The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blogs

  • Pin It
boule's picture
boule

I am an enthusiast who has been baking for a bit over a year now, mostly with sourdough. I started because the bread I tasted in France was so amazing and different to what I am used to in South Africa. I will be visiting New York City for a few days soon and I would like to visit any artisanal bakeries that would be willing to let me spend some time there to observe. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

betterbreadbyadele's picture
betterbreadbyadele

My husband and I have reared our seven home-educated children organically and pretty much vegetarian. The older children are adhering to it pretty much since they have gone on their own trying to get their spouses to try the "lighter" life. We started in the organic culture from day one of our marriage 34 years ago. In the early 80's my husband bought me our first grain mill and since then have used organic whole grain flour. I like to mix oats with the spelt when I grind it for pastries because it seems to make the flour sweeter and not quite so heavy.
One of my favorite hobbies and jobs is baking bread for friends and family. My favorite bread is a spelt yeast bread which is sweet and easy to make. I like to give this type of bread away for Christmas and holidays. Others ask me to make it for their friends, also. I do like to make the sourdough bread also and I make it almost every week for people. Sweet rolls and cakes are favorites in our family also.
Our son was married in October to a girl who is also organic and between my daughter-in-law's mother and I most of the meal was organic with the bride's mother raising the chickens. We grew the cabbage, green beans, corn and potatoes organically and I baked cookies, caramel popcorn and the yeast and sourdough bread along with making peach and grape jelly and apple butter. That may not sound like a lot but for serving around 500 people it was quite a task but I enjoyed every minute of it because we knew we were serving delicious healthy food. Whew! That was quite a long introduction.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

I have been meaning to report a new (to me) technique I have been using, although technique is a rather fancy name for it. After the dough has sat for 30 minutes autolyse I wet the counter and my right hand and do a sort of modified Bertinet method. I pick the dough up and slap it down hard and repeat several times. Just one hand and really slam it down, and in no time the dough is shiny and ready to ferment. Makes the trivets fall face down and the neighbors probably wonder what I am up to, but it is very satisfying and the bread is good. Still my favorite loaf, but gaaarp's 5 Grain Sourdough sounds tempting... A.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

So my sourdough starter isn't ready yet. I've decided I'm going to baby it a little longer with three stirrings a day and lots of love. That being the case, I still needed to bake. This came about because I had oatmeal for lunch today. Strange lunch, I know, but sometimes you just have those cravings that must be heeded. I envisioned this as a soft-crusted bread with a dense but moist crumb and a decently caramelized crust. I wanted a little maple flavor, as well as the flavor of the brown sugar. I almost got it, but I think that this is still a work in progress. Not using instant oatmeal may be a start. It also needs a tad more salt than the teaspoon I put in. The only thing I'm lacking to make it completely from scratch is the maple syrup, which I'll get on friday, and I'll bake it again this weekend from old fashioned oats, brown sugar, and maple syrup. For anyone who still wants the recipe, it is below. I think I'm starting to get the scoring thing. These didn't blow out on the bottom. They were also better proofed than my last loaf. I let them sit for about an hour before baking. The real test of any bread making, for me anyway, is the appearance of the crumb. This is, by far, my best for a more dense loaf. I'm really loving what I'm learning here. I'm having a lot of fun baking (sometimes more than my boyfriend, our daughter, and I can eat, but it's proving to be very educational. Recipe: Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Bread - Take One Prepare the oatmeal: 1 packet instant maple & brown sugar oatmeal 1/2 cup water Mix and heat for 1 minute. It will be almost done, but not quite. Allow to cool to just warm. Assemble the rest of your ingredients: 3 1/3 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 2 tablespoons of butter 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar (very lightly) 1 egg, lightly beaten 2/3 cup milk (lukewarm) 1 1/2 tsp salt Disolve the yeast in the milk. In your large bowl you use for mixing the final dough, mix together the oatmeal, sugar, and egg. Once incorporated, mix in the milk. Once all this is well mixed, add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix until you get a thick paste. Add the rest of the flour in 1/3 cup increments until it's almost all in. If your cups are the same as my cups, it should take all but the littlest bit of the flour. If not, you want the dough to feel very sticky and barely hand-kneadable. Once mixed together so that there's barely any flour left in the bowl, rest for 10 minutes. After the resting period, turn the dough out onto your kneading surface and "knead", as well as you can, for a few minutes. 5 or so. Bulk ferment should be about 60-80 minutes. Mine was on the longer side because of the temperature of my kitchen. I stretched and folded the dough three times during this time. Got very good gluten development. Preshape and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes. Shape loaves, then proof for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Score and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 and bake until a thermometer reads 200 degrees or so.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

 I knew these where a hit when my husband took his first bite and said " Oh Man These Are Good"..he usually doesn't say much...just eats!  The recipe is from the front page of http://northwestsourdough.com/ .  I used my left over Rye Starter with GM organic AP Flour and the barley malt syrup instead of sugar and water, melted butter, with powder milk directions.  I also freeze any leftover fully cooked waffles so the midnite snacker can have his toaster waffles!




This is a very rare breakfast treat for us! 



Any of you Oldies recognize the "Plate"?


Sylvia


 


 

goody1006's picture
goody1006

Oh--
I'm new to the forum, back into sourdough after far too many years to mention.

A few who welcomed me mentioned you'd want to see photos of the fruits of my labor....well, here's the 'photo record' of Tuesday's efforts.

In honor of our 44Th president, I've named it: Obama Bread!
At 8am, 2 cups starter, fed with 1/2c water & 3/4c plain unbleached flour:
Starter 8am.jpg.2
____________________________
1 hr later, almost tripled in size:

1hr later.jpg.2 _______________________________ after 3 'fold & turns' over 1 1/2 hr--almost doubled in size, ready for oven:

after 3 stretch & folds.jpg.1 ___________________________ fresh from oven, with a nifty brushing of butter!:

fresh from oven.jpg.2 _________________________ 1st cut--texture! this is the lightest bread so far--I'm thinking due to the milk & sugar in the recipe--a bit too sweet, so next time, I'll cut back on the sugar...maybe a bit on the milk, too:

1st cut.texture.jpg.1

so, there ya have it~
How'd I do?

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I swear, it's just about impossible to kill a starter. I'd left my poor rye starter unfed in the fridge for at least three months, and when I opened it a couple of days ago, the top was a slimy grey with some sort of fuzzy stuff starting to take hold. But, as I often find is the case, underneath this disgusting, repulsive crust, though the starter looked tired, it also looked undamaged.


 I fed a dab of this under-crust starter a few times and it soon looked ready to make a loaf of bread. So I did -- a loaf of 40% Rye with Caraway.



Such a tasty loaf. And it paired well with Carol Lessor's Chicken with Ginger & Dill Soup from Souped Up!. I'd been admiring the recipe for some time, but it called for boiling a whole chicken, which I usually don't have handy. At the Winter Farmer's Market this weekend, however, a woman was selling stew hens for cheap, so I picked one up for about $6. For those who have the book, it seemed like overkill to me to boil the chicken and vegetables in chicken stock, so I just used water.


It's a good soup.


The bread was good, too. Here's how I made it (It's the same recipe that I put in the handbook. I adapted it from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread so that it would work with my 100% hydration starter. I also bumped up the water in the loaf and omitted the commercial yeast. I figure the sourdough is strong enough to do the job so long as I've got the time to wait.


Formula
Whole rye flour: 40%
White flour: 60%
Water: 75%
Salt: 1.8%
Caraway seeds: 1.8%

40% of the flour (all the rye) is in the starter at 100% hydration

Ingredients
White flour: 300 grams or about 2 generous cups
Rye starter (at 100% hydration): 400 grams or 1.25 cups
Water: 175 grams or ¾ cup
Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
Caraway seeds: 9 grams or 1 Tbs + 1 tsp


Mixing
Dissolve the starter into the water, and then add the salt and caraway seeds. Add the flour and mix until everything is hydrated.

Dough development and the first rise
You’ll want to do either the stretch and fold or traditional kneading. Either way, it’ll be a little tricky because the rye will make the dough sticky. Keep at it – the dough will come together, though it will be more clay-like than a 100% wheat dough.

Shaping
Be gentle. You want to retain as many of those air bubbles as possible. Rounds and batards are the traditional shapes.

Second rise
You can let it rise for another 2 hours at room temperature. You can also speed things up (and increase sourness) by placing the dough on an upturned bowl in the bottom of a picnic cooler, throwing a cup of boiling water in the bottom and covering it quickly. After an hour, throw another cup of hot water in. The rise should only take a 90 minutes this way.

Baking
Score the bread as you like. Hash marks are traditional for rounds, and batards usually take a single, bold stroke down the center or a couple of baguette-style slashes.


I baked this in a cloche at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, taking the top of the cloche off about halfway through.


Tomorrow: a big fat tempeh reuben for lunch! (What?! That doesn't sound good? Truth be told, it sounds awful to everyone else but me in my family, as well. But to me ... heaven.)

crunchy's picture
crunchy

Last weekend I finally had time for baking, after a long and exhausting week. Continuing the exploration of Hamelman's book "Bread", I ventured into the Detmolder method section. I love ryes and I love a good challenge, so naturally the three-stage 90% rye had to be made. My rye starter is always very lively, but to my surprise, it was going out of control by the end of the third build. The final dough was a sticky mess; in fact, it resembled clay more than any sort of dough. Hamelman warns not to add more flour even if the dough is tacky. I stuck to his advice. This is what came out of the oven.


I waited a day before cutting into it to let the crumb set fully. This loaf was sweeter than any other rye I've made before. The crust was delectably crunchy and almost nutty. The crumb was dense, as could be expected of a 90% rye, yet moist and airy.Det90ryecrumb


That same weekend I also made a whole wheat muligrain (pg.169). Hamelman recommends some grains, but leaves the choice largely up to the baker. I used a combination of wheat and rye berries, corn meal, millet, and sunflower seeds. The flavor was incredibly rich and deep, with a tender whole grain presence in the middle and a lingering sweet honey finish.


And finally, there was a Vermont sourdough (pg. 153), also delicious. The dough was a pleasure to work with. This book is a tremendous resource, I can't recommend it enough.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Taking a break from fence rebuilding, I've updated a bunch of the modules on the site.  I added something many folks have asked for, a private messaging (PM) system, so users should be able to send and receive notes to and from other individual members of the community.  It looks like is a pretty clean, simple, easy to use system.  Let me know if you have any problems with it.


I  don't anticipate any issues, but I should make clear that as site admin I can read anyone's private messages.  I would only do so if someone reports incidents of getting creepy PMs from someone they don't really know, PM spamming, or any other PMs that violate the "honor principle" that governs the way The Fresh Loaf community governs itself.


 

cmckinley's picture
cmckinley

I am making my first loaf of bread with liquid levain.  It seeems to be rising so assuming that is a good sign!  When you refresh levain do you have to discard some of it or can you just keep feeding it?  I am very new at this but determined to get it all down!  I will post pictures of my finished product.  

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs