The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rmk129

This blog entry is so that I don't forget what I did to make this loaf when I lose the scrap piece of paper I wrote it on :)

50% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread 1 1/2 cups proofed white sourdough starter 1 1/2 cups warm water 2 Tbsp oil 1 Tbsp brown sugar 3 cups whole wheat flour ~1 cup of white flour 1 1/2 tsp salt 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten

Baking schedule: -mixed together all ingredients (except salt) until moist -20 minute autolyze -added salt -kneaded with mixmaster for ~5 minutes 0 hrs->put in greased, covered bowl for first rise 2 hrs->folded dough 4 hrs->folded dough 5 1/2 hrs->shaped dough into two small round loaves and put them in my basket & tupperware "cloches" lined with floured dishtowels, then tied a plastic bag around the cloches. I put one in the refrigerator to retard overnight, and left the other out for the second rise. 9 1/2 hrs->sprinkled semolina flour on the exposed portion of dough mass (still in cloche), then carefully inverted onto baking mat, scored, and put in preheated oven

Still in oven right now...unbelievable oven spring!!!

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rmk129

Thanks to this site, I baked my very first sourdough loaf today after two weeks of preparation :) Yippeeee!!!

It certainly is not the perfect loaf (quite flat), but I am just happy that I grew yeast from scratch that caused any rising action at all (thanks to a mixture of Floydm & sourdolady's starter recipes and advice)...
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Here is a pictoral account of my adventure...Day 1 is the day I began making my homemade starter.
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Day 5...my first big day of "bubble action" in my homemade starter!!!
June 16 003
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Day 9...getting more ambitious with a white and a whole-wheat version of my starter
...and also a mini-mug of raisins soaking in rum for a bread-pudding and many supplies for drinking yerba mate! :)
June 16 009
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Day 15...this is what my starter looked like after proofing it overnight for 15 hours
(no, I didn't sleep that long!)
I think I added 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of active room-temperature starter the night before, but I have no idea if this is the correct method???
June 24 007
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Consistency of proofed starter after stirring...
June 24 008
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I used sourdolady's recipe for Deluxe Sourdough Bread

Initial ingredient mixture...let rest for 30 minutes
June 24 009
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After kneading
June 24 010
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After approximately 5 hours at a cool room temperature, there was definite evidence of "yeasty action"!!!
I was SO happy :)
June 24 013
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A few hours later, I thought the dough was ready for shaping (even though it had not quite doubled in size)
I like to call these wet masses of dough my pre-shaping "globs"
June 24 015
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I shaped one using a basket as a cloche (it is still in my fridge unbaked), and this one I tried as a freeform oval
June 24 019
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Both shaped loaves went into the fridge overnight.
In the morning, the oval loaf was significantly flatter, and there were chunks of ice on the baking mat!!! Yikes!!!
I took the oval log out and left in on the counter for 8 hours, during which it magically transformed itself into a Ciabatta loaf sitting in a puddle of water ;)
Whoops! Maybe I let it rise for too long?
Oh well....I thought the final product was yummy (slightly sour taste) and I loved the texture of the crumb.
Thanks to a World Cup game that captured my attention (Vamos Argentina!!!), the bottom was quite black, but I am getting quite adept at scraping black bottoms into the garbage can :)
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Final product--My First Sourdough Loaf!!!
June 24 020
June 24 023
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Pizza crust from starter leftovers....
I mostly followed Floydm's measurements to make a delicious pizza crust
1 cup starter
2 cups flour
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil (my addition)
I had a lot of fun shaping this crust (like he suggestd, just turned it around and around, stretching the dough into an approximate circle), and it turned out well.
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Sourdough pizza crust before baking
My husband likes to prebake the crust with olive oil, then bake it for a short time with toppings...works well for me too!
June 24 012
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What was left of the pizza before I remembered to take a photo...sign of a yummy pizza :)
June 24 024

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rmk129

Coffee Bread Pudding Recipe
June 24 003

Last week I found myself with a huge tupperware container full of staling bread of various types, so I made this bread pudding (from a mixture of different recipes I found on the internet) and it was a big hit at tea time. I want to record the recipe here before I lose the scrap piece of paper I wrote it on as I went... :)
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Step 1: Soak raisins in alcohol
~3 days before, I started 1/4 cup raisins soaking in enough rum to cover them (3 Tbsp?). I thought I was going to make the pudding that night, but I didn't have time and boy were the raising yummy when I finally got around to using them!!!
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Step 2: Mix and heat liquids to scalding
2 cups light cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup strong coffee
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Step 3: Beat together until smooth
5 eggs (room temp)
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
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Step 4: Mix Step 2 & 3 ingredients together
Slowly!!! (so eggs don't cook)
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Step 5: Assemble bread pudding
8 cups stale/oven-dried bread cubes (very approximate amount...I used a mixture of chocolate coffee bread and daily bread).
*I don't have many baking pans, so I simply divided the bread cubes and put them into 2 well-greased loaf pans, sprinkling the raisins and rum (Step 1) throughout the layers.
*Pour warm liquid mixture from Step 4 over the bread mixture and press the bread down so it is well-soaked.
*Let sit 45 minutes
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Step 6: Bake!!!
I don't have control over my oven temperature, but I baked them at a "moderate" temperature for about 1 hour (until a toothpick in the center came out clean.
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Step 7: Glaze (optional)
I made a quick glaze out of icing sugar, rum and lemon juice and distributed it over the top of the warm puddings.
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Step 8: EAT!!!
Delicious warm or cold :)
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Another bake from last week (not the most beautiful loaf, but it is beautiful in my eyes!)
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Floydm's Rustic Loaf with rye flour...now a much-requested favourite of my husband's family :)
They can't get over how long is stays fresh-tasting for, and even the kids love it! Thanks Floydm!!!

June 24 005

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rmk129

I had a few bars of chocolate in my fridge yesterday, so I decided to give dhedrick's Chocolate Chip Coffee Bread
recipe a try. I really liked it!!! For me, it is the perfect bread to have with an afternoon cup of tea. Delicate texture and somewhat decadent without being overly sweet :)

I already posted these photos and comments as a reply to the original recipe, but I also wanted it in my blog so I could quickly find it again later when I am having a chocolate/coffee craving :)

June 6 051

June 6 057 - I put the freshly brewed coffee together with cold milk and water. This instantly resulted in liquid that was the right temperature for yeast, so I added the yeast and let it dissolve. Then I added all the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips (I used broken bits of chocolate bars instead) and the 5 cups of flour. I followed the rest of the instructions exactly. - I will be making this loaf again!!! I bet it will make unbelievable bread pudding in a few days if it lasts that long :)

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rmk129

After a week full of "disaster breads", I am happy to report that I was *finally* able to produce a few loaves that didn't make me laugh when they came out of the oven :) So now I will post some photos as evidence so that when I create my next major flop or paperweight, I can come back and be inspired to try, try again...

***The final results of my baking day:
May 31 042
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***One of the secrets to my newfound ability to rise dough again:
May 31 029
Our apartment is very cold right now (no central heating here), but for some reason I thought my bread baking could continue as normal as long as I just let the dough rise for longer periods of time...apparently not. If you enjoy reading about and laughing at baking misadventures, you can see my previous blog entries for descriptive and *gloopy* & *rock-hard*pictoral evidence of my recent streak of jaw-challenging and vertically-challenged loaves :)
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My mother-in-law came for a visit yesterday, and when I showed her this photo of my dough rising, she laughed and said she used to rise bread in a similar way...but she actually created a little warm "rising tent" by putting a large piece of fabric over the kitchen table, then putting the heater and the dough under that. Maybe I will try that next time...maybe I will sit under the tent too!!!
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I was SO happy to see (and taste) these results again...finally! Bring on the cold!!! :)
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***Whole wheat/flax seed/oatmeal dough
*Before...
May 31 027
*After (it rose!!!)...
May 31 030
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***Baguette dough
*It rose too!!! (I didn't put this dough by the heater because I didn't want it to rise too quickly...I just put it on my kitchen counter while I was baking the other loaf so the room was a bit warmer than usual).
May 31 034

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That's all for now...this is one *much happier* baker signing off for now :)

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rmk129

This recipe is the result of a mixture of ideas from a few different recipes. A moist and delicious way to use up overripe bananas and excess zucchini :)

May 31 019

Zucchini Banana Bread

A)Combine these ingredients:
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini

B)Combine these ingredients and slowly add to first ingredients, mixing well.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

C) Finally add these (optional):
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins (presoaked in hot water)

D) Bake ~45 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). My gas oven doesn't have a temperature gauge...
I went for what I call "moderately hot". Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out loaves onto cooling rack.

Yummy warm!!!

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rmk129

Last week I managed to try a few other recipes with mixed results...

1)Rustic Bread
Very nice loaves of bread. Delicious!!! I made it twice (once with rye flour) and my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed the two different types.

2)Sweet Corn Raisin Bread
I had quite a few laughs throughout the process of making this bread...since I have joined this site, I have read so many pieces of advice about working with wet dough that I think I took it to the extreme while I was making this loaf! After I *poured* the dough out onto my lightly floured counter (using my hands, arms and apron to stop it from oozing into the sink and off the counter!) I realized that I probably should have added more flour in the first stage :) Nevertheless, I persevered and somehow managed to shape it into a fairly round object (this required much patience and a constantly running tap to clean dough off my hands). I then plopped the globular mass of dough into a bowl that I had covered with a heavily floured teatowel and proceeded to clean up the huge mess I had made all over the counter! Sometimes I think it is a blessing in disguise that I have such a tiny little kitchen because then at least even huge messes remain somewhat manageable :) It rose very well, but to finish off my adventure, I really screwed up the scoring process by changing my mind halfway through...after all was said and done, the baked loaf looked like a golden brown loaf that had been attacked from above before it made it into the oven. However, it was scrumptious with a nice crumb...maybe I will have better luck with the process next time. There WILL be a "next time"!!!

3)Whole wheat/flax seed/bran/oatmeal bread
My own "failproof" recipe that has never let me down...until this week. Do you see a pattern here? I bought my whole wheat flour from a bulk health food store this week and it was very coarsely ground (I even found 1" bits of wheat ?chaff? in it!). I also had a very busy day so I ended up leaving the dough in the fridge for most of the first rise...in the end, I produced 2 teeny little loaves. At least they were not rock hard...they were actually quite moist and tasty. Probably a good way to prepare bread for bringing on an overnight backpacking trip :) I guess that is the beauty of baking bread...pretty hard to screw up a loaf so bad that it isn't worth eating!

4)Baguettes Bizarre
In order to keep my current disaster "streak" going, I decided to try out a new recipe for baguettes instead of my usual. So as I type, I am halfway through the process and keeping my fingers crossed. I got the recipe from a website link from this site, and it is completely different than any recipe I have ever tried so I will see how it works...on the website, she admits that this is actually a Reinhart recipe that he got from a parisian baker "Baguettes Ancienne". I had to mix up the flour, salt, yeast and ice water last night, knead it for 6 minutes with my mixmaster, then put it in the fridge overnight. This is not the usual biga/poolish method, because you don't add any additional ingredients the next day...what you start with the night before is what you end up with. Now it says to let the dough rest on the counter for 3 hours, then simply shape the dough (which the website author had huge difficulties with and I'm sure I will too) and throw the baguettes in the oven. Seems like such a short process compared to the way I usually do it, so I thought I would give it a try... Wish me luck!!!

5)Banana Zucchini Bread
On this weekend's list due to the fact that both of these ingredients are approaching the decay stage in my fridge...sounds yummy, doesn't it? :) I was originally going to follow a recipe I got from the web:Banana Zucchini Bread. I didn't have any self-rising flour, but I read somewhere that for every cup of flour you should add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to make it equivalent to self-rising flour. Hmmm...that would mean adding 3.5 x 1.5 = 5 1/4 tsp of baking powder...do I smell another disaster in the offing???? I guess it would make sense to end my week of oozing, non-rising, flopping, slashed-apart bread with a loaf that explodes out of the oven :) I just popped my loaves in the oven 5 minutes ago, and the ingredients I ended up adding actually ended up being a mixture from the original recipe (linked above), Linda's Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread, Floydm's Better Banana Bread, and a few of my own additions :) If it works out, I will post the recipe in my next blog entry so I don't forget what I did!

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rmk129

I just finished making my second loaves from this site...the Rustic Bread. I followed the ingredient amounts exactly. The only things I did differently were:
1) added the water and yeast mixture for the final dough directly to the bowl with the preferment in it, then I just mixed in the dry ingredients with the dough hooks on my mixmaster (fewer dishes to deal with afterwards!);
2) since I had to leave the house this afternoon, the first rise was quite long (1 hour on the counter and 5 hours in the refrigerator!); and
3) the final rise for the second loaf (round one with cross marks) was 45 minutes longer than the first one (while the first loaf was baking)

YUM!!!!!!

Since there was some recent interest on this site about photos of scoring/slash marks, I thought I would contribute to this with some before and after photos of my Rustic Bread loaves.

May 17 before#1

May 17 after#1

May 17 before#2

May 17 after#2

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rmk129

Okay, now I am trying to figure out how to post photos without having them appear in the Gallery :)
I just discovered "Flickr", so I will try to post a link to my site to show my first attempt at Floydm's Pain Sur Poolish". I ended up adding 1 1/2 extra cups of flour, but next time I will try to follow his advice and keep the dough as wet as I can handle :)

Both loaves. I have a tiny oven so I can only bake one loaf at a time.

Crumb of the first loaf. At least I think that is what you call a "crumb", judging from other people's descriptions on this site?

Crumb of the second loaf.

The very pale loaf was the first loaf I baked. I did not use a wash or glaze, although I sprayed the outside of the loaf lightly with warm water before putting it in the oven...I read somewhere that was a good way to create more steam (I also always have a small pan in the bottom of my stove and I throw a cup of water into it to produce steam just as I put the loaf in the preheated oven). Now I am not so sure about the loaf-misting idea because maybe it is responsible for the pock-like marks on the crust of this loaf??? I think I also had issues with the oven heat for this loaf--I have a gas oven with no temperature indicators at all. I baked it for 40 minutes and it was still that pale!!!

The darker loaf was the second loaf. I put it in the fridge while the first loaf was baking, then I used an egg white wash spread on with my fingers...maybe I deflated the loaf a bit too much this way and this is why the shape is like a perfect semi-circle??? I made sure the oven was very hot this time (the flames sounded very loud), and it only took 25 minutes to bake even though I turned it down to "halfway" (whatever temperature that might be) after 15 minutes.

My major trouble is definitely telling when the loaves are done. I did the hollow-sounding test, and they both seemed done, but when I cut them open an hour later they both seemed a little too moist in the center for my liking...or am I being too impatient cutting them open so soon? I should probably invest in an oven thermometer to test the loaf temperatures...

I would be happy to receive *any* suggestions, criticisms, and/or comments about my loaves and/or best methods for posting photos. I am really looking forward to learning from the members on this site!!!

rmk129's picture
rmk129

As a newbie bread-maker, I was ecstatic to find this site yesterday!!! I have been making bread with the help of a bread-maker for over 5 years. In December my husband and I moved to Argentina, so we gave up everything that would not fit into 2 suitcases each...no more bread-maker!!! Although there are many bakeries here, they almost exclusively feature breads made of white flour and even those breads are nothing like homemade. My husband's mom used to make yummy bread in their outdoor oven here, but nobody measures their ingredients here so it is hard to get accurate recipes unless you have time to watch someone go through the entire baking process...even the local recipe books usually indicate that you should simply add "a sufficient amount of flour" and things like that.

I am a grad student, so I spend a lot of time at home working on my thesis and bread-making is the perfect way to break up my days and make me feel productive even when my thesis is moving along at the pace of a turtle... So over the past few months I have been experimenting with different breads and so far I am fairly happy with my baguettes and basic whole-wheat/flax seed bread. They are definitely not perfect but very yummy!!!

An added challenge for me has definitely been my tiny gas oven that does not have any temperature indicator (therefore directions to set the oven to 350 or 500 mean nothing to me)...I have had to learn to go by the sound of the flames, and it is still hit or miss :) Room temperature here also has a very different meaning, especially now that it is getting colder out. We do not have central heating, so room temperature was close to 35 degrees a few months ago, and now it is closer to 15 degrees and dropping in most of the apartment...except in the hallway where the gas heater blows out :)

I look forward to following these forums and hopefully picking up lots of tips...especially tips that will help me make decent bread without lots of special equipment. I am thinking of investing in a cheap kitchen scale, because it seems to be more important to weigh ingredients rather than measure them??? Today I have already read about how to make homemade cloches out of baskets and linen...great idea!!! I made the poolish for the Daily Bread featured on the home page last night, so I will see how that goes today...and if I figure out how to post photos I would love to participate in that aspect of the site so I can get more help and suggestions!

Until next time...

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