Ciabatta with poolish (80% hydration)

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Ciabatta is a lean dough that is made with a poolish and something called the double-hydration method. This method involves adding water at two stages during gluten development. This is done to help incorporate the water of high hydration doughs. Read More

Focaccia (93% hydration)

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Focaccia is one of my favourite breads to make. It has a super high hydration (93% hydration in this case), but because it’s baked in a pan it doesn’t require any bread shaping skills. The possibilities for toppings are limitless, although it’s pretty good plain as well. Personally, I like baking focaccia in a lasagna pan, because it’s smaller than a sheet tray and has higher sides so the resulting loaf is dramatically thick. Eat it on its own, or even slice it lengthwise for sandwiches. You can’t go wrong! Read More

Bread Making Process

In the last few posts, I’ve been trying to cover some of the foundational topics of bread making. Today, I want to take a step back and talk about the steps involved in the overall process. My hope is that this will provide a general framework so that you know what to expect in a recipe, and even maybe start thinking about coming up with your own. Peter Reinhart says that the art of bread making involves 12 steps, I will try to give a brief description of each below:

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Desired Dough Temperature (DDT): The Basics

In many bread recipes, a target temperature, or DDT (Desired Dough Temperature) is often specified for the dough for the end of the mixing process. Is it important? Mixing the dough in a specific temperature range encourages proper gas production during fermentation, resulting in the ideal loaf volume for the final product. The DDT may be influenced by factors beyond the ambient temperature. For example, if the water is too cold, it might take longer for the bread to properly rise. On the other hand, if the water is too warm, it will accelerate the fermentation process. By taking DDT into consideration, we can eliminate some of these variables and will achieve more consistency in fermentation, final dough and timing.

What is Desired Dough Temperature (DDT)?
Desired dough temperature is the temperature that the dough should reach at the end of the mixing stage just before bulk fermentation. Read More

Preferments

Poolish, levain, biga, pâte fermentée – is there a difference? And what’s the point in preparing a part of the dough separately? In this post, I’ll try to clarify the terminology and the science behind the wonderful world of preferments.

What is a pre-ferment?
A preferment is a portion of dough that is mixed in advance of preparing the final dough. Its main purpose is to increase flavour, strength, and shelf life. Because it is mixed ahead of time, bulk fermentation as well as mixing time is reduced. Preferments can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight, those that are stored in the fridge often assume more of an acidic flavour profile while room temperature preferments have a lactic flavour. Read More