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


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2 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Two-Step Sandwich Loaf (p. 4•302)

Sourdough and Whole-Grain Bread with Pistachio, Cocoa Nib, and Apricot

 

One of the reasons I was interested in the brick bread above is because I wanted to experiment with their two-step sandwich loaf. In this bread, you make one conventional high-strength dough, and then treat the brick bread dough as an inclusion (scaled at about 30%). In my case I made a conventional 1kg sourdough, and then added 275g of the pistachio, cocoa nib and apricot dough to it. This gets baked in a loaf pan, as it is ostensibly a "sandwich" loaf, though to be honesty I don't know what sandwich you'd make with it. I thought it made pretty good toast, though.

 

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Looks awesome

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  • 2 weeks later...

Russian Rye Bread or Black Bread (p. 4•376)

 

This is an intermediate rye bread with a rye content of just over 55%. It begins with a soaker of old rye bread (I used some leftover Waldviertler Jausenlaiberl), coffee grounds, oil, and water. This is added to a quite high percentage of liquid rye levain, plus a blend of medium rye flour and high-gluten bread flour. The result is a very flavorful, somewhat dense rye bread. It smells quite a lot like coffee, though the coffee flavor is more subtle than I expected from that. The bread spices from the Waldviertler Jausenlaiberl are still quite evident in this loaf, even though it's a very small percentage of the overall bread. So take care when choosing your soaker, because if you use a strongly-flavored bread you will be able to taste it. In this case it worked well, but I don't know if it's quite what is intended.

 

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Chris Hennes
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Naan - Butter Chicken Spice Flavored

 

As with many of their breads, following the master recipe they have a couple of pages devoted to "stuff you can put in this" - for Naan, that means various purees that replace some of the water. This particular puree involves cooking down an onion with some crushed tomatoes, then adding commercial butter chicken spice mix. Truth be told, even the puree by itself didn't actually have that much of the butter chicken spice mix in it, the flavor was pretty subtle. In the naan, what you get is the onion, mostly, plus the color from the spice mix. I wasn't sure that the flavor of the butter chicken spice wasn't just my imagination, even eating the naan plain. Topped with a lentil curry, it was basically just naan. If I try this again, next time I am going to use a lot more of the spice mix.

 

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Chris Hennes
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As a neighbour is going fishing soon, and having some of his salmon catch turned into lox, I thought I'd make some Pumpernickel - pg. 270 in the Kitchen Manual - (and some bagels next week). Bought a 9x4x4 pullman loaf pan off of Amazon.

 

Soaked the rye berries for about 28 hours.  A friend and I make beer, so I used the grain grinder to rough crush more rye berries for the cracked rye and pumpernickel flour, and fine tuned the grind in the modified aircraft engine my wife calls a blender. I've never seen pumpernickel flour or cracked rye, so I used my best guess as to texture, according to pictures I googled.  Rye starter was with Rogers Dark Rye flour, mature/ripe.

 

Mixed about 5 minutes with one hand - squeeze and release technique.  Dough was like wet concrete.  Final proof in the fridge for ~18hrs.  Top of pan bulged a bit, and some dough oozed out around the lid - maybe a tablespoon in all.  Hope I oiled everything well enough...

 

Cooked for 36 minutes at 500F, and then oven off (with lights on - why not??) for ~13.5 more hours.  I put the very large kiln shelf I use as a baking stone in the oven to act as a heat sink to try and trap more energy, and release as the oven cooled - placed the pan on a different shelf, NOT the baking stone.

 

Lid came off like a charm, and it plopped right out of the pan when inverted.  Whew!  Wrapped in cling film for 18 hours and then sliced and tasted.  It's very, very dense.  Looks like it's supposed to, and I think tastes correct, but I have no reference point.  Saving some for a german friend to evaluate.  I think it's an acquired taste, and will be good with some strong cheese and some charcuterie, or a ripe tomato with salt and pepper.  And the aforementioned lox, with cream cheese, capers, onions, etc.

 

Pics, or it didn't happen....

 

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@jer_vic, funny that you made that just now, I'm about three days behind you! I'm also making the Pumpernickel, but I just started the rye berry soak last night. I'm glad to see it turned out well, or at least the right color. How did you slice it? I found the Whole Wheat brick loaf to be very tough, and wondered if this was going to be similar.

Chris Hennes
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1 minute ago, Chris Hennes said:

@jer_vic, funny that you made that just now, I'm about three days behind you! I'm also making the Pumpernickel, but I just started the rye berry soak last night. I'm glad to see it turned out well, or at least the right color. How did you slice it? I found the Whole Wheat brick loaf to be very tough, and wondered if this was going to be similar.

 

Ha!  The fundamental interconnectedness of all things, no doubt.  In the last picture, you can see the yellow handle and blade of the 11" Henckel carving knife.  The top of the loaf is very crunchy, so after the first slice, I turned it sideways.  It is quite tough to cut, but will cut very thin, if you can do your part.  I cut 4 slices to freeze for my german friend, and thought that was enough slicing for a bit....

 

Good luck with your pumpernickel, I'm sure you'll post pics when it's complete.  Using the new Blumlein oven you just got (stalking you on the other thread  🙂 )?  Not jealous at all (totally jealous).

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On 7/23/2020 at 12:27 PM, jer_vic said:

Top of pan bulged a bit, and some dough oozed out around the lid - maybe a tablespoon in all.

Mine bulged more than a bit, and I lost about 220g of dough:

DSC_5693.jpg

 

This dough quantity is crazy for such a small pan! I have no idea what's going to come out of the oven tonight. Definitely a "brick bread" anyway. I hope it doesn't destroy my pan.

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Chris Hennes
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18 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

Mine bulged more than a bit, and I lost about 220g of dough:

This dough quantity is crazy for such a small pan! I have no idea what's going to come out of the oven tonight. Definitely a "brick bread" anyway. I hope it doesn't destroy my pan.

 

Oh goodness! Flashback to Lucy Ricardo baking bread  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGxQAIz_qSM

 

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Landbrot

 

This is a relatively high hydration (88%) bread made from 50% medium rye and 50% whole wheat flours, leavened with a wheat levain. Of course, the high hydration and low gluten flour blend means that you kind of end up with a disc of bread, but I guess that's intentional. The flavor of mine came out quite sour, but I've found that my levain develops very quickly when you use rye flour with it, so that isn't really surprising. Not, perhaps, the most beautiful loaf, but worth eating.

 

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Chris Hennes
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Well Land Brot means land bread so I imagine its origins are to be sturdy and carried to the work field which was often outside the village. .Plus any preserved meat product carried along was probably salty preserved and intense so that worked together. And got you to drink thus hydrating worker. I think you got it right. Like taste?

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On 7/25/2020 at 7:52 AM, Chris Hennes said:

Mine bulged more than a bit, and I lost about 220g of dough:

DSC_5693.jpg

 

This dough quantity is crazy for such a small pan! I have no idea what's going to come out of the oven tonight. Definitely a "brick bread" anyway. I hope it doesn't destroy my pan.

 

Wow!  Definitely more came out than mine!  Hopefully you don't/didn't get too much oven spring.....

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Pumpernickel

 

You've already seen the first part of the pumpernickel adventure, above. The dough itself is fairly uncomplicated: soaked rye berries are added to a huge quantity of liquid rye levain along with a bit of pumpernickel rye flour (a very coarsely ground dark rye -- I used Arden Mills), and a bit of salt. This makes an amount of dough that you'd normally make two loaves of bread with, but in this case it's all crammed into a single 9x4x4 Pullman pan. With predictable results, it seems to me! The most unusual part of the process is the very, very long bake: 15 minutes at 500°F (convection), and then the oven is turned off and the bread is simply left there for 16 hours, undisturbed. It did not achieve as dark a color as I was hoping for/expecting based on the write-up, so I might give this a go with the non-convection timing (30 minutes of baking) next time, and making sure to kill the power to the oven right away (it didn't occur to me to flip the breaker until the oven had been furiously venting itself for 20 minutes).

 

That said: a) the bread is delicious, I love the base flavor here, b) it's not as dense as the 100% whole wheat brick, since so much of this loaf is actually the levain, which is relatively soft, and c) sliced thin and sauteed in butter until toasted and crispy and topped with good cheese, this bread is pretty amazing. I think I will make this again at some point, and probably just take 200g of the dough and mix it into something else, instead of letting it ooze out of the Pullman overnight. I bet it would be a delicious addition to a plain sourdough.

 

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Chris Hennes
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Grain Count Sourdough

 

This section of the book is one where it feels like they included it just to poke fun at someone. They have a sort of interesting analysis of the number of grains in various commercial n-grain breads, showing peaks at 7, 12, etc. But also mention the baker's pissing contest of who can include the largest number of grains in their bread, and then proceed to a) point out how dumb it is, when you have 50 different grains so any given slice almost certainly doesn't even have all of them in it, and b) of course they include some recipes for various grain counts, including one that's pretty absurd. However, I love grain inclusions, and these recipes do feature one unique point: vastly more inclusions than normal. For a 1kg loaf, this has 210g of inclusion. So there's no missing them! I used flax seed, poppy seed, black sesame seed, rye chops, steel cut oats, and walnuts. So not even touching the sheer number of their peak recipe, but it's still a delicious bread, with a great texture. Baked as a loaf because I really wanted slices of toast.

 

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Pretzels: Alternate Shapes

 

Today's project was to experiment with the alternative shape ideas Volume 5 has for pretzels. I made one of each, plus a couple of normal pretzel-shaped pretzels. Overall I thought the braided one was the most successful, but truth be told I'm partial to the more traditional pretzel shape if you're not trying to use it as a bun or something. These are the Modernist pretzels, with the post-bake lye dip.

 

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Chris Hennes
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3 hours ago, TdeV said:

 

Hi Chris. Could you please explain what are "pressure-carmelized" grains?

The grains are cooked as normal, then pressure-cooked (typically in a canning jar) along with a small amount of sugar, butter, and baking soda. This causes the grains to caramelize (well, "Maillardize" I guess, if that's a word...). One of my favorite inclusions is pressure-caramelized rye berries, but I've done it to many different grains to good effect.

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Chris Hennes
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I posted about the Pumpernickel a couple of months ago. Last weekend I made it again, attempting to fix the two major issues I had last time. To address the lack of color I made two changes. First, I tried baking it for the 30 minutes specified for the basic home oven, rather than the 15 given for the convection oven. Second, I cut the power to the oven immediately after baking to prevent the fan from venting. Alas, neither seems to have made any difference at all, this loaf came out exactly the same color as the previous one. It also comes out of the pan wet. I meant literally, with water on its surface when I unmold it. So I had to bake it for a few minutes after the 16 hour bake time to dry out the crust. I don't understand where this condensation is coming from. Any suggestions?

 

To prevent the bread from pushing its way out of the Pullman pan during the final proof, I simply made the full batch, then removed 250g of the dough and used it as an inclusion in another dough. This was completely successful: the dough did not attempt to exit the Pullman pan, and the second loaf (basic white pan de mie with the 250g of pumpernickel dough added to it) was delicious:

DSC_6719.jpg

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I think this is the first time I've made the pita recipe from Modernist Bread. It has a very large amount of oil in it (just over 13% baker's percentage), and uses a 24 hour refrigerated proof stage. I think technically the recipe has you preshape the dough before that proof, but I didn't do that, I just left it in bulk and divided and shaped the next day. We ate these for dinner fresh from the oven: can't get them any fresher than that! They are delicious: great flavor and texture. I generally prefer the flavor of whole wheat pitas (my go to recipe is from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible (eG-friendly Amazon.com link)), but these definitely gave my usual recipe a run for its money.

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7 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

It has a very large amount of oil in it (just over 13% baker's percentage)

 

Those pitas look great. I have to mention that traditionally, pita breads are made without fat at all. I do however think that for home bakers adding oil is a good idea, since most don't have a super-hot tabun oven (or a pizza oven). Though maybe 13% is a bit much.

Two tips for pita makers:

- Use the highest heat setting your oven has.

- Immediately transfer the baked pitas into a closed, insulated container (I line it with moist towel). They are prone to drying out.

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~ Shai N.

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Modernist Bavarian Pumpernickel

 

After my various previous problems making Pumpernickel the "old-fashioned" way, I've now tried the Modernist variant. It basically cheats the color in by adding black cocoa powder, molasses, and caramel color. So, surprise! The color is better in this loaf. It also skips the overnight proof by simply adding commercial yeast. So it's faster to make, assuming you already have a (large quantity of) liquid rye levain. It's a delicious bread, but it doesn't really taste that much like the baseline recipe. The molasses takes over a bit, I thought, and without the overnight proof the levain is just at a standard maturity, instead of getting that extra age. So the rye sourdough flavor is a bit more muted. So: I like it, but it's sort of marginal as direct substitute for the real thing.

 

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Chris Hennes
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38 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

It's a delicious bread, but it doesn't really taste that much like the baseline recipe.


My apologies, but I had to smile reading this. Growing up in rural Germany, Pumpernickel was on the table more often than not. And I loathe it. So much. And while I admire you going through the process of replicating something inedible, it seems that the shortcut at least didn’t taste as bad as the original 😜

 

YMMV, of course ...

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