The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sprouted wheat sd

Since it’s been spring I’ve been back in my springtime habit of sprouting things. I get all into it and sprout anything I can get a sprout out of and then I just eat them in or on everything. They’re just wonderful. This got me thinking about sprouted grain in bread, which is something that has crossed my mind more than once in the past, but I’ve never done.

I wanted to make a sourdough bread that included white and whole wheat flours and a large portion of ground sprouted wheat berries. I looked through all my books and didn’t find exactly what I wanted, so I wrote a formula myself. This is also something I’ve never done before, and boy was it exciting. I spent about an hour and a half the other evening, with a notebook and a calculator perfecting it on paper. Oh my…it was fun. After I was done, I felt a little drained and my boyfriend asked me which class I had been doing homework for. I told him what I had been doing and he said “man, even your hobbies are like homework.” He can’t really wrap his head around the fact that I find playing with calculators to be a lot of fun. :)

I ended up using both Peter Reinhart’s Whole Wheat and Sprouted Grain Bread from WGB and Hamelman’s Five Grain Levain as guides for my formula.

crumb

To sprout: Rinse whole grains or seeds or beans and soak overnight in a mason jar or other glass container of similar shape (for about 12 hours, softer or smaller things such as sunflower seeds or lentils could go a little less and bigger or harder things such as wheat berries and garbanzos could go a little longer). Drain and cover the jar with cheesecloth or muslin or plastic with holes poked in it and secure with a rubber band. Turn jar upside down, place in a bowl and cover with a towel. Twice a day, fill up the jar with water, swirl contents and drain through the cheesecloth. Place drained jar back in the bowl, upside down. I generally do this until the tails of the sprouts are about as long as the grain itself, which can take anywhere from 1 to 4 days, depending on what I’m sprouting. I learned from WGB, though, that when using in bread making, wheat berries should only be sprouted until you see just the beginnings of the tail, so it took me about a day (or two rinsings) after soaking for my sprouts. Note: you can save the initial soaking water and it is close to what’s called Rejuvelac. It’s quite nutritious and you can use it as part of the water in the final dough.

I also used amaranth sprouts in this bread, which ended up not grinding well, so they remained whole. They’re tiny so it ended up good.

I weighed out both sprouts to equal 200 grams and then ground them in a food processor. I’m sure any combination of sprouts to equal 200 grams would work great here. edit note: If you start out with a certain amount of dried grain and sprout it, you'll end up with more than you began with because the grain absorbs water and becomes heavier. So weigh out your sprouts after they've become sprouts and then grind them. If you have leftovers all the better; mix them in with some rice or throw them in your soup or oatmeal or salad or, you know, anything.

So here’s the recipe I used, I’ll skip the page of formula that comes before the final dough part.

 

· 200 g high gluten flour

· 67 g bread flour

· 116 g whole wheat flour

· 113 g ground wheat berry sprouts

· 87 g amaranth sprouts

· 288 g water

· 10 g salt

· 283 g ripe starter (75% hydration, I used 93% bread flour and 7% rye flour in my final build)

1. Mix and knead. I kneaded by hand for about 8 minutes, rested for 5 then kneaded for another 30 seconds or so. The dough is sticky.

2. Bulk ferment. It took me about five hours to get it to rise by about half. I stretched and folded twice, once at one hour and another two hours later.

3. Shaping. At this point the dough was smooth and pretty great looking. It felt a little heavy, as do many of my sourdoughs at this point. I shaped it into a big batard. Proof for about three hours, or you know, until you feel it’s ready (puffy looking, bigger, finger poke indent remains). Or, I imagine retarding overnight would work nicely. In fact, I think I’ll try retarding next time.

4. Slashing and Baking. I loaded it into a 500 degree oven with steam and turned it down to 450 after about 3 minutes. It baked for 37 minutes.

 

This bread turned out wonderfully, I’m so happy with it. The loaf is moist and it tastes slightly sweet and very mildly sour. It has an aspect of flavor that is deeper than other sourdough breads I’ve made with large percentages of whole wheat flour. Now I could just be waxing poetics about my sprouts, but I’m going to go ahead and say that this is they’re doing. I highly recommend trying out sprouts in bread, perhaps even as part of the soaker in some other recipe. They’re so nutritious and it’s the perfect time of year.

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rainbowbrown

Onion and Poppy Seed Purim Ring

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Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating the story told in the biblical Book of Esther, when the Jews living in Persia were saved from being massacred. In celebration of Purim, one is commanded to “eat, drink and be merry”, festivities are held and fun is had for all. My contribution to BBD #8 (celebration breads, hosted by susanfnp at Wild Yeast blog) is an onion and poppy seed Purim ring from Maggie Glezer’s _A Blessing of Bread_. The following is excerpted from Glezer’s book:

As for the Purim connections: The twisted ring looks like Queen Esther’s crown, and the onions and poppy seeds are not only delicious but honor this queen’s bravery and piety. Queen Esther observed the rules of kashrut in King Ahashuarus’s palace by eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Despite its extravagant looking nature this was quite easy to make. Ok, shaping was a bit tricky, but not that bad. I don’t generally make enriched breads, so this one was intense for me. It’s very rich and quite delicious. I love the flavor of safflower oil which is why I chose to use it here, but I think next time I’ll go with a more neutral oil, the intensity of the oil flavor really comes through in the end. Make sure you have enough counter space to shape this stuff. My workspace is about 20” in length and the strands of dough need to be 30” long. I didn’t take this into account beforehand and ended up doing some tough maneuvering, but it worked.

g

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Dough:

· 7 grams(2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast

· 500 grams (3 ¾ cups) bread flour

· 170 grams (¾ cup) water

· 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus one for glazing

· 110 grams (½ cup) vegetable oil (* I used safflower oil)

· 8 grams (1 ½ tsp) salt

· 55 grams (¼ cup) sugar

 

Filling:

· 275 grams (1 ½ cups) finely chopped onions (about one onion)

· 70 grams (½ cup) poppy seeds

· 3 grams (½ tsp) salt

· 85 grams (6 tbs) melted butter

 

Poolish

(* This wasn’t called for in the recipe, but I think it worked out pretty well)

Use 160 grams of the flour, all of the water and ¼ teaspoon of yeast and mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours until some activity is apparent in the dough. Refrigerate overnight.

 

Mixing the Dough

Take the poolish out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before mixing the final dough. Then mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast, the salt and the sugar with the remaining 340 grams of flour in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the eggs and oil into the poolish, and then combine this mixture with the flour mixture. Stir until vaguely combined. Turn out and knead for no longer than ten minutes (* I kneaded for about 8 minutes, the dough was firm, soft and very easy to knead).

 

Fermenting

Put dough into an oiled container and ferment for about two hours or until doubled in bulk. Alternately you can refrigerate now until the next day. When the dough is almost done fermenting mix the filling ingredients, divide in half and set aside.

 

Shaping and Proofing

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in two and roll each piece to about 30” in length. Working one at a time, flatten each strand with a rolling pin to about 4” wide. Spoon half the filling along the center of each strand. Pull the long edges up over the filling and pinch them together (* Pinch well! This dough with want to split open). Turn the strand so the seam is down. Lay both strands along side each other and cross them in the middle. Twist them over each other down both ends and then bring ends around to form a ring and pinch shut. This will make a spiral circle. Carefully (* I made someone help me here) transfer to the parchment. Cover and proof for about an hour. It will rise to about one and a half times its size. Or you can retard overnight if you wish.

 

Baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Glaze the proofed dough with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 45–50 minutes until well browned, turning half way through. *Prepare for butter leakage, perhaps use a sheet pan with a lip all the way around, mine spilled a little in my oven. *Don’t use steam when baking this bread, I imagine the fillings would just burst out.

 

*Has anyone ever noticed that when you type the word "poolish" in Microsoft Word it changes it, without telling you, to "polish" ? I've had quite a time with that...

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Sourdough Bagels

bagelsbagels

bagelsbagels

I made some sourdough bagels this morning. I used Bwraith's post, which was based on Susanfnp's post, as a guide: Sourdough Bagels Revisited. These were based on Silverton's recipe from _Breads from the La Brea Bakery_. After going back and forth reading Silverton's recipe and the modified ones, I decided to go with Bwraith's post exactly, well as exactly as I could. I made some slip-ups, which really affected my bagels. They taste great, but they are pretty open and bready and they puffed a little too much. I know precisely what my mistakes were and I thought I'd post them for others who might do some bagel making. All that I did wrong were small errors on my part, things like not taking notice of details in the write up and such. Anyhoo, here gos:

The write up called for 90% hydration starter. In my tendency to over look random details I refreshed my starter at 100%. I believe this is why they were bready. The idea of the dough having a slightly higher hydration was already blamed for breadiness in the discussions between Bwraith and Susanfnp and Bwraith discussed it throughout the comments, but it still went right out the other ear, since it was a difference in the starter.

I shaped some of them using the rope method used in the post and I shaped some of them using a method discussed in BBA where you make a roll and then poke a hole in it and twirl it around your finger. I think I like the rope method better, they were more consistently smooth. My mistake here though was I didn't make the center hole big enough and many of them closed up. Again, something discussed in the post, but I wasn't careful to take notice of it. They should have been about 2.5 inches and mine were only about 1.5 inches.

I believe I worked pretty quickly in getting them into the fridge after shaping and in going through the whole boiling baking process, but they still puffed too much. I think I'll blame this on the fact that my kitchen was 68 degrees and steamy. In fact my whole tiny apartment was steamy because of the big pot of boiling water. Next time I'll open the double doors next to my kitchen and let the chilly morning air in. I'm pretty sure the warm stuffiness of my kitchen gave them a good proofing environment for the four minutes that they sat out between the fridge and the oven.

I think that small slip-ups like these can be so easy to come across and I hope that discussing them will help them sink in more, making them easier to avoid in the future.

Now on to the good things:

I used 5% Giusto light rye flour, 15% Giusto whole wheat flour and 80% KA High Gluten flour, which all worked out great. They really taste quite awesome.

I used poppy seeds on some, ground flax seeds on some and kosher salt on some.

I refrigerated my parchment papered sheet pans before I did the shaping so that as I shaped I was putting the bagels on cold pans. I think this may have been a good idea, not quite sure though.

The only other time I have ever made bagels was about six years ago and was before I really began learning about baking. I just picked a recipe and followed it, not having any sort of understanding of what or why I was doing any of it. They turned out bad, real bad. So these bagels are pretty thrilling for me, and now that I know what I'm doing more in baking, I know what I need to do next time to fix it.

One more note is that I began kneading these in my Kitchen Aid and after three minutes the motor began to burn out, so I did the rest by hand. And this was with the hydration a bit too high.

 

Thank you Bwraith for your massively helpful write-up on your sourdough bagels. Reading it is actually what inspired me to try my hand at bagels again.

I also have a question about the KA high gluten flour. I don't have the Sir Lance A Lot, but the KA organic. The thing is it smelled a little odd to me. And I'm a little hesitant to admit that I know what it smelled like, but I do...it smelled like Jiffy boxed blueberry muffin mix. Anyone know why? The flour was malted and I don't know if I've ever used malted flour before, so I think it could have been that. I don't know...just curious.

And one more question.  As I was shaping, I found that most, but not all of the ropes were a little, I don't know, hollow-ish as I rolled them which made it a little difficult.  Anyone have any insight on this?  

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rainbowbrown

Barbari (Iranian Flat Bread)

BarbariBarbari

 

Bread Baking Day 7 with the theme flatbreads hosted by Petra Chili und Ciabatta . Deadline: March 1st, 2008

bbd7<--- Go on, its a link...

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So here is my first entry into bread baking day. The theme is flatbreads and I made this Iranian flatbread, Barbari. This is one of the national breads of Iran. This recipe came from the “Jewish-Iraqi health nut/dietitian”, Clemence Horesh and is from Maggie Glezer’s A Blessing of Bread. I made a few modifications and it turned out great. I halved the recipe so as to only make one loaf rather than two and you’ll see my other modifications as indicated by asterisks (*). I’ll post the halved recipe. Here goes:

 

375 g bread flour (* I used 300 g bread flour and 75 g spelt flour)

1 tsp instant yeast

252 g warm water (*I used oatstraw tea that I had just brewed instead, I highly recommend trying herbal teas in lieu of water. This was my first time and I liked it)

7 g salt

4 g sugar

28 g vegetable or olive oil (*I used a mixture of olive oil and toasted sesame seed oil)

1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Sesame and poppy seeds for sprinkling (*I also used sunflower seeds)

 

Mixing the yeast slurry:

Combine 150 grams of the bread flour and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn on with paddle attachment in a low speed. Add the water and mix until smooth. Let this stand for about 20 minutes until it puffs up slightly.

 

Mixing the Dough:

Still using the paddle attachment beat on low and add the sugar, salt and oil. When the salt and sugar have dissolved switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining flour and mix for about 5 minutes. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom just under the hook. The dough should feel very sticky, soft and wet.

Proofing the dough:

Form into a ball, place into an oiled bowl and cover. (At this point you can put it into the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Just pull it out an hour before shaping.) Let it rise to double, about an hour and a half.

 

Shaping:

Lay out a piece of parchment paper either on a sheet pan or on your work surface and place the proofed dough on top. Gently flatten your dough to about an inch in thickness and stretch to about 9 by 17 inches. Brush the beaten egg onto the surface. Now take the back end of your wooden spoon and furrow long channels in the dough (I know, I should have photographed this). Take your spoon end and, at a 45 degree angle jab it into the dough until you hit the board below, then lightly drag it down a couple inches, then jab again and over and over from one end to the other. Do this in about four rows across the dough. Like this:

 

o—o—o—o—o—o

o—o—o—o—o—o

o—o—o—o—o—o

o—o—o—o—o—o

 

Yeah? Ok. This is to prevent the dough from puffing too much in the oven. Sprinkle the dough generously with seeds.

 

Baking:

You have a preheated 550f oven right now right? Me neither, my oven only goes to 500f, but it worked. Place your dough either onto a baking stone or onto a preheated sheet pan. If you used a sheet pan to shape the dough initially, leave it (if your using a preheated one too, just stack them). If you just used parchment as I did, then just move it either with a peel or with careful hands and forearms as I did to the oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The top will look a little pale, but the bottom should be browned.

 

Serving:

Broil for a minute before serving.

crumbcrumb

 

Enjoy!

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rainbowbrown

I once lived in Southern California in and around Los Angeles where Mexican bakeries abound. I once was in love with pan dulce (sweet bread) and it was abundant. I then picked up and moved to Northern California, to Humboldt County. Here, there are no Mexican bakeries and there is one place to get good mexican food, a taco truck, and the taco truck doesn't make pan dulce. After a long stint of self pity and an apprehension about going forth into the world of mexican baked goods I decided that Dia de los Muertos would be the time to make some pan de muertos (pan dulce with bones and such on top). So I got a hold of three recipes and made one for a Holloween party. They were pretty great and I was quite thrilled. I didn't have a camera back then so no pictures, but they were a little ugly because of my poor attempt at making skulls and bones out of the topping. Anyhoo, yesterday was my second attempt and I used the second of my three recipes. Here they are:

pan dulcepan dulce

 

These are quite wonderful. The recipe I used this time called for four eggs as opposed to the one egg I used the first time and yesterday when I tried one fresh, the crumb was a bit too moist and rich for pan dulce. This morning though, as I eat one now I see that it has dried out a bit and is perfect. I think this recipe might work well with three eggs...I'll have to try it. This recipe came from the chow.com website. It was adapted from Richard Sandoval's (?) recipe. Mine is an adaptation of their adaptation, as I changed several things.

Here you go:

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed, coursely ground
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:

 

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, salt, anise seed, yeast, milk, water, butter and 1 cup of the flour.
  2. Stir in eggs and beat well. Add remaining flour, little by little, stirring well with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 9 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, and no longer sticky. It will be tacky and very soft. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  4. While dough is rising, make the topping. Cream butter and sugar well. Stir in vanilla and flour until it comes together in a cohesive mass. Set aside.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, heat oven to 350°F. Punch down dough and divide into pieces. I did six pieces, and they all seemed fairly small but once they were all baked up they were huge, much larger than a single serving. Try 8 or maybe 10 pieces. Form into tight balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Turn topping out onto the counter and pat into a rectangle. Dive into however many pieces of dough you have. Pat each peice out into a flat disk (don't worry too much about the roundness of the thing). Place each topping disk on top of a dough ball. Let rise for an hour.
  6. Once they are ready to go into the oven, slash the topping. Make several curved slashes which begin at a single point and fan out. The shape of this bread and the slashes of the topping is what gives this pan dulce the name concha (shell). My slashes didn't go down into the dough, just the topping. My loaves did rip a little though which I didn't mind. If you want to take this opportunity to score the dough a little, I'm sure that would be ok.
  7. Bake at 350°F, I baked mine in the sheet pan on top of my baking stone. After about 15 minutes rotate the pan and then bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 200.

I highly recommend not eating them all on the first day, save some for tomorrow, it'll be worth it. Here are some more pictures of the process as it played out:

dough ballsdough balls

proofed and slashed ballsproofed and slashed balls

Baked pan dulceBaked pan dulce

pan dulce crumbpan dulce crumb

 

Enjoy. My apologies for the lack of weight measurements, I'm waiting until I make the third recipe and pick my favorite to go through and convert the recipe to weight.

 

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rainbowbrown

So I decided that after maintaining my starter for almost a year now and being pretty satisfied with it, that I was confused about what I was doing. I've read so many different refreshment ratios for starters that it made me doubt my own, so I split it up to try a new one. Usually I do a 2:1:1 (starter:flour:water) to double it. By the way my starter takes on slightly different forms from time to time. For no particular reason other than I haven't developed a favorite I'll either feed it wheat flour, clear flour or bread flour. Recently I came across directions for a 1:3:2 refreshment and then a 1:2:2 and shouldn't there be a 1:1:1 in there somewhere? I don't know. I figure since all these ratios called for less starter than I use, perhaps I was starving mine a little. So I experimented by using Daniel Leader's recipe for Quintessential French Sourdough. I split up my starter into two batches and put one on a 1:3:2 diet and kept the other on 2:1:1. They both did just fine until I made the final dough when the 1:3:2 became very slow. A lot slower than its brother. It ended up not rising as much as the 2:1:1 (which took about six hours) during bulk fermentation but after about ten hours I had had enough and shaped it anyway. So this is what I got:

Baguettues

The 1:3:2 is on the left. The 2:1:1 is on the right.

 

And the crumb (same positioning):

crumb

 

My old 2:1:1 definately won out. It tasted milder and a little better in my opinion. I don't know...I'm still a little weary. I still have to try the 1:2:2 which sounds a little more promising. I know that its been working ok the whole time I've had it so I should just leave well enough alone right? But I really think it can do better with a different approach somehow. Its always a little in the warm area, never bad never outstanding, just pretty good, when it comes to preformance and taste.

 

A really fun side thing that amounted from all of this was that I had so much trash starter from the experiment that I decided to do a second experiment and see what would happen if I put all my throw-away starter and scraps in a bowl a then in the oven. I used it as shaping practice for the most part. That was pretty fun and here's what arose out of that:

 

A connected braid and an epi.A connected braid and an epi.

And the crumb:

brumb.crumb.

 

I thought that these came out really great, much better than I expected...until I tasted them. Oh man, where they ever bad. For one I didn't put any salt in them and for two...well two should be obvious...it was meant to be trash. It was fun though. I dig the shaping practice thing.

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