Making Sourdough at Darling Harbour, Sydney


Bakers from all backgrounds are invited to mix sourdough in an original baking trough at the Food Service Australia Expo at Darling Harbour Sydney next week. Troughs (pronounced 'troes') are as big as bath tubs and were in common use prior to machine mixing.

We will begin mixing at 10am on Tuesday 13 May, 2008, at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Absolutely any baker is invited to take part or watch. Forum pin-up boy Danubian is providing the leaven and ABA will provide quality stone ground organic flour and bannetons.

The doughs will be shaped and baked throughout the day by whichever bakers are around to lend a hand...join in at a time that suits you (Tuesday close time is 8.00pm, but baking should finish earlier in the evening).

Several highly skilled Sydney bakers have already said they will be there. This is a perfect opportunity to have some fun and meet a few people. This is a trade show but home bakers who aspire to bake for a living are very welcome to attend (I would love to see you there).

Register here: https://www.infosalons.com.au/fsa08s/register.asp

Lars from WP Reedy is kindly providing the dough trough and ovens for use by ABA. Thank you!

Graham

- if you turn up and can't find us...phone my mobile 0437 55 2324

This ABA presentation will be held near the 'BESA' area...look for the dough trough.

Note: Please note that the 'A.B.A' stand at this trade show is in fact not ABA, but is another baking association currently using a very similar name to ABA! (confusing, isn't it?)

22 comments

But I'm a world away, more's the pity.  I do have an antique dough box of the sort used by my pioneering ancestors in Canada, and I've always been tempted to try some sort of bread in it.  I have, in the past, put bowls of dough to rise in it, and I'm sure it contributes some lovely ancient wild yeasts to my sourdough.  It's huge, standing waist-high on 4 legs, and as mentioned above, easily as big as a bathtub.  Maybe I'll give it a whirl, after some intense scrubbing, and after being inspired by the bakers in Australia to try something "different."

PaddyL

[quote=Graham]
Forum pin-up boy Danubian is providing the leaven .....
[/quote]

Geez, I certainly don't feel very "pin-up"; I think that's one superlative that doesn't apply to me! LOL


Actually, trough is pronounced troff & the plural is troffs, but maybe mispronunciation is appropriately authentic for artisan bread?

There appears to be two conflicting definitions for artisan bread in Australia.
Those of us who aspire to produce &/or enjoy traditional bread either look to the peasant tradition of home or communal breadmaking or the bread production by the European masters such as the Viennese bakers & the two styles are worlds apart.

Most of the comments on artisan or sourdough websites revolve around the myths & superstition that surrounded the production of bread by peasants with no formal training & probably little if any education - hence a mispronunciation or two probably adds an authentic touch.

However, for those who consider themselves to be 'professional' bakers, information on the scientific facts & the science-based processes is available for those who wish to acquire it.

For example, many years ago, the scientific analysis of traditional San Francisco sourdough bread was undetaken by Paul Kline & others who identified & named the wild yeast ( saccaromyces exiguus ) responsible for the leavening.

Too often I see the word 'artisan' used to describe bad bread - bread that has been made without consideration for the correct ingredients, formula, temperature, mixing time, proving time & baking conditions & especially the cutting. Most people would think that the cuts are to make it look pretty, but correct cuts are essential for optimum volume & baking. A loaf shouldn't burst - artisan or not.

The 2% of salt to the flour weight used by commercial bakers is not accidental - neither does it originate from factory production of bread. It is the nominal ratio required for the correct chemical processes to take place during dough maturation & it is the correct amount to enable easy digestion. Research it for yourself - and that is my whole point. Instead of  reading about the theories of some backyard amatuer - get your information from someone who can explain the science of what's going on.
 
Good baking & let me know if you can taste & smell the improvement in your bread. "Use your all your 5 senses, Craigo", my old boss Niko Lewis used to say in reply to my question, "Is this dough mixed enough?"

Craigo


 

Craigo

[quote=craigo]Actually, trough is pronounced troff & the plural is troffs, but maybe mispronunciation is appropriately authentic for artisan bread?

There appears to be two conflicting definitions for artisan bread in Australia.
Those of us who aspire to produce &/or enjoy traditional bread either look to the peasant tradition of home or communal breadmaking or the bread production by the European masters such as the Viennese bakers & the two styles are worlds apart.

Most of the comments on artisan or sourdough websites revolve around the myths & superstition that surrounded the production of bread by peasants with no formal training & probably little if any education - hence a mispronunciation or two probably adds an authentic touch.

However, for those who consider themselves to be 'professional' bakers, information on the scientific facts & the science-based processes is available for those who wish to acquire it.

For example, many years ago, the scientific analysis of traditional San Francisco sourdough bread was undetaken by Paul Kline & others who identified & named the wild yeast ( saccaromyces exiguus ) responsible for the leavening.

Too often I see the word 'artisan' used to describe bad bread - bread that has been made without consideration for the correct ingredients, formula, temperature, mixing time, proving time & baking conditions & especially the cutting. Most people would think that the cuts are to make it look pretty, but correct cuts are essential for optimum volume & baking. A loaf shouldn't burst - artisan or not.

The 2% of salt to the flour weight used by commercial bakers is not accidental - neither does it originate from factory production of bread. It is the nominal ratio required for the correct chemical processes to take place during dough maturation & it is the correct amount to enable easy digestion. Research it for yourself - and that is my whole point. Instead of  reading about the theories of some backyard amatuer - get your information from someone who can explain the science of what's going on.
 
Good baking & let me know if you can taste & smell the improvement in your bread. "Use your all your 5 senses, Craigo", my old boss Niko Lewis used to say in reply to my question, "Is this dough mixed enough?"

Craigo
[/quote]

G'day Graigo,

I beg to differ on the pronunciation of "trough" applied to a bread dough mixing vessel. If I were referring to a vessel where cattle drink from I'd pronounce the word "troff". My sources are bakers who made doughs this way prior to and during the Great Depression in Australia as bakers all their lives. I was lucky enough to have worked with a couple during my apprenticship.

Dictionaries are focused on the more widely used application - drinking vessel for cattle - and pronunciation of the word in that application. But the baking tradition (professional, not ameteur) has designated the alternate pronunciation "trow" or "troe" as far as I can ascertain. Nothing quaint about those blokes or their pronunciation of the name of a tool they used every day to earn a living during those times. 


[quote=PaddyL]I do have an antique dough box of the sort used by my pioneering ancestors in Canada, and I've always been tempted to try some sort of bread in it.   It's huge, standing waist-high on 4 legs, and as mentioned above, easily as big as a bathtub. [/quote]

Hey Paddy, would you post a photo of this trough?  I'd love to see it.

Cheers,

Tony


[quote=craigo]Actually, trough is pronounced troff & the plural is troffs, but maybe mispronunciation is appropriately authentic for artisan bread?

The 2% of salt to the flour weight used by commercial bakers is not accidental ...  Instead of  reading about the theories of some backyard amatuer - get your information from someone who can explain the science of what's going on.
 
Craigo
[/quote]

I'm so tired of this arrogant and condescending attitude that creeps up now and again.  "Amateur bakers" is not a bad thing and I would like to point out that so much of early science was done by amateurs who had a passion and curiosity to understand their world; think of the first biologists and naturalists who produced extensive taxonomies.  Sure they were rich and didn't have the day to day to worry about ... .  Amateurs are the engine that drive so many innovations - as for the science of things, that can be learned.  Passion and commitment are much deeper phenomena, and much more interesting.  Without them, science would fail.  This board is a mix of science and passion and a love of baking!!  Enjoy it, participate but leave the arrogance at the door.

Cheers,

Tony
Sure Tony, once I've cleaned it off, and cleaned up the kitchen around it.

PaddyL

Thanks, Tony, I agree.

Unfortunately the word 'amateur' these days is used to label an approach to an activity as less substantial, less serious, or even inferior to a professional approach. But this is not the original usage of the word amateur.





[quote=craigo]There appears to be two conflicting definitions for artisan bread in Australia.
Those of us who aspire to produce &/or enjoy traditional bread either look to the peasant tradition of home or communal breadmaking or the bread production by the European masters such as the Viennese bakers & the two styles are worlds apart.

[/quote]

BTW, Craigo, you raise some interesting points here;

* I not aware of a definition - most bakers, professional and amateur have a some idea what they believe to be 'artisan' bread - the same goes for 'sourdough' bread - but since there's no legal standard or industry agreed standard it remains undefined. Customers are also having difficulty with this due to a lack of standard.

* The "two conflicting...." [beliefs] you see extant in Australian artisan baking - I use the word "belief" because the situation we have in Australia remains undefined. To clarify; you say "peasant tradition" which I assume to be one approach and the "European masters" the other? In which way are they worlds apart, and do they have similarities that are fundamental to both?

We've been trying to define sourdough for some time here but have failed to raise even enough interest in a basic poll. There are 500 odd members and only 10 people expressed their opinion in the poll. Hardly representative. There are only a few individuals with strongly held beliefs but the majority seem uninterested.  


[quote=craigo]Actually, trough is pronounced troff & the plural is troffs, but maybe mispronunciation is appropriately authentic for artisan bread?

There appears to be two conflicting definitions for artisan bread in Australia....
[/quote]

The old bakers i knew used 'troe' and I remember the trades people that taught metalwork/carpentry at my school used 'rule', instead of 'ruler'. Is there a connection?

Definitions? One persons 'artisan' is another persons fartisan. The aim of working on clearer terms is simply to provide clarity in an industry where there is currently very little clarity about how to describe the art of making a well-crafted loaf (important to both bakers and bread eaters).

The validity of artisan process? You could be a 'peasant' who has discovered the characteristics of dough rising in an earth cellar. Or you could be a professional who has been trained to use a retarder to produce a desired outcome. I really do not see the difference in terms of artisan process. Both styles of bakers are interested in achieving a favourable outcome for their craft and their customers.

To me a simple observation, particularly one that is repeated becasue the artisan believes it improves their craft and benefits their client, is just as valid as any (often more complex) scientific deduction.


Good on you! it sounds like my kind of thing, hope it's a big success. Have always wanted to have a go at kneading in a trough; I suspect that "10 minutes kneading" meant a different thing when your back is taking most of the strain as you're doubled over. Will you video it?
Dan


Wow! It's TODAY! I don't know how I remembered it as a weekend thing.

Personal request to those who attended, PLEASE report on your trough experience and, generally, I would want to hear as much as possible about EVERYTHING!


Here's a few pictures of the trough with boards on top at Darling Harbour, Sydney. I didn't get a chance to do any mixing and baking. I was only able to assist. As far as I could tell the sides and the bottom of the trough are constructed from from single pieces or timber 1 1/2" thick. Truely a beautiful piece of our baking heritage which belongs in a museum.

[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/plutrach/IMG_5603-1.jpg[/IMG]


[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/plutrach/IMG_5602-1.jpg[/IMG]


[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/plutrach/IMG_5604.jpg[/IMG]

I can imagine the brawn and back-breaking sweat that went into all that dough work. How solid the trough looks. Beautiful! If it could speak, I'm sure it'll have lots to tell about the loaves it churned out, and, the different styles of each baker.

Thanks!


Mine is about two thirds of that in length, has straight sides, and it's on longer legs so I wouldn't have to be on my knees to knead in it.  But it's virtually the same thing.  I also saw them at Upper Canada Village where they were in use every day.

PaddyL


I have uploaded a few more pics of the dough trough. Danubian was a great help in cleaning down the wooden surface prior to mixing, as well as developing a spelt recipe and weighing out all the ingredients.

Another friend had come along to share the mixing, but at the last minute was unable to assist. A crowd had gathered and my friend (a superb professional baker) revealed a shy and sensitive side which I was pleased to discover but would have preferred to have known about before beginning a 30 minute mixing session.

















I was mixing and therefore not taking photos. Fortunately I had set up a video camera on a tripod and let the tape run (to view later).

We made a 20kg dough using 85% extraction stoneground organic spelt four (ABA Unbleached Spelt) and a white wheat leaven provided by Danubian.

I deliberately aimed for a stiffer mix because my previous experience with a similar spelt (same grain, but 100% extraction) revealed a tendency for the mix to slacken off greatly during the mixing. In this case the dough only slackened marginally, so the final dough was stiffer (less hydrated) than I would have liked (but perfect for the loosely woven cane bannetons).


























The mixed dough felt cold, but was actually around 24C when I stuck in a thermometer. It sat for about 3 hours n the trough with a plastic tub used to cover the dough. Danubian's leaven was very strong, with movement in dough early in the bulk proof.

After 3 to 3.5 hours, the dough was divided out into 700gram to 800gram pieces and shaped into balls. The balls sat for about 20 minutes then were shaped and placed into bannetons (some balls were combined to make larger loves).

















For the final rise, we simply put the lids back on the trough and proved the bannetons inside. This worked quite well although skinning was pretty severe on the exposed (upper) side of the dough pieces (see photos).


























Final proof was in the low to mid 20s (C). It was approximately 2 hours later that I decided to bake them off. This was perhaps a little early but there was only 1 hour of oven time left (the trade show was closing) and the breaks occurring on the upper side of the dough pieces were starting to scare me (this looked severe partly due to the large amount of skinning).

I had access to a deck oven that did not have steam. This created a fairly severe environment for a stiff and under-proofed dough, so I cut quite deeply (1-2cm). The deep cutting probably saved my bum because there was a lot of spring. The final result was 'rustic' rather than a smoothly finished loaf.


















The entire process had been watched by an official from the charity CentaCare, who had organised to distribute our loaves to those in need later that night. She seemed very happy with the result. The next morning she stopped me in the carpark and said it was fantastic bread, and that she'd had some as toast for breakfast. That was quite a relief. A compliment from the street means more to me than any professional  assessment.

Next time: A slacker dough, similar bulk proof (O.K, I think), bring plastic to cover proving bannetons (prevent skinning), leave time for longer final proof if needed, organise steam in oven.

Thank you Lars from WP Reedy for lending your dough trough!






Great bread, looks superb!
D


It's going to be a job to clean it off and scrub it out, but you've inspired me now, and I'm just going to have to use my dough box, or trough.  More excitement and upheaval in our kitchen.  Oh well.

PaddyL


.... is Boris ?  :)



Thank you Dan and all for comments here. Boris? Well he is larger than life but keeps a low profile. He escaped being photographed but was captured on video. All will be revealed in time...
div class="word_definition"

danubian

One entry found.

Danube

div class="entry misc"
Main Entry:
span class="variant"Dan·ube Listen to the pronunciation of Danube
Pronunciation:
span class="pronchars"\span class="unicode"ˈdan-(span class="unicode"ˌ)yüb\
Variant(s):
span class="vl"or G span class="variant"Do·nau Listen to the pronunciation of Donau span class="pronchars"\span class="unicode"ˈdō-span class="unicode"ˌnaspan class="unicode"u̇\ span class="vl"or ancient span class="variant"Da·nu·bi·us Listen to the pronunciation of Danubius span class="pronchars"\də-span class="unicode"ˈnü-bē-əs, da-, -span class="unicode"ˈnyü-\ span class="vl"or span class="variant"Is·ter Listen to the pronunciation of Ister span class="pronchars"\span class="unicode"ˈis-tər\
Function:
geographical name
div class="defs" span class="sense_content"river 1771 miles (2850 kilometers) central & SE Europe flowing SE from SW Germany into Black Sea div class="run_on" — span class="variant"Da·nu·bi·an Listen to the pronunciation of Danubian span class="pronchars"\da-span class="unicode"ˈnyü-bē-ən\ adjective


Looks great, can't wait for the video!