The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking on a Fall Sunday

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wally's picture
wally

Baking on a Fall Sunday


One downside to working as a baker is that it doesn't allow me time to bake during the week.  So now everything gets crammed into weekends.  And frankly, sometimes after a week at the bakery, I really don't feel like spending a day off baking more.  And yet, inevitably I find my two starters staring at me ruefully, and so on a beautiful Fall day when the temperatures felt more like September than mid-November, I decided to do a series of bakes.


Below, from the upper left moving clockwise: a 72% rye with soaker, Vermont Sourdough, a batard and a boule of Polish Country Rye.



On Saturday I got started by mixing and then retarding overnight Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough.  I've discovered that even with giving the bread an hour and a half proof before final retarding, it still needs an additional three hours the next day at room temperature to finish proofing.  But, the finished loaf rose nicely in the oven.


 


Here's a couple crumb shots of the Vermont sourdough:


       


Saturday evening I prepared the rye levains and soakers for the 72% rye and the Polish Country Rye.  I've become so fond of the added sweetness imparted by soakers, that they are now a routine part of my rye preparation.  However, a couple weeks back I had my first experience with the dreaded 'starch attack' and this has led me to now add either part of all of the salt in my rye formulas to the soakers as a preventative measure.


This morning while the Vermont sourdough finished its final proofing, I began with the 72% rye because I knew it would have the shortest floor time before final shaping and baking.  In using a high proportion of the water for the recipe in the levain and soaker I unintentionally created a problem I had not foreseen: my kitchen was cold this morning, and I found that the flour temperature and those of the levain and soaker were only about 68° F.  But there was so little water to be added to the final mix, that it was not possible to arrive at a DDT of around 80°.  This necessitated both extending the bulk fermentation from 30 minutes to 50 minutes, and setting the dough container on top of my then-warming oven to increase its internal temperature.  Note to self: it's important to retain a sufficient amount of water for the final mix to adequately adjust DDT!


In any event, the jury-rigged proofing worked, and once the loaf was air-shaped (the hydration was at 80%) and placed in a pyrex baking dish, it required a little under 50 minutes before it was ready for baking.  I baked if for 60 minutes, starting out at 450° and dropping the temperature by 25 degrees every 15 minutes, so that the oven temp at bakes end was 375°.


Here's the final result: it will sit for 24 hours to completely set and then I'll add some crumb shots.  But it's already got a pleasant sweetness about it.



The Polish Country rye I altered slightly by upping the percentage of rye from its usual 15% to 30%.  Even with that, this is a most agreeable dough to work with - it has the gluten development and consistency of wheat-based doughs, so there is very little of the stickiness associated with high percentage ryes.  Final proofing after shaping one into a boule and the other a bâtard was about two and a half hours and it baked at 440° for 45 minutes.  Here's some more shots of the final result - crumb shots to follow.


        All three breads were baked using a combination of SylviaH's wet-towel-in-a-dish method and my lava rocks in a cast iron frying pan to generate steam.  As the loaves and cuts indicate, I cannot say enough good things about Sylvia's simple yet effective work around for those who, like me, struggle to maintain steam in our steam-venting gas ovens.


So, at the end of a beautiful Fall day I sit at my kitchen table surrounded by a week's worth of wonderful and varied sandwich breads, along with a rich rye loaf that will accompany some good cheeses and spreads.


Not a bad way to unwind after all.


Larry


EDIT: crumb shots of 72% rye and Polish Country rye below.


    

Comments

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Larry--


Those are beautiful loaves.  I especially like the Country Rye Boule.  Is that a formula that is posted somewhere?


Sounds like a nice weekend.


Glenn

wally's picture
wally

The original recipe for the 15% Polish rye with soaker can be found here.  I altered it by upping the percentage of total rye to 30% from 15%, and I also created a soaker that incorporated 120g of rye and 240g of water.  Unfortunately, this was all scribbled on various bits of paper I can no longer decipher, so I don't have an overall formula to give you.  If I can reconstruct this I'll post it up for you.


Larry

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I think I'll try this (at 15% rye initially).  I need to make a rye starter this week.


Glenn

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Those are simply stunning loaves of bread. And your slashing is spectacular. I have only done a soaker one time and really need to do it again. You have me sold. c

wally's picture
wally

Thanks trailrunner.  I'm sold on the virtues of soakers.  They add sweetness combined with a mildness to the rye.  And since they are made up at the same time as the levain build, it's really no more work (other than boiling water).


Go for it!


Larry

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Larry, You achieved gorgeous results with your bakes...that Polish rye boule and batard are so beautifully scored and your other two loaves look really good too. Nice job juggling the clock and formulae!  PS love the picture of the leaves! From breadsong


 


 

wally's picture
wally

Thanks breadsong!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The Polish Country Rye is my favorite from "Local Breads," but it barely qualifies as a rye bread. I like what you've done with it.


I have a tentative deal with brother Glenn to introduce him to rye baking over Thanksgiving weekend. If he sticks to it (hee hee), I'm sure he'll turn out some great loaves. I'm thinking about doing the Hamelman 80% rye with a rye soaker again but using pumpernickel flour rather than dark rye.


David

wally's picture
wally

Thanks David!  I've been watching Glenn's growing prowess, so I think Thanksgiving would be an opportune moment to get him stuck on rye.


Hope your's and your family's is a wonderful holiday.


Larry

wally's picture
wally

Thanks David!  I've been watching Glenn's growing prowess, so I think Thanksgiving would be an opportune moment to get him stuck on rye.

Hope your's and your family's is a wonderful holiday.

Larry

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I'm happy to get a lesson in wry flowers.  But Larry's 30% sounds better to me than a 80% punkernibble.  That way I can dip my toe in it, rather than having to be totally soaked.


Glenn

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Let him stay a virgin.  Glenn, don't come to the dark side...  keep your innocence! 


 


Larry, enjoying your photos!  :)

wally's picture
wally

Since David started this punnery, I think it's safe to say that if Glenn just sticks his big toe in, he may find himself stuck on rye.  But it certainly doesn't hurt to wade into this fascinating grain (versus the big leap to 80%!).


Larry

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

 



"keep your innocence"



I kept it in a jar for a long time, and added flour and water. I forgot about it and now its gone bad.


Glenn

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Just don't let the rye know you're scared of it. It will smell your fear and get aggressive. Think of quicksand. The more you struggle, the faster you sink. 


Hmmm ... I guess that analogy isn't so reassuring.


Well, with my expert guidance, you will triumph! Or, at least, survive.


The first step is to accept that rye is wet clay, not bread dough as you know it. (Why rye bakers never adopted the potter's wheel for shaping loaves is a mystery.) Once you've seen me handle the dough once, you will be fine.


It's like what they told me in surgery: "See one. Do one. Teach one."


Okay. 70% rye. Take it or leave it. How about this one? Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Sourdough Rye


David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I have no fear of clay.  I just don't like to eat it so much.


No offense to you, or Hansjoakim or Larry or anybody, but I'm just not that crazy about that sort of rye bread.


But, if that's what you want to teach me, I'm happy to learn.  I think you should teach me and Stephanie to make Challah.   But, it's your kitchen.  So you decide (that was passive-aggressive, in case you didn't recognize it).


I guess learning surgery isn't one of my choices.


I just started a rye starter this evening, so I'll make Larry's delicious-sounding Polish Country Rye this weekend.


Glenn


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think it's better for turkey sandwiches than rye, anyway. And it's fun enough to possibly get Theo and Naomi involved. Challah was already on my Thanksgiving to-bake list. (Pg 7, No. 3).


David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Maybe bake a challah loaf and some double knot rolls, too?  And that beautiful Apple Crostada.  And a Tartine Country Bread.  And....


Droolingly yours,


Glenn

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your crust , crumb, slashes...just a gorgeous display...the rye sounds delicious!  I was just visiting the book store and, if these loaves would have been ona  cover , it would have been the best looking bread book cover in the store. I would have bought it.  It takes a lot of planning to pull a great loaf out of the home oven...I'm glad you got that gas breathing dragon to let off some steam : )


Sylvia

wally's picture
wally

I've been doing these same breads for a year now and FINALLY I'm getting the oven spring and cuts opening the way they do at work!


Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mike -


Larry

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely in every conceivable way! LArry! You are such an inspiring baker.


Iam curious as to your ways of "airshaping". how do you do it?

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Mebake!  I stole that term from Mini actually. With really wet doughs you can shape them on the counter, but once you go to transfer them to the pan...all is lost.  So I just wet both hands, pick up the dough and treat it like wet clay.  Rough shape it so that it will fit my pyrex baking pan, and then plop it in and pat it down.


Works like a charm!


Larry

jamesalbert's picture
jamesalbert

This post is really nice, i like this one spedcialy, the style of presenting is amazing. you are suxh a expert baker, great job


http://www.padana.com

wally's picture
wally

Thanks jamesalbert!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Exemplary, beautiful breads. The crumb shot is as good as it gets. 

wally's picture
wally

Appreciate the praise louie brown!

proth5's picture
proth5

I'm becoming intrigued with this steaming method.  It could be the new oven vents more effectively than the old oven because I am having a little trouble with the cuts opening that I hadn't had before.


Hm.


Anyway. Still tweaking away at some formulas.  Learning a lot.


Again, nice bread...

wally's picture
wally

I think you'll find that this is an exceptional (and exceptionally easy) way to guarantee continuous steam (until you decide to remove the pan and cloth).


Larry

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

I'm off to my cookbooks to find a recipe with soakers.


Pam

wally's picture
wally

Pam - I think you'll discover a whole new world with them.  They allow such a range of complexity of flavor and texture - and like preferments, they backload your final dough with all of this.


Larry

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Despite the eulogies of others they all (perhaps not the rye) look far too dark for my taste.


If I baked bread like that I'd consider them burnt.


Mary


 

wally's picture
wally

I bake most of my breads in a hearth style, Mary.  Which means bold bakes and darks crusts.  I like the flavor that's developed through this method and so I stick with it.


But I know many folks who would comment as you did.


Larry

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Very nice Larry. The crumb shot looks amazing. I especially like they even spacing on the holes. So often I end up with evidence of growth at the top or bottom.


Eric

wally's picture
wally

The Vermont Sourdough yielded the best crumb I've ever achieved with this bread.  I'd love to attribute it to my finesse and virtuoso techniques....but back to reality.


I think the retarding and extended proofing period contributed greatly to the evenness of the crumb.  And a good bit of luck!


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Top notch baking session, Larry.   Agree with Eric


All of them are very fine loaves indeed!


BW


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Last week I ended up with gummy rye and an underproofed Vermont Sourdough.  What a difference a week makes!


Best-


Larry

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Beautiful autumn leaves, beautiful breads - wow, that crackly crust is amazing!


Fantastic crumb; the shape of the bread in your crumb shots remind me of the leaves.


Glad to see your lovely silver sugar bowl in the photos, Larry.  

wally's picture
wally

It got a special (i.e., long overdue) polishing for the photo session :>)


Larry

Yippee's picture
Yippee

especially when they came from a home oven! They are so PRO! If you don't mind me asking, what kind of oven do you use? And what is a day working in a bakery like? You're so lucky that you get to use the real tools, instead of the 'toys' we play with at home. 


Thanks for sharing.


Yippee 

wally's picture
wally

I'm using an old GE gas oven at home.  What is a day in a bakery like?  Well, I'm about to go to bed having mixed 1500 lbs. of dough today, so the word that comes to mind is...exhausting.  But I learn more each day.


Larry

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Wally, I can't imagine 1500 lbs. of dough! Ugh, who does the lifting? Your breads are truly amazing, your concentration must be excellent to juggle that many loaves with their different handling etc. Crumb pictures are beauties, and your dark crakcling crusts, wow. Sure beats raking leaves. I am going back for a longer, or is that longing, look.   Ray

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Ray!  The lifting is done by me.  The dough is my own personal trainer you could say.


Larry

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Larry,


Sorry to get here so late, but I wanted to tell you how great all of your breads look.


I totally relate to the 'bake at work then bake at home' issue you mentioned. What motivates me most of the time is that where I work I never get to make what I call 'real' bread, unlike the type of bakery you work at. But still, it can be difficult sometimes to get at it when you finally get home and off your feet.


What Eric says about the crumb shots is right on the mark for me as well. I particularly like the one of the Vermont Sour. Looks to me like you had a perfect fermentation, judging by the uniformity of it. Really nice!


The Polish Rye looks like one I'd like to try soon. Thanks for providing the link.


I always enjoy your posts Larry, not only for the bread but for the beautiful photography as well.


Cheers,


Franko


 

wally's picture
wally

My home baking is inspired by the same things as yours: we do a lot of artisan baking at work, but it's not always the breads I love or would love to learn.  So every weekend I'm torn between wanting to relax and wanting to pursue my passion.


The Vermont sourdough was so perfect, and yet I have to chalk it up as much (or more) to luck as skill. 


Try the Polish rye - and go for a 30% rye (with a soaker). It's really good!


Larry

ww's picture
ww

and nice crumb too! very nice bakes, Larry. Didn't know you're a baker, wow.


i love soakers too. I first tried one with a Hamelman bread and i agree it gives such incredible taste.


I just failed miserably to shape a very wet dough into a boule. What do you do when it's a freestanding one i.e. not baked in a pan. I had mine just spreading on me.

wally's picture
wally

Thanks for your comment.  The main reason I use a bread pan with high hydration ryes like this one is to achieve a higher profile than otherwise possible.


The next best solution is shaping in a brotform or banneton, but even then once you turn out the loaf onto your loader the dough is going to spread out.  If you have a copy of Hamelman's Bread you'll find a picture of a gorgeous boule of 80% rye.  But it has the profile of miche, which is what you'll get.


Finally, if by 'freestanding' you mean a loaf shaped without benefit of a form (brotform or banneton), then you're just involved in a disasterous undertaking with any high hydration dough, especially ryes.


Larry

shansen10's picture
shansen10

has made me chuckle out loud!  I am currently attending a week of breadmaking classes at John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, having a fun and very instructive experience.  I brought my camera and hope to have pictures to post after I get home.


Yesterday we baked an Onion Rye, the first time I've had it, and I fell in love!! 
Does anyone else have a favorite formula?


Sue

dougzbaker@yahoo.com's picture
dougzbaker@yahoo.com

I don't know if the word is correct or not, but to get the AVEOLO in your bread as nice as it is; what is the percentage of water you usually use in your sourdough?


Over 50%?

wally's picture
wally

Hi -  I really don't know this term, so I'm at a loss as to what you're referring to (though I appreciate the compliment).


I eyeball the consistency of my starters, so I can't say with precision what their true hydration is.  However, I'd say that I keep my white starter at between 100 - 125%, while my rye starter is somewhat stiffer, probably in the range of 75 - 85%.


Hope that helps!


Larry

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Larry,


What a beautiful array of breads! The crust on them is so burnished and the crumb so well aerated. The crumb and rise on the Vermont Sourdough are stupendously even, as well as the crumb being such a lovely, creamy colour. The ryes look so beautiful, glossy and even too. What a great bake! Gives me hope if this is possible in a home gas oven...


With best wishes, Daisy_A

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