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RonRay

Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math)

Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math)

There is a Chinese proverb, of which, I am very fond:

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.

      a  Highly Active Culture  of  Apple Yeast Water

 

Having no delusions of being wise, I often go ahead and refer to things, for which, I have never found a proper name. However, I do try to state the meaning that I think they may deserve.

*** Some terms and the meanings I place on them when I use them.

Yeast Water (YW)... a specific instance of:
A quantity of nearly total water, which contains an active culture of microscopic life forms that will consume various nutrients and release carbon dioxide while doing so.

Yeast Water, Yeast Water Levain (YWL)... in general, intended, or already mixed with a gluten type flour:
A culture started from any type of YW that is mixed with flour and used in the same way as Sourdough Levain or Commercial yeast.

AYW, RYW, PYW, CYW, GYW, etc.... abbreviations for what is used to maintain the YW culture, such as:
Apple YW, Raisin YW, Prune YW, Clementine YW, Grape YW, etc. Used where the 1st letter's meaning should be clear to anyone.

Dust, as in apple dust, raisin dust, etc....
The accumulation of particles on the bottom of a YW culture, resulting from small parts that the culture has reduced to separate "dust" parts.

Highly Active Culture... general usage.
A Yeast Water culture that shows large amounts of activity - CO2 creation - can be in the form of bubbles rising in the actual water of a YW jar, or in a levain, which would be judged exactly as one would judge a sourdough levain.

Strong YW... general usage
Only measurable by testing growth when mixed with at least a A-P flour level gluten. This would apply to most YW that is being stored in a fridge, although, if returned to room temperature, the indications of a Highly Active Culture may re-manifest themselves.

Wild Yeast... general usage:
Any of the countless species of eukaryotic micro-organisms (over 1,500 species currently described, according to Wikipedia [1]) excluding those used in Commercial Yeast and known as Baker's Yeast, as well as Brewer's Yeast - both of which are Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and have been used for thousands of years (See Wikipedia [1, 2] ) There is no earthly reason, that I can think of, which would justify your needing to remember any of those technical terms...

Wee Bonnie Beasties (WBBs)... my personal usage
Any of the Wild Yeast that I might find useful. Sorry, but as the writer, I do have some prerogatives.

*** General Thoughts about Sourdough and Yeast Water - as far as our usage here.

All I need to know, and therefore, all I care to touch upon here, is how do I understand the cultivation, care, and usage of Yeast Water (YW) to the extent that I get the levains that will aid me in making foods I bake, &or eat - I do eat banana levain without the baking step and occasionally drink some fermented beverages..

Think of these Wild Yeast, for a moment, as if they were humans. You can find different groups that like different music, or different foods, different climates, etc. There are different groups of Wild Yeast that like wheat, others rye, others apples, grapes, etc. I think you see the point. But, they all need a source of the foods that they can eat, or that their companions can convert into foods that they can eat, and in hard times, they will eat things that they would probably not prefer to eat.

Unlike humans, Wild Yeast and their companions don't normally have drilling equipment, and while they often can be transported by air currents, they do not have wings to pick and choose locations. So, if chance places them where there are the sugars, starches and whatever that is needed for these Wee Bonnie Beasties (WBBs) to survive and multiply, then there is a very good chance that they will do just that.

Those great survival places are, more often than not, on the outer surface of commonly grown food sources. The same ones that humans often like, and for the same reasons that the WBBs like them - they are good sources of sugars, starches, and flavors - and low sources of deadly compounds (the latter consideration does not necessarily apply to humans).

Now, let us consider where these few fanciful premises can take us:
1/ The world is full of concentrated sources of these WBBs.
2/ They are there for your finding and taking.
3/ With some trial and (perhaps,) error, you should be able provide a home and diet that will keep both you and your WBBs happy.
4/ They will rise your doughs, and uncomplaining will die so that you may bake your daily bread.
5/ It is not too likely that they will remain that happy, if you force them to change their ways.
6/ Your WBBs are happy and healthiest on their original diets, and if you shift the diet, there is a very good chance the new WBBs - that come in with the new food you provide - will take over and the originals will diminish, even disappear completely.

The last item - "6/" - means that Apple Yeast Water (AYW) can shifted into a sourdough (SD) and that SD into a banana levain (BL) and the BL into a sour-rye levain (SRL) and even converted back into an AYW... Assuming you had strange tastes in what you liked to spend your time doing.

*** The Skin Game...

None of this is new., and the methods of starting a sourdough culture are filled with examples of people using the facts - without necessarily connecting the dots. Nancy Silverton has pushed using grapes to start a sourdough culture [3]. Dan Lepard says to use raisins, currants, and whey. [4] In an hour you could no doubt find any number of other examples of "Helpers to get a sourdough started".

What most of these have in common is that they start a YW culture long enough to establish an environment to foster the growth of the WBBs found in wheat flour. In my first Apple YW culture [5] I used a ¼ tsp of potato YW to jump-start the apple YW fermentation.

You do not need to be a "health nut" to realize that the skins of most commercially sold fruit have been treated
with chemicals to kill "everything except humans" ( not sure about the "except' part of that statement ). So, if you feel you must start from scratch, and use the skins of your source item, and then I would say buy from a source of untreated fruits or vegetables. Once you have any Wild Yeast culture - Sourdough, or Yeast Water, you never need to use skins again, and there are other benefits, I find, to using only the pure flesh of the fruits. Although, I will admit the "garbage disposal" approach of skin, cores, and table scraps, etc. will work to create a YW culture.

*** Do Not Be Afraid to Experiment ...

If you do not try things, you will only have "book learning". I would think, that anyone, which only had book learning would be much the poorer for the lack of the real life complement . Book learning is great, but not to the exclusion of life's lessons.

*** Why Not Just Use a Sourdough Culture and Be Done With It?

Well, I don't know. Why do anything different? Why use Sourdough and not just commercial yeast? Perhaps to learn how to do new things, perhaps, of the increase the range of options that new methods might offer you. These types of decisions are personal choices - choices each of us have to make for ourselves.

For me, there is also the fact that the general absence of the "Sour", as in sourdough, is desired at times. The fragrance from various YW levains is a worthy addition to the palette that I can use to paint the flavor of a bread, and the colors of different YW can add visual appeal to the baked goods - bread, or any other items.

In addition, there are differences in how individual types of YW levains behave. Some people have observed much faster rises with raisin YW (RYW) in certain cases, I find differences in the temperature effects on AYW, as compared to SD levains.

I also find there is the greater ease in the maintenance requirements for my AYW than there is for my SD culture. I love SD, and would never knowingly give it up. However, SD gives me one family of flavors and crumb colors, YW gives me a wider range of everything. I also have had what I consider as great results using a mixture of SD and AYW to create a bread with superior flavor, tang, color, and moistness - all based on my taste, of course, not necessarily to your taste.

But, I am not using my time writing this to play salesman. I could care less if you use Yeast Water, but two things have brought me to try to write this: First, I find - perhaps well intended - postings that are full of statements based upon fantasies (at best), and information that is only creating more "Baker's Legends" and secondly, I find more and more of my personal time being spent answering the same questions over and over. While this is a time consuming task, to the extent that I can write down these answers in a referenceable posting, the less future time that will be spent on those same answers.

*** How Does One Start a Yeast Water culture...

Well that depends on several things, but in general:

1/ Choose the type of YW you want initially. I would suggest picking one that others have had good results at starting. For that, I would say try one of these three types: Grape, Raisin, or Apple, although, feel free to try anything that turns you on.

2/ You will need to start from scratch only if you have no source of existing Sourdough, or Yeast Water cultures. Since all you need to jump-start a culture is a very small amount of any existing culture, I am sure anyone you know that has a culture could give you a part of teaspoonful of their culture to get you started.

3/ Starting with, or without, a jump-start culture:

a/ Take a clean glass jar that has a lid. I find short squat a POOR choice, and jars taller than wide a BETTER choice.

b/ Fill about one fourth of the jar's height with your raisins, or crushed grapes, or your apple slices.

c/ Add water that is chemical free. Fill that jar about half full. I find having the fruit filling only half the volume of water is convenient for the following reasons. Raisins initially sink and as the YW starts developing, raisins will start to form bubbles and then rise, grapes tend to be a mixed bag as to floating initially, while apple slices float initially, but when really depleted they often become "waterlogged" sink to the bottom. In any case, having a section that is more or less a clear water area offers greater opportunity to notice changes that start to occur in your YW culture. This is even more true when it is a fully mature and active culture.

d/ If you wish, you can add a small amount (½ tsp.) of honey, or sugar, but it is not necessary with sweet fruit at first, but would be with vegetables.

e/ IF Jump-starting ONLY:

e-1/ Using an existing YW: add a teaspoon full of the active existing YW to your new starting YW jar,
e-2/ Using an existing SD: ½ teaspoon of SD to cup of water, stir to dissolve the SD in the water and wait for half hour to get some settlement in the mixture. Then, extract a teaspoon of the top portion of the water mixture and add it to your new starting YW jar.

f/ Place a lid on the jar, and leave the jar out of direct sunlight, at room temperature (RT), or up to about 82ºF (27.8º C)

g/ Once a day (more often will not hurt) remove the lid, and stir to release any CO2 and to add oxygen to the solution. Some people find a vigorous shaking of the jar helps. It may, I have never tried it.

h/ If after 4 or 5 days, you do not see bubbles starting to forming, raisins or grapes floating, add another sugar or honey treat. If after 7 days you see nothing, throw everything out and find a new source for your fruit purchases. Start over.

*** After the Bubbles Flow...

Once you have convincing evidence of the YW becoming active, you can make your first proofing test. After all, the only proof of a worthwhile leavening culture is in the rising of the dough. So make your first YWL (YW levain). I would do it something like this:

1/ Find a small glass container, something very much like a typical morning fruit juice glass, with close to vertical sides. The straighter the container's sides, the easier it is to judge how much the levain has risen.

2/ If you weigh the empty glass and record the weight for future reference, it might come in handy. Use your tap water to see about how much a quarter of a glass of water weighs. If it is about 40 to 50 ml (grams), or about 1½ ounces, that would seem a good enough amount. Empty the glass.

3/ Measure out something close to that weight in the YW from your culture (replace the same amount of water back into the culture) and also measure an equal weight of A-P flour. Combine the YW and flour in your "test beaker", mix the two ingredients and place a rubber band around the glass at the level of the mixture's top surface. Place it in a warm location where you can check for activity and place anything - like a piece of light cardboard on the top to cover the opening - to keep anything from falling in and to minimize evaporation from the mixture.

4/ check the level, as compared to the rubber band's location to see if it is rising. If it raises to a level equal to the twice as high as the rubber band in 4 or 5 hours you have a very active levain (and YW culture) if it has not risen at least half that much in 24 hours, then your culture is not ready to use yet. In between those extremes, you make your own judgment calls.

*** After Your Proof of Life on Mars...

Okay, you now are the proud owner of a Yeast Water culture. You have the information needed you make new types of YW, should you wish to. You should realize that the characteristics of your YW will take some time to know well, and that changing the way you feed it, or adding different types of materials into the culture will all change anything you have learned about it - just as switching the A-P flour in a White Sourdough levain to a diet of rye will make it radically different in its behavior, so too will switching from apples to prunes change the characteristics of your YW. Using certain fruits will make any YW worthless for use in bread making - these are a few: kiwi, pineapple, mango and papaya.
I strongly recommend you read the materials on TFL and elsewhere before making any changes in your culture's feeding and care. Here are a few places to start such readings [6, 7, 8, 9].

*** Apple Yeast Water (AYW)...

From here on, nearly everything is specifically meant to apply only to my AYW and SD cultures, although, I will touch on some of my observations that I made with other YW types. However, as I have said above, different YW types may have different characteristics, and often do.

So, for example, if you want specifics on RYW, search TFL on "teketeke" or "daisya". If you want info on AYW, search TFL on "hanseata" or on "RonRay" and if on a wider range, search TFL on "yeast water", &or the references listed at the end of this writing.

Of course, if you are looking for deep information on the nature of SD, search TFL of "Debra Wink", who knows more facts about sourdough WBBs than anyone I ever encountered.

*** Some Q & A that have been posed in the past...

= Q
...Now that I have my RYW proofed , should I just keep that and use it like I do my SD?
= A
...No, keep your yeast water away from flour, until you want to use it for baking...


= Q
...Okay, but why?
= A
...It appears that anything the grows and offers nutrients on its skin/surface/husk/etc. will attract wild yeasts, Labs, and who knows what else. different wee beasties will find different nutrient sources preferable to others. So, your raisin yeast water (RYW) will get competition from the beasties that love flour, and soon you will not have sweet RYW, but sourdough.


= Q
...You said you use 3 builds to make your YW levain. My SD works fine with one or two. Why use more.
= A
...I used the straight method on one of wao's YW breads and it took 16 hours to rise. With SD, generally, you've done refreshes and have a good feel for just how active the SD is. If, like many people, you keep YW in the fridge, until you want to use it; you have a very poor basis to know just how active it is. It is simple for me to take a small amount (10 to 20g) of highly active YW from my active culture and add it to an equal amount of A-P flour and in a few hours have proof positive of strong growth. Using that when it is between 60% to 80% risen and moving to Build #2 gives a strong growth and guarantees that the Build #3 will provide exactly what I planned for in rise times and volume of my breads. No 16 hour surprises anymore.

= Q
...Can I get a sour YW by keeping it in the fridge too long?
= A
...I can only tell you what I have experienced:
1/ If I start with my AYW & Flour, and use AYW (not tap Water) in all builds, I have never gotten a sour levain - even after a week in the fridge.

2/ If I start with my AYW & Flour, and use tap Water (not AYW) in all builds, I have never gotten a sour levain after 3-builds - even after a week in the fridge.
3/ If I start with my AYW & Flour, and use tap water (not AYW) in all builds, and then retain some of that levain to back slope a new series of builds (built on the old levain) I have started to get a sour by the 6th build. All 6 builds being built largely at 51ºF/10.6ºC in a wine bottle fridge.
In other words: One can convert an AYW Levain into a normal WSD by maintaining an initial YW Levain in the same manor as a sourdough culture is maintained. My guess is that the continuing refreshments of wild yeast in the flour, without any fresh YW allows the flour-loving wild yeast to take over the culture.
4/ If I start WSD (White Sourdough) Levain, and use my surplus AYW from the fridge, instead of tap water, in my builds, I can build a SD-AYW Levain that is both sour and has a beautiful fragrance and makes a sweeter, more moist loaf. It has become a favored method of mine.
5/ I have never found a condition where the sourness decreased with increased time - either in, or out of a fridge.
6/ THIS MAY BE of relevance... All of the above is with Apple Yeast Water and KAF A-P flour. Since we know that each type of flour is likely to have a different group of "favorite" wild yeast living off of it, all of these results might very well be different if the flour type changed. For instance, if you used Rye flour, I would not be at all surprised if you had different results. Thus, with your different formulae, you may well be creating different conditions than those that I have been dealing with.

= Q
...How do you know your AYW is slowing down, or needs food, and such?
= A
...I use the bubbles as a measure of the activity. A slow down, usually is for one of these reasons:
1/ The pressure got too high (because I tighten jar the lid too tight). If so, there will be swishing with foaming when the pressure is reduced by removing the lid.
2/ The water has gotten too alcoholic (I do not consider that "sour", but you might) and that water goes into the fridge to use in levain builds - other than the first build. If you cannot tell alcohol by smell, taste it.
3/ The WBBs want their sugar cube "fix" (I give one cube about every 4 to 7 days, and whenever I change water).
4/ The apple slices have little left to give. (depending upon the apple type, 8 to 10 days).
BTW I have 2 jars that have been maintained this way for at least five months, and never cooled, nor refrigerated.
5/ When the apple slices sink, you know the activity is very low. The slices float, when fresh, but as time passes they become more waterlogged, and need the bubbles to hold them up !!!
Now, I was talking about my AYW (apple yeast water in those points. But it should provide a background for any wild yeast culturing - with adjustments for the oddities by "beastie types"

Here is an image of the bubbles rising in my AYW culture. They are difficult to photograph, and often I need to use a magnifying glass to see them clearly. The streams of bubbles can be very small, fine, bubbles, but they start in the apple dust at the bottom and stream to the apple slices at the top. Of course, when a sugar cube is dropped in, it sinks into the apple dust at the bottom. So, there is a lot of sugars in the material at the bottom.

= Q
...What IS your favorite fruit water? Why is it your favorite?
= A
...Well, I would call it Yeast water, not fruit water - vegetables work well, too. When I was fairly new with YW experiments, I thought I liked Clementine YW best. But Apple YW was a close second choice.

Clementine lost out more for practical considerations: I crushed the sections and only added those parts and the juice. (I found the skins of citrus, if used in YW made tastes I distinctly dislike).

Of course, any source that is highly seasonal, is not a good choice for one's "standby" YW. Grapes, raisins, and Zante Currants are all reliable year round sources, as is/are potato flakes (instant potato). Some sources must be avoided, if it is bread you wish to use the YW in - such as the warning I posted elsewhere: "Certain fruits should not be used for yeast waters intended for leavening bread. They are those fruits (or vegetables) that contain Actinidain (or actinidin) kiwi, pineapple, mango and papaya. This protease enzyme breaks down protein. If you make a yeast water from these fruits, you can still use it as a meat tenderize, but NOT in your bread dough."

I discovered that prune juice worked well to make a YW, but turned out making a dense crumb that I didn't care for very much. It did make a bread that visually could pass for a very dark rye.

Which brings up the coloring agent aspect that YW can play. Clementine and apple give a very nice soft golden tint, as well as a nice fragrance.

For me, AYW won.

Before I give the final considerations, why apple won for me, let me shift to another consideration, and that is Starting vs. maintaining a Wild Yeast Culture.

In nature, it is the skins that usually hold the highest concentrations of wild yeast. The dusty film on the skins of grapes and blueberries are wild yeast. In the modern day world, fewer and fewer skins of fruit and vegetables that one buys in the market have not been treated in one way or another to kill or remove anything on the skins. So, it becomes a bit harder to start a YW from scratch, and potentially, much less healthy to add unwashed skins to the YW. Fortunately, the skins are not necessary in maintaining an established culture, nor are they necessary if you have any type culture existing.

Since, if you have any Wild Yeast Culture, you can start a different one by jump-starting the new one. Just as feeding a pure banana purée to SD can create a pure Banana levain, or feeding rye flour to SD can get a Sour Rye, likewise, adding a small amount of raisin YW (RYW) to a jar of skinned apple slices covered with water, will get you an AYW from a RYW in about 1, or 2 days.

Of course, if you once have an AYW culture, you have no need to ever use any skins. The WBBs will slowly build "apple dust" on the bottom of the jar's clear gold-tinted water in the middle area and floating apple slices on the top. The "apple dust" seems to be that greatest concentration of the wee beasties and while I maintain some always in the culture, it adds an extended moistness to a bread. I enjoy using the "discard" apple slices (when replaced by fresh ones in the culture) mixed with raisins, honey, brown sugar as a baked apple desert - much like my Banana levain gets used as a treat.

= Q
...How can you keep from dumping your apple dust when you change water, or use the AYW for levain?
= A
...I use a baster, just a common supermarket type, but the top squeeze bulb is smaller than most. Cleaning is not a problem, since it is only used for the AYW, and I fill a quart plastic container in the sink before using the baster to extract the AYW. As soon as the extraction is complete, I simple suck the baster full of clean water from the plastic pail, shake well and squirt it into the sink drain. Repeating that 3 or 4 times is all the cleaning required and the baster is allowed to drain/dry vertically in the rack at the sink's edge.

Surplus AYW is saved in tall jars that were once olive jars and kept in the fridge's door, and used it in Build #2s and #3s of levain builds. Thus, normally, this only requires me to need 10 to 20g of fresh AYW from the active culture's water - which is replaced at once with fresh water out of the same baster that had just extracted the used amount. That AYW, of course, is what I use to make the Build #1 of any new levain build.

There is no water loss from the active culture, except what I remove - as in the above use for new levain starts. Other than that, what gets removed is nearly all water when the water gets too high in alcohol, and that is what I use to form the fridge maintained surplus.

= Q
...So simple and it sounds like you really only have to attend to it once a week....or do you toss in a sugar cube sometime before you do what you have just done?
= A
...I enjoy watching the small streams of bubbles raising from the "apple dust" and racing up to the undersides of the floating apple slices. Several times a day, I generally pause to watch them for a second, or two. It is good to open the jar one or more times a day, and just mildly stir the apple slices - the parts exposed to the air are effected differently than those that are not. Stirring also ensures that the lid was not too tight - would not want too much pressure to build up in the jar.

Of course, to stir, is to shake off bits that become the "apple dust", as well as mixing the existing dust, thus, reducing the clarity of the AYW, so I generally do this as the last act of the day. This way the AYW has overnight to regain its clarity back before I see it in the morning.

I mentioned earlier, the signs of reduced activity in a culture, and when no other basis for the decline in activeness is found, I generally add a sugar cube. This addition, generally isn't more often than once, or twice a week, but that changes, depending on how active the culture is, and how fresh the apple slices are.


*** Some Concluding Thoughts...

Yeast Water is "just another leavening agent" It offers alternatives that can be used in baking leavened doughs. Potentially, every vegetable, or fruit could be used to create a Yeast Water, and each would have its own, often subtle, differences, but sometimes very marked effects on the baked goods. I strongly suggest you compare what you have known from your use of SD and commercial yeast to your new culture. Learn the differences, and how to use them. If you do not like what you find, shift to a different food source and ,thus, shift the type of YW you have, Do not assume they are all the same.

I hope to come back and offer links to more of the specific types of Yeast Water on TFL postings. But for now, I think this should help some of those interested in more information on the subject of Yeast Water Levains.

Updated:110517-10:50    The Yeast Water Examples with Photos TFL Links Only has been posted See link:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23597/yeast-water-examples-photos-tfl-links-only

Enjoy, and do not let your buns get burned.

RonRay

NOTE: A PDF of this document can be found at Google Docs by using the link below:

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_MScoZfDZkwZDFkMmY5NWQtMTA0MS00OGE2LTllNzQtMDFkMzM1Yjg5OWZl&hl=en

*** Footnotes...

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker%27s_yeast
3. http://www.food.com/recipe/nancy-silverton-s-grape-sourdough-starter-316306
4. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handmade-Loaf-Dan-Lepard/dp/1845333896/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277986711&sr=1-2
5. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20460/banana-saga-%E9%95%B7%E7%AF%87%E6%95%85%E4%BA%8B#comment-143439
6. http://originalyeast.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html
7. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6012/baking-natural-wild-yeast-water-not-sourdough
8. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20693/culturing-growing-and-baking-range-wild-yeasts
9. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20460/banana-saga-%E9%95%B7%E7%AF%87%E6%95%85%E4%BA%8B
10. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20693/culturing-growing-and-baking-range-wild-yeasts#comment-143857

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Sourdough Challah (photos & recipe)

I baked my first challah last Thursday and wanted to share.

I was unsure what to expect but it was so much fun. I’d been meaning for some time to bake a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s book, A Blessing of Bread, which is a wonderful compilation of traditional Jewish recipes from around the world. Floyd has written a very nice review of the book here.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/bookreviews/ablessingofbread

I decided to start with Glezer’s own personal recipe for sourdough challah. I love making sourdough and was interested to see what the texture of this bread would be compared to a yeasted challah which I have eaten only a couple times.

The recipe seemed easy to me despite the fact Glezer calls it expert. I’m not sure why but, again, I’m new to challah. The dough was so easy to mix together and then, as Glezer puts it, the time involved is mostly waiting after that.

She says to bake it to a dark brown which I did. I’m not sure if it is considered too dark or not but it was really a beautiful color and I do typically bake my bread darker as she instructs in Artisan Baking.

The crumb was amazing to me. It was very creamy and soft and almost reminded me of an angel food cake. It has remained moist to this day (5 days later) as there are only two of us to eat and can’t quite get rid of all the bread I bake. I am going to cut very thick slices of what is remaining to freeze and later use to make French toast.

I decided for my maiden voyage into challah bread I would make an elaborate braid. I used the six-strand braid version and got a lot of help from the video Glezer did showing how to do it. Gosh, the internet is awesome! Just as she said it makes a beautiful, very high loaf.

Braiding ChallahFine Cooking Video, Maggie Glezer

http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/videos/braiding-challah.aspx?

I’m posting the recipe so those of you who are new to challah as I am can have a chance to make it and perhaps will be inspired to buy this lovely book. For those who have made challah for years I’d love it if you tried the recipe and let me know your thoughts on it compared the some of your favorite traditional recipes.

More of my photos can be seen here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3500289#197395950

Thank you to each and every one of you on this site that have been such inspirations in baking such as Floyd, Bill Wraith, Susanfnp, Mountaindog, JMonkey, Browndog, Bluezebra, Eric, SDBaker, Mini Oven, Dolf, Qahtan, Zainab and so many others. All you wonderful bakers have helped me incredibly along the way over the past few months that I have been baking so many thanks to all.

My Sourdough Challah - Maggie Glezer's personal recipe from her book, A Blessing of Bread

Sweet sourdough breads are delicious and well worth the time (which is mainly waiting time) if you are a sourdough baker. The sourdough adds a subtle tang to my challah, and the crumb has a moister, creamier texture that keeps even longer than the yeasted version. While it’s true that challah or, for that matter, all bread was at one time sourdough (the Hebrew word for leaven, chametz, means “sour”), challahs have definitely gotten sweeter and richer since the introduction of commercial yeast. To convert such recipes back to 100 percent sourdough, the sugar has to be cut back in order for the dough to rise in a reasonable length of time (sugar that is more than 12 percent of the flour weight inhibits fermentation), so this version will taste slightly less sweet than the yeasted one, a deficit completely overridden by the rich complexity of the sourdough. I have also changed the all-purpose flour to bread flour, which has more gluten, to counteract the starter’s propensity to loosen the gluten (the acids in the starter change the proteins, a natural part of sourdough baking).

Skill Level: Expert

Time: About 20 hours (about 8 1/2 hours on baking day)

Makes: Two 1-pound (450-gram) challahs, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) challah plus three rolls, or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) rolls

Recipe synopsis: Make the sourdough starter and let if ferment overnight for 12 hours. The next day, mix the dough and let it ferment for 2 hours. Shape the dough and let it proof for 5 hours. Bake the breads for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on their size.

For the starter:

2 tablespoons (35 grams/1.2 ounces) very active, fully fermented firm sourdough starter, refreshed 8 to 12 hours earlier

1/3 cup (80 grams/2.8 ounces) warm water

About 1 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) bread flour

For final dough:

1/4 cup (60 grams/2 ounces) warm water

3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams/0.3 ounce) table salt

1/4 cup (55 grams/1.9 ounces) vegetable oil

3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.3 ounces) mild honey or a scant 1/3 cup (60 grams/2.1 ounces) granulated sugar

About 3 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) bread flour

Fully fermented sourdough starter

Evening before baking - mixing the sourdough starter: Knead starter into water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until it is smooth. Remove 1 cup (200grams/7 ounces) of the starter to use in the final dough and place it in a sealed container at least four times its volume. (Place the remaining starter in a sealed container and refrigerate to use in the next bake.) Let the starter ferment until it has tripled in volume and is just starting to deflate, 8 to 12 hours.

Baking day - Mixing the dough:

In a large bowl, beat together the water, the 3 eggs, salt, oil, and honey (measure the oil first, then use the same cup for measuring the honey — the oil will coat the cup and let the honey just slip right out) or sugar until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is fairly well combined. With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix in the bread flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface, add the starter, and knead until the dough is smooth, no more than 10 minutes. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot water now to clean and warm it for fermenting the dough.) This dough is very firm and should feel almost like modeling clay. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tablespoon or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tablespoons flour.

The dough should feel smooth and very firm but be easy to knead.

Fermenting the dough:

Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for about 2 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.

Shaping and proofing the dough:

Line one or two large baking sheets, with parchment paper or oil them. Divide the dough into two 1-pound (450-gram) portions for loaves, one 1 1/2 pound (680-gram) portion for a large loaf and three small pieces for rolls (the easiest way to do this without a scale is to divide the dough into quarters and use one quarter for the rolls and the rest for the large loaf), or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) portions for rolls. Braid or shape them as desired, position them on the prepared sheet(s), and cover them well with plastic wrap. Let proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours.

Meanwhile, 30 minutes before baking, arrange the oven racks in the lower and upper third positions if using two baking sheets or arrange one rack in the upper third position if using one sheet, and remove any racks above them. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4). If desired, preheat one or two baking sheets to double with the baking sheet(s) the loaves are on. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the breads.

Baking the loaves:

When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush them with the egg glaze. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, the 1-pound (450-gram) loaves for 25 to 35 minutes, or the 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly; if the large loaf is browning too quickly, tent it with foil. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Well, maybe not a better banana bread, but different banana bread: cakier, creamier, moister. I, personally, think I prefer this loaf to the previous banana bread recipe I posted, but my wife makes the point that this recipe produces a much more delicate bread than the previous one does. For a quiet cup of tea on a lazy summer afternoon, this is the one. For a picnic at the zoo with a rambunctious three year old, the previous one is the way to go: it'll survive the transport in the car and backpack much better.

Recipe below.

This is, in fact, the same recipe as before with a cup of vanilla yogurt added. The yogurt made the dough moister, so in response I needed to add more flour. Since I was adding more flour, I decided to try using some whole wheat flour. It turned out well.

So if there is a lesson to be learned here, it isn't that this is the greatest banana bread in the world. It is to make each recipe your own. Bake often and do not be afraid to experiment. If you don't screw up a recipe from time-to-time you probably aren't baking enough!

Better Banana Bread
Makes 1 huge loaf or 3 small loaves

Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl, combine:

1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
2/3 cup sugar

Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.

In another bowl, combine:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.

If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.

Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.

After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

Related Recipe: 10 Minute Banana Bread.

Better Banana Bread

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Caramelized Onion Sourdough with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Italian Herbs

I have had a number of breads that include onions bookmarked, but never got around to trying them. So this is my attempt at this.

1. Caramelize 3 diced onions in 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil. Since I quadruple my recipes, this took me 3 hours! Normally, it takes 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside to cool. I prepared mine a few days ahead and put them in the fridge. I let them come back to room temperature before using them.

2. Autolyse 650 g unbleached flour, 50 g freshly milled buckwheat flour, 252 g freshly milled red fife flour, 50 g freshly ground flax seed, 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs (the plan was to use 2 tbsp but I didn't have enough), 50 g freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and 700 g of water. I found putting in 600 g of water first, mixing and then adding the last 100 g to work really well in mixing the initial dough. Due to other things interfering, I let the dough autolyse for about 3 and half hours. Wow! I was very surprised at how supple the dough felt after this. I will have to not be afraid of autolysing for longer than a couple of hours.

3. Mix in 30 g plain full fat yogurt, 72 g of caramelized onions (or all that you got from step #1), 20 g salt and 275 g of 80% freshly fed levain. My levain is usually rye and unbleached flour but I have a bag of whole grain Rogers Whole Wheat flour that I need to use up so I am feeding my levain that instead of the rye. I find things are a bit slower but that is okay. I use my levain once it has tripled.

4. Do 3 sets of folds 20-30 minutes apart and leave to double. This took 5.5 to 6 hours. The wholewheat instead of the rye does slow things down. Or it just might be because it is much colder here... who knows. The dough will be ready when it is ready.

5. Divide into 729 g boules, pre-shape, let rest 15 minutes and do a tight final shape. I then put them in bannetons, covered them and then put into the fridge to proof for ~10 hours.

6. The next morning bake as usual in Dutch ovens for 25 minutes at 450F, uncover and then at 425F for 22 minutes. 

They smell fabulous! Unfortunately, they are all promised to other people, I even had to give away the loaf that I was saving for us so no crumb shot unless one of my friends sends one to me. 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread in the spirit of FWSY

12 September, 2014

 One of the attractions of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast bread baking book is that a concerted study of it will teach you how the important variables of ingredients, time and temperature can be manipulated to produce different flavor profiles and how, keeping most methods constant, you can develop procedures that accommodate to your own schedule and still produce a variety of outstanding breads.

Well, that's the theory. In fact, most of us don't have complete control of ambient temperature, one of the most important variables controlling fermentation. That means results can be very different from those Forkish describes. Nonetheless, if you do understand the basic principles, you can juggle the variables you can control to obtain really outstanding breads using Forkish's formulas and methods.

 In my Central California kitchen, about 9 months of the year, the temperature is significantly higher than it was in Forkish's Portland, Oregon kitchen when he developed his formulas. As a result, fermentation proceeds very much faster than described in the book. An “overnight” bread from FWYS will get way over-fermented if left overnight at room temperature. I have successfully followed Forkish's times only in Winter, when my kitchen temperature runs 65-68ºF.

 On top of that, my personal time demands do not always fit with the schedules Forkish describes in any of his recipes. So, sometimes … well, almost always … , I end up using Forkish's basic approach, but use my ability to control time and temperature to make it work for me. For example …

Today, I baked a couple loaves based on Forkish's “Overnight Country Blonde” formula. It calls for a final levain feeding at 9 am, mixing the final dough at 5 pm, letting it ferment at room temperature overnight, shaping the loaves at 8 am the next morning and baking at noon. I kept the formula (ratio of ingredients) and most procedures the same but altered the time and temperature a lot. Here's what I actually did:

 Three days before baking, at 10 pm, I activated my refrigerated stock starter by mixing 30 g of starter (50% hydration) with 75 g water and 75 g flour (a mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% medium rye).

 Twelve hours later, I fed the levain as follows:

 

Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Mature liquid levain

50

50

AP flour

200

80

WW flour

50

20

Water

200

80

Total

500

230

 

  1. In a medium-size bowl, dissolve the levain the the water. Add the flours, and mix thoroughly.

  2. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  3. Ferment until moderately ripe. (In my 78ºF kitchen, this took about 6 hours. The levain was tripled in volume. It had a domed surface. In the transparent, plastic container, bubbles could be seen throughout the levain.

  4. Cold retard at 40ºF until the next morning.

 

At about 8 am the next morning, I took the levain out of the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter. At about 10 am, I proceeded to mix the final dough as follows:

 

Final Dough ingredients

Wt (g)

Levain

216

AP flour

804

WW flour

26

Medium Rye flour

50

Water (90ºF)

684

Salt

22

Total

1802

 

  1. In a 6 L Cambro(R) container, mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass. Cover and let stand for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse).

  2. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the salt and add the levain in chunks.

  3. Mix by folding the dough over itself while rotating the container, then complete the mixing by the “pinch and fold” method described by Forkish. Wet hands in water as necessary to reduce dough sticking to hands. (I wet my hands very liberally and frequently. My dough weighed 1820g at the time I divided it, implying that using wet hands added 18g of water to the dough. This increased the final dough hydration from 78% to 79.8%.)

  4. Bulk ferment until the dough has increased in volume to 2.5 times with stretch and folds 4 times at 30 minute intervals at the beginning of fermentation. (This took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in my kitchen.)

  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Pre-shape as rounds. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15-20 minutes.

  6. Shape as boules and place in linen-lined bannetons that have been well dusted with a mix of AP and Rice flours.

  7. Place bannetons in plastic bags and refrigerate overnight. (This was actually from about 4 pm to about 2:30 pm the next day.)

  8. Bake at 475ºF in Dutch ovens, as Forkish describes.

  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.

 

In summary, I altered Forkish's procedures by drastically shortening the very long, room temperature bulk fermentation and adding a long, cold retardation of the formed loaves. And the levain was also cold retarded overnight.

 Forkish describes the flavor of this bread as having a mild tang that mellows over the first couple days after baking. My bread had a sweet, wheaty flavor and a moderate tang, tasted when just cooled to room temperature. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was quite chewy. Pretty good stuff.

 

Happy baking!

 

David

sortachef's picture
sortachef

Real Italian Hoagie Rolls

Homemade Hoagie Rolls fresh from the Oven

 

Real Italian Hoagie Rolls

 

After a week in the Philly area rediscovering my local sandwich joints, I came back to Seattle with the fresh taste of hoagie rolls lingering in my mouth. Over the next few weeks, with some hints from the folks at the Conshohocken Italian Bakery, I managed to replicate them.

I'd had Conshohocken Bakery's rolls at Pudge's, famous for steaks and hoagies in Blue Bell, PA. My first attempts came out more like baguettes, and so I tweaked the humidity and the flour content, but once I got close the cross-section of my rolls were not super round, and the bite was still too dense.

One morning I called the people at Conshohocken Bakery (voted #1 Italian bakery in the region) and told them what I was doing. Their head baker listened to my techniques and sorted a few things out.  

So here you go, sandwich rolls that are as close to authentic East Coast sandwich rolls as you're ever likely to get in a home kitchen. Call them what you want: torpedos, hoagie rolls, subs or zeps. In any case, I think you'll agree they make the best sandwiches around!

 

Makes 6 rolls, 9" long

14 hours for overnight rise (8 hours for fast rise)

 

2 teaspoons dry yeast (+ 1 teaspoon for fast rise)

4 teaspoons sugar

½ cup water at 100°

 

14 ounces (2 ¾ cups) unbleached all purpose flour

6 ounces (1¼ cup) High Gluten flour

2½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid, available as Fruit Fresh

2/3 cup whey*

2/3 cup water at 100°

 

½ cup extra flour for bench work

2 Tablespoons of cornmeal or semolina to coat pans

 

Necessary for producing high-rising rolls:

2 heavyweight cookie sheets or jelly roll pans

6 quarry tiles to line oven rack, or a pizza stone

A good spray bottle to create steam in your oven

A humid 80° environment

 

*To make whey: 32 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt will yield 2/3 cup whey in about 2 hours. Line a strainer with paper towels or several layers of cheese cloth and set it over a pan or shallow bowl. Pour in the yogurt, cover lightly and set it to do its stuff in the refrigerator. The whey will drain from the yogurt and collect in the bowl. Measure carefully before adding.

(The resulting strained yogurt is great drizzled with honey for breakfast. You can also mix it with shredded cucumber, salt, garlic and thyme to make tatziki - our favorite Greek dip.)

 

Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and ½ cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foam forms on the mixture. Add 20 ounces of flour, salt, ascorbic acid, whey and water and mix to form a cohesive mass, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.

Knead for 10 minutes, using as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to your counter and hands. Clean out the mixing bowl.

 

First rise: You can start these rolls in the morning (using an extra teaspoon of yeast in the dough) and let rise, lightly covered, for 4 ½ hours at room temperature. In order to have the rolls ready for lunchtime, however, it's best to make your dough the evening before and let it rise, covered, in a 55° environment overnight. Set the dough at room temperature for an hour or two in the morning before continuing. By this time either method will yield dough that has roughly tripled in bulk.

 

Second rise: Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the dough into a fat snake and fold it into thirds. Gently push the dough into a fat snake shape again, letting it rest for a few minutes as it resists. This method will elongate the gluten, yielding the best rolls. Fold in thirds, put back in the mixing bowl, cover lightly and let sit at room temperature (70°) for 1½ hours, until nearly doubled in bulk.

 

Shape the rolls: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a snake again, tucking the long outer edge over itself and squeezing in to the bottom seam by using your fingers. Your emphasis from here on out is to create a gluten cloak, a continuous skin on the top and sides of the rolls.

When the snake of dough is about 2 feet long, cut it in half. Form each half into an 18" snake and cut it into three equal pieces. You will now have 6 portions of dough, each weighing between 6 and 6½ ounces. Tuck into cigar shapes and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle cornmeal onto the cookie sheets or jellyroll pans and have them handy. Warm your 80° humid environment. (See Creating an 80° Environment at the bottom of Aunt Marie's Dinner Rolls.) Your environment should include a pan of hot water.

After your rolls have rested, flatten them somewhat to expel the largest gas bubbles, and then fold them gently into torpedoes of dough that are 9" long. Pull the gluten cloak over each roll evenly and tuck into one long seam. Put three rolls on each pan, seam-side down onto the cornmeal.

 

Third rise and preheat: Let finished rolls rise for 1 hour to 1 hours 10 minutes in an 80° humid environment. Line the center rack in your oven with a pizza stone or quarry tiles and preheat the oven to 450° a half hour into this rise. Have a good spray bottle with water in it beside the oven.

 

Bake with steam: Put a pan of the fully risen rolls directly on the quarry tiles or pizza stone and quickly spray the hot sides and bottom of the oven with 6 or 7 squirts of water. Clap the door shut to keep in the heat and the steam. Bake rolls for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn oven off for 2 more minutes, and then remove rolls to a rack to cool. (As oven temperatures and spray bottles vary, your results may as well. Rolls are ready when the crust is medium brown.)

 

Repeat with the other pan of rolls.

 

When rolls have cooled, split them and pile on your favorite sandwich ingredients. My favorite Ham Hoagie is shown below. Enjoy!

 

Many thanks to the Conshohocken Italian Bakery for advice on this recipe. If you live nearby, run - don't walk - to their bakery.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Don Hogeland.  For original post, sandwich stories and more photos go to  http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=1657

 

Ham Hoagie made the a Real Italian Hoagie Roll

Janedo's picture
Janedo

The Great Baguette quest N°3: Anis Bouabsa

Tuesday morning, we decided to go visit the Duc de la Chapelle, Anis Bouabsa's bakery in Paris. As you probably know, he won this year's Best Baguette. The bakery is situated in a modest neighborhood, far from the typical tourist traps and chic areas. We entered the bakery and asked he woman behind the counter several questions before buying a selection of breads. She was very nice and helpful. As we left the bakery, we took some pictures of the young baker/apprenti who was scoring baguettes and sliding them in to the oven. Disappointed by the quality of the photos through the window, Florence returned and asked if we could go inside and take just a few pictures. The woman showed her the way, no questions asked!

Once inside, who came through, but Anis himself! I felt like a teenager who was getting a real-live view of her movie star hero. He looked at me through the window and asked Flo who I was. I think he thought I was a bit idiotic because I had such a huge grin on my face! He opened the door and told me to come on in.

So, here you have two passionate home bakers in front of a master, and may I say the sweetest, nicest and most generous master. We started asking him questions and he told us EVERYTHING! He explained from A to Z how he makes his famous baguette. He adapted the recipe for home use for us and explained how we could do the steps at home. He showed us how to form the baguettes, slide them in the oven, what temperature.... EVERYTHING!

We even asked him if we could come and have a real lesson and he didn't say no, he said in September it could be possible.

Now, what he told us was actually quite surprising! The baguette dough has a 75% hydration, very little yeast, hardly kneaded, folded three times in one hour then placed in the fridge 21hrs. They are not fully risen when placed in the oven, it is the wet dough and the very very hot oven (250°C) that make give the volume. 

When I get some time, I will be trying his recipe. I feel success is near!!!!

Anis gave me permission to publish his pictures. They were all taken by Florence, "photographe extraordinaire".

Jane  

Anis Bouabsa

 ExplanationsExplanations

Baguettes à cuireBaguettes à cuire

OvenOven

BaguettesBaguettes

 

Susan's picture
Susan

Well, I finally did it!

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.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Pumpkin Sourdough Rye - for BBD #62

Hello everyone,

It was lovely see all of the breads bakers around the world contributed for World Bread Day in October –
thank you to Zorra for her work to round all of these up!

                                                                               
BBD #62 - Bread Baking Day meets World Bread Day (last day of sumbission December 1st)

November’s Bread Baking Day (BBD #62) celebrates the breads contributed for World Bread Day,
inviting bakers to bake a World Bread Day bread for BBD #62.

One of the rye breads contributed for World Bread Day really caught my eye:  a Pumpkin Rye Sourdough bread, kindly posted by a Polish baker on the blog ‘The Scent of Bread – Zapach Chleba’.

Wasn't this an incredibly gorgeous rye? The beautiful, airy crumb and glorious color – I had to try making this one! This is my attempt at re-creating this amazing Polish baker’s bread.

                                       

I couldn’t find any information on the type 720 flour this baker used, so I used some whole, dark organic rye flour from Nunweiler’s.  This is a really, really nice flour to work with – I was very happy with the fermentation.
My rye levain was very happy, too – this picture was taken just before mixing the dough:

 

This bread has a fantastic flavor. I used squash and roasted it until it was really caramelized.
The sweetness from the squash is delicious in the baked bread!
                                                  (another picture of the crumb)

 

Here are the quantities I used for a 9x4x4 Pullman pan:



Thank you Zorra, for providing a venue for bakers around the world to share bread, and thank you to the baker from Zapach Chleba for baking this Pumpkin Sourdough Rye.



Happy baking, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!
:^) breadsong

(submitted to YeastSpotting)

 

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Aroma Bread - A Love Story

 

One of my most favorite cookbooks is "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals".

Award winning Author Maria Speck combines her German father's love for hearty grains, and her Greek mother's culinary talents in dishes that make you grab your shopping bag, hop on the bike or in the car, and drive to the next natural food store to buy those ancient grains, veggies and fruits for Maria's mouthwatering meals.

Normally I consider a cookbook worth its money, if it contains at least one recipe I really like to cook. "Ancient Grains" has so many, that I still haven't prepared all the ones I want to try. (No, I DON'T get a commission!)

 A few of the dishes are breads, among them the Aroma Bread. A no-knead bread by trade, its evocative name spiked my interest, and my love affair with the spicy loaf began.

"Ancient Grains" is very user friendly, with detailed, easy to follow instructions, no sophisticated culinary equipment needed. No-knead breads meet these expectations, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a clean kitchen towel, a Dutch oven, and you are all set.

These low maintenance breads don't want you to slave over them, they are free spirits, and perfectly willing to go and develop themselves, if you give them enough time (and a little bit of yeast.) They show their gratitude by rising eagerly, and tasting better than many other loaves that had been kneaded, slapped and punched into submission.

You have the choice between a crunchy, and an XX-crunchy Aroma Bread. If you opt for the super chewy, you need to soak whole grain berries for several hours, before mixing them into the dough. This is definitely no impulse bread, so plan to bake it 24 hours ahead.

Maria called her loaf "Aroma Bread" for a good reason. This truly aromatic loaf is not for the faint hearted! But in our old home country Germany breads are often flavored with coriander, fennel and caraway, these herbs are even commonly referred to as "Brotgewürz" (bread spices.) You can use them whole, or coarsely ground.

Bread spices fennel, caraway and coriander

As easy as no-knead breads are to mix, handling wet dough always remains a bit of a challenge. And here comes the sticky wicket: the dough has to be shaped into a loaf, and transferred from the mixing bowl to a place where it can rise. And, after that, it has to be turned out into a piping hot Dutch oven.

That leaves you with two choices: either to lower the bread gently into the pot, risking nasty burns (aka Baker's Badge of Honor). Or you let it drop from a secure height - and have your bread sigh and deflate!

Maria solves the problem by having you scrape the bubbly fermented mass onto a well floured countertop (flour is your friend, creating a barrier between the sticky dough and its surroundings), so that you can fold it into a round.

Then you place the loaf on a floured kitchen towel, fold the corners over it, and, voilà, you have a cozy proofing place. Of course, it takes a rather amorphous shape from being bundled in a kitchen towel. 

My first bread went into a large, oval Dutch oven (I didn't have a smaller one), and eagerly spread to fill the void.

My first Aroma Bread - shaped like a roly poly!

Baked into a rather flat loaf, it reminded me of those little things that scurry away when you lift a stone. But when I took the first bite, my eyes glazed over. My flat roly poly bread tasted awesome!

The next time I decided to set the bread more boundaries, changing its Armadillidiida appearance. Instead of proofing it simply in a towel, I used my pretty brotform to contain it.

Proofed in a rising basket, the bread is round but still...

 

 

It came out of the oven nice and round, but still... way too much room to spread during the baking.

Alas! My main source for discounted kitchen gadgets, Home Goods, was letting me down when I needed it most. Still without the right sized pot, I decided to experiment with a free-standing, self- contained sourdough version, made with pre-doughs à la Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads".

Aroma Bread made as free-standing loaf (with sourdough)

My hearth baked sourdough loaf turned out beautiful. Though I couldn't find much difference in taste, this method is a good alternative for people who either have no Dutch oven, love wild yeasts, hate wet doughs, or prefer to bake their bread as free-standing loaf.

The next time I visited Marshall's (another treasure trove for kitchen stuff) I found a snazzy turquoise cast iron pot in just the right size - for half the price! And soon was mixing the ingredients for my fourth Aroma Bread - again the no-knead version.

And out of the oven came (TATAAA!): the perfect Aroma Bread - looking just as good as it tasted!

The last task left to do for inquiring minds, was to try the sandwich version of Aroma Bread, baked in a loaf pan. A cold cut-friendly shape, and the easiest way to make this wonderful bread. And it has an additional benefit: you can bake more than just one loaf at a time. (My customers will be happy!)

Aroma Sandwich Bread - the easiest version

 

COMMENTS:

  • If you use the optional whole grain berries (I made the bread with and without, both versions are great) add more salt: 9 g/0.3 oz instead of 7 g/0.25 oz. 
  • Instead of sunflower seeds you can also take pumpkin seeds (or a mixture of both.)
  • Toast the seeds, before adding them to the dough.
  • For an easier, risk free transport of the proofed bread into the hot pot, use a large piece of parchment paper as a sling to lower the bread gently into the pot. You don't have to remove it.

 

AROMA BREAD    1 (2-pound) loaf

 

Grain Berries (optional):

1/2 cup whole wheat, rye, kamut, or spelt berries

cold water, for soaking

 

Dough:

340 g/12 oz whole spelt flour (3 cups)

107 g/ 3.75 oz whole rye flour (1 cup)

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium stone ground cornmeal (1/2 cup)

  67 g/ 2.35 oz sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted (1/2 cup)

  35 g/ 1.25 oz flax or sesame seeds, toasted (1/4 cup)

   2 tbsp. aroma spice blend*)

    7 g/ 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 9 g/0.3 oz if using whole grain berries)

    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

     all soaked whole grain berries (if using)

475 g/2 cups cold water

cornmeal, for sprinkling

 *) Aroma spice blend: mix 6 tablespoons whole coriander seeds with 3 tablespoons each fennel and caraway seeds (enough for 6 loaves).

 

 DAY 1

In the morning, place whole grain berries in a bowl and cover with at least 1-inch cold water. Cover, and leave at room temperature to soak. Before using, drain them through a strainer (by the way, the soaking water is an excellent fertilizer for your plants.)

Mixed dough - I used black sesame seeds for a nice contrast

In the evening, whisk together all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl, except for soaked grain berries and water. Scatter grain berries on top, and add almost all the water. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until all flour is hydrated. (Dough will be wet and sticky, if not, add a bit more water.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature to ferment for 12 - 18 hours.

Overnight the dough grows to a puffy, swollen mass

 DAY 2

Use a rising basket, (or improvise by placing a clean kitchen towel over a basket or bowl.) Sprinkle with fine cornmeal (other flours work, too). Generously flour your work surface. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape the stringy, bubbly dough onto the work surface.

Scraping out the fermented dough you will see its spongy structure

 With floured hands (or two oiled bench knifes or bowl scrapers), fold dough exactly 4 times, always towards the center, from the top, the bottom, the right and the left side. Turn the dough package around and place it, seam side down, into the towel lined rising basket. Sprinkle with cornmeal or flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour.

After 30 minutes, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat oven to 475ºF. Place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart cast iron pot or Dutch oven (with lid) on the rack to heat up.

When the dough has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size, poke it gently with your finger. The dimple should not fill up again (it can come back a little bit, but should remain visible). If not, wait another 15 minutes.

Fitting snugly in the Dutch oven, the bread will rise more than spread

Remove hot pot from the oven and open the lid. Gently turn out the proofed bread from the rising basket into the Dutch oven, seam side up, guiding it with your hand, (or turn it out onto a parchment paper and, holding the paper on both sides, gently lower the bread into the pot (with paper).

Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 20 - 25 minutes, until the loaf is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and an instant thermometer, inserted in the middle, registers 200ºF.

Remove bread from cast-iron pot and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

 

AROMA SANDWICH LOAF

Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with oil, and sprinkle it with 1-2 tablespoons of flax- or sesame seeds. After folding the risen dough, place it, seam side up, right in the prepared loaf pan. (My suggestion: brush top with water, and sprinkle it with more flax- or sesame seeds.) Let it proof as described.

Preheat oven only to 425ºF, placing an oven proof pan or broiler tray for steaming on a the lowest level to heat up.

When loaf is proofed, place in the middle of the oven, pour 1 cup boiling water in the hot steam pan , and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees for even browning, and  bake it for about 30 minutes more, or until it registers 200ºF.

Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, than turn it out onto a wire rack (if it sticks to the pan, loosen it with a butter knife or spatula.)

 

AROMA SOURDOUGH BREAD 

Starter:

64 g/2.25 oz rye mother starter (100%hydration)

205 g/7.25 oz whole spelt flour

124 g/4.4 oz lukewarm water

 

Soaker:

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium ground cornmeal

  75 g/2.65 oz whole rye flour

  92 g/3.25 oz whole spelt flour

168 g/6 oz water

    4 g/0.15 salt

 

Final Dough:

   all soaker and starter

  43 g/1.5 ozwhole spelt flour

    5 g/0.2 oz salt

    1 g/1/4 tsp. instant yeast

  67 g/2.35 oz sunflower- or pumpkin seeds, toasted

  35 g/1.25 oz sesame seeds, toasted

    2 tbsp. aroma spice blend (see original recipe)

182 g/6.4 oz water, add more as needed

 

DAY 1

In the morning, stir together all ingredients for soaker. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

Mix all starter ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 minute, until all flour is hydrated. Knead for 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand.) Let rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

In the evening, mix all ingredients for final dough for 1- 2 minutes at low speed (or by hand) until all flour is hydrated. Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 4 minutes, adding more water as needed. Dough should be very tacky and not dry to the touch. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 more minute. (Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.)

Gather dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it around to coat it with oil. Cover well, and place it in refrigerator overnight.

 

DAY 2

Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using, to warm up. (It should have risen nicely overnight.)

Preheat oven to 500ºF, with bread stone and steam pan.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and shape into a round. Place boule, seam side down, in a floured rising basket. Sprinkle with more flour. Cover, and let it rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size, and a dimple stays visible when you gently poke it with a finger.

Turn bread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or use a peel) and place it in the oven, pour a cup of boiling water in the steam pan and reduce heat to 475ºF. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 425ºF. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, rotate bread 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and bake for about 30 minutes more, or until it is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers 200ºF.

Cool on wire rack.

This Aroma Bread was made with whole kamut berries

 You can also follow Maria Speck on facebook or on twitter (I do!)

 (Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)

 Submitted to YeastSpotting

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