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hanseata's picture
hanseata

German Feinbrot


When I moved to Maine in 2001, to get even - with the guy who had sold me a houseful of furniture - but refused to give me a rebate - I knew I would be in big trouble. And I was right, after two days my stomach started complaining and my brain kept sending "gag" signals, when I walked the supermarket aisles and encountered nothing but row after row of "wonderbreads".


Poking so-called rye, multigrain, oat nut or wheat breads with my finger, I found no resistance. I could squeeze them through their plastic bags and they would  spring back to their original size when I let go. Even when toasted they retained their squishyness and would not tolerate butter or jam without getting soft and soggy. 


The only place that sold some good bread in Bangor was (and still is) the "Bagel Factory". This bakery cafe was my oasis in the desert, and still, whenever I go to Bangor I take a bag of poppyseed bagels home. But great as these bagels are, they are white, a bit sweet and soft, and not dark, tangy and crusty, like the everyday rye sourdoughs I craved.


Having two warm meals a day was another thing my stomach refused to adapt to. German families usually eat bread and cold cuts either for lunch or for dinner.  German schools don't offer lunch, and Mother cooks at home. As a working mom I used to see this daily cooking as chore and a bad idea - until my daughter went to Bangor High, and had to eat at the school cafeteria (this experience made her learn how to cook, and gave birth to a career as chef!).


Finally I couldn't take my stomach's growling anymore. I started seeing bread Fata Morganas by day, and dreamt of crusty loaves by night. So I went on the quest to make "Feinbrot". The first step was, of course, a recipe. That was already a big hurdle. Nobody in Germany bakes Feinbrot at home, you can buy several varieties in every bakery and supermarket. There was none in my baking books, and none in the internet, only specialty breads, but not the simple loaf I was looking for.


And then, how to make sourdough? I didn't have the slightest idea. At a gift shop in Bangor, I found the "French Farmhouse Cookbook" and there was a recipe for Pain au Levain, with soudough. Full of enthusiasm I started my first starter, and, also, as backup and comparison, I mixed a starter from a store bought package.


My first breads, two twin loaves from the different starters and the recipe from the book, resulted in two almost identical bricks. Saving always a cup of dough to use as starter for the next bread, I kept on baking, producing more bricks on the way - my husband suggested keeping a supply next to our bed in case of a home invasion - and experimented with different amounts of rye, bread flour, temperatures and baking times, using the original recipe only as initial guideline.


After several weeks - and bricks - my homemade starter was way ahead of the store bought mix, in flavor and activity. Slowly, in trial and error, I figured out what bread flour/rye ratio I liked best, and what temperature settings and baking times gave the best results. Finally my bread had the right taste and right crumb - but the crust was either thick and and hard, or thin but too soft. Nevertheless, that was all I thought I could do - and Richard, the best of husbands, ate it all!


An open house tour with my daughter at the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, left me green with envy. Valerie was going to learn how to make baguettes - from a real French pastry chef! I went home, and, since I couldn't be one, at least I could buy one "Bread Bakers' Apprentice".


Reading the instructions I was struck by an epiphany! I had always (as stated in my recipes) just placed a cup with cold water together with the bread in the oven. And now I learned how to set up my oven for hearth baking - with stone and STEAM. Finally I was not only able to bake French bread, but my humble everyday Feinbrot was transformed, too!



Feinbrot crumb


Recipe:    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20242/karin039s-german-feinbrot


 


 


 


 


 

Terrell's picture
Terrell

Greetings, bakers!


It's been a pretty good week in Portland. After months of being out of work, I have two jobs, seem to be on track for a third and I'm pretty sure at least one of those will continue post-Christmas. I know it's just seasonal work, but I'm really feeling like this Portland experiment has just taken a decided turn for the better. To celebrate, I decided to do a sweet bread this week. Thumbing through the Point of Departure, the bread book I've been baking my way through, I came across a recipe for a Cardamom Braid. That fit the sweet bread criteria and seemed appropriate for the seasonal nature of the new job. My brother married a woman who is half Swedish and cardamom braid is mandatory at their Christmas morning celebrations. She won't open a present until the braid is sliced and ready to eat. It's always delicious so I decided to see how close this recipe would be to theirs. Turns out, it's not quite the same. Lydia's version is flatter and sweeter, probably uses a softer dough and more sugar. I also seem to remember a bright yellow color, possibly saffron, that this one doesn't have. And my crust was way browner, partly my fault from letting it bake a few minutes too long, but also inherent in the recipe. Hers is barely golden and very soft, definitely not the crispy crust I got. On the other hand, the taste of my loaf was excellent, slightly sweet with a spicy cardamom flavor. I also liked the moist, chewy texture. I'm thinking next time a lower oven temperature, a slightly softer dough and brushing with something other than milk might get me exactly what I want.


Cardamom Braid from The Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cook Book

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups all purpose flour (I substituted white whole wheat flour here with excellent results)

  • small amounts of milk and sugar for brushing and sprinkling


In a large bowl combine one cup of all-purpose flour, the yeast and the cardamom. In a small saucepan heat the milk, sugar, butter and salt until warm, stirring frequently to melt the butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the egg. Beat the mixture well for several minutes. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough. (I used almost all of the two cups but I think I will back that off slightly next time.) Turn out onto a floured surface and knead till smooth, about 5 or 6 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat and let rise, covered, until double, about an hour and a half.


Braided    Risen


When double, punch down and divide in thirds. Let rest while you prepare a pan. I use two nested jelly roll pans lined with parchment paper but you can grease if you prefer. Roll each third into a 16-inch rope and place about one inch apart on prepared pan. Braid loosely, pinching the ends together and tucking them under. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.


Preheat oven to 375. (Next time, I'll try it at 325, I think.) Brush with milk and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. (I plan to look for some decorative sugar for this step.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. (I got distracted and let it go almost 30 which was too long.) Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.


Baked


I'm looking forward to making this for Christmas morning with the great-nephews. I think it will be a hit. Any of you Scandahoovians out there want to give me tips for making this perfect?


 Sliced

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I've taken a bit of a break from ryes in the past couple of weeks, baking Honey Lemon Whole Wheat from Clayton's Complete Book of Breads and the Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  This weekend, though, I went back to rye again, baking the Soulful German Farmhouse Rye from Daniel Leader's Local Breads.


Leader's Soulful German Farmhouse Rye


I've blogged about this bread previously, so I won't repeat what I've said previously.  


The most obvious difference this time is that I proofed the boules smooth side up and then baked them with the seam side up, allowing the natural weaknesses in the dough to be the expansion points.  I like the effect, particularly since the darkness of the crumb contrasts with the lighter-color flour on the crust.  Not so evident, but still different this time is that I did not add any of the instant yeast called for in the formula (I had all day at the house anyway), nor did I "dust" the banneton with rye flakes.  That did nothing for my enjoyment or for the bread, so I just used a light dusting of rye flour on top of the rice flour already embedded in the fabric.


If I remember the next time that I make this bread, I'll double the quantities but still shape it into just two boules.  That might give a bit more height to the loaves, which would make them more serviceable for sandwiches.  Despite the diminutive size of the loaves, this is a delicious bread and well worth the making.


Paul 

lizzycooks's picture
lizzycooks

 


Thank you for the beautiful inspiration to try this bread today!  I developed a wild-yeast sourdough starter recently, and decided to use it to try this recipe, despite my skepticism about the 8 g of starter.


Well - I'm pretty happy with it!  The crumb is open - not as much as txfarmer's - and the crust rates with the best I've made.  Inside, the texture is very moist and chewy.  My skepticism about the amount of starter was proved wrong – the dough rose at the rates suggested.


One thing I did not understand in the directions was the process between proofing and baking. Here’s what I did:


Step 5 – shape, let rise in greased/floured bowls (2.75 hours, warm kitchen).  I don’t have proofing baskets.


Heat oven to 500, ready cloths in hot pan for steaming


*tried* to transfer loaves to flat pans for baking, but it was too sticky and would not let me make a nice tall round for baking!  I am used to rounding and boule-ing my loaves before baking, but that would have been impossible unless I used a lot more flour.


Sliced shallow cuts in each loaf with razor


b/c it was sooo very sticky, it ended up starting its bake by spreading; it was probably only 1.5 inches high when I peeked in at 5 min.


steamed it throughout, cooked for about 45-50 min at 500F.


Ended with loaves at about 3.5” each, with splits on the sides (instead of on the top).


I probably used about 820 grams water, instead of 800.  But still, I have never worked with a dough that was so sticky after the proof.  What have I missed, and did it lead to the low-rise of the bread?


Thank you all,


Lizzy


 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Sunflower seeds is a favourite of mine, whether it's in dense Vollkornbrots or lighter sourdough breads. I've toyed around with different formulas for seeded levains for some time, but my best one so far is the one I tried this weekend. The formula is not unlike Hamelman's seeded sourdough bread, but the one I've settled on, uses a rye sourdough and some more whole-grain flour than Hamelman. The dough is not particularly wet, but rather straight forward to work with. It's another one of those that can easily fit into a "mix in the morning and bake in the afternoon" (or vice versa) schedules. Here's a copy of the formula, and below is a shot of the loaf I baked Saturday morning:


Pain au levain with toasted seeds


And here's a shot of the crumb:


Pain au levain with toasted seeds


Feel free to vary the toasted seeds - pumpkin seeds is next on my list :)


Earlier in the week, I suddenly got this weird craving for brandade... Yes, I know. Pretty weird. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the ongoing strikes in France, that I've followed closely via the news, and some reports from Marseille (where I had my first ever brandade de morue two years ago), that set it all in motion. You'll find salt cod in most well-stocked Norwegian grocery stores, so have a bowl with plenty of cold water ready, and let the salt cod soak a day or two:


Brandade de morue


I think my first brandade de morue had some mashed potatoes in it, but to be honest, I prefer brandade made with just the fish, cream, olive oil and some seasoning. I love the smooth, creamy and light consistency of brandade, especially on toasted slices of baguette or a seeded levain. You can easily use a food processor to get a smooth, even brandade, but I prefer to make it by hand so you still have small flakes of fish meat intact.


Brandade de morue


 


Over the weekend, I prepared another French favourite of mine: A pear frangipane tart. Almonds and poached pears is one of those timeless flavour combinations that work any time of the year.


Pear frangipane tart


Bon appétit!


Pear frangipane tart


Pear frangipane tart

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I thought I had put this up, but I must have only previewed the entry. 


 


A few weeks ago, I made Nancy Silverton's walnut bread, a consistent favorite with everyone who tries it. It is especially good with cheese. This time, I was inspired by a dessert we had at a new restaurant in New York called Maialino. The walnut bread supported some excellent marscapone and ripe California figs. The combination of tastes and textures in a single bite is positively decadent. 


 



 


GSnyde's picture
GSnyde


 


Or maybe World Series Sourdough?!! [Go, Giants!!]


I have enjoyed Acme Bread’s Pain de Campagne a couple times recently.  It’s a moderately sour boule with a thin toothsome crust and a somewhat fluffy, but chewy crumb.  I think it has some whole rye flour and some whole wheat flour.  It's about my favorite bread ever.


So, today I tried to bake something like it.  I used the formula and procedure for Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough as a starting point, but used KA European Style flour and some KA whole wheat flour and used a longer bulk ferment.


I studied dmsnyder’s boule-shaping tutorial and did my best to follow his tutelage and was very pleased with my shaping effort.  I got good oven spring and a nice crust crackles.  The crumb is just what I was  going for--light but chewy.  And the flavor is also pretty close to the Acme Pain de Campagne—nutty and complex and just a little sour.  I think this is the best tasting Sourdough I’ve made.


IMG_1706


IMG_1703


IMG_1712


IMG_1709


Here’s the formula:


San Francisco Country Sourdough 


Yield: Two 1.5 lb Loaves


Ingredients


LIQUID-LEVAIN BUILD


100 grams   AP flour


24 grams  Whole Wheat flour


12 grams  Whole rye flour


170 grams   Water, luke warm


28  grams   Mature culture (75% hydration)


 


FINAL DOUGH (66% hydration, including levain)


680 grams   KAF European-Style Artisan Bread flour (88%)


45 grams  Whole wheat flour (6%)


45 grams   Whole rye flour (6%)


425 grams   Water at room temperature (55%)


17 grams   Salt (2%)


306     Liquid levain  (40%)


   


Directions


1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at room temperature (about 70 F).


2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl with plastic and let autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5-7 minutes. 


3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 30-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.


4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):   After second s&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience. [I skipped this step this time].


5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into two  pieces and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards.


6. PROOFING: Approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours at room temperature (about 70° F).  Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 F with steam apparatus in place. 


7. BAKING: With steam, on stone.  Turn oven to 460 °F after steaming.  Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes to

tal.   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.




I recommend this bread to anyone who likes sourdough with a moderate amount of whole grain.


Glenn

 

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

The adventure continues!


In this weeks edition of Hamelman's Baguette's with Poolish, I made three modifications to the process from last week (well, more like two and a half:



  • Reduced the yeast in the poolish.  I've been preparing a half batch of dough relative to Hamelman's "Home" proportions, but until now I haven't reduced the yeast in the poolish,  which sounds quite foolish until you realize that the yeast measurement is 1/8 tsp, and nearly every yeasted preferment in the book calls for 1/8 tsp of yeast, regardless of size.  Anyway, I've been feeling like there's a degree of flavor and texture missing, as well as the presence of a pronounced alcohol smell about the poolish (and then the finished dough to some extent).  So I approximated a 1/16 tsp of yeast in 5.3 oz. each of flour and water.  

  • Tried to handle the dough more gently during shaping and preshaping. 

  • Last week I forgot to turn the oven down after loading the baguettes, so this week I made sure not to do that!


 


After 11 hours the poolish was bubbly and had a pungent aroma with just a hint of maybe some alcohol in the background.  It's possible I could have fermented it even less with no ill effects.  One of these weeks, I may try making three tiny batches of dough with three tiny batches of poolish, and test just what results I get from different amounts of time and yeast.


The Results: Crust



 

Crumb:


I was pretty happy with this batch.  Definitely better than before, although clearly not there yet.  I'm not sure if it's clear from the picture, but the crust was definitely a darker color than previous batches, with the same amount of baking time.  This lends some credence to my notion that the poolish was overfermenting somewhat before (or so I understood it from Larry last week--I'm happy to stand corrected on this!).  My slashing is getting more consistent, although unfortunately the scores are consistently too close together as well! Believe it or not, the one in the middle actually had four discrete slashes before it went into the oven...

Crumb was definitely better than last week, although not quite up to where I want it to be.  Texture-wise, also a bit less fluffy and more creamy than before, but still somewhat fluffy.  Flavor was also better--I'm finally starting to get some of the nice nutty notes that I remember from my lucky breaks with this dough.  Just some of them, however.  Crust was thin and crisp on top, but thick and chewy on the bottom--I think you can even see it in the picture.  Not sure what that's all about--possibly a result of leaving the baguettes in to crisp a little more with the oven turned off?

Next week: Further reduction of the yeast in the poolish -- worst case scenario it isn't ready to go when I want to start mixing at 9am, and I start the bread a little later, right?  Also, time to start experimenting with steaming methods.  I'm really intrigued by the steaming method SylviaH posted earlier this week. I would have tried it today, but I didn't want to conflate the results of not goofing up the oven temperature with the effects of the steaming method.

As always, any tips, comments, or smart remarks are welcome and appreciated,

-Ryan

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Traditional baguette, Dragon tail and Épi de Blé (left to right)


These baguettes were made with my San Joaquin Sourdough dough. I shaped a traditional baguette, an épi de blé (sheaf of wheat) and a dragon tail. Each was scaled to 248 g. They were baked with steam for 10 minutes at 460ºF conventional bake and in a dry oven for 10 minutes at 435ºF convection bake. My formula for San Joaquin Sourdough is available here: San Joaquin Sourdough, updated However, for those attempting these shapes for the first time, I recommend using a lower hydration dough such as Pat's (proth5). That formula can be found here: Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough


Instructions for making an épi



1. Shape a baguette and proof it.


2. Transfer a baguette to your peel.


3. Starting at the left end (if you are right handed) or at the far end, if the baguette is oriented perpendicular to your body, make evenly spaced cuts along the baguette with a sharp scissors. The scissors should cut at about a 45º angle, almost but not completely through the loaf. With each cut, the cut part is rotated away from the long axis of the loaf, alternating right and left.


4. Load the épi onto your baking stone and bake as you would a regular baguette.



Instructions for making a dragon tail baguette



The dragon tail is made in the same way as the épi, except, rather than rotating the cut pieces, the tip of each is folded back over the body, away from the cut surface. Here is a photograph of Miyuki Togi, my SFBI instructor, forming a dragon tail:



SusanFNP has made an instructional video for shaping a Dragon Tail baguette which is highly recommended. Dragon Tail Baguette Shaping Video



Dragon tail, close-up 1



Dragon tail, close-up 2


Enjoy!


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

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