The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rose Levy Beranbaum

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OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

On Friday night I baked the ciabatta from Rose Levy Beranbaums's The Bread Bible (TBB).  On Saturday I decided to try Peter Reinhart's recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) for comparison.  I am glad I did.  My results were success-failures.  I failed to properly shape the loaves from TBB, and as a result I ended up with broad, flat, spreading loaves with little or no loft/spring.  As a consequence of that I nearly over-baked them, although by appearance you would not think so.  I should have pushed the hydration more in the BBA loaves, because they ended up a bit "bready".  Here are my results.


First, Friday night from The Bread Bible:


 



 



As you can see, there was little true "spring" in these loaves, but the crust came out thin and crisp as it should, and the crumb is filled with holes both big and small.  I especially like the gelatinization of the starches that is evident here.  This bread is not perfect, but it is good to both the eye and the palate.  We have been slicing it big, then splitting it crosswise, and making very tasty sandwiches from this.


After these results I decided to try a comparison to broaden my experience, so I let Peter Reinhart challenge me.  Saturday night I baked the ciabatta from the BBA.  I have a couple more pictures from that bake than I do of the TBB bake above.



The shot above attests to how wet this dough was, although after the bake I concluded it needs to be wetter still.  Below are the (very) rustic loaves proofed, loaded on my "Super Peel" and ready for loading into the oven.



I baked these on my unglazed quarry tiles, as exactly according to direction as possible, even spraying the oven repeatedly during the early 90 seconds of the bake.



These loaves were not shaped perfectly, but they live up to "rustic" in character.



The folds are quite evident in my loaves, not that I think that is a bad thing.  It adds to the rustic character, and does not detract from the taste at all in my opinion.  The overabundance of flour, however, is another thing entirely, as the next shot shows.



This dough needed to be wetter, and the crumb attests to this.  The directions specify a variable amount of water from 3 to 6 ounces.  I used most of the 6 ounces.  In a sidebar Mr. Reinhart advocates raising the hydration even more, so long as the dough will sustain the stretch and folds needed to develop the gluten.  My loaves indicate this is not only a good idea, but necessary to achieve truly good results.



This closeup of the crumb shows how truly "bready" the crumb turned out.  It very much needed more water/less flour.  In addition, the small white "scrolls" in the crumb disclose my excess in flouring the dough between stretch and folds, and in shaping.  I was a bit too enthusiastic in "generously" flouring the dough between operations.  Controling this, too, will help me improve next time.


These recipes are for the same bread, but as I turned them out they seem to be from different planets.  Despite the lack of loft in the RL version I think I did the bestjob of that bread.  I got a much more true result, albeit altitude challenged!  The BBA recipe bears repeating as well, because with still higher hydration, and more moderation in that "generosity" between operations it will, no doubt, turn out a beautiful loaf.  I much prefer the bBA approach to shaping, and I like the rustic nature of the loaves once they are baked.


Two pairs of slippers: Two different ciabattas.  Too much fun!
Thanks for stopping by.
OldWoodenSpoon


 


Footnote:  For those not aware:  ciabatta is Italian for "slipper" and the shape of this loaf is supposed to evoke the image of a slipper when done correctly.  Hence the name.

MommaT's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum "Bread Bible"

November 5, 2009 - 6:25am -- MommaT
Forums: 

Hi,


Just picked up "The Bread Bible"  (or should I say the OTHER "Bread Bible") by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


I haven't been through thoroughly, but recently took it out of the library with an eye toward evaluating it for purchase.  It seems to cover an exceedingly broad spectrum of "breads" and the one hearth loaf I made from the book was very satisfying - fairly wet dough and pleasing flavor.  

ejm's picture
ejm

Rose Levy Beranbaum has put together a step-by-step guide to making bread, plus essential equipment and ingredients and 8 classic recipes for Epicurious. The primer looks good. Except for one part. I would revise the list of "essential equipment" for bread baking by including only the following:


Absolutely Essential:



  • Measuring Cups and Spoons

  • Large Wooden Spoon

  • Bench Scraper

  • Large Mixing Bowl with lid (doubles as a Dough-Rising Container)

  • Cooling Rack

  • Cookie Sheet

  • Parchment Paper


essential equipmentcooling racks

Optional but Nice:



  • Scales (Spring and/or Digital)

  • Proofing Boxes (oven with only the light turned on works well)

  • Banneton (any old basket or colander lined with a tea towel works)

  • Baking Stone

  • Loaf Pans (including a Cast-Iron Pan)

  • Long Bladed Serrated Knife

  • Baking Peel

  • Broiling Pan

  • Pump Spray Bottle (for water)

  • Thermometer

  • Timer


Completely Unnecessary:



  • Stand Mixer, Bread Machine, or Food Processor


Hand mixing is very easy to do, especially if you have a nice large wooden spoon or paddle. Hand kneading is equally easy, especially with the help of a bench scraper. And now, of course, there are many "no-knead" bread recipes that completely eliminate the need (no pun intended) for putting dough onto the board at all.


Other gadgets (scales, bread stones, thermometers, etc. etc.) are nice to have but are definitely not necessary. I gather that electric mixers are very nice as well. But I can't really say as I don't have one; nor do I have any desire for one. (No counter space.) All bread bakers, even novices, can produce wonderful bread in their kitchens with just these few items.


One More Absolutely Essential Item:
Oh yes, and one more thing that is absolutely required for baking bread:



  • a heat source....


An oven or barbecue will do the trick. :-)


-Elizabeth


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a partial mirror of a post on my blog that covers all aspects of food. Read the full post here:



And here is the link to Beranbaum's Bread Primer:


ejm's picture
ejm

caraway rye bread

The last time I made caraway rye bread, I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. We really like it. But as I was leafing through The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, I noticed her recipe for rye bread. A recipe that looked too good.


Whenever my father had an excuse to return to the Bronx, he'd never come back without a freshly baked loaf from his favourite bakery. I liked the rye bread, studded with constellations of caraway seeds, best. My grandmother, who lived with us, would serve it to me spread thickly with unsalted btutter, the top paved with rounds of sliced red radishes. - Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, page 324

How could I not try this bread?


As it turns out, this is the best rye bread we've had. Thank you, Rose Levy Beranbaum!!



caraway rye bread

I would love to have tried the bread with butter and sliced radishes. But we didn't have any radishes.... Initially, I had thought we would be making Reuben sandwiches with it. But my husband was so thrilled with how light it was that we decided to serve it with goulash and steamed broccoli. It was brilliant!


-Elizabeth

CountryBoy's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum's bread bible process

June 26, 2007 - 8:08am -- CountryBoy

Is anyone out there familiar with Rose Levy Beranbaum's bread bible process sufficient to make suggested improvements? Specifically, I have four loaves of her Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf(p.244) in the oven as I write.  They have turned out truly wonderfully, but I have a major problem with the process.  According to the recipe, I need to:

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