The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hedging my bets (Updated 25/09)

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hedging my bets (Updated 25/09)

I've loved the feel of the Hamelman Pain au Levain dough during every phase of the prep.  French Folds, Letter Folds, shaping, couching, scoring.  And, of course, seeing what comes out of the oven as bread.

And so it was time for another indecisive bake.  Batards or baguettes.  Hmm, why not both.  Again, I've not seen this bread done as baguettes anywhere on this site before, so maybe I can start a movement.

A bit of a mix up began the whole soiree.  I was building the Hamelman levain at the same time as building up my on "proprietary" levain, and as bad luck would have it, both in the same type of vessel sitting alongside each other.  When it came time to add the goop into the autolysed flour & water, well, I mixed the two up.  But I was darned confident that my own levain was robust enough for this mix.  No harm done. 

For those who love this formula, and really now, who doesn't, it is an exceptional dough to try your hand at rolling and scoring baguettes.  "Man does not live by batard alone..."

Adding a crumb shot from one of the batards.  The other is in the deep freeze.

I was also so pleased with the above bake that I had trouble controlling my impulse to "get back Jack do it again" (re: Steely Dan) the next day.  And so I did, now with the Hamelman levain having been incorporated into my own, yielding a mix of both.  

The combo batard/baguette bake came in 2 batards @500g ea. and 2 baguettes @250g ea.  This time I scaled it down to 4 baguettes @300g ea.  As you can see, the results are easily replicable.  This dough almost wants to shape itself.  

Please do give the Jeffrey Hamelman Pain au Levain formula a try either as a batard or baguette without using a Dutch Oven or even a proofing basket.  If you don't already bake that way, it'll give you a whole new outlook on what you can do baking and add another dimension to your baking skillset.

My version of the formula is posted below.

 

Method

 Day 1

  1. Mix stiff levain (7-12 hours).  Refrigerate.  This levain is very slow moving.

Day 2

  1. In large bowl add flours and water, mix to shaggy mass.   Dough will be wet and sticky until levain is added.
  2. Cover and autolyse for at least 30 minutes (or more – to suit your personal schedule).
  3. Add salt and stiff levain, pinch and fold to incorporate.  Levain will be rubbery & thick, break into pieces to add. 
  4. Correct the hydration up depending on absorption of WW & Rye. Consistency of dough should be medium - neither dry nor overly moist.
  5. 300 French Folds.  Dough will be billowy and smooth, but not wet.
  6. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover.
  7. Bulk ferment for ~ 2 ½ hours with 2 stretch and folds at 40 & 80 minutes followed by 40 minute rest. *My kitchen is a pretty steady 80dF, so a cooler kitchen will need an “appropriate” amount more time to bulk ferment.
  8. Retard for 1 hour (or more – to suit your personal schedule).  Sometimes depending on my personal schedule I’ll retard for as long as 3 hours before the next step.  In general, it just plain doesn’t matter all that much!
  9. Divide, pre-shape and shape.  Onto very lightly floured couche, seam side down.  My couche sits on a smaller jellyroll pan and I cover in an enclosed bag.  I use two plastic bags, one from each end of the pan.
  10. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

Day 3

  1. 45 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone.  Place Sylvia’s Steaming Towel(s) into the oven 15 minutes pre-bake.
  2. Score and transfer the loves to the baking stone. Steam the oven pouring ~2 cups of water into a pan of pre-heated lava rocks (or whatever), and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.
  3. After 12-15 minutes, remove the steaming towel(s).  Continue baking for another 12 minutes for baguettes, or as much as 20 minutes or more for batards, or until the loaves are nicely browned (and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF – I never do an temp, as after a very short while you just know!).
  4. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

alan

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You have gone to a new level Alan!  Well done and happy baking 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Thanks.  i really feel like my shaping and scoring have come together this past year.  And this bread, with 25% whole grain is maybe just about enough to satisfy tough customers like you too.

In a way I really think that this dough gets an assist as it is so easy to wok with.  What comes to mind are the Shmoos.  If you were a Li'l Abner reader as a kid maybe you remember them.  Little white chubby armless critters who's goal in life was to please humans, particularly in the food realm.  They would jump into the frying pan for us just to cook them up, and a whole host of other assorted servile tasks at our whim.  Well, anyway, back to reality here.  This dough and the Shmoos seem to have a bit in common.

CAphyl's picture
CAphyl

Alfanso:  These look wonderful.  Fantastic scoring and shaping.  Congratulations. I love making baguettes and batards.  I am sure they tasted great.  Best,  Phyllis

alfanso's picture
alfanso

As mentioned in my write-up and my note above to dabrownman, this dough is uncommonly easy to work with, it just about wants to be accommodating.  I know that you are enamored with David's SJSD, and for good reason.  As so many of us are too.  But if you haven't given this formula a try, I suggest it heartily.

As an aside, we just retuned from a few weeks in G.B., a week in London rambling around the streets paying naught to big time attractions (and drinking lots of real ale), and a week in the Cotswold.  And I'd go back in a heartbeat.  So you are quite the lucky one to get to visit for weeks on end every summer  - assuming that you like your in-laws ;-) .  I can certainly envision us throwing the sheets over the furniture here and renting a place in the UK for a year or two.

alan

CAphyl's picture
CAphyl

Alan: So glad you had a good time in England.  We have a family wedding, so are headed back later this year!  It will be cold, so I will lots of baking, so maybe I will try this formula.  My husband is a huge beer/ale fan, so he always enjoys a few when he is over.  His family is the greatest; we have lots of fun together.  Thanks for sharing.  Best, Phyllis

Dave's picture
Dave

Nice work Alan. Love the scoring!! Love the color!! Love the crust!! That little bit of burnt ear on the Batards makes for some great flavor!! Just the way I like it!!

I'm just about to get back into baguettes again and this was definitely an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Cheers!!

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to draw inspiration from.  Glad to be one of them.  I certainly have my own handful of them.  Thanks.

isand66's picture
isand66

Just beautiful Alan!   Doesn't get much better....now you need to Add like 20 more whole grains and your all set :0

KathyF's picture
KathyF

That is some gorgeous looking bread! I am going to have to try that recipe.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

see my addendum from this morning

KathyF's picture
KathyF

The crumb shot looks great! Please do post your version of the recipe!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Any questions, please ask away!

KathyF's picture
KathyF

Thank you!

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Your shaping, proofing and scoring is perfect and the loaves have great blood and ears. Somewhere along the line, I have lost the knack of shaping and scoring properly. Great bake! Ski

alfanso's picture
alfanso

even with a new profile picture!  Thanks.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And, if you inspire more folks to bake Hamelman's "Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour," you have done your good deed for the day ... maybe for the fortnight.

As you know, it is one of my favorites. I usually bake it as bâtards. The slices end up perfect for sandwiches or toast. I have to say it does make pretty baguettes. Whichever, I totally agree about how lovely this dough is to handle. 

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

coupe de monde de boulangerie territory!   

Best baggies I've ever seen!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Now you've done it.  I'll have to take out that cheesy little gold picture frame from the junk drawer and print your comment off and frame it.  Drat!  I'll show this to my wife and I know what she'll say - "Don't forget to take out the trash before you go to bed".

Truly, thanks for the very kind words.  Baking is fun! (except when it's not)

alan

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

alfanso,

Magical bakes!  Question,,, Day 3- before step 1 or 2 have the loves been out and up to room temperture?

Thanks…..

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi BMP,

These don't come out of retard until the moment before they are scored.  Which is no more than 2 minutes before I load them into the oven.  I bake nearly all of my breads this way.  I never do a proof after a long cold sleep in the refrigerator.  The books may say otherwise, but somehow it works just fine for me this way.

alan

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

alfanso,

I was not being rude ignoring your reply…. been out of town.

Thanks for the reply.  I've never tried your method, but soon will.  My only issue is I have to give my dear 'wyfie' a couple days notice for fridge space.  I can't complain 'cause what's in it is always some yummy stuff.

Again, what wonderful breads…. I can't help having 'loaf-envy'.

Mike