Author Jeffrey Hamelman's Instructions vs. other's
I've been learning a lot from Peter Reinhart for the past few years and some from Ken Forkish.
Recently I got a hold of Jeffrey Hamelman's book titled Bread (2nd edition). I have been reading through it and noticed that he never mentions instructions such as allowing the dough to double in bulk or taking the temperature of a loaf so that it reaches a specific degree before removing it from the oven.
Does anyone know why he takes this approach? I'm so used to more accurate instructions for rising and doneness that his recipes surprised me a bit.
I've tried searching to see if there's a way to email Hamelman directly to ask him, and I tried to see if this topic has already been answered but came up with nothing. I'd appreciate any info.
He's a member of this forum.
Wow! Yippee is right - very exciting to know that!
Is there a way to find him on here or get his attention so I can ask him directly?
(I'm new to Fresh Loaf...only joined today.)
Thanks so much!
I didn't notice your subject line at first. Please let me know how to PM him. Thanks
I first learned to bake sourdough from Forkish. I then moved on to Robertson and Reinhart, but now more frequently bake from recipes in "Bread." "Bread" is not for the beginning baker, and it's assumed the baker has a certain level of knowledge. Things are not spelled out as the baker should know to "watch the bread, not the clock," that their starter might be more or less active than Hamelman's, that their room temperature might be higher or lower, etc. Most experienced bakers know how to judge when a loaf of bread is fully baked and what the internal temperature should be. He does discuss temperature in the appendix, gives the desired dough temperature for each recipe, and the index references many pages where the temperature is discussed. Happy baking from "Bread," which has some of my favorite recipes.
Right...Robertson...I have his book Tartine also.
Yes, I see exactly what you're saying because this is the impression I got as I read through various sections...temp of dough, temp of room, watch the bread, under-rise, love the levain, etc., essentially know and become one with your bread.
I tried my first recipe from Bread today and went with my previous knowledge regarding the points I asked about. It was the straight dough oatmeal bread. Came delicious!
So much to learn. I'd still love to see what the author himself has to say. Maybe I'll find him on here eventually. :-)
Thanks very much
His recipes are written more towards a bakery making large batches with machine mixing. Each recipe gives a desired dough temperature at the end of mixing and a bulk fermentation temperature. His recipes assume a final proof temperature at the same temperature as bulk fermentation. His bulk fermentation is more time based and assumes you have a starter of sufficient strength to achieve the appropriate rise in the time given.
That said, I love his recipes and have his 3rd Ed. As a rule of thumb, create your levain at his suggested temperature and mix to his desired dough temperature. Bulk ferment at his suggested temperature, and let the dough rise in the 75-100% range (you'll have to read the dough and adjust accordingly), then final proof at the same temperature as bulk fermentation. Bake per his instructions.
Side note... His yeast percentages are for baker's yeast in a commercial setting. For his home recipes, you have to calculate the IDY percentage. Don't use the yeast percentage shown in the base formula.
Oatmeal Bread from the Straight Dough section of his book baked last week.
I used the amount of yeast called for in the "home" column. I use SAF instant yeast. I'm not sure what you mean by IDY percentage. Please fill me in on what it is and what to do if I've done something inaccurate.
is done by taking the weight of the instant dry yeast (IDY), diving it by the total flour weight, and multiplying that by 100.
For example on the Honey Spelt Bread in the Yeasted Pre-Ferments section.
In the overall formula, the instant yeast used is 0.13 oz. The total four weight is 2 lbs (32 oz). Therefore the Baker's Percentage of IDY for this formula in the Home recipe is
0.13 / 32 * 100 = 0.4%. Not the 1.25% listed. That's for the baker's yeast used in the U.S. and Metric columns.
This only matters if you want to scale the recipe to something other than two loaves... If you follow the recipe and make two loaves, just use the weight of instant dry yeast he has shown.
For his breads doubling in volume is irrelevant. Professional bread bakers do not track volume or size that much. They more or less know how much it will rise but they only need that knowledge to plan for the size of the bins or of the mixer bowl where the dough would ferment and rise, so that there is enough space.
If your starter was made according to his instructions, or if you use the same flour and yeast as he does, your sourdough and yeasted dough would be ready after fermenting the specified time period at the specified temperature. Just make sure your mixing bowl is roomy enough to allow the dough to expand.
Re: when to take the bread out, it is simple. If your loaves are of the same size as in the recipe, then baking them according to his instructions would do the job - for so many minutes at such and such oven temperature.
Hamelman is against measuring bread crumb temperature. He explained why here:
There is a good discussion of that issue in the comments.
Thanks so much for this link. Excellent info.
I had to laugh at what he said about respecting the bread by not putting small holes in the bottom from the probe. I've often felt that way about my loaves and never like to get the slice with the hole in it! lol
I know that Hamelman is against measuring the internal temperature during a bake, but my experience is that the temperature continues to climb at the end of a bake. Sometimes even 5 minutes more in the oven will increase the temperature by 5–10 °F. I try to check different parts of the bread near the center of the loaf. My loaves are usually whole grain or high% rye loaves. I don't know if that makes a difference.
I never bother with temperature. I go by the colour of the crust. I know my oven well now (and I take notes of every bake so I can look back) so I can estimate the time closely and just take a leak when getting close. I think most people underbake their bread. I subscribe to Chad Robertson’s ideas that the bread should be a nice chocolate brown at least in parts to develop a complex caramel taste due to the Maillard reaction
Color is not always a guide for every style of bread. I usually have to put a foil tent on 100% WW loaves because the crust has already browned significantly in the first half of the bake. It also doesn't help when I'm baking a dark bread that already has a very dark dough.
Caramelization is a distinct chemical process from the Maillard reaction. Caramelization is exclusively pyrolytic and only involves sugars. The Maillard reaction requires the presence of amino acids and can occur at much lower temperatures; it will even proceed at room temperature, albeit slowly.
I suspect you need to check your oven temperature if you have to put tin foil over your loaves or it does not maintain temperature very well and the upper burner comes on too often. I have never had this issue in the several hundred bakes under my belt. I find colour is a very good indicator and do not open the oven door. If you are opening the oven door To check the temperature the upper element will come on to bring the oven up to temperature this is also another reason why you get too dark a top of the lot.
you are pedanticly correct about caramelization and maillard effect but both processes occur in a bake.
I have checked my oven temperature with an oven thermometer and it is surprisingly accurate except below 200 °F. If my upper element came on then I must have inadvertently turned on my gas broiler instead of my oven.
King Arthur Baking’s recipe for Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread includes the baking instructions “tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. A digital thermometer inserted into the loaf's center should register at least 190 °F.” I don't check the loaf temperature until the bake is at least 90–95% complete.
These threads are often viewed by novice bakers who might not know the difference between the Maillard reaction and caramelization. And some breads like Westphalian Pumpernickel will unlikely reach the temperature needed for caramelization to occur.
I found this discussion interesting as it shows the arc in my own baking. As many here I started with Forkish, as he has simple, clear, and detailed instructions and pictures. He has some wacky methods feeding starter and how he mixes is overly complicated but it is a perfect starter book. Then I moved on to Chad Robertson and my bread improved with his more simplified methodology. I had bought Bread by Hamelman but found it daunting and dense at first. After maybe 6 months to a year of baking I took it out again and carefully read each chapter and the Appendices. It has so much information in it and many great recipes and ideas. It is now my go to book. As well everyone should look up Hamelmans You tube videos - one for each step of the process. I found the shaping videos the most informative and I use his methods for making loaves. Highly recommended