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Sourdough Ciabatta - One Step

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Ciabatta - One Step

Sourdough Ciabatta - One Step

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Sourdough Ciabatta - One Step Recipe

I made my first attempt at a "one step" recipe, similar to Sourdough-guy's recent blog entry (thanks, SD-guy). Photos of the process are posted. A spreadsheet showing the quantities in ounces and grams, bakers percentages, and some other percentages, such as hydration is also posted.

I wanted to use some more of my "sifted flours" obtained during a recent phase of obtaining and testing some "sifted whole wheat" flours for the fun of it. You can create a substitute for this flour by substituting a mixture of 87% white flour with 10% whole wheat and 3% wheat germ by weight. If you don't want to use wheat germ, you might try something like a 50/50 mix of white flour and whole wheat flour. I haven't tried doing it with all whole wheat, but I suspect that would also make something good with this recipe. The "sifted whole wheat flour" I used is "Golden Buffalo" from Heartland Mills. It is described as sifted so that the germ and 10% of the bran remains in the flour, which makes it about 87% extraction flour. It's characteristics are much closer to whole grain flour than white flour. For example, it absorbs a lot more water before it becomes slack like a ciabatta dough, and it has fairly high ash content and and protein percentage, and it results in a darker crumb and nuttier tasting crumb. Also, it is a high protein flour to begin with, as it is made from a higher protein wheat. At some point, I'll make this with something like KA organic AP, which should rise better and have a softer crumb and a more typical white ciabatta crust color.

Overall, this recipe worked fine, although I realize now that I probably needed to be a little more agressive about rolling and tightening the loaves when they were shaped, as there was the "big hole down the middle" problem to some extent with these loaves, particularly the ones I shaped more gently and baked first. The ones I let proof a little longer also happen to be the ones I shaped a little more tightly, and they seemed to come out better.

Ingredients:

  • 57 grams 100% hydration white flour starter (almost any reasonably active, recently enough refreshed starter will do)
  • 2 grams diastatic malted barley flour
  • 14 grams salt
  • 665 grams water
  • 57 grams light rye flour (I used KA rye blend)
  • 610 grams high extraction wheat flour (I used Golden Buffalo from Heartland Mills - You can mix some AP or bread flour w/whole wheat and wheat germ as mentioned above)

Mix and Rest

Place starter in a large mixing bowl and add the water. You may want to mix only 540 grams of water to begin with, which is 82% hydration. Then, after you've added all the flour, you can mix in more water until you get the right consistency. The water absorption properties of flours varies over a large range, and the amount of water I used in this recipe is at the very high end of what you're likely to need, due to the type of flour I happen to be using. Stir the water and starter well to get the starter dissolved into the water. Add the diastatic malted barley flour and mix well again. Add the rest of the flour and mix just enough to blend everything with a spoon, dough hook, scraper, as you like. Or, do this all in a mixer but use low speed and mix for only 3-4 minutes just to get the ingredients well integrated. Then add the salt, sprinkling it over the whole dough and folding it in. At this point go around the bowl with your tool scraping the outside of the mass into the center and pushing down, similar to a fold, a few times to incorporate some air and mix the ingredients with the salt well. You don't need to do much more than get the ingredients reasonably well mixed.

You may need to add either flour or water to adjust the consistency of the dough. The dough should be fairly wet. It should be more stiff than a batter, but it should feel wet and pliable. It will feel a little wetter as the water incorporates into the flour. At some point the gluten will develop, and it should become an elastic, somewhat slack, pliable dough. In my case, I am using 100% hydration, which is higher than you're likely to need unless you are using a high protein hard whole grain flour, like a hard spring wheat from the northern plains. The flour used in this recipe is of that type, except it has 90% of the bran sifted out. It takes a lot more water than if you make this with mostly white flour. So, you have to do this by feel. What should happen is that when you eventually pour this dough out on the counter to fold it, it should spread out slowly over the course of a minute or so. It shouldn't be runny, but it shouldn't hold it's shape well either.

Cover the bowl with a moist towel and set aside for an hour.

Fold in the Bowl

The first fold probably needs to be done in the bowl, if it is as wet as it is supposed to be. Reach under the dough with a scraper on an edge, lift it up and out a little holding the top gently with your (wetted) fingers, stretching it just a little, then fold the edge over to the center. Do this for all four sides. Let it sit another hour or so.

Fold on counter

An hour after the first fold in the bowl, the gluten should be forming enough to do the folds on the counter. Gently loosen the dough from the bowl and pour it out onto the counter on a light bed of flour. Spread the dough out a little if it doesn't spread out all on its own. If it is very wet, it may not need any help spreading. If it's not quite so wet, you can encourage it to spread out with your fingers or palms. Don't stretch it aggressively, just spread it out, which it should readily do if it is wet enough. Wet your hands well to get all stickiness off them and shake off the drops a little bit. Snuggle your hands under one edge of the dough and gently lift it up and out slightly. Then fold it over to the center or past the center somewhat. Do this for all four sides. If it ends up as a nice tall cube shape, pick it up and turn it over. Then drop it into a dough rising bucket or a bowl for further fermentation. To make it easier to pull out of the dough rising bucket the next time, you can either spray the bucket with some oil spray or give the dough a good dusting with bread flour on the sides before dropping it into the bucket. I often get a rectangular shape after the last fold, since I'm still not anticipating the size of the folds perfectly. If so, you can fold it over itself one more time to make it more of a cube shape and roll it over to bring the stretched side of the dough on top all in one move to end up with a tall cube of dough. Then it can be picked up from the sides or slightly underneath and lowered gently into a rising bucket.

Wait an hour and fold, wait another hour and fold, etc., as above until it begins to have some "resistance" to folding. The gluten will develop all on its own with time and some folding. In my case I did 3 folds on the counter. Ideally, you can wait as long as it takes for the dough to flatten out, as a liquid would, before folding. That's the indication the dough has "relaxed" and is ready for another fold. After a few folds, the combination of gluten developing and enough time going by for the fermentation to start to generate some gas will result in a slight "crown" forming in the dough as it sits in the bucket, so that the dough won't really flatten out anymore. You can try folding again and should now begin to be more elastic and resistant to folding, consistent with the gluten development.

Bulk Fermentation

I intended to have the total rise time be about 12 hours, and I guessed the amount of starter accordingly. I started the mixing a few hours before I went to bed. It did double in about another 7 hours after the last fold, allowing for a good night's sleep if you're a bit of a night owl like me. You can adjust the time to your convenience by putting less starter in at the beginning. I would think it would take about 2-3 more hours for each halving of the amount of starter, but maybe Sourdough-guy can put a finer point on that. The one step method is new to me, so I still haven't developed a good feel for the timing over extended periods with a very small percentage of starter in the dough.

Shaping

When the dough has doubled, turn it out on the counter in a bed of flour. It will be full of air and very soft and slack. Fold it over itself once to get a long rectangular dough. That one fold will stiffen the dough a little. Gently slice the dough into four equal size pieces. Dust the cut ends with flour or roll the pieces in flour. Lay the pieces out in rectangles about 10 inches long and 4 inches wide by gently stretching them in one direction. Roll them up fairly tightly along the short end, occasionally folding the ends of the roll into the center if it is getting too long as you roll it up. Dust them well with flour and place them in a dusted couche. You may want to use some rice flour mixed with bread flour to dust the couche. The dough is very wet and will be sticky. However, if you dust the dough itself well, and also dust the couche with a combination of rice and bread flour it should be OK. I use 25/75 rice/bread flour to dust the couche. I spray the tops of the loaves with some oil and dust with some flour in order to get that ciabatta flour streak crust look.

Final Proof

Cover the loaves with a towel and allow to rise at room temperature for about 1.5-2 hours. I didn't try getting them warmer, like 80-85F as in Sourdough-guys recipe. Also, I am not sure how long the final proof ought to run, and the poke test is harder to read with this higher hydration dough. The longer proofed, slightly more tensioned loaves had a better crumb and rise, so maybe I didn't let the proof run long enough.

Sourdough-guy suggested an estimate of more like 4 hours for the final proof in his recipe from which I derived the recipe in this blog entry, so it may well be I have underestimated the right length for the final proof. I will try a longer proof next time, and if someone tries this recipe and goes for a longer final proof with good results, I would appreciate your comments.

Bake

Place the loaves on a parchment dusted with corn meal or other similar flour to avoid sticking. As you place them on the parchment stretch them out to about 10 inches long. Then use your fingers to press down firmly all over the dough to dimple it and spread it out. I lightly sprayed the loaves with water using an atomizer pump spray bottle. You should have about a 10 inch by 5 inch rectangle when you're done with lots of dimples on it and only about 1/2 inch tall. Bake at 450F for about 18 minutes. I think the crust color darkening is the best indication of doneness, as it seems like the internal temperature isn't a very good indication of doneness for this very wet, airy, flat dough. These only rose to about 1.5 inches. I'm not sure if this is due to my flour choice or the amount of proofing. I suspect that any whole wheat-like flour may tend not to rise quite as much as a similar white flour version. However, it may also have to do with finding the right amount of time for the final proof.

Cool

Allow to cool completely. The crumb will not set properly if you cut into it too soon.

Results

The crumb was soft, cool, and creamy, and the flavor was mild with a nice after taste and only a touch of sour flavor. I believe this is fairly consistent with what I've been reading in Sourdough-guy's blog on the topic of "one step" sourdough. I get fairly similar results with my two step methods of past blog entries. However, I'm realizing that my mild results are probably the result of feeding my culture frequently, i.e. before it is very, very ripe, and also from refrigerating my intermediate "recipe starters" when they have just doubled or even earlier. I also stop my bulk fermentation when the dough has just doubled. The result may therefore be similar to the one step method, since not letting each intermediate step ripen should make the whole process closer to one long slow rise from a small percentage of starter. I think the two step method can result in more sour and stronger flavors if you let the starter and "recipe starter" ferment to a riper stage before adding them to the dough.

As with most of my attempts with sourdough ciabatta, the result is a chewier crust and slightly chewier crumb than yeast raised versions I've made. Also, the rise isn't quite as dramatic. However, the flavor more than makes up for it, and I like the chewy texture most of the time. If doing a barbecue or hamburger sandwich bread, I might prefer a white flour and probably would prefer a yeast raised version such as the Glezer recipe in Artisan Baking.

Feedback

My blog entries are written with the intention to share with and learn from those who participate here. Questions and suggestions regarding the written explanations or improvements to the methods are welcome.

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Great job on this write up Bill. I haven't tried this yet but it is on my "to do" list. Really nice looking bread!

Eric

PS: Did I see some flour on those guitar strings Bill? "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, two hungry children and the breads not done still". :>)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

I'm still wandering in ciabatta land, but I've also been more into browner nuttier breads lately, like the dinkelbrot and kartoffelbrot, and then Sourdough-guy and yourself with all the discussion of one step SD, less mixing, more folding recipes, so you can see how I end up with a brown, part way to whole wheat, one-step, low-knead SD ciabatta. Makes perfect sense to me.

A little flour just makes those guitar strings less squeaky. We have all kinds of synergies around here.

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bill, haven't tried Heartland Mills Buffalo Wheat yet but I have been trying to find better/nuttier/deeper flavors for WW breads, whether 100% or 50%. I'm still looking for a big full flavor that is far removed from sawdust. Jmonkeys formula's have been good but I'm afraid I won't discover that full flavor if I move to fast and change more than 1 item at a time. Any thoughts? Spelt seems interesting and Graham also.

I couldn't help myself with the music metaphor. You would have to be a 70's country fan to get the reference :>)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

No problem with the references, but you're right I'm not too good at getting them. I arrived here in the USA from being raised in Peru in the '70s, and my musical tastes revolved around south american traditional classical guitar music until some high school rock fans helped me move more into the then modern age, at least in appreciation if not practice. Country wasn't one of their favorites either, so I'm clueless.

As far as WW flavor, I'm not a WW god, but I have liked spelt, both in the recent German recipes from Marcel's grandmother, which are just delicious, and in the recent miches I've done. I think it does work well in preferments, particularly. As far as nutty deeper flavors, I'm not sure what to say. For me, the flavors I get in my miches when I go too far with the red whole wheats is too strong or bitter, but maybe that's something related to my techniques. That's why I was trying out combinations of spelt, white wheat, and red wheat, which for me results in a good but milder whole grain flavor.

This ciabatta does taste very good with the "high extraction" hard red wheat flour. I would recommend getting some of the Golden Buffalo flour and try something simple with it, like your basic sourdough round and see what you think. They sell over the internet in relatively small quantitites, so you can test it out "for a few bucks", if you're OK with spending extra for shipping in the interests of experimentation.

I got interested in the sifted flour concept when reading in the BBA, where Reinhart describes the flour that Poilane was using, which was described as approximately 90% extraction "partial whole wheat" flour. Our housekeeper is Portuguese, and she is always talking about growing up on a farm in Portugal, where her mom would go to the mill and they would sift the flour for her to remove some of the bran. She said it was one of her mom's favorite flours. Then there is the whole type 55, type 110, etc., way French flours are categorized. After reading some of the discussion in "The Taste of Bread" by Calvel, it sounds like the Golden Buffalo might be similar to something like type 110, which is described as having applications in rustic breads and whole grain breads.

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bill, I'm sorry if this is off topic but knowing you are a guitar man and a quality guy, I just know you will appreciate this. The reference I made earlier to a lyric was to a song that was popular in the late 70's. This link will make it all clear and even my lame attempt to rhyme into the baking interest.

http://www.homestead.com/deenotes/lucille.html

Eric

browndog's picture
browndog

Are we as old as that, Eric, that Kenny Rogers needs foot-noting?! *gasp* (Beautiful bread, Bill. I'm making sure my son doesn't see it.)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hey Browndog5,

I grew up on another part of the planet and got here to the USA in '71. I can't remember the lyrics of a song to save my life, although now that I hear the song, I realize I've heard it a zillion times. So, no worries, you're still young. I'm just clueless, but we aren't going to call that news.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

We're all 29 on the internet... 'cept JMonkey, who's already admitted to an ancient 35, but still looks smashing in rattlesnake.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Katie, 50 coming up this year. Bill

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I bet you've been thinking about the big five-O sinced ya turned 49.  Mini Oven

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

Hi Bill,

That shot of Ciabatte with the classical guitar in the background was a nice touch. It reminded me of my teenage years when I was as fanantical about playing the classical guitar as I am with bread now. I could remember playing the guitar at least 7 hours a day until my mom complained about getting a headache when I kept playing Leyenda by Isacc Albeniz for hours. I love South American music especially that of Barrios.

Sorry for going off topic, couldn't help it after seeing that guitar. Ciabatta was one of the breads that I got me hooked to baking and I think is the perfect vehicle for learning the stretch and fold method. 

One local bakery here in Singapore has a filled version of Ciabatta. Here is my imitation of their bread.

  

The filling tend to result in a hole though but dosen't really present problems when sliced horizontally. The rest of the pictures are here.

http://www.angelfire.com/planet/tomsbread/ciabatta-pesto.htm

Tomsbread

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Tomsbread,

Thanks, I like the idea of stuffing a ciabatta. I'll have to get around to that. I wonder if a kalamata olive ciabatta would work. I made a kalamata olive bread a while back, and I'm thinking I should do some more olive breads. I've also thought about doing a focaccia with the same basic process here, to test out one-step focaccia, adding olive oil to the dough, and olives might be good to add to it also.

On the South American guitar front, Barrios is probably my favorite. I probably drove some people nuts with Leyenda and a few others, too. I gave it up for almost ten years when a combination of work and kids kept me way too busy, but I've kept it up somewhat the last few years.

I enjoy wandering on your web site, by the way. I've found lots of good ideas and information there, as well as in your posts here on this site.

Bill

T4tigger's picture
T4tigger

I recognized the lyrics as soon as I saw them, and I live under the illusion that I was just a mere child in the 70's.  I am not really a country music fan, but I had a major crush on Kenny's beard.     :-)>

browndog's picture
browndog

Did it tickle?

T4tigger's picture
T4tigger

ahm not tellin  ;D

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

HI Bill, I haven't had a chance to read the whole way through yet, I'll get to it later, I'm just steeling five over a cup or tea.

Have you tested the autolyse against a straight rest? I did this once with sourdough and found although at first the autolyse was better by the time it came to shaping the dough there wasn't any discernible difference. It does sound as if you're having to put a bit more effort into the autolyse.

When I first started experimenting with the long rise thing I was getting very chewy crumb too and thought this was just a byproduct of time. But recently despite the long rise I get just the same if not better crumb.

Speak to you later.

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Sourdough-guy,

I'm not understanding the difference between an autolyse and a straight rest. What I did in this case was mix all the ingredients in one by one beginning with the starter, then water, then diastatic malted barley flour, then rye, then the rest of the flour, and finally the salt after everything was done. I may have misunderstood your recipe, but it seemed like you had an order for mixing the ingredients. Not wanting to misquote you yet again, I'll just say my interpretation of the instructions was that the water and starter should be mixed at the beginning, other ingredients added, then leave the salt for last. Is leaving the salt for last important?

In the past, I've done the "autolyse" with just the flour and water only, then added the rest of the dough ingredients. I have to admit that is harder to do, since the flour/water mass, which after the autolyse is fairly sticky and elastic, has to be integrated with all the other ingredients. I liked the approach in this recipe better, where all the ingredients are mixed in one step, and then you just let it sit for a while. I was still calling it an autolyse, but maybe that's not the best term if you've already mixed the ingredients completely. Is this what you would call a straight rest?

By the way, maybe the crumb is slightly chewier than yeast raised versions I've done, but it is soft and has a good "mouth feel". The flavor is, no question, excellent. It was a very good result. The crust was a little chewy, but maybe that was from getting too much water in the crust when I misted it. I'm still not doing all that great with getting the crust to be both thick and crisp with the techniques I've been using.

Bill

T4tigger's picture
T4tigger

a straight rest lasts for the entire measure.  The single note rests are crooked!

sorry, I was on a music roll and couldn't help myself!!! 

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bill,

which recipe are you referring to? That does sound like something I've said somewhere for the sourophyles out there but I don't remember putting it in the last two. You don't really have to make any effort with the temperature control unless you have some specific timing or flavour in mind. I just let nature take it's course most of the time. Sometimes I think you're trying to get me in trouble Bill. lol.

May the 4th be with you.  

Sourdough-guy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Ha! Darth Vader with a lisp! Made my day.

Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Sourdough-guy,

I swear I'm not trying to get you in trouble. On the contrary, I'm hoping to continue picking up good baking knowledge from your posts. I took the section of your blogged recipe where you talk about putting the shaped dough in the oven with warm water to mean something like getting the temperature up to 80-85F degrees. However, maybe I read more into that than you meant. So, I guess I'm still wondering what happens when you put the dough in the oven with warm water. Is that just to get a humid environment, or is there a temperature objective in that technique, too? I'm also wondering what a rough estimate of the time of the final proof should be. This ciabatta seemed not ready after 1 hour, but 2 hours looked OK. However, maybe I'm way off and it should be longer than that or shorter than that?

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bill, no te preocupes. : -) I should put more effort into choosing my own words better. lol. You're a top guy Bill. The warm water in the oven is like you say for humidity. I should go back to doing that, my friend Gail introduced that to me a while ago it works really well and means you don't have to put film over the bread. I don't know why I stopped doing that. The film stuck a little bit to mine today and on the bantonne one it dried out too much. My boule didn't look nearly half as nice as Eric's. The ones in the loaf tins looked as if they could have been made from the same dough as Eric's though. I was so disappointed. Eric's looks so good while mine looked as if it has been coated with the bottom of a buggies cage. lol. It still smells fantastic though. I had to really stop myself taking a big bite out of the side. lol.  

When I do my ciabatte I make them half the size that you do, which makes them easier to handle, mine are a little wider than baguettes. I tend to final proof them for less than an hour. 

I've just blogged my method, don't follow it too rigidly I haven't looked at this for a little while it may need some revision but take it as inspiration of some kind. This text was initially from Il Fornaio Baking book, but it's had many incarnations since. 

 

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

I already have taken some time on that recipe for ciabatta and pagnotta.

I see you are doing a sort of "punchdown" by doing a second rise on the ciabatta after pressing it into a dish. I felt it needs that pressdown one way or another. I was doing what is suggested by Glezer in the Ponsford recipe, which is the dimpling mentioned above. However, that is done just pre-bake, and I was only doing about 2 hours of final proof after the bulk rise by double.

Bill

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

SDG-That was your recipe and your method. The putting of hot water into the oven for proofing is a good technique if there is just one bake. Jmonkey's beer cooler with a hot water also works well. I think the crust is better for slashing if you don't have to coax a film off the surface.

Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

Could you explain what you mean when you say "you don't have to coax a film off the surface?" I'm not getting what you mean and how it fits in with the beer cooler and whatnot.

Thanks, Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Bill,

I meant that I think my experience has shown that if after final proof you can avoid the step of having to remove a plastic film from the surface, the slashing will be more successful. There has to be some damage to the surface of the dough when you slowly pulling the film off. Plus you don't need the film. The moist environment in the oven or cooler is perfect for allowing the dough to rise without any impediment to expansion. It works well enough for me that I use the cooler when I have 2 or more bakes to do and don't have the oven space for proofing.

Eric

PS: Is it proofing or proving?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Eric,

Thanks, I see what you mean now. I haven't tried the cooler approach, but it does sound like a very easy way to have a moist environment and avoid the plastic film problem. I'll have to get into doing that.

Hah, well I sure don't want to start a long thread on this, but boy I don't know about proofing or proving. Proving sounds right, but I've heard "proofing" so often I tend to fall into that when talking about baking. What would you say?

Bill

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Bill, I've read proving in Dan Lepards book and maybe others but proofing in most of them.  Either word is fine.

Btw, I don't have a plastic film problem because I generally use a flour sack cloth to cover the dough.  Have you tried that?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I've used damp tea towels frequently, but they don't actually touch the dough. They're just placed over the rising dough that I would normally have sitting in a couche. That's what I've been doing with the ciabattas most of the time. You can see it in the pictures I posted. However, when I did the pagnotta recently, it rose free form on the counter, so I did put a film over it. In order to put them in a cooler or the oven or similar, I'd have to figure out some trays or some other type of carrier that would fit in the cooler, oven, etc., if I try that approach. Then, as with all my baking stuff, I have to figure out secret places to hide it all to keep the invading hordes, that attack my kitchen and everything else around here, from taking my carefully collected and thought out contrivances and using them for some other purpose, like for toys or to store crickets for feeding a lizard, for example.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

That is more wonderful looking sourdough ciabatta.   I'm seemingly on brain-drain after having arrived home from vacation. :o)  I have been meaning to bake for the past couple days but can't decide which to make.

At any rate, since I'm being a bit dense these days so could you please explain what exactly you mean by "one-step" and did I miss something on this whilst I was away?  I also would like to know what I have missed about autolyse as I thought that meant resting.  I guess I'll have to look it up again in some of my books.

That bread looks so delicious.  Feed me now.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

What I mean is that this is the analog in natural leaven  to the "direct method" (and somewhat like a no-knead approach) in yeast raised breads, i.e. there are no intermediate prefermentations built. You go directly to mixing the final dough with your starter, rather than making an intermediate "recipe starter" or preferment. Depending on how small you make the proportion of starter, you can control the time required for the rise, but typically we are talking about times like 12-24 hours for the total time from mix to bake.

In the last two versions I described, which I would then call two-step, there was either a large amount of liquid starter built or a biga-like firm starter built the night before and refrigerated. Then, that fairly large amount of starter, with around 25% of the flour contributed by the preferment, is mixed with the final dough, and a relatively short bulk fermentation of about 4 hours gets you to the shaping stage. The same method is used for the miche recipes, too.

I think Sourdough-guy, the no-knead school, and various others on the site are saying it's easier and you get the same or possibly better results by just doing one long rise with the final dough, rather than messing around with intermediate rises or preferments. You can just mix a smaller amount of starter into a final dough and let it ferment overnight and shape and bake the next day.

This was an attempt to do something in that basic style, although with ciabatta, and probably with high hydration whole wheat recipes, some folding has to be added to the process, in addition to just very brief mixing, rising, shaping, and baking, which is nicely explained with photos of some very nice resulting bread in sourdough-guy's blog entries (linked to somewhere near the top of this blog entry.

Bill

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

Hey the more I'm learning the more I get confused! :D bwahahahaha!

Did I hear you right that after your final fold, you actually rolled your dough as you would a sandwich loaf or baguette, in order to do the final shape and get tension on it? If so, I'm even more impressed because the crumb is so open and the holes so large, I thought that was only achieved by "not" rolling the dough and by simply pulling it to final shape.

My ciabattas so far, seem to peter-out on the final proof/rise. I think maybe it's because I'm missing the part about redistributing my yeast. (I know that yeasted stuff is going to behave differently than starters.)

Also, on my stretch and folds, my dough usually continues to grow in my bowl each rest period. Should I be punching the air out of it each stretch and fold?

Last, I thought autolyse was a period of slow mixing of the initial wet ingredients followed by the rest time when gluten strings were strengthened and elongated? The initial agitation starts the formation of the gluten but the wet mixture and resting period is a continuation of the autolyse.

Since I don't have a mixer, I do this part by hand with a rubber one-piece spatula and stir it for about 3 minutes as hard as I can (which isn't very hard) then I cover it and let it rest for about an hour. When I do this initial stirring, I use about 3/4 of my total flour in the mixture so it is really a snotty consistency! ;) Then I come back to it and add the yeast, any remaining flour and salt and stir again, then rest another 20 minutes or so, then begins my folding time.

Am I totally screwed up on my understanding of autolyse and do you think I'm over working my dough and maybe that's why at the end, I'm not getting a good rise on it?

Thanks as usual for your advice!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Bluezebra,

Right, there are so many variations, that it's continuously surprising what works and why. I like reporting what I've done this way, so people can see one that worked (at least sort of worked), things that went wrong, and whatnot. Some give you ideas and advice that may or may not work, others try it out and discover something wrong or something else that works better. Sometimes I end up more confused than when I started, but it is interesting.

On the final shaping: yes, I do roll it somewhat like a batard. However, the dough is very puffy at this point, so it's not quite like shaping a batard with regular 65% dough. What I'm doing is just turning the dough in to the center and rolling it to bring some tension as I go. The recommended technique in BBA is to just fold it like a letter with no tensioning of the surface other than what the folding does, if I interpret the pictures right. However, I've preferred the results I get by doing something that is closer to forming a batard. I don't exactly "roll it up", which I don't really do for a batard either. It's more like I stretch it a little as I fold it over itself to get some tension in the sides. I find the ends stick out, and I fold them in a couple of times to keep up the tension on the ends, too. Then I place that seams down on the couche. I'm not squeezing out gas much when I do it, although it must do some. However, after doing SD-guy's pagnotta, I'm seeing the possibility of folding the edges in toward the center in a very similar way to the pagnotta shaping. I think I see that sort of shaping done in a picture of the Ponsford/Glezer ciabatta recipe.

When you say they peter out, I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying they won't keep rising? It makes me wonder if you are running the bulk fermentation too long. Remember that it will rise while you are doing the folds, so by the time you get to the bulk fermentation, it is already somewhat risen. So, to get a dough that is doubled from its volume after the mixing, it may not have to double at all relatively to where it is after the first fold. You can figure it out by putting the dough in the container it will rise in just after you mix it, and mark the bowl or bucket so you know the starting volume. I think it may help to stop the bulk fermentation even a little before it doubles.

You don't really need to punch out a bunch or air each time you fold. The idea is to stretch it gently. You can do that after it's on the counter by either gently the center and edges outward, or you can gently pick up the edges and pull them a little bit. I don't think it helps to do that in any aggressive way. It's just to stretch it out a bit, to the extent it is relaxed and can do that. Then, you fold it back up to make a more or less rounded cube. I think there are some pictures of the result after folding, if you can see those by going to my photos link above.

Your description of autolyse sounds right. Sourdough-guy took issue with the term autolyse, when he says I should have used the simple term "rest". I think he was right. I had been using a mix of flour and water followed by a rest, which might be more properly called an autolyse in many of my previous recipes. However, SD-guy seems to dispense with that and instead simply mixes all the ingredients and lets it rest. I liked this approach, as it is much easier, but I had left the term autolyse in the recipes, which to some extent are formatted the same from blog to blog entry. So, now I've removed the autolyse term from blog entry and replaced it with "rest" to try to avoid any confusion with the term autolyse.

I have hardly used my mixer at all since I figured out that simple mixing up approximately as you describe works fine. I don't even stir it hard. I just fold the dough over itself in the bowl a few times to mix up the ingredients in "a most relaxed and carefree manner", lol. In other words, if your working very hard at kneading and mixing, it's your choice if it feels good, gets out some frustration, get some exercise or whatever, but actually it's just not really necessary as far as I can tell.

I doubt you could overwork your dough by hand doing what you described. It seems fine to me. However, Ponsford in Glezer's book is very clear in the ciabatta recipe in Artisan Baking about not mixing much at all - to the point of even leaving lumps in it, he says.

If the dough is a little too dry, and you fold a few too many times, you might make it so stiff that the final proof would seem like it "petered out". In that case, it would probably make a comeback if you wait for the dough to relax. Or, if it is overproofed at the end of the bulk fermentation, maybe that would cause the "petering out". I doubt the food would run out, although if it's an organic flour, maybe it needs some diastatic malted barley flour. Sometimes organic flours have not had that added, and then you need to add some.

That's all I can think of. If anyone is reading this and wants to comment, even to tell me we have gotten it wrong here, please do say so. Still trying to figure this stuff out. Thanks...,

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Bill, how does one know if this must be added to their organic flour?  And do you mean flour or diastatic barley malt powder which is what I bought in addition to the nondiastatic barley malt syrup.  I bought it only because a recipe called for it specifically.  But I have heard diastatic barley flour used by others, not just you, and wonder if it is something different than what I have.  If so, I'll have to order some.  Still making my KA "to order" list.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

I think it's the same thing. Glezer calls it diastatic malted barley flour, I think. However, I imagine the KA diastatic barley malt powder must be the same thing, and that is what I use, too.

Usually you can figure it out from the package or from the web site. It's often the organic flours that will not have the diastatic malt barley malt added. They will often say that you have to add it yourself somewhere on the web site in the product description. Sometimes the package gives a clue. Some of the KA organic flours show barley malt as an ingredient, while others don't, for example. I've also just called the mill. Usually they can put you in touch with someone who knows the answer. In the case of KA you could send them an email to their customer service desk and ask. They've always been very responsive to any question I had.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Do you have the recipe for the Ponsford ciabatta in the Glezer book, Artisan Baking?  You need to make that ciabatta and like magic you will have great success.  It is a wonderful recipe for making incredible ciabatta that I think must be fool proof.

 

Unlike Bill, who obviously has great success with ciabatta, I handle my ciabatta dough very carefully.  I only fold gently in a letter style and then place in a floured couche to proof.  Are you using a couche?  That could be part of your problem if your loaves are flattening out.  And you do not want to degas (aka punch down) that dough but handle carefully to preserve the bubbles. 

 

I think this autolyse thing is confusing because one is discussing the term, which means to rest, and then one is discussing what is resting and what action takes place during that autolyse.   As stated by Glezer in her title on page 12, “Autolyse, a.k.a. Resting” and then she goes into detail about what action takes place in the dough during said autolyse and why.  So think rest and not mix.

 

Another tip for you is to buy one of those metal dough whisks from KA and other sites.  I bought one recently and was intimidated by it but with the encouragement of Eric (ehanner) I went for it and that tool works really well to mix dough by hand.  KA has two sizes but I bought the large one.

 

I think you might have better luck mixing in all your flour and allowing it, during the autolyse, to absorb all the water which begins to develop the gluten. 

 

Also, have you watched the Julia Child video, again that Eric pointed me towards, to make French bread?  It will completely give you confidence and teach you a lot just in doing the exercise of following those instructions for making the bread. 

xma's picture
xma

I haven't tried a one-step sourdough, and I would like to find out how the taste compares to the usual procedure of building up a starter. Is the flavor milder or stronger?

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi xma,

I find it hard to tell the difference. However, I tend not to let my intermediate steps get very ripe, so I'm probably approximating a one-step flavor anyway, the way I do my multiple step recipes. If you were to allow the intermediate steps to get more ripe, I think an intermediate step process could be more sour.

Bill

xma's picture
xma

I've been thinking of trying a one-step this weekend.  My problem with making sourdough is that proofing takes long, and I usually bake first thing in the morning.  I also don't like a pronounced sour flavor so I tend to shy away from overnight retardation. Doing a one-step sourdough addresses most of these concerns.  Thanks!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi xma,

For me this is just a way to manage the timing differently from the multiple build. I don't particularly like very sour bread, so I tend to run fermentations at room temperature or a little higher and not let my intermediate builds get very ripe. I will put an intermediate build in the refrigerator sometimes, and I find that doesn't make so much difference or can even contribute to the flavor. However, if you retard the whole dough, I think that does increase the sour flavors with the few sourdough recipes where I've retarded loaves after shaping.

Bill