The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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browndog's picture
browndog

Dan Lepard's Walnut Bread

 

My favorite bread changes as often as a teenager changes boyfriends. Here's this week's:

Dan Lepard's Walnut bread. It has yeast and leaven both; what makes it wonderful is the paste of

ground walnuts, honey and butter that infuses the dough with walnut flavor and a hint of purple.

 

 

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

My Favorite Basic Sourdough Loaf

I bake a lot of sourdough bread. Over the past several months I have been trying a lot of new techniques and trying to perfect the quality of my loaves. The recipe below is how I am currently making my white bread. Next year I may have a whole different approach, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.

Deluxe Sourdough Bread

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Steel-cut Oat Bread

Steel-cut Oat Bread

 

Makes two large loaves. 

 

Steps1  evening before bake day

 

1. Refresh 100% starter to yield +200 grams for the next morning.  Overnight room temps can be 60F.  Use 50 gm whole wheat, 50 gm AP, 100 gm H2O and 30 gm natural leaven at 100% hydration.

Steps 2 - 12 , bake day AM.  Work at 70F

2. Pour 600 gm boiling H2O over 300 gm steel cut oats in a pot or bowl with a lid or cover.  Stir the oats once and  cover. Let steep 45 minutes.

3.  (45 minutes later) Pour the steel cut oats and associated water into a large sieve  set over a bowl. Let drain about 30 minutes but capture and reserve the water. After 10 minutes use the accumulated water.

4. Into your bulk dough bowl, add the oat water and enough other water to yield 650 gm. 

5. Add to the bulk dough water, 200 gm starter and whisk to incorporate.

6. In a small bowl add 50 gm of remaining oat drainage water (add more water if necessary) to 25 gm kosher salt.  Set aside.

7. Add 1 kg AP flour to water and starter in bulk dough bowl. Mix by hand or on a work surface until all flour is moistened. Dough may be rather stiff.

8. Let dough autolyse for 30 minutes. 

9. Add salt and associated water to dough by hand. When the salt-water is incorporated, do a set of stretch and folds. Return to bowl and let rest 30 minutes. Do another set of stretch and folds. Let rest 30 minutes. 

10.  Add the oats.  Turn the dough out on to a wet work surface. Stretch the dough into a large rectangle. Incorporate the oats using letter folds. [Sprinkle 1/3 of the  steel cut oats on to the middle 1/3 of the dough. Fold an end 1/3 of the dough over the oats. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the oats over the middle and fold the final 1/3 of the dough over the middle. turn the dough and sprinkle 1/2 of the remaining oats over the middle. Fold the end over the middle, sprinkle the remaining oats over the middle and fold again.]  Give the dough a few kneads to ensure good distribution of the oats. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover and rest at 70F until doubled ( maybe 3-4 hrs.)

11. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Form into balls and let rest 15 minutes.  Shape into logs (for oval loaves) or rounds (for boules) depending on whether you are baking in round or oval dutch ovens (or oval Romertopfs , as I do).  Roll smooth (non-seam)  surface of shaped doughs into rolled oats to cover the surface and place seam side up into appropriately shaped forms. Let proof about 1hr 30 minutes at 70F. 

12. At the 1 hr, 30 minute mark, place dutch ovens into oven and preheat to 500F for about 30 minutes.  Remove dutch ovens, turn loaves out onto dusted work surface, score, place into dutch ovens, cover and place in the oven.  Lower oven temp to 475F and bake 30 minutes. Remove dutch oven covers and bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered at 450F. Let cool completely.  While they can be eaten as soon as completely cooled, the loaves will hold perfectly, uncut,  1-2 days as the moisture from the steel-cut oats permeates the crumb.

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Aroma Bread - A Love Story

 

One of my most favorite cookbooks is "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals".

Award winning Author Maria Speck combines her German father's love for hearty grains, and her Greek mother's culinary talents in dishes that make you grab your shopping bag, hop on the bike or in the car, and drive to the next natural food store to buy those ancient grains, veggies and fruits for Maria's mouthwatering meals.

Normally I consider a cookbook worth its money, if it contains at least one recipe I really like to cook. "Ancient Grains" has so many, that I still haven't prepared all the ones I want to try. (No, I DON'T get a commission!)

 A few of the dishes are breads, among them the Aroma Bread. A no-knead bread by trade, its evocative name spiked my interest, and my love affair with the spicy loaf began.

"Ancient Grains" is very user friendly, with detailed, easy to follow instructions, no sophisticated culinary equipment needed. No-knead breads meet these expectations, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a clean kitchen towel, a Dutch oven, and you are all set.

These low maintenance breads don't want you to slave over them, they are free spirits, and perfectly willing to go and develop themselves, if you give them enough time (and a little bit of yeast.) They show their gratitude by rising eagerly, and tasting better than many other loaves that had been kneaded, slapped and punched into submission.

You have the choice between a crunchy, and an XX-crunchy Aroma Bread. If you opt for the super chewy, you need to soak whole grain berries for several hours, before mixing them into the dough. This is definitely no impulse bread, so plan to bake it 24 hours ahead.

Maria called her loaf "Aroma Bread" for a good reason. This truly aromatic loaf is not for the faint hearted! But in our old home country Germany breads are often flavored with coriander, fennel and caraway, these herbs are even commonly referred to as "Brotgewürz" (bread spices.) You can use them whole, or coarsely ground.

Bread spices fennel, caraway and coriander

As easy as no-knead breads are to mix, handling wet dough always remains a bit of a challenge. And here comes the sticky wicket: the dough has to be shaped into a loaf, and transferred from the mixing bowl to a place where it can rise. And, after that, it has to be turned out into a piping hot Dutch oven.

That leaves you with two choices: either to lower the bread gently into the pot, risking nasty burns (aka Baker's Badge of Honor). Or you let it drop from a secure height - and have your bread sigh and deflate!

Maria solves the problem by having you scrape the bubbly fermented mass onto a well floured countertop (flour is your friend, creating a barrier between the sticky dough and its surroundings), so that you can fold it into a round.

Then you place the loaf on a floured kitchen towel, fold the corners over it, and, voilà, you have a cozy proofing place. Of course, it takes a rather amorphous shape from being bundled in a kitchen towel. 

My first bread went into a large, oval Dutch oven (I didn't have a smaller one), and eagerly spread to fill the void.

My first Aroma Bread - shaped like a roly poly!

Baked into a rather flat loaf, it reminded me of those little things that scurry away when you lift a stone. But when I took the first bite, my eyes glazed over. My flat roly poly bread tasted awesome!

The next time I decided to set the bread more boundaries, changing its Armadillidiida appearance. Instead of proofing it simply in a towel, I used my pretty brotform to contain it.

Proofed in a rising basket, the bread is round but still...

 

 

It came out of the oven nice and round, but still... way too much room to spread during the baking.

Alas! My main source for discounted kitchen gadgets, Home Goods, was letting me down when I needed it most. Still without the right sized pot, I decided to experiment with a free-standing, self- contained sourdough version, made with pre-doughs à la Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads".

Aroma Bread made as free-standing loaf (with sourdough)

My hearth baked sourdough loaf turned out beautiful. Though I couldn't find much difference in taste, this method is a good alternative for people who either have no Dutch oven, love wild yeasts, hate wet doughs, or prefer to bake their bread as free-standing loaf.

The next time I visited Marshall's (another treasure trove for kitchen stuff) I found a snazzy turquoise cast iron pot in just the right size - for half the price! And soon was mixing the ingredients for my fourth Aroma Bread - again the no-knead version.

And out of the oven came (TATAAA!): the perfect Aroma Bread - looking just as good as it tasted!

The last task left to do for inquiring minds, was to try the sandwich version of Aroma Bread, baked in a loaf pan. A cold cut-friendly shape, and the easiest way to make this wonderful bread. And it has an additional benefit: you can bake more than just one loaf at a time. (My customers will be happy!)

Aroma Sandwich Bread - the easiest version

 

COMMENTS:

  • If you use the optional whole grain berries (I made the bread with and without, both versions are great) add more salt: 9 g/0.3 oz instead of 7 g/0.25 oz. 
  • Instead of sunflower seeds you can also take pumpkin seeds (or a mixture of both.)
  • Toast the seeds, before adding them to the dough.
  • For an easier, risk free transport of the proofed bread into the hot pot, use a large piece of parchment paper as a sling to lower the bread gently into the pot. You don't have to remove it.

 

AROMA BREAD    1 (2-pound) loaf

 

Grain Berries (optional):

1/2 cup whole wheat, rye, kamut, or spelt berries

cold water, for soaking

 

Dough:

340 g/12 oz whole spelt flour (3 cups)

107 g/ 3.75 oz whole rye flour (1 cup)

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium stone ground cornmeal (1/2 cup)

  67 g/ 2.35 oz sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted (1/2 cup)

  35 g/ 1.25 oz flax or sesame seeds, toasted (1/4 cup)

   2 tbsp. aroma spice blend*)

    7 g/ 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 9 g/0.3 oz if using whole grain berries)

    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

     all soaked whole grain berries (if using)

475 g/2 cups cold water

cornmeal, for sprinkling

 *) Aroma spice blend: mix 6 tablespoons whole coriander seeds with 3 tablespoons each fennel and caraway seeds (enough for 6 loaves).

 

 DAY 1

In the morning, place whole grain berries in a bowl and cover with at least 1-inch cold water. Cover, and leave at room temperature to soak. Before using, drain them through a strainer (by the way, the soaking water is an excellent fertilizer for your plants.)

Mixed dough - I used black sesame seeds for a nice contrast

In the evening, whisk together all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl, except for soaked grain berries and water. Scatter grain berries on top, and add almost all the water. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until all flour is hydrated. (Dough will be wet and sticky, if not, add a bit more water.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature to ferment for 12 - 18 hours.

Overnight the dough grows to a puffy, swollen mass

 DAY 2

Use a rising basket, (or improvise by placing a clean kitchen towel over a basket or bowl.) Sprinkle with fine cornmeal (other flours work, too). Generously flour your work surface. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape the stringy, bubbly dough onto the work surface.

Scraping out the fermented dough you will see its spongy structure

 With floured hands (or two oiled bench knifes or bowl scrapers), fold dough exactly 4 times, always towards the center, from the top, the bottom, the right and the left side. Turn the dough package around and place it, seam side down, into the towel lined rising basket. Sprinkle with cornmeal or flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour.

After 30 minutes, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat oven to 475ºF. Place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart cast iron pot or Dutch oven (with lid) on the rack to heat up.

When the dough has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size, poke it gently with your finger. The dimple should not fill up again (it can come back a little bit, but should remain visible). If not, wait another 15 minutes.

Fitting snugly in the Dutch oven, the bread will rise more than spread

Remove hot pot from the oven and open the lid. Gently turn out the proofed bread from the rising basket into the Dutch oven, seam side up, guiding it with your hand, (or turn it out onto a parchment paper and, holding the paper on both sides, gently lower the bread into the pot (with paper).

Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 20 - 25 minutes, until the loaf is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and an instant thermometer, inserted in the middle, registers 200ºF.

Remove bread from cast-iron pot and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

 

AROMA SANDWICH LOAF

Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with oil, and sprinkle it with 1-2 tablespoons of flax- or sesame seeds. After folding the risen dough, place it, seam side up, right in the prepared loaf pan. (My suggestion: brush top with water, and sprinkle it with more flax- or sesame seeds.) Let it proof as described.

Preheat oven only to 425ºF, placing an oven proof pan or broiler tray for steaming on a the lowest level to heat up.

When loaf is proofed, place in the middle of the oven, pour 1 cup boiling water in the hot steam pan , and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees for even browning, and  bake it for about 30 minutes more, or until it registers 200ºF.

Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, than turn it out onto a wire rack (if it sticks to the pan, loosen it with a butter knife or spatula.)

 

AROMA SOURDOUGH BREAD 

Starter:

64 g/2.25 oz rye mother starter (100%hydration)

205 g/7.25 oz whole spelt flour

124 g/4.4 oz lukewarm water

 

Soaker:

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium ground cornmeal

  75 g/2.65 oz whole rye flour

  92 g/3.25 oz whole spelt flour

168 g/6 oz water

    4 g/0.15 salt

 

Final Dough:

   all soaker and starter

  43 g/1.5 ozwhole spelt flour

    5 g/0.2 oz salt

    5 g/0.2 oz instant yeast

  67 g/2.35 oz sunflower- or pumpkin seeds, toasted

  35 g/1.25 oz sesame seeds, toasted

    2 tbsp. aroma spice blend (see original recipe)

182 g/6.4 oz water, add more as needed

 

DAY 1

In the morning, stir together all ingredients for soaker. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

Mix all starter ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 minute, until all flour is hydrated. Knead for 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand.) Let rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

In the evening, mix all ingredients for final dough for 1- 2 minutes at low speed (or by hand) until all flour is hydrated. Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 4 minutes, adding more water as needed. Dough should be very tacky and not dry to the touch. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 more minute. (Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.)

Gather dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it around to coat it with oil. Cover well, and place it in refrigerator overnight.

 

DAY 2

Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using, to warm up. (It should have risen nicely overnight.)

Preheat oven to 500ºF, with bread stone and steam pan.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and shape into a round. Place boule, seam side down, in a floured rising basket. Sprinkle with more flour. Cover, and let it rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size, and a dimple stays visible when you gently poke it with a finger.

Turn bread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or use a peel) and place it in the oven, pour a cup of boiling water in the steam pan and reduce heat to 475ºF. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 425ºF. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, rotate bread 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and bake for about 30 minutes more, or until it is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers 200ºF.

Cool on wire rack.

This Aroma Bread was made with whole kamut berries

 You can also follow Maria Speck on facebook or on twitter (I do!)

 (Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)

 Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough

Some time ago, Pat (proth5) posted her formula for baguettes. This was in the context of our "great baguette quest" of some months back. We were playing with higher hydration doughs and cold fermentation à la Gosselin and Bouabsa.


Pat's formula is levain-based and employs a 65% hydration dough. She has insisted repeatedly that, while higher hydration is one route to a more open, holey crumb, fermentation and technique in shaping the baguettes are at least as important and that good technique can achieve the desired open crumb even with a dryer dough.


Okay. It was past time I tested my own technique against Pat's claim.


Pat's formula is as follows:




This is for two loaves at a finished weight of 10.5 oz each


.75 oz starter


1.12 oz flour


1.12 oz water 


Mix and let ripen (8-10 hours) 


Bread


All of the levain build


10.95 oz all purpose flour


.25 oz salt


6.6 oz water 


Dough temperature 76F 


Mix to shaggy mass (Yes! Put the preferment in the autolyse!) – let rest 30 mins


Fold with plastic scraper  (30 strokes) – repeat 3 more times at 30 min intervals 


Bulk ferment at 76F for 1.5 hours – fold


Bulk ferment at 76F 2 hours


Preshape lightly but firmly, rest 15 mins


Shape.  Proof 1 hour or so


Slash


Bake with steam at 500F for about 20 mins


 



I followed this except I baked at 480F. I used Whole Foods 365 Organic AP flour. The result was an excellent, classic baguette with a crunchy crust and cool, creamy crumb. It was slightly sweet with imperceptible sourness when eaten just ... well, almost ... cooled.


Here's  the crumb:



I'll let you draw your own conclusions.


Thanks, Pat!


David

Mixing and Dough Development

This is the part of baking that is intimidating to many new bakers, and it doesn't need to be. Please take a few minutes to read this section and begin to learn what the dough should feel like and how to get it feeling like it is well developed. Many of us started baking by using a bread machine or a Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. While this works reasonably well, and other methods are described below, you will learn more quickly how the dough should feel in the different stages of development if you use the tools god gives us, our hands. For thousands of years humans have made good bread using only a crude bowl and their hands as tools. While commercial bakeries don't have the time to hand mix and shape thousands of loaves daily, much of what is wrong with commercial bread starts here in the first phase of bread making.


Mixing: Start by gathering all of the needed ingredients for the recipe. If you are making a basic French style bread that uses just the basic four ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast), measure or better, weigh each item carefully ahead of time and have it in front of you ready to use. This might seem like over simplifying this procedure but I can tell you from experience you will forget the salt or pour all the water in without having measured it or can't remember some additional ingredient, if you don't get organized, first.


In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients first and stir or mix them together well. This means that Instant Dry Yeast and salt are added to the flour and any other dry ingredients you may be using with your recipe. NOTE: If you are using Active Dry Yeast, the directions for re activating this type of yeast call for adding the yeast to a cup or so of the water (warmed) needed for the recipe  5 or 10 minutes ahead of mixing the dough. If you are using Cake Yeast, crumble it with and into the flour using your fingers.
Continuing; Next, add all of the water and begin combining the flour into the water. You can use your fingers, (yes it will be a mess but it is supposed to be) or a spoon to accomplish this first mixing. Wood, Stainless Steel, Plastic, any kind of spoon or bowl will do fine. When the mixture is mostly a shaggy mass and looks like most of the dry flour is combined into the mass, you can stop, clean your hands over the bowl and cover the bowl with a plastic bag or a damp towel or plastic wrap. Plastic grocery bags are my favorite. Wait at least 15 minutes and as long as an hour for the flour to absorb the water. When you come back to the mix, it won't feel anything like it did after first mixing. Scrape everything you can onto a clean counter and quickly clean and dry the mixing bowl.


 


Kneading or Developing: This is the fun part of bread making. You are starting with a mixture of flour, water, salt and yeast. At the moment it is just those things put together in a bowl. We need to develop these things into something more, a smooth dough. The best way to show you or tell you how to accomplish this is with a video. There are many video clips that show similar techniques but this one I like the best. Richard Bertinet has produced an excellent video with Gourmet Magazine that shows the mixing technique above, and the slap and fold kneading technique that many of us now use in some form or another. I urge you to watch this video and learn to do this maneuver with the dough. As you will see in the video, the dough gradually comes together and becomes smooth and flexible. Bertinet is making a sweet dough with eggs and sugar but the method works on any kind of dough or bread type. Finish by rounding and putting tension on the outer skin of the dough and forming a ball.


Once the dough is well developed, smooth and rounded, lightly oil the now clean mixing bowl with a few drops of oil on your fingers (or lightly spray regular cooking oil into the bowl) and place the dough into the bowl, seams down and roll the ball around to coat all the surfaces. Cover the bowl as before during what is called the Primary Ferment. During the primary ferment, the dough will expand in volume as the yeast begins to eat the sugars in the flour and create Carbon Dioxide. Your well developed dough will trap those CO2 bubbles and form pockets that will become the air pockets in the bread, making it lighter.


NOTE: For Whole Grain and Multi-Grain breads, It is advisable to not try and develop the dough entirely by kneading. The sharper grains will cut the gluten strands and allow the CO2 gas to escape. A Stretch and Fold will often work as well, done during the primary ferment. A link to this procedure is provided below.


You can always come back to using some appliance to mix and knead your dough. In fact some doughs are somewhat better suited to machine mixing, but not many. You can easily produce wonderful bread in the manner of our ancestors.


Once the dough has doubled in volume you are ready for the next step, Shaping


There are a number of ways to develop dough. The easiest is probably to put it in a KitchenAid-type mixer. About 8 to 10 minutes of mixing the ingredients in a KitchenAid on low speed will generally do the trick.

There’s no need to buy a KitchenAid, though, to make good bread. Here are three ways of developing dough by hand.

Traditional Kneading:
Use this method when the dough will rise fairly quickly (1-2 hours for the first rise) or if I’m in a hurry to get it developed.

First, mix the ingredients with a spoon until everything is hydrated. Cover and wait about 15 to 20 minutes – this way, you’ll let the water do most of your work for you (if you don’t have time for this step, feel free to skip it – you may have knead just a little more, though). After this waiting period is done, scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a smooth surface, and push on the down and forward with the heels of your hands. Fold it up back on itself, give the dough a quarter turn, and repeat.

Knead for about 4-5 minutes, and then cover it. Let it rest about 5 minutes, and then knead once again for 1-2 minutes. It should be well developed at this point.

One way to test dough development is to tear off a small chunk and then gently stretch it. If the dough is ready, you should be able to stretch it thin enough so that it becomes translucent. This is called the “windowpane” test.

Stretch and Fold: This method adds about an hour to the rise of an ordinary yeasted loaf, but when you’re working with sourdoughs or yeasted breads that have a long rise anyway, it doesn’t make that much difference. And it takes hardly active time at all – just a few minutes total. Really!

Mix the ingredients with a spoon until hydrated. Cover and wait 30 minutes to 1 hour. After this rest, scrape the dough out of the bowl and stretch it to about twice its length, if possible. For the first fold, the dough will still be pretty shaggy, so only go as far as you can without ripping. Fold the dough like a letter, give it a quarter turn, and then stretch and fold once again. Place it back in the bowl and cover.

Repeat this folding process twice more with 20-30 minutes in between each one.


More information and a video may be found here: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html




Stretching and Folding Illustrated: Here is the Stretch and Fold method illustrated by Mebake (Khalid). He has artfully depicted the process of keeping the dough in the bowl while developing the gluten and incorporating air into the dough. This easy to do technique is employed by many members here and allows the baker the opportunity to develop the gluten in a bowl during fermentation with little effort and no mess. Once you understand how this works, I'm sure you will use it every time.


 


French fold: This is a great, quick method for developing dough, but it requires a relatively long rest after everything is hydrated, so it’s most appropriate for doughs with a long bulk rise.

Once everything is hydrated, cover and let the dough rest for a least an hour. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a smooth surface. With one hand on either side of the dough and your thumbs underneath, stretch the dough parallel to your body while simultaneously folding it in half along its length with your thumbs.

Give the dough a quarter turn, pick it up, and then throw it down onto the surface, smooth side down. Really, smack it down. Stretch it again while simultaneously folding it over with your thumbs, make another quarter turn, and give it yet another smack with the smooth side down.

Do this about 10 times, and you’ll have a well developed dough. If it doesn't seem as developed as you'd like or if it starts to tear, let it rest for 5 minutes, and repeat.


A good video of this technique may be found here: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough


An alternative method: that  keeps the dough in the bowl and all of the kneading is done there.


I use my fingers and scrape the dough into a single lump and flatten it and then fold it in half, turn it a quarter turn and fold again and flatten it. I continue this for about twenty folds. Often it gets very stiff and needs to rest for a few minutes to relax. As noted the dough will let you know when you have done enough.  This stretches the original surface a million times the size it was at the start and assures a complete blending of the ingredients. I use this method because it confines the mess and permits making bread in less than ideal places. See the illustration mentioned above for a pictorial that describes this process.


There is no wrong way to knead bread but some ways are much better than others. Some breads benefit from special kneading and handling and some are very hard to get wrong. Before kitchens and mechanical mixers and tables there were dough troughs and all of the mixing and kneading was done there. You could make bread in a dough trough and bake it on a hot flat stone on an open fire.


No knead bread: For bread mixes that use very little leavening and are fairly wet, time provides the development.
Simply mix everything up until hydrated, cover and go to sleep. Anywhere from 12 to 18 hours later, give the dough one stretch and fold, shape as necessary, and then let it rise a couple of hours until it’s ready to bake. Learning to use a plastic scraper to handle dough in the mixing bowl, as described below, is a big help.


Alternative video: If you are just a little adventurous, Check out this excellent video, provided by Mark Sinclair of The Back Home Bakery. Mark demonstrates folding in the bowl using a plastic scraper over a period of time to develop strength in the dough. This and all of Marks videos are excellent training aids.

Section II: Bread Basics

You can jump right in and start baking without knowing much about the ingredients or how the process works, but if you'll take the time to learn a little bit about the baking process you'll find baking to be much more rewarding.  You'll also be equipped to modify recipes to fit your taste if you first understand how those modifications will change the results.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

A Hamburger Bun

A Hamburger BunA Hamburger Bun

I just got a new barbecue grill, so hamburgers were in order. As a home bread baker, I've occasionally made homemade hamburger buns, and there is no question that a hamburger is just better with freshly baked buns.

If you've had the same thought, well here's a recipe for a hamburger bun. The recipe uses direct method instant yeast, so it only takes 3-4 hours. The hydration is a little higher than french bread, but still very easy to handle.

A Hamburger Bun

The Dough:

  • AP flour (I used KA AP) 650 grams
  • Water 290 grams
  • milk 200 grams
  • olive oil 30 grams
  • salt 13 grams
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Mix flour, water, milk together using frisage and a few folds, and let sit for 20 minutes.

Mix/Knead

Work yeast into the dough, then work salt into the dough, then work olive oil into the dough. This can be done with a mixer or by hand using frisage and a few folds. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes workable, stretchy, and seems like it bounces back when you punch it, or whatever magic you use to tell if the dough is right. Add flour or water if necessary to make the dough elastic and not too stiff, but it shouldn't spread out when placed on a table. Place the dough in a container to rise.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding (about 2.5 hours)

When the dough has risen by about half, which should happen in roughly an hour, turn it out on the counter, spread it out a little, pressing on it gently. Then, pull a side of the dough and gently stretch and then fold it into the center of the dough. Do this for four sides. You will now have approximately a ball of dough again. Turn it over and push the seams created by the folding under it. Place it seams down back in the container. Repeat this again in about another hour when it should be about double the volume of the original dough when you first mixed it. Then, let it rise for another 0.5 hours or so.

Shaping

Split the dough into ten pieces. I use a scale and break pieces of dough off if necessary. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes. Take each piece and do the same type of fold as above in the bulk fermentation. You press it down and spread it out gently, and then fold the four sides toward the middle. After folding, turn it over, and make it into a small boule by pushing the sides under and creating some tension on the top surface. Press down on it with your palm again, to seal the seams underneath. Shape all ten buns and place them on a peel or sheet, leaving some room. I had to bake these in two batches in order to have enough room in my oven. Spray them very lightly with oil. Cover them with a towel.

Final Proof

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 450F.

Prepare to Bake

Paint the buns with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Press them down gently with your palm to spread them out a little.

Bake

Bake for about 15 minutes at 450F. The internal temperature should be around 207F

Cool

Let them cool for a few minutes at least.

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buddye

Sourdough Banana Bread

This is an outstanding sourdough banana bread that I would like to pass on. This came from Don and Myrtle Holm's Sourdough Cookbook in 1972. I have used it many times with excellent results.

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp grated orange rind

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add egg, and mix until blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough starter. Add orange rind or vanilla. Sift flour, measure again with salt, baking powder, and soda. Add flour mixture and walnuts to the first mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour into greased 9x5" loaf pan. Bake in moderate or 350� oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Hint: I used 1/2 cup cooking/baking Splenda for regular sugar. Came out beautifully.

Lesson Three: Time & Temperature

The difference between mediocre bread and excellent bread usually has less to do with the ingredients being used than the process involved in creating it. Once you are comfortable with the basic process of mix, knead, rise, shape, and bake, your experimentation with the process can begin.

The two simplest variables in the process to modify are time and temperature. Below I will discuss how time and temperature change the character of your loaf of bread and then bake a loaf to show you how minor adjustments to the process can improve the quality of your bread significantly.

Time

Longer, slower fermentation extracts more flavor from your flour. If you are baking a simple white sandwich bread or in a hurry and you just want the darned thing to rise, you can put two or even three teaspoons of yeast into your dough and get the loaf to rise in under an hour. But if you want to create a rustic bread with a rich, nutty flavor, reducing the yeast and allow more and longer rises is appropriate.

Temperature's Impact on Rising

The warmer the temperature, the more active your yeast will be. The more active your yeast is, the quicker the dough rises. Simple enough, but you can use this in a multitude of ways. For example:

  • if you want to speed up a rise, turn your oven on for 30 seconds, turn it off, and then place your dough into the slightly-above-room-temperature oven. It should rise noticeably quicker.
  • If you need to leave halfway through preparing to bake a loaf, you can throw it into the fridge. It'll continue to rise in there at a much slower pace.
  • You can make a large batch of pizza dough and freeze individual pieces of it in freezer bags. The yeast will survive at least a month or two in the freezer. The day before you want to make the pizza, just move it to the fridge to thaw it and then pull it out of the fridge when you want it begin its final rise.

Temperature's Impact on Baking

Temperature also has an impact on how your loaf bakes. The general rule is that crusty breads should be baked at as high a temperature as possible. Soft shelled breads should be baked at lower temperatures. When you increase the temperature of your oven your bread bakes quicker (duh).

Professional bakers of rustic breads use ovens that achieve higher temperatures than home ovens achieve. Turning the temperature of your oven up when baking rustic breads will help you get closer to professional quality loaves. Buying a pizza or baking stone is another inexpensive method of capturing more heat in your oven and improving the quality of your bread (I have shattered two of these, so I don't currently bake with one. I'll probably end up getting another one some day, but I can't say the quality of my bread has suffered that much without one).

If you get really serious about bread baking, there is even a movement of bread hobbyest who build large hearth ovens in their backyards to reproduce professional quality loaves. Pick up a copy of "The Bread Builders" if this interests you.

My wife is pleased that I have not gotten that crazy about baking good bread at home (yet).

Time and Temperature Together

As you can see, time and temperature work in opposition to one another during dough formation: increase the temperature, decrease the time that your loaf rises; decrease the temperature, increase the time it takes to get to full size.

In the rising stage, if you are striving to extract the maximum flavor from your flour, you want to slow the rise down. If you want a make a quick loaf in time for dinner, speed the rise up.

While baking, If you want a crusty bread, you'll want to increase the temperature of the oven and reduce the amount of time your loaf bakes. For soft, pillowy breads, do the opposite (more time at a lower temperature). There are times when either technique is appropriate, so don't be worried that you aren't doing things the "right" way!

One Other Tidbit: Steam and Crust

For the first five or ten minutes of baking, having steam in the oven will improve the quality of your crust. Steam does two things: first, it keeps the outside of the loaf from drying out until the dough has fully risen; second, steam coagulates the starches on the outside of the loaf, which improves the color and texture the crust.

Professional bakers have ovens that inject steam during the early baking phase. Home bakers can use a lot of different tricks to recreate this effect. The simplest method I have found has been to put an old metal brownie pan on the bottom shelf of the oven when preheating. Right after I put the loaf into the oven, I pour a cup of hot water into the pan. It immediately begins to bubble and boil, releasing a nice steam cloud that seems to improve my crust.

Don't do this with a glass pan. I did this once and it shattered as soon as I poured the water into it.

There are other ways of introducing moisture: spraying the walls of the oven with a squirt bottle, putting a pan full of water with a hole in the bottom onto the bottom shelf so that it drips onto the bottom of the oven, or rubbing the outside of the loaf with water are some of the common ways. Hot water in a pan works well enough for me.

Also be aware that some bakers have experienced malfunctions in their oven's electronics systems from the moisture caused while trying to create steam. Indeed, adding steam may void your oven's warranty. I've never had any problems doing this, but please consider these risks versus the reward of highly crusty bread before attempting to steam your oven. Let the "baker beware."

Today's Loaf

I started with the base recipe from Lesson One. I was shooting for a crusty, rustic style bread, so I decided to reduce the amount of yeast to try to slow the fermentation process down. In fact, to extend the fermentation process even longer I split the dough creation into two stages: one stage I started the night before and then refrigerated. The next day I added the dough (also known as the sponge) from stage one to more ingredients to create my final dough.

This method, typically known as the sponge or barm method, is a tried and true method for improving the flavor of your bread (and one I'll write more about in future lessons). I'm more-or-less using Peter Reinhart's approach from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: the stage one dough in this recipe is modeled on Peter's Pate Fermentee, and the final dough is something like his Pain de Campaign. But bakers have been using different variations of this technique for centuries.

Day 1
Before going to bed I mixed together:

1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
1/2 cup of water

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl. Pour it out onto a flat surface and kneaded the dough for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough back into a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or so. It won't rise a lot in that time, but the yeast will begin to wake up.

Punch the dough down, place it back in the bowl, cover it with with plastic wrap again and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Day 2

When I got up, I pulled the bowl of dough out of the fridge and let it warm on the counter for about an hour.

In a larger bowl, I combined:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (this can be regular flour. I used whole wheat flour simply because I like it!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup of water
day one's sponge

I mixed all of the dry ingredients together. Then I chopped the sponge up into a dozen or so little pieces with a knife and mixed them into the dry ingredients. Finally I added the water and mixed everything together, adjusting the flour or water until the dough formed a nice ball of dough that was soft and tacky but was not too sticky.

I poured the dough onto a floured surface and kneaded it for approximately 10 minutes. Then I put the dough back into a greased bowl and allowed it to rise for approximately 90 minutes. I then shaped the loaf and allowed it to rise for another 90 minutes.

(A note about these rise times: they are not exact. In reality, much was going on during the day, including a trip to the store and another trip to the playground, so no one was closely monitoring the clock. It seems to the uninitiated that making bread is a long and complicated process because the overall time it takes can be a day or more, but understand that it's really only about 20 minutes of work spread out over the entire day. It is easy enough to accommodate if you are going to be near the house all day.)

I put an empty metal pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheated the oven to 500 degrees.

When the oven was hot and the bread looked risen, I put the bread into the oven on the top shelf and quickly pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the bottom shelf and closed the door. After about 3-5 minutes, I reduced the temperature from 500 to 400 degrees, figuring that the loaf was done springing and would bake more evenly at a lower temperature. I baked it for 20 minutes, then rotated the loaf and bake until done.

This loaf took about 45 minutes, but time is dependent on the shape of the loaf. I used an instant-read thermometer. When the loaf hit 200 degrees inside, I pulled it out.

Aftermath

Comparing this loaf (on the right) to my bread from lesson one (on the left), I definitely noticed that this one had a nicer crust - it even crackled when I took it out of the oven and set it out to cool. It seems to me that it had a richer flavor, which was in part the whole wheat flour and partially the longer, slower rises and overnight fermentation.

A criticism of both of these loaves is that, although they are decently raised, neither one has the big irregular holes that you strive for in a rustic loaf. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One likely reason is that I handle the loaves fairly roughly when shaping them: I suspect I am squeezing out too much of the air at that stage and rolling my loaves too tight. I also suspect I am underhydrating my dough. A moister, slacker dough should have an easier time forming large pockets. Underkneading or baking before my dough is fully risen could also have been contributing factors. As I have mentioned before, getting started baking is extremely easy, but mastering baking takes a lifetime. One shouldn't be intimidated by this: the majority of your experiments still end up quite edible.


The path to perfection is tasty, indeed!

Continue to Lesson 4: Glazing.

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