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MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

 After the first failed attempt at croissant making, it caused me a long hesitation before attempting it second time around. It also made me thinking that croissant was probably just too hard to make and I should leave them to the professional. However, some recent TFL posts kind of encourage me into believing that I can also do it.


So, here goes my second attempt. 


My second attempt went reasonably okay. I applied what I learnt from my first attempt. The dough needs to be strong and extensible enough to withstand the rolling, folding and stretching during the lamination process. I learned this first hand as  I didn't work my dough enough first time and it got torn and butter was leaking out. It was a disaster and totally put me off making it for a long while.


So, with my strong dough, my laminating process went smoothly, had no problem. The croissants were shaped nicely and I thought .... Umm, this wasn't so hard after all and I might be up to something nice:-)



Then, here comes the proofing process. I forgot and probably having a blonde moment, that croissant is a buttered-dough. It can't be proofed in the same environment as bread is. I proofed my croissant on a tray and I place the tray in the off-oven. I also put a bowl of hot water underneath the proofing tray. As, you might have guessed it. The butter melted and here comes the minor disaster!!!


 


I continued with my bake anyway. The croissants turned out all right. They're not perfect but they tasted okay.


 


Something I learnt from this bake and/or something I'd like to try for my next bake....



  • Never proof the dough at warm and humid temperature as the recipe suggested.

  • Will only proof the croissant at room temperature

  • Will try baking croissants at higher temperature. I baked them at 170c (convection) this time but I will try baking them at 200c (convection) next time. Baking at 170c didn't give me the brownish tone and crisps that I would like.


Also, some by-products from the croissant dough, pain-au-raisins, or snails as Aussie calls it.....


GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I'm probably trying to learn too much too fast.  And my brain is not as absorbent as it once was.  But surrounded by the centuries--maybe millenia--of collective knowledge on TFL, I want to both catch up and enjoy the learning process.  I know I'm doing the latter.  


I want to perfect something and I want to try everything.  So I'm kind of alternating--make a second (and third and fourth) attempt at lean sourdough bread (what I want to perfect), then try something very different (Curry-Cheese Bread, Cinnamon Rolls).   I have a feeling that this unintentionally methodical approach to learning about bread is the right way to learn a lot fast, at least for me.


So today, not having much time, I decided to try a yeast-leavened whole wheat bread.  The goals were: (1) to get the feel for a different kind of dough, (2) to get better at shaping pan loaves, and (3) have something to make a smoked turkey and tomato sandwich (this was the most important goal since we bought a bag of delicious farmstand tomatoes and my wife promptly left town for a business trip).


I looked at a number of recipes and settled on Floyd's Honey Whole Wheat.  The formula seemed simple and fairly quick, and I learned a lot from the commentary from ehanner and JMonkey (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/wholewheathoneybread).  I soaked the whole wheat flour as prescribed, and (having no electronical mixer) found it a bit difficult to incorporate the other ingredients.  Adding honey to a sticky dough seemed, for the first 5 minutes of tiresome hand-mixing, to be the sort of cruel joke a website owner might inflict on his community.  But Floyd doesn't seem like the cruel type, and lord knows I need the exercise, so I carried on.  Once the thing seemed fairly mixed I let it rest for 15 minutes.


The dough glob was extremely sticky and hard to work, but I didn't add flour, except a sprinkling on the board and my hands, because I'd felt the transformation of dough before and I had faith in the gluten.  And, sure enough, after about ten minutes of alternating folding and kneading, the dough started to become silky and less sticky.  After a while, I plunked it in an oiled bowl, stretched and folded it at 20 minutes and 40 minutes, and watched it grow....fast.  Just an hour after it was mixed, it was doubled, even with the S&Fs.


I divided the dough into two and shaped it per JMonkey's great video tutorial (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2461/video-tutorial-shaping-sandwich-loaf).  Again the rise was quick, and they went into the oven with steam (from my brand new lava rocks!).  I forgot to turn the oven down for a few minutes, so the top got kinda dark.  But the overall result was pleasing.  A nice simple whole wheat loaf.  Great for a sandwich!


IMG_1615


IMG_1617


I did start to get the feel for whole wheat dough.  I still need to practice loaf-shaping.  And I might try a sandwich bread with a lower percentage of whole wheat flour to get something a bit lighter in weight.  I'm not sure if the heft of these loaves is just what you get from a mostly whole wheat blend of flours, or if I might have overproofed or not formed the loaves gently enough. Not that they're super dense, just a bit too.


Thanks, Floyd, ehanner and JMonkey for the education.


Glenn


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


Questions regarding how to convert one kind of starter into another are frequently asked on The Fresh Loaf. The easy answer is to just take "a little bit" of seed starter and add enough flour and water to make a mixture of the desired thickness. This is fine and it generally works very well. However, sometimes a recipe calls for a precise hydration level levain and changing this, even a few percentage points, will make the dough consistency quite different from that intended by the formula's author. For those times, one needs to be more precise in making up the levain. 


To convert a starter of one hydration to a starter of another hydration - For example, if you have a 50% hydration starter and want to build a 100% hydration starter from it. 


 


Here's a general method for a precise conversion:


First, you need to know four things:


1. What is the hydration of your seed starter?


2. What is the hydration of your final starter?


3. How much of the total flour in your final starter comes from your seed starter?


4. How much (weight) final starter will you be making?


Second, you need to calculate the total amount of flour and the total amount of water in your final starter.


Third, you need to calculate the amount of flour and the amount of water in the seed starter.


Fourth, you can now calculate the ingredients of your final starter. They will be:


1. Seed starter


2. Flour (from seed starter plus additional)


3. Water (from seed starter plus additional)


 


So, let's see how this method works with some specific assumptions. 


The four things you need to know:


Assume you have a 50% hydration seed starter that you want to use. Assume you want to make 100 g of a 100% hydration starter. And assume you want the seed starter to provide 25% of the total flour in the final starter.


Note: Using "Baker's Math," Flour is always 100%, and all other ingredients are proportionate to the flour. So, in a 50% hydration mix, the water is 50% (of the flour, by weight). If hydration is 125%, the water is 125% (or 1.25 times) the flour.


To calculate the total amount of flour and water in your final starter:


Flour (100 parts) + Water (100 parts) = 100 g


So, the 100 g of starter is made up of 200 "parts." The weight of each part is calculated by dividing the total weight by the number of parts. So, 100 g /200 parts = 0.50 g.  This number is sometimes called "the conversion factor."


Then, since there are 100 parts of flour, its weight is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.


The total water in the final dough is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.


To calculate how much flour will come from the seed starter and how much will be added to make the final starter:


We now know that the total flour in the final starter will be 50 g. But we decided that 25% of this flour is going to come from the seed starter. This means that the seed starter must contain 50 g x 0.25 = 12.5 g of flour, and the flour added to this to make the final starter will be 50 g - 12.5 g = 37.5 g.


To calculate the total weight of the seed starter and the weight of water in the seed starter:


We now need to calculate how much seed starter it takes to provide 12.5 g of flour, and how much water is in this amount of seed starter.


If the seed starter is 50% hydration, it contains 100 parts of flour and 50 parts of water. We know then that the amount of water is 50 parts water/100 parts flour = 0.5  parts of the flour.  Since we already know that the flour has to weigh 12.5 g, then the water must weigh 12.5 x 0.5 = 6.25 g and the total weight of the seed starter is the sum of the water and flour or 12.5 g of flour + 6.25 g of water = 18.75 g.


To calculate the weight of water that must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter:


Now we can calculate how much water must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter. It is the total water in the final starter minus the water in the seed starter or 50 g - 6.25 g = 43.75 g.


 


Now we know "everything!" To make 100 g of 100% hydration starter, beginning with a 50% hydration seed starter, we would mix:


1. 18.75 g Seed Starter.


2. 37.5 g Flour


3. 43. 75 g water


 


This method can be used to build any amount of starter of any hydration using a seed starter of any (known) hydration. 


 


David


 


 

proth5's picture
proth5

 After a martoonie or two and an early night, Tuesday  8:30AM found a very large crowd of bakers and imposters ready to listen to Craig Ponsford and Jeffrey Yankellow talk about the science and application of sourdough based pre ferments.  Both seemed somewhat subdued and I was reminded of a quote about folks in another party town who made an early morning appointment.  When they rolled into the restaurant for breakfast they remarked to the waitress that their counterparts were late and they could have used that extra few minutes to gently recover from the previous evening's festivities.  The waitress said (to paraphrase) "You're in Las Vegas, boys, those people you are meetin' are expectin' a mess."


No, no, it was nowhere near that bad. In fact speaking about sourdough is always a little less precise than speaking about commercial yeast and I think most of us who work with sourdough know this.


What surprised me was the number of professional bakers at the lecture who had never worked with sourdough.  Here on TFL it seems that "everyone" is a sourdough baker, but maybe not so much in the commercial baking world.


Again, there was a lot to the lecture, but there were some high points worth discussing.


Mr. Yankellow made a distinction between a "culture" - which he defined as a newly formed mixture of flour, water, and organisms and a "starter" ("chef" or "mother") that is a mature culture strong enough to use for baking.  The transition, to his thinking usually takes 3 or 4 weeks (not many years) and, he emphasized, it is important to take the time to let the culture mature.  He did discuss that a type of bread (similar to salt rising bread) could be made from a young culture, but he expressed that it would have a very strong taste (from all the random bacteria) and be a very heavy bread.


Then both Mr. Yankellow and Mr. Ponsford held forth on the myth of special sourdough starters being grown from grapes or raisins or any number of odd things.  This is where I tread carefully because there is much emotional energy attached to the origins of starters.  I'm just saying that both of these distinguished bakers were convinced that the yeasts in the flour used to feed the culture and later the starter will always be the yeasts (and bacteria) in the starter.  Yeasts from grapes (for example) - and grapes are a fruit with a lot of yeasts - will not thrive in the flour and water environment and eventually be out competed by the yeasts in the flour.  Mr. Ponsford told the tale of a starter that was grown in a wine cave that gave the bread a particular flavor - until it was removed from the cave.  He also told the tale of a unique apple cider starter - but which was refreshed each day with apple cider.  I'm not taking sides.  I'm just saying.


Both similarly felt that after passing from the culture phase to the starter  phase there is no advantage (in terms of actual bread making) to the "150 year old starter carried across the Rockies."  They are both convinced that the starter will take on the characteristics of your locale and promised that if you went to their bakeries and asked for a bit of starter (now, don't everyone rush to do this!), they would gladly give you a piece because it will eventually come to reflect your locale and your level of care and itself was not the secret to their great breads.  Again, I'm just saying what I heard.


They presented some fun facts, among which were:



  • One gram of commercial yeast contains 8-10 billion yeast cells

  • One gram of regular flour contains 13,000 wild yeast cells and 320 lactic bacteria cells, and

  • One gram of whole-wheat flour contains 320,000 yeast cells and 62,000 lactic bacteria cells.


Now, that's something to think about...


Moving on the starter care, I couldn't help but think of the hard hearted way many home bakers treat their starters - leaving them to languish in refrigerator for weeks at a time and reviving them only when they are needed.  Starter care as discussed was for professional bakers, as feeding suggestions were given for feeding once, twice, or three times a day.


Well, that stirred up some hard feelings.  However I'll give you two quotes. 


Craig Ponsford "There is no shortcut to caring for your starter" and Jeffrey Yankellow "Treat your starter right."


I don't have the qualifications to argue.


They both also emphasized consistency - claiming that every time you see a problem with sourdough, the issue is consistency (feeding routine, temperature, etc.)


I am not making this up.  (Even though it is what I have been preaching on these pages for some time.)


In terms of the impact of sourdough on the final dough itself, they reminded us that the acid in the sourdough will strengthen the dough considerably and that more gentle mixing with the objective of somewhat under developing the dough would be something to consider with sourdoughs - allowing the dough to develop during the first fermentation.  Mr. Yankellow expressed that he preferred to retard sourdough doughs after shaping as the acidity and long fermentation would strengthen the dough to the point where it would be difficult to shape.


Well, that's enough controversy for today.


I then toddled off to the Bread Bakers Guild of America booth to hear a presentation from a representative of the California Wheat Board.  Apparently I've been studying about wheat a little too much, but one interesting fact is that California produces a particularly fine durum wheat called "Desert Durum" which is used in great quantities by the Barilla pasta company.


Swinging by the LeSafre cup, I was able to see yesterday's creations.  I was quite impressed by Costa Rica's colorful artistic piece.  Argentina's and Brazil's pieces were also very nice, but I did have to ponder if they would regret their bland color schemes.  We will know tomorrow.  Once again the breads were lovely.  Although I am completely unbiased, I still think Team USA rocked - but this is one tough competition.  I can't wait to find out the results.


Attracted by the sight of free dough scrapers, I spent some time at the Retail Bakers of America booth.  This organization, whose website is  www.retailbakersofamerica.org ,is an organization for professional bakers to aid them in connecting with other bakers and suppliers. Not an organization for most of us, but the very nice lady who chatted with me was happy to swap a mention for some plastic scrapers.  We talked a bit about my "retirement business" and she gave me some very good advice about not spending my retirement on a bakery business (which I knew, but it was nice of her anyway.)


I'm beginning to enjoy this "resting up and not pushing myself to the limit" thing and so left the show early, blowing off the Ciril Hitz book signing.  Although I like him very much because unlike "my teacher" he doesn't yell at me and doesn't give me homework assignments that take years to complete (he was also the first person to introduce me to a sheeter - and he even remarked to me about the love light in my eyes), but I just wasn't up to beating off the vast throngs that would no doubt be there.  I also don't want to lose that air of "I'm so cool I can hang with famous bakers and never even consider getting a book signed or a picture taken."  Once you give in to that, well, you lose your street cred.  Anyway, I have a lecture with him tomorrow.


And I hear those martoonies calling (Hey! It's vacation!)


Happy Baking

hanseata's picture
hanseata

There's no doubt about it - Pflaumenkuchen (German Plum Cake) is my birthday cake. In the beginning of September the first prune plums show up on the market just in time for my birthday.

My birthday party was always arranged by my grandmother, my Omi, who invested all her love and imagination in coming up with games and other entertainment for me and my friends. She definitely was my role model on how to make a child's birthday party a huge success!

"Hide-and-Seek" (in the dark), "Choose-the-Right-Candy" ( with nail biting suspense) , "Say-Whom-You-Love" (good for many giggles) and "Unwrap-the-Chocolate" (with hat and mittens, fork and knife!) were some of the games that raised excitement and noise levels to heights that called for quiet intervals of soap bubble blowing, or story telling, to calm down all the boisterous little guests.

Of course my grandmother also baked my birthday cake, a large sheet brimming full of prune plums resting on a bed of sweet yeast dough, generously sprinkled with almonds and cinnamon sugar. I loved that cake, and could eat a lot of it (though not quite as much as on those memorable occasions when my cousin Thomas and I would compete at wolfing down Omi's famous yeast dumplings!).

Nowadays, if I don't have to entertain a horde of hungry cake monsters, I bake a smaller plum cake version, either with a short or a streusel crust, in a springform pan. They taste as good as the large yeasted cake - especially with Gifford's award winning vanilla ice cream...


 



There are hundreds of German plum cake recipes, this cake here is easy to make and tastes best slightly warm, with vanilla ice cream.


You'll find the recipe here: http://hanseata.blogspot.com/2010/09/german-plum-cake-pflaumenkuchen.html


 

Franko's picture
Franko

For this weeks bake I wanted a loaf that had some seeds or nuts as a component as well as one using a levain so Hamelman’s Sourdough Seed Bread seemed to fit just what I was looking for. The formula uses a liquid levain at 125% hydration for the leavening and never having used the liquid type in any previous bakes I was curious to try it out to see how it would differ from a stiff levain in terms of fermentation and flavour. The seeds that are called for are sunflower, sesame and a cold soaker of flax seeds. The one and only addition to the ingredients I made was to include some pumpkin seeds in the mix for a little more variety. All the dry seeds are given a light toasting in a 380F oven to bring out their flavour and which I’m sure adds significantly to the flavour profile as Hamelman suggests in his side note to the recipe. The flours used in the overall formula are bread flour @ 92% and whole rye flour @ 8% with a recommended total hydration of 75%, the water from the flax soaker contributing almost 60% of the total. Once it was time to mix I decided to use David Snyder’s method of using the paddle of a stand mixer for the first 2-3 minutes on 1st speed, and then switch to the hook for the 2nd speed mix of 7-8 minutes. This method works well to get everything combined uniformly and quickly and one I’ll use from here on. Thank you Mr. Snyder! The total weight of all the ingredients was 1.740kg which my poor old KA struggled with it at first but after I adjusted the water slightly it came together nicely requiring only a few minutes work up by hand to a medium consistency. The final dough temp was 77.2F, just a shade over the DDT of 76F then with a bulk fermentation of 3 hrs with 2 folds at 1.5 hr intervals. The dough was molded and placed in floured brotforms, covered and placed in the refrigerator for 15 hours at which point they came out and finished the final proof at room temp for 3 more hrs before going into a 500F oven for 8 minutes with the remaining 30 minutes of bake time at 460F.
The loaf has a good crust along with a crumb structure that is open but fairly uniform, which is just the way I like it. Eaten on it’s own it has a marvelous medium sour, nutty flavour that lasts for some time after, I’m sure due to the long cold fermentation time it had. One of the aspects of this breads long fermentation that I really appreciate (besides the flavour) is that it allows me to do some other things away from the house and kitchen while it does its thing. That for me is a win-win situation that will see me using this method more often.
Franko



amolitor's picture
amolitor

I gave this recipe a try over the last couple of days. Here is my report!


First of all, OF COURSE I had to tinker with it. I cut it in half, and converted to rough volumetric measurements.



  • 1/4 cup cracked wheat, well toasted in

  • 1/4 cup water just off the boil


soak soak soak



  • half a cup of 100%-ish WW starter, quite active

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • cracked wheat mixture


Mix and then add:



  • 3/4 cup rye flour

  • 3/4 cup WW flour

  • sufficient bread flour to get the hydration about right (very sticky, semi-pourable)


Autolyse 30 minutes (well, ok, the baby needed some tending, so tend the baby for a while, and then:) knead to get a little development, bulk rise 5-6 hours S&F every hour or thereabouts.


I could tell at this point that it wasn't going QUITE as planned -- my hydration seems to have been a bit too high for the amount of bread flour I'd gotten into it, since I wasn't getting much gluten development. The hydration looked the same as in the given link, but the gluten development never got to that point. Oh well, forward..


Into the fridge overnight, warm to room temp the next day, shape and proof 2 hours, bake at 450 with steam 20 minutes, turn down to 425 for another 20 minutes I elected to skip the 'cool it for 2 hours, shape, back into the fridge in a banneton overnight for final proofing' step because I could tell this was just going to result in a loaf irrevocably stuck to my improvised banneton cloth. At least, so it seemed to me. So, I went for a simple 'bulk rise for 6 hours with S&Fs, then retard 12 hours in the fridge before shaping.'


The results. VERY moist and sticky dough, even in a 2 hour proof it stuck to the banneton a bit, and there was just never a gluten skin on the outside to hold it together, so it was pretty slumpy. The resulting loaf was raised just fine, and tastes absolutely fantastic -- quite sour, quite rye, quote toasted cracked wheat. The cracked wheat isn't noticeable as hard bits at all -- you can SEE them and I think they add texture, but they've softened up beautifully. I toasted the wheat in a dry cast iron skillet to dark golden brown, another few minutes and I would have been burning it. This bread is moist and crazily delicious, with a slightly tacky crumb.


 




 


Lessons learned (tentatively):


If it's not developing well in the initial knead, sacrifice some hydration to get some more wheat flour in to it!

breitbaker's picture
breitbaker

New Blog Post


The favorite pan bread of my kitchen


http://www.brightbakes.wordpress.com


Cathy B.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have made this bread a few times. I'm a fan of savory breads and this one has everything I like. The Romano cheese is a strong component that can be adjusted to taste. I have backed off the percentage to allow the other flavors to survive and make themselves known. The celery is a surprise. The first time I made this mix I was expecting the celery to be crunchy after baking, but it wasn't at all. The overnight soaking of the flax brings a hearty flavor that is unique and delicious.


The original idea for this bread came from Graham at sourdough.com in AU. He was gracious enough to post pictures of the process which cleared up a few things for me. I added flax for the deep flavor they bring when soaked. Another fellow in the area also posted his results which are outstanding. Here is Johnny's post of the same bread. Truth be told both of these fellows made some great looking loaves to be admired. There are a lot of great bakers that contribute to this artisan bread site. A very talented bunch. Shiao-Ping also graces the pages with her artistry now and then. It's worth looking at.


Anyway I like this combination very much. Some day I'll get so I can do it as well as Graham and/or Johnny.


Eric



breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

So this is my last bake of the week...  Rustic slabs...  These are very large loaves weighing between 790g to 830g after bake and are about 15" long x 6" wide x 3 1/2" tall .  The total dough batch was about 4kg...  They contain 5% rye, 10% WW and 85% AP at 70% hydration.  I also used a 10% of my storage SD starter.  Enjoy!


Tim



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