Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In a rye mood

Dear Bread,

Hey. Me again. So, here we are at the end of this part of our journey, and I must say, being with you, Bread, has taken me down one of the most splendid forks in my private little road.

You've taught me so much Bread, and I feel that I've gotten to know you so well, what makes you thrive, what makes your spirit wane. I know how the warm weather makes you ornery, uncooperative, and frankly a little gassy. I know how you prefer to be handled gently, in private, even though you flaunt yourself with lovely frocks as though you want the world to believe that you're impenetrable and immune to defeat.

Most significantly, you've taught me patience Bread, and that alone has allowed our relationship to flourish. I know now that you need a lot of time and space alone to energize, and when I don't push you too hard, you are a reliable partner who feeds me everything that I could possibly ever need. Bread, I'm just going to say this, while our romance is stronger than ever, you've also become my closest friend.

I'm so glad that we've recorded our romance and shared it publicly, aren't you Bread? Its kept us accountable, and I love to be able look back and see all that we've learned together, all the wonderful ways that we've grown.

I hope that other people have been able to learn from our lessons too Bread, and I think they have, because they email us and encourage us to keep going with our relationship. Sometimes they give us advice, and even ask us for a few tips to keep their own relationships alive and strong.

I know our romance has not always been smooth sailing, we've had our ups and downs. You know, the silly little phase where I wouldn't touch you at all, and then those moments when I forced you to drink too much water because I thought it would be good for your complexion, and instead you almost drown. But you always forgave me Bread, you always gave me space to noodle around, even though you foresaw that some of the things I was doing was going to yield unsavory results. You somehow knew that if I was not allowed to make those mistakes, I would never truly understand you.

Now I see that you were trying to teach me that even though sometimes things are challenging, if we see our difficult moments as learning experiences instead of failures, together we can flourish.

So, today I'm in a rye mood, because we've come this far and now we have to take things to another level. I've gotten comfortable, I will admit, but you're right, we have to keep challenging one another if we are to stay interested enough for this thing to grow. What did you say to me the other day? Something about not always knowing where the path will lead, and that if we trust in one another, we are destined to become part of something that is so much bigger than ourselves? I don't know Bread, you are just so wise, and sometimes I don't fully understand.

I'm ready Bread, to move on to the next phase, a deeper place, and I'm honored that you feel that I'm worthy enough to meet some of your dearest friends. Brioche, the rich prima donna, and Croissant, the little prig, and that English chap that you lovingly call 'Muffin', they sound like such an interesting bunch. I'm glad that you warned me that they can be a temperamental lot, fussy sometimes, uncompromising at their worst, but I promise I will do my best to try to understand them too. I know that once I've won their affections, they will be putty in my hands, just like it was with you.

You know, Bread, even though I'm scared that we are getting more serious, I think that with all that I have learned from you that we have a good chance at success, and I think that our love will be everlasting.

I just want you to know that loving you has made my life so much better, and as our bond deepens, I know that as long as we are committed to learn from one another, this relationship will take us to places that not too long ago I had only dreamed of.

I love you Bread. Then, now, always.

Tartine Country Loaf, In Rye

800g h20
200g rye levain (see below)
830g KA bread flour
170g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
20g salt

15g active rye starter
100g h20
50g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
50g KA AP flour

1) Make the Levain:

Levain in full bloom

Dissolve 15g active rye starter in 100g h20. Stir in 50g medium rye flour and 50g AP until you arrive at an amalgamated paste. Let this ferment overnight. My levain is usually in full bloom in 8 hours.

2) Dissolve the levain in 800g of h20. Stir in the 830g bread flour and 170g rye flour with your hands until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for at least an hour.

Dough ready for autolyse

3) Squish the 20g of salt into the dough with your fingers until it is fully incorporated, let it rest for 30 minutes.

4) After 30 minutes, you will perform 4 series of turns every 30 minutes, which will comprise 2 full hours of your fermentation. Perform your turns like this: dip your hand under the bulk of the dough, and fold the bottom up over the top of the dough, give the bowl a 1/3 turn and repeat until you have done this three times. Be gentle with the dough. You are not kneading, you are stretching the dough and organizing the gluten molecules into long strands. The dough will strengthen via fermentation. Forget about all of the Cranford BBC movies on PBS where those 19th century women beat the crap out of their dough to illustrate hard livin'. Gentle and patient is the name of the game here.

Rye flour is extensible, rather than elastic, as shown here

5) After 2 hours of gentle turning, let the dough ferment unmolested for another 2 hours at room temp if it's cool enough in your area.

Dough after first turn

Dough after 4 hour fermentation

6) After the 4 hour ferment, turn the dough out onto a well-oiled (or floured, your call) workspace.

7) Divide, shape into loose rounds, and cover with 2 bowls for their 15 minute bench rest.

8) After the bench rest, shape into boules, then get them into bowls that have been lined with linens dusted with brown rice flour. Pop them into the fridge for a 4 hour proof

9) With 25 minutes left of your proof, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with two combo cooker sets inside. After the dough is fully proofed, cut out a square of parchment, place over the mouth of the bowl, and invert the bowl onto a peel. Remove the bowl and the linen carefully (in case there are any sticky spots, you don't want to yank the linen off too hard and rip the dough).

10) Score the dough, slide it into the shallow part of the hot cast iron pan, mist with a water bottle set on the MIST setting. Cover with the deep part of the comb cooker. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes covered.

11) Remove the cover from the combo cooker, then bake until done. My bread took another 40 minutes for an hour and 10 minute total bake.

Crust: I think this is my best crust so far. So brittle, it was hard not to slice into it the night of the bake. But I had to wait till the morning light to photograph it for you all.  Crumb/Flavor: Earthy, nice bit of tang, super complex and absolutely delicious. I will pose this question: to degas or not to degas. There are two schools of thought. Some people do, some people don't. I never degas, and with this bake I did. I think that it smashes all of the gas chambers and minimizes the open crumb. I don't think I will degas again. I don't recall the Tartine book saying that we should degas, but I've been reading about all these bakers degassing here and far and decided I might give it a try. I don't like it! And I don't think I will do it again. Anyway, back to the crumb. Full gelatinization was realized, the crumb was chewy and awesome. Great with a ripe brie that I had on hand. Ease of handling dough: Super simple. Just keep in mind that working with rye is a different animal. It's going to feel more 'gummy' than you might be used to because of rye's extensible properties. That means that it's not elastic, like wheat flour (meaning, it stretches when you pull it, rather than snapping back). Bench notes: I didn't like that whole degassing thing, so I want to try this again without doing it to see if it will lend to a more open crumb.

To the staff of life!

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

Your Bread's Totally Cheesy Dude

I've been monkeying about with fermentation lately, you know, how long I can ferment the dough, how long it can handle fermentation in pretty warm weather, and all that jazz. Yesterday I set out to make Tartine's next loaf, whole wheat with Gruyere, one of two variations on whole wheat before the last loaf in this chapter which happens to be rye (I can't wait).

I decided to do something different with this bread because I was not in the mood for a loaf of whole wheat, I needed something lighter, plus I'm not quite done foolin' around with my City Bread, trying to get the whole wheat to white ratio just right, and again, taking advantage of our Indian summer to understand the affects of weather on my burgeoning dough. And I remembered one of my favorite little cheese breads from a fabulous cheese shop called The Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley, and decided to set my bread locomotive in that direction instead of adding the cheese to a boule and baking it that way. The little rolls are much more conducive to sharing, and the way that the cheese, a mixture of Asiago and cave-aged Gruyere, oozes out over the top of them is almost insane, it's so good.

As for the dough, I decreased the whole wheat a hair, and this time I accomplished the full bulk fermentation at room temp, quite a feat given that the mercury was buoying somewhere in the upper 80s. Coupled with the high hydration, I was definitely pushing the issue a little bit, because the dough spread pretty quickly on the peel, and it was almost impossible to slash.  Slashing, by the way, is an art form in and of itself, aside from the bread, so don't feel bad if you don't get it right away. I've only properly slashed a few loaves myself, and it's probably those loaves that were the best that I've ever baked. I feel as though the better we get at bread, the better our slashing capabilities become. And once we're slashing like pros, we can be assured that it's probably one fine loaf altogether that's receiving such stellar treatment.


The bread itself came out really well considering the way that I bullied it into existence. As you can see, the slashes are all wild like, and the loaf rejected the idea of an ambitious oven spring, yielding a moderately elevated loaf. But lo, the crumb was still really lovely and open, it was uber moist and tender to boot, and the flavor was pretty divine. Full gelatinization was realized, and the crust shattered like glass, I dare say.

What I've learned from this bake is that these cheesy rolls will drive you to craziness they're so good, especially right out of the oven, or crisped before eating if you have some left over the next day. In this weather, I highly recommend doing a partial fermentation in the fridge. If you've been following my experiment, you will remember that I've been doing 2 hours cold, two hours at room temp. I would play with at least the final hour under refrigeration if you want to push the envelope of fermentation at room temp. And I would definitely keep up with a refrigerated proof until it starts to cool down if you happen to be in southern CA, or share warm summers like we do.

We are almost done with the first chapter of Tartine. After the next loaf we move into baguettes and all renditions thereof, brioches, croissants and English muffins, Tartine style.

Without further ado, here are the details of our cheesy rolls and a City Bread boule from levain through the bake.

The necessities:

levain, about 200g (see below)
750g + 50g h2o
750g KA all purpose flour, but you may use bread flour
250g KA whole wheat flour
20g salt
150g Asiago cheese, grated (or 300g if you plan to make both halves of dough into cheese rolls, read below)
150g cave aged Gruyere cheese, grated (or 300g if you plan to make both halves of dough into cheese rolls, read below)
Olive oil for brushing the rolls

15g active starter, I used my trusty rye
100g h2o
50g dark or medium rye flour
50g all purpose flour

1) Create the levain: Mix the starter with 100g water, 50g rye flour and 50g all purpose flour. Cover with a towel and let it bloom overnight.

2) The next day your levain should be good and poofy. Dissolve all of it in 750g of water, then mix in both flours until you arrive at a shaggy mass. Cover with a sheet of plastic or a wet towel, or do what I did and pop a glass lid over the top so you can see what's going on from autolyse through bulk fermentation. Autolyse for 1 hour.

3) Add the salt and remaining 50g of water to the autolysed dough and mix thoroughly until you arrive at a smooth mass.

4) After 30 minutes, perform your first series of turns. Do this by scooping your hand under the dough and bringing the bottom over the top. Turn the bowl 1/3 turn and repeat until you have folded the dough from bottom to top three times. PS, no need to rough-house the dough. The structure of the dough occurs via fermentation, your turns, while they do strengthen the dough, are meant to 'organize and lengthen the gluten molecules', for long, smooth strands.

You will perform 3 more series of turns, one every 30 minutes, for a total of 4 series, which will comprise the first 2 hours of your bulk fermentation. After the 2 hour mark, if you live in a cool environment, by all means, ferment the dough at room temp for another 2 hours. If you live in a warmer climate, you may want to pop the dough into the fridge at this point, or in another hour. Whichever way you decide to go, ferment the dough for another 2 hours, you can push it to 2.5 if you decide to pop it in the fridge straight away.

Dough after first series of turns

Dough after 4 hour room temp fermentation, she's seriously toeing the line here

5) turn the dough out onto a work surface. I use olive oil, but you may flour if you wish. Divide in half, shape into loose rounds, cover with a couple of bowls and bench rest for 15 minutes.

6) At this point, shape one of the halves of dough into a boule like we normally do. Get it into a linen-lined bowl that has been dusted with rice flour. Pop in the fridge to proof for 4 hours. Roll out the second measure of dough, flouring the surface as necessary so it does not stick to the rolling pin. Your work space should be lubricated well enough with olive oil or flour, whichever you chose. Let the weight of the rolling pin do the work for you. Avoid mashing the dough. It looks like I rolled mine out to about 1/2" thick. Try to get it as rectangular as possible.

A NOTE: You may want to proceed making both halves into the addictive cheese rolls instead of turning one into a boule. If that is the case, follow the instructions below with both portions of dough. It will be easiest to work in halves, unless you have a really long work space and consider yourself a bad ass. In which case, roll out the whole measure of dough and make one really long cheese roll as directed below.

7) Spread the cheese over the dough as above.

8) Roll the dough into a neat log using your bench scraper to keep it all tight and uniform.

Be sure to leave the lip naked so that you can crimp the roll closed like this...

9) Slice the log into 1.5" thick slices with a very sharp knife.

10) Get the slices onto a flour dusted couche. It's OK if they touch a bit now and when they begin to proof. You can hack them apart with a bench scraper later.

11) Proof for 3 hours, room temp, or until they expand in size by 50%. About 15 minutes before you want to bake them, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with your baking stone inside.

12) Line your peel with a piece of parchment. Using a spatula, transfer the rolls onto the parchment and tighten reshape them with your hands if necessary. Brush the cheese-less sides with olive oil. Slide the parchment with the rolls into the oven. (Refrigerate the rest of the rolls while the first batch is baking. It's OK to bake the successive rolls straight from the fridge).

13) Mist the rolls heavily with water using the MIST setting on your squirt bottle, close the door, then twist the nozzle of the bottle to STREAM, open the oven door just a hair, and squirt the right wall of the oven until it stops hissing, repeat on the left side. Close the oven door swiftly. Repeat this steaming method after 5 minutes, then again after another 5 minutes, and again after another 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes with steam. Then bake for 10 minutes, turn the parchment so that you rotate the rolls from back to front, and bake till completion, another 10 - 15 minutes for a total of 35 - 40 minutes, or until the rolls are golden.

14) Cool on a wire rack, then repeat with the remaining rolls. The rolls are delicious warm, and they happily reheat the next day as well, although I really like them at room temp too!


These little rolls tasted just like the ones that I remember from The Cheese Board Collective. They are utterly addictive, and I recommend that you give them away to your friends or you will certainly eat the whole batch on your own in no time!


1) After the four hour proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with your combo cooker inside for at least 20 minutes.

(Note, if you are still working your cheese rolls and you have opted to do a room temp proof, at the four hour mark, pop the boule into the fridge until you are ready to bake it).

2) Invert the boule onto a peel lined with parchment or a thin layer of semolina. Score. Slide the boule into the shallow portion of the combo cooker, immediately cover with the deeper portion of the combo cooker, lower the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

3) After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the combo cooker and complete the bake, another 30 - 40 minutes.


Crust: shattery and lovely Crumb: largely open, fully gelatinized Flavor: Really wonderful and developed. A good tang, but not overly so. Ease of handling dough: Challenging. It was really warm here and the dough is super hydrated. Notes: I would definitely do the final hour or two bulk fermentation in the fridge when the temp soars to the mid-eighties. It was in danger of over-fermenting, and I was a little surprised that it came out as well as it did considering. I might also decrease the hydration just a hair, maybe by 25g or so. But it might not be necessary if you do a 1/2 ferment in the fridge. Whichever you choose, please email me and divulge your findings!

To the staff of life!

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A laywoman's solution to Tartine's highly hydrated dough

Yesterday I decided to make bread off schedule. I started the levain in the morning instead of at night before bed, so that I would be able to bake the following morning instead of late in the afternoon. I did this because I wanted to experiment with a long proof - and I wanted to have my Sunday totally free for once, since my bread would need to be baked when I woke up in early in the morning. Taking advantage of the evening hours for my proof made my bread baking more efficient, especially with the longer proof.

City Loaf, Enduring Proof

I could not photograph the results of the dough as I moved along because of lighting issues, but at this point I think that we have enough posts under our belt to see what the dough is supposed to look like as we are working with it.

I also decided to see what would come of halving one of my bread formulas that generally make two loaves. I used the formula that I've been monkeying with for the past couple of weeks, the one for my 'City Bread'. I increased hydration in tandem with the increased proof, because my goal was to make a more open crumb with my bread, and one with a more pronounced tang. See the formula and instructions below.

Kale salad with anchovy vinaigrette, and torn City Bread croutons (recipe found here at Farm To Table Geek)

So, I have received a few emails from people having difficulties with highly hydrated doughs, and the advice I give is completely non-expert, but may help nonetheless. What is most mentioned is that shaping the dough has been giving people problems, and I think you might want to know a few things so you don't feel like you're doing anything wrong with your bread. With the exception of the whole wheat loaves that I've made, pretty much every dough has been a challenge to work with because of the high hydration, but over time my perception of what's difficult has changed, because I am getting used to handling dough. What was once difficult no longer is. But if you are still struggling with shaping and trying to get your dough into the combo cooker before it oozes onto the floor, I totally get it.

Here are some things to take into consideration:

1) The Tartine Bread book is NOT an easy book. I love it, yes, but the dough requires some serious devotion, and the book is a little arcane. There certainly are others out there that will take you by the hand and tell you all you need to know, so snatch up copies of other author's work too. But I think that Chad created a piece of work that would allow the reader/breadmaker to find their own bread. He has given us a foundation for this bread, his bread. Everything that you begin to understand about it from the moment you open the book is really all about you. You will learn what works best in your environment, and how to handle the dough on your own if you just keep working with it as often as you can. Furthermore, and this may sound silly, but you must become one with Chad's doughs. These are not Sunday afternoon breads. So don't feel bad about the outcome if you imagined that it was something that you could just fit into a busy day, and find yourself falling short. On bread day, I'm home. I walk the dog while the dough is on the last half of it's fermentation, and I run errands as it proofs. Other than that, this dough has got me for pretty much 10 hours so that I can poke it and keep an eye on it, and mostly so that I can be at the ready when it decides it wants to be baked.

City Bread, the crumb

2) Chad's are high-hydration doughs. I seriously thought that the polenta bread was going to eat my dog, it was that terrifying. It was beyond hydrated, I don't even know what to call it. It was like a humongous bowl of polenta Jello. The rye bread is also a difficult one to work with, but that is the nature of rye. It is a flour whose properties are more extensible than elastic, that means that it does not snap back very easily when working with it. Even the country loaf is not simple at the start, and you have to be gentle in handling the dough so that it can develop that lovely, open crumb. Resist the urge to overwork the dough or to add flour to it, or to pull back on hydration. Just dive into working with unruly dough, and over time, you will simply learn how to work with it. Keep reading to find out how I was able to get a grip on high-hydration doughs. You might find my cheatin' ways useful. In fact, it turns out that the main way (using refrigeration) adds to the development of flavor in sourdough breads.

3) Refrigeration is your friend. This hot summer forced me to really get creative with my dough and as a result, I am seriously married to refrigerated fermentation. Not only does it add to the flavor of my bread, but it allowed me to learn how to handle this dough without backing off hydration. Long, cool fermentations develop flavor. Fast, hot fermentations just aerate your bread. Let me just say, even with refrigeration, this dough needs to be handled quickly, adeptly, and gently. Once you invert it onto your peel and get it scored, don't go make a phone call or pet the dog. You need to get it into the oven pronto.

There were even some loaves whose hydration I was able to increase because refrigeration allowed me a little more flexibility and a lot more leniency in handling what would otherwise have been a temperamental dough. Use the fridge while you are learning, and beyond. It is your friend. Remember, professional bakers have proofing chambers that regulate the temperature of their dough. You have two options: refrigeration, and room temp. I seriously doubt that Chad has 100 loaves of wilting dough laying around his hot kitchen. He has climate controlled advantages.

4) Here are 10 tips to help you from shaping through baking:

  • For those of you who are having difficulty shaping the dough and handling the high hydration, my suggestion is to complete your turns at room temp, then pop the dough in the fridge for the second half of fermentation (i.e., 2 hours room temp fermentation with turns, 2 hours final fermentation in fridge).

  • When you pull the dough out for preshape, do a loose preshape, which allows a shorter bench. A tighter preshape calls for a longer bench, but then the dough warms up and might make it harder for you to shape later.

  • During shaping, do your best. It does not have to be perfect. Dough is a pretty forgiving thing, especially at this point. Just try not to overwork it, and if you feel that you have, lengthen your proof (in the fridge) which will give it enough time to rise properly. I also avoid using a floured surface as I work. I use either nothing at all, or olive oil. I have ended up with raw flour in my loaves, and that pretty much killed any desire to flour my workspace. A little olive oil in your bread never hurt a thing, in fact, it probably makes it more delightful.

  • Proof in the fridge. For a couple of reasons. For one reason, it will make it easier for you to handle when it's time to invert it onto your peel. For another reason, it allows you to control the proof and develop the flavor of your bread. It also allows some flexibility with your baking schedule, since proofing dough can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

  • When you are about to bake your bread, don't slap the dough right into the combo cooker as the book suggests. It makes for a situation where you can really burn yourself and deflate your nurtured dough. Instead, cut a piece of parchment, lay it over the bowl, lay the peel over the bowl, and carefully flip the bowl with the peel over so that the bowl is inverted. Remove the bowl. Peel off the linen. Score.
Fully proofed City Bread dough on the peel

  • Pull the combo cooker out of the oven, slide the dough into the combo cooker. Put the lid in place, and close the oven while you are working your second dough. I find this arrangement safest and easiest and there is less risk of deflating your dough. If the dough lands crooked, give the combo cooker a shake to place it properly. If you only have one combo cooker that's fine. Just keep the second dough in the fridge till you are ready to bake it. The dough can be in the fridge for up to 12 hours proofing, so, nothing bad will happen if it waits.

  • Don't be tempted to lift the lid of the combo cooker before the first 30 minutes is up. The lid provides the steamy environment needed for proper oven spring. It just took you 10 hours to coax this bread into being, another 30 minutes won't kill you. Looking prematurely and causing your bread to flop might make you die a little inside.
City Bread after 30 minute steam

  • Toggle the heat. I never bake my loaves at 475. It's too hot, I find. A baking stone certainly helps to diffuse the heat beneath the pan so that you don't end up with a black bottom crust, but if it's too hot, turn the heat down. I find that baking my loaves at 450 allows me to get a deeper brown crust that is more evenly toned. 475 was burning the bottom of my bread while leaving the top too blonde, and then the inside was not baking long enough and had raw spots. 450 allows me to keep my loaves in for the duration of the bake, and I've been able to get those chestnut colored loaves that we are all salivating after. I also bake my bread for an hour, and some as long as an hour and 10 minutes. These days I can tell by how it looks and how it sounds by thumping the bottom of it if it's done, but for the sake of the blog, I also take the temperature and post the temp on the blog so that newbies will have something more concrete when pulling their loaves if they are not sure that they are done. Look for chestnut colored loaves with a strong crust.

  • Which brings me to this great bit of info: place the baking rack at the highest possible level to accommodate the combo cooker and its lid. The lower the pan to the gas (or heat element) at the bottom of the oven, the more probable the bottom crust is to burn. Keep it up high.

  • Don't slice your bread until it's cool, unless it's a baguette. The bread is still baking and will change texture radically when it is allowed to fully 'cure'. I wait no less than 2 hours, and generally more, before I slice into it. Warm bread is romantic, yes, but it's just not ideal to slice into this style of bread before it has a chance to finish its 'bench bake', which is what I call it. If you must have warm bread, make toast later on.

These are just a few things that I learned during this bread making endeavor. I am here and happy to help you if you have any questions. I'm not an expert, but I would love to share what has worked for me since I've been learning about bread since April. I hope that my posts inspire you to learn bread in your own way and really make it your own. There is no wrong way to do this. If it's working for you, you're on the right path. Tartine Bread is a guide, and the bread that you make from it is to become your bread. Finally, bread calls to your intuitive sense. Listen as intently as possible to its language, the message will become quite clear.

Here is the formula and instruction for my City Loaf with an 8 hour proof:

150g KA whole wheat flour
350g KA bread flour
100g levain, using my rye starter
440g + 25g h20
10g salt

1. To make the levain, mix 8g of active rye starter (or whatever 100% starter you use) with 50g h2o and 25g each whole wheat and white flours. Let it sit out on the counter for 8 hours covered.

2. Mix the flours and 440g of the h2o with the levain and autolyse for 1 hour at room temp.

3. Add the salt and the remaining 25g of water, mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes.

3. After the 30 minute rest after salting, turn the dough by dipping your hand under the dough and folding the bottom up over the top, spin the bowl 1/3 turn, repeat until you have done this three times, this is your first series of turns. Then perform another series every 30 minutes, for a total of 4 series. Total fermentation time at room temp, including the rest after salting, and the 4 series of turns at 30 minutes apart should be 2 hours.

4. Pop in the fridge and ferment for another 2.5 hours.

5. Pull the dough out and pre-shape. Bench rest for 20 minutes. Shape the dough into a boule, then pop it into a linen-lined bowl dusted with rice flour. Cover with another bowl to prevent a skin from forming. The bowl will give it enough room to rise. Pop in the fridge and ferment for 8 hours.

6. 20 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 550 degrees with the combo cooker inside.

7. Pull the dough out of the fridge when the oven is preheated, invert it onto a peel that has been dusted with semolina, score, and slide it into the combo cooker (I bake my bread in the shallow part and use the deeper part as a lid). Get the lid in place, turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid of the combo cooker and bake uncovered until the crust is chestnut brown. Mine took another 40 minutes.


Crust: Shattery and thin. Came out very well Crumb: Largely open and beautiful but not so much so that it is not suitable for sandwiches. Tender. Flavor: Nicely developed. The long ferment added some depth and a bit of tang, though surprisingly not much. This loaf stood up well to anchovy, no doubt because of the use of whole wheat, and was delicate enough for tomatoes and avocado. A really nice 'go to' bread. Difficulty of handling the dough: not at all. Notes: This is not a Tartine bread, but it is based on Chad's methods. This is the longest that I have fermented one of his breads, and I can't say that it was necessary. I think that the breads in general work really well with his 'general' fermentation schedule. It allows for lovely flavor development, proper fermentation to produce the appropriate structure for the crumb. I might experiment with a 6 hour ferment, for kicks. I must say, this was about the brink that I think my yeast could have handled. I believe any longer would overproof the dough, because it's been hot down here and the fermentation was pretty speedy, even with half the fermentation time done in the fridge. This one was toeing that line, as you can see from the slightly peaked center and sloping sides of the finished loaf. It's a slight deformation, but one that is a sign of overproofing. As well, the proofing dough was not as vibrant as it could have been when I pulled it from the fridge. This dough could not have gone the duration of 12 hours, though I know that the Tartine book outlines that you can proof for up to that amount of time. I think that with a cooler bulk ferment, I may have been able to increase proofing time. (I can't wait for it to get cooler down here so that I can experiment with complete room temp bulk fermentation) I'd say, pull back proofing time, longer is not better if your loaves have endured a warmer bulk fermentation. 4 hours would have been ample, I think, given the weather. 6 might be fun. We will give that a try as well.

To the staff of life!

This post was shuttled off to Wild Yeast Blog's Yeast Spotting.


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