The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

HeiHei29er's blog

HeiHei29er's picture

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.

HeiHei29er's picture

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.

HeiHei29er's picture

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...

HeiHei29er's picture

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.

HeiHei29er's picture

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.

HeiHei29er's picture

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.  

HeiHei29er's picture

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...

HeiHei29er's picture

After making my first successful loaf earlier this week, the goal this weekend was to see if I could reproduce that first loaf using my starter directly from the refrigerator.  If I could do that, it would go a long way towards building some confidence.  Happy to say that I think I've got two in a row!

I was a little nervous that it wouldn't work, so I increased inoculation from 20g to 22g.  In hind sight, if it wasn't going to work, I doubt the extra 2g of seed would have helped, but it made me feel better in the moment.  :-)  I shortened bulk fermentation from 12.5 to 9 hours (was good and jiggly), increased the second rise from 2 to 2.75 hours, and did a 2.5 hour cold retard.  After watching the videos in this post, I decided I could get a little more aggressive with degassing the dough during pre-shape and final shape.  I'll see if that was a good choice when I make the first slice.  I got good oven spring, so early indications are promising.


HeiHei29er's picture

I started looking into sourdough baking in late November, and since that time, the learning curve has been steep and often times like drinking from a fire hose.  I've made bread in the past using packets of IDY and looking up a recipe on the internet.  Mix it up.  Throw it in a slightly warmed oven till it doubles.  Pat it down, roll it into a log, throw it in a bread pan, and put it back in the slightly warmed oven.  Bake it at 350 deg for 20-30 minutes after the loaf is just cresting the pan.  Never had a failure. Thought it would be a simple thing to jump into sourdough.  And while the concepts are simple enough, the process of actually making it all come together with a sourdough starter have eluded me.  I've had some successes along the way (was very happy with how my semolina CB turned out), but any successful loaf I made always had at least some IDY in the mix.  I could always get fermentation and "sour" flavor in the bread, but I could not get much for leavening without the IDY.  Not being one to give up, I have beat my head against the un-leavened, flat, dense loaf of bread wall, repeatedly.  Until today!

Special thanks to Abe for helping me FINALLY understand and read a starter feeding (I was re-feeding too soon) and getting me through this first loaf.  It was a higher hydration than I'm used to handling and my pre-shaping and final shaping were "rough", and I'm not sure I read the end of BF or final proofing correctly.  But...  It rose on it's own from a starter.  No IDY required.  Major milestone!

Small step and still a long way to go on the learning curve, but I can at least sleep tonight knowing there's hope I can get past square one after 2+ months of trying to make a viable starter.  :-)

Thanks to everyone that's answered some of my many questions since joining this site.  It is a great community here! 

HeiHei29er's picture

My first attempt at the Semolina/Durum CB, and I'm humbled by the knowledge and skill in all the bakes so far.  There's still a long way for me to go on the learning curve!  Special thanks to Abe and Benny for answering many newbie questions over the last couple weeks, which has helped me tremendously in getting to this point.  I think I know just enough now to crawl.  :-)

I have been struggling with my SD starter and just didn't have the confidence to go with an SD version of this recipe.  So, I opted to try it with a poolish instead.  I kept the preferment percentages and hydration the same as the posted recipe and adjusted the formula to a 625g dough.  I kept the amount of IDY on the low side to extend the rise.  I don't know if there is any flavor development by going slow with IDY, but I had the time today, so went that route.


Did my best to estimate the 0.05g of IDY used in the poolish (measuring spoon is 1/4 tsp).  Used the rule of thumb from Weekend Bakery.  

Poolish after 12 hours.



I did a 90 minute autolyse on the durum flour (Caputo Semola Rimacinata), and then combined.  Dough was easy to handle and came together quite nicely with 2x 100 FFs separated by a 5 minute rest.  During BF, I did stretch and folds first and then letter folds.  I have really only tried to make sandwich loaves to-date and prefer a fairly tight crumb.  This is the first time I wanted to see if I can get some openness to the crumb, so was more gentle with the second two folds.  BF and Final Proofing were done at 82 deg F.

I think the sesame seeds will add a nice flavor, but I'm not sure I'll go that route again.  After final shaping, I misted the dough and rolled it in seeds, hand applied seeds, and fidgeted to try and cover all the surface.  I'm sure it gets easier with practice, but I might just put them in the dough next time.  Covering the outside while worrying that I'm losing my final shaping might be a little more stress than what it's worth.  :-)   Put seed covered dough in banneton with seeds down for final proof.

Used my new lame for scoring after final proof was complete, and surprised how easily it went.  Maybe a little too deep...

Baked on a stone at 460 deg with steam for 15 minutes.  Used towels in bread pans on both sides of the loaf for steam.  First time trying that, and thought it worked quite well.  However, I think I need to preheat them longer.  Not sure I generated as much steam initially as I do when pouring boiling water in a pre-heated pan.  Had a little bit of oven spring, but the loaf stayed fairly flat.  Looks like there's more oven spring in some parts of the loaf than others.  Guessing that's a shaping problem?  Will have to wait and see what the crumb looks like, but the crust looks good and it smells good too.  

I hope to have my SD starter up to par soon and my next attempt will be a SD version.


EDIT:  I couldn’t wait any longer after 4 hours of cooling on the counter.  Crumb turned out like I hoped!  The yellow color from the durum flour really comes through with this recipe.




Subscribe to RSS - HeiHei29er's blog