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


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Steamed Buns (KM p. 388)

 

This is  pretty typical recipe for steamed buns, although they go to great pains to point out that you can really steam pretty much any bread recipe. Of course you don't end up with a crisp crust, but sometimes that's desirable (I guess. Maybe.). Filling these is optional, but I made a sort of Sichuan-esque filling with black beans, chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, dark and light soy sauce, and shaoxing. Overall I was happy with them: I've never been to China so can't compare to the buns there, but they were certainly as good as any I've had in the US. Bonus points for being one of the few breads where eating them directly after baking doesn't brand you a barbarian.

 

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Chris Hennes
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Ancient Grain Bread: Durum, Barley, and Quinoa (KM p. 105)

 

20% durum wheat flour, 10% each barley and quinoa flours, and the balance high-gluten bread flour. Inclusions are toasted flax seeds and sprouted brown rice. I've never thought to sprout rice before, and the book doesn't actually contain any instructions for that one. They have a long list of other grains to sprout, but despite a recipe calling for it, no info on sprouting rice. It turns out it's much slower than the other grains, or perhaps needs to be soaked longer. I actually started sprouting the rice the Tuesday before last, and it was just now ready as an inclusion this weekend. I soaked it for 12 hours and then followed the usual procedure of rinsing twice per day, but it took a long time to germinate. At any rate, it worked fine as an inclusion, but was overshadowed by the toasted flax seeds, both in terms of flavor and texture (not to mention appearance). Overall the bread is quite good, I'll probably make this combination again.

 

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Ancient Grain Bread: Spelt,  Dark Rye, and Bulgur (KM p. 105)

 

This week's entry is 25% spelt, 10% dark rye, and 5% bulgur. I couldn't find bulgur wheat as a flour, so I ground it myself in the blender, then sifted it through a fine mesh. The inclusion is toasted amaranth, and the topping is amaranth, which makes a tremendous mess; probably even more so than millet. The bread is quite good: a nice texture and good flavor from the spelt. I didn't pick up much in the way of rye flavor, though. 10% is probably below the lower limit of detectability, to my palate anyway. That's probably true of a lot of these ancient grain blends: it's obvious there is something different in each of them, but the exact blend is not discernible. I will probably play around some with going the whole 40% as a single grain to isolate the tastes of the individual grains. Next week's entry will be predominantly buckwheat, which they have a recipe for. After that, we'll see...

 

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Does anyone have any experience with the modified starch slurry for bagels? I have just tried it and I ended up wasting a large (and expensive) amount of sesame seeds because when I dipped the ultratex-coated bagel into the sesame seeds, it left small pools of the slurry. After dipping the first bagel, the bottom of the bowl became a sticky sesame-porridge and then they wouldn't adhere to anymore bagels I put in and would just slide off. Then the bagels ended up unevenly coated with big chunks of the gloopy sesame seeds which also didn't all dry out in the oven... My only thought was that maybe the ultratex needed more time to thicken. I left it for 2h but I wasn't sure what 'thick enough to cling to the surface of the bagels' meant. I will try again tonight after the ultratex sits during the day in the fridge and hopefully thickens some more. 

 

In less-frustrating news, I ran out of bread flour while I was weighing it (oops) so ended up using 30% wholegrain Spelt and 10% med rye with 1.4% vital wheat gluten and still ended up with uncompromised and delicious bagels!

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15 hours ago, Kmanim said:

Does anyone have any experience with the modified starch slurry for bagels? I have just tried it and I ended up wasting a large (and expensive) amount of sesame seeds because when I dipped the ultratex-coated bagel into the sesame seeds, it left small pools of the slurry.

 

When I did it here I tried a couple of different techniques, but had the most luck putting a smaller amount of the topping in a small bowl and dipping a few, then discarding the remainder of the bowl contents and repeating the process.

Chris Hennes
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On 3/27/2019 at 12:52 AM, Chris Hennes said:

 

When I did it here I tried a couple of different techniques, but had the most luck putting a smaller amount of the topping in a small bowl and dipping a few, then discarding the remainder of the bowl contents and repeating the process.

It definitely hasn't seemed like the silver bullet they touted it to be but your bagels look amazing so it must be able to work! I will give your way a go tomorrow morning with some wheat bran (a little cheaper to waste!). Maybe I will also try putting some straight on the rack and sprinkling the topping over without dipping it.

 

I wonder what their results looked like when they used different starches (different ultratex, pregelatinised tapioca starch etc.)

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I just managed to procure some soy lecithin so my first thought was to attempt the Galliard loaf... Let's just say I've made many Neapolitan pizzas that were taller than this loaf.

 

I followed the instructions for mixing and let bulk for about 10h @ 23°C. I then went to hand knead to full development but, despite their instructions to machine mix 3-5m to full development, after at least 10m of hand kneading, I realised that it was unravelling more and more and it was at its strongest when I gave it some 4-edge folds to get it out of the bowl before kneading it. I tried putting it in the fridge to firm up and giving it several turns but all was lost in the end 😢😢😢😢

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I will try it again, but use the recipe source's amount of sourdough to limit chance of the dough breaking down during bulk (MB used 5% more levain than Spiller) and Spiller's instructions to knead by hand only until smooth (rather than to full windowpane) and then shape immediately after that. 

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I tried the Galliard loaf again with the corrections I suggested above and we have success! Just as they described it - an airy and springy loaf with good volume and open crumb. And my crumb looks just like theirs did! It has a stronger flavour than wheat that reminds me of loaves made with high % rye. The acidity is more pronounced than I'd prefer but I could have opted not to cold proof it

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60% Buckwheat Flour Sourdough (KM p. 106)

 

This is a dedicated recipe in the same spirit as the other "ancient grain" loaves, but with only buckwheat, and no inclusions. The recipe is a bit wonky: it's called 60% buckwheat in the recipe title, but you don't actually use 60% buckwheat, you use just under 50%. The "Net Contents" listing is all kinds of messed up, so I really don't know if it's the recipe that's wrong, or the title, or both. All that said, my loaf came out a bit on the dense side, with fairly minimal oven spring. The dough was lower hydration than they normally call for, which may have accounted for part of it. The flavor is good, very buckwheat-y, but I don't have a lot of confidence that the recipe is actually the one they intended to publish.

 

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Modernist Ancient Grain Bread (KM p. 107)

 

For their Modernist take on ancient grain breads they decided to go with a "second-chance sourdough"-style construction. I don't think there's any real reasoning behind it, they just thought it was nifty. So it's really a French lean bread with an inactive levain inclusion at about 35%, plus a 48% ancient grain flour substitution, and an optional 7% sweetener. There's a lot going on there, so I kept it simple, just using spelt as a ancient grain and sorghum syrup as the sweetener, with no inclusions or complicated flour blends. So far spelt is my favorite of these grains, and I enjoyed the slight sweetness from the sorghum syrup, so this bread was a success. I think "in real life" I'd probably just make it as a straight sourdough, though, I don't often have a need for using up inactive levain.

 

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Chris Hennes
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Basler Brot (KM p. 222)

 

This is a very simple bread, leavened with a very large quantity of levain (66%), with a small amount of light rye added (17%). It's a high-hydration dough at nearly 80%, so it's a bit tricky to work with, but you get a really lovely open structure to the dough and the taste is terrific.

 

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Chris Hennes
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2 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Basler Brot (KM p. 222)

 

This is a very simple bread, leavened with a very large quantity of levain (66%), with a small amount of light rye added (17%). It's a high-hydration dough at nearly 80%, so it's a bit tricky to work with, but you get a really lovely open structure to the dough and the taste is terrific.

 

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Chris, what does "KM" mean?

 

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I made the Modernist Focaccia tonight as a pizza:

 

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I use a slight variant on their sauce (just the quantities and ratios adjusted to use a whole can of tomatoes and a whole can of tomato paste). And as you can see I take the exact opposite tack when applying the mozzarella, not even adding it until the pizza is out of the oven. The residual heat melts it by the time it gets to the table, but it doesn't get warm enough to release all of the water that's in it. It doesn't work as well with a thin crust, but with a thick one like this it's perfect.

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Modernist English Muffins, but modified to use only one initial addition of levain (and no other yeast). I've never made English muffins before so it's a learning experience. However, I do love love love brown crust, and EMs definitely have the edge over loaves of bread in terms of their crust/crumb ratio!

I proofed the dough for about 12 hours in the refrigerator, then put the container outdoors in the cool night air for another 10 or so to attempt to reproduce MB's 55°F target. It fluctuated from 57 to 53 and back to 60 before I brought it back in to divide and warm up. The crust flavor was excellent, but I'm still fiddling with the recipe.

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  • 5 weeks later...

A gluten-free friend of mine challenged me to make a gluten-free bread so I tried making pizza with their blend. The brown rice flour couldn't be found so I had to crudely mill whole brown using my food processor (which was very loud and took nearly 20 minutes to get only a 40% yield when sifted). I also omitted the non-fat milk powder from the flour blend. I bulked for 90m, and cold proofed for 24h (although I don't know if cold proofing would make a big difference). Rolled out very easily and loaded into the oven on a stone pretty easily. Topped with the MB tomato sauce, grana padano, Danish ceddar, and mushrooms. It was not on the level of the pizza I make using gluten, but it was definitely better than several (gluten-not-free) pizzas I have bought at restaurants, and by far the best gluten-free bread of any kind I have ever had. I definitely wouldn't have guessed it was gluten-free when eating it. It was more crispy, rather than chewy, but you could even see some tiny bubbles in the crust!

 

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Edited by Kmanim (log)
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Also, for the same friend, I tried their nut milk bread. It was a little less successful than the pizza. The crumb was pleasantly soft and open and very moist - unlike any gluten-free bread I've seen before. However, the crumb reminded me of squeaky cheese curds in a way that I didn't find too pleasant in the bread and it was just the tiniest bit greasy which wasn't great either. I used corn milk for the milk (because it was the only reasonably priced milk I could make from their list - even so, it was the most expensive loaf I've ever made) which also had a really weird flavour. I'm sure the corny flavour would have worked very well dipped in chili or served with beans and lots of cumin. It overproofed a little bit, but It still provided a fine loaf. If I was in the business of making gluten-free breads, I would definitely give this another few goes to find the right nut milk flavour.

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On 5/13/2019 at 4:37 PM, Kmanim said:

Also, for the same friend, I tried their nut milk bread. It was a little less successful than the pizza. The crumb was pleasantly soft and open and very moist - unlike any gluten-free bread I've seen before. However, the crumb reminded me of squeaky cheese curds in a way that I didn't find too pleasant in the bread and it was just the tiniest bit greasy which wasn't great either.

 

I've had this effect happen in gluten-free breads that I have a lot of protein in, do they discuss protein profiles for suggested nut milks?

 

Really hope I can check the book out someday; the site still recommends this forum for alternate resources, haha.

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6 hours ago, jimb0 said:

 

I've had this effect happen in gluten-free breads that I have a lot of protein in, do they discuss protein profiles for suggested nut milks?

 

Really hope I can check the book out someday; the site still recommends this forum for alternate resources, haha.

I can have a check later today. They give methods for how to make a couple of different different nut milks and whey (which I forgot to mention was in this nut milk bread) but I don't remember how in-depth their discussion was. 

 

You could try checking your local library. I've managed to get the books out (one by one) from my local library on interloan from a university. 

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2 hours ago, Kmanim said:

You could try checking your local library. I've managed to get the books out (one by one) from my local library on interloan from a university. 

Unfortunately no libraries in the province seem to have it, at least not in lending circulation. Plus, the ILL program here just had its funding slashed besides, alas.

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I decided to try making Modernist Knäckebröd.  I recommend this cracker.  It's tasty (we made it to go with some french double cream cheese.)

 

The Modernist version uses pressure caramelization!

 

 

If you have the books there are pictures in there, if you don't here's what the process looks like in less professional terms.

 

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This is basically fatty sweet oats in a jar (with a little baking soda)

 

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Those jars go in here for a 1 hour party!

 

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And come out looking like this - smells amazing - like some sugary fatty oatmeal now!

 

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Combine that with flour, buttermilk, salt, and a little yeast (they say for flavor), mix to make it into a cookie dough like batter.

 

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Spread out and cool in the refrigerator. 

 

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Form into 110g balls,

 

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Flatten - take the middle 1" out and put on a baking sheet.  Also dock them (which I forgot to do before I took this picture)

 

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Bake for 20-30 mins at 320-350F (convection vs non)

 

It's very dry and crackery - but oh so very tasty!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This weekend I made what might be my favorite thing from Modernist Bread - Modernist Pretzels!

 

The first thing you do is mix up Methocel F50 with water and let it hydrate for 18 hours.

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This is what it looks like right after some immersion blender action.

 

Then 12 hours before make a poolish  Here it is right before it's used, nice and bubbly.

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Mix the water, poolish, and a bunch of other things including flour until full gluten development and you end up with something like this:

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It's coated with oil for it's fermenting step.

 

After 90 mins with no folds it grows:

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Make this into 7 ~140g pretzels. I had a bit more dough so 2 were a little bigger.

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These are proofed, I did 5 in my oven on proof and 2 in my steam oven on proof.

 

As I proofed them I got the lye all setup:

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  Safety First!

 

Post proof they bake for ~10 mins:

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Don't really look like preztels yet,  face down into lye and add some salt, bake for 5 more mins and you get these:

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Turns out they come out OK in both the steam oven and the regular oven.  These are super tasty! 

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Spelling is hard.... (log)
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As an experiment, for tonight's French Lean Bread I went back to attempting the method from MB, specifically the delayed addition of salt.  After autolysis I mixed 8 minutes on low (KitchenAid speed 1), added the salt slurry, mixed 2 more minutes on low, then 2 minutes on medium (KitchenAid speed 3).  The dough was weird and lacking strength.

 

Rather than the two folds specified I needed three to get the dough workable at all.  Of course the proof is in the pudding, and I have not cut into the loaves.  I am not optimistic.  Just killing time until they cool.

 

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Another try with delayed addition of salt.  This time with only the two folds as written:

 

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I don't fully understand these things but the breads were ones of my best even if the dough was sticky and almost impossible to work with.

 

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23 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Another try with delayed addition of salt.  This time with only the two folds as written:

 

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I don't fully understand these things but the breads were ones of my best even if the dough was sticky and almost impossible to work with.

 

 

Crumb shot, please ...

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