The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello :)

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2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

Hello :)

Hi, I love forums! 

Over the last 6 months I have been trying to loose weight and have taken off 20 lbs!  I am trying to eat more whole grains and less "white" in my diet.  I enjoy cooking on my Green Egg, Brewing my own Beer, and most recently getting more fit.  I know all these don't go hand in hand but making better choices is really helping me get to my target weight of 175LBS.  I love trying to figure things out and the art of making bread has been on my mind for a few months so I thought it's time I try to do this so we can have Fresh whole wheat bread and possibly stop buying the store bought white hot dog and hamburger buns too!  Lastly, if I can do this consistently, I hope that my two kids, Ellen (15) and Evan (13) will appreciate it and get better nutrition/fiber into their diets too.

So, my first step was to find a book, but I thought, my community forums for Reef aquariums and Beer brewing are so, so helpful maybe there is a bread forum and WALAA:)

I am totally new to this so can someone point me in the right direction to get my feet off the ground?  Should I just dive in and pick a recipe or is there recommended pre-reading or browsing I should consider first.  Anyone have that favorite recipe that I should try to encourage the enthusiasm?

With Kind Regards

 

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

I just found the handbook!

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Glad you found it! I don't recall if there's much about whole grains in the lessons and handbook sections, but since that's a direction you want to go, a few pointers:

First, you may want to have your first few loaves be all or mostly white flour. Whole wheat can be trickier, and keeping things simpler at first is probably a good idea for building up your initial knowledge and skills.

Second, once you do transition to more whole grains, the process will be slightly different. Whole grains need more water, and more time to absorb water. Whole wheat breads have a reputation for being dense, heavy, and sometimes dry and crumbly, too. I think this is because people sometimes expect it to act like refined white flour.

There's also some book recommendations on the site you may want to look at. There's both a section dedicated to it up above, and various posts throughout the site that you can search for. You may want to check out Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

I have Peters book on order!  I don't see a simple white bread in the handbook of recipes.  Does anyone want to make a recommendation?

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

Thanks for the recommendation, I just got back from the grocery store and purchased both Kings white and whole wheat flour.  I will start with a white loaf first, thanks again!! 

 

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

I am sorry, I am jumping into this too fast without doing enough browsing.  I see the lessons page has a starter loaf, I will start with that.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Two things: most, if not all, of the lessons use volume measurements, which are fine for starting out, but you will probably want to graduate to getting a scale and measuring by weight before too long. It's more accurate and you'll get more consistent results. A lot of people on this site seem to prefer the metric system, so getting something that can do grams will generally make it easier to try out other people's recipes from this site. Here's a nice blog post on the topic: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/03/02/weigh-your-ingredients/

Second, whole wheat flour goes off faster than white flour, so you may want to store the whole wheat in the freezer until you're ready to use it.

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

Thanks, I will read this reference.  Luckily, I do already have a scale that measures in Grams.  In the freezer goes the wheat!

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

It's rising but I am watching YouTube videos on kneading and I think maybe my technique may have been off because I don't think I could have completed the stretch test.

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

Ok, here is another attempt at the photo..

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Looks like a good first loaf! How did it taste?

Also, there's a thing on the FAQ list about uploading photos. You can upload them here and use them. It's a little convoluted, but ultimately not really harder than uploading elsewhere and adding here, I think.

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

It was good!  I baked a double of (lesson II) last night and those were even better.   It was still a recipe by volume and it said to use a particular range of water.  I ended up using only a fraction of the water and it seemed kind of dry as compared to some of the wetter kneads I see on you tube.  I think I should convert early and go by volume and target a % of hydration.?  Another thing that confused me about lesson II was that it called for sugar and less yeast to "slow the ferment" but it fermented as fast as lesson I and probably a good thing because it came out of the oven at midnight.  I kneaded for 15 minutes but didn't even come close to being able to stretch it to transparency.  Should I try my dough hook on my Kitchen aid? O-yea, I am not really sure how much I should punch it down either and I understand why people say shaping is an art...Is it ok to over work it to get it to a proper shape or rather, should I minimize the handling in fear of punching it down too much.  What made it fall in spots?  I couldn't believe it when my daughter got back out of bed to eat it!!  LOL ha ha.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Adding a small amount of sugar to a dough tends to speed up the fermentation, so even with the yeast decreased, it makes some sense that the dough still moved pretty quickly. Adding a lot of sugar can slow a dough down, actually, since the sugar tend to grab on to the water that the yeast needs. But the small amount in this dough probably just gave it a boost. And/or maybe the dough was warmer this time.

Using your Kitchen Aid will get you a nice, well-developed dough with less time than hand kneading. That said, I think having at least some experience with hand kneading is helpful for getting to know how dough feels and changes as you knead it.

Shaping takes a while to get the hang of. However, I don't think that's the reason for the collapsed sections on your loaf. The final proof before going in the oven was probably too long, and possibly it needed to be de-gassed more when shaping - there may have been too many air bubbles still in there when it went in the pan, although I'm less certain of that part.

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

A little big on the ends but it smells fantastic!! 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

The picture isn't actually showing up for me, but I'm glad you're happy with it! Enjoy!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Upload to Facebook(set privacy to "only me" if you dont want it showing to anybody), right click and copy the picture(after clicking on it to view it in larger format) and "paste" it in the forun post. (CTRL-v) Voila!

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Lovely bread:)

Shaping a Boule is easy, shaping a bartart, I gave up on, I now just make a boule and form it in to a batard before putting it in my loaf tin or proofing basket.

 

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

I saw your blog and I must say, you compliment goes a long way:)  I had troubles going to my Dutch oven.  When you go from your proofing basket to your Dutch oven, how do you make that transfer?  Do you use parchment to lower it into the Dutch oven?  Do you preheat your dutch oven?

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Thank you for  your kind words:)

I do use parchment to lower my loaf into the Dutch Oven, it is the easiest way and the most gentle way * in my opinion *

I do preheat the Dutch Oven on the highest setting my Oven has * 250C *, take it out, put the loaf in, close the lid, bake on high for 30 Minutes, take the lid off and turn the heat down * 200C * and bake for another 20 Minutes.

 

2FunKids's picture
2FunKids

Well, Today I tried the Rustic Bread in my Green Egg!  I made two loaves but baked them one at a time in my Dutch oven on the Green Egg.  As I was baking the first loaf, I had the second loaf rising in the refrigerator.  This perhaps may be the difference between the results.  I had them both in bowls on top of pam sprayed parchment paper.  I had one loaf rising in the oven with just the light on, and I had the second one in the refrigerator until I put the first one in the Egg.  the first loaf was much larger than the second loaf so I was concerned. 

Cutting the top of both of the risen loaves was very difficult. I kind of ripped and pulled the first one and the second loaf was colder and by putting oil on the razor I was able to cut it a little better.  How do I do this step!

Oddly enough the second loaf that was smaller and colder going in, rose more and turned out better than the warmer first loaf.  Can someone explain this?  They both tasted wonderful and for the first time my kids wanted the crust vs the normal cutting it off with scissors, LOL.  My kids actually liked the bottom crust so perhaps I should have browned it more?

Any recommendations or hints are VERY Welcome:)