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Mebake

I have baked two breads this past weekend, Whole Wheat Pita, and David’s San Joaquin SD. The whole Wheat pitas, however, were the new favorites after I have finally had success with them.

The whole wheat Pita bread from Peter Reinhart’s (Whole grain breads), and pitas in general have had me intimidated for quite some time. Simply put, they never puffed well even on hot stone, rendering my efforts futile. Not anymore, I learned few tricks from youtube on how to bake pitas and have them puff on stove.

I have made my biga with a sourdough starter, and retarded the bulk dough in the refrigerator for 6 hours after adding 1 tsp of instant yeast - 4 grams (Thanks Karin, and Janet). The cold overproofed dough was divided into 8 pieces, rounded and allowed to rest for ½ an hour. The rounds were then flattened into discs and rolled into pita shapes. 15 minutes later, a flat pan was heated on medium range stovetop while a round wire mesh was placed on a larger range. This is a youtube video demonstrating the process.  (Mind the steps, they won’t puff properly if you overly cook either side). Although the video's title is roti/chapati (Indian breads), it works just as well for pita.

90% of the pitas puffed perfectly, something I have not achieved in the past. I was delighted!

Being from the middle east where Pita bread is staple ,my household were happy to have some authentic pitas at last ,after numerous failures. They were nutty, and soft with a hint of sourness from the biga. I will be making these again.

I also baked David's San Joaquin Sourdough. This is one fabulous bread, even without the full 18 hour retardation.

-Khalid

 

 

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Mebake

At the end of last week, I have been too tired and lazy to prepare any sourdough preferment, although I had an active starter ready. Next morning, I had no bread in the freezer, and the only bread I could make was that from straight dough. I browsed through my bread books, and found none other than Laurel’s book that offers plenty recipes for wholegrain breads, mostly straight doughs; hence the appeal :)

The recipe is “Peasant Rye” from the book’s Rye section. The formula contains some acids in the form of vinegar and cider, to counter the absence of a rye sour. The recipe is also almost 55% Rye flour to 45% Whole wheat.

I mixed the dough by hand, and aimed for almost loose dough. The dough fermented for 1.5 hours, reshaped and fermented again for 45 minutes. Final fermentation was barely 35 minutes, after which they were baked at 460 F for 10 minutes and at 325 F for 50 minutes. As recommended by Laurel, I applied a corn starch glaze to the baked loaves, and returned them for 2 minutes to the oven. In hindsight, I should have applied another layer of corn starch after they came out.

   

Left to cool for 12 hours, I then cut into one of them and had a slice after my evening breakfast. The bread was dark in color, had a slightly chewy crust, and a fairly smooth eating quality to the crumb. The rye flavor was very well pronounced; earthy, sweet, and satisfying. The whole wheat complimented the overall flavor very well.  For straight, yeasted dough, this rye bread is much better than I’d imagined it to be.

-Khalid

 

 

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Mebake

I have been baking regularly on weekends, but haven’t had the chance to post a blog. Lately, my parents, whom I bake mostly for have complained that the crusts of my breads were too chewy, and demanded a softer version of my hearth multigrain bread. Butter, and/or enrichments came to mind instantly as these soften the crust and crumb, in addition to the usage of a bread pan instead of baking on hearth which also contributes to bread softness. However, recalling Floyd’s wonderful soft bread using Tang Zhong, I immediately knew that a Tang Zhong (aka: water roux) will bring much softness and tenderness to my multigrain breads without increasing the fat content.

Guided by Floyd’ recipe, I limited my Tang Zhong to 5% of total flour weight. It was made with 45 grams of White bread flour, and 225 grams of water. After all ingredients were mixed, the dough was unmanageably wet and would not form coherent dough. I was worried about the effects that Tang Zhong’s might have on my recipe, but I persisted and added slightly more flour. The dough began to come together and was finally manageable, although still wet.

After 2 hours worth of initial bulk fermentation, and two stretches and folds, the dough was retarded for an hour, to allow my poolish baguettes to be baked first:

 

Shaped and molded, final proofing took 3-3.5 hours, and was then was baked at 420F for 15 minutes (no steam), and 400F for 20 minutes.

The bread was allowed to cool for 2 hours, after which it was sliced and wrapped. The bread is incredibly soft, tender, moist, and full of grain/seed goodness! Next bake, I’ll reduce the hydration to a reasonable level.

- Khalid

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Mebake

My last week end’s bake was from a book I haven’t baked much from, “Crust” by Richrd Bertinet. So far, I have only baked the baguettes with a preferment and it was quite delicious. My second take on the book was: Dark Rye bread with raisins.

I had my suspicions for a high a percentage Rye leavened with commercial yeast, as all my early rye bakes flopped when baked only with commercial yeast. However, I was relatively reassured  that the overnight white biga should bring the necessary acidity to help Rye perform well.

The bread fermented for 1 hour, reshaped, and fermented once more for another hour. Final fermentation was only 50 minutes in my kitchen. Even though i watched the dough not the clock, the dough fermented fast, and i caught it abit too late for oven. The  dough did collapse during the first 10 minutes of a 500F oven, however, it did manage to hold some height, and was not a failure.

This is a testimony to the the effectiveness of an overnight stiff preferment on a high percentage Rye bread.  The dark black raisins are sweeter than the golden ones, and they really imparted a significant sweetness to the rye. The crust came out rigid, but cripsy, and the crumb was moist and light. I had this bread with some butter, and it tasted just like butter and jam! Excellent bread!

-Khalid

 

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Mebake

Finally, i baked some bread. It has been a busy period, full of duties, and errands. I wanted a good wholewheat bread, so i baked a Golden Date bread from Laurel's bread book.

AHH.. Golden date bread... sweet, healthy, soft, almost muffin like bread.

I also baked Sourdough semoline bread, from Hamelman's bread. I never really tested semolina in bread making, but it seems to do just fine. My semolina was the gritty almost sand like type. The final dough was soft, so i had to add more semolina to the final dough to stiffen the dough as called for in Hamleman's book.

The flavor was not as sweet as i would have expected from Semolina, but it was ok considering that it is an all white bread. The bread is faintly sour, and the crumb is somewhat rough. The crust shattered everywhere when i cut through it, a good sign.

I trust that this bread's flavor will evolve, and have yet to try it toasted.

-Khalid

 

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Mebake

I wanted to bake a Rye bread from Peter Reinhart's book : Whole grain books, as a change from Hamelman's Rye recipes.

With 45 % Rye flour, and 55% whole wheat flour, the bread is very wholesome, and enriched. It contains butter, honey, caraway, and nigella seeds. The bread is leavened with the 45% Rye flour amount as Rye sour, but the final dough contains 2.25 tsp of instant yeast. The bulk fermentation and final fermentation takes from 50-60 minutes at most.

The dough was understandably sticky during mixing, and never came together well. I resisted adding flour to the final dough and adhered to the recipe. This dough sticks to everything, so i should have really kneaded the whole wheat dough (soaker) to proper gluten development as stated in the recipe before final incorporation.

As with most recipes of the book, the final dough ferments FAST! i had to watch it closely.

The bread is very, very aromatic and wholesome. 3-4 slices is all you can eat in one sitting, it really fills you up fast. This is the first time i use spice in bread, and oh my! was i missing so much with leaving out caraway in rye breads!

The Rye sour stands out here, with a pronounced sweetish tang. This is a very satisfying flavorsome bread.

-Khalid

 

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Mebake

Ever since i started baking bread at home, I have been baking with rye flour quite judiciously. Rye flour sold for retail on the shelves of supermarket chains in Dubai, and the UAE in general ,is mostly exclusively Doves farm organic rye flour. The flour is quite expensive given that it is organic: US$ 3.4 per Kg. I continued baking with it for years, with beautiful results and excellent finished products, until today.

 The other day, I was restocking on Bread flour (12.6% protein) from the mill , and I was curious whether they mill other grains too. To my delight, they milled Rye too! Non-organic of course, but German rye (t-170 flour - Dark rye flour) nonetheless. I was thrilled with the idea of having Rye flour in bulk, to bake with at will. The flour also was considerably cheaper, being non-organic, and in bulk: US$ 0.81 per Kg! I forgot to take a picture of the flour, but it had a consistency similar to whole rye flour, but with finely milled bran.

I was eager to test run this new flour, so I fed my rye starter with it, and let it ferment. Usually, the organic doves Rye flour raises and collapses in 3 hours at room temperature, this one took an hour more. This was my first encounter. I created a sour levain from the ripe starter, and it rose and ripened, but the unique scent of a fermenting Sour was not as potent as I’m used to. That was my Second encounter. I mixed the sour with the flours for the autolyse, added salt , fermented with stretch and folds, shaped, proofed, and baked.

 

The aroma of the finished loves were the usual, nutty and sweet with a hint of rye. The flavor was almost identical to the ones i made with the organic rye, though slightly inferior. I'm partial to the ones i made with organic rye, but the true test will be in a 100%  Rye bread; this is were the the true difference will be revealed.

I'm not sure whether the flour being non-organic has to do with it's slower fermentation rate (fewer bacateria and wild yeasts), or it being Dark Rye, but i'm paritial to the first reasonining.

Anyway, overall, my new t-170 Rye flour did a good, and i'm very pleased with it.

Note: the the Rye flour package says bread mixes, but the sticker shows:T-170 Rye flour, Which, i think, is the german grade for whole grain Rye flour (anyone?) No additives here.

-Khalid

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Mebake

I wanted to bake a hearty Rye for many reasons. Firstly, to satisfy my Rye craving, and secondly to serve as a rye altus for further rye baking.

So, I have baked a 3-stage 80% Rye from Jeffery Hamelman’s book: BREAD, and it was high time that I bake it in my Pullman pan lookalike. The recipe calls for medium rye, and since I didn’t have any, I sifted my organic store bought Whole Rye flour. The sifting resulted in almost medium rye flour, and so I added back some of the bran to emulate medium Rye flour consistency.

I had thought that 3 stage detmolder Rye is time consuming,  precise , and daunting  to make. Now that I made it for the 3rd time, I have attuned myself to it’s schedule. It it really simple to make if you plan ahead.

After 36 hours of being wrapped in linnen, here it is:

Wonderful aroma, and flavor. Sweet, and sour, earthy and moist... very satisfying!

- Khalid

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Mebake

I promised myself the other day, that I’ll try Mark Sinclair’s  (TFL member mcs) Potato rolls. My kids desire soft enriched white breads;  and as i watched in regret my wife’s grocery bags carrying bland/cottonty mass produced rolls, this was my chance to try out Mark’s wonderful rolls featured in his latest video.

I have followed the recipe religiously, as I wanted to be true to Mark’s authentic product. I did deviate, however, when it came to overnight refrigeration. The rolls were baked the very same day, and they were absolutely delicious! They’ll have to taste even better refrigerated.

The house was filled with buttery aromas when those rolls were baked. My wife and kids ate them warm. Silky Soft, and squishy,  slightly chewy crust, and a heavenly buttery milky sweet flavor, the rolls were a hit with the family. They loved it, and ask for more!

Thanks alot Mark for the video and the recipe!

-Khalid

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Mebake

This is a 100% whole wheat bread with corn slurry. It is an enriched bread with molasses and oil. TFL member Janet (Janetcook) has blogged about it earlier here.

I used sunflower oil, and substituted Molasses for date syrup since i didn't have any. Like janet, i used a sourdough starter (210g) instead of the yeast called for in the recipe. Furthermore, i had storbought fine cornmeal, so i cooked it to a slurry and used it after 1/2 hour.

I mixed the dough with a mixer, but continued by hand when the corn slurry, date syrup and oil were added. Since the dough was faily wet, i kneaded using the (Slap and fold technique) and the dough was miraculously turned into a soft, smooth dough. (The corn slurry was edible enough as it is, and i could eat the whole lot!)

Given the fact that i used a white starter, the levain was an all white liquid sourdough, so the fermentation of the dough was fairly sluggish. After forming the doughs and molding them into the pans, they were allowed to ferment for an hour and then were refrigerated to the next day eveneing (18 hours). Next day, i removed the pans from the fridge, and allowed them to continue fermenting for 6 hours! at 10 pm they were ready to be baked.

This morning, i had a slice. The crust was soft, and the crumb was moist and very soft. It was slightly sour, yet sweet from the date syrup. the corn slurry did not shine through as i had hoped, but it did help establish the overall character of this loaf.

Personally, i preferred Peter Rienhart's Anadama. However, next time, i won't reduce the corn meal to a slurry/mush. Janet's version must have tasted loads better with the coconut oil, and freshly ground corn.

-Khalid

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