The Fresh Loaf

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Hamelman's Rustic Bread

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Hamelman's Rustic Bread

Anyone familiar with Hamelman's Bread book and Rustic Bread on page 115?  Previous to that on page 9 he gives directions for the autolyse to be with "just the flour and water of the formula."  I did that and after an hour added the salt and yeast as directed; let it rest for an hour and then put it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning there was no action at all but I went ahead and mixed in the final dough mix and waited for  two and a half hours but no rising.  Yes, I tested the yeast prior to using so I know it is good, but at the moment I have a brick.  At this point in the process I have folded it twice and set it aside for an hour but I don't have much hope for it.  Any ideas?

I made this recipe before without the autolyse and everything went well. 

Are there some days when you do every thing right and it still does not happen as planned?

.......................

I just checked the search engine for this forum and found the following for floyd on this recipe:

Put the yeast in the water and stir. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and pour in the yeasted water. Mix until the flour is hydrated, adding more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the pre-ferment out at room temperature overnight (up to 16 hours... if you need more time before baking put it in the refrigerator).

So he did not do autolyse and did not do the fridge over night.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

The only thing I can think of is that you may have inadvertently brought the yeast into direct contact with the salt before mixing them into the dough. If the salt and yeast touch one another directly, the salt can kill the yeast.

But if you put them on opposite sides of the bowl before mixing it in, then I'm stumped.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 thanks, countryboy

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I am just confused on how to 'put them on opposite sides of the bowl before mixing it in'.  Eventually they will get mixed and one will kill the other yes?

In my original post above I quote Floyd as saying 'Put the yeast in the water and stir. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and pour in the yeasted water. 

It would seem to me that eventually the salt is going to mix with the yeasted water and kill the yeast, yes?

Usually I keep the salt out altogether until I go to knead the bread because I am worried about killing the yeast but I thought I would go by the book this time.

countryboy

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... when it comes into direct contact in crystalized, concentrated form. In the dough, salt dissolves and gets dispersed. Even in that state, though, it does serve to control the yeast's activity, but at the concentration that one usually finds in bread (about 2%)it doesn't seriously retard the yeast's activity.

It's the same situation with tree-bark spices like cinnamon, which have natural anti-fungal agents in them. Cinnamon is particularly powerful, so when I put it into a bread, I usually have to increase the yeast by 50% to get the same rising time as I would in a bread without cinnamon. (All of this I learned from Hammelman's Bread).

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I never knew that salt  "in crystalized, concentrated form" was the problem but not when it gets diluted.

Could you also please clear up for me the autolyse question of page 9 in the Hamelman book that I put in the original post above? In that post I include the fact that Floyd did not use autolyse for the recipe but in the book he says to do it.  I am sure Floyd is obviously correct in regard to this recipe but could you possibly explain why? 

Thanks, Countryboy

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I am sure Floyd is obviously correct in regard to this recipe but could you possibly explain why?

Of course I'm right. I *never* make mistakes (he says trying to hide the ridiculously overproofed loaves i made last weekend).

Dang. Anyway...

I think I left the autolyse out because, at the time, it scared me. I know I've made it with the autolyse and had it work, but if memory serves me right I was almost as happy with the results without it. I was trying to "make the recipe my own" rather that word-for-word copy it out of Hamelman's book, and I tend to err on the side of making it easy rather than perfect.

I've seen recipes call for autolyse made out of just flour and water, flour and water and yeast, and flour and water and starter. Basically, as long as some of the ingredients are missing and the idea is you are letting time and water start the gluten development rather than kneading, someone will call it an autolyse.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. We all make loaves that fail to rise. Try skipping the autolyse next time to get your confidence back and then give it another shot the way Hamelman says to the time after that, if you are feeling bold.

Good luck.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

The autolyse was developed by Raymond Clavel, a French chemist and baker. As he describes it, the purpose of the autolyse is to give the dough a chance to develop on its own for a while (20-60 minutes, usually) so that you don't have to do as much mixing or kneading, thereby reducing oxidation and, presumably, resulting in a better looking, better tasting loaf.

You don't add the salt until after the autolyse because salt has a profound effect on gluten - it tightens the strands. That's ultimately a good thing, but it does slow down the absorption of water by the dough, which is one of the major goals of the autolyse.

It's best, he says, not to have any yeast either, but he also says that's impossible when you're using wet starters or a wet sponge like a poolish. If these aren't added to the dough, there's simply not enough water!

Now, I'm no expert, but these days, I don't do the autolyse very much, at least not as Clavel describes it. I generally like to let my doughs ferment for a long period of time (4 - 16 hours, depending on my schedule) and I don't often knead either, preferring to use the stretch and fold method. I figure that, since I'm basically letting the dough develop itself anyways through what's essentially a rrreeeallly long autolyse, no need to do one up front without the salt.

But that's just me. Other folks do it differently. Some folks even do an autolyse with the salt, though Clavel might not approve .... ;-)

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I try to keep the salt and yeast apart a bit myself, either by mixing the flour and salt and then the flour and yeast, or by autolysing with no salt then adding the salt as I start to knead. Seems reasonable.

But if you watch the infamous New York Times no-knead bread video closely you will see the chef put in 1/16 tsp of yeast then dump 2 tsp of salt right on top of it, followed by the water. And the dough does rise eventually. So yeast isn't all that weak at the beginning.

sPh

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

If the salt in the NYTNK video was put on top of the yeast and the water added immediately, then perhaps there was no time for the salt to do its dirty deed.

On the other hand, maybe CountryBoy had the salt and yeast pre-measured and sitting together in a little cup before adding.

Just speculating.

Rosalie

browndog's picture
browndog

I guess it goes without saying that you used instant yeast. Hamelman's rustic bread is a favorite of mine, and if I can make it work anyone can, believe me. I use autolyse and find it an effective jumpstart since I knead only by hand. It could be that your dough is still just too cold. It sometimes takes forever and a day to bring a cold dough back to life. At room temperature you might not see any movement for four hours or even longer. I wouldn't chuck it just yet.

>It would seem to me that eventually the salt is going to mix with the yeasted water and kill the yeast, yes?<

I think JMonkey is talking about direct contact, that is if you tossed the yeast in right on top of a pile of salt. Salt mixed in the flour in correct proportion inhibits the yeast but doesn't kill it--that's heat's job, after all. Autolyse allows the gluten a headstart before the checking action of the salt is introduced. Obviously not a crucial step, but it certainly wouldn't be the cause of failure to rise.

dwg302's picture
dwg302

i generally stir the yeast in with the flour first, add the water and preferments for mixing at 1st speed until the autolyse period. after the autolyse add the salt before mixing it at the 2nd speed. 

if there is no autolyse called for in the recipe i just whisk the yeast in with the flour first and then add the salt and whisk that in second.  that seems to work every time

david

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

for all the advice.  So far I have not 'chucked it just yet' although I definitely would have unless the suggestion had not been made to hold off.

Right now I have proofed the dough twice; cut it; and am getting ready to shape it and put it in loaf pans. 

I really have no idea what is happening with it.  It has increased in size about two times during the 2 proofings-about 5 hours duration.  On the one hand I realized I had to wait and proof it but on the otherhand I know I can over proof it.  I will see how it goes.

Thanks again.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 thanks to the wisdom and guidance of everyone who has posted I think I made it through.  Left to my own resources I would have chucked it all, but I have just taken the loaves out of the oven and they appear to be ok. Thanks to everyone's efforts at triage my skill base increased 100x's on this go around.

I am still left with many questions but I guess the answers will come in time, like:

  1. Why leave the preferment at room temps for 16 or however many hours? I thought the whole idea is to go with the fridge and to slow the process down?
  2. Why did Hamelman not specify autolyse as part of the process, or did he assume it; or is it not relevant with rye?
  3. How is is possible for Floyd to make a mistake with over proofing?  That is an honest question. Like seriously, how can that happen?  With experience and expertise is that possible?  Or is that a freak occurence with the temps of the dough etc.  I thought the whole bread baking process is chemistry based and you follow the directions with a preordained happy ending.  Is the implication from Floyd's experience that I can do everything right and still come out with a brick? Simply put if I adjust to all the variables of temperature, etc. on a given day don't I have a 99% chance of getting a great loaf?

Bricks are Killers to self-confidence.  Of course I have learned here that they are a necessary part of the Process, but they are definitely heavy duty.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

1. Why leave the preferment at room temps for 16 or however many hours? I thought the whole idea is to go with the fridge and to slow the process down?

Time, temperature, and yeast can all be used to modify the pace of fermentation. Different recipes suggest using different techniques.

2. Why did Hamelman not specify autolyse as part of the process, or did he assume it; or is it not relevant with rye?

I'll have to go look at my book, but my guess is that if he didn't specify autolyse in that recipe then he didn't intend for you to use it there.

3. How is is possible for Floyd to make a mistake with over proofing? That is an honest question. Like seriously, how can that happen?

I went rafting and ignored my loaves for an hour longer than I should have in a 95 degree house. I probably should have put them in the fridge before going, but I did not.

With experience and expertise is that possible? Or is that a freak occurence with the temps of the dough etc. I thought the whole bread baking process is chemistry based and you follow the directions with a preordained happy ending. Is the implication from Floyd's experience that I can do everything right and still come out with a brick? Simply put if I adjust to all the variables of temperature, etc. on a given day don't I have a 99% chance of getting a great loaf?

Yes, you do. That is what professional bakers do: try to adjust for all of the changing environmental variables like humidity, temperature, and age of the flour to turn out consistent loaves. That is not what I do, which is throw some ingredients in the mixer and then spend time reading a book or running errands or playing with my kids until I remember to check back in on my dough.

Bricks are Killers to self-confidence.

Eh, c'mon... if you are making mistakes then you aren't experimenting, and if you aren't experimenting you aren't learning. Bake more than one batch of bread on your next baking day, so that if you screw one up you still have something to serve with dinner.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

One page 9, Hamelman is simply explaining the term autolyse and its action.  In the Rustic Bread recipe, page 115, he does not call for an autolyse.  You were mixing the preferment and autolyse is something used in the final dough to ensure proper hydration of flours.

 

On page 54, he describes that sometimes salt is used in a preferment, which is what you did in the Rustic Bread recipe, as called for.  But this is a very small percentage of salt added solely for the purpose of slowing down the action of the yeast to prevent it from overmaturing.  The fact that he wants the preferment to be made 16 hours in advance of the final dough and includes salt is how he is controlling the fermentation.  When you put it into the refrigerator you slowed it down ever further so that is why it seemed even more sluggish.

 

Do not feel bad if you make a mistake.  I have had great successes and great failures.  I call my failures great because not only were some of them big but they sure taught me a lot!  I will empathize, however, that it is painful.  :o)  I think if someone pretends they never have them they are either not challenging their own skills or they’re…ahem…not being truthful.  So I think we are all in good company here.

 

About the salt and yeast mixing issue, I have read that it is not a problem mixing them right into the flour at the same time especially when using instant yeast because it is so concentrated.  Many recipes call for them to be dumped right in and I’ve never noticed any of the books I own specifying to keep them separated on two sides of the bowl.  I do know that some people do this and I’ve tried it both ways and it doesn’t make any difference.  Is my information on this wrong?  (I could have sworn I read this in BBA but I can’t find it – the story of my life these days.)