The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

I recently "discovered" an absolutely marvelous eatery fairly near me here in Sacramento called Ravenous Cafe.  We first tried it a couple weeks ago and had a delightful meal, but as a bread freak I was astounded at the really great bread they served, unlike nothing else I remembered.  I called them a few days later to learn more about that surprising bread and had the chance to talk to the chef, Mark Helms, who described it as basically a "Country Bread" inspired by Chad Robertson's book Tartine Bread.  He offered to give me a bit of his starter which I gratefully accepted (consuming another great meal at Ravenous Cafe on the way).


I tried the starter out this past weekend using a version of the recipe from Martha Stewart's website (link) .  The dough is basically a moist sourdough (75% hydration) made with a 90/10 blend of unbleached bread flour and whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand).  The recipe calls for a 100%-hydration starter made with a 50/50 blend of unbleached bread flour and whole wheat flour.


I'm not used to working with dough that moist but I muddled through as best I could - shaping the loaf was problematic for me.  The starter I mooched from Mark Helms performed beautiifully, and I wound up with a moist tasty bread with a very open crumb.



 



I didn't have a cover big enough to put over the loaves and they wound up toasty on the top and barely done on the underside, but it's pretty good for a first attempt.  Never made bread like this before, it's a real eye opener for me!

asfolks's picture
asfolks

In baking, like in life, when you think you have a pretty good handle on things something comes along that reminds you that you have a lot to learn. Today's lesson was that I don't yet have the skills for excessive handling of generously hydrated loaves.


The bake today was Hamelman's Semolina Sourdough with sesame seeds inside and out. I thought I could lay my loaf in a tray of seeds without something bad happening, but it left me with a wiggle in my batard.


I mostly stuck to the recipe on this one, just bumped up the hydration a little and added a 20 hour retard and made two 29 oz loaves. All in all, a nutty, fragrant and tasty bread.


Next up, Pain Meunier from Advanced Bread and Pastry, sourdough style.



rolls's picture
rolls

 

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no holes really, made a nice sandwich though



Hi all, i tried the baguette recipe for the first time from Dan Lepard's 'Exceptional Breads', the 'pain blanc', this might be my best scoring for baguettes so far, although i know its far from perfect, and its mostly due to it being a 64% hydration dough. i usually work with more wetter doughs.

I've only tried baguettes a few times and would really love some feedback, advice. please feel free to criticize my baguettes, lol, i know some look like they've got their guts spilled out ;)
i just really love making these, and would love to master it :)

i had to leave the dough in the fridge for over a day as i didn't have time for it then.
i also underproofed the shaped baguettes. i then sprayed lightly with canola oil (i had to improvise as my water spray bottle fell out of reach,lol), scored, placed them in the oven and turned it on to maximum heat (250 degrees celcius for my oven)

i've read that if you underproof your shaped loaves, and bake from a cool oven, you get great oven spring. i've tried this several times, and it really works :D


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Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

It is a glorious day in Brisbane today, the air is crisp and the sky is clear.  Where I came from it would be plum blossom raining season now.  Have you ever wonder exactly what you miss about a place when you are missing it?  My pen is blunt but I have flour in my hand to paint:


 


            


 


                                                                                       


 


   


 


Since my last post, I had made a dozen of these Miches, each time a two kilo loaf.  Yes, a dozen of these.  I have had a fixation on Miche-style breads and I need to wean myself off it.  Last year I made a day trip to Sydney to visit some of the bakeries down there and I found my dream Miche with that beautiful translucent crumb: Sonoma Bakery in Paddington, Sydney.  I wrote up a post about it.  


The combination of flours that I have been using for my recent Miche plays is: 



  • 65% bread flour

  • 15% organic stoneground whole wheat flour

  • 10% organic stoneground spelt

  • 5% organic stoneground rye

  • 5% organic buckwheat


My results have not been to my satisfaction.  It is not the holes that I am looking for: 


 


     


 


                            


 


     


 


                                        


 


It is each and every cell that I am focusing on.  There is a certain translucent crumb quality that I am looking for, similar to the T110 Miche that I made more than a year ago (but that Miche was only 1.5 kilo).  There is a Chinese character,, describing a mellow wine beautifully fermented from the best grapes available.  I don't know the comparable English word for it (Ron, can you help?).  Fermentation is a complex process that cannot be hurried.  While it is not easy to achieve a delicate balance bringing all factors together beautifully in fermentation, more and more I find that if the flour is not right, there is no chance for to happen in bread.  Not all flours have equal fermentable qualities. 


I find it is quite important for me to have the flour malted at the miller level to achieve the crumb quality that I look for in a big Miche.  David and Glenn make beautiful Miches using Keith Giusto Bakery Supply's Organic Type 85 malted flour which is similar to the French T110 flour that I used, both being 90% extraction.  (I didn't enjoy the French T80 flour that I used for My T80 Miches.  In memory, I had some tough time working with the flour; I may be wrong but I think that particular T80 flour was not malted.) 


Any good ingredient is a two-edge sword; it can also harm your result.  James MacGuire wrote that fava-bean flour, a sauce of malt, is allowed as an ingredient for the bread to be called "Pain de tradition" under French consumer protection laws because it has long been used (whereas ascorbic acid is not permissible as the latter's use was only since the 1950s).  He cautions against oxidation of the dough with malt.  This is no so much a problem for us if we are careful not to over-ferment our dough.  These days we go for a slightly under-proved dough for better oven spring anyway.   


Next, I find dough size and shape do make a difference in outcome.  A big round Miche is about the hardest for a home baker to perfect as any other shape.  It wouldn't be as hard if the shape is a batard because the thickest part is smaller.  Given the same shape, i.e., the round shape, there is a big difference between a 1.5 kilo dough and a 2 kilo one.  It is a lot easier to achieve a great result with a 1.5 kg dough.  My baking stone measures 34 cm by 34 cm.  It can take a 2 kilo dough which will bake to 30 to 32 cm in diameter depending on how tall the volume.  Several times when I didn't load my doughs dead-set in the centre of the stone, they baked with bits hanging on the edge of the stone.  Scary to watch.


I normally love a challenge, but I am losing steam fast.  I need good whole grain flour for a good old Miche.  White flour just won't do.  I read that in the States and in Europe there are many good millers who would work with bakers to produce the best flours for the bakers to use.  I have yet to find one such miller in my area.  I am invited to visit an organic mill, 170 km from where I live, next week.   I hope to have good news to report. 


 


Shiao-Ping

Quirky Cakes's picture
Quirky Cakes

For those of you who are cupcake connoisseurs, try this play on the household favorite of mint chocolate chip ice cream.



Chocolate chip cupcakes:


2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour


1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


3/4 teaspoon baking powder


3/4 teaspoon salt


12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar


3/4 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)


 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


4 large eggs


1/2 cup vegetable oil


1 cup buttermilk


Bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chunks) either with a standing mixer fitted with a paddle or with a hand mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes (until there are no clumps). Fold in one cup of the chocolate chunks. Typically I put the batter into a large ziploc bag and cut off on the of tips to fill the cups. Fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and frost.


Mint frosting:


2 sticks of unsalted butter


4 cups of confectioners sugar


1/2 cup whipping cream (light or regular)


1 tsp peppermint extract


Blend all of the ingredients together either with a standing mixer fitted with a paddle or a hand mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until all of the ingredients appear light and fluffy. I use standard icing bags, choose the tip that you desire. I also garnished these cupcakes with crushed pieces of chocolate chunks as well as one full piece at the peek of the frosting. 


Enjoy!

RuthieG's picture
RuthieG

Last night I made a starter for cuban bread to bake today as well as the liquid yeast levain for Japanese Sandwich bread. 


 


I expected to see the cuban bread starter way up the sides of the container this morning as it contained 3/4 tsp of regular yeast.  I also expected a good result from the liquid fruit yeast after sitting all night on the counter even though our home is very cool..... 


 


The result was that the liquid fruit starter far out preformed the regular yeast.  It was a beautiful sight to see......I think my liquid yeast must be a very good batch.  I wish I had taken a picture of it so you could see but perhaps I will make another batch just for picture taking.


 


Here is a picture of my refrigerated liquid fruit yeast.  It doesn't appear clear in the picture but it is a pinkish clear liquid and is made up of dried raisins, dried cranberries, grapes and apple skins and cores.  It is very active and I store it in a very cold spot in my fridge.  I am anxious to see how today's bread turns out.  The yeasted Cuban loafs are far ahead of the two at the moment.  I have already proofed them and made baguettes after the first rise.




 


Here is a shot of my Cuban bread.....It will soon be time to go into the oven.  I made it to my own shape....Not as thick and Batardish as Miami bread and not as slender and elongated as Tampa bread. Since this picture was taken, I have inserted a piece of water soaked white cotton cord across the top of each one......


 


 


 



The finished bread......out of the oven at internal temp of 200 degrees. 



 


 

asfolks's picture
asfolks

As a long time lurker, it seemed like it was time to jump in and contribute.


I am an obsessive bread baker and recent convert to the joys of wild yeast. Today's bake was Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain. Since it was my first attempt at this one, there were no modifications. As always there are things to improve on, but I was pretty happy with the results.

honeymustard's picture
honeymustard

I have known for a while now that I would have to face my fear of wet doughs. Yes, fear. Absolute fear.


I am very good at breads that are relatively dry, and the only doughs that I've worked with that are wet weren't nearly as wet as the recipe I found here - Floydm's Daily Bread.


To be honest, I had a vague idea - at best - at what I was doing. I made a whole wheat poolish, and the rest of the flour was organic spelt. For good measure and texture, I added 1/4 cup flax seeds. I baked on a stone as directed.


Spelt & Flax Bread


For having so little idea about what I was doing, I feel pretty fantastic about the results. The rise was reasonably good, and the texture was perfect. I would hope for a slightly better crumb next time. But I'm not going to be picky after my first try.


Also, I wanted a harder crust, but I think that has to do with a) my stone and b) a better method of steaming.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I wanted a quick reference list for dough ball sizes for common items I bake: breads, rolls, pizza. I haven't found one on TFL, maybe it's here, but no luck yet. So I figured I'd share what I have so far.

Pizzas

12" pizza, personal (plate-sized): 175g (thin) - 250g (thicker)
14" pizza, thin crust, NYC style: 450g
14" pizza, medium "american" crust style: 540g
16" pizza, thin crust, NYC style: 567g

Sourdough and Rustic Loaves

Regular free-form loaf (boule) of sourdough: 1000g
Small free-form loaf (boule): 750g
"Standard" loaf-pan loaf (9.25" x5.25"x2.75"), heavier multigrain bread or sourdough: 1100g

Other Breads

"Standard" loaf-pan loaf (9.25" x5.25"x2.75"), light lean bread: 800g

12" hoagie/sandwich roll: 227g
6"/7" hoagie/sandwich roll: 113g

Standard baguette: 340g
Home oven baguette: 200-250g

Large pretzel: 160g
Bagel: 96-113g

Burger & hot dog buns: 92g
Small soft dinner roll: 48g

Feel free to comment or add other recommended values.

rolls's picture
rolls

Hi  all, jus wanted to share with you my recent sticky bun baking. I am really addicted to home made sweet rolls and buns, and these couldn't be easier to make as they're made from a no knead dough. happy to post recipe (not that i actually follow one) if anyones interested :)

I baked these while away (i know, obsessed).  i mixed up a batch of no knead in a stock pot as there wasn't a big enough bowl in the holiday house we were staying in, and made two trays of sticky buns, yummm, we had them on the beach with coffee with our friends, everyone loved :D


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not sure why the first pic turned out like that, but that was straight out of the oven, before flipping them over :) they disappeared real quick! FYI the corner ones are the yummiest, i love the crispy toffee edges,mmm. :D

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