The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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louie brown

I thought I had put this up, but I must have only previewed the entry. 


 


A few weeks ago, I made Nancy Silverton's walnut bread, a consistent favorite with everyone who tries it. It is especially good with cheese. This time, I was inspired by a dessert we had at a new restaurant in New York called Maialino. The walnut bread supported some excellent marscapone and ripe California figs. The combination of tastes and textures in a single bite is positively decadent. 


 



 


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louie brown

Not happy with the commercially yeasted version I had been making for the holidays, I decided to try this one. It is just excellent. The crumb is creamy, with just enough tooth. The taste is rich, with that wonderful underlayer of complex sourdough flavor, not at all sour in this case.


 


I was inspired and guided by zolablue's post on the subject, as well as Maggie Glezer's video. Thanks so much to both.


 



 



 


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louie brown

I am interested in improving my roll shaping skills. This is a very basic sourdough formula of about 67% hydration, bulk fermented for about 3 and a quarter hours in a warm city kitchen, then shaped and proofed for about another hour and a quarter, baked with steam.


 


I tried some fendus, which, while they had the right shape, were rather bloated for my taste. I prefer the slimmer shape, with a nice point for rolls. I think this will require a wider "hinge" and a narrower body.


 


I also tried a shape I believe I saw here, although I am not sure. A dowel is pressed into the side of a round roll and a flap is rolled. This flap is then pulled over the top of the roll, making a lovely effect. If this sounds familiar to anyone, I'd appreciate some guidance.


 


The rolls shown, in a "teardrop" shape, are, as far as I can tell, an original idea, cut to a point with a bench knife from a round shape that has been lengthened a little. People seem to have fun eating them.


 


Additional discussion about rolls, especially shaping, would be welcomed.


 


I'm including an additional crumb shot of the batard just because I like the picture.


 



 



 


 

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louie brown

This boule of about 2 pounds is adapted from various published formulae that have been reproduced here. I prefer the taste and challenge of pure sourdough.


 


A loose white starter (Hamelman) of relatively small proportion was built into a white levain that was also relatively loose, about 75%, I'd guess. This was mixed with whole wheat and rye flour, and a soaker composed of about 8 ounces of various seeds, among which the sesame and sunflower were toasted. Bulk fermentation took place at about 80 degrees for nearly two hours, with two folds. The shaped loaf was retarded overnight in the fridge, and given about two hours on the counter before light scoring and loading. It was baked at 500 degrees, under a stainless steel bowl, with an injectioin of steam from a home steam cleaner, for 20 minutes, then turned down to 425 until it was done, about another 20 minutes.


 


The crust was thick and crackly, while the interior was light, springy and very tasty. There may have been the littlest bit of starchiness at the base. Overall, very pleasing and delicious.


 



 



 


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louie brown

I lost track of the hydration of this loaf. It is somewhere between 85 and 90%. Prefermented flour (KA ap and a touch of Bob's Red Mill light rye) and water was added to a 100% starter. The dough was "folded" three times at 45 minute intervals, then fermented in bulk for about another 2.5 hours at about 75 - 80 degrees. It was then poured out onto a bed of rice and wheat flour, "shaped" by folding on itself in thirds, and quickly moved to a floured couche, where it proofed for about 2.5 hours more. At this point, the dough was very delicate. It was very gently flipped onto a piece of parchment, loaded and baked at 500 degrees, the first 15 minutes under a stainless steel bowl. The finished loaf had a height of about an inch and a half. The crust was crispy and not too thick. The crumb was very translucent and springy, with a honeycomb effect that brought to mind the Japanese baguettes of which we have seen photos. The taste was mild, with a slight tang.


Thanks to bwraith for his posts on sourdough ciabatta.


 



 



 



 


submitted to yeastspotting.

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louie brown

These are part of my ongoing 100% whole wheat projects, originally inspired by a photograph I saw here quite some time ago posted by Jane. I am unable to find the link right now, but I recall being astonished with the beautiful slices and Jane's unaffected, matter-of-fact approach. 


Over time, I was unable to produce a fair approximation of Jane's loaf:





This led me in turn to think about taking another step further and trying to produce a 100% whole wheat baguette. The ones pictured below were made from a dough of about 75% hydration using Bob's Red Mill flour. The flour was hydrated with the water but without the starter for about 36 hours. The final dough was given a series of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, then rested, shaped, proofed for about 45 minutes and baked at 500 degrees.


First time out (not pictured,) the long narrow loaves did not expand much, so I chose to call them ficelles. This time, there was a little more surface tension in theloaves and I formed them to be a little fatter, but not much. I cut one to approximate an epi.





While I may try a baguette with more volume in the future, I think the narrower profile suits this bread, which has a very intense wheaty, nutty flavor, with no hint of bitterness. The sourdough is present as a deep, mellow background, not at all tangy. This bread is excellent with cheese.


What remains is to improve the scoring. In a sense, no scoring is necessary; the loaves will come up to fine form in the oven without any. But I have seen photos ofsimilar loaves showing beautiful cuts that nicely expose the grigne. It is just showing on one of the loaves pictured. Perhaps slightly deeper cuts would have helped.



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louie brown

Another original idea. Lamb/wine braising liquid and ground rosemary mixed to about 75% hydration with KA AP flour. Stretched and folded in the bowl twice over three hours, left on the counter overnight at about 70 degrees. Further bulk fermentation of four or five hours due to the interference of a dentist's appointment. Back out on the counter for an hour, then gently plopped out of the bowl, stretched and treated like grissini, only fatter. Some were shaped with care. A crumb shot of one of these is shown.


This concludes the experiments with flavored liquids for the moment, as I have run out of stuff that needs to get out of the freezer. There is really no limit to what one could come up with. As far as I know, there is not much, if any, of this kind of thing going on beyond the pain marin at Ledoyen in Paris. High end restaurants could have a field day with this approach, and home bakers can dress up their dinner parties with something novel. Crackers and flatbreads are other obvious ways to go.


As always, comment and criticism invited.





 


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louie brown

An original idea. The purpose of this entry is to ask about readers' experiences with flavored waters, stocks, etc. I'm not referring to milk, beer, apple cider, as these have been well covered. Other than the "Pain Marin" at restaurant Ledoyen in Paris, I'm not aware of other flavored breads along these lines.


First, the mistakes. I overlooked the fact that the tomato water has a good deal of solids in it. My dough needed extra hydration as a result, and could have used still more, in my opinion. It also seems to be underbaked, as there are a few gummy areas right through the middle.


This wound up as a roughly 70% dough, KA AP flour, some wheat germ, the seeds, the tomato water. A stiff starter was used. Bulk fermenting after a couple of stretch & folds was almost 14 hours at about 72 degrees. Preshaped, rested, shaped, into the fridge overnight, out for a couple of hours, scored (clearly unnecessary), baked under a bowl at 450 for 20 minutes and then without the bowl for a total of 45 minutes. I think another ten would have been fine.


While there are flaws to this early work in progress, the taste is exceptional; a deep, mellow tomato background with none of the acid. The seeds add nice garden notes. All of this seems very compatible with the sourdough.


Experiences with these sorts of flavorings are invited, as is comment and criticism on improvement to this loaf.



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louie brown

This subject arose on another blog. As an initial blog post, I offer these photos as illustrations of my idea of a translucent crumb. I hope that the photos adequately show this characteristic.


I am not a science guy. I can't tell you how it happened. I can say that these breads, a 100% whole wheat sourdough and a basic sourdough boule, were roughly 70% hydration, mixed by machine, bulk fermented for about 4 hours at about 80 degrees and proofed overnight, formed, in the refrigerator. They were baked on preheated stones, with steam but no cover. The white flour is KA AP; the whole wheat, Bob's Red Mill.


I find that the stretch and fold breads that I've been making lately, baked covered but without steam, produce a somewhat cake-ier crust and, of course, the beautiful open structure. Guests and gift recipients are more impressed with the stretched and folded breads, but I think the former ones taste better and are more fun to eat.


Comment and criticism invited.


 





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