Monday, January 21, 2013

mongrel spelt, mega stout & a video

ok, so, this post is about: a 25 hour(!) final fermentation, increased hydration in relation to achieving ridiculous ears, and scoring. lots of people have been emailing me about how to score the spiral -  remember in my last post, i declared that one must hold the razor blade horizontal to the loaf, and i always score deeply, going over the slash twice with the razor blade. well, i decided to try my hand  at making a video of my spiral scoring... of course, you all know how i love superfluity, so i ended up making two...



some of you have sent in pictures of your spirals, hooray! i've made a scrapbook of them below. thank you for sharing, it always makes my day.

so, my guinea pigs for this enhanced hydration/extended final ferment were a stout dough using all stout, no water. i realize that i'm flogging a stout horse here, given my last stout bread, but i wanted to share what a full stout loaf was like, in case you wanted to dump a whole can of guinness in your next bread. and a dough using a mongrel assortment of spelt flours - 167g white spelt, 83g light spelt and 250g KA bread flour - because i had a few grams of this and a few grams of that...



i firmly believe that whilst pleasurable, sure, baking must also be a thrifty pursuit. you can shell out some serious dough for flour, and i don't know about you, but i bake bread because it's economical. i can't afford to spend six or seven bucks for a loaf of bread from a great bakery. just so you can see how cheap it is to make your own bread, i did some math and calculated that a loaf of my 'city bread, in rye' (which i make most often here), which uses 90g BRM organic rye flour and 410g of KA bread flour comes out to $1.40 a loaf! and the loaves that we make at home are MUCH larger than the loaves that you buy from a bakery.

so, if you have a little of this and a little of that, why not make a mongrel bread rather than letting the flour go stale?



mongrel bread, in spelt

increased hydration does not allow for the same intense ears of my other loaves, as you can see. just a comparison, the hydration in the stout bread is 80.3% and the mongrel bread is about 77.8%; and my breads usually weigh in at about 72% hydration. so, the small increase in hydration does affect your scoring. but, i'm not complaining.


mega stout

the thing that i noticed about using beer in place of water is that it seems to tighten the dough. it makes sense, since beer is obviously more viscous than water, so i think that your breads will call for a higher hydration in view of this. i must say, the last demi-stout that i experimented with was pretty awesome, but if you're going to make a beer bread, you may as well make one that tastes fully of beer, unless you are using a very bitter IPA and want to temper its bite. i would say, after this experiment, that you can safely replace all of the water with beer in your bread, especially if you are using sweeter brews. have a look at my friend bernd's beer post over at bernd's bakery. if you don't already know his blog, you definitely should. he makes some of the finest loaves on the net with instructions in english and german to boot!

without further delay, here is your mongrel spelt, your mega stout, and your superfluous videos.

MEGA STOUT


mega stout with toasted hazelnuts

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DOUGH

Make your levain:

50g 100% rye, 100% hydration starter
100g BRM dark rye
100g cold stout

mix the above and let ferment. mine fermented for 8 hours.

DOUGH DAY

250g levain
377g stout, i used 'boatswain' chocolate stout, you might try guinness or another brand
90g BRM dark rye flour
410g KA organic bread flour
12g kosher salt
150g toasted hazelnuts

mix all of the ingredients above MINUS the salt and the hazelnuts, until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse for one hour.

after the autolyse, add the 12g of salt. squish the salt and water into the dough until fully amalgamated. now fold in the hazelnuts.

over the next 4 hours, your bulk fermentation takes place. for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation, perform a series of turns every half hour for a total of four series of turns. refrigerate the dough for the last two hours, unmolested.

after the bulk ferment, turn the dough out onto a workspace that has been dusted with organic brown rice flour. i use BRM. rest the dough for 15 minutes, then flip it over onto a CLEAN part of the workspace and form into a boule (the clean workspace creates friction under the dough, helping to make a nice, tight boule).

pop the dough into a linen-lined bowl that has been dusted with brown rice flour. cover, and refrigerate for 25 hours...


MONGREL SPELT



mongrel spelt


THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DOUGH

Make your levain:

50g 100% rye, 100% hydration starter
100g BRM dark rye
100g cold filtered h2o

mix the above and let ferment. mine fermented for 8 hours.

DOUGH DAY

250g levain
360g cold filtered h20
167g vitaspelt organic white spelt flour
83g BRM light spelt flour
250g KA organic bread flour
12g kosher salt

mix all of the ingredients above MINUS the salt until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse for one hour.

after the autolyse, add the 12g of salt. squish the salt and water into the dough until fully amalgamated.

over the next 4 hours, your bulk fermentation takes place. for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation, perform a series of turns every half hour for a total of four series of turns. refrigerate the dough for the last two hours, unmolested.

after the bulk ferment, turn the dough out onto a workspace that has been dusted with organic brown rice flour. i use BRM. rest the dough for 15 minutes, then flip it over onto a CLEAN part of the workspace and form into a boule (the clean workspace creates friction under the dough, helping to make a nice, tight boule).

pop the dough into a linen-lined bowl that has been dusted with brown rice flour. cover, and refrigerate for 25 hours...

BAKE DAY

one hour before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 550 degrees outfitted with both halves of 2 cast iron combo cookers and a baking stone.

after the FULL hour of preheating, pull the dough out of the fridge, fit a piece of parchment over the mouth of it, place a peel on top, and flip the bowl over so that the dough lands on the parchment over the peel. score the dough in some unique fashion, making sure to go over it twice with the razor, and deeply to boot. check out the video on how i make the spiral:

TAKE ONE...

TAKE TWO...


slide the dough, parchment and all, into the shallow end of your awaiting combo cookers. cover with the fat end. turn the oven down to 475 degrees and steam for 30 minutes.


after the 30 minute steam, remove the fat end of the combo cooker wearing an oven mitt to avoid a nasty steam burn. marvel at your perfectly steamed loaf. slide it back into the oven, turn it down to 450 degrees and bake till chestnut brown.


Wait a full hour and a half before slicing.

the verdict: OMG. the mongrel spelt was incredible. excellent crumb structure, uber shattery crust. the mega stout was smoky with an open, tender crumb and an amazingly shattery crust as well.

a big THANK YOU to everyone who sent in pictures and those who continue to send me emails letting me know how their bread is turning out. i am sooooo happy to share all of this with you!

THE SUPERFLUOUS SHOTS







TARTINE XP FRIENDS

and now for our bread friend's loaves...

SAM IN THE BAY AREA
sam just did a mind-boggling spiral in the bay area. GO SAM!






FINNISH RIIIKA
riikka just got some ridiculous ears in finland. YEAH RIKKA!


KRISTEN AT 'DECORATE THIS'
kristen at 'decorate this' just sent me these lovely pictures. she used the stout formula to make a cider bread, and a stout bread of her own. check out those ears and the fantastic swirl!


This post has been sent off to Susan's Wild Yeast Blog.

to the staff of life!

Friday, January 18, 2013

city bread, in stout

so, i have to say, i am sooooo flattered and honored that so many people have lately been telling me that i should write a bread book. i think i will leave that to chad. and hopefully susan at wild yeast, because if anyone needs to write the next fabulous book, it's her. susan gave me a platform for my voice and my bread, and i am so grateful for her knowledge. she was my bread guru in the beginning of all of this, and she answered every one one of my panicked emails.


what i love most is that people write to me and tell me that when they use my formulae, that their bread comes out perfectly. this was my goal, and i love giving it all away for free. there are not enough people in the world just sharing for the sake of sharing, for the sake of helping other people to make their lives just a teeny bit more enjoyable. i love it when someone tells me that they have set up their ipad in their kitchen and used my blog like a book. what's better than a free book anyway?



city bread, in stout with toasted hazelnuts

the thing is, i am not a professional baker. i had so much trouble on the beginning of my bread path, as i think i have mentioned, and as i began to figure some things out, i thought about how lovely it would be if i could impart the information to other people who were having the same problems. i'm a perfectionist, so a bad loaf pushes me over the edge. i know how you feel when things don't come out quite right. it makes me sad when people send me pictures of their bread and it's flat or lopsided, or just plain wrong, and i hope that i'm helping in some small way.


so, no, this is no iconoclastic blog, but what you will find here are some answers to the simple questions that everyone has, and some sure-fire ways to make sure that your levain is proofing nicely, and that you are achieving good ears and a good crust and crumb. i will get around to some other flours (and methods) i promise, but i'm actually really busy.




onward.

so, went to seattle to visit a friend this past week, and i took the opportunity to see what happens when we work with refrigerated starters. this is something that i have long been wanting to try. my findings are outlined below.


also, lots of people have been asking me about my scoring. i take such pride in my scoring, and i love that i am seeing my 'SWIRL' all over the net. hooray. a blogger friend in spain just did one and emailed me sublime photos, and then the opera singer in switzerland who did a lovely post about it. if you end up scoring the swirl, please send me photos or a link to your blog so i can see it. our little connection.

the thing about scoring is that your hydration cannot be mega high if you want to get those prominent ears. if you will notice, my hydrations are pretty moderate. i get a great shattery crust, fully gelatinized crumb, excellent flavor, moist interior, and  RIDICULOUS EARS. always, it's about those ears! those ears make a tasty, caramelized crust, and they're just fun to look at, right?


so, the first key to good scoring is an appropriate hydration. not too high. have a look at some of the breads on my blog and check out the hydration levels. it's hard to resist the urge to add more water in the beginning, because everyone always talks about how mega-high hydration is what makes the irregularly-holed crumb, but when you get your first set of ridiculous ears you will never go back. and the crumb of all of my breads is always fantastic.

the second part of scoring, once you've shown restraint in hydration, is to score DEEPLY. and score TWICE. that's my secret. yes, twice. you score the pattern that you want, then you go back in and cut through the dough again, deeply.


the third rule is to hold your blade at an angle -- i use a regular razor blade from walgreens (one that fits in a man's razor). no handle. pinching the blade between your fingers allows you to have total control over the scoring. so, always hold the blade as horizontally as possible. this will lift the ears. you cannot make that swirl by holding the blade perpendicular to the dough.  you've got to hold it parallel. keep in mind that shallow scoring, with the blade held perpendicularly, makes the slashes bleed rather than lift the ears.

i try to photograph my slashes so that you can see how deeply i get into the dough. don't worry if the edges seem ragged on the bends, it will bake up just fine and they will smooth out. just follow the instructions, try to slash as smoothly as possible, and send me pictures of your loaves!

without further ado, here is your city bread in stout with toasted hazelnuts. let me know how yours turns out!


city bread, in stout with toasted hazels

4 DAYS BEFORE THE BAKE

if you have a refrigerated starter, you have to start an aggressive feeding schedule a few days prior to making your levain, ideally 4 days before. storing your starter in the fridge is a great way to bake if you only plan to make a loaf every other week or once a month. you can save money by not feeing your starter every day. please only refrigerate your starter once it is good and strong. if you are just beginning a starter, i would say wait several months before refrigerating. let it prove that it can produce flawless bread with every loaf first. here's how: feed your very strong, very active starter and pop it in the fridge. say you wont need it for another two weeks. it'll hang out in there just fine for the next 10 days. then,  4 FULL days before you plan to bake, pull the starter out of the fridge and feed it johnny on the spot. cold like that. and follow the instructions below to get it good and strong before baking bread. i noticed no difference in the raising of my bread after using my starter that was refrigerated. i do plan to keep mine on the counter though. i like connecting with my starter every day. so, now i know that it will keep fine for those weeks that i plan to travel. oh, please do keep a backup starter in the fridge, just in case. you always want to have at least two.

here is how my feeding went after i returned from seattle:
  • saturday: fed twice: at 2pm and midnight
  • sunday: fed twice: at 8am and 8pm
  • monday: fed twice: at 8am and 8pm
  • tuesday: fed three times: at 8am, 3pm, and midnight
  • wednesday: made the levain at 10:30 in the morning


DOUGH DAY

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN.

i began mine at 10:30 in the morning, and fermented it until 5pm, so, 6 hours 30 minutes.

50g 100% hyration, 100% organic rye flour starter
100g chocolate stout beer (or guinness, perhaps)
100g organic BRM rye flour

mix the above and let ferment for 6.5 hours.

stout 

 levain, just mixed



fully fermented levain

MAKE THE DOUGH:

250g of levain
170g chocolate stout beer
170g  + 25g cold filtered h2o
90g BRM organic rye flour
410g KA organic bread flour
150g toasted hazelnuts, skinned and very coarsely chopped
12g salt

mix all of the ingredients above MINUS the +25g H2O, the salt, and the hazelnuts; until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse for one hour.


autolyse

after the autolyse, add the remaining 25g of water and 12g of salt. squish the salt and water into the dough until fully amalgamated. now fold in the hazelnuts.

over the next 4 hours, your bulk fermentation takes place. for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation, perform a series of turns every half hour for a total of four series of turns. refrigerate the dough for the last two hours, unmolested.

after the bulk ferment, turn the dough out onto a workspace that has been dusted with organic brown rice flour. i use BRM. rest the dough for 15 minutes, then flip it over onto a CLEAN part of the workspace and form into a boule (the clean workspace creates friction under the dough, helping to make a nice, tight boule).

pop the dough into a linen-lined bowl that has been dusted with brown rice flour. cover, and leave to ferment at cool room temperature for an hour and 20 minutes. after 1 hour and 20 minutes, refrigerate for 15 hours and 40 minutes more for a total final fermentation time of 17 hours.

BAKE DAY

One hour before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 550 degrees outfitted with both halves of your cast iron combo cooker and a baking stone.

After the FULL hour of preheating, pull the dough out of the fridge, fit a piece of parchment over the mouth of it, place a peel on top, and flip the bowl over so that the dough lands on the parchment over the peel. Score the dough in some unique fashion, making sure to go over it twice with the razor, and deeply to boot.




Slide it, parchment and all, into the shallow end of your awaiting combo cooker. Cover with the fat end. Turn the oven down to 475 degrees and steam for 30 minutes.


After the 30 minute steam, remove the fat end of the combo cooker wearing an oven mitt to avoid a nasty steam burn. Marvel at your perfectly steamed loaf. Slide it back into the oven, turn it down to 450 degrees and bake till chestnut brown.




Wait a full hour and a half before slicing.


the verdict: another winner. i like the subtlety of the beer in this loaf. remember the last loaf? how it used ALL beer in the formula? and because of that particular beer, it made a rather stalwart bread, which i loved, but i wanted to see if i could attain a sweeter more 'beer redolent' a loaf instead of a definitively BEER loaf. this time round, i decided to go with 1/2 water and 1/2 beer to see what the result would be, and the result was a malty, fabulous crumb, fully gelatinized; it tasted a little smoky, slight sweet. of course the hazelnuts did their magical thing. what harmony, the nuts and the stout. the uber shattery crust was incredible. i do have a little stout leftover, and i think i will try my hand at a loaf using all stout and no water. that loaf will be sweeter than the arrogant bastard loaf, more malty/smoky/nutty, since, as we know, the beer translates directly unto the bread, leaving none of its nuances out. i will let you all know how it goes!

This stout loaf has been sent off to Susan's Wild Yeast Blog.

to the staff of life!


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