The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Sjadad

Failure to plan. That was my situation this morning. I wanted to bake bread but failed to plan for it yesterday so I had no refreshed starter to elaborate, no poolish, no biga, no preferment of any kind. So I decided it was about time that I tried Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta. I made the semolina version. 

I followed the formula exactly, using the greater amount of water. I baked with steam for the first 10 minutes and left the oven temperature at 500 F the entire time. The loaves were done in 15 minutes. 

I'm very pleased with the color and texture of the crust, the openness of the crumb, and the flavor. I'll be making this one again. 

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Sjadad

I'm embarassed to say that this is the first bread I've baked since the summer. What can I say, I've been busy. At least I've been dutifully feeding my starter!

Today I baked Pane Lariano from the formula in Daniel Leader's book Local Breads. It's 50% whole wheat. I've made the all-white flour version many times and everyone loves it. I'm happy to report that this version came out just as good and I'm sure everyone will love it as much as the other. 

I followed Leader's formula and directions with one exception - I increased the oven temperatures by 50 degrees. Specifically, I started the bake at 500 F and lowered it to 450 F after the first 20 minutes. Even though Leader says to bake the loaves until the crust is practically charred, I did get a bit concerned that I burned my loaves. The finished loaves do look almost black, but the flavor is anything but burnt. And the crumb is very light and open considering this bread is 50% whole wheat.  One of these loaves will accompany Peposo tonight - a peppery beef stew from Tuscany. 

 

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Sjadad

To celebrate the Jewish New Year, 5774, I baked ITJB's Honey Whole Wheat Challah in a round braid, as is traditional for Rosh Hashana.  Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, sweet, peaceful, and prosperous New Year! 

In the first photo you can see the indentations from my "poke" test to be sure it was ready for the oven.  I didn't use any seeds because my kids prefer their Challah plain.

Sjadad

Honey Whole Wheat Challah Honey Whole Wheat Challah Honey Whole Wheat Challah

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Sjadad

We had a crowd over on Firday night for a pizza party.  Of the dozen balls of dough I prepared, we made 10 pizzas in my wfo with various toppings.  I was the pizziaolo and with all of the activity there were no photos taken of any of the final products :(

The weather today is not great - rain showers througout the day.  So I cranked up my kitchen oven with a baking steel and used the last two balls of dough.  The first was lunch, with leftover toppings from Friday night, namely San Marzanos, fiore di latte and shredded mozzarella, crumbled sausage, sauteed wild mushrooms, basil, and a drizzle of Tuscan olive oil.

Dessert Pizza+ Dessert Pizza+

I made a Berry Cheesecake pizza with the other ball of dough.  We're going to a freind's for dinner and this will be my contribution for dessert.  I've never made this before and I know I probably shouldn't bring an experiment, but they're my oldest, closest friends so I can't do much damage.  I would have preferred a darker bake but I didn't want to incinerate the berries.

Dessert Pizza+

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Sjadad

I recently baked the Pain de Campagne from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast and was very pleased with the result.  This is a "hybrid" bread formula, meaning it is made with both a levain starter and a small amount of commercial yeast.  After a long room-temperature bulk fermentation, the loaves are shaped, placed in bannetons, and then put in the refrigerator to retard overnight befoe baking.  Forkish directs you to bake the loaves right out of the fridge.  I've often wondered about this method as I have come across conflicting advice from various experts and accomplished bakers. Some say to allow refrigerated loaves to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours prior to baking, while others, like Forkish, say to bake straight out of the fridge.

Well, I had very good results following Forkish's instructions to bake straight out of the fridge.  An added benefit to this approach is that scoring this 78% hydration dough is much easier when it is still cold as opposed to returning to room temperature.  I know Forkish doesn't instruct you to score the breads in FWSY, preferring the unpredictable fissures created without scoring, but I much prefer scoring my loaves.

The bread tastes very good.  No perceptible sourness, yet more flavor and complexity than a bread made with 100% commercial yeast.  It also has a very good shelf-life.  I baked the loaves on a Saturday morning and cut into one the following Wednesday.  The crumb was still very moist and creamy.  I suspect it would have been good for another couple of days had I waited that long.

 

Pain de Campagne Pain de Campagne Pain de Campagne Pain de Campagne

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Sjadad

I baked David's version of Pane Pugliese. I didn't have durum flour so I followed Peter Reinhart's suggestion in BBA and used 1/3 as much semolina. Otherwise I followed David to a "T". To be honest, I was a bit concerned about not scoring the loaf. I had visions of a tight, dense crumb.   I worried for nothing, as you can see.

    

 

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Sjadad

It's been too long since I baked up some Vermont Sourdough, so that was today's bake. Why have I waited so long?!   The loaves sang as soon as they emerged from the oven, and the crust developed those beautiful hairline fissures we all aspire to achieve. 

 

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Sjadad

My wife and I took our two children (12 and 10) to Venice and Florence recently. It was our kids' first trip to Europe and they loved it! While in Florence we had some pretty fantastic food. The local Tuscan bread, of course, is unique in that it is baked without salt. It turns out this suits the local cuisine because the people of Tuscany have many very flavorful dips and toppings for their bread.

One of the better things they do with "Pane Toscano" is use it in soups. One of the signature bread soups of Tuscany is Ribollita, a hearty vegetable soup made with white beans, cabbage, kale, and chard. Stale bread is added to the soup and the next day it is re-boiled (ribollita means re-boiled), yielding a soul-warming porridge. The locals drizzle their finest extra virgin olive oil on a bowl of Ribollita and dig in.

When we returned home, inspired by our recent trip I baked some Pane Toscana (Daniel Leader's version) and used it to make a big batch of Ribollita. The recipe was Giuliano Bugialli's from his book "Foods of Tuscany". Well, for a brief moment my family and I were transported back to Mamma Gina's trattoria in Florence!

I'm sorry I have no photos. This "food of poverty" is a great example of how the most humble ingredients can be transformed into something truly extraordinary.

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Sjadad

After lurking for a year I've decided to share what I've been up to.


 


Five Grain Levain


Five Grain Levain


 


Vermont Sourdough


Vermont Sourdough


 


Pizza


 


 


Pizza Crumb


Pizza


 


Baguettes a l'Ancienne


Baguette a l'Ancienne using Don's recipe and Sylvia's wet towel steaming method


 


Baguettes a l'Ancienne Grigne


I was fairly pleased with La Grigne and the scoring


 


French Apple Tart


I do pastry too :)

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