The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Durum Loaf in WFO

varda's picture
varda

Durum Loaf in WFO

I haven't had a chance to comment or post lately due to difficult circumstances.   I have been reading and enjoying people's posts from time to time and regret that I haven't had a chance to comment on them.    Today I finally had time to uncover my Wood Fired Oven and bake.    I gave it a long firing since I haven't used it since a brief hot spell in March - then baked a couple of durum loaves.    It was hot, too hot and when I came out to check the loaves after 25 minutes, they were done, done, done, with a bit of char to boot.  

I have been frustrated lately with the raggediness of my score openings, and thought that it probably was a function of air flow in my gas oven.   Despite fiddling this way and that, I wasn't able to fix the problem to my satisfaction.    Today, I think I confirmed that it is oven related, as I was much happier with the result in the WFO.   

I only sprayed the loaves with water before loading and didn't put a steam pan in the oven.  

And here's the crumb:

Formula and method:

Seed hydration

67%

 

 

 

 

King Arthur All Purpose

95%

 

 

 

 

Whole Rye

5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st feeding

 

Total

percent

Seed

32

 

 

 

 

King Arthur AP

18

143

 

161

95%

Whole Rye

1

7

 

8

5%

Water

13

100

 

113

67%

 

 

 

 

282

 

Feeding factor

 

 

 

 

8.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

 

King Arthur AP

0

137

137

21%

 

Whole Rye

0

7

7

1%

 

Durum

300

0

300

47%

 

KA Bread Flour

200

 

200

31%

 

Water

334

96

430

67%

 

Salt

12

 

12

1.9%

 

Starter

240

 

 

22%

 

 

 

 

1086

169%

 

Starter factor

0.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all but salt - autolyse for 1 hour

 

 

 

Mix for around 5 minutes with salt

 

 

 

Bulk Ferment (BF) 1 hour 5 minutes

 

 

 

 

Stretch and Fold

 

 

 

 

 

BF 55 m

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch and Fold

 

 

 

 

 

BF 45 m

 

 

 

 

 

Cut and preshape

 

 

 

 

Rest 20 m

 

 

 

 

 

Shape and place in couche

 

 

 

 

Proof for 1 hour 25 minutes

 

 

 

 

Slash and spray with water

 

 

 

 

Bake in very hot WFO for 25 minutes

 

 

 

 

Comments

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I like the deep coloured crust. Sourdoughs this dark don't usually taste burnt but actually really tasty.

Great bloom. Really delicious looking loaves Varda!

Michael

varda's picture
varda

Michael,   You are right.   Despite the very dark crust it does not have a burnt taste but really a lot of flavor.   Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Varda,

Sorry to hear of your recent difficult times but very happy to see one of your posts again. :^)

Your loaves look excellent with their spot on slashing, rich burnished crust and open crumb, it's obvious you haven't lost your touch one iota. Great baking Varda, glad to see you posting again!

Best wishes,

Franko 

varda's picture
varda

I was just trying to remember to set the timer for each step (I got most of them) so I wouldn't forget what I was doing.    The most critical was to make sure I got the loaves out of the oven before they were incinerated.    Thanks for your comments and your good wishes.  -Varda

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Absolutely wonderful looking loaves, Varda!  That's not char - it's flavor!  Love the boldness of the color and given the choice of one of your pictured loaves versus some pale, sickly looking one - I'd grab yours.

It's always a bummer when life gets in the way of our baking schedules; am glad you had a chance to play with flour and fire.

varda's picture
varda

Lindy,   It was really great to get out and build a fire.    And always feels good to get hands in dough.    My baking has been hit or miss lately due to everything.    I threw my last loaf into the woods for the critters.    So I was happy that this came out nicely even if very, very dark.   Thanks so much for your comments.   -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

Sorry to hear about your challenging times.  My impressions as a child were that 'grownups' had it easy - no homework, free to do as they wanted, no rules to follow etc....were obliterated some years ago.  I read somewhere or heard somewhere that Winston Churchill once said, "Life is one damn thing after another."  That would be a very depressing thought if not followed by Abraham Lincoln's words, "This too shall pass."

In any event I am glad to see that you have been able to bake in your WFO.  (Are you out of the bad weather the East coast is having?)  Your loaves look beautiful.  I am jealous but know that the closest I will ever get to a WFO on this property is my mini oven that is now up and running in my garage....Too hot to bake indoors this summer.  It runs on pure electricity and the most work I have to do to get it running is plug it in to the wall and push a few buttons....  I like your outcome a lot better than mine.  Your loaves look like 'real' bread....The crusts look wonderful!!!!  

Take Care and thanks for the post :-)

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Hi Janet,   That's why I love Fresh Loaf.    It's always Lincoln, Shakespeare, or the Bible.    The question is which one.   Thanks so much for your comments.   Really, a mini oven in your garage?   Cool.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

History of the phrase can be traced back to Persian Sufi poets so it has a long history prior to Lincoln using it. I have had his rendition of the phrase, and the story behind it, on my refrigerator for years so I tend to attach his name to it as opposed to a Sufi poet's name which would be much more difficult for me to remember and spell :-)

Yep, a mini in my garage.  I can now boast of having the best smelling garage on the block :-D.  It is also the hottest :-/.

Janet

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is perfect.  Crust, crumb,  slashing, color all perfect and what we challenged bakers strive to achieve.    I'm convinced folks can't bake a really good, top notch artisanal loaf like yours without a WFO as a bare minimum -  It is just not allowed - but I could be wrong  :-)

Just a fantastic bake Varda.  The layoff didn't hurt your bread skills any.  Glad to see you posting again.

varda's picture
varda

DA, I always feel like baking on the hot floor of my WFO gives me a leg up, but it isn't the only option for making good bread.    How do you get to Carnegie Hall?   Practice, practice, practice.   Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Love that grigne! Perfect rise, and yeah, I bet that crust is full of flavour. Must have been a thrill, firing up your oven and turning out a bread like that first up.

Cheers!
Ross

varda's picture
varda

Making a fire, baking bread.    That's hard to beat.     Thanks so much for your comments.   I'm enjoying the bread.   -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Varda,

That is great looking crumb but - how does it taste?  

Durum seems to have something to do with SF Sourdough.  Preferment starters made only with Durum turn nicely sour - similar in magnitude to rye but different in a Larraburu way. Went through a series of "rule outs" for this to reach a conclusionary status. As usual in sourdough everything counts.

I'm envious of your WFO - though the oven spring and bloom suggest  it was steamed[?] Is this what happens when you put dough into a 700 dF oven? Makes me rethink the whole reason for steaming for crust development. Ancient bakers, deprived of steam ovens,  baked masterpieces on a daily basis [and still do in some areas of the World]. Could it be we're making things a little too overcomplicated? 

Wild-Yeast 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Wild-Yeast,   I added durum to the final dough rather than using a durum starter.    These loaves were just under half durum which suits my tastes very well.    I just had a hunk with olive oil for breakfast, and feel very satisfied with it as far as taste goes.   Very mild rather than sour, but with that sort of rich flavor that durum imparts.    I know that some people use steam pans in their WFO, and I have tried that, but it may not be strictly necessary.   I did spray the loaves with water.   As I understand it, a typical gas oven vents out any moisture and so dries out the surface of the bread and prevents it from expanding properly.    There is no venting going on in a WFO - to the contrary, if you have a decent seal on the door.    In this case, the oven was so hot, that the expansion took place very quickly.   Had I removed the bread after 20 minutes, it would probably have been sufficient.    Inside, I would have baked it for 45 minutes.    I think the crumb shows evidence of very rapid expansion.   But I am wondering if there is a way to avoid using a stone in a gas oven.    I have been thinking that the stone itself obstructs air flow and so prevents even heating of the loaves, which then expand unevenly and don't open properly.    This may just be my oven which is perfectly fine as ovens go, but not large or fancy.   I was wondering if I gave up the stone, and baked the loaves very close to the floor of the oven, whether I would be happier with the result.    Would still need steam though, and the steam pans also do some blocking of airflow.  Just thinking.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's a bold bake!  Beautiful loaves, Varda.  You obviously haven't lost your touch.

Paul

varda's picture
varda

I was very happy it came out well, as the work around doubles with running back and forth to the oven.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful, and elegant, Varda! Welcome back! I Hope everything is well and settled now. As all have said, you haven't lost your touch.

As to Wild- yeast, no, i don't believe we are being too overcomplicated with steaming our kitchen ovens. The limitations of regular (gas/electric) home ovens are too many, and proper steam is crucial to develop good bread crust, whereas Wood fired ovens are customarily used to bake large batches of bread which create their own humidity.

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Khalid,   It's nice to see your comments.    It does seem to me that a simple WFO is a better technology for bread baking than our fancy modern ovens.   Mine is very tiny and I can't bake any  more bread in it than in my indoor oven, but the stone and clay environment, lack of venting, and very high temperatures seem to be key.    Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

Ok, so they may be a little dark on top, but I'll happily agree with Lindy that means flavour!  Everything else about these loaves showcases the very best of working on a hot wood-fired oven.   Lovely!

Take good care

Andy

varda's picture
varda

And how you make dozens of wood-fired loaves at a time, when I max out at two, remains a mystery to me.   -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a lovely crumb shot.  It's good your back to the fire and baking.   Sorry to hear about the difficult time and I hope things are better now and you can get down to some good old baking and fun with the wfo.  It's been a very long day with a little baking squeezed in and I just wanted to stop by to say what a beautiful wfo bake indeed!  

Sylvia

varda's picture
varda

Sylvia,   I thought of you as I realized how much more I could have been cooking in the oven in addition to my two loaves.    But so it goes.    Thanks so much for commenting and hope you have a happy 4th.  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

A really great bread! I'm happy to see you have come back with such a great loaf, it's a real pugliese-style bread.

I wonder if where you live the weather is so cool as to permit to turn on a WFO... I'm already sweating at the simple thought!

varda's picture
varda

Hi Nico,   You have to decide to be hot to use a WFO.    Sweating is good!   I didn't use the oven at the height of the heat wave which is just taking a minor pause for a day or two.    But it was still plenty hot, and even hotter when you get close to the oven.   It seems preferable to heating up the house by baking indoors though.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful loaves Varda.

I am envious of your WFO as well and glad to see you were able to get back to using it with such success.

It's nice to see you back on TFL with your wonderful loaves.

Regards,
ian

varda's picture
varda

I have been admiring your garden pictures as well as your recent loaves.    Here's back at ya.

dahlia and clematis

monarda

beware the wild mullein that plants itself in your garden

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful flowers Varda....I was just outside after a brief rain taking some more photos.  My wife's Lilies (we have enough to start a funeral home) are all blooming now.  ( I hate the smell but they are pretty).

I have some of that wild mullein (didn't know that's what it was called) in my gardens along with some god forsaken vine that won't go away unless I burn the ground :).

Looks like yuo have some Ligularia lurking behind the Mullein if I'm not mistaken?  One of my favorites plants for shade.

Have a great 4th!

Ian

varda's picture
varda

Thanks Ian.   I do have some ligularia which I love, but not in the picture.    That is astilboides tabularis, a truly wonderful plant given me by a master gardener.      I love lilies and good that you don't have the lily beetle which wipes them out around here.   -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

I will have to be on the look-out for a Astilboides....I am always looking to add new and exotic plants to our garden.  I see it is from China originally so I will have to be on the look-out next month when I travel there for business.  I just have to be careful not to get caught or my next post could be coming from a Chinese work camp :).

wally's picture
wally

Crust and crumb and slashing.  Just beautiful to behold.  I'd say you caught them at the right moment.

BTW- at a class on wfo baking I took at King Arthur the instructor used a pump sprayer to add steam to the wfo just after loading the loaves and then closed the  door.  But I see no lack of great spring in your loaves, so maybe not necessary in a very hot oven.

Beautiful bake!

Larry

varda's picture
varda

Larry,   I think a pump sprayer sounds great.    I had swabbed out the floor of the oven with a wet brush before closing it up prior to loading, and also sprayed my loaves, which were not particularly high hydration.    Perhaps it shouldn't have been enough.    Maybe a consideration is that I have a very small oven and the door is pretty tight.    In a larger oven the moisture might have more opportunities to escape.    Thanks for commenting.   It means a lot to me.  -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda,
Gorgeous loaves - that bread must taste wonderful with the crust you achieved!
I hope you have a Happy 4th, and glad you had the chance to bake in your WFO - your bread looks fantastic.
:^) breadsong

varda's picture
varda

Thank you breadsong.   I appreciate your comments.   -Varda

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Varda,

Nothing more to say

Juergen

varda's picture
varda

I appreciate the comment.  -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Welcome Back Varda,

I'm sorry to hear you've been experiencing difficulties.  Here's hoping an end is in sight, or if not, that you have necessary support.  Nothing like a good bake like your durums to raise spirits.  Does so for me.  otoh, I'm sure your woodland critters have appreciated your donations.  I'd like to pitch a tent out there and snag some of your discards -- I'll bet they're great.

We too enjoy the occasional mullein invader.  Impressive, as weeds go.  Hope your bee balm escapes the mildew for a while longer -- red one, perhaps resistant.  Great this time of year.

Here's hoping that your WFO sees more action this summer and that your clouds lift soon.  Send them thisaway -- we need the rain.  The entire midsection of the country is a WFO lately.

Cheers,

Tom

varda's picture
varda

Hi Tom,   Note the short mix time.   This dough seemed perfectly developed after the hour long autolyse.   The monarda is set well back, so when it starts to go all mildewy we can just ignore it.    I read up on the mullein, and it apparently lives 2 years - small for year 1, and VERY BIG for year 2.    Weird.   Hope your baking is going well.    I appreciate your kind remarks.    -Varda

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Good that you are back and baking such great, mouth-watering bread; thanks for the excellent formula and instructions.  I hope the tough times are well behind you.  I think many of us have our cycles and our seasons; I know I do.  I remember your posting on your bagel class and took that as my model, as I'm offering a bagel class for a silent auction for charity.  Thank you for all your wonderful contributions to TFL.  And your garden is so beautiful!

Joy

varda's picture
varda

Joy for your kind comments.    Hope your bagel class is a big success.  -Varda

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

You're so very welcome, Varda.  And thanks for your encouragement.  I'll post after the class meets; probably will be some time late August or early Sept.

Joy