The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stephanie Brim's blog

  • Pin It
Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I made these last night.

Here's my blog post, plus the recipe.

In all honesty, the entire brownie baking night came about because I was bored and wanted something chocolate. The ranting about grocery store brownies was actually me being pissed at myself because I broke down and, instead of baking my much better tasting ones, bought some frosted ones at the store a few nights ago in a pregnancy-craving-induced spending spree.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I was inspired by David (dmsnyder) and his 5 hour baguettes. I needed a sandwich bread that was as lean as I could get it but was still very much soft crusted and soft of crumb. I've found it, I think, by slightly modifying the 5 hour baguette idea and adding one enrichment: olive oil.



Stephanie’s Simple Bread
Makes 1 small loaf


225g AP or bread flour
10g rye flour
15g white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
170g water


Mix ingredients in the bowl for your stand mixer until you form a shaggy mass. Mix, on low, for 5 minutes, then increase speed to medium for 3 or 4 more. I left this in a clean bowl for 75 minutes for a first rise, folding at 25 and 50 minutes, and 60 minutes for a second rise. Shaped carefully and proofed for 40 minutes, scored, and spritzed with water. Baked for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.


I posted the recipe on my blog, too.


So thank you David. Thanks also have to go out to Susan of Wild Yeast for inspiration due to the fact that I was browsing the Wild Yeast Blog when I thought about how good a simple bread would be with the locally homemade ham salad I bought today.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

So I'm planting my garden this year for the first time at this house. A couple years ago, while I was pregnant with Rinoa, I had a few tomato plants and a few pepper plants that didn't do too well because they were in an area with poor soil and way too much other stuff. This year I'm tilling up the backyard, finally, and doing things right.


I've noticed that, when I'm pregnant, I'm more prone to excess than when I'm not. I'm not saying that I'm not prone to it normally. Who isn't prone to going to excess at *something* now and again? Usually, though, it's just been too much bread. Easily taken care of when used to feed the birds. This time...things are slightly different.


I went to Wal-Mart. I hate Wal-Mart normally. I prefer buying my stuff at the local grocery store, but I do like going to Sam's Club occasionally...but that's beside the point.


I should get to the point.


I went into their garden section hoping to find a few tomato plants that I liked.


I came home that day with 28 tomato plants and 3 lonely zucchini. I then went to Hy-Vee, one local grocery store, and picked up 12 bell pepper plants and 4 more tomatoes, 4 little yellow squash seedlings. Gonna go back after they mark down some of the more expensive plants and get a few more bell peppers, some cukes, probably some acorn squash, sugar snap peas, and probably some carrots and green beans as well.


The real concern, though, is tomatoes. 32 plants. Add to that the fact that they'll produce right through until my first frost if I let them.


I think I'm going to need some sauce recipes, among other things.


I've thought of sauce (pizza and marinara), drying, canning whole and diced, salsa (I'll have to borrow some jalepenos from a friend). Can't think of anything else to do with them all. Even if you count only 5-6 pounds of tomatoes from each plant (which is conservative, I've heard, with the types I bought)...that's a lot of tomatoes. Canning time comes right around when I'll be 8 months pregnant, too. At least I feel good by then.


Anyone else know what to do with an overabundance of tomatoes? Of course there's giving them away or selling them, and I'm considering that, but first I want to think about what I can do to put them by. May as well get my money's worth.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Baked Potato Bread Photo


There'll be a better write-up on my blog,
mentalexperimental.org, but I wanted to thank Floyd for a good starter recipe. I'm still working on modifying this one. I think that I have the general consistency of the bread down that I want, but I want a bit more tang. I think that there may have to be a sourdough component to really get it where I want it to be. But that's a completely new bread.


This is Floyd's recipe with a few modifications. The first is adding a bit more sour cream. The second was adding cheddar cheese instead of chives. The third is the addition of half & half in the dough and the mashed potatoes.


I think that getting a stand mixer will help me with this type of bread the most. I mixed for 8 or so minutes on speed 2 and then folded twice during the bulk fermentation, giving it an hour at the end to come to full bulk. The crumb is light, fluffy, and very tender.


I'm writing the recipe on the blog now. I wanted to share the photo because I'm so proud of how this one turned out. :)

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I had to restart my sourdough starter due to neglecting it recently and, this time, I've made some interesting observations.


It's much more active this time around. I mean, really, really active. I fed it at around 10 AM and 3.5 hours later it's already doubled.  This is the 8th day and last time it took me 14 days to get to this point.  Also, the starter was taking 6 or so hours to double completely.  The only change from last time was that the house was warmer in the first days of the starter's life.  The 3rd day it was 80 degrees outside, and the 4th it was almost 90. The house got up to 75 the first day and 78 the next.  That would've been the time that the yeast would've started taking over. It seems that having the temperature warmer those two days helped the good stuff kill off the bad stuff without a problem.


The other observation I've made is that a 10 degree temperature fluctuation hasn't really mattered much to my starter. Once it got going, it has been nothing but smooth sailing since.


I can only conclude that if I keep my house between 70 and 80 degrees this summer and feed my starter twice per day that I will have a great one this time around. But the bread will be the real test. Tomorrow's bake will be Susan's Ultimate Sourdough. :)

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Adapted from the recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

I'm finding the sweet dough as he made it too sweet. 6.5 tablespoons of sugar is just too much to me. I reduced it a little in my final dough, but just by 1/2 a tablespoon. The next time I make this it will be with the amount I show here.

6 tablespoons butter, shortening, or margerine (I used butter, but that's a taste thing)
4.5 tablespoons sugar (evaporated cane juice here)
1.5 teaspoons salt (slightly course sea salt)
2 eggs
1 pound flour
2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup buttermilk

Cream first 3 ingredients. I proofed the yeast in about 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, lukewarm, then added that with the rest of the milk with the rest of the ingredients. I mixed for about 10-12 minutes by hand until the dough was starting to come together really well and the gluten had started forming, then did 2 stretch and folds at 40 minute intervals, letting the dough have an hour before shaping and proofing. I filled the rolls with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar and proofed them for about an hour before putting them in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.

This produced the lightest, flakiest cinnamon rolls I've made to date. I really love them. I have a feeling that this may become my go-to sweet dough.

Sorry about the no picture thing. Maybe tomorrow if they're not all gone. :)

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I'm wanting to start working with whole grains more.  I'm going to be working up to the lovely 5 grain that gaaarp posted.


The bread I baked today was thrown together out of need for a sandwich bread for the week that would go well with ham, our choice of lunch meat.  It needed to be relatively soft with a soft crust, as that's my boyfriend's preference, and needed to be slightly sweet to complement the salty ham.  The other thing I wanted was some sort of higher fiber whole grain flour thrown in.


Last night I had to feed my hungry beasties at around 10:30.  I pulled out my discard, fed my 100% starter as normal, and added 1/8 cup water and a little under 1/2 cup flour to the starter.  This produced a very nice, very firm starter, which measured about 166 grams.  I let that sit overnight.  I also measured out 125 grams of my 7 grain flour blend and mixed it with 100 grams of water in the bowl that I was going to make the bread in the next day. I covered that and let it sit overnight as well.


The next morning I was greeted by the sight of a very active firm starter (it had almost grown out of the bowl) and a very nice soaker.  I had set the stages for a very good bread.


We eat a lot of sandwiches so I needed a larger amount of bread.  I added to the starter and the soaker 265g of milk, 355g of flour, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of honey.  This made a total of slightly over 1000g total dough.  I kneaded it all together and let it sit for about 45 minutes, at which point I realized I forgot the salt and kneaded in about 2 1/4 teaspoons.  Then I stretched and folded once an hour for...3 hours or so?  The dough was pretty wet and sticky.


I proofed for an hour before putting it in the oven in a makeshift brotform: a wicker basket lined with a floured tea towel.  I put it on my stone in a slightly warm (but not fully preheated) oven for 45-50 minutes.  400 for the first 30, then down to 375 for about 10 minutes.  I left it in the oven after turning it off for about 10 minutes as well.


I pulled this out.


7 Grain Sourdough


7 Grain Sourdough Crumb


I'm very happy with how things went.  I'm really getting some good results with my sourdough.


Thanks again, gaaarp!

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

So my sourdough starter isn't ready yet. I've decided I'm going to baby it a little longer with three stirrings a day and lots of love. That being the case, I still needed to bake. This came about because I had oatmeal for lunch today. Strange lunch, I know, but sometimes you just have those cravings that must be heeded. I envisioned this as a soft-crusted bread with a dense but moist crumb and a decently caramelized crust. I wanted a little maple flavor, as well as the flavor of the brown sugar. I almost got it, but I think that this is still a work in progress. Not using instant oatmeal may be a start. It also needs a tad more salt than the teaspoon I put in. The only thing I'm lacking to make it completely from scratch is the maple syrup, which I'll get on friday, and I'll bake it again this weekend from old fashioned oats, brown sugar, and maple syrup. For anyone who still wants the recipe, it is below. I think I'm starting to get the scoring thing. These didn't blow out on the bottom. They were also better proofed than my last loaf. I let them sit for about an hour before baking. The real test of any bread making, for me anyway, is the appearance of the crumb. This is, by far, my best for a more dense loaf. I'm really loving what I'm learning here. I'm having a lot of fun baking (sometimes more than my boyfriend, our daughter, and I can eat, but it's proving to be very educational. Recipe: Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Bread - Take One Prepare the oatmeal: 1 packet instant maple & brown sugar oatmeal 1/2 cup water Mix and heat for 1 minute. It will be almost done, but not quite. Allow to cool to just warm. Assemble the rest of your ingredients: 3 1/3 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 2 tablespoons of butter 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar (very lightly) 1 egg, lightly beaten 2/3 cup milk (lukewarm) 1 1/2 tsp salt Disolve the yeast in the milk. In your large bowl you use for mixing the final dough, mix together the oatmeal, sugar, and egg. Once incorporated, mix in the milk. Once all this is well mixed, add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix until you get a thick paste. Add the rest of the flour in 1/3 cup increments until it's almost all in. If your cups are the same as my cups, it should take all but the littlest bit of the flour. If not, you want the dough to feel very sticky and barely hand-kneadable. Once mixed together so that there's barely any flour left in the bowl, rest for 10 minutes. After the resting period, turn the dough out onto your kneading surface and "knead", as well as you can, for a few minutes. 5 or so. Bulk ferment should be about 60-80 minutes. Mine was on the longer side because of the temperature of my kitchen. I stretched and folded the dough three times during this time. Got very good gluten development. Preshape and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes. Shape loaves, then proof for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Score and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 and bake until a thermometer reads 200 degrees or so.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

The story thus far:

I've used the starter recipe here and gotten myself a...blob. Nothing but a blob. It doesn't do much, isn't very entertaining, and I can't bake bread with it. However, it smells VERY nicely sour. I don't want to give up on it yet.

I fed it with 1/3 cup of white flour and a little under 1/4 water today. It is the consistency of thick paste.

So as I said in the tutorial thread, if I don't see action by tomorrow I'm going to feed it with 1/4 cup rye flour and 1/8 cup water and see what happens.

I'll keep things posted here so that I don't take up the other thread with personal experiences. :)

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

It's been a bit since I've baked. Bread has been bought at our house lately, which I'm not that happy with, and therefore I figured I should get in gear again. I wanted a bread that was relatively low fuss, so I decided on a reduced amount of yeast in a normal, slightly wetter dough.

I started with 2 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, and 1 cup water. Those were mixed and left in my oven for 5 hours. By this time the mass had tripled and was looking quite good. I mixed in 1/2 cup more water and 1.5 teaspoons salt, then flour 1/2 a cup at a time until I came to the right consistency for me...ended up being about 3.75 cups. It was a rather wet, sticky mass. I kneaded it in the bowl until it formed itself into something vaguely resembling a ball and stashed it in my refrigerator until morning. Woke up, took it out, let it come to room temperature. Once there, I shaped the dough into as nice a ball as I could manage and placed it into a bowl bottom up. I let that double. Baked at 425 for 20 minutes covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered, until the middle reached 200 degrees. I think it needed a little longer in the oven, but it turned out pretty well.

Photo of the 20 hour bread, whole loaf

Photo of the 20 hour bread, close-up of crack

Photo of the 20 hour bread, crumb

I think the next time I make this I'll not do a preferment at all. I really don't think it changed anything. I'll just mix up the ingredients, knead for a little while, and then stash in the fridge for a long fermentation. It'll probably turn this into 36 hour bread, but that's quite fine with me if the results are this tasty.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Stephanie Brim's blog