I have adapted my date kefir levain bread for those of you who don’t have kefir grains and are maybe not as fond of tending small bubbling pots as I am! This is an experiment to see if I can approximate the same loaf using a small quantity of dried yeast and yoghurt to replace the kefir.
In the best tradition of experiments, it was interrupted unexpectedly at one point and I thought the bread might have over proved but I figure that anyone who does make it will probably put their own spin on it anyway, so here goes…
I have used spelt for the wholemeal component of the dough which gives a lovely warm nuttiness to the final bread.
It is sweeter, softer and even a little stickier than the original kefir bread, even though it has the same proportions of flour and yoghurt/kefir. I can only speculate as I can’t do a proper analysis on the loaf, only rely on taste.
It does however make me think that most of the date syrup is converted by the kefir’s unique culture in the original recipe into gas and acids, giving it a more complex and interesting taste and texture.
I will reduce the quantity of syrup by half if I make this yeasted version again but I will write it out here as I made it.
For the Poolish
- 183.5 g strong white flour
- 146.8 g natural unsweetened yoghurt
- 110 g water
- 36.7 g date syrup
- 1 g or ¼ tsp active dried yeast
For the Final Dough
- All of the above plus
- 220.2 g of very strong (high gluten) bread flour
- 146.8 g wholemeal spelt
- 307 g water
- 22 g melted and cooled butter
- 14.7 g salt
- Prepare a preferment as above with flour, yoghurt, dried yeast, warm water and date syrup.
- I use our home-made yoghurt, which is very thick and sets solid, if yours is runny then you may find you need less water in the final dough.
- Mix the pre-ferment approximately 18 hours before preparing the final dough.
- The pre-ferment should be thick and bubbling vigorously when you mix the final dough. Mix the final dough (ingredients and weights below) using a stand mixer or by hand. I used a stand mixer.
- Melt and allow butter to cool slightly.
- This dough takes more water than the kefir version as the yoghurt is thicker.
- Mix preferment and water together first. Hold back 50g of the water to start with.Add the flours. (If you want to make a quicker bread, I guess you could add more yeast as well at this point but I didn’t)
- Mix on slow speed till no visible flour is left and the mixture looks sticky and is beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl. If it forms a big lump round the dough hook, add extra water.
- Leave for 15-45 minutes in the mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle salt on the top of the dough and mix in at low speed.
- Dribble the melted butter in and mix till incorporated.
- Turn dough out and check that is quite soft and beginning to develop.
- Place in a (lightly oiled) bowl and cover.
- Prove for 4-6 hours depending on room temperature. I stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice during this time.
- Divide into two equal portions and shape according to preference, you could bake in a tin, or use a banneton to hold the dough while it proves.
- Pre-heat oven to 230 C / 450 F.
- Leave to prove a second time for about an hour and fifteen minutes, if you had a long first prove like me! Providing you were gentle with your shaping and didn’t knock all the air out of the dough you should get good oven spring.
- Bake at 230 C or as hot as your oven goes for 20 minutes with steam until the loaves have sprung and started to brown.
- Open door to let steam out briefly and drop the temperature to 200 C / 400 F and bake for another 20 minutes or so. Allow to cool on a rack.
- A 700 -750 g (unbaked dough weight) loaf takes approx 45 minutes to bake.
BreadStorm ™ Excitement!
I have been having a great time beta-testing the BreadStorm ™ app for the iPad the last few weeks. I have the free version at the moment on my Mac desktop but I really like the idea of having an iPad version, as the iPad is easier to have in the kitchen and I will be very tempted to buy it when the beta-testing is finished.
For me I think it will be an excellent way to do all sorts of things that I am not so good at doing :
- keeping track and being able to adapt, modify, and update my favourite bread formulae,
- being able to exchange files with other bakers in a common format, the .bun file.
- being able to scale recipes up and down to fit my needs. This can be very complicated if there are lots of pre-ferments and soakers in the recipe and I am very good at getting that sort of thing wrong!
- it also encourages me to think a bit more logically, and anything that does that is a good thing!
I am uploading the formula for this bread both in bakers’ percentages and in grams to show you what it looks like :-
To give you another example, here is the formula for my favourite date kefir levain, tweaked and scaled down to a handy size for my oven in BreadStorm ™ format :
If you want to read and explore this software further and the differences between the paid for and the free versions, do visit the BreadStorm site and also visit Farine’s blog as she knows the software and writes in far more detail than I do about how it all works. If you don’t know Farine, she is probably one of the finest bread bakers and writers you will come across and I really respect her skill and craft more than I can say.
Jacqueline, one of the developers, has also written a tutorial which you can read here. and wonderful Karin @ Brot & Bread has written a fantastic post on her detective work with her colleagues at The Fresh Loaf Forum figuring out how to make Cecilienhof Vollkornbrot . Karin also uses BreadStorm ™ software and a lot of other people are using it too already. I think it is going to be very popular.
Disclaimer : I haven’t bought any software yet, I am not being paid to write about BreadStorm. I am simply testing it out as you would a cookbook. I volunteered to be a tester, my help was not solicited. Any opinions are my own.
I baked a different loaf using yoghurt whey four years ago, far more acidic than this – it was the first loaf that I wrote about on this blog and the first one I took a joke ‘windowpane’ shot of.
I have baked and written about rather too many loaves since then, so thanks for reading this mishmash of a blog everyone. You have been great!
Zeb Bakes Anniversary Photo – a little bit of fun!
And for those of you with the stamina to read this far, an anniversary picture of Zeb with an old friend from a long way away in the garden. Zeb came across her while looking for elves this week on April Fool’s Day. The mist had lifted and we teased Zeb that this one had stayed behind to pick some primroses.
This may be a bit obscure so here is a picture to explain a bit more – In Sweden the elves or fairies are said to dance the morning mist which lies low over the ground – the ‘Älvdans’ – I was reminded of this by @Scanditwitchen who is a font of knowledge about all things Scandianvian.
Image Source : August Malmström via Wikimedia Commons