The Fresh Loaf

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kendalm

Fry something of course - two somewhat cruller looking crullers - these are #5 and 6. First four got consumed already.  I been a little worried my oven is going to explode since it caught on fire recently and so couldn't resist mixing up a quick choux and crafting a makeshift piping nozzle out of a plastic mini containers. Turned out ok - better than sulking all day - happy baking and thank the powers if you haven't killed your oven ;)

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kendalm

Baking when your environment is 10-15F warmer is just no ok sometimes - 30 minute proofing give you just enough time to prep - i want 68F ambient back please - Blech ! These are my yeast on salt hypothesis -> experiment as a corollary to Abe's recent proving that starters don't give a hoot if salt is introduced - yeast was on fire today. See pics of dough here - need to scroll down a little - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/57019/why-dont-we-normally-include-salt-when-making-starter

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kendalm

These actually turned out ok ! Dealing with a 80 degree kitchen does not help in the least - I usually do these when it's closer to 68-70F which affords a lot more time to work the dough and butter. Strategy today was to employ some freezer time and just hustle. By the time shaping came around dough is pretty soft and very hard to manage. Shaved off a few grams of yeast and final proof for only one hour as opposed to 1.5-2 - it is possible !

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kendalm

My poor little oven is dying a slow death. It no longer gets above 500f - this bake took 25 minutes - a good bake for long baguettes should be 20 max preferably 18. Result, disappointing pop, but fortunately decent structure on the inside. Dark on the bottom and thicker tougher crust. This mix was rather low and slow on yeast getting about 1.5 volume overnight on cold retard had these puppies been given a bit more kick i am sure they'd be fantastic ... Quelle dommage !

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kendalm

I just recently received a shipment of T65 Moulin D'Auguste which is my go to flour for baguettes. I'll usually breeze thought 30lbs in a couple of months and then restock. with each shipment there's usually a slight difference in the way the flour performs. This shipment however has thrown me for a bit of a loop. First thing I noticed was the usual 72% hydration was incredibly sticky - felt like 80+% and was near impossible to score. A few bakes later and I've found that 65-66% feels about 'normal'. It's a bit freaky since with other batches I've pushed to 75% and still been able to manage he dough, however with this new flour I am sure 75% would be ciabatta. Just thought it might be interesting to point put the degree of variation from this imported brand.  never once have I seen anything near the same degree of fluxuation with a domestic mainstream brand before. Definitely keeps you on your toes. Anyone else dealt with this sort of challenge - ie, one brand / type with this much variation ?

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kendalm

Greeting - been a little while since I posted thanks to being busier than normal but thought I'd drop a snap of a mixed bake - bread and croissants. This sure does challenge your timing skills and this time ended up with really nice crumb on the baguettes but a little overproofed croissants - no big deal - still pretty edible. Having been on hiatus for a bit it's good to see ya'll baking away amd hope to post more often (just got a big flour shipment so should be digging in more regularly)

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kendalm

As several other member's have bit the Abel bug I thought it's about time to give it a shot. This was a half ditched effort since I couldn't locate my loaf tins and so had to go free form. Not disappointed, thos of course was an unfocused experiment more-or-less just to see how it would turn out as a side bake against croissants with more attention to the croissants. Since they (croissants) take a good bit of oven kick, I think the pain vienoisse turned out a little too dark - I even removed it from the oven at around minute 5 to allow the croissants to take on he heat and then returned it later at a lower temp. Problem was that after 5 minutes it was already a bit too dark. I think this loaf needs a super short hot kick as in 3 minutes around 425 then a longer warm bake say 20-25 at around 375. That's what I would soon the next take. But anyway here's the results for those interested ;)

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kendalm

Here's another attempt at crumb embellishment in croissants after an interesting cocoa experiment last week. Note the lower right croissant. The idea here is to have a bit of fun with the beautiful 'honeycomb' crumb that croissants produce (if done well). I wanted to see if a contrasting color could be incorporated into the lamination. The first attempt involved simply coating the dough in cocoa power and then performing the folds. That turned out to just complicate things as cocoa is so dry that nothing sticks. This time (after a suggestion by Leslie) I mixed up a separate dough with cocoa mixed in then added 3 layers to the usual 13 dough layer sheet. This improved the contrast and overall spring but seems to have caused the layers to bond during baking. All on all another fun little project (not sure what do try next though)

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kendalm

One of these kids is not like the others one of these kids is doing his own thing (a little sesame street jingle to introduce today's bake models).

Pushing the envelope a bit today after a slight step back last week and learning from mistakes I am finding that a 12% levain build and overall 53% hydration seems to be the sweet spot for croissant spring as today we got some nice flakey and inflated croissants and, ... the addition of a chocolate version which turned out not so bad. I had been thinking about a chocolate croissant where instead of planting a few chips before rolling it would be more interesting to incorporate cocoa into the dough or butter, all in a effort to produce something with visual appeal. I read up on a recipe that used a chocolate butter and wasn't to fond of the photos I saw as this recipe seemed to produce rather ugly mutants with dark butter bleeding everywhere so, instead I decided to use butter slab as normal and then layer in some cocoa between dough layers. After the first fold things looks great and it wasn't until the second and third folds that that the incredible dryness of cocoa proved to complicate lamination - suffice to say it was rather difficult but with enough patience (and speed as we work against the clock and warming dough with laminates). As is quite obvious the chocolate species did not proof nor spring up as high but still had decent structure - I would say much more than the article I read.

 

So, all in all, happy with the standard variety as they are a positive step in the consistency department and, with he bonus of an interesting chocolate variation - that's a bake that makes ya feel a decent sense of accomplishment :)

 

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kendalm

So last week I jumped for joy at getting some great spring and 'honeycomb' on my croissants and of course imparted as much of the experience as possible (since that's what TFL is all about ... ie sharing experiences).  The last thought of that post was 'can it be reproduced?' - so far not entirely.  This week seemed on track but in retrospect the lack of same degree of spring I think can be attributed to hydration.  I pushed hydration an extra 5% and noticed great extensibility, which btw, is a bit challenging with this kind of dough.  This week I pulled back a bit and immediately noticed the dough was a bit tougher, not necessarily resistant but sort of well, dry and lethargic.  The other thing I noticed last week was very slow bulk rise which usually with bread I see as a positive characteristic for acheiving open crumb (I'm a firm believer that less gas helps the bubbles expand with less competition from other gas pockets).  All steps this time were suggesting that we were not heading in the same direction as last week and the results corroborate this observation.  That is, not as exaggerated spring and impressive crumb. That's not to say that this is necessarily a bad batch, it's ok, the crumb is just doesn't have that wow factor (all y'all know what I mean by that...ie, the anticipation of cutting your creation open).  So lesson learned, go with the gut, I should have returned the dough and re-hydrated...I friggen knew it after mixing, it didn't have the same stickyness as last week.  Well, there it is - failure leads to learning.  One good thing they always taste pretty good ;)

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