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PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

As promised. Here are my Cantonese mooncakes. There are many styles of mooncakes in China depending on the region but Cantonese mooncakes (廣式月餅) are my favorite.  It is the "special mooncake" here in our country and the style of mooncake most commonly seen in the west. They are only available once a year and in Chinatown only. I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to mooncakes. My absolute favorite is a classic lotus paste with double salted duck egg yolk but I'll be happier if I can find triple or even quadruple ones. I know, they can be one of those puke inducing combinations for those who are not accustomed to it but it is really good especially if they are well made. I guess, I'm the opposite of the younger generations, mooncakes and fruit cakes are my favorite "cakes" (I don't know why mooncakes are called cake since they resemble a pastry more closely but the character 餅 is almost always translated as cake in English ); just considered rotating presents this day. With mooncakes, it's the modern interpretation of flavors that puts me off! Snow skin (Durian) mooncakes?! Nah! I don't like them! As they say, "to each his own" just like how I hate Durian and how my dad keeps and lets them ripen under his bed to eat them with bliss! But we both love mooncakes! If not for the $$$ and calories, we could easily finish 2 regular mooncakes for each of us but we can't and we won't do that!


[on the left is a mini five kernel mooncake (五仁) and on the right is lotus double egg yolk (雙蛋黃蓮蓉)]

The thin soft and chewy crust is imprinted with different decorative patterns and has a glossy dark finish. From their looks alone, they already look daunting to make; add to that a list of weird ingredients (e.g. golden syrup, alkaline water) and they will seem impossible to be made at home but I'm not the one to be easily deterred. From the day I tasted this, I am dreaming to make it at home one day. So after some research, I realized it's not that difficult and I've seen many home bakers replicate them with ease that even look identical to those sold in stores so what seems like a Chinese pastry shop top secret is within anyone's reach. After a lot of planning (I tell you it requires a lot of planning if you want it to be 100% homemade! If you want to make it like a scientist, here is a great guide that even includes a recipe for homemade golden syrup, a substitute for lye water, and an intriguing sesame filling), I decided to give it a shot last week and here are the results.

They are not as pretty as the store bought but tastes exactly the same as the "good" ones. With mooncakes there's a big difference between "good" and "pretty". We always buy our mooncakes from a humble bakery in Chinatown because they're fresher and tastier; we never get those in fancy boxes that sell for a lot higher price but end up sitting in the shelf for months! What do you expect? Lots of preservatives that doesn't do any good in slowing the decline of quality and leads to bad chemical scent and aftertaste!



Mooncakes are easy to make if you HAVE a SCALE and an oven. Mooncakes are all about accuracy and ratio; from the ratio of the golden syrup to alkaline water in the dough to the ratio of the filling to dough; it also demands exact baking time and temperatures. I know I can have difficulties about those issues but since I am a passionate (okay; obsessed, hard headed, gritty) baker, I already have a theory on how I can execute it without a scale and an oven; and when I'm this confident, I know 90% of the time it will turn out well. Seeing the process common in all baked mooncakes, I think this will be the easiest one to duplicate in my clay pot.

Making mooncakes starts with salting the eggs. A month ago, we had a huge amount of eggs from our chickens and I turned some of them into salted eggs for this project. I experimented for this batch of salted eggs and separated 6 eggs to try a new salting process I learned from the internet. For the bulk of the eggs, I used the normal method of a boiled salt water solution and submerged the eggs in there for a month and those are what I used for last week's flaky mooncakes. For this eggs, they are just dipped in wine then covered in salt. When done,you keep the inside a plastic bag or a jar then forget about it for one month. This method is easier because you don't need to boil or measure anything. They are done curing when the yolk holds a spherical shape when cracked on a bowl or plate. I was so happy with the results that I made a video to document it, they just look like those I saw from the internet! I do not have anyone to help me so one hand-phone, one hand-egg and shoot!






I separated the yolks from the whites and rinsed them under running water then marinated them in wine for 20 minutes and steamed them for 5 minutes. Most recipes say throw away the whites but I hate wastage and they are from the precious eggs of our chickens so I kept them until I find a use for them. Luckily I found a use for them when I read a recipe for Cantonese meatloaf. This is a tip! Do not discard the salty whites, use them for something that calls for eggs or egg whites for a binder then reduce or omit the salt. Very simple but genius! We used them for spring rolls meat mixture and saved some for a flavorful seal for the wrappers.



Cantonese mooncakes are made with a sugar syrup (糖醬) made from sugar, water and an acid that's been aged before using. It is the most crucial ingredient for mooncakes and everything depends on it. From my research it is an invert sugar syrup so it can be replaced by honey or corn syrup but I decided to make my golden syrup because its 4X cheaper and 4X more fun to make than either of the two. Again, it needs precise measurements and temperatures to be made right. I didn't believe it! Mooncakes were made a long time ago and I don't think they have ovens and thermometers at that time. I just threw in some sugar and water and some local lime slices and boiled for around 45 minutes until the consistency is like the one I see in videos. They say if you cooked it too thick, you can add water and cook again to the right consistency and when you added too much water, you just need to cook it longer; that's why I'm confident with not measuring anything. 

Here is my golden syrup. I made it last October 12, 2015 and forgot about it until I brined our chickens' eggs. It's more than six months old now and they say the older it is, the better. If you're in a hurry it can be used as early as 2 weeks so make when your eggs already spent 2 weeks in the brine. It used to be almost full but I don't know why it has diminished by a lot! Maybe my parents have mistaken it for honey (It has a really good flavor) to put on their morning toast! That's one of the disadvantages of being a late riser! You do not know what happens in the morning!



Different recipes have different ratios of oil to syrup to alkaline water and I didn't follow any of them. Alkaline water (鹼水 / gan sui / jian shui / kansui / lihiya) is very cheap and readily available here but I chose not to use it because I am only making a small batch of mooncakes so the amount I need will be very small too and the only available size in the market is a 500 ml so I omitted it to avoid wastage. I just measured my syrup and oil  relatively to each other (it's close to 2:1 syrup to oil but I'm not sure) then added flour until a smooth soft dough formed and let it rest for 3 hours. Recipes usually says to use a low protein or cake flour but I only have all-purpose flour so that's what I used.

The oil-syrup mixture and the mooncake dough.


Here are the fillings. Steamed salted and yolks and red bean paste; many have said even Chinese people that I make the best red bean paste. I just don't know if they're telling the truth. :D If I could only get dried lotus seeds here in my area, I would definitely invest my time in making lotus seed paste because it's my favorite none can be found so I settled with my second favorite, red beans.



Here is the mooncake wrapping station. You need to portion it out first. I was able to make 4 with these amount of ingredients. Because I didn't measure precisely, I had some left over dough.



Next thing to do is to wrap the egg yolk with the bean paste. This is my favorite part. I really think the bright orange yolk sitting on top of the dark bean paste is absolutely gorgeous!



Then you need to wrap it with the dough. A thin crust is preferred and the ratio of dough to filling needs to be exact because if not ii will not fill the mold properly; a 3:7 or 2:8 dough to filling ratio are commonly used. I don't know what ratio I used obviously, I just get a small piece of dough relative to the amount of filling.

Here is the yolk, dough and bean paste portioned. I decreased the amount of dough after taking the photo since I find it's too much for the amount of filling.


I used a common method of Chinese bakers to spread the dough without a rolling pin. Just flatten the dough into a flat but somehow still thick disc and work you way towards the top. Here's how it looks.





At first it will look like it is mission impossible to wrap but after some time and patience, you'll be even surprised that you've done it!



The photo on the right is not the top, it's the seam. You can see some lines of bean paste. I still need more practice but perhaps with a rolling pin, I could go even thinner next time. Here is a comparison of the seam and the top.



They are then pressed into my mini llneras "seam-side up" and are ready for baking. Mooncakes always undergo a two-part baking process. They are baked first for a while to set the pattern then taken out and cooled. They are then glazed with egg wash and baked until brown and shiny. This is an advantage for me and this is what I did. I baked them for 20 minutes in my clay pot using conduction from the llanera to brown and cook the "top" of the moocake evenly. I flipped it out then I let it cool and glazed them with egg wash. I baked them for 10 minutes more this time "seam-side down" to cook the other side and brown the "top". See how it worked for me? Even cooking because both sided faced the heat source at the bottom and the egg wash is not the lone work horse for browning the top.

I had to patch one of them, it caught my spoon while I was moving them!
 
Here they are when they finished baking, 2 of them cracked but I don't know why. The photo of the pretty ones were corrupted. They're not that pretty yet because they need to go to the return oil process (回油) to be darker and shiny which takes about 2-3 days at room temperature, it's when the oil from the fillings and crust distributes all over the cake. Fresh from the clay pot, they were extremely crispy and almost rock hard after cooling down.



AFTER 3 DAYS... (三天後)

Look at them! They're so pretty and shiny!







I was so happy again that I made a video to document this success! I hope you can watch this (better in HD) because there are so much more subtleties in appearance I can't capture in the photos.






With the left over crust dough, I made a mooncake cookie or more commonly called piggy cookie because it's often shaped into cute little piggies. Another popular shape is a fish and this is my desperate attempt to shape it like a fish. It's impossible to be eaten on the first day, you should let it soften for a few days or it could be a potential tooth breaker



I enjoyed devouring this little fishie (Sorry if the photos are cruel! :P). It's soft and chewy and probably not appealing to the current generation because of its simplicity but is really good, the dominant taste is the golden syrup; the softer it becomes the better.

From: Top Left, Clockwise.


Actually I was planning to include just a photo or two of the cracked ones and fill this post with pictures of the pretty ones to celebrate but an incident happened. We, even mom and dad are so excited to see and taste the results of this first try and we patiently waited for 3 days. So when I took one out they said "WOW! If not for the shape they really look like what we used to buy! Can we taste it now?!" I said Yes, i'll just take some pictures. I was just randomly taking pictures of it on a plate when my friend from college whom I haven't had any communication for over a year suddenly called so we chatted to catch up and I forgot my mooncake on the table.

Okay, after an hour of chatting and updating I came back to the table:

Me: Mom, where is the mooncake?
Mom: We ate it!
Me: What? I still need to take pictures for documentation! And mom! Here are the ugly ones! These should have been the ones you have eaten!
Dad: We know you will give us the pretty ones anyway... so we ate them....
Me: Yes dad, but AFTER the "photo shoot"! 
Mom: They're not perfect but still pretty and you put all your love in them too just like the others so their equally beautiful.
Me: >>SILENCE<<

Even with these simple conversations they're full of life lessons my parents want to impart on me.

These are the only pictures I salvaged of the prettiest mooncake.





Anyhow, what goes better with mooncakes than tea? Normally, I would reach out for my jasmine tea but for this one with rich and bold flavors I prefer some black tea. Cut into wedges and serve with some tea!

Thank you for your patience reading through this long post! I'm just so happy because I did something that is all about precision and accuracy really well using my clay pot and unconventional techniques! Of course, lots of improvement to be done but really good for the first try! See you on my next mooncake journey!

Thank you very much! Job                          谢谢您们/多謝!   周可



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First brood after the plague. They just hatched yesterday. We hope they will all live to be adults and multiply too!




Ru007's picture
Ru007

I've been well and truly bitten by the rye bug! 

This weeks bake was a 70% rye, 109% hydration loaf, with sunflower seeds, green pumpkin seeds, raisins and i replaced some of the water with a dark beer! 

I had to deviate from my normal MO of doing normal stretch and folds because the dough (or should i say, really thick batter) was way too wet. I just used a bowl scraper to kind of stretch the dough up and fold it over in the bowl for a few minutes. 

I was worried that i had over proofed the loaf. I waited a bit too long to preheat the oven. I only turned it on when the dough was about level with the rim of the tin. I under estimated how quickly things happen with rye! I literally sat down in front of my oven for the first 30 mins of the bake waiting for it to collapse. Thankfully, it didn't! 

The final loaf didn't look great, a bit shriveled on top when i unwrapped it to slice it today... I'm not sure what that means though.

But i'm happy with the taste! I'm glad i added the raisins. I like the little bit of sweetness.

 

Here' my formula all my weights are in grams:

100% rye Levain (about 104% hydration)            252
Total Water 520
Beer119 
Water401 
Total Flour 470
white bread flour175 
w/w 0 
rye flour295 
   
Salt 17
Honey 8
Add ins: 120
Sunflower seeds40 
Pumpkin seeds40 
Raisins40 
   

This was a slow and low bake, 35mins on 400F with steam, then another 95 on 325F. I took it out of the tin for the last 15 mins and baked it on a baking tray.

The formula is an adaptation of this recipe:

http://www.theperfectloaf.com/rye-sourdough-and-smorrebrod/

What do ya'll think? 

Happy baking!

STUinlouisa's picture
STUinlouisa

Sorry about the picture really need to get a camera instead of relying on the tablet (any suggestions?).About the bread, it is the fourth loaf using yeast water and this one is entirely leavened with it. I also wanted to have a porridge bread and since millet makes a favorite it was used. The porridge was made by cooking one third cup millet in one half cup milk and one half cup water with a pinch of salt until the liquid was absorbed. The flours were 30g millet,65g Einkorn, 100g Turkey Red wheat, 120g white wheat, and 200g AP. To that 350g yeast water, 100g millet porridge, and 10g salt were added. This was fermented for a couple hours after some S&F and then put in the fridge because it was getting late and I wanted to  see what retarding did to a yeast water loaf. Next morning it was warmed allowed to get poofy then preshaped, final shaped into an oval loaf and proofed in a basket. Baked in an oval DO it morphed into a kind of shapeless blob, I think my oval shaping needs work considering the hole pattern and the blobbyness. The loaf is very  tasty adding more emphasis to my appreciation of the yeast water method. Now some sourdough pancakes since my starter was feeling neglected and needed to be used.

The wheat in the garden is starting to break ground after about a week but it's supposed to rain most of next week and I hope it does't drown.

Stu

Mdhilburn's picture
Mdhilburn

I've been making sourdough for just over two years now, starting when my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara. While out exploring our new city we wandered into a bakery (D'Angelo's Bread) off State St. and had some amazing sourdough. When I got home I got online and fell into a sourdough "rabbit hole" where I discover that all one needed to make his/her own bread was flour and water! I threw together a 50/50 mix and left it on the window seal for a couple days and the yeast bubbles started rising. I have been hooked ever since.

After a few months of pancakes and varying degrees of oven spring, I finally was able to get a consistently nice looking, and tasting, loaf of sourdough. I even started throwing in walnuts and apricots (familiar items from my upbringing in the Central Valley). 

Then we moved back to San Diego....

RIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, my 6 month old starter did not survive the journey :( For probably a year and a half, every so often, I would try to grow a new starter, but to no avail. Every time it would fester into foot cheese. I kid you not, probably close to 2 dozen attempts failed. I tried changing the flour/water/temp/location in house - but all failed inexplicably. Then one day this spring, who knows why, the sourdough gods smiled upon me and a starter emerged and survived longer than a week! I had some success but ultimately it was pretty weak. Then a friend brought me over some of her starter and ever since then I've had a pretty good run and made some tasty bread.

I have used several recipes and methods from bloggers/authors around the interwebs. I'd say my favorite and most successful was the "High(er) Hydration Sourdough Bread." Maurizio has an excellent website, excellent recipes, and a great Instagram feed.  I've also tried the recipe in the appendix of Michael Pollan's book "Cooked." It's a great audio book for long road trips (I listened to it over a week traveling through Washington for work) and an even better Netflix series.

I most recently stumbled upon dmsnyder's recipe for his "San Joaquin Sourdough" baguettes. I really wanted to make some bread that would make a great sandwich so I thought I'd give his recipe a shot. I found the lower hydration/longer fermentation dough to have great body and feel after bulk fermentation. It pre-shaped nicely and I appreciated its workability, not being so sticky. While the baguettes weren't super pretty (short and "dog boney") they tasted wonderful.

This experience also led me to TFL and the greater "bread community" that exists online. There are a lot of talented and creative bakers out there. Thus far, most of my exposure and communication has been through the Instagram community (I highly recommend following Maurizioalchemybreadco, tartinebakeryibisbakery, thebreadkiln, and of course, mdhilburn)

So I thought I'd give the San Joaquin Sourdough another shot today (side note: I grew up in Patterson, CA, 5 mins from the San Joaquin river and have seriously considered naming our first son Joaquin... after the river and the infamous California bandit). 

Here is a photo progression: 

bulk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I doubled the recipe and here is the dough after bulk fermentation and about 19 hours in the fridge.

preshape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two 950 gram pre-shaped loaves (in retrospect, I should have split it in four!)

shaped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final shaped loaf after 30 mins rest. My attempt at a batard. 

oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just put in the oven with some scoring and some steaming wet towels in a pie dish below. 

baked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished loaves. Not my prettiest but huge oven spring. No ear or grigne to "ew and aw" about. 

crumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crumb shot. Anyone want to go spelunking? I'll bring my GoPro! Yikes, these air pockets got out of control. Not quite sure why they didn't release through the score I put down the middle. Oh well. The texture was great, soft and chewy. The flavor could have been a little more sour. 

Anyway, here is my first post. I am hoping for some feedback and welcome your advice/insight! 

 

QuarterBaked's picture
QuarterBaked

One of the drawbacks of the hearth-style breads such as found in FWSY is that the crusts are tough for little kids to chew. I've been baking a lot of FWSY inspired bread, and so we've stopped buying bread from the store, but that means PB&J sandwiches with "adult" crusts, which means lots of unfinished PB&J carcasses. Alright, a new challenge! How to make kid-friendly sandwich bread using a low-knead, high-hydration dough, as inspired by FWSY?

While researching this problem, I discovered the pullman pan and wondered if it could be put to use in solving this challenge. I recently got a USA brand 13in. pullman pan, and gave it a try with half the dough from an otherwise typical FWSY recipe. It wasn't enough dough for the size of the pan, but baked at 350 for 25min covered/15 uncovered, it was a success! My eldest: "Wow, dad, this bread is pretty good!" (implied: in contrast to that other stuff you make us eat).

The attached photo is my second attempt, using my own hybrid of an enriched Pan de mie and a FWSY levain dough.

Recipe:
Autolyse 500g AP/60g whole wheat, + 3 grams milled flax seed, because I have it in my fridge and need to use it up. Used 208g whole milk/200g water at a temp of 95.

I then mixed in 1 egg. I don't know if there was an advantage to delaying the egg, but it was a pain to incorporate!
I then added 13g salt, 1/4 tsp instant yeast (to speed up the ferment just a bit due to my schedule), and 138g of 80% hydration levain.

Bulk ferment for 9hrs in my oven with the oven light on, then shaped into log and put in pullman pan. I figured the proof would be about 3hrs, but I had to leave for 5 hrs, so I'll put into my basement to partially retard. Oops, forgot to do that. 2 hrs later, I remembered, and thought, well, I'll call my wife and tell her to put it into the fridge. Oops, forgot to do that too. 

Arrive home to a clearly bulging pullman pan. I made a half-hearted attempt to slide the lid back a little to look at it, but couldn't get it to budge. Better not try any harder, or I might do something undesirable to the dough. I had asked my wife to preheat the oven to 450 when I left work, which she did. I put the pan in right away. . . and then forgot to reduce the heat down to 350! I did not realize this until it was time to uncover the pan. Needless to say, it didn't need any baking time uncovered. The oven spring was so forceful, that the escaping dough had managed to force the lid open about 1/4in (the same lid I couldn't budge). The only way I could remove the lid was by pounding it off with the heel of my hand (with oven mitt on!).

And you know what, despite being massively overproofed and baked at too high a temperature, it turned out well, and my kids ate it some for breakfast this morning. Crust was a little thicker than the first one I baked, but still better (for the kids) than the typical FWSY loaf. Success! 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

After last week’s mooshed Altamura shaped loaf we decided not to try to moosh this one.  Lucy wanted to give it another go to try and make amends but she has been acting oddly of late and frankly just can’t be trusted - especially on Earth Day.

As we all know and 100% of scientists have confirmed, the Sun is burning hotter and hotter, a bit more every day, as it ages.  This is what stars do.  They can’t do anything else.  When Lucy found out it was Earth Day and that in 500,000 years the temperature on earth would be 100 F hotter than today due to the Sun burning hotter, she just had to do something to save us poor humans.

She told me her solution might sound a bit weird at first but to give her idea a chance and just hear her out for once.   As usual I just couldn’t do it since her idea was really off the wall and totally out of a really big box.  Her idea was to genetically modify human beings so that they would be totally covered by a thick coat of hair.

That way people could feel 100 F hotter today. Like she does in her fine coat of fur and get used to it like she has already done – no worries.  As time goes on and the Earth heats up, humans could just go to a groomer like she does and get a bit of hair trimmed off to adjust their temperature appropriately just like we do for her in the summer. 

I thought about telling her I was going to sell her to the Gypsies like my mother used to tell me when I was little and was acting up but I guess you can’t say that today.  I heard these kinds of threats are considered insensitive toward and a mini macro or major mini aggression against Gypsies.   Oddly, it is still fine to take her to the pound where they will euthanize her for much less. 

    

At least I can till bake bread on Earth Day and contemplate the day when later generations won’t need ovens to bake it.  They can just make pizza dough and while they are tossing it upwards to form the pie, it will just bake itself in the hot air to make flat bread.  Just think, no ovens required, a very green idea for Earth Day indeed and Lucy thinks this alone might save us all from the future heat of the sun – but she has to do more calculations with her climate super computer to know for sure – so we will have to wait a bit before we can celebrate.

Well, on to more important things that still require an oven today.  This week’s bake followed out usual MO of late where we start the sprouts on Monday, dry and mill them on Tuesday.  On Tuesday, we also mill the other non-sprouted whole grains in the mix and then sift it all to separate out the Low extraction bran to build this week’s 3 stage levain so that it can be retarded on Tuesday night before we go to bed.

After 36 hours of cold retard in the fridge, we get the levain out to warm up and stir it down.  While the levain is rising 25%, we autolyze the dough flours - in this case the high extraction and sprouted high extraction rye, spelt, wheat, barley and Kamut along with the King Arthur bread flour…. with the salt sprinkled on top.  We also had time to make and cool  the 20 minute, simmered porridge – in this case quinoa and buckwheat groats. 

When the levain hits the mx. we do 1 set of 60 slap and folds and 2 sets of 30 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals with the porridge being added in on the first set of stretch and folds.  After a 30 minute rest we did a quick pre-shape into an oval and then 10 minutes later we final shaped it and placed it onto rice floured oval basket seam side up.  We bagged it and placed it into the fridge for a 16 hour retard.

 

When the dough came out of the fridge we starter the 500 F preheat for the oven.  When it beeped we loaded in the two trays of lave rock, half full of water (Mega Steam) on the bottom rack and set the timer for 15 minutes.  Once the steam was billowing the top and bottom stones were at temperature, the dough was unmolded onto on a peel, slashed and loaded on the bottom stone.

4 minutes later the temperature was turned down to 450 F and we continued steaming for another 14 minutes.  After the steam came out we turned the oven down to 425 F convection and continued to bake another 20 minutes until the bread was 208 F on the inside.

The bread browned well but spread mire than it sprang or bloomed.  It proofed to 100% proofed while we slept instead of the 85% we would want but instead of re-shaping and proofing again we baked it off hoping the crumb would still be  OK  but we will have to wait on that.

The crumb came out open, moist, and soft like a porridge bread should be..  It is wonderful and delicious,   The porridge was a fine addition  that brought the mix of whole grains up to 7.  It made a fine lunch with grilled chicken, cheddar, tomato and lettuce sandwich with the usual veggie fixings. - Yum!

And Lucy wants to see another salad somewhere.

 

Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3

Total

%

2 Rye Sour

10

0

0

10

1.64%

Low Extraction 5 grain Bran

10

7

0

17

2.80%

High Extraction 5 grain

0

0

21

21

3.45%

Low Extraction Sprouted 5 Grain  Bran

0

13

9

22

3.62%

Water

10

20

30

60

9.87%

Total

30

40

60

130

21.38%

      

Levain Totals

 

%

   

Various whole and sprouted flours

65

10.69%

   

Water

65

10.69%

   

Levain Hydration

100.00%

    
      

Dough Flour

 

%

   

Hi Extraction Sprouted 5 grain

130

21.38%

   

High Extraction 5 Grain

63

10.36%

   

KA Bread Flour

250

41.12%

   

Quinoa in Porridge

50

8.22%

   

Buckwheat in Porridge

50

8.22%

   

 

 

 

   

Salt

10

1.64%

   

Water, Water in Porridge 144

444

73.03%

   

 

 

    

Dough Hydration

81.77%

    

Total Flour w/ Starters

608

    

Total Water

509

    
      

Total Weight

1,127

    

% Whole Grain with Porridge

58.88%

    

% Whole Sprouted Grain

25.82%

    

 

 

    

Hydration with Starters and Porridge

83.72%

    
      

Whole and sprouted 5 grains are rye, wheat, barley, Kamut & spelt

  

 

KathyF's picture
KathyF

Well, it has been a while. Having sufficiently recovered from my broken wrist, I have finally been able to start baking bread again. I have been chronicling my progress on Instagram, but was so excited with this new recipe that I decided to come back and blog about it. I ran across Trevor Wilson on Instagram (I see that he is also here. Hi Trevor!) and was drooling over his yummy loaves and then the video for his Champlain sourdough came up on my YouTube suggestion list. I was intrigued by his technique that I just had to try it! The only change I made to his recipe was to replace the spelt with sprouted whole wheat since I didn't have any spelt. 

I was really pleased with the result. The crumb wasn't as open as Trevor's, but I may have under-proofed a bit and may have handled the dough a little too much though I tried to follow what he was doing closely. The texture and flavor is great! I never tried such a long autolyse before, so that may account for the improvement. Here is my crumb shot:

QuarterBaked's picture
QuarterBaked

I've always felt comfortable with cooking--not necessarily good at it, but comfortable--but I never considered myself a baker. In fact, until I began baking bread a year and a half ago, the extent of my baking was throwing the specified ingredients in a hand-me-down Breadman bread-machine, because, well, we had it, and I'm a sucker for new gadgets, even if it's someone else's old gadget. The bread was ok, but it's only real appeal was that we were involved in the process. Unsurprisingly, we didn't use it very often, and I didn't care.

So, if you had told me in early November of 2014 that within two years I would own multiple bread books, which would live on my counter, and that I would be baking bread and be setting my alarm early enough to make sure I had time to feed a sourdough culture in the morning, I would have told you that you were crazy, especially regarding the getting up early part. But here I am, and I completely blame the sourdough. Not the bread--the culture.

Yes, that living microbial throng is the reason I am now a baker. I previously thought that "sourdough" was a flavor at best, and probably mostly a marketing thing. Instead, I saw the instructions for making your own sourdough culture in a book somewhere and thought, "Wow, that's a cool science experiment!" Just mix water and flour together, and stuff starts to happen! Before I knew it, I had a relatively large quantity of bubbling brew, and loathe to throw all of it away, I figured I ought to use it for something!

So, without bothering to look up a recipe, I just took some of the culture (I think it was in the 100% hydration range), added some more flour to make it seem more like dough (remember, I really haven't baked before), and threw it in the oven. I probably preheated the oven, but no salt, no proofing--nothing one generally considers an essential part of the leavened bread process.

Fortunately, I only made a small. . .thing. . . as it was as horrible as you might imagine. Looking back, I think I also used culture from an early stage in the development

This is the point at which I could have chalked it up as just another experiment, and moved on. But I couldn't! I didn't expect my experimental bread to be be any good, but I hadn't expected it to be so bad, and I had to figure out why. I at least had to try an actual recipe for sourdough bread. The first recipe I tried might have been from the book that introduced me to sourdough, but it also might have been the Extra-tangy Sourdough from the KAF website. The result was actually bread. Somehow, I had managed to conjure forth an actual loaf of bread! But it was still not particularly good--edible, but rather mediocre.

How could there be such mystery and challenge to taking such a simple seeming set of ingredients and forming it into such a simple seeming product? This mystery and challenge, combined with a certain strange affection for my starter culture, made me want to continue trying this baking thing, even though I still didn't care very much about bread itself!

So I kept baking, and little bit by little bit, got better at it, especially once I started getting books out of the library and learned more than just how to follow a recipe. My wife started liking the results, and I found a friend who also baked, and I found myself telling politely-disinterested people about bread, and realized that my scientific curiosity in micro-organisms had grown into bread-baking pleasure.

It's possible that it would have remained an occasional hobby, except that I took a chance on Flour Water Salt Yeast at the library one day. I can't say where FWSY stands in the pantheon of bread books, but for me, it was just what I needed. Something about the presentation, the method, the explanations, etc., just clicked, and almost overnight, I went from making decent bread to pretty good bread. For the last 6-9 months, I've been baking almost exclusively using FWSY recipes (err, formulas), or my own derivations. I've been very happy with the results, so I haven't felt much need to try other things, but I've also wanted to reach the point where I feel like I've internalized the method to some degree.

So, for me, the next step is to become more intentional about documenting what I do, as well as planning ahead some more. (With four young kids around, if I don't do advance planning, I'll have no choice but to do something familiar.) Since I like both gadgetry and writing, I thought that keeping a blog-diary of sorts would be a way of making this part of the process a bit more fun. My plan is to keep the finer details in a paper notebook on my counter, and then post a report of sorts to this blog.

[Edited due to prematurely submitting unfinished post]

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pane Tipo di Altamura

20 April, 2016

David Snyder

 

This is the latest bake in my series of attempts to produce a good looking and good flavored Pane Tipo di Altamura. I have continued to make modifications based on my experience to date and the experience and resources shared by other TFL members who are also working on this style of bread.

  

Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)

559

100

Water

391

70

Salt

11

1.8

Total

961

171.8

  

Lievito Naturale Madre Build 1

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)

25

100

Water (80-90ºF)

17

70

Semola Rimacinata mother

10

40

Total

52

210

 

  1. Place the mother in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix well.

  3. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour and the lievito feels like a bread dough.

  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for about 8 hours at 77ºF.

     

 

Lievito Naturale Madre Build 2

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)

25

100

Water (80-90ºF)

17

70

Semola Rimacinata lievito madre

10

40

Total

52

210

  1. Place the mother in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix well.

  3. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour and the lievito feels like a bread dough.

  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for about 12 hours at 80ºF.

 

 

Lievito Naturale Build 3 (Final)

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)

60

100

Water (80-90ºF)

42

70

Semola Rimacinata lievito madre

12

20

Total

114

190

  1. Place the mother in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix well.

  3. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour and the lievito feels like a bread dough.

  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for about 6 hours at 77ºF.

  6. Refrigerate overnight.

 

Final Dough

Wt. (g)

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)

500

Water

350

Salt

11

Lievito Naturale

100

Total

961

 

Procedures

  1. Mix the Lievito Naturale and water well in the bowl using the paddle. (I used a KitchenAid mixer.)

  2. Add the flour and then the salt. Mix at Speed 1 for 20 minutes. The dough should (nearly) clean the walls of the bowl. It will form a medium windowpane.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  4. Ferment for 90 minutes at 76dF.

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and pre-shape as a moderately tight boule.

  6. Cover with a cloth and rest for 30 minutes at 76dF. (I covered the dough with baker's linen and placed it on a quarter sheet tray which fits nicely into my proofing box.)

  7. Pre-heat oven to 500dF with steaming apparatus in place.

  8. Return dough to the board and pre-shape again as a moderately tight boule.

  9. Cover with a cloth and rest for 30 minutes at 76dF.

  10. Return dough to the board.

  11. Using the sides of your two hands, make a wide groove down the middle of the loaf. Dust the top of the loaf lightly with durum flour.Then fold the loaf at the groove so that the upper half over-laps the lower half 3/4 of the way. Do not seal the seam between the upper and lower layers. Rather, seal the fold at the “back” of the loaf.

  12. Transfer the loaf to a peel.

  13. Turn the oven down to 460ºF, steam the oven and transfer the loaf to the baking stone.

  14. Bake with steam for 15 minutes.

  15. Remove the steam source from the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 435ºF (or 420ºF convection bake).

  16. Bake for another 18-22 minutes. The loaf should be nicely browned. It should sound hollow when the bottom is thumped with a knuckle. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  17. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

Picture Gallery

Windowpane after mix of 20 minutes at Speed 1 

 

Dough at start of bulk fermentation 

 

Dough after bulk fermentation. Ready for first pre-shaping

After first pre-shaping and 30 minute rest

Baked loaf

A Slice

Crumb close-up

Tasting Notes and comments

I knew this bake was different as soon as I took the bread out of the oven. The aroma was heavenly! It was nutty/wheaty. It was an archetypal “Fresh-baked Bread” aroma. The two previous bakes both had had a yeasty aroma.

The crust was soft, right from when it came out of the oven. (Maybe I really should try not steaming the oven at all.) I left the house to do some errands. When I came home about 3 hours later and got the groceries put away, the loaf was cool, and I cut a slice from the middle.

The crumb was a bit less yellow than my first bake. Maybe this was due to the longer mix, although that was entirely at low speed. Maybe it was the different flour (Central Milling versus KAF). The crust was chewy with a nice nutty flavor. The crumb was pleasantly chewy but not dense-feeling. There was absolutely no sourdough tang, just a remarkably sweet, wheaty flavor that was quite delighful. I ate most of a slice plain, then a bit with some fresh Cotswald cheese. I will have some more with dinner dipped in EVOO and some toasted for breakfast with almond butter.

Clearly, Durum flour obeys a different set of rules than “regular” hard Winter wheat and soft Winter wheat. As mwilson has been saying, the flavor depends on the starter even more than with other flours, and a full fermentation is needed to develop flavor complexity. I am also struck by the absence of acidity. If I fermented my usual mixed flour starter as I did this lievito naturale, the resulting bread would be extremely sour. In fact, perhaps I should try an overnight cold retardation with my next attempt. Before the first pre-shaping? After the final shaping?

The lievito naturale full fermentation also has enormous benefits for dough consistency and, especially, extensibility. This lesson was reinforced greatly by several of the videos of Altamura bakeries at work in which you can really appreciate the expected dough consistency and how it is handled.

At this point, while my loaf shaping still has a lot of room for improvement, the most significant area I want to improve is crust consistency. I have been reluctant to forgo oven steaming for fear of reducing oven spring, but maybe that is what I should try next. A hotter oven is probably worth trying as well.

So, I am very pleased with the improved taste of today's loaf. I still have a lot to work on to get this bread as I believe it should be.

David

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Are you interested in learning to bake high quality bread in a busy production environment?   Now is your chance. Bread Obsession is offering internships starting at the beginning of May and running through August for 2-4 weeks each.  We are a young and growing artisan bread company.   We sell to restaurants and stores, and will be participating in the biggest farmers market in Massachusetts at Copley Place in Boston.  You will work alongside us on all bakery tasks including mixing, shaping, loading the big oven, and keeping the bakery tidy and clean.   We need people who are passionate and experienced bakers who want to improve their skills, and try out working in a bakery.   We are in Waltham Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.   Please message me if you are interested and would like to find out more.  For more information about us check out my Fresh Loaf blog and this recent article.  http://www.edibleboston.com/edible-food-finds-bread-obsession/

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