The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

These turned out better

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sadears's picture
sadears

These turned out better

These turned out better, but not as good as I hoped.  I'm going to try mixing my dough with my mom's ancient mixer.  I think since I have so much trouble mixing it by hand when it gets stiffer, I work it too much when I add more flour.  In the end, I used the whole amount called for in Jim's recipe even though at this altitude.  I only made half the recipe. 

 

 

Steph

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

Hi Steph,

Cool crumb. Looks you cracked it. How's it taste? Trust me steph, don't mix your dough more than you need to. If you can't easily mix your flour with a spoon in a minute then you're adding too much flour or not enough water. If it doesn't come together easily next time you bake. Just add a bit more water to catch the dry bits. Then leave it at that. Wait for an hour and try a fold of some kind. You don't need a mixer to get good bread. Mike Avery doesn't have a mixer and he sells his bread at the weekend. He makes pounds of bread at a time. His mixer broke a year or so ago, he panicked, asked a friend who told him about the fold technique. He never bothered with a mixer after that. The crumb of you bread is very tight. You really don't want to mix anymore than you already have. 
Do you think my bread looks so crap? : -) Did you see my updated recipe? 
Jim

sadears's picture
sadears

Thanks, Jim, for your support ;-D

No, considering...it looks okay.  What can I say, I was hoping for a more traditional looking sourdough.  I'm going to try the mixer because  in my first attempts, my hand/arm would give out mixing before I could get all the flour in there, also thinking that at this altitude, I would use less.  When I used your recipe, I ended up using all the flour, but in the end I had to mix it with my hands which I think caused me to work the dough too much.  I have carpal tunnel syndrome which means when I grip something hard for any length of time, my hands/arms go numb.  Not a good sensation.

It tastes okay, but when I checked the temp, it read 190F.  I know it's supposed to be at least 200F, but I was afraid to burn it.  They sounded hollow when I tapped them.

Couple of questions I had...I preheated with the stone in the oven.  I sprinkled corn meal on the stone and it burned.   Should have put the corn meal on when I put the bread in?  Also, I reduced the temp to 350...should have left it at 450?  How long should it be in at 450?  40 minutes? 

 

Oh, and in the BBA it shows them putting the bread on the bottom rack.  Is that what you do? 

 

Recipes....if you're referring the your "Jim's basic bread" recipes then yes, I did.  That's the recipe I used.  If you posted something else later, then no.   

Steph

Floydm's picture
Floydm

It tastes okay, but when I checked the temp, it read 190F. I know it's supposed to be at least 200F, but I was afraid to burn it.

 

Just turn your oven off and let it sit on the stone for another 5 or 10 minutes to get it up to temp. I find lean doughs only baked to 190 or so rather... gummy and unpleasant. Another 10 or 15 degrees makes a big difference.

 

Couple of questions I had...I preheated with the stone in the oven. I sprinkled corn meal on the stone and it burned. Should have put the corn meal on when I put the bread in?

 

Yeah, if at all. I'm not sure you even need to put corn meal on it. The corn meal is to help get the bread off your pan or peel and onto the stone. Once it is on the stone, it dries out real quick and forms a solid bottom. I've never had a problem getting a loaf off of the stone.

 

Also, I reduced the temp to 350...should have left it at 450? How long should it be in at 450? 40 minutes?

 

This is a lean sourdough with no sugar or dairy in it? I'd keep the temp up. For my standard pound to pound and a half loaf, I typically do the full 550 for the first 3 or 4 minutes, then 465 for around 20 minutes, rotating the loaf once at 10 minutes. If it is getting dark at 20 minutes but isn't cooked through, then I'll turn the temp down or just turn the oven off and let it sit in there for longer.

 

I use the second rack up from the bottom. When I've used the bottom rack the bottoms of the loaves got scorched. But every oven is different, so it may take trial and error for you figure out where it is best to bake em.

 

One last comment: keep the dough as moist as you possibly can. If it is firm enough that it is really stressing out the mixer then I suspect it is too firm to achieve a real open crumb.  But you're making good progess.  Keep at it!

sadears's picture
sadears

I haven't tried the mixer yet, but I'll keep that in mind. 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Duh. Right. Just reread your post.

Despite the no-knead or low-knead approach that seems to result in the best bread, using the mixer to do just that, mix, is really nice. I find that having one (even a cheap, crappy one) has meant I can bake 3 or 4 different breads a weekend rather than 1 or 2. Very nice.

sadears's picture
sadears

Well, in today's dollars, I'd say this one is cheap ;-D.  Haven't used it yet...my sister gave it to me when I moved here four years ago when my dad passed away...it was my mother's...she died in 1975, so that tells you how old it is ;-O

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hey, that may mean it contains metal gears instead of plastic gears, which would be a good thing.

sadears's picture
sadears

That's good to know.  However, ;-D if you see on the news that a house burned down in Colorado Springs today, that might be me when I burn up mom's mixer. ;-D

 

Steph

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

are probably the best! No plastic parts as Floyd said. I was lusting for a KA pro, but couldn't justify spending that much money when I had a perfectly good mixer, even though from the late 70's early 80's. I have an Oster Kitchen center..slices, dices, grates, mixes, grinds, blends..you name it. It has double dough hooks(like beaters) and kneads easily for 8-10 minutes without laboring.

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

Mixers hardly ever burn up kitchens.  If smoke starts comming out, just unplug it.  Deep friers on the other hand, well just ask my brother.

 

That really is a nice looking loaf of bread, keep the good work Steph.

 

jeffrey

sadears's picture
sadears

Yes, Jeffrey, I know.  I was kidding.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Looks super!! 

I am totally jealous!  :)