The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Since we had another half a pot of soup leftover for dinner, I tried the autolyse approach again today (see yesterday's post). Much better results this time.

My dough was real basic again:

13 ounces bread flour
9 to 10 ounces water
2 teaspoons salt
1 heaping teaspoon active dry yeast (activated in 1 ounce of the water for 5 minutes).

I changed my technique a bit. I mixed the bread flour (all I had in the house) and 9 ounces of the water together in a bowl until the flour was all moist. I covered the bowl, let it sit for 20 minutes, then activated the yeast in another ounce or so of water. I then pulled the dough out onto a well-floured cutting board, poured the yeast/water mixture on top, sprinkled on the flour, and worked the water/yeast/salt in by hand just until mixed in. It was a mess, but it seems to have done the trick: I got a real nice, slow rise, good gluten development, and minimal oxygenation (which causes the crumb to appear yellow).

I did the same folding and baking routine as yesterday, I just didn't try shaping it into rounds.

I kept it pretty slack, so I dealt with it like a Ciabatta.



ciabatta inside

We gorged on it. It was wonderful. :)

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I, too, had a doughy disaster today. I was trying to make a simple French/Italian bread using both a poolish (a wet, yeasted, overnight pre-ferment) and an autolyse (a flour and water quick pre-ferment). The poolish was too wet, the autolyse too dry, and when I tried to mix them together I could not get the chunks of autolyse dough to combine with poolish. It ended up having the consistency of chicken and dumplings. I ended up throwing the batch out and starting over.

The next batch turned out better.

16 oz. bread flour
11 oz. water
1 heaping teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

I combined the flour and water in a bowl and mixed just until the flour was full hydrated. I covered the bowl and let it hydrate for 20 minutes. Then I mixed in the yeast and salt, mixed for about 3 minutes, and placed the dough in covered bowl. I gave it 45 minutes, then folded, another 45 then a fold, and a final 45 before shaping into rounds, placing in my floured baskets, which I covered, and let them rise for a final 75 minutes.

I baked them at 475 with initial steam. They were in for about 25 or 30 minutes. They turned out quite nice:

We had a pot of vegetable soup and a bottle of Chianti with them. You couldn't ask for a better meal on a wet, wintery day.

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Today I baked the baguettes with Pâte Fermenté and the Roasted Potato Bread from Hamelman's Bread book.

many breads I baked today

The potato loaves are the round ones with the fendu style crease.

I love how Hamelman gives advice on how one should shape hundreds of fendu style loaves, but very little advice for the home baker. Typical of him: great recipes, but he rarely bothers helping out the novices.

I'll try to post more photos and a recipe soon.

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We had the buttermilk rolls on the Thanksgiving table. They were wonderful.

I'm trying to finish our can of coffee as quickly as I can so that I can use it to try baking a Panettone. In the meantime, I'll probably bake another batch or two of stollen and some of my family's Christmas cookies.

We going to visit family in Texas in a couple of weeks. Supposedly Texas is where fruit cake originated. I may have to pick up a couple of authentic Texas fruit cakes while I am there. If anyone knows of a particularly good place to get fruit cake from, please let me know.

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mixed breads

Banana Bread, Struan Bread, and Rustic Bread.

The banana bread was plain and simple, not even with nuts or chocolate chips. With the holiday's coming on, it didn't seem necessary.

For the Struan Bread, I used a sample packet of Bob's Red Mill's Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal as my soaker instead of mixing together my own grains. It worked well, tasting slightly different than normal Struan Bread but quite good all the same.

For the Rustic Bread I used the same dishwasher proofing technique I used last weekend. I was so wiped out after a long week that I crashed at 9 o'clock last night before I had a chance to start a sponge. Alas.

I haven't tried the rustic loaves yet, but I shall for breakfast. I kept the dough slack again and proofed them in a flour covered basket. Hence the rings. I expect them to be quite good.

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I baked pitas for lunch today. They were great. I did 1/2 cup of the flour whole wheat, which is 1/6th of the total flour in the recipe. That is just about right for my taste.

Making them fit very nicely into my morning schedule: had breakfast, prepared the dough, ran errands while it rose, came home 11:15ish and shaped and baked them. Simple, cheap, and totally rewarding.

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I forgot to mention that when I made the Couronne this weekend I found myself without a poolish, something I rarely forget to do.

I decided to start one at 8 AM. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast, which is a bit more yeast than I'd do in an overnight pre-ferment. I then placed the covered bowl in the just-run dishwasher which, being warm, moist, and clean, is about as close to a professional proofbox as one can find in one's household.

I left the pre-ferment in the dishwasher for 4 hours or so, then I used it as the base for my final dough, which had a tablespoon of salt, 3 more cups of bread flour, another teaspoon or two of instant yeast, and a cup or so more water. I totally winged it, adding more flour and water until it felt right. The dough was quite slack, but I didn't want to end up with a whole grain brick, so I decided to push my luck.

I gave it 3 folds a la the Hamelman method, then a final shape and rise. It was probably the tastiest wheat bread I've baked. I definitely will be trying the dishwasher method again.

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I tried baking a Couronne this weekend:

The bad news: the dough was too slack for me to shape very well, so it didn't turn out terribly pretty.

The good news: the slack dough made wonderful bread. Even with a quarter of the flour whole wheat, it was light and airy. We gobbled it up.

The recipe was roughly the rustic bread I've baked many times. I think I went a little heavier on the whole wheat than usual, but I wasn't paying close attention.

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I usually wouldn't include something like this in the bread feed, but what the heck... it is Halloween.

Be careful in the kitchen, everyone.

Happy Halloween!


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