The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Challenge - 123 bread

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Challenge - 123 bread

I needed an easy levain-based dough that I could use as a base for testing various flour combinations, add-ins, methods, etc. and 123 bread seems to fit the bill - 1 part fresh levain, 2 parts water and 3 parts flour, with 2% salt. I've used this to test two different starters to see which one is more active, and I also use it when I'm traveling and want fresh bread without a lot of fuss.

It occurred to me that this would also be an excellent challenge for a couple of reasons

  1. It controls the basics while still allowing for a lot of creativity, and
  2. the resulting recipes would be an awesome primer for newby sourdough bakers!

So, in the spirit of the second point, here is your challenge:

  • 100 grams of 100% hydration wheat (can be AP, bread flour and/or whole wheat flour) levain
  • 200 grams of water or other liquid of your choice
  • 300 grams of whatever flour or combination you come up with. The control is that it should be fairly easy to obtain and be easy for a sourdough novice to work with (so, off-the-shelf stuff rather than home-sprouted, hand-milled einkorn, for example)
  • Any spices or other dry(ish) add-ins that you wish, or wet add-ins that don't substantially increase the hydration and make it harder to handle
  • To keep a level playing field, follow this method generally:
  1. Mix flour(s), water (or other liquid) and levain and let sit for 30 minutes
  2. Add salt and other add-ins; mix by whatever method you prefer (but again, make sure it's fairly easy for newbies to follow)
  3. Develop dough, then bulk ferment (short, long or retard)
  4. Pre-shape, rest, then shape and proof (short, long or retard)

I've done a few of these lately. Here is the basic 123 dough with a little whole wheat flour:

And for my latest 123 bread, check out my blog post here. Fig Nut 123 Levain!

So, whatcha got?

 

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

Well, soon anyway :)

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I am taking the starter out now.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

hydration which is good for AP flour or with some bread flour or very low % whole grain breads.  If you are making say an 80% whole wheat bread you want the hydration to be much higher than 71%.   I shoot for at least 80% hydration for a 100% rye you might want 100% hydration.  For whole grain breads the 123 recipe doesn't really work all that well - but it sure is easy to remember for a white bread and build off of for others.

It also doesn't work too well for weaker European flours where 65-68% hydration would be better for a white bread.

Happy 123 baking 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

That's all very true, dab, and good information for new sourdough bakers to remember. I think that's part of the challenge on this one - getting back to a basic easy sourdough formula, then seeing what you can add to make it different and special without substantially changing the character of the dough or the hydration (and handling ease). So different flours in this one will be mostly for flavour or slight changes to the dough texture. But as the Fig Nut bread shows, you can still produce some interesting variations within these restrictions!

How's life in the dust storms? Is the rain producing a bit of relief, or just creating floods and humidity? Not good conditions for bread! :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the 1 2 3 bread becomes   1  3,5  4.16  (s w f)  ...a little bit harder to remember 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15736/mini039s-favorite-rye-ratio

The 1 2 3 ratio is my fav for white bread with some exchanges of flour, often exchanging 5 to 20% rye flour.  It is also a good one for cleaning out the pantry, just make sure over half the flour contains gluten to hold the bread together.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Thanks Mini; that's really useful to know! But you're right, a bit harder to remember (and cope with if you have only rudimentary measuring implements handy).

I really like 'clean out the pantry' bread. I call it "bag end" bread. It's fun to go through all the bags, sniffing and thinking what might go well together. I've always got bits and pieces of gluten-free flours about because I make GF bread for a couple of special customers. Haven't tried amaranth or sorghum in my 'regular' bread yet, but I do like buckwheat. Teff might be nice too. Hmmm, I feel another 123 challenge bread coming on...

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

As I had two starters in their final (3rd) build I decided to have a bash at this.......

The first one.....

100g white bread flour starter with a little white rye

200g water

200g white bread flour + 100g white spelt

6g salt

 

The second one was a little more adventurous!

100g wholemeal rye starter with a little wholemeal bread flour

200g water

200g white bread flour + 100g wholemeal bread flour

6g salt

50g Chopped dried apricots

50g raisins

20g toasted almond flakes

5g desiccated coconut

In both cases I kept handling to a minimum.  I stretched and folded the white one for about 1 minute and the fruit one for about 3 minutes (integrating the fruit).  Then both in bowls in a cool (18c) room overnight for about 8 hours.  This morning I gently knocked down each one, bench rest for 10 minutes then shape and place into parchment lined bowls for around 2 hours before baking in preheated Dutch oven for 15/20 mins at 230c then 15/20 mins out of the Dutch oven at 210c.

The results exceeded my expectations and the challenge was fun!

Ru007's picture
Ru007

They both look great!

I'm yet to join the challenge but i'm definitely becoming more inspired! 

Happy baking :)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Oh, those are lovely! My mouth is watering over the second one. :) Did the coconut taste come through? I've never used coconut in bread, but with the fruit it sounds wonderful. I do have a customer who asked me once if I ever bake with coconut flour. I do have some; maybe it's time for a 123 bag end bread?

Thanks for playing!

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

Thanks Lazy Loafer :)

Yes the coconut was 'present' but my wife reckons I could have used 2 or 3 times as much (!)

The whole 'mix' came about because the ingredients were all I could find in the larder!

Coconut was a last minute 'why not?' addition.......

I will probably use dried cranberries instead of raisins and 20g of coconut next time.  The objective was to make a sweet breakfast style bread and it certainly worked.  What surprised me the most was the reduced kneading (Drogon style haha!).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

would be my added choice if she wants more coconut flavour... without making it dryer.  Or a good shot of coconut liqueur or pina-colada mix in the water (Check the bar not pantry!)   

Anyone make a loaf using Coca cola?   I know... I was thinking about cola nuts and un-cola nuts and well...  It's already Sunday here.  Please forgive me.  :)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Hmmmm, I just noticed one of my husband's empty beer bottles on the counter - Coconut Porter! Now, wouldn't that be something nice. :)

Actually, flat Coca Cola sounds quite interesting. What kind of flour blend? And what other things? I know, everything's better with Coke. :)

TomK's picture
TomK

Quite a change from my usual, my wife requested a white bread this weekend as she's on a low fiber and no whole grain diet for a few days, so I thought the 1-2-3 challenge would be a good one. I used Central Milling AP flour from Costco, 6 sets of stretch and fold @ 30 minute intervals and about 3-4 hours bulk fermentation at 80dF followed by 12 hours in the fridge. I've never made white bread before so didn't know what to expect.

Pre shaped in the morning and shaped after 40 minutes rest, still cold. Really easy to shape compared to higher hydration multigrain doughs. Proofed for 90 minutes and into the Dutch ovens. 18 minutes at 450dF covered, then 18 minutes at 425 dF uncovered.

OK, the all-AP flour does do a lot for oven spring!

Nice, crispy crust with tiny blisters all over. Very attractive.

Very nice crumb, glossy holes, pretty happy with it technically.

I was disappointed in the flavor though, pretty bland especially after last week's wheat/spelt/barley with Asiago and roasted red peppers. Most surprising was the almost nonexistent sourdough flavor. I've been finding that the overnight cold bulk ferment really increases that aspect but not so much in this bread.

I'll try it again in a few weeks but using 100% Type 70 malted flour, which I've found makes a really tasty baguette.

-Tom, (hoping that I've figured out how to post photos properly, apologies if not)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Thanks for playing, Tom. I can't see the photos, unfortunately, but it certainly sounds nice! So you've introduced a little sub-challenge here - how to add flavour to white bread without adding fibre or whole grain! I've found that, surprisingly, a little potato flour (not potato starch) seems to add some flavour. Otherwise it would be interesting to think what kinds of different liquids you could substitute for all or some of the water, or maybe what other add-ins go with all-white flour.

TomK's picture
TomK

Aha - I finally got the pictures to load. Good suggestion about different liquids. I'll have to try playing with that in my other breads, doubtful that I'll be making a lot of white.

Arjon's picture
Arjon

in comparison to loaves that include more flavorful flours and/or add-ins. I don't remember the last time I made a straight white flour loaf except on request. The closest I come is adding a bit of miso to boost the umami, and even then, I basically always toss in something or other. 

Joanna Sheldon's picture
Joanna Sheldon

My standard sourdough -- (75% French T55, 19% English white "strong" [13% prot], 6% light rye, withleaven flour weight 18.4%) -- has lovely spectrum of flavors. It's made with an overnight 100% hydration autolyse, the 65% hydration dough fermented two hours at 25C, s&F, then another 1.5hrs at 25C, then shaped and another hour at 25C before baking. Made with the same flours (though more English, less French), the 1-2-3 bread, though pleasingly open crumb and requiring far less fuss, is very bland by comparison. 

It's gotta be the cold vs warm fermentation. I have a plan to boost the aromas by adding 2% of the leaven to the pre-mix (autolyse) which I'll give 8 hours at 25C. Get some flavors going. Its simplicity makes it a good teaching loaf, so it's worth cultivating.

Cellarvie's picture
Cellarvie

I find dried malt adds a nuttyness to white yeasted doughs, don't know if it would help with white sourdough though.  It would be interesting to hear what people think.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

So I made two loaves

 

Loaf A

Loaf B

100 grams of starter

100 grams of starter

200 grams of water

200 grams of room temp spiced black tea

25 grams rye flour

25 grams rye flour

150 grams bread flour

125 grams AP Flour

110 grams whole wheat flour*

150 grams whole wheat flour*

10 grams soy powder

 

This was mixed together and

Sat in a 90 degree kitchen for 30minutes

 

Then I added exactly the same thing to each loaf.

20 grams  white sesame seed

20 grams black sesame seed

20 grams  golden flax seed

100 grams of cooked steel cut oats that were cooked with currants

 

The dough was gloppy.  But I folded the dough in the bowl 3 times at 20 minute interval before putting it in the refrigerator overnight.

 

Early the next morning I did another stretch and fold being careful not to degas the dough, and stuck it back in the fridge.

Two hours later I took the cold dough out  

 the fridge and gently coaxed it greased loaf pans.

 

One was a loaf pan had a cover and the other was ceramic. I did not use  any additional steaming techniques.

The final proof needed a bit longer than the 2.5 hours that I had planned but it was a day where I had to stick to my schedule. And it had nearly doubled in size. So I baked it any way. At 450 degrees until it I took the internal temperature and it read 210 F

 

here are both loaves side by side.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Those both look very hearty! The mother of a friend of mine used to say "Real bread has bits in it!". I think both of yours count. :)

Did the spiced tea flavour come through at all? I've often thought I should try a nice strong chai rooibos or something similar in bread. But instead, I've got a secret recipe bulk retarding overnight, which I'll bake tomorrow and post. A new twist on 123 bread! Stay tuned for Cherry Root Beer 123... :)

Also, did you notice much difference (taste or texture) between the two flour blends?

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

1. the seeds, my mom loved sesame seeds and this is definitely a bread she would have loved. Additionally I have a surplus of seeds,   It was hearty but it had a lovely flavor. Besides all the seeds. I am using this Maine grown sifted wheat flour, I like it so much I may have to go to Maine and get some more!

No the loaves tasted the same although the one in the pullman pan got better oven spring.

As for the spiced tea taste it was not there, but I read your cherry cola bread recipe and I think using commercial yeast would be the way to go.

 

 

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

 Boy! Talk about being forgetful 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

After reading all the interesting ideas regarding what you can do with a basic 123 formula to make awesome bread, and being particularly intrigued by Mini Oven's question about using Coca Cola, I was inspired to try something quite different. It is a 123 bread but with a poolish starter rather than a levain. And the liquid (or part of it, anyway) was root beer! The blog with details is here, but this is the introduction to Cherry Root Beer 123!

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I had some left over levain and though I might as well as use it up with things I had in the pantry and take part in this challenge at the same time. Well things did not exactly go smoothly. Click on the link to see the proce and the results. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/48904/123-sort-raisin-date-cider-seed-bread

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

What interesting combinations you're coming up with, Danni! I love "things I have in the pantry" breads. :) And playing around with different liquids and such. It's quite amazing, really, what you can make into bread!

And then you get to eat it. :)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

my own bread recipes, I wouldn't have believed it. So I owe huge thanks to the posters on this site! I started with FWSY last November and remember being very frustrated when I tried to branch out and I made bricks. Watching the dough, not the clock is probably the best thing I learned on here once I lknew what the dough should look like at different stages and levels of hydration. I have also learned that not every loaf has to have huge oven spring and huge holes to taste good and have nice crumb. So thank you for nurturing this newbie along!

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

I made this '123' loaf last week.  To be honest is was a bit 'half hearted' with almost zero handling (as per Drogon style).  

I do agree with Dabrownman, I think that generally the hydration is too high for most breads.  This one was half white Spelt, half strong white bread flour.  The starter was my usual rye.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Really? You think 71% hydration is too high? I've been finding that it's just about perfect for many of my naturally leavened breads, but maybe it's my flour and kitchen conditions that like it. I'm trying to keep my hydration levels between 70% and 75% generally, though enriched sandwich loaves and things like bagels will of course be lower. And coarse whole grain flours will be higher. I was quite happy with the mostly-white flour 123 loaf at the top of this post.

That said, I've also been finding that I need to work the dough a bit more than many of the 'hands-off' methods will describe. I usually mix and develop the dough in the mixer, then do some stretch and folds during bulk ferment until it's nice and springy and strong. Makes for a nicer crumb. You're right to be careful with spelt though; it's a bit more fragile.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

they are much less thirsty than Canadian and US flour.  So a 71% hydration bread there is like a 78% one there.  Gordon says he likes around 68% hydration for most of his wet white style breads he makes as a result.  When i hear 'strong white flour' I know they are from the UK instead of the bread flour we would say in place of strong.  71% would be pretty wet for them when the sun don't shine often and it is wet much of the time - 'The Ole Damp and Dreary'!

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

I use Waitrose Canadian bread flour .......  it must be me :(

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

It would be interesting to know who produces the Canadian Waitrose.  Is it always the same and to what specifications?

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

And probably is :(  I have much less experience of stretch and fold type handling (call me old fashioned but I like kneading!)

 

Err, dunno what happened but this reply was meant to be for LazyLoafer........

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Got the comment, Chocks. I think it's the indenting on the posts that gets confusing. :)

Yeah, kneading dough is one of those things that can be very soothing; you can let your mind wander while your body works. :) Unfortunately I can no long knead any more than one or maybe two loaves of dough at a time as I have arthritis in my hands, so the stand mixer is my friend now for developing dough. I then do stretching and folding after the dough has been well-developed, just to finish making it smooth and stretchy. I think maybe we're getting a bit too paranoid about working the dough! It seems to like it though. :)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

And this time, I made sure not to mess up the proportions in the formula. I am quite pleased how it turned out. Here is the link to my Spelt Multigrain bread: 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/48969/123-spelt-multigrain-loaf

Unfortunately, no crumb shot since I gave away both loaves. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Using the base 123 formula again, I ended up making a multi-purpose bread (for the 123 challenge as well as the honey challenge) as a recovery from a failed effort to do something else! Read the whole story and details here on my blog, but meanwhile here's a shot or two of 123 Honey Currant and 10-grain Cereal bread!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

recipe this weeks since the 123 recipe is already done!  Here is our shot at it

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/49011/123-challenge-slider-rolls-smoked-brisket

Happy 123 baking 

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

chockswahay's picture
chockswahay

I stumbled across this old thread yesterday whilst trying to decide what to bake on my day off....

 

The top one is another coconut loaf but this time made with all coconut milk (as Mini Oven suggested).  I kept to 1-2-3 and then added 50g dessicated coconut and 100g sultanas.  I wanted a sweet breakfast bread but much to my surprise it does not taste TOO coconutty (!).

The middle loaf was standard stuff and the long one I went made and used 200 ml of Belgian Wheat Beer and a mix of white, spelt and wholemeal flours.

I'm actually quite happy with all three loaves :)

The coconut loaf has a really soft texture, is this due to the coconut milk or the coconut pieces??  The standard one is 'usual' and the beer one not as 'beery' as I imagined it would be.  Either way, I know what I'm have for breakfast, lunch and dinner haha!

Any way, it was fun to do ......

G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Most likely due to the coconut fat in the milk.  Tenderises the crumb sooooo nicely.  Often used in Asia for their "wonder bread."   For more coconut flavour, toss in a shot of coconut liqueur or toast coconut flour or pulverised desiccate.  :)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Those all look lovely, and tasty too! I think I might try some coconut milk in bread too. I have a couple of gluten free customers and have just come up with a GF fruit and nut loaf for them. However, I used milk kefir in it and one of the customers is also dairy free, so I'll try coconut milk instead. The flavour should go well with the other ingredients.

I'm a big fan of beer in bread. It never makes the bread taste like beer, but just gives a better bread taste. Much the same ingredients, I guess! I wonder if a very hoppy beer (like an IPA) would make the bread slightly bitter though?

SoniaR's picture
SoniaR

I'm new to this. Is the salt 2% of total weight (starter+flour+water) or 2% of just one of those? Thanks!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Generally the salt is around 1.8% to 2% of the total flour weight (that is, the weight of the flour in both the starter and the final dough), not the water. So if you have 300 grams of flour in the final dough and 50 grams of flour in the starter (half of the 100 grams of starter), the salt would be 6 to 7 grams.

SoniaR's picture
SoniaR

Thanks! No wonder my bread was a little off, although fortunately not too bad. I based salt % on the weight of all ingredients.