Preston Yancey’s white bread, attempt #6


This week I was able to mostly stick to the recipe.  With one exception: instead of regular salt, I decided to try birch smoked salt.  I figured, if I was going to be grinding it anyway, I might as well make it count.


In some ways, I was able to stick even MORE to the recipe than before.  For example, I took his advice to proof the yeast in a container with a lid, so I could shake it up before adding it to my autolyzing flour and water.

In the yeast mixture, I used 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 cup (59 grams) warm water.


Grinding the birch smoke saltDSC02842

All ground


For this recipe, I used 1150 grams of all-purpose flour and 900 grams of water (850 in the autolyse and 50 in the yeast mixture).  In retrospect, that was a lot of water.  It resulted in 78% hydration, which is quite high.  I had to do quite a lot of stretching and folding to incorporate all the water and make sure the dough had sufficient gluten formation to hold all the water without losing its structure.


After mixing all the ingredients together, I let it sit for 30 minutes.  Then I did more stretch and folds before letting it rise another hour.


Meanwhile, this was my first attempt at using bannetons for Preston Yancey’s bread!  I prepared them with a mixture of rye and all-purpose flour.  Next time I may use all rye.


After the dough has risen for an hour, take it out of the bowl and divide it in half.


Shape each loaf into a loose ball and let rest on the counter for 10 minutes.


Bring the edges underneath and press them together to form a seam.  Place your bread seam-side up into your prepared bannetons.


Cover your bannetons with a towel and place in the refrigerator for one hour.  Meanwhile, place a dutch oven in your oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.


After an hour, my dough looked like this:


I had forgotten how big these loaves get!

Transfer the dough to the dutch oven so it is now seam-side down.  Score your loaf and put the lid back on.  Let bake 500 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 450 degrees F for another 15 minutes, then remove the lid and back for an additional 10-15 minutes.


The bannetons make a pretty pattern with the flour.


The scoring pattern could’ve been nicer, but the high hydration makes it tough to score well.


I was quite pleased overall with this bread, but particularly with the holes inside.  The high hydration meant the yeast created more oven spring during baking.


It made tasty toast too!


I only have three more weeks of Preston Yancey’s bread.  I’m finding though that I’ll continue to use many of his techniques in the future.  I’m happy to have finally cracked the code for his recipe.

Have you been making his bread?  What do you think?  Leave me a message below in the comments!

One thought on “Preston Yancey’s white bread, attempt #6

  1. Slow Learner says:

    I haven’t made this bread yet, but it looks SO GOOD that I think I’m going to have to do it. I think I’ll start with the towel rather than the banneton (because I never even heard of a banneton before reading this posting!). Soon my office will have a fund-raising auction at which I usually include my breads, and I think this will make quite a lovely addition!


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