The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bnom

Have an excess of zucchini blossoms in your garden?  Here's what I did with a little leftover dough (Hamelman's French bread) thin sliced mortadella, fresh mozzerella. I tossed the zucchini blossoms with a little olive oil and S&P and tossed them on the pizza for the last minute or so in the oven.  Shaved some parmegiano reggiano on at the end and bellisima!  



 


I love this tart.  The fresh prunes are simply tossed with a little sugar (1/3 cup) and then baked in a tart shell for about 50 minutes.  


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bnom

I decided that my first by-the-book recipe I'd make from Hamelman's Bread would be Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain.  I had my starter bubbling, my scale ready, started adding ingredients to the bowl and--wait a minute--this can't be right.  The formula was clearly incorrect (It turns out that I just happened to choose the Bread recipe most fraught with errors).  So I  improvised the best I could. 


I then looked up, on the Mellow Bakers site, the errata sheet and also found Hamelman's email correcting the formula.  Yesterday, I closely followed his formula, so I could compare the two breads while they were still fresh in my mind.   


Here's the crust/crumb from Hamelman's corrected formula:




 


And here's the crumb of my improvised version:



The winner?  We thought the improvised loaf had a much better flavor and texture.  The Hamelman version was, by comparison, rather doughy and bland. Although I loved the bloom and ears.  I think the answer is in the balance somewhere between the two.  Next time, I keep track of my own formula and post results. 


 

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bnom

My love affair with my 50 year old GE Hotpoint 40" range has been, literally, on and off these past few weeks. 



I was so excited to get a new 20 inch Fibrament stone (no more stubby baquettes!) but then my bottom element burned up.  So I replaced it (doing the wiring myself) and was back in love again. But then I started noticing that the bottoms of my loaves were not browning up and I wasn't getting good oven spring. And I had been making such nice progress on my bread too. I was so distraought...was it my shaping?  Was the dough too slack?  Could it be  the baking stone???

It finally occurred to me to toss a bit of water on the bottom element. Dead. All the oven heat was coming from the top element (which I thought only came on if set to broil).  What an idiot! What a relief!  I trewired again. Plugged it in, turned it on and POP! The entire range dead. I finally realized it was time to call a professional.  Except for the indicator light it's working again. 

But I'm wondering....should I keep this baby or finally get a new stove.  Are the stoves on the market right now that good?  I was told by a repairman once that they stopped making good stoves around 1960. Is that still true?

Here's what I love about this stove:  Working space between the two burners. Two ovens of useful size. Temps are spot on.  Never have to worry about steam messing with electronic sensors or breaking glass. I can (usually) replace elements and such myself. No hood interfering with my highly needed over the stove cabinet. As vintage as me and my kitchen. 

On the other hand, I could wire gas to the stove for a dual fuel stove (don't want gas oven). I could get convection. Or I could try induction (if it works with Al-clad and cast iron pots). Smaller oven footprint in my small kitchen.  I don't want really want to spend more than 2000 for a stove btw.  

So, TFL'rs thanks for reading this long post.  I'd be very interested in your thoughts. Do you feel passionate about your stoves?  Am I stuck in the 50s?


 

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bnom

I got a new stone last week and have made two batches of a sourdough formula I've developed.  First the stone is a 15 x 20 Fibrament-D and I love that I can bake three longish loaves.  However, my first bake was disappointing...I got pretty flat loaves. I suspected the error was mine and not the stones.


So I changed two things. I let the first proof happen at room temp--68 degrees--until doubled in bulk (about 6 hours), and then cold retarded for 8 hours (muy prior loaf was proofed at 80 degrees). I also tried to develop better surface tension when shaping (one loaf I shaped/scored better than the other and it's pretty obvious in the pic which one that is).  I'm really happy I went back to a cooler proof.



 



Here's the formula:


The formula:


300 g firm starter


620 g water


750 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread 12% protein, and 200 g Whole Food AP)


50 g coarse ground wheat berries


50 g coarse ground rye berries


23 g salt


 


 

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bnom

The problem with buying specialty flours from the bulk food section is distinquishing the bags from another in my pantry. Those little scribbles on the twist ties don't really help.  Anyway, on Sunday I thought I'd make a rye using my rye sourdough starter. It wasn't until the flour hit the water that I began to notice the greyish color. Ah, this is that buckwheat I bought.


I've never cooked with buckwheat before. The first bread shown is a buckwheat sourdough--it's quite dark, partly because of the grain and mostly because I let it go too long. Nevertheless it was a delicious bread...a perfect complement to the mushroom soup I'd made. (sorry, I didn't use a recipe or weigh my ingredients on this loaf).


Buckwheat bread with rye starter (any my curious cat Bailey):



Then Wednesday, when I reached for my sourdough starter that I had fed on Sunday, I realized that I had accidentally fed it with buckwheat nstead of the rye flour I intended.. It had a sour grassy smell and I was afraid I'd ruined a very good starter. But I decided to use the bulk of it, 300 grams, in a rye bread. I was very happy with it. It has a complex and pleasing flavor, but the buckwheat and white flours toned down the rye.


Rye bread with buckwheat starter:



 


 

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bnom

 


bailey and bread


The formula:


300 g firm starter


620 g water


750 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread 12% protein, and 200 g Whole Food AP)


100 g wheat bran


23 g salt


The technique was similar to the San Joaquin Sourdough posted on Fresh Loaf


 


Submitted to Wild Yeast's Yeast Spotting: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/


 

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bnom

Today, finally, I got some bloomin ears!  


I've been playing with Susan (Wild Yeast) Norwich Sourdough and Floyd's San Joaquin sourdough on this site. I found the first too firm and sour, the second too slack and not sour enough, so I worked out my own formula...a happy marriage between the two.  And lo and behold---ears for the first time ever (in a dough not cooked in a dutch oven).  As it happens, I donated the bread for a friend's dinner party so no crumb shots.


I'm not sure what made the difference...it could be that I added about 200 gram Gold Medal AP to the Morbread AP I usually use.



The formula:


300 g firm starter


620 g water


730 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread, and 200 g Gold Medal)


120 g dark rye flour


23 g salt


 


 


 


 

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