The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Altus: Wet or Dry?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Altus: Wet or Dry?

I am trying MiniO's favorite rye loaf again and she mentions altus as an optional ingredient.


After searching old threads here the conventional wisdom seems to be split as to how to add it to a dough.


One school says to add after it has been soaked in water over night while the other school prefers to simply grind it up into dry crumbs and add it to the dough dry.


Can anybody explain what the difference is between the two methods?  Can't see how it would make much difference other than having to adjust the hydration and that when using it dry there seems to be a bit less work involved...


Thanks 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I do both adding dry and/or wet crumbs to dough and add/or to the starter.  A lot depends on the amount of dough being mixed.  If you are mixing for 10 loaves, then soaking pressing out the water and running this thru a mixer while making the dough breaks it up nicely.  Sometimes one sees in bakery videos, the altus water has been calculated and therefore pressing is skipped.   I find for making one loaf, the altus can be put into the blender (without soaking) with the liquids and pulsed.  Altus can also be dry pulsed.  What ever you feel like cleaning up.  If you have no kitchen machines,  soaking overnight breaks up the old bread best.


Adding altus to the starter really brings out flavor!  Use it for a build.  Mix altus and water to about the same consistency as you make your starter.


Dry altus.   Weigh it and add enough water to balance the dough.  If the dough is 84% hydration and you add 100g altus, add 84g water.   I've done it both ways adding the water to the dough and/or just the altus.  One thing that occurred to me; when grinding dry; don't grind them to a fine powder, they should be coarse.  Very fine or powdery crumbs change the crumb dynamics and instead of providing some structure, weigh the dough down.  I tend to dry cut up bread and grate in barrel grater and store in a large jar to use when needed.  


Moist crumbs need your own judgement as to how much water to add.  If the old bread has dried a little, sprinkle with a tablespoon of water and toss well, repeat until you can pack them into a crumb ball and they just barely hold together.  (think: finished bread crumb)  If altus has been soaking, fill your hands with the wet bread and press out the water between your crossed over palms.  Wrap your fingers around the back of the opposite hand and press as flat as you can over a bowl to catch any liquid (may use later.)  Set aside and go through all the altus in this manner.   Frozen bread should first be thawed out before soaking or crumbling.   Toasting is a good option as it adds more crust flavor and color to the crumb.  (Can you tell I love crusts?) 


Although it hasn't been discussed, the altus should be at least a day old and completely cooled from baking.  I would not take a hot loaf and on the same day (say I forgot the salt in the loaf) cut it up and crumble as altus.  It needs to have set and cooled first.  :)    There is something magical in stale bread!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

for your thorough instructions on how to prepare as well as use altus.  


I am doing just one loaf of yours, and a small one at that, for a friend whose dad is visiting her from England...loves the firm ryes and since I have done your loaf without altus i decided to try it with.


As it was late with no response last night I went ahead and soaked the small amt. I am using.  It was from a frozen loaf which I did let thaw BUT I did cut to crusts off....sorry.  I measured the altus (20g) but just eyeballed the water. Covered till just moist.  Will see what happens now when I press out the water and mix everything up!


This time I will keep a better watch on the autolyse....last time I let it go to long and the result was like a way, way overripe starter!


Again, thanks for all the excellent information.  I am anxious to see the results!


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I put a small slice of my rye onto a scale and it weighed 50g.  I don't know if you will notice a difference with just 20g.   :)   You will notice the aroma!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I just used a little because I am making a small loaf today.  Only about 500g total weight.  Didn't want to go overboard especially when i don't really know what I am doing.  :-0