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paul o' vendange

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Posts posted by paul o' vendange

  1. Just now, heidih said:

    Wasn't Obama in Vietnam? Those two tall leggy guys perched on little stools. Great.


    Yes.  And along with his times with Eric Ripert, this episode I remember with great fondness.  Beautiful and touching.

    • Like 2
  2. 16 hours ago, heidih said:

    Hey the blood may have added a unique element ;)  Truly sorry for the pain. I was sucking blood off a finger earlier from a crummy grater incident Nice tzaziki though. Once I get my kitchen back I will enjoy playing with different flours.

    An Austrian online baker friend - I think she was serious - said keep my rye starter.  Nothing to worry about as the pH is too low for the survival of any blood cells and besides....great starter food! 😁

    • Haha 1
  3. 1 minute ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:



    JoNorvelle, I'd love to see your bread but I'm not seeing an image on my end.  Could just be me


    Well, happy accidents.  Amateur move with a dough scraper of all things, sliced my finger pretty good and I bled into my rye starter, so started over.  Normally I mature the new starter fur for at least 10 days but this one was rocking, cleanly sour and leavening like a champ by morning of Day 5 so on the advice of an Austrian baker I exchange with, let er rip.  I wanted a pretty neutral dough to test the rye levain, so did a 1-2-3- SD with 80% KA BF and 20% T110 from Central Milling.  Really happy with the results.  So happy, in fact, that I'm thinking of defaulting to liquid rye levain, even for many wheat breads.  The initial 1-2-3, and just a redo with 25% (Baker's) walnuts.  Both really tasty.


    MAIN DOUGH Grams %

    100% Whole Rye – testing new) starter 217 33.4%

    Water 433.00 66.6%

    BF 520.00 80.0%

    T110 130.00 20.0%

    Fine sea salt 15.00 2.3%

    TOTAL WEIGHT (GRAMS) 1315 2.9




    Water 541.50 71.4%

    BF 520.00 67.2%

    T110 130.00 16.8%

    Whole Rye 108.50 14.0%

    Fine sea salt 15.00 1.9%

    TOTAL DOUGH 1315 2.9



    Levain Flour 109

    Total Flour 759

    PRE-FERMENT % 14.3%




    Initial Mixing

    Autolyse 8:35-9:45

    Mixing FF's; rest 25: FF's to “approaching windowpane.”

    Dough Temp

    Bulk Coil q 0:30 x 2 hrs; Q 1 hr after.  Expect 3 hrs total.

    Bench Folding

    Scale & Pre-shape











    walnut t110.jpeg

    walnut t110 slice.jpeg

    • Like 7
  4. To me it's disgraceful because it's the antithesis of everything Anthony very likely felt, to the extent any of us could know him (virtually not at all, I know).  What a person writes, and what they say, are two different things; and that's when it's the person him- or herself freely doing it.


    Nothing about this feels right to me.  It feels like gross exploitation.  Whose story is being told?

    • Like 3
  5. On 5/17/2021 at 11:58 PM, minas6907 said:

    Here some bread from the previous months. When I got back into sourdough, I thought I'd be more into sprouted grains, but I'm having fun with inclusions in the basic tartine loaf.

    1. Salt Cured Olive

    2. Fig and Anise

    3. Focaccia 

    4. Caramelized Shallot and Rosemary

    5. Jalapeno and Smoked Cheddar

    6. Raisin and Walnut

    7. Marble Rye

    8. Sesame

    9. Chocolate (of course)

    10 and 11. Baguette


    I've definitely learned a few thing along the way. For example, the walnut raisin loaf was very dense, it didn't occur to me later that the raisins would suck up the moisture from the dough they are in, so shaping this one was a bit difficult. I made this one again, this time soaking the raisins overnight, it came out much better. Even so, that first loaf made for some good french toast.


    Something else that I've narrowed down is a schedule for producing the loaves that doesn't impede other things I need to take care of. I'll mix the leaven the night before, make the dough in the morning and give it a few stretch and folds before I leave for work. Pull it from the fridge when I get home and give it about 1.5 hr on the counter, shape and put in the basket, wrap and back in the fridge, and bake the next morning.


    As for the baguettes, those are the best ones I've made, but I'd like to get them a bit more defined. This was the recipe from Tartine Bread. I have a few adjustments I'll be making next time, the crumb is much tighter then I thought it would be, but I rushed the bread a little, so thats on my end.

    PXL_20210317_213832533 (2).jpg

    PXL_20210317_214213696 (2).jpg


    PXL_20210408_195436401 (2).jpg

    PXL_20210408_195912150 (2).jpg


    PXL_20210411_153422412 (2).jpg

    PXL_20210502_151115205 (2).jpg

    PXL_20210502_151411901 (2).jpg




    Extraordinary baking!  Beautiful bread!

    • Like 1
  6. On 7/10/2021 at 6:41 PM, Matthew.Taylor said:

    Well, these aren’t the best looking pieces of bread I’ve ever made, but I’ll post them here anyway, in the hope to get some thoughts and advice. Clearly my skill with baguettes is still somewhat lacking.



    I agree with JoNorvelle in every way - these look delicious and I'm sure they were.  Baguettes are not easy - there are people I know who work entirely on them in the hopes of mastering their particular breads.  Shaping can be difficult, scoring can be difficult to get down consistently, the crust and crumb - all things that take practice.  Just some questions.


    How hot are you baking?  How much total time?  What's your recipe?  Do you have a means to introduce steam?


    Edit:  I see I've missed several posts - will go back over.


    Steam isn't used during an entire bake (another miss.  Sorry Jo.  As JoNorvelle said).  It is used to gelatinize starch granules at the dough surface which does several things.  Gelatinization is nothing more than the uptake of moisture by starch granules, and when they swell so much they burst, they essentially increase the "skin" extensibility - this allows your dough to expand, and consequently also allows the alveoli, the holes in your crumb, to expand as well.


    Secondly, it exposes those starches to saccharification, and during the "dry" phase of the bake, this leads to maillard reactions - the interaction between sugar and proteins that gives you a wonderful browned, crispy crust.


    In order for this to happen, the moisture needs to be evaporated or vented in some way.  As a general rule, and it's truly variable - and it depends on if we're talking rye or wheat breads - but for wheat breads, roughly 1/3 of the total bake time is given steam.  The remainder is baked dry.  For baguettes taking 25-30 minutes, you can steam 8-10 minutes, then the rest, dry.


    Steam is the eternal challenge in home ovens, particularly gas ovens that vent for safety purposes.  I want to make sure I'm not duplicating others' thoughts so will take a look above before going further.

    • Like 1
  7. Putting together a "foundational" triad of breads to focus on, to gain better mastery in general.  The Hamelman SD above ("Erin Street SD"), top photo rear 3 loaves, a true pain au levain made old school - I am trying to emulate as much as possible the late M.Rubaud), top pic bottom left, and a good, earthy, darker, rustic rye.  In the top picture, bottom right, an Ammerländer SchwarzbrotAmmerland Black Rye Bread (with its crumb, bottom photo).  My Estonian wife is pleased to see rye again, as it's been years.


    3 breads - that's it.  Time to practice.




    ammer crumb.jpeg

    • Like 9
    • Delicious 1
  8. 2 hours ago, heidih said:

    Good to hear from you and I admire the thought you put into your baking process. Looking forward to your alternate grain experiments. I have not worked with rye in years though I love it. Carry on and share :)


    Thank you Heidi, you wouldn't know but it means a lot, as does this community.

    • Like 3
    • Thanks 1
  9. I haven't been around much.  A lifetime deep slump as to savory or pastry cooking but then that's been a long time, now.  Trying to find some enjoyment in bread baking.


    I'm very French in most things.  Well, all things, if I'm truly honest.  Bread is no different, though my wife's family are all Estonian and I'm coming more and more to really love the vast world of rye.  (I consider grains like spelt, kamut, einkorn, in the "wheat" family.  I use a lot of spelt).


    I'm focusing on just a few breads.  90% of my focus is on mastering a good, flagship pain au levain, following as diligently as possible the formula and method (at least at one point in time) of the late master, Gerard Rubaud.  I typically refresh the stiff chef every 5.5 hours (a tripling, or tripling +); though the day before I move to doublings - younger, more immature starter, favoring yeasts vs. LABs and thus encouraging leavening. 


    Creating a new starter, every refreshment, every levain is salted at 1%.  This salt is of course subtracted in the main dough for a baker's percentage of salt at 2%, and an overall ratio of the main dough of 1.14%.


    Stiff levain, 20% inoculation (I will change this through the seasons), 73% hydration, the "Rubaud Blend" (also used in all chef refreshments, and levains.  A 70:30 BF:Whole Grain blend, with that 30% being composed of 60% WW, 30% Spelt, and 10% whole rye.  Batard.


    The other "practice" bread is simply Jeffrey Hamelman's "Vermont Sourdough."  Liquid levain, 40% inoculation, 65% hydration, 78% BF, 12% rye.  I test for hydration levels and am working to improve my own basic sourdough, which can handle 71% hydration with the flours I use (KA AP, KA WW, local whole rye).  liquid levain, 80% BF, 13% WW, 7% rye; 20% inoculation, 71% hydration.  Boule.


    Finally, working on rye.  My guide used to be Hamelman, but now I've turned fully to Stanley Ginsberg's The Rye Baker  IMO, a wonderful book, the perfect approach for me, which is to approach regional culinary history as a natural outgrowth of the intrinsic culture, including immigrations. (Like, but much less so than, Waverly Root).  Will be first zeroing in on the dark, dense, aromatic, boldly baked ryes of Russia and the Baltics (there's my wife's family).


    Anyway, hope you are all thriving and well, and cooking happily away.  See you soon.

    • Like 2
  10. 10 minutes ago, curls said:

    Another loaf of sourdough bread. Slice thru the center was a bit rough this time. I'm getting better at this... starting in the CSO and finishing in the regular oven to avoid burning the top of the loaf.







    Really beautiful, curls.  I could devour the whole thing in a single sitting.

    • Like 2
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  11. 30 minutes ago, heidih said:

    I lived for years in a very Japanese section of town. From Wiki - As of 2014 Torrance has the second largest concentration of ethnic Japanese people of any U.S. city, after Honolulu. The city has headquarters of Japanese automakers and offices of other Japanese companies.[12] Because of this many Japanese restaurants and other Japanese cultural offerings are in the city, and Willy Blackmore of L.A. Weekly wrote that Torrance was "essentially Japan's 48th prefecture". - We did the dancing at the temple. My son's martial art though is Hapkido (Korean) - black belt  Not his passion - father pleasing. Anyway we are drawn to difference at times in food and life.  The cookbooks I also re-purchased were all of Marlena de Blasi's : 1000 Days in Venice, Tuscany, and others. She is a passionate writer. I didn't miss them till I reached for one and remembered I'd let it go. 

    So I still love the actual books versus electronic, like that library will usually purchase on request, and personally purchase what I think i will refer to as inspiration. Melissa Clark "In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite", and Kim Severson's "Spoon Fed" reside on the nightstand.


    (I began my martial life as a kid with a rather b.s. "fusion"; truly began in my 20's, with tae kwon do; when my teacher, Master Ki Chung Han, was tragically killed in a freak auto accident, there was a tremendous turnout of Korean masters - among them, Master Bong Soo Han, who many consider the "father" of Hapkido in the U.S., as well as fight choreographer - Billy Jack, etc.  Quite a martial artist and teacher).


    The de Blasi books sounds wonderful.  Digging in now - thanks!

    • Like 2
  12. 3 minutes ago, heidih said:

    The Time Life Japan had quite a life for me. I am not overly fond of the cuisine but it taught me a lot about the culture. Helped me when I tutored Japanese wives of "salary men" here for 2 years at Honda & Toyota. Then my son's good buddy who called me his "other mother" became Japan fixated. I got him a copy, he took Japanese in high school, did a Junior semester in college there. Well it was short circuited by a massive earthquake 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. but he still has the book.

    Don't know what it was, but in addition to diving headlong into all things French, I went nuts for all things Japanese.  Parents bought me some drafting tools one Christmas, "designed" a world where water and green were everywhere, and loved the idea where indoors and outdoors were not well defined...a pool that spans the LR and outside, with a sliding wall to close off for winter (I was such a weird kid, lol).  Learned what katakana I could, and wrote a gushing letter to the L.A. consulate about my almost adoptive love for Japan, received a gazillion brightly colored travel materials.  Right now, about 3 feet from me..."Gardens of Kyoto", etc.


    Of course, the only problem, is you grow up, take it seriously, move inside a zen and martial arts temple and get the snot kicked out of you as a personal disciple of a master...


    ..and still haven't learned a damn thing.


    -In all seriousness, it was really kind of you regarding your son's friend.  Terrible disaster.




  13. 13 minutes ago, heidih said:

    I get what you are saying but I see it more as he expanded people's world view. When the recent Israeli/Gaza crud started up my very first mental image and thoughts were his show in Beirut during the conflict in 2006. That show was extraordinary. ETA link https://www.travelchannel.com/videos/relive-beirut-with-tony-0194437


    Oh, yes, absolutely, totally agree.  And that was an incredible show.  I know it changed him in a pretty fundamental way, too.  Sure as hell rocked our world - the literal cacophony of a typical Bourdain outing on great food and people much like us (the "shrinking world"), smashing in a moment straight up against the sudden, surreal storm of war, all through the conduit of his show.  Those confused first minutes, seems universal to our species, when something like death stares back at us blankly for the first time, and we stand dumbly with melting smiles, waiting for our brains to catch up.  He broke easy worldviews, a congenital iconoclast, but even this could change a guy like him.


    Maybe I'm just fondly remembering him sitting on the ground with a Vietnamese family, drinking their homemade hooch and eating their food, as family himself, among the reeds.  Now that he's gone, that's the stuff that sticks with me most.  How much distance and enmity we have, when we're so ridiculously small.

    • Like 7
  14. 3 hours ago, heidih said:

    Having moved many times over last 15 years I have let some go at garage sales or to friends. Ones I never connected with. I did re-purchase just a few as they were more narrative not recipe driven. I purchased "The Rise (Marcus Samuelsson) and "Falastin" (Sami Tamimi) somewhat recently. I am not "done". I now recognize what matters to me in the long run. Recipes alone can be freely accessed on the internet. I fall in love with the stories, culture, passion in the words. I am not a recipe cook anyway so it is all about inspiration to me. Well and you will never wrest my Time Life Foods of the World series from me - such writing by great food people. And I never cook from Madeleine Kamman's "When French Women Cook", or Diana Kennedy's "Oaxaca Al Gusto" but they inspire me. Dang we were close on a Q & A with her via @rancho_gordo but she had a bad interview elsewhere. Things happen.

    The Time Life Series "Foods of the World" is where I started cooking.  Weekly "international dinners" for the family.  I recall how magical Japan night was - chawan mushi?  Somewhere else - in the series, I thought, but that was 50 years ago now - orange mousse, inside an orange?


    I feel much the same way, Heidi.  It's the stories that keep me reading.  For me, especially, biographies.  Also, very fond of books that tie a history and place, an almost evolutionary assessment, to foods we take as "given."  Even some of the more arcane stuff (e.g., Raymond Oliver's Gastronomy of France.  Starts with "paleolithic gastronomy" and conjectures on "flat stones, the first infra-red cookers," ends with "aphrodisiac cookery."  "This one's gonna' be a trip...").


    I really wish I could, but I can't read recipes anymore.  My eyes glaze over.



    • Like 5
  15. I honestly cannot accept the reality that he's gone.  It's just not something my brain has been able to construct as a "thing," don't know how to say it; same with my wife.  Only recently been able to watch anything with him in it - say, Top Chef - much less, any of his shows.  Always met with a whispered, "oh, Anthony," a sadness and a fervent wish some saving grace had gotten to him before it was too late.  


    He shrank the world, and the hole is vast. 

    • Like 5
  16. 33 minutes ago, Ann_T said:

    @paul o' vendange, No biga or preferment in this batch.   I've been playing around with slow overnight rises so I can bake in the morning before leaving for work.    Sometimes I will feed my starter and add 60 to 80 grams of discard to a 1000g of flour along with one gram of yeast.  But this batch was 1000g of flour with 2 g of yeast, at 72% hydration and 30g of salt.   Did the autolyse , stretch and fold method a number of times between 5:30 and 9:00 PM and then left it out on the overnight.    Then just shaped, proofed and baked.    

    Here is my basic method, including an option for sourdough and a biga.....https://thibeaultstable.com/2019/06/12/artisan-bread-pictorial-repost/


    Fantastic, thanks Ann, for the info and the link.  Masterly, truly beautiful bread.  I love the slow ferment without preferment.  Though there is a levain used, from some of the French sites they are playing with extremely long bulk ferments, with no retarding.  A mere inoculation of 1% or even a tad less, in some instances.  I had a 24 hour bulk ferment that I S & F'ed during the first several hours, then left alone for the remaining bulk.  Not entirely sold, but I didn't do any serious trials and want to return.  I love slow ferments for the o-acids and esters and so forth that aerobic respiration and regeneration bring - but find there's a sweet spot, because each yeast cell can only bud daughter cells a fixed number of times, and, from brewing, it's been my experience these extremely slow ferments induce too many mutations, and lower both viability and vitality.


    On the other hand I am a fan of making them work, to some extent, so am definitely sold on moderately slow ferments (my basic levain is about 6.5-7 hr bulk, then 2.5-3.5 hrs final proofing).  


    At any rate, I'm very interested in your work and look forward to seeing more of what you do.

    • Like 1
  17. 16 minutes ago, weinoo said:


    Love what you've done with your chef's whites, @paul o' vendange!


    Another quote of his I love.  He'd comped more meals to doctors over the years (you probably know this.  He comped so many for anyone; Babette's Feast:  because you want to share), and they were with him as he lay dying: "I have been so well cared for, that I am certain to die in perfect health." 😁

    • Like 2
    • Haha 1
  18. 15 hours ago, GloriousDawn said:


    The 1961 edition is my well-loved kitchen companion for exactly that reason. Recipes made almost entirely from whole foods, full fat ingredients, and a keen awareness of both the utility and deliciousness of every sort of animal fat. Whenever I need to recreate a well-known dish in a low-carb way, I start with that copy of Larousse. It’s never let me down.

    Dear heavens, what I wouldn’t do to get my hands on a 1938 edition though.


    In total agreement.  I'm on a bit of a baking bender but even with my cursory looking over, I'm thrilled with this 1961 edition.  


    1938:  Wow.  Without even knowing anything about it (thanks for posting),  I know it rocks.  



    • « Du beurre ! Donnez-moi du beurre ! Toujours du beurre ! »




    • Like 3
  19. On 5/3/2021 at 2:42 PM, Ann_T said:
    I haven't baked baguettes in a few weeks.
    So started a 1000g batch of dough last night with just 2g of yeast and left it out on the counter for a room temperature 12 hour fermentation.
    Out of the oven this morning in time for breakfast.
    Four baguettes between 18" and 22" long. 


    Wow Ann.  Those are beautiful.  Shiny, well-caramelized crust; molten crumb and uneven alveoli; perfect scoring.  Gorgeous.  So it seems you make a poolish or biga the night before.  Would you mind sharing your formula and procedures?  

    • Like 2
  20. Really trying to get a few mainstays down.  Using the Rubaud method I am finding it difficult to get an even crumb structure from make to make for my pain au levain, but tweaking (e.g., breaking bench in two, S & F for a second pre-shape at 15 minutes, rest add'l 15, S & F again, for total bench rest of 30 minutes).  Did pick up some strength with these last-period folds, but work in progress.  Satisfactory, just not there yet.




    63% Central Millings Baker's Craft Plus

    25% Hi-Pro Medium WW

    12% (Local) dark rye

    80% hydration


    Overnight autolyse with flours, salt and chilled water; free rise to room temp overnight.

    Adding in only 12% levain inoculation (from Trevor/Breadwerx)

    Rubaud x 10 minutes; rest 10; finish with 5 minutes for total of 15 minutes Rubaud mixing.


    S & F's 1-4 every 1/2 hour;

    S & F's 4-8 on the hour.  Because I wasn't happy with the strength at 6 hours bulk, I dared an add'l 30 minutes and then several light folds to effect a tighter pre-shape.  Given continuing concern over the dough's slackness, I broke the 30 minute bench rest in two:  15 minutes, do an add'l S & F/pre-shape, rest 15, then a final shaping.

    Proof x 2 hours.  Set proofing temp of 76F.







    • Like 5
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