Larraburu SFSD Revisited | The Fresh Loaf

It has been a while since dough.doc posted the Larraburu process for making their famous San Francisco SD bread from the late 60’s and early 70’s.  It really was great bread made by the thousands of loaves.  There were a couple, three things that hit me as being strange after reading the process.

First off, the hydration was in the 64 – 66% range and secondly the final proofing was as over 90 F.  I suppose I can understand both by saying the hydration depends on the flour used and if baskets were used for proofing.

The holes of the Larraburu bread were not like the gaping ones of Forkish that depend on high hydration and higher gluten flour – the crumb was open but moderate so ow hydration would be possible.  Low hydration would make sense if the flour was lower protein than what we use today and low hydration would be required if baskets were not used and the dough proofed free form.  I have a hard time seeing the stacks of thousands of baskets required otherwise – but who knows.

It was the high proofing temperatures that set me back.  Over 90 F, until I realized that high temps for final proofing, or all bench work, results in LAB making acid like crazy and the Larraburu bread of old was sour, much more sour the SFSD breads of today.

Another version of Grilled Chicken and Veggie Matzoh Ball soup

The 3rd thing that I thought was odd was that the baking temperature was only 425 F.  If I had to bake multiple loads of bread to get thousands out the door every day ,I would want the baking time to be less and 475 F would make that happen pretty easily.

Those in the know know you can’t have Matzoh Balls without Pineapple Upside Down Cake

As much as I like the old SFSD breads I can hardly remember, there are things I would do different today to make it even better and fit my tastes.  I would bake it to look and taste better by doing a bolder, darker bake and having plenty of blisters on the crust.  I would want to keep the sour but want more tang.

That would mean using a NMNF starter, making a whole multi-grain levain, retarding it and then retarding the dough overnight.  Finally, I would want a bit more of an open crumb with a higher but not crazy high hydration so the holes have a better mix of larger irregular holes but not huge ones wither.  Plus, no mixing machines allowed.

This bread gets it done for me today.  It is the closest thing to a SFSD bread of old that I like but better in the ways I want.  It tastes fantastic – wonderful really!  Plus, it only costs a dollar to make including the electricity to bake it at 425 F.  I know I could sell it all day long for 4 times as much and never have enough to go around.

It has a 6 grain 11% pre-fermented flour, 100% hydration, single stage levain and all the whole grains are in the levain.  10g of NMNF rye starter was the base and the levain was retarded for 24 hours after it doubled.  The 6 grains were rye, spelt, red and white wheat, Kamut and oat.  Just enough whole grains to get the levain  sour but not too much to be noticed in the crumb.

We only did a 40 minute autolyse with the Pink Himalayan sea salt since the dough flour was half LaFama AP and half Smart and Final High Gluten.  You could sub any bread flour or even KA AP if you wanted.  Overall hydration was 73%.  We did 3 sets of slap and folds of 40, 10 and 4 slaps and 1 set of stretch and folds from the compass points to shape the dough – all on 40 min.   It was 88 F in the kitchen for all counter work for the levain and dough – nice and high.

It went into a rice floured basket, put in a plastic shopping bag and retarded shaped for 8 hours.  The next morning, we let it sit on the counter 3 hours of final proof before firing up the oven to 450 F.  We unmolded it onto parchment on a peel and slashed it hopscotch style.  As soon as the DO went into the oven, we turned it down to 425 F for 25 minutes of steam.

Once the lid came off we baked it for 8 minutes lid off at 425 F convection before finish baking, off the iron entirely, for 8 minutes on the stone.  It read 210 F when we took it to the cooling rack.  It sprang, blistered, bloomed and browned very well and the crumb was nicely open.  Best of all, it tastes terrific, wonderfully sour, moist and soft with a still crispy crust.  It will make some grand bruschetta for dinner.

We could have sprouted the whole grains and made an even better bread perhaps but we know SF bakers didn’t sprout their grains back in the day.

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Post Author: MNS Master