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Long week at work and wanted to do a simple bake to start the weekend before trying my Go Out of Your Comfort Zone CB tomorrow.  I got this recipe from Abe, and it works really well.  Has room for flexibility on the flour selection.  I just got a bag of barley flour in, so I added some of that into the mix this time.  First time using barley flour with an AP/Bread flour base (have only used it with WW before this), and the aroma of the barley definitely comes through more on the finished bread.

Method is similar to a 1-2-3, but much lower inoculation and longer bulk ferment.  Mix and develop medium gluten at the most.  Despite the barley being low on gluten, this came together really fast.  Just a few turns of hand kneading is all it took.  Just stretch and folds after that to continue gluten development.  Woke up for a few minutes in the middle of the night, so gave it a quick bowl S&F then before it got too puffy.

Tried a new scoring pattern to get good bloom and expansion, but keep the gas flow uniform vs channeling it to a single score line.  Will see how it worked later today/tonight.  Hoping for a sandwich loaf type crumb with a few open spaces.


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I've been tweaking this recipe a little each bake and narrowing it down to a method that works for me.  Have tried it as sourdough, but I like it better with raisin yeast water.  The toasted buckwheat really comes through, and I've slowly reduced the amount so it doesn't overpower everything else.  Have tried it as both a hearth loaf and a pan loaf, but it's really working better for me as a pan so far.  It's hard to keep good strength with the non gluten flours and the inclusions, so the hearth loaves tend to flatten more than rise.  Today, I tried Dan's loaf pan method and it worked great!

I do a two part levain build using the RYW from my refrigerator.  Normally I do nothing but RYW, but I ran out for this bake (have some fermenting), so I topped it off with regular water and added 0.5g ADY during final mix.

This bread is 70% WW, 20% spelt, 5% toasted buckwheat, and 5% oat flour with a barley, oat and buckwheat soaker.  It has a hearty flavor that I really enjoy as toast with my oatmeal in the morning and it makes delicious French toast.  Something about the combination of the toasted buckwheat in the bread and the cinnamon in the egg mixture...

Will post a crumb shot later tonight.  Will probably slice this one for dinner and see how it does as a turkey and cheddar panini.


EDIT:  Crumb photo added.  Didn’t get this one cooked all the way.  I hit 210 deg for final internal temp, but it’s just a little on the moist side.  I’m hoping it cures a little bit over the next day or two.  Texture and flavor are good though, and it made a great sandwich for dinner!


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I took another shot at Vermont Sourdough today.  After my attempt a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see if the tweaks I made to my starter maintenance would speed up the bulk ferment.  Ironically, I think it actually went slower.

Overall, can't complain.  Got decent oven spring, a nice color and crispiness to the crust, and the aroma is pleasant with just a bit of tang.  I think it will taste good.  Was shooting for my typical sandwich loaf type crumb, and will see tomorrow if I hit that. 

With the bakes I have planned tomorrow morning and the rest of the day's schedule, I just needed to wrap this bake up today.  I moved to shaping after 7 hours of bulk even though I was only at 60% on the aliquot jar.  Dough was rising and had some jiggle, but not where I wanted it to be.  After 3 hours of final proofing, I was getting close to 90% on the aliquot jar and decided to call it a day. 

I love the flavor I get from this bread, but if I keep making it, I may need to change my schedule for this recipe and make it an overnight BF.



EDIT:  Crumb shot added.  Everyone has their preferences, but for me, this is the ideal crumb!  Makes me rethink my complaints about fermentation time.  Maybe this is one of those recipes where I have to adapt to fit its schedule.  :-)

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Pulled the trigger on a new 8x4 Pullman pan after getting comments in this thread.  Came in today and decided to try a quick loaf.  Threw together a quick recipe with the goal of making a soft sandwich bread.

Decided to start with the dough weight the pan is rated for.  I think the bake went really well and am optimistic about the crumb, but not nearly enough dough.  :-)

Only thing I need to look at is the oven set up.  I had an upper element heat shield in place and the Pullman on a cookie sheet in case of any overflow.  I normally have a lower heat shield in place and the racks set low in the oven to keep the heat towards the bottom of the loaf.  When I took the loaf out of the pan, the bottom and sides were well browned and the top was still soft with no crust.  Need to either move the rack up one notch in the oven or get some more top heat once I remove the lid to help the top of the crust firm up and brown.  Other than that, bake went well.

Will make the first slice tomorrow morning.


EDIT:  Crumb shot added. Bread is nice and soft.  Top crust is almost non-existent though.  Will work on oven setup the next time I use the pan.

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Bake from a couple days ago...

Overall, bake turned out decent.  Made the loaf for a friend and they liked it, so I guess that’s all that matters.  Had to slice and check the crumb before giving it to them. ?

Levain build went well.  Starter was 2 weeks old, but levain was over doubled and very bubbly at 11 hours (72-74 deg).  Dough temp was right on target after mixing (as 75 deg).  However, as usual for me with high white flour recipes, my BF progressed very slowly.

I moved to shaping after 6.5 hours.  Aliquot was just over 50% and dough was reasonably jiggly.  I wanted to go longer, but it was getting late.  Dough had risen some after 90 minutes (aliquot about 70%), so put it in the fridge for a morning bake.

Dough shrank a bit over night.  Luckily, I got good oven spring and the crumb turned out OK.  A little underproofed, but not too bad.  Surprisingly, it had mild acidity with the longer fermentation according to my friend.  They enjoyed the first slice with a bowl of soup.  Maybe because of the higher temps during BF.

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Today's bake was based on this method with really only a change in hydration to suit my flours.  That, and I made a sandwich loaf versus a boule.

Built the WW starter from my rye starter over two builds.  First build was at 100% hydration (1.5:6:6) and then the levain at 80% hydration (per method in attached photo).  Levain had a very nice smell, almost buttery, when ripe.  I have some coarse, local flour that I've been slowly using up, and I used it for the levain.  Used KAF WW for the main dough.

Overall, very happy with the loaf.  Crumb turned out uniform and what I really like for a sandwich bread.  I think this will be my go to recipe for the weekly sandwich loaf.  The color in the photo at the top of the post is very accurate.  The crust is really nice reddish brown.  Crispy but not tough.

Crumb was still a little moist after 4+ hours of cooling.  Will see if it dries a little more.  Finding the endpoint on my bakes is still elusive for me.  I've tried temp, but it seems to vary from loaf to loaf.  I've tried listening for the hollow thump.  I think I hear a good hollow sound, but either I'm not listening for the right sound or too many years of industrial noise exposure has made hearing that sound not possible.  :-)  Something to continue working on...

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This past weekend, got to do a "little" experimenting.  Didn't need to make a full loaf, and my daughter got me a set of silicone mini loaf pans.  The perfect size for experiments.  So, decided to try something simple and see if my wife liked it.  She's not much of a sourdough fan (although she said the Durum Pain au Levain is the best bread I've made, so maybe it's my SD execution to-date that's the problem).  Started simple and made a 90:10 white flour:WW loaf with raisin yeast water.

Overall, went fine.  Two build levain.  Only hiccup and surprise was how long the bulk ferment took.  Second levain build progressed well (over doubled and nicely domed in about 6 hours), so I was expecting something similar during BF.  Nope.  No signs at all of any fermentation until about 7-8 hours into it.  Lowered the temp and let it go overnight.  Was sitting at 100% on the aliquot jar in the morning and moved to shaping.  Wasn't sure how much more I'd get out of it with BF taking so long to start, so I was pretty cautious and didn't degas it much during pre-shaping and final shaping. 

Final proof was about 2 hours and the aliquot jar had grown to 140% at that point.  Didn't score it and wish I had.  Had good oven spring that tended to go in all directions instead of up.  One downside to the silicone pan is that it's not rigid and the dough forced it out at the sides.  Makes a nice little plump loaf though. 

Had a few larger holes in the final loaf.  Not sure if that was due to not degassing enough or getting close to overproofed, but the end result turned out good and she liked it.  Something to build on and try with a full loaf next.

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I was encouraged to try this bake, and with the recent activity in the 5-grain Levain CB thread, I decided to give it a go.  Wow, learning curves galore on this one.  First time baking the bread.  First time using inclusions.  First time using a soaker.  Mistake transcribing the formula to my spreadsheet caused a big mess in the first attempt on Saturday.  A few curveballs today.  It was a weekend of ups and downs, and won't have the verdict for at least another few hours. :-)

Levain: Went as planned for the most part.  Formula calls for 12-16 hours at 70 deg F.  My basement is running about 72-73 deg.  Despite being 125% hydration, the levain had doubled by the 9 hour mark and actually had the slightest bit of a dome.  At 11 hours, the dome had flattened and actually looked like it was starting to sink just a bit.  Moved to mix stage at that point.

Mix:  The recipe calls for bread flour, but I thought I read somewhere that Mr. Hamelman refers to AP flour as "bread" flour.  I wasn't sure, so I hedged my bet and used 50:50 KAF AP and Bread flours.  Because of the transcription error the previous day, I was meticulous with measurements this morning and was thrown the first curveball of the day.  The dough was really stiff and dry.  Added water in 5g increments (7 additions needed) until I got what I thought was a workable consistency.  The 35g of water I added would take the final dough formula to 65% hydration versus the 57.5% shown.  Should there be free water in the soaker?  Mine had no free water after 12 hours covered at room temp.  With all the additions, the dough received a lot of kneading and was fully developed (as best as I could tell).

Bulk ferment:  All my doughs to-date have relaxed and flattened during bulk ferment and then I'd fold to build them back up.  With that, I had some idea on how fermentation was progressing.  This dough pretty much stayed a ball throughout bulk.  So, it didn't really rise.  It swelled.  The method called for a 2 hour BF.  I went for almost 4 hours.  By my best guess it had increased approximately 50% in size, but had stopped swelling for the last 45 minutes (as far as I could tell).  Wasn't sure how much it could increase in volume with the weight of the inclusions.

Shaping:  Maybe because the dough started out so dry, but I had a heck of a time with pre-shaping and shaping.  I tried doing the pre-shape that Mr. Hamelman uses in this video, but the dough wouldn't stick to itself and just formed a big air pocket.  In the end, I had to unfold it to get it flat and then do a letter fold followed by rounding to get a decent boule.  I had to stitch/pinch the bottom closed and let it sit seam side down for a few minutes to get it to seal.  Was able to get good tension in the dough without tearing it though when rounding.  I see two shaping errors after baking 180 degrees from each other.  Can tell it's where the dough wouldn't stick to itself.  No flour was used during shaping, so that's not it.  Hopefully, this doesn't have a big, hollow center.

Final proof:  Wrapped the banneton in a wet towel as I knew there was still a way to go on final ferment (or at least I thought there was).  Wanted to keep things damp to give it the best chance to rise (pretty low humidity in the house right now).  Banneton placed in proofing box set at 80 deg F.  Saw a bit of a rise after 1 hour.  Didn't notice much (if any) change at 2 hours.  At 2.75 hours, I did a poke test and it looked ready.  Not sure if a poke test works with inclusions in the dough, but I ran with it.  Into the refrigerator for 45 minutes while the oven pre-heated.  I kept the towel wrapped around the banneton in the refrigerator as well, but the dough seemed to have a pretty dry skin when I put it on the parchment paper.  I think the banneton pulled a fair amount of moisture out of it.  I sprayed it with a mist bottle after scoring to try and moisten the dough.

Scoring:  One thing I kind of dislike with boules is the small edge pieces you get.  They make decent toast, but I'd prefer not to have them.  Decided to try a scoring pattern that would open up and fill out the edges, as well as, get good spring up.  It looks like mission accomplished, but in hind sight, this may not be the easiest bread to slice now that I see it baked.  :-)

Bake:  Baked in my turkey roaster and with a bread pan full of water (towels also) inside the roaster for extra steam.  Worked well.  20 minutes with steam at 460 deg.  30 minutes at 425 deg with no steam and lid off.  The last 10 minutes at 375 deg but with the lid back on (no steam).  Internal temp was a little low (about 198 deg) and I didn't want the outer portion of the loaf drying out too much, so I put the lid back on to let it cook but keep some moisture in the roaster.  Guess we'll see if it worked after the first slice.  Final temp was 205 deg and the loaf had a nice hollow thump.

Quite a few curve balls today, and I had no idea what to expect.  To be honest, I still don't.  Smells good though!  The color from my phone to what's uploaded changes a lot.  Crust is actually a much more golden color than what you see here.


EDIT: Crumb shot added.  Everything considered, we’ll call the first bake a success!  Still a bit moist.  Could have used another 5-10 minutes, but that’s getting picky with everything that went on yesterday.

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Round 2 for this recipe, and I'm much happier with the result!  Main difference...  Going back to the KAF WW.  Very easy to handle at 81% hydration.  

I used a very small biga this time with no noticeable difference in fermentation time.  Made it 13 hours before final mix and it had doubled in volume in that time.  For my schedule, the slow overnight ferments work well.  Trying to get it down to an 8-10 hour Bulk Ferment so I can have the bake wrapped up and done before noon.  Will either increase the biga or increase the bulk ferment temperature next time.  Leaning towards increasing biga...  I forgot the honey during final mix.  Not sure if that would have boosted fermentation, but having a little bit of simple sugars for the yeast couldn't have hurt.

Dough handled easily and held its shape decently between bowl stretch and folds.  Might even be able to go a tad higher on hydration, but not sure it's necessary.  Getting oats on dough was easy with a little water misted on prior to rolling.

I don't have a Dutch Oven, but came up with a working alternative.  A large turkey roaster.  Big enough to put a 9"x5" bread pan with towels in it for steam. 

Don't ask me why I scored the dough so low on the side.  I did it, and then asked myself WTF...  Add it to the list of newbie mistakes.  Would like to say it won't happen again, but my track record isn't the greatest.  :-)     On the plus side...  Looks like a decent bloom where I did score it, so I think the oven spring would have been much better had I scored it through the middle of the loaf.


EDIT:  And the verdict is...  under-proofed.  Either that or degassed way to much during final shaping (did press it down before shaping, so might have been a little too aggressive). Aliquot jar was at least double and dough was fairly jiggly at the end of bulk ferment.  Might have to push it a bit longer next time.  

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I tried this recipe a while back and really enjoyed it, especially toasted with a bowl of oatmeal in the morning.  Thought the flavors complimented each other well.  Ever since then, have been wanting to try to put something together, and this is Take 1. 

Still some kinks to work out, but I'm happy with the first step!  Biggest thing is either lowering hydration or going back to KAF 100% WW.  Store was out of KAF WW, so I tried a brand that is milled locally.  Not NEARLY as thirsty and had trouble managing the dough.  Couldn't get it to hold any shape no matter how much tension I put into it.

All that said, the flavor is exactly what I was going for.  May stick with the flours for Take 2, or I may try adding the groats and oats as an inclusion.  A few iterations to go before I settle in on a recipe...


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