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


Raamo
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In the basic sourdough recipe, with the machine mixing instructions, do they clarify what they mean by "mix to medium gluten development?"

 

I use a 6qt KA mixer with a spiral dough hook, and have gradually been shortening mixing times when using medium to high-hydration doughs and autolyse steps. If I go longer than 90 seconds, the dough seems to get soupier rather than firmer. I'm assuming the gluten will break down if I go longer than this, but everyone online who writes about mixing bread mechanically mentions mixing times of several minutes. Should I ignore the apparent weakening of the dough and mix longer?

 

My dough ends up being extremely extensible, but almost entirely without elasticity. At hydration levels above 65% my boules get floppy and almost resemble focaccia. (using half KA AP flour, half KA bread). But it's delicious ... like the best tasting bread I've had. When I lower the hydration, I get beautiful, professional looking boules that just taste ok. 

 

Should I mix longer or change the dough development steps in any other way? Right now I'm making the recipe as written, with regard to autolyse, mixing, and stretch / fold schedule. I've increased the hydration to 70%, and am using a lower percentage of starter, to facilitate a longer warm ferment. My starter gives the flavors I like if it gets a few hours in the 90°F range.

 

For one trial I tried adding a couple of extra stretch / fold steps. This made a stronger dough, but gave a tightly organized crumb that was less chewy, and resembled commercial sandwich bread. Not awesome.

 

Any tips on how to get a stronger dough that will hold its shape, without compromising flavor, will make me oh so happy.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bake a couple loves of French lean bread once a week.  Tonight's baguette was particularly lovely.  I have a KitchenAid and rather than finishing on speed two I've been finishing my dough on speed four or higher for a shorter time.  Not recommended of course.  Don't tell on me.  But why pay for a commercial mixer if you can't beat the hell out of it?

 

It sure was good.

 

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8 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have a KitchenAid and rather than finishing on speed two I've been finishing my dough on speed four or higher for a shorter time. 

 

I thought most of the recipes say to finish mixing on medium speed which I've been using between 4 and 6 on my kitchenaid?

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22 minutes ago, rob1234 said:

 

I thought most of the recipes say to finish mixing on medium speed which I've been using between 4 and 6 on my kitchenaid?

 

Interesting!  I'd love to know what the MB folks call "medium".  I had originally been using 1 for low and 2 for medium.

 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Interesting!  I'd love to know what the MB folks call "medium".  I had originally been using 1 for low and 2 for medium.

 

Having said that, I sometimes have to hold the mixer in place so it doesn't fly off the counter when mixing at that speed so maybe it should be slower.

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Kitchenaid's guidelines are not very useful for bread. They don't take into account hydration or degree of gluten development you're going for. 

 

You really just have to pay attention to the machine. Watch it, listen to it, keep a hand near the vent to feel how warm the exhaust air is, smell it. Don't wait for the motor to labor, or for the smell of sizzling hot motor windings. The only problem with the higher speeds is that when the mixer gets overwhelmed, it happens much more quickly. You'll have less time to react. You'll be more likely to break a gear than to just overheat the thing.

 

But as long as it the mixer isn't showing signs of struggle it's probably fine.

 

It's telling that actual commercial mixer companies like Hobart give more precise—and conservative—capacity recommendations.

Notes from the underbelly

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Though in the context of Modernist Bread recipes, which numerical KitchenAid speed setting corresponds to "low" and which to "medium"?  I have a commercial KitchenAid and I've never had it wobble.  I also have a smaller KitchenAid but I've never (that I can remember) tried it to make bread.

 

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I'd imagine "low" means speed 2, which is the only speed that KA recommends for bread. On 1 the motor doesn't get enough air flow and is danger of overheating. 

 

I don't know if the MC crew define their speeds. I think most people think of 4 to 6 as "medium." If you've got really soupy high-hydration dough I can imagine this working ... if for some reason you really need to beat the crap out of it. With firmer dough this seems pretty dicey to me. 

 

KA's top-end machines aren't really what bakers think of as commercial mixers, even though plenty of them get used commercially for smaller stuff. The one labelled "commercial" is distinguished by a few tweaks that make it easier to clean, so it gets an NSF approval. All the real commercial mixers (Hobart, Globe, etc.) change speeds through changeable gears, so they have monstrous torque in low speed, with no sacrifice of cooling power. But it's still not terribly hard to break them!

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tried the Bahn Mi this morning, dough is very hard to mix until the stage where the fat gets added, then it's a really nice dough.

 

I only have space to bake 2 at a time in my steam oven, so I proofed 2 on the counter at 70F and two in the steam oven with humidity at 95F (I can't go lower).

 

Made sadwiches with it for lunch, I'll post that picture over in the lunch thread.  Notice how much a difference the two proofing methods made.

 

bahnmi.thumb.png.a49fcf0566459fad062f32c7d440f2b8.png

 

Guessing ideally it would be not as wide.  These are 260g of dough and ~8" long per the recipe.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Raamo said:

Tried the Bahn Mi this morning, dough is very hard to mix until the stage where the fat gets added, then it's a really nice dough.

 

I only have space to bake 2 at a time in my steam oven, so I proofed 2 on the counter at 70F and two in the steam oven with humidity at 95F (I can't go lower).

 

Made sadwiches with it for lunch, I'll post that picture over in the lunch thread.  Notice how much a difference the two proofing methods made.

 

bahnmi.thumb.png.a49fcf0566459fad062f32c7d440f2b8.png

 

Guessing ideally it would be not as wide.  These are 260g of dough and ~8" long per the recipe.

 

 

 

Which are which?

 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm still trying to figure out the proper mixing for French lean bread.  My KitchenAid is a KSM8990WH.  The planetary revolutions are easy enough to measure.  On the lowest three speeds they are 40.54, 50.00, and 96.77 RPM.  Calculating the hook RPM was a little more difficult.  My method was to attach a twist tie to the beater and paint the twist tie with red nail polish.  Even so I could not get a perfectly reproducible result, but I measured a planetary to hook ratio of 2.6 to 2.7.

 

Using a ratio of 2.7 gives hook RPM's of 109, 135, and 261.  For a stand mixer the MB French lean recipe calls for 10 minutes on "low" (1090 revolutions) and 2 minutes on medium (270 revolutions).  This is more revolutions than the 1000 revolutions  Hamelman calls for in his book Bread.

 

While @gfweb was off consulting the book of Daniel, I was pondering Ezekiel myself.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Something I just noticed...

 

When moving a boule to the banneton I place the seam side down.  When transferring the boule to the peel I flip the dough to have the seam side still down.  However from the pictures and description in MB, it appears that when the boule is dumped from the banneton the seam side is now up.

 

What do people do?

 

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4 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I recall there was one boule in there where they proofed 'upside down' and didn't slash - but can't recall which one it was.

 

No, this is proofing right side up (seam down) but loading on the peel upside down.  If that is clear.

 

 

Edit:  the reference is 3-338, "How To Transfer from a Proofing Container"

 

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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I thought part of the function of the banneton was to leave the imprint of the slats on the loaf and form the shape of the loaf.  The imprint is made on the bottom in the banneton but after the flip are on the top.  (And the fabric cover was to mute the slat lines when they are not wanted.)

 

If you are getting the seam on the bottom of the loaf in both the baking pan and banneton you must be doing a slide and not a flip out of the banneton.

 

Is my understanding of the banneton incorrect?

 

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

There are how many bakers here on eGullet and no one knows whether they bake seem up or seem down?

 

@Edward Dekker see the picture on page 3-338.

 

I am away from all my references but I do recall a reference  to doughs that are too slack to slash and are baked seam side up. The seam functions then as a slash would in a firmer dough.  I cannot swear that this is from Modernist Bread. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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7 hours ago, Anna N said:

I am away from all my references but I do recall a reference  to doughs that are too slack to slash and are baked seam side up. The seam functions then as a slash would in a firmer dough.  I cannot swear that this is from Modernist Bread. 

 

But if you proof bread in a banneton do you, in your kitchen, turn the dough directly out onto your peel or do you flip it so the seam is down.  I'm not asking hypotheticals.

 

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3 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

But if you proof bread in a banneton do you, in your kitchen, turn the dough directly out onto your peel or do you flip it so the seam is down.  I'm not asking hypotheticals.

 

I can only tell you that I do it but it depends on the bread. I can’t be any more specific or less hypothetical. 

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I can only tell you that I do it but it depends on the bread. I can’t be any more specific or less hypothetical. 

 

Here  I hope you can see the method used by Ken Forkish. The banneton is turned upside down and the dough is dropped into the Dutch oven so that what was its bottom is now its top. No slashing. 

 

Edited to add: doughs which get a cold retard in a banneton in the fridge are slashed and go into the oven top side up so that the side that was up in the banneton is still top up in the oven. The doughs are never inverted. 

Edited by Anna N
To add further info (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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In most cases, shaped dough is placed into bannetons with the seam side UP, whether proofed cold or warm, and then fully inverted and scored (on the non-seam side) when moved to the oven (this is true using the combo cooker method as well in professional deck ovens). 

 

If you have a particularly slack dough such as a ciabatta (this isn't a great example as they aren't proofed in baskets, but the point stands), you can proof seam side down in a banneton and invert before moving to the oven without slashing. In this case, the seam serves the same function as slashes (which can't typically be easily made on super-slack doughs). Another benefit of proofing a very wet/slack dough seam side down is that the tension of the unbroken top skin allows the dough itself to develop more strength while proofing.  You can test this some time by shaping two rolls and placing them both on a linen sheet (couche) covered, to proof, one seam side up and the other down. After awhile, the roll with seam up will practically flatten (depending on other factors in the dough, of course), while the seam-down will have considerably more strength. 

 

Dough is typically never "slid" out of a banneton to keep the same side up, nor should it be flipped twice. Both of these methods can damage the loaf, ruin shaping, and in some unfortunate cases create thick folds of uncooked dough in the final bread.

 

Finally, in some manifestations of the cast-iron cooking instructions (especially with no-knead recipes), they typically direct you to proof in a basket seam down, then invert into the heated cast iron pot without scoring, because the deep sides of the hot pot making scoring difficult (and the no-knead loaves typically also aren't very "strong"). The combo cooker method obviates this by having you invert the dough onto the "skillet/cover" part of the cooker, which is not deep and so presents less danger of burns. 

 

Hope this is clear. Reality is that in the bread world there's little set in stone - and master bakers take the approach of thinking about the desired characteristics in the final bread and then work backward to create a process for the mixing, fermentation, shaping, proofing, scoring, and baking that has the desired outcome. Want a more rustic look, for example? Proof seam down and invert so the seam is up and breaks on its own (or skip the banneton altogether, don't overwork the shaping and use a couche to proof). Prefer decorative cuts? Proof seam up in a banneton with a cloth (to avoid ridges), invert, brush off excess flour, then dust evenly with fresh flour, score and bake.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been a bit remiss in reporting this summer's experiments (summer is my busy season at work). It's pretty hot here in the summer, so I literally haven't turned my oven on since May: my grill, however, has been getting quite the workout. I've been playing around with their various flatbread doughs and different styles of grilling pizza. My favorite so far is a thick, fluffy pan pizza made with their direct focaccia dough. You can easily retard it several days in the refrigerator so I get a couple nights of pizza out of it. I tweaked the dough by adding 4g of polydextrose to it so that it maintains its crispness off the grill, and I've been cooking it in a big skillet with a lot of olive oil over relatively low heat (about 400°F, give or take). While I basically love all styles of pizza, I haven't been all that thrilled with most of the direct-on-the-grates techniques out there. By migrating to an entirely different style of pizza I've ended up with something I'm really happy with.

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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