The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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stgermain's picture
stgermain

Southern Style Yeast Rolls

My Grandmother's Yeast Rolls

Hi - I am new here but after reading so many comments from knowledgable bakers, I thought I would ask for your thoughts/opinions.  I remember my grandmother baking yeast rolls (with cake yeast) that were approximately 4" high, moist, and with an almost silky texture - not at all crumbly.  Does anyone know of a recipe and techniques that might help me replicate her rolls?  Any comments would be appreicated.

Section I: Introduction

There are few things that smell quite as good as a loaf of bread baking in the oven. But there are other benefits beyond just that lovely smell of baking your own bread. It’s cheaper, tastier, and, more often than not, healthier than buying it from the store.


Our goal with this e-book is to help amateur bakers produce the kind of bread that they would most like to pull from their ovens. We hope that it helps you.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sour Rye Bread from George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker”

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb

 

Back in May, 2007, there was an extended discussion about Greenstein's book and how come he provided only volume and not any weight measurements for ingredients. For anyone interested in that discussion, the link is: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3042/keep-secrets-jewish-baker-better-secret.

I have made Jewish Sour Rye from Greenstein's recipe many times. It's one of my favorite breads. But, although I always weigh ingredients when the recipe gives weights, I have always made this bread according to the volume measurements in the book – that is, with adjustments to achieve the desired dough characteristics.

Today, I actually weighed the ingredients and can provide them for those who get all upset when they encounter a recipe that instructs them to use, for example, “4 to 5 cups of flour.” By the way, if you make this bread using ingredient weights, and the dough doesn't seem right, I advise you to add a little bit more water or flour accordingly. (Irony intended.)

Ingredients

750 gms Rye Sour

480 gms First Clear Flour

240 gms Warm Water (80-100F)

12 gms Sea Salt

7 gms Instant Yeast

½ cup Altus (optional but recommended)

1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds

Cornmeal for dusting the parchment or peel.

Cornstarch glaze for brushing the breads before and after baking.

Method

  1. If you have a white rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with white rye flour over 2-3 days.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  3. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  7. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  9. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 375F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  11. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  12. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  13. After 5 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more.

  14. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.

 Notes:

  • Comparing Greenstein's recipe to Norm's, the former is a wetter dough and also has a higher proportion of rye sour to clear flour. Both recipes make outstanding sour rye bread. Interestingly, Greenstein says, if you want a less sour bread, use less rye sour.
  • Having never weighed Greenstein's ingredients before, I've never even thought about baker's percentages and the like. FYI, the rye sour is 156% of the clear flour. A rough calculation of the ratio of rye to clear flour indicates that this bread is a "50% rye."

Enjoy!

David

BrotBoy's picture
BrotBoy

Converting a recipe that uses Instant yeast to a sourdough starter recipe

Can anyone tell me... Is there a simple approach to convert  a recipe that uses commerical yeast to a sourdough starter , I have been very happy with the sourdough starter that i am using  and now want to convert more recipes to this style of bread making,

  Looking forward to some ideas

 Brotboy

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Rise Time Table

I've had a number of discussions with TFL participants recently about sourdough rise times versus temperature and inoculation. Temperature has a big effect on sourdough rise times, and sometimes a starter appears unhealthy, when it is really just rising more slowly because of low temperatures in the kitchen during winter. Also, recipes that used to work seem to fail during the winter, but the colder temperatures may be the cause. To adjust for cold winter kitchen temperatures, either the temperature must be managed actively (oven with pilot light or electric light, coolers with a bowl of warm water in them, and so on), or the percentage of fermented flour must be adjusted in the recipe, or much more time must be allowed for the bulk fermentation and proofing.

I constructed a table that provides (in hours) the doubling time, bulk fermentation time, proofing time, and total mix-to-bake time for various temperatures and percentages of fermented flour. The table has two sections, one for no salt meant for unsalted levains, and one for 2% salt meant for doughs or salted levains.

Inoculation, as used in the table, is the percentage of fermented flour contributed by a levain or storage starter to the total flour in a levain or dough. For example, if 50g of storage starter at 100% hydration is contributed to 225g of flour and 175g of water to create a levain, then the total flour is 250g (25g+225g) and the percentage of fermented flour is 10% (25g out of 250g total flour). Similarly, if a dough containing 1Kg of total flour is made by contributing the levain just mentioned to 750g of flour and 550g of water and 20g of salt, then the inoculation or percentage of fermented flour is 25%, or 250g out of a total flour of 1Kg.

The table is made to match up to rise times for whole wheat, high extraction, or generally high ash content flours I tend to use in my sourdough hearth breads. For pure white flour doughs and levains, the times tend to be about 20% longer, i.e. white flour rises a little more slowly.

Your starter may well be faster or slower than mine. If you build a test levain using a representative entry in the table, such as 10% at 75F, you can see how your starter compares to these table entries and then adjust your rise times and proof times up or down by the same percentage. For example, if you starter doubles in 80% of the time indicated in the table, then it makes sense to use 80% of the time in the table for other temperatures and inoculations also.

You can see from the table that the rise times vary over a huge range depending on temperature. Also, inoculations need to be changed drastically for long overnight rises, depending on temperature.

The strategy for maintaining a starter should also change dramatically if the temperature is 65F instead of close to 80F in the kitchen from winter to summer. For example, a 25% inoculation at 65F results in a 10 hour mix-to-bake time, which is a couple of hours before a levain would peak and begin to collapse, but at 80F an inoculation of only 0.5% results in a 10 hour mix-to-bake time. I've used this model at wide ranges of temperature and had reasonable results. The interesting thing to notice is that a 20g:30g:30g feeding at 65F peaks in around 12 hours but a 1g:100g:100g feeding at 80F peaks in around 12 hours, too. Or, if you look at the mix-to-bake time at 65F for a 10g:45g:45g feeding (10% inoculation), it's 12.5 hours, so if you feed that way at 65F the starter won't be getting to its peak and may be overfed if the feeding is repeated every 12 hours, while the same feeding at 80F will peak in less than 8 hours, so a 12 hour schedule will work well at that temperature.

This is simplified from my rise time models, so it doesn't include some additional adjustments for the dough consistency I make in my spreadsheets. Of course, this is a very rough approximation. All kinds of complications may cause these numbers to be different from actual results. So, it's just a guideline and something to think about, and it's biggest use may be as a learning tool or to just get in the general ballpark for rise times. For example, if your temperatures are very different from the ones the author assumed in the recipe, or if you just don't have an idea where to start with rise times for some recipe your trying, maybe the table will help.

Apologies in advance, if it turns out there is a bug in the table somewhere, but at least some of the numbers made sense after browsing through the table.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

Eagleswings' struggles with a rye starter and the current interest in Jewish sour rye and corn bread have prompted me to re-post my response regarding the care and feeding of rye sour. After making sour rye breads last weekend, I took some photos of my rye sour refreshment which might be helpful to those undertaking rye bread baking for the first time.

 The photos that follow illustrate the progression of each stage's ripening. The volume of the sour is, of course, increased with each stage.

 

DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:


There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. You can refrigerate overnight after any of the stages. If you do refrigerate it, use warm water in the next build. The mature sour will probaby be okay to use for a couple of days, but I try to time it to spend no longer that 12 hours since the last feeding. If you have kept it longer under refrigeration, it should be refreshed.

 

Stage 1:

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour, mixed into a paste, scraped down and smoothed over.

 

 

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface.

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface. This prevents drying out. Cover airtight (more or less) to ripen.

 

 

Ripening refreshed rye sour, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 3 hours or so, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour. Keep covered. Be patient.

 

 

Ripening refreshed rye sour. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 4-5 hours. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour. 

 

Fully ripe rye sour. This should be used immediately. If you are not ready for it, I have refrigerated it overnight. What you don't want is for fermentation to continue until the sour collapses.

Stage 2:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rye flour

Mix thoroughly into a thick paste. Scrape down and smooth the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of rye flour all over the surface. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-8 hours or untile the dry rye on the surface has spread into "continents" and the surface has domed. Don't wait until it collapses.

Stage 3:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour.

You may have to transfer this to a larger bowl. Mix thoroughly into a thicker paste - It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it. If it is too thin, you can add more rye flour until it is more "dough-like." Cover the starter and let it rise 4-8 hours. It should nearly double in volume and be bubbly.

It's now ready to use to make rye bread.

Greenstein advises to keep the starter refrigerated and stir the starter every 3-4 days and refresh it every 10-12 days by throwing out half of it and mixing in "equal amounts of flour and water."

Greenstein says, if you are going to refrigerate the sour for any length of time, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and float a layer of water over it. (I don't generally do the water cover trick.)

I hope this helps some one.

David

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Spinach Cheese Boule with Whole Wheat

Many a Sunday my wife and son buy a boule at the local farmer's market which they call Spinach Cheese Bread, even though it has lots of other veggie stuff in it too. They like it, so for last week's baking session I decided to try and make my own.

First problem was no recipe available on the Internet that seemed to make what I wanted. So I had to make my own. I decided to use frozen chopped spinach, mild gouda cheese (what else to expect from a Dutchman), and I also wanted to have a portion of whole wheat flour in it. I've made whole wheat bread before and using a poolish did wonders for my schedule as well as for the dough and overall taste. So, I decided this one was to use a poolish too!

I've also been working on a spreadsheet the allows me to do all baker percentage calculations (helps with recipe scaling and design). While I was at it, I added an ingredient database to it with cost information, hydration information and specific gravity for ingredients so I can correctly convert weight measurements to volumes for those we like to bake that way. You'll find a PDF of this recipe here.

A few words about the spreadsheet

The spreadsheet's yellow cells is where you input your desired values (this includes ingredients). A "Y" in the "Pre" column indicates an ingredient that is part of a preferment. A "P" indicates an ingredient that is a separately created preferment. Although there are different options for baker's percentages when using preferments, I have chosen to express everything as percentages of dough in the overall recipe. Note that tap water temperature, mixer friction and baking loss are specific to my situation (and an estimate I am still refining for each type of bread for the loss, mostly evaporation, and friction).

The component temperatures are to be entered on the bottom, if you want to be precise with final dough temperature. If necessary it will calculate how much ice to add to the water if it needs cooling (rarely the case in my home baking). The spreadsheet automatically adjusts for the number of components that have a temperature specified so if you do not enter a value for the preferment (presumably because you are not using one), the factor will be 3 instead of 4.

Some measurements in the "US Weight" column are given in tablespoons etc. The spreadsheet does this if the actual value as a weight becomes so small that, with most scales, you can not accurately measure. Since I have (pretty accurate) specific gravity values for the ingredients, I can quite reliably (subject to all the fallacies of measuring volumes: packed, spooned, shifted) give the volume. I use a scale accurate to 1 gram myself, but for these small amounts, a small measuring spoon workds great (I have a set for dashes, smidgens, and pinches as well).

Hydration is calculated by computing the water content of all ingredients that are composed 50% or more of water and adding them up. That catches water, milk, eggs etc., but does not count water content in dough. Cost is based on a home baker buying pretty regular ingredients in a super market. The exception is that I use KA prices for my flour as I will not use the cheap stuff.

The recipe

Making the poolish is straightforward. I make it the night before and leave it on the counter (about 68F), and it'll be close enough to ready the next morning around 11AM. The amount of final dough in this recipe is about right for an 8" banneton (scaled up from what I used to make the one in the picture above, which got misshaped whe inverting onto the peel). Nevertheless, it is borderline not enough to knead properly in my KitchenAid so I finish with manual labor.

In the last minute or two of kneading I add the cheese (room temperature, cubed in 1/4" pieces), and spinach. I made the mistake of not squeezing enough water out of the thawed spinach, so my dough got too wet and I had to add flour (not represented in the recipe because you should squeeze it out).

Next bulk ferment, about 90 minutes in my case. I did a fold about half way through. Next degas and preshape. Twenty minutes relaxing and final shaping.

I preheated oven at 500F, with water for pre-steam added in a baking pan in the last few minutes. Invert the bread out of the banneton onto parchment paper on the peel. Scored in a \ | / pattern, a sprayed with water. Into the over on baking stone, more water in the pan for steaming. Spray oven walls with water twice, 30 seconds apart after putting loaf in the oven. Then reduce to 475F.

Baked for a total of 35 minutes, oven vented for last 10. Here was the result.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

We had a German exchange student stay with us for a couple of weeks recently. Marcel is about 17 years old, and we hit it off great. He shares an interest with me and my oldest son and daughter, who are about the same age as Marcel, in physics, math, computers, and music. He is one of the nicest, most polite young men I've met. One day I was making some sourdough bread in my kitchen, and I noticed Marcel paying very close attention to the process. He then mentioned that his grandmother, who lives with his family in Germany, frequently bakes breads, and he is a big fan of her breads. We quickly discovered that bread was another of our shared interests. He described going to a mill near his village and buying spelt flour and rye flour of a coarseness specified by his grandmother for her breads. What a difference from buying over the internet, as I tend to do here in NJ. So, I asked if he could recite some favorite recipes for me. He then got on the phone with his grandmother, and she emailed us two recipes, one of which is described here, and one will be described in a separate blog entry (spelt bread). We had quite a time translating German baking terminology into English for my use, including struggling with the word edelhefe and with correct translations of some or the names of spices. Also, there was some confusion over methods of handling the dough, but eventually, I felt I had enough information to try these recipes. When Marcel returned to Germany, he also forwarded to me some photos he took of his grandmother's process, although only for the spelt bread, and not for this potato bread recipe.

I have photos of my process for this bread and the spelt bread recipe. Since I did both at the same time, there is an intermingling of the two breads, but I hope it will be clear what is going on with each bread.

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams whole spelt flour (I used Heartland Mills Spelt Flour)
  • 150 grams whole rye (I used KA Pumpernickel)
  • 300 grams water
  • 400 grams peeled, boiled, mashed potatoes
  • 12 grams salt
  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 egg yokes, stirred up
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1.5 tsp yeast or 30 grams fresh yeast)

Autolyse, Yeast Proof, Prepare Potatoes

Mix the flours and water aside and allow to sit for about 30 minutes (autolyse). Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water warm water, and yeast in a bowl and allow to sit until very frothy (yeast proofing), about 30 minutes. Peel and boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash them up.

I actually had no potatoes in the pantry, so I used some potato flakes mixed with water to about the consistency of mashed potatoes. I realized later in the mixing stage this was probably too much water, though I suspect that potato bread like this should seem very wet, based on reading floydm's recipe.

Mix and Knead

Mix together the results from the autolyse, the yeast proofing, and the mashed potatoes along with the salt, spices, and butter. In this recipe, because I used mashed potatoes made from a box of potato flakes, the dough came out very, very wet. I was finding myself having more difficulty handling this dough than I normally have with my very wet miche doughs. So, I added some flour, trying to compensate for what was probably way too much water, and I ended up adding something like 1.5 cups more flour to the dough. Unfortunately, this means, it's tough for me to tell you what the consistency of the dough as specified in the actual recipe given to me by Marcel's grandmother really is, nor do I have pictures of it from her. Anyway, I worked the dough a little bit using a folding technique that one might use for a very wet dough. After about 3 or 4 minutes, it seemed to come together into a very supple but workable dough.

Bulk Fermentation (about 2 hours)

Place the dough in a rising bucket or covered bowl and allow to rise. I did the bulk fermentation above my coffee machine where the temperature is about 80F. It took a little longer than 1.5 hours to rise by double, as specified by Marcel's grandmother.

Kneading, Shaping, Final Proof (15 minutes), Preheat oven to 400F

Take the dough out of the container onto a bed of flour. Stretch and fold it a few times. Let it rest a few minutes. Stretch and fold again, and let it rest. I did this because Marcel's grandmother says to knead it with some flour a little bit. This was Marcel's translation. It seemed like the opportune moment to fold the dough, given that it had risen and still seemed fairly wet. The folding did help the dough to come back together, so I then formed two long batards. The recipe says "form two long breads", according to Marcel. I did this very similarly, once again, to JMonkey's video on shaping a whole wheat dough. However, I just made them a bit longer and skinnier, based on the instructions. Put them in a couche, similar to what one would do for baguettes and allow to rise for 15 minutes covered with towels.

Preheat oven to 400F while final proof continues. In my case the oven was already hot from the Dinkelbrot bake.

Marcel's grandmother says to let it rise 15 minutes under a towel. I realize this was just the right thing to do. However, being nervous this was not enough time, based on other breads I've made, I let them sit a few more minutes - maybe 25 minutes or so. This was a mistake, as they puffed up so quickly, that the skin on the surface was ripping slightly here and there. So, sticking to the instructions might have been perfect. Darn, but will do better next time.

Place Loaves on Peel

Place the loaves on a peel or upside down jelly roll pan on some parchment. The loaves were big and floppy, and I had let them go too long in final proof, so this was harder than it sounds. Paint the loaves with egg yoke. Slash the loaves.

I suspect the loaves were too wet and allowed to rise too long in final proof. The result is they were spreading out very quickly on the peel, and I took a little too long painting them and slashing them because I ran out of yoke and had a hard time moving the floppy loaves to the peel and whatnot. Again, will hope to do better with a little less water or real potatoes and less final proof next time.

Bake

Place loaves in oven preheated to 400F, and bake for about 30 minutes. Internal temperature was 210.

The loaves did spring a little, but mostly they spread. I guess the same notes as above apply - reduce the water to make a little bit stiffer dough and don't let it rise for long in final proof.

Cool

Place loaves on rack to cool completely before cutting into them.

Results

Like the Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread, this bread tasted just great. The crust had a nice shine and color as a result of the egg yoke. Marcel says there is a particular look to these loaves, due to the egg yoke coating, that he says is typical of breads from his village in Germany. The spices add a nice touch to the already good flavor of the spelt and rye. I've decided German breads, at least the ones Marcel's grandmother makes, are wonderful after trying her dinkelbrot and kartoffelbrot recipes. Thanks to Marcel and his grandmother for sharing these recipes with me.

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.

Lesson Five: Ten Tips for Better French Bread

I've been baking something along the lines of what Americans call French Bread (a simple bread containing flour, salt, yeast, and water baked directly on a hearth or baking stone) almost every weekend for over a year now. Sometimes I bake more than one batch a weekend.

Over these 50 or 60 batches of bread there has been consistent improvement in the quality of my breads. Certainly there have been failures but, without question, I've gotten a lot better. Compare the tightness of the crumb of the breads I baked in my early lessons with the openness of my recent loaves. Much closer to what French Bread is supposed to be.

Through trial-and-error, by reading a lot of good baking books, and through numerous discussions with folks on this site I've learned a number of things worth passing on to other folks who want to try making artisan bread at home. Most of these rules hold true whether you are trying to bake pain sur poolish, pain de campagne, Ciabatta, or a rustic bread by any other name. Keep these tips in mind and bake regularly and you'll be making top notch artisan breads (whatever you want to call them) in no time.

Without further ado, the list:

Ten Tips For Better French Bread

10. Use Good Ingredients

9. Use a Preferment

8. Autolyse

7. The Wetter, The Better

6. Folding & Shaping

5. Slow Rise

4. Scoring

3. Bake with High Heat

2. Use a Baking Stone

1. Steam the Oven

0. Practice!

On to Number 10: Use Good Ingredients.

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