The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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breadforfun

What can I say, I like big loaves.  I have made the Tartine Country bread a number of times in all sizes, from 500 gm to 2 kg, and am always happy with the results.  I refreshed my starter when I returned from a week away with the intention of trying the whole wheat loaf as well.  On my last visit to Central Milling I picked up a 5# bag of Acme Organic Whole Wheat flour, so what better bread to test it on.  I pretty much followed the method in the book, with a small deviation because I forgot to hold back the required 50 gm of water to add with the salt after the autolyse, so I had to add some extra water.  The formula was supposed to be 80% hydration, and the extra water took it up to 83%.  The formula is quite basic:

Levain          200 gm    20%

Water           830 gm    83%

WW flour    700 gm     70%

AP flour       300 gm     30%

Salt                  20 gm      2%

I made a double batch and shaped them into 1 miche at 1950 gm and three smaller boules at around 700 gm each.  The bulk ferment was about 4 hours at a controlled 74˚F with S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min.  After shaping, I retarded the miche and one smaller loaf overnight (about 16 hours), and continued proofing two of the smaller loaves for 3 hours.  Baking was on a stone heated to 500˚F which was reduced to 460˚ when the boules were peeled into the oven.  Steam for 15 min. then turn on the convection to 425˚ for 20 min. more, rotating as necessary.  For the miche, the convection temperature was 415˚ and the convection bake time was 35 min. 

The loaves showed lovely bloom and grigne.  I have been playing with different scoring lately, and I like the effect using two interlocking half-circles.  A bit cumbersome to do on the large loaf, but it's a nice look.  I think the bake times could have been a bit longer.  Though the loaves registered over 205˚ and were left in a cooling oven with the door cracked open for 10 min., I didn't get the nice singing and crackling crust like I do on the Country Loaf, which I suppose is due to the higher hydration dough and not being baked out completely. 

The crumb on this bread is sublime - airy and with a fairly soft chew.  The flavor is nutty and wheaty with a distinct tang on the retarded loaves (I didn't get to try the others).  Curiously, the 2% salt seemed a little on the light side.  This photo is the crumb of the smaller loaf - I'll post the miche once I cut it.  The final size of the miche was about 10 inch diameter and 4 inch tall at the dome.

-Brad

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I baked a few sourdough loaves for last-minute gifts today.  Using the basic 1-2-3 sourdough recipe, my 100% hydration starter, and a mixture of 70% T-70 (from Central Milling), 15% whole wheat (BRM), 10% whole spelt and 5% rye for the final dough, the final hydration is a bit over 71%. Each loaf was scaled at about 600 gm for a final loaf weighing 500 gm.  The shaped loaves were retarded about 20 hours in the refrigerator and final proofed at room temperature for 2 hours before peeling into an oven heated to 500˚F.  They were baked at 440˚F with steam for 15 minutes, then 420˚F convection for another 20 min.

Happy New Year to all.

-Brad

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A while ago, I tried to make a loaf that resembled one of my favorites, Della Fattoria's Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread.  It turned out pretty well, although it didn't exactly measure up to my memory of the bread.  On my last flour run to Central Milling in Petaluma, I decided to make a slight detour and stop at the Della Fattoria bakery to remind myself what it tasted like before I attempted to make it again.

It was a disappointment.  My memory was probably clouded, but it was nothing like I remembered it.  The crust was soft, the crumb was dense as if it had little oven spring, and the taste was generally flat.  It seemed as if they tried to squeeze in just one more bake in their WFO before it cooled too much, but the timing was off.  Or maybe, now that I am more happy with my own bread baking, I just like the taste of what I make better. One thing that I learned, though, was that their bread included olive oil, something that I missed the first time.

I decided to make another attempt at a Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread of my own.  I modified the sourdough recipe I have been using lately (already a modification of David's SFSD).  Instead of spelt flour, I used 10% rye.  The addition of 4% extra virgin olive oil changes the flavor to something reminiscent of a focaccia, but the crumb is more sourdough-like.  The results were pretty satisfying.

My standard starter is 100% hydration, wheat only starter.  It is fed with Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft (ABC) flour and is refrigerated between bakes.  Before use it is warmed to RT and fed at least twice in 24 hours until very active.  For the final build I used about 11.5B-% rye and kept the hydration at 77%.  The overall hydration is 67%.  Just after scoring I sprinkled some Maldon salt (the flakey kind) into the spreading scores and peeled into the oven.

It has a nice sourdough tang, and the flavors of the rosemary and the lemon are evident but not overpowering.  The crust is dark golden and chewy.  I tried to avoid a very bold bake by slightly lowering the temperature because it might overwhelm the lemon.  The formula for this bread is:

I have become fond of using bran instead of corn meal or semolina on the peel to transfer loaves into the oven after learning about it for Genzano Country Bread in Local Breads by Daniel Leader.

Here are some photos of the crumb.  The loaf was very airy and much less dense than it seemed considering the size of bread.  The mouth feel was a bit less creamy than I was looking for, and the sourdough tang was too much for the other flavors, so no doubt there will be another iteration.

 

 

San Francisco is having a very warm fall this year.  After the rains in the early part of the week, it has been warm and sunny.  When I went to pick the lemons for the bread, the buzzing of bees was all around, no doubt responding to the wonderful fragrance of the blossoms.  I managed to capture one of our fertilizing friends starting the 2013 crop of lemons.

Thanks for reading.

-Brad

 

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If you haven't tried David Snyder's SF Sourdough bread technique yet, you really should.  It is a crusty, tasty bread that is very forgiving to make.  I have made it a number of times, and have been making some small adjustments to fit my schedule and my tastes.  In the last two weeks, I baked it twice and thought I would share some photos.

I like adding a small amount of whole spelt flour (about 10%) because of the flavor it imparts.  This loaf used David's 50% hydration starter that I made with 5% spelt in place of the rye that he lists.  I also wanted to try to shape it into a fendu, which I have never tried before.  The loaf was shaped and retarded overnight (about 18 hours) directly in a floured banneton.  In the morning it was proofed an hour at 85˚F and two additional hours at room temperature, about 68˚.  The results were quite good.

Sorry, I don't have a crumb picture because I took the bread for a dinner party and didn't have a chance to take one.  There is a very strong sour flavor to this bread, and it has a crispy-chewy crust and creamy crumb.

I baked a second set of batards the following week.  Again I used 10% whole spelt, but instead of the 50% hydration starter, I used a 75% hydration starter to try to reduce the acidity.  There have been some discussions on whether the starter hydration affects acidity recently, and I wanted to see what happens to my loaves.

The technique was mostly the same.  The main difference was that I proofed the loaf in linen lined baskets for 90 minutes after shaping and then retarded them overnight.  In the morning I finished proofing at 85˚ for an hour, then another 45 minutes at room temperature.  To my taste, the second bake (75%H starter) seemed less tart than the first (50%H starter), but of course it is highly subjective.  Both bakes gain acidity after sitting for a day or two.

Thanks again David for a great bread formula.

-Brad

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Greetings all.  After returning from a few weeks traveling (pleasure and business), I have been waking up my starter from a prolonged hybernation.  I was looking through some very old recipes for a straight dough bread to make in the meantime, and I found this recipe in an ancient archive.  In fact, I'm guessing it is one of the first (if not the first) yeasted bread I ever made oh so many years ago.  It is Cottage Cheese Onion Dill, and is very tasty and makes a nice sandwich loaf with its tight crumb.  It uses very little water with cottage cheese and an egg supplying most of the liquid.  Sometimes it is nice to have bread in only 3 hours. The recipe follows the photos.  Hope you enjoy it!

-Brad

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Every once in a while, things don't go exactly as planned, but the result is really good anyway.  This is one of those times - a happy accident.

I promised to bring some bread to a dinner party with friends.  I made a delicious loaf of David's San Francisco sourdough, and I wanted to make a durum flour loaf, like Leader's Pane di Altamura.  I also wanted to try a loaf shaping technique that I saw in this video.  [I think the original reference to the video was posted recently on TFL, but I can't find it, so my thanks to the poster and my humble apologies for not being able to give credit.]  Having never tried either the recipe or the technique, and reading some posts on TFL about some problems with Leader's formula, at the last minute I decided to bail and modify the recipe to one I felt a little more comfortable with. 

I had already built the levain in three stages and was ready to mix the dough.  I started with my stock 100% hydration starter, and converted part of it to an 81% H using whole wheat durum as the first refreshment (formula below in the "Method" section).  A second refreshment was done after fermenting overnight, and the final build was mixed after 13 hours and left to ferment again overnight.  I found the whole wheat durum peaked too quickly (6-7 hours), so for the final build I switched to Extra Fancy durum.  This was beautifully peaked and full of gas bubbles the next morning (sorry, no pics).

After looking at some past Altamura-type loaves that I had baked in the past, I decided on a 40% AP flour/60% Durum blend for the final dough.  It turned out to be fairly easy to work with, even though the final hydration was in excess of 70%.  The dough had excellent structure, but when it came time to score the loaves, I found that it was too wet a dough to score like in the video and the result is the top loaf in the photo below. It was scored with the baker's knife, but the dough was too wet to coax up the corners into the desired peaks.  The second loaf was scored with a lame.

The oven spring was so huge you can barely see the score in the bottom loaf.  It was also underproofed, but overall look didn't suffer too badly.  The crumb was extremely moist and chewy with lots of irregular sized holes.  The crust was also chewy, perhaps a bit too soft for my tastes, but the overall flavor was very good. 

Here's the formula and method. [Note: this formula is revised based on discussion below.]

I think that in order to be able to shape as in the video, the hydration needs to be in the 60-65% range.  I will definitely try this again.

-Brad

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A few months ago I made Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Glezer's "Artisan Baking."  It was a really tasty bread, but I wanted to try something different.  This week, I made it again, but substituted sourdough starter for the poolish to get another dimension to the flavors.  The results were pretty good.  After cooling, the crumb had a smooth mouth-feel, while there was some chewiness to the crust.  I probably could have baked the loaves a few minutes longer to get a crispier crust.  The next morning, the sour had increased as expected, but it was not overwhelming by any means.  It toasted up great.

I used two different types of Durum flour.  Extra fancy is what is normally called for in the recipe.  Since I had it, I also used whole wheat durum.  The total of the durum flours was about half of the total flours with AP flour the balance.  2/3 of the AP was from the large amount of sourdough starter that I used (about the same amount of starter as there was poolish in the original recipe).  The mixing technique was a little different.  Last time I found an error in the book that increased the total hydration.  Even after correcting for this, the recipe produces a very wet and hard to work with dough at 81% hydration, so I cut it back to 75%.  I added the last 50 grams of flour along with the salt, about halfway through the mixing.  The gluten developed by the third stretch & fold, but it was still a very slack dough.  I think they may be a bit overproofed as the oven spring was less than last time.  I also clearly shaped one loaf with a tighter surface and it shows in the scoring.  Overall, though, I am quite happy with the loaves.

Here is the formula and technique:

-Brad

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I was traveling last week and when I returned home I needed a fix of bread baking.  Since my starter needed to be refreshed and built up, I went for a poolish preferment, and Tom Cat's filone was high on my to-bake list.  I read Franko's write up from last year, and he referred back to David's description from 2008, so I was prepared for a "pretty gloppy" dough.  I closely followed the recipe from Glezer's "Artisan Baking" that David wrote up.

The dough was autolysed for 1 hour.  Mixing the final dough, similar to what others described, I had to add quite a bit more flour.  In fact, I increased the amount of flour by 25% (additional 75 gm per recipe) in order to get the dough to resemble anything like workable.  However, after the third stretch & fold the gluten was very nicely developed and easy to work with.  I made a double batch (because one loaf is never enough!) using Central Milling Extra Fancy Durum flour and a mixture of their Beehive AP and Hi Gluten flours.  The dough gets very puffy and has to be handled very gently to retain the gas bubbles that develop.  The results are worth it, with a beautiful golden crust, tremendous oven spring and fairly open crumb with holes of varying sizes throughout (including some large ones resulting from gentle shaping). And it is a flavorful loaf.

Here are a couple of observations: There may be an error in Glezer's recipe that resulted in the gloppy dough.  The poolish calls for dissolving 1/4 tsp IDY in 1 cup of water, then using 1/4 c of this mixture plus 135 gm water and 150 gm flour.  Here's the discrepancy: the listed baker's %-age for the water in the poolish is 110%, which would be 165 gm total.  My measurement for the 1/4 c of yeast-water is 60-65 gm, and when added to the 135 gm of water, using the more conservative 60 gm, this comes to 130%.  The leap of faith here is that the bakers %-age is more accurate than the ingredient measure.  Given the consistency of the overly wet dough described by other TFL-ers, this 30 gm more water could account for it.  I plan to make the bread again and will try this modified formula.

The second observation is that the amount of water used to autolyse the final dough was (in my case) not quite enough to hydrate all the flour.  As pointed out in the book, it could be due to the freshness or the fineness of the durum flour, but because of the wet dough I didn't want to add more water.  In retrospect, I should have.  Next time I may steal a bit of water from the poolish and increase the amount in the final dough, keeping the overall hydration the same.

The crumb came out a bit too chewy for this type of bread.  My wife loves this, but it needs to be toned down just a notch.  I used the high gluten flour because I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough gluten if only AP was used, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Lastly, the final proofing is really short.  I proofed it about 45 minutes after shaping, and it seems a bit overproofed.

Happy Baking!

-Brad

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That is not the question.  But how to steam?  Ah, there's the rub (with apologies to the Bard).

As many  a home baker, I have struggled with getting enough steam into the oven during the initial bake period.  There are many suggestions on the topic in these TFL pages, and I think I have tried them all.  I've used lava rocks, pouring water into a hot pan, soaking towels, ice cubes, etc.  This past weekend I made two batches of Tartine bread recipe, one of which I used the lava rock method of steaming and the other I used the book's recommended method of a dutch oven.  It is pretty clear which worked better (steamwise).  The boule has much more bloom and grigne, though not as much as I have seen by other posters here.  The oval loaf is much more subdued (although not without its own charm).

The crumb of this bread is exquisite.

What steaming methods work for you?

-Brad

 

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I baked several loaves in anticipation of the holiday weekend.  These are all from published sources, so no recipes, but wanted to share the photos anyway.  Happy holidays to all and happy baking.

-Brad

Sourdough walnut from Reinhart's BBA (his basic SD recipe with addition of toasted walnuts).

 

PiP's Hybrid Ciabatta that I modified slightly to use a biga instead of starter. I need some practice shaping, but it is relatively easy ciabatta dough (relative is the operative word) to work with.

 

Sunflower Seed Coronne, also from BBA with the addition of a "string of pearls" gleaned from "Baking with Julia." There was also enough dough left to make a small pan loaf.

 

Lastly, Semolina bread with soaker and fennel seeds from Hamelman's "Bread."

 

 

 

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