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Grey's picture

Practicing Foccacia

September 21, 2008 - 11:14am -- Grey

I've been trying the Focaccia recipes from the BBA, and it's been turning out... very very well, Still perfecting the herb oil, but I'm extremely happy with the bread, I've been considering splitting the recipe in two as the resulting panned loaf is sometimes almost too high, certainly 2-3x the height of the bread pictured with the recipe, but we'll see. this creates a beautiful fluffy loaf with a great crust

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JuneHawk's picture

BBA's Sticky Buns

May 22, 2008 - 12:33pm -- JuneHawk
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They are GOOD! I had made them before but the cinnamon bun version, however, the sticky buns are much better. I find this dough very nice to work with and the end result well worth the little effort they take. I just wanted to brag about a success after my recent rustic breads failures. LOL Yum! I have more on them on my blog, http://thymeforfood.blogspot.com/2008/05/bun-by-any-other-name.html

 

June

 

JuneHawk's picture

Too wet. Too dry. I'm doomed!

May 19, 2008 - 11:31am -- JuneHawk

So, a couple of days ago I posted about my failure with the Brianna's Pugliese recipe in The Bread Bible.  It was just too wet and didn't have enough flour so it flopped. 

Today I'm making the BBA's Poolish Ciabatta recipe and gosh darn it's too dry!  I added a bit more water towards the end of the kneading but didn't make much difference.  I did a search here now and I see I'm not the only one having this problem with this particular recipe.

lolo's picture
lolo

Pain a l'Ancienne

I've decided it's time to jump into breads, and what better way than BBA?  After reading most of the book I decided that this would be a great first bread to try.  I was SO happy with the flavor and the crumb; I've never ever made bread that tasted so good or had such a nice texture.  It really was "creamy and cool" just as it should be.  The crust even crackled as it was cooling!  How fun!!  Not bad for my first shot at "real" bread.

Pain a l'Ancienne - Crumb

 

I think I could stand to make a slightly less hydrated dough next time (I think I added too much water, then was adding flour like mad to compensate) and gain some height without giving up the overall quality of the bread.  The bread spread out while shaping, causing me to curl it under a little, which created veins of uncooked flour on the undersides of some of the loaves.  A stiff brush removed most of it, but still, who wants a mouthful of flour?  If I can figure out how to use less flour without the dough sticking like crazy, I'd be set.  The excess flour burned up in the oven and I nearly smoked myself out of my kitchen.  I also need a much larger baking stone, as I could only fit two loaves at a time, which really lengthened the whole process.

 

 

"Shaping" the "loaves" "Shaping" the "loaves"

I made the dough around 11 pm and took it out of the fridge at 9 am.  I put it in the oven a little after 12 (even though I wasn't sure it had actually doubled yet... I didn't want to overproof it and end up with even flatter dough...)  I tried to score the first two loaves with a lame, but that was hopeless.  I moved on to sharp scissors like the book suggests, and while that worked better, you could hardly see the cuts on the final loaves.  I skipped that step altogether on the last two loaves and it seemed to work out fine.  Maybe if I make the dough a little drier next time the slashing will work out as well.

Overall I'm really, really happy with these, especially since it was my first try.  It was absolutely the best tasting bread I've ever made.  I can't wait for my whole wheat starter to be ready so I can get going on some of the recipes in his Whole Grains book as well!

Pain a l'Ancienne
Grey's picture

BBA Breads

April 7, 2008 - 6:46pm -- Grey

I got my copy of the BBA about two weeks ago, and it's been really great, I read through it in just two days and have started trying out various recipes and techniques, Here are some pics of the results, I have been very very happy with them all so far, and below are actually shots of my first attempts at each recipe :)

 

- Here is a Boule and a Tabatiere made with the Pain de Campagne recipe

jessicap's picture
jessicap

Last night and this morning's bread was a foccaccia made from Peter Reinhart's pain a l'Ancienne:
foccaccia

I made the dough last night, replacing about 20% of the four with King Arthur's white white whole wheat (a entirely whole wheat flour that's lighter in color and flavor because of the kind of wheat used). I used King Arthur bread flour for the rest. It's an extremely wet dough; the water weight is fully 80% of the weight of the flour.

I poured the dough into a half-sheet pan and pressed it gently into the corners, spreading it liberally with oregano olive oil. (I had pooled some on the bottom of the pan first, so it's olive oil-y all over). It baked at 450 for about 17 minutes, and came out a lovely golden brown.

It's got fairly large, even holes, an almost chewy texture, and a lot of flavor. I'm going to have to try baguettes from this same some time soon.

jessicap's picture
jessicap

I just got Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and intend to make many of his breads over the next few weeks. It's slightly unfortunate timing, since it'll be Passover in a month and then summer in a few more weeks (I'll wait, impatiently, until fall to put up a sourdough starter), but that just means I need to make as much bread as possible each weekend.

My first loaf was the pane siciliano, made with semolina flour. The nine-year-old promptly dubbed it "the best bread I've even tasted;" he'll be getting sandwiches made from the batard loaf this week. I'm going to try adding some whole grain flour to the recipe in the future.


I made a triple batch of his pate fermente on Thursday. One pound went into this bread; the other two are frozen for future use. The bread dough is made with the pre-ferment, high-gluten bread flour, semolina flour -- the nubby kind you make pasta out of -- a little honey and olive oil, salt, yeast and water. I kneaded, fermented, and shaped on Friday. It was an extremely flexible dough, stretching out like a baguette with no springing back at all. It went into the fridge overnight to proof. (I was out of sesame seeds, and the nine year old doesn't like them anyhow.)

I baked it this morning in a very steamy oven. (I preheated the oven to 550 degrees, with a cast iron skillet on the floor. I poured in simmering water and closed the door quickly, twice. The oven was incredibly steamy, despite no additional misting of water). When the bread went in, I turned the heat down to 450. After 15 minutes, I separated the breads, because they were touching; ten minutes later, they were done (205+ on the thermometer.)

Unanimous verdict? Yum.

For next time:

  • Try replacing about a third of the flour in the pre-ferment with King Arthur white whole whole wheat.
  • The batard loaf is a little small for sadwiches;maybe make one large batard and one spiral next time? It also should probably be slashed; it split some on the side.
  • After 15 minutes in the oven, take the bread off the pan entirely and put them directly on the rack. The middle load stayed white and soft on the sides because they didn't get enough direct heat.
Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

I have to start off by saying that this was a very rewarding learning experience and I hope to be able to articulate some of what I learned by making this miche.

So I had a weak moment on Amazon a few weeks back and ordered Reinhart's BBA and Whole Grains books as I've been wanting them for two Christmas' and a birthday but my wife and family never seemed to get the blatant hints. I read BBA first as here at The Fresh Loaf it is considered gospel. I found it to be a well put together, well thought out, easy to read book. Peter Reinhart's teaching style comes through very well and he made concepts like bakers percentages make sense to me after I'd read and had time to digest them.

Day 1: I started out three days ago by making a hardball pre-ferment with KA Whole Wheat flour sifted through a fine mesh strainer, sourdough starter, and a little filtered water. The hardball sat covered in a lightly oiled bowl for 4-5 hours at room temperature before I put it in the refrigerator to retard for the night.

Day 2: The next afternoon I mixed up the main dough by warming my hardball, sifting TWO POUNDS of KA Whole Wheat flour, incorporating that with the hardball and some water and salt. I mixed the dough and kneaded this behemoth for 10-15 minutes the stashed it in a large covered bowl to let it rest and rise. The dough was left covered at room temperature for around 5 hours during which it doubled in size nicely. Back to the refrigerator for the dough to retard overnight.

Lesson number one was learned here. I had never tried to hand-knead that much dough. Frankly I'm a slave to my KitchenAid but this was just too much dough for it to handle. I used a technique I learned from this site. Once I found it difficult to knead anymore I let the dough rest covered for five minutes. After it rested it was very pliable and able to be kneaded again.

Day 3: I hurried home from work to warm the dough enough so I could shape and bake it. I shaped the miche (large ball/boule) and let it rise on a bed of corn meal on my counter. Once it rose sufficiently I slashed it then used my SuperPeel to scoop it up off the counter and deposit it in my preheated, 500 degree oven on my baking stone. Two temperature changes, one 180 degree rotation and 70 minutes later I removed my first miche from the oven. Internal temp reached 208 degrees F and it thumped nice and hollow.

Lesson number two was that the SuperPeel did a good job picking up this large ball however it stretched it lengthwise a bit more than I'd have liked it to. It may be that I'm just new to the way it works and once I develop better technique I'll not have the same issue. Not a horrible thing but I think I'll stick to parchment and a regular peel for freeform loaves and leave the SuperPeel for pizzas.

This morning I could hardly wait to slice into it and examine the crumb and taste the bread. I thumped it again and it had resonance like a drum. I cut the loaf in half and inhaled deeply. I'd love to hear from others about this but it had the aroma of unsweetened cocoa powder! Two friends that received 1/4 of the loaf both smelled it too. It didn't taste like cocoa and I guarantee there was none in there. It was very strange indeed. While I'm sure this doesn't rival anything coming out of the Poilâne bakery in France it is my most successful whole wheat loaf to date, not to mention the largest. The crumb was tight but not dense, and creamy in consistency. The crust was thick and crisp and wonderful. I'm not sure I'd make this as a miche again but I can see myself making a 2 or 3 boule run of this bread. It was a lot of work to be sure but it was worth it.

Now, here come the pictures.

Miche on peel

4 lbs 6 ounces

Cut in half

Mmmmm...crust

Crumb

ashariel's picture
ashariel

I'm a novice baker who makes sandwich-style loaves for the household (and occasionally a free-formed loaf for special occasions), but this is my first challah and braided loaf. I used the Challah recipe in the Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Challah, from the BBA recipe

I messed up a bit on the four-strand braiding, but I'm sure it tastes just fine. It's cooling in the kitchen right now.

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