The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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JeremyCherfas

Hello again.

Quite by accident, I happened to stumble across this film from Belgium, made in 1956. I enjoyed it, and maybe you will too.

Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

Last week I baked Hamelman's Semolina with whole-grain soaker, using a natural leaven rather than fresh yeast, and was delighted with the results.



I wrote it up in detail at my blog, but wanted to mention it here for one reason: if it hadn't been for the help and support of the people here, I would almost certainly have made a mess of it and abandoned it. Thanks to your generosity, I have the confidence to handle doughs that, a year ago, I would have found much too wet, much too sticky and much too sloppy to work with. I would have murdered the texture by using too much flour, over-kneading and all that. Instead, I let time and stretch-and-fold do their thing, and was rewarded with excellent loaves.


So, thank you.


Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

I was re-reading Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery and discovered the passage in whiich she describes the author Virginia Woollf's technique for making a cottage loaf. That sounded like fun, so I decided to give it a try, and was very pleased with the outcome. I blogged about it here.


Here's the loaf just after removing the cloche.



And here it is after final browning.



I'm very pleased with both cold-start and cloche techniques, and will continue to use them. Of course, I quickly discovered that they are old news here!


Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

I set out to make what has become my standard 25% wholewheat rustic Italian loaf (blogged here) and discovered, well into weighing and mixing the dough, that I had run out of white flour. I had only 150 gm and the recipe called for 300 gm. But I did have plenty of wholewheat. And it was too late to stop and go get more. So I just made up the missing mass with wholewheat flour. Nothing ventured ...


The final formula was thus about 350 gm of biga at 75%, 150 gm white flour, 25 gm whole rye flour and 350 gm wholewheat flour, at a final hydration of 62.5%. So it was effectively about 40% wholewheat.


I generally knead this bread for about 6 minutes, and started doing so, and it came together just fine despite the extra wholewheat. But about 4 minutes into the kneading, the dough suddenly became quite sticky again. I don't remember that ever happening before, so I wondered, is that something that happens with high percentages of wholewheat?


Anyway, I allowed the dough to rise at room temperature for three hours then put it into the fridge overnight. Next morning I shaped a boule and put that back into the fridge for 8 hours. I brought it out while the oven was heating and baked at 220 degrees C for 10 minutes with a pan of water, then removed the water and baked for another 30 minutes at 200.


It came out far better than I expected.



I tried for the fan shaped cuts I've seen elsewhere, and they worked out well except that I think the loaf was probably underproofed, given the explosion.



The crumb was light and open and soft, and the crust not too thick, and good and chewy.



You can see that the crumb is denser near the top crust (bottom as the loaf proved) which along with the explosive opening of the crust makes me think it either needed to warm up more before going in the oven or else was just underproofed.


Anyway, overall I was very pleased and may now consider making loaves with a higher percentage of wholewheat in future.


Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

Dan Lepard had a great recipe in The Guardian magazine back on 19 September 2009. I don't recall anyone here posting about it, but when I tried it I encountered a problem. Nothing insurmountable, though, thanks to Dan's forum.


Anyway, I wrote about it in detail at my blog. I'm putting this here in case anyone else comes looking.


And here's the warning: be very careful not to overheat the initial mixture of rye and coffee.


Happy baking


Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

Would you believe it? France too succumbs.


"The decline of French bread over the past few decades is one of the saddest aspects of the ransom paid to progress, and much of the blame must simply go to good old greed."



Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Any-way-you-slice-it-a-Poilane-loaf-is-real-French-bread.html#ixzz0TH7yUVPg
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JeremyCherfas

I went to a really interesting bread-making course about 10 days ago, and have simply not had time to write it up yet. One thing I did want to share though, was a film we were shown. It is called Les blés d'or, and was made by ADDOCS, a French film-making organization.


The film is about peasant bakers (and the word peasant is used as a badge of pride, with no pejorative undertones) who have rescued several old varieties of wheat and who bake in the traditional manner. The commentary is all in French (although the DVD for sale has other languages, including Italian but not English (yet)). I found it fascinating, especially the sequence that shows the mixing of the dough.


The recipe is very simple: 33 kg of flour, 22 litres (i.e. 22 kg) of water and half a bucket (maybe 5 litres?) of starter. And the entire mass is mixed by hand. It is absolutely glorious to watch, and if you've never seen a baker stretch and fold 55 kg -- more than his own body weight, I'm sure -- of dough, you have a real treat in store.


You can watch the video streaming in reasonable quality from the ADDOCS site. It is the second film down in the list on the right. I hope you enjoy it.


In view of an earlier post I was thrilled to see a loaf made from Touzelle what flash up on screen, albeit very briefly.


Jeremy

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JeremyCherfas

Much of the bread you can buy in shops in Italy remains remarkably good. Some things, though, aren't available, at least not nearby. One of those is rye bread. So I resolved to make some this weekend, using a recipe for Heidelberg Rye from the 1973 edition of Bernard Clayton Jr's The Complete Book of Breads.


Conclusion: A fine loaf, but I do need to internalise that stuff about watching the loaf not the clock. If I can do it while the bread is in the oven, why not while it is rising?


More pictures here.


The first task was to convert Clayton's volume measurements to weights. Time consuming but worthwhile. My strong (Manitoba) flour averages 140 gm a (8 oz.) cup, the rye a little lighter, but I decided to use the same conversion factor. So here's the list of ingredients with my conversions.



  1. 420 gm All-purpose or bread flour (3 cups) I actually used 345 gm, allowing for the flour in the starter.

  2. 420 gm rye flour (3 cups) I used 100% rye, stoneground, biological, Demeter brand.

  3. 2 packages dried yeast. I used 150 gm of my sourdough starter, freshly fed at 100% hydration, based on an approximation of 10% starter.

  4. 20 gm cocoa (1/4 cup)

  5. 1 tablespoon each salt and sugar (Didn't weigh. Used 15 ml measure, demerara sugar and fine table salt).

  6. 1 tablespoon caraway seeds. (Small Italian dictionaries give comino for both cumin and caraway. The real thing is carvi.)

  7. 480 ml hot tap water (2 cups). Bizarrely, my 1 cup measure is marked 250 ml, but contains 240 gm of water. I actually used 405 gm, allowing 75 gm from the 150 gm of starter.

  8. 100 gm molasses (1/3 cup)

  9. 2 tablespoons shortening. I used peanut oil.


Clayton says to mix half the flour with all the other ingredients for about 3 minutes "until the dough is a soft mass and is no longer wet and sticky". Got there using a wooden spoon, but it is a stiff dough even with only half the flour, and a pretty exhausting three minutes it was. Then adding the flours, white and rye, in 70 gm lots, trying to stir them in. After about 210 gm I switched to the spatula to cut the flour into the dough, and when I had about 70 gm of rye left I turned the dough out onto a wooden board to knead.


Slowly I worked the rest of the rye into the dough, kneading all the while, for about 8 minutes. Clayton says "finally it will become a soft velvety dough, a delight to work". That's possibly stretching it a bit (haha) but it did become soft, not sticky and OK to work, but it didn't have the elasticity of a pure wheat dough. Maybe that's because I used whole rye.


Now here's where things went off track. Clayton says to cover the dough and let it rest on the work surface for 20 minutes before shaping the loaves. I did, but it changed not one whit. He doesn't give any indication of doubling or anything in this recipe, not at this stage nor for the shaped loaves, and so I thought it best to leave the dough resting until it had at least risen somewhat. In the end, even after 3 hours at 29℃, it was very hard to see any movement at all, but my timetable required me to shape the loaves -- one round and one long one that I put in a parchment-paper loaf tin. Then into the fridge they went, brushed with olive oil and loosely covered with a plastic bag.


This morning I did as Clayton suggests, heating the oven to 400 ℉ (Gas Mark 6 on my oven) and bringing the loaves out of the fridge 10 minutes before they were to go in. Slashed them with a wet ceramic knife, and in they went.


I resisted the temptation to peek for the full 30 minutes, as advised, and when I did I was very pleasantly surprised by how well they had sprung. Too much, in fact, clear evidence of under-development, I think. Clayton says check after 30 minutes for that elusive "hard and hollow sound". I prefer a thermometer, and mine barely reached 150 ℉. I gave it another 10 minutes, then another, then a third, which was perhaps five minutes too long as the internal temperature had somehow climbed to just above 200 ℉. Out of the oven, onto the rack, and ready for their close-up.


Three hours later, lunchtime, and time to cut. Great smell of caraway, good fine crumb, moist, a hint of chocolate (which gives the lie to Clayton's claim that "the chocolate's contribution to taste is so slight as to go unnoticed) and a very definite molasses sweetness. All in all, a great success. A tad too sweet for my normal taste, although I think the molasses flavour is really good. I wonder, might it be a good idea to get rid of the tablespoon of sugar -- I mean what is it going to offer to the dough that 100 gm of molasses doesn't? The cocoa? I like the rich dark colour, but if it can barely be tasted, what's the point? And finally, it might be better if the dough sat in an oiled bowl, rather than on the counter, until it had doubled, or at least risen noticeably?


All good thoughts, which I may try when I repeat the recipe. I'll also be looking for a good caraway-rich light Jewish rye.

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JeremyCherfas


Thanks to all the good advice I received here I finally managed an entirely staisfactory sourdough loaf. The full story is at my blog, but the bare essentials are that I made a 60% hydration dough with 100% strong Manitoba flour. The starter was 10% at 100% hydration. I stretched and folded during about three and a half hours bulk fermentation at a hot room temperature, then formed the boule and let it rise for an hour or so before putting it in the frdige overnight. I baked from cold, into the hottest oven I could manage. And the ugly looking scoring was achieved with a pair of scissors, snipping the dough four times.


Thanks again.


 

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JeremyCherfas

Has anyone here come across the French wheat varieties known as Touselle or Touzelle? (I did search first.) Louis XI, gravely ill, thought that only bread made from Touzelle could restore him to health.


I ask because a friend has written about the rediscovery of these varieties, and wondered if anyone had access to the article L'homme qui plantait des blés by Isabelle FAURE in Nature & Progres No. 59 (Sep/Oct 2006).


Thanks


Jeremy

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