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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nils' German-style Sourdough Bread Again

The last time I made Nils Schöner's "German-Style Sourdough Bread" I promised I had better "play with this recipe some more to get a proper feel for it." Unfortunately, it had been so long since I made it, I'd utterly forgotten it.  So I started over from scratch, following the recipe.  I had to do this anyway, since I had neglected to weigh my many ingredients the first time I made it, in particular the water I added to the dough.

But my conclusions are the same: there is not enough dough to fill my pan, not enough rise with the dough in the time allotted, the rolling up of the dough leads to separation of the dough in the oven.  So the same fixes I suggested before still apply.

After making his recipe, I decided to make this bread yet again, and increase it by about 20% to fit my pan, and then double it so I could give away a loaf to someone.  And it gave me an opportunity to convert the recipe using Baker's math, and also express it as a Tartine-like Baker's percentage (which I've said elsewhere is different but simpler).

Scaling the recipe
The question is, how does one scale this recipe up a notch?  Here is where I find baker's math to be a bit indeterminate to use.  You see, this bread contains a lot of rye meal: is it to be included in the flour amount?  Probably.  It also contains some seeds: are they to be included in the flour amount?  Probably not.  But they still add some volume, and because they have soaked and have released their gum, they add a bit of hydration and cohesiveness.  And in fact, you don't really have to decide, you just have to select a method and stick to it.  I used the Tartine-style, non-standard baker's math to scale this loaf.

If you want to see how I scaled the recipe, see below.  If you don't, here is a simple list of my ingredients:

  • 1000g flour (670g ww, 330g rye)
  • 350g water
  • 33g salt  (but use 30g!)
  • Sourdough Build:
    •     61g Rye Sourdough Culture (~3 TBSP)
    •     667g Rye Meal
    •     909g Boiling water
  • Seed Soaker:
    •     91g Flax
    •     91g Sunflower seeds
    •     303g water

This makes roughly 3x the original recipe.  And since I want to increase my dough by about 20% to fit my pan, and then double it to make two loaves, that is just about where I want to be.

Since I found that the original bread I made with Nils' recipe was a lot saltier than I wanted, I decided to back the salt content to 1.8% overall.  I used my Tartine-style amounts to make 2 loaves for my second attempt.  Unlike the Tartine loaf, which uses 20% wild yeast starter, this bread uses 163.63% starter, and a much longer build.

Bye-bye spice grinder

I began to use my spice grinder to grind up the rye meal, but I guess I was overloading it, and it died.  I won't replace it.  I finished grinding the kernels with my old antique tried-and-trusty coffee grinder.  That took a lot longer, but it got the job done.  I ground up my rye kernels while watching You-Tube bread making videos (Like this one: Cooking with Candra -- How to Make Whole Wheat Bread from Scratch.  I won't be making her bread, this is precisely the kind of bread I dislike now; but what she does with the shaping of the loaf in this video did influence me for this bread…).

My scaled version of Nils' loaf is a bit denser

The boiling water soaked into the rye meal and made a rather clumpy mass that sat overnight and then some (15 hours).  The sunflower seeds and flax seeds soaked up all the water the second time, and this time the (mostly) black flax didn't "split" from the soaking (15 hours).  The final dough certainly required the addition of the extra 350g of water, and may have benefited from even more.  I let it sit not just 60 minutes, but 120 minutes in bulk fermentation before moving it to the pans for the final proofing (that might have added to the later sourness of the loaf).

I decided to try Candra's method of putting a couple of round balls side-by-side in a single pan, before proofing, and the result was a loaf that sort of melded together, more or less.  Candra's loaf had all purpose flour and yeast though; for my bread, which is much more dense, I wasn't sure it would work.  Although it didn't have the same effect,  it did hold together.

I found these loaves to be a bit more sour tasting than I like.  That was probably due to my week-old rye starter that I took from the fridge for the build.  I was hoping to get something a little bit lighter, something I could give to my mother-in-law, but I don't think she could tolerate the tough crust. 

Notes to Myself
  • Is rye meal the same as rye chops?  Apparently not, although rye meal is a coarse grind of rye flour, rye chops would be much coarser still.  Do not suppose rye "meal" is like oatmeal, where the grain is rolled and broken and flattened, and the floury dust is still on it; no, rye meal is rye chops that could sustain any amount of continued grinding into finer powder.
  • About the tough crust:
    I am beginning to wonder if my mother-in-law might benefit from a steamed-bread version of this bread (either with an ordinary stove-top boiler or with a pressure cooker)?  Perhaps I'll try it once, and see what she thinks.
  • Regarding scaling the recipe: here's how I reverse engineer the thinking behind this or any other bread recipe.  The key to understanding what grainy/seedy/unbolted cereal or pseudo-cereal/flours should be included in the recipe's total flour is to consider the amount of salt as a ratio of the flour: it should fall in somewhere around 2% of what you are considering your total flour.  That's the traditional number for bread.  So, for example in this recipe,

    • Rye meal in sourdough build - 220g
    • Total seeds in seed soaker - 60g
    • Total flour in dough - 330g
    • Total salt in dough - 11g

    If you say that the flour alone is 100%, then the salt content is 3.33%.
    If you add the rye meal to the flour (to total 100%), then the salt content is 2%.
    If you add the seeds, the meal and the flour together (to get 100%), then the salt works out to 1.8%

    Now 1.8% of the total is an acceptable ballpark figure for the 2% target that we are aiming for with our salt content -- but 2% is closer still.  Since 3.33% is way too high, we have to include the rye meal in our calculation for total flour for this recipe.

    By the way, the first time I made this bread I didn't notice it, but this time I felt that this bread is way too salty.  I mean, so salty its almost inedible.  Have my tastes changed so much?  Did I make a mistake and add too much salt?  I wondered if perhaps my scale is off (it can collect dough or flour and not work properly sometimes).  I would probably back the overall salt content of this dough to 1.8% overall anyway.

    Now, let's express the recipe in traditional baker's math.  This exercise does not give the method, for that you will need to refer to Nils' book.  It is worth getting.

    1. Traditional Baker's Math Percentages:
    • Total Flour (includes meal from starter): 100%
      •   -- WW flour 42%
      •   -- Rye flour 18%
      •   -- Rye meal 40%
    • Water (includes hydration of sourdough build and seed soaker): 93.8%
      •   -- Sourdough build hydration: 54.54%
      •   -- Seed soaker hydration: 18.18%
      •   -- Additional water in dough (my experience): 21.09%
    • Salt: 2% (But back this off to 1.8%)
    • Seeds: 10.9%
      •   -- Sunflower seeds: 5.45%
      •   -- Linseeds: 5.45%
    • Rye Sourdough Culture (1 Tbsp, ~ 20g): 3.63%

    2. Tartine-Style Non-Standard Baker's Percentages:
    Now let's completely revise the recipe and convert it into Tartine-style, non-standard baker's math, just for fun.  You should not consider mixing the traditional method above with the method given below, they are quite different.

    • Flour (in dough): 100%
      •     ww: 67%
      •     rye: 33%
    • Water (in dough):  35.15% (from my experience here)
    • Seed soaker: 48.48%
      •     linseeds (Flax seeds): 9.09%
      •     sunflower seeds: 9.09%
      •     water: 30.3%
    • Sourdough Build: 163.63% (that number seems strange!)
      •     TBSP mature rye sourdough culture (~20g): 6.06%
      •     coarse rye meal: 66.67%
      •     water: 90.9%
    • Salt: 3.33% (But back this off to 3%, to give you 1.8% salt overall)

  • Since this loaf was a bit sour, I think I'll make even more changes when I make this again: back the sourdough build off to 100%, for example.

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