The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman

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varda's picture
varda

Inspired by the beautiful pictures of Hamelman Pain au Levain 5% Rye posted by Larry, I decided to make it.   I knew that this would be tough, given my experience level, but I figured I might as well give it a try.   I started yesterday with making the levain.   It calls for old levain, which I didn't have, so I decided to use the sourdough starter that I've been tending for the last few months even though it is made with White Whole Wheat, for the two tablespoons of old levain that the formula calls for.   There must be another way to do it, but since Hamelman didn't say what it was, this was all I could think of.    Today, I realized that this bread requires A LOT of attention.   I postponed a number of activities that I had been planning on, so I could give it the proper attention and not screw up the timing.    When it came to pre-shaping and shaping, I read Hamelman's tutorial several times so I wouldn't forget what I was supposed to do in the heat of the moment and start ad-libbing.   I did the final rise with rolled up towels to hold the shape (someone on this list - Dillbert?  - suggested that for those who are coucheless.)  The final rise was listed as 2-2.5 hours, but the fingertip test passed at around 1.5 hours, so I decided that was decisive.   I scored with an exacto knife (which turned out to be a mistake, since it wasn't sharp enough, and I popped the two loaves in the oven apparently (another mistake) too close together given how much they had left to rise.   So here they are - nothing as beautiful as Larry's but I'm just as pleased as I can be.   And maybe after another dozen tries or so, these will look as good as they taste. 



varda's picture
varda

Sometimes the hardest part of baking bread is being there.   Yesterday I meant to get to making a semolina bread (p. 135 of Hamelman's Bread) but I didn't quite get to it until later in the afternoon.   Then when it was finishing up the first rise, my son wanted me to take him out, so I delayed him until I could get the bread shaped, and then we went out to eat.   By the time we got back (only an hour later) the bread was ready to go into the oven,  but the oven wasn't preheated.   I didn't want to let the bread get overproofed, nor did I want to put it into a cold oven, so I did a little of both.   I preheated the oven for 10 minutes, and in it went.   The result - a little bit of oven spring, and an underdone bottom crust.   What would you have done under the circumstances?  And this is not a rhetorical question.



Yumarama's picture

Mellow Bakers is Officially Launched: April recipes posted

March 30, 2010 - 4:03pm -- Yumarama
Forums: 

As some of you may be aware, Mellow Bakers is a group of people who have taken on the baking of all recipes in the Jeffrey Hamelman book, "Bread".


We've already done a trial run recipe in March with several participants, many of them fellow TFLers, and tackled the Hot Cross Buns. And with this successful rum have now pretty much settled the process we'll be following.


With that, we're now Officially Launching into our first group bake with the following three recipes:


Rustic Bread, Light Rye and Bagels. 

Recluse's picture
Recluse

My first time baking a recipe from Hamelman's Bread. I was a little bit intimidated, especially since I've had mediocre results with the few BBA recipes I've tried, and that's widely regarded as the better intro book for the home baker. I'm fairly certain that my lack of success stemmed, not from a problem in the recipes or instructions, but from mistakes that I made due to being totally distracted by all of the gorgeous photographs. And subbing ingredients. I get in more trouble that way...


In any case, after reading through the first part of Hamelman's book, and poring over the instructions a few times, I did manage to successfully follow the recipe. The only thing I did differently was to swap out cracked wheat for flax seeds, since I didn't feel like running to the store for one measly ingredient.  Flax seeds were on the list of acceptable substitutions, so really, I as good as followed the recipe, right? That's what I'm telling myself.


This was also the inauguration of my kitchen scale as a baking assistant. It has been my faithful weight-loss tool for a number of months. I have no idea why it took me so long to use it for this second purpose, as it was an almost magical experience, not having to add an extra cup of flour, or half cup of water, to get my dough the correct consistency. Everything came together in a dough that was a bit tacky, but still very manageable, and I didn't have to tinker with it at all. I feel like I never want to measure by volume again.


Same dough, three different loaves.


I made two 1.5 lb loaves: One round loaf to practice my slashing (I am getting better, ever so slowly), and one pan loaf, because sandwiches rock my world. The approximately 1 lb of dough left I used to make a smaller loaf, which I took in to work. My coworkers happily devoured it, so I guess it turned out just fine. 


Round loaf


The loaves didn't rise quite as much as I expected. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't develop the gluten enough, didn't proof long enough, or if I just had unrealistic expectations for this kind of loaf. In any case, the texture was not at all off-putting or brick-like, and the flavor was excellent. The last few times I've made non-sourdough bread, I was disappointed by the flat flavors that I got, but there was no such problem with this loaf. I happily ate a slice of it plain, and then made a killer tuna salad sandwich with it. I loved the little pops of texture that the grains contributed, and the crackly, toasty crust.


Crumb shot


(Please pardon my taken-with-a-cellphone photographs.)


I still have a lot to learn, but for now I'm content, because this is some of the best bread that I've made to date. Although if anyone has suggestions that might help make my next batch even better, I'm all ears!

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

When my sister-in-law invited me up to NY for Thanksgiving diner for family and friends...I thought to myself...oh S--- I am going to get stuck in traffic for hours...and then she said and bring one of your breads. OK....my first thought was to make the very festive two tier Celebration Loaf with nuts and cranberries. It would make a nice centerpiece for the table and be very festive. When I thought it out....I needed a bread I could retard overnight and throw in the oven first thing in the morning so I could leave before noon on Wednesday to run the gauntlet to the city. Since I had only one chance to get it right... the bread had to be reliable, stay fresh for a few days and make a good a sandwich. The choice was a real no brainer..... Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread....the tastiest, most reliable bread you ever want to make. If you have never made this bread before...you must try it...it will become your favorite too...




This is being sent to Susan at  Wild Yeast for  Yeastspotting

Nathan's picture
Nathan

Greetings,


Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Although I haven't been active on the Fresh Loaf, I have spent a lot of time reading, learning from and enjoying the content posted by fellow bread enthusiasts. Now, I hope to become a more active member of this site, hence this blog entry which serves as a brief introduction of myself as well as some pictures of one of my recent bakes.


I've been baking on a regular basis for about three years now. I enjoy baking all sorts of bread, though I have to say I'm a sourdough junkie at heart. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I've been living in Madrid, Spain for the past ten years.


The following photos are of a recent bake of the sourdough seed bread found in Hamelman's Bread (p. 176). This is a lovely bread and I find myself baking it time and time again.


Lastly, I'd like to thank all members of the Fresh Loaf for their time and dedication. Your knowledge and help have made me a better baker.


Nathan


Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread



Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread - Crumb



SallyBR's picture

Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

July 27, 2009 - 5:15am -- SallyBR

It's been quite some time since I posted, but I wanted to share with you my new blog (about 6 weeks old only!) - I hope it is ok to post a link to it? If it is not, please let me know and I will remove this thread.


 


I started blogging because of he Bread Baker's Challenge that I joined in a moment of lunacy  :-)

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