The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
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emkay's picture

Baking naturally leavened bread requires a bit more planning on my part now since I've been storing my starter in the refrigerator. My cold starter likes to wake up by being fed at least twice over 24 hours before being used to build a levain. Sometimes I will feed it only once, then do a three stage levain build (using dabrownman's build ratios and schedule). Either way, I have to plan to refresh my starter, build the levain, and make the dough. Even though there is very little active hands-on time, it still takes a minimum of 36 hours from cold starter to hot bread.

So what's a gal to do when there's no more homemade bread in the freezer and she wants fresh bread fast? The answer is commercial bakers' yeast which, in my case, is instant dry yeast. I am not a fan of lean breads made with bakers' yeast. Even the long cold retarded ones lack the flavor, texture and character of those naturally leavened. But I do like enriched breads made with bakers' yeast. So I usually go with enriched when I want bread fast. [Since we're talking about homemade bread, fast is a relative term.]

I made the softest and fluffiest enriched bread a couple nights ago using Floyd's Hokkaido milk bread with tangzhong recipe found here. The only change I made was to decrease the sugar. I won't go into detail about the tangzhong method (aka water roux) since it's well documented on TFL, but I will say that it makes a difference in the bread's keeping quality. Today is day 3 and the bread is still soft and moist. I'm sure the butter, milk, sugar and eggs helped too, but I want to believe that tangzhong is magic.





One last thing...

This loaf is the opposite of what a German knight in the 1500s would have. Even if he did have something like this, it's so soft and fluffy that he would crush it with his iron hand.

:) Mary

Bob Marley's picture

Starter feeding: bleached vs unbleached flour

June 29, 2014 - 5:04am -- Bob Marley

Past the rye stage, my starter is about two weeks old and lately it's been feed almost twice daily using White Lily AP flour; it's bleached.  I observed some bubbles hours after the feeding but no real rise and dome of the mixture and I just realized that WL AP is a bleached flour.  So for this morning's feeding, 50g of Nosferatu, my starter, was fed with 50g water and 50g White Lily Bread Flour which is unbleached.  What a difference.  In less than six hours the volume has quadrupled in size with a dome on top.  And the aroma has strengthened, too.

Trocadero's picture

Hi from Hong Kong

June 29, 2014 - 2:58am -- Trocadero

Hi everyone. I'm an Australian middle school teacher at an international school here in Hong Kong, and summer vacation has allowed me the time to do what I've been thinking about for ages—making bread! My sourdough starter is a couple of weeks old now, but is a bit temperamental. I'm enjoying ploughing through the extraordinary wealth of knowledge and experience here, and experimenting with the million or so variables involved to improve my loaf. 

Loving the wonderful warmth of and smell of fresh bread:) There are few things better.

golgi70's picture

Well the great produce is really kickin into gear and the amazing fruit is just starting to show.  I opted to go with the Sunflower Sour Rye I made and make a few changes.  I reduced the Sunflower Seeds to 15% and added a Rolled Rye Soaker (10% rolled rye soaked in 150% it's weight of water the night before).  The rest remained the same but a very different loaf indeed.  With 22% prefermented flour, all of which is fresh milled whole rye, this dough was gonna move quick.  

For Tuesday I finally used the Organic Non-GMO Calimyrna figs for my Fig n Fennel loaf.  Formula is the same as with different figs and some Oregon grown hard white wheat.  It's hard not to love this loaf.  I was smart this time and sliced up one and stashed in the freezer for toast treats til the next time.  

And with all the stems from the figs I made my own yogurt culture.  I've been making yogurt for a few weeks now and I can't express how easy it is.  And this has made it so I can produce 1/2 gallon of yogurt a week with local organic milk for less than $3.  After a few tries I got curious and wanted to make my own starter.  I dug around and found the most common answers to be fig stems, chili pepper stems, and ants.  I had the fig stems so no need to gather the ants just yet.  Basically you just inoculate your milk with one of these and treat just like yogurt.  You do need to do it a few times to build up the culture and remove off flavors from stems/ants.  I've done two builds successfully and it smells like good yogurt so my next full batch will be "au natural".  Then I'll find some ants just to see.




Pluots, cucumbers, local honey, local tuna, zucchini, broccoli, Walla Walla Onions, fennel, asparagus, mustard greens, wasabi arugula, and some fresh eggs came later in the day. 




Viocrumb's picture

Bread Flour Recipe (Mill Your Own)

June 28, 2014 - 12:09pm -- Viocrumb

Looking for a recipe or tips on milling my own flour to use in recipes that call for "bread flour". I have hard & soft winter wheat berries at the moment.

Do people mill some combo of those to create "bread flour"?  Is gluten simply added to the hard wheat? Do people use straight hard wheat with success?  I've been using just the hard winter wheat in recipes where they call for bread flour, but the gluten development hasn't been up to snuff--I'm guessing because all the bran in the WW is inhibiting it?


gjbritton1's picture

Hobart AE125 12.5 Quart Planetary Mixer Rebuild

June 28, 2014 - 9:27am -- gjbritton1

Hello All, I was inspired by previous threads on this site concerning Hobart restorations/rebuilds to have a go myself. My mixer is a Hobart AE 125, i would guess it was made in the 1960's? By the looks of things it had already been restored by a previous owner as it was resprayed and the seals and fibre gear were in excellent condition. 

Some photos of the strip down and rebuild:


As i don't bake, its on ebay UK;


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