The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread - Nancy Silverton's Recipe

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holds99's picture
holds99

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread - Nancy Silverton's Recipe

Nancy Silverton's Sourdough Whole Wheat BreadNancy Silverton's Sourdough Whole Wheat BreadSourdough Whole Wheat BreadSourdough Whole Wheat Bread

I made these loaves using Nancy Silverton's sourdough whole wheat recipe (The Breads From The LaBrea Bakery).  I previously posted the photos individually.  I hadn't made Ms. Silverton's recipe for a few years so it was a real challenge since I had to make the whole wheat sourdough starter from scratch and it took 3 days of T.L.C.  But I managed to get them into the oven without losing them.  She retards the dough in the fridge for 12-15 hours prior to bringing them out and allowing them to rise, in the bannetons, for 3-4 hours, at room temperture.  The large loaves were a real challenge as they barely fit onto the baking stone in my oven.  I doubled her recipe and made 4 boules (2 - 40 oz. loaves and 2 - 28 oz. loaves.  It was a bit dicey getting the large ones into the oven in one piece but I managed to do it.  The photo is the large loaves.  This exercise (getting them into the oven in one piece)  is good training for Cirque de Soliel. Anyway, I was pleased with the results.  As I said in my previous posting, I know the scoring isn't a work of art but I had to work quickly.  I had some minor problems with a single edge razor blade, scoring them, without tearing the skin but it worked out.  Next time I'm thinking about using a long surgeon's scalpel (only kidding). 

Howard

Comments

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Howard,

Beautiful loaves. If you have a chance, could you describe the details of how you did the shaping, final proof, and bake in such a way to get the fine white uniform flour coating contrasted with the slashes?

Do you have any other big favorites from Silverton's book? I got going on some very good SD bagels from a recipe susanfnp posted that is derived from the Silverton recipe for SD bagels.

Bill

holds99's picture
holds99

Bill,

Thanks for your compliment.  Re: your questions, I used Nancy's recipe for whole wheat starter on pg. 170 (Breads From The LaBrea Bakery).  I have some of her white starter I made years ago using grapes, of which she uses a small amount (9 oz. or 1 cup, (I weigh everything)) as the basis making the whole wheat starter.  For the two types of flour called for in both the starter and the bread , I used stone ground whole wheat flour, which I get by mail order from a mill in the Smokey Mountains and K.A. bread flour.  the starter takes 3 days of feeding and building, using whole wheat flour and water, in order to get it to the point where it's ready to be used for the bread.  Once your starter is built it will keep, in the fridge, for 5-7 days without any care.  Making the bread spans 2 days.  Nancy's recipe is for 2 X 2lb. boules, so I doubled her recipe, mixing it with my 5 quart Kitchen Aid (I have 2 mixer bowls for my K.A. so I ran a batch in each bowl per her directions.  After it had risen, I divided the dough into 4 pieces (2 X 40 oz. and 2 X 24 oz. pieces), let it rest, then with minimum of handling divided it in half and gently shaped each piece into a boule, using the turn and tuck-under method, pinching any open seams together at the end.  Then, for the two large boules I used 2 linen lined willow bannetons (inside dimesions are 4" high, 9" top diameter, 6" botton diameter - these are all inside dimensions).  I rubbed the inside linen linings of the bannetons very liberally with a mixture of 1/3 rice flour and 2/3 K.A. bread flour. My lined bannetons are new so I did have a very small spot on each lining where the moisture from a small area on the side of the loaves dampened the linen and the spot stuck a little when I tried to get them out of the banneton.  I think it's just a matter of using them and getting them seasoned.  Anyhow, The 2 smaller boules I placed in smaller unlined willow bannetons, which had also been liberally rubbed with flour, filling all the interior openings in between the rounds of willow that make up the baskets as well as the bottom.  After the dough is placed in the bannetons they get a liberal sprinkling of flour over the tops. Then the bannetons get covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge overnight to retard them (12-15 hours) after which they are taken out of the fridge, the plastic wrap carefully removed and covered with a smooth cloth towel and allowed to rise for 3-4 hours, at room temperature, until doubled in volume.  An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 deg. F.   I have a baking stone in my oven that covers the entire oven rack and I also place a large baking pan nearly as large as the stone on the shelf directly under the baking stone which heats up while the oven is coming up to 500 deg. F. temperature.  When the dough doubled in the bannetons I turned it out onto 2 separate, parchment lined, baking pans, scored it and placed both pans in the oven.  I then put 1 1/2 cups of ice cubes on the pan beneath the stone (which generated a huge blast of steam) closed the oven door and immediately cut the oven temp. back to 475 deg. F.  Half way through the baking cycle (total cycle is 40-45 minutes), I rotated the boule pans for even baking.  At about 30 minutes into the baking cycle (although Nancy doesn't call for this) I lowered the oven temperature to 450 deg. F. so that the loaves didn't get too brown before the interior was done.  She like her loave "mahogany" colored.  At 40 minutes (on the smaller boules and 45 minutes on the larger boules) I checked the internal temperature of the loaves using a thermometer and got 205 deg. F.  reading and took them out and let them cool on wire racks.  One thing that I have found that helps, at least for my oven, is by placing the large baking pan under the baking stone it seems to disipate some of the direct heat from the heating coils in the oven and forces the heat up the sides of the oven thereby keeping the bottoms from getting too brown or burning.  Nancy recommends baking them directly on the stone but, as I said, I put them in parchment lined baking pans because I was afraid the stone, heated to 500 deg. F. would do a number on the bottoms.  It's happened to me before with pizza when the stone was smoking hot.  Anyway, that's what I did and It worked out pretty well.   FYI, I bought the 2 linen lined bannetons from Amazon's web site and paid $32.67 each plus $10.00 shipping.  They're expensive but very good quality. 

Hope this answers your questions.  And thanks again for your help and suggestions. 

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

Bill,

To answer your other question as to which of Nancy's other bread I have baked, I have done her Normandy Rye, County White and Rustic Bread, all with very good results.  I also spead some of the orignal grape based starter on parchment and dried it in a low temp. dehydrator, broke it into granules and keep it as a backup in the freezer in the event I should ever lose my liquid starter in the fridge.  I've used the granules once in the past 10 years and they still seem fine.  I really like her starter.

Howard

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Howard,

Thanks, I appreciate the detailed explanation. I can envision exactly how you are doing it. The loaves look good with the flour crust accentuated by the slashes the way you do them. I have to admit I rarely have had the patience to completely convert my starter over to whole grain the way you did. I guess you got the idea that Silverton starter isn't really my cup of tea, but you obviously are getting great results with it.

It's good to know that drying and freezing the starter works for you. You often hear the instructions for this, but I have only occasionally heard someone say they did in fact revive a dried frozen one after a very long period in the freezer, a true test that it works. I haven't tried drying or freezing starter. I guess for me if I ever happened to lose my starter, it would be OK to just build a new one from scratch or maybe get one from one of the places like Sourdough Int'l. I've purchased and successfully brought Sourdough Int'l starters to life with little trouble just as an interesting test. I revived their French and SF starters, and they did have somewhat different aromas. I've never actually blown my starter completely away in all these years - famous last words, eh? Probably going to happen tomorrow.

Bill