The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Always learning!

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Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

Always learning!

Today is Saturday, a bread baking day: I've made a batch of Low Fat Bran Muffins with apples, raisins, oat bran and All Bran cereal and later today I will be making a whole wheat recipe as a tester for author, Peter Reinhart. Perhaps I will start Floyd's Pain Sur Poolish later today and finish it up tomorrow. So many breads....so little time.

Recently I received a copy of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery. This is a book that I have wanted for a long time, but it may now be out of print. I was thrilled when an internet forum friend found a paperback copy on Ebay.

I'm now making my way through this fascinating book of history, investigation, and comment about all aspects of bread cookery. I've read about grains, milling, yeast, salt, other ingredients, bread ovens and am now up to bread factories. The recipes are in the second section of the book. First published in 1977, this book is universally acclaimed to be a major source of information on the subject of English bread and yeast baking. Mrs. David died in 1992.

This book is recommended to all the bakers here that want to learn more about the history of bread making.

Comments

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

This morning I've been continuing with the two recipes I started yesterday: the whole wheat recipe from Peter Reinhart and Floyd's Pain Sur Poolish.

First the whole wheat bread - it is now rising in two loaf pans and was fairly easy to shape once turned out of the bowl. I'm interested to see how this recipe tastes because it is a heck of a lot of work!

Secondly, Floyd's Pain Sur Poolish - there are some misshapened globs of dough rising on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. The dough globs seem to be sticking to the kitchen towel that is covering them. I had such high hopes that I would like this dough as it went together well in the mixer and rose very nicely this morning. I was able to do the folding technique on a floured wooden board just fine. But shaping this slack dough into something that resembled oval loaves was another thing altogether. I was afraid to add a lot of flour when working with the dough or work out the nice air bubbles that were in it.

If anyone has any help to offer on working with this kind of very slack dough, I would appreciate your comments. I *might* post a picture if the bread doesn't look too horrible.

Oh, well - live and learn!
Teresa

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Slack dough is tough. I use a lot of flour on my hands and the exterior of the loaf, and just accept that my loaves are going to look more... "rustic." The flavor and crumb are great though.

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

My breads today were a learning experience indeed. The "new" whole wheat recipe was A-1 perfect until it hit the heat and sort of fell. But, the taste is really good and though the loaves aren't high, they're not door stops either. Good breakfast toast I think.

The recipe for Pain Sur Poolish from Floyd doesn't look so pretty either, but it has a good flavor, texture, and finally - ta dah! some of those lovely voids (holes) that I've had trouble achieving in the past. I will work at perfecting this recipe to make it easier to work with in the future.

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andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Slack doughs can be difficult. Do you do the "folding" technique? I find that helps greatly - each hour I gently flatten the dough out without de-gassing it, then fold one end to the middle and the other end over that - rather like folding a letter to put into an envelope. Leave to rest for an hour, then repeat this. It seems to give a surprising amount of body to a slack dough -enough to hold shape.
When shaping it into a boule, I also follow Dna Lepard's advice and gently rotate the dough while almost massaging the dough underneath itself, to increase the surface tension on the skin of the dough . You can see the surface tension develope as you turn, cup twist - very satisfying!
Also, do you form it in a couche? I find that a 8.5 inch mixing bowl, lined with a linen cloth and well floured (rye is excellent for this) is about right for 1100 grams dough.
And if you've time to pop the risen loaf into the fridge for a couple of hours before turning it out and then placing straight inbto your hot oven, the dough will have firmed up enough to hold shape extremely well. My spreading flat breads have become gratifyingly perky following this routine!

Andrew

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Slack doughs can be difficult. Do you do the "folding" technique? I find that helps greatly - each hour I gently flatten the dough out without de-gassing it, then fold one end to the middle and the other end over that - rather like folding a letter to put into an envelope. Leave to rest for an hour, then repeat this. It seems to give a surprising amount of body to a slack dough -enough to hold shape.
When shaping it into a boule, I also follow Dan Lepard's advice and gently rotate the dough while almost massaging the dough underneath itself, to increase the surface tension on the skin of the dough . You can see the surface tension develope as you turn, cup, twist - very satisfying!
Also, do you form it in a couche? I find that a 8.5 inch mixing bowl, lined with a linen cloth and well floured (rye is excellent for this) is about right for 1100 grams dough.
And if you've time to pop the risen loaf into the fridge for a couple of hours before turning it out and then placing straight into your hot oven, the dough will have firmed up enough to hold shape extremely well. My spreading flat breads have become gratifyingly perky following this routine!

Andrew

PS I've got the Elizabeth David book and think it is great! And out of interest, Elizabeth David's aunt, Violet Gordon Woodhouse (fascinating lady!!!) lived at Nether Lippiat Manor, where Prince and Princess Michael of Kent live.

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

A linen lined basket was used to shape the smaller of the two round Pain Sur Poolish loaves. But the dough stuck to the bottom of the basket when I went to turn it out onto the hot tiles in the oven. The other loaf was put into a round pie tin to contain it. This was after I tried to make oval free-form loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Those loaves were spreading out and falling off the baking sheet! Panic set in and that's when I scooped up the dough and plopped it in the basket and the pie tin.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I find that if I dredge the linen lined basket pretty generously with rye flour (rice flour is good too) it turns out fine. And if it's been refrigerated, after proofing to about double in size, it turns out and doesn't start to spread immediately like it does at room temperature! Gives time to slash and put in oven...

I cheat rather, and put a sheet of teflon parchment over the risen dough, put a perforated pizza tin over that, then turn it over and it turns out onto this fabulous non- stick teflon baking parchment. That slides staright onto my hot oven stone and the oven spring from a chilled loaf is amazing! The slashes really open out - I spray it lightly first and then straight into a v. hot oven.

Andrew

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Given the time logistics and requirements for sourdough-- mine is a six hour starter-- I am a real fan of retardation in the fridge, both the sponge and the shaped loaves. It also helps that retardation gives the lavain time to develop flavor and complexity. I have found it convenient to retard the dough right after it has been shaped (before any significant rising). Then the next day I take it out roughly 7 hours before I plan to bake it (1 hour to come to room temp, 6 hours to double). The results have been very good. I like the idea mentioned in your post about allowing it to rise after shaping, then retarding it overnight before baking. Obviously the timing is different in that I would have to plan for two 6 hour rises in one day. I'll be trying that next.

Very curious to see if the slashes are more dramatic this way. With my basic white sourdough boule (starter, flour, salt, water) I get great crust, delicious flavor, good crumb with varying size holes, etc, etc. What I don't get are the great ragged crests where I slashed the dough before popping it into the oven (I bake on tiles under a flowerpot cloche). Interestingly, my raisin walnut bread, which has more ingredients (starter, water, 2/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat flower, milk, sugar, raisins and walnuts) and is a heavier dough comes out of the oven with beautiful dramatic crests. Both breads have roughly the same hydration.

Definitely intrested in ideas to "correct" my basic white boule's lack of crest drama!