The Fresh Loaf

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This SD Bread Makes Itself While You Are At Work ….Or At Retired Play

dabrownman's picture

This SD Bread Makes Itself While You Are At Work ….Or At Retired Play

Abe and others this past week have been posting about doing a bread that can take many hours on the counter with little baker help so that you can go off to work or play and not worry about the bread.  Trailrunner also did a series on her No Touch bread which this one relies on.  Lucy wanted to make one so that she could play and sleep all day and all night.

The key is getting the temperature and the size of the levain correct to allow 12-18 hours on the counter.  We chose to do the bulk ferment outside where it was in the high 50’s and low 60’s last night and to do the final proof in the kitchen where it was in the mid 70’s.  We picked 4% for the pre-fermented flour where 5 g of NMNF rye starter was used to inoculate 20 gr of bran and high extraction 6 grain flour.

This was a 100% hydration bran levain that took 8 hours to ripen.  We also decided that since we are retired and lazy that we would do as little as possible to make this bread so we chose it do an autolyse and use a no knead method.  In order to mix the dough; levain, salt, flour and water we started out doing 40 slap and folds.

That was it.  We oiled a SS bowl, rounded the dough ad plopped it inside, covered in plastic and put it on the patio table for 12 hours overnight.  It looked like it rose about 30% while we were sleeping.  We did 4 folds from the compass points to shape it and placed it in a rice floured basket inside a plastic grocery bag where it final proofed on the kitchen counter for 6 hours.

Grilled Salmon is almost as nice as Shu Mai and Pot Stickers

We slashed it T-Rex style after un-molding it on parchment on a peel and then baking it in a 425 F DO with the lid on for 25 minutes. of steam.  We felt bad about slashing it.  If we had put it in the basket seam side down we wouldn’t even have had to do any work to slash it either.  Being retired, keeping all work as far from Lucy and I as possible is the main theme and unofficial goal of every day. 

OK, we had to mill the 11% whole 6 grains and sift out the bran but we wanted a bread that tasted as good as it looked, at least tasting as good as an 11% whole 6 grain bread made with a bran levain.  The 6 grains were our usual, oat, red and white wheat, rye, spelt and  Kamut.

 Once the lid came off we baked in at 425 F convection this time for another 16 more minutes until it was 210 F on the inside.  This bread took a long time but it was hassle free, nearly no work at all and it sprang, bloomed and browned nicely.  It also smells great.  We will have to wait till tomorrow to see what is under this lovely crust though.  For sure you can do almost nothing making this bread and fit it into anything you are doing without having to worry one iota.

Here is what it look like out of the sun and sliced farther from the middle

It came out fairly open for being about and hour under-proofed even after 6 hours of proofing.  The crumb was very soft moist and sour and tangy.  Amazing how sour this bread came out.  Long proof and bulk really brought out the best in this bread.

Salad and Sunset go together



Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Been waiting for this bread Dabrownman. Looks great as always and thank you for the write up of your method. I also want to ask you about making a levain out of bran. What does it bring to the bread and how you typically build the levain?

I can't believe you even went out of your way to score the dough. I think you should have a lie down :)

Rest of the food has really tickled my tastebuds.

dabrownman's picture

whole grains in the bread.  This one only had 11% whole grains, 64 g total and since the bran is only 11-13% of the milled flour I only ended up with 7 g of bran for this bread.  The levain was 4% pre-fremented flour and total flour was 500 g so the flour in the levain was only 20 g total.  So, I used all the bran and 13 more grams of the high extraction flour to make a single stage levain over 8 hours.

A more normal white bread for us would be 30% whole grains,  This would be 150 g of whole grains total that would produce about 18 g of bran.  A normal levain would be 10% pre-fermented flour or 50 g of flour in the levain.  I would usually do a 2 stage levain where all the bran would be in the first stage of 4 hours and then I would add 32 g of high extraction flour flour for the 2nd stage - all at 100% hydration and stir it doen at the 8 hour mark and wait for it to double.  This would leave 100 g of high extraction flour for the dough.

The higher the percent whole grains in the mix, keeping the 10% pre-fermented flour for the levain, the higher amount of bran in the levain.  I always put all the bran in the first stage no matter how much there is and I usually retard the finished levain for 1-2 days too.  I want all the bran to be wettest the longest and being broken down by the acid for as long as possible.

What a bran levain brings to the party is 3 things. Since it is usually  retarded ithere s more LAB in the levain due to the bran acting as a buffer allowing the LAB to keep reproducing at lower pH's than normal,  A higher LAB to yeast ratio results too since LAB outproduce yeast at 3 to 1 at 36 F and thirdly the LAB are forced to make acetic acid in the cold - which is why the NMNF starter, bran levain and dough are retarded.  I suppose the other thing is that since the yeast is restricted in reproduction at low and high temperatures compared to the LAB, there are fewer of them than normal which make for longer bulk ferment and proofing times ....allowing the LAB more time to make more acid before the dough is fully proofed and ready for the oven.

Another hour of proof and this one really would have a nice crumb to go with its fine flavor and bold crust.

Happy baking Abe

albacore's picture

I have used your bran levain method quite a few times and think it's a great way of chomping up those lumps of bran, both from a breadmaking point of view and for digestibility.

The only thing that worries me is that it means you have to mill the grain 24 hours in advance. Indeed, if you are storing the levain in the fridge for 48 hours, then you need to mill 72 hours in advance.

Now I always thought that the whole point of home milling was to have the flour as fresh as possible for the best flavour, ie grind just before use (Gérard Rubaud style).

So bran levain and freshly ground seem to be slightly in conflict. What do you reckon?


dabrownman's picture

about 5 minutes to sift the bran out and get it into the levain.  11 hours max  later it is going into the high extraction and white flour autolyse.  If I am retarding the levain for 24 hours then it would be going into the dough 36 hours max after milling.  This is the blink of an eye in the scheme of things.  If I retard bran levain for 348 hours which I often do, a see not difference in the flour at the 50 hour mark either.  I see no difference in 4 days either or even a week.

Everything about bread making is relative.  I have noticed no difference in home milled flour after a week of sitting on the counter.  The ones who say that you need to use fresh milled flour in a day or wait a month just happen to be millers ......who can't seem get their flour to the store shelf for you to buy in less than 4 weeks.  Take it with a grain of salt and learn the facts for yourself.   Fresh milled flour stays fresh for mire than 24-48 hours.  it is just common sense and experience in knowing exactly what happens to the flour I have milled fresh for many, many years. 

No worries, fresh milled flour after 4 days is way way better than any flour that took a month for it to supposedly age to make it perfect.

albacore's picture

You're probably right; I guess the answer is to do a trial. One with just milled grain, one with 3 day old. The home milled would have to be a good proportion of the total flour - at least 50%. Also, if doing bran levains for both, there would need to be a bran only milling to make the bran levain for the just in time ground grain.

I might try it some time!

I'm just thinking about coffee, where they say that ground coffee starts to lose its flavour 20 mins after grinding - and I think it's true!



ryebreadasap's picture

I am studying this. Thank you for explaining so thoroughly. 


clazar123's picture

The bread is beautiful and lunch looks great. I thoroughly enjoy ALL of your posts. How do you find the time?

You are a good cook and a great food photographer. I think you should also write about those subjects! Are you retired as a chef? Photographer? Lucy is lucky to have you!

alfanso aka Vito Scoreleone's picture
alfanso aka Vit...

switch roles and become her 2nd class apprentice for a while.  The furry one seems to have magic paws.

after all this time disparaging the little beast, it's time for you to issue a public mea culpa to her.


DB, distant relation to Bilbo, but had to shorten my last name to keep our familial roots separate.  

dabrownman's picture

she deposits all over the back yard.  I have to feed and water her 2 times a day.  I have to give her baths, make her dog bones, giver her tummy rums and ear scratches and rub downs several times a day and go with her i  her daily walks.  Not to mention all of her treats and human food she gets by begging.  Heck I'm already a 2nd class servant at her beck and call 24/7 as it is.  She even gets her first pick of her spot on the bed.  She is over there sleeping on her pillow right now

dabrownman's picture

chef who likes to bake too:-) I am a n Architect by training, a general contractor by avocation but spent the last 20 years of my working career as director of operations for a large food distributor that warehoused and delivered specialty foods to grocery stores and restaurants in the 20 largest markets in the USA.  I also designed and built all of our plants and offices over those years. I traveled every week somewhere and got to meet and know many a chef all over the country.  Since they were our customers, I ate at their restaurants and watch them cook.  We also had commercial test kitchens at all of our plants where we taught chefs how to cook the specialty foods we sold them and trained their line cooks.

Many a time I would show up for dinner as early as I could just in case they were short a line cook so I could volunteer to fill in for the missing cook.  They would show me what they wanted me to do and I would do it that night.  I can't think of a better way to keep a customer for life and learn to really cook just about everything imaginable at the same time.  Sometime all I did was chop veggies, salads, plate or do deserts - what ever they wanted. 

I always cooked from memory and still do but my daughter, a few years ago, asked me to write down all of my recipes into a cook book for her  It took me two years to get it done and now I just add to it when I make something new.  The largest section is bread with over 500 recipes that were published on TFL first.  It has a lot of other major sections;  North American, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Central and South American - Hispanic, French, Northern European, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Greek, other SE Asian,  Mediterranean, Arabic & Islamic.  Each major section has these subsections - beer, appetizers, soups, pies, cookies, cakes, frozen deserts, other deserts, smoked and cured meats, rice and beans, sides, veggies, pickles, fish, meats etc.  With no pictures it is several thousand pages long but all have linked pictures too.  With pictures it is probably at least 10,000 pages or so.  It sort of took on a life if its own.  I've been doing a lot of Instant Pot recipes lately.

My daughter comes across a recipe that she doesn't remember and says I don't remember that one.  I have to remind her that she she is only 27 and I am 66 .........and that she missed the best 45 years of my cooking:-)  I taught photography my 5th year in Architectural school to make some extra money.  I used to develop my own film and pictures and had a bunch of money tied up in cameras, lenses and equipment that is basically worthless today.  Now, I take all of my pictures with a well used, $100 new, Nikon Coolpix pocket camera I bought for my daughter on her 16th birthday and is now 11 years old.  I keep hoping the battery will finally die so I can get a new $100 camera :-)  I did find a box with many all of my 40 year old photos and slides in the garage the other day and now I am trying to figure out how to get them on my computer.

Here is my first shot  This is a passive solar house I designed and built for Bob Smith in St Mary's Kansas 40 years ago.  It was on 10 acres and 3 sides were 3/4 under ground.  This is the south facing side.  Bob and I built it during my 4th year in Architectural school.  It was 2,750 SF and cost a total of $35,000.  Bob was head of vehicle maintenance at K- State and I worked there to make extra money changing oil, tires, fixing flats and tune ups plus washing the university cars.  He said he wanted to build a new house but never had the money.  I told him if I designed it and we built it, then it would be so cheap even he could afford it.  This is where I first learned learned all the trades in construction.  It was a very cool house for the time.  It is where I learned the money was in the land and buildings and not in the design.  It was the only house I ever designed and built.

the 2nd picture is a model of a house I designed for myself in my 5th year in Arch School that I never got around to building.  It was a very cool house.

Happy baking Clazar

clazar123's picture

Damn, Dab. You are one interesting dude! You build the life you want to have and actively pursue such varied interests. A rare character trait. Somehow I don't think you really retired. I think you just moved on to something else.  We have been so fortunate that you have been sharing all that expertise and deliciousness with us. Thank you!

Your daughter is one lucky lady to have enjoyed your cooking and now get your recipes. Ever think of self-publishing? Lucy could help manage the kitchen and maybe even proofread, while you undertake this endeavor. You should make sure you up her pay because that is a lot of pages!

Keep baking fun and deliciousness and keep us drooling over your posts!

dabrownman's picture

many years ago right out of college, in order to get promoted to and  be groomed for upper management, you had to take IQ, Character, Interest & Skill Comparability tests with the corporate psychiatrist.  After he reviewed my tests he said that I had the smarts to do what ever i wanted to do but that he didn't know what to do with me because I had so many different varied  interests and compatible areas where I would fit.  He said I really needed to focus in on one thing to get ahead in life and at work.  He asked me what I wanted to do with my career.   I told him I hadn't really thought about it which was true enough. 

He told me to think about it and we would have another talk in a couple of weeks.  I had worked there 7 years moving from Design and Product Development to their International Division.  The next time we met I gave him my letter of resignation....... and told him I really wasn't leaving because I was just moving to Saudi Arabia to work at Butler's Joint Venture there that manufactured structural steel and prefab commercial buildings.  The only thing he said was - I'm glad you figured this out for us.  When I got back from SA, rather than work at Butler Corporate, I went to work for a Butler Design Build General Contractor in Phoenix.  Next thing I knew I was married, my whole life really changed and things really started getting interesting even though I never moved to another house over the next 32 years:-)  I promised my wife I wouldn't work overseas anymore but I did not say I would be home either...and I wasn't, except for the weekends.

My old basketball coach in high school said that when you look back at your life, others will judge it by what you have done but you will judge it by what you never did.  Yoda, the greatest of all real, mythical creatures said,  Do or do not.  There is no try.  

The only 3 character traits that lead to failure every time are fear, pride and ego but there are a hundred other good character attributes you have to have to be successful.  Yoda again said  Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose....and...Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.

Fear will keep you from taking the very first, and usually easiest, steps to solve any problem or do anything worth doing.

I retired early because I was tired and really done with loving what I did and wanted to do what I loved instead.  If you do, no one can ever take what was done away from you.  Being done is what lets you do the next thing.  Many times I have found that the first step of doing stuff is just a matter of saying yes .....I will do that.  Saying no means it will never be done.... at least not by you ....which can be a good thing and keep you out of jail, or worse sometimes ....or a bad thing if you are the only one who can do it.

Skill will never ever make you successful but your good character attributes will lead you to acquire all kinds of skills you will need throughout your life.  Knowing the few times to say no and being able to separate the good stuff from the bad stuff are skills worth having.  Yoda said...You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive.  When you know, then all of that is replaced with the doing and other character attributes that are totally opposite from being calm and passive take over.  Being 'both and' in life will help you know the right things to do and do them quickly and well at the same time.

Building good character attributes is the one lifelong adventure worth taking - all other adventures pale in comparison.  Plus it is free and everyone can afford it - no one is left behind.

Generosity is the greatest, if mist difficult, good character attribute to have and hold dear.  As Yoda said ...Pass on what you have learned.  He should have said - Pass on that, what you have learned be a real Yoda Classic:-)  CSNY said .....Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by.  Teaching others, what may have cost you dearly, for free expecting nothing in return, is generosity at its finest and something worth doing once you know something worth teaching.  

Here is Yoda at his best


Portus's picture

... DAB, do I detect a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright in the design?  The mix of wood, stone, angles and strategically placed windows ...?  I do not know FLW except through coffee table books and the like, but what I can also tell you is that the façade of that home looks mighty like an inside feature wall at our home except there is a fireplace in lieu of the windows/doorways!


dabrownman's picture

are both what are known Oraganic Architects, Urban Planners and passive solar designers.  Frank invented Organic Architecture.  Paolo came to K State when I was a sophomore to give a talk on his thoughts about organic design, urban planning and to recruit architectural students to work at Arcosanti in the summer.  Every Architect has to study Frank to this day and Paolo became famous for an organic bridge design while he was at Frank's Schools at Taliesin and Taliesin West and later for Arcosanti.  I spent 4 weeks at Arcosanti in 1972 building concrete domes and arches and Paolo took us all to Taliesin West for my first visit there.  Frank used to say you can always tell how good an architect by how badly his roofs leak.  His roofs, even the non flat ones,  leaked like a sieve:-)

Taliesin West is a passive solar design with south facing windows and site quarried stone - just like.....Bob Smith's house!  Bob's house has 3 sides underground which takes it to another level for passive solar.  You have a good eye.  I take several trips to Arcosanti and Taliesin West every year.  Frank's Prairie Houses are my very favorite but his Falling Water is considered the best house ever designed and built in the USA.  He is by far the best American Architect ever.  Odd how they both ended up in the Phoenix area just like me:-)

Paolo especially, but Frank too, were the basis of my 5th year thesis - Tatesville - a Sustainable City. where I designed a city like Paolo did.  One that could actually be built - but wasn't - and his was never finished.   As far as I know, it was the first time sustainable city was ever use in any publication.  Now some 40 years later, two green, sustainable cities are actually being built by the governments in China ,started in 2006 and Dubai started recently.  I just found out one of my friends from Architectural School who also worked at Arcosanti, is working on it and lives in Dubai.  I can't wait to go see them.  I just finished a preliminary design for a passive solar, sustainable tiny house that may be built if we decide to downsize as we get older.  It would be the first time I ever lived in a house that I designed so I will keep working on it to get it just right:-)


CAphyl's picture

dabrownman:  I always love the bread and photos and now I love the stories, too...please keep them coming.  Would love to eventually see the house you design and build for your next home....All the best, Phyllis


p.s.  loved the bread, too....will have to try it...

dabrownman's picture

38 years ago, in the middle of my Urban Cowboy stage, I was dating a lady who loved cowboy stomping.  She had a friend who was dating Baxter Black the now famous cowboy poet and less famous singer and guitar player.  They eventually got married but she died tragically from a brain tumor shortly thereafter but that isn't part of this story.

Baxter loved driving my white '69 Sedan De Ville when we went double date dancing on Friday or Saturday night. in Kansas City.  He told me that are either a cowboy or you ain't.... and you ain't ....but I like you anyway because you let me drive your Caddy..... so you better let me keep driving it.

Baxter is one of the great American story tellers and he told me that if you  are perceptive and pay attention, you can collect stories that you can tell later, after everyone that was there dies. Then you can lie about them in just the right way to make them more interesting and more like they really should have been in the first place.  He noted that not everyone that was there really has to die to tell the story.  You just have to call them a liar if they disagree with it.  Baxter was a great guy to talk to drunk or sober and he always wore a black hat for some reason.

Baxter ended up in Arizona just like me after he became famous in the late '80's, but he is much harder to talk to than Lucy who only understands Swedish.  He lives in Benson but doesn't have a phone or TV so no cable or internet connection.  He regularly goes to the Elko, Nevada, National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held every year in the spring.   Cousin Jay went this year and he was excited to meet Baxter after hearing some of  my stories about him but Baxter wasn't there for some reason.  Jay had a fine time anyway and he highly recommends The Gathering for the young and old and everyone in between - just like I do.

I was worried that BB wasn't feeling well being 7 years older than me and now in his 70's but we will never know.  You have to drive to Benson to find out how he is ......but if you do, and he is still alive, it will be worth the trip....... if you don't have anything else to do.

CAphyl's picture

dabrownman: Thanks for sharing.  It is the characters in our lives that make it interesting, isn't it?  You should become a writer like me, as your stories dazzle, just like your bread.  I will have to look up BB next time I am in Arizona!  Take Care.  Phyllis