The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A sunday afternoon Miche—tinkering with a formula

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PiPs's picture
PiPs

A sunday afternoon Miche—tinkering with a formula

We are only half way through spring and already the temperatures feel like summer. Hot windy days with no rain have left our lawn and garden golden brown and crunchy. Over a railing in the back yard, well hidden from the scorching afternoon sun a star jasmine has been thriving and filling the kitchen with its scent. We now wake to the morning call of stormbirds.

My current job is winding down into its final week and I have been busy applying for jobs with some success. I have been called back for a second interview for an in-house graphic design position this afternoon. Fingers crossed …

During the week I had the good fortune of spending a day with Brett Noy at his award winning bakery Uncle Bob’s Bakery in Belmont. In 2012 Brett Noy was the first Australian ever appointed to judge the World Cup of Baking—the Coupe de Monde de la Boulangerie—his passion for baking, attention to detail and dedication to the training of Australia’s future bakers shone through every conversation we had.

Brett and his team were so accommodating and gracious throughout the day. They answered all my questions and even allowed me to get involved in the days bake. It was great to see a different side to sourdough production as I have only been involved with small wood-fired micro-bakeries up to this point. So much food for thought … thanks again Brett!

With all this activity I have been keeping my baking relatively simple. I am still following the formula I posted here but on occasions experiment with one feature and watch the result. This week I experimented with using freshly milled whole-grain flour to feed the levain. As a result, 10% pre-fermented flour was from freshly milled wheat and another 8% freshly milled spelt and 2% freshly milled rye was added to the final dough—so in all, 20% of the flour was freshly milled whole-grains.

To keep a sweet flavour profile in the levain while feeding with freshly milled flour required some changes to the build times. The trick is to keep them short and reasonably warm to maximise yeast growth and expand them well before increased acid build-up occurs. This meant the builds were expanded as soon as they doubled—about three to four hours.

There was a wonderful point as mixing commenced—you could see the whole-grain levain streaking through the dough as it dissolved and finally disappeared. For the remainder of the afternoon the dough sat in bulk and continued on schedule until shaping and retarding overnight in the fridge. A miche and two batards were baked the following morning after a few hours on the bench coming to room temperature.

The crumb and crust were keeping in line with previous pain au levain I have baked but with perhaps a more defined wheat flavour. There isn't a sharp tang but instead a delayed flavour that is quite hard to pinpoint. We took the batards to a Sunday afternoon BBQ where a friend took a bite and exclaimed that "while she had eaten bread before … she had never tasted it until now” … a wonderful quote made all the more poignant when I explained that the bread she was eating was comprised of only flour, water and salt …

and the tart making continues

... a berry and ricotta tart for the Sunday afternoon BBQ. A sweet ricotta filling is baked into a tart shell and then cooled. It is then topped with a strawberries and blueberries which have been lightly soaked in caramelised balsamic. A light and bright afternoon tea …

Cheers,
Phil

Comments

carblicious's picture
carblicious

Beautiful crumb in the miche, stellar ears on the batards, and lucious berries in the tart. Spectacular, again.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks carblicious,

We have had a great strawberry season ... so much fruit available :)

Cheers,
Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Wow, Wow, and Wow...

I am quickly learning who the stellar bakers are around here.

Phil, you are an amazing baker, creator of stunning visuals, and superb writer.

I look forward to many more inspiring posts.  I want to take photos like yours damn it!

John

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks John :)

There are many, many 'stellar' bakers posting on these pages ... and I have learnt a great deal from all of them.

I hope I can at least, inspire people to bake :)

Cheers,
Phil

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

crafted breads and tarts.  The photography and prose once again are top notch too. Glad the job hunt goes well.  Thanks for the update of new and interesting possibilities.  It is pretty exciting to bake with such a fine master too.  Who knows what lies ahead but it sure sounds like wonderment and adventure are never far away.  A blessing I would think :-)

Cheers!

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks man,

I have quite a few possibilities on the go ... trick is trying to nail them down. At the very least I am making quite a lot of contacts and networking.

Brett is an outstanding baker and businessman ... but it's his passion and commitment that really inspires ... he loves what he does!

Cheers,
Phil

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Your posts always has me at awe. Beautiful photography. Beatiful prose. And of course, beautiful bread. I truly wish that I can sample one of your sourdoughs. They're incredibly luring to the eyes and tongue. :)

Zita

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much Zita,

You would have to be quick ... the bread disappears very quickly in our house :)

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Phil,

Oh the jasmine....I can sense the aroma now.  I had one on our porch one summer and what a delight it was but, alas, it is not a plant that winters well in our climate so, in order to have one around, I would have to purchase a new one annually....

Breads and photos stunning and how exciting that you have a job prospect close at hand.  I wish you well.

A question about the leaven.  I am assuming that you are still following the formula of Gerard's?  I know you have a 100% ww desem starter - or I assume you keep one due to your Desem bread, and I am wondering how your 100% desem compares in aroma and taste to the one used in this loaf.

Thanks for the wonderful read - flowers, bread and desert all in one.  Where else can one enjoy such treats :-)

Take Care,

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

kills the jasmine here.  Somewhere between the mountains and desert must be the right place for it:-)  Star jasmine is my favorite plant smell besides orange blossoms but it turns to dust no matter where we plant it and how well cared for and watered. 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Janet ... fingers crossed for the job :)

Nat is completely addicted to the star jasmine ... picture the cartoons when characters are dragged around by a wafting scent ...

The desem starter kept at lower temperatures does have a different aroma ... probably sweeter. The whole-grain starter I used for this was quite mild after the short build times. I also keep the desem at a lower hydration - about 50% so this makes a difference to. Yeah, it is still basically Gerard's formula ... though I am still not inclined to up the hydration past 75%.

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Phil,

Thanks for filling me in.  Hard to grasp at aromas through a virtual world.  Made harder by the fact that I have never made a leaven with anything other than freshly ground grains...

I tried the 50% HL but it was too hard to mix by hand on a regular basis....my compromise is between 65% and 70% though I sometimes go to 75% but, like you, I prefer a firmer leaven.  Not sure why.  Just what has evolved over these past 2 years.

 Odd that I prefer my rye sours at 100% or above.....Probably due to the fact that I let them ferment for a much longer period than I do my ww leaven. (I keep my ww builds between 2 - 4 hours to keep them 'sweet'.)

I used to use Gerard's whole grains proportions in my leaven feeds but found the rye made things happen too quickly and could turn my sweet leaven into a sour one quite easily.  Now I use 2 grains only.  My hard white wheat and Kamut.  Who knows where things will be in 6 months time though...Might need the boost rye gives as our temps get lower and lower here now that winter is on it's way.

Had to smile at your description of Nate and the jasmine.  I ended up with the plant I had because it's aroma was what hit me when I walked into our local nursery a few summers ago.  I had never smelled anything so heavenly  I was hooked instantly.  :-)

Take Care,

Janet

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

Lovely stuff Phil.  Heck, if that graphics design gig falls through, why don't you take this blog to Rizoli or some other high end publisher and pitch a coffee table book entitled The Beauty of Bread.  You'd find a few takers here (and elsewhere) esp if there was a CD included with all your recipes!

Thanks for this latest feast for our eyes. 

Tom

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Tom,

Just had a look at Rizzoli's site ... very nice :)

Have some ideas for the future ... but early days ... and I have more than enough to keep me busy at the moment :)

cheers,
Phil

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Everything pictured and photo's are all absolutely gorgeous!  I can smell the jasmine.  I have 4 growing up the roof around my front entrance.  They bloom twice a year...they blend wonderfully with the aroma of bread baking : )

Your photo's would be so beautiful framed and a hot item in any store.  

My best wishes for you and yours!

Sylvia

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Wow ... your star jasmine must look amazing! It does like to climb :)

Thanks for your kind comments Sylvia.

Cheers,
Phil

isand66's picture
isand66

Perfect crust and crumb as usual.  Good luck on the new gig...know what you're going through as my job of almost 21 years is about to end as my company is about to be no more.

Cheers.

Ian

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Ian,

So sorry to hear about your situation ... I hope it works out the best for you ... wow, 21 years is quite some time!

It has been a readjustment for me being back in the job market ... learning to sell myself again.

Cheers,
Phil

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Phil,
It truly makes me happy to see bread of such beauty - the shine on the crust (perfectly steamed!), the pretty diamond scoring, the wonderful crumb -  it is lovely to see how your skill transforms the ingredients such magnificent bread!
And the tart, luscious perfection in those berries; regretting our seasons are 'opposite' when I see seasonal bounty
such as this.
So glad to hear of your day at the bakery and best wishes re: your interview.
:^) breadsong

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much breadsong,

It was a beautiful miche ... sadly all gone now :(

I think there was an over supply of strawberries this season ... they were SO cheap ... strawberry growers suffered a bit for it I think.

Still waiting on job news ... sigh

Cheers,
Phil

corina's picture
corina

I have been reading and reading your blog and admiring your photos that bring peace to one's mind, so peacefull and serene is everything. I have , however, begginer questions . In the begginings you made desem with whole wheat flour, now you say you feed it with a mix flour.

You say "enough to build a new desem ball (around 15og) which is placed directly in the fridge in a jar with room temperature flour around it" , on saturday morning. How do you build this desem before placing it in the fridge, you feed it the same as for bread? What are the percentages of the flours -rye, freshly ground, ww In the feed? 

I have a Komo mill for a week and I am so excited about it, as it was a dream I had.

Codruta is the one who opened the door of bread making to me, but now I would like to start wirking with my flour.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi corina,

During winter I tend to use the desem starter as it is easier to control the fermentation in the cooler temperatures. Our Australian summers are too hot and humid and end up making this type of starter too hard to control without refrigeration.

This has meant that I have started feeding the starter with a mix of white flour and fresh milled flour. I play around quite a bit with this, trying different percentages of fresh milled flour and flour mixes. Each time I note any aroma and volume changes. Once you get to understand your starter you can begin to experiment with it.

For a desem starter I would feed it only freshly milled wheat. I would build it with the following - 36g starter : 43g water : 72g fresh milled flour - place in a jar/container and cover it in flour then place in the fridge.  You can watch the growth of it during the week as it pushes on the flour surrounding it.

Codruta is a excellent baker and I believe she has experimented with a desem starter on her blog. How exciting that you have a Komo mill to work with. Where are you getting your grains from?

All the best,
Phil

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Your blog is very inspiring! such is the impression you leave behind when one visits your posts!

Needless to say, your breads are a thing of beauty.. Obviously crafted with dedication, passion, and love.. the breads reward you! Now, Showcasing, and photography is an entirely different thing... Had those breads be mine, they'd hardly appear half way decent, but with you...it is a Poetry of pictures. 

Can't wait to learn about your career prospects.. I wish you the best!

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you Khalid,

I get so much joy from bread ... every aspect appeals to me ... so I guess I want to capture all those little moments that go into crafting a loaf of bread.

I am looking forward to learning about my career prospects as well :)

Cheers,
Phil 

corina's picture
corina

Thank you.

Yes, Codruta is a wonderfull baker and a wonderfull teacher, and she loves her breads. Iread her desem story, but now that I have the new mill, I must gather all the information about milling and using ww flour. I also want to bake only on saturdays, it suits me better than twice a week.

I get the grains from the local market , and I have tested the milling process in a bread shop that has grains for sale and free stone milling in a small household mill. The smell of that flour is something to die for!