Blueberry Boule with Puree
June 3rd, 2011

The last set of experiments was to determine whether the use of fruit based yeast in the absence of flour in the starter would result in more fruit flavor in the final loaf. Much time and effort went into weaning my standard sourdough starter from a diet of wheat flour and water to a diet of pure fruit puree. This starter was used to create a boule with the starter, AP flour and peach puree. The result was less than spectacularly peachy.

This time the fruit was blueberry. I initiated my starter from my blueberry yeast water and bread flour, and through a series of successive refreshments (5X), I created sufficient starter for the following loaf. I don’t know, but I suspect the loaf was once again, overproofed as I ended up with yet another “muffallata” loaf.The color of the crumb is most striking, almost like a pumpernickel. The taste is faintly blueberry, sweetish. With cream cheese it tastes very much like a bagel.


70g starter (10 r4/30 flour/30 BYW @100%)
158g blueberry puree (132L,26S)
175g AP flour
4g salt
234:166 = 70% hydration dough
total loaf =407g


To make this loaf, I took 9g of the starter (4th refreshment) and fed it 30g each bread flour and blueberry yeast water. This I left at room temperature for about 3 hours until it has more than doubled. Then I combined it thoroughly with the blueberry puree, which interesting enough was more like a jelly than I expected, must have lots of pectin in blueberries. I stirred in the flour and the salt, gave it a S&F and let it rest for ½ hour. This was repeated for three hours, then not thinking, I put it in the cooler (46*F) for about 3 hours.

Then, remembering that I needed to shape it, I took it out of the cooler, preshaped it and left it out for 30 minutes. Then I shaped it into a boule and placed it into the floured banneton. This was replaced into the cooler for the remainder of the night.

The next morning I took it out of the cooler and let it warm up until the oven and combo-cooker was up to temperature (460*F).
unbaked dough

When the oven was up to temperature, the loaf was slashed and loaded into the combo cooker and baked with the cover on for 20 minutes. Then the cover was removed and it was baked another 10 minutes. After ten minutes the oven was turned off and the door was left ajar for a final 10 minutes

beauty shot


crumb shot

Peach Yeast Water Baguettes
May 28th, 2011

Ok, so assuming you have a jar of fruit based, yeast water, transition the fruit to fresh peaches and you’ll be able to bake a really interesting baguette.

Ingredients peach-baguette.jpg


Levain – First and Second Builds and Autolyse

Combine active yeast water and AP flour. Cover the bowl and let it rest at 75F. The initial build (10g SYW/10g AP flour had doubled in about 6 hours.
About 15g of this first build was combined with the second build water, then the second build flour was added and stirred well.
In a second bowl the autolyse flour/PYW were combined until just mixed. Both the 2nd build and the levain were chilled at 46*F for approximately 15 hours.

Final Dough

The next morning, I combined the 2nd build levain and the autolyse along with the salt. The autolyse was already starting to rise, given the presence of yeast in the PYW. This was thoroughly mixed with the salt and the levain and finished off with an initial S&F in the bowl. It was left to rest for 30 minutes. Time was 6:40am.
The S&F/rest process was completed every ½ hour until 9:10. At this point, fearing that the dough would severely overproof, I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge (40*F) and left it there for about six hours (3:00pm).

Then, I removed the bowl and dumped the contents out onto a lightly floured surface. While it was cold, I divided it in two and roughly shaped a log. This was left to warm up for ½ hour covered.
After ½ hour, 3:30pm) I shaped the dough into the baguettes and placed them on a parchment-covered clouche. These were covered and left to proof. At the same time, I preheated my oven to 460*F and set up my steamer.

When the oven was up to temperature, I quickly loaded the loaves onto a peel, slashed and loaded them into the oven. Covered and steamed for 25 seconds, they were baked for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I removed the cover. After an additional 10 minutes I turned off the oven and propped open the oven door. After the final 10 minutes I removed the loaves.
Here is the result.

peach-yeast-water-baguettes-beauty-shots.jpg peach-yeast-water-baguettes-crumb-shot.jpg

I guess I needn’t have worried about it being overproofed. The oven spring was massive.
Lots of irregular holes. Delicate crumb. Crispy Crust

In Search of…Flavor - Peach Starter Boule
May 26th, 2011

We recently got very lucky and were able to buy a flat of the best peaches we have ever had. These peaches, just picked, ripened on the tree, are pure peachy goodness. At the same time, I’ve been experimenting with water/fruit fed yeast in bread baking. As a result of this experimentation I’ve discovered that it is next to impossible to get any fruit flavor from Yeast Water to be present in any baked bread. The water from the fruited yeast is just too subtle. Yes, the fruited yeast water has a nice effect on the crust (crunchy), crumb (moist and tender) and on the color (esp. with red/purple fruits), and taste (absolutely not sour). However, one would be hard pressed indeed to tell which fruit was used to prepare the yeast water. This is discouraging as why go to the trouble of using beautiful fresh, fragrant, and hard-to-come by fruits when any old bag of raisins will do exactly the same thing?

So. In my research on the subject on the Fresh Loaf website – where I spend most of my days (I have no life), I read about the use of banana as food for sourdough starter. Well, if bananas work, how about peaches? Thus began the experiment. The first step was to convince my standard grain fed sourdough starter to like, and want to eat the sugars contained in peach puree. Taking my cues from Ron Ray, as documented in his Banana Saga, I slowly weaned my standard wheat based sourdough starter to accept a diet of first AP flour and peach puree until I reached the point where there was no more water in the starter seed. Specifically, starting with 10g of 100% hydration sourdough starter, I fed 10g AP flour and 20g peach puree. The subsequent feeds used the previous phase’s starter at 10g for seed, plus 10g AP flour and 20g peach puree. After four consecutive feeds (P1-P4), the amount of water in the starter was close to nil.

As can be seen in the graph below, it took a couple of iterations of this process before the starter began to behave predictably, in terms of how much and how long it took to rise to its maximum height.


From there, I began the process of weaning my starter to accept a diet of pure puree (no AP flour), again to the point where there was no more flour in the starter seed. This too took a few iterations before the starter was essentially entirely comprised of fermented peach puree. The growth cycle for this conversion process is shown below:


First to be noted is that with diminishing amount of flour in the starter mix, there is a marked reduction in the ability for the mix to grow beyond 80% of the starting volume. For this reason, I changed the flour for the final dough from standard AP to Bread Flour, as it has a higher protein content, which may provide more gluten in the dough, which hopefully will allow the bread to rise. This remains to be seen.

Now this starter ready to be developed in the final dough. I wanted to create a dough that relied solely on peach puree for the water content (Google assures me that peaches are 80% water). Thus, peach puree is comprised of 80% liquid and 20% solids. As is the recommendation, I set about creating a dough that was approximately 1/3 preferment (in the form of fermented peach puree), and was at approximately 75% hydration (e.g., liquids as a proportion of solids) and holding the overall loaf size to approximately 400g, yielded the following formula:



60g Starter (phase 8 from above)
185g Bread Flour
150g Peach Puree
4g salt


I combined the 60g fizzy starter with the 150g peach puree. Then I slowly incorporated the 185g bread flour to form a rough, sticky dough. I covered the bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes to hydrate the flour. Then I mixed in the salt.


This was given the first stretch & fold (S&F) in the bowl and left to rest for 30 minutes. At this point, I was forced to alter my plans and work in an additional 11g of bread flour. The dough was just too sticky and not holding together.


This S&F/rest process was repeated a total of four times over the next 1 1/2 hours. After the final S&F, I left it to rest an additional 1/2 hour before I turned it out onto a lightly floured counter (approximately 8g flour) and preshaped and shaped the boule. This was placed in a floured banneton and into the 46*F cooler overnight (approximately 11 hours).


The following morning, as is my habit, I took the dough out of the cooler and let it come to room temperature. About half an hour into this warming up period, I began to preheat the oven and the combo-cooker to 450*F. This takes about 1/2 hour. When the oven was fully preheated, I removed the cooker from the oven, overturned the dough onto the parchment, slashed (not very well, hmm.), and slid the loaf to the bottom of the hot cooker. Placing the lid, back into the oven the whole works went for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the lid was removed—The moment of truth, pancake, hockey puck, boule? What would it be, well, as it turned out, peaches are not the best for massive oven spring. I wouldn’t call it a pancake, somewhere bigger than a hockey puck, but not much. After removing the lid and turning down the oven to 425*F the loaf was baked for another three minutes, then I removed the bottom of the cooker and the parchment, and placed the loaf directly on the stone. This is where it remained for another 7 minutes. Then, I propped open the oven door for an additional 10 minutes (total 40 minutes in the oven). Then I removed the loaf. Well, it does smell of peaches.


The oven spring is not great, sort of like it was overproofed. It sounds hollow when I thump it and the crust is quite thick and hard. So. Now comes the real test. After all of this work and experimentation, did I create a peachy tasting peach bread? Here is the shot of the crumb:


As you can see, the crumb is definitely a peachy color, moist and tender. There are bits of peach visible in the crumb. Does it taste of peaches- yes, faintly. If someone were to not tell me peaches were 51% of the mix, would I ever be able to figure that out? No. Alas, I think the pursuit of fruity flavor in a baked bread needs something more than peaches.

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