The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dixongexpat's blog

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Dixongexpat

I have successfully started a new starter here in Mexico. I overcame the altitude and bad levain mixes and made a few nice loaves. And then the weather turned a bit colder and it seems to have killed the ability of my sourdough to rise.

I tried boiling water, putting a plate on top, and then putting my bulk fermentation bowl on top. The temperature was nice and warm. The dough produced one bubble on top.

After 30 hours or so I decided to stir it all up and add some yeast. The dough was like pudding. I ended up adding the yeast and another 1.5 cups of flour just to get it dry enough to be able to handle it for stretching and folding. By the time it 'proofed' it looked like this:

Observations on the resulting boule:

1 - the thin pizza pan produces a hard crust. TOO hard. 

2 - This was pretty dense bread, surprising for 100% bread flour.

3 - Almost no crumb, but tastes pretty good!

I think may just switch back to regular non-sourdough bread and probably use some loaf pans. 

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Dixongexpat

Finally got to the store with all the usual flour choices. Picked up some 50/50 whole wheat/white wheat combo flour and a smaller organic rye. First loaf was without rye, and just used the same recipe as the last loaf, adding cinnamon and walnuts and craisins. Very tasty! Now I just need to find something to do boules on...

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Dixongexpat

So we finally made it to Mexico! And after a one-month delay we found a wonderful house to rent with a big kitchen and granite countertops. I haven't made a run into the 'big city' to find actual bread flour at Costco yet, so I'm experimenting with a local flour, Espuma de Chapala. I also bought a vacuum packed brick of yeast.

In retrospect, I probably should have reduced the yeast in this one. Here is the dough at the beginning:

and here it is after only ONE HOUR:

That's a pretty solid doubling in just one hour. I don't think we're going to make the 4-hour recommendation.

Now researching workarounds for the 5000+ altitude and yeast, etc.

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Dixongexpat

We just secured an apartment in Mexico, sight unseen. It's that cute! OK, we haven't seen it *in person* but we do have pictures. For example, the kitchen has a gas stove/oven with six burners. It's smaller than the typical American oven, so I think it will be more efficient. That, plus the mile-high altitude, should make for some interesting recipe adjustments.

But look at all the counter space!

We will be moving in on Friday. Pretty excited...

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Dixongexpat

So I added some bread flour, reduced the rye flour and left the H2O the same. Net reduction in hydration.

Came out very well - taller loaf

not quite as dense as the previous loaf - acidentally left in in the oven about five minutes too long, so some crispy black edges on the top split crust wings

 

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Dixongexpat

Had some leftover I need to get rid of, sooo....

Took my most recent recipe and added the rye on top - then calculated 70% hydration for the water.

The wet dough looks and feels about like the previous loaf so hopefully things will work out. Rising for three hours, then mix and stretch w/ the usual ingredients...

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Dixongexpat

Regular yeast, about five hours start to finish. Bread flour only.

It was a pretty wet, 'pouffy' dough

 A nice crust - it 'sang' properly...

and a decent crumb

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Dixongexpat

Finally - I have a loaf that looks like the ones in all the pretty pictures! LOL

The dough just starting its ferment (which occurred in the refrigerator overnight)

 

The result - it's huuuge!

 

Top view

Will add a crumb shot shortly...

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Dixongexpat

So I finally got to the bottom of my bag of multigrain leftovers from the local mill (Barton Springs near Austin, TX). Just to get rid of it all, I shifted the flour mixture to 350g whole wheat, 150g bread flour (not counting the levain which counts for about 75g of bread flour). In order to attempt to compensate for this shift, I added about 2/3 teaspoon of active yeast to the mix. The dough rose overnight in the fridge and was a bit cold when I started the folding. I didn't have enough time to do the full folding routine, so things were just at room temperature by the time I did the final rest.

The good news is that the bread rose higher than normal, however pretty much no crumb. Very sandwich-bread. Still tasty though!

Next week - 100% bread flour!

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Dixongexpat

I have been doing pretty much the same loaf every week, so the pictures are a bit repetitive by now. Here are some samples during June and July. Texture is about the same on each. Fairly dense, didn't rise a lot. Flour was about 50/50 bread/whole wheat mix.

June 3

 

June 11

 

June 17

 

July 1

 

July 9

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