rise as well. I don't see your baguette loaf as a compromise so much as a very practical solution to having the flavour,crust, and crumb of a baquette in a way that works in our home ovens. Nice work!


Franko

wally's picture
wally

Yes it is a practical solution.  I still see it as a compromise of sorts - I'd love to turn out a baguette with that crumb from my oven.  But it happens maybe once in a blue moon, while MacGuire's recipe should allow for pretty consistent results.  I can live with that.


Larry

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks Sylvia for bringing that to my attention.