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


Raamo
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Right -- Modernist Bread's main "hack" is to suggest that most hacks don't really work well anyway, and the key is to reduce the volume of the oven so that the moisture from the dough itself functions as the source of steam. So I have a hotel pan that I use as a lid when I'm baking multiple loaves, and use a cast iron combo-cooker when doing just a single boule.

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Chris Hennes
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9 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Right -- Modernist Bread's main "hack" is to suggest that most hacks don't really work well anyway, and the key is to reduce the volume of the oven so that the moisture from the dough itself functions as the source of steam. So I have a hotel pan that I use as a lid when I'm baking multiple loaves, and use a cast iron combo-cooker when doing just a single boule.

Ok cool. My range has a double oven so the bottom oven is already smaller than a standard one. I’ll start with that and take it from there. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi. I am after some help. I have not fed my starter for around 10 days and the top has a little pinkish tinge to it. Not sure if you can see in the picture or not? Read it could be from the rye flour that is used. Has anyone else experienced this? And still used it.

 

Also, can anyone tell me on page 376 and 377 on modernist bread the hybrid technique for heating the combination cooker and which bit they call the top and bottom? Unfortunately I cannot afford to purchase the book at the moment.

 

Thank you

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7 hours ago, Mutleyracers said:

Hi. I am after some help. I have not fed my starter for around 10 days and the top has a little pinkish tinge to it. Not sure if you can see in the picture or not? Read it could be from the rye flour that is used. Has anyone else experienced this? And still used it.

I haven't noticed a color cast to my starters (rye or wheat), but I abuse them like crazy and they always bounce back. If your starter was healthy to begin with you can literally go months without feeding it, in my experience. I do generally feed it twice before using it when I've done that, however.

 

7 hours ago, Mutleyracers said:

page 376 and 377

Which volume is that? They call the "bottom" the part with short sides, and the lid is the larger piece.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Hi Chris. Thanks for the reply. The thing is I have not changed the glass container it is is for months. Although I do wipe it down after every feed. I have just read a pinkish tinge is bacteria. Just wanted to know if others had experienced this before I bin my 9 month starter out.

 

It is in volume 3.

 

Thank you

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/15/2017 at 1:23 PM, Chris Hennes said:

Every 24 hours, give or take fifteen minutes. What are the actual weights you are using (levain/flour/water) to feed? 

Sorry to bring this up 4 years later, but is your starter peaking at 24 hours or is it completely fallen? 

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6 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

In the feeding regime I was describing there, it "peaked" at 12-14 hours, and by 24 was nearly exhausted. I wouldn't bake with it at 24 hours.

Ok, same, but why don’t you feed it at peak? I know Mod Bread shares that 24 hours seems to be a good feeding schedule based on the acidity levels and 12 hours can create a weaker starter, but I’ve always followed the recommendation to feed it at peak or just after. I guess that doesn’t matter as much and paying attention to peak is only important for baking purposes?

 

Thanks, just got Mod Bread and doing an initial skim. 

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9 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

Because it still has plenty of food then. Feed it when it’s hungry :) 

See I don’t disagree at all. It’s funny because if you do a quick search, almost everyone says to feed it at peak or just after. Happy to cut my feedings to one per day. Just started a 100% rye starter based on Sourdough: A Treatise. The initial mixture calls for soaking wheat bran in hot water for a few minutes, straining the water, and using that for the first 24 hour fermentation. Looking forward to how it turns out. 

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On 11/14/2021 at 12:27 AM, Chris Hennes said:

Right -- Modernist Bread's main "hack" is to suggest that most hacks don't really work well anyway, and the key is to reduce the volume of the oven so that the moisture from the dough itself functions as the source of steam. So I have a hotel pan that I use as a lid when I'm baking multiple loaves, and use a cast iron combo-cooker when doing just a single boule.

Bought a hotel pan today like the one you use in your sourdough chocolate and cherry recipe. Looks like it should work with my 16x14 baking steel. 
 

Do you preheat the hotel pan with the stone? 

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On 1/2/2022 at 4:58 PM, Chris Hennes said:

No, it is thin stainless, no point. No heat capacity worth worrying about.

Baking steel is 16x14 and the hotel pan is 21x13 so there is some over hang on the left and right of the steel. Not sure there is a work around there. Probably not a big deal? Not sure how to judge the amount of steam that interacted with dough. 
 

These were Modernist Bread’s sourdough boules I baked today. Crumb isn’t bad, but it’s not where it should be. Too much kneading. Need to get away from the mixer. Used Cairnspring Glacier Peak flour. D1A0A88B-AF9E-48FC-9AE2-F7230CD16354.thumb.jpeg.f6a826999bbe990f65764112797e5267.jpegFEE4F489-12CF-4CDE-8275-229FC63FF561.thumb.jpeg.0a1abb08fd65c67508c18b34daf5560a.jpegC56F2220-E67A-4E62-8B56-5AAC69882E49.thumb.jpeg.15ff165312fc7bbf6a5c11c218817ae1.jpeg
 

As a side note, I also made a same day sourdough using a 100% rye starter (different book) I created over the past 6 days and a few things went wrong that were completely my fault when it came to getting it into the oven, but wow, the rye starter is awesome and something I’m definitely going to keep around. 

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On 1/4/2022 at 12:41 AM, Robenco15 said:

These were Modernist Bread’s sourdough boules I baked today. Crumb isn’t bad, but it’s not where it should be. Too much kneading. Need to get away from the mixer. Used Cairnspring Glacier Peak flour. 


Not to sound like a broken record ;) but, as long as you're using whole wheat flour, your crumb will never reach non whole wheat flour heights.

This being said, for a transitional whole wheat flour, that's a phenomenal looking crumb. FWIW, I don't think you're overkneading.  The easiest way to discern overkneading is dough that's gone from smooth, to not smooth, but you can also sort of see it in the finished crust, and I'm not seeing any telltale tearing.

Btw, are you baking on steel?  Steel's conductivity makes it ideal for pizza, but, bread favors the lower conductivity of stone- unless, of course, you're looking for an exceptionally dark base.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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On my KA 6qt I use 2 as "low", 5 as "medium", and "however high it seems like the machine won't walk off the counter" for "high". Except for very high hydration, then "high" is 10 and I just hold the damned machine in place.

Edited by Chris Hennes
Because I can't spell KA (log)
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Chris Hennes
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1 hour ago, scott123 said:


Not to sound like a broken record ;) but, as long as you're using whole wheat flour, your crumb will never reach non whole wheat flour heights.

This being said, for a transitional whole wheat flour, that's a phenomenal looking crumb. FWIW, I don't think you're overkneading.  The easiest way to discern overkneading is dough that's gone from smooth, to not smooth, but you can also sort of see it in the finished crust, and I'm not seeing any telltale tearing.

Btw, are you baking on steel?  Steel's conductivity makes it ideal for pizza, but, bread favors the lower conductivity of stone- unless, of course, you're looking for an exceptionally dark base.

Thank you and I’m going to keep trying! Lol

 

Yes a baking steel. Don’t have a stone and not going to purchase one for bread. Just gotta mess around with the preheat time to rein it in. Eventually I’ll be purchasing a Challenger pan. 

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1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

On my KQ 6qt I use 2 as "low", 5 as "medium", and "however high it seems like the machine won't walk off the counter" for "high". Except for very high hydration, then "high" is 10 and I just hold the damned machine in place.

Ok so I’m a bit conservative. Thanks for your insight. I’ll mess around with it. 

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41 minutes ago, Robenco15 said:

Yes a baking steel. Don’t have a stone and not going to purchase one for bread. Just gotta mess around with the preheat time to rein it in. Eventually I’ll be purchasing a Challenger pan. 


If you don't want to invest in a stone, arrange two pieces of foil into a 15" x 17" rectangle and place it on the shelf under the steel, centering it.  This will direct heat around the steel and send it up to the top of the oven/to the hotel pan. This may not give you stone-like results, but, it should balance out the heat better than what you have now.

You can also trap more steam inside the hotel pan by covering the open portions with foil as well.

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18 minutes ago, scott123 said:


If you don't want to invest in a stone, arrange two pieces of foil into a 15" x 17" rectangle and place it on the shelf under the steel, centering it.  This will direct heat around the steel and send it up to the top of the oven/to the hotel pan. This may not give you stone-like results, but, it should balance out the heat better than what you have now.

You can also trap more steam inside the hotel pan by covering the open portions with foil as well.

The steel is already on the bottom shelf (double oven so the larger oven isn’t as large as a normal one and I need the head room for the lid) so I guess I’ll just put the foil under the rack on the bottom if the oven (the heating elements are under the bottom of the oven). 
 

Good idea about using foil for hotel pan. That was too obvious to figure out, haha

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45 minutes ago, Robenco15 said:

I’ll just put the foil under the rack on the bottom if the oven


When you have a heating element under the floor, the floor essentially becomes the heating element.  By placing the foil on the floor, the heat will conduct directly to the foil in such a way that the foil will just become an extension of the floor, and not become the heat deflector that you're looking for.

On the shelf where the steel is sitting, you can put a curve in the foil, fold over the ends into hooks and hang it, like a hammock from shelf wire to shelf wire. That will take it off the floor but still provide a little air between the foil and the steel.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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3 minutes ago, scott123 said:


When you have a heating element under the floor, the floor essentially becomes the heating element.  By placing the foil on the floor, the heat will conduct directly to the foil in such a way that the foil will just become an extension of the floor, and not become the heat deflector that you're looking for.

On the shelf where the steel is sitting, you can put a curve in the foil, fold over the ends into hooks and hang it, like a hammock from shelf wire to shelf wire. That will take it off the floor but still provide a little air between the foil and the steel.

Yeah I was thinking that last part. I’m trying not to make this too much of a process but may end up happening anyway

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Successfully removing brioche from its hot loaf pan for that final 5 minutes of cooking on a rack lined sheet pan can apparently be a challenge 😆 

 

The one side snagged and tore and it immediately deflated. Still going to taste incredible. I may make one tomorrow I enjoyed that so much. 

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7 hours ago, scott123 said:


Not to sound like a broken record ;) but, as long as you're using whole wheat flour, your crumb will never reach non whole wheat flour heights.

This being said, for a transitional whole wheat flour, that's a phenomenal looking crumb. FWIW, I don't think you're overkneading.  The easiest way to discern overkneading is dough that's gone from smooth, to not smooth, but you can also sort of see it in the finished crust, and I'm not seeing any telltale tearing.

Btw, are you baking on steel?  Steel's conductivity makes it ideal for pizza, but, bread favors the lower conductivity of stone- unless, of course, you're looking for an exceptionally dark base.

 

I prefer to bake my French lean loaves on steel.  (For pizza I use aluminum.)

 

No problem with an overly dark bottom for me when using steel.  This is in my APO.  Before that, in the CSO.  @nathanm et al suggest a baking steel for bread a combi oven.  Easy enough to have discerned that for myself.

 

True, they don't advise a baking steel for bread in other types of oven.

 

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