The Fresh Loaf

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Elagins's picture
Elagins

I've been talking to a potential supplier who's up in the hard wheat belt and produces only certified organic flours. he was nice enough to send me a few samples, one of which is organic high gluten, milled from hard red spring wheat, about 13.5% protein. we were going to have a NY smoked fish brunch this morning, so i decided to whip up a batch of bialys using the flour.

i would love to stock this flour, but i need to know if there's enough demand to justify ordering a couple of thousand pounds of the stuff. can you folks let me know? i promise you this: it will be attractively priced.

it's interesting stuff. first, the color is rather more beige than, say, All Trumps (which i compared side by side) ... very creamy. also, the grind was slightly coarser than AT, both to the touch and to the tongue. taste-wise, the raw flour was slightly sweeter and nuttier than AT, without a trace of that bitterness you sometimes get with raw flours.

the mix was also interesting. i had to increase my hydration by about 2% in order to get the consistency i was looking for. the gluten formed relatively slowly, but came together almost immediately at about 9 minutes under the dough hook, very, very elastic and not very extensible because of all the work it had been getting.

i used a relatively small amount of fresh compressed yeast, and got doubling in about an hour, then divided the dough into a dozen boules and put them in my proofing box. they reached near full-proof after about another hour and i formed the bialys.

i was amazed at how extensible the dough was at that point. the gluten was amazingly well formed and very very smooth, and didn't fight back at all when i stretched the boules into the bialy shape.

at that point, they went immediately into the oven, and since the photo upload isn't working for me here, you can see what they looked like on this link:

http://www.nybakers.com/images/bialys10-4-09a.jpg

the bialys tasted wonderful; the flour itself gave a nice moderately chewy crumb and the color of the flour lightened in the baking, but still had that lovely creamy beige tone to it.

i have to say that this is probably the best batch of bialys i've ever made!

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

PS, i'd give recipes, etc., but Norm (nbicomputers) and I just signed a contract to do a Jewish baking book, so I'm afraid our publisher now has first call on all our intellectual property!

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I was taking shots of the moon cakes for this post and was late collecting my son from his sport; when I arrived, he said to me, "Mum, do you love me?"  Seeing my stunned face, he added, with a grin, "I was the last to be picked up!"


Somehow I felt that another post about the full moon was in order ... because of that remark about the Chinese excellence in astrology, or not!  The Chinese lunar calendar was formalized thousands years ago.  Recently I have learned a big word from my husband - to recalibrate.  Something that is as old as the Chinese lunar calendar may be in need of some sort of recalibration!  In recent years a few friends of mine and I have found that the moon is fuller the next day after the Moon Festival.  I know nothing about astrology.  What I have just said may well be taken as an excuse to eat more moon cakes!


I came to my favourite Taiwanese grocery store in "Little Taipei" in Brisbane looking for good moon cakes to buy.  I was chatting with a lady there and I found out that she is the boss's wife.  I asked her which are the good ones to buy.  She asked me, "Are they for you, or for giving away as a present?" - the latter means moon cakes with good looking packaging and wrapping but may not be of the best quality, while the former means good quality and good tasting moon cakes for own consumption.  She pointed at those she got for herself.  I could not pass by a lead like that.


 


                                    


Assorted moon cakes from "Little Taipei" in Brisbane - lotus paste on the top left, red bean paste (very dark brown color) in the centre, and savory ham & nuts to the top right


And below are the "moons" - salted duck egg yolks. 


                              


            


These have been the traditional flavours since I was a little kid.  In recent times there have been new flavours being developed because of the affluence in consumers and the popular new flavours have been chocolate and other tastes under the Western influences.  Because I was in no mood for the troubles in making the moon cakes, I decided I would try incorporating a very traditional moon cake ingredient - red beans - into my sourdough.  This is a can of the cooked red beans that I used (made in Japan):


                                                               


In addition to the Red Bean Sourdough, I made Cocoa Cranberry Sourdough Rolls.  So, here below is the goodies I made for the Moon Festival for my kids and myself, quite a Western concoction:


 


           


 


My formula for the Red Bean Sourdough



  • 240 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 240 g bread flour

  • 157 g water

  • 170 g cooked red beans from the can above (45% of total flour) * see step 5 below

  • 7 g salt

  • Extra rice flour for dusting


Total dough weight 810 grams and total dough hydration (approx.) 69% 



  1. Mix all ingredients by hand

  2. Autolyse 40 minutes

  3. Mix in the red beans by way of stretch & folds (this serves as the 1st set of S & F's; I did close to 100 strokes)

  4. After 30 minutes, perform the 2nd set of S & F's

  5. After another 30 minutes, perform the 3rd set of S & F's (* At this point my dough still felt very extensible, no strength whatsoever.  I decided something was wrong - I went and checked the can of red beans for its composition and found that its sugar was 38%!  This meant the sugar level in my dough was 17% flour.  When sugar is more than 12 - 15% of flour, it is best to add it in stages or starter may have difficulty performing.  It's too late now so I proceeded as normal.)

  6. After another 30 minutes, do the 4th set of S & F's

  7. After another 30 minutes, pre-shape the dough to a tight ball (I had to use a lot of flour on the work bench as the dough was extremely slack and sticky.)

  8. Rest 15 minutes and shape it to a boule and place it in rice flour dusted basket

  9. Proof for one hour in room temperature then place it in the refrigerator for overnight retarding (I did 10 hours.) Note: By the tiime I put the dough into the fridge, it had hardly risen.  Fortunately, after 10 hours of retardation, the dough had risen nicely, more than doubled.

  10. Next morning, just before baking, stencil any way you like, score, then bake with steam at 230 C for 35 minutes


 



  


                            


                                                   


It is strange that for that much sugar this sourdough actually does not taste sweet.  It tastes quite sour (I would say, slightly less than medium strength sourness), and therefore I felt no guilt at all to have a slice of this with a handsome topping of extra red beans from the can!  Yum (to a Chinese).


 


                                                            


 


My formula for Cocoa Cranberry Sourdough Rolls



  • 350 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 350 g bread flour

  • 60 g cocoa powder

  • 240 g water

  • 30 ml or 2 tbsp oil

  • For cranberries: 80 g dried cranberries + 60 g Kirsch + 20 g sugar, soak for as long as you can, up to a couple of weeks, in the refrigerator

  • 12 g salt


Total dough weight 1.2 kg (to be divided into 8 pieces of 150 grams each) and total dough hydration (approx. ) 75%


 


   


      


 



  1. Bulk fermentation 3 hours with 4 sets of stretch & folds

  2. Proofing one hour

  3. Retardation 10 hours

  4. Bake with steam @ 220 C for 25 minutes (I baked 4 pieces at a time while the other 4 resting in the refrigerator)


 


                                                        


              


 


This Cocoa Cranberry Sourdough Roll is really lovely to have.  So far I have found the cocoa powder (and for that matter, chocolate) very easy to work into a sourdough.  The crust is very crispy.  


I asked my daughter if people would find so many pictures in one post nauseating. She said without hesitation, "No, people would just think you are a lunatic."  My daughter is one who cannot tell a lie (what you see is what you get).


There had been a big patch of dark cloud hanging over the north-eastern side of the sky, determinant not to let me see the moon tonight.  As I was signing off this post, I went to my balcony to have one last look, and there it was - brighter and fuller than last night!  And here it is - the last photo of this post: 


 


                                                  


Shiao-Ping              

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The Simple Sourdough bread posted below is such a beautiful loaf and the perfect size for dinner. Susan has been making this loaf as her daily bread for a long time, has perfected the process and shared it with us. This is a bread any of us who bake with a natural levain (SD) should be able to bake. Or, if you are not currently feeding a sourdough pet, this is a good reason to start.


I think it might be fun to take the challenge and try to duplicate Susan's handiwork. If nothing else it will be a good exercise in the building blocks of basic sourdough. From the looks of her efforts I can stand to pay attention to the details. On occasion I get a loaf that has the qualities of hers but I would really like to be able to make this bread on any day.


In the next few days I plan to give this my best shot and work on the technique until I understand all the subtle check points to arrive at a perfect loaf. Anyone care to join me on this?


Eric

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci


Taralli are a biscuit that is eaten by Italians any time of the day. It should be named the national biscotti because taralli are enjoyed by young and old. Wheather it is for breakfast, as a snack, dunked in wine, as a treat for children, they are a biscuit that fills every occasion.  They can be found  in every bakery, market and in every Italian home.  There are many preparations of taralli, but the one here is from the village where my grandparants come from, "Vieste (FG) Italy".


Puglian Taralli
Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 50 minutes 
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes @ 375 degrees F 
Yield: 5 Dozen


Dry Ingredients


3 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached


2 cups semolina flour


2 teaspoons dry yeast


1 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed, or 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns, or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


WET INGREDIENTS


1 cup dry white wine, warmed


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, warmed


DOUGH


Sprinkle the yeast over the warm wine and let it stand for several minutes, then stir it into the wine and mix well.  In a large bowl put all the remaining ingredients and your chosen seasoning. Mix and knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Return to a clean bowl and cover the dough with plastic wrap or a dampened towel and let it rise for 30 minutes or longer in a warm place.


ASSEMBLY


Divide the dough into pieces. Roll them into 1/2” cylinders. Cut them into 6” lengths. Bring the two ends together and join them to make a round doughnut - like shape. Press your thumb on the ends to seal them.


BOILING


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop the taralli in a few at a time. When the taralli rise to the surface, remove them and put them on a clean towel to dry.


BAKE


Arrange the boiled taralli on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown.


Note:  When crushing the black pepper, do not use a grinder.  The finely ground powder from the pepper will make the taralli taste hot.  Use only hand crushed pieces.


 An old Italian say: "No matter what the argument, it can be resolved with a glass of wine and a handfull of taralli"


SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Today I thought I would fire up the wfo with the usual pizza first.  I made 3 pizza's and then the bread baking.  My pizza dough was from P.R.Book 'American Pie' the dough recipe was for the Napoletana Pizza Dough.  I always just flour dust my wooden paddle and slide my pizza into the oven..today I used half flour and half semolina...the semolina always burns like crazy when it hits the oven floor..indoors on my stones or in my wfo.  I guess it was just convenient all mixed in my little shaker!!  It is getting dumped! 


We love Oatmeal bread so I made 4 small boules of J. Hamelman's recipe from his book 'Bread'.  I also made Susan's Sourdough..Oh it tastes wonderful!  I'am still learning about the heat in my oven and experimenting with the steaming.  I would like to have seen the boule open up more..next time I'll try the oven even hotter and more steam.  I didn't overnight the final proof but it did get a long stay in the frig today along with the Oatmeal loaves.  Getting everything ready 'oven heat and temperature leveled out and loaves proofed' at the same time can be challenging and will take a more baking than I have been doing in the wfoven.


It was a fun day of baking and I have learned to get my fire going with only a few minutes of smoke.  I feel very proud of being able to light a fire correctly!



See the black spot beside the pizza...that's the semolina and flour mixture.  I don't recommend using semolina flour on your paddle because it just burns!  It will stick to the stone and not to the pizza if a little does you can just wipe it off.  Hot coals will clean up anything burned on the floor..self cleaning oven!



Topped with San Marzano Tomatoes , dried oregano, fresh garlic, EVOO, Fresh Mozzarella, home grown basil..that's it!



Wait a minute I'm taking a crumb shot!



See those tiny little black specks...that's the semolina that was mixed with the flour on the wooden paddle.  Not recommended!



Oatmeal boules and in the center Susan's Sourdough boule...the glow on the wall is not from heat..it's a reflection from the camera shooting in the black of night with a flash.




J.Hamelman's Oatmeal bread WFOven baked



Susan's Sourdough WFOven Baked.  I would like to see it bloom open more on the top.  



The flavor is very good!


Sylvia 


 


 

benjamin's picture
benjamin

I was entirely inspired by Shiao-Pings recent blog entry entitled 'Sourdough Down Under'. The part that really grabbed my attention was the inclusion of Vegemite in the dough. As an English boy I have a love affair with vegemite's cousin from the northern hemisphere: marmite.


I have often spread marmite lovingly across my yeasty creations, yet had never considered incorporating it into a dough!


Long story short I simply added  it into my favourite sourdough recipe (pain au levain from "Bread"). I removed 40g of water and replaced with marmite. The result was fantastic. I can honestly say that this is the best my apartment has ever smelled! The taste of marmite is present throughout the bread, but particularly strong in the crust... so good!


 


thank you Shiao-Ping!!


 


happy baking


 


Ben


 


 


IMG_2256[1].jpgIMG_2258[1].jpg


IMG_2254[1].jpg


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

With all the focus on artisan breads and uber-ethnic loaves, I thought it might be fun to indulge my contrarian streak and bake a batch of good ol' white bread ... you know, bologna sandwiches, french toast, things like that. Thing is, I have this really nice organic bread flour and fresh compressed yeast that I hadn't used on pan bread before. So I did it: 60% skim milk, 2% salt, 8% each egg, oil and sugar, 3% yeast (to compensate for the enrichments). Well, the dough doubled in less than 45 minutes and proofed in 45 minutes. Baked at 350 for half an hour, and here's the result:



Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

In a couple of weeks' time I will be visiting my favourite tea houses in Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  Oolong tea has become a drug to me; the first sip of this green tea very early in the morning before the whole household stirs, whilst seeing the sun rise, is like heaven to me.  My tea is my ticket to heaven.


Today is one special day for all of the Chinese in the world - the Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival (more like the Mid-Spring Festival for me down under).  This festival has been celebrated since the 7th century in the Chinese Tang Dynasty.  None of the stories, or legends, as to how and why this festival came into being has ever sounded credible to me.  I hadn't thought of it before but now I think perhaps this festival began more as a way of showcasing the ancient Chinese excellence in astrology, because this day, the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese Lunar calendar, is considered the day when the moon is the fullest and brightest each year.


The Chinese poet, Lee Bai or Li - Bai (701 - 762) in Tang Dynasty, died from trying to scoop the full moon out of the lake while drinking and dancing to the moon, a drowned drunkard basically.  The following is one of his poems that I love the most; I had it written in mad running style Chinese characters for me; while he drank wine, I drink tea:


 


                                      


 


I made a sourdough, intending to have it with Chinese sausage in a sort of open sandwich tonight to celebrate the full moon.  I used the "trinity" for Chinese stock pot - soy sauce, sugar & garlic (and I threw in sesame oil too) to flavour this sourdough:


 


                   


 


When I was stirring my starter in the soy sauce mixture trying to break it up, I thought I must have poisoned the little beasties - there was absolutely no sign of life.  And sure enough, the dough, after 4 hours of fermentation, was flat as a pancake, dead as a door knocker!  Fortunately, it sprang up in the oven, maybe by 50 - 75%.  The raw garlic was so potent that while it was in the oven baking, I felt sorry for my poor neighbours.  I couldn't even say I liked the smell.  I don't know why I put in so much raw garlic in the first place - maybe I was trying to make a statement.  It really is not good form to be biting into a piece of bread so full of garlic; I mean, not on a night of beautiful full moon!


 


                   


 


                                                     


 


My Formula



  • 350 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 350 g bread flour + 1 tsp Chinese five spices

  • 190 g water

  • 30 ml sesame oil

  • 15 g dark soy sauce

  • 20 g sugar

  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (two cloves should be plenty)

  • 6 g salt


Total dough weight 1.1 kg and total dough hydration 70%


 


                             


 


                                              


 


Shiao-Ping

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

 


I was ready to leave for our hideout in Wisconsin when I realized that I forgot to prepare bread to take with me. Now a week without my bread was not an option. I decided to (mis)use my rye sourdough starter St.Clair, just refreshed two days ago, and mix some dough together for my simple sourdough bread, take this dough with me and bake it in the cabin. To make the story short, I overestimated the strength of this Montana baby and the bread came out as a brick. Not too happy, I was still without bread, I looked at my options. What I found was a plastic bowl, 2 lb or 907 grams of Gold Medal AP flour, of course bleached etc., a package of active dry yeast and salt.



Well that should be enough to create a cabin bread. I mixed all the ingredients together in the bowl, measured the water with the empty root beer bottle (591ml) and stirred it together for a 65% hydrated dough. I took it out of the bowl and slapped and stretched it (Méthode Bertinet: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough) till it was a nice and firm dough. After an hour I stretched and folded (s&f) it once like Mark Sinclair (Méthode St.Clair) and then left it alone for 3 hours (had to go hunting). The cabin temperature was only 60°F so it worked out well and after this time the dough was ready for another s&f. In the meantime I heated the cabin to its normal 70ºF and after another hour, a s&f I shaped it into two loafs, let it proof for 30 min and put them in the 30 year old oven at 450ºF (more or less?). I added a little bit of water, I was afraid to much would kill this oldie, for steam, and 35 min later, tadaaa I had my simple cabin bread.




A little bit under proofed but ............ and was it good.


 


Und die Moral der Geschichte: sometimes simple things taste as good as the complicated stuff and of course I will not take bread with me from home anymore when I go up north.


 


Thomas


More pictures you find here: http://tssaweber.com/WP/2009/10/the-simple-things/

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Cardamom Braids and wished I knew who to credit with the recipe. I still don't know but wanted to share this picture. The recipe called for dividing the dough and making two braids then stretching them to 18". I wanted to be able to give the loaves away and hate to give half a loaf so I made it into four braids. As you can see I baked them all on one pan and they "kissed", so next time I won't crowd them so much. I also made the dough in the morning and shaped the braids and put them in the fridge overnight so that I could bake them early next day. A.


 



 


 


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