The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ehanner

I have been baking larger (2# ) loaves of rustic Italian formula free form recently. I decided to double the mix and drag out the large linen basket and try one more time to get the proofing right. Usually I over proof and the dough falls with a thud as I approach the slashing table with bare blades. I have been following Mariana's procedure for crusty Italian and my handling of the dough has been more on the gentle side with a strict 1 hour limit on the bulk ferment.

I had just watched a video of a french baker demonstrating how he shapes, slashes and handles his large boules. He bounced the boule out of the basket and onto the peel, slashed with confidence and into the oven. Very inspirational with little care of over handling. So I dumped the proofed dough out and slashed like I knew what I was doing and--well it worked out pretty well.
4# Crusty Boule4# Crusty Boule

CrumbCrumb

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ehanner

Is anyone else having issues with how the forum is displaying? It looks like the server reverted to an earlier point and changed the image space allocation. Floyd isn't logged in so he probably isn't aware.

Eric

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ehanner

I think it was Susan that begged for bubbles. :>) Well here it is! My basic SD bread formula slashed with custom sharpened cookie cutters!

Eric

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ehanner

Yesterday morning I started a batch of my basic all white SD dough. I had meant to include some white ww and a little rye for flavor but I was having a senior moment and so today we are enjoying white sourdough. I have been experimenting with varying the amount of starter in the batch to effect the final consistency. I find that the smaller the amount of starter I use, the more slack the dough is when it's time to form. With that in mind one could simply add more flour to stiffen up the dough but in my experience the condition of the starter is not a stable value so my thought is that I should learn to adjust the amount of starter based on how healthy it is at the moment to arrive at a consistency I can work with.

Today I am using 50g of active starter to rise 1100g of AP flour (Harvest King) at 65% hydration which works out to 710g of water. This is double the amount I have been using for this bread. The usual 2% salt is 22g. I mixed all ingredients in a bowl by hand and frisaged on the counter, gathered into a ball and let it rest for an hour covered.

After the rest, the dough is smooth and elastic. I now get to enjoy the maneuver I feel is the single most helpful in the kneading step, the French Fold. In just a few moments of French folding one can transform a slack untrained mass into a well formed and tensioned dough. There used to be a video here showing this maneuver but alas I think it was taken down by the poster. Anyway the bulk ferment is planned for 12 hours in the oven with the light on.

Dividing, shaping, PAUSE 10 mins, and shape into boules for the final proof of about 1 hour. With a little creative cutting of parchment I can manage to get two boules in the oven on a cookie sheet. I boiled a cup of water and placed it in the oven alongside the dough. After an hour, I pulled the water glass, slashed and baked from cold at 425F for 30 minutes + -.

The dough spread like a turtle and I feared I would be submitting these as "out takes" but to my constant surprise the oven sprung as advertised and all is well after all.

Eric

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ehanner

This is another in my series of large boules of whole grain sourdough. I may have finally found a way to make a crumb to complex. Using perhaps more rye than I should have, this is a little more dense than I like but still flavorful. My wife made me a tool to create a round slash for the top. She is an artist with all the skills to make what ever tools she needs for sculpting or jewelry making. I was doubtful that it work but alas, the proof is here for all to see. I'm resisting the call for a polka dot pattern (artists are a demanding lot).

Today I will be starting some Tomsbread 100%WW. I think I have decided that it is better from the standpoint of flavor to to use fewer types of flour and therefore develop a more distinct taste that can be identified. The same is true in European style cooking. Some of the best dishes I make are simple distinctive flavors that stand out on their own. Pizza is a good example I think and Focaccia with a little olive oil and tomato/balsamic vinegar topping. Or maybe a slice of Ciabatta dipped in expensive olive oil. Mmmm delicious!

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ehanner

Yesterday morning I was busy feeding starters and I recalled some recent mentions on the forum about using the excess starter instead of discarding it. I decided to quickly put twice the amount I normally use (100g) into a bowl and start a soaker for later. My starter was very happy, bubbling away and smelled great! So I weighed out 200g and finished feeding the boys.

When I got around to finishing the soaker, I decided to make a SF style 50% whole grain combination using a "everything but the kitchen sink" blend. This is a highly random selection whatever I see in the flour pantry and never ever gets measured, except that the total weight equals the AP weight. A look at today's gumbo; WW, white WW, rye, seven grain mix, wheat germ and milled flax. This was a lean mix with no oil or malt or honey. I set the hydration at 85% based on the total flour weight and set it in an 80f spot for the day.

I managed to remember to stretch and fold once before I started my Saturday run around routine. Today was going to be a challenge to get everything accomplished and still do justice to the bread. Off to deliver 2 lap tops, repair a stubborn router, bank, take daughter bowling, Stretch and fold, drive to Milwaukee with son to move band equipment, another stretch and fold, groceries an pick up a pizza (no energy for home baked tonight).

A side note; My son is an aspiring musician. He teaches/plays the saxophone and most everything with a reed, flute and guitar. While Jazz is his passion, rock and roll funk style is the band focus. The drummer is a tall good looking boy who is a self described Vegan. My son tells me he is struggling trying to find tasty food that fits the vegan profile. Always looking for a justified excuse to bake something I decide to look into what this means. From initial research it looks like most of my breads would qualify since I don't add butter or milk as a general rule and honey is my sweetener of choice. Maybe I could just make most of my breads "OK for Vegans". The Tomsbread style 100% WW would be a hit for sure.

After dinner I declared the bulk ferment finished. One last fold and a decision about the final consistency of the dough. I added a little more flour at the last s&f so it's now about 80% hydrated. Formed into a boule and set on parchment for a free form proofing. My daughter had a friend over for the evening so they picked the movie. Had to be a thriller sci-fi flick for them. Movie's over and the oven is heating up again.  Checker board slash, hold my breath (no it didn't fall on slashing) and into the oven. Tonight I'm ignoring all the steaming gadgets/covers and unceremoniously toss a 1/2C of hot water onto the brick in the bottom of my oven. Quick cover the vent and set the timer for 10 minutes so I don't forget the towel covering the vent. Another 13 minutes and it looks done. The question now is will 2 teenage girls let it alone long enough to cool?. I better take the picture now, just in case!

It looks about right but I could of rotated it for a more even browning.

Look at that structure! I might try and remember how I did this! I do love the taste of whole grains caramelized on the outside and chewy in the inside.  

 

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ehanner

I thought I would share my results trying mountaindog's version of Country French. I didn't have exactly the right malt as called for in the formula so I substituted dry powder and a little raw sugar for the sweetener. I didn't get the airy crumb through out but there was nice activity in my wet starter which I am nursing back to a healthier condition. It's hard to see in the image but the crust is very thin and nice and crunchy. My family doesn't care for a thick chewy crust so I was going for a baguette style crust. I baked this in my new Steam Maker Bread Baker unit (background) with 15 seconds of hot steam injected, covered for 10 minutes then 20 more minutes of dry heat. The crust is incredible! Thanks mountaindog for the inspiration. I think this will be my new daily bread. The depth of flavor is very nice. I have another batch behind this one for tomorrow that I swapped some of the AP flour for King Arthur 7 grain. The combination of caramelized grains gives this a great aroma and chew.

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