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Q&A -- Report on Dan Lepard's Baking Day


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#1 eGCI Team

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 09:42 PM

Post your questions for the Report on Dan Lepard's Baking Day here.

#2 Monica Bhide

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 06:17 AM

One word -- WOW
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#3 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 06:22 AM

thats a lot of dough.
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#4 Chad

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:28 AM

Simply amazing. Great job, folks. It's going to take a while to absorb all of this before I start asking questions.

Chad

ps: Andy, I like the beard. Is that new?
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#5 kitwilliams

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 01:59 PM

Dan:

We wouldn't have these gorgeous breads without water, of course. Our tap waters are so filled with chlorine and other chemicals and I wonder what effects those chemicals have on the end result in breads. You, and others, recommend using bottled waters and, also sparkling waters. What does sparkling water do to enhance the final product as opposed to using a bottled flat water?

And on salt. I have your "Baker & Spice" book where every recipe calls specifically for Maldon Sea Salt. And I couldn't help but notice the Maldon box in the photos included from your Baking Day. Does Maldon have properties or taste that you prefer?

Thanks for sharing your techniques, your recipes, your time and your passion. Awesome.
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#6 Andy Lynes

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 02:56 PM

ps: Andy, I like the beard. Is that new?

Thank you for the compliment Chad, and for raising that important question, which I am happy to answer. Yes the beard is new, as I trim it, it regenerates so that it is completely replaced every 2 weeks or so.

(I've had it a couple of years now, I grew it a little while after the Sofitel competition shots were taken.)

#7 danlepard

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 11:40 PM

Dear Kit,

When I was young, I remember being told that there were ingredients that were of 'eating quality', and ingredients that were of 'cooking quality. From this, I used to imagine that the cook was an alchemist, turning base ingredients into golden foods. For many chefs, and bakers, this is still the case. Find the cheapest ingredients, and make them valuable through the processes you apply. But it did always seem strange that there were foods that you might cook with, but not simply eat alone.

It was only later, when I started working with Alastair Little (1991, at his restaurant in Soho, where each day we would bake most of the restaurant bread, alongside an excellent multigrain loaf from the Neals Yard Bakery), that I learned another approach: take the best ingredients you can find, and treat them simply to preserve that quality. That is, combine good things carefully and simply. A food writer, Emily Green, suggested I use John Lister's flour from Shipton Mill. Both Alastair and his co-chef Juliet Peston would have Maldon Sea-Salt on hand (at the time, one of the few table salts without additives and still a constant presence in restaurant kitchens in the UK). I started using the unfinished bottles of sparkling water (saved from being tipped down the sink) from the restaurant tables in my baking, and noticed that the bread was lighter, crisper and more unevenly aerated. Was this due to the water? Well, I don't know. But to this day I always try to use the purest water I can in my baking, and the best ingredients I can find.

Late this Autumn, I taught classes at Ceci Paolo, in Ledbury, near the foothills of Malvern. And I thought, "couldn't someone set up a bakery here, using wood from the forest to burn in the oven, water from the Malvern spring to mix the dough, salt from Halen Môn in Wales, and grain from mills in both England and Wales"? One day, I hope...

regards

Dan

Edited by danlepard, 28 October 2003 - 11:46 PM.


#8 Chad

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 06:34 AM

ps: Andy, I like the beard. Is that new?

Thank you for the compliment Chad, and for raising that important question, which I am happy to answer. Yes the beard is new, as I trim it, it regenerates so that it is completely replaced every 2 weeks or so.

Always happy to provide the insightful and trenchant questions :raz:.


Dan measured everything, and demonstrated how to use Bakers' percentage formulas in practice.


Could one of y'all elaborate a little (or a lot) on this? I've read about the Baker's Percentage before, but don't know anything about it or how it's used.

Thanks!
Chad
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#9 danlepard

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 12:28 PM

Hello Chad,

Bakers percentages. Simply, the ingredients expressed as a percentage of the total amount of either flour (usual) or of the dough (unusual, but I have met bakers who use this system). So, if you consider your sum of flour 100% , then the other ingredients (water, yeast, salt, etc) can be expressed as a percentage of that total (i.e. water 68%, yeast 0.5%, salt 2%, and so on).

So, baker A will say, "Great sourdough, how much water is in the dough?", and baker B will say, "I use 70%". Baker A now knows that for a quantity of flour, be that 10kg, 22.5kg, or 87kg, the amount of water needed (to replicate baker B’s dough) is 70% of that flour total.

These percentages help express opinions and differences, too. One baker might say, "to make a perfect baguette, you need the dough hydration at about 71%, not the 68% that X baker recommends". To my mind, it works best in tandem with metric units. But then I missed out on imperial measurements at school.

regards

Dan

#10 jackal10

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 03:43 PM

To expand on Dan's excellent answer, this means you can translate and scale recipes
So if you use his first example, and start with 1Kg of flour you would use 680g water, 5g of yeast and 20g of salt., for a total dough weight of 1.705kg
680g of water is 680cl.
In imperial for 2lbs of flour, then use 2*16*68/100 = 1lb 5 3/4 oz water, 0.16 oz yeast and 0.64 oz salt
To convert to volume you need to use conversion tables for the density of flour etc

It gets more interesting the other way round. If you want to make, say, 6x840g dough weight baguettes, or just over 5kg dough weight, then you need 3Kg of flour, 2.04Kg of water, 60g salt and 1.5g yeast

If you decide to make a starter with the yeast, 1Kg of flour and 750g of water, then you need to subtract these from the main dough, so the main dough is now the 1.75g starter, 2Kg flour, and 1.254 Kg water.

#11 cibatta mondatta

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 05:44 AM

These percentages help express opinions and differences, too. One baker might say, "to make a perfect baguette, you need the dough hydration at about 71%, not the 68% that X baker recommends". To my mind, it works best in tandem with metric units. But then I missed out on imperial measurements at school.

For me, using percentages, the metric system, and a good scale were the 'breakthrough' that took me from knockabout-random-effects-baking to actually being able to get the results I wanted.
- The percentages are based on weight: Weighing ingredients makes you precise to the gram and removes the variation due to different flours.
- Weighing in grams makes the arithmetic straightforward (quick, how many ounces is 65% of 1 1/2 pounds?)
- Finally, using percentages lets you easily calculate the ingredients for any quantity of bread you desire. I even have an excel spreadsheet that does the calculations for me.

#12 formerly grueldelux

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 01:58 PM

Thanks to all for a great course. If I wasn't just coming off a long baking binge inspired by Jackal's sourdough unit, I'm sure my hands would be in some dough at this very moment.

Dan, I'm looking forward to trying those recipes. That bread looks like the ultimate. I have a question, though, about maintenance of the leaven:


[/QUOTE]Day 5
By now you should notice that the aroma has become sharper and more acidic. This signals the development of lactic bacteria. From now on the mixture will be mixed and kept cooler, to encourage the optimum development of these bacteria.

Now it is time to start adapting the leaven, by the choice of flours and grains, which reflect your own taste in bread, and requirements for your final recipe. For example, if you want the final loaf to be white, then you might add:

0.500 kg cold water (here we begin to keep the mixture cooler)
0.500 kg white flour

Then each day I will remove 1 kg of starter, and refresh the leaven with the ingredients and quantities above - equal amounts of flour and water
The next step is to take this leaven and use it to create a loaf of bread.
[QUOTE]

When you say that the leaven can be kept cooler starting on Day 5, does that mean in the fridge or is that too cold? When you say "...each day I will remove 1 kg of starter, and refresh...", is that truly each day? What if you're not baking for a few days? Can the leaven, once established, lie dormant until it's refreshed before making the dough? Also, when you remove some of the refreshed leaven to start a dough, must the leaven then be "fed" some flour and water to compensate? Because if you didn't do this, wouldn't the proportions quickly go out of whack when you do subsequent refreshments?

To reframe the question, what's your advice to someone who's established the starter but wants to subsequently bake only once a week?

EDIT - Apologies for the bad format of the quote. Time for a tutorial.

Edited by formerly grueldelux, 31 October 2003 - 02:01 PM.

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#13 danlepard

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 12:18 AM

Hello FG,

When you say that the leaven can be kept cooler starting on Day 5, does that mean in the fridge or is that too cold?

I found it successful to promote the initial fermentation by keeping the starter in a warm place for the first few days. However, sometimes to develop the flavour characteristics I'm looking for I will keep the starter refrigerated after that initial period, especially if the flour mix used for refreshment contains 30% + whole-wheat (or clear) flour. But for a white starter I might keep it always at room temperature and refresh it twice daily.

I use the words 'might' or 'sometimes', because with all baking it depends on your resources, tastes and intentions. As 'room temperature' will vary from place to place, then the result will also vary and create the characteristics that the baker, bakery, and loaf are known for. And unless we are all set on replicating others peoples loaves, then that is the path we must promote - the creation of individual characteristics.

When you say "...each day I will remove 1 kg of starter, and refresh...", is that truly each day?

I do believe that the best result (the most vigorous, healthy fermentation, and the cleanest taste and aroma) comes from regular "by the clock" refreshment. (note: I wish I hadn't used the final quanitities (1kg) that I did, as this might give the impression that you need to make loads of starter. Only if you need a bucket full).

What if you're not baking for a few days? Can the leaven, once established, lie dormant until it's refreshed before making the dough?

In my refrigerator I have three starters, in different states, sitting dormant. Today I will take out a tablespoon of starter, mix that with addition flour and water (50g flour, 50g water), and leave that in a small covered bowl for 12 hours. When bubbles start to appear on the surface, I will add an additional 50g of flour and 50g of water, and leave for a further 12 hours. Then I will reduce the amount in the bowl by 4/5th's, and then add 75g of flour and 75g of water. Depending on how vigorous the fermentation is, I will either refresh that again (with the final required quantity of flour and water) in 12 or 24 hours. I tend to use up all this amount in my baking, if I am only baking one batch that week.

Also, when you remove some of the refreshed leaven to start a dough, must the leaven then be "fed" some flour and water to compensate?

No, what I do is let the amount I keep in store (150g, say) run down (as I remove a teaspoon each time). Then occasionally I remove the stored starter, refresh all of that with flour and water, let it ferment once more, then remove another 150g to be stored for future bakings and bake with the remainder.

Because if you didn't do this, wouldn't the proportions quickly go out of whack when you do subsequent refreshments?

Don't quite understand the question, but perhaps it is answered above?

To reframe the question, what's your advice to someone who's established the starter but wants to subsequently bake only once a week?

Choose the day you want to bake, then 2 days before baking take a teaspoon of your stored starter out of the refrigerator, and refresh that with flour and water (as above). Aim to reach the total quantity of starter you require for your recipe (generally 30% - 40% of your recipe flour weight) by the time you want to begin mixing your dough.

regards

Dan

#14 doronin

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 02:46 AM

Just curious, how should Dan's method of intermittent kneading be adjusted for whole wheat flour, and for blend with 50% of whole rye?

#15 jackal10

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 03:12 AM

Much the same. For sourdough fold every hour for 4 hours. For yeast every 15 mins or so.
You should really be guided by the dough. If you make a cut in it and see the beginnnings of bubbles, then its ready to move to shaping and proofing...

#16 danlepard

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:55 AM

Donyeokl has pointed out that the amount of water in the printed recipe for Pane Pugliese , in the Q&A August 2003, here:

http://forums.egulle...showtopic=30269 (right at the bottom)

is too low, somehow I lopped off 75g of water from the amount required. The water in the recipe should now read "175g water" and not "100g water"
- taking the total amount to 62%.
regards
Dan

#17 salutistagolosa

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 09:23 AM

hi, sorry if this is very late, but I am a newcomer. I have three quick questions on the beautiful loaves of the middle section of the post.

1) when you say, after the first autolyse phase

"9.00 am Add salt, and knead gently on a flour-dusted work surface for 1 – 2 minutes. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
10.00 am Repeat above
11.00 am Repeat above
"

do you mean that in both the "repat above" phases you actually re-knead the dough? I am asking because jackal10 mentions "folding" rather than kneading.

2) loaves should bake first at 220 covered in aluminium: then there is a reference to a note, but I could not find it. Did you mean that you have to put a square of aluminium foil on top of the loaves to prevent burning?

3) then they should cook for a further 30 mins at 190.
So this makes it a total of 70 mins per 800g loaf: is this really what you meant? I wonder solely because I have never dared to cook my similarly sized loaves for more than 45 minutes, but of course I am very willing to try longer if it is better!

Many thanks!

#18 danlepard

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 11:51 AM

When you say, after the first autolyse phase

"9.00 am Add salt, and knead gently on a flour-dusted work surface for 1 – 2 minutes. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
10.00 am Repeat above
11.00 am Repeat above"

do you mean that in both the "repeat above" phases you actually re-knead the dough? I am asking because jackal10 mentions "folding" rather than kneading.


You can do either. The idea is to gently disturb the aeration so the newly formed bubbles and slightly stretched and elongated. Either a very gentle knead without trying to knock the gas out too much (nothing vigourous), or the slightly more elaborate patting the dough out on a lightly oiled or floured surface and folding it in on itself as if your making puff pastry.

Loaves should bake first at 220 covered in aluminium: then there is a reference to a note, but I could not find it. Did you mean that you have to put a square of aluminium foil on top of the loaves to prevent burning?


Yes. It should read "6.30 pm Bake at 220C for 40 minutes covered with foil for the last 10 minutes (see note)

and the missing note should say Cover the loaves with a small sheet of aluminium foil if they start to brown too much, but don't just remove them from the oven early as the baking is as much about building a crust through prolonged heat as it is about achieving a certain crumb temperature. I judge the baking time of the loaf by the development of the crust.

3) then they should cook for a further 30 mins at 190C.
So this makes it a total of 70 mins per 800g loaf: is this really what you meant? I wonder solely because I have never dared to cook my similarly sized loaves for more than 45 minutes, but of course I am very willing to try longer if it is better!


Hmmm. Perhaps it's a bit steep but I went through a heavy dark crust phase back then. If you look at the loaves that the great Parisian baker Poujaran is sitting next to in the "Rose Bakery" book out last year, they look quite perfect to me, charred blossomed loaves. But 45 minutes sounds a little short for 800g loaf to build up a thick crust. Try reducing the temperature to 170C and bake for 50 min to an hour.

Dan

#19 salutistagolosa

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 05:59 AM

many many thanks!