Tag Archives: sourdough

End of Pro Baking Section 1: Exam baking and a few breads

This post will be mostly baking photos so that I can get the last bit of the Bread Section recorded in here.

The last bit of the Bread Section (Part 1) at The Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island had us repeating, for the final two weeks, the several areas we had been through during the first six weeks, except we hit each station for just two days. Sort of a “Rapid Fire” version of the original stations which wasn’t actually that stressful as we already “been there, done that” just a short while before.

So here are, not necessarily in chronological order, a whole bunch of photos from theis Bread Section for your visual enjoyment.

 

Here’s Kevin, my “partner in crime” for this Bread Section, readying a recipe.

And (finally) I managed to get a snap of Angelique, the bakery department’s Assistant; she’s the one who knows where everything is, orders stuff for us and is generally the “power in the background” that makes the whole thing run smoothly. She was a student here a couple of years back herself so she also has a few tips on how this all works.

   

Pita Breads in two varieties, getting baked.

 The white breads are made using Peter Reinhart’s Lavash Crackers recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. the recipe includes a little honey and veg oil, so the bread is enriched and softer than it would be with a straight, flour-water-salt only dough.

The whole wheat ones are made using a basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe we use for, well, plain ol’ whole wheat breads. This would show that pretty much any decent dough can be used for pita breads. This is the same whole wheat bread we used in the loaves at the very top of this post (beautifully slashed, I’ll add, by Chelsea who was on Ovens that day).

The bread disks are put in a very hot oven where they puff up very quickly. They are removed once puffed and flipped over so the opposite side faces the hearth or top. Watch out for steam escaping from the very hot interior of the bread, though, and act fast. Once they puff up once more, they are taken out and stacked as shown to cool; stacking them this way helps them deflate before they harden and keeps them from drying out too fast. The whole baking process takes just a few minutes from raw dough disks to finished bread cooling off.

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Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat


Here we are with the last of the Pain au Levain triumvirate, the Whole Wheat variation, all of course from Jeffrey Hamelman’s great book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

With respect to full disclosure, note that this bread is made with white bread flour, whole wheat flour and a little rye, so it’s not really and truly “whole wheat”, should some of you be reluctant to try a bread that’s too “grainy”. In fact, there’s not a whole lot of whole wheat in it but enough to give it a distinct taste.

And for those who are reluctant to eat sourdough bread because you think it’s “too sour”, breathe easy: this one isn’t sour at all.

If you’ve followed along, the earlier Pain au Levain and Pain au Levain with Mixed Starters followed basically the same process: start the starter(s) 12 – 16 hours before so this is the same case today. This time, it was a somewhat stiff starter at 60% hydration.

So let’s get this bread going!

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Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters

Same but different. Bread No. 51 for the MellowBakers.com Hamelman Challenge is a slight variation of the last bread I posted, the Pain au Levain. This time around, it includes both a liquid white sourdough starter and a stiff rye sourdough starter. Both were created from my normal 100% hydration white starter, PJ.

Is it worth keeping a liquid white sourdough starter and a whole wheat and a rye one, then maybe even stiff versions of each? Aside from the increased hassle of keeping the feeding schedule for a large number of different sourdough starters, there’s not really a great reason for the home weekend (or two) baker to go to all this trouble. I wrote to Jeffrey Hamelman about the issue of handling multiple starters recently and here’s what he said:

Hello Paul,

Thanks for writing and for asking your astute questions. Feel free to quote me on the answers.

I’ve maintained two starters for a number of years: a firm German-style rye culture (made the third week of August, 1980), and a liquid levain kept at 125% hydration (it’s about a dozen years old). We use the rye for all our rye breads, and the liquid is the base levain for all other breads. Continue reading

Pain au Levain

April’s breads for MellowBakers.com include three variations on Pain au Levain from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. Today’s entry is for the first of the three, simple Pain au Levain. This translates to Sourdough Bread.

One thing that Hamelman makes a point of noting is that this bread is not given a long, slow retardation overnight. The subtle flavours for this loaf and it’s two companions, Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour and Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters, are all achieved with relatively short builds, even though the starters themselves do need to be made up the day before.

Once those levain builds are made up, it’s a pretty quick bread, for a sourdough.

If you’d like to give this bread a try, you can find the recipe in Jeffrey Hamelman’s book BREAD on page 158. You can also find an adapted recipe from Wally at TheFreshLoaf.

As always, I set out all the ingredients ahead of time…

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Reviving Dried Sourdough Starter

In a continuation of the “How To” on drying an active starter previously posted here, we’ll look at the steps to revive that starter. A few people have asked how this is done or how long it takes to get a dried starter back to active duty.

So let’s get going and you’ll see it its actually pretty fast and easy.

Our Mis en Place here is very simple: your starter flakes and some water. Here is the bag of dried starter I made from my ‘from scratch’ starter PJ in the other thread some 7 months ago. It has been kept in the freezer for most of that time. You may be using your own dried starter or a bit you got from a friend, a commercial one like Carl’s or King Arthur or specialty source starter from Sourdo.com… the specific source won’t make any difference, the reviving process is the same.

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Pane Al Fromaggio

… or more simply Cheese Bread, as it’s actually called in Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes This is bread #21 in the Mellow Baker’s Challenge to get through all 84 recipes in the First Edition book. Yes, we’re now at about the 1/4 mark. If you have the book and want to give it a go, it can be found on page 180 from the Levain section (page 190 of the 2nd Edition).

Those of you following along here and on MellowBakers.com will notice that this is in fact a September bread and I’m posting it in mid-October. The reason for the tardiness is that there’s been a refocus in our household of late that’s been taking all our attention; more on that later.

I chose a good Italian Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as the bread’s final flavour can only improve with the quality of cheese you use. The dry Kraft pre-grated stuff would not be a good choice here. An alternative, to save a bit of money, would be to mix the Parmigiano with some Asiago or whatever grateable “dry” cheese you prefer.

Let’s get started…

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80% Rye with Flour Soaker

This post is about rye bread. Not your grocery store Deli Light Rye but hefty, hearty, packed-with-flavour rye bread. The type that you slice really, really thin and it still can hold up to bold flavours like strong cheeses or spicy deli meats.

The kind of rye bread I like best. But that I’ve never made before. So it’s one I was looking forward to getting at in the MellowBakers.com adventure through Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

So having never made one of these really hefty ryes, it was a little bit of an experience making what looked more like paste than dough, the small amount of rising the bread did. This isn’t your mom’s normal white bread, oh no. At 80% rye, there’s little gluten to be seen here but a whole smacking load of sticky.

But don’t let any of this deter you from trying it, because aside from being just a tad “unusual” it really isn’t difficult. Just different.

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