The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
Simon280586's picture
Simon280586

Dense crumb only in the middle of the loaf

I've been baking a few round loaves recently, following the formula in Tartine Bread for the country loaf. They turn out pretty good, but one oddity I've noticed is that the crumb is very open for the first few slices, but gets progressively more dense as I get closer to the centre (the widest part of the loaf). It's cooked properly, but is comprised of smaller, more regular air pockets, almost like a standard loaf of white bread.

 

So I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced similar issues. The pictures in the book suggest that the open crumb should persist throughout the loaf.

 

One thought I had is that the heat is not penetrating the centre of these large loaves before the outer portions have solidified, preventing proper expansion. Is that possible? And if so, what can i do about it? I'm cooking in a Dutch oven and at the suggested temperatures, which seem to produce the correct crust colouring.

 

Maybe it's something else entirely. Any suggestions welcome :)   

 

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Farmers Market Week 8: Flaxseed Walnut Rye

So 9 weeks later and I'm still with it.  In fact I look forward to this more than most things right now.  It's fun, refreshing, and educational.  I've been wanting to do a Rye and so here we go.  As I've mentioned previously I need to have retarded loaves so i can bake the quanitity without overproofing.  And this quanitty may go up starting next week.  Next trouble is I'll need a larger fridge.  I'm gonna have to get coolers and ice to move our food too for the night and make room for more loaves in the fridge.  

As for the Rye.  I feared even a 40% with the overnight retard but I went with it assuming at worst I fail.  I wanted to add some character and good health in there without overwhelming the loaf.  So i added a small quantity 5% broken toasted walnuts along with 3%flaxseed.  If we're gonna do some wholegrain why not add even more flavor and nutrition.  With the hit and miss of those who care for caraway I steered clear of bread spice and went nuts and seeds instead.   I did 2 builds to get all of the Rye in the levain.  I started the first build off a bit of my white starter.  

 Last weeks attempt at using a handheld steam cleaner was lackluster.  It didn't retain any more steam than towels and ice can provide, In fact it may have been losing some of that precious steam trying to fill the oven with it.  I gave up with that early on last week and stuck to what works.  I've added some small, cleaned river rocks to my cast iron to maybe help generate a bit more steam from that side.  If I can figure out how to seal the vents on my oven I think I may get the steam retention I seek. 

Half way through the bake and things seem promising so far.  Scoring Rye is certainly a different technique and I don't do enough of it these days.  So another goal here with this project is to lose the desire to use a professional oven and really create a love with my home oven setup.  

well i've written too much:

Flaxseed/Walnut Rye (40%)

Build 1 (18 hours)

16 g       Mature White Starter

160 g    H20

160 g    Coarsely Gournd Whole Rye (100%)

----------------------------------------------

Build 2 (hours) (37%)

336 g    First Build

1334 g  H20 

1834 g  Coarsely Gournd Whole Rye (Bit stiff, I'll add moe of the finish dough  water next time) (40%)

-----------------------------------------------

Final Dough:

Rye Sour (all)

2347 g      H20 (77% overall but figured seperately at 85% rye and 72 % white)

3000 g      Strong Flour (60%)

115 g        Salt (2.29%)

275 g        Walnuts toasted (5.5%)

150 g        Flaxseeds, toasted (3%) 

--------------------------------------------------

1)  Autolyse HP and H20 for 30 minutes (hold back 10% of H20 to soften Rye Sour)

2)  Add remaining water to rye sour and break up a bit.  Add to Autolyse and mix on speed 1 (5 minutes scraping bowl)

3)  Add salt and continue on speed 1 for a few minutes.  Turn to speed 2 (medium low on my machine) and continue for 5 minutes scarping bottom of bowl often to release the dough.  

4)  Add nuts and seeds.  mix on speed 1 to incorporate 

5)  Bulk Ferment (3 1/2 hours)  4 gentle S + F's at 30 minute intervals. 

6)  Divide and Shape (These would have been nicer proofed on a couche dusted with corn meal)

7)  Proof 1 hour at room temp and retard ( I was scared and maybe should have extended this a touch)

8)  Bake 480 with steam for 15 and then 460 without for 23-35 more. 

COOL

Notes:  Pull loaves from retarder 1 hour before loading to soften skin and allow better rise.  First set went straight from retarder and the spring showed.  The following I all pulled 1 hour before going in.  Essentially as I loaded I pulled the following from the fridge to get rid of the chill.  

Happy Baking

Josh

 

Photos Coming Soon

 

 

 Some weren't quite so pretty from the scoring side but its quite tasty with a great crunchy crust.  I'll keep pushin the envelope with retarding high % ryes/wheats until I notice problems but this worked more than well.  In fact I coulda proofed these longer at room temp before retarding.  

 

 

Green Beans, Zuke, cauliflauer, brocooli, heriloom tomatoes (first of season), walla walla onions, garlic, local cevre, fennel, a box of peaches (so good), and some braising greens

 

Happy Baking All

 

josh

NewToBakingBread's picture
NewToBakingBread

Bread

Hi, I'm fairly new to baking bread I've made about five loaves and they are getting better every time. There is one thing I would like to ask, that is, is it possible to keep a piece of your dough with the live yeast in it before you shape and proof, store it somewhere where the yeast will continue to grow and add that to a new batch of dough or a pre-ferment without adding extra yeast? Will the yeast multiply if you add sugar and flour and water to 'feed it'? I like the idea of this, like being able to make your own yoghurt from milk and a small portion of your previous batch and letting the cultures grow and multiply. But will it work and is it worh the effort?

Thank you.

david earls's picture
david earls

Pane rustica

This is the result of about a month's work. Started as ciabatta, but ciabatta means "slipper" in Italian, and I'm nowhere near on the shape and not going to get there. So I'm calling it pane rustica.

Started this loaf with a poolish (100g ea of flour and water), with an additional 100g of flour in the dough and 78% total hydration. Just enough bread to hold the holes together.

Baked in a Sharp Carousel, a countertop combo microwave/convection oven. Doubt I'll get to heaven on the crust color, but I'm there on the holes. Crust is thin and crunchy; crumb is what good rustic breads are all about: chewy.

The pleasure of bread comes from the chew - 

Formula:

for the poolish
flour 50%
water 50%
yeast, a trace

for the dough:
all the poolish
flour 50%
water 28%
salt 2.5%
yeast, a trace

This one likes long slow proofing. I use KA Sir Lancelot (14% gluten) and three stretch-and-folds (last before shaping). Minimal handling. Baking on pre-heated firebrick.

This is repeatable.

dwarfwarri's picture
dwarfwarri

What is wrong with my croissants?

I baked them using hammelman's recipe and method...proofed for 2 hours at 23C and I baked it at 195C for 6mins then 165C for 9 mins...maybe I underbaked them? I took them out and let it cool down and i cut open this croissant and it was all wet and mushy inside. However, the smaller croissants that I had...mini tiny ones expanded and weren't wet and mushy inside.

What is wrong with my croissants? (I'm a newbie and this is my third time baking croissants)

 

Thanks!

mcs's picture
mcs

Making Flour Adjustments

One of the hurdles that all bakers will have to deal with at one time or another is adjusting his/her recipe for a new flour.  Sometimes your favorite flour is discontinued, the price skyrockets, you move to a new location, or maybe the recipe that you're using 'couldn't possibly be right' with the amount of flour that is called for.

Over the last 5 years of the bakery, I've had to adjust to 6 different rye flours, as a result of all of the above reasons (and a few more reasons, to boot).  First it was Bob's Red Mill, then it was Montana Milling, then Giusto's, then Arrowhead Mills, then ConAgra Dark, and now Montana Flour and Grain.  Of course when you're selling rye bread commercially, not only do you have to make the product's appearance consistent, you also have to keep your customers happy without creating a drastic change in flavor or texture. 

As you may or may not know, Montana is known for some of the best flour in the world.  Much of it is grown and milled north of here in an area known as 'the golden triangle'.  Having recently moved to the Bozeman area, I decided to try Montana Flour and Grain's organic rye flour, which happens to be reasonably priced at $.50 per pound when bought in a 50 pound bag. 

As you can see, it has a nice speckled color, is medium coarse (my opinion), and has a slightly sweet smell.  Of the previously mentioned flours, I would compare it to both Montana Milling's and Bob's Red Mill.

The first step in switching from one flour to a new one is matching the consistency.  With the ConAgra Dark Rye flour (which is what I was switching from) I kept a 125% hydration starter.  At this hydration, the starter was best described as 'very stiff'.  To give you an idea how stiff, I would use a plastic scraper to remove it from the mixing bowl, as opposed to a rubber spatula, and I could 'lift' the dough out in one 3 kilo glob, when I needed to.

Since the new flour appeared to have a much finer texture right out of the bag, I decided I would do my first sponge (using a portion of the old starter) at 100% hydration, then I would check the consistency as it mixed.  If it was thicker than the previous ConAgra starter, I would add water, if it was thinner, I would add flour, recording the results regardless.

sponge original:
471g rye flour
540g water
45g rye starter

new sponge experiment:
540g rye flour
540g water
45g rye starter

As you can see, I made a 'drier' sponge by adding more rye flour to create the 100% hydration, as opposed to reducing the water.  This was for two reasons:  I wanted to have enough dough for the amount of loaves I needed to make and I felt a slightly stronger rye was better than a slightly weaker rye.

Anyway, the sponge ended up being very close in texture; a little bit 'wetter', although I felt it was within a workable margin. 

For the final dough which I mixed the following day, I decided to reduce the water, the same amount in weight as the rye flour I had added the day before.  This means I reduced the final dough water by 70g, or, keeping all of the other ingredients the same as before, I was left with the same final dough total weight.

As it was mixing, I observed how quickly it 'came together' and how it moved in the bowl.  Pressing my finger into the dough part way through the mix, it felt identical to 'how it should be'.  By the time it was finished mixing, it was identical to ryes I had made in the past.  If it hadn't been, then I would adjust during the mix by adding water or flour, and recording my results in a notebook.

With this adjustment and increase in rye flour and reduction in water, the rye loaf changed from being a 37% rye to a 42% rye.

Below are the results.  The texture and flavor a very close, although the color of the crumb and crust of the bread on the right is lighter.

-Mark

 

 

37% rye made with ConAgra Dark Rye flour (left) and 42% rye made with Montana Flour & Grain Organic Rye

dschal's picture
dschal

Finally time to uncloak

Hello from Western Massachusetts.  I am finally joining the forum after lurking for months and benefitting from the vast wealth of information from, and experience of, the members here.  Thank you so much for making this such a useful site!

I've been baking bread since last December.  It all started innocently enough.  I just wanted to bake something better than the breads that are available locally.  Then the obsession gripped me....  I kept stopping at KA Flour in Norwich on my frequent trips to New Hampshire.  My wife gave me an DLX/Assistent mixer for my birthday.  You know the rest.

I've settled on several of the breads in Hamelman"s book, especially the Vt. Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, as our daily breads.  I have worked these out quite well at this point.  But of course, it can't stop there.  So I am venturing into the deeper waters of higher hydration doughs.  Today I baked my first successful Miche, from dmsnyder's formula "Miche from SFBI Artisn II -2kg."  It just came out of the oven, and I am going to wait 24 hours to slice it, but it looks pretty good to me.  It's one big honking loaf.

Thanks again for providing this wonderful community!

Dave

Nharres's picture
Nharres

Beer yeast/wort starter

I'm venturing into unknown territory here. I have spent days on the internet researching but am not really finding a lot of specific information out there. My background - I have a plain old sourdough starter that I have been keeping for a couple of years now. It originally came from a local bakery so I never had to start one on my own. I have kept it both in the fridge and on the counter and have kept it going with no problems.

My husband is a home brewer and my bread making got us on the topic of using beer yeast for baking. I've tried this, and it ended out ok - but took a lot longer to rise than regular old baker's yeast. It did have a slightly different flavor, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

In order to get better/optimal flavoring, I was wondering if anyone has had any expereince making and keeping a sourdough starter using brewers yeast (I'm thinking of using a couple Tbsp. of husband's yeast starter) and possibly some of the wort for flavoring (technically I guess this would be a barm, but I'm thinking of keeping it indefinitely just like a sourdough). I would eventually have to replish with water/flour only as we only have wort on hand once a month or so and I know my husband won't let me keep dipping into his wort because he'll end out with less beer - possibly just using the wort for the initial liquid in the starter along with the yeast slurry.

Would the brewer's yeast eventually be replaced by the natural yeasts of the flour? Anyone have experience or thoughts on this whole process and whether or not it would work or even be worth it beyond a loaf or two of barm bread?

Tinabean's picture
Tinabean

Firm starter question

I have good results with my starter, which has a thick pancake batter consistency. What would the percent hydration be for this? I've also seen the term firm starter here quite a bit. What would firm starter look like? How thick is it? I guess I need something to compare it to without getting into a lot of bread math. I need something I can visualize. Thanks!

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Quick question on Overnight Blonde, Forkish

Hello everyone!

I browsed through some of the entries concerning this recipe, but did not find exactly what I'm looking for.

 

I have the Kindle version of his book, and I'm a bit puzzled - he recommends retarding the dough right away after mixing the final dough, but making a few folds  "before you go to bed" (indicating the timing is a little lax)

 

are we supposed to fold the dough WHILE COLD, removing from the fridge to do so?  

 

 

Pages