The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What's cooking?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What's cooking?

Rather than creating a new topic each time I want to post messages and photos of what is coming out of my oven most recently, I'm going to try blogging. Maybe I'm the last person on the planet to set up a blog, but this is a first for me, so here goes ...

David

Comments

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I've considered this too. Just not sure if my writing is quite up to par. Let us know where your blog resides. I'll be looking for it.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi Trish,

My blog will be ... TaTa! ... Right here!

Good writing is nice, but it seems to me, on this site, it's about the bread. So, have at it!

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Of the 3 formulas I've tried that approximate Pain Poilane, Hamelman's Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere is my favorite so far. It is not the closest to the original (Which I've had exactly once about 20 years ago!). That would be Reinhart's formula in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice." But Hamelman's miche is made with a slacker dough and makes a crusty bread with a lovely holey crumb. Great texture and taste.

Truth be told, I've never actually made a "miche." I've been dividing the dough into two boules of about 1.5 lbs each and proofing them in linen-lined bannetons.

These came out of the oven yesterday.

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And, this morning, I baked the Vermont Sourdough loaves that were retarding in the refrigerator overnight.I shortchanged the bulk fermentation a bit, I think, which explains the lack of larger holes in the crumb. Of course, this is a lower hydration dough that the Miches.Vermont Sourdough from HamelmanVermont Sourdough from Hamelman

Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman

Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman

Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman

Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman


David
Floydm's picture
Floydm

Nice looking breads!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

They are good eating breads, too.

I scored the Vermont Sourdoughs deeper than has been my custom - about 1/2 inch. I like the effect. One of these days, I'm going to try the pinwheel-like scoring I admired on one of your breads.

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Both breads are beautiful. The crumb on the miche looks delicious. Great job.          weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

That miche is one of my current favorites. I'm really appreciating higher hydration doughs.

Hamelman has some variations on this bread with different flours and proportions of starter. I'm going to start exploring them this weekend. My problem is there are more breads I want to bake than time allows. <sigh> I want to make another semolina bread, a sour rye with onions, ....

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Almost every morning I go through my stack of bread books or look at the copies of recipes I've taken from this site and I can't decide what to do next. I have a long list of what I want to do  but....I got a life beyond bread baking!! At least I think I do!  After going through a stack of recipes from the Fresh Loaf this morning and not being able to decide what to make I just put together an Italian loaf. Tomorrow maybe rye. The last rye I made from Greenstein was so good I want more. Then unto who knows what. I am having fun though. I bet you are too.

weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Yeah. I'm having lots of fun.

I've set up for 4 breads for this weekend ... so far. ;-) I'm doing two sets of variations. 

The first is VT sourdough "with added whole grains" versus Pain au Levain from Hamelman. Both use bread flour and rye and the same hydration, but the VT SD uses a liquid starter in larger proportions and the second a firm starter in smaller proportions.

The second set of variations is the SD rye from Greenstein with versus without his onion/poppy seed filling and topping. 
Photos and reviews to follow.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sour rye with onion filling and topping

Sour rye with onion filling and topping
 

Sour rye with onion filling and topping - Crumb

Sour rye with onion filling and topping - Crumb

Sour rye with onion filling and topping - Proofing

Sour rye with onion filling and topping - Proofing 

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I grew up on San Francisco Sourdough made by "Parisian Bakery". In those days, we usually called in "Wharf Bread," because everyone associated it with the restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf.

Reading all the bread cookbooks about "French sourdough," or "Pain au Levain," being so much less sour than "San Francisco sourdough," I had little interest in baking them. I like sourdough that is really sour.

Anyway, I finally decided to make Pain au Levain just because it's such a classic, as well as the theme on which many bread variations get composed.

Man, I shouldn't have waited!

I used Hamelman's formula in "Bread." I converted a firm starter to a liquid starter Friday evening and let it rise at room temperature overnight (16 hours until mixing). It was all frothy and more than doubled in volume. The flours were Guisto's whole rye and "Bakers Choice." I fermented the dough and proofed the loaves about an hour longer than Hamelman specifies, since my kitchen was 69-70F rather than 76F.

One loaf had a damaged sidewall from sticking to something while proofing. The other loaf was "picture perfect." The crumb was more open than I expected for a 65% hydration dough. I think this was because I fermented the dough long enough for a change!

And the taste ... Soooo GOOD! It was more sour than I expected but had a wonderful complex flavor and a tender yet chewy texture. I think I finally "get" what I've read about as a "balanced" flavor where the sugars, acetic and lactic acids and whatever other chemicals the little lacto-beasties poop out are in just the right proportions.

I'm a happy baker tonight.

Here are some photos:

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread"

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread"

The crust on this bread had a pattern I can't recall noticing on any other bread. It was kinda pleasing.

 Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" - Crust close-up

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" - Crust close-up

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" - Crumb

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" - Crumb

I wish I could upload a slice for you to taste!
 

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Wow, what a beauty. Wish you could upload that slice.              

weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The Hamelman Pain au Levain, which was so spectacularly delicious on day one was ho hum by today. It's not bad, but it's lost much of its sourness and complexity of flavor.

It's funny how many sourdoughs taste better the second day, but this one ... doesn't.

I froze the loaf pictured above (and ate the other one). It will be interesting to see how it tastes the day it is thawed. My other sourdoughs mostly do very well after having been frozen.

David

browndog's picture
browndog

Interesting. I love this bread, have only made it a couple times but got the best results ever for my sourdough efforts. Though I did not notice it diminish any on day 2 or 3, as you did, the loaf I pulled from the freezer last week seemed a little subpar (not to scare you...)

Yours is beautiful, very dramatic.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for the comments, browndog. 

I realize one shouldn't generalize from a single baking of a bread. I will definitely be making this one again, but I'm going to plan on making it for eating on the day it bakes. 

I'll give an update on the frozen loaf when I try it .... assuming I remember, etc.

David

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

I have been trying desperately to bake what could be considered an acceptable Pain au levain based in Hamelman's formula, incorporating the autolyse technique. While the taste has been okay on the loaves done so far, I have been very disappointed with what seems to be a weak oven spring and overall rise. If anything, they tend to "rise" more laterally than vertically! Furthermore, the dough itself has been very sticky for me to work with.

Comment: Due to a very small choise of flours to choose from in Ukraine, my "stiff" levain culture is only about 53% hydration (as opposed to Hamelman's 60%); if I hydrate at 60% it is more of a gooey mass that can not be cut into those "fist-size chunks" that he refers to.

In short, we need some help and ideas...

If anyone our there has any comments or suggestions, I will be thrilled to hear from you.

Cheers

Jim Haas, Kyiv Ukraine

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jim. 

A few thoughts: 

First, 53% hydration is very, very low. I suspect you need to use more water and try a "French fold" technique for kneading to develop the gluten better. Of course, I have no idea what the flour you have to work with is like, and that will make a difference in water absorbtion and in gluten formation. 

Second, I wouldn't worry about the levain hydration so much. If it is too soft to cut in chunks, cut it and dust it with a little flour to make it easier to handle. It won't affect the final bread much. 

Third, if your loaves are spreading, you may need to contain them while they are rising. Are you using a banneton (brotform) or couche? How you form the loaves, being sure to develop the gluten network "skin" to support the rise and oven spring is important. 

Fourth, how you score the loaves can also have some impact on the direction of oven spring.  

Fifth, humidifying the oven for the first part of the bake helps with oven spring a lot. 

Since you didn't give details on your techniques, I am making some assumptions. If they are wrong, I apologize. Hope some of these throughts help you.

David

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Hi David

Thanks so much for your thoughts and ideas. You input is very helpful indeed. I should note that since I posted my first comment on this matter, there seems to have been a very big improvement in the quality of the loaves. The hydration of the starter is still in the realm of 53%, and I still think that it is simply because the water retention of the flour that I'm is considerably less than the flour asked for in Hamelman's formula. (In Ukraine, we basically have only 3 wheat flours to work with: Top Grade, which is highly refined; Sort 1, which is less refined with a slight less extraction and higher ash content; and Sort 2, which is even lesser extraction. With such limitations, bakers have to be really creative and sharp!) I use Sort 1 and mix 20% of my own stone ground whole grain to give the starter something to feed on, basically Leader's "20% bran wheat flour".

Another thing that I have been doing is giving the starter a good kneading after discarding a portion and adding fresh flour and water. This, together with the fact that the starter is now several months old now, seems to have helped to create loaves with much better oven spring and a good sour taste.

 Final comment: I am using a German wood-fired oven.

 Thanks again for your help and ideas.

 Cheers

Jim Haas, Kyiv Ukraine

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Thanks, David. Of course your ideas and suggestions have been very helpful.

As for hydration, I know that the 53% hydration for the levain starter seems very low, but I should add here that experience has shown me that wheat flour generally has a lower water retention than in Western Europe or North America. So that 53% that I referred to in my earlier post is still the same (with small variations per flour consignment).

On the subject of levain starter, I let it mature over night in a large plastic sealed bucket - usually about 5kg or so - and take it with me to the bakery in the morning. When it completed maturing 12 hrs later and is ready for the mix, I give my work table a good dusting of flour, scoop the starter out onto it with a plastic dough cutter, and give it a good knead to tighten it up again and then quickly do the "fist-sized" chunks.

Loaves are proved in linen couches on top of the work tables; in this cold weather it goes under plastic as well.

Finally, I use a German wood-fired oven with a large 8sq meter surface (manufacturer (Karl-Heinz Haussler GmbH) and no steam mechanism, so really the only option for this effect is to give the breads a good blast of water from a sprayer while they're on the conveyor.

Thanks again for the comments, Dave. Sorry that I didn't get back to you earlier...

Jim Haas, Kyiv Ukraine

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It has been a while. It's nice to hear from you again.

I didn't realize you were a professional baker! I'm flattered that you found my suggestions helpful.

So, did you solve your problems with the pains au levains?

If you are baking typical Ukrainian breads, I would love to know more about them. If you have the time and inclination, post an introduction and some photos of your breads. I assume your local breads are predominantly rye breads. There is a lot of interest on TFL in rye breads, and I think many of us would value your experience.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jim. 

I'm glad you are getting better results now.  

I have so many different flours to work with, I really have to have an idea of what the dough should be like at different stages and try to adjust all the other variables - hydration, mixing technique, fermentation time - accordingly. It's a never-ending learning process. 

David