The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

4 Recent Bread Experiments: Irish Soda, NY Style Pizza, Multigrain Levain, Overnight Country Brown

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Maine18's picture

4 Recent Bread Experiments: Irish Soda, NY Style Pizza, Multigrain Levain, Overnight Country Brown

A bit of catch up today on some Spring baking, starting with Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's day.  The recipe couldn't be easier (especially when compared to all the levain breads I play around with these days), and is a family favorite every St. Patrick's, and this recipe is one I picked up from Elise Bauer's great blog some years ago.  (I like the added raisins).



Then in April I got the chance to take a "Pizza Making at Home" class as one of my favorite cooking workshops in Seattle, the Pantry at Delancey.  The classroom space lovely – fits about 14 students – and is in the same building as Delancey, one of the best (if not the best?) pizza restaurants in Seattle.  I’ve been trying to take this class for a long while now, but it tends to sell out in minutes (literally).  It was worth the wait, as we got to learn a slew of  tips and tricks that Delancey uses to make a really delicious NY-style pie on their wood fired oven.   I came home with some great improvements to my pizza shaping (ball stage and stretch techniques needed some practice!), as well as a new recipe (really high salt content, 18 hr proof) to try out back home on my pizza steel.  Results below, really delicious -- similar in taste/build to Jim Lahey’s pizza recipe.



Next I tried out Song Of the Baker’s Multigrain Levain formula, after seeing his beautiful results on this site.  It was a fun experiment – my first porridge-type bread.  I ended with a few substitutions in the soaker (didn’t have all the various grains needed on hand).  The results were delicious and pretty different than my typical country loaf – I had one friend say it was his favorite of my breads so far.  I definitely think I will get better at this one with practice, as I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for at each step.  The overall flavor was really moist and full, and really makes we want to experiment with even more porridge breaks (Tartine 3?).  Thanks again to Song of the Baker for sharing his recipe!



Finally, this past weekend I baked a version of Ken Forkish’s Overnight Country Brown, which his quickly becoming an all-purpose go-to for me.  I am enjoying the flavor of whole wheat flour more and more in my breads, and this one strikes a great balance for me.  I did modify the schedule of the recipe this time around, as life intervened and I didn’t have the time to do a 10-hr bulk proof and then 4 hour rise in the same day, so I ended up retarding the shaped loaves in the fridge overnight after the bulk fermentation.  I was worried about over-proofing and/or a heightened sour flavor, but neither ended up being a big issue.  The loaves did have an extra tang to them, but it was still balanced by the whole wheat flavor in my mind.


All for now, cheers!



dabrownman's picture

Love those 3 apprentices too!

Well done and happy baking

Darwin's picture

The bread looks great!  

emkay's picture

And great looking bakes too! It's good to know that the Forkish recipe schedule can be modified without negatively affecting the final loaves. 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Everything looks great!  Glad the multi-grain levain formula worked out for you.  Doesn't look like you need more practice at it at all.  Just curious, what did you end up using for the soaker?

The pizza looks amazing too.  Seattle has some great spots to eat, but have never tried Delancey.  Will have to add that one to my list next time I am down there.

Happy baking.


Maine18's picture

The multigrain loaves were perfect toast bread.  I can't remember exactly what ended up in the soaker -- I tried to match the total weight specified in the recipe with what I had on hand, filled in some gaps with more oats and barely I think.  It seems like a pretty versatile recipe with respect to the soaker, have you experiments with alternate grains and inclusions?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Yes it is some of the best toast bread for sure.  That is what got me hooked on this bread to begin with.

I have tried all sorts of variations with:



cracked wheat


sesame seeds

pumpkin seeds

pre boiled wheat berries

sunflower seeds

poppy seeds


cracked oats

9 grain cereal mix


Happy baking.


Maine18's picture

And definitely check out Delancey, it's one of the best pizza shops in Seattle for sure, especially if you like NY-style pies 

baybakin's picture

"really high salt content"  What percentage is it approximatly?  I've always just used the standard 1.8% as for most breads.

Maine18's picture

Shoot -- my whole response was deleted.  Anyhow, the story they told was that when Brandon (owner) was developing his dough recipe, we went around to a bunch of well know pizza shops in NY and tasted their raw doughs, noticing they were all much saltier than what he was used to making.