The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Mebake

For October ARTE market, I baked 3 types of bread: Flaxseed Rye , Rye pain au levain, and the popular Roasted garlic bread. I baked a total of 20 loaves, 500 gr each 3 days prior to the Market day.

The footfall at the mall was quite decent in October, but my table was cast to a far corner, so I did not sell out as fast. I had a French visitor who worked in an Artisan bakery in India, and was quite amazed at the fact that such bread could be baked in a home oven. I, of course, explained to her that it was possible with steam and stone, and owed my success to TFL. Another visitor came by , and expressed a keen interest in my bread, when told that it contains no added yeast and that it is naturally fermented. She picked up 4 loaves for her sister, who suffers a yeast allergy of some sort. The roasted garlic bread sold FAST, as expected, followed by the rye pain au levain, and lastly the flaxseed.

I have noticed how chewy and slightly hard my breads were, especially those baked 3 days before the market, which was disappointing. The crumb of the Rye pain au levain would stale faster than I'd like, and so baking all bread in the preceding night will resolve the freshness problem, but that requires a larger capacity oven which I don't own, yet.  Freezing needs space too. 
 

However,

at the end of the day, all bread was sold and despite the increase in the table rental fees, I managed to break even with a few $$ to spare :)

Khalid

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Mebake

This is a batch of bread I baked and delivered for a regular client of mine. She is my first client outside of the market, and the only one thus far. The breads are: Olive levain, Whole Wheat multigrain, and Oatmeal bread, and 80% rye; all from Hamelman's book: (BREAD). My wife's shaping skills are improving fast! she shaped and scored some of the loaves depicted above. Can you tell? I've gotten her hooked now ;)

As to the 80% rye, i had an old rye bread in the freezer and used some of that in the soaker. The news here, is that I've used a cold soaker (non boiled water) instead of the usual scald. I'm pretty pleased with the crumb and overall flavor. I think I like a cold soaker for this type of bread.

Khalid

 

 

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Mebake

Last week marked the return of ARTE Dubai, following a summer break in August. A week earlier, I’ve baked three breads  in 3 days. The first was Rye Sourdough with multigrain, and then a new recipe of mine: Date sesame bread, and finally the all too popular: Roasted garlic bread from Hamelman's book :BREAD. As expected, the garlic bread sold out in 3 hours,  while the date sesame came in second, and finally the Rye multigrain; the word rye multigrain may have mislead many visitors into thinking that the bread is hefty and dense , whereas it has only 20%  rye.

Overall the market was a success, and all bread was sold a few hours before the market closed. Date sesame Bread was well received, and I really liked the balance of flavors this bread offers. The recipe is as follows:

 

Method:

Prepare the levain 12 hours prior to mixing time and let ripe, covered, at room temperature. Prepare the soaker and leave covered also for 12 hours prior to mixing time. Prepare the date puree by pitting dates, and sprinkling over them a half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Add boiled water, stir well, and leave to cool completely, then mash the dates into a puree.  On day two, toast unhulled sesame seeds until fragrant and let cool. Mix all ingredients except the Date puree, and sesame, and leave for 15 minutes. Add the date puree and mix to moderate gluten development, then fold in the sesame seeds to distribute well and transfer to an oiled bowl to rest covered for 50 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough, cover, and let ferment for additional 50 minutes. After three folds and 2.5 hours of fermentation, invert your dough onto a floured surface and divide into two pieces, round, and let rest covered for 15 minutes while you prepare your basket/couche. Shape, and rest in a basket/ couche for 2 – 2.5 hours. 1 hour before the dough is ready, preheat your oven with a stone in place and a steaming device near at hand. When your dough is almost ready, fill your steaming devise with water/ steaming towels, and insert it into your oven to heat up and generate steam. Transfer your loaves to a peel lined with parchment paper, score as desired,  and load into your oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 250C and bake with steam for 15 minutes, remove the device, and continue baking for another 25 minutes at 190C. Unload the loaves, and let cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing.

The crust and crumb was what one would expect from a 60% whole wheat sourdough but the flavor was outstanding, especially when toasted. The bread had a faint hint of sweetness to it, complemented well with toasted sesame and levain sour. When I bake this bread again, I'll try chopped dates instead of a puree. 

My first attempt at pastry for the market: Butter biscuits with jam and garnished with roasted almond slivers / dried coconut. My wife helped with those.  The biscuits didn't sell well; visitors were all over a macaroon table! so, we'll have to bake something trendy next time :)

Khalid

 

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Mebake

Odd as it may sound, I did not decide yet what my “go to bread” recipe is , and to rectify that I searched all bread books that I own to sort out the favorite recipe, and came across one I haven’t tried: Whole Wheat Bread from Tartine. I followed the recipe, including cold overnight fermentation of the shaped loaves.  The loaves spent their night in a floured couche in the fridge, but ended up sticking so I had to pry them out the next morning (Note to self: do not underestimate the importance of rice flour while dusting your couche). The loaves did not deflate, but to avoid misshapen crust , I flipped them smooth side down and scored them seam side up. The oven spring was marvelous! 

 

The flavor of this bread is outstanding! mellow, with subtle flavors, including wheat flavor, but the overall experience is nothing short of amazing. The sour is really in the background with this recipe, which makes it suitable for many of us who dislike a vinegary flavor. I think I’ve found my daily bread.

I've also baked some poolish baguettes from Hamelman's bread, turned them into a Tuna and mayo with Dijon mustard, lettuce, and cracked pepper. Simple dinner, but absolutely delicious.

 

Khalid

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Mebake

This is my take on Karin’s challenge bread. I’ve used 3 freshly milled whole grain flours, which all happened to be from Germany: Whole Wheat, Whole Spelt, Whole Rye; all organic.  The flours account for 60% of the total, while 40% was regular Bread flour for extra lift and lightness. The raisin mush lends a sweet undertone that really pairs well with the nutty/ roasty/ soury flavors.

Recipe: 

Method:

Prepare the levain by mixing the starter with the flours, cover, and let ferment overnight. Mix the raisins with hot water, cover, and leave on counter overnight. Next day, make an autolyse out of flour and water, leave to rest for 30min to an hour. Later, mix the remaining ingredients together for 5 minutes on speed 1, let rest for 5 minutes, and on speed 2 for 3 minutes. Remove the dough to an oiled container , cover, and let it ferment for 2- 2.5 hours. Apply one stretch and fold after 1 hour.  Finally , divide the dough and preshape into rounds, rest for 15 minutes, and then shape and insert them into floured proofing baskets. After 2 hours, the dough will be ready for baking, so preheat your oven 1 hour earlier. Bake for 15 minutes with steam at 450F (250c), then remove your steaming pan, and reduce the temp. to 380F (210C) and bake for 25 minutes until the crust is dark and aromatic. Cool on wires.

German Organic Whole Wheat (Spring?)

The bread was delicious. Smoky, nutty, slightly sour, and caramel sweet. Good with spreadable cheeses, poached eggs, and smoked Fish.

Forgot to add: Blend the soaked raisins into a mush before incorporating.

Thanks Karin for stirring up our imaginations.

Khalid

 

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Mebake

I’ve been away from TFL for some time, and that is mostly due to my father death. He passed away two weeks ago, and I had been busy with his funeral arrangements and dealing with the aftermath of his demise. As it happens, he was also my boss at work for 12 years. I will miss his kind heart. May he rest in peace.

Yesterday, I baked some loaves to order. A Lady, whom I met at the last Arts and Crafts Market in Dubai, has ordered 4 types of bread (as a trial) : one each of a Bagel, a Baguette, a Sourdough country, and an Oatmeal bread. I’ve baked the Country sourdough and Oatmeal in one batch, and baked the rest in another batch yesterday.

The Bagel recipe is from (Crust) By Richard bertinet, while the Poolish baguettes are from Hamelman's (Bread). You could notice the difference in Bagel shaping; the ones that were shaped by pinching a hole through a round dough were the most successful.

 

Oatmeal Bread From Hamelman's BREAD, converted to a sourdough.

This is a Rye Pain au Levain. The recipe is here

As to my plans for a bakery business, here is an update:  I’ve completed the Basic food hygiene lesson and got the certificate. In the next couple of months, I plan to seek an apprenticeship opportunity in a bakery in Dubai. If it doesn’t work, I don't know what I'm going to do.

 

Khalid

 

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Mebake

Hi,

It has been a while since i last posted. I've been away for a 3 week "vacation", so i missed June's crafts market in Dubai. I've returned, though, and began baking for the July Market and my lone client. 

I chose to bake the fastest selling breads: Hamelman's roasted garlic bread, and Olive levain. The third variety is 5 grain Rye sourdough also from Hamelman. I do realize i have to break free from Hamelman's book for the Market bread, and start using recipes of my own. 

The Market started well, with a great footfall gaining momentum as the day approached 12:00 noon, the beginning of the Market in a lazy shopping mall. My first client was my neighbor vendor, who bought olive bread. Slowly but surely,  i had clients snatching away my breads and soon i was sold out in 3 hours. Boy, as exciting as that was, it was boring to stand behind an empty table for the next 4 hours (I'm fasting - mind you). I gave away my business card along with a brochure on the benefits of Artisan bread. I wasn't alone in this (although i admit i should have baked more, but such is the limitations of my 60 cm width oven), my Brit neighbor, has also sold out her entire stock of vegan pastry in 3 hours. The market grew vibrant by late afternoon, much to my regrets, as i sat there waiting for the Market to end. 

So, as dusk drew near, I packed and head home for breakfast. I knew i had to buy me a larger oven.

As to my plans for bakery, I've booked a class on "basic food hygiene" tomorrow. My next step will be to try to seek an apprenticeship, or a temporary job in a renowned bakery. An approved food hygiene lesson along with a medical checkup is a requirement in the food industry here. 

Wish me luck!

Khalid

 

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Mebake

Hi, fellow and dear TFL'ers

The thoughts and plans of starting a bakery in Dubai have been broiling in my mind for over a year now. As many of you already know, I began taking pastry classes some few months back as I believe that knowing how to make bread alone just won’t cut it. So, I took the classes and collected my certificate and now I think that the natural choice here is to seek an internship / apprenticeship in some bakery.

There are of course many hurdles in the way of doing so. Laws in the United Arab Emirates, specifically those pertaining to labor and food safety, are quite strict and will not allow for internships at food producing factories / outlets, unless you seek a job placement. Due to financial commitments, I can’t quit my current job to work for a bakery / patisserie / hotel / café.. and expect to be paid even remotely similar to what I earn now. Additionally, there isn’t cottage food law here, so if you plan to bake and sell commercially, you’ll have to obtain a commercial trade license like other food businesses. I’m seeking a partner to share part of the expenses, and the passion; I’ve found one so far.

I talked to a bakery owner who declined to offer an internship, but pointed me in the direction of another bakery owned by his niece in another city where the regulations are not as stringent. I paid a visit to the bakery, and noticed that although they produce some pastries (oriental and French), in addition to pita breads, their business model isn't what I’d aspire to.

The question is, am I right in thinking that an internship /apprenticeship at a bakery is a prerequisite to starting a bakery business?  I’m passionate enough about baking, especially Artisan bread, and I’m willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

I’d be happy to know what you guys think, based on your experiences. Any ideas are welcome.

Many thanks,

Khalid

 

 

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Mebake

I've finally jumped into the 36 hour sourdough bandwagon. I had some ripe Rye sour on hand, as I created a preferment out of a starter for no certain recipe  (Happens to me often), and decided to give the 36 hour sourdough a trial. With all the rave on TFL, I knew that the method will yield excellent bread.

The Recipe:

Generally, I’ve followed the procedures for the 36 hour sourdough, as written by Txfarmer but refrigerated rye sour after it has ripened for scheduling purposes, and added some flour to the final dough.  First, the bread flour and water were mixed and left to autolyse in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, I mixed the cold rye sour and the autolyse, added more rye flour , bread flour and some water and mixed the dough slowly by hand (I should have used a mixer, as the dough was very cold!). For the next 3 hours, I stretched and folded the dough 6 times every 30 minutes. The dough was then retarded in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Next day, I removed the dough from the fridge and let it stand covered at room temperature for 2 hours to remove the chill. It has risen considerably in the fridge (almost doubled). I dusted my work surface and divided the dough into a boule and a batard, and preshaped both into rough rounds. After a bench rest of 30 minutes, I shaped the rounds and placed them in floured proofing baskets.  After an hour and a half, I preheated my oven with baking stones in for one hour. The loaves were inverted onto a parchment paper lined peel, and loaded. I baked the loaves for 500 F / 250C for 15 minutes under steam, and 20 minutes at 400 F without steam.

I cut into the cooled loaves 2 hours later, as my young son demanded some sourdough bread. I was delighted yet amazed at how he consumed the slice I gave to him: he started by peeling the crust off and eating that first. By the end of the third slice, all that was left was a single shred of a soft inner crumb! If a 6 year old boy prefers an untoasted bread crust as against its softer interior, then the bread must be really good.

The flavor of the crust was nutty/sweet with very good caramel undertones. The crumb was soft, slightly moist, with clean custard like flavor and a slight sour. Thank you, Txfarmer.

 

Khalid

 

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Mebake

It was time for the much anticipated Arts and crafts market – Times Square, Dubai.  On Friday, the 9th, I had prepared my display gear, packed and loaded my bread, and head to the Market.

A w eek earlier i had been baking  5 sandwich loaves (600gr each) of “Many seed bread”  from Peter Reinhart’s (Whole grain breads), and 5 boules  (600 gr) of “Roasted Garlic Levain “ from Hamelman’s (Bread).  The whole grain bread was packed in plastic freezing bags and frozen, while the garlic bread was baked fresh on the eve of the Market day. I could not bake larger quantities, as I was suffering lower back pain. In retrospect, however, I could have baked and frozen more in advance; I realized that whole grain breads retain freshness even when frozen! Some hope for me :) 

  

Upon arrival, I unloaded my gear and bread, and marched across the parking lot to the mall entrance. I arrived at the registration desk at 10:30 am, and there I saw  a queue of some 12 Artisans lining up already! Wow, this has become popular, I thought to myself.  Finally, I registered for July Market (I’m going on a vacation to see the family on June), and picked my table number.  Table No. 395 it was; positioned on the sunlit second floor. I made a trip around the tables, and there are none that sell bread! I believe that most vendors think that bread making  is too much trouble for too low a profit margin.

I prepared my table for display, and sat there waiting. This time, I brought some olive oil for a taster’s dip, as against butter. My first client was a neighboring vendor, an Indian lady, who happened to like my previous market’s garlic bread and bought one immediately. I was delighted to learn that she and her husband absolutely loved it.  Some familiar faces showed up every once and a while, notably my regular enthusiastic bread client who happens to be also a vendor. He bought a loaf of each, and went on on how he loves the bread and that it is alone worth the trip from his home hundred tens of miles away! That felt really heartwarming.  Finally, I had sold all the bread, with Roasted garlic flying off FAST; It was utterly delicious, and intensely aromatic.

I had also printed some handouts on A4 highlighting the advantages of Artisan bread, and gave those away with my business card. I offered many visitors and clients baking them bread on order, but I have yet to hear from any of them. Thus far, I have only 1 client who orders a few loaves bimonthly, and  another prospective client is in the making.  I also noticed again and again, that many ask for gluten free bread, and so felt the urge to learn how to make it.

I happened to visit a multi commodity store earlier this month and as I walked down the food aisles, I noticed that there was Psyllium husk, marketed as a health drink powder. Packed at 100gr each, they were quite cheap !. I also found cheap tapioca flour from the same store.  It was good enough reason for me to seek gluten free flours, so I bought some sorghum and millet flours from another food store.

The recipe that I followed was that of (The bread kitchen) on YouTube. Her gluten free recipe is also dairy and egg free. I weighed the ingredients, and mixed them up with a spatula into a thick batter and poured it into my lined tin. The batter was proofed for 1.5 hours at room temperature, and a thin coating of olive oil was carefully brushed on top prior to baking. I baked it without steam for 40 minutes at 210 C with fan, as directed. I only substituted the potato flour with rice flour.

  

  

2 hours later, I sliced the loaf hoping for bread like texture. I was surprised  that it sliced, looked, felt, and tasted like a good 50% whole grain bread, with a hint of spice owing  to the sorghum, I think. I had few slices with my wife for dinner, and it was delicious! Quite hard to imagine that it contains no wheat flour at all.  I shall try substituting millet for roasted chickpea flour, or corn flour in my future GF bakes, or even try leavening it with a GF sourdough starter.

Khalid

 

 

 

 

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