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Raamo

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

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2 hours ago, JoaoBertinatti said:

Chris, may I ask if you really do it with 92% hydratation? I could not make it work following that recipe, I had to proof and bake in a loaf pan due to consistency... Thank you!  I am a bit sad too that I don't have dried cherries here...

I make it exactly as per the recipe -- actually this time maybe even slightly higher hydration, I doubled the amount of espresso (but that's a pretty tiny quantity). It's a very sticky dough to work with, but one key for me is that I pretty much always proof in the refrigerator, and I proof in bannetons. The refrigerator temperature gives a firmer dough, and the banneton means I don't have to work with the dough after it's been proofed. Obviously there's also a very large amount of flour involved in prepping the banneton to keep the dough from sticking.

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7 hours ago, JoaoBertinatti said:

What is  your room temperature?  For me, that was the problem... When I started my RT was 13ºC/55F, and I failed a lot of times starting it. It worked when I did in a hotter week. Recently i had problems because my room temperature was 34ºC/94F, I made it work by putting in inside a thermal box full of water and controlling temperature 19~~23ºC with ice everytime I feed it (as I don't own a wine cooler).

 

Chris, may I ask if you really do it with 92% hydratation? I could not make it work following that recipe, I had to proof and bake in a loaf pan due to consistency... Thank you!  I am a bit sad too that I don't have dried cherries here...

 

It's a good coincidence you mentioned that. I also considered starting my levain at 55 F since the book mentions that was their favorite maintenance setting, but I guess they only move to this schedule after they have a mature levain. For a little background on my setup, my proofer is a mini-fridge hooked up to an Inkbird ITC-1000 (temperature controller), and the controller has a temp probe which I run into the refrigerator. The heat is provided by a seedling heating pad.

 

 Inside I also keep a separate Acurite humidity monitor. I only use it to check for humidity, i rarely pay attention to the temp reading. But last night, I looked at it, and noticed it was reporting a temperature that was 2 degrees lower than what the Inkbird was reporting! Doh! Then I grabbed a separate temperature probe and placed it in the refrigerator to confirm that the Acurite reading was correct. That temperature difference must have affected the levain schedule, as my temperature fluctuations were between 66-68 F, not the 70 F prescribed in MB. I felt like such an ass haha.  

 

I've adjusted the Inkbird to compensate for the two degrees. Now I'm debating whether or not to start all over again, or keep feeding my levain at 25 % / 100% / 100% and hope it eventually becomes active. There are some bubbles on the top, but it doesn't rise and I don't see bubbles dispersed throughout the levain as I do in photos. Or maybe I should just discard 75% of the culture and go that route for a couple of days. 

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8 hours ago, underproofed said:

 

It's a good coincidence you mentioned that. I also considered starting my levain at 55 F since the book mentions that was their favorite maintenance setting, but I guess they only move to this schedule after they have a mature levain. For a little background on my setup, my proofer is a mini-fridge hooked up to an Inkbird ITC-1000 (temperature controller), and the controller has a temp probe which I run into the refrigerator. The heat is provided by a seedling heating pad.

 

I think that most of levain problems relates to temperature control, although it may start in temperatures less than 68F, I wouldn't lengthen the time, but it probably will someday work... As for the percentage of discarded levain, they showed for maintence it does not matter if the levain is ((15-50%) of flour added for a final pH, so you may as well do it eyeguessing

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On 1/5/2019 at 2:57 AM, JoaoBertinatti said:

 

I think that most of levain problems relates to temperature control

I think you are probably right, with the caveat that that is directly correlated with feeding interval, so it's the combination of the two that you are looking to get right. I only bake once per week so I work on a highly-modified feeding schedule that involves refrigerating the levain, then taking it out of the fridge the morning before I want to use it, letting it get up to full expansion, and feeding it when it looks "hungry." The amount of time it takes to get to that point depends on room temperature, whether the undercounter lights are on, where it was in the fridge, etc. This is perfectly fine for a home baker, though of course for a professional operation the wild swings in feeding time would be wholly unacceptable. 

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1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

I think you are probably right, with the caveat that that is directly correlated with feeding interval, so it's the combination of the two that you are looking to get right. I only bake once per week so I work on a highly-modified feeding schedule that involves refrigerating the levain, then taking it out of the fridge the morning before I want to use it, letting it get up to full expansion, and feeding it when it looks "hungry." The amount of time it takes to get to that point depends on room temperature, whether the undercounter lights are on, where it was in the fridge, etc. This is perfectly fine for a home baker, though of course for a professional operation the wild swings in feeding time would be wholly unacceptable.  

When I said that about temp I think I was refering for starting from scratch, I like to follow their tip of freezing the just-fed levain and take out of freezer at Room temperature 20-22ºC exactly 18 hours before baking, I found that that worked fine.. Everywhere I read I see people refrigerating, the only reason I have never done that is because in the book they say that doing that kind of changes in temperature will not keep forever a stable culture, well, in that case, I don't think freezing everyweek will as well...

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25 minutes ago, JoaoBertinatti said:

Everywhere I read I see people refrigerating, the only reason I have never done that is because in the book they say that doing that kind of changes in temperature will not keep forever a stable culture, well, in that case, I don't think freezing everyweek will as well...

Yeah, the book definitely says not to do what I am doing. I don't know over what time period they are concerned about the culture degrading, nor do I know what form that degradation will take, but feeding every day was just wasting too much flour for my comfort. Now that I have a reliable way to restart my levain I'm not that concerned about killing it.

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Here are a pair of baguettes based on MB's French Lean Bread recipe. Shaping an evenly distributed cylinder has proven a struggle. The fact that the vessel I bake in, a Bayou Classic oval cast iron, restricts the baguettes length to 15” (it's actually 16" but you're pushing the limit) means I have little little wiggle room to lengthen one half or shorten the other. I’ve made the recipe using KA’s bread flour (12.7%) and really enjoyed the almost buttery scent of the bread. Below is using Central Milling’s Type 70 Malted (11.5%) which I picked up a few days ago (A two hour drive in the pouring rain through San Francisco up to freaking Petaluma). Coming from KA’s unmalted flour, the crust eruption I saw with CM’s malted flour was pretty jolting. It has a very crispy, craggly, crusty exterior. 

 

Scoring is an issue I’m slowly working to resolve. In the beginning I was an extremely tentative scorer and got zero ears. With my last several batches I’m a lot bolder in getting the blade in there. Overlaps and smooth scoring are an ongoing skill to develop. 

 

As for equipment, I mentioned above that I use a Bayou Oval. Highly, highly recommended over the fish poacher solution offered by MB, for reasons we all know: cast iron retains heat and its heavy lid creates a good seal, attributes lacking in the Norpro fish poacher I previously used. 

 

The cast iron was good, but the crust of my baguettes did not seem all that different than the ones baked in the Norpro. It was dull and not as crisp as I would expect in a baguette. I hypothesized that not enough steam was generated by the single baguette to fill the entire cast iron vessel. So I performed some experiments and found a perfectly acceptable solution: a 10 gram ice cube. After I slide the baguette onto the lid and place on the cover, I use a pair of long metal tweezers to slip the ice cube inside. The result is a crispy crust with a lovely sheen (when seen in person! :) ). 

 

In this first photo is the bake where I first used an ice cube. Both were of KA bread flour. Both were baked in the cast iron for the exact same amount of time (lid on for 15 m at 470 F, lid off for 10m at 450 F). The baguette on the left did not get an ice cube. The one on the right did get the ice cube. I found the color difference remarkable. The textural difference in the crust was also significant.

 

McfOLDf.jpg

 

Below are this morning’s bake using CM’s Type 70 Malted. Note this is not my first two baguettes I’ve baked, or my tenth and eleventh baguettes. These are baguettes #35 and #36 from Trial 11 (I track my progress!)! It has taken me this many attempts to even get to this point, and the baguettes still aren't evenly shaped. Ahhh. 

 

26XbMcO.jpg

 

e1PbAe1.jpg

 

I’ve had better, more open crumbs using KA’s bread flour. As I become more comfortable using the Type 70 flour, I hope to get a more open crumb. I wonder if the parts of dense dough is due to shaping errors. Perhaps I was too heavy handed with the seam binding during shaping, or maybe during the envelope folding portion I overlapped one edge over more than I should have? Or maybe it's underproofed?

 

Rbm2kn2.jpg

 

The mise en place for oven loading.

 

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If anyone was curious, here is a photo from my first attempt at making homemade baguettes last September. I gave up for a while after that. I find with anything, but especially in baking, when you do something enough times you start to see progression. And that's what makes shaping and baking baguettes such an addictive endeavor. 

 

C5q29kz.jpg?1

 

 

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Nice report, @underproofed. I still can't shape a baguette worth crap, I've switched to proofing in bannetons and only making boules and batards. I'm looking forward to seeing your continued progress -- you could make a neat time-series graphic with photos of your progression!

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@Chris Hennes Thanks. And I like the idea of a progressive photo series. I wish I'd thought of that when I started making baguettes. Many of the photos I took are rather half assed haha. But I think I will do that one of these days. As long as I continue to be obsessed with baguettes, and so long as my freaking starter won't activate (!!), I'll be making these lean yeasted doughs for my foreseeable bread future. 

 

It was hard for me to visualize the baguette shaping directions outlined in Modernist Bread, so instead I studied these two videos. I'd watch them at half speed over and over again. 

 

 

 

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I made an attempt at the Master Sourdough recipe, but I didn't get the results I was hoping for. My crumb was tight, and not as open as I wanted. Was it because the dough was underproofed? I proofed it in my 39 F refrigerator for 21 hours. The recipe suggests 12-16 hrs, but the dough didn't feel proofed enough during that time range. I am using a fairly young levain; 10 hours after feeding. The levain passes the float test, and actually starts receding from its peak height at 12 hrs, so I thought 10 hrs would be sufficient.

 

Can anyone offer any insight on what the problem might be and how I could ensure a more open crumb next time?

 

mzxAI1b.jpg

 

KJt7xBf.jpg

 

 


Edited by underproofed (log)
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9 hours ago, underproofed said:

The recipe suggests 12-16 hrs, but the dough didn't feel proofed enough during that time range.

I have the same experience -- at 39°F I've found that at least 24h is needed. If I need it faster I take it out of the refrigerator a few hours early and let it proof at room temperature until it's ready. There's too much variability to really pin down an exact number, I think there's no substitute for checking for proof. Also remember that what properly proofed feels like will change depending on the dough's temperature. It's going to be firmer in the refrigerator, so spring back quite a bit more slowly.

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@Chris Hennes Very useful information, thanks Chris. I'm going to make another loaf tomorrow morning and really push the proofing time to at least 24 hrs. I'd rather it be over proofed than under so that I at least have an idea of where the ceiling is. 

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5 hours ago, underproofed said:

@Chris Hennes Very useful information, thanks Chris. I'm going to make another loaf tomorrow morning and really push the proofing time to at least 24 hrs. I'd rather it be over proofed than under so that I at least have an idea of where the ceiling is. 

 

I can't unsee the mental image.

 

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18 hours ago, underproofed said:

I'd rather it be over proofed than under so that I at least have an idea of where the ceiling is. 

In my experience it's about four days (though there are a lot of factors at play).

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5 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

In my experience it's about four days (though there are a lot of factors at play).

 

Did you like the taste of the four day proofed bread?

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3 hours ago, underproofed said:

 

Did you like the taste of the four day proofed bread?

Yes, though I think my favorite is probably at two days. I haven't really experimented with increments less than a day, though, so it's a pretty coarse sample. And obviously how sour you like your bread is a personal preference.

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On 2/6/2019 at 8:29 AM, underproofed said:

Can anyone offer any insight on what the problem might be and how I could ensure a more open crumb next time?

 

Whenever I bake using their sourdough formula, I find I get very similar crumbs to yours.

These were the same dough (though it has something like 6-10% rye flour) which I vacuum mixed, bulked for about 2.5h. One got popped rye as an inclusion and the other nothing. One was proofed for 24h and another for 36h at 4°C (I can't remember which is which though they were fairly similar). The flavour was excellent but I found the crumb to be tough and meaty and not particularly open (still a pleasure to eat). 

 

I find this dough much drier than I'm used to so the easiest solution for me is to increase the hydration as I haven't found extending the proof from 12 -> 36h to have much of an impact besides scheduling convenience.

To be honest, I have had more open crumbs than these using the Van Over method (which has a lower hydration) despite their numerous warnings (I think just about every time they mention the method) that it will produce a tight crumb.

IMG_20181225_190121554.jpg

IMG_20181225_125659307.jpg

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@Kmanim the crumb in the top picture looks very nice, I'd like to see a crumb on my bread like that one of these days. Today was not one of those days however! I proofed for 29 hours. The baked bread was very stout and not as tall as I wanted. I will shape it with more tension next time, maybe that will fix it. The crumb with tonights loaf looks pretty much the same as my previous loaf that was proofed for 21 hrs. Oh well at least it tasted good. 

 

CMxE9QH.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, underproofed said:

@Kmanim the crumb in the top picture looks very nice, I'd like to see a crumb on my bread like that one of these days. Today was not one of those days however! I proofed for 29 hours. The baked bread was very stout and not as tall as I wanted. I will shape it with more tension next time, maybe that will fix it. The crumb with tonights loaf looks pretty much the same as my previous loaf that was proofed for 21 hrs. Oh well at least it tasted good. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cut another slice for dinner and it revealed a much more attractive crumb. I'm quite happy with this lol. Note to self: keep lopping off more bread until you see something you can post on instagram.  😛

 

NdzIYyD.jpg

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6 hours ago, underproofed said:

Note to self: keep lopping off more bread until you see something you can post on instagram.  😛

When Myhrvold was talking about taking pictures of the cut-in-half wok for Modernist Cuisine and how it kept lighting on fire, he said "it only has to look good for 1/1000th of a second!"

 

The problem I had with my crumb was that it seemed tougher than the crumbs I got on other sourdoughs prior to working with Modernist Bread.

 

Your crumbs honestly look very good though, and I'm sure they taste excellent! I think Instagram has spoiled our appetite for open crumbs...

 

What size loaf are you working with? I generally bake 700-800g loaves for batards. I started to move towards it because that seems to be the right size for my banneton, but I have also found that if I go for 1kg, I tend to lose a bit of volume. 

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I just managed to get Vol. 2 & 3 from my public library (thank you!). Very helpful for informing some assumptions I had made from just Vol. 4. But it has also raised some questions I was hoping someone could help me with. 

 

I capriciously bought some (expensive) calcium ascorbate thinking it would work the same as ascorbic acid as it had vitamin C labelled all over it. Does anyone here know if it should work more-or-less as well as ascorbic acid? I'm not good enough at chemistry and I'm not sure how to conduct an experiment to check that it is doing it's job. I have made their ancient grain bread and daily bread which use it but I had no control, and I'm not sure how pronounced its effect is supposed to be on the dough either. 

 

Does anyone else find the batard preshaping and shaping instructions confusing? I can't even understand their preshaping instructions on 3.154, and the shaping instructions that follow on both pages are also relatively complicated to understand. I seem to end up with a much longer batard than in their pictures.

 

Has anyone managed to make a food processor work for the lean doughs from vol. 4 that are higher than the hydration from the Van Over formula? Every time I've tried mixing another dough formula (including ones that they have food processor instructions for), I've ended up with a batter that stops mixing properly and overheats my Magimix (and rides up the inside of the blade and makes it really annoying to clean). Does anyone have any experience with higher (than Van Over) hydration doughs in the fp?

 

 

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Pain de Méteil (p. 4•371)

 

I've made this one before, but it's been a while. I was distracted while feeding my levains on Friday evening and fed my wheat without actually reserving any for baking! So I needed something leavened entirely with rye, and this fit the bill. I don't know why I don't make it more often, it's a really excellent bread. I also made a version with a pressure caramelized 7-grain blend, which was delicious.

 

DSC_8215.jpgDSC_8210.jpg

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I want to make the gluten free bagels - I am unable to determine if they are treated to the bath or steaming like the gluten containing version. I suspect they might not be - don't know if starches gelatinize the same way that flour would.

 

Any thoughts?

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@Kerry Beal, to my reading of the instructions there is no boiling step (they say to follow the "baking" instructions, which are separate from the boiling instructions). Also, I think looking at the photo for the gluten-free bagel it doesn't appear to have been dipped in lye post-bake like their other bagels. So I'd probably try it that way first and see what you get.

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5 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

@Kerry Beal, to my reading of the instructions there is no boiling step (they say to follow the "baking" instructions, which are separate from the boiling instructions). Also, I think looking at the photo for the gluten-free bagel it doesn't appear to have been dipped in lye post-bake like their other bagels. So I'd probably try it that way first and see what you get.

My thought was similar - the picture didn't have that shine of the boiled version and all they talked about was baking - it's almost like the whole thing was an afterthought in the book but I recall Nathan saying how impressed he was by the gluten free bagel when he talked at George Brown. 

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