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absolutlyfab1's picture

Troubleshooting Lesson 2 Recipe

November 28, 2011 - 6:17am -- absolutlyfab1
Forums: 

What in the world am I doing wrong? haha! I followed the recipe for lesson two for the sweet butter bread and it comes out looking like it has ears and its very dense on the outside and crunchy on the outside. This seems to happen with all my bread. It also has an off smell when I cut it, almost chemical-y. If someone could give me a couple pointers that would be wonderful! Please let me know if more information is needed! :)

Thanks!

Jackie

notthebestbaker's picture

Bake Fails

November 17, 2011 - 12:07pm -- notthebestbaker
Forums: 

In a daily browse I found this wicked contest  that lead me to think about bake fails, as opposed to bake successes. I'm a terrible baker as you can see by today's attempt at whoopie pies, so I thought I would try and start up a thread in here to see if anyone else can join me in and wallow in shame :) 

 

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This is what I made for myself of all the things that I have learned so far.  I'm finding that there's a huge amount of information from various sources, all with spoon-fed amounts of usefulness.  So, here's my attempt to help others out there, whomever might actually find this.  Please note that my use of the word "yeast" means the brewer's instant yeast, and starter means the friendly creatures (or "the fish", as it is called in our home) that are cultivated from flour and water.  The numbered parts are all of the steps to actual bread making that I've found out.  I'm just now gleaning information about the preferment/poolish step (just learned a few weeks ago about the existence of such a step, and was relieved to find that "sponge" "poolish" "pate fermente" are all the same thing phew).  Here is basically what I've learned in the past four years:

 

EQUIPMENT    scale, oven peel/large spatula, unglazed quarry tiles or baking stone, measuring spoons/cups, bowls, wooden spoons, towels for bread, thin long stemmed thermometer to HIGH temperature

 

ABOUT STARTER

Not rigid method. Repeatedly successful recipes can fail.

Use variables to gain some control and predictability.

Variables include-- time, temperature, humidity, water quality, dough density/hydration

Use scientific method---only change one variable at a time

Starter bread characteristics:  large irregular holes, crumb, structure;  spreads, advantages (can make starter yourself, doesn't need extra food in the recipe, more room for creativity, ability to do more with texture and flavor, English Muffins, French bread), disadvantages (rise time less predictable, needs help to keep shape, needs to be tended and fed)

Starter eats flour, doesn’t eat sugar.  Any sugar in recipe you will end up eating yourself

Yeast bread characteristics—small crumb, regular small holes, less notable structure), tends to rise not spread, advantages (more predictable rise time, not need fed), disadvantages (cannot make yeast yourself, needs food added to recipe, flavor is entirely in the recipe--little creativity, has to be degassed)

 

MAKING STARTER

½ c whole grain flour with ¼ c water (equal weight).  Keep in glass or stainless steel with lid

Watch for life signs (bubbles) after 12 hours, if no signs for a few days, start over (check water quality)

Check the PH of your water---should be neutral or slightly acidic….basic is no good for starter. Add fruit juice or citric acid if needed

Feed when life signs, every 12 hours:  throw out ½ amount in there.  Put in exact same amount flour in there as in there already, plus ½ that in water (or equal weight of both)

*change container often*

Recommended stainless steel, glass, or glazed ceramic containers with lids (to keep bugs and children out, and moisture in)  starter reacts to most metals

After 3 days of consistent rising and falling, switch to white flour (to avoid bad critters)

Will smell like fish, should change to wheaty smell

After 1 week of consistent doubling, ok to use

Only use small amount of old starter to new starter (Tablespoon at most), keep discarding/baking—do not keep….ends up being a sponge not a starter

Note peak and fall times   starter:flour:water

Recommended 1:2:1 once a week feed fridge always, keeping Tablespoon amount or so

 

 

 

Once get good, can keep different teaspoon sized starters for each type of bread (CHEF)

More flavor=more time between feedings

 

1 PREPARE STARTER

Called preferment, sponge, poolish, bigas, levaine, pate fermentee (all the same)

Develops flavor, texture, lighter bigger air

More sour, more acid, longer shelf life

Note peak and fall times

Recommended 8-12 hours before dough mixing/kneading, 25% of total dough (so subtract from recipe flour and water used)

Add to bread at peak time

More starter % in bread, less proof time---acidity breaks down gluten

 

2 AUTOLYSE AND MIXING

Mix flour, water and poolish together, let rest five minutes or so (keeps from adding too much flour, and helps in kneading)

Most variable amounts are water and flour (coarse/fine ground flour, humidity, etc)

Set aside CHEF

Starter eats flour, doesn’t eat sugar.  Any sugar in recipe you will end up eating

oil--lending or not lending its flavor depends on recipe

Do NOT add salt directly to starter—mix in flour as a buffer first to keep starter alive

Do NOT use iodized salt—iodine becomes a gas in the oven—messes up your bread

 

3 KNEADING

-helps prevent too much flour being added--easier to add flour than water

-Palm push quarter turn only good for FLAT breads like pie crust, crackers

*Stretch&Fold:  adds air and builds structure—gluten sheath.  Also called French Kneading, or Slap Happy, etc.  Take the dough; slap the furthest side away from you down on the counter and away, while drawing the nearer side towards you.  Taking the nearer side in your palms (do not break, draw evenly like drafting wool) draw up and over further side, stretching sideways under and around, making a heart shape almost.  Make sure while you are drawing the dough over the further side to incorporate a nice big air bubble.  Turn the dough over and a quarter turn around (flip and turn like clockwise/counterclockwise).  Repeat.  Should change in feel and look—it will begin to pull dough off the counter and fingers.  Only dust the counter with flour if large pieces of dough are sticking—you want it to be tacky.  Shoot for 20 minutes of kneading. 

-Windowpane test—dough stretches between fingers fine enough to let light through without breaking

 

 

 

 

4 BULK FERMENTATION

Do not let ferment on pan---acidity tarnishes pans

Use oil to keep from sticking (using flour at this stage creates flour dumplings inside your bread)

Use heat during winter to help, especially in the North—direct heat ok at this step  70-90 degrees F optimal

Stretch and fold at least every thirty minutes to keep gluten structure from relaxing, and to distribute temperature evenly (fermentation heats up dough) S&F twice minimum during this stage

For smaller crumb, deflate while S&F

Bigger holes, keep as much air as possible

 

5 SHAPING AND PROOFING

This is the stage to choose your shape:  boule, baguette, loaf, braid, rolls, etc.  A shape doesn’t define a recipe, a recipe enhances the shape.  (good recipe, good rolls, etc)

Do not let proof on pan---acidity tarnishes pans

Starter spreads---need to use something to help.  Linen towels with flour method, proofing trays/counters, baskets heavily floured, etc.

use flour to keep from sticking--lightly

Do NOT use direct heat source (like oven light) to keep warm --creates a second crust that will not fill

Harder crust---use towel and let dry out to create a rind

Softer crust—let proof in moist environment (covered with bowl, etc)

More starter % in bread, less proof time---acidity breaks down gluten

Overproofing---when bread collapses---gluten stretched too far and cannot recover (make toast!)

Ready for oven:  when you poke it, it fills back your fingerprint but not all of the way

 

6 BAKING

Use flour on baking pan to keep bread from sticking (oil fries the bread and usually sticks)

Oven spring—put in already hot oven.  Oven high temp for 5 minutes, then lower temperature for optimal oven spring (example 450 degrees F, lower to 425 or 415)

Baking stone acts as heat sink to increase oven spring, can use unglazed quarry tiles---ALWAYS put into cold oven and let heat up and cool down with the oven (or break)

Slashing loaves a way to make the oven spring more predictable.  If bulges out near tray---temperature different in pan and air, etc.

Harder crust—spray dough with water right before putting in oven.  Do NOT steam oven directly if electronic---it will destroy oven entirely

Internal temperature 204 degrees F and above best indicator of doneness.  Cutting open stops the cool pressure cooker effect of the inside.  Thump test does NOT work.

If bread fell or didn’t bake well, make toast immediately

 

7 STORING

Sourdough:  Store in paper bag and bread cabinet if have one.  Fridge hastens going stale, Plastic keeps too much moisture

If bread contains milk products (milk, lots of butter or sourcream), or has a lot of moisture and sugar (cornbread or banana bread prime example of both), keep in fridge.  They only last about 2 days before going bad : (

Sourdough: make toast if going stale or out too long.  Bread should last for about 4 days, unless quick pour sugary breads like banana bread.

mcs's picture
mcs

Last week, Charlie came from Bowling Green, Ohio to hone his baking skills during a one-week internship at the Back Home Bakery.  Despite the initial butterflies, Charlie quickly adapted to the bakery hours and work schedule improving his dough handling skills throughout the week.  Below are some of the highlights from the week.

Thanks for the hard work, and I hope your family gets to enjoy some of the bread/pastries you learned to make during your internship.

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

 


Charlie transferring baguettes from the canvas to the baguette screen.

 


Here goes Charlie on the rolls

 





Charlie shaping croissants like a pro

 

 


Voila!

 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Hello again.

Quite by accident, I happened to stumble across this film from Belgium, made in 1956. I enjoyed it, and maybe you will too.

Jeremy

dolcebaker's picture

baguette - crust looks weird

August 12, 2011 - 10:28pm -- dolcebaker

I made a couple baguettes, due to time, I had to retard them in the refrig overnight after shaping.  When I baked them they did not brown as they should, but looked weird.  No blisters, but maybe like they were going to, as soon as the browning started so did the bad appearance.  What went wrong?  I had a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven.  Could they have been too wet from the fridge? suggestions?

stephy711's picture
stephy711

Find more recipes on my blog Dessert Before Dinner

 


Everyone in the family loved this recipe. It was great with butter and trout roe when it was fresh out of the oven, and this morning it was perfect with cream cheese and smoked salmon. The crumb is tender and the crust was firm, creating a wonderful contrast. It's great right now, but this bread will be even better with soup or smoked fish in the winter. Like all brown breads, this is a hearty, winter weather bread. It has a very complex flavor and it is even better a day or two later.

Russian Black Bread 

Ingredients
  • 2 packs active yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 2 ¼ oz (1 cup) wheat bran
  • 13 oz (3 cups) bread flour
  • 11.25 oz (3 cups) rye flour
  • 2 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 tbsp ground dark roast coffee
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

Directions
    1. Heat 2 cups water, butter, chocolate, molasses, coffee grounds and vinegar on stove until butter and chocolate are melted. Set in refrigerator to cool. Too hot liquids will damage the yeast.Proof yeast with ½ cup water and pinch of sugar
    2. Sift together flours and bran.
    3. In separate bowl, add fennel, shallots, caraway and 2 cups of the mixed flours. Add chocolate mixture and yeast to the flour. Continue adding flour half a cup at a time until the mixture pulls away from the mixing bowl.
    4. Knead until mixture is springy yet dense. Place in oiled bowl and let proof until doubled in size (about a hour and a half).
    5. Remove dough from bowl and divide into two pieces. Shape pieces into boules and dust tops with cornmeal, flour and caraway mixture. Let rest for 45 minutes
    6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, slash tops of loaves. Bake for 45 minutes or until dark.
amateur's picture

Sourdough disappointment

August 7, 2011 - 2:16am -- amateur

I can see that sourdough requires a certain amount of chemistry, which may be why I'm not doing well at it (I've never studied chemistry).

I made another attempt at it. My starter is doing quite well. It's USING the starter that's a problem. I used someone's basic dough recipe off this site and let it rise overnight. When it had risen, it was almost liquid, so I added more flour to it and kneaded it vigorously. It turned into a pretty fair-looking round, which I then left to rise again.

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