The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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RachelJ's picture

Home-Based Bakery - A Little Advice Please? :)

May 23, 2010 - 8:58pm -- RachelJ

Hello -
I'm posting here again. :) Although I still check the email notifications I get from here, I don't get to visit the site as often as I'd like. Mainly due to the fact that when I get on the computer, it's to check email and Facebook, my blog and Twitter. My mother's computer crashed and she's been having to use mine. Not to mention we are moved now, to Costa Rica, from the U.S. I am posting here a couple of questions I have about starting a home-based bakery here.

overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

I intended to start a blog and leave a post every week with updates of a new loaf or new idea as a way to help me keep on experimenting and learning. So far, alas I have fallen at the first hurdle, after an impromptu trip to Paris I failed to update my blog the first week and haven't done so since.

It's not all bad though as Paris has been a real eye opener. I got into making bread seriously because of a lack of good local bakeries. When I moved to a new flat in a new area last year I discovered my high street had 2 greengrocers, a really good butchers and a plethora of small local independent stores, but alas no bakery! Even a trip to the nearby city centre left me empty handed but for a handful of instore supermarket bakeries and the omnipresent Greggs (a UK bakery chain that provides cheap, cheerful but ultimately soul destroying baked products). A short ferry/train trip across the channel however and it's a completely different story. Around every corner of every street in every arrondissemont the fresh smell of bread could be smelled wafting from a small boulangerie. The whole country must be teeming with bakers to be able to fill all those stores with such a variety of doughy delights. Don't get me wrong it's not as if the UK has worse bread, when you find it some of the stuff is delicious. It's just that good bread is comparitively so hard to find. And it's not as if we don't desire good bread, I recentely read Britons make far more bread at home than our french counterparts (and it's not hard to imagine why). Maybe the lack of good bakeries is a blessing, how else would I have discovered the joys of seeing the first bubbles arrive in a mixture of rye, water and nothing else (still amazes me), would I have ever even come across the words miche, banneton, lame etc. if I had not had to turn to home baking. Somehow however I still think I would prefer it if I had a friendly local bakery to buy at least the occasional loaf from.A small bakery on every street

As this blog has such a geographically diverse readership I wonder what others have to say about the provision of good bakeries in their area, and why some countries seemed to be able to have enough demand to keep a bakery in business on every street whereas others can have a whole town centre with nothing.

Slowrise's picture

Nashoba Brook Bakery in Concord, MA

March 24, 2010 - 4:58pm -- Slowrise

Nashoba Brook Bakery, located in West Concord, MA, is a fabulous bakery specializing in sourdough-based artisan breads. The company produces thousands of loaves of bread a day in a massive French press oven, visible to cafe customers through large glass windows that encase the bread room. 

Chrisan's picture

Need help maintaining sourdough starter from a local grocery's bakery...

March 5, 2010 - 9:40pm -- Chrisan

I recently acquired a sourdough starter from Earth Fare's bakery (free by the way!). It seems to be thinner than pancake batter. It's been sitting at room temperature for about 8 hours in a plastic container that's not shut all the way---oh and there's hooch, that watery alcohol layer starting to form at the top. Do I put it in the fridge or keep it at room temperature? I think I'm gonna put it in the fridge since I don't know what to feed it exactly.


Anyway, I don't wanna kill it or mess up the starter since this is my first time with a starter.

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

So I worked my first eight hour shift today, and I had some difficulties, learned some interesting things, and in general came home smiling. The two main things that I learned deal with double hydration and venting an oven. When I was first shown oven venting, my eyes were pretty glazed over; I'd never heard of venting, and pretty much didn't know what it was, why you might do it, and in general was confused. A few days later (today, as it were) it was explained to me. Venting is, as its definition implies, removing air, or things in the air, from a space. You vent an oven at the very end of the bake, in order to remove steam and ensure that a good crust forms. But more then that, venting ensures that your crust will last, and stay long past its time immediately out of the oven.


Venting is the key to creating crusty breads. 



We baked off baguettes today, but we also baked off some baguette dough cut for sandwiches, and these didn't get vented. The reason being rolls aren't supposed to be hard and crusty, but rather softer and easier to take a bite out of when you're enjoying a sandwich. If you don't vent, the moisture from within the crumb will move into the crust, softening it (diffusion!), but if you do vent, there is less moisture within the crumb to allow this. The moisture gets baked off during the vent period and is carried out of the oven. When I finished my shift, I walked out to my car and I said aloud, "well, I learned something today". The only thing left to determine is whether venting can be done in the home baking environment, which it may or may not be able to. 


Secondly, double hydration. I personally have never been exposed to such a technique, or at least not by this name. You mix a stiff dough, then when the gluten is already formed, you mix in water to complete a high hydration. The dough is extremely slack and gets several folds to strengthen the dough. Now that I think about it, it is identical to making brioche or certain types of foccacia where you mix the dough to develop the gluten, then knead in butter or olive oil to enrich the dough with all the qualities large amounts of fat contribute. Additionally there is no shortening of the gluten that occurs when mixing large amounts of fat with wheat flour. I'm not really that blown away by double hydration, but its an interesting way to hydrate dough, and its amazing how similar ciabatta is to making foccacia, its just a different ingredient is being kneaded in. 

Big Brick House Bakery's picture
Big Brick House...

My friends thought I was crazy when I started grinding my own flour, but my love of baking I couldn't shake and I open my award winning bakery.  Any one should be able to live their dream!  I get a lot of inspiration from everyone loving the same thing - bread, and the baking of it.  I sell the supplies or my bread I don't care as long as you have a passion for it... 


 The Big Brick House Bakery is a small family bakery in Wabash Indiana.  Freshly milled flour began with Leigh 5 yrs ago; it came to her attention that once a grain has been milled, the nutrients evaporate over time.  She purchased a Stone-mill, a miniature version of the ones that use to set along the rivers, and began on this adventure to incorporate the fresh flour into her bread and pastas.  The Big Brick House Bakery stone mill is used daily to grind small batches to provide you with the freshest and most nutritious whole grain products in Wabash County and the surrounding areas. Their fresh flour makes the integrity and flavor of their Artisan bakery products.   The Big Brick House Bakery now offers 14 different types of grain, some organic, purchase a kit that Leigh has developed for the home bread machine.  Leigh makes several of her breads on a daily basis.  These same breads won her the Indiana Artisan award in October of 2008.  At this time she is now offering flavored breads using cheese, herbs, and vegetables.  Leigh also makes pies and cakes from scratch, just the way they were done for several generations.  Now Leigh is offering Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free items, recreating recipes to work with any dietary needs.  


The quant retail store opened in June of 2008 in the sun room of their Eastlake Victorian home. Locally produced eggs, honey, maple syrup, fudge are also sold here. 


On Facebook you can also interact with Leigh and other fans. www.facebook.com 


 

cookingwithdenay's picture

Homebased food processing now allowed in New Mexico

January 5, 2010 - 5:48pm -- cookingwithdenay
Forums: 

A new rule requiring permits for homemade foods sellers went into effect on Jan. 1, 2010 in New Mexico.


The permits are mandated by the state Environment Department and will cost $100. This will allow the sale of homemade goods including baked goods, tortillas, jams and jellies, dry mixes and candies.

mcs's picture
mcs

This past week The Back Home Bakery had guest intern Greg (gcook17) visiting from Mountain View, CA.  He brought his extensive bread and pastry skills to the workbench and got to try his hand at using the sheeter too.  Thanks a lot Greg for all of your help - we hope to see you again up here!


-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


 



stretch and fold on a 10 loaf batch of Rustic White


 



lining up the puff pastry bear claws


 



Here's Greg with his new found favorite toy.


 


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

On our way back from The Back Home Bakery, we made a quick stop at the Wheat Montana bakery/deli pictured here:



It is located in Three Forks, Montana and is just off I-90.  The place is big; I only captured part of it in this photo.  And yes, those are grain silos at the back corner of the facility.  I believe that they grind all of the flour on-site that is then bagged and sold, or used in their baked goods.  There is also a gas station out of the frame, about 100 feet to the right of my position as I took this photo.


The first thing that meets your eyes as you step through the door are stacks of 50-pound bags of flour: Bronze Chief (red whole wheat), Prairie Gold (white whole wheat) and their Naturally White AP.  There are also bags of wheat berries.  Prices are surprisingly low, compared to what I see in local supermarkets.  The berries were priced from $19-21 per 50-pound bag and the flours were priced $20-22 per bag.  If I hadn't been told just before leaving for vacation that I'm going to be spending the next couple of years in South Africa, I'd have purchased a couple of bags and worried later about where to store them.  As it is, I need to burn through my existing flour stocks in the next few weeks.


Further in, there are shelves with Wheat Montana logoed goods; caps, cups and such.  There are also flours in 5- and 10-pound bags, cook books and preserves.  Still other shelves hold various breads.  There is a deli counter where one can purchase various pastries and sandwiches, along with hot and cold beverages.  There are a number of tables to sit at while enjoying your food and drink.  I must confess to having been a bit of a bread snob after a week of seeing what Mark produces.  Any other day I might have thought their stuff looked pretty good, but it just didn't measure up to what we had been making at The Back Home Bakery.  So we stopped long enough to buy a drink and take this picture, then headed back to the road.


Paul

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