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I tried SteveB's double flour addition/double hydration techniques to make his ciabatta, one of the three beautiful breads I promised myself to learn from some of the most sophiscated, well-respected home bakers here at TFL when I first started making bread back in February this year. Since then I'd tried dmsnyder's baguettes and Susan's ultimate sourdough.  I've always tried my best to emulate the orginal formulas so that my breads would not 'disgrace' the beautiful creations by these bakers.  My ciabatta is no comparison to Steve's picture perfect creation, but at least I can say 'I've tried it'.  Thank you, Steve, for your inspiration of pursuing professional quality breads from a home kitchen.

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Inspired by Nathan's recent post, I made Mr. Dan Lepard's sourdough walnut bread (page 111, The Handmade Loaf).  This was an experience of assimilating existing and new techniques learned, making independent judgment, and testing new gear.  I experienced the one-hour autolyse technique, which worked seamlessly with my spiral mixer to achieve my goal of streamlining home baking procedures in order to minimize hands-on time.   As Nathan mentioned in his post, the dough was well developed after the one-hour autolyse.  It only took additional 4 minutes and 30 seconds of mixing by my mixer to reach the windowpane stage.  This did not only save me the follow-up stretch-and-folds of the dough, but also prevented its temperature from rising too high from over mixing.  It registered 75F when mixing was completed.

I was very relieved to have learned this effective technique-plus-gear combination because it means more flexibility in my schedule. With the added peace of mind, bread baking will be more enjoyable. I did not perform any subsequent S&F to this dough but the crumb still turned out very springy since gluten was sufficiently developed through extended autolyzing and brief mixing.

Like Nathan, I did not use commercial yeast in this bread.  It was leavened by 18% of pre-fermented flour maintained at 80% hydration. My percentages were a bit different from Mr. Lepard's, since my presentation took into account the water and flour content in the starter as well. The weight of all ingredients used (except for water), however, is identical to Mr. Lepard's formula. 

In this bread, I made my favorite water roux starter with all the rye flour called for in the formula. I made sure the rye roux starter had reached 176F, so to destroy the amylase in the flour (thanks again to Mini Oven for the information). In order to achieve a reasonable consistency of the roux starter, I had to raise the final dough hydration to 79%.  However, the dough was not difficult to handle, probably due to the presence of (pre-roasted) nuts and good gluten development.  It just felt very pliable after the 3-hour bulk fermentation.   The dough was then shaped and retarded overnight.  It was baked in the next morning at 500F for 20 minutes, then 460F for 15-20 minutes.

Nathan's beautiful breads in another post also inspired me to purchase Mr. Hamelman's book, which I used primarily as a reference for shaping and scoring this time.  

The taste of this bread was divine.  The crust was crunchy and the crumb was springy, buttery, and fragrant with the walnut paste mixed in the dough.   I enjoyed it very much. I no longer need to dream about Nathan's bread because now I have my own. Thank you, Nathan, for bringing this bread and Mr. Lepard's book to my attention.

And here it is, Mr. Lepard's sourdough walnut bread:


This will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!







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Thanks to both Mr. DiMuzio and bblearner's input, I made my first pain de mie successfully.   This loaf was made with 20% pre-ferment maintained at 50% hydration. To add a bit of Japanese touch to the loaf,  3% flour and 17% water was used to make water roux starter. Honey was used in place of sugar.  The rest were milk, milk powder, butter and etc., pretty typical ingredients.

As Mr. DiMuzio mentioned, this sourdough sandwich loaf is more compact than the yeasted version loaves and has more substance (bigger dough size) and is slightly chewier in texture.    It is a nice loaf of milky savory bread with a very subtle hint of tang. 

My kids were fascinated with the square shape and called it the loaf with no 'butt' (as compared to the dome-shaped loaves I made before).  They've enjoyed it without butter and have already requested another loaf.

The kneading was done completely by my Zojirushi and no folds by hand.  I adopted Mr. DiMuzio's procedures to utilize the fridge to both bulk ferment and proof.  The loaf was done with minimal dough-sitting, which was my ultimate goal.   I'd also applied the same procedures in my nut-and-fruit bread and it turned out great as well.  Thank you again, Mr. DiMuzio.

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This bread was made with 40% levain and is a variation of Mr. DiMuzio's double raisin walnut bread. I used a 3-build firm starter of 50% hydration and adjusted the formula to Mr. DiMuzio's percentages.  The 75% nuts and passion fruits medley have made this bread very colorful and attractive.  It is a bit chewy and has a medium-mild sourdough taste.

I utilized my Zojirushi to knead the dough for ten minutes and gave it a few folds afterwards before bulk fermenting it in the fridge overnight.  Before shaping, nuts and fruits were folded in.  Shaped dough was proofed in fridge overnight. Steamed and baked at 460F for 40 minutes.

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This was the most difficult formula I've encountered.  I'm somewhat discouraged by the outcomes of my breads.  Even though I've tried it twice, I still didn't get that confident feeling I normally have with my dough. 

In this trial, I used all the 10% rye flour to make a water roux starter.  The reason that prompted me to use a roux starter was that, even though at a lower % of rye (10%) flour than my 090602 sourdough rye (20%) bread , the dough in my first trial of this formula , at which I used KA organic AP flour and no rye roux, turned out to be much messier and the crumb was very gummy.   Without going through the heating process of making a roux starter, the amylases, which contribute to the gumminess in rye dough, remain actively alive.  The combination of lower gluten flour (AP) and the presence of lively amylases, I believe, was the culprit to the failure of my first attempt. 

In my second experiment, in addition to the rye roux starter, I also sustituted AP with bread flour.  I made baguette and batard so that I could practice different forms of scoring.  The crust was very crackly and the taste was good. However, I did not get as much oven spring as I'd hoped for.  Well, I can always give it another try.  We'll see.



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A big thank you to Susan for this simple and delicious formula.  My kids loved these loaves tremendously.  They had it for breakfast with a spread of butter; at dinner clam chowder in a bread bowl.  For me, it's another great lesson in sourdough.  A few new things I tried in this project: 

  1. Baking with high gluten flour (Giusto's organic high gluten whole wheat)

  2. Using a firm starter (refreshed at 1:2:3)

  3. Experimenting EXTENDED retardation at bulk fermentation (12 days) and at final proof (2 days).  There was no basis of practicing these extended retardations, I simply just did not have a chance tending the dough after I mixed it up. It gave me an opportunity to find out how well the method of preserving a premixed dough in the fridge for later use, as suggested in AB in 5, would work. As you will see, there's no negative impact on the final product and the flavor was greatly enhanced.

This project turned out wonderfully.  Susan, I'm looking forward to trying your bread again.

This will be submitted to Nick's imafoodblog.

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There must be a more proper name for this loaf, but it looks like a brick and feels like a brick, so I named it 'brick bread'.  The idea came from a loaf I once tried out of curiosity.  There was a night-and-day difference between that loaf and the fluffy, buttery Hong Kong /Japanese style breads I grew up with, but its texture was certainly interesting.  I'd been contemplating making it but was not able to find a formula either here at the forum or online.  Therefore, I decided to make it up myself after researching the basic properties of rye flour and using the ingredients on the package as a guideline.

My loaf consists of 60% rye flour, 40% high gluten whole wheat flour.  The loaf I had was a yeasted formula and was made with far more variety of flours, seeds and grains but I decided to simplify the ingredients in my first trial.  It has only walnuts, raisins and topped with sesame seeds.

I activated my dormant rye starter and put it to use.  In order to test its vitality, no commercial yeast was used this time. 

I arbitrarily picked an 88% hydration (to Cantonese, 88 is also a lucky number), hoping that this will soak up the pentosans and they wouldn't interfere with the gluten development as much. Even so, the dough was still sticky and a bit messy to handle. I made a sponge overnight and mixed with the rest of the flours the following day.  A few attempts of stretch and folds didn't seem to lead to anything promising, so I gave up.  I folded in the nuts and raisins at the end.

The dough rose to about 65% of its original height after a few hours, I wasn't sure whether it was ready but I surely didn't want to overproof, so I put it in a 460F oven for 40 minutes.  Internal temperature measured 213F when it came out.

I waited 24 hours before slicing the bread and took pictures of the crumb at 48 hours as well.  The tangy taste continues to improve as time goes by.  It does not taste like brick and has not cracked my teeth.  The nuts have created a light texture similar to that of banana bread, but without the fatty ingredients.  It is a loaf I'll re-try, just to make it perfect. If you have a formula for something similar to this loaf, please kindly share it so that I won't be so clueless and have some directions to follow next time.

Here are the pictures:

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I must confess this loaf is a mistake, but it is also the best sandwich loaf I've made so far.  It's fluffy, springy, and moist and 'pillowy' to touch; and it's wholesome - made with 100% white whole wheat.  Basically it has everything I've dreamed for in a sandwich loaf. 

It's an old formula adapted from a friend's home recipe, which originally calls for 64% hydration.  However, I did experiment with something new this time: the double hydration mixing technique, in which part of the liquid called for is reserved and added to the dough gradually in small increments after gluten has well developed initially through kneading.  

As I converted the original recipe into a formula using water roux starter, I forgot to account for the liquid component in the starter and accidentally added more liquid than I should.  This pushed the hydration of the dough up to 79%.  If I had not applied the double hydration technique, I may not have been able to incorporate all the liquid into the dough without ruining it.

This loaf turned out surprisingly good, since I did not realize in the first place my alteration to the formula. Now it has been four days, it still shows no signs of drying.  It springs right back when I bite into it and it still tastes very good without toasting.

This unexpected outcome has made me wonder if we up the hydration of our dough to the highest point it can withstand, will this produce a more fluffy loaf with extended shelf life?  Or other factors may kick in to interfere? Well, this question is too complex for a beginner to figure out.  Maybe you have the answer to it?

Here's my 'mistake':

090709 follow up:

I tried 70% hydration, still moist afte 3 days, but starting to show some signs of drying.

will experiment with 75% hydration next.    


100% WWW Yin and Yang Banana Toast      
Water Roux Starter          
any amount is fine as long as   bread flour (or whole wheat flour to make 100% WW)   50 g
the 1:5 ratio is followed   water    250 g
    Whisk both until well mixed      
    Heat it up on stove, keep stirring       
    until temperature reaches 65 C or 149 F      
    (Yippee uses the microwave, about 4 minutes, stir halfway.)       
    (Final product should leave a trail when stirred.)      
    Put a plastic wrap directly on top to prevent forming a 'skin'.      
    Must be cooled to at least room temperature before use.      
    Refrigerate up to 3 days.        
    Do not use if turns grey.      
Makes 1 twin loaf (530g)           
A.   whole wheat flour =           229 g
    sugar  =             30 g
    salt =            1.5 g
    yeast =               5 g
    vital wheat gluten =             15 g
B.   whole eggs and  milk combined =           132 g
    but weigh separately so you can hold back part of the milk      
     (eg. 20-30g) to add later       
    water roux starter =             72 g
    mashed ripe banana =             30 g
C.   unsalted butter =             15 g
D.   black and white sesame seeds, each on a plate = as much as needed
Knead: 1 Combine A. and B. knead until a ball is formed.  This time the dough      
    should be on the dry side, since part of the liquid is withheld      
  2 Add C as kneading continues      
  3 Then add the remaining milk reserved earlier in small increments, wait       
    until the previous addition is fully incorporated before adding again.      
    If your dough seems unwilling to take in more liquid, stop adding.       
1st Fermentation:   About 40 minutes at 28 C or 82.4 F      
Divide:    265g x 2 for the twin loaf      
Relax:   15 minutes at room temperature      
Shape:   twin loaf:      
    Roll into an oval      
    With the long side facing you:      
    Fold 1/3 from top to bottom, press to seal      
    Fold 1/3 from bottom to top, press to seal      
    Turn seam side down      
    Roll and elongate the dough to about 30cm or 12 "       
    Upside down and roll into a cylindrical shape      
    Wet a napkin, put on a plate, roll the formed loaves on the wet napkin      
    Roll the moist loaves on the plates of sesame seeds      
    Seam side down, into the loaf pan      
Final Proof:   About 40 minutes at 38 C or 100.4 F      
Bake:   350 F, 35-40 minutes      
    (Yippee applies whole egg wash before baking)      

This will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting! 

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I'm very happy to have worked out this recipe, not only because I am adding a new variety to the many existing recipes using sourdough starter discard, but it has also brought back a lot of fond memories from my childhood.

Egg puffs were one of my favorite after-school snacks that I picked up from a street hawker outside my elementary school.  Those freshly made egg puffs had soothed and warmed my rumbling stomach at winter dusk-I was in the PM section of my elementary school.

To make egg puffs, a thin batter of eggs, sugar, and evaporated milk is prepared. A two-piece egg puff iron is needed to produce these hollow, crispy egg-shaped waffles, giving them the Cantonese name that literally means 'little eggs'.  Street hawkers heat their irons on charcoal stoves, which are much more powerful than my electric stove at home. 

Street hawkers also use the same batter to make 'grid biscuits', which are very similar to waffles.  They are round in shape and have four quadrants.  These biscuits are usually served with a spread of butter and peanut butter and sprinkled with sugar on top. Therefore, if you dont' have an egg puff iron at home, you may try this recipe with a regular waffle maker.

Even though I'm thousands of miles away from my hometown across the Pacific, distance, thanks to these 'little eggs', only makes the heart grow fonder.

100% hydration starter = 1 cup          
Evaporated milk = 2 oz          
Eggs = 2            
Tapioca starch = 1 oz          
Castor sugar = 4 oz          
Baking soda =  1/4 tsp          
Baking powder =  1/2 tsp          
Custard powder = 2    TBSP          
Vanila extract = 1    tsp          
1 Whisk all ingredients until well mixed        
2 Heat up both pieces of egg puff iron and lightly spray with oil      
3 Pour batter to the base piece to about 90% full      
  Close with another piece, then turn upside down       
4 Take turns to heat both sides until the egg puffs are done  (It took Yippee 20 minutes on her electric stove)
5 Cool egg puffs on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving      

 A non-starter version recipe:

All purpose or cake flour = 4 oz
Tapioca starch = 1 oz
Castor sugar = 4 oz
Baking powder = 1 tsp
Water = 4 oz
Evaporated milk = 2 oz
Eggs = 2  
Custard powder = 2    TBSP
Vanila extract = 1    tsp

This will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!

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I'm grateful to the people here who have helped me advance in my bread making techniques.  I want to share my joy of success with them and the rest of the community. Even though my projects are not perfect, I've always made progress. Given time and practice, they will continue to improve in the future.

In this project, credit must go to dmsnyder (David), for his thorough write-up of the formula here and instruction/illustration on scoring; to MC, for her detailed explanation and encouragement on shaping; and to SteveB, for his video demonstration which makes the baguette shaping process vividly clear. 

I followed the Anis Bouabsa's baguette formula posted by David almost to the letter, except for the retardation part.  This dough had been given a cold shoulder in the fridge for six days.  Therefore, a hint of sourdough flavor has developed.  It lost its priority on my to-do list due to my hubby's recent grumbling about dwindling variety of good foods in the house since I started baking bread a few months ago.  "Bread again?" has been a frequent moaning I hear lately.  Therefore, I have diverted most of my energy and focus back to cooking in the last week or two, to appease all the 'hungry' mouths in the house.

And here's the link to my latest creation:



I've seen many TFL members' creations posted on YeastSpotting! and I think I'm going to give it a try this time.



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