The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

jeffrey hamelman's challenge

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jennyloh's picture

My attempt of the Vermont Sourdough.  2 loaves,  proofed at the same time,  but one was overproofed,  the other not.  Why?  The details are in my blog.



The one on the bottom left is probably over proofed.  Difficult to score,  and it just didn't look good after baking.


I'm still wondering why the difference?  One is on wicker basket,  the other in plastic basket.  Could that be the cause?


jennyloh's picture

Liquid Levain - How do I know its ready?

June 14, 2010 - 3:44am -- jennyloh

I'm wondering if anyone can proivde me insight as to how do I know if my levain is ready?  I'm trying to make Vermont Soudough by Jeffrey Hamelman.  My kitchen is measuring 28 degree celsius.  Much higher than the recommended temperature.  The levain looks healthy and bubbly. It's been in my closed cool oven (not on) for the past 6 hours.

jennyloh's picture

Somehow,  my miche was NOT quite a miche,  as it had a darker brown.  I wonder if my flour has a mixed of rye,  it turns my bread dark brown.  I went into the website - Aurora - Weizen Vollkornmehl.  But there was no indication of rye mix,  it just indicated whole grain whole wheat.  I guess it has more bran than other whole wheat flour?

My bread cracked up as well,  I guess because I baked it cold,  and its suppose to flat out,  but I put it into a claypot?

Perhaps someone can enlighten me?


The crumbs were denser than I like.  Somehow, most of my whole wheat breads turn out like that,  I've changed my technique to stretch and fold,  the white breads turn out very very well,  but not whole wheat.  Why?  Do I have to do more stretch and fold?  



Last question:  We seldom eat wholemeal bread.  What does wholemeal bread goes well with besides cheese?


More details - click here.



jennyloh's picture

Baked 2 different breads, taking up the Hamelman's challenge, one quite successful and the other,  just had too many mistakes.  You will understand what I mean when you look at the pictures.


Cheese Bread with quite a bit of modification to the recipe.  Great oven spring, still learning to score to get the ears.  Not enough cheese,  quite an open crumb,  thin crust,  and 100% sourdough only.   check out the details here.



Flaxseed Bread - too many mistakes here,  and this didn't turn out well at all.  Taste was ok, but it was dense and it didn't have much oven spring.  


1.    This was my 3rd loaf (not counting my other bakes like muffins and flatbread) on a weekend,  and its one of the more difficult ones.  
2.    Warm water for the flaxseed.  My water was still warm when I added into the flax seed.  I think that creates the gluey form more.
3.    Use of olive oil to handle the dough, the smell and taste doesn't seem to go together
4.    Brushing with butter - it made the rolls soft,  and not at all what I was hoping for.
5.    Shaping my rolls created a hole in the roll,  should have done better than that.
6.    Not allowing time for the dough to rise properly.
7.    I don't think I baked long enough or I didn't let it cool properly before I kept it,  as it turned moldy after 5 days.  

Well,  I still have  a lot to learn. 


jennyloh's picture


I'd say this looks more like bagels.  The previous ones were a little too small.  4 oz are the right size.  I also used a homemade malt powder,  tried to sprout my own with wheat berries.  Soaked for 3-4 days.  There was a little white sprout, but somehow didn't like the ones in Dan Lepard's book on The Homemade Loaf.  But I went ahead to dry and grind it then.  I added in this ingredient, but still without malt syrup,  I substituted with brown sugar.  The colouring looks fine I guess.

The puff was much better, the taste was chewy and there's a tinge of sweetness - could it be the malt powder?  I wonder. Perhaps.  

But my 2nd batch that went in didn't puff as much,  see bottom left picture,  the comparison,  the one on the right is the 2nd batch,  I suspect its the ice cold water,  most melted after the 1st batch.

More details here: click here.  

jennyloh's picture

Inspired by Lindy,  here's my try on the bagels.  But obviously mine didn't turn out as nice as hers.

As I can't find high gluten flour - I used Japanese stong bread flour - 12% protein level.  Without diastatic malt powder,  i left that out.  Without malt syrup,  I used honey and brown sugar instead. Here's a description of how I did it.  see post here

Without these key ingredients,  I guess I can't say I've made Jeffrey Hamelman's bagels.  The bagels did turn out very chewy and my son gave me a verdict of 6/10.  

I'm still trying to sprout my wheat get malt powder. The next time I'm in US,  I'll make sure I get some....

jennyloh's picture

Help with Jeffrey Hamelman's Poolish Baguette

May 1, 2010 - 9:50pm -- jennyloh

I've been trying this for the last 2 days.  The only thing I can do with this,  is to make it into at best a ciabatta type - too soft, and difficult to hold together dough. 

1st try - using the home formula, I divide by 3 to get the measurement,  as i didn't want to make too much.  Well,  after the 1st rise,  the dough was sticky and there was no way I could hold it together.  It just slumps down every time I try pulling it together.  So,  I thought perhaps I got my water and bread mixture all wrong.

jennyloh's picture

Need Help - Diastatic Malt Powder - Replacement?

April 27, 2010 - 6:10am -- jennyloh

I'd like to attempt the Jeffrey Hamelman's bagels which Lindy did a great job a few weeks ago.  However, I can't seem to find diastatic malt powder in the supermarket here (in China) :(.

I'd really love to do the bagels,  can anyone suggest an alternative that I can use? or if I exclude it,  will it make a difference?


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