Saturday, March 3, 2007

Can Brett make bread?

I had some Brett from Mo Betta Bretta saved in a growler in the fridge. Not having anything else to do with it I decided to see if this yeast could lend its unique flavor to bread. To make things more interesting I decided to also add a few tablespoons of kombucha, I was hopeful that the microbes would get along and make a unique sourdough.

I made a sponge with 6 oz (by weight, so much more accurate than using volume) of all purpose flour, 3/4 cup lukewarm water, about 1/8 cup thick Brett slurry and 1.5 tbsp of fermented kombucha. I let it sit out overnight to make sure the Brett acclimated to its new task. By the morning there was clearly activity, although not as much as I normally get from dry baker's yeast.

I then kneaded in 10 oz of flour, 6 tbls warm water and 1 tsp salt. I put the dough in a saran wrap covered bowl and placed it in the oven with a pan of hot water to rise. After one and a half hours (the normal rise for this recipe) the dough had risen some, but not the requisite doubling. After another hour the dough was close to where it was supposed to be. I shaped the dough into two baguettes and put them back in the oven to rise until dinner time.

After the bread had doubled again (about three hours) I preheated the oven to 500 degrees with my baking stone (large overturned terracotta flowerpot base). The bread baked for about 15 minutes, until it was golden brown and crunchy.

After cooling for 30 minutes the baguette was ready to eat. The smell was mildly funky and Brett like, but other than that looked and tasted just like a regular loaf of bread. The second loaf is spending the night in the refrigerator, I'll save some of the dough from it to see if the Brett will adapt to its new home and produce a suitable sourdough starter.

The next night I used the second half of the dough to make a pizza with some left over roasted pork tenderloin and caramelized onion. The Brett character had intensified and nicely complemented the earthy flavors of the meat, onions and cheese. The dough, even cold, was very easy to work with, I have no idea if I can credit this to the starch munching Brett, or if it was just that particular dough recipe. Sadly, I forgot to save any of the dough, so I guess I'll be making a new starter soon.


moocifer said...

Thought I might submith this method for creating one type of sourdough from scratch:

note: it's not only ambient organisms, but those that are living on the flour particles already, that get the sourdough going.

Rye flour, in particular, is particularly powerful in getting a starter going from scratch, as it seems to host a good population of yeast and bacteria.

i do mine over eight or so days.

1) MIX 1/2 cup rye flour, 1/2 cup filtered water.

let it sit for half a day.

throw away half.

replace the lost portion with 1/4 cup rye and 1/4 cup filtered water and mix it all thoroughly. (Use reasonable sanitary precautions.)

mark the outside of your jar/container to show the starting level of the starter.

repeat every 12 hours (you don't have to be slavish, but try to keep to this schedule).

Once the mixture doubles its volume in one 12 hour period it is strong enough to lift bread dough.

It takes me 6-8 days for this to happen. Of course, once you have the starter, you just refresh it between batches and you don't have to wait 6 days! But if you're not sure about its viability, do the 12 hour test: throw away half, replenish it with equal amts fresh flour and water, and see if it doubles its volume in that time. If it does, you're ready to go. If it doesn't, split it and refresh it until it will double in that time period.



The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Good stuff, thanks for posting. I’ve been playing around with a sourdough culture recently, but I haven’t gotten around to writing a post about it yet.

Unknown said...

I recently made bread with the yeast from the bottom of the fermenter of a Belgian wit (Safale T-58) and a stout (Safale S-33). Both breads had an interesting aroma, but an incredibly bitter aftertaste.

Could this be due to hop particles dropping into the yeast cake during fermentation? Neither beer was dry-hopped. Was there any intense bitterness in your bread?

Next stage is to incorporate the spent grains!

Sorry for commenting an incredibly old post.. there's isn't much baking on this blog activity these days though!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yeast harvested post-fermentation has several times more IBUs of the beer it is harvested from. The solubility of iso-alpha-acids also drops with the pH as a beer ferments. You might look into yeast washing to reduce the bitterness of the yeast and thus the bread.

My bread didn't have a perceptible bitterness, but then this beer didn't have much bitterness.

Good luck!

jace said...

Hi there,

I'm attempting to replicate this at home! My partner is oddly enough allergic (deadly) to sacc, but not to brett, so this could be the first time she's had bread!

I've followed the steps and I'm now at the point where I've divided the dough in half (after the first oven rise in hot water). Do you put them both back in the hot water, or just in the oven (without the hot water) to rise?

Also, thank you for writing this up! I'm super excited to have bread with my partner!


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I take it out for the final proof so you can start pre-heating the oven. Although no problem doing some time in the warm/humid oven to help speed things along if your kitchen is cold.

Best of luck, let me know how it turns out!