The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flax Seed Bread

varda's picture
varda

Flax Seed Bread

Ever since returning from the King Arthur Rye class, I've been itching to make the four breads that we baked there, but first I wanted to get my rye starter into better shape.   I put both my rye and wheat starters on a twice a day feeding regimen, and gave them time to become happy and well fed.   Yesterday I decided it was time, and decided to start with the Flax Seed bread.   I followed along with Mr. Hamelman's formula and instructions, and didn't allow myself so much as a tweak.    Since I have been keeping a tiny amount of starter (around 50g) to make the twice daily feeding easier, and also to avoid unnecessary wastage, I built it up to quantity yesterday in three stages.   While I never got the in your face pungent smell of the KA rye sour, I did remember JH had asked us to taste a bit before baking.    So I tasted a bit this morning, and it was pretty tart stuff.  

I made two other changes to my routine.   First, I recently purchased a cordierite stone to replace the block of granite I've been using for the last few years.   That was mostly because the granite was both two small and too heavy, but I think the cordierite is better as well.    Second I changed my steaming routine.    I have been using towels for the last few years and thought I was getting good results, but when I saw the crust colors at KA, I thought I would see if I could do better.    So I ended up doing a combination of the two cast iron pan methods PeterS and Yerffej discuss in this post and this post respectively, not neccesarily intentionally and I'm glad no one was watching as I was flinging hot water around and trying not to get burned.    More refinement to come, but I was pretty happy with the crust.

Now on to tasting.   This bread has a really nice tang to it, nicely complemented by the flax seed flavor.    Despite my inclination against it, given my no tweaks rule, I used a bit of old bread in the soaker.     I have no idea what impact that has but it didn't ruin it.  

So I'll call myself moderately pleased, and on to formulas 2, 3, and 4. 

3/3/2013

 

1st feed

2nd feed

Total

Percent

Rye sour

 

4:30 PM

10:00 PM

  

Seed

49

    

Whole Rye

27

50

140

217

 

Water

22

42

115

179

83%

    

396

 

Soaker

10:00 PM

    

Flax Seed

50

    

Old Bread

40

    

Water

150

    
      

3/4/2013

Final

Sour

Soaker

Total

Percent

KAAP

300

  

300

60%

Whole Rye

 

199

 

199

40%

Water

86

164

150

400

80%

Salt

10

  

10

2.0%

Instant Yeast

3

  

3

0.6%

Flax Seed

  

50

50

 

Old Bread

  

40

40

 

Rye Sour

363

  

1002

 

Starter factor

91.7%

    

 

Night before mix make final starter build, and soaker.   When starter is ripe, mix all ingredients.   DDT 76F.  Proof 1 hour.   Preshape, rest and shape.   Place in banneton.   Proof around 1 hour.   Bake at 440F with steam at beginning.   JH’s notes say 38-40 minutes.   I think we did longer than that in class, and today I baked for around 45 minutes.  

 

Comments

proth5's picture
proth5

What more can I say?

varda's picture
varda

Now I get to eat it.   -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

brown crust!  So what was the temperature on the inside?  Wondering if you took the temp or just went by color after your trip when Jeffrey was tossing them back in the oven even though they looked done.  We love rye with flax seeds.   This bread has to taste great.  Nice baking Varda!

varda's picture
varda

DA,  I didn't use a thermometer on it.   I don't even have one at this point.   And what happened is I had to go out, and decided to use the time bake function on the oven so it would turn off automatically while I was gone.   For that you have to figure that the bread will continue to bake a few minutes past the time it shuts off.   So I just took my best shot.   That's breaking every rule I just learned but this is my life.   I always have to be doing a few things at once and can't always have the luxury of watching over my bread.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

That's a gorgeous bread, and I bet it's delicious!

From the shiney crust, I'd say whatever you did to get steam worked.

David

varda's picture
varda

David, I am happy with the crust, and hope that I'll be able to replicate and preferably with a bit less danger.  I like this bread more now that I've had a few slices.   I have the last flax seed loaf from the class in my freezer, but I suppose I shouldn't try to compare a week old frozen bread with fresh.   Thanks for your comments. -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful loaf Varda.  How you managed to time your bake perfectly is pretty impressive.  So what do you think the yeast adds to this formula?

thanks for sharing 

Ian

varda's picture
varda

my time share baking doesn't always work out like this.   That's when the camera gets put away right quick.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

varda's picture
varda

Ian,   A seed loaded loaf like this can use a yeast boost to give it loft.   According to JH, without the commercial yeast it would be a lot flatter, and less airy.   As it is, it is a delightful texture, and I wouldn't want to tweak it by removing the yeast.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Gotcha... That's what I thought.  Will have to give this one a try.  I have flax seeds burning a hole in my baking bin!

isand66's picture
isand66

One last question.  I know you have mentioned that you are doing multiple feedings twice a day for your starters but could you elaborate and tell me your exact procedure including if you are doing all the feedings and leaving them on the counter or refrigerating at night.

Hope to taste some of your new starter breads at the end of this month!


Thanks

Ian

varda's picture
varda

Ian,  

Here's what I have been doing.   Every morning take 12 g rye sour - feed with 20g rye flour and 16g water.   Same in the evening trying to space feedings 12 hours apart but not very precise about that.   For wheat starter same thing except it goes 12g seed, 19g KAAP, 1g rye flour, 13g water.    In this regime these stay on counter at room temperature and do not get refrigerated.   I use very small plastic containers with snap-on lids and compact the starters into as small surface area as possible (that means a ball for the wheat starter and a compressed pile for the rye.)  This only takes me a few minutes in the morning and the evening.   It is not the definitive approach by any means, but this is what I've ended up with for now.    

On pre-bake day, I did my usual morning feeding, then two more feedings afternoon and evening to build up to the desired amount of starter, then overnight fermentation.    Prior to mixing final dough in the morning, I removed 12g of starter and fed as usual.   I have baked once with each starter, and I would say this is a better approach (maybe by a lot) than what I had been doing previously which was feeding up a normally refrigerated starter on counter  a few times the day before a bake.   If I were to go away (or you go away say to China or what not) I think I would feed up a larger quantity at a lower hydration, leave out for a few hours and then refrigerate in back of refrigerator until my return.  

You are reminding me that I need to put out a TFL meet-up update as the time is getting near.  

-Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Thanks for the info.  I will have to give this a try one of these days in the near future.  I usually only keep a white AP starter in my refrigerator and either refresh it and use most of it for my bake or take a piece of it and build it up into a separate starter with other flours.  It's been working pretty good but I don't know what I've been missing until I try your method.

I'm still debating on what to make for our get together.  I've made almost 100 different breads since I started blogging so it's hard to pick a couple.  How about you?

varda's picture
varda

and put the 80% rye from the KA class down to bring.   If I have time, I'll also do a pain au levain.   And you Ian?  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

So far I'm thinking of my guacamole bread and maybe either my feta cheese roasted corn or a multi-grain SD.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Ian and Varda,

My discovery of TFL came when I decided I wanted to bake using WY so my first months here were spent scouring the 'library' for anything related.  Somehow I was directed to the writings of Debra Wink.  I am not sure if either of you have discovered her pearls of wisdom  but HERE is a link to a discussion started by Nico several years ago.  It is full of information and has links to even more info.  

I have found Debra's writings invaluable.  She puts complex things into words that I can understand and USE.  Her writings were exactly what I was looking for without even knowing that they were what I was after.  

I am one who wants to know why I am doing what someone is telling me to do so I have an understanding on which to base my own learning.  Her writings have given me that understanding. Her grasp on the microscopic world and its inhabitants is something I find simply fascinating.  Her words have not only helped me with understanding and maintaining my starter but they have expanded into my appreciation for the microbes that make my/our life possible.

If this is old stuff...sorry.  If you haven't discovered it yet - have fun :-)

Take Care,

Janet

isand66's picture
isand66

Thanks Janet.  I have read some of her posts before, but I shall check out some of her additional ones as it can't hurt....actually it does hurt sometimes when I try to wrap my head around some of the more scientific  aspects...that's why I'm a product manager and not a scientist :).

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

Interesting to read about the difference you got using the hot cast iron pans vs your usual steaming method...Why do you think it made a difference?  I am thinking steam is steam.....so however it is created...there it is but apparently you experienced a difference.

Since reading about your experience in the class I have been trying the towels again....something I tried but gave up on as it was too much work compared to tossing ice cubes into the oven before loading and then after loading....(Before my Cadco with steam)  The towels (I just pour boiling water over a towel in a sheet pan and put it in the oven while it is pre heating) seem to increase spring compared to my just using the  steaming mechanism in the Cadco.  Lots of steam pours out of the oven when I open it to remove the pan after 10 minutes but crust isn't shiny like yours looks in the photo....but the loaves I have baked have been enriched rather than lean loaves...I will continue to experiment though I doubt I will try the hot cast iron and boiling water due to the burns I got when doing that awhile ago......once is enough!

Thanks for the post and the formula.  Loaf looks very tasty.  Did you notice your sour having more 'umph' during the rising times due to your new feeding routine?

Pretty good timing on setting your oven on auto. shut off....Read somewhere that over baked bread is better than under-baked bread so I remember that when my schedule throws me a loop....which is more times than not!  (One of the things I have learned is that when bread proofs more quickly than I anticipate the refrig. is great for stalling it until the oven is pre-heated AND I think I get better spring when I have cooled the loaf down doing this prior to baking.  Haven't proved that conclusively yet....to busy :-)  but I did take note that the oven spring was really nice....maybe because it 'sprang' more gradually due to being cool.....

I am rambling.

Thanks for the post and your comments on steaming.

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Hey Janet,  I think that the preheated cast iron pan creates a burst of steam which is what is needed.   The towel method I was using made for a steamy oven but no burst.    I just need a way of loading the water without having a cloud of steam hit my face.   Developing....   I believe the healthier starter made  a big difference but not to rising times.    It seems to me that with the old routine of taking a refrigerated starter out and feeding it a few times before baking day that the yeast rebounds just fine.   This is why it seems like all is well.   What is compromised is flavor as the nice mix of bacteria doesn't have a chance to get re-established.   We can't see this in TFL pictures.    That is why I was so stunned when I smelled the KA starter and then tasted the results.   But I compromise all the time (see baking time above) so I'm not advocating a compromise free baking routine.   It is part and parcel of home baking.  Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

I use the cast iron method as it finally delivers enough steam for my rapidly venting oven.  I use my Haws watering can with the rose removed to pour in the water.  It has a very long reach and can be aimed very precisely. No steam in the face.

Of course, like all my toys, it doesn't come from the bargain basement....:>)

Pat

varda's picture
varda

Hey Pat,   I have a (cheap) long nosed watering can but I didn't use it as I wanted to use boiling water to reduce time to steam burst, as well as to keep from unnecessarily cooling down the oven, so I was pouring directly from my short nosed kettle.   What do you think?  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

you are braver than I am.

I've found that boiling water isn't de rigeur, but when I was trying boiling water (and I did) I have a Zo water boiler and I would just fill the watering can from it.

The benefit didn't outweigh the effort in my oven  - so now I just put hot water in the can.

At least you wear gloves - right?  And maybe a balaclava?

Stay safe.

varda's picture
varda

At least you wear gloves - right?  And maybe a balaclava?

I don't, but what other excuse would I have to get a balaclava?    Ideas, ideas....

PeterS's picture
PeterS

I agree: cold dough, more spring. Easier scoring, too.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

40% rye with flax and altus...and direct instruction from the formula creator too; how excellent!

Best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy, You said it.  Thank you.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely take on the flaxseed, Varda! beautiful crust you got here, where have you fermented the formed boule?

The crumb shot is perfect, too!

varda's picture
varda

Hi Khalid.   Thanks for your compliment.    I used a cotton lined round basket for proofing.   It is sewn pretty well, so avoids some of the creasing issues I've had with less well fitted liners.   If you note this formula is slightly different than what's in the book.    A testament to the fact that we're not the only ones who fiddle with things.   -Varda

evonlim's picture
evonlim

pictures of the crust and crumb is beautiful.. golden brown crust, shiny as well! 

a keeper..

evon

varda's picture
varda

Evon,   Thanks for your comments.   I'm strictly into brown when it comes to my own breads, but I appreciate the aesthetic variation that others (you) bring to the table.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

The crust, crumb are just gorgeous.  I have always loved the way the crust turns out in my combo iron cooker...lot's of spring too!  I just wish they could hold more than one loaf at a time.  I forgot 'once' when I had it sitting on the stove to cool, I grabbed it to move and burnt the $%&# out of my hand.  

I know what you mean about having to go out and no time to wait on loaves to finish baking.

I'll have to give the auto-off a try, it's nice that feature vents out the heat in the oven pretty fast.  I still haven't figured out the 'Sabbath' feature.  It says it's for Jewish Sabbath and Holidays..do you have or can you tell me about that feature?

Sylvia 


varda's picture
varda

Note I'm using my regular stone - uncovered bread - big honkin cast iron pan is both additional heat mass but also preheated so turns water to steam on contact.    I burned myself too many times baking in preheated cast iron so I gave that up.    I am hopeful for this new method if I can just keep from burning myself.   -Varda

varda's picture
varda

Not sure but...   On Jewish Sabbath, prohibition is on lighting a fire so you can't turn on the oven.   However, having an oven go on and off automatically is just fine.    So presumably the Sabbath features is just the ability to program the oven to start at a certain time and end at a certain time.    I have this on my oven although to set it you have to use both the cooking time button and the delay start button.    I'm guessing the Sabbath option allows you to program it way in advance and perhaps do the same thing every week, but now I'm speculating.   -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

that's very helpful info.  Mine has the same instructions to hold down both buttons.

I'm looking forward to seeing your bakes from the rye class at KAF.  You did such a great bake and write-up on this one. 

Sylvia

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Sylvia, normally the oven (at least mine, a K/Aid electric) will automatically shut off after 12 hours (without setting the special, or Sabbath, feature).  If you set that feature, it won't shut off.  I use it when I make cholent, a 24-hour stew, Friday afternoon to be eaten Saturday afternoon (I don't cook on Shabbat).  I hope that answers your question.

Joy

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I'll bet it's delicious, too.  Thanks for posting.  Interesting to see all the steaming options.  I'm at the towel stage, best when inside the top of the cast iron combo cooker.  But I haven't been brave enough to preheat that lid.

Joy

varda's picture
varda

and also for clearing things up about Sabbath setting.  -Varda

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Flax seeds and rye? Yup, that'll grab my attention... That's one beautiful loaf, Varda. Very nice crumb and the gloss is mesmerizing.

Also, before reading your post I was satisifed with the towel method. But now... Now I must do better.

Thanks for the insightful post and have a jolly baking,

Zita 

varda's picture
varda

Zita,   Flax seeds and rye are a great combo.   Give it a try.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Varda, you are going to cost me big money! Each one of your rye posts pushes me that much closer to Hamelman's next rye class! 

That's a handsome loaf that, I'll bet, tastes as good as it looks. 

I'm thinking the burst of the steam helps produce a shinier crust. I typically got good oven spring with other steaming methods but did not get good "gloss" until I started batch blast steaming with the frying pan.

Yesterday, I mades some baguetards, not a baguette and not quite a batard :), and, for the heck of it, tried blocking the oven vent with a towel. It worked surprisingly well. I noticed a lot of vapor left when I moved the towel after 5 minutes and removing it at 8 minutes. I also realized that I was getting a lot of steam in my face from the vent, too (maybe more than the door), when I dumped the water in the pan. I had assumed that this all was leaking out the door. The vent is at the center back of the stove under the clock-oven control panel. Upon closer examination I can see that it points mostly straight out (and back towards me) and somewhat down; just about right to direct the steam directly back at me. I need to find a handy way to block it so I don't have to stand there holding the towel in place with my peel.

varda's picture
varda

Peter, Thanks for the pointer.   I will try it.   Can't get too much steam!   Go ahead.   Sign up for the next class.   (Consider this just a little more friendly prodding.)   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda