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Everything posted by Fromartz

  1. Nice bread, it looks like it proofed perfectly and you have a nice internal crumb. Yes, the "grigne" will not open very much on moist loaves. You also want a relatively tight skin if you want it to burst open but this is tricky to form -- you want the outside tight but you don't want to destroy the gas structure within the dough, so one way to do that is to kind of pull the outer skin around the dough and pinch it at the bottom. Try it with a hydration of 68-70%. Also don't overproof the loaf -- that will defeat an open grigne and use very active sourdough. Sam
  2. I have created sourdough loaves with both organic and non-organic flour and both work fine. I use spring water (not distilled) and it works fine. The chlorine in tap water may inhibit natural yeast, but I have used tap water as well and it has worked. The question I have about your starter is, after you fed it (ie, with fresh flour and water) and set it aside, did it rise as well as get bubbly? If you do repeated feedings to a dormant starter, allowing it to rise with each feeding until doubled in size, you will get a very good starter. But you need to start with a sourdough starter, which as the previous writer pointed out, is different from a starter you create with commercial yeast.
  3. I posted an excel spreadsheet of a calculator for people who like to make sourdough bread. It works in grams but it also automatically converts to ounces. Check it out and offer any improvements. I couldn't figure out how to post it on eGullet so posted it here. Sourdough calculator It's pretty self-explanatory, you need to enter the weight of your starter, the percent of starter in the final dough, its hydration (in baker's percentage), the hydration of the dough you want to make (in baker's percentage), and percentage of salt (which may differ depending on salt you use). The calculator then tells you how much water, flour and salt to add to the starter to make the dough. Thanks to the original too http://samartha.net/SD/SDcalc04.html, where I got the idea, but his does not convert to ounces.
  4. I have had the best results making bread with flour bought relatively recently from a store. Month old should be fine though. Take note that after that point, whole wheat can turn rancid if it is not refrigerated. As for using flour that's too fresh, I've never run into that problem. I expect that it's at the usuable point when it's on the store shelf. I've gotten excellent results using a new bag of flour every week or two though tend to buy King Arthur.
  5. Do you have a simple explanation of the stretch and fold technique. How often or how many times within a rise? While I can't respond off the top of my head to your yeast question, I would think David's breads would work as easily with the stretch and fold/turn method. I bake a variety of breads, including a fairly dense bleu cheese and walnut loaf and a sweet potato/pecan/raisin bread, a multi-grain whole wheat loaf, etc, and I use only the stretch and turn method. Whenever I find a new thing I want to experiment with, or coming up with my own formulas, I use the same method. I never knead. I do understand the occasional delight in physically kneading, though. But I actually enjoy the stretch and fold method, and shaping the doughs is always lovely. I don't use commercial yeast anymore either, which is why I'm unable to veryify your yeast question. Two of the breads in my post above are sourdough and the center one is an earlier bread with commercial yeast that I don't make anymore because it's just too wet. All my breads are fairly wet doughs, though. And I turn and shape using bench scrapers. ←
  6. weinoo - that is one beautiful bread you baked - it's one of the best looking on the thread, and I like the looser crumb than the poilane bread (which I haven't yet had the pleasure of trying). You basically used a levain technique - building up a bit of dough and using that in the final one as the yeast source.
  7. When the dough is really moist (like glue): Wet your hands or wet the dough cutting tool you use with cold water. Or just add some flour when you are pouring it out, but if you do, let the second rise take at least two hours so the flour gets absorbed. Or just pour the wet dough into a pan. Let it rise. Bake it. It will come out like foccacio. Another trick - as Bittman mentions today - is to let it rise on a silpat and then just put the silpat in the oven. I may try this and invert an oven proof bowl over the dough/silpat. (Getting the hot bowl off the siltpat may be tricky). A cool rising temp will affect timing, but I think at the length we're talking - 12-18 hours - there won't be a huge difference between 65 and 70 degrees. Also, rising can be affected by the age of the flour. Use FRESH flour from the store. People who don't bake sometimes have flour sitting around for years. Thow it out and buy some new stuff.
  8. Pontormo writes: >just curious as to the reasons you: 1) are favoring shorter initial rises & 2) seem to be using > starter a lot in new attempts. Flavor? I think you need a shorter rise if you're using whole wheat. This may be due to the nature of whole wheat, which is often added to increase activity in fermentation (of starters). When you increase the activity, you risk burning up the yeast, so you need to reduce the fermentation time. Here's a rule of thumb - Lahey calls for you to look for bubbles on the surface of the dough at the end of the first rise. Another method: make sure it has at least doubled. But don't let the dough collapse or go slack. When you begin to see a lot of wrinkles on the dough, as opposed to a kind of supported surface, you've probably proofed the dough too long. You will lose the oven spring. As for adding sourdough, yes I'm doing that to improve the flavor - or at least to get closer to my idea of what a good-flavored bread should be.
  9. Second attempt at parchment worked fine - I used a slightly heavier paper. Made the loaf with 4 ounces starter, 1 cup whole wheat flour 2 cups all purpose, and the usual 1/4 tsp yeast and 2 tsp salt. I did a first rise of 12 hours and a second of 90 minutes. I got oven spring. This was a success with very good flavor. With my previous version, it overproofed - rose too long - but this rise was just about right. Also take note, Nancy Silverton in Breads from La Brea Bakery writes: "I have found most breads in this book will measure 210 degrees F when fully baked. (Denser loaves - walnut, fruit and nut, and multigrain - will measure less than 200 degrees F)." This is from her note on making white sourdough. It seems to confirm findings here on baking temp. The problem with cooking at a consistenly high temp (475 or higher) is that you can't get to 210 in a boule without burning the top. (You can with a baguette - in fact, higher temp is preferable with a baguette I've found).
  10. Forgot to mention in previous that I used the parchment paper technique. It did not work for me. The paper got too moist from the dough and when I baked it all in the pot, the paper stuck to the bottom of the bread - so I used a knife to try and get it off. Was a mess.
  11. I got a pretty crisp crust by removing the lid after 15 minutes at 480 F and let letting it bake for another 20-25 minutes. RLB mentions she's using some pot that injects steam - hey, I'd love to try that too but don't know what it is. My last experiment, 4 ounces of starter with the usual recipe did not work. I did a 12 hour rise, shape, 3 hour rise, and the life went out of the thing. Very little oven spring, ie, it over-proofed. I think that is a common symptom here with failures. The recipe seems to work in the original but once you start messin' with it it starts messin' with you. But I'm determined to make it with more flavor and equal ease. Finally, there's 127 pictures tagged "no-knead" on Flickr with successes and evident failures as well.
  12. I just mixed up the dough with 1/3 King Arthur white whole wheat and 2/3 All Purpose, plus 4 ounces sourdough starter for flavor and the usual 1/4 tsp yeast. Will post results tomorrow. Also Rose Levy Beranbaum is blogging on the recipe. See her version and posts at her blog.
  13. I tried the recipe substituting 2 tsp starter for the yeast and let it rise until doubled, about 20 hours. Suffice it to say this failed. 2 tsp of starter does not equal 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. The dough was very tough, though loose. No oven spring. Usually, I use anywhere from 15-33 percent levan in a sourdough loaf and it rises in 2-1/2 to 4 hours, to more than double in size. So the starter is alive, but in that small quantity it did not replicate as I expected. I do not know the science here so will do other experiments on how much starter to use in a 12-18 hour rise.
  14. Here's a sourdough version - - made biga with starter, 50 percent hydration, let rise 17 hours Mixed dough - 78 percent hydration with mostly bread flour - 15 percent biga in total dough - 7 hour first rise (couldn't let it go all the way because it rose too much too quickly, so next time will probably cut down sourdough percentage) - rest, shape (note: that 15 minute rest Lehay requires is CRUCIAL, IMHO) - 9 hour retard in refrigerator - 3 hour rise at room temperature - 15 minutes covered Le Cruset pot at 480 - 30 minutes uncovered at 450 This seems like a lot of work but it fits my schedule. Made the biga at 10 pm at night. Mixed dough at 3 pm next day. Shaped loaves at 10 pm that night. Out of refrig at 7 am the following morning and baked at 10 am... Results - crust was perfect - inside crumb a little moist (I will raise heat next time) - great taste - nice bubbles
  15. Anncross, was the whole wheat light or dense? It looks a bit dense in the photo...
  16. Well, someone should try. I veered off and began playing with this recipe with a natural levin so someone should try it with a chef or poolish... I'm curious. My instinct is that old dough added to new always improves flavor, even with a long rise, retard, etc. I would do it myself but I hit the road tomorrow and won't be baking for a week. Sam
  17. Bittman reported that a Le Cruset lid handle will melt at 500 F. NOT IF you wrap the handle in tin foil as I do. I also avoided burning the bottom at 500 F but I had the Le Cruset on top of a baking stone. (This was by happenstance, it was there, I kept it in). I went 500 for 15 minutes, 480 for 15 minutes. No burning on the bottom. I also disagree with Bittman on flavor: even at 18 hours, this dough lacks flavor. Using a chef (piece of old dough) or a 1/4 cup of sourdough if you have it lying around will dramatically improve flavor. You will also get far more flavor if you mix a little flour, water, pinch of yeast and let it sit a few hours before you make this dough. OK - that's maybe not minimalist - it adds one step, but this also improves flavor dramatically (it's known as a 'poolish'). You will get a browner crust faster with whole wheat. Know people are trying it - I would start with 20 percent whole wheat and up the hydration slightly.
  18. folding not only helps redistribute the gluten, but in the last rise, it folds air into the loaf so that you get a more airy crumb structure. Each time you fold, you are creating an air pocket. If you pound the dough down you take the air out. That's why it's important to handle the dough minimally. If you break up the gluten strands with aggressive mixing once it's risen, you will get a very tight loaf. The goal of the rising and folding is to increase the strength of the gluten and add air to the bread.
  19. I think the variables in dough quality - from soupy to stiff - are the result of people here using different flours. The relative stiffness of the dough depends upon the protein content. Bread flour will be stiffer than All Purpose with the same amount of water. But obviously, even within those categories there are differences. That is why people using King Arthur AP flour had stiffer doughs. I had this experience too - I had to boost the water because the dough was too stiff. And yes, the looser the dough, the bigger the holes as long as you don't overleaven the dough. When the dough hits the hot oven, the yeast expands dramatically. With wetter dough, this happens faster, meaning bigger holes.
  20. It's great to use it within 2 days. The alternative is to take the knob of dough after 2 days and just double it in size with flour and water and put it back in the frig. This way you will keep refreshing it. But a lot of baking is experimentation. I'm sure it would add flavor after five days, or even a week, but you need to try it to find out.
  21. I am using active dry yeast and it works fine. It does not need to be dissolved first, but you can throw the 1/4 tsp into the water if you like.
  22. I would go up to a 500 degree oven, or cook it 5 minutes longer than you did. The wet crumb is from being undercooked. Also, to build flavor make this bread but retain 1/4 cup of the dough and put it in the refrigerator. When you make the next batch, within 2 days or so, add that 1/4 cup old dough to the water required in the recipe and break it up, then mix as usual with the flour, salt, yeast. This is a traditional baker technique and will add flavor.
  23. Just to compare to my previous post here is a picture of the yeast version. Holes are slighly smaller and the crumb was softer than the sourdough.
  24. I used the recipe proportions and found it was not too soupy ... the difference here may be due to flour since different flours produce different hydrations. I also just tried a sourdough version (I use metric so the conversions are equivalent hydration) 375 grams water = 12 ounces 500 grams flour = 16 ounces 100 grams starter (50 percent hydration starter) = 4 ounces 1 tbs salt (a bit salty but I like it that way) So this recipe is slighter more hydrated - about 75 percent vs. 72 percent in the recipe. I did a 15 hour first rise, 2 hour second rise in a bratform. I rose a baguette in a couche. I used a 500 degree oven for the first 15 minutes, then went down to 480 for 15 minutes. The baguette cooked at 500 for 15 minutes (with steam by pouring water into a broiler pan on the bottom of the oven). The boule was a bit small and spread out rather than rounded in shape and on the outside looks a little overpoofed. The baguette looks better. Based on the baguette, I don't think I let it rise too long - I think the boule didn't spring much because it was too small and spread out. The boule had good large bubbles, light crumb and a kick-ass taste that hands-down beats straight yeast. Using only a little bit of starter (about 10 percent of total) gives you great flavor but not the sour acidic taste typical of SF sourdough that I try to avoid. I think the rising was helped by the fact that we had a pleasant 75 degree day in DC today.
  25. I used 2 tsp of salt without a problem. The dough developed just as well as the video and I'd say it was just right...
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