The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blogs

  • Pin It
ANNA GIORDANI's picture
ANNA GIORDANI

 

Adoro la Farina di Frumento Integrale e il Lievito Madre. Una metodica attenta nella sua lavorazione, ci regala prodotti dal gusto e dalla consistenza straordinari.

Adoro affondare le mani nel sacco della Farina per poter percepire quella impalpabile e setosa consistenza, resa un po' grossolana dalla crusca del chicco.

Adoro impastarla, lentamente, senza stressarla per assecondare la sua idratazione e la sua elasticità.

Adoro la magia dell'impasto che lievita e comprendere le leggi della fisica e della chimica.

Adoro che nel più assoluto e rigoroso silenzio avvenga il processo della sua trasformazione.

Adoro stare davanti al forno in attesa che si compia l'alchimia della cottura del pane.

E sono felice quando penso che in tutto ciò ci sia anche un po' di me, anche se in fondo ho aggiunto soltanto un pizzico del mio ingrediente segreto: 

LA MIA E LA VOSTRA PASSIONE.......

A presto e buon fine settimana a tutti voi, carissimi amici.

Anna

http://ilchiccoelaspiga.blogspot.it/2015/01/lievito-madre-e-farina-di-frumento.html

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Nothing really special or adventurous here. Baked some seeded loaves and kept one for some cheese that I thought would be a perfect pairing (it was). As I sat down in the sunshine and took the first slice, I decided to take a picture to share or at least to serve a record for myself. 

a_warming_trend's picture
a_warming_trend

Since discovering the wonderful challenge of sourdough, I've experimented with a wide range of levain percentages, fermentation times, proof times, etc.

Most of the sources I've read have warned against too-high-hopes for sourdough ovenspring. Sometimes, a baker just wants to see that sourdough CAN really get a rise. 

In my very limited experience: Preparing a dough with a significant percentage of levain + retarding during bulk fermentation + relatively short  room temperature proof = great ovenspring. Oh, and not getting too wild with hydration helps too...although I'm finding that it's hard not to add more water during bulk fermentation, even if I'm going for 70-72% hydration. Wetter dough almost feels "healthier" and easier to work with, but that's probably because I've been using slaps and stretches rather than traditional kneading. The levain in this formula is about 28% of the final dough.

Whenever I  have tried to use this high percentage of levain in a cold-proofed loaf, I have unwittingly over-proofed over night. Such a bummer. See, I really feel like the bulk needs to be at MINIMUM 2.5 hours, with stretches, in order to adequately develop gluten. Retarding during bulk rather than proof seems so much more forgiving, and that's why it's included in this particular formula. 

The Confidence Formula:

Day 1, Morning: Create Levain

100 g 100% SD starter

100 g AP FL

100g water

Ferment for 8-12 hours

Day 1, Evening:

Mix 350g flour (whatever combination of types) with levain

Add 220-240g water

Rest (this is sort of a "faux-autolyse," emphasizing the exclusion of salt over the exclusion of leaven...)

Rest for 30 minutes

Add 11 g salt

Add 5 g malt 

Stretch and fold every 30 minutes for 2 hours 

Rest on the counter for 2 hours

Refrigerate for anywhere from 6 to 72 hours

Day 2

Shape and proof for 1.5 hours

Bake at 450 for 30 minutes with steam, 15-20 without. 

Good Spring! Always good spring with this levain percentage, slightly lower hydration, and approach to bulk fermentation. And a more open crumb than I might have imagined for this goal!

Some bonus pics from the week: SD baked with Lagunita's Brown Shugga beer, and a browned butter SD that tasted sort of like brioche! 

 

One thing I will say is that the crust is never as magically blistered with a shorter proof as it is with a long cold proof. But the flexibility of long cold bulk, and the spring...I'll take the trade, at least some of the time!

The grand SD experiment continues.....

--Hannah

 

 

jeano's picture
jeano

 

Also holes. Hammelman's whole wheat Levain, with a bit of spelt extricated from the depths of the freezer.

magic big fang's picture
magic big fang

I am a Chinese ,and I just arrived in America last month to accompany my husband who studys further in NY.Before I went abroad,I have been interested in bakery and tried to do some cakes and breads. In Shanghai ,I was busy finishing my study so that there weren't much time for me to realize my hobby.Meanwhile,some ingredients are unavailable in shanghai. I'm glad that I have a better condition for bakery now.

In my country, a number of people like bakery as well.They recommended the book <The Bread Baker's Apprentice>.The recipes from Pierre herme are popular,too.So,i wonder what is the most popular baking book for amateur.I am a new hand ,and I have desire to improve my baking skill. Could anyone give me some advice?Thx a lot!

 

 

magic big fang's picture
magic big fang

I am a Chinese ,and I just arrived in America last month to accompany my husband who studys further in NY.Before I went abroad,I have been interested in bakery and tried to do some cakes and breads. In Shanghai ,I was busy finishing my study so that there weren't much time for me to realize my hobby.Meanwhile,some ingredients are unavailable in shanghai. I'm glad that I have a better condition for bakery now.

In my country, a number of people like bakery as well.They recommended the book <The Bread Baker's Apprentice>.The recipes from Pierre herme are popular,too.So,i wonder what is the most popular baking book for amateur.I am a new hand ,and I have desire to improve my baking skill. Could anyone give me some advice?Thx a lot!

 

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The Sourdough Seed Bread was one of the first formulas I baked after buying Hamelman's Bread, and I thought it was one of the best tasting breads I had every had. I believe it's been  more than two years since I have baked it, and I wondered why I hadn't made it more often after tasting a slice last night. It is really good.

I made a bit over 2 kg of dough and divided it into 3 equal pieces. In order to bake all three at once on my baking stone, I shaped two bâtards and one boule and placed them with the bâtards kind of in an L configuration and the boule between the two arms. It worked well. 

This bread always has really great oven spring and bloom for me.

The crust is very crunchy.The crumb was quite tender and pretty open. The aroma and flavor of the flaxseeds is very present in this bread. I happen to like that a lot.  The bread is delicious plain or toasted. I had a slice last night with a thin spread of sweet butter and had a couple more slices toasted for breakfast with almond butter and apricot preserves. It's also very good with cheese. Just good bread.

David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working on a Polish Rye recipe.  I baked it again this weekend and this time took notes.

Preferment

  • 180g AP flour
  • 120g water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of instant yeast

Final dough

  • All of the preferment
  • 120g rye flour
  • 460g AP flour
  • 40g potato flour
  • 12g sea salt
  • 30g barley malt syrup
  • 3g yeast
  • ~360g warm water

The colour comes more from the malt syrup than the rye flour.  Still not perfect, but we really like it.

 * * * 

Unrelated, but I also realized this weekend that TFL is 10 years old as of yesterday.  The first post is here.  Kinda neat... I certainly did not foresee that it'd end up growing to be such a rich community of bakers from all around the globe. 

 

zillfat26's picture
zillfat26

a sea of info. think i am more confused now . will have to wade through it.

 thanx again zillfat

proth5's picture
proth5

It has been my great good fortune to have interacted with a number of extraordinary individuals – some of whom have become my teachers (some in the area of baking). It has also been my great good fortune to have been able to bake in various kitchens and bakeries throughout my baking life to date.

(I feel compelled to say here that one of these extraordinary teachers – in an area far removed from baking – would remind me that it was not so much good fortune, but that I sought out these opportunities, managed priorities in my life, and was willing to work hard so that I should be able to pursue them. However, I do feel fortunate and am grateful that both chance and will have allowed me the experiences I have had.)

So last week I headed to the great northeast – where driving seems to be some kind of competitive sport – to bake.

Of course, as the blog title suggests, everything was different: the work surface, the doughs, the mixers, and the shaping methods. No friendly wooden surface with its unique combination of being non-stick yet slightly “grippy”, rather stone with its qualities of cold and absolute smoothness. Every shape (and pre shape for that matter) was made in a way that I had never done it and although the mixers were familiar to me, most of the work would have been faster and easier in my beloved spiral. Although I will often say my oven has no “soul”, the wind tunnel of an oven we baked in was never meant for hearth breads and each batch pulled from that heartless thing is a triumph of skill and persistence over the machine.

In short, everything I knew was wrong, but for me this was far from the first time this has happened (and while I will not tell the story, it recently happened in a particularly spectacular way) and I have learned in such situations that it is best to be humble, empty oneself, and learn as though for the first time. 

What I have found is that when the vessel is emptied, not only does it make room for the new, but actually grows in capacity. Certainty is replaced with curiosity and for the curious, the days fill with wonder.

This may be applicable to many things, but when making breads to another person’s specifications (for I was there to learn more than to teach and we all should control the bread that comes from our own kitchen), it is essential. And although Varda did some amount of fussing at many of my loaves, I did my best to use her methods and most loaves came out looking pretty much like hers.

Except…

My braiding (and I’ll contend that the braid she was using is supposed to come out like that – but it was her bread, not mine) was naturally much more linear than hers, I contented myself with dividing and pre shaping. I could have learned her twist on the method, but there was no sense in my slowing down the process.

Varda puts a special finish on the ends of her baguettes which I could do, but, as it turns out, in my own specific style. It wasn’t enough of a difference to make the baguettes not acceptable, but it was a difference caused by my hands and how I approach rolling dough on the bench and was enough to identify my loaves.

It was the baguette shaping that caused me to think of the nature of this craft (for it is a craft) of bread baking.

Once I heard one of my extraordinary teachers discuss why he had chosen the equipment he had for his well-equipped (and well-funded) bakery. He had purchased a large, state of the art hydraulic divider (much better than the old mechanical dividers) but had declined to purchase machines to do shaping and pre shaping even though these fast and effective machines might produce more consistent loaves. His rationale was that dividing was a solitary and mechanical process (although skill comes into play in cutting the dough into nearly the correct weight before putting it on the scale) no matter how it is done. But he looked at the bakers who were pre shaping and shaping and they were clustered around the bench talking and laughing. Shaping equipment would reduce this group to solitary individuals feeding machines. His first consideration was to create a good life for the bakers in his employ. Most hobby bakers bake alone (and I am certainly one of them most of the time), but as Varda and I stood in the same kitchen chatting about various things we were doing, I began to regain a better sense of the community of bakers, and not in that somewhat over sharing and yet impersonal realm of the on-line community, but in the world where a hand can reach over and feel the dough, correct the mistake right away, or laugh together when, once again, one of the bakers (well, me..) talks to the bread.

The second consideration was that in his bakery, although consistency was important, retaining the subtle differences in loaves made with hands and skill was just as important. Baking is a hand craft, and consistency is not uniformity. While the risk is always that with hands there can be bad days, with machines there can never be exceptional ones. Bread is being made, but it is the baker, the baker, who is always central.

There are those who contend that our understanding of symbols (for what are words but symbols - pale representations of vibrant realities) may never change but I am not in their number. So as my understanding of the word “artisan” develops, I will say that while I washed what seemed to be an endless stream of the bowls and containers created by the baking process I found myself thinking about being both central and humble.

I did teach Varda a way more efficient pre shape, but will I be changing my methods? Not in my kitchen, not for my breads. No. I am very fast with my shaping, my breads carry my signature, and I am content with that. But I have been changed, and we can all hope for the better, by the experience of doing things someone else’s way yet again.  I am even more convinced (after closer reading of the Colorado Cottage Laws has informed me that I can sell  - with many restrictions – foods made at home) that baking hearth breads in a greater volume is more work (and investment) than I want to take on, although other baked goods and confections seem distinctly possible. I will be happy to return to a wooden work surface, but will miss the good company.

And I have adopted a new motto: “Bake wonderful brioche or the terrorists win!”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs