Baby Boule Adventures

The main challenge for baking for Kerry and me is to scale down the recipes enough so that we get to enjoy the fruits of my labors without having it go bad but still be able to fit into our clothes. As a result I tend to bake mini loaves of around 500g. For baguettes, we tend to split those into demi baguettes for around 250g per, and for boules, I use my Le Creuset cast-iron enameled combo cooker (#18). This time I went for the savory and sweet at the same time.

For the savory side – we did another Tartine Country loaf, this time with my Frankenstein starter mix (1 part pumpernickel, 1 part medium rye, 1 part 9-grain mix, and 1 part whole wheat). This is what I feed my starter on a day to day basis and it seems to like it just fine.

For the sweet side, I took my cues from Shiao-Ping’s Chocolate Sourdough at the fresh loaf,, but altered both her recipe and technique just a bit.

The process that I used was to deal with both breads at the same time, even though as it turned out, the chocolate bread was baked the day after the country loaf.

The night before the day I mixed the doughs I started the levain build for both loaves. For the country loaf, I fed 3 grams of hungry starter 50 grams of my starter flour mix (above) and 50 grams of room temperature water. This amounts to a 1:16:16 starter/flour/water ratio whereas I typically feed 1:4:4 or even 1:2:2, but this is what Chad said to do, so just this once, okey-dokey. I stirred this up well, covered it, and put it in the cooler at 54*F overnight.

For the chocolate loaf, I took 15 grams of hungry starter and fed it 30g bread flour and 23g water (about 75% hydration except my hungry starter was at 100%, but I’m not going to stress over an extra gram of water are you?). This too was stirred up and placed covered in the cooler overnight.

The next morning, around 7AM, I took both starters out of the cooler. Ah, the country loaf was not ready to go. The float test failed – the dab of starter sunk like a stone. I guess the big meal and the extra chill did not result in as much activity as was necessary – either warmer temps or less food. Not to worry. I took another 15g of hungry starter and just stirred it in. This I left covered on the counter for about 2 hours. (note the recipe summary below assumes you start the final dough with 50 grams of starter at 100% hydration that has ripened for two hours passing the float test. How you get there is up to you.)

For the chocolate starter, a dab of which was floating happily in the glass, I added 68g bread flour and 51g water. Stirring, covered and let rest for two hours at room temperature until the float test was passed.

So around 8:45 both starter dabs are floating happily in the little glasses so we’re ready to start making the doughs.

For the country loaf, here using only 50 grams of the starter (the rest went into the trash), I added 225g bread flour and 25g medium rye flour, along with 162g room temperature water. This was mixed thoroughly by hand until all of the flour bits were completely moistened and combined. This I covered and let rest for 40 minutes. In the meantime I dissolved 5 grams of salt in 13 grams of water.

For the chocolate loaf, I opted to combine the starter (all 187g of it) with 162g bread flour and 108g water. I added the water first to the starter and made sure it was all but dissolved before I added the bread flour. This was mixed by hand and left to rest for ½ hour like the other dough ball. In the meantime I stirred together 25g Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, 22g agave nectar (I didn’t have any honey), the seeds from ½ of a vanilla bean pod and 5 grams of salt.

For the country loaf, after the 40 minute autolyse, I squeezed in the salt water solution until the bowl was essentially dry and the dough was tightening up. I finished off with the first stretch and fold (seam side up) and left it to rest for ½ hour.

For the chocolate loaf after the ½ hour rest, I took the cocoa mixture and blended that into the dough. Since this was a fairly stiff 75% dough, it was a job, and since I was using the special dark cocoa it was a messy job at that. Squeezing, kneading, folding, cursing, and finally adding another splash of water, we got ‘er done and very little if any of the original white dough was visible. It was interesting how plastic the cocoa powder made the dough feel – must be the cocoa butter that changes the texture. I gave it its first fold and into the bowl, always seam side up, covered and rested for ½ hour. This marks the beginning of the bulk fermentation stage, lasting a total of four hours. (9:35AM – 1:35PM)

Back to the country loaf, not much, just a simple stretch and fold in the bowl. Covered and rested for 45 minutes.

Back to the chocolate loaf. On the countertop, I spread in about a 12X12 square a mixture of 18g Trader Joe’s semi sweet chocolate callets broken into 1/4s (the best thing Trader Joe has ever come up with!!) and 18g Trader Joe’s dried sour cherries. This was topped with the dough stretched out to about ¼ inch. On top of this, an equal amount of the chocolate cherry mix was spread evenly on top. Pressing down to make everything stick, and then folding up like a letter, and then a square and back into the bowl. Covered and rested for 45 minutes.

Back to the country loaf, a simple stretch and fold in the bowl. Covered and rested for 45 minutes.

Chocolate loaf, do a stretch and fold in the bowl (10-15 times) so that all of the dough is fully stretched and folded back onto itself. Cover and rest 45 minutes.

Back to the country loaf, a simple stretch and fold in the bowl. Covered and rested for 45 minutes.

Chocolate loaf, do a stretch and fold in the bowl (10-15 times) so that all of the dough is fully stretched and folded back onto itself. Cover and rest 45 minutes.

By this time, two hours have gone by, now leave the country loaf dough alone for 1 1/2 hours. Then do a final stretch and fold. For the chocolate loaf, let it rest for two full hours.

Preshaping. In both cases, we are working with a single loaf. Dump each out of the bowl onto an unfloured counter so that the bottoms of the dough are facing up. Flour the surfaces lightly, then turn them over. Pinch the unfloured sides together in rough rounds. Flip over, flour side up and rotate on the counter with both hands and a little downward pressure to tighten into boule shapes. Let rest 20 minutes right on the counter before final shaping. Cover with the upended bowls.

Final shaping
Pat each round lightly out into rectangular shapes. Fold the bottom thirds towards the center. Stretch the right side out as far as it will without tearing and fold to center. Repeat same on left side and top side. Take the bottom third again and fold it down so that it completely meets the counter surface. Pinch to close and gently round into boule shape. Place seam side up in banneton lined with a linen napkin well rubbed with rice flour (Note: the last time I used a banneton straight without the napkin, it stuck and ruined the loaf, sob!). Cover with plastic wrap (I use a standard hotel-issue shower cap). Leave both shaped loaves out on the counter for 2 hours.

For the chocolate loaf, after two hours, I placed it in a big ziplock, banneton and all, in the refrigerator (40*F) for overnight.

For the country loaf, after two hours it was close to proofed, so I preheated the oven and my mini combo-cooker to 500*F. After 45 minutes, the oven was ready. I dumped the proofed loaf onto a square of parchment, scored, and loaded onto the lid of the cooker. Covering with the top of the cooker, into the oven it went. At the same time, the heat was lowered to 460*F. After 15 minutes I removed the cover on the cooker. After another 10 minutes, I propped open the oven door for the last 10 minutes.

We were so hungry last night that we ate a full half of the boule after it was just above room temperature. It was fantastic. Crispy, fluffy, wonderful.

The following morning, this morning, I woke up and preheated the oven and the mini combo cooker to just 380*F. When it was up to temperature, I took the banneton out of the fridge, where it was not at all more risen than when I left it, and I dumped it onto another square of parchment. Scoring was way easy with this cold of a loaf, and into the hot combo-cooker once again. Covered and placed into the 380*F oven. After 15 minutes I took the top off and feared the worse. A brick met my eyes. Oh well. New recipe, bound to be some failure. None of it. After another 10 minutes, I checked on it, almost completely round, sphere – wonderful bubbly cherry chocolate juices oozing. So I took it out of the oven. Barely body temperature inside with the probe. Back in it went. Another 15 minutes. Out, temp? Nope. Back in. After a full hour it was finally at 207*F and done. Well worth the wait.

So baby boule adventure had a happy ending – Yeah! Eclairs on Thursday – hope I can wait that long.


Tartine Loaf – Final Dough Formula

Amount, Ingredient, Baker’s %

50g Well Fed Starter (2 hours old, 100% Hydration – 25g flour/25g water, 16%
225g Bread flour, 75%
25g Medium Rye Flour, 8.3%
175g Water (74*F), divided Use, 67%
5g, Salt, 1.6%

Chocolate Cherry Loaf

1st Starter Build

15g, Hungry starter 100% Hydration, 6%
30g Bread flour, 11%
23g Water, 9%

2nd Levain Build

68g Hungry starter (from above), 25%
68g Bread flour, 25%
51g Water, 19%

Final Dough

187g Well Fed Starter (2 hours old, from above), 69%
162g Bread flour, 60%
108g Water, 40%
25g Cocoa Powder, 9%
22g Honey or Agave Nectar, 8%
1/2 Vanilla pod seeds only
5g salt, 9%
36g Chocolate, chunks ¼ inch, 13%
36g Dried sour cherries, 13%

4 Responses to “Baby Boule Adventures”

  1. Dave Says:

    Beautiful and I love the scale. Same problem, small family, weight conscious, very nice. Think I could get away with a poolish instead of a leavain?

  2. Pamela Says:

    I don’t see why not. I’d give it a try anyway. Have you tried to make your own sourdough? It’s very easy and it’s like having a tiny pet. I highly recommend it.

  3. Philip Says:

    Hi there friends, nice article and fastidious urging commented here, I am in fact
    enjoying by these.

  4. Theodore Says:

    Ѵery shortly this web page ѡill be famous amid all blogging visitors,
    duee tο it’s fastidious posts

    Here is my homepage … website, Theodore,

Leave a Reply

  • Categories