Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Recipe - Rustic Sourdough

This is the basic outline for my Rustic Sourdough bread.  With a brief set of instructions like this, it is only possible to show the approximate quantities and techniques.  There are entire books written on the techniques that go into making these ingredients into high quality bred.  I will not be able to go into anywhere near enough detail in this post, but I will, in the future, dedicate posts to specific parts of the process.  To explain my formula, I will be using baker percentages, where all quantities are expressed in terms of a percentage of the weight of wheat in the final dough.


2 KG of starter at 100% Hydration
1 KG strong bread flour
1L cold water

Final dough;

2 KG  all purpose flour
4 KG strong bread flour
1.5 % Salt
75% water

Two days before bake day, expand 100 g of starter with 200 g of strong flour and 200 ml of water, leave for 12 hours at around 15 °C.  Expand the 500 g of 1st starter by adding 750 g of strong flour and 750 ml of water.  Allow another 12 hours of cool fermentation.

Roughly mix the remaining 2 KG of strong flour with 3.5 L of water, this is then left to sit for 2 hours.  After this resting period mix the remaining flour, starter and salt to complete the dough formula.

I then leave the dough to sit for another 30 minutes and then hand knead for 15 minutes.  The final dough is then left to ferment for 12 hours at the same cool temperature.  The dough is then divided into 1 KG portions, shaped and left to proof in linen lined baskets.  After half an hour of proofing, the loaves are put in a cold room overnight at around 7 °C.  In smaller quantities the dough would be in the refrigerator or for these quantities, at a warmer time of year, this step would be omitted and shaping would happen just 2 hours before baking.  With the cold rest period the dough is removed from the cold room and allowed to warm up and proof at room temperature for 2-3 hours.

Baking happens in our wood fired oven with the hearth temperature at around 250-260°C until the internal dough temperature is 98°C.  At these temperatures, baking will take approximately 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Baking weekend - Rustic and wholemeal sourdough

It was a very early start required for our first production bake in the wood fired oven.  The quantities we were planning this weekend are not big as it all needed to be mixed and kneaded by hand, but we wanted as many people as possible to taste our bread.  We had pre-orders for 17 loaves of our rustic sourdough and I was experimenting by making a small batch of 7 wholemeal and sunflower loaves. In the end we sold out of everything, but did leave ourselves a couple to eat during the week.  Unfortunately we don't have lots of pictures of all our lovely customer standing round the oven as the weather was appalling and with no proper walls yet on the bakery, it was too cold for people to stay outside.

In addition to this being the largest bake I have done, we were also trying out a new brand of flour.  The flour is an improvement from the bread flower we have been using, but as it is stronger, the hydration will need to be adjusted to achieve the same open crumb that we were getting.  

The real success of the weekend was the wholemeal, it was by far the tastiest bread I have baked and we will be looking to improve it further over the next few weeks.  This new recipe can also be baked at a higher temperature, enabling us to start baking earlier on the thermal curve of the oven, increasing its baking capacity.

We won't be baking for a couple of weeks.  Now we have done a larger scale experiment, there are a few things that need to be finished on the oven and bakery, we need to find a baking assistant for me and we are also considering buying a mechanical mixer.

First batch of rustic sour-dough loaves

Friday, 14 March 2014

Baking weekend - Pizza night

The wood fired oven is fired up ready for tomorrows bake, so we have been making use of the super hot oven this evening and having a pizza night.  

Mmmmm.  Pizza night!

Very excited about tomorrow.  We have pre-orders for all the bread we are baking, yes, completely sold out!  There may even be a little surprise treat for available for tomorrows customers.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Real bread from a real wood fired oven - Baking this Saturday

With the oven just about finished and a few test bakes under our belt, this Saturday will be the first big bake. We almost have more than enough orders from family, friends and Facebook followers than we can deal with this weekend, but we can accept a few more before 7pm this evening.  If you would like to get a loaf Saturday then you have a few more hours to get an order in.  The choice this weekend is our rustic sourdough or our sunflower seed Whole-wheat sourdough.  If demand increases at all, we will be looking to employ a part-time baker is a couple of weeks time to help out.

We can be contacted via google+ or our facebook page.

White Rustic Sourdough

Monday, 3 March 2014

Rustic sourdough, baguettes and Spelt.

This evening we have nice load of bread out of the wood fired oven, including my first sourdough spelt and baguettes along with my normal rustic sourdough.  Very happy with everything that came out the oven, but the baguettes can be improved by modifying the hydration.
Some bread from today's bake

Here is a quick outline of the spelt flour sourdough loaf:

2 KG of spelt flour type 630
200 g of wholemeal spelt flour (fermented as a starter)
30 g sea salt
68% hydration of final dough.

The dough was kneaded for about 10 mins and then stretched a few times during early stages of fermentation which was at a cool temperature overnight.  The dough was then divided into 3 and left to rise in plastic bowls lined with olive oil.  Baking took 30 mins in a hot oven until
the internal temperature was reading 98 C.

Soughdough from 100% spelt flour

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Building a wood fired bread and pizza oven - firing door

To improve the air flow while firing the oven, I have been working on a door that is put in place while wood is burning.  The extra large door combined with such a low arch does not really scale down to such a small oven.  Ideally the door / lintel should be a few centimetres lower than the reducer arch so that all hot gasses go up the chimney and not out the door.  In a larger oven the the door would be the same height as this one, but the main arch and reducer arch would be significantly higher.  The oversized door on this oven was always going to be a design trade-off so to compensate, I am experimenting with a firing door that fits behind the baking door, under the lintel.

Testing the firing door
If the proportions of the firing door are correct it will assist with a better, more efficient burn of the oven.  The reduced aperture improves the separation between the air flowing into the oven and the exhaust gasses leaving by the roof of the oven.  Today test has gone well.  The door proportions seem close to optimal, there is no longer any smoke or flames coming out of the door opening and the improved separation of airflow seems to have improved the amount of air flowing into the oven.

Baking light
The only other new feature to the oven is this light, so that I can see a little better when baking.

Looking forward to doing my second full load of bread tomorrow night.