The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stephanie Brim's blog

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Stephanie Brim

The last few weeks have sucked TREMENDOUSLY around here. Good bread is how I cope. In order to stop the current round of chaos that was the wind down for bedtime last night, I offered to the kids that we should mix up dough.

400g flour

2 pinches of yeast

8g salt

300g water

I wanted a wet, tasty dough that would be ready in time for dinner the next day. I woke up today and at 3 or so punched it down and shaped it. A couple hours later I put it in the oven. Half an hour at 425 later, this is what I pulled out of the oven:

The loaves are almost round. ROUND. Can't believe it.

Basic things can make you so happy.

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Stephanie Brim

I am lazy sometimes. Well, most of the time in the last few weeks. Family still has to eat, though, and after fajitas were a hit last night, I threw the rest on a basic 75% hydration pizza dough thusly:

Yay for chicken, bell peppers, onions, and cheddar pizza. :D

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Stephanie Brim

No proofing basket? No problem. Heh.

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Stephanie Brim

This is what I've been doing for the last few days. I thought, since this was an interestinng case, that I should post a few things.

The first time I tried to make a starter I did it in the way I almost always do it: stone ground rye and water. For the first time in my starter-making, I got nothing. A few bubbles, but nothing ever concrete after the first few days. It was my first real failure since using the method mentiond in Sourdough 101. I decided that I should change out one of the variables to see what it was.

I remembered that I had a small bag of graham flour I was going to use to make smores cookies...and then I fell sick and ended up getting my gallbladder evicted. Cue finding it again, and then using it to make the second starter. And...resounding success. It's so much a success, even, that I could use it now. It's only been about five days, though, so I don't really plan to, but you know how you feel when something goes extremely *right* from the get-go.

In the mean time, I should mention that I've started feeding it with King Arthur plain bread flour and it's peaking in 4 hours most of the time, no more than 6.  It's taking basically *all the willpower I have* not to just bake with it right now. It smells sour, and yeasty, but not overly acidic. I just don't want to use it before it's really mature enough.

So...hi? And look forward to pictures from me as I bake. Again. Husband will be so thrilled at having ten different kinds of flour in the house again. :D

Also: I have been a member for four years and a week now. Time *flies*.

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Stephanie Brim

I actually put this together, meaning to for a while, after dmsnyder mentioned Suas's whole wheat. This is my first try at a truly 100% whole wheat bread and both Adam, my husband, and I think it's a keeper, but with one change: it needs more honey.


Soaker



  • 200g whole wheat flour

  • 115g white whole wheat flour

  • 35g gluten flour

  • 260g milk


Biga



  • 200g whole wheat flour

  • 150g water

  • 5g instant yeast


Final Dough



  • all of the soaker

  • all of the biga

  • 50g butter

  • 55g honey (we think that 80g would have been better)

  • 12g salt

  • 25g milk


Method:


Put soaker ingredients together in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Set aside. Put biga ingredients together in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Place plastic wrap over both bowls and let alone for an hour or so. Mine went for a little over since I was feeding Alexander at the time.


To mix the final dough, break both the soaker and biga up into small pieces and place into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add all other ingredients and mix on low until everything is incorporated into the dough, then medium-low for 3-4 minutes until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Place in a bowl for bulk ferment.


During bulk ferment I did 2 letter stretch and folds. I don't really think I needed to as the dough seemed to be very elastic, but I wanted to be sure. Allow to double after the second stretch and fold if you decide to do it. Overall, the dough got a 2 hour ferment.


Cut into two pieces and shape into loaves. This worked for 1 loaf sandwich bread and about 4 rolls. Baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, then went down to 325 for 10 minutes. I took the rolls out before turning the temperature down.


This is soft, light, and perfect for sandwiches. Both my husband and I like the fact that it isn't too heavy, yet it's 100% whole wheat. Considering the fact that none of my projects have been going completely right lately, this success (and one other that I'll mention on my other blog once I've figured it out *without* it being a slight accident) makes me feel good again.


Now I think I can tackle David's San Joaquin Sourdough. ;)

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Stephanie Brim

 Trial One


First up: the Failure.


They were completely sourdough, but something wasn't quite right. They got a bit too puffed. I'm thinking that the fact that I let the dough come back up to room temperature had something to do with that. I should've boiled straight from the fridge, then baked. It could also be that I didn't get them stretched out quite enough, either.


The taste, though? Perfect. Exactly what I want.



Second: the Success.


This is another basic sourdough rye. No caraway, no sugar...just flour, salt, water, and starter. No complaints. Time to get out the mustard. Or maybe the corned beef...


Just to show that I've been baking. Not neglecting my hobby this week. :)

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Stephanie Brim


This is what I get for trying a new starter.


This was not sour. I'd love to find out why. Write-up is here on my blog.


100g very ripe starter


944g flour


633g water


20g salt


Seriously, best tasting bread ever. At least to me. But it isn't sour. It's complex. Kinda nutty. But no tang at all.


I think my starter is more yeast than bacteria.

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Stephanie Brim

So here we are...baking again. Thank God. Seriously. Grocery store bread really does suck. Eating that crap through my entire pregnancy almost killed me. Since the bouncing baby boy is now sleeping a lot better than before, baking once again commences.


Eric's Fave Rye


This was a riff on Eric's Fave Rye. I forgot the sugar and caraway so it isn't really right. I plan on making it again.


My Daily Bread


This was my final formula for my everyday, I-need-something-tasty-that-I-can-be-lazy-with bread. The write-up on my new and improved blog is on my new and improved blog.


Next up I'm hoping to tackle San Joaquin Sourdough and some bagels. All this week.


Maybe a little too ambitious?

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Stephanie Brim

I have a problem. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?


So here I am, 7 weeks after giving birth to a wonderful baby boy...and I have 12 loaves of bread in various stages of becoming tasty, crusty goodness.


I am not a professional. I do not have one of those nice ovens that will fit all this bread. I have no couche for the insanely wet rosemary potato bread other than the piece of thin natural linen that I picked up at the fabric store for half off. I have to bake loaves 3 at a time, part of the time on a half sheet pan, so that they all get done at the right times.


The smell wafting through my house, though...heaven. Really. The smell of bread baking makes up for the hours of hard work I've put in over the last 24 hours.


Really, the hardest part was making the dough last night. My husband works second shift, meaning he's gone from about 2:30 until about midnight, so during the time I was mixing up doughs I had both kids to take care of, some laundry to do, dishes to keep up with, and dinner to make for Rinoa and I. Not only did I get everything done, but I figured I'd have time to do not only the baked potato and rosemary potato breads that I planned to take to Christmas as gifts, but also a loaf or two of real gingerbread to have with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


I think I've renewed my confidence in my ability to successfully multitask. I quit baking while I was pregnant because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to spend enough time with my daughter after having the new baby and that she'd be forever scarred by my inability to play with her constantly. I can't believe I thought that now, but pregnancy does strange things to you. I now know that I can do my baking, which is something I do for myself as much as to provide my family with the best food possible, and still not neglect my family.


I have to admit that this crazy baking spree was most likely not the best way to reacquiant myself with my rational mind.


I'll share pictures when I'm done. Just thought I'd share my brain today. :)

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Stephanie Brim

The first is that I'm no longer pregnant. I actually gave birth to my baby boy on October 31st. :D


The second is that I'm baking again and I plan to continue doing so. I've missed home-baked bread after all the grocery store crap we've been eating lately due to me not feeling like baking. I have a new sourdough starter going, a loaf of white whole wheat bread in the fridge retarding until tomorrow, and tonight for supper I made pizza with a home made crust for the first time in almost 6 months. It's a good start, and I really hope to keep going this week with a couple of things: a rosemary potato bread and a cinnamon raisin oat bread. Making the potato bread, though, means I have to go outside and dig what's left of my rosemary out of the almost 2 feet of snow that my husband decided to pile on top of it.


The trials we bakers must go through to create our masterpieces.


It's good to be back. Now that I've spent some hours going through the blogs again, I do believe I have some inspiration for the weeks to come.

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