The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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pezeni's picture
pezeni

I think my starter may have made me sick.

Guys I really need some advice. I have been maintaing a starter for about 4 months. I usually bake a few consecutive days a week and keep my starter in the fridge the rest of the time. After I am done using the starter I throw about 80% of it out, refresh it and put it in the fridge. Usually 4 or 5 days later, the night before I bake I take my starter out, again throw out about 80% and feed it. Usually when I take my starter out of the fridge there is a very vinegary or paint thinner smell. This time the smell was a little funky and off. I can't really describe it other than it stayed with you. I didn't think much of it and refreshed the starter as usual (the smell remained after the refresh), made the loaves yesterday, retarded them overnight and baked today. I let the finished loaf cool about 5 hours and ate a few slices. About four hours later I was vomitting. After a good bout I now feel better so I think it is something I ate rather than a bug. I did eat other stuff today, but I want to be 110% sure it is not my starter and I will not make anyone else sick by giving them loaves. What can I do to be absolutely sure I kill anything bad that may have developed in my starter? Some other factors that may make a difference, I have been keeping it in the same jar a while, it has been very hot temp wise here, I feed my starter about a mix of mostly white flour, with some wheat and some rye. Any help would really be appreciated I know you guys are experts.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Katie's Stout with Flax-Delicious!

It's funny how things come together some times. Katie, one of Andy's students in college developed this recipe that Karin (a German baker transplanted to Maine) baked and posted last week. It was a beautiful loaf. About the same time a new poster from Iceland ( Schrödinger's O...) presented a beautiful bread with a natural expansion instead of slashing. I decided to try my own nut brown ale since it is very flavor rich and semi dark and, available. I also added a small amount of toasted wheat germ to add a little dimension to the chew and flavor.

I first must say to Katie I think your bread is wonderful. It has a full depth of flavor and a great aftertaste. Your hydration and baking times were right on for me. Thank you so much for sharing your creative energy. also a word of thanks must go to Andy, for bringing this talent forward for us to see and enjoy her work. And Karin for her inspiration and conformation the recipe can be baked out of scale. It's always nice to see her work. Then comes -kristjan, who showed us a beautiful boule he has been baking for some time and shared with us only that day. I was so inspired that I tried a shaping and natural expansion I had been wanting to try instead of scoring to see if I could bring some art to the surface of this loaf. So, here is my take on Katie's Stout with Flax Seeds.

varda's picture
varda

PAL with 8% White Rye

Since I got back from vacation my starter has been on rest and recuperation.   We were lucky to miss the hurricane by being in another state, but it still came through here (downgraded to tropical storm) and killed the power for at least some period of time, which made my already neglected starter even unhappier.   I've been baking a lot since I got back and it's been just edible but improving with each bake.  Today, I had a well fed starter ready to go and looking happy, but I really wanted to bake outside to see if I could get a nice burst on the hot WFO floor to make up for my troubles.   It was close to raining and most of my wood was wet from a downpour last night, so things didn't look very promising, but I decided to do it anyhow.   I mixed up a mostly white dough with a touch of white rye and prayed for no rain, scrounging around for wood that wasn't soaked all the way through.    I just managed to get the oven up to temperature with the dry wood that I had, and got my bread baked before it started raining for real.   I've got to stop living on the edge like this :)

 The crumb opened up and I managed to get at least some opening of the scores by using a steam pan in the WFO for the first time.    

The new look comes from my Indian or whatever basket. 

And following Sylvia's example (if not cooking talent) I threw a pan of potatoes and onions into the oven after the bread baked, so as not to waste the heat.  

Formula:

 FinalStarterTotalPercent
KAAP45014259291%
White Rye50 508%
Rye 771%
Water35010145170%
Salt12 121.9%
Starter250  23%

 

Method:

Mix all but salt.   Autolyze for 50 minutes.   Add salt and mix for several minutes.    Bulk Ferment for 2 hours with 1 counter full stretch out until very thin.    Shape into boule and place upside down in basket.   Proof for 2 hours.   Bake in WFO (around 650F floor temperature) for 25 minutes.  Remove and cool. 

glora's picture
glora

Commercial sandwich rolls

Hi all,

Does anyone know if it is necessary to add S500 (dough conditioner) to commercial rolls to make them light and have more volume?  I was told that it makes them last longer and gives them good volume.  I was thinking that if a plain lean dough could be intensively mixed the rolls might end up with somewhat of the same affect.  We all know that the public at least here wants the bread on a sandwich to have certain characteristics, which we need to try and meet.  If anyone has any input please let me know.

Thank you,

Gena

 

Vilson's picture
Vilson

Pain aux Noix (Walnut Bread)

This is my first post in the TFL forum. I've been visiting the forum for some time now, and it has inspired me to start experimenting as an artisan home baker. And we all know it can be a little intimidating to send your first post when you have seen so many beautiful pictures of all kinds of breads and descriptions of such refined techniques.

Anyway, after embracing the adventure of starting my own starter (named "João" by my wife, the portuguese translation for "John") and perceiving the art of baking with it, I feel like I am now able to retribute all the help I got from you guys.

Well, let's getit on then.

The Bread: Whole Wheat Walnut Bread (Pain aux Noix )

The Recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pain-aux-noix-recipe, from King Arthur Flour, with some adjustments.

How I did it:

First, after taking João (my 100% hydradion AP flour starter) from the refrigerator the night before, and having fed it three times (one after taking it from the fridge, one early the next morning, and the last one three hours later), I took 4 ounces of it and put it in the bowl of my mixer, instead of the instant yeast the recipe called for.

Since I did not know if the brazilian WW flour would work  as a substitute for KAF White Whole Wheat flour, I switched the proportions for WW and AP Flour, using 10 3/4 ounces of AP and 4 5/8 ounces  of WW (the recipe calls for 6 5/8 ounces, but I subtracted 2 ounces on account of the flour in the starter).

I then added all the other ingredients (remembering to reduce 2 ounces from the ammount of milk the recipe called for, also on account of the starter), except the salt, and mixed with the dough hook, on medium speed, for 10 minutes.

Added the salt, and continued mixing for 15 minutes, until the dough was very smooth, showing a very well developed gluten on a windowpane test.

Then, I've let the dough raise for about 4 hours. In spite of the 28° C heat (82° F), it showed very little signs of having raised at all, except for some tiny bubbles on the surface of the dough.

I then opened the dough over a lightly oiled counter and spread the chopped walnuts over it, pressing gently so that they would stick to the dough, rolled it, folded it, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

After that I shaped the dough as a boule, and let it rise for 1,5 hour, preheating the oven to 230° C (450° F) on the last half hour.

Just before bakinng, I decided to experiment with some stencil, using parchment paper straps and corn starch. Last but not least, the slashing: angled and not very deep (I find that, when it comes to the deepness of the slash, less is more, as you will notice in the pictures below).

This was the result: my first Pain aux Noix, with a very nice ear ("grigne"), and a beautiful stencil stripe pattern.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to take crumb shots. I had invited some friends over for a brunch and the bread was entirely eaten before I could think of it... Well, I guess that's what home baking is all about, isn't it?

philosophe's picture
philosophe

Help with pain au levain crust

Hello,

I recently got Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday. I've tried the pain au levain recipe 3 times and have had the same problem every time. The crust of the bread is a kind of pale gray color on top and a nicer golden on the bottom. And, although the bread does have a good spring, the crust doesn't really crack open on top (even where I've scored it). (See pictures below).

I'm wondering if anyone has any idea of what's going on.

I should say that I am using King Arthur French Style Flour (11.5% protein); I am using both starter and instant yeast; the dough is fermenting in the fridge for about 18 hours before baking; I preheat the oven to 500 Farenheit with a baking stone in the oven for 45 minutes; I pour a bit less than a cup of boiling water into a preheated baking pan on the rack under the stone; and I open the oven door for a couple seconds after 13 minutes and then bake for another 15-25 (depending on the size of the loaf).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

A weekend of adventure

Last weekend was a bit of a baking adventure for me – instead of trialling out a well established recipe somehow I ended up experimenting with two new recipes :

Malty Seeded Loaf and Vodka Cranberry Loaf. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I must say I am really pleased with both of them. Especially the vodka one – a week later, and I can still smell the vanilla in the air. Oh, that’s making me hungry again.

 

Full recipes and photos on my blog

For Malty Seeded one

And

For Vodka Cranberry one

TimmyB's picture
TimmyB

A search for Flour, Salt and Water. Part One - Sea Salt

 

Flour Salt and Water are all that we need to make great bread.  So I am on the search for the best flour/salt/water for a new baking adventure/venture.

PART 1 - Salt

JohnD on sourdough.com wrote an interesting article regarding the varying qualities of salt.  The conclusion is the minerality of sea salt was superior to river or rock salt.  In my travels I have been looking for an affordable high quality salt and I am pleased to say I have found it.

 

My preference was to find a locally produced salt but the reality is salts in Victoria, Australia just don’t have the quality I was looking for.  So I broadened my outlook to include fair trade salt.  Salt that I could purchase directly from the farmer. (I figure that I can off set any resulting carbon footprint with tree planting which is already planned to compensate for the use of a wood fired oven).

 

Whilst on holidays on the east coast of Bali I ordered a bowl of chips and they where the best chips I have ever eaten. Not because of they were well cook, in fact the preparation was less than pleasing, oily and under cooked, but because they where covered in the most extraordinary salt.  When I enquired further I was thrilled to discover that the salt was produced only a short walk from where I was staying.

 

Amed Sea Salt is produced on small salt farms that have been producing salt the same way for generations.  At one time, several generations ago, the farms could be found scattered up and down the coast but now there are only a few left.  The salt is sold almost exclusively to locals although some restaurants are now using it.

 

The traditional process remains unchanged with perhaps the only amendment being plastic/hesion bags are used to line the clay filters

 

Step 1)Harrow the clay/soil pans and fill with sea water

Step 2)Smooth the salt and soil mixture to enable even drying

Step 3)Rake the dried salt and soil to break it up

Step 4)Put broken soil into the filter cones, lining the sides.  The cones are a lot like giant coffee filters

Step 5)Collect more sea water and fill the cone

Step 6)The sea water then filters through the salty soil

Step 7)Collect the filtered salty water and place into wooden containers to evaporate and reveal the salt.  (the wooded containers are palm trunks that have been cut in half and carved out)

In this photo the salty water is only one day old

After 3 days the salt is visible and crystalising

Step 8)After 4 days of drying the salt is ready for collection in large 5kg baskets

 

The salt is a wonderful color, slightly grey and so so tasty.  The local restaurants don’t use any stocks and very little additional flavoring as the salt seems to do it all.

 

I am looking forward to seeing how this amazing salt complements my bread.

wally's picture
wally

Back for a visit with Rye

It's been a long time since I've participated in TFL.  It seems that baking for a living has become nearly all-consuming, and while I lurk around here looking at the wonderful breads being baked, I haven't had the time or inclination to even comment on what I see.

Back in April our bakery, located in a restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, DC ,was flooded when the Potomac River overtopped a levee that had (for reasons no one has yet explained) been only partially raised.  The results were devastating: our restaurant and two others were destroyed.  At the time we were supplying bread for our restaurant, a sister restaurant and one of the restaurants on the waterfront that was flooded.  We were working with close to 700 lbs of dough a day when the disaster struck.

In the aftermath, our sister restaurant - Founding Farmers - was forced to purchase nearly all their breads for several months.  The exception was the production of English muffins, which a couple of us did from midnight until 6am each morning in the cramped kitchen at Founding Farmers which was simultaneously being cleaned and awash in water and suds.  It was an unpleasant couple months, but we were lucky to still have jobs, so that trumped our discomfort.

Eventually we were able to lease space at a commercial cake bakery while a new bakery is constructed for us.  Life has returned to normal - I now begin my day at 4am (bankers hours by bakers' standards), and we work in a well-equipped kitchen with  a 4 deck hearth oven and double stack of convection ovens.  Below is a rack of freshly baked ciabatta awaiting delivery to Founding Farmers.

During this time I've continued my own baking adventures at home, mainly involving pain au levain, ryes and a memorable fougasse consumed on the lawn at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts while listening to kd lang.

But lately, I've focused more on ryes, and last week I returned to a favorite of mine: a 72% rye with a rye soaker and seeds.  It's a 100% hydration dough, due to the seeds (in this case, equal weights of sesame and sunflower), which means that you pretty much pour the dough/batter into pans.  There is no shaping or bench resting with this dough.

Below is the formula I constructed.  This produces 3 x 1.5# loaves.

I mix the dough for about 10 minutes on speed 1.  What makes this dough particularly interesting,  I think, is that there is no water in the final mix: All the water is used in the levain and the rye soaker.

This dough has a short fermentation period and only slightly longer proof before it is baked.  I fermented it for 35 minutes, and then poured it into the pans, where it proofed for 55 minutes.  I docked the tops of the loaves using a fork.

  

They went into a pre-steamed oven at 475 ° F oven.  After 15 minutes I reduced the temperature by 25 °, and continued to do so until the loaves had baked for 75 minutes (so the final bake temp was 375 ° ).

Loaves were cooled on wire racks, and once cooled wrapped in linen for 48 hours before I cut into them.

I'm quite happy with the result.  The crumb has a nice openness for a high percentage rye, and the combination of the seeds enhances the flavor - especially if the bread is lightly toasted.

Still being a goat cheese aficiando, I enjoy it with this tasty rye in the afternoon - often with a nice glass of rye whiskey!

Larry

 

codruta's picture
codruta

Pain au Levain- two different formulas from "BREAD"

I baked Pain au Levain (page 158 from Hamelman's book) a while ago, and I wrote about it here.

Soon after that, I made another pain au levain, this time the formula with mixed sourdough starters (page 162). I didn't achieve the big-holes-in-the-crumb I was looking for, but the bread was good, it had a good oven spring, and the crust was delicious. I used whole-spelt flour instead of whole-wheat flour and I mixed the dough by hand. I kept the hydration at 68% and retard the dough overnight in the fridge. This bread was a guest post, and the formula is given here. Here are some pictures:

After that, I made another pain au levain, this time a combination of Whole-Wheat Multigrain and Whole-Wheat Levain. I used 31% whole wheat flour and a soaker of roasted black sesame seeds (for colour and texture), oat bran and (old fashioned) rolled oats. The hydration was 79.8%, but a lot of water is absorbed by oats. I liked working with this dough: is so pretty, smells so nice and I could shape it without problem.

My boyfriend's sister, who lives in Paris, and her husband, who has an italian origin, they were visiting us the next day I baked this bread. They both eat a couple of slices with evident pleasure, and they comment that my breads are getting better and better (we only get to meet each other twice, maybe three times a year, so they don't taste my breads very often. Their comments were welcomed and appreciated). Here are the pictures from the beggining

and the final product:

I have the complete formula on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare. The automatic translation is very bad, but if anyone is interested, I can translate it for you.

UPDATE:

Overall  formula:
- Bread Flour: 310 g ………………………………....... 69.4%
- Whole-Wheat Flour: 17 g …………………………… 30.6%
- Water: 357 g …………………………………………….. 79.8%
- Rolled oats: 45 g ……………………………………… 10%
- Oat bran: 22 g …………………………………………… 5%
- (black) Sesame Seeds, roasted: 13 g ……………. 3%
- Salt: 9 g ……………………………………………………. 2%
dough: 893 g ………………………………………………. 199.8%Liquid levain build:
- Whole-Wheat Flour: 64 g
- Water: 81 g
- Sourdough starter (100%): 6 g
  = 151 g liquid levain 125%For soaker
- Rolled oats: 45 g
- Oat Bran: 22 g
- (black) Sesame Seeds: 13 g – roasted
- Water: 100 g
  = 180 g soakerFor the final dough:
- Bread Flour: 307 g
- Whole-Wheat Flour: 73 g
- Water: 173 g
- Liquid Levain: 151 g (all of the above)
- Soaker: 180 g (all of the above)
- Salt: 9 g

I followed Hamelman instructions (from page 168), but I let the dough autolyse for 40 min (all the ingredients except salt). After the final shaping, I retarded the dough overnight, and I baked it next morning, directly fom the fridge.

Codruta

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