The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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martin

After some time, several months, I am finally able to download pictures from my camera to my Linux system. Today I have sent you my first picture from Malaysia. The picture shows our Baguettes, Nutty Mardia Bread, White Unyeasted Bread and some coconut filled buns. The latter are filled with fresh coconut which we buy just up the road from our house.

The coconut is split in half and the meat is grated out on a quite vicious machine that you do not want your hands to get near. We lightly toast it and mix with some Sunflower Oil and
Icing Sugar (powdered sugar), just enough so it will form a ball. When we have bits of dough left over we divide it into 80 gram pieces and place the coconut mixture inside. They are quite popular.

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martin

I first started playing with sourdough breads a couple of years ago. Unfortunately they did not turn out well although I kept trying for almost a year.

This I came across Dan Lepards site (and later this one) and bought his book. I followed his recipe for the levain and after four or five days realised that my previous efforts did not resemble the bubbling mass I now had. My first attempt at the White Loaf was not a success, but I think that was because the climate temperature was around 34 C and I tried to keep to his recipes suggested timings. The dough became very slack, well liquid really.

After contacting Dan through his website, he gave me some advise on the methodology and the next batch I made turned out fine.

This morning when I pulled a couple of loaves out of the oven, they really looked great. They had risen to almost double their size and just looked healthy. My customers love them. (Sorry I have no pictures, I use Linux System Computer and the only thing I cannot get to work with it is my cheapo Kodak digital camera ez200. I must try to get a new camera that has the required driver.)

I reflected on my earlier efforts and am so glad I perservered. I much prefer using the levain to yeast these days for many of my breads. I think levain is more robust and forgiving to work with than yeast and I guess it suits my style of baking.

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martin

Apart from the fact that most of us eat Peanut Butter on Bread. This has not much to do with Bread.
A few months ago I made some Peanut Butter just to see how it would turn out. It was good so I made some more and gave sample to our Organic shop.

They loved it and now I am having a job keeping up with the demand. It is sold in all 5 outlets of the Organic store. The bottle-neck is in peeling the peanuts. We did try using ready-peeled nuts but it was not the same. Once the skins are removed the nuts seem to lose their oils.

If anyone is interested in the recipe let me know, but be warned its time consuming and good exercise for the heart!

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martin

Its 10:26 AM and I have just finished Baking. I started at 04:30. Shortly my wife and I will be off to deliver our bread to an Organic Shop we bake for.

Three years ago we started baking in a small shop. We had the idea of baking healthy wholegrain bread. Boy were we wrong. Mostly we just got complaints about how hard the bread was. I have to say that in Malaysia bread is very very very soft and fluffy. However there is a tremendous rise in Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Obesity etc that we thought the Whole Grain approach was a good one.

Despite poor sales we persisted, augmenting our income with wedding and birthday cakes.

Last year, around Christmas time, I entered an Organic Shop, can't remember why. A young lady, one of the sales assistants came up to me and pulled my beard and called me Father Christmas. Outside the store there were several Chinese men running around with red coats and false beards rumbling HO HO HO. I was the real thing.

After this rather wonderful greeting we started talking about the products in the store and my wife and I told her we were bakers. "Why don't you sell here she exclaimed!" Well to cut it short we sent over some samples, they loved it and now we supply four days a week. Nearly everything gets sold.

There was nothing wrong with our bread, we were just selling it in the wrong place.

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