The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


run4bread's picture

Recommendations for Brooklyn NY?

April 18, 2013 - 10:59am -- run4bread

I am in Brooklyn for a week (Park Slope and the opposite side the P Park). What are the must try places for bread, bagels and pizza? Levain based preferred.

It was great to come downstairs and find miche from Bread Alone on the counter!

Looks like Amy's and Sullivan Street are only in Manhattan.

Second question: My sisters want to go to Zabars, my grandmother's deli. I see rcommendations for Katz's. How are they similar, different?



hearthbakedtunes's picture

This is a bread that I was really excited about, but in the end was a bit disappointed with the finished result. I am going to keep this post brief, so that I can dedicate my energy to the breads that are truly worth writing home about; this is not one of them.

This bread contained two different build which I found to be interesting. One was a rye sourdough build which was prepared with whole rye flour the other was a wheat build. What in German is called a Wheat pre-dough, which in international terms would be considered a biga. It was suggested to rise the dough for up to two days in the cooler, but I went with preparing it overnight, at room temperature, which in my abode mean barely 60 degrees, so not too warm. 
I woke up very early the next morning to get this bread under way. I noticed very little growth in the rye sourdough, so I was glad that a wheat pre-dough was included. I am in the process of making my rye starter much stronger. I am feeding it several times a week, but what it really needs is a warmer environment to grow in, which is hard to come by in the Wolfe Residence. It is coming along, but it is a slow and steady process. The mixing process is actually quite simple for this bread. The two builds are combined with the water, all of the other ingredients are added and the dough is mixed first of speed one for 5 minutes, and then on second speed for two minutes. There are no folds in this dough. The dough ferments for 30-45 minutes, and then it is proofed for 45 minutes. I decided to bake this bread in my brotforms. They came out very nicely, except for the way the bread opened. I did use a scoring pattern that I never use, three parallel lines. Typically, if I use a parallel pattern I use two lines, and it turned out that the extra score did not work out in my favor. It split. Actually both breads split a bit funny, but the finished product is pleasing to the eye. 
One of my major problems with this bread is that it is a bit dry. I may have left it in the oven two long. Another issue is that my home oven vents steam very early. The newer gas ovens tend to do this. I prefer the older style electric ovens for my bread baking. But you got to do, what you got to do!
The finihed product is a dough with a relatively tight crumb, a light rye flavor and a significant crust. I would have preferred a more open bread. Typically the rye breads that I bake have all of their rye flour in the build and none in the final build, I should have known better. Had I placed all of the rye in the starter, with a little extra water, I most likely would have gotten closer to what I was hoping for, but it was German, and thus It's on my last. Keep your eyes peeled for the Completely whole grain volkornbrot with tons of sunflower seeds!! 
-DW, The Bread Barron

hearthbakedtunes's picture

WOW! I am so excited to be blogging again, I have missed it!It seems like it has been forever. Although it looks as though I have not baked for two weeks, that is simply not the case. In fact, I am excited to announce that I have made my very first sale of two very authentic German rye breads. I was lucky enough to produce a rye bread for a local silent auction which brought me my first customer. My first customer ordered one Kummelbrot and one Kürbiskernbrot. I will be posting on Kürbiskernbrot today!

I have been working on revamping my sourdough rye starer, which I have recently named "Liza-May". She is a daring and is doing very well. I figured since I devote more time to bread than any other activity, I might as well personalize the process as much as possible! I am also excited to say that I am coming off a wonderful weekend with a revitalized energy source and bright optimism and it feels good! To add to my exuberance, I will be baking bagels tomorrow!!
Although I have made breads several breads with pumpkin seeds, I have never made a 'pumpkinseed bread'. This is a typical German bread, one that is a favorite of my good friend Alexander. (Who has finally booked his tickets to meet and stay with me for two weeks in JULY!!!!) We will do some baking together, and I am sure that he will have some very thoughtful things to add. Alex is one of the most thoughtful people that I know. Anyways, I did make a few changes to the original formula, which came from the Baeko website once again.

The 100% hydrated rye sourdough starter.
I changed the sourdough rye starter build to amp up the hydration from 80% to 100%. During the past month or so, Liza May has been having trouble growing overnight, so I figured the addition of 20% water would help. I also replaced some of the sesame seeds in this bread with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. As I have previsouly noted, sesame is not one of my favorite bread ingredients. However, I must admit, it is wonderful in this bread! It adds a nuttiness which could not have been achieved by the sunflower and pumpkin seeds alone. The other change that I made was toasting all of the seeds in this bread as well as toasting the rye chops that I used in this bread's soaker. The soaker actually called for rolled rye, which are made by taking rye berries and sending them through a heavy press, similar to the way oats are rolled.  I ended up using rye chops because that is what I had on hand.  I really do love these German ryes that have both a seed soaker and a starter as well. I also decided to toast the rye chops with the other seeds, I think it slightly amplified the rye flavor.
The Triple seed and rye cho soaker, my mom toasted these seeds for me, thanks Mom!
Whenever I bake breads with tons of toasted seeds, large amounts of soaker, and ample percentages of bread flour, I get excited! I feel that you really get the best of three worlds: 
First you get the wonderful taste of toasted seeds, while also softening the seeds which helps to retain gluten strength. Second, you have the wonderful texture of a crisp crust, that is not too thick, but still has a nice light taste. Lastly, you get a wonderful balance of nutrition, texture and flavor. As is my custom, I did not use the medium rye flour or the 1150 roggenmehl that was called for.  Instead, I replaced it with whole rye flour. I love whole rye. It tends to make the loaf a bit heavier, but the flavor that it incorporates, makes for a very unique bread that keeps well and tastes wonderful. I understand the place of bread flour, since wheat contains such a high amount of bran and fiber. Rye on the other hand has much less, and since it also has much less gluten, you can really get away with using more whole rye flour without changing the hydration very much. This formula did call for something called weizen Kraft, which is a trademarked Baeko product.  Personally, I had no idea what it was and could not find out, so I used whole rye in its place! It is an approach that I am becoming quite famous for. When in doubt, add more rye!Due to the high amount of soaker and the amount of seed in this bread, a relatively long mix is implemented. I mixed on first speed for seven minutes and second speed for three minutes. Had this dough contained much less bread flour, I would have used the KitchenAid Paddle attachment. I then gave this bread 45 minutes of bulk fermentation followed by an hour to proof. I used brotforms to give this bread a more symmetrical appearance. I am going to start proofing my heavier ryes, seam side down, so that they will split in the oven. This creates a very rustic and authentic appearance, that I have not been able to replicate any other way.

The next time that I bake this bread, I will toast the sesame seeds separately because they tend to cook at a different rate than the other seeds. In the future, I want to be sure that they get a stronger toast. I will also try to find roasted and salted pumpkin seeds.
This bread is a keeper, and is now one of my new favorites! I think I will add it to my frequent flyers list. Its a great bread and it is wonderful with peanut butter!
Lastly, the crumb!
Bake On-DW
yy's picture

I just returned yesterday from my first visit to Haiti as one of a group of 16 graduate students in public health, forestry and environmental studies, and nursing. Our route took us from Port au Prince, the capitol city devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010, through the Artibonite Valley, the epicenter of the subsequent cholera outbreak, and finally to the city of Hinche in the Central Plateau, the site of a suspected sewage dump that set off an epidemic that has killed thousands.

We spent a week in the town of Deschapelles, located in the Artibonite Valley about 70 miles north of Port au Prince. Our group stayed at an inn run by a member of the founding family of Hopital Albert Schweitzer. At each meal, we received heaping helpings of multiple varieties of starch - rice and beans, fried plantains, fried potatoes, and bread - a common cuisine in many areas located in the tropics.

With a paper-white, dense, dry crumb and a hard, smooth tan exterior, this bread can't disguise its lack of nutritional value. Unless slathered in butter, it has no flavor at all. Even when fresh, it has a stale, crumbly quality. The dough is probably made from a low-protein, low-quality flour, minimally hydrated and leavened as quickly as possible.

A 10-mile hike from Deshapelles, through a set of mountains, and to the next valley brough us to Bastien, a small town known in the local area for small, round, spongy boules of bread. Our guide called it "mountain bread," though I'm not sure what the proper name is. We saw a beehive-shaped clay oven next to one of the homes nearby.

In Bastien, we also met a lady selling fry bread. The flavor resembled that of a salty, unsweetened donut. We asked her how she made her bread, and she mentioned flour, water and salt. It seemed to be chemically leavened. I asked her in my horrible kreyol, "eske mwen kapab pran foto ou?" - May I take a photo of you - and she was happy to oblige, proudly posing for a shot with her product. Having hiked 5 miles of winding, hilly trails under the hot sun, we were quite hungry (in the first-world kind of way), and the sensation of fat and salt on our palates gave us a euphoric rush. I can only imagine what it must be like to eat a hunk of fried dough when you're truly hungry.

Ironically, diabetes and hypertension are on the rise in the Artibonite Valley in the midst of malnutrition. It seems to be an emerging trend in many developing areas - disease of excess right alongside diseases of deprivation. It's difficult to avoid starchy, high-fat, high-sodium foods when they are the most affordable and available. We're familiar with the same patterns here in the United States.

It somehow seems fitting that the bread in a place with such a complicated past and an equally complicated present should be so simple; it's a basic food that allows people to fill their bellies and go on with their lives. Spending time in an impoverished area always reminds me what a privilege it is to be able to choose what I eat, and to turn down the things I don't want to eat. It is also a privilege to have had the education to make knowledgeable dietary decisions, and to never have been forced to decide between going to school or eating dinner. For those of you who were lucky enough to have a spring break, I hope it was enjoyable, and I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

Daan's picture

Bread vs The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking

February 22, 2013 - 10:01am -- Daan

I have both excellent books: Bread (second edition) by Jeffrey Hamelman and The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by the French Culinary Institute.

Oddly enough: the breads I make from Hamelman turn out te be always a big success. Of course, sometimes after the second try but the work, they turn out well.
My breads from FCI never work... I have the impression the doughs are always too wet. Even when the overall formula is almost identical!

I676's picture

Baking Bad

February 18, 2013 - 3:27pm -- I676

TFL should totally work on a pitch for a new TV show to be known as "Baking Bad." Main character to be known as Walter "White." That's a bread video I'd totally watch. (It's all about the next cook bake.)


Subscribe to RSS - bread