Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Hennes

Modernist Bread: French Lean Bread (MB Contest Topic #1)

Recommended Posts

Next week marks the official release of the highly-anticipated Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya. The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters is excited to provide you with the opportunity to win a copy of the book. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.

 

For our first recipe, we're starting with a cornerstone recipe from the book: French Lean Bread. I've personally made this one and it's both delicious and completely approachable by anyone with an interest in this book. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):

 

MB_FLB_1.jpg

MB_FLB_2.jpg

MB_FLB_3.jpg

MB_FLB_4.jpg

MB_FLB_5.jpg

 

The recipes in this book tend to rely on information presented more extensively earlier in the books, so if anything isn't clear enough here please ask and Dave and I will do our best to answer your questions (we've had early digital access to the books for the last month or so).

 

ETA: Here's what my first go at the recipe sounded like coming out of the oven...

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This recipe / technique isn't too different from my go-to from Ken Forkish' "Flour Water Salt Yeast". I think I can do this one! :)

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I notice that Instant Yeast is specified in this recipe.  Is any reason given for preferring Instant Yeast over regular active dry yeast?

I see that temps are indicated for the final proof. Is any temperature guidance given for the 12 hr preferment or the bulk ferment?

 

I find the mixing instructions to be awkward.  According to the table, #1 is 15g water, #2 is 265g water and #3 is 485g flour. 

Neither the hand nor machine mixing instructions mention adding the salt.  I'm guessing it's added with the 15g of water but maybe not.  Is the 485g of flour and the polish supposed to be mixed together before adding, added in a specific order or just all dumped in together?  The machine mixing instructions don't mention adding either flour or poolish. 

Perhaps the #s in the ingredients list are to include items in rows below the printed #?  Or not?

 

I have made enough bread that I can take a stab at it but I wouldn't feel like I was making the recipe presented.


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

I notice that Instant Yeast is specified in this recipe.  Is any reason given for preferring Instant Yeast over regular active dry yeast?

There is (of course) an entire discussion of this in the book in the chapter on yeast, but while they prefer the instant, active dry will work.

 

17 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

I see that temps are indicated for the final proof. Is any temperature guidance given for the 12 hr preferment or the bulk ferment?

Room temperature, it's not particularly sensitive.

 

17 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

I find the mixing instructions to be awkward.  According to the table, #1 is 15g water, #2 is 265g water and #3 is 485g flour. 

It's a little confusing pulled out of the book, but that's not how it works. It's like this:

  1. Water and salt
  2. Water and yeast
  3. Flour and poolish

It's much easier to see that in the actual books, thankfully, this is just an artifact of the reformatted version they've given us to post here. Basically:

  1. Mix the salt with a little water.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the rest of the water.
  3. Mix the flour, poolish, and yeasted water together.
  4. Autolyse 30 minutes.
  5. Smear the salt mixture over the dough.
  6. Mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!  

12 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

Room temperature, it's not particularly sensitive

My room temp tends to vary between 60°F in the winter and 85°F in the summer and I've found it to have a pretty big impact on rise times. I've been trying to impose some control to improve my results but it's good to know I shouldn't worry about it for this one!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Thanks!  

My room temp tends to vary between 60°F in the winter and 85°F in the summer and I've found it to have a pretty big impact on rise times. I've been trying to impose some control to improve my results but it's good to know I shouldn't worry about it for this one!

For the record, when I made it my overnight temp for the poolish was 70°F, which is the temperature they used when constructing their tables (page 3•17 has a big table of yeast percentage to fermentation time for various preferments). They suggest 68°-70°F as the storage temperature in the chapter on preferments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same bake time and temperature I've arrived at over the years:  470 deg F. for 35 minutes (though having calibrated my new oven I set it to 475 to get closer to 470) -- and almost exactly the same formula as mine.

 

But very different mixing.  I mix my yeast in with the flour.  However I note the instruction calls for mixing yeast with water.  I always thought adding yeast to water was the way to shock and kill the yeast.  Do they not store their yeast at freezer temperature?  I add my salt to the dry ingredients also.

 

Plus I note the poolish is to be kept in an airtight container.  What is the purpose of doing so?  In my case I use a bowl covered with stretch-tite.  What vessel do they use that is airtight?

 

Three days till all is revealed.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

But very different mixing.  I mix my yeast in with the flour.  However I note the instruction calls for mixing yeast with water.  I always thought adding yeast to water was the way to shock and kill the yeast.  Do they not store their yeast at freezer temperature?  I add my salt to the dry ingredients also.

They mix the yeast with water for optimal distribution. They don't store their yeast in the freezer, but I store mine there so can personally attest to this method of mixing working just fine. And they add the salt after the autolyze, which necessitates not adding it to the dry ingredients.

 

29 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Plus I note the poolish is to be kept in an airtight container.  What is the purpose of doing so?  In my case I use a bowl covered with stretch-tite.  What vessel do they use that is airtight?

I think they really just mean "covered" -- I'm pretty sure they are using Cambros, which is what I used. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

They mix the yeast with water for optimal distribution. They don't store their yeast in the freezer, but I store mine there so can personally attest to this method of mixing working just fine. And they add the salt after the autolyze, which necessitates not adding it to the dry ingredients.

 

Thanks, Chris.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does vent time not apply if not using a vessel?  Edit - ah this is to vent all the steam out from the oven?

 

I'm guessing with my steam oven it's 3 mins of convection and steam and then rest of time just convection (with a break to vent the oven).  Also my steam oven only goes to 450 so I might have to cook a little longer.

I have a program option that takes the weight of the loaf - starts with steam and produces amazing artisan style bread - but that takes longer then 25 mins - it's more like 38 mins for 1 lbs loaf.

 

Guessing there's more detail in the section on ovens?  


Edited by Raamo Found possible answer elsewhere (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Raamo said:

Does vent time not apply if not using a vessel?  Edit - ah this is to vent all the steam out from the oven?

Right, the vent time always applies, it's just a question of whether you need to remove a cover as well as vent the steam out of the oven.

 

14 minutes ago, Raamo said:

Guessing there's more detail in the section on ovens?  

Yes, as you suspect there are many, many pages on how and why to use the various types of ovens for different types of loaves. For lean breads in combi ovens they suggest using the lowest possible fan speed, steaming for the first five minutes, or potentially bypassing the thing altogether by baking in a cast iron cooker, clay pot, or Dutch oven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Chris Hennes said:

Yes, as you suspect there are many, many pages on how and why to use the various types of ovens for different types of loaves. For lean breads in combi ovens they suggest using the lowest possible fan speed, steaming for the first five minutes, or potentially bypassing the thing altogether by baking in a cast iron cooker, clay pot, or Dutch oven.

 

Sounds good - I have the big oven just below for when we don't need or want steam.  I don't believe I can control the fan speed.  That comes on more expensive models... and this was anything but cheap.  The bread we already get out of it is fantastic and that's using Artisan bread in 5 mins a day recipes and the pre-programmed modes on the oven... This should be an improvement and be more variety. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

For purposes of this recipe, what is "bread flour"?

 

 

Bread flour is high in gluten protein, with 12.5-14% protein compared to 10-12% protein in all-purpose flour. The increased protein binds to the flour to entrap carbon dioxide released by the yeast fermentation process, resulting in a stronger rise. Bread flour may be made with a hard spring wheat.  From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flour#Bread_flour

 

I'm using bread flour we bought at the store - not sure which brand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

For purposes of this recipe, what is "bread flour"?

Page 2•241 list the protein content as 11-13% for "bread flour" and 13-14% and up as "high-gluten bread flour". It's made with either hard red spring or hard red winter wheat. They suggest Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus Flour (11.5%) by Central Milling in Utah, but indicate that you can substitute 1:1 with King Arthur Sir Galahad (11.7%), Gold Medal Bread Flour (12%) and Pillsbury Best Bread (12.9%).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Page 2•241 list the protein content as 11-13% for "bread flour" and 13-14% and up as "high-gluten bread flour". It's made with either hard red spring or hard red winter wheat. They suggest Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus Flour (11.5%) by Central Milling in Utah, but indicate that you can substitute 1:1 with King Arthur Sir Galahad (11.7%), Gold Medal Bread Flour (12%) and Pillsbury Best Bread (12.9%).

They also handily provide a table to convert lower protein flours to bread flour using vital gluten. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Anna N 

 

do they mention any difference in the final bread  , rise , flavor etc

 

using VWG  vs finding  high gluten flour to start off ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, rotuts said:

@Anna N 

 

do they mention any difference in the final bread  , rise , flavor etc

 

using VWG  vs finding  high gluten flour to start off ?

 Not that I’ve seen so far but there’s an awful lot of reading matter here and I’ve only scratched the surface. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there more tables for times of proofing at other temps?  Proof time is show as 30 mins-2.5 hours - but the two examples are in the middle of that range.

 

I'm on the proof step right now - and the house is 65F so I'm proofing in the steam oven using proof setting, which doesn't go lower then 95F  I'll check it per the "how to know it's done" but in case others run into this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Proofing is the most nebulous of the steps, and the conclusion they come to is basically that there is no set time, you just have to check for proof using the technique that most of us have been using forever! So the times are just guidance, your exact room temperature, starting dough temperature, and yeast liveliness will all factor in.

 

ETA: I should mention, I think my loaf above was under-proofed based on the way it baked! I probably needed another half hour beyond what I gave it.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First attempt is done, turns out my oven self vents so when it came time to vent there wasn't much steam left, I ended up baking until it was over 190 inside - hit about 200, all in less time then 30 mins total.

Likely because I can't control the speed of my fan - all in all it's dark but not burnt so I think it's OK.  I'll add a picture of the crumb when I cut into it in a few hours.  I took a series of pictures of many of the stages in case others are interested - I posted them in the cooking with MC:Bread thread.  I really am now looking forward to the modernist version of this bread.  I used a stand mixer rather then attempt this by hand, I actually ended up with 1080g of dough, used about 530g for this and the rest is in the fridge to bake tomorrow.

 

I baked at 450 (the highest my steam oven will go)  with steam to start - preheated the steam oven first, after about 15 mins I changed it to 100% convection because I saw the oven itself vent twice  but I figured there was enough steam still in the oven (which turns out was not true), I think I'll call Thermadore for some more explanation of how the steam with convection mode actually works.  i figure I'm going to learn a lot about my oven over the next few months.

 

I used to be big into bread baking - as a kid I loved baking bread - the past 15+ years I've been more of the savory cook and my wife has been the baker so it was fun to work on a loaf again.  

 

20171107_152654.thumb.jpg.4fe8d8a58c364bbe9372b1d93b2d0b92.jpg

 

Here is a picture of the crumb.  

 

20171107_165557.thumb.jpg.810c6a36c9a9cdedeaf05f02428c13f2.jpg

 

 

I'm eating some slices right now with butter on them - it's more tender then the 5 mins a day stuff I'm really used to, really quite outstanding bread.  I'm more into the sourdoughs myself - but this is excellent!

 

Oh and I called Thermadore - they were ZERO help - seems only rich people who don't really cook buy this model or something.  Least that's all I can find from google searches - these are really popular in NYC for some reason.


Edited by Raamo Noted I posted more pictures in other thread (log)
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice. I am quite concerned about the oven temperatures and the recommended baking time. Mine is proofing right now but life got in the way of following times exactly so it spent many hours in the fridge. 


Edited by Anna N (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By ElsieD
      I got an e-mail this morning about the Modernist team's next project - pizza! 
       
      Modernist Pizza is Underway!
      After taking on the world of bread, we’re thrilled to announce the topic of our next book: pizza. Modernist Pizza will explore the science, history, equipment, technology, and people that have made pizza so beloved.

      Authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, with the Modernist Cuisine team, are currently at work conducting extensive research and testing long-held pizza-making beliefs; this quest for knowledge has already taken them to cities across the United States, Italy, and beyond. The result of their work will be a multivolume cookbook that includes both traditional and innovative recipes for pizzas found around the globe along with techniques that will help you make pizza the way you like it.

      Modernist Pizza is in its early stages, and although we’ve begun to dig in, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Although we can’t guarantee when it will arrive at your door just yet, we can promise that this book will deliver the complete story of pizza as it’s never been told before.

      In the meantime, we would love to hear from you as we continue to research pizza from around the world. Contact pizza@modernistcuisine.com to tell us about your favorite pizzerias and their pizza. Connect with us on social media to get all the latest Modernist Pizza updates.
    • By Doofa
      FYI. On todays Food Programme, BBC Radio 4 which will be podcasted I think tomorrow after its repeat. He outlined the Bread tome, and I found very interesting the economics of bread. It's all a bit beyond me as a Coeliac most of it is out of my reach. One can listen to it on Radio 4 website. Furthermore R4 is my constant companion and the last bastion of civilisation
    • By Tempranillo
      I have been tasked with putting together a team for a new kosher barbecue event in Arizona, happening sometime later this year. The event was supposed to be in mid-April, but the venue decided to cancel. The organizers are busy looking for a new venue, and have assured us that this will happen.
       
      Many details for the event are not quite settled yet, so, I am trying to prepare for all sorts of contingencies beyond the usual concerns about putting out good food. What is known is that we will be following the KCBS kosher rules. As far as I can tell, there were 10-12 such events held last year across the US. So, it's a pretty small world. I don't think there's a kosher championship ladder like the other barbecue events have, either. I think it's a good time to get in, get practice and see where it takes me.
       
      Now, I've been reading and watching videos online with all sorts of info on smoking/cooking for competitions. I have watched some of the TV shows, and one documentary. It's been kind of a mixed bag in terms of usefulness. No one has posted much about kosher barbecue, so I am making changes to recipes and procedures and running a lot of tests. I currently have access to my home kitchen which is small but adequate, the stove is electric and unremarkable and about 7 years old. It does maintain temperature well, and can be set to run anywhere from 140°F to 550°F.  I also have access to an outdoor kitchen at a friend's place, with a relatively large charcoal type grill. At most of the kosher barbecue events the event organizers provide smokers/grills plus meats and many ingredients to ensure that everything is truly kosher. If needed, my team sponsor is prepared to purchase a grill/smoker which I will need to research once I know I will need it.
       
      I should note that I am not Jewish and did not grow up around any kosher households, so I am also studying some of the finer points about running a kosher kitchen and learning about kosher ingredients. Modern competition barbecue is an odd mix of modernist techniques and ingredients, right alongside ordinary-folk foods like margarine, and bottled sauces.
       
      For reference, the 4 categories for kosher events are: Chicken, Beef Ribs, Turkey, and Beef Brisket -to be served in that order.
       
      So far, I have been running smokeless tests on chicken and beef ribs. Mostly learning to trim the chicken thighs (what a nightmare!) and seeing what happens at certain temperatures and times. I know things will be different with real smoking happening, but I want to see some baseline results so that I know what to strive for. I do have a bunch of thermometers, and have got some basic ideas about writing a competition timeline.
       
      The chicken perplexes me in several ways. First, some of the competition cooks recommend boning while others recommend bone-in. Second, I see some folks injecting and brining, while others maybe do a quick half hour marinade, and even others are full-on modernist with citric acid under the skin, etc. Third, the braise vs non- braise chicken where some people load up their pan with a pound of butter, margarine or a couple cups of chicken stock while others do not. Fourth, The bite-through skin is driving me insane. Some people swear by transglutaminase to reattach the skin for a better bite. Catch is, only some types are kosher, and I can see having issues explaining it. I have tested an egg white egg wash which seems to attach the skin pretty well without showing. I think I need to go for longer times to get more tender skin. Today I did a pan (with olive oil) of six as follows: one hour at 220°, one hour under foil at 230°, then glazed and 20 minutes on a rack at 350°. It was only partly bite-though and the taste-testers wanted more crispiness. I tried showing them pictures and explained that it wasn't ever going to be crispy, that we're looking to go even softer. I am going to run tests on longer cook periods and see how it goes.
       
      I want to ask people about the whole swimming in margarine thing which is in voque right now. people claim it makes the chicken juicy. I know that meat is mostly all about temperatures. I can see how the margarine acts like duck fat in a confit and helps prevent some oven-drying after hours and hours in the oven, but, in the end, isn't it just an insulator?
       
      I've been making corned beef and other brisket dishes for over 20 years, so, I think I have a good handle on that. I will practice it in a couple of weeks. I simply don't need as much help on this item.
       
      The turkey scares me. On TV, I see people dunking it in butter before serving it. This obviously is not kosher, and I don't want to do it with margarine I don't want to present anything in a competition made with margarine, there has to be something better! -Either cook the bird better or find a better dip, like maybe a flavorful nut oil or a sauce. That said, unlike ribs or brisket, it is not traditional to dunk turkey in a sauce.  I went with some friends to a chain place called Dickies to do a little research and their turkey breast was odd and kind of hammy. Not like Virginia ham, more like ham lunchmeat. It was very moist and unlike any turkey I have ever eaten. Ok, I admit to not being very fond of turkey, so my experiences with it have been a bit limited. I am assuming it was brined. Given the limited amount of time we will have (about a day and a half) to cook, I am planning on just cooking the breast. Other than that, I am open to suggestions. The internet has been least informative on the topic of turkey. People's videos and such just show rubbing the whole bird and letting it roast for a few hours. Any tips at all would be appreciated.
       
      Whew! Thanks for reading all of this, I look forward to any advice you can give.
    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or grilled/BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Sliced  Beef
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil, but any  vegetable oil except olive oil would be fine) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By flippant
      I've had the CSO for a number of years now, but have yet to actually bake bread in it.
       
      Reading through the Modernist Bread thread on this forum I see many of you are using the CSO to great effect, which is heartening.
       
      To that end, I would like to know about your experience baking bread in it – what sort of extra equipment you use (pans, cast iron? etc), what breads work the best, any corrections you find yourself making, or anything you feel might be useful to someone else using the CSO.
       
      Thank you!
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×