The Fresh Loaf

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I've been experimenting lately with left over starter. I'm creating a stiff Pate Fermentee with it and a few days later adhoc a recipe. The breads are fine but nothing wow yet. This was my recent attempt. I'm posting this for recording keeping more than anything else.

Pate Fementee was 1 part ripe starter, 2.5 part water and 4.5 part AP flour - or 60, 132 and 270 respectively. I left it out for an hour and then put it in the fridge.

Final dough was made two days later:

- 150g pate fermente

- 125g whole wheat flour

- 375g all purpose flour

-12g salt

- 2g diastatic malt

- 2g gluten flour

- seeds: 35g pumpkin; 15g flax, 10g sesame; 40g hemp hearts

Autolyse was 30 minutes without salt, malt or gluten flour. I then added them and used the mixer for 7 minutes. I let rest for about 40 minutes and then did a letter fold during which I added the seeds. I then did two sets of coil folds 45 minutes apart.

Timing - autolyse around 11am and baked around 6:30pm.

Soft crumb and crust. Nice mild taste - but a bit bland. Would use more whole wheat next time but ran out. I used 20% seeds but could have added more. Loaf was large, so it could have been made into two batards instead. I preshaped but then left it as the dough was stiff. I could have upped the hydration another 10% too.

I have more pate fermentee in the fridge for one more bake. Any suggestions on a next loaf with recipe would be appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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I decided to venture into enriched breads this week and make Pain de Mie from The Perfect Loaf: 

It's a great bread with a lovely buttery smell and taste. One loaf's already gone. Tomorrow we'll use the second for french toast! I suspect it was only slightly over fermented given the larger crumb holes just under the top crust - but just. The loaf with the dull crust colour was a bit smaller than the other and probably shoudl have come out of the oven a few minutes earlier.


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With clearly too much time on my hands I'm constantly thinking of what to add to bread. This was a 30% whole wheat loaf with 10% cashew nut pieces and 5% flax seeds. I used 10% starter and retarded over night in the fridge for about 12 hours. It's on the very edge of being over fermented but otherwise is a great loaf. I don't really get a lot of nut flavor from it, but the crumb is super soft and toasted I got more of the earthy nutty flavour from the nuts. Nice loaf. I think next time I'd only use 5% starter and blitz the nuts in the blender with the water to create a cashew nut milk as a better idea. Hydration was about 75% - it was a bit stiff, I'd increase it towards 80%.

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I've lost track of how many iterations of this I've made. But it's definitely getting dialed in. I didn't have all the right seeds this time round but wanted to make it this weekend and took some liberties taking it into a new direction - using a soaked oat porridge. It's a great bread but could have used a bit more sweetness. It took longer to proof with all the oats and lost some of it's sweetness as a result. I've found baking same day typically works best for sweetness of this bread. In this case I started the dough around 1:30pm and baked by 9:30pm. I suspect the high percentage of oats are what delayed everything. I'm also using AP supermarket flour as I'm using what I can get and not my locally  milled flour.

400g flour - 80% all purpose 20% whole wheat

400g water - 100% hydration split between the flour and oat porridge

80g levain - 100% hydration

8g fine sea salt - 2%

40g raw honey - 10%

10g poppy seeds - 2.5%

10g sesame seeds - 2.5%

20g flax seeds - 5%

100g raisins - 25% - not soaked

110g rolled oats soaked with 160g boiling water (from total above) left to cool

Missing - sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Mixed water not used for oats with rest of cooled oats to break them apart, then added starter to incorporate well.  Then added starter and let rest. Half an hour later added salt and mixed for 7 minutes on medium. Let rest for half an hour and added salt and honey, mixed for a few minutes. Fifteen minutes later added seeds and raisins. Let rest for half an hour. Tried to mix to get window pain but wasn't possible. The dough never really came together in a proper sense but did hold shape eventually with coil folds. The starter was active at the start but proof at 74 degrees was very slow. It took closer to 6 hours to get a good rise out of the dough (at which point I shaped) and towards the end cranked up the proofer to 78 degrees. I think I had far too much oats and would next time use half the amount. Again, the flour used was a commercial AP flour which I think is impacting some recent bakes.  I had to push hydration to 100% because the dough was dry at first. The oats took up a lot more water than I realized.

Overall good, but not great. I cooked it a bit too hot. Crumb was nicely tender.

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A few months ago Hotbake posted this bread: It looked amazing and it's been bookmarked since. I had some chickpeas and thought to give it a try this week. I didn't have enough chickpeas so I scaled the recipe down a bit and think I used much less water than the original post.

For my records I used : 146g overnight soaked chickpeas, 20g starter and 221g water. I also only have AP flour given quarantine and the run on flours so I tried to make up my own whole wheat flour. I read that whole wheat flour has 14.5% bran, 2.5% germ and 83% endosperm. Lucky for me I had some bran and germ in the freezer so I made up my own whole wheat. So no whole spelt nor dark rye per the original. So I used 328.4g ap flour, 9.2g germ and 26.4g bran to make up a 1/2 AP and 1/2 whole wheat blend total of 365g flour. I added 79g water in addition to the soaker water. 24 hours after the soaker was made (5pm) I made the dough, bulked for 4 hours at 74 and then shaped it into a basket. Into the fridge and baked the next morning about 12 hours later. I think I could have pushed hydration as this was a stiffer dough.

But this turned out to probably be one of the most moist crumbs I've ever made - in a good way, not gummy at all. And very very soft. The crust was nice with a bite but also soft as well. The bread wasn't as aromatic as I was hoping and I felt I could have increased the chickpea content. I think having the rye and spelt with proper bread flour will really dial this in. When life eventually gets back to normal and I can get the right flour I'm definitely making this again. Very nice bread! If you've read this far you really need to give this a try!

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I haven't tried to make this bread in a while but went back it a few days ago.


400g AP unbleached

2g diastatic malt powder (homemade)

2g gluten flour

80g 100% hydration starter

300g water

80g dried raisins soaked in 40g boiling water

40g brown flax

35g raw honey

20g sesame seeds

20g pumpkin seeds

20g poppy seeds

8g sea salt

I gave the flours, malt, starter and water a 30 minute rest, added the starter, gave it another 30 minute rest, added all the additions (seeds not toasted), used the mixer along the way and then proofed at 74. I baked same day.  Overall it's a good bread and one of my better attempts at recreating a bread I've had. I need better crumb openness and think I might cut back on the raisins to 50g, the flax to 20g and toast all the seeds. My starter was no doing it's best that morning (my fault), so that should be improved too. I'm also thinking that I might use a lamination technique to add all the additions next time too. I felt the raisins could be better distributed. This bread has been a struggle to dial in but I'll get there - eventually!

Overall a good bread, almost there. I had thought I too a picture of the loaf but guess I didn't. Here's a crumb shot.


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Technically this isn't bread. I've had it on my bucket list for the longest time. This is where it comes from: It's simple to make. For my taste buds I would have added a bit more salt. I'm glad I tried it, might make it again, would be great to slice and put in the oven to make crisps, but don't know this will go into regular rotation. Enjoy if you try it..

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The quarantine bread bake diaries continue..

This loaf is an 80% whole wheat, 10% whole mystery flour, 10% AP using 20% levain and a same day bake. I had a small amount of whole flour but don't know if it was whole rye or whole spelt - probably spelt.  I fed the starter Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and mixed the dough around 2pm. I baked it around 10pm. It moved fast given the high whole wheat content. I also added 2% gluten flour and home made diastolic malt. 80% water. I kept the dough at 74 degrees during bulk and proof.

It gave off a great aroma while baking, the crumb is uniformly open and it's super soft. Total flour was only 450g but this loaf expended way more than I thought it would during proof and it almost didn't fit into my combo cooker.

I've been trying to push whole wheat to 100% gradually and will the next time I get my hands on some whole wheat flour. Sadly I'm out so I'll be baking without for a while. It's a great bread.

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My kids keep telling me to "stop with the bread". I tell them I'm Italian and like carbs. They shrug and walk away...

I made Robertson's 70% whole wheat bread for us and two traditional Tartine loaves for family.  I'll have ours on Sunday for Easter dinner and provide the crumb shot then. Considering these were same day bakes (ie no overnight retard) I'm pleased with them. I suspect the one of the traditional loaves are a bit under-proofed but I'm not sure. I need to work on creating a sharper ear too..

If anyone knows why my photos are rotated counter clockwise when I post, please let me know how to fix. Thanks..

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What can I say.. I like bread.  Just some from the last two weeks.. Tartine style, others with honey..


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