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tekobo

KK Bread Making Tips and Tricks

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I have spent the last few months practising bread making in the KK.  Thank you to all who have gone before for all your guidance. This post is a chance to document what I have learned and to ask others to share their journeys too.

First, taking inspiration from @Pequod's KK as a steam oven post and @Syzygies' updates, here is all the kit set up in my KK,

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See here if you want to learn more: 

 

I heat soak the KK and contents for at least an hour before introducing the shaped loaf and, very quickly afterwards, some chunks of ice onto the aluminium disc below.  Before I did it I was really worried about how to introduce the ice and anticipated a big, dangerous whoosh of steam.  It is more gentle than that and, once the ice is in,  I shut the lid quickly to get this:

It is too cold to stand outside checking how long the steam lasts.  Will do that one day.  My ambition was to test the difference between a loaf cooked without steam:

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and one cooked with:

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The one cooked with steam is prettier. I do not have the right vocabulary to describe the bread, yet, but we found the crust on the steam cooked loaf more pliable.  I cannot for the life of me remember which loaf was which in the next picture.  I think the steamed one is on the left.  More experimenting to do and I am looking forward to making baguettes soon.

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Would grace any table Tekebo. Has a medieval charm about it and beautifully crusted ta boot.

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It took me a long time to get to the stage where I wanted to post any bread pictures.  Mac put up with a lot of my wild ideas en route.  For some reason I decided that, in order to amp up the sour in my sour dough, I ought to leave my leaven for two weeks between refreshes.  How wrong was I??  My dough was flat and wet and I ended up with this misshapen loaf.IMG_6775.thumb.jpeg.988b965ac2a73509b1b32a4ae7fef11d.jpeg

The other loaf in the same batch came out ok, just.

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I now refresh my leaven the day before I want to use it.  It grows beautifully in the warmth of the kitchen and makes nice plump and sufficiently sour loaves.  Hurrah.  

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I figure those yeast beasties are just like me and if I wasn't feed for 2 weeks I wouldn't be doing much either. :grin:  

Awesome looking last batch. You are inspiring me to feed feed feed, my starter that is. :)

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Thanks Mac, Tekobo,
I will get back into bread when I return from holidays.


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On 1/10/2020 at 8:39 PM, Basher said:

Thanks Mac, Tekobo,
I will get back into bread when I return from holidays.

I look forward to seeing more of your bakes soon @Basher

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I have been working my way through the Tartine lexicon.  I tried the rye bread from their Tartine Bread book.  I found the dough a bit wet and the first loaf stuck to my peel.  Used lots more flour the second time and remembered to get the steam going on the second loaf, it's the one on the left. 

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This should make others laugh.  I was very rude about @Pequod's fresh milled fun i.e. the fact that he, and others, were bothering to mill their own flour.  I have given in.  This is my new mill working on some rye this morning.  

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I am going back to a 100% rye recipe that uses rye flour, rye leaven AND cooked and soaked rye grains.  I last made it in 2008 and my notes in the book say it was "disastrously bad".  I also said that I used too much soaked grain and that I would try again.  The time has come and I will try it out later this week once the leaven has bubbled up.  

Edited by tekobo
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2 hours ago, tekobo said:

the fact that he, and others, were bothering to mill their own flour.  I have given in.  This is my new mill working on some rye this morning.

There is a professional textbook by Michel Suas that solved a problem for me that no popular book addresses:

Advanced Bread and Pastry A Professional Approach

(The depth of this book can be intimidating. It reveals that a trained baker can understand their craft as well as any professional in other domains.)

The issue was the poor performance of "green" (as in young) flour, freshly-ground flour that has not aged. As Suas states,

Quote

Flour baking performance improves as flour ages. The natural oxidation of the proteins in flour during resting time creates better gluten structure and better fermentation tolerance during the baking process. In general, 2 weeks of maturation are recommended in summer, whereas 3 weeks are required in winter ...

Depending on the baker's philosophy, a quick fix to this problem would be to 20 to 40 ppm of ascorbic acid to the dough. Because of its oxidizing properties, ascorbic acid will reinforce the gluten as the fermentation advances, recreating the right balance in dough strength.

We of course do not want to age freshly ground flour for 2-3 weeks; besides the inconvenience, the germ that we leave in would go rancid. Even dough left in the fridge a day or two can turn an unappealing grey.

Suas also notes that a long first fermentation will naturally increase dough oxidation, offsetting somewhat the ill effects of using "green" flour.

Everyone's technique is different, and absolutely everything comes into play, in determining the extent that this is a problem. Hydration? Grind fineness? Fermentation schedule? I have learned to not even bring this up at farmers markets where I see bread sold from freshly ground flour. Usually the baker is oblivious to this problem, defensive when it is even suggested, and has found a way to nevertheless produce loaves with the correct appearance. This reminds me of asking food professionals about "pine mouth" toxicity from wrong species of pine nuts; any pine nut that isn't $50/pound is from the wrong species and a crap shoot. It's easy to understand this ignorance; I have many Mexican recipes that call for avocado leaves, and I was about to plant the most frost-hardy variant I could find, until I read Diana Kennedy's accounts of leaf toxicity in avocado variants not grown in Oaxaca. Now I don't know if I can trust avocado leaves in a restaurant. Some Mexican restaurants in the US even use pine nuts, too. My questions are likely to get me escorted to the door. But I digress.

I was pushing the boundaries of reasonable hydration for whole wheat loaves, attempting artisan technical results that usually require somewhat less extracted flour (a Lionel Poilâne loaf is my holy grail), and my loaves were coming out like flying saucers. Then I discovered the Suas passages via Google Books. (I have since bought his book.)

40 ppm is 40 parts per million. Yikes! How does one do that, in a bakery or a home kitchen? We're not science labs here. Suas recommends carefully mixing and cutting twice with white flour, to achieve a mixture one can actually weigh on a gram scale. I mix ascorbic acid 1:20 with white flour, sieve multiple times to mix well, then mix some of that 1:20 with white flour to obtain a 1:440 blend. (There's unfamiliar ratio math here: (1:20) * (1:20) = (1:440), which we can check as 21 * 21 = 441.) For my standard recipe based on a kilogram of flour, I mix in 18 grams of this 1:440 blend.

This has been an easy habit, and I no longer experiment with leaving this step out. Others might not find it necessary, but I offer it as an option, in case they're experiencing issues that they can't resolve.

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I admit I have not resorted to ascorbic acid in any of my loaves, but rarely go above 50% fresh milled flour. I do have it on hand “just in case,” but haven’t yet found the need for it. YMMV.

 

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5 hours ago, Syzygies said:

I was pushing the boundaries of reasonable hydration for whole wheat loaves, attempting artisan technical results that usually require somewhat less extracted flour (a Lionel Poilâne loaf is my holy grail), and my loaves were coming out like flying saucers. Then I discovered the Suas passages via Google Books. (I have since bought his book.)

I did this the other way round.  I bought the book on Amazon, thinking I would return it if I don't like it, and then I found the google preview.  How interesting.  I won't be returning the book when it arrives tomorrow.  Thank you for the recommendation.  At first I thought it was stupidly expensive at £47 in the UK.  When I saw that it costs $165 in the US, it felt like a bargain by the time I added it to cart.   

5 hours ago, Syzygies said:

40 ppm is 40 parts per million. Yikes! How does one do that, in a bakery or a home kitchen? We're not science labs here. Suas recommends carefully mixing and cutting twice with white flour, to achieve a mixture one can actually weigh on a gram scale. I mix ascorbic acid 1:20 with white flour, sieve multiple times to mix well, then mix some of that 1:20 with white flour to obtain a 1:440 blend. (There's unfamiliar ratio math here: (1:20) * (1:20) = (1:440), which we can check as 21 * 21 = 441.) For my standard recipe based on a kilogram of flour, I mix in 18 grams of this 1:440 blend.

 

I started to check your maths, just for the hell of it, even though I know that is your area of expertise.  Then I thought about how very very small the amount of active ingredient there would be in the sifted flour and how much might be lost through sifting.  Do you really see a difference when you do this?  I guess you do, otherwise you wouldn't bother.

I do not have your scientific sieves for the fresh milled flour.  So far I did an initial sift with my standard home sieve and ended up taking out about 10% of the weight.  Am I right in guessing that about 75%-80% extraction is a good target?

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32 minutes ago, tekobo said:

I started to check your maths, just for the hell of it, even though I know that is your area of expertise.  Then I thought about how very very small the amount of active ingredient there would be in the sifted flour and how much might be lost through sifting.  Do you really see a difference when you do this?  I guess you do, otherwise you wouldn't bother.

I do not have your scientific sieves for the fresh milled flour.  So far I did an initial sift with my standard home sieve and ended up taking out about 10% of the weight.  Am I right in guessing that about 75%-80% extraction is a good target?

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Even though I was copying from a spreadsheet, I checked my math again before posting. I figured (1:20) * (1:20) = (1:440) could already wear out my welcome, so I left it out: 18 grams at 1:440 is 18/441 = .0408 grams of ascorbic acid. As a fraction of one kilo of flour, this is 40.8 parts per million.

I have multiple sieves. My favorite combination is a 12 inch No. 25 test sieve over an 8 quart Vollrath bowl. Both are more expensive than alternatives, but worth the money.

Gilson 12-Inch (305mm) ASTM E11 Test Sieve, All Stainless Steel, No. 25 (710µm) Opening Size, Intermediate Height (V12SI #25)

Vollrath 69080 S/S 8 Qt Mixing Bowl

Extraction is a variable in my spreadsheet, currently set to 85%. This however depends on the grinder and its condition and setting, the grain mix, and how completely one sieves. If I were sharing my spreadsheet with others, I'd add an obsessive/compulsive index variable. And I do use some flours (semolina, white) that aren't home ground. Currently my bread is 65% home ground.

As for mixing, I don't believe that there are losses differentially favoring or discriminating against ascorbic acid. I use coarser (less expensive) sieves for mixing, alternating between two 8 quart bowls. In fact, I'm cursed for life to sieve seven times because I'm a coauthor of a famous math paper on card shuffling (Google 'Seven Shuffles'; I'm Dave). An uneven distribution of ascorbic acid is a real risk here. A greater risk, in my experience, is the mix going stale after a few years. I don't understand how this is even chemically possible (I should be able to use ascorbic acid found in Egyptian tombs, right?), but I've found it necessary to buy fresh ascorbic acid every now and then, based on observation and experience.

I even have very coarse sieves intended for making couscous from scratch. Still on my todo list, and I'm instead in a Mexican phase now.

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1 hour ago, Syzygies said:

As for mixing, I don't believe that there are losses differentially favoring or discriminating against ascorbic acid. I use coarser (less expensive) sieves for mixing, alternating between two 8 quart bowls. In fact, I'm cursed for life to sieve seven times because I'm a coauthor of a famous math paper on card shuffling (Google 'Seven Shuffles'; I'm Dave). An uneven distribution of ascorbic acid is a real risk here. A greater risk, in my experience, is the mix going stale after a few years. I don't understand how this is even chemically possible (I should be able to use ascorbic acid found in Egyptian tombs, right?), but I've found it necessary to buy fresh ascorbic acid every now and then, based on observation and experience.

YOU'RE Seven Shuffles???  I've been shuffling EIGHT times for years because I never believed you!

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15 hours ago, Herbie J - Alabama said:

This is intense! In a good way. 

That would be Syzygies!

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39 minutes ago, tony b said:

That would be Syzygies!

Pot smoking didn’t mellow him. At. All. ‘Course, around here that means something else entirely...RIGHT??

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On 1/10/2020 at 5:51 PM, tekobo said:

 For some reason I decided that, in order to amp up the sour in my sour dough, I ought to leave my leaven for two weeks between refreshes.  How wrong was I??  My dough was flat and wet and I ended up with this misshapen loaf.

 

On 1/10/2020 at 6:03 PM, MacKenzie said:

I figure those yeast beasties are just like me and if I wasn't feed for 2 weeks I wouldn't be doing much either. :grin:  

Well, I found a "solution" to getting a more sour taste in a most unusual place.  We visited a meat heavy restaurant in Wales on Wednesday (called Ynyshir) and one of their courses came with a great sourdough loaf.  It turns out they age the dough for their loaves for seven days before baking.  Now, I knew about aging dough for pizzas but it never occured to me to age dough for a loaf of bread.  Will see how it turns out.

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Well, I found a "solution" to getting a more sour taste in a most unusual place.  We visited a meat heavy restaurant in Wales on Wednesday (called Ynyshir) and one of their courses came with a great sourdough loaf.  It turns out they age the dough for their loaves for seven days before baking.  Now, I knew about aging dough for pizzas but it never occured to me to age dough for a loaf of bread.  Will see how it turns out.

Trust the welsh to have a 7 letter word with 1 vowel.
I caught the wrong train in Wales and ended up lost. I had to call some friends and spell the name out because I couldn’t pronounce it” C W M B R A N”


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On 1/17/2020 at 10:12 PM, Basher said:

Trust the welsh to have a 7 letter word with 1 vowel.
I caught the wrong train in Wales and ended up lost. I had to call some friends and spell the name out because I couldn’t pronounce it” C W M B R A N”

Ha ha.  Think kumbaya and you will be close with Cwmbran.  I started working in Wales just over a year ago and was horrified by the fact that a) I would not be able to call people by their names because they were so unfamiliar and b) I would not be able to do my job because it involved lots of place names and it would be disrespectful to talk about point A to point B.  Luckily, a friend near home recommended a local professor who happens to be Welsh and was willing to sit with me and take me through reading and pronouncing Welsh words. I got a database of Welsh place names and a list of the most common boys' and girls' names and we worked our way through them.   I am no expert but I flounder a lot less now!

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