The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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albacore

Recently, my loaves have not been fully up to scratch – a bit spready on the peel, poor loft and poor ears.

My starter seemed to be performing OK, but sometimes with starters, who knows? I’m not the sort of baker who would cherish a 100 year old starter, so time to try a new one!

I made my last starter just under a year ago following Gerard Rubaud’s method as detailed in MC’s Farine blog. It requires a freshly milled organic blend of 60% wheat, 30% spelt and 10% rye at each daily stage – and a proofing box to maintain a constant 27C. The starter was good, so I've used the same method again.

Starter creation went something like this:

  • ·         Day 0 pm: 86g 3 grain blend + 86g organic BF + 103g warm water. Hand mix to a ball and sprinkle on 0.4g malt flour and 0.9g salt. Knead these in and sit the ball on a bed of coarse 3 grain blend in a plastic pot. Sprinkle more coarse flour on top to cover. Put lid on pot and store at 27C.

  • ·         Day 1 pm: the dough was well risen with a sweet taste and a dirty smell. I brushed off the coarse flour and took 80g of the crusty part and mixed with 80g BF, 80g 3 grain blend, 108g warm water, 0.8g malt and 0.4g salt. Knead to a ball and put in the cleaned plastic tub, covered. Store at 27c again.

  • ·         Day 2 pm: again well risen, but with a sickly sweet smell. 66g starter + 83g BF + 50g 3 grain blend + 83g warm water + 0.35g salt. Store as previous.

  • ·         Day 3 pm: well risen, with smell much reduced. 44g starter + 58g BF + 25g 3 grain blend + 46g water + 0.2g salt.

  • ·         Day 4 pm: well risen, off smells gone. Starter considered fit for use and proceeded to make levain – my normal feeds at e5, e11 and m8

  • ·         Day 5 am: last levain feed and dough made 2 hours later. 20% 3 grain blend, 75% hydration and 16% stiff levain. Shaped loaves overnight retarded.

  • ·         Day 6 am: loaves baked - quite pleased with the result!

Here's the starter at Day 1, prior to scraping off the loose coarse flour:

Day 4 levain just mixed prior to referment:

Day 5 levain prior to use:

Baked loaf:

And the crumb:

Lance

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albacore

I've had a good few discussions lately about domestic oven steaming, notably with DanAyo and Doc.Dough.

I've tried various in-oven solutions over the last year or two with good, but not great results. It was also getting to the point where it was taking longer to set the oven up than it was to do the actual baking!

I became convinced that the best way forward was to generate steam externally and introduce it into the oven. This blog post gives some details of the practicalities of how I achieved this.

I decided that the simplest steam generator was going to be a pressure cooker, but there are other options, eg a steam wallpaper stripper!

So, as luck would have it, I found a nice compact stainless pressure cooker preowned at a good price. Originally sold by Lidl, I believe. I drilled a hole in the lid with a hole saw and fitted a 1/4 bsp ball valve, sealed in with a ptfe washer. I added a 1/2 bsp hose fitting and this end of things was ready to go.

For the oven, the only way in was from the side and through the adjacent kitchen cabinet - fortunately it's all hidden away! So I drilled a hole in the oven wall with the same hole saw and fitted a threaded 1/4 bulkhead fitting with ptfe washer. I needed a bigger hole in the oven cladding to get access from the outside.

Then a bit of thinwall stainless tubing, plus some more fittings and a bit of silver soldering got the oven end of things finished. I fitted some silicone tubing round the stainless pipe, held in place with Kapton tape, to ensure the wood doesn't get burnt.

The pipe from the pressure cooker to the oven is an old shower hose - the good ones are silicone tubing with a chrome plated brass outer, so just the job.

So, all done and ready to go! The trial run in a cold oven was promising, except the oven started to go rusty!

I used the steamer for the first time this morning and am well pleased with the results so far. I got the pressure cooker up to pressure - about 10psi, I think. Then put the loaves in, opened the steam up full, burner up full. The pressure soon dropped to zero, but i think the initial surge is useful.

I steamed for 10 mins and then knocked it off and briefly vented the oven.

Early days, but I'm pleased with the look of the loaves. There's more work to do as the crust is slightly tough and not as crisp as I hoped - perhaps I need to reduce the steam time a bit? One interesting thing I noticed is that weight loss of the loaves was reduced.

Any way, here's a few photos of the build:

 

Lance

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albacore

I chanced upon a long TFL post Chasing thin, crispy, not thick/tough dough A comment by Mariana regarding a 100% sponge method loaf caught my eye. I think Mariana made it in a bread machine, but the loft was incredible. I've been thinking of making a tin loaf for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.

It's a yeasted dough, but I did a couple of tweaks to add some extra flavour: addition of 10% Mockmilled whole wheat flour and addition of 13% leftover stiff levain I had in the fridge. Overall hydration was 64%, plus the butter.

Initial mix

  • 270g Duchy bread flour
  • 270g Waitrose Canadian bread flour
  • 60g Mockmilled whole wheat flour
  • 1.5g diastatic malt
  • 24g warm butter
  • 3g IDY
  • 0.03g ascorbic acid
  • 80g levain @ 56%
  • 324g warm water

 

 Later Additions

  • 12g salt (1.8%)
  • 12g honey
  • 24g dried skim milk powder
  • 64g water

Process   

  • IDY creamed with 24g water at 40C
  • 64g boiling water poured onto honey and skim milk powder - mix and allow to cool
  • 300g water in mixer, add AA, then flours, levain, creamed IDY, malt, butter
  • Mix lightly - no gluten development
  • Rest for 3hrs 40 mins
  • Add honey/milk mix and mix in on slow, then add salt and mix in
  • Develop gluten - 5 mins on high speed
  • Bulk ferment at 28C for 30 mins
  • Shape to 1 x 900g tin loaf plus a very small "leftovers" loaf
  • Final proof 1 hour at 28C - dough nearly at top of tin.
  • Bake in oven at 230C with steam for around 50 mins until internal temp 95C

Thoughts

  • A crazy big loaf - I don't think i've ever made a taller one! Height was 185mm/7.25"
  • Nice crumb - not too open, which wouldn't have been appropriate, but not tight.
  • Mild but pleasant flavour.
  • Probably not a type of loaf I will make on a regular basis, but a nice occasional style.

Lance

 
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albacore

I've decided I don't really like the taste of wheat bran in a loaf that much. It's fine up to about 30% wholewheat in a loaf, but after that, I find the strong, bitter flavour of the bran is not really that nice.

One way round it is to sieve out the bran and put it in your muesli, so really you are baking with high extraction flour, but for this bake, I decided to try something a little different.

I started by using white wholewheat flour, which has a milder flavour than standard red wholewheat flour. The only version I know in the UK is Marriage's Golden Wholewheat bread flour, so this is what I used - no whole grains available in the UK - unless anyone knows differently - so the Mockmill was idle for this bake.

My next idea was to remove some of the wheat bran (no wheat bran was harmed in this bake!) and replace it with some oat bran.

Add in 7% rye for a rounded flexible crumb and 3% wheatgerm for some healthiness points and I was good to go - via a double retard route for flavour and good ears.

The bake went something like this:

Flour mix

  • 430g Marriage Golden Wholewheat through a #40 sieve
  • 53g retained, 20g added back to flour
  • missing 33g made up with 33g oat bran
  • 79g Matthews dark rye through #40 sieve
  • 22.5g retained, 5g added back and 10g oat bran added
  • 470g Waitrose Canadian BF
  • 30g wheatgerm
  • 3g malt flour


Levain

  • 225g young levain at 56% hydration, 30% of flour is Rubaud wholegrain mix

 

Other

  • True hydration 80%
  • Salt 1.8%

Process   

  • Levain made in a 2 1/2 stage build at e5, e11, m8. The half build is a small top up one in the morning 1:0.21
  • All wholemeal flours and wheatgerm autolysed for 70mins with 423ml water at 32C
  • 414ml water at 32C added + all BF and malt. Autolyse 30mins
  • Add 225g levain, mix in
  • Add 20 salt, mix in
  • Mix on high speed 2mins 20secs
  • Turn out of the mixer into proofing bowl, dough temp 24C
  • Bulk ferment at 28C for 2hrs 10mins with in bowl S&F at 45mins and 130mins
  • Transfer to fridge for retarded bulk
  • Out of fridge next day (19 elapsed hours)
  • Rest 60mins at 24C
  • Preshape to 2 850g rounds, and a small one. BR 25mins
  • Shape to 2 batards, and 1 small boule, proofed on counter for 15mins
  • All bannetons retarded in fridge for 5 hours
  • Score and bake as normal

Thoughts

  • Overall, I was pleased with this bake. I was expecting a more open crumb, but maybe the high fat content of the oatbran and wheatgerm made it more closed? Or perhaps a longer final proof needed? Whatever, the crumb was moist, "rounded" and pliable
  • The bats had good ears and nice blisters.
  • Nice flavour with a definite sour tang

Lance

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albacore

I haven't baked a white loaf since my disastrous encounter with Leckford Estate bread flour, so I thought it was time to excise some demons and have another try - with a different flour!

Having had success with a bulk retard in my last bake A Trio of High Extraction Loaves I decided to use the same technique again.

The only thing I wasn't totally happy with last time was the scoring and ears on the loaves baked uncovered, so I thought I might as well give the "double retard" a try on one of the loaves; I've always had good loaf appearance after a retarded final proof.

Flour mix

  • 3% Aldi whole grain rye passed through a fine kitchen sieve
  • 20% Walk Mill stoneground BF
  • 38.5% Marriages strong BF
  • 38.5% Waitrose strong Canadian BF


Levain

  • 22.5% young levain at 56% hydration, 30% of flour is Rubaud wholegrain mix

 

Other

  • True hydration 72%
  • Salt 1.8%

Process   

  • Levain made in a 2 1/2 stage build at e5, e11, m8. The half build is a small top up one in the morning 1:0.21
  • At m11, autolyse all flours in all water for 20mins. in mixer
  • Add levain, mix in, stand 15min
  • Add salt, mix in
  • Mix on high speed 1mins 55secs
  • Turn out of the mixer into proofing bowl, dough temp 25C (I was looking for 27C)
  • Bulk ferment at 28C for 2hrs with in bowl S&F at 45mins and 120mins
  • Transfer to fridge for retarded bulk
  • Out of fridge next day (14 elapsed hours)
  • Rest 50mins at 24C
  • Preshape to 3 rounds, BR 25mins
  • Shape to 2 650g boules, 1 680g bat
  • Boules FP in woodpulp brotforms for 1hr 15min at 24C
  • Boules baked with steam for 12mins, 13mins without.
  • Bat FP for 15mins at ambient, then into fridge for rest of FP (8hrs 30mins)
  • Bat baked same as boules

Thoughts

  • Nice loaves with good flavour and very open crumb. The double retarded bat was much easier to score than the boules, as you would expect with chilled dough.
  • It baked with a good ear and nice blisters.
  • The flavour of the single and double retarded loaves was similar
  • The double retard makes for a long process cycle, but seems to give the best of both worlds - a good flavour from the retarded bulk and good appearance from the retarded FP.

    After the mix:

Start of Bulk Proof:

Out of the fridge:

Nice & bubbly!:

Onto the bench:

Preshaped:

Ready for FP:

Baked boules:

And the batarde:

Nice blisters!:

Lance

 

albacore's picture
albacore

It's been abnormally hot in Deepest Lancashire (as with most of the UK) these past couple of months. So much so that my normal 900g batardes are going stale before we finish them. The obvious solution was to make something a bit smaller, so I split my usual dough quantity, based on 1kg flour, into three loaves, each around 670g unbaked weight.

I'm also currently exploring retarded bulk fermentation, so I incorporated that into this bake.

Flour mix

  • 5% Aldi whole grain rye passed through a fine kitchen sieve
  • 32% Marriages white wholewheat sieved the same
  • 32% Mockmilled Priors wholewheat grain through a #40 sieve
  • 31% Waitrose strong Canadian BF

Levain

  • 22.5% young levain at 56% hydration, 30% of flour is Rubaud wholegrain mix

Other

  • True hydration 75%
  • Salt 1.8%

Process

  • Levain made in a 2 1/2 stage build at e5, e11, m8. The half build is a small top up one in the morning 1:0.21
  • At m11, autolyse whole grain flours in all water for 15mins. in mixer
  • Add BF, mix in, stand 10mins
  • Add levain, mix in, stand 10mins
  • Add salt, mix in
  • Mix on high speed 2mins 15secs
  • Turn out of the mixer into a bowl, dough temp 27C
  • Bulk ferment at ambient (about 24C) for 1 1/2 hrs with in bowl S&F at 45mins and 90mins
  • Transfer to fridge for retarded bulk
  • Out of fridge next day (22 elapsed hours)
  • Rest 1hr at ambient
  • Preshape to 3 rounds, BR 20mins
  • Shape to 2 boules, 1 bat
  • FP in woodpulp brotforms for 1hr 25min
  • Boules baked with steam for 10mins, bat baked afterwards with a metal cover over the loaf on the bakestone

Thoughts

  • I was pretty pleased with these loaves - they had a great flavour, good loft, open enough crumb for me and kept well.
  • I definitely think that the retarded bulk gives a good, complex flavour to the loaves - as soon as you turn the dough piece out of the retarding bowl onto the dough board you can smell some good interesting aromas.

A nice fresh levain:

The loaves:

And the crumb shots:

Lance

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