The Fresh Loaf

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SiMignonne's picture
SiMignonne

I'm rather new to the bread making, I've only made three loaves so far but I have a question.  I do not know what to do after punching down.  I'll punch the dough and it sinks in the bowl and then I quickly put it on a floured surface and try to 'shape it' as high and round as I can get it.


I bake the loaves on a pizza stone in the oven so I usually just flour a cutting board and let the dough rise it's last rise, and then transfer.  However, my loaves aren't as high as I would like them to be.  They aren't flat, but I want them to be a bit 'poofier'.  After I punch the dough down, can I knead it again and then shape it?  Or will that ruin the 'air bubbles'?


I finished lesson two last night and have wonderful bread. I just finished a PB&J sandwhich I had for lunch and it was quite tasty.  I also had some chease toast with it this morning that was wonderful!


Any advice anyone can give me will be much appriciated!

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Like many people, I found TFL in my quest to learn how to make sourdough.  I had a starter going and was sure I had killed it.  The advice I found here gave me the knowledge and confidence to make a starter that I've been using for months now, with ever-better results.


Although there is a wealth of information here, there was no one source that detailed the method I used, which was based on Reinhart's "barm" in BBA.  Now that I have succeeded in making several starters, I've been thinking about making a video tutorial to walk through the process step-by-step, day-by-day.  My own experience and that of others here has taught me one thing:  sourdough starters don't read baking books, so they don't know how they are "supposed" to behave.  I could have been spared the angst, the wasted time, and of course, pounds of precious flour, if only I had known what to expect and what to look for. 


I don't have the technical part of video-making worked out yet, so I have decided to do a tutorial blog.  This will be a real test, as I am trying out a modified starter that I haven't made before.  It's still based on Peter's starter, but I have altered the amounts, and possibly the times, to suit my own fancy.  If all goes well, I will end up with a more reasonable (i.e., much smaller) amount of starter, and I will get there with much less wasted flour.


So here goes:


Day 1: 


Ingredients:  1/3 cup rye flour and 1/4 cup water


For the flour, I use stone-ground rye.  Nothing special, just what I got from the grocery store.  My water is tap water run through a filter.  Before I had he filter on my sink, I used bottled drinking water.


Mix the flour and water in a bowl.  It will be thick and pasty, kind of like the oatmeal that's left in the pot if you don't come down for breakfast on time. 


Day 1 - thick and pasty


Once all the flour is mixed in, put it in a pint-sized or larger container and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave it out on the counter. 


Day 1 - ready to rest


And that's it for today.


 


Day 2:


Ingredients:  1/4 cup unbleached AP, bread, or high gluten flour; 1/8 cup water


There should be little, if any, change in the culture from yesterday.  Again, I'm not really particular about the flour.  I would just recommend staying away from bleached flour.  I am using AP flour for this batch.


Mix the flour, water, and all of the starter from yesterday in a bowl.  It will still be thick but a little wetter than yesterday. 


Day 2 - still thick, but not quite as gooey


Put it back in the container (no need to wash it), press it down as level as you can get it, and mark the top of the culture with a piece of tape on the outside of the container. 


Day 2 - nighty night


Put the plastic wrap back on top, and you're finished.


 


Day 3:


Ingredients:  1/4 cup unbleached AP, bread, or high gluten flour; 1/8 cup water


Around Day 3 or 4, something happens that puts terror in the heart of the amateur sourdough maker:  they get a whiff of their starter.  When you check your starter on Day 3, you may notice a strange, and not at all pleasant, odor.  And unless you know better (which you will now), you'll swear something is drastically wrong.  In fact, I would venture to guess that that smell has been the ruin of more amateur sourdough growers than anything else.  It's an acrid, sour, almost rotten smell, and it's perfectly normal.  And rest assured, your new baby sourdough starter will soon outgrow it.  So, take heart, and press on.


You may also notice that your starter has begun to come to life.  It probably won't grow a lot, maybe 50%, but you will start to see bubbles, like these:


It is ALIVE!!!!!


Regardless of the amount of growth, stir down your starter, throw out about half (no need to measure, just eyeball it), and mix the rest with today's flour and water.  You will get a slightly more doughy-looking mass:


Is is soup yet?


Once it's well mixed, put it back in the container (still no need to wash), pat it down, and move your tape to again mark the top of the starter.


Let 'er rise


Put the plastic wrap back on the container, and take the rest of the evening off.  You worked hard today.


 


Day 4:


Ingredients:  1/4 cup unbleached AP, bread, or high gluten flour; 1/8 cup water


And now, a word about measurements.  If you bake regularly, or even if you've just been nosing around baking sites for a while, you are no doubt aware that the ingredients in most artisan bread recipes are listed by weight rather than volume.  I measure by weight for my baking and for maintaining my sourdough starter. 


You might wonder why, then, am I using volume measurements here?  Two reasons: first, I have tried to make this starter as simple to follow as possible -- no special tools, no monkeying around with the scales, just a couple of measuring cups and a bowl.  And, when it comes to starting a starter, the measurements aren't as critical as when you actually go to bake with it.  So for now, we're just using measuring cups. 


Today is another one of those days where novice sourdough starter makers often lose heart.  Your starter is now coming to life, and like most living things, it kind of has a mind of its own.  Up until now, we followed the clock, making our additions every 24 hours.  Now, we will be letting the starter dictate the timeframe. 


Before you do your Day 4 additions, you want to make sure your starter has at least doubled.  If it doubles in less than 24 hours, you should still wait until the 24 hour mark.  If it takes more than 24 hours, be patient.  Let it double.  It may take another 12 or 24 hours, or it may take longer.  Again, be patient.  It will double.  Just give it time.  Eventually, you'll end up with a nice, bubbly starter:


Day 4 - rising to the occassion


You can see that mine more than doubled.  But I still waited for 24 hours.  Once it doubles, throw out half of the starter, then mix the rest with the flour and water, and back into the bowl it goes:


Day 4 - Edwina, back in bowl


Replace the tape and plastic wrap.  Then wait for it to double.   It could take as little as 4 hours, or it may take more than 24 hours.  This time, you can move on to Day 5 at any point after doubling.  It's OK if you let it more than double; it's also OK to move on right when it hits the double mark.  So, hurry up and wait.


 


Day 5:


Ingredients:  3/4 cup unbleached AP, bread, or high gluten flour; 1/2 cup water


Once your starter has at least doubled, it's time for the final mix.


Day 5 - alive and kicking


Combine flour, water, and 1/4 cup starter in a bowl and mix well.  Transfer to a clean container with room for the starter to at least double.


Day 5 - final mix


OK, one last time, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter until it gets nice and bubbly.  Don't worry so much about how much it grows, just so that it's bubbly looking.  This will probably take around 6 hours, but, again, don't stress about the time.  Let the starter tell you when it's ready.


Day 5 - Congratulations, it's a bouncing baby starter!


When your starter gets bubbly, pat yourself on the back:  you are now the proud parent of a bouncing baby starter!  Put a lid or other cover on your container and put it in the refrigerator.  Let it chill overnight, and you can begin using it the next day.


Day 6 and beyond:


By today, your starter is ready to use.  The flavor will continue to develop over the next several weeks to month, so don't be disappointed if your first few loaves aren't sour enough for you.  I would still recommend beginning to bake with it right away, especially if you have never made sourdough bread before.  That way, you can hone your skills while your starter develops its flavor.


Feeding your sourdough:  If you keep your sourdough in the fridge, you only have to feed it about once a week.  And you can minimize your discards by keeping only what you need and feeding it when you want to bake with it.  I recommend a 1:1:1 (starter:flour:water) feeding, which means each feeding includes an equal amount, by weight, of starter, flour, and water. 


Start by weighing your starter, subtracting the weight of your container.  Then add an equal amount of flour and water directly to the container.  So, for example, if you have 100 grams of starter, you would add 100 grams each of flour and water.  If you feed your starter right out of the fridge, as I do, warm your water to lukewarm (90 - 100 degrees F).  After you mix in the flour and water, leave it out on the counter for a few hours, then put it back in the refrigerator.  It's best if you feed your starter a few days before you intend to bake with it.


To illustrate, here is an example of my feeding routine, starting with the Day 5 starter and assuming that I finished making the starter on Friday night:



  • Saturday morning, I take out what I need to bake bread (2/3 cup using my normal sourdough bread recipe) and return the rest of the starter to the refrigetator.

  • Wednesday of the next week, I get out the starter, weigh it, and add equal amounts of flour and water in a 1:1:1 ratio, as outlined above.  My goal here is to build up as much starter as I need to make bread on the weekend, and enough left over for my next build.  It's OK if I have more than I need to bake with.  If I don't think I'll have enough after a 1:1:1 build, I will increase my ratio of flour and water, maybe to 1:2:2 or 1:1.5:1.5.  In that case, I will let it sit out until it almost doubles before returning it to the fridge, which might take a bit longer, as I'm using less starter relative to flour and water.

  • Friday night or Saturday morning, I again take out what I need to bake with and return the rest to the fridge, to be fed again mid-week.


This is just an example of how I keep my starter.  You can feed yours more often if you bake more than I do.  It's also OK to let it go more than a week between feedings.  If you do that, though, you might want to feed it a few times before you bake with it.


So, that's it.  Hopefully I've unravelled some of the mystery of sourdough starters and given you the confidence to try one yourself.  Good luck, and let me know how it works out for you!

SiMignonne's picture
SiMignonne

So I love blogging and I've recently discovered break baking.  Today I have discovered this website, and it's everything I could want :)  Blogging and bread!  I wanted to be more self sufficent with my food and I would love nothing more than to not pay $3.00 for bread each week when I can make it myself for half that. 


I started my first loaf after an article that I read about how to make artisan bread in five minutes a day.  It was on the motherearthnews.com website. Well, me being the beinning baker and all didn't understand that yeast has to foam up before you can use it.  So, needless to say, it didn't pan out so well.  (Can you check out all the inuendos in that sentance?!)  I started another batch and let the yeast do it's magic before hand and it worked much better.  I also found that I like kneading the bread, I really like to get my hands dirty and feel what I'm working with.  Today I have free time (no gym for me tonight it's my off night this week) so I'm going to try lesson number two on this website and add some sugar and milk to my loaf to see how it works out.  I'm also going to put wheat flour on my grocery list so I will have some healthier options to work with.  Can't wait to update with how well it turns out!


 


SiMi

Naomi Yoheved's picture
Naomi Yoheved

I have never had much success with Rye bread, and have no experience.  Can anyone suggest a good true to form marbled rye recipe?


 


Naomi Yoheved

Naomi Yoheved's picture
Naomi Yoheved

Hello everyone!


I'm here just to let you know that there is a new llocal flour mills just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario from Brule Creek Farms.  The wheat is grown locally and stone milled locally.  I have just heard about it through the local farmers market, but I am looking forward to trying it on my bread recipes.


Naomi Yoheved

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi all! I've been one busy person what with the holidays, kids, etc. But now life is settling into a more calm and regular rhythm. So, I'm BACK!


Over the holidays, Steve from Breadcetera, and I did a flour swap (yes, it cost a fortune!). We sent each other dried samples of our starter and flour. I sent him some organic stone-ground T55 and T65 and he sent me some KA AP and bread flour. Not so much because he himself uses that particular flour, but he figured it would give me an idea of the type of flour many people bake with.


I was VERY excited to try the All-Purpose flour for two reasons. I wanted to see how it felt, how it worked and what it tasted like but also I wanted to test Flo's 123 formula because many people seemed to have trouble with it.


So, here are the results:


I did up a dough of 150g starter (100% hydration), 300g water and 450g KA AP and 9g salt.


There is obviously more or different gluten in the flour. It takes AGES to get developed. With the T55 or 65, you literally only need to knead a few minutes to get a good dough formed, but with the KA AP, at initial mixing (in a Kenwood) it was rough and together, then went gloppy and then got extremely elastic (TOO elastic). It took quite a while to mix. So, this leads me to believe that for those who found the dough too wet may have hand kneaded and found it gloppy, but it would take ages to knead by hand to get the right consistancy. With French flours, the dough is wetter than with American flour which is the opposite of what people believe. I think it just the kneading time. More flour would have made a dough that would be much too firm (to my liking).


When it was finally risen and baked, I took it out of the oven and to my surprise, it was SHINY and smooth crusted. It looked plastic. Now, I did everything exactly as I always do, no changes, no more steam than usual. It was really weird. Then, with my husband next to me, we smelled it. We looked at each other and said, It doesn't smell like anything! OK, then we left it to cool and cut it. I handed pieces to my family in different rooms. My son said, it doesn't taste like anything. I went to my daughter who smiled and said, "It's good!... but it doesn't have any taste". The overall concesus was that it really didn't taste like anything at all.


So, I got thinking, and I understand a lot of things now. I understand why preferments are so important and retarding and adding rye, etc. If you bake with KA AP as your basic artisan bread flour, well, it really needs help!


In France, the non organic flours that bakers use can lack in taste but it's still a lot tastier than the KA AP. So, the French organic flour is pure bread heaven.When a loaf comes out of the oven, it smells so incredible, a blend between deep wheaty aroma and the slight tangy, yet earthy sourdough. I did  up some Mike Avery's version of The Three Rivers bread that I spoke about on my blog for a cheese fondue and even though there is no sourdough, just poolish and retarding, it could have been mistaken for a sourdough, it smelled so incredible.


I guess I'm being French chauvinistic, but ever since I joined this group and have shared and learned so much from you, the huge question that has lingered for me has been all about American flour, how it reacts and tastes. I'm sure there are some better flours out there. Many speak of some organic brands, Guisto's and some other mills. I know it's more expensive, but if you're looking for something tastier, it's a good idea to try some of them. Oh, and remember, French wheat is soft, not hard. I think that makes a big difference.


So, I invite discussion and ideas or questions. I'm all ears.


Jane


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I needed some easy  burger buns and these were perfect with just a few changes!  Hamburger/sandwich Buns with added 12 grain KA flour and potato.  I left out the gluten...original recipe from Beth Hensperger Bread Machine Cookbook.  She has some amazingly good recipes in this book!  These had a very nice flavor and crust with a tender crumb....great for sandwiches!



 

Stephmo's picture
Stephmo

In getting started down the path of baking, I'd been having problems with dough failing to rise in the oven or the second time - so the enthusiasm of this bread comes in having the faith to cut my rise times in half sine I was using Fleishman's instant yeast.  Once I did this, I was able to get the bread I finally wanted without the disappointment of a heavy, dense loaf that seemed like it should work.


After reading up on the policy of repriting recipes, it seems I'm okay to share how I got to this point.  If it's a problem, I do hope someone will let me know.  :)


Anyway, husband is a tremendous fan of all things cinnamon and sugar-based, so he was wanting a cinnamon sugar bread since the baking experiment began.  When I'd gotten the King Arthur Flour Baking Companion, he zeroed in on the recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread on page 206-207.  It can seem a bit daunting with the Dough, Filling and Topping ingredients, but let's break it down, shall we?


All of the ingredients pictured (some things premixed):



But let's start logically with the DOUGH:


3 cups (12 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour


1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) potato flour or 1/3 cup (3/4 oz) potato flakes)


1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz) nonfat dry milk


1 1/4 tsp salt


1/2 tsp cinnamon


3 Tbs (1 1/4 oz) sugar


2 1/2 tsp instant yeast


4 Tbs (1/2 stick, 2 oz) butter


1 cup (8 oz) water


For reference, I opted for the potato flakes and used unsalted butter. All ingredients were at least room temperature.



From KAFBC:


In a large mixingbowl, combine all the dough ingredients, mxing until dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine) until the dough is smooth and satiny.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl ith plastic wrap and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it will be puffy, if not doubled in bulk.


Once I'm convinced everything's going well enough, I acutally let the mixer do ALL the work on this sucker.  I was doing this after work so I took time to go upstairs and change and came back to see that the dough hook had done its job rather nicely (my mixer and I are good friends now):



I check my rise after 45 minutes and do the "poke" test - where I see if my poke sticks.  As you can see, I do have a doubled dough and a poke that's more than sticking.  So rather than risk tiring out the yeast, I decide to move onto next steps:



Next steps for Cinnamon Swirl Bread involve the FILLING Ingredients:


1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar


1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) raisins or currants


2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour


Egg wash, made from 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbs water


For my bread, I used raisins.  Husband thinks we could have doubled the swirl ingredients.  From the book:


Pulse the filling igredients except the egg wash in a food processor.


TO ASSEMBLE:  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and shape it into a long, narrow rectangle, about 16 x 8 inches.  Brush the dough with some of the egg wash (set the remainder aside) and pat the filling gently onto the dough. Beginning with a short edge, roll the dough into a log.  Pinch the side seam and ends closed (to keep the filling from bubblng out) and palce te log int a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover and let the bread rise for a bout 1 hour at room temperature, or until it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan.


I actually made this a little bit simpler than it sounds - I laid my loaf pan at one end of the counter and rolled my rectangle towards it as a guide, keeping the width slightly narrower than the pan.  The dough was very silky, so I really just sprayed some Pam on my kitchen island for the "lighly oiled" portion of the instructions.


Here's the dough rolled out - you can see my loaf pan "guide" on the far left.  I don't know if it's just me, but the cinnamon in the dough really seems to come through for me:



The filling was VERY clumpy (raisins!), so it didn't spready as easily as I would have liked.  This is also where the discussion of doubling the filling for future batches came in:



The rolling was actually a snap.  I did the side tucking as I went along and went towards my loaf pan:



Again, with the rising, I checked out the loaf in only HALF the time - and good thing!  Doesn't it look like I'm an inch above the pan?



Now for the good suff - the TOPPING:


2 TBS (1 oz) butter


2 Tbs (7/8 oz) sugar


1/4 tsp cinnamon


1/4 cup (1 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour


I will say that this made MORE than enough of the topping.  From the book:


In a small bowl or mini processor, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour until the mixture is crumbly,  If you're using a mini processor, watch carefully; topping will go from crumbly to a cohesive mass in just a second or so.


Brush the top of the loaf with some (or all) of the reserved egg wash and gently press on the topping.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil or the final 15 minutes or so if it appears to be browning to quickly.  Remove the loaf from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, quicky remove it from the pan.  some of the streusel will fall off, but you can alleviate this by first loosening all around the edges of the loaf with a knife, then turning the pan on its side and gently pulling it away from the loaf.  Topping will continue to fall off as you maneuver the bread -- we've never figured out how htey make that stuff adere so nicely on the store-bought loaves -- but you'll still be left with a lot of the sweet topping.


I did actually score the top of the loaf lightly before baking it - you can't really tell, but I did:



The oven browning was FANTASTIC - we did tent it for a bit to save on some of the browning and you can see that the split did come through (as did a bit of the filling, but that's okay):



Slicing into the bread was amazing - it smelled fantastic and made GREAT toast and snacks.  It was great with cream cheese and peanut butter as well:


hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and lovely new year celebrations!


After getting the rye sauerteig starter from Leader's Local Breads going, I have been gradually working my way through Hamelman's rye sourdoughs. I've become completely enamored with hearty rye loaves, and I feel I am getting a bit better at working with these kinds of doughs.


I've baked the straight oatbread from Bread several times, and it has served as one of my favorite "quick breads" that I make when I don't have the time to do a sourdough/pre-fermented bread. However, I've always thought that it's on the light side, and that it stales pretty fast. So, yesterday I had a go at a modified version, where I replaced some of the bread flour with a rye sauer. This is my first iteration, but I feel it turned out pretty good. I post my working recipe below. Next time, I think I'll substitute some of the bread flour with more wholewheat, to give it an even heartier feel. Suggestions are very welcome, and please let me know how it turns out if you have a go at it!


All the rye flour is pre-fermented (34.7%). Apologize for the awkward percentages, I did some tweaks to a preliminary formula, so most quantities came out with decimal percentages. The amounts below yielded two average sized ovals.


Overall formula



  • Wheat flour 260 gr. (42.1%)

  • Wholewheat flour 143 gr. (23.2%)

  • Whole rye flour 214 gr. (34.7%)

  • Rolled oats 143 gr. (23.2%)

  • Water 540 gr. (87.5%)

  • Oil 54 gr. (8.8%)

  • Honey 36 gr. (5.8%)

  • Salt 12 gr. (2%)

  • Fresh yeast 8 gr. (1.3%)


Rye sourdough



  • Whole rye flour 214 gr. (100%)

  • Water 214 gr. (100%)

  • Rye starter 11 gr. (5%)


Prepare rye sourdough 16 - 18 hrs. before the final dough is mixed. Bulk fermentation: 1 hr. Final fermentation: 50 - 60 minutes. Bake at 240C for 15 minutes, then at 220C for another 20-30 minutes.Loaves cooling


Crumb

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

pain à l'ancienne


Rustic baguettes and ciabatta from Gosselin's formula (as described by Peter Reinhart)


pai


Pain à l'Ancienne baguette crumb


I made these baguettes and ciabatta from the formula Reinhart says he got directly from Phillipe Gosselin. The version in "Bread Baker's Apprentice" is a modification.


This is a very high hydration dough (about 80%), and I made my dough with KAF's "French Style Flour," which is their T55 clone. This is a low-gluten flour, by American standards. The dough started out like a batter once the additional water was added. I mixed it in my Bosch Universal Plus for something like 15 minutes before it was smooth and shiney. It still flowed like a batter. For the next hour, I did Hamelman's folding in the bowl. It then doubled over the next 90 minutes. (This technique was improvised. I thought about chucking the whole project as a lost cause at several points, but I'm glad I didn't. I learned a lot.)


The loaves were divided and stretched onto semolina-dusted parchment. The baguettes were baked without further proofing. The Ciabatti were folded in the usual manner and allowed to rise for about 30 minutes before baking.


Note: No attempt was made to score these loaves.


The baguettes had the sweet taste and cool, silky mouth-feel of ciabatta. I count them a success. Whew!


David

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