The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Altaf's picture
Altaf

Finaly arrived.... The bread baker's apprentice at my hands :-D. It looks very informative &the beautiful illustrations make me want to bake.

I have to dedicate my time in the coming days for reading this amazing book.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Two baking experiments yesterday. One was a big success, the other a total failure.

The first experiment was tweaking the banana bread recipe. I made two small changes (added a 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and a cup of vanilla yogurt) and it was *sooo* good. I want to try it one more time to verify my measurements and then I'll post a recipe and pics.

The other experiment was to make the baked potato bread and leave the dough extremely slack. I didn't even stretch it to build up surface tension or anything. It probably would have been fine if I'd baked it in a loaf pan, but on the baking stone it just splayed out not unlike a biscuit.

I didn't really do this experiment on purpose, I just had a very busy day. I wanted to bake something but didn't have the energy to do it right. I figured I was taking a chance but it was worth a shot. I can live with one out of two being successful!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I made croissants in honor of Bastille Day today. They actually turned out OK, better than I expected.

I'll try to post the recipe in the next day or two. Too tired tonight.

Altaf's picture
Altaf

I always had a fear towords making a preferments (in other words: starter, levain ,biga, poolish....etc). Why?...not sure, may be from the stories i hear about other people experiments or the long description written in professional bakers books.

well, yesterday night i decided to stop thoes annoying night mares. So i opened one of my cooking magazines which had a recipe of rye bread with a good amount of illustrations for a begginer like me. The recipe requires two starters : one made with fine ground rye flour and the other made with wheat flour (un bleached bread flour).

And Since the recipe demands leaving the starters in a room tempreture for 12 houres and up to 20 houres, i made both the starters at 21:00 july 12th. (Here comes the exciting part): :lol:

I waked up this morning july 13th, got dressed then went to take a quick glance at my starters(8:00) before going to work. And.... i found out that the rye starter had exploded :-o :-o :-o. I had to clean up the mess, and i put the both starters inside the fridge just for a precaution. Of course i was late to work

well this is the first disaster. I'll continue the rest of the story with some picutres......End of part one.

july 13th 3:00, Part Two:
I took the starters out from the fridge as you can see them below.....and left them at room tempreture

the rye starter on the right side and what left of it after the explotion. The white starter on the left is doing well.

The author said it`s better to knead the dough without flouring the work sufrace:-o .I followed the recipe steps carfully and another disaster happened, The dough was very very very stickey i could'nt work with. So i tried to solve this embarrssing sitiuation (while my sisters where watching me) by oiling the work surface, but it was sticky, then i floured the work surface a lot...still the dough had a bad behavior.

After one hour of wrestling, i decided to declare the dough's death.

End of the story. Comments from experts are most welcome.

Altaf's picture
Altaf

I was in a short trip to Geneva. A lot of Nice breads.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I was preparing my my French bread article yesterday and I wondered whether it was un-American to bake French bread on 4th of July. Maybe I need to call it Freedom Bread, like the Freedom Fries they serve in the congressional cafeteria.

:-D (I'm joking, I assure you).

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I bake a lot of sourdough bread. Over the past several months I have been trying a lot of new techniques and trying to perfect the quality of my loaves. The recipe below is how I am currently making my white bread. Next year I may have a whole different approach, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.

Deluxe Sourdough Bread

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I'm pooped. Busy weekend, but I did manage to do a fair amount of baking: a couple of french bread loaves with "stuff" in them (one seeded, the other with blue cheese and walnuts) as well as chocolate chip raspberry muffins. I'll try to post both recipes this week.

Tonight I tried making Zurek, a Polish soup that uses a rye sourdough starter as its base. It can be a wonderful soup, but I didn't quite get it right. It was edible, just not very good. I will try it again though.


Next time I think I need to let the starter age another couple of days: I gave it 4 days, but I don't think that was enough. I ended up adding some additional vinegar and lemon juice to give it a little more bite.

I also need to use better kelbasa. the Hillshire Farms sausage that was on sale at the grocery store was truly awful. Frankly, the store brand kelbasa is pretty decent, but it may be worth visiting one of the local Russian markets to find something more authentic. Well, semi-authentic: I don't mind keeping the higher food safety standards that we have even though it may not be the "authentic" Eastern Europe experience.

crumbbum's picture
crumbbum

A week or two ago, I queried in my LJ about Ranger Cookies. Nobody chimed in, so I went off to google. I found several recipes and hacked one together from those. It was a reasonable facsimile of the ones sold here in the Vancouver-Portland area Fred Meyer stores. I'm going to record it with the adjustments that I'll make the next time, because the dough was super-stiff and all that stuff wasn't necessary for the cookie. The recipes all called for either corn flakes or crisped rice (rice krispies) cereal. I chose to use the rice, because that was an ingredient in the cookies that I like. Anyway, I'm only reducing the oatmeal and rice cereal quantities by 1/2 cup each in hopes that I can better stir them into the dough. Even my stand mixer wouldn't have been able to handle the original dough.

Ranger Cookies
about 3 dozen
greased cookie sheets, 350F, 10 minutes

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups quick oats
1-1/2 cups crisped rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut

Cream shortening and sugars until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Sift flour together with baking soda, baking powder, and salt and add half at a time into the creamed mixture, incorporating it thoroughly.

Add oats, rice cereal and coconut by hand, mixing as well as possible--it makes a pretty stiff dough.

Bake (above) 350, greased sheets, about 10 minutes. Just very lightly browned tops. Leave them on the sheet for a minute or two then remove to wire rack. Store airtight.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I made strombolini again the other evening. The turned out pretty good. It is nice to have two weeks worth of lunches in the freezer like that.

Today I baked a couple of things that both turned out well. One was a rustic French bread (20% whole wheat), the other a blueberry cream cheese sweet braided bread. Pictures and recipes to follow.

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