The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blogs

  • Pin It
bakinbuff's picture
bakinbuff

My husband and and small boys quite like whitish sandwich bread, and although they like my sourdough boules and batards for dipping in soup, it is difficult to convince them to eat sourdough in any other form.  I have read in a few places that the long fermentation times plus the lactobacilli in sourdough improve the digestibility and lower the GI rating of bread (in comparison to bread prepared commercially with the shortest possible rises, etc).  Seeing as the family like toast and sandwiches from time to time, and I always make a instant yeasted loaf for that, I thought it couldn't hurt to try a sourdough sandwich loaf and test out the family's reaction.  So, today I am baking a sourdough sandwich loaf which is all white bread flour except half a cup of fresh ground whole wheat flour.  Of late, my starter has been less sour than it was before, so perhaps that will help, too.  Anyway, here are the pics of the crust and crumb.  While it was baking it filled the house with a delicious almost buttery smell which I find utterly irresistable!  Let's hope they like it too....



A cool loaf and two slices of toast later...


The children gobbled it up!  It is not sour, is quite light and fluffy, and very much what I was after.  Success!


 

msmarguet's picture
msmarguet



          if patience is a virtue, then let's just say i've spent most of my life striving for it . . . this is an oxymoron, i know, because being patient is the exact opposite of striving. but, i am not good at sitting still, calmly waiting for anything. i go when i'm awake, and i stop when i'm asleep, and there is not much in between. so for me there is a lesson in making bread: it is the valuable, heart warming activity of tolerance and the acceptance of what is to come. it requires me to give up most of the control to the bread, which is basically making itself, and needs only my humble service to keep it comfortable and tend to its care. 


         still, i have not learned even after years of making bread, and anxious with anticipatince is how i spent a day at work after the morning i made a sponge from my own wild yeast starter. i was so excited to have succeeded in growing yeast with nothing other than flour and water, that i couldn't wait to see the end result. oh, but confucius says, "desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly". isn't that just the truth when it comes to baking bread with yeast that isn't "fast-acting". there are no short cuts, no quick tricks, no set timers that will make this bread rise any faster. it is like watching grass grow. you simply have to submit to the yeast and the dough until they tell you it's time to bake.



scored and ready for baking.



          my forced patience over the 24 hours that it took to bake these patty-cake loaves was a reward that filled our home with a comforting smell, and my heart with a sense of accomplishment. it feels like i have been an assistant in the creation of something good, and now i anticipate, with serenity, the opportunity to do it over again.


patty-cake bread


• 1 cup of ripe chef starter click here to learn how to make a natural starter


• 2 cups of lukewarm water


• 1 cup of whole wheat flour


• 2 to 2 1/2 cups of white bread flour


• 1 tbl. of olive oil


• kosher salt


directions


1. mix all the ingredients in the bowl of the kitchen aid just until combined. cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest about 20 minutes–this is called autolyse and allows the flour to absorb the water and for the gluten to start to develop.


2. knead the dough on the first setting about 6-8 min. until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.


3. cover the bowl with the towel and after 20 minutes fold it click to learn to fold a wet dough


4. fold it two more times after allowing it to rest for 20 minutes each time.


5. rub olive oil on the inside of a large bowl and put the dough in it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in the refrigerator for 12 hours.


6. gently remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter with the pastry scraper– you don't want to push out all of the air pockets that have developed.


7. cut it in half, and then each half in half again. cover it with a towel and let it rest 30 minutes.


8. gently form the pieces into rectangles with the long side nearest to you.


9. to form baguettes, work with one rectangle at a time and fold the top and bottom to the center. gently seal the two edges. fold the top edge to the bottom and seal. gently roll out to a long baguette shape, and put them seam side up onto a wooden peel dusted with corn meal. place rolled up towels or place-mats between the baguettes.


10. cover the shaped baguettes with the towel and allow them to proof until about double (that's when you make an indentation with your index finger and the spot holds instead of springing back).


11. raise the top rack in the oven to about 6-7 inches from the top and lay a baking stone onto it. put the bottom of the broiler pan on the bottom rack and fill it with water. preheat the oven for 1/2 hour to 450 degrees.


12. slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor to about 1/4 inch deep.


13. push the loaves off of the wooden peel just like you would a pizza crust with one clean jerk.


14. bake them for about 30-35 minutes until the tops are dark brown and crispy– rotate them about half way through to make sure they bake evenly.


15. let them cool completely on the grate of the stove top before cutting.



 

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Ricotta torta is a much lighter cheese cake then the traditional NY cheese cake. It is a traditional Easter dessert.


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com


 


 

benjamin's picture
benjamin

Last night I made the San Fransisco sourdough from 'Advanced bread and pastry' by michael Saus. Though this is a great recipe, the major point with this bread was the steaming technique I tried out. I have tried countless ways to efficiently steam my oven, including a moderately dangerous, self-invented water injection system... needless to say, results were not incredible, and most definately not worth the third degree burns.


Since then I have been using a steam pan in the base of the oven, placed there a couple of minutes prior to loading the bread. Unfortunately this is not the most efficient method, since my oven has numerous vents which allow most of the steam to escape.


I had read numerous times on TFL that a bowl could be used to cover the bread, utilising the moisture held within the bread to generate steam... so I decided to give it a try. I placed the bowl over the bread for the first 20 min of the bake, and then removed, I was thrilled with the results. The crust sang loudly fresh from the oven, and this is the first time that I have ever managed to maintain the little 'bridge' between the two ears, when scoring a batard with 2 slashes.


The bowl I used was an enormous metal bowl, bought from Ikea a few months ago, I forget the price, but it was certainly under $10.


A word of advice: when lifting the bowl after the 20 min, use something like a peel to lift the edge of the bowl to allow the steam to vent... I underestimated the amount of steam this technique generates and lifted the bowl with a tea towel... much to the displeasure of my hands.


 


Crumb image to follow tonight


Happy baking


Ben


 


sf sourdough side for TFL.JPG


 


 


sf sourdough top for tfl.JPG


 


As promised, a crumb picture! I wanted to wait until the loaf cooled, so I sliced into as soon as I got home from work...


crumb.JPG


 

lylebrandt's picture
lylebrandt

I get very little oven spring. And I can't get a crisp crust. what ingredeants make this happen?

emunab's picture
emunab

Everyone wants to make the perfect challah. It's easier than you think. Try this recipe:


Perfect Challah with Sweet Crumble Topping


I make them in twisted rolls and bake them in a 12 cup muffin tray and they come out shaped well and with great height. You cannot eat just a bite so make a lot of them!


Makes 32 rolls


Topping:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
16 - 19 tablespoons oil
Mix flour and sugar. Add oil (start with 16 tablespoons) and add until consistency is crumbly.


Challah Dough
5 lbs sifted flour (sometimes need to add 2 or 3 more cups)
1 cup sugar
4 packets RAPID RISE yeast
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs
5 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil


Put 5 cups of flour in mixer. Add yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix in water, oil and eggs. Mix until well combined and it has no lumps. Add remaining flour one cup at a time. Knead in the mixer for 12 minutes.


Let dough sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch down dough and braid into loaves or use a few pieces and knot for rolls. Place in challah pans or in large muffin cups. Let rise 45 more minutes. Sprinkle generously with crumble topping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.


For more great challah recipes, check out www.gourmetkoshercooking.com 

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Hey Pat,


I'm dedicating my latest batch of baguettes that I made last night to you...  These are very simple 58% hydration baguettes made with Gold Medal Unbleached AP Flour, water, Kosher Salt, active dry yeast.  The crust and crumb turned out pretty well.  The last one I put in was a little overproofed, but it turned out OK.  These are very simple tasting with a very light crumb and a crunchy crust.  I think next time I will put the yeastless Poolish in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out on the counter.  That might give them a sweeter taste...  Enjoy!


Tim


PS: I'm still grinding...





Ingredients:


1366g - AP


792g - Water


28g - Kosher Salt


8g - Active Dry Yeast


 


Directions:


Yeastless Soaker (Poolish)


683g - AP


683g - Water


8:00am - Mix all, cover, leave on counter for 8-12 hrs.


 


Final Dough:


683g - AP


109g - Water


28g - Kosher Salt


8g - Active Dry Yeast (2 tsp)


1366g - Yeastless Soaker


Directions:


6:30pm - Mix all ingredients, knead for 5 minutes with wet hands in bowl, cover let rest for 25 minutes.


7:00pm - Knead briefly, place in oiled tub, cover, let rest for 25 minutes.


7:30pm - Turn dough.


8:00pm - Turn dough.


8:30pm - Divide into 6 equal pieces, preshape, cover let rest for 20 minutes.


8:50pm - Final baguette shape, proof ln linen couche for 30-45 minutes.  Place 2 baking stones on 2 levels in oven along with steam tray, preheat to 500F with convection.


9:30pm - Turn baguettes onto peel, slash, place directly on stone (3 per level) add 1 cup of water to steam pan, close oven door, bake for 10 minutes at 450F with convection.  Rotate, turn down oven to 425F with convection and bake for another 12-14 minutes or until internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool for 1 hr before cutting.


 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I have been able to make time for baking recently, but not so much for other things like keeping up with my bread blog.  During the silence I've been pushing myself to higher and higher hydration levels on my straight sourdough bread formula, testing my own limits in handling high (to me anyway) hydration doughs, and learning about how it affects the finished loaf.  I think I've learned a lot, but the most important lesson has been:  I still have a lot to learn!


I have baked this dough recently at 72%, 74%, 76% and finally at 78% hydration.  This post is about the latest, at 78% hydration.  The others (72%, 74% and 76%) we have eaten happily, but I've not had time to post about them, and did not take pictures either.  My bad, mea culpa. 


As I have progressed up the hydration levels with this bread I have kept virtually everything else as consistent as I can.
. My flour mix has stayed at 5% Organic Rye, 15% KAF Bread flour and 80% KAF All Purpose flour.
. I have used my home-grown 100% hydration starter expanded in two successive expansions to provide a 25% preferment when making up the final dough. 
. I have used 85F water by thermometer for all water additions to both the preferment and the final dough, but have not controlled for final dough temperature, taking what comes. 
. I have used a variation on dmsnyder's San Joaquin Sourdough process of stretch and folds in the bowl followed by same on a lightly floured board.  I do 40 "strokes" in the bowl at 30 minute intervals, repeated four times, followed by two repetitions on the board at 45 minute intervals.
. After the dough is developed it is retarded in the refrigerator for 14 to 20 hours depending on life.
. Dough was divided evenly and shaped into 2 oval boules with only a short bench rest between pre-shaping and  final shaping.
. Proofing was done at room temperature (roughly averaging 66F-67F) in heavily floured oval willow baskets till my poke test is satisfied (I continue to over-proof.  Slow learner I guess.)
. Baking has been in a La Cloche in a tile-lined oven, preheated for 30 minutes at 500F using 10 minutes under cover and then 20-25 minutes (at 465F) uncovered, with finished internal temperatures always in the 209F-210F range.


This bake has followed the above, and the results have tracked consistently with my previous efforts.  First, this dough is wet!  It is very soft and sticky starting out but develops easily throughout the stretch and fold regimen, and then is surprisingly easy to handle after the retard.  It is too soft to really hold a shape very well, but not so soft or sticky as to be impossible to put into a shape initially.  Does that make any sense? 


Here are a loaf and a crumb shot.



As you can see, the very wet dough captured a great deal of surface flour.  Even so, it stuck in the willow basket a bit and took a firm rap on the board to jar it loose.  That resulted in some spreading of the loaf that was not overtaken by the oven spring.


The crumb gelled nicely, and is very, very tender. Perhpas even too tender for our taste.  This bread is almost "fluffy".



My focus has been on crust and crumb, perhaps at the expense of flavor, and perhaps not.  This bread tastes good, but is very mildly sour, and not really tangy at all.  I will work harder on that eventually.  The two biggest impacts I have noticed in this bread as I have progressed up this hydration incline have been on the crust and crumb.  First, the higher I have pushed the hydration the thinner and lighter the crust has become.  At lower hydrations with this same bake the crust has been more satisfyingly leathery and chewy.  At the highest level it has become thin and soft. 


I actually have baked this 78% hydration dough twice in the last week.  The first time I steamed (left covered) for 20 minutes, and then uncovered it at reduced temperature for another 15 minutes.  The crust was so unsatisfying that I tried it again as pictured here, going back to steam (covered) for 10 minutes and then 25 minutes uncovered at reduced temperature.  There was no discernible difference between the crusts on these two bakes.  The crust on both were thin and of lack-luster character.  The oven spring of both bakes were consistently high, and my starter remains rewardingly energetic.


The second observation I have gleaned from my experiments so far is that as I have pushed up the hydration level (without modifying the flour mix), the gelling of the starches in the crumb has improved (a goal of mine) and the texture has become more and more tender.  This latest 78% hydration iteration is so tender in the extreme that it lacks the firm tooth I desire in my sourdough bread.  This is the reason for my questioning title to this post:  How high is too high, or is there such a thing?


I have also been unable to get this dough to caramelize the way I want it to.  It does color up nicely, but I cannot get it as dark as I tend to prefer.  I am suspecting that my tendency to over-proof is leaving too little sugar behind to provide good color.  In addition to pushing myself to bake sooner to avoid the over-proofed syndrome I'm stuck in,  I plan to also lower myh finishing temperature even more in order to bake longer before getting the internal temperature up so high.  I have hope for some help on the character of my crust from this as well.


I am now debating with myself over the next direction.  It appears to me that I have two clear choices among the many options:  Either back down the hydration level or increase the bread flour in the mix.  I am leaning toward the option of increasing the use of bread flour in hopes of keeping the gel I've attained but increasing the tooth of the loaf by virtue of the stronger flour.


If you have insights on these thoughts I'd love to hear them.  Links or suggestions for reading on these topics will also be appreciated.  Thanks for stopping by.


OldWoodenSpoon

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pat, who has is enduring earthquakes, tsunami warnings and, worst of all, no access to bread baking this week shared with us the thought that having some bread to critique might lift her spirits. What better bread than that made from her own baguette formula?


In anticipation of Pat's need, I baked a couple baguettes this afternoon. For the formula, see Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough. I used some leftover levain with the G. Rubaud flour mix to seed the levain. The rest of the flour was KAF European Artisan-Style flour. This is a supposedly the same protein content as KAF AP flour, but it always seems to absorb a bit more water than AP. I didn't add any extra water, so the dough was quite dry - not even tacky after a couple stretch and folds in the bowl.


So, Pat, have at it.



The baguettes



Grigne



Crumb


The crust was deliciously crunchy and sweet from the caramelization of a bold bake. The crumb was chewy with a nice, baguette flavor, but the taste of the tiny fraction of whole wheat flour used in the levain was discernible. It seemed a bit "out of place." However, this didn't stop me from consuming half a baguette with dinner.


David

dstroy's picture
dstroy

Time for my semi-annual birthday cake update, right? This year's cake for my son was LEGO themed!


 


I guess I never posted last years cake -my son was super-into his Mad Magazine Spy-vs.-Spy comics and asked for this theme on his cake. I was really busy with planning the event which was at a roller skating rink, so the only thing I really did was to buy a plain undecorated sheet cake and decorate it to make it match.



This was the result. (The wick of the bomb was a curly candle - the best part was when my son went to blow it out, dad (Floyd) popped a paper bag behind them all. You should have seen the kids jump!)


 


This year, the boy has become a Lego-maniac. Naturally, a Lego cake seemed to be in order.


I started off with marzipan, because I'd seen the professionals make stuff out of fondant and I can't stand the taste of that stuff - to me, it's like someone mixed marshmallows with wax candles. The little potato shaped marzipan balls are particularly tasty, so I went ahead and got a bunch of those and did some smashing until they became claylike, and then put them in little plastic sandwich bags and added various food coloring gels to mash in. Then it was just a question of painstakingly playing with the resulting clay, and wishing I had some sort of Lego mold which I'd seen some folks mention but which I couldnt find around here (though I dont know that it would have worked with the sticky marzipan anyway!)


 





If I were to do this again, I'd make one Lego minifigure for each invited guest, because that would have saved a lot of arguing at the time when cake cutting came! Every single kid really wanted one of the little guys. ;)


For the cake, I made a very very basic chocolate cake which always comes out really tasty when I use the good chocolate cocoa.


Basic Chocolate Cake


(This is for a 1 layer, 9 inch round pan - for the cake I made, I used this recipe x3, 2 for the larger 9x13 pan, x1 for the 3 mini-loafs)



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Drost - it makes a difference to splurge on better cocoa)

  • 1/4 tspn salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 egg


To make, combine all the dry ingredients, mix till well blended. Then add the milk, vanilla, butter and mix on low until combined, then beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat 2 more minutes. Pour into pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 min (for 9 inch round pan) or until toothpick comes out clean.


Remove right away and let cool before icing.


 


I made one large sheetcake in a 9x13 pan and then split a single-layer recipe into 3 small sized loaf pans, giving me some extra cake to work with. The third loaf got destroyed when I tried to get it out of the pan - oops! But it gave me bits to work with and some extra to eat when I was done!)



Then I just split the cake up into a tiered tower, using little bits of cut cake to make them into stacked "lego blocks".




Then it was just a matter of frosting, which probably would have worked better with a less fluffy icing than the cream cheese/whipped cream frosting which I used (though that was non-negotiable because the family definitely loves that frosting best) and arranging the little guys and blocks on top.


That frosting recipe, by the way, is simple:


Take 8 oz cream cheese and 1 cup confectioners' powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater until smooth.
Then add about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency.


I doubled that for the amount of cake used here.


The only non-edible bits were the candles, including a figure-8 one I found at the last minute.






Add candles, and voila!



Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs