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Raamo

Baking with Myhrvold's "Modernist Bread: The Art and Science"

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Wow, my house now smells amazing. The s'mores dough totally exploded during baking, spilling copious quantities of cinnamon graham cracker filling onto the baking stone. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but that smell...

 

Here's a quick preview of this morning's baking activity:

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 So this was not a success and I have no one to blame but myself. It is the Farmer’s bread  proofed at room temperature. 

 

 As I suspected, it developed a crust while it was proofing covered only by a cotton dish towel.   But I don’t think that’s the cause of the problem. It goes into the banneton seam side down and is baked seam side up without being slashed. There was no crust on the seam side. 

 

No. I think inattention is the culprit. I was trying to keep too many balls in the air and failed to notice that the Cuisinart steam oven was still set at 425°F on the bread cycle when it should have been at its maximum of 450.  As a consequence of this, at least I believe, there was almost no oven spring.  I had preheated the cast aluminum plate it was baked on. 

 

On the plus side it came out of the linen-lined banneton with no problems!   As you can see I was very generous with the flour. xD

 

But I get a second chance with this bread because there is another 500 g undergoing a cold proof in my refrigerator. 

 

And now the chocolate brioche is ready to be rolled into a loaf and put into the pan.

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Sourdough with Forbidden Rice Porridge

The inclusion of the porridge made this a very slack dough. It was also fascinating to me that it got included after the second fold, not the first, which felt very weird. You basically have this pretty nice sourdough, and then you absolutely destroy it by squishing in this porridge until you have a gloppy mess. I felt like I was back at square one, but four turns later the gluten was very well formed and passed the window pane test with no issues. I'd still be inclined to make the dough stiffer next time, however, it was pretty fluid when I turned it out of the basket to bake, so wound up a sort of strange, flat shape.

 

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Sourdough with Pressure-Caramelized Grains

I love this bread. It's basically exactly what I want in a loaf: a good, tangy sourdough with very flavorful, great-textured grain inclusions. It has just a tiny hint of sweetness from the caramelization. I was much more aggressive in mixing the inclusion into the dough this time (which as I mentioned above feels very strange, like you are destroying the gluten structure), but I think it paid dividends in the final texture of the bread. It had great rise and structure and the finished texture is excellent.

 

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Sourdough with Ramen

I'm honestly a little disappointed in this one: not because it tastes weird, but because it doesn't! Maybe it's because I'm using a more sour levain than the Modernist team (mine ferments at room temperature, a bit warmer than theirs and so a bit more acidic). Even the texture isn't that far off a completely standard sourdough. Since I only made a single 500g loaf I only used half the flavoring packet. Next time I'm going to use the whole thing. I also wish the ramen had ended up crispy. As it is, it adds a bit of chew to the loaf, but if you're not looking for it I don't know that you'd really notice it.

 

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Sourdough with Huitlacoche

I had lots of leftover huitlacoche puree from my last experiment with this bread, so this time I made the Modernist Sourdough but added the puree per the instructions for the Huitlacoche and yellow corn sourdough. I didn't add the corn this time, and I made the dough a bit higher hydration than last time. I still didn't get the texture I was looking for here, it's coming out a bit too dense. And apparently my shaping was crap, there's a partial tunnel at the bottom. Back to the drawing board...

 

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@Chris Hennes

 

I am not drawn to the peculiar and unusual inclusions but that grain bread speaks to my very soul. xD

 

 

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S'Mores Sourdough

The instructions for adding the inclusions here ask you to shape a boule as normal, flatten it slightly, add the fillings, and then gently reform the boule around the filling. For me this process resulted in a filling that was quite close to the top of the boule, so that when I slashed it I exposed the filling. Oops! This made a great mess of my baking stone, and although it smelled great, it does give a pretty ugly loaf. The flavor is fine, but I found that the marshmallows sort of got lost in there. I wonder if you could actually add the marshmallows and chocolate as an inclusion and do just the graham cracker spread as a swirl of sorts?

 

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Chocolate cherry sourdough

By popular request (as in, my wife wanted more!) I've made this one again. I tried to be a bit more careful in the handling and shaping and was successful in producing a slightly more attractive loaf than last time. I also used an even darker chocolate (74% instead of 65%) and tart cherries in an attempt to bridge the gap between sweet and savory a bit more. Both changes were very successful, I thought.

 

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 I will have to try that one no matter what. 

 

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@Chris Hennes

 

A few questions for you.

Did you use bake-proof chocolate chips question I’m guessing not since you have been able to modify your cocoa percentage. Do you think it matters?

 

What type of cocoa did you use? Dutch process or natural or perhaps black?  Not seeing a reddish tinged so guessing not Dutch process. 

 

 Are you mixing everything by hand?

 

 

 

 

 

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8AA53D33-2F02-48A4-982D-E20144B8D510.thumb.jpeg.eab3c787146e7d1314cf48545bcfec12.jpeg

 

This is the  crumb from the  rather unsuccessful Farmer’s bread.   I like the taste, the texture and particularly the crust. I am hoping the one that is in the refrigerator being cold proofed will be a little more successful in terms of loft.  Even so I do not consider this a complete failure.  I’ll eat it if nobody else will. xD

 

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2 hours ago, Anna N said:

Did you use bake-proof chocolate chips question I’m guessing not since you have been able to modify your cocoa percentage. Do you think it matters?

No, I just used the chocolate I had on hand. I didn't have any problems with it, and it's pretty high-quality chocolate (I normally use it to make molded chocolates).

 

2 hours ago, Anna N said:

What type of cocoa did you use? Dutch process or natural or perhaps black?

Valrhona 100% cocoa powder (natural).

 

2 hours ago, Anna N said:

Are you mixing everything by hand?

Yes. 

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Thanks Chris. I wondered about the chocolate chips because that’s all I have on hand i.e., High quality chocolate for making Bonbons.  But since my daughter was out shopping I got her to grab me some baking chunks of dark chocolate. Can’t hurt I don’t suppose

 

 OK I have some  Dutch processed and some dark doesn’t seem that it matters a whole lot.  Probably missed reading about it somewhere. 

 

 Yes. My suspicion was that you were working everything by hand. I think I will have to stick to the machine for physical reasons. Besides doesn’t cause me any grief anyway. 

 

Hoping some of my questions will help others when they get to baking with their books.  xD   Where are they all anyway?  


Edited by Anna N (log)

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40 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Thanks Chris. I wondered about the chocolate chips because that’s all I have on hand i.e., High quality chocolate for making Bonbons.  But since my daughter was out shopping I got her to grab me some baking chunks of dark chocolate. Can’t hurt I don’t suppose

 

 OK I have some  Dutch processed and some dark doesn’t seem that it matters a whole lot.  Probably missed reading about it somewhere. 

 

 Yes. My suspicion was that you were working everything by hand. I think I will have to stick to the machine for physical reasons. Besides doesn’t cause me any grief anyway. 

 

Hoping some of my questions will help others when they get to baking with their books.  xD   Where are they all anyway?  

 

We're waiting for more wheat to grow due to the flour shortage you guys have caused.

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41 minutes ago, Shelby said:

We're waiting for more wheat to grow due to the flour shortage you guys have caused.

Ha! It's not even the weekend yet, I'm just getting warmed up!

 

Today's real project was pretzels, in an attempt to get a more even coating. Here's that attempt:

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 So here is the chocolate brioche. Once again I forgot the glaze!   I was very reluctant to call proof on this. It’s strange dough to work with. The other startling thing was that when I was about to pull it from the oven thinking it was done, I took its temperature. I really, really thought my thermometer had died. The internal temperature was 120°F after almost 30 minutes in the oven. I grabbed my other very reliable for thermometer, both of them Thermapens  and it agreed.  I covered the top with foil and continued baking it in my GE profile oven. Took, I think, another 15 minutes to reach 195°F which point I did pull it.

 

It has gone home with my grandchild and I’m hoping she will send me a photograph and a report.  I really should have tried it before sending it off but she can put on such a puppy dog face and I just melt.  xD691E056A-AEF0-40BA-95F9-B3067152DB7A.thumb.jpeg.5dbb7d675a5e6f5375256fe09cb4b6d8.jpeg0092C03A-A854-41C8-80A8-A653A80383DB.thumb.jpeg.eb2c926740feca58f6be5e050eb04f1c.jpegE7118F5B-4811-4D92-B24E-8495366F2638.thumb.jpeg.0d26358d2310a8c8b3bee1fc85eb48e2.jpeg 

 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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  The grandchild has declared it to be good.  I don’t have anything to compare it to to know if it looks as it should look. 

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I'm finally ready to start a rye levain... got this in the mail today:

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Nice, Chris.  I started mine with dark rye because it’s very much easier to source than the light rye. When I was able to get some light rye I began converting over.

 

I really need to refocus. I spent a restless night having dreams and nightmares about bread failures and successes and I do believe I invented a new and miraculous additive. I just can’t remember what it was. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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183348C7-C1D5-4838-A599-621246EEEE05.thumb.jpeg.849bbca7ac812f552d5dc145da8bfe10.jpegE13EDA3B-F883-4971-BFF9-D124913F5E34.thumb.jpeg.04d969aaa175e83229f08a39036760e7.jpeg

 

This is more like it! This is the farmer’s bread which was cold proofed for more than 20 hours. It was baked in my GE Profile oven with a couple of cups of ice cubes tossed in just before the bread was loaded.  No cover. The burns on my hands suggest I’m too clumsy to deal with screaming hot lids and such. 

 

This bread released just fine from the

linen-lined Banneton. I brushed some of the excess flour from the dough before baking it. 

 

I am becoming quite enamored of the cold proofing method except for the issue of refrigerator space.  I may try and address that today by moving stuff from my beer fridge to the main fridge.  It would be marvelous to open the refrigerator and discover that you had plenty of room for your breads to do their thing. Like @Chris Hennes  :)

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Well done, @Anna N!

 

And the screaming* hot lid of a cast enamel pot is also a particular friend of my hand :D

 

------

* literally

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22 hours ago, Anna N said:

I am using a Bosch compact mixer and I am extremely solicitous of it. I didn’t need to read the manual to know that high speed was not where it was likely to stay for very long so I immediately reduced the speed to something I found comfortable to watch and hear. 

 

Good! I heard of way too many people (both professionals and amateurs) ruining their machines in this way. At a restaurant where I worked the chef continued to say that Kitchen Aid Artisan sucked because they always broke after few months... he mixed bread at maximum speed to save time (and waste money).

 

 

22 hours ago, Anna N said:

The temperature held steady at 25° for quite some time but then crossed over to 28° shortly after I read your comments.  It had been mixing for better than 16 minutes but I did not feel the gluten was fully developed. I stopped the mixer covered the bowl and stuck it into the refrigerator.   The freezer is not an option at this point. 

 

Refrigerator is fine, but it takes more time for obvious reasons.

This temperature range is important for gluten development, yeast survival, but more than all butter texture. To get a proper mixing you need the butter to be soft. If it's hard it tends to break the gluten structure. If it starts to melt then it's a trouble.

This is one of the steps where professionals and home users diverge. Professionals use "bread machines" (can't recall the English term, I mean the ones with 2 mechanical arms) or spiral mixers, if you add the ingredients at the proper temperatures then you don't incur in these kind of troubles. Hook mixers (the ones used at home) have a much higher friction rate, so the doughs get heated much more, this causes the trouble of going over 26°C each and every time. For normal breads it's not a big trouble, for enriched breads it is.

This is one of the themes where I'm wondering about the quality of this book set. As far as I understood they are covering both the professional side and the home user side. So hopefully there should be the explanations on how to adapt things for the home use. Probably they explained this stuff about temperature (and how to remedy) somewhere in all that huge number of pages. If they didn't then it would be a serious oversight, because home baking needs a very different approach than professional baking on a lot of things.

The main problem is that a lot of times you can't simply re-scale recipes to get them working. You need to adapt a lot of minor details. The raisin bread seemed like a case where the home recipe was simply scaled and not controlled. If a person makes a small loaf and a big loaf and wants to get 2 spiral rounds on each one, then he/she need to adapt the quantity of smear: the smaller one will need to be rolled thinner, so it needs more smear. This is why I wrote that probably it was an error by the book. It's really hard to catch these errors while proof reading, because when you proof read you tend to check if the numbers correspond with the ones on the original files/recipes, then you check the ratios to see if they are correct. But if you scaled the recipe dividing by 20 and not by 10, then this error slips very very easily (there is an Italian book where almost all recipes have this defect)
 

 

 

22 hours ago, Anna N said:

The instructions for  this dough do stress adding the butter in three stages alternating with the sugar and salt mixture  but does suggest mixing it only to medium gluten development before adding the butter and salt sugar.  Then suggests that you continue mixing to full gluten development. 

 

 

For home use I think it's much better to mix together whatever ingredients you are adding after gluten development, then add them in small doses and frequently. In this case I would mix soft butter with sugar and salt, then add around 1/8 each time. The first addition takes a bit of time to emulsify, the other ones are quick. The difference is much more noticeable when you need to add butter and eggs, if you mix them together instead than adding them separately then you get a better result.

The problem of adding butter to a dough is that fats act as a lubricant between gluten strands and as a barrier to develop more gluten bonds. The more gluten bonds you create, the more elastic / extensible the dough is (you see this with the difference in the windows test with standard bread). It's similar to the case of pulling 1 spring or 2 spring in a series (not parallel): more gluten means more "springs", so it's easier to pull the dough. When you add butter yu add fats, which prevent the formation of new gluten bonds: some get formed, but much less than what happens if you continue mixing without adding fats. After adding all the butter you get a window test that gives similar results than what you have with full gluten development in a standard bread recipe (no fats), not because you reached full gluten development equally as with standard bread, but because fats are acting as a lubricant, making it easier for gluten strands to stretch. So the process of adding butter to a brioche dough is more about getting a correct emulsion than reaching full gluten development.

You could object "well, why not reaching full gluten development before adding butter?". It's a matter of compromise: gluten can't stand indefinite mixing times, each flour has a parameter that indicates how much time gluten takes before collapsing (I'm pretty sure it's explained somewhere, this data is much more difficult to get from flour producers because it's an indication of flour quality, the ones with poor quality are reluctant to give this number for obvious reasons). If you reach full gluten development before adding the butter then you reach the stage where gluten starts collapsing, so you end up with a texture more similar to melted cheese than the one of a proper dough. You can try for curiosity, but the results after baking will be catastrophic. This is why making panettone (and similars) is one of the more difficult tasks in the pastry world.

 

Ah, I was forgetting one thing. For this step (adding butter to a brioche) it's better to use the paddle attachment and not the hook.

 

 

Disclaimer: what I write is what I learned from other professionals or by direct experience. So I can't swear that what I write is correct and precise, we all know that most explanations by professional chefs are not that scientifically perfect. I'm curious to know what the Modernist Cuisine team says to be correct and what wrong.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

The burns on my hands suggest I’m too clumsy to deal with screaming hot lids and such. 

 

Ask your granddaughter for a pair of barbecue gloves. Making puppy eyes helps in your case too!

 

 

 

Teo

 

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On 23/11/2017 at 11:44 PM, Chris Hennes said:

Here's a shot to give you an idea of the volume of inclusions in the Chocolate Cherry:

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And the ramen:

 

To get a good distribution of the inclusions I would suggest to add a fraction of them (say 1/5), make a simple fold, add another fraction, make another fold and so on.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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