The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough X-Files...,

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Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Sourdough X-Files...,

Morning All,

I tried something that is a bit over the edge but now that it worked I'll admit to it.

I cooked a sourdough batard in a large Reynolds Oven Bag. The dough was proofed in a cotton lined basket, transfered to baking parchment, slashed and then carefully slid into the oven bag. The oven bag was tied shut with the plastic ties that came with the bags. The whole was then placed on the hot baking stone and slid into the oven to bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (the bags temperature limit). The timer was set for 20 minutes after which the bag and parchment were removed and the loaf continued cooking on the stone for an additional 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The spring rise was more than adequate with the crust browning quite a bit during the last phase of baking. Although very grayish-tan it was astonishingly chewy but not quite as crunchy as I'd like. The crumb taste and texture is almost creamy with a nutty background and wonderfully chewy with only a hint of sourness. I've got to think about this a little longer as the shock that it actually worked as well as it did is still clanging around in my head. I've nearly eaten half the loaf already just tasting it out. I'd take pictures but it's much later than I'd like having to rise bright eyed early tomorrow morning so it will be deferred till tomorrow.

By the by, if you do this make sure that the bag has plenty of clearence to the top of the oven. It will puff up with steam and stay that way. Also make sure that the end with the bag tie doesn't touch the ovens heating element at the top of the oven.

Wild-Yeast

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

I would have feared the worst, believing that my hard-earned dough (double pun), was on the verge of destruction, and worse, I had placed it in harms way.  lol

Well, Kudos to you!  I'd never thought to use one of those bags, but you have to admit, we bread bakers are a wild lot, we are constantly thinking outside of the box....the bread box.

Happy bakes to you!  I look forward to seeing your pics.

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Oven Bagged Baked Organic Sourdough

As promised the above image is the organic sourdough baked in an oven bag for the first 20 minutes of the bake. On retrospect the crust is nearly identical to San Francisco sourdough though the sour flavor of the crumb is less which I prefer but it's just as chewy. A higher temperature preferment roll-up will solve that problem if desired.

As you might have guessed this will not last long. No, not at all...,

Wild-Yest

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Looks good, W-Y-Mulder!

How tough are those bags?  I'm having an x-thought....

Do you think it's possible to combine dry ingredients and bag them, later add liquids and mix inside the bag and bake a loaf without ever removing the bag until 20 minutes into the bake?  What do you think will happen?  

Mini O-Skully

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Mini,

The Reynold Oven Bags are made out of high density nylon. These bags are a lot tougher than most people realize.

I can't acutally think of any reason why a one bag loaf from start to finish wouldn't work for a simple bread though forming the loaf through the bag may prove somewhat challenging.  Sounds interesting enough to try!

I use the bags to contain the entire banneton for final proofing to prevent evaporation. I find this a much better solution than plastic wrap and reusing the bags for this purpose.

Brings up something I've been thinking about recently. A "sort of" contest for the best bread made under the most primitive and severe conditions. Something like; "This was baked in the sand after we removed the Kailua Pig" or "this was mixed and kneaded on a rock and cooked in a boulder and mud oven fueled with straw". Really prehistoric, anthropologic loaves of the ancient art so to speak...,

Wild-Yeast

Susan's picture
Susan

Earth Oven

Susan from San Diego  (aka Smartypants)

Darth Lefty's picture
Darth Lefty

This was baked on the engine of a BMW R60/2... no not really!  But it's making me think.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Susan,

Yep! That approximates the heart and feel of the "sort of" contest. The most primitive almost naturally occuring baked bread experience. I guess the real portal is to look at simple but effective ways in which leavened bread can be realized.

Wild-Yeast

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

cuz it sure sounds like fun.  I wonder (I'm thinking out loud here), do I have to notify my local FD, get a permit, or can I just 'go for it'?  lol. 

That loaf of bread is a beauty!  Wild-Yeast, are there any crumbs left for a taste test?  Naw, I didn't think so. 

Please get serious with these bread baking rules, let's try round one, ASAP!  I'm off to my cave to gather stones, twigs, and some other rudimentary objects.  I guess I'd better grab the thinking cap while I'm there.  This may prove a challenge of a lifetime.

:)

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Primitive yet simple would be to put the dough in one of those oven bags, then place the bag on your engine block at the start of a long trip on a hot day.

How many miles does it take to bake a pita? Don't know, but I recall reading about some guys who cooked their lunch using that method (food was wrapped in foil).

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

coming out of my dishwasher last week, the wheels started turning to the point that I put an oven thermometer in the washer during the dry cylce, but then forgot to check it. I wonder how hot it gets. I wonder if I could time it so all that steam would hit the bread just after I put it in. Hmmmm, the mind staggers.

Larry

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I think it was one of those redneck books on how to cook roadkill on a V-8 engine block, or something along those lines, where the en papillote of choice was aluminum foil (which I almost used but switched at the last moment on a suggestion from my Wife). Tent the loaf up before loading it into the oven. Make sure the folds are tight and that they seal the edges of the "tent" well.

Now who will try the aluminum foil en papillote?

Wild-Yeast

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

also exists..... Do parchment alu-foil bags also exist?   I remember that book was popular in the late 70's and early 80's. Was writen for road trip cooking. Manifold cooking, I think it was called.

A moment later: Looks like it's called "Manifold Destiny" and now available at a whopping $40! I remember the paperback version for $5 and the right size for the dashboard. This book is supposed to save money? Does a V4 engine cook in twice the time?  Where's that manifold?

Mini O

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

My kneading rock has been scraped off and I'm ready!  But why primitive?  

How about mixing using a bicycle or bungee folding?  

How about blinding someone and helping them verbally, talk them through, making a loaf of bread?

Mini O

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I've seen aluminum foil paper bags sold filled with sourdough garlic bread so the bread can be reheated. I don't have any experience with these bags but they should work up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" was so named because this is the temperature at which paper will catch fire and burn. Plenty of pizzas are reheated with the cardboard underneath so I guess there's a little wiggle room here.

The bread pictured in the first entry of this makes the best toast I have ever experienced. The texture of the toasted crumb with jam has to be taste experienced to fully comprehend. Needless to say I will make many, many more.

Now on what constitutes primitive. The thinking is that by some cosmic coincidence Earth is left without any of its modern conveniences. Poof! They're all gone! No electricity and therefore nothing that uses it is allowed. This cosmic confluence also has remediated any use or gaseous or liquified petroleum products. Poof! No gas ovens unless you can make methane out of a compost pile. Think of this as a artisan's bakers guide to primitive self sufficiency and you'll begin to harmonize with the thought process.

After thinking about this I think it is meant as a long term item. It's meant to highlight members who trek out beyond civilization and decide to test their mettle with primitive baking skills. For some of us that's in our own back yards. Keeping score will be the votes a primitive breadmaker scores on their post. Stars for the most original and inventive uses of heat sources and local materials in constructing the primitive staff of life. This doesn't necessarily invalidate the use of modern materials as long as they support the self sufficiency theme.

I think it's important to note that this is more a thought process than a contest. Deconstructing the bread making process down to its basics and how to achieve each using new, old, inventive, begged, borrowed and stolen techniques and processes is more in line with the theme...,

Wild-Yeast

P.S. You can come down out of the tree now Mini O...,

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

How many uses can you get out of a bag?

Rosalie

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

when exposed to a concrete jungle, but on my way to the cave I remembered the fallen meteorite.  I'm wondering:  Can it conduct heat more efficiently than the quarry rock? 

We'll see, but for now I'm off to ponder other forgotten nuances.

Yes, I am seriously gathering twigs and stones. 

Is there a timetable?  I'm in the midst of rainy season and can't start the fire just yet.

Mini O, are you down from that tree?

The mind, such a terrible thing to waste, and at this late hour, a dangerous thing to try to use.

lol

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Rosalie,

I don't really know the answer to that yet.  I think they should last for at least 3 or 4 bakes.  We'll just have to see.  Walmart has the lowest price that I've been able to find.

Wild-Yeast 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

No time pressure whatsoever.

Cooking sourdough on a live lava stream would be one handy way to wowse out the wannabes. Blast furnace apparel is recommended and flip-flops (slaps) are not allowed..., Peels need to be 10 to 20 feet long and I've got a feeling that the oven bounce will be truly amazing..., Kilauea anyone?

Wild-Yeast

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've cut down a few branches and decided that would leave too big a carbon footprint.   So I hopped onto the roof.  Collectors are running at 120°c !  Ha!  That's 250°F, how long do you think it will take to bake a loaf at 250° F?  

I'm thinking the Myanmarese are having a rough time, they had a big poof.  And no drinking water either.  Salt water everywhere (contaminated wells) and death.  It would be hard for them just to make a simple fire.   I'm thinking I'm going to bake a lot less and donate to Floyd's organization.   --Mini O

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I'll let the pictures tell the story...,

The bagged dough, slashed on parchment:

Into the oven:

Bag removed and finishing bake:

Finished loaf about to be removed from the oven:

Shot of crust and crumb. It is San Francisco Sourdough French Bread!

Bon Appetit!

Wild-Yeast

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

If you floured and poked holes in the bag as the directions state? Your loaf looks great! Do you think there is any benefit to using the bags..or was this just for fun?

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Paddyscake,

No it wasn't just for fun. It comes from an ongoing discussion regarding steam injected ovens used in baking sourdough bread and how to recreate this effect in the home environment. It makes a large difference in the texture of crust and crumb. The crust of SFSD bread is chewy, not crunchy or crackly retaining much of its moisture unlike most artisan style crusts. The crumb is tender almost soft but retains its body when chewed. Dough production is responsible for setting up the necessary conditions in which the baking process sets and requires around 24 hours to complete the cycle.

No holes were poked in the bag as per the instructions. The dough sits on a piece of baking parchment inside the bag (no flour). The bag seal tie leaves enough vent for the steam generated by the cooking loaf to escape. One caution is not to use the convection setting on ovens so equipped. They overshoot 400 degrees Fahrenheit by a large margin and will "scorch" the oven bag. I usually heat the oven to baking temperature using the convection feature and then change to normal bake before inserting the loaf.

Wild-Yeast

P.S. An aluminum foil tent will probably work just as well. Haven't tried it yet though.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

of the effects of steam for the texture of the crust. I guess I have been fortunate that my method of hot pan/hot water and the way my oven retains the steam work well for me. Interesting to see other methods. I have tried the bowl method, but it's just as easy and less chance of being burned to produce the steam as I have been. Thanks for sharing your observations.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hello All,

I've tried the bag several times now with equal levels of success, BUT I've also tried the cover method and it works equally well as regards the baking outcome AND is much easier to do. For the sake of completeness I also tried the aluminum foil tenting technique. It works equally well but I don't like the idea that the bread is hidden from view. It's also somewhat of a hassle to get proofed dough all aligned and tented let alone onto the stone and into the oven...,

In summary the pan cover technique is the winner and indicates that small ovens without vents are very conducive to oven spring and crust development.

Good Baking!

Wild-Yeast

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks for doing all the experimenting for everyone WY. A very interesting thread that should help a large number of people.

Jane 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

bake in the bag, on the rack, no pan. Will it work?

I also am using a magnifing glass to heat up lava rocks under an oven like the Star Trek trick with a lazer. Thanks for the lava rock idea, normally rocks explode when unevenly heated. I'm thinking simply along the lines of using solar and passive glass to magnify and refract light, enough to bake with. There are some neat passive ideas for getting drinking water from moisture in the air taking advantage of condensation. Why not a fold out oven that works passively with the sun? Or a reflecting, magnifing device, one that is mounted in the roof and focuses heat through the roof into a deep style oven, like the kind built in Iraq. (Don't run your arms through it's beam while preheating, a cautionary note. It does have the advantage of zapping unwanted flying insects.) A dome cover could also be heated using the device.

"The loaf was laid gently in a fire pit at high noon surrounded by a circle of little lazers and mirrors all futuristically intent on baking it to primitive perfection." Random quote from Mini's book: "Baking on the Moon."

And should thy loaf fail? Had it not been the flour, water, or timing of proof? Nay, it was yonder moon, in all its glory, surley fault on yeasts of failing. KLICK

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Imagine the oven spring you would get in low gravity and low atmospheric pressure!
 David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or even global bread.  Worth a trip to the moon just to try it out.  

Mini O

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

A Solar powered lava rock oven with lunar gravity assist and vacuum control for the perfect oven spring....,

Does make for an interesting thought though, what would happen if the bread is raised under high pressure then allowed to decompress during the bake. Pain au Ballon?

Wild-Yeast

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

because I'm grounded. Thought about raising bread within a vacuum chamber before... (I've done it earthbound with silicone.)

It would be interesting to see if removing the limits of gravity would open a whole new world of taste in bread. Here on Earth, we depend upon an interaction between various bacteria and yeast fermentation to both raise and flavour our bread using time to develop it. The gasses produced working with grain/seed flavours is the essence of good bread. Our individual taste buds and reactions to what we eat guide us. Using these different bacteria and yeasts have their limits when they use up the food we give them and stop producing gas. If on the other hand one could stretch and raise dough in a vacuum chamber without using the gasses & flavour produced by these weebeasties, a different taste dimention is possible. It could taste like anything else but have the bubbly texture of bread. One simple example has already manifested itself between cake and bread, cake no longer using beasties but a chemical reaction to raise and achieve fine crumb structure. The trick would be to set the loaf, or bake it in the vacuum chamber when it is expanded.

To stretch the imagination:

Q: Would a baking vacuum chamber put an end to overproofing?

A: Only in an anti gravity situation.

Observation: I've seen the gasses drawn out of silicone using vacuum. It acts just like a 1:1 starter only reducing 6 or more hours to 6 minutes. As vacuum increases, the silicone rises and bubbles (looks like boiling) eventually reaching a limit in it's bubbly structure and then when all gas is removed, it falls suddenly (gravity) on itself resulting in a dense thick mass at the bottom of the chamber. Very tight molecular structure.

Thought:  If the vacuum/baking chamber was used without gravity, the bread could be baked up to maximum stretch, no worry of gluten breakdown or collapse. The range of density would vary from door stop to fragile threads. Wonder Bread would become heavy in comparison and bread could be a light as cotton candy. Cotton Rye anyone? Would we still call it Bread? Imagine a round beachball loaf, hollow & braided like a bamboo ball and tasting like roasted oats and nuts with all the calories of a earthly bowl of muesli.

Anti-gravity Vacuum bread when combined with microwave and browning coils would be baked extremely fast. Stretch becomes the iimitation.

Mini O

Darth Lefty's picture
Darth Lefty

Having played with vacuums quite a bit at my vocation, I need to tell you, you would be AMAZED how much air there is in your bread dough.  I shouldn't be surprised if you needed to throttle the vacuum a bit, so it doesn't explode.  Actually if there weren't a prohibition on food in such places I'd just go try it for fun.


Unfortunately heat management on a spacecraft is of paramount importance and an oven is right out of the question.  What do you think you can do with a microwave?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

As microwave heats from the outside in, it would be important to have the right kind of scoring to manage the oven spring.  3D all over kind of scoring!   Or maybe a beautifully cracked surface structure!  Oh Hans!  What would the banneton look like?  Hinged two piece naturally!  Which side is bottom?


The dough should rotate, maybe give the dough a spin or give the microwave a spin before closing the oven door, whatever works!  Special spindle to hold the dough in the middle?  Possible.  Roasted flours, sourdough, sprouted flours...  would be fun!  Coffee and pepper bread to pep up the space lab life. 


I did think of something...  If oven smells might be good for a change on a space lab (to cover up stinky sweaty smells) what do we do about stale bread smells?  One cannot "air out"  in space.


Mini

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The quest for Space Bread is beginning to take on a "Myth Buster" mystique. Suppose a loaf, slashed and ready to bake is placed into a vacuum chamber which is then evacuated of air to 0.1 atmosphere or so.  The vacuum action must be maintained as volatiles "boil" away which might be a show stopper in that their absence in the bake may change complex food chemistry and the resultant taste.


But let's be American about this, we'll just add more salt to make up for the missing flavor! Addition of cheese, basil, oregano, lavender, thyme, pepper flakes and matchstick cut pepperoni are ideal ingredients to finish off a great "Space Ball Pizza". 


Just imagine, the kiddies could have fun shooting hoops or playing soccer with their food before dinner!  Ok. so that's a slight exaggeration but possibilities do boggle the mind on a track like this. . . ,


But seriously a vacuum chamber for the immaculate oven spring . . . ,


 


+Wild-Yeast


 


 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Mini O,

Space Bread! What a great idea for a novel method to break the monotony of voyaging to Mars! What better way than to bake a Space Bread Pizza! Just think of how the cheese would evolve during cooking in such a loaf. Bits of dried tomato intermixed with sauce and basil would comingle producing a "Space Bread Pizza Ball" the size of a beach ball. A Neapolitan of Cosmic proportion..., Hmmmm...., Now how to get it back down to Earth..., To bad its only valid in zero gravity...,

I propose that this become a number one priority for testing on the International Space Station! Everyone loves a pizza, why not begin the conquest of space on the right footing and a properly fed stomach?...,

 

Wild-Yeast

P.S. Ever watch the cartoon series "Pinky and the Brain"?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Such a big round pizza!  I'd be tempted to eat a hole out big enough for my head and finish eating it from the inside out!  If it was big enough, the whole space crew coud stick their heads inside and eat, talking to each other at the same time.  A new kind of pizza party!  (reminds me of tinker toy spokes) 

But seriously folks, it would be great to have a Loafer write us from a Mars Mission weekend bake.   "Mission Control to ...---... Mars Sourdough ...-..  ...-.. can we have a copy on that oven temperature?" 

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

can cause hyperventilation. Are your hands tingling yet? David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

http://votrepain.com/


Thank You Quito.Paolo!  And Flo Makanai for posting the video on your site!  Got any more?


Now what about a zero gravity.   If this is injected straight into a microwave without a paper cup it would go all over the inside of the oven,  but if it was injected into a perforated bag, an edible bag, and floated inside the microwave on a space station...  How many seconds?  Now to find a space chicken for those fresh eggs... 


Mini O Space Station.   "We are rising"

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What harm could some data do?Baguette&Viverais
Baguette&Viverais

David

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I love to experiement myself, but I don't know about heading down the vacuum path: mixing under vacuum is one of the techniques of the modified Chorleywood process used in Australia which is said to make the absolute worst bread in the world.

sPh

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

because the baguette au balloon was actually pretty good. 

David 

p.s. For the straight scoop, see my blog entry "Poolish baguettes from Hamelman's "Bread." 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Where did you get a vacuum chamber big enough to proof that loaf in by the way?

sPh

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you promise not to tell Mini O., I'll tell you in confidence ... 

The vacuum was in my all-too-active imagination. Shhhhh ...  

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Got to work on THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT (LINK)   


Found the party hat and folded the middle of the silicone bunt pan with a little alu-foil to plug the hole and make a handle.  Worked pretty good -- no aromas of bread baking (not a plus in my book) until I lifted the dome 25 minutes later to discover it was already quite brown!  The aromas were more of "something smells hot and where's it coming from?"  The silicone did change color during baking and is now very dark which is even better for heat transfer but is blotchy ugly and the form feels slightly sticky. (fat residue?)


silicone steam capsule


I used the silicone base for doing "stretch and folds"  with a rubber spatula which worked rather well,  the rye did not stick to it and no need of parchment paper.  The cover covered.  Because it was protected, I blasted the silicone steam capsule with convection for more heat.  I did set it onto a heavy pre-heated pizza pan which resulted in a dark bottom crust.  Next time, no pan and cold oven.


Another variation: Bottom pan silicone and top stainless bowl.   The fit is snug so no escaping steam.




This is silicone loaf pan (after removal of side supports and ends of pan) on heavy pizza pan with stainless dome.  The bottom got too brown on this 80% rye loaf.  The loaf has an interesting profile and was baked in record time.  Why I didn't set it on the silicone base just goes to show that I'm stupidly stubborn sometimes,  it might have come out better... the pans do fit together.



Sort of a cross between loaf pan and free form. 


Mini