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Dan Leader's "Local Breads" typos and other errors. HELP!

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kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Dan Leader's "Local Breads" typos and other errors. HELP!

Hello all,

Like many of us using "Local Breads" I have run into my share of issues due to typos all over the place. Some are real proofreading typos (for example, on page 128 where it tells you to score the dough, it offers an illustration on page 000. Oh well...) Others are math. If you add up some totals, do your baker's %, you will see that the numbers simply don't add up (Pg. 71 & 72, the Ganachaud Flûte: The total weight of 265 gr. for total flour(s) = 100%. The Poolish calls for 36%, which should be about 95 gr. But they have 253 gr. ) So there is much to watch out for. I suggest if you are weighing and using the Baker's % that you double check math first. And in some cases where you don't know which figure is the right one (% or wt?), it might mean you have to guess.

I have been in contact with Bread Alone and have received  some corrections. I have also alerted them to others not addressed. And I have asked about others still but had no response.

I am now working on the "Old World Baguette Redux" on page 85. And here's where I need help from someone who has already been through this one. There must be something wrong about the water:flour ratio or the liquid levain starter. This dough is simply too soupy. Forget about the "windowpane" test. This dough is like pancake batter; there's no pinching off a ball and stretching it.

I went over my numbres and weights a few times mostly because I'm on the alert with this book more than I would be with others. So as far as following the recipe goes, I'm about 100%certain I did what I was told to do and that I did it right. I'm not exactly a novice at this stuff so I do feel confident that it wasn't me.

 

What I don't know is if the mixing speed or time could also be a factor. What about the levain? Too much? With a levain at 130% added to a rough dough (in autolyse; pre salt or levain) at a hydration of 55%, what's the real hydration % in the end?

 

I have a real nasty feeling that this batch is a loss. I have a 42" WFO and I usually do large batches of breads I already know and have been successful with. I'm just thankful I only did a small test batch on this one.

 

Any advice? Help? Comedy?

Thanks,

Kim

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

A one pager of corrections that you can print out is available here:  

http://www.breadalone.com/PDF/local-breads-corrections.pdf

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Floyd, I have that very page. Had it for a while. But there's a lot more wrong in this book than just these. Quite a few more. I've been in email contact with Sharon Burns-Leader and while she answers one or two questions, she has not come through on others. The page you sent is easily two or more years old and as far as I am aware has not been updated.  Notice that the errors I mention above are not covered in this one page of corrections. And I have only tried about a half dozen of the breads. What's in store for me as I make my way through others? Ms. Burns- Leader does offer to make  additional changes as they become known but I haven't seen any and I've been asking. By now I am very leery of this book. When it works, it's great. When it doesn't... ACK!

I have to say I don't mind a steep learning curve where I make my own mistakes. I like learning and I believe mistakes are a vibrant way to learn and learn well. What I don't like is when the "teacher" is wrong. As I ponted out, there are proofreading errors for which the publisher, Norton, should, I believe, take the blame. (page 000?)And I am fairly certain Norton does not have a test kitchen to test recipes for accuracy so they have to rely to a degree on the accuracy of the author. And that's where I'm having a hard time. Someone back at Bread Alone was asleep at the mixer, I suspect. And I'm throwing away ingredients as a result of someone else's screw ups.

Kim

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Dolf started a thread on the topic back in 2007.  You'll find it here:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4097/formula-issues-leaders-local-breads

It's a real shame the problems were never addressed by Mr. Leader and his publisher,  as the book could have been really great.  

That thread is long, but worthwhile reading.  The very last post talks about the old world baguette.

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Lindy, THANK YOU! That last post was an exact and very good description of what I went through. As though the person posting it had been standing over me and taking notes. And the response was invaluable. Apparently the mixing time in Local Breads for this bread is way off. Leader asks for 8-9 minutes when it seems 20+ is requuired. Ok, attempt number two coming up soon. Thank you!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That you found it helpful and I hope things go a lot better the second time around!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that Dolf started.   I keep a red marking pen with my copy ready to correct.   

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4097/formula-issues-leaders-local-breads

Maybe one of us should sort it out but without author confirmation...  we can only guess at corrections.   What I usually do is before using a recipe, I look it up here and elsewhere to see if any problems popped up.  Then carefully run thru the metric calculations on the page and compare to the description below it.  It's a fun mental exercise.   It is still one of my favorite books.  Tack on your error to the listed thread even though it was started in 2007.  Better to have them all in one place with reasons for why they appear to be errors and possible corrections.   So far it's where we can find them.  It helps to list the name of the recipe in the  "Subject slot" and don't forget to mention the page numbers.  

Many of the recipes have you make more sourdough starter than what is needed for the recipe (to continue on with the starter maintenance).  Keep that in mind reading the recipes.  :) 

Mini

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

I just mark up the book. It's loaded with pencil and pen jottings. Is there a running list here on TFL that we can add to?

proth5's picture
proth5

quick soapbox - your issue is why we like to express the total formula in baker's math - I'm sure with a more complete formula I could figure the effective hydration percentage - but you haven't provided enough information (I would also need % of flour pre fermented or the weights of the pre ferment and final dough).

Mixing speed and mixer type is always a big factor and one that authors often gloss over.  Home mixers are not usually spirals - and these develop dough quite a bit faster than planetary mixers.

Anyway, math  aside - I have mixed up baguette dough that resembles "cream of flour soup" and then brought it into line with a series of stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  It is quite frightening in the beginning (requires copious flour on the bench and you end up wearing a lot of it), but does eventually get into line.  As I do not have the book, I'm wondering if that was the intent of this formula.  This method makes very lovely bread - with a rich yellow color.  Again, after perusing the other thread I can see that formulas in this book (as in all books it seems) have some problems - just making a suggestion based on some bagutte doughs that I have worked with...

Good luck!

lumos's picture
lumos

I've been pondering for aaaaaaaages whether I should buy this book or not as it sounds like it has lots of wonderful recipes but also is full of typos and errors, too.   Really pity neither the publisher or the author is not very interested in providing a proper errata themselves.

Thanks for the links for those threads.  Am I right in thinking they cover most of errata more or less?

Mustang 51's picture
Mustang 51

This was the first bread book I purchased. After looking through several others that did not have what I was looking for from various sources, I stumbled across this book on clearance. It was worth the $10 I paid for it. Quite honestly, I don't have as much time as I would like for making bread, or even baking in general. What I will say about this book is that it was very interesting reading. I learned quite a bit before making any of the breads in it. I find it unfortunate when I hear about errors in books with formulas in them. How is someone to know where the problem lies when they are trying to learn how to do something new? Novices will tend to blame themselves for their failures regardless of the source of the problem.

There has been much written about errata in several books on this website, including the much loved ITJB (which I also own.) I realize there is a lot that goes into writing a book, but some of these errors are unbelievable. Somewhere along the line someone should have found many of these errors before the books went to print. I sincerely hope those writing them will take as many precautions as possible to eliminate errors.

Paul

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

I agree that this book is a great learning tool. I read the first several pages often. I like the explanations which make understanding things easier for me. I also own Daniel Wing and Alan Scott's Bread Builders book. It too is loaded - LOADED!- with useful information. But for me, while I certainly learn a lot from it, the book is at times too dense for my mind to grapple. I simply do not possess a scientific mind and this book is a chemistry treatise. I just work better with Leader's book.

As to your comment that someone should have caught the mistakes before going to print, you'd certainly think so, wouldn't you? A number of these errors, I believe, could only be caught by a baker. No proofreader who does not bake is going to know 9 minutes mixing from 20 minutes. Won't know if scoring needs to be 1/8", 1/4" or 1/2" and what difference it makes. They won't know much but they could check math, which is one of the problems in this book. Some things simply, literally, don't add up. The proofreader also sure as hell should have caught the "see illustration on page 000" as a place marker. My guess is that too many people were involved in the information gathering, research, testing and assembly of the book, coupled with the highly likey possibility that the publisher is, like many, finding it necessary to cut costs and probably didn't spend enough time or $$ to have a seasoned proofreader have a go at it.  Leader & Co. have said that they will collect the corrections (largely contributed by dilligent bakers right here on TFL), re-test recipes, and make corrections for the 2nd edition. I have no clue if there's a 2nd edition yet though. I also suspect that not all errors have been caught yet. Even here in these forums only a handful of the recipes are discussed. Many are not yet.

Still, there's some perverse delight taken in living through the problems and learning why they are problems. As if the struggle makes us better bakers through the experience of incorrect information. As though providing only dead-on accurate information is a form of coddling and the tough-love baker/author serves us all better by messing with us a bit. I could be alone in that assesment, I'm sure. I just like a good challenge and I feel I have learned more by understanding what could go wrong than by seeing it all go right because I was hand held the entire way. Failure in general can serve us well if we treat failure as a learning opportunity. Throwing food away is a whole other discussion.

Thanks,

Kim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with us all a bit."

I have to laugh.  I have often thought the same thing!  

...and planning in his will to show us the answer sheet.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Kim,

Maybe the real error with this formula is the mixing method?

Leader uses a liquid levain, yet calls for autolyse of just flour and water in the final dough, before adding liquid levain and salt.

I reckon it's only 50% hydration in the final dough, before adding the liquid levain.   Fundamentally, that is just wrong; the liquid levain should be incorporated with flour and water for autolyse.

Real hydration is 74.5%, which is fine for the bread he is seeking to make.

Best wishes

Andy

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Andy, I read in another thread that the 8-9 minutes called for is not right, that 20 is more like it. So I went back and changed only that and by about 25 minutes it had come together nicely. And it baked up nice and all is well. The only thing I can see changing is that mixing time.

The hydration is actually 55% before adding the levain, which is a 130% hydration. Essentially this makes the water/flour pretty dry and very stiff. Adding the very liquid levain and mixing for only 9 minutes leaves the mix very unintegrated; wet and sloppy in bits, lumpy other bits. Looks more like a poorly mixed batter than a dough. It doesn't even look like a ciabbata or focacia dough. It's just runny and separates. The additional mixing time does allow the dough to form and have some body.

My second attempt, with the 25 minutes of mixing, was still wet but was of a substance I could at least pick up and hold in my hand as opposed to feeling like I'd dipped my hand into lumpy pancake batter.

I'm curious as to why you say that the levain should be added to the pre-autolyse dough. Leader always (I think it's always) calls for flour/water only autolyse, in doughs that call for an autolyse (not all do). Adding salt & levain after the 20 minute autolyse. I understand that at least all the water and flour for the recipe would be incorporated better then. But in other recipes that doesn't make a difference in how the dough comes together.

Thanks,

Kim

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Kim,

Firstly Leader's formula does not compute!   You will see that he has 300g of flour and 150g of water in the final dough.   Well that will always be 50% in my book, not 55%.

As you note the flour/water combination for the autolyse will be very stiff.   As far as I am concerned this is pointless at best, and plain wrong at worst.   The point of autolyse is to make dough mixing easier, not harder.   And if it takes you 20 minutes to mix when Leader says it should only take 8-9 minutes, then the autolyse is making life difficult for you!

Autolyse is supposed to kickstart the catalytic enzyme reactions.   It relies on sufficient water to fully hydrate the flour to achieve this.   Additionally, by allowing the flour and water mixture to stand, this enables the starches and proteins to begin to break down [enzymatic reactions], and thereby take up more water.   50% hydration is woefully inadequate to achieve any of this effectively.

Using autolyse technique with insufficient water as Leader recommends in this formula is incorrect.

Ordinarily, you are correct that an autolyse would utilise only the flour and water in the final dough formula.   However, this does not apply when using a liquid levain or a poolish, as it means the autolyse is short of water.   Hamelman is MUCH better on this point and I urge you to read what he says about the matter; see "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" pp. 9 of my tatty copy, which is the 10th print run, I believe.   This discussion has come up before on TFL, and my opinion has remained constant throughout.   Leader is not applying correct autolyse principles here.   You could also refer to Calvel's La Gout du Pain [Taste of Bread, translated by MacGuire and Wirtz], since the good Professor was the originator of the technique...and an admirer of Hamelman's work too.

Best wishes

Andy

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Hi Andy,

That Leader's formula does not compute could almost be the sub-title for the book.

Thanks for the book recommendations. I'm on the search for them now. I'd like to have a look before buying but they're not in the library here. I used to live in Brattleboro Vt, where the local downtown bakery was Hamelman's. It's entirely likely Jeffrey himself was in the back when we walked in. So I know what he produces. Not too shabby.

I understand what you're saying about autolyse and hydration. What I'm curious about - have been - is why we don't include the levain in the autolyse if all it is is flour & water, which is what the levain is. If the levain and the rest of the flour & water in the recipe make up all the flour & water I'm going to use, why not include it? Does the fermented state of the levain have some detrimental effect on the autolyse benefits?

Thanks,

Kim

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Kim,

More on autolyse, and it is worth also reading David Snyder's recent comments which are on the money, as ever:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28251/san-franciscostyle-sourdough-bread-flaxseed-rye#comment-213611

Originally Calvel adopted autolyse to use in mixing baguette dough using "straight dough", or a yeasted pre-ferment, such as pate fermentee.   The technique has since been adapted by others, Hamelman and Leader amongst them, to use in mixing sourdough formulae too.

As David points out, the original purpose of autolyse was to seek an alternative mixing process to the intensive mix which had come to the fore in commercial bread manufacture at the time in Paris.   Calvel bemoaned the resulting bland finished product resulting from the bleaching of the caratenoid pigments in the flour due to intensive mixing.   Personally, I use autolyse as I find that it is effective in allowing the flour to take up more water.   Calvel also discovered that another effect of autolyse was to create an extensible dough; a feature David says he likes, and certainly one which makes for easier shaping of baguettes; very useful, of course!

As I pointed out, the purpose of autolyse is to kickstart the enzymatic reactions in the dough.   The enzyme reactions which are less relevant at this stage, are those concerning yeast reactions.   Generally it is more common with lean doughs to try to find ways of extending the fermentation time, rather than shortening it, which is the effect of including any leavening source in the autlolyse.   However, remember Calvel was working with commercial yeast when he used autolyse for the first time.   Using a sourdough source means we have yeasts which will work much more slowly in the first place, so the fermentation process will not have progressed too far if using autolyse...ambient is only up to an hour, and a longer cold process should mean the yeasts are sufficiently repressed by the refrigeration temperature.   Actually, I am sure I have read somewhere that it is acceptable to incorporate active-dried yeast into autolyse, although not instant yeast.   This would be for the same reason, that fermentation rate would not be significantly compromised.   However, I never use any dried yeast, and I would not countenance adding fresh yeast to any autolyse for sure.

Best wishes

Andy

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Just a quick note, just got the book.  I've been successfully making sourdoughs from a starter I first made in 2004, I think it was...every week, no issues (completely due to this site, and others' recipes).  Making miche from this book has been very odd, for me.  I haven't done a math check, but am astounded to read of all the errors....one at very first glance, he calls for a bread dough with 125g of the whole wheat levain in the text, but 225g and "45%" in the table. 

First loaf, yesterday, was wonderfully flavorful, but very dense.  Not unpleasantly so, very chewy and rustic, just not as high as I thought but I now realize I've been making boules that get really high so my presumptions were wrong, given this style is not meant to be a massive riser.  OK. 

However, he does call for doubling in fermentation and proofing, so I'm experimenting by trying to allow this.  "Refreshing" the stiff levain to get the recipe's whole wheat levain worked well enough overnight, doubling at 12 hours.  However, following the recipe, I'm at hour 8 of just the fermentation, and nowhere near close to doubling.  I expected to form and proof several hours ago.  I finally resorted to folding on the hour and that seems to have picked things up a bit, but I wonder where I'd be if I just followed the recipe....probably like yesterday, I'd imagine.  Between fermentation and proofing, if doubling, I expect this will be a 16-24 hour fermentation process (nowhere close to the 4-6 hours total in the book). 

Still, I really enjoy his writing style, love the lore, and my sense is that if I'm careful to correct errors, and go on the senses I've developed as a baker (and retired chef), this book promise some wonderful bread.