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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.

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Hello everyone,

I have never made the French bread in the BBA, so I thought I'd try it. After trying so many unusual or specialty breads, I wanted to go back to a classic. This version uses pate fermentee (sorry, I'm not conversant enough in HTML or whatever it'd take to include the correct French accent marks), risen a bit at room temperature, then put into the fridge overnight. The dough is made the next day. I did three stretch and fold cycles at 30 minute intervals during a 2-hour fermentation. The proof after shaping was about 50 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This made about 950g of dough, and I got two smallish batards out of it. PR suggests using diastatic malt powder if you are using organic flour, but I forgot to add the malt. The color didn't suffer any, though. It's crusty, and only moderately open in the crumb. The vertical opening in the bottom part of the loaf is where I stabbed it with the thermometer! The crumb is strong and moist, fairly elastic (at least on the first day). Flavor is OK, but not a Wow. But maybe my tastebuds have gotten used to sourdough.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the dough was fermenting and proofing, I frosted a bunch of Christmas cookies I made yesterday. I'm glad I don't make stuff like this often, because I can inhale six of them before the sugar woozies get me.

Of course, I had some help...including Mabel, the cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sue

kjknits's picture
kjknits

I tried another batch of bread with my new white starter. This time, the basic sourdough from BBA. I just replaced the barm in the book's formula with my own starter, since it seems to be about the same consistency. I made the firm starter yesterday and let it rise on the counter for 4 hours, at which point it had doubled. So into the fridge it went. This morning I took it out, cut it into pieces, and let it sit for an hour, then I used the KA mixer to mix the dough. I used KAF Bread flour and gray sea salt. The dough doubled in 4 hours, so then I gently divided it into two pieces and formed baguettes--taking LOTS of care not to degas it. Sat them on semolina-covered parchment strips in a towel-made-couche. They proofed for about an hour and a half, then I slashed 'em and baked 'em with steam.

bbasodo1

The crust is delicious and not too hard, but pleasantly chewy and crusty. The crumb is substantial, yet still soft, and quite moist, without becoming gummy. We ate one whole loaf this afternoon and evening. And I had the audacity to not go walking after dinner, tempting those extra pounds. Well, at least it's fat-free. =)

bbasodo2

Love the little tiny bubbles on the crust.

bbasodo4

Still need to work on the slashing, although this time I just used a single-edge razor blade and it did go better then usual.

kjknits's picture
kjknits

So I have baked a lot of bread this weekend, if you count Friday.  Friday saw the BBA pugliese.

pug1

 

pug2

I liked it, but it didn't turn out the way I expected it to.  It wasn't as soft as it looked like it would be in the book photo.  The book photo bread is all squooshed down on top, as if it has a ciabatta-like, softer crust.  Also, my crumb wasn't near as open.  But, it was still nice, sort of like a generic Italian bread.

Yesterday I started to bake some sandwich bread (just my usual recipe), but then the day got short on me and I ended up putting the shaped loaves in the fridge for overnight.  I baked them this morning before church, and they seem different.  I haven't sliced them yet, but it does seem like the crust might be a little chewier.  There are lots of little blisters all over the crust, too, which they usually don't have.  It will be interesting to see what the crumb texture (and flavor) are like.

I also baked Bill's sourdough pagnotta today with my new starter.  Now this is a bread I can get behind!!!  With a big, wide open mouth! 

pagnotta1

 

pagnotta2

 It's gorgeous, albeit a bit flat.  It's such a wet dough that I just don't think it can do much.  But my starter performed wonderfully, doubling the dough in 4 hours and doubling the shaped boules in 3 hours.  Fantastic.  I did a few things differently than the recipe--I made up a sponge last night, using the starter, water, and just the AP flour.  Let it sit overnight on the counter.  It was super sour and foamy this morning, which worried me, bc I don't like really sour bread.  But I kept going.  I used KAF AP, KAF bread, and then for that last 100 g of flour, I substituted organic whole wheat graham flour from Hodgson Mill.  It made a beautiful dough.  I also used gray sea salt from France.  And, I mixed the dough in my mixer rather than doing all of the folds.  It took about 10 minutes at med-high speed to get a windowpane.

I proofed the shaped boules in improvised bannetons, namely wood salad bowls lined with smooth kitchen towels and dusted with flour.  Baked them at 500 for 20 minutes and did the steam thing (I baked the first loaf without the steam, and it got less oven spring than the other two).

The crust is thin, crisp but chewy, and nice and brown.  The crumb is open, holey, smooth and moist (almost tastes buttery).  And most importantly, it isn't too sour...it's just right.  And so, count me as another "Bill's Sourdough Pagnotta" convert!

 

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Last night we had some mashed potatoes.  I had just read the BBA pugliese formula recently, and thought that I would make it with some of the leftovers.  Well, as it happens, I found the Potato Rosemary bread on my way to the pugliese, and it also contains mashed potatoes!  Then I saw that the general formula for the biga makes enough for both the pugliese and the potato rosemary breads.  And then I discovered that my leftover potatoes weighed EXACTLY as much as the amounts called for in the two recipes.  A sign from the universe, perhaps?  So I made the biga last night and started today with the potato rosemary bread.

potro1

 

potro2

 

potro3

 

This is wonderful bread.  I used fresh rosemary from a plant in my driveway (I have to container garden, bc our lot, although large, is too sloped and shady to grow much of anything in a garden sense).  I used plain, seasoned leftover mashed russet potatoes from dinner.  The only thing I did differently from the formula as written was to omit the garlic, because my husband had an opinion about that.  Also, my mashed potatoes must have been on the moist side, because I had to add a little more flour and knead a little longer to get the "tacky but not sticky" texture as described in the book.  I slashed it with a wet knife, rather than trying the lame again (I am so lame with the lame).  It worked well--the best slash was the one I went over twice.

It's soft yet chewy, light yet meaty.  It would make a fantastic ham or turkey sandwich, an idea I'm going to explore tomorrow at lunch.  The cracked pepper and rosemary give it a little bite, but aren't overpowering. I will definitely bake this bread again.

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