The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Marni's picture
Marni

We needed bread for school lunches yesterday and I wanted to make something other than the usual Amish Bread from allrecipes.  I also have way too much disgarded starter in the fridge, so I just decided to see what would happen if I winged it.    Some (about to be disgarded) starter, oil, water, wheat germ, yeast, sugar, salt and flour.  I've done this a few times before, but yesterday's loaf turned out so well, this is all that is left:



I was able to hold them off until it was almost cooled.  The problem is they want more today and this is a loaf that can't be replicated exactly.  But I'm trying - another batch  is bulk rising as I type.  We'll see what happens...

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

We always have some Italian dishes during our holidays. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Easter, there is always ravioli on our table as a first dish. We would set up an assembly line with all of us pitching in to make hundreds of them before Thanksgiving so that we could have them for Christmas also. They freeze very well, but don’t ever defrost them before cooking them, just put them into a large amount of salted boiling water directly from the freezer.


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/ricotta-ravioli-from-“the-old-country”/


yozzause's picture
yozzause

Recent visit by Harmony primary  school to the  technical college where I work . Children involved  in a program FROM THE GARDEN TO THE TABLE, Garden produce was bought in and menu's  compiled by the school children were tweaked and produced for lunch for parents invited guests including the mayor and food critic from the local paper in our commercial kitchen with the help of our students and chefs.


A hearty garden soup, vietnamese spring rolls, salmon and salad.and a mini trio of sweets, (all very tasty) 


I was able to assist in the bakery where the bread rolls were made for the luncheon and we had a go at making the little pink piggies which was a sweet dough.


Primary students showed some very good hand skills and took to the task like ducks to water.


a great time was had by all 

JoPi's picture
JoPi

Here is a short Pizza Baker video titled "Naturally Risen".  I received it from Pizzatherapy.com.  Enjoy!


http://pizzatherapy.com/naturallyrisen.htm

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I made Struan Rolls to go with a pot of soup Dorota made tonight.




Often my Struan comes out a bit heavy (like in the photo in the recipe I linked to), but tonight I nailed it.  They were light, fluffy, soft, and just the perfect sweetness.  When you get Struan right, it is hard to beat.


In nerd news: WhiteHouse.gov is now running on Drupal, which is the software that The Fresh Loaf runs on.  That is very exciting to geeks like me.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Last week I posted a message on TFL asking community members to test out the new fundraising software I'd developed for Mercy Corps, my employer, by making a few small donations. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. We hit our original goal of one thousand dollars, which I feared might be unreasonably high, in less than 72 hours, and several community members expressed a desire that we extend this longer. If you are game, I'm game. Let's see what we can do.

What is Mercy Corps?

Mercy Corps is an international aid agency based in Portland, Oregon. With over 3,500 employees working in more than 40 countries, we work to help people build secure, productive and just communities. We do that by expanding educational opportunities, helping build water and sanitation infrastructure, providing microfinancing to women starting small businesses and running food and nutrition programs to prevent malnutrition.

As I've mentioned, I work there, but I was a supporter and fan of the organization before I began working there. Mercy Corps works in some of the world's toughest places, including many that rarely make the headlines, and is committed to being efficient stewards of their donors' money.

If you are interested in supporting our fundraising effort, you can do so here. Your show of support would mean a great deal to me.

Update 10/25: I am moving the discussion of this from the forums to a blog thread so that folks interested in the fundraising project can still chat about it without interfering with the bread-centricity of the forums. I've also raised the goal to $2,500.

More to come...
LittleTee's picture
LittleTee

This is my first blog, so bear with me ....


I'm about 6 weeks in as an amateur bread baker. I started in an effort to save my family some money, and find a new hobby. After my first loaf of pain sur poolish, I was hooked. So far I've made some pretty good breads, and they seem to have gotten a little better each week as I practice my technique.


Having just purchased The Baker's Apprentice, I woke up Friday feeling overly ambitious. I decided this weekend that I would go for the gold: pain a l'ancienne. I read through the instructions: it seemed simple enough. No kneading involved. How hard could it be? No guts, no glory...


First mistake was this: I did not realize that pain a l'ancienne is different from traditional french baguettes. So my expectations were out of whack.


Day one went relatively smoothly. I measured, mixed and put the concoction into the fridge for primary fermentation. I noticed that the dough seemed rather wet, more than I was used to ... it almost poured into the bowl like batter, but held together okay. I figured I'd wait and see.


This morning (day 2), I woke up, ready for baking day. I pulled out my dough... it had barely risen. The instructions said to leave it at room temp for a couple of hours and let it continue to ferment.


Two hours later, and very little progress with the rise. I decided to give it another hour and see, since it was a chilly morning. The extra hour did the trick, and it had risen to twice its size.I could see bubbles, so the gas was there.


Now for the shaping. As per instructions, I "poured" the dough out of the bowl onto a heavily floured surface. No problem there. It seemed to puddle a bit, but it looked like the photos in the book. I floured the top, and began to cut the dough for baguettes.


Here's where I am sure I went wrong. First, I cut them too thin. They seemed like a reasonable width, but by the time I placed them onto the parchment, they had stretched so much and were no more than an inch across in places. I say "in places", because they also did not hold a uniform shape lengthwise. The dough was supposed to make 6 baguettes and I ended up with 9, if that helps explain it!


Second mistake: I neglected to dust my parchment with cornmeal. I am still baking so not sure how this will affect them, but given how sticky the dough was, I'm sure it means paper attached to the baguette.I tried lifting one set of 3 off the parchment and onto another dusted piece, but the shape completely fell apart and all the gas was lost. I did not score, either -- another rookie mistake. Clearly I was too excited to do this properly!


Had some trouble getting the things in the oven the first time (which resulted in my first oven burn). The second time around I modified and it worked okay.


I ended up placing the cookie tray on top of my pizza stone, as the dough stretched longer than the stone and would not fit. It took about 28 mins total to bake. Batch 1 never really achieved that nice golden brown colour I have seen, so I coated Batch 2 and 3 with a little water. Perhaps I did not correctly steam the oven, or the issues with the dough ruined the process. I did get a nice holey crumb, so had they been the correct size, I would have had some winners. Live and learn.


The texture is nice, and it tastes creamy, which I've read is what the aim is. But they are nowhere near as picture-perfect as I would have liked.


Despite the failure, I learned a great deal from this attempt, and I'm not discouraged, surprisingly. The thing I love about bread-making is that even if it's not great, it's still pretty good... and certainly better than the grocery store brands that are now unpalatable to myself and my family.


Fortunately I had the good sense to prepare a poolish the night before as well, so I will be making pain sur poolish later ... enough to hold us for the week, since we will be sans baguettes -- at least in the traditional sense!


Happy baking! :-)

fortarcher's picture
fortarcher

I made four loves yesterday and they all turned out.  After reding sooooooooooo many recipes, I came up with one that seems to work.  The recipe needs just a little tweek.  Little more water and salt.  I did not retard in the frig but next  weekend I will not skip this step.  I just couldn't wait!


The crust turned out nice and crusty and the crum is super light and soft.  The crumb does not have big holes in it but you can see some.  The dough was kind of stiff for sour dough.(I think). 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I remember rustic bread from "Bread" being a staple in my kitchen before I got started with levains and sourdough breads. It's a clean, wholesome bread, and it's over a year since I'd made his rustic bread, so the time was ripe for another attempt.


I wanted to try some different shapes as well, so I divided the dough in two, both weighing 750 gr. each. One was shaped as an ordinary batard, and the other piece was cut into smaller dough chunks, and shaped into mini-batards and the tabatiere and pain d'Aix shapes shown in ABAP.


Below are two shots of the bakes: Front left are some mini-batards rolled in flax, sesame and oat bran. To the right, at the very back is the tabatiere, and in front of that, the pain d'Aix shape. Fun to make, and nice to mix things up a bit :)


I had certainly forgotten how nice this formula is. I think it more or less equals many pain au levain recipes - absolutely delicious with a thin layer of honey and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.


Rustic bread


 


 


Rustic bread

davidg618's picture
davidg618

David Snyder (dmsnyder) has convinced me pre-steaming is beneficial, but I've still been uncertain I'm generating enough steam, considering my oven door is not an airtight fit, and the convection fan blows some of the steam out around the door. So, today, I tried a new way to generate steam. I saw it recommended in Hamelman's Bread, but I ignored it happy as I was, at the time, generating steam with pre-heated lava rocks. It was only when David wrote of his experience pre-steaming his oven that I started reexamining the details of my steaming practice.


My wife's dog/horse treat baking (see blog http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13862/baking-going-dogs-and-horses-too) gave me a clue. Here pet snack recipe is packed with fresh shredded carrots, resulting in a very wet "dough". Watching her open the oven door while baking three half-sheet pans full I saw a large amount of steam (water vapor, really) pour out of the oven.


Today I fitted a half-baking sheet with a terrycloth shop towel that covered its bottom. Five minutes before I put in the first loaf I poured a cup of hot tap water onto the towel. It was enough to soak it thuroughly, but there was no free standing water. I placed the pan on the lowest shelf.  As usual, I also covered the oven's top vent with a folded towel. Before five minutes were up I saw water vapor escaping at the bottom of the door where its sealing gasket's ends meet. I've never seen that before, although I was previously convinced steam was escaping.


When I placed the loaf, the oven was visably full of water vapor; nevertheless, I added another 1/2 cup of water to the towel. At ten minutes I reduced the oven temperature, and removed the sheetpan, and uncovered the oven vent.; for safety reasons I'd never attempt to remove the lava rocks. Whatever water vapor remained in the oven I'm certain disappated quickly. After the sheetpan and towel cooled I felt the towel. Its center was still damp, but the edges were dry, justifying the additonal 1/2 cup of water added.


Here's the visual results. I bake this sourdough (Vermont sourdough with a stiff levain) once every week. This loaf's oven spring is as good or better than any before now.


I'm going to adapt this method, at least for the near future. I think it's safer than splashing water into a pan of lava rock, all indications show it produces more steam, and it can be simply and safely removed to immediately stop the source of steam.


David G


 

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