The Fresh Loaf

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Date Bread, Challah, Market Day

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varda's picture
varda

Date Bread, Challah, Market Day

One of the great things about TFL is that when I see an ingredient at the store, even though I've never used it before I know it will be good because of all the posts I've read.   So it was the other day while shopping at Costco, when a bag of Deglet Noor dates jumped into my basket and came home with me.   I've only eaten dates a few times, and don't like them so much as I find them too sweet and sticky.   Nonetheless, there they were and so had to be used.    The next day, I built up my rye sour way too much getting ready for market day and was on the verge of tossing the extra as I already had enough baking to do.   But then I remembered the dates.   So I pulled them out, cut them in half, and computing madly, made up a bread around them.    I made two loaves, a pan loaf and a hearth loaf.   The hearth loaf was so pretty I decided to sell it at the market the next day, but we ate the other one.    When my husband tasted it, he announced that if I only wanted to make breads like that, it would be fine with him.    And really it was delicious.  

I may not like dates in general, but apparently I like dates in bread. 

Then my real baking for market day got going.   I made crown challahs, cherry almond whole wheat loaves, baguettes, Hamelman's Pain au Levain with mixed starters, and rolls made out of the same dough.  

The market was as slow as can be, but I still sold almost everything.   I traded two of the leftover loaves - one for corn, and the other for quiche.   Then had one baguette left to take home.   

I've learned a lot about baking larger quantities since I last posted using a lot of the great advice I got here.   Friday-Saturday I made 26 loaves and 10 rolls.   It is a lot of work, but easier as time goes on.   My last bake before running off to the market was a load of baguettes (8) and the rolls.   For some reason, my oven was just not hot enough and I couldn't get either the baguettes or the rolls properly browned before I had to go.   But they sold anyhow, and no one seems to mind a paler loaf or roll except for me.  

 

Date Bread   
     
      Final      Starter        Total          BP
KAAP400 40046%
WW300 30035%
Rye 16216219%
Water51013364375%
Salt16 161.9%
Dates146 14617%
Rye Sour295  19%
     
Flour862   
Dough1667   
     
Mix all intensely in mixer - dough is very wet
Bulk Retard at 10pm   
Remove after 10 hours  
Shape    
Proof    
Bake at 450 for 45 minutes with steam 

 

 

Cherry Almond Whole Wheat  
     
KAAP 434314%
Rye 414114%
WW218 21872%
Water1536321671%
Salt6 62%
Broken almonds35 3512%
Dried cherries50 5017%
Yeast2 21%
Starter72   
Sour75   
     
total flour302   
total dough611   
Preferment %28%   
     
    
Autolyse flour and water 1 hour   
Mix all until  relatively strong 15 minutes 
BF 2 hours   
Shape    
Retard 8 hours   
Bake at 450 with steam for 45 minutes 

 

 

 

 

Date Bread   
9/5/2013    
 FinalStarterTotalBP
KAAP400 40046%
WW300 30035%
Rye 16216219%
Water51013364375%
Salt16 161.9%
Dates146 14617%
Rye Sour295  19%
     
Flour862   
Dough1667   
     
Mix all intensely in mixer - dough is very wet
Bulk Retard at 10pm   
Remove after 10 hours  
Shape    
Proof    
Bake at 450 for 45 minutes with steam 

Comments

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Everything looks wonderful !!  Your Challot are SO pretty ! I had orders for 2 and had enough extra dough that I used it for more cinnamon rolls and sold those too !  Is the cherry bread a yeasted loaf or a quick bread ?  

My market is kapoot for now. Not enough stuff for the veggie people to sell so she has suspended it till or if there is more stuff to sell and also looking for someone else to run it...sigh. So back to just baking for me and mine. I shall enjoy your continued posts !!  c

varda's picture
varda

I saw your last post but have been on vacation and then totally swamped since I got home.   It looks like you did some great baking for your market.   Perhaps you will figure out another way to get your bread out there now that your market is closed for the season. 

The cherry almond bread is a sourdough with both rye sour and white starter.    It has no sweetening beyond the cherries.    I love it, and it sells pretty quickly.   I'll add formula for that and the date bread above soon.    Your challah looked wonderful too, and good idea to make the dough into cinnamon rolls.   Mine are sprinkled with freshly ground cinnamon and turbinado sugar.  

Thank you for commenting.  -Varda

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Looks great varda. I feel the same about dates so ill have to throw them in some bread one day. I have same problem with oven just losing too much heat. We all need deck ovens in our homes. Someone needs to design one that would fit nicely in a home kitchen. 

Keep up the great baking. 

 

Josh

varda's picture
varda

Hi Josh,   I have been scheduling each bread separately and then making a chart of each critical resource and then adjusting schedule so nothing conflicts including counter space.    This has helped a great deal and makes my baking schedule almost sane.    Now if I could just hire a teenager to lift my trays I would be all set ;-)      I think if I had opened the oven fewer times I would have been in better shape, but then I'm afraid that the back ends of the baguettes will burn unless I rotate them, and I can't do it that fast.   Next time I'll err on the side of keeping the oven closed, and then I'll have burnt loaves.   Can't win without that home deck oven.   Any inventors out there?  Thanks so much for your help and support.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

even your pale bakes sell well - what a good sign.  Love your challah.  The date bread sounds tasty too! I miss your crumb shots - not a good thing for a fine crumby baker like you:-)  Only the tinned up date bread this time - still beautiful.

Nice baking Varda. 

varda's picture
varda

DA,  I saw your crown challah and it looked great, but have been running pretty ragged and haven't had a chance to comment on all your interesting posts.   I guess I would have more crumb shots if the bread didn't sell.   Is that what you want :-?   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda   

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

Market trade can vary like crazy.   You just have to persevere, and believe in your products.   Also, use your experience to refine your product offer, establishing what people want.

At Alnwick Market, I cannot make enough Brazil and Prune Breads, but Hexham are all mad for 100% Rye sourdough.   You get the feel for that as you keep doing it.

Your oven wasn't hot enough because you were trying to bake so much stuff in an incompatible domestic oven.   It's not powerful enough to keep baking all-day long without building in recovery time to allow it to build in more heating time.

Great job; you are very brave.   Keep going!

All good wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Thanks Andy,   I thought I knew what people wanted after baking for my friends for a few months.   But found that, as you say, it varies with the market.   Interesting.   What drives me crazy is the people who come up to look and then say sadly "no I shouldn't" and then walk over to the lady next to me who is selling sweets and buy a cinnamon bun.   But I just keep smiling no matter what.   My face muscles are sore by closing time.

The home oven situation is frustrating but it's way too early in the game for me to think about something else.    The best I'll be able to do short term is to buy another home oven and then screw up our house by wedging it in somewhere it doesn't belong.  

Thanks so much for your encouragement.

-Varda 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

So nice to read up on how you have been doing.  Sounds like you are having fun :)

I am not a date person either for the reasons you mentioned but I do know about the affect they have on breads due to a post by Breadsong (Sweet Date and Oatmeal Bread) and Khalid.  (Can't recall the name of his loaf….)  The loaves I have made with them are a hit too.  I guess the dates really blend well with whole wheat….

I would love to see the formula you came up with for your date loaf.  It looks delicious!   No rush on that request since I know you are busy keeping up with your baking schedule.  What will happen when the weather cools down?

All the other loaves in your post look great too.  You are really managing well with such a variety of loaves.  I am impressed!

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Hey Janet,   I think it was Khalid's multiple posts about dates that made me feel like just maybe they would make a good addition to my bread.    Glad I tried it!   I'll try to post the formula above soon.   It really came out well for a "counter" recipe.   As for what to do when the market closes in a few weeks, I have discovered that quite a few towns around here have winter markets.   They are hosted by the big nurseries which I guess need some way to get people into them during the winter.   So I'm asking around and will apply soon.   All the markets have bread already.   I just have to convince them that my bread is better.   It helps that I have all these pictures from years of posting on TFL.   Thanks so much for your nice comments.    I still owe you a PM.   -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely, Varda! Admireable efforts. The breads truly look delicious.

You seriously have to consider buying a bigger oven, or add another one. I'm excited for your farmer's market adventure.

-Khalid

varda's picture
varda

I would not have tried the dates if not for you, and this bread is just so tasty because of them.   The oven thing is definitely a challenge and no easy solution as yet.    Once you start spending real money, then you have to make real money as well.   Not happening yet.   Hope things are going well.  -Varda

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Relieved to learn your venture continues.  Thought maybe you'd gone dark about it because it wasn't panning out (so to speak).  They say women are better at multitasking than men and your market-prep description sure supports that w/respect to any notion I'd ever have of pulling off what you're doing.  Hats off.

In my distant youth, I spent some silly time chasing lizards around the date groves of the Coachella Valley, CA before the groves were bulldozed and the region became all about rock bands, rock stars and scotch on the rocks.  The date of choice, then and now, was Medjool.  Highly recommended.  Moist and gooey and ridiculously sweet.  Way moreso than Deglet Noor or (strangely popular) Honey.

Many good markets to you.

Tom

varda's picture
varda

you suspected that I may have tried to slink away quietly, but the fact is this baking thing has me so busy I'm behind in everything including TFL posting, but perhaps more importantly things like paying bills and sleeping.   And that's with two days a week of baking - one bake to order, the other market day.    How am I going to get to three days at this rate?   Hopefully efficiencies will follow.   I don't multitask in real time.   I sit down beforehand and work out a detailed schedule.   I use excel which with its time formats and so forth can be a very flexible and powerful scheduling tool.   Then for my morning bake before the market where I know I'll be half asleep, I put together an even simpler step by step so I don't forget what I'm doing in the middle.    These crutches are a big help for someone as memory challenged as I am.   As for the dates, I think it was the Medjool ones that turned me off to dates.   I hadn't realized that the Deglet Noor ones were milder, but maybe that's why I like this bread so much.   Love the image of you off chasing lizards.   Did you ever catch any?   Thanks Tom.  -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda,
Wow, you've been working hard, baking all of those lovely market breads! My best wishes to you for your market baking.
I couldn't help thinking of Andy and his market posts, when I saw your photos and list of beautiful formulas :^)
So many tasty ingredients in your breads, dates, cherries, freshly ground cinnamon - your customers are lucky to be able to purchase such quality!
Throughput is hard in the home oven. The only time I've tried to make a large quantity of bread (a large quantity for me, that is) was 40 loaves over a day and a half...I retarded the dough in bulk, then shaped and proofed according to oven capacity, allowing the oven recovery time as Andy notes. 
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a deck oven at home? The first time I saw a smaller deck oven was at the IBIE show in Las Vegas three years ago - I'm pretty sure my eyes misted over at the sight of it!
:^) breadsong

varda's picture
varda

Hi breadsong.   Haven't got to 40 loaves yet.   I have been baking the whole grain loaves the day before - retarding the rest and baking in the morning.   Unfortunately unless I want no sleep whatsoever, bulk retarding doesn't work, as the market starts early.   I think I'll try a massive (and hopefully cheap) cast iron pan for steam, as it will also add some heat retention to the oven for long baking sessions.   I was ruining my good cast iron pan using it this way, so quit that, but think I'll go back to it.   Was that small deck oven for sale?    Who makes it? 

Thanks so much for your comments on my ingredients.   A lot of the high volume bakeries in the area show up at these farmer's markets and sell their stuff as if it's high quality when really it isn't.   I think at the very least people should know the difference.   A woman walked up to me on Saturday, and was commenting on my breads, and I said something like you just can't find this kind of stuff for sale.   And then she said but you can.  I just found it right here.  Hadn't quite got that perspective into my head.  

-Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda,
I only did that once, baking that many loaves in that short of a time frame...and they were fougasse so they baked more quickly than a regular loaf; even still, it took a long time to cycle them through the oven.
It must feel good when customers appreciate quality, and say so; I have no doubt your breads stand out from the crowd! :^)
Here is a picture of the oven I saw; it might have been a TMB oven as it was at the SFBI booth at IBIE
(the picture is small and so is the nameplate on the oven, can't make out the oven name):


At the Baking Congress last May, they had Miwe Condo ovens set up (stackable/scalable decks).
I thought that was a great idea. http://www.miwe.com/product_baking_miwe_condo_en.html

If I was going to be baking more on a regular basis, it sure would be nice to have one of these ovens! 
But I have no idea how much they cost (almost afraid to ask...still like to feel like I can dream...!).
:^) breadsong

varda's picture
varda

The problem is that besides being expensive these ovens are really heavy.   Could you even put one in a home kitchen?   Thanks for sharing the picture.   -Varda

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I had to laugh when I read your comments about the ingredients you wouldn't have bought but for reading about them being used in TFL. I do the same, looking for a special ingredients (and then sometimes not finding the post about them anymore).

Coming up with a schedule and the logistics for baking multiple breads in a home oven (and still have a life!) is a challenge, and really heavy-duty usage for the oven (my old one tripped a few times, or switched itself on broil, incinerating my baguettes). I'm glad to hear that you managed to pull it off.

With your encouragement about dates that you don't normally like, being great in a special bread I feel inspired to try your formula, otherwise I wouldn't dream of it, since I don't care for them, either.

Take care,

Karin

varda's picture
varda

if my baguettes were randomly incinerated.   Knock on wood that particular misfortune hasn't happened yet.   Yes, I'm definitely feeling challenged.   Now think how easy this would be to do with commercial equipment.   Of course though if I had that, I'd just ramp up production until it was hard again.   I encourage you to try the date bread.   Something about the combo of dates and whole grains is just good, good, good.   Thanks Karin.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Varda, everything looks so delicious, I especially love the date bread and  crumb structure.  No wonder things are selling out and only a couple loaves left for trade.  I think I'd be saving a couple just for trade at the market.

I'm not a date person either.  Such a high sugar food.  I used to purchase date sugar.  After seeing your post I will have to reconsider some dates baked in loaves.  

 Lovely challots and I love dried cherries added in bread or scones.  

You've done a wonderful job of getting your bakes together for the market and getting to read your customer's thought's on what they like and don't understand. 

Death Valley Dates : ) not what it sounds like..just more food memories.  Upon a not so scenic drive through Death Valley 'if you live in Vegas you have to do the trek at least once and hopefully only once' many years ago we purchased dates that grew around the Scottie's Castle area.  I don't know the variety but they were pretty tasty and not to sticky, probably stale.  Every time I think of dates.  I remember that long drive at least we had the comforts of a motorhome and the good company of my Aunt and her friend visiting us from England and the dates to enjoy on the way home.

I hope you get that oven worked out.

Sylvia

Happy Baking, 

Sylvia

 

varda's picture
varda

I've never been to Death Valleybut one of my California sisters says it's the most beautiful place on earth.   As well as extremely hot, I guess.   Lovely image of you tooling through the desert eating dates.  I really think that bread is the right place for dates.   Better be, because I have orders for 5 date breads this week.   Thanks so much for your support.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Hi Varda.

I love your spread of breads and can't imagine how you manage to output such a variety in your home oven.  Maybe I will speak to my factories in China and see if we can come up with an affordable Deck Oven :).  Then I can quit my job and bake to my hearts content....

I too was inspired by Khalid's posts on dates and created a SD version of one of his bakes which has become one of my favorite breads to "Date"....pun intended.  I hope to have time soon to compare your formula with mine and give it a try.

Hopefully we can do another TFL get together soon so we can taste some of your beautiful breads.

Regards

Ian

varda's picture
varda

Your starfish date bread.   It must have been in my mind when I saw those dates at Costco.   You used a different flour mix and I think yours had more whole grains.   Yes, get those factories in China going.   Must have home deck oven.  Thanks so much Ian.   Are you going to plan the next TFL get together?   New York this time?    -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

The oven problem - oh the oven problem - a topic that occupies my mind while standing in security lines.

You're a braver gal than I am.

Pat

varda's picture
varda

The oven problem.  Someone should be able to make some money solving it.   I'm guessing you're pretty brave too.   -Varda

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Those all look amazing Varda.  Thanks for posting these beauts! I love the dates idea.

John

varda's picture
varda

Hope things are going well and you have time for a bit of baking.   -Varda