The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MarieH

I finally purchased Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread. I have been resisting buying another cookbook but the constant references to Bread wore me down. I am now a convert. I took a few days to read the book and found myself saying “I didn’t know that” and “Wow” many times.

I decided to start with the Vermont Sourdough recipe, but since I live in Tallahassee, my levain is southern.  I created a sourdough (levain) culture in January and it is maintaining very well.  I am thrilled with the bread results - the flavor and texture is great. I also made a semolina loaf that is pictured with the two batards. The scoring on the front batard was too shallow. Even though I am fairly experienced with artisanal bread making, scoring still intimidates me.  I hold my breath and slash with minimal confidence.

Back to Hamelman’s book – if you are holding back because you don’t need another bread book, buy it anyway. I have learned about dough temperature, mixing times, and preshaping to name a few things. Because I live in Florida, my kitchen is always warm. I didn’t know I need to start with chilled water to get a proper dough temp (there’s a formula!). The book is written for professional bakers and home bakers and is very helpful for people who want to improve their bread baking skills and end product.

Here are my pictures. And thanks to everyone for being my bread baking neighbors. I value your friendship and willingness to share your bread baking journey.     ~Marie

 

 

MarieH's picture
MarieH

I've been baking bread a long time and I'm still amused by the narrow line between success and failure. I fed my sourdough starter last night in preparation for baking a (singular) rustic loaf today. When I looked at the starter early this morning it had grown to over 16 oz. by weight. Being a frugal person I decided to use all the starter and made a monster ball of dough. I blended 2 recipes, substituted and blended flour, and basically just winged it with autolyse, proofing, and shaping. I ended up with a 2 1/2 pound boule and 20 2 oz. rolls. I stayed on the right side of that fine line somehow and ended up with great looking bread and awesome crumb and taste.


 


 



And just because I like a challenge, I made a 100% whole wheat focaccia at the same time. I almost crashed and burned with getting everything in and out of the oven on time, but again I stayed on the line.


The lesson?  Learn to trust the instincts you develop through experience and have some crazy, risk-taking fun! It is a hobby, right?


Whole Wheat Focaccia


This 100% whole wheat flour recipe was adapted from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.


Biga


Mix together until well blended. Cover and let stand at room temp for 12 to 16 hours.


4 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour


4 oz. water


Scant pinch of yeast


Dough


In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer add:


All the biga


9 oz. water


1 oz. orange juice


12 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour


3 Tbs Vital Wheat Gluten


Pinch of ascorbic acid


2 tsp salt


3/4 tsp instant yeast 


With the paddle beater, mix on the lowest speed until dough starts to come together. It will be very wet and slack. Scrape down the paddle and add 1 to 2 Tbs water if the dough seems too dry. Mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead for 4 minutes. The dough will be very soft.


Cover and let rest in the bowl for 30 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a silicon mat and fold like an envelope length-wise and width-wise (4 folds). Return to bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process again, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process once more and turn out onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan. With oiled hands, press the dough outward to the pan edges. When dough stops spreading, let it rest for 10 minutes then continue pressing the dough out with your fingertips. The dough will not cover the pan - it will be approximately a 10" x 13" oval.


Cover and let rise for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 500 degrees. I use a baking stone set in the bottom third of my oven. Uncover the dough and drizzle with olive oil. With greased fingers, gently dimple the dough. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in the pan on the stone for 18 to 20 minutes until a deep golden color.


 


MarieH's picture
MarieH

I have been reading this blog for many months now and have been inspired and educated by so many bakers. I have used many of the wonderful techniques that ya'll write about (Sylvia's steaming method - genius!).


While I'm impressed by postings of boules, miches, baguettes, and batards, I wonder if there is room to post about a humble sandwich bread made with Guinness, oats, and honey. The recipe is from KAF Whole Grain Baking and is a regular bake for me.



The crumb is good for sandwiches and toast.



Just so I can have some artisan baking street cred, I made Peter Reinhart's whole wheat focaccia last week and am on day 10 of developing a sourdough starter (thanks to the excellent guidance of Teresa Hosier Greenway of northwestsourdough.com).


Thanks to everyone who participates in this blog and to Floyd for running it. I look forward to hitting the Reeder icon on my iPad every day to see what postings there are. A little bit of baking sunshine...


Marie

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