The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help creating a light loaf

varasano's picture
varasano

Help creating a light loaf

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post. I have a lot of experience making dough for pizza, but have only made a few loaves of bread. If anyone is interested in making pizza, I have probably the most popular pizza recipe on the net. Just google "NY pizza recipe" and you'll see my name, Jeff Varasano, as the first result. Just follow the link for my pizza tips.

Anyway, I need some help with my bread. I've made 9 batches and I'm making progress, but still not happy. Here are some photos:

 


http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02690.JPG
http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02693.JPG
Even though the bread has nice wholes, it's very dense. Maybe crusty is the better word. I had a bread in NY over Xmas that was super light and airy inside. What factors tend to make the dough lighter and a bit less crusty? My basic process is this: I'm using Gold Medal Harvest King flour, filtered water, kosher salt and a sourdough starter (no IDY or commercial yeast). I did a 20 minute autolyze, a short mix, 2 turns spread over an hour and then a 12 hour 50F rise, followed by 2 more turns and about 4 hours at 72F. It's baked on a stone in a preheated 450F oven (although the stone measuered only 400F with an IR thermometer). I sprayed it with water upon entry and again at 20 minutes.
It seems like the inside is kind of gummy and needed to lose more water. But in my pizza experience, using a wet dough is better for spring, so I didn't want to dry out the dough prior to bake. So I thought that baking it longer might help, but then the bottom was starting to get very crusty and hard. You can see how thick the bottom crust is. Anyway, does anyone have any general guidelines or rules of thumb for making the dough more airy and light?
Thanks,
Jeff
mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Jeff,

Although I don't have much to offer in terms of a solution to your dense breads, my sense about most posters on this website is that the more information that you can offer, the better the suggestions.  So, if you can provide greater detail of your current recipe and methods, I am sure that the more experienced bakers who frequent this website would be better able to make suggestions.  This is especially true as hydration levels can greatly influence texture and taste.

Also, if you can be more specific as to what your target bread should be, it would result in even more concrete suggestions.  For example, for airy and light, does the bread that you are after continue to have big holes?  Thick or thin crust?  More chew or more tender crumb?  Any clues as to whether the NY bread is from a lean dough or from an enriched dough?

Although my bread making expertise is severely limited, in lurking around this website I have learned from many expert and very helpful home bakers who offer their two cents here.

Mr. Peabody

varasano's picture
varasano

I don't have an exact hydration percent, as I haven't measured in years, but I'm really looking for more rules of thumb and then I'll run some more experiments. Do drier doughs tend to make lighter bread? Does IDY tend to be lighter than sourdoughs? Short rise better than long slow rise? Hotter bake or longer cooler bake?, etc.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to TFL. 

Getting a light loaf with large, irregular holes throughout the crumb can be a real balancing act.  On the one hand, as you said, increasing the dough hydration tends to favor larger holes but it also makes it more difficult to develop the dough to sufficient strength to hold it's shape and thus produce a more voluminous, and therefore less dense, loaf.  That's the reason why ciabatta, with it's high hydration, tends to be a relatively flat loaf.  From the look of your loaf, I would say that your hydration is somewhere upwards of 70%.  I would try slowly bringing the hydration down while keeping the same dough development regime.  Higher hydration is not always better hydration.

Regarding the crust, in my experience I've found that spraying the loaf with water directly before baking can lead to a thicker than desired crust.  Keeping the surface of the dough moist for the first few minutes of baking is all that is necessary for a nice crust with maximum oven spring (spraying the loaf with water after being in the oven for 20 minutes is counterproductive; in fact, after 20 minutes, all the oven spring should have already occured and the crust is now starting to brown so all oven vents should be opened and moisture should be encouraged to escape from the oven).  Extended bake times can also tend to give a thicker crust.

To keep the loaf surface moist for the first few minutes of baking, I've found that creating steam by throwing water on a pan of preheated stones just as I load my loaves tends to do the trick.  I've managed to get some nice oven spring using this method:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/566/pain-au-levain 

I hope the above helps.  I've used your pizza making techniques and spreadsheet to produce some great pizza and am sure that your bread will soon be on par with your pizzas.

- Steve 

varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks Steve. You are not Steve, the moderator from pizzamaking.com are you?

 The dough is pretty well hydrated and I would guess 70% is probably right. I'll try to bring it down. What oven temp do you recommend?

SteveB's picture
SteveB

No, I'm a different Steve, although I do lurk on pizzamaking.com and have posted a few times.

I typically bake my pain au levain at around 425F for about 40 minutes.  A quick note... I like a long, slow second fermentation to bring out the flavor so I typically keep my shaped loaves at around 72F for about 5 hrs. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jeff. 

That's a sourdough bread I would be delighted with! I love the thick, crunchy crust. Doesn't it taste great? 

But, if you're unhappy with it, please describe the crust you want in more detail. Note: Thinner crusts on sourdoughs are generally described as "chewy." Is that what you want? If you want "tender," sourdough may not be best medium.

David

varasano's picture
varasano

Hey David,

The taste is excellent, so I have no complaints there.

The crust right now is just dense and it gives the jaw a workout. It's also fairly thick, especially on the bottom which you can see better if look at the blow up here:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02693.JPG

Aside from the crust, the whole bread just feels heavy for it's size, like it either has too high a hydration to start with or it didn't puff up enough or like it should have evaporated more water during the process. I'm not experienced enough to figure which of those is the culprit.

Even though the bread has some very large bubbles, the remaining portion feels a tiny bit gummy and dense. Like if I squeezed it, it would press together.

I'm not sure what you mean by tender. 

varasano's picture
varasano

One thing I left out of my recipe. In addition to the sprayer, I also had a flat baking sheet with water in it to keep the steam level high. I'm guessing from the responses, that I should take this out. Correct?

 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

I would.  You really only want moisture in the oven for the first few minutes of baking, until the oven spring is over and the crust begins to brown.

suave's picture
suave

General recommendation for getting thin and crispy crust is to remove steam source once the crust shows color.

richawatt's picture
richawatt

I did a loaf with a 80 percent hydration and it was really light, like a pillow.  I think it was too light for my liking so I think I am going to bring it down to 75%  I just mixed my dough and folded it about 4 times over the length of the fermentation, probably about three hours. if you go to google video and do a search for meread making or what not, there are a lot of videos

 

varasano's picture
varasano

how do I find the video?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jeff. 

I concur with the advice to limit the time you use steam. I take out my cast iron skillet with water after 5-10 minutes. In fact, I may finish the bake with convection on in my oven to dry it out better. 

By "tender" I mean it does not take much tooth pressure to chew it. 

From your description, I wonder if the interior of the loaf is under-done while the crust is over-done to just right. The center of the loaf should be at least 205F when it's done, and, when you tap the bottom of the loaf, you should hear a "hollow" sound, not a dull thud. If you are baking a really large boule, say over 2.5 lbs, you may want to reduce the oven temp. 25 degrees after the first 10 minutes and bake longer to get  a lighter crust but completely baked crumb. 

I think you have the makings of a great loaf there. Your technique and timing of the bake just need a little tweaking. 

David

richawatt's picture
richawatt

go to google video, you can find a lot of videos there about bread.  There are a lot of no kneed bread videos too.  It will show you how to work with a very slack dough.  When I make my ciabatta there is no way I can need it., it is just too wet, so I let it ferment and just keep folding it

richawatt's picture
richawatt
varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks guys. Batch 10 goes in the oven in a few hours

holds99's picture
holds99

Varasano,

Your loaf looks very good with nice interior.  It just looks like it just didn't get quite enough oven spring.  You can compensate for some problems and get good oven spring by baking your boule in a pre-heated cast iron Dutch oven, lined with parchment paper.  I posted a blog on TFL for Rustic Country Bread (a few weeks ago) baked in a Dutch oven.  You might look at it and see if you think it might help your situation.  Also, you need a HOT oven during the first 8-10 minutes to get max. oven spring, then you can cut the temp. back.  I don't see any flour markings on the tops of the loaf, did you use a banneton or just let it rise on a peel or pan?   

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

varasano's picture
varasano

Here's today's result

varasano's picture
varasano

So this batch I did a couple of things different.

The dough was quite a bit drier.

I took out the pan of water and instead put the pan in dry so that I could dump a small amount of water to create burst of steam only at the beginning. I also only sprayed once at the very beginning and this time did not spray the bread directly.

I raised the initial temp to 500F the brought it down to 450 after 10 minutes.

Overall I would say that this bread is not an improvement over Batch 9. The cuts never fully exploded. The bubbles near the exterior were large but as you look towards the interior they get smaller and smaller. I'm assuming that this is on account of the high heat. It almost makes me want to change the shape to more of a batard, since I have no attachment to this boule shape..

How long do you guys bake for? I tried to do the 'thump' test, but I'm not really sure what it means to 'sound hollow'. After about 45 minutes it was brown, but not really dark and I wasn't sure if I should take it out or not. Since it didn't sound hollow I wanted to leave it in to dry, but then this just seems to have made the outside tougher. After 45 minutes I reduce the temp to 300, left the door open to bring the temp down, and then left the bread in there another 20 minutes. One thing I did just out of curiosity is that quickly removed the dough to weigh it. I did this several times. at 45 minutes it was 812g, after another 20 minutes at low temp it was down to 790. Then after cooling 30 minutes it was 787.

But in any case, any error was prior to all this fiddling. There was not enough spring in the first 20 minutes as the center never really opened up.

 

Comments?

Jeff

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

maybe add a little yeast to the final dough to give it just a small boost  it looks fine though.

varasano's picture
varasano

I have an alternate sourdough culture that is every bit as bubbly as IDY, maybe moreso. I'm refreshing it now. It's not as flavorful as my regular one, but it's pretty good. I'm going to try the next batch with that one.

Jeff 

mcs's picture
mcs

If you mentioned this above, I didn't see it; what are you doing for the proofing during your fermentations, and especially the final fermentation? Is it covered, humid, dry? Is it possible your dough has sufficient bubbles on the inside from the folding, but has too thick of a skin by the time it goes in the oven, preventing expansion and keeping too much of the moisture on the inside?

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

Hi Mark,

The final fermentation is covered. The dough itself is pretty wet. I do the final proof on a cloth that sits on a wire rack. I had a problem early on where my dough was so wet that it stuck to the stone, so moving it to the cloth on a rack helps to dry out the bottom a little bit. What I do then is scoop the cloth up with a peel and then use the cloth to deposit the dough on the stone. It's effectively exactly like the superpeel, just a homemade version.

The cloth is covered with an inverted metal bowl so it stays moist. The only difference between this dough and the previous one which opened up more, was the amount of water I sprayed. In the previous version I sprayed quite a bit of water directly onto the bread after I scored it. I was told this would make it more crusty though, which I didn't want. so in this version, I only created some steam around it.  

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the proofing answers.  Here's another question, excuse me if I'm insulting your dough handling skills.  Is the skin on the final boule 'tight'?  Sometimes if it's not formed tightly, the outside surface is not thin enough, creating a loaf that takes very long to brown up.  To me, it sounds like it's taking too long to get color at the temperature you're baking at. 
Another strategy I might try, is moving your pizza stone up .  I don't know where it is in your oven, but I've found if I have two levels of things baking in my oven at the same time, the stuff towards the top gains color faster and has way more ovenspring than the stuff 6 inches below.  I rotate them from top to bottom after 10 minutes of putting them in the oven, or the bread in the lower rack gets 'stunted', never gains color, and doesn't ever spring up.  If you haven't already done it, I'd try moving the stone high up maybe 10" - 12"from the top.

- Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

My dough is pretty tight, so I don't think that is it.

 

I did move the stone to the bottom because my bottom was not browning hardly at all when the stone was up even on level. come to think of it, it may have been rising more in earlier batches where the stone was higher.  There might be some heat distribution issue. I'm sure I can address that somehow.

mcs's picture
mcs

Sounds like you have your bases covered as far as all of the essentials go. I guess from here I would go with nbi's recommendation from a few posts up and add some commercial yeast to the final dough. If that works, then you can always scale it back gradually until you see the minimum amount you need to achieve your desired result.
Don't know if you want to go there, but if you did, using your current recipe, I would make up half of a batch like you're doing now, then after your 12 hour rise, add the remaining flour/water and 1.25 tsp of instant yeast per 3-4# of dough. Mix/knead it all up for 3 minutes on 'speed 1' and 3 more on 'speed 2'. Then proof around 3 hours more with folds at 1 hour intervals. If you can, I'd bump up the temperature of everything after the final mix from 72 to about 85. That may give it more of a head start before it goes in the oven. Take that for what it's worth.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

My experience with rising at 85 is that it certainly does add more bubbles, but also makes the dough so soft that it spreads out and the final dough can't hold it's shape that well. It ends up more or less shaped like a ciabatta if the final rise is 85. Is that fair to say or am I missing something?

mcs's picture
mcs

I'd say that's pretty accurate. However, usually with a dough that has high hydration, if someone is going for the boule shape, they'll use a round banneton for holding the shape. Then, when it's transferred to the oven, before it has a chance to blob out too much, the oven temperature/stone/yeast causes it to rise up, and the high heat 'sets its shape' before it has a chance to collapse. With a lower hydration dough, a banneton isn't necessary because it can hold its shape on its own for the entire final fermentation.
-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

This was interesting. I changed the shape of the loaf and I also switched to a faster rising sourdough culture. Also. I took out the water pan entirely. In Batch 10 I had it in there dry, just to splash water on it. However it blocked the upper heating element. So I took it out entirely.

The bread was baked at 500F then reduced to 450 after 25 minutes. I only did one spray at the very beginning. I did spray directly onto the dough and also into the oven in general.

The outer crust was excellent. Not hard or crusty at all. If anything, I could have left it in longer. This is the first time I could say that. So this should be easy to correct.

The spring was huge, but it still seems like I could have made more cuts because it seemed like it wanted to burst out even more. It seemed to blow up like a balloon then it got trapped.

The interior was still too moist. Very nice and soft and good bubbles, but not airy and still too wet. I inserted a thermometer and took the bread out when it hit 208. But it could have gone longer for sure. 

 Any comments?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It seems like you are closing in on the bread you want. It sure looks good! 

It sounds like the crumb is still not cooked enough, assuming you did let it cool completely before slicing. 500F for 25 minutes is a lot of hot oven. I guess it's your pizza habits.  ;-) 

I would try baking this in a well-pre-heated oven at 475F until you are finished opening the oven (to spray), then turn it down to 450F for the rest of the bake. When it is done, turn off the oven but leave the loaf in there for another 5-10 minutes with the oven door cracked to dry out a bit more.

David

holds99's picture
holds99

Reduce your initial baking temp. to 475.  500 may be fine for pizza but is too hot for a loaf that is being baked in the open oven particularly on a stone (if thats what you're using).  You'll end up with a done crust and the interiour of the loaf still needing baking.  As a data point, 500 deg is fine when using the protection of a preheated Dutch oven, La Cloche or Romertopf but it still requires turning the oven down to 475 after placing the loaf into the vessel, putting on the lid and closing the oven door.  You don't need steam with these vessels they create their own steam as a result of preheating and keeping the lid on until the final 10-15 minutes of the baking cycle at which time you remove the lid to allow for browning  Baking bread at that high a temp. (500 deg.) in an open oven is most likely going to create a problem not to mention the possibility of the hot stone scorching the bottom.  As Dave S. suggested , turn the oven off at the termination of the baking cycle (after reducing the heat to 450 for the 25 min. and leave the loaf in for 10 minutes, it'll keep slowing cooking the interior.  Check it midway through the 10 min. and if it's getting too brown take it out and rack it.  Also, if the center isn't completely done the moisture inside the loaf (hot steam) could bleed into the crust during the cooling cycle causing the crust to lose its crunchy texture.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

varasano's picture
varasano

Hey,

Ok, thanks for all of that. I do know how to create strong windowpaning. I used to mix all of my dough to this point, but when baking pizza I found that it did not produce the best result, so I've switched over to a shorter mix and now I do more folds. However, I do know how to get the windowpaning. If it's as tempermental as you say, with a small time window where it's right, I'll have to do a lot of testing though.

I use a DLX, so I can get better mixing than with the KA.

FYI, I did not take the course at the SF Baking institute. I went over there with my friend Kieth Giusto and just spent some time talking about sourdough cultures and flours. 

Jeff 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Malkuth9623373, your experience with mixing is quite similar to mine.  Many professional bakers and bread baking books warn about the evils of overmixing and overoxidation.  In a professional environment, where spiral or oblique mixers mix doughs very efficiently, this can be a very real problem.  However, in a home baking environment, countertop planetary mixers are just not very efficient in developing doughs and I find myself more concerned with ways to increase oxygen incorporation and dough development rather than ways to limit oxidation.  As you stated, the SP5 countertop spiral mixer or the Santos countertop oblique mixer can be more efficient mixing alternatives for the 'price-is-no-object' home baker.

varasano's picture
varasano

Ok, I mixed the dough to the windowpane stage. On my site I posted this picture from some of my dough trials years ago:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/jvpizza/Dough/DSC00698.JPG

This was taken right off the hook. I used to mix my dough like that a lot but discovered that it really didn't make the pizza I was going for and I switched to a lighter mix. Then more recently I've been playing with almost no mix, but a lot of folds. I've really like the pizzas that way. But, as you guys said, the bread is just not coming out light enough that way. So we'll see what happens now.

I found that with the DLX mixing with 66% hydration and almost no autolyse, the dough was not really mixing well. It was just stuck on the spinner.  I had to add some water, bringing it to about 69%. Then the machine was able to work the dough better.  I could have brought the hydration down a bit by adding flour near the end. I do this a lot with my pizza dough, but I decided not to do this here because I didn't want to alter the gluten development in any way for this test.  The dough heated to 84F and is now rising in a 72F room.

The one change I did make is that I used a sourdough culture. But I picked one that has strong lifting power, instead of my regular one which tastes better. I prefer to chill my dough to alter the flavor, but I've got a limited time window today so I'll just proof at room temp and hopefully it will be risen in about 6 hours. 

I'll post photos when it's done.

varasano's picture
varasano

How long do you have to wait to cut the bread? Is it bad to cut the bread while it's still a bit hot?

varasano's picture
varasano

Batch 13 on the top, using the windowpaned dough

 

Batch 12 (minimal mix, lots of folds) is on the left, and the next 2 are Batch 13 (windowpane, no folds). I don't know if you can tell, but Batch 12 is more creamy colored and batch 13 is much whiter. In real life the difference was very noticable.

Batch 13 was also much smoother all around. I'm not sure I prefer that. Overall Batch 13 had an excellent texture. Texture wise it was the best so far. I was still not as light as my target bread though. The flavor was not as deep as some of the longer slower rises (Some of the early batches are 18 hours and also use my more flavorful culture). The early batches really does taste as good as my target. This one clearly did not. So I still have a ways to go.

 

varasano's picture
varasano

> Can you describe the bread you are trying to model in more detail?

 

> What color is the crust?  Is the crust thin and crispy or thick and chewy?

The crust is very dark, almost black. However it is not burnt and not too thick.

 

>How is the crumb structure?  How big are the air holes in the crumb?

The air holes are very big. The loaf itself was huge, about 30 inches long, yet about 7 inches wide and almost as high. Shaped like a huge batard. You could actually buy a parts of a loaf if you wanted. It felt very light for its size. When you cut it, you have to be careful not to crush it.

 

> How does it taste?  Does it taste like sourdough?

I would guess it’s a sourdough. My only hesitation is that the crumb is a little darker and may have some rye in it. So that may be the source of all the flavor. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s got a small percentage of rye and uses a sourdough.

 

> How soft is the crumb?  Is it soft like wonder bread?  Is it stiffer?

> How wet or dry is the bread?  Is it dry like a baguette?

It’s stiffer than wonderbread. It’s not gummy like that. It feels like a lot of the moisture in it has evaporated out. It’s not dry but it’s airy and not gummy, which makes it feel drier. However you can eat a lot of this bread without any butter on it or anything. So it’s no dry.

> Is the crumb chewy?  How hard would you have to tug to pull off

a chunk of bread? 

Very easy to break off a piece by hand.

 

 

This was simply one of the best breads I’ve ever eaten. I’m certainly moving in the right direction, but I’m also certainly not there yet.

 

Batch 13 had a good texture but was not substantially larger than 12. I weigh my bread after baking it to see how much water it looses. Does anyone else do that? All in all with the starter, it probably had about 565g flour and 400g of water  (70%) to start and ended up with 190g of water. So it produced a lot of steam and was not water logged or gummy inside. It just needed to puff up more. Batch 12 was more water logged inside.  I don’t have as tight a count on the numbers, but it lost less of it’s water.
ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jeff,
I just re-read this thread with the idea of trying to understand how to help you if possible. I so respect your skills in the development of your excellent pizza that I'm sure you will find a way to reproduce the subject bread.

It would be helpful to know the name of the bread you bought in NY.

From the pictures above it looks like your stone is still on the bottom shelf. As with your pizza experiments, the ratio of heat distribution is important to the outcome. If you did move the stone, maybe there isn't enough space around the edges to allow the heat to rise easily above it. Typically you should have at least 1 inch free space around the stone.

I know you know about well developed gluten, I learned from you Jeff. You also convinced me that using sugar in pizza dough may cause your pizza to burn before it's ready. I suspect your target bread has some form of sweetener and probably a fat component since it is soft and almost black.

The thin crust you describe is the result of allowing the bread to expand quickly in a lower temperature under high humidity. You can most easily do this by using a cover or enclosure for the first 10-12 minutes. No steam or spraying of the bread is necessary. After the covered period the bread is just starting to get color and will now finish baking at the full oven temperature. I have used a clay la cloche, turkey roasting pan, stainless steel serving pan, glass Pyrex 4 liter bowl and stainless bowls as covers. All give good results and produce bread that looks like it was baked in a $5000 commercial steam deck oven. You can not duplicate that effect by opening the door multiple times and spraying water/tossing in hot water/ice cubes. When I can't cover the dough with a cover, I use the hot water in the pan with a brick and cover the vent in my electric oven. The results are not as good as covered but it's acceptable.
Check out
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4744/first-epi-and-baguette#comment-24025 

The best flavor in a AP mix in my opinion comes from using a small amount of rye to the white flour. 1-2 Tablespoons of rye in a 2 Lb loaf will dramatically improve the flavor if allowed to ferment.

One last thing Jeff. In my experience there are just a few bread products that need a stone to be great. Pizza, Pita and other flat breads and maybe Bagels benefit from the instant heat transfer that a hot stone brings. All the other breads are easily baked on a sheet pan with parchment with very little noticeable effect in the bottom crust. It could be that if you want better spring, using a sheet pan will slow down the heating of the dough enough to give you what you want. Maybe it's a little to much of a good thing.

Eric

varasano's picture
varasano

Even with the stone on the very bottom shelf of my oven, my bottoms are browning slower than the top. There's a at least 3 or inches on the left and right sides of the stone to let heat flow around the stone. In the earlier batches I had a water pan on the top shelf to block some heat coming from the top element. I can do something like that again if need be. However, right now the balance seems more or less ok.

Does a Silpat work as well as Parchment?

The target is from Dante's Deli on Central Ave in White Plains NY. Unfortunately I won't be back in NY to see it again for many months. The target bread had a nice cream color and some darker flecks (I think).  I want to add some Rye and try again.

I have some questions about the heating method. I'll write more later.

Jeff 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Something really stands out... "my bottoms are browning slower than the top"

Maybe your oven needs to be checked by an electrician. It could be there is more "juice" to the top coils than to the bottom.   Worth investigating.   It can happen, maybe the broiler is running with the normal (top & bottom) setting. The fact that you've even shoved a sheet between the top coils and the loaf says something too.

If I had to choose between a SD starter with flavour and one with more lift, I would go with flavour and after it had developed add a yeast booster to control timing.

Mini O

varasano's picture
varasano

I just mixed Batch 14. Ok, this is going to frustrate some of my coaches here, but I have a bit of a different process than a lot of people. Most people try to change just one thing at a time and try an run controlled experiments. I rarely do that. I don't want to get into a discertation about it, but there's a method to my madness. I occasionally teach a course on the topic of mastery and some of the most effective techniques are also the most counterintuitive... Anyway...

Batch 14 was mixed is as follows:

95% KA Bread Flour

5% Red Mills Dark Rye (first time I've ever used rye)

70% water

2.5% salt

I switched back to my less engergetic, but more flavorful culture. The levain is about 20% but I rolled the water and flour in the levain into the numbers above.  I intended to boost this with some IDY, which I usually do with this culture, but I forgot....  I did a 5 minute autolyse then a 23 minute high speed mix on the DLX. It came off the hook at 82F. I'm going to do 2 folds at 20 and 40 minutes, then a 1 hour rise at room temp. Then I'm going to refridgerate for about 8 hours then continue with a room temp rise, perhaps even an 85F rise. This culture does it's most flavoring at cool temps, but hardly rises at all without IDY unless it's warmed to 85ish. Then it will be fine.  It will probably need 4-6 hours to fully rise.

I didn't add any fat yet, but I might in Batch 15. 

I haven't decided on a baking method yet. Eric is a silpat as good as parchment? With the early batches I tried making boules with both a 450F oven and a cold start oven. They were good, but I've been getting a lot better results with the high initial heat and the batard shape. However  I might try your covered boule instead.

Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

Jeff 

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jeff,
I tried a silpat for baking and while it seems to work for cookies it left a fabric pattern on the top of my sheet pan when I used it at 500F for bread. Parchment works for me. 

Mini might have a point about your oven coils. She probably doesn't know your oven glows in the dark most days lol. You could be having a failing heat coil from repeatedly running the cleaning cycle.

Eric

varasano's picture
varasano

This bread ended up similar to some of the very early batches I did. My whole timing on this bread was thrown off by my regular life schedule... It ended up cold proofing 16 hours then warm proofing 5 hours. I forgot the IDY with this culture and so it really didn't rise enough, but I couldn't wait anymore and had to bake it. It came out tasty but not light. I used the covered bowl method on parchment. The top/bottom browning was perfect that way because the bottom hits the hot stone and gets a head start whereas the top is cooler due to the cover. So it all evened out. My cuts are not really exloding. I did like the flavor and color I got with 5% rye. But overall I'd say this was  step back from batch 13.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

da mit! = with it!

I could use a couple of slices right now. If you don't like your bread, I'll take it. Earlier today I made a pork roast, well seasoned, and the drippings are just sitting there, set, waiting for bread. I got paper thin sliced onions and sea salt to top. (Don't tell me I gotta go thaw something out!)

Mini O

It does make sense to IDY your dough, it would be twice as high and twice as airy.

When your oven decides to go to that great pizza bakery in the sky, have the bottom removed and framed. 

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi Jeff,

 Thanks so much for your great web site.  I just took at look at it and I'm really amazed at all you've done.  I've been studying pizza for about 6 months and this will help me move way ahead.

As for helping you with bread, I have more experience there.  I've been baking bread for a long time and just went to Johnson & Wales University for a weekend course on Artisan Bread Baking.  I was really excited to be taught by a master baker.

See my post under Artisan Baking, Johnson & Wales University.  I posted a good deal about the steps needed to make a professional loaf at home based on what was taught in the class, and some of my own home grown wisdom. If these can help you, I'm delighted to share.

Lisa H.

varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks for your nice letter Lisa. I'll check out your thread.

And thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I've got 27 people coming for pizza on Fri night!!! So no bread for me this week. But I'll get back to testing next week I hope.

Jeff