ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bake Better Hearth Bread - Use a Pre Ferment to Improve the Taste of Your Home Baked Loaves (Recipe)!

Updated on December 26, 2011
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fooey/3638425081/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fooey/3638425081/

Speed is not your friend, when making a good loaf of bread.

When you're making an enriched bread, like a brioche, challah or sweet bread, then the fermentation time doesn't matter as much, because it's the rich ingredients in the dough that add much of the flavor but when making a lean bread, such as a baguette, or a sourdough or an Italian bread or a ciabbata or any of these rustic hearth loaves, time makes or breaks it all.

These breads contain little more that flour, leaven, salt and water.

  • Mix that combination together and bake it quickly (within a couple of hours) and you get something that tastes fine.
  • Mix that combination together and let it percolate for a day or so, and you get something that tastes sublime!

Add water and flour and a very small amount of yeast together and let it rest at room temperature for hours and hours and something magical starts to happen. Enzymes start to work on the flour, breaking down long carbohydrate chains that have little taste into a multitude of different sugar molecules and flavors. This process cannot be rushed and it is this long enzymatic process that gives good hearth bread it's complexity of taste. It is this enzymatic process that makes good bread good.

Problematically, for the home baker, our lives do not and cannot revolve around lengthy rising and baking schedules.

So here is an answer; a way to achieve the great complexity of taste of long risen bread and still be able to bake bread within a couple of hours of starting, on any day you decide to do so. You make a pre-ferment.

A pre ferment is simply a batch of very low yeast dough that you make ahead of time and let sit for a day or so, prior to adding it to a final recipe for bread. The great thing is, you can make a sizable batch of preferment, portion it into loaf sized containers and freeze it for up to 3 months until needed. Then, when it's time to make a loaf of bread, you just take out a bag of pre-ferment and add it to your dough. You get the great taste of a long risen bread, in a much shorter time.

There are a number of variations of pre-ferment; here is one called Pate Fermente. I got this from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" which is a fabulous fabulous book!

Pate Fermente

  • 4 ½ cups of all-purpose
  • 4 ½ cups of bread flour (if you have only bread or only all purpose, feel free to just double the amount of what you have, and omit what you don't!)
  • 1 Tbls salt
  • 2 tsps of instant yeast
  • 3 cups to 3 ½ cups of water
  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and shiny
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside the oiled bowl (roll it around, so it gets covered in oil) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Let the dough rise on the counter for an hour or so, or until doubled.
  5. punch the dough down, and put it in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day, this pre ferment is ready for use. This is enough pre ferment for 4 good sized loaves of bread, so punch down again and divide it into 4 portions, and then cover and freeze until needed.

When you make bread, take your bag of frozen pre ferment out of the freezer an hour or so prior to making bread (if you forget, don't worry about it, you can still use it). You will add this pre ferment to the bread dough after you have added the water but before you start mixing or kneading. To make incorporation easier, cut the preferment up into small chunks.

Proceed to make bread in the same way you would had you not added the preferment, it should make little difference…except in taste – it should make a great improvement in taste!

Remember to subtract the amount of water, flour, yeast and salt from the recipe you are using. Adding one bag of preferment means that you need to subtract from your bread recipe:

  • 2 ¼ cups of flour
  • ¾ tsps of salt
  • ½ tsp of yeast
  • ¾ cup of water

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 

      9 years ago from United States

      Looking forward to trying this.

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 

      9 years ago from USA

      Wow! I've worked with sourdough many, many times, but I never thought to apply the same type of pre-ferment to other types of breads. I make most of my own bread, but I generally shorten the time span by using my Quick Dough setting on my bread machine and doing the rest by hand. I definitely will be trying this method soon, as I haven't yet made a country loaf or baguette that I thought was fabulous. Thanks!!!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      You are very welcome - there is nothing like the alchemy of making really good bread at home! Very satisfying stuff.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for letting us in on these bread making secrets. I've always wondered about them

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)