The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

2 nd try at Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

  • Pin It
holds99's picture
holds99

2 nd try at Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

This week I tried Michel Suas' whole wheat sourdough bread for the second time.  I made four pounds of dough and divided it into 2 loaves (2 lbs each).  The leavening is an overnight levain.  After reading Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads I decided to take a little different approach and prior to mixing the levain into the final dough I mixed the whole wheat and bread flour (for the final dough) together and mixed in the water and let it stand for 5 hours.  It became very soft and creamy.  Then I when the levain was ready I mixed it into the final dough mixture and let it stand for about 20 minutes.  Then added the salt and gave it a good 8-10 minute hand mixing using Richard Bertinet's "slap and fold" method.  During bulk fermentation I did three stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  Then divided the dough into 2 equal sizes, shaped it and placed them into heavily floured (50% rice flour/50% AP flour) unlined willow brotforms.  I belief soaking the combined final dough flour with the water really made a difference.

You might be interested to know that I used a different knife to score each loaf, which are sitting in front of their respective loaf.  The left loaf (right photo, top) was scored with a PureKomachi 5" high carbon stainless steel serated tomato knife.  The loaf on the right was scored with a standard serated 5" kitchen knife.  I think the PureKomachi does a hugely superior job. I also have the PureKomachi bread knife, which is also a great knife.  Hey, I sound like Ron Popeil selling Vegamatics :>).

Anyway, if you like whole wheat bread, well, it doesn't get any better than this.  It has great taste, nice mouth feel with a tinge of sourness after swallowing---and terrific flavor. 

Howard

2 nd try at Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Looks great Howard. Is that a totally natural levain?

Eric 

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks Eric,

As I mentioned in my previous post, the levain is natural sourdough made from starter (overnight/12 hours).  However, Suas uses a small amount of yeast in the final dough mixture (1/4 tsp. yeast per 4 lbs. of dough).  Because this book is oriented toward professional bakers I presume he does this to make his fermentation time more predictable in a commercial bakery environment in order to meet production schedules in timely manner.  I believe you would get the same result without using the yeast, it just may take another hour or so longer for the levain to get the dough doubled during bulk fermentation and during final fermentation, in the proofing baskets or whatever is being used for final proofing.  Next time I think I will eliminate the small amount of yeast from the final dough mixure and see if there's any appreciable difference in fermentation times and ovenspring.

Howard

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I hope you accept my apologies :)

Congratulations on your handsome loafs! 

I think you're right about the yeast in the final dough mix. I re-read the introduction to levain breads in Hamelman's Bread, and he points out that also several of his recipies calls for a small amount of yeast in the final mix. He asserts that using less 0.2% yeast in the final dough (fresh yeast that is), does not have any noticeable impact on the flavor or quality of the bread. I believe Suas gives baker % in his recipies as well (I don't own the book myself), so you could see if you're in the 0.2% range.

There's also the 0.33 - 0.4 conversion factor to take into account, going from dry to fresh yeast. 

Let us know if you make a new batch without the added yeast! 

holds99's picture
holds99

Hans,

You're correct.  I checked Suas formula and he shows .16 yeast in his whole wheat bread, which is under the .2 you mentioned from Hamelman's book.  I will certainly let you know how it goes without the yeast  I'm going to be making this bread within the next few days and I'll try it without the yeast this time.

Howard

dougal's picture
dougal

Firstly, Suas uses even less yeast than Howard suggests. So although you might say he is "cheating" more often than Hamelman, with adding yeast to Sourdough, its usually to only a quite tiny extent.

 

The percentage quoted is actually misleading because of the unusual (and IMHO unhelpful) way that Suas uses "Bakers Percentages".

I'll try and explain.

Whereas Hamelman gives percentages for the overall formula, Suas (strangely IMHO) doesn't.

That "0.16%" is only of the flour being added as dry flour to the final dough.

But the final dough also contains flour in the leaven, which in turn contains "stiff starter", with more flour.

So you have to do quite a bit of maths to find out the proportion compared to the total flour in the overall formula.

The stiff starter is 2/3 flour by weight, ie 50% hydration - (hard to find that info, but it is there really).

So the leaven that is 95% 'Bread' (ie All Purpose) flour + 5% Rye + 50% water and 80% stiff starter is therefore adding 50% hydration stuff to 50% hydration stuff - so the total leaven is also (50% hydration) 2/3 flour by weight.

Therefore the "40% leaven" in the final dough is adding another 27% flour.

Thus the "0.16%" yeast is actually 0.16 x 100/127 ie 0.126% if expressed in the conventional "whole formula" Bakers' Percent that Hamelman uses.

 

Similarly Howard has previously been misled by the salt showing as "2.53%" in this recipe, and I recall explaining to him that, its actually 1.98% (essentially the conventional 2%) when you express it in 'ordinary' bakers percent (for the overall formula), rather than the bizarre and misleading (it has already misled Howard twice!) "final dough flour" method that Suas prefers.

I'd appreciate it if someone could explain to me what the advantage is of quoting things in Suas's way, rather than Hamelman's - because I simply don't see it.

Personally, I find the "overview" of a whole formula very helpful indeed and have no idea why Suas chooses not to provide it.

holds99's picture
holds99

You're correct again.  I simply took his percentage straight from his recipe.  That's twice for me.  Won't do that again :>). 

Howard

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

So, based on Hamelman's and Suas' differing figures, there's no unique way of giving recipes in terms of baker's percentages?

If so, that's pretty unfortunate. 

dougal's picture
dougal

I don't know if there's any "official" standard method of quoting bakers' percent.

 

There are two obvious uses for such a listing.

1 - scaling quantities

2 - comparing formulae

 

IMHO Hamelman's primary method (total composition) facilitates comparison of hydration, salt, yeast, and flavourings (rye, spelt, malt, etc) between one bread formula and another.

That's why I prefer it to Suas's.

Hamelman's method is also helpful if you are making levain specifically for that product.

 

I can only presume that Suas's method is preferred for shop-floor worker drones, using leaven "on tap". And neither needing nor wanting to concern themselves with understanding the formula. Different target audience to Hamelman?

 

However, the prize for the daftest way I've ever come across of quoting these formulae goes to Lalos. His book is very production-oriented indeed (forming baguettes 'à la machine') but he quotes all his formulae as listing what you add to one litre of water. That choice of method of expression, I really, really, really don't understand... but then, I'm not French! :-) 

 

EDIT - added - I think I'm right in saying that Reinhart changed from the Suas style of Bakers' Percent, as used in BBA, to the Hamelman style in his later WGB.

holds99's picture
holds99

I believe the % should be the % of the total recipe ("total composition" as you say) and not based on final dough mixture.

Here's a thought that I have regarding the different methods of measurement between Suas' large batches, for commerical bakery mixing, and his "Test" batches (2 lb. batches of dough), which home bakers would be inclined to use.  It appears two different individuals or work groups wrote up the measurements independently then they were merged for the book recipes, with the commercial writer(s) using the metric measurements (kilograms) for large batches and the "Test" batch writer(s) using only pounds and ounces, teaspoons, etc.  It's the only rationale I can come up with for using different units of measures for the two.  Plus he mixes fractions with pounds and ounces for the Test batches, which adds to the confusion.  What do you think?

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

HansJoakin,

I told you that I would post after I baked the Suas whole wheat without yeast.  I made a 2 lb. test loaf with no yeast.  I mixed in a half cup of cooked brown rice to give it a little texture.  Also let the final dough flour soak in the final dough water overnight, then mixed it with the levain the next morning.  Let the levain/final dough mixture rest for 20 minutes then kneaded in the salt.  3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals during the first hour of a 2 hour bulk fermentation.  The dough seemed wetter than previous batches.  Maybe it was the overnight soak or the additon of the rice.  Hard to tell without doing the soak and rice seperately in seperate batches.

Anyway, 1 hour final proof in a parchment lined pan then into a preheated (450 deg. F) dutch oven, covered it and baked for a total of 32 minutes, the final 10 minutes with the lid off.

I was extremely happy with the results. The crumb was moist but not the least bit gummy and fairly open.  You don't need the yeast and I don't think I would change anything.

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - No Yeast

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - No Yeast

Howard

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

We all benefit and learn from your testing, Howard, so thanks for posting your results :-)

As you wrote to Jane below, > 0.2% added yeast shouldn't substantially alter anything in the final product, and it's probably just used as an insurance against those "bad starter days", where nothing seems to be working out.

Enjoy your whole wheat :-) 

proth5's picture
proth5

Can't wait for my copy of ABandP to arrive...

holds99's picture
holds99

Good to hear from you.  You'll enjoy the book.  Suas doesn't provide a lot of detailed instructions, he assumes the baker knows the basics.  Sort of like reading Escoffier's cook book; "prepare an artichoke bottom, make a bernaise sauce, cook the tournado, etc." :>) Not quite that way but, like I said, Suas assumes the user know the basics.

Enjoy your new book and please post some of the results.

Howard

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Your bread looks very nice Howard!

In France bakers use everything by litre of water and when I was visiting the two a few weeks ago, they said everything that way and it just didn't make sense to me! I had adopted the to flour calculations and here were these people changing it all! My new book (text book for French bakers in training is the same, it's all calculted to litre of water). I'll have it figure it out.

As for the yeast, that's another French law. You can put up to 0,2% yeast and the bread is still "pain au levain". I love sourdough, but there are certain breads that I always add a smidgen of yeast to in order to get the rise and texture I'm looking for. The small amount of yeast speed to rise up but it is still slow and so the sourdough taste does develops. It's really the best of both worlds. Baguette, croissant, brioche and certain flours like Kamut, or with certain ingredients, I use a bit of yeast. I think Silverton goes over board with the yeast in her breads. But it is definitely a handle "tool".

Jane 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate your kind words.  I have made this bread a few times recently using Suas recipe with very good results and was curious as to whether there is a difference in the amount of rise, rising times, oven spring, etc. using the yeast vs. leaving it out---and just having the levain alone do the leavening.  As far as I can determine the yeast is used in the event the baker's levain isn't fully active and/or as insurance in commercial bakery operations where schedules are crucial.  Anyway, I used a very active starter for my levain and got good results without adding the yeast to the final dough mix.  As I recall, someone posted recently, referencing Hamelman, stating that .2 or less  yeast (as you mentioned being allowed under French law) is acceptable and produces neglegible inpact as far as leaving any taste or affecting the sourdough/levain in a negative way.

As for flour, I used Bob's Red Mill for the white flour, which I had not been able to find here in Florida until recently.  I finally found a health food store that stocks 5 lb. bags.  The whole wheat flour is flour that I order via mail from Cable Mill, a century old water mill in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  Cable Mill produces excellent stone ground whole wheat flour.  Anyway, the stars seemed to align properly yesterday and all went well with this batch...sans yeast.

Thanks for posting the recent information on your site re: your trip to Paris and Anis' bakery along with the baguette information, photos and instructions.  Very nice post and the English language translation was very helpful.

Best to you and yours and have fun with your baking adventures,

Howard

Kuret's picture
Kuret

If you look at the instructions for making the levain prior to baking it says in almost every recipe to let ferment for 12-16 hours. This is rather long compared to the time a active sourdough culture reaches its peak, more like 8-10 hours, but these formulas are meant for bakery operations so the baker makes the levain before going home and when he returns 16 hours later it is ready and the formula is adopted for it.

 I suspect that maxing this formula with a starter that has aged less than 12 hours whould speed up the rise some.

BTW. I definately prefer the way Suas uses percentages, I find it very easy to use. But the lack of a total formula for a good deal of the formulas is a big letdown in "that book" 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Kuret,

12-16 hours fermentation is also standard in most of Hamelman's recipes. Building one of his levains in two stages usually requires 12 - 16 hours ripening time, at least based on my experience. A one stage build would probably be closer to your 8-10 hours.

Doughman's picture
Doughman

Jane,

 1 litre of water should weigh 1 kilo.  When I went to baking school in Paris, the ingredient for water in bread formulas was always listed in litre instead of kilo.  I wondered why they listed as litre because I did see any gigantic measuring cups lying around the facility.

 Most of the bakeries in Paris and maybe throughout France always used a smidgen of baker's yeast along with their sourdough breads.  We used it in school as well, and liked you said, "0.2% yeast" was allowed.  It did not altered the taste of the sourdough bread.  The main reason it was added to the sourdough bread was because of time.  Of course, the instructor said you do not have to add yeast to your sourdough bread, but you will probably have to increase the 2nd fermentation time.

After thinking about why bakers in Paris or around France used a smidgen of yeast, it made sense to me.  Most of the bakeries that I visited in Paris are small.  The facilities are either on the ground floor or in the basement/cellar and since space is at a premium and the cost of labor and the cost of energy (gas and electric) are not cheap, using a smidgen of yeast in sourdough breads gives the baker an advantage. Having heaps of retarders, refrigerators, etc...can take up space and energy especially if one is fermenting bread dough for over 12 hours and baking 6 days a week.

Doughman's picture
Doughman

I made a slight mistake in my above comment.  I meant to say..."I did not see any gigantic measuring cups lying around the facility."

holds99's picture
holds99

Whether grams or ounces, water should weigh the same as it measures in volume i.e. 8 oz volume should be 8 oz. when scaled. 

Howard