Four New (Old) Heirloom Wheat Berries. And a Boule.

In April I purchased four varieties of heirloom wheat berries from Breadtopia: Turkey Red, Rouge de Bordeaux, Sonora White, and Red Fife. UPS caused a bit of a hang-up when they delivered to the wrong address, but the customer service at Breadtopia was top-notch in sorting it out. I’m a happy customer.

I’ve read through both of the books I purchased (Leonti’s Bread Lab and Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads), and I’ve baked a little bit out of both. I’m at the point now that I want to try things that aren’t huge departures from how I’ve been baking to see how the finished products compare. With that in mind, a boule with 50% fresh milled Rouge de Bordeaux and 50% King Arthur Bread Flour:

Another added variable is the new Le Crueset Bread Oven. I’ll likely do a review after a few more bakes but so far I think it’s going to get a lot of use in the future. It was a very thoughtful gift.

Continue reading “Four New (Old) Heirloom Wheat Berries. And a Boule.”

Epi De Ble, And Drying Basil For “Italian Seasoning”

We had a socially-distanced birthday dinner on the covered back deck. Everyone got their own tear-apart Epi De Ble — instead of messing around with whole loaves and bread knives.

These Epi De Ble were inspired by this King Arthur webpage. Note that two Epi will fit on an 18″ sheet tray, at 150-175 grams of bread flour per Epi. The recipe below makes four Epi.

Continue reading “Epi De Ble, And Drying Basil For “Italian Seasoning””

Double Celebration Challah – An Adaptation From Reinhart’s

For Thanksgiving I thought I’d give Peter Reinhart’s recipe another try. (2015 post here. 2016 post here. Ruhlman original post here. The skeleton of the post below is copied and pasted from the 2015 post.)

From the Bread Baker’s Apprentice — Peter Reinhart’s Double Celebration Challah. The “Double Celebration” indicates a double-decker of braided dough — a smaller braid sits on a larger braid. I increased the recipe by 1.5x because we were feeding a crowd:

Ingredient Measure Baker’s %
Bread Flour 27 oz 100
Sugar 3 TBP 5.5
Salt 1.5 tsp 1.4
Instant Yeast 2 tsp 0.85
Softened Unsalted Butter 3 TBP 5.5
Eggs, beaten 3 large 18
Egg Yolks 3 7
Egg Whites, whisked until frothy 3 7
Water 12 oz 45

and Sesame Seeds for garnish.

1.  One day ahead of time, combine 10.5 oz of water and bread flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. (It’s a simple Poolish without yeast. This would also be fine up to three days in the refrigerator, if so, remove from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before continuing.)

2.  Stir together 15 oz flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In a separate (mixing) bowl combine butter, eggs, and yolks. Turn the mixer on low speed. Add the wet ingredients to the mixer, then slowly add the dry mixture until the ingredients gather and form a ball.

2.  Mix on medium low speed for 6 minutes, adding more flour if needed to make a dough that is not sticky.

3.  Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball, coat with oil, and let rest one hour, covered.

4.  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead 2 minutes to degas. Return the dough to the bowl and let rest 1 hour.

5.  2/3rds of the dough becomes the big braid, and 1/3rd becomes the small braid. Each of those portions are divided into 3rds again, and rolled out into ropes which are smaller at the ends and larger in the center. The ropes are then braided, tucking the ends underneath. Watch this for help on how to braid. Transfer the big braided portion to a parchment lined baking sheet, top with the smaller braided portion.

6.  Brush the loaf with an egg whites wash, spray with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 60-75 minutes until the the dough has grown to 1.5x its original size.

191201 unbaked challah

7.  Preheat the oven to 325F. Brush the loaf again with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes, then turn and bake another 20-45 minutes. The bread is done when golden brown and an instant thermometer reads 190F. (The pictured loaf saw 25 minutes after turning, which I think was too long. More on that below.)

8.  Transfer to a cooling rack and wait at least an hour to eat.

191201 challah

Notes:

I think every time I’ve made this I’ve come away thinking it could be better.  20 minutes + 25 minutes brings the internal temperature closer to 205F than 190F. In the future I’ll likely check the temperature at about the 20 + 15 minute mark. I also think the challah would benefit from a little more salt than the recipe calls out, perhaps even just an extra 1/2 tsp to take the total to 2 tsp (not including the salt in the eggs.)

We had a little bit of extra dough at the end of one of the braids. We were going to visit a 6-year old on Thanksgiving, so:

191201 turkey

In reality the “body” is about 4 inches across. It has an “eye” of sesame seeds and a piece of black sea salt. The “turkey” went into the oven with the challah and was pulled at the 25 minute mark.

The kid seemed to dig it.

 

Ciabatta With Spelt

A Ciabatta. I substituted out 20% of the bread flour and replaced it with Spelt. For reference, the finished bread is about 12″ across:

190527 spelt ciabatta

I started baking with Spelt in 2018. Those blog posts are now gone as part of the move to the new site. For background, Spelt breads will hold air bubbles but the structure Spelt provides is very fragile and it requires gentle working and handling to avoid degassing.

The Recipe and Process: 

400 grams KA bread flour, 100 grams Spelt flour (Bob’s Red Mill), 360 grams water (72% hydration), 15 grams olive oil (3%), 10 grams kosher salt (2%), 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast. That’s less than half the yeast that I’d use if I planned to bake the bread a couple of hours after mixing, but I had other ideas.

The dough was mixed for eight minutes, covered, and allowed to proof for around 4 hours. I then did a two “stretch and folds”, shaped the dough into a ball, and allowed the dough to proof  on a parchment covered pizza peel for another two hours. (I covered the dough with an inverted large bowl during the 2nd rise.)

For baking: The oven and baking stone were preheated to 425F for 30 minutes. I added 1 cup of water to a sheet tray and placed it on the bottom shelf. When the water in the sheet tray was steaming I slid the parchment and dough from the peel onto the baking stone. Total bake time was 35 minutes. (At 30 minutes the internal temperature was only 192F, so I gave it another 5 minutes.)

Postmortem Thoughts:

From Bakerpedia:

Baked goods made with spelt flour will be more dense and heavy than those from wheat flour.

Spelt flour has a much higher water absorption capacity, giving a somewhat smaller loaf volume than common wheat flour.

Which is basically describes the finished loaf. While proofing the dough spread more “out” than “up”, and there wasn’t much oven spring, even though I’d slashed the loaf prior to baking and provided steam in the oven. The crumb wasn’t “tight” but it wasn’t “holey and rustic” either.

Spelt provides a nice nutty taste, and some je ne sais quoi, which is part of the reason I chose to include it in a same-day preparation. I also like Spelt because it tastes less refined and sugary than regular bread flour.

Overall it was a pleasant loaf. I sliced it thinly so that each piece wasn’t heavy and we served it with good butter. It didn’t last even half-way through dinner.

Some Bread Photos From 2017-2018

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

Some bread pictures from 2017-2018:

A medium-or-high hydration rustic loaf. The pattern in the flour is created by proofing the bread in a banneton:

170704 boule

The file title of the photo below indicates that at least one of these two loaves used barley flour. I believe the smaller one used ~30% barley flour:

180121 barley bread

The photo below is why I don’t try to use parchment when baking No-Knead breads. The parchment didn’t allow the bread to spread out in an organic fashion. It tasted fine. But. Ugly.

bread parment sling 171230

I was pretty proud of the way these came out. They’re simple baguettes, around 60-65% hydration.

171214 bread2-2
Cell phone picture.

The pigs in a blanket experiment. It’s basically a simple pizza dough wrapped around hot dogs, sliced, then baked ~425F for 15-18 minutes.

181014 pigs in a blanket

Cheesy breadsticks. Parmesan in this case. Always a hit at beer events.

181122 cheesy breadsticks

Lastly, a potato pizza:

181210 pizza

 

Boule On The 4th Of July

-A.J.

I’m getting more comfortable with the bannetons. I think they’re getting more “seasoned” too.

A boule “born” on the 4th of July:

170704 boule

The Recipe –  600 grams bread flour, 390 grams refrigerator water (baker’s percentage 65%), 13 grams salt (2.25%), 6 grams diastatic malt powder, 3/8 tsp instant yeast.

  1.  Combine ingredients and mix on low speed 8 minutes.
  2.  Cover and let rest 18 hours at room temperature. (65F – 70F)
  3.  Lightly spray oil the work surface. Remove the dough from the workbowl and stretch and fold the dough four times, once from each from top, bottom, left, and right. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a well-floured banneton, seam side up.
  4.  Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rest one hour. Place a baking stone in the middle of an oven, put a sheet tray on the bottom shelf. Preheat oven to 460F.
  5.  When the dough is ready, toss 7-8 ice cubes into the sheet tray. Turn the dough out onto the baking stone and slash the dough as you see fit.
  6.  Bake ~35 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200F.

 

This bread was a little bit of departure for me in a few ways:

  1.  It’s 600 grams rather than 400 grams. 400 grams has been my comfort zone.
  2.  This dough had a higher hydration (65%) than I’ve been able to “smoothly pull off” in the past when using a banneton. There has almost always been some sticking during release from the banneton. Not this time. I made a point to “aggressively and confidently” turn the dough out onto the baking stone. No sticking! That’s good thing!
  3.  The larger dough mass combined with the diastatic malt (and not using a dutch oven) created a relatively dark, thick, attractive crust.

The slashing was less than perfect:  I need to swap out the razor blades for something newer and sharper a little more often.

 

Another Simple (3 Hour) Focaccia

by A.J. Coltrane

Served at this tomato tasting. Most recent Rosemary Focaccia here.

I’ve gradually been dialing back the amount of oil that I’ve been putting into focaccias…

Background:  When I started making focaccia I always measured the oil by volume. At some point I decided that seemed like a silly way to do it — if I already had the scale out, why dirty another measuring cup? My starting point for “oil by weight” was 10%+, as well as a pretty generous dose on top. The link above uses 8% oil. The focaccia below used only 4% with a very, very light drizzle of oil on top.

To go even further off track for a moment — I’m intending to do a post about how different bread types are related to each other based upon their contents. The thing is, I’m not entirely sure anymore what exactly I’m “making”. I have a starting idea, but that’s about it. Though I guess it really doesn’t matter so long as it tastes good.

The bread below uses 100% hydration — the weight of the water is equal to the weight of the flour. That’s among the highest hydration doughs that I’ve posted. This Berenbaum recipe used 113% hydration, but that’s (I think) the highest hydration dough I’ve done (and it uses 9% oil).

I was hoping to achieve a relatively spongy texture — lots and lots of little, fairly uniform holes. The ingredients:

Ingredient Measure Baker’s %
Bread Flour 520 g
Water 520 g 100
Salt 11 g 2
Olive Oil 20 g 4
Instant Yeast 1.5 tsp

Recipe:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a mixer and combine on low speed for 12 minutes. Lightly oil a parchment lined sheet tray.

2.  Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then pour it into the sheet tray, gently coaxing the dough towards the edges of the pan. Cover and let rest 1.5 hours.

3.  Preheat oven to 425F.

4.  When the oven is hot, drizzle a small amount of oil on top of the dough.

5.  Bake for 15 minutes, turn the tray 180 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.

That’s it. It’s seriously simple. The only “trick” is make sure that all of the flour incorporates into the dough — it will tend to want to stay on the sides of the mixing bowl. I used a spatula to scrape down the sides a couple of times during the mixing, then aggressively combined the remaining raw flour after removing the bowl from the mixer.140818 focaccia

Postmortem:  I feel like this one came out about as well as it could have for a 3-hour dough. Using bread flour rather than AP flour was (I believe) the right choice. Adding toppings (salt, herbs, or onion) might have made it more interesting, but the object was to complement the tomato tasting, and in that respect it was basically what I had targeted.

Multiple thumbs up.

A Simple Onion Focaccia

by A.J. Coltrane

The current go-to focaccia. This is the one I make when I have three hours to prepare something — short notice by bread standards.

The Recipe:

1.  Finely slice 100g of onion. (Red onion, sweet onion, scallions, bunch onions — they all work.) Lightly saute the onion in 100g (7  TBP) of extra virgin olive oil. The idea is to remove the rawness from the onion and to impart that flavor into the oil. Let the oil cool for a few minutes, until the pan is no longer hot to the touch. 64g of the oil is used in the dough, below:

Ingredient Quantity Bakers %
Bread Flour 800g 100
Water 600g 75
Ex Virgin Olive Oil 64g 8
Kosher Salt 20g 2.50
Instant Yeast 2 tsp
Thinly Sliced Onion ~100g

2.  Combine all ingredients in a KitchenAid and mix with the dough hook, low speed for 15 minutes.

3.  Place parchment paper in a 13″ x 18″ sheet pan, leaving enough to go up the sides and hang over a little. Very lightly oil the parchment paper, then scrape the dough out onto the parchment.

4.  Oil your fingers and gently stretch the dough towards the edges of the sheet tray. It doesn’t have to go all the way to the edges. It will settle somewhat towards the edges on its own.

5.  Cover the dough for 1:45. At the 1:45 mark turn the oven to 425F. Oil your fingers again and dimple the dough. Spread the onion and remaining olive oil over the top of the dough.

6. When the oven is hot, bake the focaccia for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 15 minutes.

140128 focaccia

—-

Notes:

Halving the recipe will work. Reduce the pan size and the baking time to a total of about 24 minutes.

The crumb has a relatively fine texture, inspired by this Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe. The Beranbaum recipe calls for a very long mixing time (basically 20-30 minutes on medium speed) and an even larger amount of water.

One nice thing about making a focaccia for company rather than a leaner bread, is that the extra oil helps prevent staling while it’s sitting around.

..aaaand… Bonus Girl Cat Pic!

Everybody loves playing in packing paper
Everybody loves playing in packing paper