Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bench Exam

Whew! Well, this is a beast of a post if there ever was one, so settle in with a cuppa something, because we are covering a lot of ground, I think you will agree.

Here goes...

tartine country boule

Before I progress onto the next Tartine phase, I decided that I should do a 'bench exam' where I could noodle around with some of the things that I've learned over the past however many months: increased fermentation times using cold proof to my advantage, adjusted hydration, and one loaf where I completely revised the formula (I wonder if you can guess which one that might be).

polenta boule, my very own formula

For the exam I put myself to the test with several loaves, ambitious, but fun! First, I did an experiment in hydration and fermentation with two breads: a country whole wheat with increased hydration and extended cold fermentation along with my City Bread, using a rye levain, extended cold fermentation and increased hydration. I then did a variation on the Tartine country loaf using a little more whole wheat flour which came out well. I made a semolina boule to see if I could improve the crust and open up the crumb using a lengthy fermentation and increased hydration to lovely success, and finally, I attempted another polenta boule (yikes), completely revising the formula. Its taken me a little bit of time to pull it all together, hence the 'missed' post last week. As you can see, I have not been resting on my laurels.


increased hydration, shattery crust, city bread

I've taken meticulous notes for all of the breads that I baked and all of the formulae are submitted below, including those two loaves that I've been wanting to experiment with in the arena of hydration and fermentation to open up the crumb - my City Bread, which is an ongoing pursuit, and the whole wheat loaf.


increased hydration, city bread, second loaf

With these two loaves I increased the hydration just a bit, and I'm learning that there is a fine line between enough and too much hydration, and as little as 20g of water can push your hydration over that line. You will know when your loaves are too highly hydrated when they don't 'hold their ears', which you can see from these experimental whole wheat and City loaves.


city bread, playing with hydration

Even though the crust for these particular breads did not hold les grignes, while the very same loaves with a little less hydration in previous posts did, I thought it was worth posting this experiment because the experiments themselves were/are important to share, since we are all working with hydration and fermentation and trying to see what less, more, longer and shorter yield.

semolina boule

I would be remiss if I only added the prettiest loaves I've baked, especially since these loaves came out earth shatteringly brittle, and the sugars, because the dough was well-hydrated, were able to fully caramelize, which lent the bread an astounding flavor. The texture of the crumb was also a success, fully gelatinized and chewy, and the flavor was fully developed, complex, and, well, pretty damned delicious, especially with Stilton and marmalade. I would love to maintain the flavor and complexity of these breads and still achieve les grignes. So, with that goal in mind, I will continue working with hydration and fermentation with those two breads and post my findings for you in the future.

polenta crumb, from my very own formula

I've also been fine-tuning the method for my turns, instead of doing 4 series of turns where I fold the dough indiscriminately, I've been paying close attention to the expansion of the dough and how buoyant it feels in my hand, and this should determine how many folds I would do within each series.


Finally, I've been working on my 'signature scoring'. I've decided on the two scores that you've seen for a couple of posts now, one producing a cute little chapeau and the other a domed cap with a break down one side of it like a mohawk. I'm not going to tell you how I make the little mohawk ; )


tartine's semolina loaf

I'm trying to better understand my bread. I've gone from following rules to listening to what my bread needs, changing how I respond to those needs given the environment (temperature and levels of humidity) and the mercurial nature of the tools that I have (how thirsty the flour that I'm using might be as well as taking into consideration the protein percentage therein).

city bread, opening the crumb

city bread, up close and personal

One thing that I want to experiment with in the near future is working with different types of flour, both the variety and the miller. Within my experimentation, I've resigned to using King Arthur, Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills because they are all accessible. While they are all fine millers, there are some exciting local (California), small-scale artisan millers who work with different wheat varieties.

whole wheat loaf, playing with hydration

I do not live in an artisan bread cul-de-sac like Portland Oregon or the Bay Area (anymore), and Los Angeles could not care one iota about any sort of bread movement (you know, these people are terrified of carbohydrates), so, I'm going to have to reach out to those millers and grab their goods via snail mail. I am excited to find out how they will affect my breads, and I will be certain to pass on all of the details so you can have a head start with your own breads using the same flours.

one of my test loaves, (still working out the kinks, will share the formula soon)

So, enough chatter. I will let the post speak for itself, because after baking so many boules I'm too exhausted to tell you a story on top of it all.

Here are the results of the bench exam!

SEMOLINA

This formula makes two semolina boules with a fantastic, brittle crust and a creamy crumb more open than the last.


GATHER THESE THINGS:


700g semolina
300g bread flour
790g h2o
200g (or so) rye levain (formula and method below)
25g olive oil
20g salt

MAKE THE LEVAIN:

15g 100% hydration rye starter
100g h2o
50g BRM medium rye flour
50g KA AP flour

Dissolve the starter with the water. Add the flours and mix to a thick paste. Ferment for 8 hours.

MAKE THE BREAD:

1) Dissolve all of the levain in 750g of h2o. Mix in the semolina and the bread flour. Autolyse for 45 minutes.

2) Add the salt and olive oil to the dough along with 40g of h2o. Mix well, let it rest for 30 minutes.

3) Perform 4 series of turns as follows:


SERIES ONE:
After the 30 minute rest after adding salt, fold the dough by scooping your hand beneath the dough, then folding the bottom of the dough up over the top of the mass, this is one fold; spin the bowl a 1/3 revolution, fold again, this is your second fold...  Perform 5 folds.

SERIES TWO:
30 minutes after the first series of turns, perform your second series, but this time, only fold the dough 4 times.

SERIES THREE:
30 minutes after the second series of turns, perform your third series, but this time, only fold the dough 3 times.

SERIES FOUR:
30 minutes after the third series of turns, perform your fourth series, but this time, only fold the dough 2 times.


The turns that I outlined above were given the temperature/environment that I live in. You will 'read' your dough, and adjust how many folds you perform based on your environment. If your dough is increasing rapidly, you will perform less folds so you don't knock the accumulating gasses out of the dough. Always, no matter how many turns you perform, use a gentle hand with your turns. The dough will strengthen with fermentation. Your folds are an effort to keep the gluten molecules elongated and organized.

3) Ferment the dough for 2 more hours unmolested at room temperature if it's cool enough, if it's warm where you are, pop it in the fridge and ferment for the last 2 hours.

4) After 4 hours of bulk fermentation flour your workspace (or if you're freaked out like me about adding too much flour to your dough during shaping, be unconventional like me and use olive oil. There are no rules in your private bakery, except those that you make. Until I get hired as a baker somewhere (never), I will use olive oil on my work space, and my breads seem to turn out just fine, if not a little more scrumptious), divide the dough in two and loosely shape into rounds. Bench rest 15 minutes.

5) After the bench, shape the dough into two tight little boules, pop into bowls lined with linen that have been dusted with brown rice flour, and refrigerate for a 10-hour cold proof.

6) With only 20 minutes left of your 10-hour cold proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a combo cooker and baking stone inside.

7) Cut out a square of parchment, place it over the proofed dough, invert this onto a peel so that the parchment is between the peel and the dough.

8) Peel off the linen, score the dough, slide into the shallow part of the combo cooker, spritz thoroughly with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle. Cover. Pop into the oven, turn the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes with the lid in place. Repeat with the second boule.

9) After 30 minutes of steam, remove the lid and bake till the loaves are golden, another 30 - 40 minutes.

Verdict:


Crust: Ummm, amazing. Crumb: Beautifully open for semolina, I feel. The mouthfeel was wonderful, full gelatinization realized. Flavor: Creamy and rich. Really beautiful. Ease of handling dough: C'est simple! Notes: For my semolina loaf, I increased the hydration a bit and the fermentation time dramatically. Remember to use bread flour in conjunction with the semolina, you really need the increased and higher quality protein from the flour. As well, when experimenting with hydration, small adjustments make a huge difference in the outcome of the bread. Try not to go 'hog wild' and add huge percentages of water at a time. You may compromise oven spring and the quality of your crust if you over-hydrate our dough when working with boules. Small amounts, like 10g increments will speak volumes in the ensuing loaves. Take scrupulous notes and note the changes with your adjustments so that you are continually improving the formula for your bread. Changes/notes: I think these loaves came out exceedingly well.


POLENTA

Do you remember how I wrestled with Tartine's polenta beast? Well, I finally tamed it by creating my own formula. Here's the master plan.


GATHER THESE THINGS:

200g semolina
300g KA bread flour
420g h2o
35g course polenta
100g (or so) white levain (formula and method below)
10g salt
12g olive oil

MAKE THE LEVAIN:

9g 100% hydration rye starter
50g h2o
50g KA AP flour

Dissolve the starter with the water. Add the flour and mix to a thick paste. Ferment for 8 hours.

MAKE THE BREAD:

1) Pour 70 g of boiling water over the dry polenta in a glass measuring cup. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside until completely cool.

2) Dissolve the levain in 350g of h2o. Mix in the semolina and bread flour. Autolyse for 60 minutes.

3) Add the salt to the dough along with the cooled polenta and olive oil. Mix well, let it rest for 30 minutes.

4) Perform 4 series of turns as follows:


SERIES ONE:
After the 30 minute rest after adding salt, fold the dough by scooping your hand beneath the dough, then folding the bottom of the dough up over the top of the mass, this is one fold; spin the bowl a 1/3 revolution, fold again, this is your second fold...  Perform 5 folds.

SERIES TWO:
30 minutes after the first series of turns, perform your second series, but this time, only fold the dough 4 times.

SERIES THREE:
30 minutes after the second series of turns, perform your third series, but this time, only fold the dough 3 times.

SERIES FOUR:
30 minutes after the third series of turns, perform your fourth series, but this time, only fold the dough 2 times.

The turns that I outlined above were given the temperature/environment that I live in. You will 'read' your dough, and adjust how many folds you perform based on your environment. If your dough is increasing rapidly, you will perform less folds so you don't knock the accumulating gasses out of the dough. Always, no matter how many turns you perform, use a gentle hand with your turns. The dough will strengthen with fermentation. Your folds are an effort to keep the gluten molecules elongated and organized.

5) Ferment the dough for 2 more hours unmolested at room temperature if it's cool enough, if it's warm where you are, pop it in the fridge and ferment for the last 2 hours.

6) After 4 hours of bulk fermentation flour your workspace (or if you're freaked out like me about adding too much flour to your dough during shaping, be unconventional like me and use olive oil. There are no rules in your private bakery, except those that you make. Until I get hired as a baker somewhere (never), I will use olive oil on my work space, and my breads seem to turn out just fine, if not a little more scrumptious), and loosely shape the dough into a round. Bench rest 15 minutes.

7) After the bench, shape the dough into a tight little boule, pop into a bowl lined with linen that has been dusted with brown rice flour, and refrigerate for a 7.5 hour cold proof.

8) With only 20 minutes left of your cold proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a combo cooker and baking stone inside.

9) Cut out a square of parchment, place it over the proofed dough, invert this onto a peel so that the parchment is between the peel and the dough.

10) Peel off the linen, slide into the shallow part of the combo cooker, spritz well with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle. Sprinkle the top of the boule with raw polenta then score the dough. Cover with the deep end of the combo cooker. Pop into the oven, turn the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes with the lid in place.

11) Remove the lid and bake till the loaves are golden, another 30 - 40 minutes.

Verdict:

Crust:  It came out beautifully, thin and brittle. The addition of polenta on the top was nice and added a toasty corn flavor. Crumb: open, fully gelatinized, moist. Flavor: It was delicious. The right amount of tang. The extended fermentation really coaxed out some lovely flavors. Ease of handling dough: C'est simple! Changes/notes: I think this loaf came out really well all in all.


WHOLE WHEAT

I increased hydration a bit and extended the fermentation for this formula in hopes of opening up the crumb a bit. I also used a 50/50 ratio of bread flour to whole wheat to soften it a bit. I think this also helped to loosen up the crumb.


GATHER THESE THINGS:

250g KA AP flour
250g KA whole wheat flour
445g h2o
100g (or so) whole wheat levain (formula and method below)
10g salt

MAKE THE LEVAIN:

9g 100% hydration rye starter
50g h2o
25g KA AP flour
25g KA whole wheat flour

Dissolve the starter with the water. Add the flours and mix to a thick paste. Ferment for 8 hours.

MAKE THE BREAD:

1) Dissolve the levain in 425g of h2o. Mix in the whole wheat and AP flours. Autolyse for 60 minutes.

2) Add the salt to the dough along with 20g of water. Mix well, let it rest for 30 minutes.

3) Perform 4 series of turns as follows:


SERIES ONE:
After the 30 minute rest after adding salt, fold the dough by scooping your hand beneath the dough, then folding the bottom of the dough up over the top of the mass, this is one fold; spin the bowl a 1/3 revolution, fold again, this is your second fold...  Perform 5 folds.

SERIES TWO:
30 minutes after the first series of turns, perform your second series, but this time, only fold the dough 4 times.

SERIES THREE:
30 minutes after the second series of turns, perform your third series, but this time, only fold the dough 3 times.

SERIES FOUR:
30 minutes after the third series of turns, perform your fourth series, but this time, only fold the dough 2 times.

The turns that I outlined above were given the temperature/environment that I live in. You will 'read' your dough, and adjust how many folds you perform based on your environment. If your dough is increasing rapidly, you will perform less folds so you don't knock the accumulating gasses out of the dough. Always, no matter how many turns you perform, use a gentle hand with your turns. The dough will strengthen with fermentation. Your folds are an effort to keep the gluten molecules elongated and organized.

4) Ferment the dough for 2 more hours unmolested at room temperature if it's cool enough, if it's warm where you are, pop it in the fridge and ferment for the last 2 hours.

5) After 4 hours of bulk fermentation flour your workspace (or if you're freaked out like me about adding too much flour to your dough during shaping, be unconventional like me and use olive oil. There are no rules in your private bakery, except those that you make. Until I get hired as a baker somewhere (never), I will use olive oil on my work space, and my breads seem to turn out just fine, if not a little more scrumptious), and loosely shape the dough into a round. Bench rest 15 minutes.

6) After the bench, shape the dough into a tight little boule, pop into a bowl lined with linen that has been dusted with brown rice flour, and refrigerate for a 7.5 hour cold proof.

7) With only 20 minutes left of your cold proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a combo cooker and baking stone inside.

8) Cut out a square of parchment, place it over the proofed dough, invert this onto a peel so that the parchment is between the peel and the dough.

9) Peel off the linen, score, slide into the shallow part of the combo cooker, spritz well with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle. Cover. Pop into the oven, turn the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes with the lid in place.

10) Remove the lid and bake till the loaves are golden, another 30 - 40 minutes.

Verdict:

Crust:  So brittle! Crumb: Fully gelatinized, moist, lovely. Flavor: So beautiful. Great tang, but not too much. Complex flavor. Earthy. Ease of handling dough: C'est simple! Changes/notes: I would probably back off of hydration a bit so that the dough scores more pleasantly. I really loved the brittle crust and chewy crumb, but it is important that the bread be visually as pleasing as it is tasty. This is an experiment in hydration, after all, and it was great to see what such high hydration yielded with this whole wheat loaf. I would keep this formula and make it again because the caramelization of the crust was pretty awesome, but if I was baking bread for a gift, I would make sure that the hydration allowed for the development of les grignes. I will post any further developments with my whole wheat breads. Enjoy this bread with stilton.


MY CITY BREAD

My baby. There will be no end to monkeying with my City Bread. There are so many variables to tweak. This is the bread that Thumbelina and I eat most often at home. Have a look.


GATHER THESE THINGS:

700g KA AP flour
300g KA whole wheat flour
870g ice cold h2o
200g (or so) rye levain (formula and method below)
20g salt

MAKE THE LEVAIN:

15g 100% hydration rye starter
100g h2o
50g KA AP flour
50g BRM medium rye flour

Dissolve the starter with the water. Add the flours and mix to a thick paste. Ferment for 8 hours.

MAKE THE BREAD:

1) Dissolve the levain in 800g of h2o. Mix in the AP and whole wheat flours. Autolyse for 60 minutes.

2) Add the salt to the dough along with 70g of ice cold h2o. Mix well, let it rest for 30 minutes.

3) Perform 4 series of turns as follows:


SERIES ONE:
After the 30 minute rest after adding salt, fold the dough by scooping your hand beneath the dough, then folding the bottom of the dough up over the top of the mass, this is one fold; spin the bowl a 1/3 revolution, fold again, this is your second fold...  Perform 5 folds.

SERIES TWO:
30 minutes after the first series of turns, perform your second series, but this time, only fold the dough 4 times.

SERIES THREE:
30 minutes after the second series of turns, perform your third series, but this time, only fold the dough 3 times.

SERIES FOUR:
30 minutes after the third series of turns, perform your fourth series, but this time, only fold the dough 2 times.

The turns that I outlined above were given the temperature/environment that I live in. You will 'read' your dough, and adjust how many folds you perform based on your environment. If your dough is increasing rapidly, you will perform less folds so you don't knock the accumulating gasses out of the dough. Always, no matter how many turns you perform, use a gentle hand with your turns. The dough will strengthen with fermentation. Your folds are an effort to keep the gluten molecules elongated and organized.

4) After 4 hours of bulk fermentation flour your workspace (or if you're freaked out like me about adding too much flour to your dough during shaping, be unconventional like me and use olive oil. There are no rules in your private bakery, except those that you make. Until I get hired as a baker somewhere (never), I will use olive oil on my work space, and my breads seem to turn out just fine, if not a little more scrumptious), divide the dough in two and loosely shape into rounds. Bench rest 15 minutes.

5) After the bench, shape the dough into two tight little boules, pop into bowls lined with linen that have been dusted with brown rice flour, and refrigerate for a 10-hour cold proof.

6) With only 20 minutes left of your 10-hour cold proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a combo cooker and baking stone inside.

7) Cut out a square of parchment, place it over the proofed dough, invert this onto a peel so that the parchment is between the peel and the dough.

8) Peel off the linen, score the dough, slide into the shallow part of the combo cooker, spritz thoroughly with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle. Cover. Pop into the oven, turn the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes with the lid in place. Repeat with the second boule.

9) After 30 minutes of steam, remove the lid and bake till the loaves are golden, another 30 - 40 minutes.


Verdict:

Crust:  Very brittle, caramelized, crisp! Crumb: Fully gelatinized, moist, lovely. Flavor: Close to perfect. Great tang, but not too much. Complex and earthy. You really get the rye from the levainEase of handling dough: C'est simple! Changes/notes: I love my city bread, and I had been wanting to monkey with hydration just to see if I could open up the crumb. The crumb did indeed open, but I lost les grignes as a result. I must say, the crust of this bread was so shattery, it was awesome. And the crumb was perfectly chewy and complex. This was an experiment in hydration. I wanted to see how much latitude I have with hydration and my city bread, and this was the result. I loved the outcome of this bread, and I think that it has its own merits, but if I am seeking a loaf that maintains les grignes, I would refer to the older posts where my city bread has such large ears that you could carry the loaf by them. Enjoy this bread with brie and marmalade.


TARTINE COUNTRY(ISH)

This formula makes two (slightly modified) Tartine country boules with a little more whole wheat than Chad's country loaf formula.


GATHER THESE THINGS:


850g KA bread flour
150g KA whole wheat flour
800g h2o
200g (or so) rye levain (formula and method below)

MAKE THE LEVAIN:

15g 100% hydration starter
100g h2o
50g BRM medium rye flour
50g KA AP flour

Dissolve the starter with the water. Add the flours and mix to a thick paste. Ferment for 8 hours.

MAKE THE BREAD:

1) Dissolve the levain in 760g of h2o. Mix in the whole wheat and the bread flour. Autolyse for 60 minutes.
2) Add the salt to the dough along with 40g of h2o. Mix well, let it rest for 30 minutes.
3) Perform 4 series of turns as follows:


SERIES ONE:
After the 30 minute rest after adding salt, fold the dough by scooping your hand beneath the dough, then folding the bottom of the dough up over the top of the mass, this is one fold; spin the bowl a 1/3 revolution, fold again, this is your second fold...  Perform 5 folds.

SERIES TWO:
30 minutes after the first series of turns, perform your second series, but this time, only fold the dough 4 times.

SERIES THREE:
30 minutes after the second series of turns, perform your third series, but this time, only fold the dough 3 times.

SERIES FOUR:
30 minutes after the third series of turns, perform your fourth series, but this time, only fold the dough 2 times.

The turns that I outlined above were given the temperature/environment that I live in. You will 'read' your dough, and adjust how many folds you perform based on your environment. If your dough is increasing rapidly, you will perform less folds so you don't knock the accumulating gasses out of the dough. Always, no matter how many turns you perform, use a gentle hand with your turns. The dough will strengthen with fermentation. Your folds are an effort to keep the gluten molecules elongated and organized.

3) Ferment the dough for 2 more hours unmolested at room temperature if it's cool enough, if it's warm where you are, pop it in the fridge and ferment for the last 2 hours.

4) After 4 hours of bulk fermentation flour your workspace (or if you're freaked out like me about adding too much flour to your dough during shaping, be unconventional like me and use olive oil. There are no rules in your private bakery, except those that you make. Until I get hired as a baker somewhere (never), I will use olive oil on my work space, and my breads seem to turn out just fine, if not a little more scrumptious), divide the dough in two and loosely shape into rounds. Bench rest 15 minutes.

5) After the bench, shape the dough into two tight little boules, pop into bowls lined with linen that have been dusted with brown rice flour, and refrigerate for a 10-hour cold proof.

6) With only 20 minutes left of your 10-hour cold proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a combo cooker and baking stone inside.

7) Cut out a square of parchment, place it over the proofed dough, invert this onto a peel so that the parchment is between the peel and the dough.

8) Peel off the linen, score the dough, slide into the shallow part of the combo cooker, spritz thoroughly with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle. Cover. Pop into the oven, turn the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes with the lid in place. Repeat with the second boule.

9) After 30 minutes of steam, remove the lid and bake till the loaves are golden, another 30 - 40 minutes.

Verdict:

Crust: The best crust I've made yet. Shattery and fully caramelized. Smoky, rich, chocolate undertones. Crumb: Moderately open. I DID degas this dough, which I think condensed the crumb. I could be wrong. At any rate, I don't think degassing is necessary when working with rustic loaves. The mouthfeel was wonderful, full gelatinization realized. Flavor: Complex, rich, wheaty and the right amount of tang. Really beautiful. Ease of handling dough: C'est simple! Notes: I degassed this loaf, which is something I only ever did with the rye. I don't think that it's necessary, and I could be wrong, but I think that it lessened what could have been a more open crumb and it sort of bummed me out. I think degassing is fine for breads that seek a tighter crumb, but not for a rustic loaf.


THE GALLERY












THE TEST LOAVES


So, that's it for this (and last) week's post. Next week marks a new chapter on my bread journey. I hope that you will join me for the continued trek!

To the staff of life!



This post was sent to Wild Yeast Blog's Yeast Spotting.

33 comments:

  1. Awesome Post!!! Thank you for this!!! Yes, you are right ... I want to sit down with a cuppa..,.somethin' with out the kids around and really read and think!! I am excited to check out your polenta formula, as also for me one of my only self created formulas. Your pics are amazing and inspiring!! Lotsa work here I and I hope others are really apreciating it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Liz! And be sure to hit up Acme and Grace, both of them you can find at 'Market Hall' in Rockridge (Oakland). Also check out Arizmendi bakery (they have locations in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville as well as SF), and The Cheeseboard collective (a MUST, you can get the cheese rolls there!), right across the street from Chez Panisse. Thank you for loving the post. It took several days to get the post up, not counting the actual baking. The whole wheat and city bread experiments with hydration were really fun and produced an awesome crust and crumb, even if they lost their 'ears'. I love experimenting to see what can come as a result.

    Have fun in the bay, I miss home!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, this is getting better and better, I love to follow the evolution!! I love your city bread the most, it looks amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks valeria! i always look forward to your comments (and your new blog posts!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You know, I read A LOT of bread posts, so don't take my remark lightly: this is very likely my favorite bread post ever!

    absolutely awesome! I am bookmarking for eternity!

    gorgeous photos, and amazing amount of work went into this...

    thank you so much for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks Sally. i must say, it was an ambitious post. im still exhausted from it! i think it's the best thing in the world, to be able to share my experiments. its the highlight of my week when monday/tuesday is here and i get to bake again! stay tuned for baguettes. woohoo! thank you for noting how much work went into it, that sort of validation is MUCH appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  7. WOAH, is this a novel or a blog post! :))
    I haven't read the formulas yet but just to tell you, you have put in amazing work here. I shudder to think how many hrs went into this. As always, your breads and photos are incredible. You have made amazing progress.
    one question: what do you do with all this bread??!!?
    wee

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wee, first, you are right. It took forever to do the post!

    I went back and rechecked everything and noticed the error with my turning method, I somehow put that I did twice as many folds, and it was a simple calculation error because I was seeing double after this post with all the numbers and formulae (all those turns, spins, folds, my mind got scrambled! THANK YOU for seeing that before anyone got started on their bread!)

    Rest assured that I have since checked everything with a fine-toothed comb with very fresh eyes, and everything is 100% correct, including fermentation times, folds and weights. I'm sorry, my brain was scrambled with so many numbers for so many breads that I simply made that error (here is where I have to rely on your pardon and allow me the fault of being human!) Again, I apologize, errata is a terrible thing, and it was a simple miscalculation.

    As far as water is concerned, I use room temperature water, but I will use very cold water (refrigerated) if it's really hot that day. I have been reading about dough temperatures in Hamelman's Bread book, and I'm interested in pursuing a more scientific approach to my bread, so you will see dough temperatures and precise water temperatures in the future. Tartine does not list dough temperature in the formulae, just water temps (80 degrees I believe), and my tap water (which I filter) is always right around that temp.

    ps, I give the bread away to very happy friends!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Francis,
    i think we were all too awed by the photos to have actually started baking haha.
    what i meant was, what is your ambient room temperature when you proof? mine's very warm and that is sth I always have to be mindful abt.
    thanks,
    Wee

    ReplyDelete
  10. lol. thats funny wee. umm... its been admittedly hot down in l.a., a heat wave actually for WEEKS. when i bake, it's like 90 degrees out, im not even exaggerating. thats why ive been doing the turn part of the proof outside of the fridge, and the last two hours in the fridge (unless i bake at night when its cool, then i try to do the bulk ferment at room temp). and i generally proof in the fridge.

    hope this helps. really use the fridge. its the best tool that we have to making great bread!

    and thanks again for pointing out the snafu. i was totally scrambling up turns x spins x series.

    send me pix of your bread! im excited to see them!

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  11. Hi
    Back from the Bay. Cheese board(Crispy bagettes!!!), Acme and La Farine!! YUm..

    But I wanted to share with you: I always take the temp of air, flour and sour dough and then adjust the water temp to get the DDT (desired dough temp). Add the three together and add 14 for the friction of mixing, (your number probably will be different) then take that number away from 304 and you get the number of degrees that your water should be. I learned about this from Hammelman and Leader.

    If you want the DDT to be 76 degrees then your four factors( air, water, sourdough and flour) need to average 76. so 76 times 4 is 304. But the friction of mixing adds a few degrees. so you add that to the three set factors (sourdough, flour & air)
    for instance:
    air is 68
    sourdough is 69
    flour is 65
    friction 14
    total is 216 degrees

    so 304-216 = 88 so water will be added at 88 degrees.
    hope this makes sense to you.. of course you have the books and the authors explain it well.

    But my point is it just takes a second and I feel all scientific when i do it!!!

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  12. Hi Liz! Yes, I have been asked on more than one occasion to be more scientific with my bread, and I think I may follow suit. As you know, Tartine does NOT include dough temperatures, and I am following his book. I think that he (Chad) designed the book to be more intuitive than scientific. I cannot imagine why else such a bread icon would not include temps. You are the xxx person this week that has asked for a more scientific approach to my bread, and I must admit, I'm intrigued... I will keep you posted with what I decide to do.

    I'm glad you had fun in the Bay, and I hope you had some of Farine's olive bread, I would give my first born for that bread (well, not anymore, now that I can make it myself! lol!)

    Cheers!

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  13. Dear Francie,
    Thanks for clarifying. 90 degrees huh. Well, my kitchen almost year round is about 84-90F! Yeah, I use the fridge a lot, in addition to other laughable, crazy methods I've devised to try to keep the dough cool. So nothing is ever 'scientific' around here LOL, and I over-proof as a rule.

    In fact, one reason I started trying the Tartine method is because he uses a slightly higher proofing temp than most (the usual 'room temperature' called for is abt 22 degrees celsius, and his is about 25-28), which I can sort of simulate in an air-conditioned room.

    Re dough temperature, it's as Liz Tree explained, except since you are handmixing, you can leave out the friction factor. Hamelman is more geared towards the professional bakery with their big mixers that would really add heat. I've tried figuring out the DDT using his method of calculation and the conclusion is that given the clime here - hot hot kitchen, warm tap water, I need ice-cold water. So if I want to bother with DDT, I simply take the flour(s) out at the very last minute from the fridge, use the leaven as cold as it can be, use ice-cold water and IF, BIG IF I want to be really good and can remember to, I might even refrigerate the mixing bowl! All this does go some way to keeping the dough cool for a while, I was surprised to find. I also use very cold water to feed the leaven to slow things down. A baker once told me that if you can get hold of very finely shaven ice, you can use that too. Salt also works to slow down fermentation though I've never tried that myself.

    I don't have a blog but in any case, my breads are really not picture-worthy, trust me :)) BUT when I try out one of your formulas (and I will, just don't pin me down to a date because I get awfully distracted awfully easily), I promise I will give you the feedback.

    And you - with the timetables and those carefully written formulas and beautifully composed photos - not scientific!!??!?

    Cheers,
    Wee

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  14. Wee, I love putting my dough in the air conditioned living room to ferment. In the kitchen they just blow out of proportion instantly, in the air conditioned room they ferment so perfectly. I can't wait till winter. LOL, you are fastidious! Cold flour and bowl. I will try that. Hey, what do you think of using ice cold water in the starter in months when its really hot? to circumvent feeding it 3x a day?

    I do love my blog. I've been working a lot lately, so I'm a little behind on both of them actually. Tomorrow is big blog day though. The house is clean, the oven sparkling, all engines are a 'go'. I can't wait! Hope to see you there, and I hope my breads behave for you when you finally make them. I must admit, some of my doughs have been a little cranky. I would love your feedback and to know about any differences that you make, if any, with the formulae!

    - Frankie

    - Frankie

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  15. All I can think to say is STUNNING. Really. Honestly. I have never seen more gorgeous bread in my life. I leave here inspired.

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  16. Quick Note: to Francis and anonymous regarding friction factor.
    I hand mix and have found that by adding 14 degrees to my equation(I know this is counter-intuitive) I end up with my DDT(desired dough temp) of 76 degrees.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What an amazing array of breads! The polenta bread especially caught my eye. I'll have tot ry it out.

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  18. Hi Frankie!

    I've been making the bread with good success! No blog posts on it yet but sometime soon, I hope! I also have been playing with the scoring pattern. Nothing as pretty as yours yet but here's to improvement in that area!

    My main question after this post is the time table. You implement some longer proof times and I'm wondering how you fit that in. It made sense to me that the first 8 hour ferment would be overnight. But now, with these additional 7.5 or 10 hour additonal proofs, how do you schedule it so that you don't end up baking in the wee hours of the morning?

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  19. Oh, and the other question I've always had is this: at what "state" of activity is the starter at it's prime to be used in the pre-ferment. Should I add it in right before the next feeding is due, right after feeding, or somewhere in the middle?

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  20. Hi Christy. Yes, the levain is made overnight. I bake in the morning. So, I make the levain at midnight, then I'm up at 8 to work on the bread. The first four hour bulk ferment puts us at around 12:40 (4 hours for the bulk ferment, 40 min for the autolyse). After the bench and shape we are looking at about 1pm. Then the extended proof can take us to 9pm for an 8 hour, 11pm for a 10 hour, and so forth.

    When I plan to bake, and know I will make the levain overnight (generally at midnight is when I make the levain), I count backwards 8 hours, and that's when I feed. So, no, you don't want to feed JUST before you make the levain, the culture will not be strong enough. I generally feed the starter around 4pm for a midnight levain. I have used a culture that was fed 12 hours prior with great success as well. I personally would not use one that was fed less than 8 hours prior, and depending on which starter I use, I would probably not use one that was fed over 12 hours prior.

    Congrats on your bread! I'm so glad they're coming out well. PS, I score pretty deeply :)

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  21. Sulpicia, the polenta came out so well. It had a great 'corny' flavor!

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  22. Wow. The photos. I'm absolutely speechless! How beautiful. You should open your own bakery!

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  23. Absolutely gorgeous photos! I'm bookmarking this post so I can go back and read through all the formulas when I have a free morning and a cup of coffee. But just the photos alone are so inspiring! I just started with Chad's book and have made the basic country bread a few times and am about to put my first loaf of whole wheat in the oven now.

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  24. Absolutely stunning blog. And thank you for the detailed research and documentation. I got here looking for ideas about adding olive oil to my Tartine dough -- an olive walnut version -- and your explanation about using olive oil sounds intuitively right, so I am trying it today.

    Now I am going to have to read all of your work, which will take some time but should be enjoyable.

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  25. Hello. I came across this site when I searched Tartine Polenta loaf.
    I am also obsessed with the Tartine cookbook and bake country loaves daily. Yesterday I branched out to the polenta loaf and was amazed at how much added hydration the soaked polenta added to my dough. Do you have a link to your previous tries for this loaf? I kept checking the recipe thinking it was me, but it wasn't and the dough was totally unmanageable. I am now baking it in a pan because it ended up feeling more like a batter. Any advice you can give me on this I would surely appreciate!

    Thanks, Pauline

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  26. it's a faulty formula. but i did create my own polenta bread which is included in this 'bench exam' post that works quite well :)

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  27. Oh my goodness. What an awesome post you did here and an amazing amount of work you put into this as well!! I thank you for so much for doing this. With all these variations I will be busy indeed. Currently making one as I type. I hope my country loaf comes out as well as yours.

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  28. Hi Francis, congrats for the amazing work. I just tried your city bread recipe now, they are in the fridge proofing. I followed step by step and my dough was way to wet, not quite sure why and what I should do to improve.. Hope i can still make it.. I guess i will find out tomorrow morning after the baking. Next time im gonna try with less water.. Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. less water is a great place to start. it could be the brand of flour. but even a few grams less water will ameliorate the situation. hope this helps!

      Delete
  29. Hey Francis...just wrestled the semolina loaves into banneton. whew...more like ciabatta. The turns in the bowl were a dream. I then left it alone for 2 hrs. Turned it out on to heavily floured counter. All still seemed OK. But then...tried to pick up the divided dough and that was "all she wrote". A mess. I more or less pre-shaped ( dumped into a messy heap) . Left it for 30 min while I scraped off my hands. Gingerly picked up each piece after 30 min and tossed onto more flour. Did a bunch of folds to try and corral a shape. Finally plunked into well-floured banneton. I am glad I made 3 boules and not 2 huge ones. They are retarding and I will see what is what tomorrow. Will post back. Love your pics and descriptions. I have been a bread baker since the 70's and using my Wild Yeast for about 4 years. So inexperience isn't a problem. I am thinking my Bob's Red Mill Semolina needed a lot longer autolyse. With all of my breads I have been doing a 24 hr autolyse of just the flours. Will try that with this formula next as well as decreasing the water. Thanks for your incredible work. Caroline ( sorry to post as anonymous..don't have a Google acct)

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  30. Well they came out of the banneton perfectly. No rise at all in the fridge. Modest rise during bake. 20 min at 460 covered in a 500 degree preheated pots and 10 min. uncovered baked to internal 208. Fragrance is wonderful and the crust is definitely crisp. Will see what crumb looks like. Not sure how to add photos here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i would have to know all that you did to see what happened. what bread did you make?

      Delete

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