The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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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Mebake

Some of you may remember the new flour I picked up from the local mill last month, and didn't have the chance to try it in some bread; I’m now glad I did. Since the flour is French style, I decided to use it to make a Miche.  

RECIPE:

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare the Stiff levain by adding a tablespoon and a half of your active white starter to the water, and mix well to disperse. Add the T6- flour, mix well, and let stand for 8-12 hours at room temperature until the surface just begins to recede and collapse. Next day, mix all ingredients except the levain and salt by hand or using a mixer for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be shaggy at this stage, so leave to rest for ½ hour – 1 hour. Add the levain in chunks and sprinkle the salt on top and mix to form a dough (5-8 minutes). Do not knead the dough too much at this stage, as it will continue to develop strength as you stretch and fold it during bulk fermentation. Let ferment in an oiled bowl for 1/2 hour at preferably 78 F or 24-25C, then stretch and fold it. Repeat this step 4-5 times, and after 2.5 – 3 hours, your dough will be fermented and ready.  By the end of bulk fermentation, the dough will have risen by 60-80%. scrape your dough onto a heavily floured surface, pat the dough even (Don't knead!) , and form into a round piece of dough. Let rest for 15- 20 min, covered, and during this time, dust your cloth- lined basket with a mixture of all purpose flour and rice flour. Shape your dough into a tight ball, and invert it smooth side down into the basket. Now, you have the choice to either ferment the dough at room temperature for 2-2.5 hours  and bake it (watch the dough, not the clock!), or cover it and refrigerate it for 8-21 hours at 5-10C. I refrigerated the dough overnight. Next day, remove your dough from the fridge, and Preheat your oven with a stone in place to a 500F or 260C for 1 hour. 5 minutes before loading the bread, place your steaming dish filled with wet towels on the bottom of your oven.  When ready, invert the dough on baking paper lined peel/ board and close the oven immediately. Bake for 15 minutes with steam, and then remove the steaming dish and reduce the temperature to 400F for another 20-25 minutes. 

  

When time is over, remove your bread from the oven. Wear oven mitts, and tap on the bottom of one loaf, It should sound hollow. Furthermore, you may insert a thermal probe into the center of the loaf from the bottom, and the temperature should register 195-200F or 90-95C. If it doesn't, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Leave to cool the bread completely on a wire rack, and ENJOY!

I sliced the bread after 2 hours, and was welcomed by a soft creamy interior, with irregular holes. The crumb was soft, and had a creamy nutty flavor. Most of the flavor was in the crust, which had a caramel/ roasted nut/ sweet/ sour flavors all at once. This flour would make excellent baguettes!

I will try mixing this flour with my standard bread flour to see whether it improves the texture and mouth feel in some of my regular recipes.

Khalid

 

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Mebake

It has been a while since I last posted here on TFL. I have been quite busy, and there was much in my life to take care of, that I hadn’t had spare time to follow the wonderful bread adventures of TFL members.

As some of you may remember, I had missed my chocolate class back in January this year, and planned for a makeup class in order to complete my amateur pastry course. Yes, I’ve finally done it. Enjoyable, could have been. Messy?, you bet, but it is over now. One more theoretical exam in baked goods, and I’ll be officially done.

Lately, I paid a visit to the local mill which I regularly source my bread and rye flours from. I met the sales person and he offered me new flours, many of which were bakery mixes. I explained to him that I need flours that are free from additives and preservatives, so he offered me his (French traditional), or T65. I was ecstatic about the idea, and bought a bag of 25 kg of the T65 in addition to my regular bread flour. Yesterday, I had a chance to open the bag and see for myself how it compares to my bread flour As shown in the picture, the T-65 ( on the left) is slightly creamier in texture than the bread flour due to the increase in ash content. The bread flour was close to T-60 than you’d expect from white flour, so there wasn’t much of a difference. However, I was disappointed when I read the label.  The “traditional flour” had additives, probably to correct the enzymatic content of the flour. I suspect that bread flour from the mill also contains such additives.  I’ll bake with it soon and report the results here.         

As for Dubai’s Arts and crafts market (ARTE) last Friday, I baked 3 types of bread: The usual 80% Rye, Whole wheat multigrain, and the new entry, Roasted Garlic bread from Hamleman’s (Bread).

The day started out slow, and footfall wasn’t as anticipated. The draw landed me next to the organizer’s table, and she was the first to buy a loaf of each. She is a very enthusiastic and encouraging lady, I must say. My cousin, who I began training to be my baking assistant, has joined me on the market day and brought along his sister’s lovely homemade cheese straws.  I walked around the market, chatting with vendors who unanimously agreed that the business was indeed sluggish. I had passing visitors from Finland, UK, Canada, India, and Germany; the latter being most interested in Artisan bread. The bread that sold most was the roasted garlic bread. Baked fresh the day before, it was packed with sweet garlic aroma!

To kick things up a bit, I sliced more bread, slathered with butter, placed them on a plate and stood by my table offering visitors a taste. I had prepared some printed A4 sheets that contain information on the advantages and uses of naturally leavened artisan breads and distributed those too.

By the end of the day, I had sold close to 40% of my breads. I packed and left home. Driving my car through the parking lot away from the mall , I was thankful that I was able to persevere through the physically taxing days of baking , and make it to the market day. I may downside my production for the next market from 18 Kg worth of dough to 15 Kg , due to my limited oven and mixer capacity.

 Khalid

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Mebake

For this past Market day, I've baked the same breads I often bake For all preceding Arts and crafts markets: A Rye , A Whole Wheat multigrain, and a country White loaf.  For This market ,however, I've baked all three of them. a 7 Kg. worth of Rye dough, 5.5 Kg. Worth of Whole wheat multigrain, and 5kg. worth of Tartine’s Sesame bread dough; yielding a total dough of 17.5 Kg!  All bread was baked in three consecutive days, and none were frozen. Phew!

The day began at the registration desk , followed by a random table draw. I was seated in a far corner on the ground floor this time. I prepared the table for display, and readied myself for the big day. Immediately, I began preparing samplers for customers who’d like to have a taste of my breads. I had a chocolate vendor to my left, and a jewelry designer to my right; all were friendly and courteous.

Customers began to show up on my table, and many were interested in Artisan bread. Occasionally, some would ask if I had gluten free breads, in fact, many here appear to have gluten intolerance. I think I might have to learn how to make GF breads soon. A German gentleman accompanied by his family has also shown a good deal of interest in Artisan breads; notably Rye. I quote him saying: “mmm, this is really authentic!”, as he chewed down a piece of the 80% rye bread. That was heartwarming.  A Georgian lady picked up some Rye bread and a Russian, too. I told the latter that I bake Borodinsky bread, and she gasped with a smile cheerfully : OHH, really?!! Apparently, I struck a nerve there. Most eastern European expats living in the region yearn for their bread back home.

Old clients tracked me down, of course, and nailed their share of bread. By the end of the Market day, I had half a boule of sesame bread left that was eventually sold to a neighboring vendor. Had I more loaves left, I would have been sold out too, but this is the maximum capacity my oven can handle.

So, that was it! The Market day drew to an end, so i packed my gear and left. Despite the back ache that persisted throughout the day, I felt a soothing sense of satisfaction and achievement that kept my spirit up. 

Khalid

 

 

 

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Mebake

I've been baking for the Arts and crafts market,scheduled next Friday the 14th of March,  and here are 2 bakes out of 3. I plan to bake Tartine's sesame bread last. When i have spare spare time, and effort, i plan to bake Mark Sinclair's Potato rolls that Mr. Mark has so generously shared with us. 

80% Rye with Rye flour soaker from Hamelman's book: BREAD

Whole Wheat Multigrain from Hamelman's book: BREAD

I'll save the money i earn from the market to replace my oven with a larger one. 

Khalid

 

 

 

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Mebake

This is sesame bread from Tartine Bread book. I followed Chad's formula and instructions to the letter, and it yielded a delightful bread. 

Sliced.. Mmm, the aroma!

Nutty and sweet.

The Bread is marvelous however you eat it. One thing i'd do next time, is to use a ripe 50% /50% ww to Ap flour, instead of my all white starter. The whole wheat flour used in the recipe was my freshly milled Turkish wheat flour.I'll continue to explore more recipes from Tartine book no.1. This recipe is now tagged as a favorite, and may make its way to the upcoming arts and crafts market.

Khalid

 

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Mebake

Last weekend, I've thankfully managed to squeeze in a bake in the midst of a hectic family, and professional commitments, Phew!

I've been wanting to bake the High extraction Miche in "Whole grain breads" ever since i saw it, but the idea of sifting whole wheat flour (Oh the horror!) deterred me. Until, that is, i realized that the flour is abundant in Dubai, and UNDER MY NOSE!. In fact, there are several mills in Dubai that produce the flour "Chakki atta" and many  available in supermarkets, but i've settled for what i think is best in terms of refinement and quality.

Strictly speaking, it isn't an ideal High extraction flour, rather, a whole wheat flour with some bran sifted away. It is around 95% extraction (I add some bread flour to reduce the extraction percentage). The flour is milled from either an Indian or a Pakistani Wheat (the closest, and largest wheat producing nations to us), so lacks the qualities of European and north american red winter wheat. However, it performs quite well in recipes that call for HE flour, due to its smooth and light texture. That's what matters.

As with all WGB recipes, a soaker and a biga ( A starter in this case) was prepared. The soaker was kept at room temp. and the starter was allowed to ripen, then refrigerated. Next day, i mixed the two, added some flour and yeast, proofed and baked at 450F for 15 minutes with steam, and 25 min. at 400F without steam.

The bread's flavor is that of typical Whole wheat hearth breads ; earthy , nutty, faintly sour, and very satisfying. Good recipe, and easy to prepare a head.

Some days ago, as i Looked at our grocery bags, i saw the dreadful white sliced bread that my wife has bought. It was time that i made my children their favorite sliced bread for school. I mixed some Biga dough, and let it ripe for 8-10 hours. The recipe is that of Hamelman's book. When ripe, i mixed the flours, honey, yeast , water , salt, and mixed them until combined. Then, i added butter and worked the dough to a developed gluten stage. Fermentation lasted for 2 hours, with one fold, a preshape, shape, and finally baked in a pullman pan with the lid off for total of 40 minutes at 450F.

The bread was very light and soft , owing to the butter and honey. A delicious bread for toast, and sandwiches.

Khalid

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Mebake

After labor intensive days of dough and bread, preparations, and final touches, it was time.

On Friday, the 14 of February, the day started at 7:00 am when i woke up,  had my breakfast, and made the last minute arrangements . Everything was in order: the bread, display materials, and business cards. I arrived at the Mall at 11:15 am, registered, and headed to my randomly selected Table. This time, i was placed somewhere adjacent to where i've been last month; slightly less optimal but generally OK (given the fact that i'm still the only bread head in the Market). Anyway, i prepared my table for display, breads and all, and in spare time set the prices of my loaves. To make things worthwhile and avoid being completely sold out by the third hour of the Market, I increased the price of my loaves. Large loves (Panned Rye, and multigrains) were also portioned in half in order to  make them affordable.

As the day unfolded, I realized that the Traffic was less than anticipated. I’ve seen familiar faces, most of whom were other Market Vendors, but many new also. The surprise visit was that of the Market Manager/ founder. She headed straight to my Table, and asked for loaves of Rye, and Whole wheat multigrain. Later on, various visitors passed along with mixed reactions. Some would stare at  vendor tables with little or no interest, and some would walk and then stop at a vendor with interest. Some would move across, look back, then return to me saying” Oh ,Bread!”.  I distributed my business cards to those interested, and offered to bake for them on order. Up until now, however, no one contacted me for any bread. But, my journey into commercial bread baking is still young, and needs plenty of time, and patience.

I noticed that the bread as displayed did not gather as much attention as I thought. Turns out I had to slice some bread for sampling as I did the first time. However, I’ve had a some regular clients (A vendor)and new one too who wanted bread; so it wasn't a dud after all. As the Market day drew to an end, I picked up some loaves and sliced them for sampling. This brought attention! Clients started to flock in, interested to get a taste, and many could not resist a slice with butter. Eventually, I sold a few additional loaves and by the end of the market, I sold 70% of my breads and broke even for the first time. In hindsight, I should have sliced the darn breads earlier!

Finally, as the day ended, I packed my stuff and went home with a sense of achievement. I was weary, and doubtful that I could replicate the effort I made to bake 11 Kg. worth of dough in 3 days. I will have to find a bigger mixer , and a helping hand soon.

Khalid

 

 

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Mebake

I've had a busy couple of weeks, and hadn't had the time to blog about my latest activities. 

Here it goes: I've completed my Pastry class in Shortcrust and pies some weeks back, and attended my Asessment in baked goods. I had to bake a fruit tart, and soft dinner rolls. Everything went alright, and the Chef approved my products. I have Chocolate classes left (next month), and i'll be done. 

On another note, i've been pretty occupied with upcoming crafts market which is due on Friday, February 14th. I've increased my capacity and expanded my list to include 3, instead of two bread types: 80% Rye with rye flour soaker, Whole Wheat multigrain, and Pain au levain. A total of 14 loaves of different sizes will be offered for sale on the Market.  This is a glimpse on how my products look like. Wish me luck :)

P.s: I've found a great way to use my new toaster oven for uncovered Pan loaves. I've encased the whole pan with two oven proof plastic  (the type used for roasting chicken) to create steam for the first 15 minutes- one from each side, as one isn't enough . Temperature should not exceed 200C , however. It worked!

Covered:

Uncovered

Khalid

 

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Mebake

This is my second take on Andy’s (ananda) Borodinsky Rye. My Last attempt yielded a fine bread, but lacked volume to fill the pan, and was somewhat over-hydrated. This time, I've lined my Pullman pan with parchment paper, reduced the hydration of the rye dough, slid the pan cover on, and baked with steam throughout the 4.5 hours baking time at 100C (The oven was preheated to 250C).

I was surprised at the cake like softness that the crust had after adding a steady steam source during the long baking hours. The bread cooked through quite well, and the picture shown is 12 hours into cooling time. The crust color, however, suffered as my previous take of this bread was steam less and resulted in a dark caramelized crust that I love. Also, as can be seen from the loaf’s top surface, 1.7 Kg. dough wasn't quite enough to fill my 13” X 4” pan, so there should be at least 1.75 – 1.8 Kg. of dough in there. The remainder of the recipe dough was baked into mini silicon cup cake moulds.

I've sliced the bread this morning, as I couldn't wait for additional 12 hours.  The bread was quite SOFT! moist, and very aromatic. I've chosen to exclude the coriander garnish to see how the flavor would be, and it was still very pleasant. 

Now, i think i need to either eliminate steam during the whole 4 hours, or do so after only 2 . What do you think?

Khalid

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