The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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AnnieT

A friend just sent me some comments by Dave Barry, including one I thought rang a bell:"There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'". Maybe 'obsession' would be kinder, A.

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AnnieT

I had promised my grandaughter's teacher a loaf of sourdough and planned to make Susan's loaf, the one baked under the ss mixing bowl. My starter seems to be really hearty and I was pretty confident the loaf would be as good as my latest several. Yesterday was the day, and for some reason the dough didn't have the usual feel and I refrigerated it with trepidation. So while it was warming up for the 2 hours this morning I started a batch of Susanfnp's Semi-Sourdough, thinking that I would use it as back up. The gloomy dough had risen slightly in the refrigerator and to my amazement it rose like crazy under the bowl and even crackled as it cooled. The back up dough was very slack and took lots of stretching and folding and I was sure it was going to make doorstops but the bread fairies were with me and I now have three presentable loaves. All I have to do is decide which one to give away, A.

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AnnieT

Maybe disaster is a bit dramatic but I am hoping someone will be able to help me. I was about to shape the boule, using Susan's sourdough recipe, when I noticed tiny black specks in the rice flour coating the linen liner in my banneton. (Pays to out on my glasses once in a while!) Upon further inspection I found that the mold was well established in the linen. Luckily the banneton came with two liners. I hadn't washed the liner because I thought the idea was to get it well seasoned with rice flour and I was very complacent about the fact that my dough didn't stick. I always line it with parchment for the NKB but not for the sourdough. So can I wash the brown linen liner with bleach - I imagine it would be a pain to completely rinse out the odor? Or do I have to toss the liner? Lemon juice and sunshine would be safer but sunshine is in short supply up here in WA. Has anyone else had this happen, and can anyone suggest a remedy? I look forward to any help, thank you, A.

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AnnieT

I received my copy in my Christmas package from England, and at first I was a bit upset because it isn't all bread baking. It does have some interesting reading apart from the recipes, and TFL is mentioned in the Bread Directory. Described as "A lively community for amateurs", and having tried to keep up with the latest postings I think they have that right! My niece also sent me The BIG Book of Bread. The good news is that all of the recipes are given by weight, the bad news that many of them begin: 500g packet white bread mix. It does have a whole section of gluten free recipes, and as we all know we can never have too many bread books, A.

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AnnieT

I hope it isn't too late to add a recipe? I see that TT loooooooves butter so here is a real artery clogger for you. I make it every year to give as gifts because it is easy and tastes wonderful. When I arrived in America in 1967 one of my first friends was a Scottish woman and this is her authentic shortbread recipe.

Margaret McLaren's Scottish Shortbread.

3 sticks butter, at room temperature, 1 heaping cup of powdered sugar, 1 egg yolk, 4 cups ap flour, sifted.

Sift the sugar into a bowl and work in the butter and egg yolk with your hands. Mix well and add flour 1 cup at a time. Make into a jelly roll shape and divide into 3 for 8" to 9" rounds. Pat out on waxed paper - I line a layer cake tin with a circle of paper - to 1/2" thickness. Prick all over and score into segments, then crimp the edges with the fork. Bake at 300* for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Should be very pale.

If my d-i-l hadn't scared me with salmonella warnings I could eat the dough uncooked, it is that good. Yes, I used to do just that! Margaret didn't specify salted or unsalted butter, your choice. I did cut it into squares one year but the rounds are much easier. Hope someone will try it, A.

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AnnieT

I have read here many times that there is no such thing as a silly question, but this may be it. Suppose my starter was refreshed a couple of days ago and refrigerated, then placed on the counter to warm up, and then used in an overnight ferment, why wouldn't that act as a big fat feeding? This is a pretty active starter but I only decided to bake at the last minute. I would be glad to hear any opinions as I have been mithering about it for several days. My grandaughters stayed the night and inhaled vast quantities of sourdough pancakes this morning, so at least I know how to use the surplus starter. I'm thinking of putting a notice on the community board "Free Sourdough Starter"! A.

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AnnieT

I'm not sure who mentioned this loaf recently, but many thanks to whoever it was. Just took the loaf out of the oven and it is lovely, and I have to admit I was a bit sceptical when I had to refrigerate it overnight. It seemed like a long time for the starter to keep working with the overnight on the counter too. Oh ye of little faith! Another first - I refreshed my starter and put it in a small jar and it overflowed. What a mess, but I guess it is getting stronger? There are HUGE snowflakes falling past my window but so far it isn't sticking, A.

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AnnieT

Has anyone made this bread from the BBA? I was so thrilled with the dough which was easy to handle and shape, and they went into the refrigerator overnight. I was totally amazed when I pulled them out this morning because they were what I imagine was overproofed. I am so used to chilled sourdough breads being rock hard. I tried to gently move the loaves apart and one began to deflate, horrors. So I went ahead and baked them and followed PR's instruction to gently part the loaves halfway through the bake time - and the dent had filled out. They looked great and this time I didn't scorch the sesame seeds, but the crumb is a total disappointment. Instead of big holes it is almost tender and fluffy. Good flavor but not what I was hoping for. So am I correct in thinking they were overproofed? If so I will have to make them later in the day or get up earlier! Any comments and suggestions welcomed, A.

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AnnieT

I have been rushing to finish a quilt and haven't baked since last week. The quilt is nearly done and I just couldn't stand it another minute - I started the pate fermentee (I LOVE those words!) to make the PR Pane Siciliano. I made it when I first bought the book and managed to overbake the loaves. They tasted good but looking back I don't think the dough was right. Probably not proofed long enough which is one of the things I have learned here. One of the neighbors is having an open house on Saturday and if the loaves are presentable I will take one with me. May have to trudge throught the snow which is forecast, brrrrrr. A.

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AnnieT

I was looking forward to spending the day playing with bread dough, but the wind has been blowing a gale all night and there is a wind advisory. The power has been out twice already so it doesn't seem wise to start any baking. I do have the steel cut oats version of the NKB all ready to shape so I guess I will cross my fingers and go for it - don't have much choice. Or go fly a kite? A.

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