The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm

While coming home from a computer conference last week I managed to hit a couple of artisan bakeries.

The best one I stopped at was Wild Flour Bakery in Freestone, California (halfway between Sebastopol and Bodega in west Sonoma County... "the wine country"... find it on my bakery finder).

As the sign out front says, everything there is organic and they bake in a brick oven. Note the reflection of a grain silo in the front window. It is hard to tell in these photos, but the bakery is out in the country in the middle of a beautiful valley.

Unfortunately, I got there right about the same time that a bus load of people doing the winery tours stopped there and I had a car full of family, so I did not get a chance to talk to the bakers or get many good pictures of the place. I did pick up a loaf of their Fougasse, a picnic bread containing olives, onions, and blue, jack, and chedder cheeses. The loaf was still warm, and it was a great thing to munch while driving out to the coast.

They have wonderful looking scones and sticky buns too.

I took a quick snap of their menu (large image so it is easy to read).

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Floydm

I made another batch of bagels last night. My son dug the blueberry bagel we got from Safeway last week, so I decided to make a third of the batch with blueberries (bagel snobs: insert derisive comments here).

I thawed the blueberries and then tried mixing them in with the risen dough. Bad idea:

Yes, it does look like entrails. It really made quite a mess, with little strips of purple bagel dough refusing to stick together.

I was about to throw the whole thing into the trash, but I decided to try adding an extra 1/4 cup of flour, just to see if I could salvage it. Happily, it worked, and they baked up quite nicely:

It just goes to show, when in doubt, improvise. Worse case, I would have had to throw away an extra 1/4 cup of flour. Big deal.

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Floydm

Here's the poolish in the AM:

According to Artisan Baking Across America, the puckering in the middle is a sign that it is ready to use.

The baked loaves:

They were acceptable, but not great, this weeknd. I think I made the dough a bit too dry. I'll try again soon.

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Floydm

Today's batch of Pain Sur Poolish turned out pretty good. Not as good as last time, I don't think. We left the house during primary fermentation, so I threw it into the fridge for a couple of hours. I'm not sure I let the dough warm back up enough afterward. Also, the dough was definitely drier than last time. The wetness of the dough last time was part of what I think contributed to it being so good. So, more work to be done before I've got this one down.

So, I don't forget, the recipe I used was roughly the Village Baker recipe:

3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup water
the poolish that had sat out overnight (1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon yeast)
2 cups flour (1 bread, 1 all-purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine, let ferment 2 hours, punch down, let rise another 45, shape into logs, let rest 15 minutes, stretch, let rise another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, bake.

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Floydm

I just started a poolish for pain poolish again tomorrow.

1 cup bread flour
1 cup cool water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Overnight at room temperature seems to be about right. When I come down in the morning it is fairly foamy but doesn't appear to have totally run out of steam yet.

Oh yeah, I think I Terry Schiavo'ed my starter. I stopped feeding it two or three weekends ago, the weekend everyone in the house got sick. I probably could nurse it back to life, but I think I'm going to let it go. There are too many other breads I want to try baking right now: having to come up with something that involved my starter every weekend was getting to be a burden. Easy come, easy go.

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Floydm

of the pain poolish was excellent too. It wasn't as pretty, but it still tasted great.

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Floydm

This weekend I made bagels, pain au raisin, cream cheese snails, and pain poolish.

Bagels and snails were pretty easy. I'll post the snails recipe soon. The bagel recipe is here.

We ate one of the two pain poolish loaves last night. It was excellent. It'll be interesting to compare the other one to it tonight: I was pretty rough shaping the one we ate last night. It came out a beautiful dark brown. The other loaf I did not work as hard while shaping. It came out pretty pale. I suspect that that one may have been a little "over the hill" and would have benefited from being worked harder.

Once I get the pain poolish down I will post a recipe too.

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