The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm

Here is a video of me scoring my loaf today:

More interesting than the scoring, to me, was the dough. I made a strange one: last night I made a real wet poolish with a cup of whole-wheat flour, much water (didn't measure) and about 1/4 teaspoon yeast. I also built up my AP flour-based sourdough starter. This morning I then threw them both together with another pound or so bread flour, an ounce of rye flour, a couple of teaspoons salt, and a bit more flour. So I ended up with a slack, rustic-like dough leavened with sourdough and a teeny bit of yeast. I haven't tasted it yet, but it seemed to perform real well. I'm curious to taste what combining the sweetness of a poolish with the tartness of a sourdough does.

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Floydm

I baked an olive levain today.

Olive Levain

Olive Levain

This was basically like Hamelman's Olive Levain: 10% whole wheat, no yeast, just starter. I loved it:

Olive Levain inside

olive levain inside

Delicious, but not cheap (well, at least by bread baking standards). The olives alone cost as much as... what... thirty pounds of flour and a pound of salt. I can bake an awful lot of regular sourdough bread for that much money. Yes, ok, to put it in perspective it is still cheaper than a drinkable bottle of wine, but still... baking bread, one gets spoiled by how inexpensive a hobby it is.

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Floydm

I baked some whole wheat rolls for our Christmas dinner and a couple of sourdough loaves for the next few days. They were quite good.

As I Christmas gift, I got the latest version of the Joy of Cooking. Perusing the bread chapter, I was blown away to see it now includes information on using a sponge starter and ceramic tiles as baking stones. There are recipes for rustic French bread, sourdough rye bread, focaccia, even brioche. True, the Joy of Cooking isn't the greatest book for a serious bread baker, but it interesting to see how artisan bread recipes and techniques have entered the mainstream.

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Floydm

I have a batch of the revised no-knead bread about to go into the oven, with about 10 percent whole wheat flour and 5 percent rye. I've also got a whole wheat sourdough rising.

While letting the dough rise, I was sorting through potential bread feed content and came across this site. Um... well... wow. There is some good information there, but the colors, the layout, the photo, the music... just go see it for yourself. Be sure not to miss the dog playing piano.

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Floydm

Tried a whole wheat sourdough for the first time with my current starter.

 

Certainly not the kind of crumb I can get with regular bread flour, but not bad for something purely leavened with a starter.

 

 

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Floydm

I baked another batch of sourdough today using my normal method (extra hot oven, steam in an iron pan, pre-heated baking stone). It is interesting to compare the loaf from today with the loaf from yesterday that I baked with the French oven method from the NY Times article that we've been discussing:

Sorry it isn't a great picture, but it is the best I got before it started getting dark here.

The French oven one is on the right, traditional on the left. Today's has around 5% whole wheat flour and 5% dark rye flour. Both loaves are very good, but of the two I think today's has superior crust and got better oven spring. If anything, it was less developed going into the oven, but, boy, did it pop. In the French oven it popped some.

I do have to add that one plus of the NY Times approach is that you don't jeopardize your oven's electronic system while trying to steam the oven. I haven't had any problems with my oven, but many folks here have.

One other odd thing to mention about today's loaves.

My starter yesterday smelled a little... weird. I was thinking cheesy, but when I took a whiff this morning it came to me what it smelled like: mustard. Like mustard, it was acidic but... not a sharp, crist acidic smell, more of a chubby, umami-ish kind of acidic. It is hard to explain. Anyway, it didn't look bad, it rose extremely well, and the loaves taste great, so I'm not too worried. I just thought it was odd.

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Floydm

So I set out today to try the new technique that we've been discussing from the New York Times article. I created a dough like what he described the night before and gave it an 18 hour rise.

This morning, I dusted off a Le Creuset pot I got as a gift a few years ago but have rarely used.

pot

18 hours later, the dough was extremely bubbly. Personally, I thought it smelled a little overfermented. Slightly alcoholic.

bubbly dough

Around 80% hydration, folding it was a pain.

folding

folding

folding

folding

folding

folded dough

floured bowl

Despite flouring the bowl like crazy, it stuck.

sticky mess

I baked it anyway. It came out ugly, but with pretty nice crumb.

both loaves


crumb

The pretty loaf was a sourdough I baked the same way (in the pot covered for 25 minutes, in the pot uncovered for about 20 or so at 450). It was a damp dough, but not *that* wet. More like 65-70% hydration. Much easier to handle.

sourdough loaf

I may try it again, but I'm not overwhelmed by the results. They are good and it is a little simpler, technique-wise, but I enjoy a more traditional approach too.

 

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Floydm

I made a multigrain bread a weekend or two ago:

Multigrain bread

I made a porridge of grains the night before. Oats, millet, quinoa, polenta, and anything else I could find.

multigrain bread

I added all of that to a simple dough. Slightly sweetened with honey, softened with some milk and oil

multigrain loaf

Oh yeah, and buckwheat. Mental note:I really detest buckwheat. At least in a loaf like this. Much too strong a flavor.

 

 

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Floydm

The furnace is acting up again. No heat this weekend. Thank goodness it won't be that cold, but you can bet I'm going to be baking a lot.

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Floydm

This weekend's sourdough.

sourdough crust

sourdough crumb

I was afraid that it wasn't going to rise, but it came out quite well.

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