The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Lloyda's picture
Lloyda

Theoretical minimum size for a starter

Whilst feeding my starter this evening, for fun I was pondering what the minimum size would be for a sustainable starter.  At the moment I only get to bake a loaf once a week, and use 28g of my 100% hydration starter, which I feed once a week. So in theory I guess if I kept 14g of starter at the next feed and fed with 14g water and 14g flour, my minimum size would be 42g. But would this survive?  (I've no intention of going down this route - just an wandering thought whilst stirring.  Starter stuck to the sides etc., would have a big impact on overall volume)

 

Lloyd

malikaann's picture
malikaann

Figuring amount of salt - amount in relation to water?

Hi all-- I'm new to this forum, but it seems like the right place to ask this question. I'm trying to figure out a standard measure of salt to water in my bread dough, if that's even possible. Here's how I usually make my bread right now, starting in the morning:

start with warm/hot water + 100% starter/levain (usually cold from fridge) in bowl
add some flour
add yeast (sometimes, if I feel like I need the extra boost or a shorter rising time)
add salt (have been using 1 1/2 t. per cup of water, but it's been a little too salty)
add enough flour to make a soft dough
let rise 6-9 hours at room temp, undisturbed (I'm not usually at home) then fold it down, store overnight in the fridge
(I also feed my starter and leave it out on the counter for the same 6-9 hour period)
shape and proof for about 2 hours the next morning, then bake at 400 or 425

I don't weigh my flour. I do measure the water, and that's the way that I determine how much bread I'm going to make - I usually start with 5 1/2 cups water, including the water in the starter. But if I don't need as much, I'll start with 4 cups water instead, etc.

I definitely value variety over consistency - I vary the kinds of flour that I use, sometimes I add raisins or sweet potato or coconut or walnuts or onion... But I would like to have the level of saltiness be kind of consistent. Is there a way to figure out a standard measure of salt relative to water - 1 teaspoon per cup, or whatever - ss there a way to backwards-figure a percentage? or is this too much to ask because of the loosey-goosey method I'm using?

Thanks for any input!

DiJonCamacho's picture
DiJonCamacho

Croissants & Pain Au Chocolat

I see I'm not the only one who was on a quest for the perfect croissant...I'm on the quest for the perfect pain au chocolat i just want the dough to be right. I want my croissant and pain au chocolat to taste like the one from Galaxy Desserts/Williams-Sonoma. I came relatively close and this is the results I have thus far. These tasted great but I have no idea where to get fresh yeast from so I used active dry rapid yeast and I think the fresh yeast is what I'm mixing for them to be absolutely perfect. I love the way the layers looks. I was truly amazed when I popped these out of the oven.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Michelles (small miches) - the right flour at last (UK)

Hi,

Along with croissants, the miches (Hamelman and Shiao-Pings post Miche Gerard Rubaud, the post that initially lured me into TFL) felt quite out of reach, and I had as many failures as trials.

Recently I ordered a bag of 

Bacheldre Watermill Organic Stoneground Strong Unbleached White Flour

in the belief it was strong white flour.

Well, it is actually high extraction flour, and at last I managed to make Hamelman's Miche Pointe-A-Caillere with it.

It is just the right stuff for this bread. The dough handles like a treat (at 85%  hydration).

And the result -veeeery tasty. My 7-year-old gobeled down 2 slices (topped with marmalade) and even made his way through the crust!

Here is what it looks like:

And here the crumb:

I made two little 500g miches, are they michelles then, or maybe michettes?

And here is the man who REALLY loves daddy's bread:

Cheers,

Juergen



jc212's picture
jc212

First baguettes and questions

Hi guys just made my first batch of baguettes using a combination of kneading from my stand mixer (~5minutes on speed2) and finishing it with Richard Bertinet's method. Then i left it in the fridge for approx. 18 hours, portioned, folded, rested 20min, shaped (inspiration from Hitz) and laid them on floured strips of baking paper for their final rise of 30 minutes.

The recipe is as follows (makes 5 baguettes):

  • 1000g baker's flour (i used wallaby's)
  • 750g tap water
  • 20g salt
  • 1 sachet of dried instant yeast (approx. 7g)

I baked them @ 235C/455F for 22 minutes on an unglazed terracotta tile. I put some boiling water in a little cake tin underneath to provide steam. Some pics...

My batch

Close-up

Crumb

Underside

I was pleased with them due to the fact that they were first but I could see a lot of room for improvement. With regards to shape and slashing I believe I will get better with practise.

So here are some questions:

  • I found my crust to be very thin especially around the sides and on the underside, what can I do achieve a thicker crust?
  • Concerning the underside, mine were quite soft and didn't achieve a crunchy texture like the top. My oven is pretty much as hot as it gets and I'm using a stone. What can I do?
  • Are baguettes supposed to have a chewiness to the crumb? I found that my crumb was quite chewy (nice kind though)
  • How do you achieve those huge holes in your crumb?
  • What are the dimensions for a proper french baguette?
  • How do you know when the baguette is done? (burning/overcooking bread makes me particularly nervous)

 

Cheers

Jason

 

Roo-Shooter777's picture
Roo-Shooter777

Diamant vs Grainmaker #116

Hi everyone im really interested in milling my own grains for bread but i am having trouble picking out a mill im trying to decide between the Diamant grain mill and the Grainmaker #116 i cant find reviews on the grainmaker 116 but the model 99 seems to get pretty good reviews any help would be appreicated and also does anyone know why Diamant moved from Denmark to Poland and was its quality affected because of this? 

Thanks 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Enchanted Irish Lemon Curd Fairy Cakes

Wouldn't you know it......another year of clean living and the Irish Fairies stopped by to leave a St Patrick's Day surprise again this year!  Wish The Leprechauns would take notice and follow the Frairy's lead !  Used Rachel  Allen's lemon curd recipe and froze it for a year .......Fairies love lemon curd with some age on it.    The cake is a lemon sponge with cake flour.  I saw the Fairies tossing their dust on them before disappearing till next year.

Happy St. Paddy's Day

For our Irish native from Belfast -  Sylvia.  I can't remember where I got the  cup cake recipe.

Lemon Curd

2 eggs and 1 yolk

1 stick of butter

¾ C sugar

zest and juice of 3 lemons.

Mix and slowly heat on top of the stove in 2 qt sauce pan until mix thickens into thick curd.  Put in refrigerator for 4 hours to thicken further.

 Irish Lemon Curd Fairy Cakes

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel - 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice - half a lemon
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 oz lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 20 muffin cups.

Beat egg yolks till thick with a whisk in a bowl. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar in several stages beating continually.

Whisk in the lemon peel and juice.

Beat the egg whites utill soft peaks form.   Then gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat till stiff peaks form.  I use a hand mixer for this

Gently fold the whites into the yolks.

Sift together cake flour and salt and gently  fold into egg mixture.

Fill muffin cups 2/3rds full.  Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes, rotate the cupcake pans and turn down the oven to 325 F convection this time and bake about 5 minutes more until the tops are nicely browned.

Remove cakes from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Use a sharp paring knife to cut into the top center of each cupcake, removing the cone shaped piece and reserve.

AdelK's picture
AdelK

My rye starter is ill...

Hi all

I need some urgent medical input for my seriously ill rye sourdough starter. I'd left it in the fridge since Tuesday and I decided to give it a feed last night. As I stirred the starter I noticed that it had a tinge of redness to it, I wouldnt call it red but rather just a shade of pink almost. I did the normal feed and left it in my room overnight. This morning when I woke up I was alarmed to the fact that it had hardly grown after 12 hours!! It has probably just grown to about 1/8th the original height now. I'm seriously worried about it because normally it would have doubled in height overnight. What should I do now? Should  I give it another feed or wait for to double? I have a feeling that is never going to happen.. I can see small bubbles forming in the starter but it's just not increasing in volume.

I have to confess that I just found out that the communal kettle in my kitchen has got lots of debris in there and I have been using half boiled warm water from that kettle for my starter. Could that have been the reason? It was fine with the same water in the first few feeds it's only since last week that things started to go a little pear shaped. Back then I'd left it in the fridge for too long without feeding and it had half an inch of alcohol on the surface. I fed it and it grew fairly well overnight(though not exaclty doubled or like how it used to be) and I left it in the fridge on Tuesday.

By the way it doesn't smell like it's gone off and neither has it gone mouldy.


Any advice is much appreciated!

Regards

Kong

Conjuay's picture
Conjuay

Shelf life of buttermilk

Forgive the fool his question, but how do you know when buttermilk has turned bad? I intend to eventually buy some powdered BM, but until then I need to know when it has spoiled! I mean, it smells bad at the get-go, and tastes like it has already spoiled even when fresh.

thnx

cjjjdeck's picture
cjjjdeck

Where to buy wheat berries in the Northeast?

I am a new member and this is my first post.  This site seems to have great information and the members seem very knowledgeable and are quick to help.

I didn’t find a more recent post of this subject (2009/2010 posting is what I found) and the one I saw didn’t really help much for the Northeast area.  So I figured I’d post it myself.  I apologize if I missed a more recent post on this subject.

I’m venturing into the world of fresh ground flour to bake bread.  I live in Northern NJ and am finding it hard to find/buy wheat berries within the state (or tri-state even).  I ordered my first batch of hard red and white wheat berries that I’m experimenting with from Amazon (being a Prime member helped the overall price).  I obviously will be interested in buying larger quantities if my experimenting is successful (my first seed culture seems to going OK so far....). 

So here’s the obvious question:

Where do members from the Northeast, that mill their own flour, buy their wheat berries from?  

I’m struggling to find sources that aren’t from the Mid-west and/orPacific Northwestareas to maybe save on shipping charges and get better pricing on bulk purchases.

 

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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