Ken Forkish why so much levain? any suggestions for leftovers?

Ken Forkish why so much levain? any suggestions for leftovers?

Submitted by Ogi the Yogi on January 16, 2017 - 5:11pm.

Hey guys I just made my first Pain de Campagne, I went ahead and follow the recipe. I know have an enormous amount of leftover levain! 

Why did he ask us to make so much levain:

100g levain + 400 g white flour + 100 grams whole wheat + 400 grams of water! = 1000 grams JESUS!

The recipe did ask for a lot of levain 360 grams of levain for the final dough but I still have so much left over! 

What is his reasoning? Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Kaiser Rolls

Kaiser Rolls

Submitted by Wernerg on January 16, 2017 - 5:00pm.

Hello, I'm new to the forum.  I've been home baking breads of and on for 20 years.  During that time I have had a long running but losing battle with Kaiser Rolls. I cannot get the traditional petal shapes to retain their structure during baking. The purpose of this post is to resurrect this old thread about Kaiser Rolls from 2008 that I found by googling.

In the comments below the forum post, nbicomputers adds a comment with his own recipe and later adds a video clip of how a kaiser roll is folded into it's traditional shape.  The video quality is not great but the content is wonderful and shows exactly how a Kaiser Roll is formed.  My problem is that there is no information about what happens next.  After folding, the dough quite small in diameter and fairly tall.  The best book recipe I have (The Village Baker, Joe Ortiz) says to put the formed rolls between two cookie sheets and weight them down with a cast iron frying pan to get them to expand in diameter during proofing rather than rise up.  I've tried cast iron frying pans, multiple soup cans spread around the surface of the cookie sheet but every thing I try ends up obliterating the folds and I end up with something like the image above.

What I think I'm stuck on is getting the folded dough to expand in width without losing the petal structure.  It is not clear from this post whether anything is done to force the rolls to expand in width so I'm confused about how that happens.  

Thank you.

Werner Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Malt Extract Powder

Malt Extract Powder

Submitted by Craig-Kathy on January 16, 2017 - 4:29pm.

We've been following the forums here for a long time, not being a member. We bake mostly a version of "commercial" bread, rye bread, and hamburger-hotdog buns. We're trying to get a very specific, unique Italian roll and have worked with just about every ingredient. We recently found a home brewing supply store near here, and bought some NON-diastatic malt powder extract. We'd used some DIAstatic malt barley powder and had poor results. We've read all over the place that malt extract does nothing other than perhaps add some flavor, maybe increases proofing times, or perhaps adds a bit of extra browning. Here's what we've learned.

First of all, the diastatic malt barley powder does increase moisture, does maybe help with preservation, but it eats yeast! We wrecked several loaves of bread by putting in a bit too much, and were using only about 1/4 teaspoon! We learned that most flour includes some amount of the diastatic powder anyway, so we abandoned it totally.

We then went for awhile, and experimented with low-hydration vs high-hydration. We found that adding water did increase crustiness, but we're looking for a unique combination of extremely dry and flaky crust, but moist crumb with visible air pockets. The bread we're trying to copy feels almost stale coming out of the bag. It's so light, it feels like cotton candy. But heating it for 10 minutes at 375 creates the most amazing Italian bread!

Okay, we researched more and learned that there is "free" water, and "organic" water. Maybe those aren't technical terms, but free water is the water outside the gluten that turns to steam and pushes up the bread in the oven. It evaporates, leaving air pockets. Organic water is trapped in the gluten and provides moisture to the crumb. It only begins to dry when the bread is over-baked.

If we used low-hydration at 60% we got a decent crust, but the bread felt dry to the tongue and tasted dry. At 65% it was better, but then the crust started getting too hard. Over that, and we got a baguette, pretty much. We added an egg and got a fine, creamy crumb, but more like a dinner roll. We used milk, milk powder, or whey, and every time that created more of a pie-crust-like outer crust.

Our next breakthrough was to put the bread in (on parchment paper, on an aluminum jelly-roll pan), and tent it closely with aluminum foil. That provided the steam to prevent the crust from forming. We read the science of crusts, and saw that water antagonizes thick crusts. We want a super thin, almost non-existent crust that flakes and shatters with the least pressure.

The tenting got rid of the issue of adding a pan of water or tossing ice cubes around. We baked tented for about 15-20 minutes, removed the tent, put the now-fixed roll on a wire rack and then finished for around 5-10 minutes. The times vary because each combination, as well as oven temp produced different results. None of which worked.

Time passed, we kept at it. Then we found actual non-diastatic malt extract. There are many flavors, but we went with a sort of basic golden ale. The guy at the brewing company said he'd had limited experience with bread makers, but that he thought it would be the least distracting, least "heavy" in flavor.

We also make a 1lb loaf, typically with around 4 cups of flour (King Arthur bread flour), about 500-something grams. Our first try we added 1 TBsp of the powder and kept everything else exactly the same. This is our daily bread, so we know exactly how it tastes, bakes, forms, and so forth. Wow!

The malt extract fundamentally changed the texture and flavor of the bread. For the first time, we had the moist mouth feel without impacting the crust. The bread was slightly more golden, but pleasantly so. We then made it again, this time with 2 TBsp. The guy at the brewing store told us that malt extract powder is Very Thirsty! It wants a lot of water!

Another project we do is to make home-style Grandma's old stuffing. It's that sort of gluey, mushy, oh-so-good sage, celery and onion dressing you can't buy. To do that we had to use commercial Italian because there's a sort of sweetness we couldn't replicate. Suddenly, with the 2 TBsp of malt extract, we had that sweetness! So we made stuffing.

An interesting problem with the original bread, when used in stuffing, is that although it slices well, holds its shape, toasts just fine, it falls apart with liquid. With either French toast or in Grandma's stuffing, it dissolved far too easily. We did half-and-half our "white" bread and Challah (we make that too), and it was better, but still dissolved with liquid. The added malt extract kept it from dissolving! The trapped, organic water provided that beautiful softness held within the chicken-broth liquids, and then baked perfectly without even adding any egg!

The bread felt much better, more silky, and it rose easily. No difference in proofing time. We've learned about autolyzing, and with 15 minutes, it helps. We added no extra water, keeping at (I think) 65% hydration. The end result was amazing.

Now we tried it with our Italian experiment and we're amazed to find we're almost there! The problem of the too-thick, too-heavy, too-hard crust is apparently the free water. Lower the water, we get dry crumb. Increase the water, we get hard crust. And yes, we've changed everything over the years, from heat, time, temp, and what-all else.

The malt powder actually goes out and traps water. It's so thirsty, it captures what free water the gluten doesn't take, and keeps it for itself. The remaining smaller amount of free water still creates steam, air pockets, and a super thin crust. However, with the additional organic water, now trapped both in the gluten AND the malt powder, the crumb comes out soft, moist, and has a wonderful mouth feel.

No recipe at the moment, as we're still experimenting with 145 grams KA bread flour. If it doesn't work, we throw it away and it's only a cup. Later, we'll adjust for a regular recipe. For now, we also learned about the Amazing Proof-o-Meter -- a graduated shot glass. We tested at room temperature, and the current bread rose nicely for 1 hour, and doubled in size. We baked it, and it's almost right. We also left the pinch of dough in the shot glass, to find the point where the yeast was exhausted.

We found that the yeast was still well functional at 2 hours, with the dough now tripling in size. Our next attempt will do that --- final proof of 2 hours, 3x in volume.

Take-away: NON-diastatic malt powder extract does a whole lot more than just add a little sugar, or add a bit of flavor. It allows for a lower-hydration bread that still retains the crumb of a higher-hydration. That completely changes the crust thickness.

Additionally, we're going to try some malt syrup -- same company, also golden ale. We're likely not going to get our results because the syrup is NOT as thirsty as the powder. It likely just substitutes sugar. We'll see, but we'll maybe go with both; one for the flavor addition (the syrup), the other for the texture results. Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Ankarsrum (Magic Mill, Electrolux etc.) - accessories question

Ankarsrum (Magic Mill, Electrolux etc.) - accessories question

Submitted by AndyPanda on January 16, 2017 - 2:45pm.

I've been using a classic Bosch Universal mixer for ages and have always wanted to try the Ankarsrum type so I picked up a used Magic Mill Assistent and I'm just getting familiar with it.   Hope some of you that have experience with it can answer a few questions for me.

Since I got it used, it's missing the bowl cover and the hand spatula and the drive shaft for the double whisk.  I was just about to order to replacement parts and a bit surprised at how expensive the parts are.  The spatula is $15 and I was just wondering if it really is useful enough to justify the cost vs a generic scraper like the L'equipe for $2.  

And is the bowl cover ($15) handy enough (for proofing in the bowl) vs just putting a plastic bag over the top of the bowl?  I wondered since the bowl cover goes a few inches down inside the bowl if the sides end up getting dough on them and tough to clean.

My Bosch has the blender and the meat grinder attachments - both of which I use.   I can't see spending the $85 for an Ankarsrum blender and $160 for Ankarsrum meat grinder attachments.  So I'm thinking I'll just keep using the Bosch for those things.  But anyone use the blender attachment? Comments on how well it works? 

Thanks ... I'll probably have lots of questions on technique as I get used to using the Assistent.  But so far I like how well it handles small batches and wet dough.  And I love how much easier it is to clean than the Bosch. Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Bakery in a garden setting

Bakery in a garden setting

Submitted by Real Bread Man on January 16, 2017 - 1:38pm.


Real Bread ManBakery for sale. Truly unique place


Hello. I have for sale a 5000 sq. foot combo bakery, restaurant, and health food store.

-Surrounded by large organic gardens

-Everything you need to bake from day one.

-The rent from the non profit is only $400 a month

- 2 Alan Scott ovens on the property

- Huge proofer, 2 commercial ovens, mixers, 

- Coffee shop meets health food store has been our model

This is a great opportunity. Really! Owners retiring.

Email me with questions Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Flat wholemeal sourdough. What did I do wrong!?

Flat wholemeal sourdough. What did I do wrong!?

Submitted by SNK on January 16, 2017 - 11:51am.

Hello there. I am fairly new to sourdough (and this forum), so I apologise if this has been covered somewhere else.

I have been using a TFL pain de campagne with satisfactory results. My oven spring and crumb size is ok, but would like to improve. Scoring is always a bitch, which I thought may be due to under proofing or high hydration.

Anyway, I altered the above recipe as I wanted to mix things up and increase the amount of wholemeal (recipe below). It turned out very flat, flatter than anything I have baked before. Maybe it is over proofed, maybe my ratios are wrong? Any idea why this is happened? I cooked in my lodge dutch oven and it had doubled in size prior to baking. Oh, and I topped the loaf with the sifted hulls (see photo).

  • 35g starter (100% hydration)
  • 70g water
  • 70g whole
Production dough
  • All the levain above
  • 245g water
  • 1/4 tsp diastatic malt
  • 35g rye
  • 155g sifted whole
  • 75g plain (AP)
  • 80g strong white
  • 7g salt Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Tartine Country Loaf

Tartine Country Loaf

Submitted by bennell on January 16, 2017 - 11:02am.

So after getting the Tartine book at Christmas I have been trying my hand at the basic Country Loaf lately. Unfortunately after what I felt was a promising beginning things have not been going to plan. In 4 attempts at least one of the loafs has exploded out of the bottom during baking. Yesterdays attempt saw both loaves explode. I am hoping for some help in figuring out where it is I am going wrong please. 

I am using a slightly altered version of the country loaf recipe. I am using an all white flour 100% hydration starter. 

For my leaven I discard the majority of my starter and feed it 200g flour and 200g water the night before. I did this last thing before I left work on Friday, mixing the dough first thing Saturday when I get in. This gives the leaven 10-11 hours time to rise. I have found that the leaven has nearly doubled in size by the time I get to mix the dough. In Tartine I know it mentions to expect roughly a 20% increase but I guess my first question is does it matter if the leaven is extremely active? It obviously passes the float test with flying colours. 

I then mix the following 

700g Water

200g leaven

900g T55 or Strong White Flour

100g Fine Rye Flour

into a dough. 

After 40 minutes rest I add 35g Salt and 50g Water. Upping the salt slightly from the original recipe. 

I then transfer the dough into a plastic container where I allowed the dough to bulk ferment for approximately 6 hours stretching and folding every 30 minutes for the first two hours then every hour thereafter. The reason for the 6 hours is that my climate is deinitely a little cooler than SF so I have been giving it some extra time.

After the 6 hours bulk ferment I split the dough and perform the initial shaping per the guidelines laid out in the book. I fold the dough so as to reseal the cut and round it with the seal on the bottom by pulling and turning the dough towards me. At this point I was pretty happy with the dough it was nice and plump and holding its shape well.

After a 30 minute bench rest I reshaped the dough and transferred it to bread baskets for the final rise. I stored the doughs in the fridge overnight for approximately 14 hours. 

Baking - I don't have access to Dutch Ovens at home or in work, at home I have a gas oven ( I am yet to check but I am pretty sure it is not capable of breaking 400F. As such I have opted to do all my baking in work. Without a dutch oven I have been using upturned heavy metal trays which I leave in the oven as it preheats to 480F. To try and generate steam in the oven I put a small tray of soaked tee towels in the bottom of the oven. Just before I set the oven to preheat I took the doughs out of the refrigerator so as to come to room temperature.  

When I put the loaves into the oven I poured one litre of water onto the bottom of the oven to generate some extra steam. I also have a spray gun with which I spray some extra water in after 10 minutes. For timings I do 20 minutes at 480f (250C) followed by 20-30 minutes at 430F (220C). The resulting loaves split at the bottom and formed a very uneven crumb which was relatively denser on the bottom with large air pockets at the top.

The below pictures show the resulting loafs. Unfortunately as a relative newbie I am not sure where I am exactly going wrong I feel like possible trouble areas might be:

1. Steam - I am not getting enough steam into the oven to allow the bread to get the correct oven spring upwards

2. Scoring - I am not scoring deep enough to allow the loaves to open correctly. I am currently using a stanley knife to score the bread  but plan to use a full razor blade to score my next batch.

3. Shaping - I may be making a mistake in either of the shapings or the stretch and folds which is creating a weakness beneath the surface of my dough and leads to this tumurous like bulge.

All feedback welcomed! Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

Hello from Dublin, Ireland

Hello from Dublin, Ireland

Submitted by bennell on January 16, 2017 - 9:17am.

Hello all I've been doing some 'moderate' lurking on this forum over the past couple of weeks and finally thought it was time to involve myself some more!

I'm a fairly inexperienced baker but am keen to learn and have already found a lot of the posts on this forum very informative. My main goal starting out is to learn how to consistently make high quality sourdough.

In cooking school I had reasonable success with the method taught to us. After a couple of relatively dense and flat looking loaves I was happy to produce some good bloomers. After finishing up in cooking school I took a bit of a break from baking, but recently took over the pastry section in the restaurant I am working in and am eager to take the chance to get some practice in baking some sourdough :). Using the Tartine Country Loaf recipe I have had a couple of trial runs still not very happy with the results to be honest but practice makes perfect!

I think that's about it for now but I look forward to getting involved! Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon

100% rye loaf

100% rye loaf

Submitted by Mrsgrew on January 16, 2017 - 8:52am.

100% Rye Bread Loaf

100% Rye Bread Loaf


500g 100% wholemeal Rye Flour

7g instant yeast

5g salt

400ml cold water

20ml black treacle



·         Cling film

·         Sunflower oil

·         Digital scales

·         Measuring Jug

·         Spoon/Spatcula

  • Rolling pin
  • 2lb/1kg loaf tin, or a tin you would use for a loaf with 5-600g of flour

·         Large mixing bowls

·         Dough scraper

·         Timer

·         Serrated knife, dough lame or grignettes




·         Put the empty bowl on the scales and neutralise the scales so they are at zero. Weigh the flour in the bowl, put the salt and yeast into the bowl but on opposite sides from each other as the salt can damage the yeast. Remove the bowl and place the jug on the scales and neutralise the scales and measure the water, remember that 100ml also equals 100g. Make a well in the middle add the water a bit at a time, using a spatula or a spoon continuing mixing until all water has been added. You will notice that it becomes difficult to mix the paste (rye dough is called paste) with just the spatula, so use your hands instead to fold the dough over on itself inside the bowl until it feels firm and comes together. Be gentle with the paste as Rye doesn't like to be handled much.


·         Lightly oil the work surface and knead the paste lightly, it is very sticky and has a low gluten count so it won't be a smooth dough, knead lightly as best as you can as it is very tricky, keep wetting your hands or oiling them and use a dough scraper, knead as best as you can for 7-10 minutes. You must keep your hands wet by dipping your palms into water, this is important as it helps with the handling of the dough.

  • Once you have finished kneading the dough/paste, roll it up into a ball and put into a well oiled bowl cover with cling film and leave for 4 hours in a cool place.
  • o prepare yourself for the dough, lightly flour the work surface enough to stop it sticking, get your tin out and ready by lightly oiling it’s inside, you will also need a rolling pin, even if your tin is non-stick, it needs to be oiled with rye because it is very wet.


  • Once the 4 hours is up, punch the dough down and fold it over a few times on itself, be careful as the dough/paste ferments and creates a incredibly strong smell of alcohol, knead the dough/paste on a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a large rectangle, the width should be no wider than the tin. When you have done this, start with one end and fold over the dough about a good inch or two from the bottom, using the heel of your hand press firmly on the seal, roll the roll of dough forward and seal again, remember to press firmly as you do. Keep going until all the dough has been rolled and sealed, put the dough into the tin with the seal at the bottom and gently flatten the dough roll in the tin. This video will help:


  • Lightly oil the top of the rye loaf with sunflower oil, and cover the top of the tin with cling film, leave for 3 hours. Set your timer for 2 ½ hours to turn the oven on to pre-heat, heat to 220 conventional, 200 fan and gas mark 7. Once the 3 hours is up, remove the cling film and bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200 conventional, 180 fan and gas mark 5-6 for a further 15 minutes. When the time is up, remove from tin and bake for 5-10 minutes more.
  • Allow to cool down on a wire cooling rack and don’t cut open for 2 days after baking, this is called curing Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon