The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

125% Hydration Levain Ciabatta, 76% overall hydration

alfanso's picture
alfanso

125% Hydration Levain Ciabatta, 76% overall hydration

Last time I made the Scott MeGee Ciabatta, but with a biga.  Today, I converted it to a 125% hydration AP levain.  Whereas the biga had 40% of the flour pre-fermented, I dropped this down to 20%, and also dropped the IDY by at least 2/3.  The overall hydration stays at 76%.

I kept the large bread at 750g but decided to not stretch it so far this time so it has more girth, which I like.  The taste is sweet and delicate and this ciabatta makes great morning toast.

Steam released, & rotated.

~750g x 1 beast, ~370g x 2 ordinary sized.

 

Ciabatta w/ 125% Levain @76% Hydration       
Scott MeGee, alfanso        
500g  will yield 3" diameter loaves - small        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1500 Prefermented20.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%827.4 100.00%  Final Flour661.9
 AP Flour100.00%827.4 100%165.5 AP Flour661.9
 Water (cold in final dough)76.00%628.8 125%206.8 Water cold337.6
        bassinage84.4
 Olive Oil3.00%24.8    Olive Oil24.8
 Salt2.10%17.4    Salt17.4
 IDY0.20%1.7 0.00%0.00 IDY1.7
        Levain COLD372.3
 Totals181.30%1500 225.00%372.31  1500
          
KA mixer: "1",  “2” & "6" to incorporate, 2nd hydration @ "4"to add, “6” to mix, “8” to finish. 
          
In mixer: IDY into COLD water, COLD Levain flour.  MIX ON "1" until water is taken up, then "2" until shaggy.  Pinch and fold.
Remove dough from mixer,  ~50 FFs, 5 min rest, 50 FFs.      
Back to mixer: bassinage of COLD water, salt and olive oil ADD VERY SLOWLY - MIXER ON"4" THEN  "6" & "8" to finish.
Mix done with slapping sound, pulling off bowl onto hook, then dropping back to bowl again.  
          
bulk proof - 2 hr., 3 folds - 0, 40, 80        
scale at 500g, no pre-shape, couche seam side up       
40 min final proof        
Roll and stretch dough as it goes to baking peel       
Preheat @480dF        
Bake w/ steam @460dF, ~13 min, another ~15 min, then vent      

Some additional notes:

  • Shaping and placing onto oven peel copied from Scott MeGee.
  • If the flour is scaled out separately from the water and levain, the IDY can be placed into the flour and then whisked in to incorporate.
  • My KA mixer has the "smaller" bowl.  I don't like the dough hook, but that's what there is.  a pretty constant need to stop and scape the hook and bowl sides down with regularity.
  • Shift the speed in the mixer back and forth to accommodate the activity needed, like the addition of the bassinage, but end with speed of "8".
  • Even starting out with cold water and cold levain/biga, mixing friction on my mixer brings the temperature up to ~81-82dF.  Flour can also be refrigerated or placed in freezer to further delay overheating the mixed dough.
  • As with everything else, I don't do a window pane.  Rather relying on the slapping of the dough on the bowl sides and the aforementioned lifting and dropping of the dough from the hook as my indicators.
  • First letter fold is right out of the mixer and is "aggressive".  Second and third are succedingly much more gentle.
  • For obvious reasons, the couche takes a fair amount of flour, the oven peel (with parchment paper) takes none.
  • Dough is quite sticky, so flour the bench well.
  • The less handling of the dough, the better.
  • Shaping into a "barrel" and apply light pressure when tightening the skin of the dough - don't overdo or overthink
  • There is a lot of moisture in the dough so it takes a longer bake than one may think.  That is one reason why the coloration is dark.

 

Comments

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Nathan and da boys send their regards. 

Paul

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I was always a fan of the name Nicely Nicely Jones, but hadn't thought of it for years.

Two refer-backs.  The uncle of my good friend from Da Bronx since forever ago was B.S. Pulley, who played Big Jule on B'way and in the original movie.  And the fellow, whose stationery store I worked in as a young adult for years until I could figure out what to do with my life, walked right off the pages of a Damon Runyon story.  I'd often described him to others that way.

Thanks, and thanks for making me connect the synapses so early in the day!

alan

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Alan, another fine bake and excellent write-up too.  I especially like the dark color of the big loaf.  Is 460dF sufficient to produce that?  Or is there some other trick?  My ciabatta usually ends up a nice golden brown, but I have purchased ciabatta at a bakery in NYC that has the color of yours, and I have always wondered how to achieve that.

Thanks again for posting the photos and detailed description of the process.

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Alan, now that I'm diving into your recipe, I have a couple of questions.  You do no pre-shape before the final proof, but you "Roll and stretch dough" just before it goes onto the peel.  For my ciabatta I typically do a letter fold before proofing on the couch, and then I dimple and slightly stretch before putting the dough onto the peel.  What is the "roll" aspect of your shaping?

Does the use of cold water make a difference?  If so, in what ways?

Thanks.  Ted

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Ted,

Thanks for the kind words.  I added some further notes to the body of the entry.  Before this version of ciabatta, I had never shaped it except to stretch it as the dough traveled from bench to couche.  This method is a new way for me.  You can see the shaping and roll on the MeGee video.  His billowy dough isn't even remotely like any ciabatta dough I've ever seen before, but the methodology is what I followed.

The cold water makes a significant difference as the notes state.  Maybe I should even switch to ice water instead of just refrigerator cold water.  Ideally the DDT should hover around 77-78dF at the end of the mix, but because of the extensive mixing, at least with my old KA planetary mixer, the dough heats up and pushes past that target temp.

The darker color on the surface may well be due to the extended period of time that the dough sits in the oven.  Pre-heating to 480dF (my idea) and then baking at 460dF (Scott MeGee's idea) is where that temp is derived.

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Alan, you wrote "His billowy dough isn't even remotely like any ciabatta dough I've ever seen before, but the methodology is what I followed."  When did you create the levain?  The night before?  How long did you let it sit?  At room temperature?  (Does McGee have a recipe or video of making the dough that precedes the video you linked that begins with the shaping?)

Sorry to trouble you with more questions, but I'm inclined to try this recipe and want to clear up the uncertainty.

Ted

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Why 125?  Because I had a container of both 100% & 125% in the refrigerator ready to go, but there was more 125 than 100.  Had it been the reverse, I probably would have rejiggered the formula sheet to use a refreshed 100%.  It doesn't really matter much to me.

My methodology is unusual in that I keep a fair amount of a few different levains ready-to-go in the refrigerator.  Why?  It's a hobby and I have the room in the back of the bottom shelf.

The 125% was more than a week old, so I refreshed it the night before on the counter and then refrigerated it in the morning.  It emerged from the refrigerator one moment before it went into the mixing bowl. 

As you've probably seen, the MeGee video uses a straight dough with no preferment.  You can go back to the video and then slide the time-bar on the bottom to the beginning to see the whole video.  If you haven't worked with a 125% white flour dough, you should know what to expect.

Good luck and post!  I'd like to see someone else work with this dough and how it responds for them.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

on a peel was Zolablue's version of Pierre Nury's, Rustic Light Rye - one my very favorite bread of all time and  top 5 for sure.  It was about the same hydration but SD band looked a bit more rustic on the outside but the inside is a knock off this version of ciabatta.  Very nice.  That took me back about 6 years o so

I was listening to Alexa play Ten Years After's, A Space in Time as I read your post and was taken back to Nam, 1972 and eating baguettes on the streets of Saigon with a French seafood stew and a Vietnamese beer called - Beer.  I'm pretty sure that the Beer and Baguettes came with the meal for free and the stew was pretty cheap too but so delicious:-)  That took me back another 40 years:-)

Weird how the mind works.  Love the bread.  Lucy wants to know how your old apprentice is doing.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

on TFL about the time that I started hanging out here at the TFL Funhouse. ~12/13.  I've flipped it over too, ala Ciril Hitz, but this baby gets a different treatment.

This last great album by TYA along with Cricklewood Green forms a foundation of their best rock.  So sez me.  I prefer Hard Monkeys myself on that disk.

Our small slice of time in Saigon, er, HCM City in 2005 had us holed up at a really nice hotel quite close and pretty much across the plaza from the Hotel Continental.  It was pretty weird standing there and seeing it just a short time after we saw The Quiet Man starring the great Maurice Micklewhite, and the explosion in the plaza.  Crossing streets in HCM City isn't for the faint-hearted.

She's at the stage of wearing a diaper around the house all the time now.  Easier to clean up than the floor or rug for the occasional leakage.  I'm prepping for the day that I strap on a pair myself!  Hind legs, hers not mine, are now hobbled so she's perfect for the FL elderly set down here, and she sleeps a lot.  But then again she on more drugs than we probably ever did combined back in the early 70's.

From her puppiest days:

She was quite a babe!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Lucy wishes her the best!

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Your biga baguette was delicious. Is the secret to the great crust in the steam? Such good flavour! How does the 125% hydrated levain compare? 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The extended steaming certainly delays the caramelization of the crust, and once the steam is released, the moisture in the dough likely allows the crust to stay thin but it still lets the crust retain some "tooth".

Not one who can recall flavor A vs. B unless they are lined up together, but I'm uncertain that there is much flavor difference.  I was going to go with a 100% hydration levain, but the container with the 125% was quite full, so I figured that I'd use some of that up first without converting some of it to 100%.  I think that a long as I keep the preferment flour at about 20% of total flour, I can pretty much mix and match most flours and might try a rye levain next.

I hardly ever yearn for a strong WW or rye taste, except for a real rye bread of some type, so I get plenty of satisfaction from a 100% AP flour concoction.

Thanks,

alan 

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Alan, I am familiar with Miami temperatures during the "winter" when most of us are looking at snow (remember that?).  This time of year my kitchen tends to be around 66-68dF, and the flour and any levain sitting out overnight are around that too.  I doubt that ice water would be needed to contain the rising dough temperature.  I am lucky to see 74dF after mixing at this time of year, but will keep your advice in mind.

The shaping is interesting from McGee's video (thanks for posting the link).  Did you do that shaping for your beast?  I prefer the slipper shape of your 750g loaf.

Ted

alfanso's picture
alfanso

you may be surprised at how quickly the temp rises on this dough.  We are looking for a wet-ish, silky sheen that has strength when you pull on it, and you should be able to hold a thin handful without it it snapping apart (which would be a bad thing).  That takes a lot of gluten development with a wet dough.  And a reason for the bassinage as well.

Yes, all shaping was done according to the video.  I have a liking for a husky version of a ciabatta, so this less flat, more rounded version meets my interest.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

That's some fine looking ciabatta.

Although a different approach you've achieved the iconic look.

Nicely done Alan.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Yeah, I've never seen someone actually shape a ciabatta before.  Up to now it has always been to basically divide it and then stretch it.  Learn something new everyday.

It is actually pretty easy and doesn't take a lot of practice or work to accomplish.  And pretty much ensures that I get that cylindrical shape throughout the length of the dough instead of a catch as catch can shaping.

PS I get two nicelies from Paul but only one from you!  How cruel ;-) 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Michael's compliment was more expansive than mine, so it balances out.  

Paul

p.s. Yes to “Detroit”

pul's picture
pul

Alan, your post inspired me to bake some ciabatta. I have not followed your procedure accurately, but I kept the same dough hydration . Mixed all ingredients, applied 4 to 5 sets of S&F and bulk fermented on the counter for 10 hours at about 20 deg C. Shaped and proofed for 30 min before baking. I did not pay much attention to the shaping, just divided the dough and stretched it a bit before placing it on the couche, tucking in the lower side. Nice results and very nice panini for breakfast. Thanks for the inspiration.

 

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

And there ya have it.  76% hydration ciabatta with an open crumb large enough to be classified as sinkholes.  I'm amazed that you were able to BF this for so long, even in a cool kitchen.

IMO too many people on TFL are consumed with very high hydration doughs.  To each his own.  But here you have a very modest hydration dough - for the style that, for the life of me, acts no differently than those much higher hydration blobs of dough.  Nor opens the crumb much differently either.  Superb! 

A long time ago my friend told me this tale, repeated here on TFL by me a few times.  Her mother was teaching her knitting when my friend was a little girl,  and told her to change one thing about what she was trying to copy.  Therefore she was making it her own.  So...as soon as I changed Mr. MeGee's formula, it became my own with an overt nod toward him.  And now the same is true for you.

PS makes some really great toast too.

alan

pul's picture
pul

Very nice tale from your friend to make kids wiser and creative.

The 76% hydration was good to work with and making these loaves was really easy. I missed the point to retard the BF since I fell asleep and when I woke up the dough had raised 3 to 4 times its original size. Nevertheless, the  result was good and the crumb tasted subtle without sourness to my surprise.

peter