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Bushturkey's picture
Bushturkey

Pain au levain

Pain au levain

 A breadman. He/she even looks French with a beret!

Pain au levain -crumb. Do you reckon he/she looks French and wearing a beret?!

Holes big enough to hide a mouse?

Holes big enough to hide a mouse?

I had a go at Hamelman's pain au levain (95% wheat, 5% rye, 65% hydration). I didn't do some things as well as I should have.

1. After mixing the final dough, I left it overnight in the fridge. It was 2300 hours, I was tired and working night shift from home.

Next day, the dough was cold and it took a long time to "wake up". May be it was exhausted. It seemed to take a long time to rise.

2. I probably under-proved the loaves. The oven spring tore the loaves apart and my scoring was probably sub-optimal.

Ah well, the journey continues. It would be nice to have a baker near by to learn from, though.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Janedo's "basic bread"


Janedo's "basic bread"


Janedo's basic bread crumb


Janedo's basic bread crumb

Jane ("Janedo") is an American expatriot who has lived in France for 15 years with her husband and children. She has a wonderful blog about her sourdough baking ( http://www.aulevain.canalblog.com/ ) with a loyal and enthusiastic following. We have been fortunate to have her participation on TFL, and there have been some rather interesting discussions of differences in taste preferences in France versus the U.S., the frustrations of exchanging recipes when the ingredients we use, particularly the flours, are not comparable and other topics.

 Currently, Jane is, I think it's fair to say, struggling to like San Francisco style sourdough bread made from Peter Reinhart's formula in "Crust and Crumb." Of course, we cannot know exactly what she is baking, since we cannot duplicate it with the flours we have. Nor can she know what my baking from this formula produces with King Arthur Bread Flour and Guisto's whole rye flour.

Jane has shared the recipe for what she calls her "basic bread." She says this is the bread her family prefers (and asks her to return to whenever she inflicts San Francisco-style sourdough on them). This was my first attempt to duplicate Jane's bread. She uses a combination of T65 and white spelt flour. I don't have access to T65. I debated as to how I might best approximate it. I'm not at all sure I made the best decision, but the recipe and procedure I used, adapted from Jane's recipe, follows:

Ingredients

150 gms active liquid starter (fed with high extraction flour, 100gms flour to 130 gms of water))
315 ml water

400 gms First Clear flour
140 gms White Spelt flour
7 gms Sea Salt.

Procedure

I mixed the starter and 300 ml water then added the flours and salt. I mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle for 1.5 minutes at Speed 1, then with the dough hook at Speed 2.  After the first minute, the dough cleaned the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl. This seemed too dry, so I added 1 T (15 ml) water at this point, resulting in the dough still cleaning the sides but sticking to the bottom of the mixer bowl.

The dough made a "window pane" after 9.5 minutes mixing with the dough hook. It was quite tacky. If I pressed on it for a couple of seconds, it was sticky, but with brief contact it did not stick to my (lightly floured) hands. The dough kept its form easily without spreading but was very extensible.

(I am describing the dough in such detail because the differences in flours we use result in such different doughs at the same hydration. I think the behavior of the dough and its feel will give another person better guidance, if they want to reproduce this bread. For that matter, it gives me more guidance if I want to change it next time.)

I put the dough on a lightly floured Silpat mat and, after a brief rest, stretched and folded it a couple of times, then placed the dough in a lightly oiled glass 2 liter measuring cup with a cover to ferment.

The dough doubled in volume in 7 hours. I scraped it onto the Silpat, rounded it gently and let it rest for 15 minutes. I then shaped a boule and placed it, smooth side down, in a linen-lined wicker banneton. I lightly floured the surface of the dough and enclosed the banneton in a plastic bag.

The boule was allowed to expand to 1 1/2 times the original volume (1.75 hours) then transfered to a peel and slid onto a baking stone in a pre-heated 450F oven. 1 cup of boiling water was poured into a pre-heated cast iron skillit, the oven door was closed and the oven was turned down to 410F. After 5 minutes, I removed the skillit and continued to bake for 35 minutes. (The internal temperature of the loaf was 205F after 30 minutes, but I wanted the crust a bit darker and to be sure this large loaf was well-baked.) I then turned off the oven but left the loaf in the oven for another 5 minutes.

The crust was qute hard when the boule came out of the oven, but it softened considerably as the loaf cooled.

Eating

The crust was somewhat crunchy, but more chewy. The crumb had a lovely, tender, slightly chewy texture. I could not identify a distinctive flavor I could attribute to the spelt flour (which I had never used before). I thought I should add a little more salt next time - maybe 10 gms rather than 7 gms. The sourness in the bread hit on the 5th chew and became progressively more apparent. I would regard this as a moderately sour sourdough, certainly more sour than the pains au levains I have made from Hamelman or Leader's recipes.

With all levain breads, the flavors seem to fully develop and become better integrated on the second or third day after baking. So, stay tuned.

David

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've been absent from TFL recently, as work and home have eaten up just about every waking minute, and there have been far too many waking minutes in the past couple of months. I could have stood for a tad more sleeping minutes.

Nevertheless, a family has to eat, so I've still been baking. One thing I learned: Don't double the amount of salt in a bread recipe. I did this by accident, doing the math for 2% in my head and adding 20 grams instead of 10 grams. Not even the birds would eat this stuff. Yuck.

I have had some nice loaves come out of the oven, however. Last week, I made the same doubling error as before, but with the starter. I used a 40% innoculation instead of 20% for this largely white flour sourdough (I added 10% whole wheat). All in all, the loaf was fine, though it wasn't as flavorful as I'd have liked. Rose quickly though, and looked beautiful.





I also revived my rye starter to make a 40-30-30 rye to whole wheat to white flour loaf. I didn't add caraway, and missed it, actually.

Starter is amazingly resiliant stuff. I'd not fed it for months (probably three at least ... maybe even four), and it had acquired a nasty black crust that could have been mold, could have been hoochy gunk (the rye is kept at 100% hydration, but it's still pretty pasty rather than liquid). In any case, it started right back up and made a wonderfully sour rye loaf. The shaped dough stuck a little bit to the baker's linen, so I had to slash it strangely to incorporate the rip and avoid a blown out side. Turned out OK, though, in the end.



And, of course, I regularly make my standby overnight whole grain sourdough hearth loaf (60% whole wheat, 30% whole spelt, 10% whole rye. The secret to getting a good "grigne" I think is not to proof it too long. Two to two-and-one-half hours seems to be just about right.





Mmmmmm. Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain sourdough hearth bread.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Leader's Baguette a l'ancienne


Leader's Baguette a l'ancienne


Baguette a l'ancienne crumb


Baguette a l'ancienne crumb

In my ongoing quest for delicious, home-made baguettes, I baked the "Baguettes a l'ancienne" from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" today.

 Unlike the "Pain a l'ancienne" in BBA, Leader's is a sourdough baguette made with a (very) liquid levain - about 125% hydration. I started refreshing and activating the starter with my usual (these days) firm starter: 50 gms starter, 130 gms water, 100 gms Guisto's Bakers' Choice (T55-style) flour, then fed it twice more with 130 gms water and 100 gms flour at 12 and 8 hours. The starter was incredibly foamy. Leader says it should have a "mildy tangy aroma." Mine smelled strongly of acetic acid!

 The dough is made with 150 gms water, 300 gms flour (I used 50gms whole rye and 250 gms Guisto's Bakers' Choice), 310 gms liquid levain and 10 gms sea salt.

Mix the flour(s) and water and autolyse for 20 minutes. Then add the salt and levain and mix to window paning. This is a very slack dough. It is fermented for 3 hours, with one folding after the first hour. Form the baguettes and place on a parchment paper couche, well floured, and refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Warm at room temperature for 2 hours, then bake at 450F on a stone in a well-heated oven with steam for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven still on the parchment, and let cool 5 minutes before removing from the parchment. Eat warm.

 I had some of the bread for lunch with a salad and some Laura Chanel chevre. The crust was crisp. The crumb was chewy-tender with a nice, complex flavor. It had a pronounced sour tang, especially as an aftertaste. 

 David

shakleford's picture
shakleford

I've been baking bread occasionally for several years, but it's only within the last year or so that I've started to become particularly interested in it.  I've also shifted gradually to baking more and more with whole grains, until these days probably only 5% or so of the loaves I make use white flour.  I've been wanting to purchase a grain mill for quite some time to use in my bread-baking, but kept putting off the purchase.  I knew very little about mills, and wanted to be sure that I researched my decision thoroughly.  In addition, I'm a serious tightwad and mills aren't cheap.

However, I finally made a purchase and received my mill yesterday.  After repeatedly reading about every website about grain mills written in English and most of those in German (seriously), I decided to purchase the German-made KoMo Fidibus Classic mill, more commonly known in the US as the Wolfgang or Wolfgang Tribest mill.  Those of you who own mills likely know more about the pros/cons of this and other models than I do and those of you that don't probably don’t care, but in brief this is a small stone mill.  It has the advantage of being able to grind any coarseness, from cracked grains to fine flour.  It has the disadvantages of not being able to handle beans, nuts, and seeds and the fact that stone-ground flour tends not to rise as well (though I've found this difference minor when purchasing commercial stone-ground flour).  It's small size means that I can easily fit it into my kitchen and that it's cheaper than many alternatives, but also that it requires around five minutes to produce one pound of fine flour - fast enough for me, but perhaps not for others. 

Fidibus Classic mill

Of course, a grain mill isn't much use unless you also have some grains.  There are some grains that I can get locally, but even with shipping, most are cheaper (and arguably higher-quality) online.  I purchased a few items from Wheat Montana and the rest from Azure Standard.  Grains will keep for quite some time, so I bought in fairly large quantities.  My long-term storage solution, utilizing the gamma seal lids that I've seen recommended on TFL and elsewhere, is pictured below.

Digging into those buckets every time I'm baking is not real practical, so I also needed a more kitchen-friendly, short-term storage solution.  I ended up going with a set of metal canisters ranging is size from 2 to 4 quarts.  This is large enough that I will not need to refill them too frequently, but small enough that I can remove them from the top of my cupboards without too much work.  Many of the canisters shown below are empty since not all of my grains have arrived yet, but 11 of the 12 are earmarked for something.  I haven't decided what to put in the last one...maybe wild rice?

Metal Canisters

Because I just got the mill and haven't gotten many of my grains, I've only used it in one loaf so far (Peter Reinhart's multigrain struan, pictured below).  I haven't cut into it yet, but the rise appears to be just fine (higher than I'd expect in fact, considering that it contains 12 ounces flour and 6 ounces whole grains).  I have a list of at least a dozen recipes that I immediately want to try with the mill...it will take a bit to work through them all, but then that's the whole point!  Thanks to everyone here who has posted anything about mills at one time or another; I can pretty much guarantee that I've read your comments at least half a dozen times.  If anyone is considering a mill purchase and has questions, I'll be happy to go into greater detail on why I purchased what I did (though I'm certainly not an expert, and once you get me started on mills these days it's hard to get me to stop).

Susan's picture
Susan

Today I baked the sourdough bread I've been looking for ever since starting this odyssey. It has a crispy crust and a stretchy, holey crumb. And it's easy. As I told a couple of friends earlier, "...it's reproducible, if the weather stays exactly how it is today."

I'm not suggesting that this could be anyone else's ultimate sourdough, but it sure is mine, at least for right now. Thanks to all who have helped me over the past year or so, even unwittingly. It continues to be great fun. The recipe is below.

My Ultimate Sourdough

Susan's Ultimate Sourdough

Starter is made the way Peter Reinhart suggested to us in class: 1:3:4 (starter:water:flour)

A single small boule, made by hand:

12g starter

175g water

25g whole wheat flour

225g hi-gluten flour (All Trumps, to be exact)

5g salt (I use Kosher)

Mix starter and water, mix in flour. Rest a few minutes, then re-mix. Dump into a greased bowl, let rise until doubled, about 8 hours. Turn the very soft dough onto your counter and pat it out, then sprinkle salt over the top. Roll it up, then gently knead a few times to distribute the salt. Let relax. Do the following until the dough is hard to fold: round up, let the dough relax, stretch and fold. Round up, let relax, shape, and put it in a banneton for proofing 3-4 hours in a warm spot.

The oven was preheated for 30 minutes at 500F, and reduced to 450F after I put the loaf in. It was baked on a tray, covered, for 18 minutes. The cover was then removed and the loaf baked until dark brown, about another 8 minutes.

psmarak's picture
psmarak

Newcomer here.  I am very impressed with this blog.  It is about the only site where I could find any reference to baking Rosetta rolls.  I am still at a loss to find any mention of Leader's Rosetta rolls on the web.  I crave these as much as anything else from my stays in Italy. Can anyone help with a recipe? 

GlindaBunny's picture
GlindaBunny

I had to bring cookies to a church function.  My husband recommended the Sierpinski Carpet fractal cookies shown on evilmadscientist.com.  I thought the square shapes might be a little boring and decided to do Sierpinski triangle cookies instead.

 I made them green and added peppermint extract.  The recipes I used were:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

 

for the chocolate part and

3 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

1 cup sugar 

1 egg, beaten 

1 tablespoon milk

for the green part.  I didn't chill the dough at all because I wanted it flexible to work with.  It was tougher than I thought it would be to shape the triangular logs of dough, but they look pretty decent for cookies.

 

 

I ended up with lots of scraps.  I rolled them into a log and made swirled round cookies (I didn't want to waste the cookie dough).

Sadly, nobody at church even noticed that they were fractals.  *sigh*

baked cookies:

 

 

jpfridy's picture
jpfridy

I have a fledgling food blog, and I've recently posted about my travails in making simple white sandwich bread from BBA.

The story has two parts:

- Part I: failure

- Part II: redemption

As I post more about bread, I'll be sure to cross-reference here.

JP

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Gosh it's been too long since I posted any blog entries. 

Anyone who's seen my recent posts scattered throughout the forums will know I've been having difficulties with maintaining shape in my sourdough attempts as well as getting too much sour flavour (yes there really is such a thing...at least for my tastes! :) )

Today, a breakthrough came in the form of a 100% (no sifting) whole wheat miche  - it was less sour than recent attempts, still wonderfully nutty and flavourful and retained excellent shape throughout (with plenty of oven spring as a bonus).  It came out pretty much exactly as I planned it.  I'm really pleased, of course, and must give a lot of thanks to Eric and Bill - your tireless theorizing,  testing and experimentation were invaluable.  

More important than the delicious bread which I'm currently enjoying with slivers of Gjetost (mmmm brown norwegian yumminess!) - was what I learnt about my starter (Bubbles...yes I went ahead and christened my starter!).  I'm still organising and assimilating all the information in my mind but much has to do with the feeding cycle - something I already had suspicions about before.  Also learned a lot about how to apply a different strategy to whole wheat bread - using more starter/intermediate build in the final dough to get a milder result.

Well, that's all for now.  More stuffing my face to follow....

FP

 

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