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Modernist Bread Preview: What we've seen so far


Chris Hennes
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13 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

....

Last weekend I made the first master recipe in the book, the French Lean Bread....

... Their main innovation is the lack of a kneading process, replacing it instead with a longer, slower folding process....

 I formed it into small 500g boules. Cross-section:

DSC_4177.jpg

 

This weekend I the returned to French Lean Bread, but made the Modernist variation on it....

... Its main "Modernist" innovation is the almost complete elimination of the autolyse and the kneading by vacuum sealing the dough for 30s. ... I formed it into small 500g bâtards. Cross section:

DSC_4199-2.jpg

 

 

Chris, the two photos above show a different bubble pattern.  To my eye the upper photo, of the classic French Lean Bread, has a hint of a spiral pattern due to the elongation of the outer bubbles.  In addition, the size distribution of the bubbles in the Modernist loaf seems more random than in the classic loaf.  Do you suppose that's because of the folding technique used for the classic loaf, compared to (minimal) kneading for the Modernist loaf? If not, what?

 

Thank you for this early exploration of the book.

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26 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Do you suppose that's because of the folding technique used for the classic loaf

Fundamentally I think it's because the upper loaf is underproofed. But it's not the folding (which happens during the bulk fermentation phase) that gives the spiral, it's the shaping (which happens after). 

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Chris Hennes
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17 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

I’ve never heard of waxed salt — do you mean for the pretzels? I didn’t have the right salt, so I just used the coarsest sea salt in my drawer.

 

Yes, for the pretzels -especially if one would like to keep them for a couple of days. That and pretzel rolls.

@Kerry Beal made some for me. I still have quite a bit, I could send you a cup of it. Check out this thread:

 

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2 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

 

Yes, for the pretzels -especially if one would like to keep them for a couple of days. That and pretzel rolls.

@Kerry Beal made some for me. I still have quite a bit, I could send you a cup of it. Check out this thread:

KAF sells what they call 'pretzel salt' Ihave some but don't think it's 'waxy' in any way.

 

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Yeah, 'pretzel salt' is a fine grained salt that gets compressed into relatively soft, large crystal shapes which aren't actually crystals. It's good stuff, lightly crunchy without endangering your teeth. I'd love to get ahold of some of that stuff waxed. I believe that someone used to sell it because I have seen warnings on some of those crackpot fake-doctor sites against eating pretzels because the salt is waxed.

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6 hours ago, ElsieD said:

@Chris Hennes  do you know if there will be a Modernist Bread @ Home as there was for Cuisine?

No insider information here... on the one hand I'd be surprised if they released one, since the material in this entire book is much more approachable to the home cook than the original Modernist Cuisine ever was. However, the price point is also much too high for most home bakers, so a "condensed" version that strips out all but the most essential information and any references to commercial equipment or procedures would probably be welcomed by a wider audience of home cooks, even at the still-quite-expensive price point of Modernist Cuisine at Home.

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Chris Hennes
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Is there anything about techniques involving pregelatinized starch, like the "water roux" method (aka Tang Zhong)?

 

Time ago some of the MC posts talked about enriched breads, for example Migoya posted about panettone in a jar. But you wrote that they stop at brioche regarding viennoiserie. Is there something about enriched breads like panettone?

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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6 minutes ago, teonzo said:

Is there something about enriched breads like panettone?

Yes - they include enriched breads, and stop there. So no laminated dough, etc., but they do include information on panettone.

 

22 minutes ago, teonzo said:

Is there anything about techniques involving pregelatinized starch, like the "water roux" method (aka Tang Zhong)?

Yes, they mention that they "don't find any evidence that pregelatinized starch makes bread softer or bigger, although it does slow staling." (Modernist Bread 2•348).

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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4 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Yes - they include enriched breads, and stop there. So no laminated dough, etc., but they do include information on panettone.

 

There are actually two recipes (plus two variations) for pannetone. One is traditional, and the other, a modernist version, employs liquid lecithin and proplene glycol alginate as emulsifying agents for structural strength. This, according to them (I've never made any version of pannetone, so I can't vouch for this), makes it possible to get an excellent finished loaf in hours rather than days.

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This past weekend I was traveling so only had a few hours on Sunday for baking. Fortunately, the book has a table for that! They actually have several pages throughout the recipe volumes dedicated to helping you decide which recipe to try, including "I need this tonight" sections. What the book suggested, among other things, was the direct French lean bread. That seemed sort of pedestrian to me, so I decided to try one of the puree variations. As luck would have it, I chose one that was a little beyond my skill level...

 

I decided to make the olive-puree flavored bread, which basically just replaces some of the water in the basic direct lean bread recipe with a puree of olives. The trick is that olives inhibit the formation of gluten (presumably due to their salt content), so the puree gets added after the dough has been mixed to a medium gluten formation. Basically all the other purees just get added at the beginning along with the water, which is much easier. Well, this is where I got into trouble. Without the puree, you are making a quite low-hydration dough, so at medium gluten formation you've really got a pretty well-developed solid mass of dough. In order to actually mix the puree into the dough I tore the dough into many small pieces and then squished it between my fingers along with the puree. It was sort of fun, and stress-relieving, but also didn't fully incorporate the puree, so once I had a sort-of-solid mass I put it back in the mixer with the dough hook. Unfortunately, by the time it looked reasonably well incorporated, I'd overmixed the dough and the gluten was a mess.

 

Well, I am stubborn, and rather than pitch it, I decided to bulk proof it with a series of four-edge folds to rebuild the gluten. This actually worked reasonably well, but I didn't have time to let it get fully healed, so I formed it and baked it off anyway after perhaps four hours of bulk fermentation with a set of folds every 45 minutes. The resulting loaf was delicious (I do love olives...), but dense and a bit ugly.

 

So my question to you all (and one I could not find the answer to in the book) -- how should I have mixed the puree into the dough?

 

DSC_4711.jpg

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Chris Hennes
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Looks like you figured it out pretty well. Nice looking crust. Damned if I know what I would have done. But my question is: why doesn't the book address this? Didn't you mention something in the area of $650? ;)

 

Does the dough have any yeast in it? Or is it just flour and water? Because if it has any yeast, I'd add the puree at the beginning, just like the other purees. (Which are made of what, by the way.) The salt might make it take longer to rise, but it would still rise. Then you wouldn't have had to deal with incorporating the olive puree into a stiff dough. 

Edited by cakewalk
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3 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

So my question to you all (and one I could not find the answer to in the book) -- how should I have mixed the puree into the dough?

 

Rotor-stator homogenizer?  She asks hopefully.

 

More seriously I'd have flattened out the dough sort of like a pizza, layered on puree, folded in half, layered on puree, etc.  Even more seriously I'd have baked a baguette and served a bowl of olives as I did last night.

 

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12 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

The trick is that olives inhibit the formation of gluten (presumably due to their salt content)

 

Salt is a gluten enhancer, not an inhibitor.  Fat is an inhibitor.  To a lesser extent, particulate matter (small pieces of olive) will inhibit gluten as well, although it won't inhibit it as much as bran, which, because of it's sharp edges, bran cuts holes through the gluten. When it comes to inhibition, bran and fat are the big players.

 

Did you puree dry or wet cured olives? Both will require very different approaches because of the varying composition- dry will have less water and more fat. If the recipe is tailored to one, using the other will effectively break it.  Dry cured olives in a wet cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too dry, wet cured olives in dry cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too wet.  In a previous post, you talked about building an 'experience base.' This is one of those areas where experience goes a long way in resolving issues.  A precise recipe helps, but, if you know you're adding water (wet cured) or fat (dry cured), and you've added water or fat to doughs before, you're in a better position to course correct.

 

12 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

So my question to you all (and one I could not find the answer to in the book) -- how should I have mixed the puree into the dough?

 

The simple answer is 'earlier.' :) Assuming you've adjusted the formula properly for either wet or dry cured olives, then, you'll want to add a wet cured olive puree pretty early- possibly even close to the start.  For a dry cured olive puree, with the inhibition the extra fat brings to the table, then you might want to go a little later, such as when the dough starts coming together. In some high oil pizza doughs, they incorporate the oil about 1/3 to 1/2 into the total mixing time. If, say, you're mixing a total of 10 minutes, then 4 minutes might be the happy place. If you're up for the math, you might want to calculate how much fat you're adding with the puree, and how much total fat the dough will have.  In my experience, anything below 6% fat, with a strong enough bread flour (see below), requires no late addition.

 

One other thing you might look at, both from a perspective of potential overmixing and elevated fat content, is a higher protein flour.  You don't need to necessarily go crazy high with something like Sir Lancelot (14% protein), but, if, say, you're using Gold Medal better for bread flour, which clocks in around 12%, that's going to break down more quickly than KABF (12.7%).  Even 12.7% might not be ideal for a higher fat loaf like this, and a slight bump to, say, 13.2% might perform better.   You can't knead any dough forever, but, it sounds like if you had the right protein flour, you could have worked your dough quite a bit longer without having it give up the ghost like it did.

 

Edit: My strong flour advice is only applicable to commercial yeast leavened formulas.  As you move into the gluten enhancing effect of natural leavening, you won't need quite as much protein in the flour. Natural leavening doesn't give you unlimited strength, though, especially with less detectable acidity, so, for an especially high fat naturally leavened dough, a stronger flour might be beneficial there as well.

 

Edit2: I remembered something else.  Water + flour + time = gluten development = more difficult addtional ingredient incorporation.  Since the recipe you use states 'direct,' I'm assuming there are no rests involved prior to adding the puree. For any late addition, you want to stop the mixer, immediately incorporate the ingredient, and then return to mixing. 

Edited by scott123 (log)
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40 minutes ago, scott123 said:

Salt is a gluten enhancer, not an inhibitor

You are right -- I was thinking that there was a sweet spot for the amount of salt you wanted, but upon re-reading the salt section of the book I see that is due to fermentation inhibition, not gluten formation.

 

40 minutes ago, scott123 said:

Did you puree dry or wet cured olives?

Wet, which is what the recipe is for in this particular case. I didn't feel like the dough was overly wet (or dry), the hydration felt about right for a French lean bread. I was using King Arthur bread flour.

 

42 minutes ago, scott123 said:

Since the recipe you use states 'direct,' I'm assuming there are no rests involved prior to adding the puree.

They use "direct" as opposed to one with a preferment or levain.

 

Thanks for all the detailed input, it sounds like your joking "earlier" is really probably just the right answer.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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56 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

There aren’t any, they focus only on yeast-leavened breads (commercial or natural).

Did Nathan say there was an Irish soda bread?

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