The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Cedarmountain

I was thinking about grass a few days ago while finishing the last lawn mowing of the season and while not really appreciating my lawn grass as such, was struck by the fact that wild grasses are the archetype for the many grains we use to make our bread.  Many species/strains of wheat and other grains can trace their origins as wild grasses that have been cultivated, modified and preserved over many years as food crops.  So, with that in mind, I baked what I decided to call "Grass Bread", as inspired by the grass roots of our modern grains. 

300 g fresh milled mix of organic rye/spelt/khorasan/Marquis wheat sifted to yield 250 g high extraction flour (bran set aside for coating the loaves); 750 g organic all purpose flour; mixed with 725 g water and autolysed for 2 hours at room temperature; then added 15 g sea salt, 250 g levain (4 hours, very active), mixed with a series of stretch/folds and set aside for a 4 1/2 hour bulk fermentation with more stretch/folds every 30 minutes for the first  2 hours; additions were mixed in after the second series of stretch/folds - 150 g cracked grain, steel cut oat porridge; 50 g cooked hulless oats; 50 g cooked hulless barley; 75 g cooked wild rice. FDH estimated at 85% after additions. Pre-shaped and rested for 1/2 hour then final shaped and cold-proofed overnight (10 hours).  Baked directly out of the fridge covered at 500 F for 25 minutes; 450 F for 10 minutes and then uncovered at 450 F for 20 minutes directly on the baking stone.  Oh, and almost forgot...before setting the loaves into the baskets I coated the loaves with some of the sifted bran, ground pumpkin and sunflower seeds (not grass, I know) and toasted hemp seeds (some would say "grass"!)  I am very happy with this bread. Of all the loaves I have baked this one is my absolute favourite - taste, texture, nutritional composition - who knew grass could be so good?

 

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Cedarmountain

This bread is based on Chad Robertson's Tartine 3 brown rice porridge bread.  As Robertson says, "...combine well-cooked whole grain rice with a highly hydrated whole wheat dough and let the loaves fully ferment with natural leaven to make the nutrients contained within the finished bread readily available for digestion."  I opted to use organic black rice for its rich nutritional value and cut back on the total amount added to the dough to keep the bread a bit lighter; I also added a small amount of oat porridge for complimentary taste and texture.  The dough was mixed with 200g fresh milled, high extraction organic rye/Marquis wheat flour and 800g organic all purpose white flour autolysed with 750g filtered water for 1 hour; then 15g sea salt, 250g young levain was mixed/50 stretch and folds. After the second of four series of stretch/folds done every 30 minutes, 350g black rice porridge and 50g oat porridge was added. Bulk fermentation was 4 hours at room temperature; then pre-shaped and 1/2 hour rest before final shaping and cold-proofing for 10 hours. Baked covered for 25 minutes at 500 F; 10 minutes at 450 F and then uncovered for 20 minutes at 450 F.  The bread is very soft, chewy with a slight purple colour and a nice nutty, mellow flavour; sesame seeds and the sifted bran coating added an extra bit of flavour to the crust. 

 

 

 

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Cedarmountain

Sourdough donuts....some coated with cinnamon sugar, some with a cardamom honey glaze.  I used an egg, milk, sugar, butter dough with a sourdough levain; slap and folded, proofed at room temperature for 5 hours; refrigerated over night; rolled/cut into rounds and proofed at room temperature for another 2 hours before deep frying at 350 F for about 2 minutes per side.  I didn't spend a lot of time folding and shaping each donut so they turned out pretty "rustic" looking but I think they tasted pretty good, nice soft bready texture too.   

 

 

 

 

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Cedarmountain

 

 

Oat Flax and Sprouted Barley Sourdough

TFLers have blogged before about the therapeutic benefits of baking bread - this has been my daily bread over the past few months, nourishment for body and spirit in challenging times, my therapy....

200 g mix of fresh milled, organic rye, spelt and Marquis wheat sifted; 800 g organic all purpose white flour; 750 g filtered water; 15 g sea salt; 225 g levain;  200 g  porridge made with organic oat flakes, steel cut oats, fresh cracked brown flax; 150 g sprouted barley.  FDH estimate 85%. Cold proofed overnight and then baked covered 25 minutes, 500 F; 10 minutes, 450 F; uncovered 20 minutes, 450 F.  

 

 

 

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Cedarmountain

This photo was taken at dawn a few days ago. It is a field of heritage Marquis wheat grown by Cedar Isle Farm. They have carefully nurtured an initial very small seed stock over a number of years and now have enough seed to grow Marquis wheat for a modest commercial harvest.  I saw this photo in their Late Spring Update e-newsletter and wanted to share it with the TFL community if for no other reason than it's a beautiful picture!  Here is the accompanying excerpt from the newsletter:

 

Late Spring Update 2018

    " ...planted our saved seed of heritage Marquis wheat again this spring, and the seedlings are flourishing. Take another look at the photograph (at the top), taken at dawn. Those tiny drops of moisture are not dew (condensation of moisture from the air), but guttation.  When the soil moisture is high, and there is little transpiration from the leaves because daily photosynthesis hasn't yet begun, water can accumulate in the roots, creating a slight root pressure that forces moisture to exude through special glands in the leaves.  Cool, eh?

Happy Spring from all of us at Cedar Isle Farm!

Jim "

Cedar Isle Farm - Organic Grains CSA

3270 Chaplin RoadAgassiz, B.C. V0M 1A2Canada Copyright © 2018 Cedar Isle Farm - Organic Grains CSA, All rights reserved.
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Cedarmountain

There are many reasons why people bake bread...for many it is a basic necessity of daily life to feed themselves and their families; for some it is a business while for others it is simply an enjoyable pastime, a hobby.  That's why I started baking bread a few years ago, just a hobby.  But after many loaves baked over the past few years I have come to appreciate there is much more to this hobby than I first thought; the reason I bake bread is because of the meditative and calming nature of the process, the honest and universally understood gesture of sharing fresh bread and of course, the simple pleasure of eating good bread. All this to say, bread baking is good for me, a process that takes me off the edge, calms and momentarily allows me time to breathe and think. 

I have struggled for many years with PTSD and all of the depression, anxiety, social stigma, anger, despair, isolation that goes with it. I have lost friends and comrades I served with to substance abuse and suicide because there has been little support, help or care available; more than 20 deaths by suicide in 2017 alone. But last month, after too many years of denial and inaction, hope....the government finally passed an amendment to the current workers' compensation legislation, a presumptive clause that presumes PTSD as an expected outcome for first responders rather than challenging and denying such claims. What's all this got to do with bread you ask?  Well, the last time I posted there wasn't much hope, now, with the new legislation there is.  So, for that reason, it seemed to me to be a good day to bake some Pretty Tasty Sourdough Bread.

  • 200 g high extraction fresh milled rye and Marquis wheat
  • 800 g organic all purpose flour
  • 300 g porridge made with hulless oat berries, steel cut oats and cracked flax seeds
  • 250 g young levain
  • 20 g sea salt
  • 750 g water

2 hour autolyse then an initial series of 50 stretch/folds to mix in the levain and salt.  Bulk fermentation for four hours with four series of stretch/folds every thirty minutes for the first two hours; porridge was mixed in after the second series of stretch/folds. I made two boules and set them in linen lined baskets to cold proof overnight.  The loaves were baked in pre-heated pots directly out of the fridge after 12 hours; covered at 500 F for 25 minutes then 450 F for 10 minutes; uncovered at 450 F for 18 minutes to finish.  I was happy to see the spring and scoring pattern when I removed the lids. The bread has a nice oat flavour and a chewy, soft crumb with bits of flax and hulless oats throughout.  

 

  

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Cedarmountain

The basic ingredients for good bread - flour, salt, water, yeast - are simple yet can produce such a wonderful variety of breads with complex flavours, crumb textures, crusts.  Sometimes in my tinkering and experimenting I need to remind myself that bread made just with these basic ingredients can be really good bread!  So with that in mind, today's bake focused on the basics - good grain, salt, water and yeast. 

Cracked Grain Porridge Sourdough Bread

  • 250 g sifted mix of freshly ground organic rye, emmer and Marquis wheat (bran set aside for coating the loaves)
  • 750 g organic all purpose flour
  • 750 g filtered water (est.FDH 82% after addition of porridge)
  • 22 g sea salt
  • 225 g levain (4 hour)
  • 300 g mixed cracked grains (rye, emmer, khorasan, Marquis, hulless oats, flax) cooked into a porridge

The cracked grain porridge was gently mixed into the dough after the second of four stretch/folds. After four hours the loaves were pre-shaped, rested for thirty minutes and then shaped and cold proofed overnight for 10 hours. I baked the loaves directly out of the fridge; covered for 25 minutes at 500 F; 10 minutes at 450 F and then uncovered, directly on the baking stone for 20 minutes at 450 F.  

 

 

 

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Cedarmountain

I have been exploring the delicious world of porridge breads lately but today I decided to venture away from that...sort of.  When I first started baking bread, apart from the therapeutic value of the process, my motivation was primarily nutritional. I wanted to bake bread that tasted good and was good for me...of course how the bread looked, whether the ears were big enough, oven spring, open crumb etc., all those concerns also become apparent on the learning curve but in the end taste and nutrition seem to be what matters most.  Being sustained, being able to eat the less-than-perfect-not-what -was-expected results of our baking experiments has been an often stated encouragement from other bakers. We have bread to eat, baked by our own hands...that's a pretty good thing.  So my focus for today's bake was first and foremost about nutrition and taste.  

I have a palate preconception where bread is concerned - maybe it's because I grew up in Saskatchewan, all that prairie grain creating a taste preference in my DNA - but I like bread that tastes like the grain used to make it, nutty, grassy, mellow, the flavour of a nicely caramelized crust.  But I digress...that is my underlying bread bias but not an all or nothing preference. Today I baked a bread that I think tastes pretty good while also having a solid nutritional profile - the aesthetics may have suffered a bit with less oven spring, ears but I am quickly getting rid of the evidence with one loaf going to a neighbour and the other served up for lunch. 

As Danni often does, I am using pictures to share what I did for this bake...

I used 250 g mix of fresh milled, sifted (bran kept for final coating) organic rye, hard spring wheat and 750 g all purpose organic flour with 800 g water (this was a little too much water, I think 750 g would have been best) left for 1 hour at room temperature; then 220 g young levain (4 hours) and 20 g sea salt was mixed in to start the bulk fermentation. Four series of stretch and folds every half hour for the first two hours then two hours resting.

After the second series of stretch and folds, 1 hour into the bulk fermentation:

 

 

Two additions after the second series of stretch and folds:

The first one - ground up 50 g toasted sesame seeds, 100 g hemp hearts and mixed into a paste with 150 boiling water. The second - 50 g chia, 50 g golden/brown flax, 50 g toasted hemp seeds (not hearts) mixed with 250 g boiling water and left for 2 hours.  I recall one of Joze's posts where he was experimenting with hemp flour and sesame; the complimentary flavours worked well in his bread so I thought adding ground hemp hearts and sesame would provide  a nutritional component as well as a nice subtle flavour. The toasted hemp seeds were added for their texture and nutritional value as were the flax seeds.

 

After the final set of stretch and folds, two hours...

 

After 4 hours, pre-shaped and left to rest for thirty minutes:

I began with a generous dough hydration characteristic of the Tartine style breads I have been trying to bake but without thought to the affect of the additions on the final dough hydration. Robertson's advice for porridge breads is to cut back his typical 85% hydration to 75% to account for the porridge water. In my mind I was not making a porridge bread so autopilot was engaged and before I had thought it through I had a nice 80% hydration dough to start with...I am not sure the exact final dough hydration but by the feel of the dough at the end of the bulk fermentation (I think the soaker may have released some of it's water into the dough too) it was probably 90%+  It was a bit more challenging handling/shaping the dough.

 

Final shaping and into linen lined proofing baskets:

I was able to gently wrestle and shape the dough into a batard and a boule (you may notice most of my posts have a boule and a batard - it's because I have one Lodge enamelled pot and one oval Creuset).  The loaves were dusted with the bran sifted and saved at the start and some rice flour/flour.  This bake was also different because the plan came to me early in the day and I decided to forego my preferred overnight cold -proof, doing the whole thing during my day off.  Again, always amazing to me how easy it is to slip into autopilot mode - I am so used to final shaping, into baskets and then leaving the loaves overnight in the fridge for 10 hours - I left these loaves to proof in plastic bags at room temperature on the kitchen island and forgot about them!  Fortunately I eventually remembered what I was doing before they were too over-proofed - I think they would have been better if baked an hour earlier but it is what it is. 

 

Baked in pots, covered at 500 F for 25 minutes; 450 F for 10 minutes and then uncovered and directly on the oven stone at 450 F for 25 minutes:

The loaves were really floppy coming out of the proofing baskets, very challenging to score and transfer into the pre-heated pots before they spread out too much.  I wasn't feeling very optimistic about the final outcome at this point but got them into the pots and into the oven hoping for the best.  There wasn't as much oven spring or development of ears as I like (I know, it's just aesthetics!) but the crust and colour looked pretty good coming out of the pots at the halfway point of the bake.  They took a little longer to finish, again probably because of the high hydration dough, but they finished up nicely I think.

 

 

The crumb shot:

Well, as I started with at the beginning of this post, this bake was supposed to be a change from my of late, usual porridge breads, but in the end, with the high hydration and wet pasty additions it's pretty much that again.  I am happy to say, despite being over-proofed, kind of floppy, over hydrated and a bit flat coming out of the oven...this bread tastes really good! The crumb is soft, chewy and gelatinous, the crust is crisp and nutty, the hemp hearts and sesame add a really nice subtle flavour just like Joze said and the toasted hemp seeds add a great, nutty crunch every now and then - a delicious learning experience for the next time I try this.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Cedarmountain

Oat porridge sourdough has become one of my favourite breads. This is a variation on the oat porridge bread in Chad Robertson's "Tartine 3". I was intrigued by Robertson's addition of almonds and almond oil to complement the texture and flavour of the oat porridge and have been using the basic oat porridge bread recipe to explore other additions.  

I milled and sifted 50 g organic spelt, 50 g organic rye and 200 g Marquis wheat (the bran was set aside for coating the loaves); this was mixed with 750 g organic all purpose flour, 775 g water and autolysed for 2 hours at room temperature.  Then I added 20 g sea salt (usually I use 22 g but there is some salt in the addition so I thought it best to cut back a little), 220 g very active young levain (4 hours) and started the bulk fermentation. I did a series of gentle stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first two hours with an addition after the second series of folds of 250 g oat porridge, 100 g finely ground salted cashews and 75 g finely ground toasted sesame seeds (not quite a paste but close) and 100 g golden and brown flax seeds soaked with 140 g boiling water for 2 hours.  After 4 hours the dough was pre-shaped and rested for 1/2 hour then final shaping and into linen lined baskets seam side down (tinkering with the look of the finished loaf, with/without slashing, seam up/seam down) and dusted with bran and rice flour/flour mix.  I cold proofed the loaves overnight in the fridge for 10 hours and baked them direct from the fridge the next day; covered for 22 minutes at 500 F; 10 minutes at 450 F and then uncovered and finished directly on the baking stone for 25 minutes at 450 F.  I like this bread, a lot....

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Cedarmountain

I have been tinkering, experimenting with various porridge breads for the past while; various attempts to create a lighter crumb, more custardy texture, deriving different flavours in the breads using various porridge mixtures while trying to keep a solid nutritional profile with the fresh milled grains and additions, using younger levains, varying final dough hydration. But sometime I just want a good porridge bread, like the one I first discovered working my way through Chad Robertson's Tartine 3...today was one of those days  Nothing complicated, this is an oat porridge bread made with fresh milled Red Fife (25%), filtered water (75%), young levain (22%), sea salt (2.2%), oat porridge addition (20%) after the third series of stretch and folds; FDH was probably about 80% after addition of the porridge.  Cold proofed overnight and baked in a Creuset covered 500 F/22 minutes; 450 F/10 minutes and uncovered out of the pots directly on the oven stone 450 F/20 minutes. Simple is often the best...

 

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