The Fresh Loaf

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smasty

KAF printed this recipe in a recent catalog (click on "recipe" to get there).  I totally love them!  I bake them a couple times a week.  They are very very crunchy...sort of like thin biscotti.  They are SO easy, and healthy too.  I make them for my chip-loving husband as a much better choice for him.  So I've found that slicing them into long strips (with a pizza cutter after the dough is rolled) makes them easier to eat (roll out the dough on your counter (thin!), it's not sticky, slice into strips, use a dough scraper to lift the strips and move to a 1/2 sheet).  Also I've found (by accident!) that baking them on a sheet on a rack BELOW my stone yields wonderful results (the very next rack down from the stone).  In the last minute of baking they curl up toward the stone giving them a very charming shape (the longer thinner ones curl best).  The first time I made them I followed the recipe exactly, and they were good.  But you can quickly get creative with these.  I've made stevia/cinnamon/raisin crackers that are great.  The batch in this picture are very spicy, made with chile molido puro--the hot version (mexican chile powder).  The dough base is perfect for taking on any flavors you want to try...sweet or savory.  For maximum curl be sure the strips don't touch each other, and be careful removing from the oven, they can curl enough to tangle with the rack above (with the stone on it). 



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smasty

Ever since MerryBaker posted this recipe (from Baking with Julia) in Helend's blog, I've been waiting to try it.  Here it is!  It is really lovely.  I added 1 packet of stevia to up the sweetness w/o additional sugar (I did use the 1/3 c specified).  I made 3 loaves, as directed.  The recipe called for "1 can" of raisins, I used about 3/4 cup.  The loaves are really small.  Next time I'll only make 2 loaves from the batch so each is a little bigger.  It's an incredible holiday bread...love it!!


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smasty

Before I say anything, let me say thanks for the generous advice I've received!


I did it!  This was my 3rd attempt, and it's pretty close to perfect.  My culture was 16 days old, yesterday.  I began my pre-ferment at 7:00 pm yesterday, then at 7:00 am this morning I built the dough.  I could never figure out why Hamelman continually suggests "tasting for salt to be sure it wasn't forgotten."  I always wondered why someone could forget the salt.  Well, twice now I've almost forgotten it, since it is added after the autolyse.  My dough still took 6.5 hours to less-than-double, I gave it two folds during that time.  I proofed the loaves for about 1 1/4 hours, crossed my fingers and popped them in the oven.  I bought a probe thermometer yesterday....wowza...what a difference that makes, too.  I started the loaves at 460 degrees, after 10 minutes I lowered the temp to 435 (due to browning).  I now know that I've been pulling my loaves at about 160-170 degrees (internal temp)...way too low!  I had to lower the temp to 400 to keep the crust from overbrowning, and finally pulled them out when internal temp hit 200.  So, I started at 7:00 am and have bread at 4:30 pm (great bread!).  The crumb color is hard to discern in the pic since I didn't use a flash, but it's a great color.  I've learned so much by failing multiple times and asking for help.  Though I know I have much more to learn.  Thanks again for the great advice, encouragement and support! Now...just gotta hunt down a good bottle of wine!


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smasty

My first attempt at SD was a disaster.  Thanks to the great input I received, I embarked on a 2nd attempt yesterday/today.  This is Hamelman's Vermont SD recipe.  My liquid levain culture (Norman) was 11 days old yesterday.  I created the levain build early yesterday morning, too early, and it overripened.  Since I knew it had fermented for about 22 hours, instead of the 16 max recommended, I decided to only do a 1/2 recipe (until I get it right).  I mixed everything early this morning.  The bulk ferment took about 6.5 hours to result in just less than a doubling.  Then I shaped the loaf and let it set for about 2.5 hours.  My result is about 80% quality (way way better than last time...but much room to improve).  As you can see, my cuts did not open well, there wasn't enough oven spring--the loaf should have set for another hour, at least.  The crust is magnificent, and the flavor is really good...it is sour!  The crumb is too dense.  The crumb color is a little off too...more gray instead of white or cream (I can't remember what causes this).  At least this loaf is edible (DH loves it).  This has been an awesome learning experience, and I greatly appreciate the suggestions I received the first time.  I realize the talent that resides on this board, and appreciate the help given to us newbies!


Sue


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smasty

I'm in the middle of my very first SD bake.  I'm using Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough recipe, which uses a levain.  I grew my levain for 7 days (he says in the book that it should be ready to use on day 6).  The thing is, I didn't really see much rise in the bulk ferment stage.  There was a change in the dough structure, but very little growth (2.5 hours with 1 fold).  My shaped loaves have been sitting for 2.5 hours and though smooth and elastic looking...still not much growth.  The oven is heating right now...if I don't see miraculous oven spring, these are going to  be really small heavy loaves.  Maybe my levain didn't grow for long enough....too soon to start guessing until they come out of the oven.  Needless to say, I'm on pins and needles until these babies go in the oven.  More to come....


sue


Update: geez, it looks like I will have 3 pounds of flatbread.  What happened?  Levain not mature enough?  It had bubbles and a delightful smell, sort of like yogurt.  I have it (my levain) in the fridge now, I can continue to feed it 2x a day (at room temp) for another week...is that a good strategy?  I'm a bit bummed. 

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