The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Syd-a's blog

Syd-a's picture

After my debut into the world of bread making with my first ever sourdough loaves and my bubbly new immature rye starter, I was keen to head back into the kitchen and try my hand at some bread again. I wanted to try something a little more robust, slightly darker and filling. My parents were going on a road trip up north the day after, so the answer was obvious, a hearty sandwich bread was in order.

Scanning quite a few web pages and looking in my bread book I stumbled upon a Golspie Loaf. A wonderful creation by the well known UK baker Dan Lepard in his excellent book "The Handmade Loaf". A tip of the hat to the classic bere bannock flour that was once milled in the highlands to make flatbread. It called for me to use my Rye levain and some oats, which I have wanted to use in bread making, so it was an easy and obvious choice. The recipe was simple (even better) and would make me try something new in a sandwich tin (still haven't solved my banneton issues yet, not going to waste good money on expensive bread baskets). Rye levain (75%), Wholemeal Flour (100%), Water (62%), Dried Yeast (1%), Sea Salt (2%), Oatmeal (19%). 400g Wholemeal flour provides enough for one loaf.

Using his low knead basis for bread making (intermittent 10-15sec kneads with 10min gaps), the dough was quickly and easily in place and ready to go in a 20cm oiled and oat coated sandwich tin. It looked a little flat to me, "shouldn't it be higher than this?" I thought to myself. A deep score through the entire bread to later divide into quarters the bread was good to go. Even after proofing and doubling in size I wondered if this could become a bread that coud hold fillings. 20min at 190C and a further 25 at 170C provided the answer.














 The Golspie rose wonderfully, covered in lovely smelling oats. Many of the oats were falling off (maybe I could have used some water to attach them to the dough a little better?), but there were many still there, especially coating the sides where the oil coating of the tin was. The desire to just cut into it and the obsession with seeing and getting the perfect "Crumb Shot", was a massive temptation. However, a bit of fresh air for an hours walk let it cool sufficiently, but then I couldn't wait anymore and it was time to cut and make some sandwiches.

Dividing the quarters the bread seemed to be a little doughy and I thought it must be underbaked. However, as you can see, the crumb was dense, but had an airyness to it and was moist. It also held together very well and provided a really stable base for sandwich fillings. Apparently it tasted really good too and went down a treat.











I had bought some very, very cheap and basic unglazed quarry tiles to act as a baking stone (instead of paying upwards of £40 for a stone I got 6 tiles for £4). They just had to be tested.

 I made some small granary rolls. These rolls were made using granary flour. A UK company Hovis makes the flour and it is essentially a wholemeal flour with toasted wheat flakes (17%). It gives a good taste and nice texture. The recipe was simple: Granary Flour (100%), Water (60%), Dried Yeast (2%), Salt (2%), Olive Oil (8%). Mix, light knead, proof, de-gas, final proof for 1h and into a hot oven (220C), for 20-25 min. Steam was created for the first 10min with a pan of cold water in the bottom of the oven. Unfortunately these turned out like little bricks. They were soft inside and tasted ok, but the crusty top was more brick like and I was not happy. I tried a new setting on the oven and I think it was the wrong choice.  

Hydration was a little off too, a little too low. Maybe I can increase hydration with wholemeal bread? The tiles worked great, they were very hot and conducted the heat perfectly. I have to test those properly with some sourdough again.








The Final Hurrah

To finish off I decided to whip up a basic almond and marzipan cake for my sister. Turned out to be pretty big but I am assured it tasted lovely and had a great yellow tinge inside from the golden marzipan I had used. So there we have it, another day in the kitchen and at least one decent loaf made and some valuable lessons learnt to take into the next bake.







Having spent a day or so thinking about it and looking through recipies I like the idea of country themed breads and baking. Having spent pretty much most of my life travelling and living throuout the World I thought it could be fun to do a theme bake every so often. So this time we had Scotland, I wonder where I will be heading next time.


Good luck with your bread baking and any tips or advice are very welcome and thanks for stopping by!


Syd-a's picture

Hi everyone, my name is Andy and I thought I would write myself a regular blog about my baking exploits. I am a novice, a beginner of the highest order. I have never baked, cooked or even made any food for myself for many years. On a personal note I suffer from severe anorexia and despite my illness, find therapy in making and creating things and bread baking seems to be something I enjoy immensely despite the contradictions of my issues with food.    Moving on from that, I have found real interest in developing a sourdough starter. When I ate normally, I was a bit of a bread snob, loved to buy artisan breads (when I had the money), and could easily eat many different varieties. As I got older and moved to Scandinavia, I discovered the world of sourdough and especially dark rye and pumpernickel breads. Nothing wrong with good old white bread for decent cheese on toast, but these fuller darker breads appealed immensely. Starting my own sourdough starter began as a semi impulse just a couple of weeks ago. I was worried initially when I began investigating how to dive into the world of sourdough. There seemed to be a multitude of horror stories, conflicting reports, good and bad advice and in the end, a massive amount of snobbery around artisan baking.    Hesitantly I decided to ignore all of that and begin an organic Rye starter. After a few days it was clear that I was diving in at the deep end, but the all of a sudden that bad smell and weak feedings gave way to sweet, yeasty, sour odours and big gains after regular feedings. If any beginner bakers are reading this, please start with the absolute easiest way to make a starter, flour and water and give it time. It really should work and if it doesn't, move on to the more advanced ways, but start simple, the simple way is almost always the right way. It was scary in the beginning when it smelt awful, like varnish, but it soon developed into a fruity, yeasty and lovely smell that I cannot stop sniffing. My starter is still maturing, but that hasn't stopped me trying this first recipie to give me 2 loaves. After bulking up my starter (tips here were very helpful to understand that overlooked process) to get the right amount needed for the recipie I was ready to go. Starter was nice and active about 10h after its last feeding and ready to go when I finished my morning exercise session.  My very first loaves were uploaded a couple of days ago and my Dad has destroyed them. They went down a treat and despite some long procedures and my limited experience (they were literally my first sourdough bakes and my 2nd loaf of bread EVER), there was some success. I posted earlier on these so will not repeat myself.  They tasted great (I even had a slice). However, I should add I have very few fancy pieces of equipment. NO bannetons, thermometers, baking stones or steam injection, just a basic equipped kitchen and a lot of hope and expectation. However, since that first bake a couple of days ago I bought some very cheap (60p) quarry tiles as a perfect baking stone/surface for that famed oven spring and tomorrow I will grab some cheap bread baskets as a substitute to those expensive (£10) bannetons. I need better shapes and formation techniques for my doughs. Then I will be diving in to the kitchen and giving some basic bread recipes a go to see what happens. In a heat test the tiles really conduct heat perfectly and efficiently, so I have high hopes. In the next hour I will drag my starter from its slumber in the fridge (to enhance the sour taste) and start a feed for later in the week and another levain based dough will hopefully be created and appear here. I hope someone will pop in from time to time and see how my bakes are going and hopefully this whole journey of bread making discovery will help me for the future. All the very bestAndy  

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