The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ejm's blog

  • Pin It
ejm's picture
ejm

wild yeast bread

I have really been struggling to get our wild yeast bread to be less sour. This time, I added malt powder to give the dough a little sugar rush. I contemplated adding a bit of baking soda as well to bring the acidity down. But not really knowing the science of it, I decided against it. One experiment at a time....

I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I've been getting so much flack about flat bread.

I was so pleased at how it had risen that I even tried slashing one of the loaves (while it was proofing, it had a little bird cookie cutter balanced on top - even before baking, it was impossible to see the bird design!) I just don’t know how you others do it.

I admit it; my slashing technique stinks!

It is less sour tasting. Even though the taste is pretty good, I'd still like to make a completely unsour wild yeast bread - without using even a trace of commercial yeast.

wild yeast bread

Tomorrow when I feed the wild yeast, I plan to try bwraith's method of maintenance to see if that will lessen the sourness.

Even though it has been decreed that this is one of my more successful attempts, I am still feeling defeated and just about ready to pack it in and toss the wild yeast out. It was devastating (well, maybe not "devastating"... perhaps "deflating" would be a better choice of word) to have to buy bread at Christmas time because my bread was so sour.

I have to admit that baking bread with commercial yeast is WAY easier!

ejm's picture
ejm

Faux Stowe Crackers

This past summer, one of my sisters-in-law brought most wonderful crackers as part of her offering for a family dinner. My sister-in-law's crackers were fabulous and she claimed they weren't all that difficult to make.

It turns out she's right. Even though they require double baking, they're dead easy. And they're delicious!

I made a few changes to the recipe my sister-in-law copied out for me. One of the changes was to add the left over sludge from building up my wild yeast to the batter. I'm positive that this is not a necessary addition. It's a great way to use up the discards though!

The crackers are made by baking quickbread batter in a loaf pan, allowing the loaf to cool completely and then slicing and baking the slices on a cookie sheet til crisp.

Next time, to get our crackers to look even more like Lesley Stowes' crisps, I'm going to put a fold of parchment paper lengthwise down the middle of the loaf pan to create square slices.

(Faux Stowe Crackers are based on Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps, available throughout Canada and the USA.)

ejm's picture
ejm

wild yeast bagels


After looking at our bagel recipe sit for months on my recipe stand, I finally made bagels! I don't know why I waited so long. Because I adore bagels....

After admiring Susan's (Wild Yeast) bagels several times, I decided to copy her and use my wild yeast starter too.

And how did the bagels taste? Well, I liked them! I loved them on their own and also with goat's cheese and red currant jelly. And coffee. Of course.

The bagels are firm and chewy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside - just the way that bagels should be (or at least I think so....) Another taster said that there was too much taste of sourdough and not enough of malt. I confess that I didn't really taste the sourness but am certainly willing to tone it down.

Any ideas on how to go about doing that? Can I just add more malt to the dough?

Here is the recipe I used:

wild yeast bagels

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This must be bagel season! I see that FloydM has just made bagels too.

ejm's picture
ejm

Lucia Cats

Even though Santa Lucia Day is 13 December, I made Lucia cats so we could have them for breakfast on Christmas morning.

I now know that I should have placed them further apart on the pan so they wouldn't grow together. Luckily, they taste just as good!!

Merry Christmas to all!

ejm's picture
ejm

Last week, I got pay back for laughing at Jenn's (Leftover Queen) misfortunes. There I was just hitting "send" on my reply to Susan's (Wild Yeast) hilarious account when I realized how much time had gone by since I had put the buns in the oven. And smelled that unmistakable smell of sugar. Burnt sugar....

cinnamon buns

It really was too bad too. The buns were going to be fantastic! In the recipe, I had used about 1½ cups of wild starter (around 750gm on my rotten scale) and only ¼ tsp active dry yeast rather than the 2½ tsp of active dry yeast called for. I also reduced the amount of water to 1¾ cup rather than 2 cups. (1 cup milk, ¾ water) Here is the recipe I followed to make 16 buns:

The resulting dough was beautifully silky and elastic and rose only a tiny bit slower than the commercial yeast versions. In fact, I was a little sorry that I had added any commercial yeast at all.

And I did set the timer.... (I did!!!)

Amazingly, once most of the black had been scraped off, the buns were delicious!

...perhaps I should always burn them on the bottom (bite my tongue!!!)

(Next time I make the buns, I think I'll use only wild yeast. And when I put the buns in the oven, I'll set two timers. Maybe three....)

(There are a few more photos at blog from OUR kitchen)

ejm's picture
ejm

semolina fennel bread

As soon as I saw Susan's (Wild Yeast) post entitled "Semolina Bread with Currants, Fennel, Pine Nuts", I knew I HAD to make it. (Make sure to take a look at Susan's bread.)

I can't decide what I like more about this bread.
The aroma of it baking?

  • Fennel!

The flavour?

  • The currants! The fennel! The slight hint of sourdough flavour from the wild yeast!

Sliced warm with roccolo cheese? Toasted with butter?

  • It's impossible to pin it down. All I know is that we both love it.

semolina and all-purpose flours

We buy our semolina in Indiatown - semolina is called "suji". Even after about 10 minutes of kneading, I decided that the bread dough would probably always be a bit grainy feeling. I added the currants and pinenuts and amazingly, as I was working the dough to distribute the currants evenly, the dough suddenly became smooth and silky!

I really couldn't be more thrilled about the bread. I have only one complaint. It takes no time for a loaf to disappear!

Thank you once again, Susan!

ejm's picture
ejm

wild bread
Lately, I have been having a devil of a time judging whether the dough has risen enough. And I have been allowing it to over-rise. The over-risen dough produces flat as pancake loaves that taste good but don't look all that great. But finally, after weeks of trying, there was oven spring and the loaves are round rather than flat. Yay! I like to balance cookie cutter(s) on top of the just shaped bread to etch a design in top of the loaf. For this loaf, I used 3 star shaped cutters. (Remove the cookie cutters just before baking the bread.) I really like the way it looks! It's not quite as spectacular as the ridges that people get by proofing their bread upside down in baskets but it doesn't require nearly the nerve. One doesn't have to flip risen bread out onto a peel with this designing technique.
ejm's picture
ejm

bread discs
The other day when I made grissini, I used part of the dough to make Susan's (Wild Yeast) Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers). They may not look quite as nice as Susan's but I have a feeling that we like them as much as she does. I made ours with fennel seeds (didn't have anise seeds) and Pernod, which I'm guessing amounts to the same thing as "anise liqueur". Wow! These discs are fantastic! They are easy to burn though... But if they aren't burned, they are light and crisp, with a lovely hint of licorice flavour. (And I don't even LIKE licorice....) They're wonderful on their own or with cheese. They are the perfect thing to serve after dinner! They're also good with soup for lunch or great with coffee for elevenses. Frankly, even the darker ones were delicious. Thank you once again, Susan! We'll be making these often!
ejm's picture
ejm

bread sticks

When I read about Susan's grissini, I thought they would be perfect for using up leftovers after building up the starter in preparation for making bread.

And I was right!! I used just half the yeast in our pizza dough recipe and with the leftovers from feeding the starter, there was enough leavening power to make the dough double in exactly the same time that it would have with just yeast.

Making the sticks was dead easy, even though I couldn't quite wrap my mind around Susan's instructions for folding each strip in half (nothing wrong with the instructions - everything wrong with my brain....) So I folded them in half to make shorter rectangles and twisted them to join the pieces together.

Grissini are fabulous!! Many thanks, Susan, for posting about them so we would try them too.

I just realized that I should have stuck almond slivers on the ends of each bread stick to make them scary looking for Hallowe'en! (They do look like fingers, don't they?)

ejm's picture
ejm

 Roundup
Zorra has posted the WBD 2007 roundup. There were so many entries (183 entries with more than 200 recipes) that she has divided the roundup into 4 parts:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - ejm's blog