I had an odd experience yesterday making the dough for Tartine Country Bread.. I normally us KA AP flour - because I think it yields a softer textured crumb - I had found that using KA bread flour was easier to work with - but once I got more comfortable with slap and fold, etc. - working with all purpose was fine. I had some bread flour left over that I wanted to use - so I used it and 10% wheat flour with the standard recipe yesterday. I do the initial mix in a spiral mixer. What was odd, was that during the initial mix, the doug came together unusually quickly - in less than 3 minutes of mixing I had a very cohesive ball. A let it autolyse for about 25 minutes and then added the salt (Black Diamond Kosher) and 50g more water to bring the dough to 75% hydration.. Usually when I add the water and the salt, the dough comes apart and then comes back together... this time - the dough stayed in a cohesive mass (one chunk broke off - but stayed as a separate piece (still using spiral mixer)). I added 50 more grams of water (now 80% hydration) - but the dough didn't really come apart. To avoid over kneading, I turned off after 4 minutes and put it into a large plastic tub that I always use for the bulk ferment. The dough already felt developed at this point in terms of elasticity - also strange. I then ended up having to go to an unexpected appointment after the first turn (30 minutes into the bulk ferment). Because I was going to be gone for several hours, I put the dough in the refrigerator to retard the bulk ferment. I was gone for about 3.5 hours - when I returned, I completed the 2nd turn. Again, the dough already seemed to have very high elasticity and the texture was like a fully proofed dough. At any rate, i did two more turns and then did the initial shaping about 5 hours later. During the initial shaping, the dough had high elasticity and essentially maintained it's shape as a ball (never had that happen before). 30 minutes later I did the final shape and again put the dough back in the refrigerator and then slashed and baked it about 7.5 hours later. here is the result. It's been quite dry in Northern California where I bake - I'm not sure if that's why the flour absorbed so much flour so quickly - but the bread turned out surprisingly well given all the timing errors through the bulk ferment and the final proofing. The crumb texture is also remarkably tender for using bread flour.. I'm a bit confused about why it had such significant oven spring.
UPDATE: Dear TFL-ers; here some more impressions of my macaron adventures :-)
A macaron has little to do with bread, unless your name is Pierre Hermé, and are raking in the dough on these little babies...
Nevertheless I have the guts to go totally off topic and ask your help in making a shortlist of macarons. After feasting your eyes on the options, I hope you're willing to cast your vote at the end of the post! I promise the next one will be healthy and hearty again, okay? :-D
To the Fullest
In the last couple of months I have taught myself to make a wicked macaron. They are hip, they are cool and every body will tell you how hard it is to make them, including me...
/>But guess what, it ain't half bad, once you get the hang of it!
And once making those macaron shells has become second nature to you... that is where things really become interesting!
It took me two batches to find out that in order for me to really like a macaron to the fullest, it needs to be not overtly sweet. Since the sugar parameters are practically set in stone in a macaron recipe, the only thing left to do is play with the flavors.
Another important factor to make the macaron live up to its expectation of utter exquisiteness, is to come up with a combination of flavors, rather than a single one. Eating it has to be like an adventure into unknown lands, or at times exactly those places you know your way around with your eyes closed.
Pierre Hermé is a master at this, and this whole macaron "revival" can be directly credited to him. His book on macarons has quickly become a hit, and when you start baking out of it, you understand why.
From the "classics" to the "fetish", all the way through to the "exceptions" you never stop being amazed at what he comes up with; wasabe and grapefruit, chestnut and matcha green tea, there's even something in there involving Heinz Ketchup...
Help me choose!
Here are some takes on Hermé macarons from the BreadLab kitchen. You can really do me a favor by letting me know which one of these flavor combinations you would try first, or like best! There's a poll at the end of this post, to make it easier for you (well, there is some scrolling involved...), but if you like to; feel free to leave a comment, it's very much appreciated :-)
(You will help me put together a very special gift for a very special person! but shhhht about that!)
Enjoy, and happy baking.
Chestnut Matcha Green Tea Macarons (Hermé's recipe)
Another delicious and very interesting recipe from Freerk.
Thank You, Freerk!
I had planned on baking these in after an overnight in the frig. but no room left with the four loaves of that went in a little earlier for a long proof. I'm sure Mike will be happy. He will have a great snack when he comes in from work.
They sprang up very nicely in the oven after a cozy warm proof in the B&T bread proofer. I did bake them at a little lower temperature of 450F and a little longer, apx. 13 minutes.
The lemon zest is lovely in these rolls. I use the whole lemon peel from a very large lemon off my tree.
No I'm not at Erik's house 'lol' these look just like his..two tiered in the B&T proofer.
They are tasty and have a lovely crumb..not to sweet, just right to enjoy anytime.
kitchen lights don't help the photo, but here's a crumb shot.
This is my first project from the many breads that I found interesting in Bernard Clayton Jr.'s book, "Breads of France", first printed in 1978. I obtained the copy I'm reading through an inter library loan from McPherson, KS, which is deep in the heart of Kansas and wheat growing country. The book is a 1978 copy. Mr. Clayton's formulas are written down in volume measurement so I used a calclator, pad, and pen to scratch out my weight measurements. That's the penalty I pay for not having learned how to use a spread sheet. This must be an obscure if not quite forgotten bread because both Bing and Google searches failed to turn up any formulas on line that I could find.
The bread isn't quite a flat bread as Mr Clayton described it nor is it a focaccia type bread despite the estimated 77% hydration. With stone ground whole wheat flour accounting for 44% of the flour and some wheat germ added, the bread has a nice dark crumb. The WW flour is used in both the preferment and sponge so there's little if any bitterness from the WW. I expect that the formula could be adapted for use with a sourdough starter. It goes well with hearty soups that I like to serve in wintertime. Mr. Clayton wrote that the bread was considered as a "pain de regime" or diet bread in France at the time the book was written.
I wouldn't say that my formula has been perfected yet. There were enough details in the formula and procedures that puzzled me the first time around so I think that I'll have to go back to this loaf again. However, I posted my procedures and weight measurements along with some aimless chatter on my blog. Don't expect a professional formula please. If you should share my interest in the loaf and actually try it for yourself, I hope that you'll share your successes and mishaps with me.
I recently got some emmer (farro) flour from bluebirdgrainfarms.com ( link ) and have made 3 loaves with it so far. I got interested in emmer after researching biblical era bread making. This post includes photos of my most recent loaf and a recap of my experience so far with this flour.
For those unfamiliar with emmer, it is an "antique" grain and genetic ancester of modern wheat. I think it was used (along with barley) in Egypt and the middle east until about the time of the Roman conquest but I wasn't there so you'll have to ask the antiquarians about exact dates.
Anyway, I got curious and ordered some emmer flour from the folks at Bulubird Farms.
I've made three yeasted loaves so far with the flour: (1) an artisan loaf, 60% hydration; (2) a pan loaf, 67% hydration; and (3) another artisan loaf, 67% hydration. Each loaf was made using 450g flour, 0.5 tablespoon instant yeast, 0.5 tablespoon salt, and either 300g or 270g water.
This is a low-gluten flour that behaves differently from my usual bread flour. Emmer dough seems stickier than dough made with King Arthur flour and doesn't seem to gain "elasticity" from kneading/mixing. Labeled protein content is almost identical to King Arthur bread flour as is labeled protein content of King Arthur All Purpose flour, which I find confusing. I think 60% hydration is better than 67% to reduce stickyness. Pan loaves should only be baked in a thoroughly greased pan.
The emmer flour is a "whole grain" product that produces a crumb similar in color to regular whole wheat.
The taste of the emmer bread is quite distinctive, sort of "nutty", and I find it tasty and less harsh than whole wheat bread. The emmer flour seems a little coarse and the emmer bread feels vaguely granular in my mouth. Overall I like the bread quite a bit and it might be even better with stuff in it like sugar and raisins and such. The package label has a muffin recipe that might be very nice (if I ate muffins).
One drawback to this flour is the cost. Including shipping it's close to $4/pound!
“Bread and Roses” – Artisan Baking, Training and Consultancy in Northumberland
I hadn’t baked for over a fortnight; very unusual. I didn’t have any plans to bake either. But, early on Thursday morning I knew I needed to bake. Alison and I are following quite a strict diet, so we are not eating grains at the moment…quite a tough call. I had made 4 Brazil and Hazelnut, Raisin and Apricot Scones on Tuesday as samples to celebrate the arrival of 1kg of the best commercial baking powder available in the UK today from my colleague at Kudos Blends…thank you Dinnie. So light! These are English Tea Scones, somewhat different to the US concept, I believe, and much-loved here in the UK. But I wanted to bake bread, and I wanted to fire up the oven; the winds have finally subsided, and today was cold, but beautifully still and sunny.
I built both the wheat levain and rye sourdough over Thursday afternoon and night, so I could start very early this morning. This is what I made:
1. “Rossisky” using the Auerman Method
One Pullman Pan
Rye Sour build:
Formula [% of flour]
1a. Rye Sourdough
Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour
Sifted Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour
Red Malted Barley Powder
Rye Sourdough [from 1a.]
“Scald” [from 1b.]
3. Final Paste
“Sponge” [from 2]
Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye
Gilchesters’ Organic Pizza/Ciabatta Flour
% pre-fermented flour
30 + 20 = 50
% overall hydration
% wholegrain flour
Build the sour as described, make the Scald at the same time as preparing the final refreshment of the sour. Cover and cool to room temperature overnight. Make the Sponge first thing in the morning and ferment this for 4 hours.
Mix the Gilchesters’ Pizza flour with the water for the final paste and autolyse for 1 hour. Add the salt, remaining Dark Rye and the sponge to the autolyse in a mixer, and combine with the paddle beater to form a paste.
Bulk proof for 1 hour.
Line a Pullman Pan and other bread pans neatly with silicone paper and scale the paste into the pans, neatening off carefully. Top with some freshly crushed coriander seeds. Attach the lid.
Final Proof 4 hours. Bake a minimum of 4 hours in the “dead” wood-fired oven.
Cool on wires
Photographs below; no crumb shot, sorry. I took these photographs straight after the loaf emerged from the oven and Alison came downstairs mesmerised by the aroma and, frankly surprised bread was emerging from the oven so late at night.
2. Gilchesters’ Miche/Boules
Makes 6 loaves: 2 Boules @ 400g, 1 Boule @ 800g and 2 Miche @ 1200g.
Strong White Flour
The leaven was then allowed to prove slowly overnight in the fridge
Formula [% of flour]
1. Wheat Levain
Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour
2. Final Dough
Wheat Levain [from above]
Gilchesters’ Organic Farmhouse Flour
% pre-fermented flour
% overall hydration
% wholegrain flour [approx 85% extraction]
Build the levain, see description above.
For mixing, first of all mix on first speed for 3 minutes with a hook attachment, then autolyse the Gilchesters flour with the water for 1 hour.
Add the levain and the salt. Mix on first speed only for 10 minutes. Dough Temperature Calculation worked out as follows: WT = 3[DDT – FRH] – Leaven Temp – Flour Temp. 3[84 – 1] – 18 – 20 = 45. Water temperature required at 45°C. The gentle nature of the mixing action is evident here with just 1°C rise in temperature due to friction!
Bulk prove the dough maintaining DDT of 26°C for 2 hours.
Scale and divide as above. Mould round and rest for 15 minutes. Prepare bannetons, re-mould dough pieces and set to final proof.
Final proof DDT maintained at 26°C, for 3 hours.
Tip each loaf out of the banneton onto a peel, score the top and set to bake on the sole of the wood-fired oven. Small loaves bake in half an hour, next biggest takes 40 minutes and the biggest loaf took around 50 minutes. The oven was fiercely hot!!!
Cool on wires.
There is stacks of flavour in this bread. It’s not sour, but the crust is dark and well-fired, and the crumb as moist as could be, nicely gelatinised, soft and very tasty too. Photographs below:
3. Brazil and Hazelnut, Raisin and Apricot Scones
On Tuesday I had arranged for the local Food Safety Officer to come and visit to look over my operation and food safety systems. She used the visit to scrutinise all my traceability systems and to go through all the baking operations thoroughly, ending up listing the visit as a full inspection…which I passed, with just some bits of advice how I can build on the work already in place. So I made these Scones just before she arrived using the paperwork trail I had devised, in order for me to test the systems and her to verify them. Here’s the recipe and formula:
Formula [% of flour]
Marriage’s Strong Organic White Flour
Gilchesters’ Pizza/Ciabatta Flour
Pell Opti-Scone Baking Powder
Organic Slightly Salted Butter
Full Fat Milk
Free Range Egg - Beaten
Chopped Brazil Nuts
Chopped Dried Apricots
Pre-heat the electric oven for ¾ hour to 210°C, then turn down to 190°C and use the ordinary fan-assist setting.
For such a small mix, I made these by hand. Weigh the milk and add the required beaten egg. Dissolve the sugar into this and set to one side. Sieve the flours and baking powder well, then add the butter cut into cubes, and crumb carefully. Add the prepared fruit and nuts and bring the mix together carefully by adding the liquids.
Roll out the scone paste and cut out 4 scones using a fluted cutter. My scones weighed 75 – 80g, and I had a small piece leftover.
Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper, and brush the tops with beaten egg. Rest the scones for 15 minutes, then bake for 15 – 18 minutes in the pre-heated oven; I baked them on top of a baking stone for maximum lift.
Cool on wires
I kept the small scone, and found good homes for the other 4 on condition of getting feedback. Very positive on 2, still waiting to hear back about the other 2. Here are a couple of photographs:
The New Year has been all about developing the new business. I have a website but it just has the bare essentials of a frontpage and a bit more besides. I have a food safety system approved, but still to be completely perfected and implemented…nearly there though! Trading Standards have confirmed my retail plans are all compliant and I have an Insurance Policy in place too! Best of all, I’ve been accepted onto the Local Farmers’ Market at Alnwick, taking place on the last Friday in the month, every month…just 2 weeks to get ready for this now. And, I have an up and running financial package on my pc to take care of the accounts too. I had a meeting on Monday afternoon with a Community baking group and have some consultancy work with them commencing a week today, Friday. I am also in negotiations with the soon-to-be ex Chief Exec at Allied Bakeries Gateshead. We are looking at training packages to sit alongside the Management Consultancy project he is setting up. I also have a timetable to work to of 2 days a week baking and gathering wood; 2 days for study and the remainder for training and consultancy work. Busy and exciting too; sufficient to mean I can delay preparing the Business Plan for a few months all being well. The plan in my head is working out sufficiently well so far.
I was so inspired today by Freerk's post about this 15th Century bread, well I just dropped everything I was doing and made a batch. The video recipe is inspired genius in my humble opinion. Very stylish and well thought out. My wife inquired if this was a dessert. I smiled and said no, just a snack:>)
These are fun to make, easy and fast. They are also history as they disappeared quickly. I highly recommend giving these a try. I backed these for 9 minutes. Any longer and they would start getting crusty. I did sprinkle some sugar topping over each piece just before baking.
Thank you Freerk for sharing this wonderful old recipe.
These are a little out of order but you will get the idea.
Proofed and ready for bake.
The 1/4 sheet pan is perfect for these. They fit nicely in the proofer.
I pre shaped them and used a mid stage after coating the ropes in sugar mix. I found I needed an 18 inch rope to easily tie the knots. If you look at the far right you can see the coated ropes waiting to be stretched and knotted.
It all started with a trip to my neighborhood organic market. My first time there, and I was quite disappointed actually, way overpriced (Whole Foods seemed practically frugal in comparison), and the selection is just OK. However they did have Poilane Miche straight from Paris, which ended up being my only purchase from there. It was sold by quarters, but I did get a sense of how large the bread is. Crumb is fairly dense, but full of flavor, a bit more sour than what I usually bake. Crust is not hard or crispy, due to the packaging and shipping time I assume.
Inspired, I decided to bake a miche of my own. Still went with the SFBI formula I used before (posted here), which was originally posted by David (here). I did do a few things differently: 1) Instead of a blend of ww and AP flour, I used Golden Buffalo, which is an organic high extraction flour. 2)Instead of a white starter, I used my rye starter, which is VERY active and flavorful. 3)Instead of bakion on the stone with steam, I baked it in my large Staub cast iron pot. Preheated at 500F for nearly one hour, slash, load the loaf, cover, bake at 450F for the first 20min, remove lid, lower temp to 430F, bake for another 40min, turn off oven, open the oven door a little, leave the loaf (in the pot) in oven for another 20min before taking out. 4)My cast iron pot is oval so I shaped the dough into a batard, which is not the "usual" shape for miche 5)The scoring was borrowed from breadsong's post here, thank you so much! Everything else remained the same, including the 2KG size, as well as fermentation/proofing schedule.
I really like how the scoring showed up
Such large loaves tend to flatten out on the baking stone, but in a pot, it had a very tall profile
A side by side comparison of the crumb between my miche and Poilane. The texture look kinda similar, but taste different: my miche (upper left) is less sour, has a more "sweet" taste than Poilane (lower right). I really liked the use of rye starter, it adds another dimension to the flavor profile.
I don't know which day the Poilane Miche was baked and shipped, but by the time I was eating it, it was a tad dry. I kept my miche wrapped for 24 hours before cutting in, and it tasted the best after 48 hours. Hmmm, I don't think I will go to that merket again, if I were to buy Poilane Miche again, I would get it in Paris, when its flavor is at the prime.
Secretly I enjoy the way all of us here in the Low Lands are stumbling into 2012. After days of continuous rainfall and storms coming in, the water levels are rapidly rising. A small stretch of dike in the North has broken, but much worse has been avoided so far by doing what the Dutch were born to do, or so it seems; managing the water. In some parts of the country dikes are broken on purpose to give way to the water in a controlled way. Storm barriers are lowered, risen, unfolded, or whatever which genius technical way they have come up with to protect us from the ever hungry rising water. Don't you love it when a system works? These are the moments that your hard-earned tax money is worth every cent you paid, and more! For instead of huffing and puffing and dragging sacks of sand around, I can sit here behind my computer, with dry feet and not worry about a thing. 'Cause I got some one watching out for me, and all of us out here! The Dutch province of Zeeland ("Sealand") is, when it comes to water, the "epitome" of what it means to be living at or under sea level. Looking at this map, I guess you can figure out why.
Luctor et EmergoThe slogan on their weapon shield reads "Luctor et Emergo", translating into "I struggle and emerge". Even though that slogan goes back a long time and actually refers to the struggle against Spanish occupation in the 16th century, the average Dutchman will associate Zeeland with the biggest disaster ever to hit the province on the 1st of February 1953. In a big storm and the flooding that followed, almost 2000 people drowned and 100.000 people lost everything they owned; their houses, their livestock, everything... They struggled, together with the rest of the country and did indeed "emerge". I an epic mission never to let this sort of thing happen again, they constructed this little baby;
Brought to Zeeland by the bakers of the Portuguese Sephardic Jews who were forced to flee north at the end of the 15th century, these sticky sweet rolls, traditionally shaped in a spiral, quickly became popular with the locals as well, to such an extent that the "Zeeuwse Bolus" has become the signature bake of the province in modern days. That is another thing the Dutch are quite good at; all through history the Netherlands has been a refuge and safe haven for people on the run. Or should I say; another thing the Dutch WERE good at, because nowadays, even though the biggest part of the world still thinks of The Netherlands as a liberal and tolerant place, the Dutch authorities are sending kids who were raised here out of the country just to set an example. Let this recipe for "zeeuwse bolussen" remind us all how something really good can come from opening up to "strangers" in dire need! Luctor et Emergo indeed...
500 gr. All Purpose Flour
7 gr. Salt 5 gr. Instant Yeast
320 gr. Lukewarm Milk
75 gr. Unsalted Butter
250 gr. Brown Sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
zest of one lemon Method
Combine the flour, yeast, zest and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Work in the softened butter with the tips of your fingers. Add the lukewarm milk. Depending on your flour, you may have to add a little more milk or need to hold a little back. Start with 300 gr. of milk and add more if needed; what you are looking for is a slightly slack dough that will be easy to roll out in strands. Mix until the dough is well-developed, it should pass the window pane test; approximately 10-15 minutes on medium low-speed.
Lightly oil a container, transfer the dough and coat all around with the oil for a first rise of about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, divide the dough into equal pieces of about 45 grams. You should end up with 14-16 dough pieces. Form the dough pieces into balls and let them rest for 20 minutes, so the dough will be slack enough to form into strands. First roll out all the balls into short strands of about 20 cm.
Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and cover your work surface with it . Then roll out the strands in the sugar mixture to a length of about 40 cm. If the dough really resists, you might have to go for a third round of rolling strands after giving it another 10 minutes to relax. Shape the strands into spirals or knots. The spiral is the more traditional way of shaping, but since the rolls come out of the oven really dark brown, I prefer to knot them, just to avoid associations that I won't go into here and now :-)
For spirals: start in the middle and just drape the dough in circles. It is okay to make it look a little rustic and not too neat! For knots: Place a strand horizontally in front of you. Take the ends and form two loops, leaving some space in the middle for proofing. Make a knot on each side of the loop.
Place the formed bolus on a baking sheet, cover and let them proof until puffed and doubled in size, for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F. Bake the "Zeeuwse Bolussen" for about 8 minutes. You want them to be just done, so keep a close eye on your oven. Too long and they will be crusty, too short and they will be gooey.
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