The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

TwoBreadedBoy's blog

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TwoBreadedBoy

So I've been gone for a while. I haven't posted here in 2 years or so, but I have been baking periodically. Here are a few recent projects, some of which I'll elaborate on if there's any interest. I've been doing what I can living in a dorm, but I'm a bit limited in my baking capabilities. 

Here's an attempt at making stencils for bread with a laser cutter from my University's library. This one is the name of my friend's residence hall. The bread itself is a miso-infused ciabatta

A pumpkin loaf from last month

A very nice loaf with 15% rye flour and some caraway seeds

Red bean buns

Mini croissants with laminated tangzhong dough

 

I hope to post here more often in the near future!

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TwoBreadedBoy

The thing I feared most about college was that I wouldn't be able to bake bread anymore. Turns out, however, that my dorm building has a kitchenette on each floor - equipped with a small oven that begins to smoke if turned to over 450 F. Good enough for me. Here are a few of the loaves I managed to bake while pursuing a dual degree in Computer Science and English Literature. I didn't have time to post them until now.

Zhavaronki (bird-shaped rolls)

Just some simple rolls, but shaped like birds.

 

Heirloom tomato, garlic and basil focaccia

Made with tomatoes from my garden back home - this was before my tomatoes died this winter

 

Pineapple Challah

Challah with pineapple juice instead of water. It has a slightly sour flavor, but is by no means bad.

Maple Rye

This is basically a deli rye with some maple syrip added. The flavor is very good, but it came out a bit flat (not dense, just a flatter shape than I wanted). I tried starting the bread in the microwave to maximize oven spring. I then transferred it to the oven to brown it.

Anadama

I used Peter Reinhart's recipe, but shaped it into a boule.

Rye and Indian bread with blue corn

I recreated a bread that has waned in popularity but was more commonplace when there was more rye production around here ("here" being Connecticut). I used only rye flour and blue cornmeal (no wheat). The bread was a bit undersalted and bland. However, toasting it drastically changed its character and made it much sweeter.

Rustic/ugly sourdough

Very standard sourdough bread. The crumb turned out nice.

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Made this with my apprentice while visiting him. He happened to have some cultured butter.

Borscht Bread

I replaced the water in this whole wheat sourdough bread with borscht and some liquid smoke (which I'll use less of next time).

2 Hydration bread

This was a little experiment of mine. I made a starter with some tomato/pepper yeast water and used it to make 2 doughs: one at 50% hydration and another at 80% hydration. I rolled the very dense dough out and wrapped the wet dough in it. I then slashed it to help it expand, let it proof and slashed it again just before baking. The idea was to help the bread keep its shape and produce a range of textures - a denser bread from the outer part and a lighter one in the center. The dense dough also formed a much crisper crust than wetter doughs tend to.

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TwoBreadedBoy

One of my favorite parts of baking bread is the scoring. It gives me a chance to get a bit creative and end up with a great-looking loaf. I am, however, no expert on scoring bread. It occurred to me that a good way to get some control over the way my slashes look would be to attempt some calligraphy. This worked nicely with a sourdough boule, made with a portion of whole wheat flour. I thought Hebrew would be the best language to attempt the slashes in, as the shapes of the letters remind me a lot of bread slashes. So here it is, along with a picture of the crumb.

 

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TwoBreadedBoy

I felt I owed the good people of TFL an apology for my previous bread (which, oddly enough, was very good!). That apology, it seems, will have to come in the form of these nice little dark rye batards.

The idea for this bread came from the Youtube Channel Rus Brod. He has some excellent recipes for scalded rye breads, usually made according to GOST. However, his recipes are all in Russian. This one, however, seems to have come from a German recipe. While he shaped his dough into a sort of boule (Though with such a high percentage of rye, shaping is very different from a wheat bread) and placed it in a proofing basket seam side down. However, I stuck these in baskets for half the second rise and flipped them out onto parchment paper to score them. I then let them continue rising on the parchment paper for the next half of the second rise. I followed the recipe from the youtube user, except I only had dark rye flour. Therefore, instead of being partially composed of light rye, all the rye in this recipe is dark. I made up for this with a couple of teaspoons of of vital wheat gluten. I also used substituted part of the beer in this recipe with yogurt whey (and fed my starter with whey). I cut down on the baking time as well, as I made two loaves instead of one. Anyway, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to taste it.

 

If anyone is interested in making this bread or would like recipes for Russian scalded rye breads, I would be happy to translate some.

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TwoBreadedBoy

We bakers are always looking for creative ways to extract lots of flavor from grains. For me, the search for flavor took me to my local supermarket.
There's not much to a lean dough in terms of ingredients, is there? Just some water, some flour, some salt and (if I'm not making sourdough) some instant yeast. Bread always appealed to me because you could make an excellent loaf by virtue of your baking skills, rather than the quality of ingredients you can afford. Sure, the $6 flour may be a bit better than the store brand stuff. However, at the end of the day, I know that if I give my bread plenty of time to develop flavor and handle the dough firmly but respectfully, I can produce a loaf better than someone who uses the fancy flour, but skimps on fermentation time or abuses the dough. Musicians often say that a good player can make bad equipment sound good, but a bad player can't make good equipment sound good. I guess the same is true of bread.
I had just begun to contemplate this when an old friend called out to me.


"Hey there. It's me, Shaq. I'm only 2 for $1"
"Shaq? Is that you?" I saw him in the distance: Arizona shaq-Fu Grape Punch.
"You know exactly what to do."
I did. It was all so obvious. How had I not put it together before now? If good bread can be made with poor quality ingredients, then GREAT bread can be made with only the most disgusting ingredients! Time to make a mockery of the art of baking!

I came home with two bottles of the punch. I took a few sips from one. I almost vomited. It was sugary and tasted like watered down grape and pear juice. The ingredient list confirmed my suspicions. It was watered down grape and pear juice with a lot of sugar. Fantastic.

Here's the recipe I used:

Poolish
350 g All-purpose flour
350 g Shaq-Fu Grape Punch
1 g yeast

Since the punch is so sugary, I only gave it a few hours at room temperature (at which point it was already very bubbly) and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I added the following:

85 grams All-purpose flour
3 grams yeast

I let this ferment for about 2-3 hours, stretching and folding occasionally.
I then preshaped it into a ball, tightened it after 20 minutes and put it in a proofing basket to rise for an hour, after which I stuck it in the fridge again. To be honest, I think it overproofed (due to the large amount of sugar in the punch). This caused the final loaf to be a bit flat (the inside doesn't seem dense. The loaf itself is just a but wider than it is tall).

 

I then preheated my oven with my baking surface and steaming apparatus.
I scored the loaf (to look like a basketball) and sprayed it with a little bit of water to delay crust formation.

I baked at 450 F for 10 minutes before removing the tray of hot water from the oven and letting the bread bake for another 20 minutes. I then glazed the loaf with a cornstarch mixture. It smells surprisingly good. The smell reminds me of a rosemary and grape focaccia I once made (though that had real grapes in it). I think Shaq would be proud of this loaf.

 


Well, I hope this little post has encouraged you to be disgusting like me and make bread out of strange liquids.

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TwoBreadedBoy

There were quite a few posts on this website regarding the Jewish Rye from Secrets of a Jewish Baker. I figured it was time I gave it a try. To be honest, I realized halfway through that the recipe I was using was for one loaf, not two, so I had to knead together 2 smaller loaves halfway into the second proof. Anyway, not too pretty, but very edible!

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TwoBreadedBoy

On my last day of high school, I decided to make each of my teachers a loaf of bread. One of my teachers was vegan and from Milwaukee. For him, I made this challah in which the liquid used is a lager and the eggs are replaced with avacado (and a tiny bit of lemon to prevent browning), giving the dough a unique green tinge.

I shaped the dough into a trefoil knot, which I was convinced would look cool. It didn't.

 Before baking, I glazed the dough with some molasses mixed with a tiny bit of water.

The bread was tasty, but a bit dense. I attribute this to the fact that eggs expand when cooked, while avacadoes do not. Perhaps this could be fixed with a bit of baking powder?

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TwoBreadedBoy

I've lurked on this website for quite a while and decided it was probably time to get an account.

I had recently gotten ahold of something called matsoon, a culture similar to yogurt or kefir, but from Armenia. Being the sort of person I am, I was determined to bake something with it.

I figured this would be similar to baking with buttermilk or yogurt, so I looked for recipes utilizing those. I found this one and made some slight tweaks. I had plenty of time, so I combined half a teaspoon of instant yeast with my matsoon, some honey and a cup of whole wheat flour and let it sit for a couple of hours. I then added the other ingredients. Even though this wasn't a lean dough, I couldn't resist shaping it into baguettes: one into an epi and the other into a circle.

The epi turned out very large, so the only thing large enough to bake on was a baking tray. However, the other loaf fit into a clay drip tray I usually use for boules.

 

 

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