The Fresh Loaf

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

I finally achieved a proper, (if off-center) ear on one of the loaves, so I'm overjoyed.  I thought I made deep enough cuts into the round loaf, but apparently not.  I really enjoyed incorporating a soaker, and this dough was quite easy to work with.  The crumb seems good to me, but I welcome any criticisms.  It felt like cheating using both levain and commercial yeast, but I love the recipe.  Changes made from previous Hamelman Vermont SD bake:

1.  Use of Brod & Taylor proofing box.  It performed as expected.  I really like that the water pan allows you not to cover the dough; the dough surface did not form a skin and was not wet either.

2.  Longer final proof.  It occurred to me that that as I learn to shape, I'm probably going to degas more than do experienced bakers during the pre- and final shaping, so it's a fair assumption that I'll need longer final proofing times.  I realize, of course, the need to monitor and poke the dough.

3.  Deeper score on oval loaf, and I thought on round loaf.  Better use of tip of razor to get cleaner cuts. Question: any idea what I did wrong on the round loaf?

4.  Lava rocks separated into two iron griddles.  One was used for pre- and the other post-load steaming.  I poured more water into the first pan after the second steaming, but that timing seems to provide minimal steam.  Again, I have a Blue Star gas oven, and the steam vents out quickly, so I don't know if I'm getting proper steam. Question: The bread has good crust and color, and expansion on the oval loaf, but is there any sign of poor oven spring on that loaf?

Skibum's picture

Foreground is cinnamon, sugar chocolate babka. I enjoyed the last one so much it was time to bake another. I used 2 x 300 gram balls of dough to roll out the babka. The remaining 253 grams of pulla dough was used to roll out the blueberry cream cheese bread front right.  In behind is a ciabatta style loaf with 20% durham semolina which resulted in a really nice snap to the crust!

Well, I was on my way to the ski hill and then it started raining.

Happy baking! Ski

jackiec's picture

Tartine Country Bread density

March 21, 2016 - 11:19am -- jackiec

Hi all,

First time posting ....

I recently embarked on a wild yeast journey, making Tartine's country loaf for the first time this weekend. I've been baking challah using commercial yeast for years, but this was my first time using a starter, etc.

A friend of mine gave me her starter, and I fed it and left it on the counter for 12 hours and it failed the float test. I decided that my kitchen was too cold, so I put it in my oven, having turned it to 200 degress and then turning it off.

carolinagirl58's picture

motorizing a grainmill help

March 21, 2016 - 8:36am -- carolinagirl58

my Grainmaker 99 will arrive before too long and I want to figure out the motor thing pretty quickly.  I want to be able to adjust the speed.  Is that even possible?  I would like to grind flour slowly, but want the ability to speed up when I grind grain for animal feed.  Country Living sells a nice motor that I believe would work fine on a grainmaker, but it limits me to 60 rpm.  would a motor speed controller of some sort on a stronger motor do the job? thanks



PalwithnoovenP's picture

We recently had a surplus of eggs and we need to find ways on how to use them before they go bad. Our chickens are really prolific layers that their eggs can't even fit anymore in our fridge for storage. We made the usual, salted eggs and flan (with whole eggs) but there are still many left and more are added each day. We made egg salad with about three dozen eggs but there were still seven remaining. I think this is the perfect time for me to try an egg bread and make an experiment.

This bread stays true to its name. Aside from flour, salt and yeast; it only contains egg and honey for the liquid, no milk, butter or oil! You can clearly see the liquid components in this shot!

Most egg bread recipes I saw contains either butter or oil and one to a few eggs and mostly water to a relatively large amount of flour. Well, I don't think adding a single egg will merit to be named egg bread and adding butter mocks the eggs enriching ability.  Most of  egg bread's richness comes from the egg yolks so some recipes call for eggs and some extra yolks. I really hate to go to the trouble of separating eggs and then finding a use for the leftover whites so this brain of my mine come up with  a solution unexpectedly, keep the yolks the same and use the whites as a replacement for the water. Genius! No separating, storing or wasting whites so I experimented to see if using eggs alone with honey for flavor will make a great egg bread.

This bread has the most difficult to knead dough to date. If you saw the dough in the beginning I bet you would be skeptical too if this will come together without the addition of any more flour but I trusted my hand kneading skill and proceeded to knead the "porridge" oh I mean dough. It contains 7 bantam eggs which is equivalent to 4-4.5 normal eggs and quite a bit of honey so it's really rich, its like a leavened pasta dough.  It took me a good hour and a quarter for it to reach windowpane. It then goes to my standard procedure of a cold overnight rise.

The next day I saw that it did not rise as much unlike most breads I made but I proceeded anyway. I shaped it into snails and proofed it in my llaneras for a bit, it did not expand very well too. You can see in the photo there's not much difference in size.

They were then glazed with egg wash before being baked in the preheated clay pot for 20 minutes. I changed my timing to avoid burnt spots. The first 5 minutes with live fire and the rest just embers.

Here are the results. In fact the tops look just like they were not egg washed and look very similar to supermarket rolls just shaped differently; of course the difference in quality is very huge.

I can say they have a slight resemblance to kaiser rolls. 

The tops are not as browned as my previous bakes but the burnt spots on the bottoms were significantly reduced.

The aroma was unbelievable while they were cooling. The tops are soft with thin crust and the bottom is slightly crisp. The crumb is slightly dry but still soft and a bit difficult to cut (maybe it's just because of the absence of a good serrated knife). They are not delicate or feathery like a challah or a brioche but they are super rich tasting. It is lightly sweet and the aroma of honey is dominant along with a pleasant "eggy" flavor. They are flavorful enough to be eaten on their own. Their hearty nature is perfect for saucy fillings, I think I'll like them with ice cream sandwiches, brioche are more likely to go soggy just after a few seconds of putting ice cream and soggy bread is one of my most disliked food items that I cannot imagine eating bread sauce; sorry if I offended anyone. 

I serve them as egg salad sandwiches to make a triple egg delight, perhaps the only thing left to be made with our chicken eggs is the mayonnaise for the egg salad but since they're not as fresh as ideal I didn't risk it. They were so delicious and even after 5 days, they were still soft and the texture hasn't changed.

Thank you very much and Happy Baking!  Job

HokeyPokey's picture

Now, this is not a bread recipe, not even a recipe using sourdough, but I felt I had to post it, as they turned out so tasty!

My version of Russian Blini, can be served with anything from caviar to chocolate spread. Full recipe on my blog here 

zachyahoo's picture

Two Stage Levain Build

March 20, 2016 - 9:57pm -- zachyahoo

I'm trying to develop a formula for building a two stage levain. This main purpose of this is to cut down on the amount of seed starter required. Dabrownman has a great post on his 3 stage levain builds.

For my schedule though, this won't work. Instead, the idea is to do the first stage at night, second stage the next morning, and have it be ready in the afternoon (it may well be a fairly young levain, but this is fine by me)

Bread winer's picture

Cold Fermentation - Questions

March 20, 2016 - 2:30pm -- Bread winer


I was doing a short term poolish - 6 to 8 hours, and was going to bake tonight.  Something came up - bail out tonight.  So, I want to finish the dough, and toss it in the fridge to cold ferment for ... 24 hours or so.  

I'm using dry active yeast.  Should I use cold water (for remaining mix with poolish), knead and chill it?  Or, should I still use the warm water to react the yeast.  I think - last time I did that - the dough exploded out of the bowl in the fridge - messy. 

Any quick tips would be appreciated.




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