Friday, April 4, 2014

You Say Potato, I Say Pomme de Terre

Hello and YES! This is the blog formerly known as the Tartine Bread Experiment. Please visit that old thing for a very fun, very satisfying bread journey. That is where all the magic began...
. . .
In this post:

- Giusto's flour, finally
- Peasant bread
- How to work with hydration in potato bread


I know you may find this hard to believe, but i have never made potato bread. So, here's what: this week I made four loaves. I scoured my books and the net then thought to myself 'to hell with it', right, and just did my own thing. There were so many formulae out there with roasted potato chunks added to the bread, which just sounded gross to me (I imagined a horrible, dense crumb laden with wet, gray chunks of potato matter). Perhaps worse than all 'at were the sundry of formulae calling for potato flakes (?!) so I thought I would make use of my potato ricer and deal with this spud on my own. Worst case scenario, I lose a handful of flour and a trivial bit of time.



Peasant Bread, in 88% Hydration

The first thing one wonders when making a bread like this, right, is if you replace some of the flour with potato, or just add potato to a formula that you already have. My greatest fear was that potato would make this bread heavy and I might have to chuck the thing behind your backs. This is not such a nasty fear if you think about it. So along with the handful of flour and a wee smidge of time, I lose a potato. Maybe some ego. But that belongs in trash anyway. No egos here people. We are merely making bread. C'est tout.

Peasant Bread, in 88% Hydration

Potatoes are not light fare and between you and me, I don't eat very many of them despite that on both sides of my genetic wading pool, there are hefty populations of potato eating peasants. But lo! This was the lightest bread I have ever made. Trust me. You will make it, see for yourselves, and report back.



I must say there there was a lot to learn about working with this potato in my bread. And here is my advice to you: all that you think you know about hydration, toss it right out of the window when working with potato bread, parce que les pommes de terre ont beaucoup d'eau. You read that right. Potatoes have a lot of water, and they will contribute to the hydration of your dough. It will sneak up on you in fact, not once but twice. The first evidence of their watery ways will arrive after autolyse, and then the floodgates will occur when you start your turns. To make all those matters worse, you have to really chariot that oven temp like nobody's business, every few minutes rotating those pans and lowering it by more degrees than feels comfortable because the sugars in the spuds caramelize the crust quickly and ever so deeply. Talk about getting bakery-worthy integuments.

Peasant Bread, in 80% hydration

My first loaves were 88% hydration but behaved as though they were much higher. I was on the fence about whether I should include the weight of the potato in the flour weight total before tallying up hydration, but first decided against it because of how much water the potato contributes to the dough. Then I did a lazy bit of research and found that a potato is about 75% water. If that truly is the case, then the first round of breads, both the plain Peasant and the Peasant in garlic & thyme, with the water weight of the potato and its starch sorted, rings in at an 88% hydration loaf. (500g flour + 37.5g potato starch + 79g flour in starter & levain = 616.5g 'flour' weight. Then 350g water + 112.5g potato water + 79g flour in starter & levain = 541.5g water weight. water weight div. flour weight = 88% hydration).



Peasant Bread, in 80% Hydration

Using this table, my second loaves came in at 80% hydration, although the Peasant in garlic & thyme can be considered higher still because I added a few grams of olive oil to the dough. Mm. One of these loaves went to Julie and Javier who stood over the toaster at 2 a.m., slathering things on it until half the loaf was gone. How's that for validation.

Anywhat. All of the breads were HELLO! amazing. Super fluffy and light with an indescribably thin and brittle, fully caramelized crust. The flavor was quince and honey and chocolate and gorgeous. Like the artisan loaves you imagine yourself making when you first start out on your bread path. Plain peasant was absolutely phenomenal, and the garlic varietal will make you swoon. Which brings me to Giusto's.



Giusto's has a whole line of artisan flours that will elevate your breads. The texture of these four loaves was what I have been looking for, which I have not had success with with other bread/white flours. It makes the crumb chewy and fully gelatinized, and the crust caramelizes beautifully. I have been wanting to try their flours because other bakers have told me that they are nonpareil. Frankly, after this round of breads, I don't think I will ever go back to King Arthur bread flour. No. I will not go back. I will happily pay for shipping costs to use Giusto's. There is just no comparison in flavor or texture.

Moving right along.

In the first breads, the 88% hydration breads, I unwittingly pushed the hydration limits as I mentioned. The dough for this first round was a pretty loose. They baked up just loverly, as you can well see. Gorgeous shattery crust with both plain Peasant Bread and Peasant in the garlic-thyme. Oven spring was dandy as well. But I wanted to see what would happen if we could make the dough just a tad more pleasant to work with without sacrificing loft, crust or crumb. With these first loaves, I just added as much water as I felt was necessary at the start. Not a bad call. It mixed up to tactile satisfaction, then slowly began to show it's true nature. The resulting loaves blew me away, fabulous crust and crumb and all that.



Peasant Bread, in Garlic & Thyme, 80% Hydration

But still, that hard to work with dough, and I am not ready to whip out my mixer yet to experiment with working the gluten in high-hydration doughs, so, I decided to experiment further. Hence the 80% loaves.

With the second loaves, I decided to only add as much water was necessary to hydrate the doughs through autolyse, so that I could see how much water the potatoes released, and man oh man, what a great idea that turned out to be. When I first mixed up the dough, it came together as a dense little egg. I stopped here because I knew that I could always add more water at salt stage.

After autolyse, and just as suspected, it relaxed quite a bit, and actually felt really extensible once I got my hands in there. When I added the salt and started my turns, it became uber extensible, so the conservative hand in hydration was absolutely the right call. Plain Peasant in 80% hydration had the best oven spring I have ever accomplished in a bread, and I think that this lower hydration loaf will be my 'go-to' Peasant bread. She still achieved a tender yet chewy and open crumb, and the same shattery, brittle, dark chocolate crust (in countenance and flavor). Basically, the perfect loaf of bread. Balanced. Addictive. I can't even tell you how soft the loaves were. Like little brown pillows. Just divine.

I did add some olive oil to the garlic-thyme loaf the second time round, which, as you know, acts as a hydration element in the dough and final baked loaf. So, the dough was a wee bit of a challenge to work with (after einkorn though, I say this reservedly. After einkorn, potato dough is a cakewalk). The oven spring was not quite as high as the plain Peasant, but it was more than satisfactory as you can see. Great loft, and my goodness, I think roasted garlic bread should make the weekly docket. The perfume wafting from my kitchen made everyone on the block simply swoon.



Peasant Bread, in Garlic & Thyme, 80% Hydration

These loaves all employed Giusto's 'Artisan', an unbleahed, malted, winter wheat at 11.5% protein. I have a few different kinds of Giusto's to experiment with, and man alive! if this flour is any indication of the quality of breads it can turn out, you and I are very, very happy bakers indeed! I can't believe it has taken me this long to experiment with it. I can't believe that it has taken me so long to make pain de pomme de terre. But now that I know what the hoopla is all about, I dare say that my peasant roots have risen up and rattled their chains in demand for more. This kitchen, dear reader, sees nothing but a horizon lain with the dirty earthy things and truckloads of Giusto's. I'm glad we finally took the plunge.

Here are your earthy loaves, fit for both peasants and queens.

PEASANT BREAD



I decided to post the formulae for the 80% and the 88% hydration breads in both the plain Peasant and the Peasant in garlic & thyme because they both came out smashingly and I want you to have the choice of either since they both arrived at lovely conclusions.

Let's start with our superstar...

Peasant Bread, 80% Hydration






Three days before you plan to make your levain, kick your starter into high gear by feeding it 3x a day. It loves this intense feeding schedule so much that I feed it thrice daily every day, not just before my bakes.

LEVAIN DAY

10g 100% hydration starter, kicked into high gear as mentioned above
75g freshly stoneground spelt flour
75g h2o

Mix all of this up together until you arrive at a medium viscosity paste. Ferment until it gets loose and bubbly, active looking. Mine went for 9 hours


Levain, just mixed



Levain, after 9 hour ferment

DOUGH DAY

400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground spelt flour
150g russet potato, riced (see below)
300g h2o
12g salt

While your levain is working its magic, bake your potatoes. You will need a potato that weighs at least 225g to arrive at the 150g that you need for this loaf. It will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour for smaller potatoes if you opt to roast two to arrive at the right weight, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 if you get a mongo potato. The potato should be soft when pierced with a knife. Cool the potato, and when it is easy enough to handle, peel it. Drizzle good olive oil on the peels and dash with salt. Eat them. While you are eating your potato skins, rice your potatoes. I use a potato ricer, but my friend G Money suggests using a colander if you don't have one. Just press the potatoes through the holes.



When the levain has successfully fermented, dissolve it in the 300g of water then add the flours and the cooled, riced potato. Squish all of this up. The dough will be quite firm. Resist the temptation to add more water. You will be surprised after autolyse how much water the potatoes release into the dough. If you are hellbent on adding more water to your Peasant bread, the follow the next formula that weighs in at 88% hydration.



Autolyse this potato egg for one hour.

After autolyse, you will see how slack the dough has become. Squish your salt into the dough. If your potato was not as watery as mine, now is the time to add some h2o, but do so in small increments, say, 5g - 7g at a time. Trust me, it will get more extensible/slack when you start doing your turns, and you might be sorry you added all that h2o.

Bulk fermentation time. 4 hours, as usual, perform your turns as you normally would every half hour. As you work the dough, it will become slack. Throw in a few more turns than you normally would and really work the gluten up. I stopped my turns after, hm, the first two hours of turns and let it do its thing. All at room temp. It's cool here. But listen, if it's warm where you are, employ the fridge. Peasant bread dough could be a nightmare in warm weather.

After the bulk, scrape the dough onto a worktable that has been dusted with rice flour. Pull in the sides to make a loose round and rest for 10 minutes.

After the bench, shape though dough into a boule. The dough will be very soft and you may wonder if this will work at all. It will. Trust.

Pop the boule into a banneton or a bowl that has been lined with a linen piece dusty with rice flour. I swear by my 4.5 quart Kitchenaid mixer bowls. Perfect size and shape to ferment the loaves. I have four of them solely for this cause. You can get them for about thirty bucks on eBay. Pop the dough into the fridge and ferment for 16 hours 15 minutes.

BAKE DAY

One hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, this that has been outfitted with your stone and combo cooker, both halves.

When the oven is preheated (full hour! no cheats!) place a piece of parchment over the mouth of the bowl, invert the bowl onto a peel and remove the bowl and cloth.




Now is the time to brush away any excess rice flour. No more snowy loaves!



Slash or snip the dough in a pattern of your choosing, then slide the dough into the shallow half of the combo cooker, pop on the lid and bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 475 and bake for 15 more. After this 15, take the lid off of the combo cooker, and nestle the shallow half into its mouth. This will create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread's butt, and keep it from burning. Ohh and ahh at your oven spring and your perfectly steamed loaf.



Slide back into the oven. Turn down to 450 and watch this baby. Potato bread browns quickly. Spin the pan a couple of times while it is baking for even browning. And you will get a seriously caramelized crust when all is said and done.

Cool at least 2 hours before slicing.












n

Peasant Bread, 88% Hydration



400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground spelt flour
150g russet potato, riced (see below)
350g h2o
12g salt

Follow all instructions as in the 80% hydration loaf above, adding 350g of h2o instead of 300. Here is a photo journey so you can see the difference in doughs:

88% hydration dough, just mixed

88% hydration dough, after autolyse

88% hydration dough, salt squished in and ready for bulk

88% hydration dough, after bulk

88% hydration dough, ready to be scored or snipped




.
.

Peasant Bread in Garlic & Thyme, 80% Hydration


Three days before you plan to make your levain, kick your starter into high gear by feeding it 3x a day. It loves this intense feeding schedule so much that I feed it thrice daily every day, not just before my bakes.

LEVAIN DAY

10g 100% hydration starter, kicked into high gear as mentioned above
75g freshly stoneground spelt flour
75g h2o

Mix all of this up together until you arrive at a medium viscosity paste. Ferment until it gets loose and bubbly, active looking. Mine went for 9 hours.

DOUGH DAY

400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground spelt flour
150g russet potato, riced (see below)
300g h2o
15g really good olive oil, I used California Olive Ranch's Extra Virgin
12g salt
2 heads of garlic, mine were rather small
Thyme leaves, see picture below

While your levain is working its magic, roast your garlic and bake your potatoes, mince your thyme.

For the garlic: Slice off the tops. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly in parchment. Roast until deep brown.


For the potatoes, you will need a potato that weighs at least 225g to arrive at the 150g that you need for this loaf. It will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour for smaller potatoes if you opt to roast two to arrive at the right weight, and 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 if you get a mongo potato. The potato should be soft when pierced with a knife. Cool the potato, and when it is easy enough to handle, peel it. Drizzle good olive oil on the peels and dash with salt. Eat them. While you are eating your potato skins, rice your potatoes.

And for the thyme, grab a bunch, pull off the leaves and mince.


You will need, oh, about this much.






When the levain has successfully fermented, dissolve it in the 300g of water then add the flours and the cooled, riced potato. Squish all of this up. Autolyse for one hour.

After the hour autolyse, squish the salt into the dough. When you have accomplished this, add the thyme leaves. Work this into the dough. After they are thoroughly disseminated, add your garlic paste and fold this into the dough, stretching and folding gently to disperse. You only want to fold it in, you don't want to squish it in as you did the salt and oil.










Bulk fermentation time. 4 hours, as usual, perform your turns as you normally would every half hour. As you work the dough, it will become slack. Throw in a few more turns than you normally would and really work the gluten up. I stopped my turns after, hm, the first two hours of turns and let it do its thing. All at room temp. It's cool here. But listen, if it's warm where you are, employ the fridge. Peasant bread dough could be a nightmare in warm weather.

After the bulk, scrape the dough onto a worktable that has been dusted with rice flour. Pull in the sides to make a loose round and rest for 10 minutes.

After the bench, shape though dough into a boule, pop it into a banneton or a bowl that has been lined with a linen piece dusty with rice flour. I swear by my 4.5 quart Kitchenaid mixer bowls. Perfect size and shape to ferment the loaves. I have four of them solely for this cause. You can get them for about thirty bucks on eBay. Pop the dough into the fridge and ferment for 16 hours 15 minutes.

BAKE DAY

One hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, this that has been outfitted with your stone and combo cooker, both halves.

When the oven is preheated (full hour! no cheats!) place a piece of parchment over the mouth of the bowl, invert the bowl onto a peel and remove the bowl and cloth. Now is the time to brush away any excess rice flour. No more snowy loaves!

Slash or snip the dough in a pattern of your choosing, then slide the dough into the shallow half of the combo cooker, pop on the lid and bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 475 and bake for 15 more. After this 15, take the lid off of the combo cooker, and nestle the shallow half into its mouth. This will create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread's butt, and keep it from burning. Ohh and ahh at your oven spring and your perfectly steamed loaf.

Slide back into the oven. Turn down to 450 and watch this baby. Potato bread browns quickly. Spin the pan a couple of times while it is baking for even browning. And you will get a seriously caramelized crust when all is said and done.

Cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.















Peasant Bread in Garlic & Thyme, 88% Hydration

Follow all instructions as in the 80% hydration loaf above, adding 350g of h2o instead of 300.

400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground spelt flour
150g russet potato, riced (see below)
350g h2o
15g really good olive oil, I used California Olive Ranch's Arbequina
12g salt
2 heads of garlic, mine were rather small
Thyme leaves




To the staff of life!

This post has been shared on Wild Yeast Blog.

15 comments:

  1. Your posts are wonderful! I've been following your blog for a while, and I was so excited to see you met Chad and now go on your own way. I work in a pastry kitchen but I manage the bread program. We make potato rolls everyday (not nearly as gorgeous as your loaves), and we use a starter (or levain) with riced potato in it. The fermentation is really more for flavor, as we also use commercial yeast. Just thought you'd find it interesting!

    I've been using your city bread formula and I really love it. I've added different kinds of flours and seeds for variety and it always works for me. My next bread project is going to be "Rene's Rye" from Book No 2.

    Take care,
    Christina in Nola

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw. Thank you for being so sweet! Wow, I have not done my city bread in a while! I will have to get back to it. My 'basic' loaf. It's funny, if there is one bread I want to make in the book, it's Rene's Rye. Perhaps next... :)

      Delete
  2. You. Are. My. Hero.
    Your bread and your blog are so inspiring -- what beauty you have created!
    Have you ever used a Dutch Oven? The reason why I am asking is because that's what I have, and my crusts never come out as beautiful and caramelised as yours. I'm wondering is the combo cooker provides a better heat.
    Thanks for all you do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. Yes, I have used a Dutch oven, and I have written about it. I don't like them because the enamel will eventually peel away. I have wound up with slivers of enamel in my bread. Also, they are hard to get in and out of the deep pot, resulting in burned arms/hands and mangled loaves. Be sure to preheat the oven for a FULL hour at 500 or even 550, whichever your oven goes to. This ensures great oven spring and a dark and lovely crust. Cheers!

      Delete
    2. (I'm so glad you are inspired by my blog!)

      Delete
  3. Wonder Woman (wonder bread woman, oh hell no). Merci beaucoup for your inspiration and creativity. I bake because you bake and can do so with more courage and confidence each time. Quick questions about your starter: a) now that you are feeding it 3/day, how much are you keeping, and b) are you still using 100% dark rye exclusively? Thank you for your reply. Rock on, sister.
    ss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is lovely. Truly. This is why I bake and post. Because I like the idea that someone out there in the world is making successful bread. Still keeping the 60g on the counter. Always dark rye. I mill my own now, but Bob's works just fine. I particularly liked 'To Your Health's' sprouted dark rye flour for feeding (and baking), when I was not milling my own.

      Thank you for the compliment! And lol 'wonder bread woman'.

      Delete
  4. Hello! I just bought my "Tartine Bread" book. Better late than never... Since I found your blog I can't stop following it, always waiting for your next post! Your photos are amazing. All your breads looks delicious! The holes in the crumb, the crispy crust... just wonderful!
    I've been wanting to buy the book for a long time, for a year maybe, now I have it. I start reading it yesterday. The respect I have for Chad's work is so big, that I'm scared to open the book, read it all and don't make justice... I tried your "arrogant bastard" and it's delicious! I want to try more recipes of yours but they are so great, and if I can't make it perfect? So, now with Chad's "Bible", I'll study and I'll do it. I'll start baking more often! I just have to find my best schedule to bake. After I plan the first one, the most difficult part is done. Then is just keep baking!
    Continue the great job you've been doing!
    Sofia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I will say, redefine perfect, right, if I had an idea of perfect bread in my head, then I would never have written this blog and found my bread path. I like exploring, and I love the anticipation of each loaf. This is far more enticing than 'perfect' (whatever that is. I'm not sure it exists). You will undoubtedly make fabulous loaves, you just have to bake as often as you can. And I will say, I promise you that I test every formula that you see on the blog. By the time it becomes a post, I have worked out all of the issues, so you can feel confident that they will work for you. If you ever have any problems, I check my comments and answer them all. I'm glad you had success with arrogant bastard. See, that's not necessarily an easy bread, and you did it. You can, my dear, bake any bread you like, and have success with it. ;)

      xo

      fo

      Delete
  5. I am here to say she does not lie ... Javier and I stood (not sat) after long restaurant shifts talking about our days devoured this incredible crunchy & chewy bread toasted while dipping it in Capezzana olive oil and sea salt we bought in Bali. Sounds pretentious but it was very simple, intimate & satisfying. Thanks for the free loaf. Javier keeps looking disappointed when there isn't a new one just sitting in our bread box. THANK YOU !!!
    P.S. what about pictures of that beautiful wood block you found on a steal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, thank you Julie, for being my bread taster. I need tasters to ensure that I'm on the right path. And second, OMG, I would totally go on a trip and bring home olive oil and sea salt. What is the matter with chefs?? Aren't a handful of memories and a pair of cheap silk slippers enough? And finally, noted. Javier needs bread. Perhaps this time a sweet potato. Have a look at the latest post :)

      (Sanding the block this weekend. What a beast!)

      Delete
  6. Hey.
    Do you let the dough chill out in room temprature one our before you bake it, or do you simply bake it straight from the fridge?
    Also, you wrote in a comment above that your starter weighs 60 gr (meaning 30 gr water 30 gr flour, right?).
    Can you please detail about your regular schedule feeding? Does your starter even looks foamy and bubbly when you feed it thrice a day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bake straight from fridge.

      my total starter weight is 60g: 20g seed starter, 20g four, 20g water.

      i often even feed it 4x a day before a bake. and YES. the gas activity is off the hook!

      cheers!

      xo

      fo

      Delete
  7. Hi France:
    I followed your recommend and went for the Pomme de terre 80% this time around, so far everything has gone well and turned out just as your recipe; billowy with the right amount of slack in the bulk fermentation. I can tell from practice on my own bakes that this one is going to be great. I would have loved to get some Giusto in time, but after MUCH research and time, I'm not sure I could justify $10.00/5lb. So I have considered staying with KA and making my own Diastatic Malt Powder, we'll see? Finally to my next question RE your recipe with Pomme De Terre, just curious why you didn't do the initial shaping (tri folds) like Chad before making them into the boule?
    I feel my confidence catching up! Thanks again France!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is my version of the tri-fold: After the bulk, scrape the dough onto a worktable that has been dusted with rice flour. Pull in the sides to make a loose round and rest for 10 minutes.... cheers!

      Delete

Hey. So, I answer all comments, but it might take me a few days. Sit tight, and I will get back to you as soon as I can!