The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Yumarama's picture

Yeah, it's been a fair while. Not that I haven't made bread, I have, numerous batches in fact. But they were really mostly "sandwich" bread and all basic yeast things; specifically "Susan's Farmhouse White Sandwhich Bead" but using part whole wheat. Not as tasteless as store bought "Wonder" type stuff (which they were meant to replace) but not terribly exciting, either. On the up side, these numerous plain breads allowed me to play with the oven's temp a bit and I think I have it tweaked to be pretty accurate now so things don't burn too much. So let's get on with today's bake.

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

Vermont Sourdough

"Today" is a bit of a misnomer, of course. I started this batch three days prior after feeding Audrey 2 and Carl out of a two week stint in the fridge. By their third feed they were back to bouncy and fluffy within 8 hours (I was off at work, so I don't really know how quickly they doubled). So this has been a few days process. The pre-build took a while - but thats' expected - then the fermentation period took the better part of a day and the final proof took over 16 hours of fridge time. This recipe is the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough which I got off here.

This time around, the dough was decidedly stiffer than the Norwich Sourdough I'd made which is a take off from this one. Not exceedingly stiff but stiff enough that when I slashed, it didn't all just collapse and make flat brad as the others I have previously made. (This is decidedly my fault for not yet knowing what the dough should be like and adjusting.) 

The crust is also more solid although it looks like it may have been a bit overdone here. The recipe says 460ºF for 40 minutes but I pulled it out at 30 as it was already rather dark. Looking at the bottom, it's a tiny bit burned, though just a small black stripe along the center. So the oven is still not 100% accurate. But the loaves' insides had reached 200ºF therefore it was done enough already.

I picked Audrey 2 as the starter for this one simply because as I was feeding the two starters, she seemed to bulk up the most - maybe 3 times vs Carl's 2.5 times. So both would have worked well. In fact, Carl seems to have a slightly stronger smell and taste. So maybe I'll give that one a try next in this recipe.

And here's the crumb. Nice mid-sized holes, not too fine or too big, the loaf shape is decidedly oval as opposed to pancake so we're good here. The flavour is nice although not terribly sourdough-ish. Perhaps it will develop a little over the next day or so. Although I expect the loaf may not survive long enough to see. The other one needs to go in the freezer as there are already a couple of types of bread on the counter.

All in all, this one is a success. We'll be making Hamelman's Vermont again.

apprentice's picture

Seems appropriate to make my first blog post about pumpernickel. Mentioned in my intro post yesterday that it was Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel in Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread that brought me to The Fresh Loaf. Growing up in multi-cultural Winnipeg, Manitoba, I was exposed to so many wonderful ryes. So while I was at baking school, I made whatever breads (and other things) we were assigned and then worked overtime on the ryes.

To say there's a learning curve with true pumpernickel is an understatment! Made JH's recipe countless times. Thought I'd share pictures of the first decent loaf I produced, along with the grateful and happy email I sent to  my instructor in the wee hours that day before graduation. I might flub picture posting this first try. Bear with me.

The final dough, ready for the pan:






After the long night's bake:








The crumb:






Email to my instructor (excerpt):

"Best graduation present ever! I seem to have cracked the pumpernickel at last. Not completely there yet, as you can see from the concave bit, centre top. But I think I know how to solve that, too. Several insights made the difference... But most importantly, I saw a reference in side note on page 216 that his Pullman pans are 13" long rather than our 16". Meant I was vastly overproofing by trying to get the bread close to the top of the pan. Even overproofed this one because it was supposed to get 50 to 60 minutes and could not believe that it seemed to be ready at 20! I turned the oven on to preheat, and the loaf continued to rise before my very eyes like time-lapse photography. That's what produced the concave bit, I would guess. Could think of no one I'd rather share this joy with! And yes, that is one of the school's Pullman pans. It's right by my front door to bring back today."
ehanner's picture

I was happy with my first attempt at 40% Rye with Caraway, until I saw SteveB's. After looking at his post on his blog I tried his method modifications minus the covered steaming. I like the steam cover I just can't bake 2 loaves this size at the same time.

I also used only 8 grams of caraway and it was ground. I just wanted a hint of spice. The sour came through very nicely. I used my rye starter and let it age for 18 hours for maximum sour flavor.

Thanks Steve, I don't know how this could be any better.






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