Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baguettes a la levain

Baguettes made with liquid [100% hydration] levain instead of the poolish. Same formulation, flour, and process as below, except for the noted change. This one included the 45 min fold during bulk fermentation.

Nailed the crust
; of course understanding the oven's limitations from yesterday helped there.
20 sec steam prior to loading, then 10 sec, then 2 more sec 1 min later. Opened oven vent with 10 min to go, vented 1 min with oven open door at the end.

Beautiful creamy crumb if still a little tight. Can't wait to get my new lame blades as the razor blades I am using do not seem sharp enough to give a good even cut in the dough.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A little better...

A little better today - Same formulation, flour, and process as yesterday except with the baguettes I folded the dough once in bulk and then worked the pre-shapes a little harder. More opening of the cuts today, good ! Could've been better if the oven did not literally "run out of steam". Tried saturating the oven with steam before the loaves went in, 30 sec, then when I went to hit them with about 10 sec worth after they hit the oven, the steam generators were not hot enough. All the water went down the drain and not into the oven as steam. I suppose it is good to find the limitations of the equipment, but why today?

I am still having trouble getting an open crumb structure, maybe I am working the dough too much, mixing a little too much, although at 4 min on speed 2 I could hardly pull any sort of gluten window... Maybe it is a flour issue, maybe it's a technique issue. I will get some of my "control" General Mills' Harvest King flour today and repeat the exercise on Friday using that flour to see if I can reproduce the open texture I got at SFBI in July.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Poolish baguette dough / Shepherd's Grain low-gluten

Batards got good ears but not the baguettes, same proofing same dough, same oven, same time etc etc. Were the baguettes not shaped tight enough at the final shaping, skins too dry [then so were the batard skins], not enough steam. But the result had great flavor, aroma, and texture. Crust was crunchy but not so hard it would cut your gums.

Beautiful batard - tasted as good as it looked.
Venting the oven
Today will try my proof box with the humidifier on but without the temperature control to run as close as possible to room temperature. Same formulation and process; stay tuned to see if the baguettes get better.

My assistant did some regular test baking as well. The "better" flours for hand-shaped breads [front 2 loaves] got lower volumes than the hi-gluten types [2 rearward loaves].
Rear Left; Grainprocessor's Titan --- Right; Shepherd's Grain High-gluten
Front Left; Shepherd's Grain Low-gluten --- Right ---General Mills' Harvest King [supermarket version]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

San Francisco Baking Institute; photo journal

Many thanks to David A. for the pictures.

Loading the oven
Slashing the baguettes
Finished products proudly displayed
Judging the results
Taste time
Country breads out of the ovenEgg washing a sweet bread
Fast hands making last second adjustments
Miches unloaded
Same ingredients different processes - different results
Round and round...
Steaming fun
Proofing time
The end of the day

Monday, August 18, 2008

Barley Struggles

Trying out some product development with ConAgra waxy hull-less whole grain flour, a.k.a. the sponge...

Lots of great soluble fiber in this whole-grain flour, beta-glucans that is, same as in oats.

Had trouble with the baguettes, not enough lift. Doughs were tight. Need to be braver about adding extra water... Maybe some bracketing and being happy to throw out the failures. Personally I do not think the barley flavor mixes well with an acidic sourdough. I used a stiff, acetic levain to replace the strength I lost by diluting the bread flour with the Wx barley flour

Had trouble with the batards using the "Vermont sourdough with wholewheat" barely variant. Added 4% extra water but the dough dried out so much in the bulk fermentation that the seams wouldn't seal and some blew out in the oven.

The "80% barley sourdough", well went with the 4% extra water, so far off the mark that I threw it out. Could've maybe used 10 -15% more water !!!

Finally got brave enough with the water [extra 5% for a 10% admixture of waxy barley flour in the bread flour]. Used the Shepherd's Grain low gluten flour as the base with a pre-fermented dough [Page 296 in Advanced Bread and Pastry; Michel Suas]. This dough was nice and gassy, shaped well into strands, and lifted well in the oven.

Friday, August 15, 2008

100% rye

100 % rye with a dark rye flour because I could not source medium rye. The formulation and procedure is what I learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute - Baking and Pastry Arts School for Professionals and Enthusiasts. Upped the water to 1015 g to compensate for the added water absorbing capacity of the dark rye flour.

Still, a nice outcome. Can't wait to get some cheese.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shepherd's Grain flours

Tried 2 new flours today; Shepherd's Grain high- and low-gluten. Shepherd's Grain are, in their words, "an alliance of progressive family farms dedicated to practicing sustainable agriculture".

These folks are regional if not exactly local. A BBGA member told me she really liked the hi-gluten version for her sourdough business. Because we do variety development on hard-grained breadmaking wheats for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest [in addition to our soft-white wheat variety development], I thought it might be prudent to see what commercial hard-wheat flours from the region were like.

To do this I made Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont sourdough with whole wheat, of course it was my PNW and Oregon version. It is all levain risen, no commercial yeast. Mixed to a shaggy lump, 25 minute autolyse, 2 hr bulk with one fold, pre-shaped to boules, shaped to boules and blunt batards, final fermentation 12 hours at 10 deg C, 1 hour at roon temperature, baked 25 min @ 460 deg F with steam, vented 8 minutes. I forgot to turn the oven down a little after 10 minutes or so into the bake and got a little too dark a crust, but it was crispy !.
It turned out just fine, but the high-gluten [behind] did not have ears that opened up as nicely as the low-gluten version. The low-gluten flour also had a little stiff levain in the formulation to top up the liquid levain when I ran out of liquid levain, so the stiff levain seemed to build a little more strength.
Crumby [pardon the pun] picture of the interiors, both fairly nice and open, the high-gluten [left] had a much much chewier texture, maybe too chewy. Unfortunately I gave away the prettier ones before remembering to take the picture, so the low-gluten one was the mishapen one the stuck to the stone during the oven-spring.

These are mixograms of the high [upper] and low-gluten SG flours at 63% and 61% hydration respectively. The low-gluten could have used maybe 2% less water again. The low-gluten version takes a little less water for optimum handling and would take less time to get to the intensive mix stage; its peak happened earlier than for the high-gluten version.

SG high gluten 63% water
SG low-gluten 61% waterSG Low-gluten at 1.5% less waterGeneral Mills' Harvest King at 58.5% water.This is the machine that made the graphs - a mixograph; a recording dough mixer.