Monday, March 17, 2014

Pain au Levain with Increased Whole Wheat; 81% Hydrated

This is another exciting Pain au Levain this one is also prepared with Jack Straw, my whole white wheat 100% hydrated sourdough starter. This bread also features a retarded proof meaning, that after bulk fermentation it was allowed to proof in the cooler, this one went for 18 hours. It went into the oven super relaxed. Actually it spread out so much partially due to the high hydration that I had the guide the loaf into a less wide and taller profile. I will show a picture of the bottom of the loaf to show you what I mean. I also shaped this loaf with Robertson approach of shaping a high hydration bread, since this loaf was 81% hydrated. 

This sourdough for this bread is hydrated at 125% and thus is only given 7-8 hours to build at room temperature. I actually increased the hydration to speed up the fermentation. I chose to retard this bread since I had some serious time restraints. I made another bread very big loaf, this one for a Saint Patricks Day Hoolie, thrown by the new friends John and Betty, two wonderful people who are in their prime of life. John is an Irish Soda Baker and I am excited to be sharing this large loaf with him. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Hoolie, as I was. It is an Irish get together, party in a small place; usually a residence. So I made this loaf on the big side again for everybody, and once again it barely fit inside my 3 Qt combo cooker. I baked this bread at 500 degrees mainly because I forgot to turn the oven down after preheating the cooker. It baked for about 60-70 minutes. About 45 minutes I realized I did not turn the oven down, so it finished at 425 for the last 20-25 minutes of the bake. Oddly the bread did not split open as my previous one did, but according to Doug Rae, a local baker in Maryland, this is because the dough was so nice and relaxed. I'll take that over the bread over-proofing. After about an hour the top of the combo cooker is removed and the bread is finished on the bread stone. This is a Mickey Mouse sort of thing, you can easily just keep it in the bottom of the combo cooker too, I am just a funny baker that way. 

So two hours after the levain, the autolyse is started. All of the flour and water are combined and allowed to mingle for about five hours. When the autolyse is complete the levain is added and the salt, and then the dough is kneaded by hand for about ten minutes. This dough is a hot mess at first, but give it three minutes of kneading and it really starts to come together. I think it would help the kneading process if the hydration of the starter was lower and the water in the autolyse was higher, this is due to the absorption of the whole wheat flour. Once the dough is kneaded it is gathered into a sort of ball and allowed to bulk ferment for three hours with 6 folds at 25 minute intervals. Since the dough is not divided a pre-shape is basically not necessary. Once again I shaped these loaves with the chad robertson method . YOu basically just keep folding the loaf into the 'seam' and then you pinch it to hold it together. It actually worked really well. Its a cool method for shaping a wet and tacky dough. The loaves were then retarded in my innovative cooled proofer for 18 hours. Then it is warmed at room temp for 45 minutes, which was most likely futile; and then baked as described above. 

The bread had good oven lift, and great coloration, just a bit weird that no splits developed, but I can not complain it allowed for a pretty cool clover stencil!

Have a great St Patricks Day from your Jewish baker at Hearth Baked Tunes

Bake on,

-DW, The Rye King 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Molasses Eight Grain Levain

This bread is another healthy whole grain invention. 75% of the flour comes from whole grains, not to mention a significant sized soaker. Needless to say this is a case study in fiber. 

I decided to try feeding my sourdough build with freshly ground whole oat groats. I also spontaneously decided to use Liza Mae, my rye starter in order to add one more grain to the mix in this multi-grain bread. Typically, in a bread like this, I would use honey, but I went with molasses which gave the soaker a wonderful deep brown color. The soaker contained, Cracked Spelt, cracked oats, sunflower seeds, cracked white wheat, millet and cracked kamut. Since this bread is made without yeast, it is given a relatively long fermentation time. Three hours on the bench with two solid folds, and then two hours in proofing baskets, seam side up. This long fermentation greatly helps flavor production and this bread's flavor will change as it rests. It will be a little on the sweeter side from the molasses, but still on the earthy and wholesome side. I also used some whole spelt in the dough. I substituted 50% of the whole wheat flour with freshly ground spelt flour, which has such a delightfully brown, earthy color. The one thing this bread will benefit from is raisins which is just enough to give it a chewy bit of sweetness. 

This bread then baked in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes. The loaf that I had the most success with was the one baked in the combo cooker covered for 35 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes. The other loaves did not achieve the same deep color. I later realized that I forgot to steam the whole oven after setting up the loaf in the combo cooker. It was late and I was ready for bed. Oh well!

I also totally forgot to get some pictures. Hopefully, one of my buyers will take a photo or two for me!! 

I am loving this combo cooker thing! It is great! I can not wait to get another one, and a dutch oven and ......... This whole bread hobby thing is really taking up quite a bit of space in my place! 

-DW, The Rye King

Friday, March 14, 2014

75% Hydrated Pain au Levain, with Rye Flour

A 3.2 lb; 1.5 Kg Rye Levain Monster
This is a funny little (poetic justice used) bread that I came up with on the fly. I wanted to make another 75% hydrated pain au levain, but I wanted some Rye in it. This bread is 50% whole grain with 25% of total flour coming from white whole wheat flour and 25% of total flour coming from whole rye flour. 

The starter for this loaf was fed with bread flour, and I used Jack Straw, my white whole wheat starter, which provides a nice medium sourness. It adds a little more "tang" than bread flour but a bit less so than my previous red wheat starter. I placed the starter on my water heater for about 7 hours and then I let it sit at room temperature (55 degrees) for another 2 hours. 

Some elegant but strong brotform lines

The autolyse for this bread is quite simple. It contains all of the wheat flour and rye flour and bread flour and water. The levain build and salt are added thirty minutes later. Generally speaking, the mix was very easy and uncomplicated. I mixed for three minutes on first speed and then three minutes on second speed. It did get a little complicated when my Kitchen-Aid mixer decided to bite the dust, fly the coop, crapped-out. (you get the picture). Hearthbakedtunes bids a fond farewell to our 6 quart friend. My Kitchen Aid has been an important part of my life, but life goes on.  So for now, I am beginning a new "movement": hand kneaded bread. This requires some strength and a lot of force, but I am excited about it. Now that my Kitchen-Aid is out of the commission, the biggest challenge is that i can no longer mill.  So now I am thinking that I will be getting a mill and making my breads by hand. It will be fun and it will get me closer to the process, which is great! Plus, both Forkish's and Robertson's books require mixing and kneading breads by hand. Bring on the challenge. 

I gave this bread four solid folds. If rye had not been included, only three would have been kneaded. Since I did the kneading by hand, I decided that an additional fold was warranted.

I did one other unusual thing with this bread. Instead of baking two loaves, I decided to bake only one. It was a risk worth taking. After baking, I had myself a rye monster, that weighed in at 3.2 lbs. WOW! 

Dabbling with my coined term 'the unscore' letting it burst where it must

I was very pleased with how the combo cooker performed! It really makes a nice bread! And such great brotform rings! 

Another winning hearthbakedtunes formula! It will definitely go in my book down the road.

Bake On!
-DW, The Rye King

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Power of the Pumpernickel

Baking this bread was an absolutely spiritual expereince! I love making this bread as I feel its the link of science, art and history!!

If you want to learn about the mystery of the universe, and then be able to eat it, then this is the right bread for you! Years and years of German bread tradition are wrapped up into this pullman pan and baked in a receding oven for 12-16 hours. I have only done this bread two times before, and I have had very pleasing results. But this is the first time that I have had confidence in my dough. The last two times I baked this bread, I did not have an appropriate heavy bread for the bread soaker. But this time I had a 68% whole rye with fennel which I baked last week. I toasted it up in the oven for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees to suck all of the water out of it and to caramelize all of the natural sugars in the dough and used that in the bread soaker. 

The bread soaker is only one component in the preparation of this bread, I will describe them in order here.

Two nights before you plan on baking this bread, a Rye berry soaker is made. About a cup of rye berries are soaked in warm water overnight. This softens the berries and allows them to swell to about 125% of their original size. This makes the boiling process go faster and also allows the berries to absorb more water during their cooking period. You can place the berries in a hotel pan and bake them in the oven. Since I was not using the oven at the time, I opted to cook them on the stove. I brought the water and berries to a boil, then reduced the stove to a simmer: then covered them and let them cook away for 60-80 minutes. 

The next step is the Rye sourdough build. I have to admit that Liza Mae, my starter was sluggish. She has not been fed in over a month and I should have either used my whole wheat levain, Jack Straw, or should have waited until tomorrow to make this bread. However, I was excited and eager to go, so I used Liza Mae. I was a bit disappointed because the sourdough build did not rise considerably over night. 

At 3:30 in the morning I woke up to start the soaker. I boiled water in my electric kettle and poured it over the severely toasted bread. I also checked on the sourdough build in the boiler room and saw that it was not moving. I turned the oven on 170 degrees for five minutes, shut the oven off and placed the build in the oven and went back to bed. 

At 7:30 AM the preparation and scaling process began. The first thing that had to be done was to completely drain the bread soaker. Important: Do NOT discard the water. I squeezed the bread and removed as much water as I could and placed the bread little by the little into the bottom of the mixing bowl. When you do this, you will notice that the water takes on a light brown color. This is normal. This is from simple diffusion that takes place as the water passes through a permeable membrane (the bread). The water is rich in flavor and if necessary (as it was for me), it is added little by little during the mixing phase. Next the rye chops, bread flour, salt, yeast and black strap mollasses are added to the mixing bowl.

At 7:45 I began the long, slow mix!  The bread is first mixed on first speed for ten minutes. It is necessary to scrape the bowl down as you go. I did this about 5 or six times. Turn the mixer off and really reform the dough into a ball. If the dough is dry add a little of the reserved soaker water. Be sure to add it slowly. I think I added about 1/3 of a cup of water total. The amount of water that you add will largely depend on your cooked berries, the kind of bread that you soaked, and the temperature of the water that you used in your soaker. As aforementioned, I used very hot water in mine. 

This dough then bulk ferments for 20-30 minutes. A pullman pan is oiled well and then floured. Be sure to also oil and flour the lid of your pan. This is done in the same way that one would oil a bundt pan for making a cake. The oil is sprayed on the pan and then a large amount of flour in poured into the pan and the pan is shaken and turned every which way to ensure that there is a coating of flour on the entire pan. This will keep the bread from sticking and will also insulate the bread during the long bake. The bread is then shaped in to a log, about the length of the pan. I literally put the bread next to the pan and shape until it is about 2 cm shorter than the pan. I then quickly and carefully placed the log into the pan; covered it; and then let it rise on top of the oven for about an hour.

Then the baking process begins. I started the baking process in my apartment at 10:06 am. I want to note that increasing your oven's thermal mass will help you to maintain strong heat retention, so I placed a full pizza stone, a 3 quart combo cooker, a 14" cast iron skillet, and half of a bread stone in my oven. I used half of the bread stone because once the bread has been on the stone for an hour I remove the stone and place it on top of the pizza stone, this way the bottom of the bread does not get too thick and carbonized. 

Here is the Breads time line:

350 degrees for 1 hour
275 degrees for 4 hours
250 degrees for 1 hour
225 degrees for 45 minutes
200 degrees for 1 hour
170 degrees for 45 minutes
Oven off for two hours
170 degrees for 10 minutes
Finally, oven off until 12-13 hours from when the bread first went into the oven.

This will closely mimic a receding bread oven and will give you great results! 
Finally, remember to increase the thermal mass in your oven for best results. 

And the moment of truth!!

Bake on!

-DW, The Rye King and proud of it!!!