The Fresh Loaf

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Amy's bread

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lief's picture
lief

Here is the second recipe I've made from Amy's Bread, and my first pumpernickel ever! After having been burned by modifying the methods for the 100% spelt bread recipe (mine ended up VERY sour) in the same book and not knowing what to expect from pumpernickel flour I stayed very close to the original recipe. However, when I put together the final dough, it was absolutely nothing like the description! There is some sort of disconnect here and I'm not sure what it is. The recipe describes a dough that may need to have water added to it a tablespoon at a time if it is too difficult to knead. It describes a dough that should be very easy to handle when it comes time to shape it. My dough was very, very wet and although manageable I would not describe it as easy to handle. I thought that perhaps I measured something wrong, but the final dough weight was in the ballpark of what I expected it to it be after all ingredients were accounted for. My suspicion is that the course pumpernickel flour should have been put in a soaker the night before, as prescribed for the sunflower pumpernickel bread in BBA. My inclination was to make a soaker but I did not because it was not in the recipe as written and I was trying to stay close to the recipe.




These concerns aside, the bread tastes great! The recipe contains a good portion of sunflower seeds and it really seems to go well with the pumpernickel flour. It has a smooth and nutty flavor (duh!) with a pleasingly chewy crumb and a very crunchy crust. I felt like it would have been great with some butter, but I never actually ate it that way... instead preferring to eat the slices plain but lightly toasted. The crunchy crust was undoubtedly helped along because I brushed one loaf with oil and the other with melted butter because I could not fit both loaf pans under my foil pan. This was the suggestion given in Amy's Bread to achieve even coloration if insufficient steam was causing white streaks on your breads. It certainly worked to get a nice even color on top of the loaves, and I did enjoy the crunch imparted on the crust, but at the same time it made the bread a little "oily" like it had been lightly fried or something like that. I'm not sure I'm so keen on that, so I may not use that technique in the future. Perhaps I'll try an egg wash instead?


Also, the loaves were a bit flat because I over proofed them. It's been quite some time since I've made bread with commercial yeast, and being accustomed to sourdough time tables I wasn't keeping a proper eye on the dough. Before I knew it, they were ready for the oven... but it wasn't even pre-heated yet!! Oh well... the taste was still very nice and that is what is important. My next pumpernickel bread will be from BBA so I can compare the two recipes.


 

lief's picture
lief

I got an awesome fathers day gift from my daughter this year. She is going to New York University so she has been running around the Big Apple for a couple of years now. One of her favorite spots to pick up bakery items is Amy's Bread, which sells a book with some of their recipes, and that was my gift :-)


I have been slowly going through it, reading about their general take on the art of baking bread and perusing the recipes trying to decide what to bake first. I've been on a bit of a spelt kick lately, so I decided to start out with the Organic Whole Grain Spelt with Flax and Sesame recipe.


  


 


Notice the white streaks on the crust? I have been having a problem with this for a very long time, but it has only shown up intermittently. I have made all sorts of adjustments to my methods, ingredients, and physical baking apparatus to try and figure out the source of the whitening of the crust to no avail. This book may have the answer!!!! In fact, at the end of this very recipe the book states that white streaks can occur due to INSUFFICIENT STEAM. Hallelujah! Definitely makes sense because the results were never consistent... perhaps I'm depending on how quickly I manage to close the oven door after applying the steam or how long my steaming apparatus was preheated? I got very excited after reading this and when I baked this bread, I made a number of adjustments to my steaming method to try and increase the amount of steam that I got. I definitely got more steam than usual, but the bread still has white streaks. Looks like I need to make further improvements. I also bought a large foil roasting pan to try the covered "self steaming" method, but it wouldn't work for this bake, which included two large loaf pans. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, how did you solve it?


Whitening aside, the crumb was quite dense, moist, and had a nice whole grain taste. However, it was also quite sour... almost too much. This is undoubtedly due to the modifications that I made to the recipe. The original recipe called for commercial yeast along with a levain. I've been spurning commercial yeast lately, so I decided to leave it out. However, I left everything else the same. This necessarily meant that the time tables would be stretched out by quite a bit. Also, in the original recipe, the bread is baked on the same day that the final dough is assembled. I said nuts to that! I'm sure that the long retarded proof that I gave it was the main reason for the kick that it had. It is 100% whole grain after all! If I were to do it over again, I would probably bake it on the same day. I may even add commercial yeast. I guess the recipe was written that way for a reason ;-)

Uberkermit's picture

Field trip: Amy's Bread (w/ photos)

February 1, 2008 - 7:22am -- Uberkermit


A few weeks ago I took a trip to Amy's Bread in NYC. They have a store in Chelsea Market-- an old factory that's been converted into various shops. The market is worth a trip in itself (there's a good kitchen supply store, and a great milkshake bar--Ronnybrook Farm Dairy), but the bakery is amazing.  For one, it's Amy's Bread. But also, there's a long corridor with windows where you can stop and gawk as the bakers go about their craft. Enjoy!

 

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