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varda

I love spelt but not too much of it.  My high percentage spelt loaves have turned out fine, but somehow don't get eaten up, even by me.  Today I made a Pain au Levain with added Spelt and kept the spelt to 21%.   To my taste at least, this is ideal.   The resulting loaf has that special nutty fresh taste that spelt in small enough quantities provides.  

Using Janet's Cadco techniques plus my  new steel plate, I got some good ovenspring.  Perhaps too good.

I also wanted to come back to the fig anise bread.   I baked the La Brea formula several times, and it was a big hit, but I felt vaguely uneasy, as it is very sweet and incredibly figgy.    I decided to take it down a notch by leaving out the fig puree, reducing the sugar, adding some whole grains, and upping the hydration.   The resulting loaf seems just as figgy even without the puree, still quite sweet, and somewhat more interesting with the added whole wheat.   I accidentally added more water than I had intended, by a lot.   Despite being somewhat perplexed by how wet and slippery the dough was, it still handled reasonably well, and behaved properly.   If anything I would reduce the figs and sugar even more, and perhaps up the whole wheat.   In any case, this version was more satisfying to me than the original.   It almost seems that when you get a lot of figs in there it hardly matters what the underlying bread is made of as the figs conquer all.   

Some time ago, my husband and I ate out at a Portuguese restaurant in East Cambridge.    The bread was amazingly good.   The dinner not so much.   As this hardly ever happens (usually a good dinner is accompanied by just so-so bread) I needed to find out more.   The owner told me that the bread was Broa - Portuguese cornbread.    More questions didn't lead to more answers, as it turns out they don't bake it themselves.

I searched around, and didn't find much on Broa.   Clayton had a quite unsatisfying version in his book.   Then a comment on TFL led me back to my own bookshelf.  Greenstein has a recipe in his Secrets of a Jewish Baker, not really the place I expected to find it.   Greenstein uses volume measurements and it has been so long since I've baked using them that I felt all at sea.   I weighed everything and took notes so I would be able to figure out what I had done.   The dough was incredibly dry - almost like putty, and very salty - perhaps I misunderstood.   To make matters worse I used Masa Harina, and that was just a mistake, as the bread ended up tasting like tortillas.   When I went back and calculated percentages, not surprisingly the hydration was around 50%, and the salt was 2.6%!   Furthermore, the method used was very fast - not even a bulk ferment - and so I thought the flavor was pretty dull excepting the lime treatment of the corn flour which was not a plus. 

I went back to it, and decided to do things a bit differently.   I used starter instead of a boatload of yeast, upped the hydration somewhat, used remilled cornmeal for the corn flour (Greenstein's suggestion) and started over.   This was definitely an improvement, but I don't think I've come close to the delicious bread I had in that restaurant.   Anyone know how to make this authentically?

Happy New Year everyone.

12/28/2013    
Pain au Levain with Spelt   
 FinalStarterTotalBP
KAAP40412653079%
Spelt140 14021%
Water3818446569%
Salt12.2 12.21.8%
Starter210  19%
     
Total Flour670   
Total Dough1147   
     
Mix all and bulk ferment 3.5 hours in cold house
Cut and shape   
Proof 1 hour until soft  
Preheat oven to 500 - 45 minutes 
Steam 1 minute   
Slash, spray, and load   
Steam 1 minute   
Oven off 6 minutes   
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes  
400 for 10 minutes   

 

12/28/2013    
Fig Anise     
Less sugar, no fig puree, higher hydration 
     
KAAP1306219266%
WW85 8529%
Cornmeal12 124%
Hot water142 14249%
Water609015052%
Figs115 11540%
Sugar25 259%
Salt5.3 5.31.8%
Anise seed0.9 0.90.3%
145% Starter153   
     
Total Flour289   
Total Dough727   
     
Pour boiling water over whole wheat flour 
Stir and cover   
Rest for 1/2 hour   
Mix all but figs until strong  
Cut dried figs in quarter and mix in 
Refrigerate for 24 hours  
Remove and shape   
Proof  for 1.5 hour until soft  
Preheat hot oven to 500  
Steam 1 minute   
Slash and load   
Steam 1 minute   
Oven off 8 minutes   
Bake at 410 for 20 minutes   
12/24/2013   
Broa   
    
Starter   
KAAP15021% 
Water100  
    
Cornstarch mixture  
Cornstarch395.6% 
Cold Water40  
Boiled Water126  
    
Final Dough   
Corn flour15021% 
KAAP32046% 
Water150  
Salt111.6% 
Starter250  
 Cornstarch mix   
Total Flour700  
Total Water45064% 
    
Dissolve cornstarch in cold water 
Mix in to boiling water  
Bring back to boiling  
then remove from heat and cool 
    
Mix all    
Bulk Ferment 2 hours  
Shape into boule and sprinkle with flour
Proof for 1 hour  
until flour on top cracks  
    
Preheat 500   
Steam for 1 minute  
Load and steam for 1 minute 
Turn off for 5 minutes  
Bake at 440 around 30 minutes 

 

 

varda's picture
varda

I've been baking a lot lately, as I try to master my Cadco oven.   Some breads come out better than in my conventional gas home oven, others not so  much.   The other day I made challah, and it came out better than ever.   Unfortunately I didn't take good notes, so I'm not quite sure how I baked it.   I did one six strand loaf and the other seven.   The seven was strangely flat and boring.   I guess I need a fancier braiding regime. 

Awhile ago, I tried another La Brea bread - currant buns with a liquid rye sour and a fairly low hydration.   While they were tasty, I wasn't quite happy with them.   So I tried it my way with my drier rye sour and a higher hydration.

I made both loaves and buns.   Using Janet's regime (turn off the oven for a few minutes after preheat and a couple minutes of steaming then on again)   my loaves open consistently but I've only got a really good ear once and of course didn't take a picture. 

I made the buns by rolling into a thick log and then curling them up.   The spiral is largely lost in the bake but you can see it a bit.

These are really tasty, but need a few more currants to push them over the top:

 

I got a steel sheet that fits on a full shelf in the oven.   This can be baked on directly like a stone, but today I baked on a baking sheet on top of it.  

 

12/15/2013    
Currant Rye   
     
Hi Gluten627 62780%
Rye 15315320%
Water47012259276%
Currants85 8511%
Salt14 141.8%
Rye sour (80%)275   
     
Flour780   
     
     
Mix all    
Very wet but strong   
Put in refrig at 5 pm until 10:30 next morning
Shape into loaves and buns  
Proof 40 minutes   
Preheat oven to 500 for 40 minutes 
Steam without opening for 2 minutes 
Slash, spray and load bread  
Steam at 500 for 1 minute (actually around 450 as
heat lost when door opened)  
Turn off oven for 7 minutes.  
Turn on again at 425.   
Remove rolls after 12 minutes  
Reduce heat to 350 and bake loaves 10 more minutes
varda's picture
varda

I have been meaning to make pulla for awhile, ever since various intriguing posts on the subject.   I followed a combination of jarkkolaine (formula) and Julie J.  I only had cardamon pods, so sort of stripped them and crushed them in my coffee grinder.   Not so easy.   The cardamon makes this incredibly tasty.    I am guessing that adding either a poolish or making these sourdough would make these even better, but that could be gilding the lily.     

I tried this with infusion and sourdough today.   They look pretty similar to the above, but definitely prefer the sourdough version.   These were alarmingly delicious.   This is a simple change to Jarkko's formula and uses Julie's finishing instructions.

12/8/2013     
Cardamon buns     
 FinalStarterTotalBP 
KAAP20050250  
Milk125 12550% 
Water 333313% 
Butter45 4518% 
Sugar38 3815% 
Eggs13 135% 
Crushed Cardamon2 20.8% 
Salt2.5 2.51.0% 
67% White Starter83    
      
Butter dabs     
Egg wash     
Powdered Sugar     
      
      
Heat milk (microwave 1 minute)   
Add crushed cardamon and let sit around 20 minutes
Mix all ingredients but butter until strong  
then add chopped room temperature butter  
bit by bit until incorporated    
(I used Bosch compact for all mixing)   
Bulk Ferment around 2 hours with 1 S&F  
Shape into 6 balls     
and proof on tray with parchment around 30 minutes
Press thumb down in middle of each bun  
Put a dab of butter in the indentation   
Eggwash and then sprinkle with white sugar  
Bake for 14 minutes oven preheated to 360  
then reduced to 325    
with convection on     

 

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varda

I love Jewish Rye, but haven't quite got the angle on getting people who didn't grow up with it to love it.   My latest attempt - replace caraway seeds with charnushka.   At least it makes a dramatic presentation.   For good measure I also made a durum levain with black instead of white sesame.  

I'm still struggling with score openings in my convection oven.   Haven't quite got the right combination of temperature, time, and humidity.  The rye bread seems to shrug it off, but not the more tender whites (and yellows.)

Thanksgiving leftovers. Bread.   It may take awhile to cut into the rye.  More to follow.

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varda

Quick update on my Cadco oven.  It took an electrician doubling as an oven mover helper, an amateur plumber, and a fan, but it's now up and running, and I am starting to learn to use it.    No surprise but it requires lower temperature AND shorter baking time.   This fig anise bread took 30 minutes total, at first 400F, then 350F, then 300F as I kept lowering it to keep the crust from getting too dark before the inside could bake.   It looks a bit lonely in there doesn't it, but no way am I going to bake a big load of bread before I get to know its ways.    The fan on top is the amateur climate control specialist's solution to fluid condensing on the wall behind the oven.   Works like a charm.   No need for the $1000 condenser.

Onward and upward.

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varda

Recently a customer asked me to bake a fig anise bread.   She had bought a loaf from Standard Baking in Portland Maine, and loved it, but doesn't get up there often.   At first I was a little reluctant to go down this road, as I thought figs?   anise?   really?   but then decided to see what I could come up with.   A search on TFL revealed that there was just such a bread in Nancy Silverton's La Brea book.    As this has been on my list forever, I bought a copy, procured some dried black mission figs and anise seed, and put it together.   This morning I baked the loaf, cooled it and then dug in.   I have to say this bread is incredibly delicious.   The anise helps instead of hurts as I had worried.  The figs are absolutely decadent.   Sometimes it is good to listen to people (not always of course.)  

The crust of this bread comes out almost black.   Fortunately Nancy Silverton warns of this, or I would have thought I was burning the bread after only 30 minutes.   The only bread I've seen darker than this is Syd's squid ink bread.   But I didn't use any of that.

I must have read this somewhere on TFL as I'm hardly a gourmand, but this bread is just made to go with goat cheese.   What a treat.  

So two questions.   Has anyone been to Standard Baking?   (Karin?)    Any chance that this is the same bread as they sell there?    What is your favorite bread from  Silverton's book?   I can't wait to try something else.

varda's picture
varda

What could be more simple, or more difficult than a baguette?   It's safe to say that in the few months since I decided it was time to learn to make baguettes, I have tried around 20 different approaches.   Many of these failed, and many were pretty good.   Many followed along with strategies outlined by TFLers.    And yet a tweak here, a chainsaw there, and pretty soon I was off on my own.  

So many decisions when it comes to the humble baguette:

1. Hydration - Is it really ciabatta when you head north of 72% or is that the place to be?

2. Flour -  If you add whole grains is it still a baguette?

3. Commercial yeast and/or starter?

4. Bulk and/or shaped retard?

5. Are you allowed to use baguette trays?

Ok probably more but that's it for now. 

So here are my answers, and I have to say this is what I've arrived at, and certainly not where I started:

1.  I don't care if it "should" be lower.   The best tasting baguettes I can make are 77% hydration.   Lower the hydration and the baguettes look nicer, but the taste isn't quite as wonderful.

2.  I love whole grains, but none shall sully my baguettes.

3.  I can't believe this is the answer but commercial yeast is the way to go.

4.  Bulk retard for both flavor and schedule.   Shaped retard?   No, at least not with my approach.

5.  Hooray for baguette trays - a pox on flipping shaped baguettes around.  

Just to be clear, I worked very hard to create an approach that gave me a very short preparation time in the morning without shaping the baguettes the night before.    This was entirely a function of wanting to sleep until 5 am on farmer's market days and still arrive by 7:30 with fresh baguettes.   Also I wanted a baguette that I could make with minimal fussing, as they would be made at the same time as many other breads, so my fussing time was limited.

So to make one 16 inch (short) 300 gram baguette:

Bread flour (KAAP)  167g

Water 129g

Salt 3g

Active dry yeast .5g

Pour water into bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and wet thoroughly.   Add flour and salt.   Mix all in mixer to incorporate and then for 2 minutes more to develop.  This time is for Verona Assistent speed 1 which does a lot in a short time.  Development is moderate.   Use spatula to consolidate dough in center of bowl.   Cover and refrigerate immediately (around 33deg F) for 17 hours.   Remove, cut and preshape into logs very very gently.   Rest around 5 minutes.   Shape as gently as humanly possible.   Do not seal bottom seam with your finger - just use the pressure of the rolling out and the stickiness of the dough to close things up.   Flour bottom liberally and place in baguette tray.   Proof 40 minutes.   Score and bake at 480 with steam = pour around a cup of water into a perforated pizza pan on floor of preheated oven (preheated for 40 minutes) at beginning and then another round at 8 minutes.   Total bake is around 30 minutes.

Scoring these things is brutal - sort of like scoring jello.   At that point in the process the shaped dough is just kind of lying there flat and dead.   It's almost impossible to believe that the scores are having any effect whatsoever.   And then magically (as Larry has described) they start to puff up.  Every now and then I even get some bloom.

These are a tender little treat.

Is this my last word on the subject?   I doubt it.

Inspired and reminded by breadsong,  I put together a sesame semolina batard.   I had forgotten that you can make breads with durum without going up to 50+% durum flour, and I had forgotten what a great combo sesame and durum make.  

This is 20% durum flour, 80% bread flour, 67% hydration, 20% prefermented flour from 67% white starter.   Now all I have to do is learn how to braid it. 

Finally,  a friend of mine who is excited about my bread hosted a bread tasting for me at her home.   I baked six different breads for it, a lot of people came, and it went very well.   We put together a bread centerpiece that had all the breads in it but the Borodinsky, which surprised me by being the hit of the evening.

 

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varda

In addition to my recent foray into selling at the farmers market, I have also been doing a small bake to order business out of my house.   I post a few choices for one day a week, and people order a couple days in advance.   Then stop by and pick up.   This is very constrained as zoning regs say that only 6 people per day can come to the house to purchase.   It would take a neighbor complaint to make enforcement kick in, but obviously it could only grow so much.  

I started with a few friends, and then a few people who became friends, plus a few friends of friends.   A couple people order almost every week and have done so for months, and then several more people order regularly but less frequently.  

A woman I know who gets things done decided to hold a bread tasting for me - in other words she hosts and invites her friends, and I bake.    That's next week, so we'll see what comes of that.  

Picture above was taken just after the last bagel came out of the oven, but unfortunately after the first customer came and walked off with a few bagels and a baguette. 

varda's picture
varda

Lately I've been so focused on baking what I know consistently and well that I haven't tried new things.   Fortunately I am still a regular browser (if less frequent commenter) on TFL and there is a lot of new out there.   Josh (golgi170) has been posting one interesting bread after another, and I haven't had a chance to start let alone catch up.   Yesterday I decided to try his Sprouted Wheat Levain, that of the beautiful ear.    When I first saw this, I wanted to make it, but lacked the flours he used:   sprouted wheat and barley.   As these things happen, first one and then the other made its way into my cupboard.   No excuses.   Time to bake.  

Not only the flours were new.   Just about every bit of Josh's methods were new.   I resisted the urge to revert to Hamelman methodology and just kept doing the new things even though I was mystified.   More on this shortly.

But first the taste.  Short story:  very good, very interesting, very sour.

Now a bit longer story.   This is a loaf with a kick to it.   If that were all, I wouldn't have been happy.   In addition to the sour, there are subtle undertones.   Furthermore, the crumb has a moist texture that is very pleasant and the crust is light and crisp.   Delicious.  Unfortunately we cut into the loaf so soon that the cut is a bit ragged in the picture above.   Hope you get the idea anyhow.  

Now back to the methodology, formula, etc.   First difference for me at least, is that one of the interesting new flours went into the starter instead of final dough.   I usually let my starter be what it is (that is 67% hydration all white) and then make modifications elsewhere.   Here the starter is built with sprouted wheat flour which then is not introduced into the final dough.  

Final dough calls for malted bread flour.   I haven't been able to lay my hand on that.   Instead I used my usual KAAP.   The ingredients include malted barley.    Does that count?  

Second, a complex mixing protocol.   Long autolyse, then mix in starter, then salt, then after development add in some withheld water and mix again.  

Next two French slap periods.   Ok.   I'll admit it.   Here is where I bailed.   No way was I going to slap that wet dough around.   Instead I put it back into the mixer for a few seconds, at half hour interval, twice.  Half hour later, did stretch and fold in bowl.   Half hour later, stretch and fold on counter.   I think I got decent dough development, so hopefully that wasn't such a big deviation.    

Next long counter ferment - 4 hours.   Why so long?   Won't it over-ferment?   No I guess not.   And yet, my urge was to cut it short to 2.5 hours given the long retard ahead.   But I didn't.  

Josh says 8-12 hour retard.   Here my schedule got away from me, so I did 15 hours.   Perhaps less sour if I'd been able to get to it sooner? 

Then bake at very high temperature, for 50% shorter than usual.    Eeek.   Why so hot?   Why so short?  But really lovely crust came out of that.  

So with all that, different, delicious bread.   Can't argue with that.  

And did I get Josh's beautiful ear?   No such luck.   A tame, even open.   Maybe next time.  

 

varda's picture
varda

One of the great things about TFL is that when I see an ingredient at the store, even though I've never used it before I know it will be good because of all the posts I've read.   So it was the other day while shopping at Costco, when a bag of Deglet Noor dates jumped into my basket and came home with me.   I've only eaten dates a few times, and don't like them so much as I find them too sweet and sticky.   Nonetheless, there they were and so had to be used.    The next day, I built up my rye sour way too much getting ready for market day and was on the verge of tossing the extra as I already had enough baking to do.   But then I remembered the dates.   So I pulled them out, cut them in half, and computing madly, made up a bread around them.    I made two loaves, a pan loaf and a hearth loaf.   The hearth loaf was so pretty I decided to sell it at the market the next day, but we ate the other one.    When my husband tasted it, he announced that if I only wanted to make breads like that, it would be fine with him.    And really it was delicious.  

I may not like dates in general, but apparently I like dates in bread. 

Then my real baking for market day got going.   I made crown challahs, cherry almond whole wheat loaves, baguettes, Hamelman's Pain au Levain with mixed starters, and rolls made out of the same dough.  

The market was as slow as can be, but I still sold almost everything.   I traded two of the leftover loaves - one for corn, and the other for quiche.   Then had one baguette left to take home.   

I've learned a lot about baking larger quantities since I last posted using a lot of the great advice I got here.   Friday-Saturday I made 26 loaves and 10 rolls.   It is a lot of work, but easier as time goes on.   My last bake before running off to the market was a load of baguettes (8) and the rolls.   For some reason, my oven was just not hot enough and I couldn't get either the baguettes or the rolls properly browned before I had to go.   But they sold anyhow, and no one seems to mind a paler loaf or roll except for me.  

 

Date Bread   
     
      Final      Starter        Total          BP
KAAP400 40046%
WW300 30035%
Rye 16216219%
Water51013364375%
Salt16 161.9%
Dates146 14617%
Rye Sour295  19%
     
Flour862   
Dough1667   
     
Mix all intensely in mixer - dough is very wet
Bulk Retard at 10pm   
Remove after 10 hours  
Shape    
Proof    
Bake at 450 for 45 minutes with steam 

 

 

Cherry Almond Whole Wheat  
     
KAAP 434314%
Rye 414114%
WW218 21872%
Water1536321671%
Salt6 62%
Broken almonds35 3512%
Dried cherries50 5017%
Yeast2 21%
Starter72   
Sour75   
     
total flour302   
total dough611   
Preferment %28%   
     
    
Autolyse flour and water 1 hour   
Mix all until  relatively strong 15 minutes 
BF 2 hours   
Shape    
Retard 8 hours   
Bake at 450 with steam for 45 minutes 

 

 

 

 

Date Bread   
9/5/2013    
 FinalStarterTotalBP
KAAP400 40046%
WW300 30035%
Rye 16216219%
Water51013364375%
Salt16 161.9%
Dates146 14617%
Rye Sour295  19%
     
Flour862   
Dough1667   
     
Mix all intensely in mixer - dough is very wet
Bulk Retard at 10pm   
Remove after 10 hours  
Shape    
Proof    
Bake at 450 for 45 minutes with steam 

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