Chapter 9 Preferments.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
* Define a preferment.
* List the benefits of using a preferment.
* Understand the difference between a straight dough and a dough that uses a sponge or starter.
* Recall the differences between the various types of sponges and sourdoughs.
* Work with preferments and prepare the recipes at the end of this chapter.
In the previous chapter, you learned how yeast is used to create breads from straight yeast doughs. This chapter deals with very flavorful yeast breads that are made with preferments. The word preferment means "to ferment before." Doughs made with preferments are prepared in stages. The yeast and some of the flour and water are mixed together first and allowed to ferment anywhere from 30 minutes to several days at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator. This mixture is then used as a foundation with which to build a dough. Using a preferment gives the fermentation process a head start, contributing great flavor and/or leavening to the finished bread.
There are several different types of preferments. Some are thick and stiff like a dough, whereas others are thin like a batter. Some are prepared using commercial yeast, whereas others are prepared using wild yeast.
All yeast doughs that use some form of a preferment add a great deal of flavor to a bread. Just like a good wine gets better over time, so does a bread with a long, slow fermentation. As you learned in the previous chapter, there are straight yeast doughs and doughs made using preferments. Chapter 8 deals exclusively with straight doughs and this chapter deals exclusively with preferments. At times, references will be made to straight doughs for comparison.
This chapter explores the different types of preferments and their applications in yeast doughs.
To review, straight doughs are very simple yeast doughs in which most of the ingredients are mixed together at the beginning of bread making. Straight doughs are used to make breads such as white, whole wheat, and challah, among others. They are given a relatively quick fermentation and proofing and then are off to the oven. This quick process does not add a great deal of flavor to the finished bread.
Preferments, on the other hand, are yeast mixtures that are fermented before the actual dough is made. The yeast and some of the flour and water are mixed together first and allowed to ferment anywhere from 30 minutes to several days. Preferments are used for two reasons: (1) to increase flavor in breads and (2) to provide leavening.
Preferments are associated with artisan breads, which are prepared by bakers who manipulate the dough with their hands with great care and skill using traditional methods. Traditional methods can be traced back to the Old World European style of bread baking wherein breads were baked by hand in wood-fired ovens using little machinery such as mixers and proof boxes. Although modern commercial bakeries do use mixers and some other equipment to prepare enough bread to meet demand, for the most part, commercial operations that prepare artisan breads tend to remain small-scale so the baker can feel and craft each loaf.
Artisan breads tend to share similar characteristics:
* They tend to include only natural ingredients with few preservatives.
* They tend to be prepared using a preferment that contributes great flavor.
* They tend to be manipulated and crafted by hand at some stage during their preparation.
Artisan bakers choose to follow the Old World bakers of years ago. Proof boxes are not used; instead, the dough is fermented at room temperature for a longer period of time than that of a straight dough. These longer fermentation periods enhance the flavor of the finished bread considerably. Because some commercial yeast may not survive a long, cool fermentation period, some artisan bakers prefer to use natural or wild yeasts instead to prepare preferments such as sourdough starters.
Two Categories of Preferments
Preferments can be broken down into two categories: sponges and sourdoughs. (See Table 9-1, Various Types of Preferments.) Before discussing the various types of preferments, it should be noted that there are times when the terminology used by some chefs to refer to the different types of preferments is not used consistently and may be confusing. For example, some bakers use the terms sponges and sourdoughs interchangeably. Technically both sponges and sourdoughs are preferments. However, there are differences between them. One difference is that sponges tend to be made from commercial yeast while sourdoughs are made with wild yeast.
Preferments are used for two reasons:
1. To increase flavor in breads
2. As a leavening agent
Sponges generally are a mixture of flour, water, and yeast that is mixed together and allowed to ferment anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. The sponge is then mixed with other ingredients to form a dough and allowed to ferment one more time. (Note: The sponge is completely used up in the recipe.) The dough is then formed and proofed before being baked. Sponges tend to be a quicker way to add flavor and a mild sour taste to a bread. Sponges are also used when a rich, sweet dough containing a large quantity of sugar is made. High quantities of sugar and fat can slow down fermentation, so forming a sponge before the sugar and fat are added gives the yeast a head start. Sponges can also decrease overall fermentation time.
Although there are many variations of sponges, there are two major types: those that are thin and batter-like and those that are thick and dough-like. They vary mainly in the amount of water that is added. Thinner sponges tend to ferment more quickly, whereas thicker sponges ferment more slowly, giving the baker more time before it needs to be used. Examples of thinner sponges include poolish and levain-levure. Examples of thicker types of sponges include biga, pate fermentee, and altus brat.
Poolish, the French word for "Polish," was so named because Polish bakers are thought to have originated this type of sponge technique. It is often simply referred to as a sponge. A poolish is typically prepared with equal parts of flour and water by weight.
The amount of commercial yeast used can vary. The longer the poolish is expected to ferment, the less yeast should be used. When a poolish is fermented fully, it should have risen and then fallen back onto itself so that it has a wrinkled appearance on the top. A poolish is fermented at room temperature from 3 to 15 hours. It can also be refrigerated overnight and brought to room temperature before using it.
Buttermilk, Dried Plum, and Hazelnut Bread (This chapter, page 177)
Overnight Poolish Bread (This chapter, page 180)
A levain-levure is a French term for a preferment using commercial yeast that means "leaven of the yeast." It is typically a stiff sponge, but can be thinner like a poolish. A levain-levure should not be confused with a levain, a sourdough starter using wild yeast.
A biga is an Italian preferment so thick that it resembles a bread dough. A typical biga contains approximately 50 to 60 percent water as compared to the weight of the flour and up to one half of a percent of instant yeast. Because of its stiff consistency, it can be prepared several hours in advance and left at cool room temperature for up to 3 days. A stiff sponge like a biga is the preferment of choice when preparing yeast breads with a high water content, because the tight gluten network that forms within the biga provides great structure to the dough. A biga tends to contain more yeast to make up for its thick texture, which can slow down fermentation.
Pate fermentee is a French term that simply means "old dough." It is simply a piece of dough that has been saved from a previous batch of bread dough. This piece of dough is added into a new batch of dough toward the end of mixing. The old dough is a quick way to add the flavor of a preferment to a new batch of bread because it has already gone through the fermentation process.
Some bakers prepare a separate dough just to be used as a pate fermentee so the fermentation time can be monitored carefully. Because a pate fermentee contains all the ingredients of a bread dough, including salt, which can inhibit fermentation, additional yeast may be added to make up for this.
Care must be taken not to overferment a pate fermentee because the extra yeast can produce an overly acidic dough as a result of excess by-products of fermentation. Therefore, these doughs tend to be fermented at cool room temperature (approximately 65[degrees]F; 19[degrees]C).
Altus brat is a German expression meaning "old bread." It is similar to a pate fermentee except, instead of a piece of old dough being added to a batch of new dough, old bread is soaked in water, squeezed dry, and allowed to ferment. This fermented old bread is then added to a new batch of dough.
Sourdoughs or sourdough starters are similar to sponges but tend to need more of a time commitment, requiring several days before they are ready to use. Besides the yeast sponge, a sourdough also contains bacteria. Two species of bacteria that exist in a sourdough are Lactobacillus and Acetobacillus. As sugar within the flour undergoes fermentation by yeast, the bacteria in the starter also undergo a slightly different kind of fermentation and give off lactic and acetic acids. It is these acids that give sourdough breads a pleasant sour flavor. Sourdoughs, like sponges, can use commercially available yeast or they can take advantage of wild yeast that exist naturally in the air, or on the skins of fruits or vegetables without using any commercial yeast at all. For example, grapes with wild yeast on their skins can be added to a flour and water mixture to begin a sourdough starter.
Sometimes fruits or vegetables are used merely as an attractant on which airborne wild yeast can feed. For example, a vegetable, such as potato, can be boiled in water. The starches and natural sugars are released from the potato into the water. This potato water is then used to prepare the sourdough starter. These starters are left at cool room temperature to attract wild yeast that can survive at the same cool temperatures.
A sourdough starter can be created in many ways. Typically, a sourdough starter starts with equal parts of flour and water by weight. The amount of water may vary depending upon the thickness desired. The type of flour used can also vary. Some bakers prefer to start with an organic whole grain rye or whole wheat flour that contains a great deal of natural yeast and bacteria already in it. As the starter becomes strong and active over time, white flour can be added gradually while decreasing the amount of rye or whole wheat flour. Eventually, this would turn the culture into what is referred to as an all white starter. However, an all white starter can be made successfully without starting with amount of rye or whole wheat flours using just unbleached white bread flour. An example of this is seen in the potato starter recipe in this chapter.
Sourdoughs have been kept for centuries and were used exclusively before commercial yeast became available. Sourdoughs that use natural or wild yeast are called natural starters or sourdough cultures (sourdough starters). There are as many flavors of sourdough breads as there are species of yeast and bacteria. A sourdough bread made in San Francisco will taste different than a sourdough bread made in New York. This is because there are so many different varieties of yeast. Certain species of yeast may thrive in certain locations of the world but may die in others. Each area has its own wild yeast native to that area. Sourdoughs are like bird feeders. Give them the right food, and they will come. Strains of wild yeast eat sugars in the flour. A starter attracts natural yeast from a particular area. Those yeast tend to survive because they are already used to the environment. A kitchen where there is a great deal of yeast bread baking will already be plentiful with natural yeast endemic to the area.
A sourdough starter in its beginning stages is referred to as a chef or seed culture. After the chef is fed over a period of time, it becomes strong enough to bake bread. It is then referred to as a sourdough culture or a sourdough starter. Some other names for sourdough starters include barm, desem, and mother. The sourdough breads from France are known as pain au levain. They are prepared using a sourdough starter known as levain. Bakers in France develop their own special formula to make their pain au levain unique in flavor.
Sourdough starters can be thin like a batter or thick like a dough. Thinner, more fluid starters tend to impart more of a sour taste to a bread than a thicker one does. Thinner starters also ferment at a faster rate.
A healthy sourdough starter can be used successfully as the sole leavening agent for bread. However, sometimes a small amount of commercial yeast is added to the starter or the bread dough to ensure a well-risen loaf. This is known as spiking.
Basil and Rosemary Pesto Sourdough Bread (This chapter, page 188)
Garlic-Infused Olive, Onion, and Sweet Pepper Focaccia (This chapter, page 184)
Yeast and Bacteria Living Together
During the beginning stages of developing a natural starter, an interesting phenomenon begins to occur. As a natural starter grows, yeast and bacteria begin to live harmoniously in a symbiotic relationship within the starter. Natural or wild yeast that are grown in sourdough starters thrive in an acidic environment unlike commercially grown yeast, which may not survive.
In sponges made using commercially grown yeast, sugars broken down within the flour are completely consumed by the yeast, leaving no available food for any bacteria to grow. So breads made with these sponges will not be very sour.
In starters made using natural or wild yeast, not all the available sugars are eaten by the yeast. Because the wild yeast are not able to digest certain types of sugar that only commercial yeast can, the natural bacteria present feed eagerly on these leftover sugars. The result is a starter in which bacteria begin to grow and live happily side-by-side with the yeast.
Through the process of fermentation, the yeast give off alcohol and carbon dioxide. The bacteria give off lactic and acetic acids. Other organic compounds are also produced. All of these organic compounds add to the flavor of the finished bread.
Sourdough starters need to be fed regularly to maintain the crucial balance between yeast and bacteria. The feedings usually consist of flour and water.
(Note: Bread made with natural starters only get better over time. Breads made with a new starter, as good as it may be, will never taste as wonderful as bread made with an older, more mature one.)
As previously mentioned, one difference between sponges and starters is that sponges are completely used up in a recipe, whereas only a portion of the starter is actually used at any one time. This leaves plenty of starter that can be fed and maintained almost indefinitely. After all the trouble a baker goes to, to grow and nurture a starter, especially one with wild yeast, discarding it is not an option.
Stirring a healthy starter sounds like bubble paper being popped. It is full of life and, upon close inspection, gas bubbles can be seen forming and popping constantly. It can be very rewarding to create a sourdough starter and then bake incredible bread from it. All this effort yields a great sense of accomplishment for the baker and satisfaction for the customer.
Reliability and Hardiness of Starters
Starters using commercial yeast tend to be much more reliable at leavening yeast breads than natural sourdough starters. If natural or wild yeast are not plentiful when made, the starter becomes overrun with bacteria and may never become healthy and strong. A natural balance must exist between yeast and bacteria that is necessary to maintain the starter's health.
This is the main reason so many bakers add at least a pinch of commercial yeast to their natural starters as a "jump starter." As the wild yeast take hold and multiply, eventually they overrun the commercial yeast and become healthy and strong. Otherwise, unless wild yeast exist in the kitchen, success of a natural sourdough cannot be guaranteed.
Well-maintained sourdough starters are very hardy. A healthy starter can last for weeks and even months in the refrigerator without being fed. However, this is not recommended because the balance of yeast and bacteria may be altered.
Yeast lie dormant between 34[degrees] and 40[degrees]F (1[degrees] and 4[degrees]C) without being harmed under adverse conditions like a lack of food or water or too cool a temperature. In this cooler temperature range, fermentation still occurs but at a much slower rate.
The starter can be successfully "reawakened" or reactivated by allowing it to warm up to room temperature and then beginning feedings to get the yeast back to a healthy, active state. A healthy starter that has been properly maintained can be kept for many years.
Preferments, especially sourdough starters, tend to fend off bad bacterial growth through the natural acids they produce. This acidity inhibits the development of molds and staling, giving breads made with these starters a longer shelf life and an antibacterial quality.
Healthy sourdough starters are so hardy that if an otherwise healthy older starter became contaminated in some way, it is likely that it could be brought back to good health through proper feedings with no deleterious effects.
Developing Flavor in Sourdough Breads
Chapter 8 describes how enzymes and fermentation help develop flavor in yeast breads.
Developing flavor in sourdough breads made using wild yeast starters introduces another organism into the mix--bacteria. Bacteria, like yeast, also eat sugars that are released through enzymatic activity. Bacteria also give off their own by-products, including lactic and acetic acids. The temperature at which fermentation occurs determines how much of each acid will form. The particular combination of acidic by-products that forms in a starter imparts a pleasant sour taste to the sourdough bread baked with them.
Acetic acid, which is the more sour of the two acids, forms at lower temperatures of between 40[degrees] and 55[degrees]F (4[degrees] and 13[degrees]C). The milder lactic acid is formed at warmer temperatures of between 55[degrees] and 90[degrees]F (13[degrees] and 32[degrees]C).
The strain of wild yeast and the specific types of bacteria present will also determine how sour the starter and ultimately the bread baked with it will be.
Sourdough starters using wild instead of commercial yeast can be fermented for longer periods of time at cooler temperatures without being overproofed because yeast activity is slowed by the acidic environment. These long fermentation times at cooler temperatures produce a greater depth of flavor because the by-products of fermentation have more time to be produced.
Retarding the Dough
Many preferments can be fermented in the refrigerator overnight for a longer, cooler fermentation to bring out more flavors. This is known as retarding. Yeast activity slows down at refrigerated temperatures, but continues nonetheless.
Another reason bakers retard the dough is for purposes of scheduling. Because preparing breads using preferments can be so time-consuming, the long fermentation time slows down bread baking. The unattended time necessary for a preferment to ferment breaks up the work involved and what might have been too laborious in 1 day becomes more manageable over a period of a few days.
Retarding yeast doughs can be successfully accomplished with some straight doughs as well as those using preferments.
Differences between Sponges and Sourdoughs
Sponges--Tend to be short-lived. They ferment anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours and are then completely used up in a recipe. Sponges can leaven while imparting complex flavors to breads.
Sourdoughs--The fermentation process for a sourdough tends to take more time to mature, at least 24 hours and up to several days. Sourdough starters can be maintained for years. They need to be fed regularly. Only a portion is used in a recipe, while the rest is saved. It can be refrigerated or frozen. Sourdough starters can leaven bread and give them a complex flavor with a pleasant sour taste.
OVERNIGHT POOLISH SPONGE Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a thin sponge using commercial yeast. * Less yeast is used to compensate for a long fermentation time. * The poolish is retarded overnight in the refrigerator to slow down fermentation and increase flavor. * Allowing the poolish to retard in the refrigerator overnight also helps scheduling become more manageable over 2 days. * A variety of flours are provided as food for the yeast to encourage fermentation. * Semolina, the flour of choice for pastas, comes from durum wheat. It is so hard that, during the milling process, as semolina is cracked open, the starches in it are damaged. These starches break down easily and become excellent food for the yeast. * The sponge is used up completely in the recipe. MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 4 fluid 1/2 cup 120 mL 109% water at 78[degrees]F ounces (26[degrees]C) 1/2 teaspoon 2 1/2 mL 2.3% honey 1/4 teaspoon 1 1/4 g 1.1% instant active dry yeast 3/4 ounce 1/8 cup 20 g 18% semolina flour 1/2 ounce 1/8 cup 15 g 14% whole wheat flour 2 1/2 1/2 cup 75 g 68% bread flour ounces 212% Total Overnight Poolish Sponge Percentage 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, blend the water, honey, yeast, and flours on low speed (Figure 9-1). 2. Stop the machine, scrape down the bowl using a rubber spatula, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. 3. Turn the machine on medium speed and mix for 1 minute to develop the gluten. 4. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight for 12 to 15 hours (Figure 9-2). The next morning, remove the poolish from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up to room temperature for 1 hour before using it in a recipe (Figure 9-3). (See the Overnight Poolish Bread recipe that uses this sponge.) TIP If the bread has to be made within 1 day, the poolish can be made and covered with plastic wrap and allowed to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before using it in a recipe. The poolish should look puffy and be used just as it is beginning to fall. It will look dimpled and slightly pulled inward. [FIGURE 9-1 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-2 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-3 OMITTED] POTATO SOURDOUGH STARTER Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a natural sourdough starter. * The potato water supplies the wild yeast with more sugars and starches with which to feed on. * A natural starter takes several days to mature and a portion of it can be saved and maintained for future baking. MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 16 fluid 2 cups 475 mL 191% potato water ounces 8 3/4 ounces 1 3/4 cups 250 g 100% unbleached white bread flour 1 teaspoon 6 g 2.4% granulated sugar 293% Total Potato Sour- dough Starter percentage Potato Water MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC 1 each 1 each large potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2 1/2-cm) chunks 28 fluid 3 1/2 cups 830 mL bottled water ounces 1. Place the potato chunks and water into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until the potato chunks can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the heat. 2. Allow the potato and water mixture to cool until almost room temperature, about 78[degrees]F (25[degrees]C). Measure out 2 cups (500 mL) of the potato water, discarding the rest, and reserving the potato for another use. The Starter 3. In a very clean 2-gallon (7 1/2-liter) plastic container, mix the potato water, flour, and sugar, using a wooden spoon (Figure 9-4). 4. Cover the container with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band (Figure 9-5). Let it sit at cool room temperature (between 70 and 75[degrees]F; 21 and 24[degrees]C) for about 24 hours. [FIGURE 9-4 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-5 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-6 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-7 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-8 OMITTED] 5. Stir the starter once every day, allowing it to sit for 3 days while making observations about how it looks and smells (Figure 9-6). 6. On the fourth day, the starter will start to separate and smell quite sour (Figure 9-7). The sour smell is from the bacteria beginning to outnumber the yeast. Feed the starter 9 ounces (1 3/4 cups; 255 g) unbleached white bread flour and 16 fluid ounces (2 cups; 480 mL) water at 78[degrees]F (25[degrees]C) (Figure 9-8). This feeding will provide a stimulus for the yeast to multiply. 7. Allow the starter to sit at cool room temperature for 4 more days (Figure 9-9). Do not stir. Continue to make observations. 8. On the ninth day, begin a regular maintenance schedule of three feedings per day, approximately every 4 to 6 hours. After the third feeding, the starter is covered and left overnight. Continue this schedule for 2 more days. Note: Only 1 pound plus 2 ounces (2 cups; 510 g) of the starter is used at the beginning of every day (Figure 9-10). This is done to keep the amount of starter to a manageable amount. The remaining starter should be discarded and the container washed out thoroughly every morning before the first feeding. It is important to use clean containers and utensils when preparing a sourdough starter to prevent harmful bacteria and mold from developing. [FIGURE 9-9 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-10 OMITTED] First Feeding: This is best done in the morning. Ingredients: 1 pound 2 ounces (2 cups; 510 g) starter, 8 fluid ounces (1 cup; 240 mL) water at 78[degrees]F (26[degrees]C) and 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups; 170 g) unbleached, white bread flour. While the starter is weighed on the scale in another clean container, thoroughly clean out the 2-gallon (7 1/2-liter) plastic container the starter was in originally. Place the starter back into the container and add the flour and water. Sir the mixture with a wooden spoon and cover with plastic wrap secured with a large rubber band. Leave the starter at room temperature. 9. Second Feeding: 4 to 6 hours later. The second feeding will be double what the first one was. Add 2 cups (480 mL) water at 78[degrees]F (26[degrees]C) and 12 ounces (21/3 cups; 340 g) bread flour. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon and cover with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Leave the starter at room temperature. 10. Third Feeding: 4 to 6 hours later. Add 32 fluid ounces (4 cups; 960 mL) water at 78[degrees]F (26[degrees]C) and 1 pound plus 8 ounces (43/4 cups; 680 g) bread flour. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and cover with plastic wrap secured with a large rubber band. Allow the starter to sit at room temperature overnight for approximately 12 to 15 hours. 11. The Next Day: Stir the starter down and discard all but 1 pound 2 ounces (2 cups; 510 g). Repeat the feedings using the same schedule as described. 12. Do this for 1 more day, for a total of 3 days of regular feedings to get the starter ready for baking. The starter should smell yeasty and be bubbly (Figure 9-11). [FIGURE 9-11 OMITTED] Observations: * Day 1--Starter is made. * Day 2--After stirring, starter turns a light brown with some bubbles and some activity. Starter smells very mild, a little yeasty. * Day 3--Mixture separates a bit and smells acidic. It is very active. After being stirred down, starter separates into a yellowish liquid and foam. Natural bacteria multiplies and vies for living conditions with the yeast. (Note: It is in this "battle" so to speak between yeasts and bacteria that makes the starter seem like something has gone horribly wrong. Do not give up. This is a normal phase and passes within a few days.) * Day 4--Mixture deflates and separates completely into a yellowish liquid on top and more solid, batter-like material on the bottom. It smells very sour and acidic. The sourness is from the bacteria that are beginning to overrun the yeast. A feeding of flour and water helps encourage the yeast to multiply. * Days 5-8--The starter is left alone for 4 days at room temperature. A yellowish liquid remains on the top and culture separates. Bubbles begin to appear. * Days 9-11--Regular feedings are given. The starter is fed three times a day, every 4 to 6 hours. The starter is extremely active after each feeding, producing lots of bubbles with a yeasty smell and thick batter-like consistency. * Day 12--The starter is ready for baking. (Note: The starter should be used between 12 and 15 hours after its last feeding.)
Maintaining the Starter
To maintain the starter without growing any more of it, match the volume of starter with the same volume of flour and water. A little extra flour is usually given to make sure that the yeast has enough food, if a feeding is ever delayed. For every 1 pound 2 ounces (2 cups; 510 g) of starter, feed it 8 fluid ounces (1 cup; 240 mL) water at 78[degrees] F (25[degrees] C) and 6 ounces (11/4 cups; 185 g) white bread flour three times a day.
The starter can also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to several weeks without any feedings. Whenever storing the starter in the refrigerator, it is important to label it with the amount of the starter and the date when it was placed in the refrigerator. To bring the starter back to a healthier state for baking, bring the starter to room temperature for approximately 2 hours and begin 2 to 3 days of feedings (3 per day) before using it again to bake bread.
BUTTERMILK, DRIED PLUM, AND HAZELNUT BREAD Makes two round loaves, each weighing approximately 1 pound 14 ounces (850 g) Additional Ideas That Use the Recipes in This Chapter Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a yeast bread using a sponge. * The sponge helps lighten a dough containing whole grains, producing a less dense full-flavored bread. * Buttermilk is added for moistness and gives the bread a pleasant, sour taste. * Wheat bran, raw wheat germ, and whole wheat flour are added for a nutty flavor and texture. * The high moisture content of the dough softens the dried plums. * The sponge is completely used up in the recipe. STEP A: 2-HOUR POOLISH OR SPONGE MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 6 fluid 3/4 cup 180 mL 20% water at 78 ounces [degrees]F (25[degrees]C) 1/2 teaspoon 1 1/2 g 0.2% instant active dry yeast 1/4 ounces 1/8 cup 5 g 0.5% wheat bran 1/2 ounce 1/8 cup 15 g 1.6% raw wheat germ 2 1/2 ounces 1/2 cup 70 g 8% bread flour 2 1/2 ounces 1/2 cup 70 g 8% whole wheat flour 38% Total Step A, percentage 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, mix the water, the yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, and flours on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 to 3 minutes to develop the gluten. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours or until the mixture doubles in volume and looks puffed up. If the room temperature is below 70[degrees]F (21[degrees]C), place the mixture in a proof box. STEP B: DOUGH MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 12 fluid 1 1/2 cups 360 mL 40% warm water at 110 ounces [degrees]F (43[degrees]C) 1/2 teaspoon 2 1/2 g 0.3% instant active dry yeast 12 fluid 1 1/2 cups 360 mL 40% buttermilk ounces 1 ounce 2 table- 30 g 3.3% light brown sugar spoons 3 1/2 ounces 3/4 cup 100 g 11% whole wheat flour 1 ounce 1/2 cup 30 g 3% wheat bran 2 ounces 1/2 cup 55 g 6% raw wheat germ 3/4 ounce 1 table- 20 g 2.2% salt spoon 1 pound+ 4 cups 565 g 62% bread flour, plus 4 ounces more if needed 4 1/2 ounces 1 cup 130 g 14% pitted dried plums, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces 4 ounces 1 cup 115 g 13% chopped hazel- nuts, toasted 195.1% Total Step B, percentage 233.4 Total Buttermilk, Dried Plum, Hazelnut Bread percentage 1. Place the bowl with the poolish onto the base of the electric mixer. Add the water and yeast. Using the paddle attachment, blend the mixture on low speed. 2. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ. Blend using the paddle attachment. 3. Add the salt and enough of the bread flour to make a thick, sticky mass of dough. 4. Change from the paddle to the dough hook and mix well. Add more bread flour, if necessary. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky. 5. Using a bowl scraper, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it lightly using the bowl scraper to lift it over onto itself for 2 to 3 minutes. 6. Knead in the dried plums and hazelnuts until well distributed (Figure 9-12). 7. Place the dough into a large bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flip the dough over so the greased side is up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in volume. This can be done at room temperature or in a proof box. 8. Preheat a deck oven or an oven with a pizza stone or baking tiles to 450[degrees]F (230[degrees]C). 9. Punch the dough down by pulling the outer edges into the middle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round free-form loaf. Place the loaves on a wooden board sprinkled generously with cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap and allow them to proof at room temperature for approximately 1 hour or until they have doubled in volume. 10. Using a razor blade, make decorative slashes on the surface of each loaf and slide them into the oven (Figure 9-13). Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, spritzing the loaves every minute or so with a water bottle. Continue baking, without opening the oven, for another 20 minutes. [FIGURE 9-12 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-13 OMITTED] 11. Reduce the oven temperature to 400[degrees]F (205[degrees]C) and rotate the loaves. Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the loaves are a dark golden brown. The crust should feel hard and the bread should sound hollow when thumped with a finger. Cool on a rack. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] OVERNIGHT POOLISH BREAD Makes two round loaves, each weighing approximately 1 pound 13 3/4 ounces (845 g) Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a yeast bread using a sponge. * A sponge is prepared and allowed to ferment overnight in the refrigerator and is completely used up in the recipe. * A combination of flours is used for flavor and texture. * A long, slow fermentation for the poolish starter helps increase flavor while decreasing the dough's overall fermentation time. STEP A: OVERNIGHT POOLISH (SPONGE) 1. Make one recipe of Overnight Poolish sponge that has been brought back to room temperature. STEP B: DOUGH MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 1 pound 5 1/2 cups 780 g 85% unbleached bread 11 1/2 ounces flour 3 ounces 1/2 cup 85 g 9% semolina flour 2 ounces 1/2 cup 55 g 6% raw wheat germ 20 fluid 2 1/2 cups 600 mL 65% water at ounces 78[degrees]F (26[degrees]C) 1 1/2 4 1/2 g 1% instant active dry teaspoon yeast 1 tablespoon 18 g 2% kosher salt extra bread flour for dusting 8 ounces 234 g 25% Overnight Poolish Sponge starter (from Step A) 193% Total Overnight Poolish Bread Percentage 1. In a bowl, whisk to blend the two flours and the wheat germ. Set aside. 2. Add the water and the yeast to the starter already in the electric mixing bowl and blend using the paddle attachment until it breaks up and becomes loose. 3. Add two thirds of the flour mixture and blend on low speed (Figure 9-14). [FIGURE 9-14 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-15 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-16 OMITTED] 4. Change to the dough hook and continue adding the remaining flour until a slightly sticky and elastic dough forms (Figure 9-15). Continue mixing on medium speed for 30 to 60 seconds. 5. Turn the machine off, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. 6. Add the salt and blend until it is well incorporated, about 60 seconds (Figure 9-16). 7. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a work surface, using little or no flour, until smooth and elastic (Figure 9-17). 8. Place the dough into a large mixing bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flip the dough over once so the greased side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature (approximately 75[degrees] to 80[degrees]F; 24[degrees] to 27[degrees]C) or until doubled in size, about 2 hours. 9. Punch down the dough and divide the dough in half using a dough cutter. Cover each half and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. [FIGURE 9-17 OMITTED] 10. Shape each half into a smooth ball (also known as a boule) (Figure 9-18) and place the dough into two heavily floured round baskets or bannetons (9 to 10 inches in diameter; 22.5 to 25 cm) (Figure 9-19). Flour the tops lightly, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow them to proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bannetons are baskets made of willow in which the dough is allowed to proof. After unmolding, the pattern of the basket is imprinted on the dough, forming an attractive loaf. If a banneton is not available, a greased stainless steel or glass bowl can be used. Be sure that the bowl is twice the size of the dough to accommodate its rising. 11. While the boules are proofing, preheat a bread oven or a conventional oven with baking tiles or a pizza stone on the bottom to 450[degrees]F (230[degrees]C). 12. Gently flip one basket of dough over onto a floured peel. Using a razor, make shallow cuts in the dough (Figure 9-20). Slide the dough into the oven. Repeat with the remaining basket of dough. 13. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, opening the oven briefly and spritzing the bread with a spray bottle filled with water once or twice every minute for the first 5 minutes of baking. 14. Using a peel, rotate the loaves 180 degrees and continue baking the breads for 10 to 15 minutes more or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with a finger. The internal temperature of each bread should read between 195[degrees] and 200[degrees]F (91 and 94[degrees]C). Cool on racks. [FIGURE 9-18 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-19 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-20 OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] GARLIC-INFUSED OLIVE, ONION, AND SWEET PEPPER FOCACCIA Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a yeast bread using a natural preferment. * The starter should be used in the recipe within 12 to 15 hours after its last feeding. * A small amount of commercial yeast is added to the dough for a lighter texture. * The moisture level in the dough is high to create an open hole structure. STEP A: SOURDOUGH STARTER 1. Make Potato Sourdough Starter. Be sure to use it within 12 to 15 hours after its last feeding. STEP B: GARLIC-INFUSED OIL MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC 8 each 8 each large garlic cloves, skins left on, smashed with the flat of a knife 8 fluid ounces 1 cup 240 mL extra virgin olive oil 1. Preheat the oven to 300[degrees]F (149[degrees]C). In a small heatproof container, place the smashed garlic and oil. 2. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the garlic and oil from the oven and allow the mixture to cool for 30 minutes. 3. Pour the mixture through a sieve and discard the garlic pieces. Use this oil in the recipe. STEP C: CARAMELIZED ONIONS, OLIVES, AND ROASTED SWEET PEPPERS MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC 1/2 fluid ounce 1 tablespoon 15 mL olive oil 2 each 2 each large yellow onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced 1/2 teaspoon 2 1/2g granulated sugar 2 teaspoons 10 mL balsamic vinegar 2 each 2 each large sweet bell peppers (whole) 4 3/4 ounces 1 cup 135 g Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 1 1/2 fluid 3 tablespoons 45 mL garlic-infused olive ounces oil (Step B) 1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the sliced onions, sugar, and vinegar. Mix together until well combined. [FIGURE 9-21 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-22 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-23 OMITTED] 2. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be brown and caramelized. Remove them from the heat and allow to cool (Figure 9-21). 3. Roast whole bell peppers over an open flame or under a broiler, rotating them until the skins are completely blackened. Place them in a heatproof bowl covered with plastic wrap. The steam from the hot peppers will loosen their skins (Figure 9-22). Remove the skins, the stems, and the seeds; coarsely chop the peppers. Set aside. 4. Combine the onions, bell peppers, olives, and garlic-infused olive oil in a mixing bowl (Figure 9-23). Cover the mixture and chill until ready to use. Makes two half sheet pans STEP D: FOCACCIA DOUGH MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 24 fluid 3 cups 710 mL 69% water at ounces 78[degrees]F (25[degrees]C) 1 pound 2 cups 510 g 50% potato 2 ounces sourdough starter 1/2 teaspoon 2 1/2g 0.2% instant active dry yeast 1 1/2ounces 3 tablespoons 45 mL 4.4% garlic-infused olive oil 2 ounces 1/2 cup 55 g 5% raw wheat germ 14 1/4ounces 3 cups 405 g 40% all-purpose flour 1 pound 4 cups 565 g 55% bread flour, 4 ounces unbleached, plus more for dusting 1 tablespoon 18 g 1.8% kosher salt olive oil for brushing freshly ground coarse black pepper kosher salt for sprinkling 225.4% Total Step D percentage 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the water, starter, yeast, garlic-infused olive oil, wheat germ, and the flours. 2. Using the dough hook, mix the ingredients on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until a wet, sticky dough forms. 3. Stop the machine, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. 4. On medium speed, add the salt and mix well for 6 more minutes to develop the gluten. 5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to ferment for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature between 70[degrees] and 80[degrees]F (21[degrees] and 27[degrees]C) or until doubled in volume. The dough will be very sticky but do not add more flour at this point. 6. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough cutter, cut the dough in half. Each half should weigh approximately 2 pounds and 6 ounces (1.1 kg). Brush two half sheet pans with olive oil and place one half of the dough in each pan. Pat the dough gently and evenly into the pans (Figure 9-24). Try not to pop any bubbles that formed during fermentation. Do not be concerned if the dough does not go into the edges of the pan. As the dough proofs, it will spread. 7. Gently cover the dough with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Allow the dough to proof for 1 hour or until the dough looks puffy. 8. Preheat the oven to 500[degrees]F (260[degrees]C). Gently peel off the plastic wrap from the dough. Brush the top of each focaccia with olive oil. Divide the olives, onions, and peppers evenly over each of the two focaccia. Sprinkle each with fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt (Figure 9-25A and B). 9. Place the focaccia in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 450[degrees]F (230[degrees]C). Bake for 15 minutes. 10. Rotate the focaccia and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until they are brown and crusty. [FIGURE 9-24 OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-25A OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-25B OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] BASIL AND ROSEMARY PESTO SOURDOUGH BREAD Makes two approximately 1 pound 12 1/2-ounce (810-g) rounds Lessons demonstrated in this recipe: * How to prepare a full-flavored bread using a natural sourdough starter that allows for a longer, slower fermentation time. * No commercial yeast is added. The bread relies solely on the natural starter for leavening. * A pesto of basil, rosemary, and oil melts into the dough, infusing the bread with great flavor. * A small amount of flax seed meal provides texture. STEP A: BASIL AND ROSEMARY PESTO MAKES 4 3/4 OUNCES (1/2 CUP; 135G) MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC 1 each 1 each large garlic clove 2 ounces 2 cups 50 g packed fresh basil leaves 2 tablespoons 12 g fresh rosemary, finely chopped 1/2 ounce 2 tablespoons 10 g shredded Parmesan cheese 1/2 ounce 2 tablespoons 20 g pine nuts 1/3 fluid ounce 2 teaspoons 10 mL lemon juice 2 pinches kosher salt 2 fluid ounces 4 tablespoons 60 mL extra virgin olive oil 1. Through the opening at the top of a food processor with the motor running, add the garlic and pulse the machine until it is finely chopped. 2. Open the top and add the basil, rosemary, Parmesan, pine nuts, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped. 3. Through the opening at the top, slowly pour in the oil while the machine is running (Figure 9-26). [FIGURE 9-26 OMITTED] STEP B: BASIL AND ROSEMARY PESTO SOURDOUGH BREAD MEASUREMENTS INGREDIENTS U.S. METRIC BAKER'S % 18 fluid 2 1/4 cups 540 mL 64% cool water at 70 ounces to 75[degrees]F (21 to 24[degrees]C) 12 ounces 1 1/3 cups 345 g 41% potato starter 1 1/2 ounces 1/2 cup 45 g 5% flax seed meal 1 pound + 6 cups 850 g 100% white bread flour 14 ounces 1/2 ounce 3 teaspoons 18 g 2.1% kosher salt 4 3/4 ounces 1/2 cup 135 g 16% Pesto from Step A 228.1% Total Basil and Rosemary Pesto Sourdough Bread percentage 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, place the water, starter, flax seed meal, and half the flour. Blend together on low speed for 30 seconds to thoroughly combine. 2. Change to the dough hook attachment and add the remaining flour, reserving 2 ounces (1/2 cup; 60 g). Continue to knead until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Add some of the reserved flour only if the dough is sticky but you may not need all of it. 3. Stop the mixer and flip the dough over to make sure it is being mixed completely. Mix again on low speed until the dough is well blended. 4. Stop the machine and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel for 15 minutes to allow the dough to rest. 5. On low speed, add the salt and blend for 2 or 3 minutes until the salt is completely incorporated. 6. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a work surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Resist the urge to add more flour. If the dough sticks to the work surface, use a dough scraper to scrape it up or a few drops of oil onto the work surface to reduce friction. 7. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray. Flip the dough over so the greased side is up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 70[degrees] to 78[degrees]F; 21[degrees] to 25[degrees]C) for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until it is doubled in volume and a finger mark pushed into the dough does not spring all the way back. 8. Punch the dough down by pulling the edges up and over into the center. Place the dough onto a work surface and knead it for 1 minute. 9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, each weighing approximately 1 pound 14 ounces (855 g) and cover each piece with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. 10. Shape each piece of dough into a small ball. Slightly flatten by docking each ball with your fingers to make several small indentations (Figure 9-27A). Spread one half of the pesto mixture over the indentations of each piece of dough (Figure 9-27B). Working with each piece of dough separately, gather the edges of the dough like a drawstring purse to enclose the pesto (Figure 9-27C). Flip it over so that the smooth side is up and shape it into a smooth ball (Figure 9-27D). 11. Place each ball seam side facing up into two well-floured bannetons. Cover the bannetons with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until they appear puffed. 12. Sprinkle some flour on the top of each round and wrap well in plastic wrap. Place the bannetons with the dough into the refrigerator for 12 to 22 hours to develop flavors (Figure 9-28). 13. Remove the bannetons from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of each banneton and allow them to warm up to room temperature for approximately 2 hours. 14. Preheat an oven with baking tiles or a pizza stone to 500[degrees]F (260[degrees]C). 15. Invert the bannetons onto a well-floured baker's peel. Make decorative cuts with a razor blade. [FIGURE 9-27A OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-27B OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-27C OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-27D OMITTED] [FIGURE 9-28 OMITTED] 16. Slide each round into the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 450[degrees]F (230[degrees]C). Spritz the rounds with a water bottle. Bake for 5 minutes, spritzing once every minute for 5 minutes. 17. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven. Turn the rounds to rotate them and continue baking for another 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped with a fist. A thermometer placed in the center of the dough should read approximately 210[degrees]F (99[degrees]C). Cool on racks. Variation: White Sourdough Bread Follow the directions except omit the pesto filling. Bake as directed. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
1. What is meant by the term preferment?
2. Name the two reasons preferments are used.
3. What are the two categories of preferments?
4. List some of the differences between a sponge and a sourdough starter?
5. Describe how long fermentation periods and cooler temperatures benefit sourdough breads.
6. Name the two strains of bacteria in a natural sourdough starter.
7. Why are natural sourdough starters thought to have antibacterial qualities?
8. Which preferment is completely used up in a recipe--a sponge or a sourdough?
9. Identify a stiff preferment that originates from Italy.
10. In what type of preferment would two organisms live side-by-side?
Midland Country Club
1. Question: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in baking and pastry?
Answer: When I was 19 I was exposed to my first professional kitchen and I knew that I wanted to be in this field.
2. Question: Was there a person or event that influenced you to go into this line of work?
Answer: James Krutcher was the first chef I worked under and he helped me go in this direction.
3. Question: What did you find most challenging when you first began working in baking and pastry?
Answer: I came from a culinary background, so crossing over to baking and pastry forced me to be a lot more exact and scientific.
4. Question: Where and when was your first practical experience in a professional baking setting?
Answer: I was doing a stint at a restaurant, Tapawingo, and the baking and pastry staff walked out. The chef told me to get in there and do it.
5. Question: How did this experience affect your later professional development?
Answer: I didn't know much about baking and pastry before that experience. As I developed my skills though, I gained confidence. That confidence allowed me to explore new areas and continually learn.
6. Question: Who were your mentors when you were starting out?
Answer: Steve Stallard has been a major influence on much of my career.
7. Question: What would you list as the greatest reward of your professional life?
Answer: By continually gaining knowledge I can pass more on to those who come after me. In that way, I can do for others what my mentors did for me.
8. Question: What traits do you consider essential for anyone entering the field?
Answer: Anyone going into baking and pastry must have patience and dedication.
9. Question: If there was one message you would impart to all students in this field what would that be?
Answer: Anyone making a career in this area needs to understand how much of a self-sacrifice it is.
Table 9-1 Various Types of Preferments SPONGES SOURDOUGH STARTERS Use commercial yeast Use wild or natural yeast Completely used up in a recipe Can be maintained for long periods of time Poolish Thin Chef Levain-levure Thin or thick Levain Biga Thick Mother Pate fermentee Thick Barm Altus brat Thick Desem
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|Publication:||About Professional Baking|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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