The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Sweet Corn Raisin Bread

corn raisin artisan breadLast week I posted a basic cornbread recipe. I suspect some folks reaction was "ho-hum". So this week I'm showing that you can, indeed, do more with corn meal than just make cornbread.

How about a yeasted bread with corn meal? How about a sweet raisin yeasted bread with corn meal in it? Sound good? It did to me.

The recipe and a lot more photos are below.

I based this one on a recipe from a little Betty Bossi baking book that my father-in-law brought back from France (Betty Bossi is, I gather, like a Swiss equivalent of Betty Crocker). My French is fair, as is my metric system, but thanks to my scale, which can toggle from metric to imperial, I was able to pull something together pretty quickly.

I'm going to print the recipe with the original metric measurements. Next to each I'll include my imperial approximation, which also include my substitutions. My translations and measurements aren't exact, so if you are a stickler you can use the metric measurements or do the math yourself!

Sweet Corn Raisin Bread

Original Metric Measurements Imperial Approximation and Substitutions
150 grams corn flour
1 deciliter water
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup water
350 grams white flour
1/2 cube (approx. 20g yeast)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 deciliters milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pinch saffron
50 grams butter
2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
saffron I'm too cheap!
2 tablespoons butter
75 grams raisins 1 cup raisins
1 egg yoke
1 teaspoon water
1 pinch salt
2 pinches sugar
1 egg yoke
1 teaspoon water
1 pinch salt
2 pinches sugar

Mix the corn meal and the water together in a small bowl and allow to soak for half an hour.

Pour two cups of the flour in a bowl and combine with the yeast, sugar, salt, and saffron. Make a well in the middle and pour in the corn meal soaker, remaining milk, and butter. Stir until well blended.

Stir in the raisin and then add additional flour by the handful until the proper consistency is reached (tacky to the touch but not sticky, and clearing the sides of the bowl when mixed).

Pull the ball of dough out of the mixing bowl and place it onto a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 10 to 12 minutes, until it begins to feel smooth and satiny. Place the dough back into a clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, roughly 90 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently degas it, then shape into the desired shape. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a moist towel and allow it to rise until doubled in size again, roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour.

sweet corn raisin bread rising

While it is rising again, preheat the oven (and baking stone, if you are using one) to 425.

sweet corn raisin bread being glazed

When it has doubled in size, glaze the loaf with egg wash made from the egg yoke, water, salt, and sugar. Score the loaf so that it doesn't tear in the oven, and then place it into the preheated oven.

sweet corn raisin bread glazed and scored

After 5 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. After 15 minutes rotate the loaf so that it bakes evenly, and then bake it until it is done. You'll know it is done when it is nice and brown, sounds hollow when tapped on, and reaches an internal temperature of at least 185 degrees. In my oven this took around 40 to 45 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool for at least half an hour before slicing.

sweet corn raisin bread complete

Further Exploration

I was very pleased with this loaf, but I have some ideas I'd like to try to make this bread even better. One idea is instead of using 1 cup of medium grind corn meal, use a mixture of finely ground corn flour and coarsely ground polenta. Something along the lines of 3/4 cup corn flour and 1/4 cup presoaked polenta ought to lend the loaf a smooth, creamy crumb with a few crunchy bursts of polenta here and there.

The other idea I have is to substitute honey for sugar, and maybe increase the amount of sweetener just a tad. The thought is that I might be able to get a flavor something along the lines of cornbread with honey butter baked right into the loaf. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds good.

Olive oil instead of butter might be good too.

So many options... and never enough time to bake!

Have any ideas for other ways to modify this loaf? Or questions about it? Please comment!

Hot Cross Buns


Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters,
Pray give them to your sons!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

My recipe below.

Hot Cross Buns are a popular Lenten tradition which are believed to have originated in England 150 years ago, though perhaps they are originally of pagan origin. Most commonly they are eaten on Good Friday. They are not made after Easter.

This year I baked my buns with raisins because that is what I had in the house. In past years I've used currants, which are excellent.

If your raisins or currants are dried out, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes before mixing them into the dough.

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 1 dozen buns

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup warm (90-100 degrees) milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons instant (bread machine) yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins, currants, or dried fruit
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Egg wash:
1 egg

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and spices. Add the warm milk and butter and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add a little flour or milk until you achieve the proper consistency, which is moist enough that all of the ingredients stick together but dry enough that you can knead the dough without it sticking to your hands. I had to add a couple of tablespoons of flour to get to this consistency, but depending on the humidity in your area and how tightly packed your cups of flour are, your may need to add more or less.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Flatten the dough and pour the raisins or currants on top and press them into the dough. Work the dough until the raisins are well mixed in. Return the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

When it has risen, pour the dough out onto a cutting board and divide into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place on a greased baking surface (I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan). Cover the pan and allow to rise until they double in size again, typically 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the buns are ready to bake, scramble the egg in a bowl and brush some over the top of the buns. Then put the buns in the oven and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes.


While the buns are cooling, make the glaze by combining the lemon juice with the powdered sugar (you can also use orange juice, milk, or water if you don't have lemon juice around). Use a pastry bag, a spoon, or a knife to paint the crosses on top of the buns. Eat while still hot.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Bad Boy With Poolish

I realize that I seriously risk tanking my whole grain cred, here, but lately ... I've been taking a shine to poolish. It'd been a long time since I'd worked with yeasted pre-ferments, and aside from an occasional baguette here and there, I'd not make a serious white bread in quite some time.

But after the New Year, in the course of just a couple of days, I made three poolish baguettes and one poolish ciabatta.

I used Jeffrey Hamelman's masterpiece Bread as a guide. I was so pleased with the baguettes, that for the ciabatta, I modified my sourdough spreadsheet to accommodate commercial yeast breads with pre-ferments, and inserted his formulas.. Aside from scaling each recipe down (I made a half-batch of poolish baguettes, which made three demi-baguetts, and a single 1.5 pound ciabatta), the only other change I made was to add a tiny speck of yeast to each poolish. With the baguettes, since they required about 1/10 gram of yeast, I added one gram of yeast to 19 grams of water and then added two grams of the solution to the poolish.

This was a pain.

So, next time, I just eyeballed about 1/4 of 1/8 tsp of yeast. Both ways turned out fine.

The biggest takeaway for me from making both of these breads is that, so long as the bread is handled firmly but gently and the loaf is well-shaped, the crumb can still be very open without a super gloppy dough. The baguettes, for instance, are just 66 percent hydration and the ciabatta is 73 percent. Of course, the poolish probably helps, since it denatures the protein and makes it more extensible. All the same, the lesson for me stands - good handling goes a long way towards getting an open crumb.

Sourdough is still my preference, but, wow, I'd forgotten how tasty a good, simple loaf of French bread is: nutty, buttery with a strong wheaty flavor that lasts, and lasts, and lasts.

Here's the photographic results. Recipes are below.

Poolish Baguettes

I'm finally starting to the hang of shaping these buggers.


I cut these in half the next day to make garlic bread and cheese bread to go with pasta.


Ciabatta with Poolish

This is, without doubt, the prettiest ciabatta I've ever made. I didn't score it - it just opened up on its own.


And an interior shot. Not as open as some ciabattas I've seen, but open enough for me. Next time, I'll bump the hydration up to 75 or maybe 78 percent.


Recipes

Poolish Baguettes (Makes 3 demi-baguettes of about 8 oz. each):
Overall formula:

  • White flour: 100%
  • Water: 66%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Instant yeast: 0.36%
  • 33% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast


Poolish:
  • White flour: 5.3 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 10.7 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1/2 + 1/8 tsp

The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell ... really nice - sweet and nutty. Mmmm.

For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and, once everything is hydrated, knead it for about 5 to 10 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test. Cover and let it ferment for two hours, giving it a stretch-and-fold at the one hour mark.

Divide the dough into three pieces, and preshape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes and cover, letting them rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes. Score and bake on a preheated stone in a 460 degree oven with steam for about 25 minutes.

Ciabatta with Poolish (Makes one 1.5 lb loaf):
Overall formula:
  • White flour: 100%
  • Water: 73%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Instant yeast: 0.36%
  • 30% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast


This is all in grams, because I used my spreadsheet - Hamelman uses ounces.

Poolish:
  • White flour: 136 grams
  • Water: 136 grams
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp or 1/10 of a gram)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 318 grams
  • Water: 195 grams
  • Salt: 9 grams
  • Instant yeast: A heaping 1/8 tsp or .5 grams

The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell ... really nice - sweet and nutty.

For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and let it sit for one hour. At one hour, give it a stretch and fold, followed by two more every 30 minutes. Then let it ferment for one more hour, for a total of 3 hours bulk fermentation.

Remove the dough onto a well floured surface, and pat it out into a rectangle, carefully degassing any truly gigantic bubbles that you noticee. Let it rest for about 90 minutes.

Tranfer to the oven, dimpling it with your fingers if you desire, onto a hot stone at 460 degrees with steam for about 35 minutes or so. Let it rest one hour before slicing.

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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.

isand66's picture
isand66

Hamburger Onion Parmesan Buns

We bought some chicken Buffalo style sliders the other day so I wanted to make some tasty buns to go with them.  The buns needed to be hearty enough to hold the burgers and the fixings as well as soft enough like a hamburger bun needs to be.

I adapted a recipe from KAF and made several changes including the flour types and changes and additions in several ingredients.  I added some dried onions and some Parmesan powder to give it a little extra flavor and just enough honey to round out the flavor profile.

These would have been perfect had I not left them in the oven a few minutes too long since I was working at the same time I was baking these.  One of the benefits of working from home but also one of the possible pitfalls.  In any case these tasted great and made perfect burger buns and sandwich rolls as well.  If you try these you will not be disappointed, of that I can guarantee you.

The European style flour I used has a small percentage of white whole wheat flour and malt which along with the Spelt flour and Durum flour really gave these rolls some excellent flavor.

Hamburger-Onion-Rolls

Directions

Bring the milk up to a boil in a heavy-duty sauce pan and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature before using.

In the mean time leave your butter out at room temperature or soften in your microwave.

Mix flours with yeast to combine.  Next add remainder of the ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute and then for 9 minutes at speed number 2 and 1 minute at speed number 3.  You want to mix/knead until you develop a nice thin window pane which will ensure that the rolls end up nice and soft.

Take the dough out of your mixer and form it into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl or dough rising bucket.  Make sure to cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature of if you have a proofer set it to 82 degrees and let it rise until doubled.  It took me about 1 hour to double in my proofer.

Next gently deflate the dough and form into rolls and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour until the rolls have almost doubled in size and pass the poke test.

NoSeedsRisen

Around 30 minutes before ready to bake the rolls, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and prepare your oven for steam as well.  I use a heavy-duty pan in the bottom shelf of my oven and pour 1 cup of boiling water in right before placing the rolls in the oven.

Right before you are ready to bake the rolls prepare an egg wash, paint your rolls and add  your topping of choice.

Seeded-Risen-Rolls

Seededclosup

Bake the rolls at 450 degrees for the first 5 minutes and lower the oven to 425 degrees until they are nice and brown.  Just make sure that they don't turn into charcoal like mine almost did :).

These should take about 25 minutes to cook thoroughly.  When done  let them cool on wire rack for at least half an hour before digging in if you can wait that long.

Crumb

IMG_0130
Cleopatra didn't mind the "dark" rolls at all....

San Joaquin Sourdough

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Description

While I enjoy a variety of breads, the San Joaquin Sourdough remains my “go to” bread. It's easy to fit into a busy schedule. It uses few ingredients. It always tastes delicious. It's wonderful freshly baked but also makes great toast, French toast, garlic bread and croutons for salads or onion soup. It is almost as good after being frozen as fresh. What's not to like?

I first developed this formula about 3 years ago. Since then, I've tweaked the formula and methods in many ways. I know many TFL members have made this bread and enjoyed it. So, I thought an update on my current recipe might be of interest.

To summarize the changes I've made in the past 6 months:

  1. I substituted 25 g of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of the rye flour in the original formula. The difference in flavor is subtle, but I like it better.

  2. I adopted the oven steaming method for home ovens we were taught in the SFBI Artisan I and II workshops. 

Summary

Yield
556 g Bâtards
SourceMy own recipe.
Prep time6 hours
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time6 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

450 g
all-purpose unbleached flour
25 g
Medium rye flour
360 g
water
10 g
salt
100 g
Liquid levain (100% hydration)

Instructions

Procedures

Mixing

In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using a plastic scraper or silicon spatula, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals.

Fermentation

After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes with a stretch and fold after 45 and 90 minutes, then return the dough to the container and place it in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. 

Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

To pre-shape for a bâtard, I now form a ball rather than a log. Place each piece of dough smooth side down. Pat into a rough circle, degassing the dough gently in the process. Bring the far edge to the middle and seal the seam. Then go around the dough, bringing about 1/5 of the dough to the middle and sealing it. Repeat until you have brought the entire circumference of the piece to the middle. Turn the piece over, and shape as a boule. Turn each ball seam side up onto a lightly floured part of your board.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 60 minutes. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, I now favor the method portrayed in the King Arthur Flour instructional video. I encourage you to watch the video, but here is a verbal description of the method:

  1. For each piece of dough, place it in front of you on an un-floured board.

  2. Hold down the near side and stretch the far side of the piece into a rough rectangle about 8 inches front to back.

  3. Now, fold the far end two thirds of the way to the near end and seal the seam with the heel of your hand.

  4. Take each of the far corners of the piece and fold them to the middle of the near side of your first fold. Seal the seams.

  5. Now, the far end of the dough piece should be roughly triangular with the apex pointing away from you. Grasp the apex of the triangle and bring it all the way to the near edge of the dough piece. Seal the resulting seam along the entire width of the loaf.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side up and pinch the seam closed, if there are any gaps.

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and put your steaming apparatus of choice in place. (I currently use a 7 inch cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks.) Heat the oven to 500F.

Proofing

After shaping the loaves, transfer them to a linen couche, seam side up. Cover the loaves with a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaves have expanded to about 1-1/2 times their original size. (30-45 minutes) Test readiness for baking using “the poke test.” Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

Baking

Pre-steam the oven, if desired.

Transfer the loaves to a peel. (Remember you proofed them seam side up. If using a transfer peel, turn the loaves over on the couch before rolling them onto the transfer peel. That way, the loaves will be seam side down on the peel.) Score the loaves. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Steam the oven. (I place a perforated pie tin with about 12 ice cubes in it on top of the pre-heated lava rocks.) Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door. (If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake, and turn the temperature down to 435ºF.)

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 7 minutes to dry the crust.

Cooling

Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.

Notes

yy's picture
yy

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

After having delicious lobster rolls with New England style buns at RM seafood in Las Vegas, I became obsessed with soft, toasty rolls with just the right amount of crunch. I decided to buy a New England hot dog bun pan (of course, the buns can be made with an ordinary sheet pan, but I just felt like purchasing a unique piece of equipment).


I used a 3/4 recipe of the  golden pull-apart butter buns on King Arthur Flour's online blog, replaced all the liquid with milk for flavor, and increased the hydration to about 70%:



314 g ap flour
16 g potato starch
15 g dry milk
18 g sugar
43 g soft butter
220 g milk (scalded and cooled)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast

I followed the instructions on KAF's blog, but I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces, and in the shaping step, I rolled each piece out to a thin sheet and rolled them up into logs. Each log was placed into a groove in the pan:

Here they are, fully risen and just placed into the oven. A 3/4 recipe makes a pretty good amount of dough for the size of pan. The proper amount of kneading will allow this dough to triple, almost quadruple in size.

Immediately after taking them out of the oven, they were brushed generously with butter to soften the crust:

Just before eating, they were sliced apart and then slit in the middle, like so:

Toasted them on each side with a little butter

The crunchiness of the toasted surface went perfectly with the snap of the natural casing hot dog. The king arthur recipe is very rich, buttery, and sweet.

I love how these buns stand up so straight:-). I'm pleased with how this pan makes a bun that's not too big and not too small. One of my pet peeves is a hot dog that's drowning in a mountain of bread. Personally, I'm addicted to the toastiness of the New England style roll. I don't think I'll go back to regular soft hot dog buns. Was it worth the $25 to buy this special "unitasker?" I would say yes, but I just wanted a new toy. I'm thinking of it as a pre-moving gift to myself, before I make the great schlep from San Francisco to New Haven, CT.  Maybe there are other uses for it, too. Enchiladas?

There are 2 of us in this household, so the 10 buns give us enough for dinner and plenty for leftovers tomorrow. I'll probably use the remaining 6 buns to use up the leftover chicken meatballs in marinara and the leftover Italian sausage.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

TIPS: dough ball sizes and weights for common bread shapes

I wanted a quick reference list for dough ball sizes for common items I bake: breads, rolls, pizza. I haven't found one on TFL, maybe it's here, but no luck yet. So I figured I'd share what I have so far.

Pizzas

12" pizza, personal (plate-sized): 175g (thin) - 250g (thicker)
14" pizza, thin crust, NYC style: 450g
14" pizza, medium "american" crust style: 540g
16" pizza, thin crust, NYC style: 567g

Sourdough and Rustic Loaves

Regular free-form loaf (boule) of sourdough: 1000g
Small free-form loaf (boule): 750g
"Standard" loaf-pan loaf (9.25" x5.25"x2.75"), heavier multigrain bread or sourdough: 1100g

Other Breads

"Standard" loaf-pan loaf (9.25" x5.25"x2.75"), light lean bread: 800g

12" hoagie/sandwich roll: 227g
6"/7" hoagie/sandwich roll: 113g

Standard baguette: 340g
Home oven baguette: 200-250g

Large pretzel: 160g
Bagel: 96-113g

Burger & hot dog buns: 92g
Small soft dinner roll: 48g

Feel free to comment or add other recommended values.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Mr. Nippon's Baguette Formulas

It was raining outside my tea room.  Polly my dog was happy in her house.  I was in heaven painstakingly (not contradictory in terms) typing the French letters (the annoying à and é and ç) into my on-line translator.  The music was vibrating the thin rice-paper calligraphies on my mahogany-colored wall.


I consulted a couple of translations for Lionel Poilâne's Pain Rustique recipe in his Le Pain par Poilâne, page 143.  The 390-page book contains a dozen recipes.  I studied the translations.  I read the recipe very carefully.  And in the end, I said to myself, disbelieving, "Is that it, so simple?"  "Is this the recipe that makes the famous Miche Poilâne?"  (No.)


One of my sisters told me there is a single product hawker's stand in Taipei which sells red bean pancakes.  Any time of the day you go there, there is a long queue waiting to buy the man's red bean pancakes.  He has a dedicated pot to cook his red bean paste at home; the pot is never used for anything else.  He has several other dedicated utensils for the job.  My sister gave me his recipe.  It sounded so simple, I said, "Is that all? You are not leaving any steps out?"  She said, "No."  She gave me the man's list of ingredients: red beans, sugar, flour, and water.  I said, "You are not leaving any secret ingredients out?"  She said, "No."


Still disbelieving from reading the Poilâne formula, I got up from my chair and walked past a neglected pile of books left there since I came back from Taipei last October.  At the rate I buy books there is no way I can finish reading all my books in my lifetime, but I keep on buying.  The postman, the DHL man, and the Fedex man, as well as the occasional sub-contractor for Australia Post, all know there is somebody whose name sounds like (to pronounce slowly) "shopping" that lives behind that gate (and what an annoyance having to ring the bell for the gate to open!).


Anyway, I retrieved from that pile a book which is, on the surface, dedicated to baguettes, a Mandarin translation of the best Japanese baguette formulas.  And, boy, can you get any more perfectly shaped baguettes than those any where else in the world?  My oh my, the formulas are so detailed!  And, interesting!


 


                                                                    


                                  Baguette no Gijutsu (Baguette Techniques), published by Asahiya Shuppan, Japan    


          


   right: Totszen Baker's Kitchen, Yokohama (page 28)    


   middle: Fournier Bakery, Osaka (page 8)


   left:  Lobros Bakery, Tokyo (page 124)


The way I see it, this book is about methods of pure fermentation of flour.  Baguette is only the form in which the result is show-cased; the bread could be in any shape or form.  There are 35 very detailed baguette formulas by today's top Japanese bakers in a very easy to follow format.  The bakers play with fermentation possibilities in a wide ranging ways and dough hydrations of between 57 and 83%.  The book reads to me like 35 flour fermentation love stories.  The baguettes are solid works of fine craft and done in tightly controlled environment (the Japanese way!).  Using the simplest ingredients, their objectives are all the same: to bring out the best flavour in flour through their individual fermentation methods.  Only a third of recipes use levains, and not even at high baker's percentages, for a more clean taste of flour.  Some use other pre-ferments; but pre-ferments are nothing new.  What I find interesting is pre-fermenting the main dough flour. 


Have you ever heard of autolysing flour and water for 12 hours?  Maybe you have, but I haven't.  With this post, I am making baguettes using Fournier Bakery's formula on which the gorgeous looking crumb pictured in the middle above is based.  The book says Fournier won the 2006 French Baguette Competition organized by Torigoe, the oldest Japanese miller of French style of flours. 


Fournier Bakery's baguette formula


Ingredients in baker's percentages



  • 100% bread flour (I used 650 grams of Australia's Kialla Organic unbleached plain flour)

  • 70% water (I had 455 grams)

  • 15% liquid starter (I had 98 grams. See note * below)

  • 0.1% instant dry yeast (I used two-thirds of a 1/3 tsp)

  • 1.9% salt (I had 12 grams)


Overall dough hydration is 72.1%.  My dough weighed about 1200 grams.  I did three times the formula in three days, totaling 18 baby baguettes of 200 grams each (see below).


Note *: As most of us are weekend bakers, it is best that our starter undergo at least two refreshes (ie, refreshment build and levain build) before being incorporated into the final dough.  I did three builds for my levain, each time discarding all but 20 grams for the next build.  I timed the last build to coincide with the 12 hour autolyse of flour and water (see step 2 below). 



  1. Place only flour and water in the mixer, turn on first speed for two minutes.

  2. Autolyse for 12 hours at 16 ºC.  (I did about 9 hours.  As it is summer here in Australia, my temperature averages around 25 - 27 ºC.) 

  3. Add liquid starter and instant dry yeast and mix in first speed for one minute.  (The book says the levain is ready for use when its pH is 3.7.  I had no way of knowing the exact pH of my levain but because it had just gone through 3 builds, I would guess that the pH value might be a lot higher than 3.7.)

  4. Add salt and mix in first speed for 2 more minutes, and second speed for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  When kneading is complete, the dough temperature should be 22 ºC.  (Note: I did all my mixing and kneading by hand.  It was very messy, especially trying to get the liquid starter mixed into the dough.  I did not use ice water to try to get my dough temperature exactly as per the formula.  I figured that I would just watch the fermentation carefully.)

  5. Bulk fermentation is 3 hours in total at 22 ºC as follows: three times 2 letter-folds in a plastic container at 20 minutes intervals, then twice more 2 letter-folds at 60 minutes interval, totaling 5 times.  (As my room temperature and dough temperature was about 25 - 27 ºC, I did only 2 hours bulk.)

  6. Divide the dough into 350 grams pieces and pre-shape them (I divided my dough into 6 pieces of 200 grams each because my baking stone is small, 34 cm x 34 cm.)

  7. Shape into baguette, 60 cm long. (I shaped mine into 32 - 34 cm long).

  8. (Note that it should only be 30 minutes from Divide to Shape, including the rest in between, during which time the dough pieces should be placed in temperature controlled room at 22 ºC.)

  9. Proofing is 60 minutes at 22 ºC and 70 degree humidity.  (The book says when the dough completes its fermentation, its pH should be 5.2.)  (For the last 30 minutes of proofing, I moved my dough into the refrigerator as I was afraid that it might over-prove.)

  10. Pre-heat oven to 250 ºC.  Score the dough with 7 slashes.  Steam the oven before loading the dough.  Once the dough is in the oven, turn the oven down to 240 ºC.  After 3 minutes of baking, steam the oven again.  Bake for a total of 30 - 32 minutes.  (My dough only needed 23 minutes of baking at the highest temperature my oven could go.  I could only manage 4 slashes on my dough.)


 


                 


 


To recap: Fournier's fermentation is 4 1/2 hours all-up at 22 ºC.  I did 3 1/2 hours at 25 - 27 ºC, including 30 minutes in the refrigerator, which had an added advantage of chilling the surface of the dough for easier slashing.


 


    


                                              


                                                                   


The challenge of baguettes to me is how to shape them uniformly.  There is no better way than repetitive practice.  It was only towards my last 3 baguettes (those pictured above) that I worked out how to do them with same length and thickness.  The key for me is, after pre-shaping and rest, pat the dough out to very flat (not to worry, I was not squeezing the gas out by patting).  Then, use minimal movements possible to shape the dough.  I find that excessive handling serves no purpose.   Out of the 18 baguettes that I made, the three next best ones are below:


 


        


 


I find slightly under-proof works better than slightly over-proof.  As my dough pieces were small, just 15 minutes more than necessary could make it over-proved.   Once the dough is done fermenting and ready to go, no amount of chilling in the refrigerator can arrest it because of the internal dough temperature.  The flavour will still be good but oven spring would suffer.


 


         


                                                            


 


It would be interesting to try out more formulas in the book to learn more ways of pure fermentation.  There is nothing wrong of using other type of flours (for instance, various whole grains flours) on these baguette formulas, paying attention to temperature and time issues etc., and see how they affect fermentation outcomes.  I learn in this book that there are infinite possibilities.


Just as I was cleaning up from today's mess, it's almost time to go and pick up my son from his tennis.  I tied up two baby baguettes to give to Andrew's coach.  Don't people just envy us because we possess these presents to give away?


                                                      


I was late collecting my son.  When he saw me, he said, "Soft effort, Mum, soft effort."   Gee.


It has stopped raining now.  It is lush and green outside the window.  Polly would not be allowed to go out for a while yet, not until the grass is dry.


 


                                      


 


Shiao-Ping

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