The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lesson # three

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laurielrh's picture
laurielrh

Lesson # three

Hello,

I am new to the site and have been trying the lessons.  My question is specific to lesson # three.  I have tried three times and have not been able to achieve anything close to the pictures.  My dough is really not a dough, more of a batter.  I couldn't even attempt to slash the top.  The result is a low rising ciabatta styled bread with a decent taste but not what I expected.  I have converted the volumn ingredient amounts to weight.  I  have checked and rechecked my math and feel that it is accurate. I have calculated about 90% hydration( a little high for this type of bread?). Any clues as to where I am going wrong?

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

This method, typically known as the sponge or barm method, is a tried and true method for improving the flavor of your bread (and one I'll write more about in future lessons). I'm more-or-less using Peter Reinhart's approach from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: the stage one dough in this recipe is modeled on Peter's Pate Fermentee, and the final dough is something like his Pain de Campaign. But bakers have been using different variations of this technique for centuries.

The above quote is from Lesson #3.  Since the preferment is described as Pate Fermentee from Reinart I would expect something around 60% hydration. I use 120 gr for a cup of flour and 237 grams for a cup of water. Since #3 calls for 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water this is about 100% hydration. This is more like a poolish. The directions later call for "cutting up" the preferment - believe me you cannot cut this up. It would be like thick pancake batter.

This is a typical problem when people put recipes in volumes. One persons cup of flour can weigh much more than anothers.

Bottom line, I don't think you are doing anything to cause this. Find another recipe to try that uses a preferment (there must be thousands on this site alone) that is specified in weight and I think you will have a lot better luck.

wayne

laurielrh's picture
laurielrh

Many thanks for the input.  I am going with 128 gr /cup flour weight. Perhaps I can tweak these numbers. I am going to keep trying.  In the meantime, I have ordered Peter Reinhart's,      The Bread Bakers' Apprentice.   I cannot wait to explore some new ideas and build knowlege about this wonderful art!