Old 10-21-2012, 12:10 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default OLD Chad Robertson Bread Video!

Here is a link to an old Martha Steward video clip on Chad Robertson.

Bay Village Bakery Makes French Levain Bread - Martha Stewart Food

This should be useful to some of you for it illustrates how manageable really wet dough should be (this is around 75% bakers percentage hydration) and it illustrates really good loaf forming technique. Note how the dough has a bounce and a certain gassiness when he dumps it from his tub. Also, note how tight the skin is on the wet dough loaves! My biggest disappointment is he doesn't show the dough at the end of mixing for that is an important stage. You may also note that he does however use a significant "cool" retard in this process to extend his final proof.

For those who like Chad's Tartine bread, this is the precursor to his current bread. Very similar but some slightly different techniques.

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Old 10-21-2012, 04:51 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,206
Default Re: OLD Chad Robertson Bread Video!

Nice footage of the weighing, pre-shaping and shaping. It's interesting that he add a bit of salt to the levain before mixing the dough. It's also clear that I've been tentative with my final shaping. He retards the shaped loaves overnight so they have a bit more time to rise. Does it matter that he's using lined baskets, do they release easier than unlined? I've been defering an overnight rise in baskets because evening is most often when I can bake but baking in the morning would free more of the weekend..

Thanks again.


Last edited by SCChris; 10-21-2012 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:17 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: OLD Chad Robertson Bread Video!

Hi Chris!

Salt has a strong influence on yeast activity. Even a couple of tenths of a percent will markedly slow yeast development. By half a percent the slowing is substantial. I wish Martha or he had talked more about the timing of his process. My guess is that with the long, relatively high temp retard his yeast was running away/overproofing so he added a bit of salt up front to keep it under control. It is a very useful technique - especially in places that are warm (like Texas). I prefer to mix my final dough without salt because I like the feel - but I don't give it long before I add the salt because I don't want my yeast to run away.

I use both lined and unlined bannetons. I prefer the look of unlined but linen is like a miracle fabric - like teflon for dough. Okay, if you put really sticky dough on it it can get glued but...linen does a really nice job of drawing just the right amount of moisture from the skin of the dough to yield wonderful handleability and slashability and it almost never sticks very badly. Linen is IMO the only way to do baguettes (so you can do a bunch with one cloth with ridges between each loaf).

I am going to guess that he starts his dough in mid-/late- afternoon and did the portioning in the early evening (say 6-8 pm). Then did final forming around 8 to 9 pm and into his proofing chamber (which is probably in the 50s??? (wild guess - maybe low 60s)) and then overnight to bake the next morning.

When you have dough as beautiful as his it can probably spend the night in a naked basket without sticking but with linen it is easy. I have tended to have had sticking issues when I retard overnight in baskets. And my sourdough simply doesn't like going to low temps (my SubZero is at 35 degrees which is too cold). I really need to try using my spare refrigerator at about 42. (reluctant to raise it to 45 or 50! which would be better). As is well discussed on this forum, retarding the dough can have great flavor benefits. I personally don't like to retard more than about 24 hours for I find the enzyme degradation of the dough goes beyond what I find acceptable but...that is always a personal taste.

Consider ordering a couple of yards of linen from SFBI. It is good stuff and is great for proofing on the counter (boules, batards, baguettes, whatever!). I think I bought three yards and cut mine in half to give me two pieces a bit over a yard long.

Bake on!
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