The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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aly-hassabelnaby's picture
aly-hassabelnaby

Another Experiment with Rye Flour

I decided to have another crack at rye flour but this time I also added a bit of wheat bran to the dough.

Here's what I did:
600g bread flour + 70g rye + 30g wheat bran
490g water
15g salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast

I mixed everything together and kneaded it for about 10 minutes then refrigerated the dough for almost 20 hours. The next day, I took the dough out of the fridge and divided into to roughly equal pieces. I left them for an hour to come up to room temperature then shaped them into batards. Bench proofing was about 40 minutes, then in they went into a steamy hot oven.

I gotta say, those ears don't look half bad.

 

 

 

 

jangozo's picture
jangozo

Starters with fruit fermentation vs just flour starters

Hi,

I want to make a sourdough starter and I'm currently looking around for the recipe I want to follow. There are some which use fermenting fruits such as grapes, apples, etc. others use just flour.

What are the differences between the two? Will the fruit starters give a different taste to the dough?

Thanks!

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

fixing an ove glove/oven mitts.

I've been using the same ove glove for about 5 years now and it's starting to fray near the fingertips. It's been through a lot and doesn't really owe me anything, but I was wondering if there was a way to patch it.

Regular polyester thread would melt on contact with anything hot. The same goes for nylon. I was thinking cotton thread might work for a bit, as that's what I've seen called for on oven mitt sewing patterns. 

Anyone try fixing oven mitts?

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Flan and a bit of our life here!

 
 
We had an abundance of chicken eggs and what is a better way to use them than to make flan? Leche Flan! Actually, our tradition when there is a surplus of eggs is either to make flan or salted eggs and this is one of the few times we decided to make flan because making salted eggs is more economical and less of a hassle; you just need to immerse eggs in a salt water solution for a few days, boil them and... Voila! You have salted eggs! They're great alone, for spreads and dips, or the best is mixed with tomatoes as accompaniment to cured/grilled/fried meats. The flan's process is a little more involved because you have to separate the eggs first, add milk and flavorings to the egg yolks, strain it twice over a fine cheesecloth before depositing it in a caramel lined mold (llanera) and steaming it until done over a low heat so that it cooks gently. The necessity to utilize the leftover egg whites also presents a problem for some. That (daunting) process is one of the reasons why it is only cooked for special occasions not to mention the cholesterol and sugar overload it delivers but it's very nice to have once in a while.

This is a traditional/old fashioned leche flan. It is very different from other "baked" custards like crème brûlée or crème caramel though it may look like one. The caramel is cooked directly in the mold/pan no matter how big or small it is by covering the bottom evenly with sugar and melting it over a stove; cooking it to the right stage is critical and a little more challenging. It is also steamed rather than being baked in a water bath.The main difference that sets it apart lies in its taste and texture. It is NOT supposed to be delicate or light, it is so rich a few bites may be enough to satisfy you though we eat more than that because it is that good. It should "bite" with sweetness but not cloyingly, firm and makunat (sorry, no direct translation; chewy might be the closest but not quite) but still has the ability to melt in the mouth without the help of one's teeth and fragrant with the aroma of dayap a local lime that is similar to key limes. Some substitute vanilla but it's just not the same, for me the flavor and aroma of the lime zest is so necessary to cut through the richness and provide balance for this dessert. Maybe the only thing left to make this ultimately traditional is to use duck eggs but with our chickens' eggs, the texture and flavor is the same if not better.

I would also like to show the real purpose of the llaneras I so often use in my baking cause they are cheaper, easier to find and are so versatile to use for breads and cakes to tarts; I have various sizes from very small to gigantic ones. The one in the picture is slightly deformed (it should be more oval) because I used it for a purpose not intended for it but because they're cheap it's easy to replace them, surprisingly their lifespans are pretty long and I've been using them this way for almost two years. I don't want to use expensive cake pans because my clay pot is a crude environment I don't want to waste money by damaging them. I've used my llaneras here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40958/cream-sandwich-bread-filled-pork-floss-no-oven

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40201/what-can-you-say-about-my-breads

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/41529/my-most-decent-lean-bread-and-ww-bead-wo-oven-date



Inverted onto a plate, the rich brown top with the glorious caramel dripping is just luscious!



Don't let these small bubbles fool you!



Incredibly dense, smooth, fine, and creamy. The slight bitterness of the caramel, richness and sweetness of the custard and aroma and flavor of the lime makes a dessert that is full of character and flare.



When I was still a child we're already raising chickens; both bantams and large breeds like the Kabir, Sasso/naked neck (locally called as cobras) and Vantress. I don't know if I could call them free range but they are not caged, eat only corn, and roam around the yard all day eating whatever they can find. They even eat our banana TREES sometimes. These are the reasons why the few eggs that they lay are so tasty; although each hen lay only a few eggs there are many of them so a few weeks that we don't consume their eggs we end up with a ton and that's how we have a surplus of eggs every so often. Their meat is also very tough from all the exercise they get but very flavorful, cook them right and they're one the best meats on the planet! We often prepare them for birthdays and other significant occasions much like the flan.

On the summer of 2014, we experienced what has never happened before, many of our chickens died; we didn't know if it's because of "pestilence" or just because of too much heat. Everyday, we bury 3-4 chickens; seeing the trend we had no choice but to slaughter all that was left of the large breeds. I had to do all the cooking as well as all the household chores as my mom was recovering from a gallbladder surgery at that time. I had to cook one every day for 6-8 hours straight over a wood fire for a week. That experience taught me to be more responsible.

The bantams were a bit more resilient and 9 survivors were left, 8 hens and a single rooster. If the rooster had died, we will also slaughter the hens as there will no more hope for a new generation to rise. For two weeks, no deaths occurred so we were convinced that the event has ended. Then hens started laying eggs and a few chicks hatched, every time they lay eggs we just allow the hens to incubate their eggs. After six months of egg less meals (we seldom buy our eggs outside), the "second" generation of bantams are mature and ready to reproduce themselves. We started to consume their eggs but only a little so every batch will have chicks hatched from them.

Here are our chickens now.These are just a few of them as others are still roaming when I took this photo. The "tailless" (just to clarify, we did not cut his tail; it is natural to him) one on the right is a special one, from all the years we've been raising chickens, this is the only time where one sprang from a brood. Isn't he cute?

   

Yes, the eggs used for the flan already came from the prolific layers of this generation. Our location is pretty rural so it allows us to raise farm animals (our neighbor has water buffaloes and another has pigs), there is a river behind us that floods three quarters of the yard in the morning and drains back in the afternoon so sometimes we see gigantic Tilapias swimming around that we try to catch and the smaller ones are feasted upon by our chickens. Although how rural it may get here, we are just 10 minutes away from the city where the huge malls, cinemas, offices and universities are; so I can say that our place is perfect. Bread is something that you don't make at home because rice is the staple and because it is readily available in the bakeries in every street corner that's why most homes here including us don't have an oven. Most breads here are just something you don't want to eat; full of air, too much yeast, no flavor and stales in a day so there is no way for us to have good bread but to make it myself so I try to make it in every way I can. Dishes are often passed by actual teaching and demonstration, not by written recipes which is a great bonding for the family. How we cook is an art, no one needs recipes here, ingredient ratios or measurements; we just cook by heart with what we taste and what we feel; be it a stew, preserves, or elaborate dishes and desserts. No matter how "inconsistent" our methods are, the magic is they turn out excellent and great every time we make them and this is what I incorporate in my "baking" sometimes. Rainy season is coming soon and I'm looking forward to my dad's fruit preserves, another opportunity to learn his techniques!

Recently, we discovered that this flan sliced thinly is great for sweet sandwiches especially on lightly enriched loaves. It feels like a sweet, creamy,rich soft cheese! It's excellent! Thank you very much!

eleutheros's picture
eleutheros

YASSB (Yet Another Sourdough Sandwich Bread)

Hello! I'm new here, but I've been reading TFL for months as I learn how to make good (and fix not-as-good) sourdough. I've been tinkering with everyday wheat breads for a while, and have something that works reliably now. As an old Free Software hand, I know that the best way to get better from here is to give back to the community.

What I've got is a moderately "sour" (I think of it as more "rounded" in flavor), soft and chewy 11% whole wheat sandwich bread. It usually winds up between 66 and 68% hydration, depending on the weather and the feel of the dough. I keep trying to push that up toward 70, but I knead by hand, and my hands are used to the feel of a "sweet spot" closer to 65%. Which is basically fine by me, since I don't need big rustic holes in sandwich bread. On the other hand, I'm trying to avoid the overprocessed uniformity of what my wife calls "industrial pain" (pain industriel as opposed to pain au levain). With this recipe, I'm finally starting to get the shiny, gelatinized texture the mie is supposed to have, though it's hard to tell with such a dense crumb:

My mother culture is a 100% hydration white, fed on organic unbleached AP because that was what the wee beasties seemed to like best. I keep a big jar of it in the fridge, feed it a bit less than once a week, and refresh it a bit less than once a month. (I used to feed it with the leftovers of my active starter for baking, but with this recipe I now only make exactly as much as the recipe needs.) I like a fuller, rounder "sour" flavor, so I tend to keep a fair amount of what Forkish calls "spent fuel" in my big jar.

The baker's math is relatively simple, but I'm a process-intensive kind of guy, and I'm new at this, so I'm going to start with the whole recipe and break it down from there. The basic numbers are as follows:

49 AP flour
40 bread flour
11 whole wheat (I use white whole wheat to avoid the nutty flavor)
67.5 water
4 starter
2 salt

Now, that hasn't been perfectly true, because I sometimes need between 2–4% extra flour at the end, when I'm kneading. On the other hand, in the winter I would sometimes have extra flour left over, so it may just be a temperature and humidity issue. On the other other hand, this is all the flour in the entire recipe, including what goes on the kneading and shaping surfaces, and I don't see that accounted in many recipes, so I don't feel that bad about occasionally having more than 100% total flour in the recipe. Bread is a living thing, and YMMV.

There are two of us at home, so I make an 8x version of this recipe (by gram weight) about once or twice a week. It winds up being about 3 lbs when it goes into the oven, and loses about 5 oz while baking.

Step 1: activation
32 g starter + 20 g water + 20 g AP + 8 g whole wheat = 82% hydration

Step 2: first feeding (10–12 hours later)
… + 80 g water + 52 g AP + 40 g whole wheat = 85% hydration

Step 3: second feeding (10–12 hours later)
… + 200 g water + 160 g AP + 40 g whole wheat = 94% hydration

Step 4: building the dough (4 hours later)
… + 240 g water + 96 g AP + 256 g bread flour = 81% hydration

Step 5: kneading (after 30 mins autolyse)
… + 16 g salt + 64 g AP + 64 g bread flour = 68% hydration

The starter is at 100% hydration, but the recipe kind of boomerangs from stiff in the beginning back out to better than 90% hydration in the middle, to bread dough at the end. I think that this push toward biga texture in the early preferments might be why I've finally gotten a nicely gelatinized crumb, though the boost that the whole wheat flour gives to fermentation also seems to have some effect. (The whole wheat is also spread out across the preferments in order to make sure it gets metabolized into useful and more intestinally-friendly forms.)

I say "preferments," plural, because Reinhart's Crust and Crumb encouraged me to turn the activation of my starter into a building process. Since I keep my refrigerated starter reasonably active and happy, it doesn't take all day just to get it going at room temperature. So now I only spoon out a small portion, feed it, give it 10-12 hours, then feed it again and give it another 10-12 hours, keeping the flour-to-water ratio reasonably stiff and letting it peak both times. So that's day 1, steps 1 and 2. This is kind of a "Clean Plate Club" strategy; every time the culture maxes out its use of what I gave it, I give it more. The following morning it gets another feeding (step 3), much looser in texture, followed by 4 hours of what I officially call "prefermentation."

starter activation montage

Step 4 is where I shift from AP-with-a-little-whole-wheat to bread-flour-with-a-little-AP, and start building the dough. After incorporating that flour and water, I generally let the ragged mass autolyse for half an hour, sometimes more, before adding the salt and turning it out onto my floured silpat for kneading (step 5). The rest of the flour (plus maybe 2–4% extra depending on humidity) gets incorporated gradually through kneading. I do three 5-minute kneads, with 10-minute rests in between, and every time I return to the dough it's clear the rest has been beneficial.

kneading montage

Each rest is like another little autolyse, which is good since more flour keeps going in. (Besides, it also gives time to do the washing up!) At the end, the mass goes into a large oiled bowl (the biggest I have), and gets about 4 hours bulk fermentation at room temperature. I have to punch it down in this warm weather, because after 2 hours it has usually filled the bowl, so I've taken to doing stretch-and-fold in the bowl and inverting the mass each time, rather than preshaping after fermentation is done.

Since the stretch-and-fold in the bowl has given me a relatively well-shaped mass already, I just turn the mass out onto my silpat for final shaping, and pop it in my buttered 9x5 loaf pan. (It'll do a freeform loaf just fine, whether boule or batard, but for even slices the loaf pan is better—and the buttery crust is delicious!) Since I have two loaf pans, I just invert the clean one over the top to keep the moisture in and give room to rise. There's no way in this weather for me to get a properly-proofed loaf at room temperature, so this contraption goes into the fridge for a few hours before slashing and spritzing the loaf for baking.

The crust I've managed to get right basically from day 1, with my 12" cast iron pan on the bottom rack, the oven at 430 dF, and a combination of spritzing the loaf and pouring a cup of hot water into the pan for steam. It could go darker, at a higher temperature, but I'm content with the dark amber color I'm getting, and about 45 minutes bake time.

Robinss's picture
Robinss

starter / yeast: are they alternatives ?

I've managed bread in a machine and occasionally in the oven: all using yeast. Now I've made a sourdough starter because I like the taste of sourdough bread. It's a couple of weeks old and after a hesitant start it seems to have pulled itself together, perhaps with the warmer weather and the warmer water I've been giving it.

I'm seeing recipes which ask for yeast and a sourdough starter (sometimes a 'ferment'). I'd thought these were alternatives. Is the sourdough only there for flavour ?

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Overnight Country Blonde, well sort of . . .

Satisfying to get a good result on my latest take 6. Takes 4 and 5 were over proofed with my new summer kitchen temperatures. All winter and spring my kitchen was a steady 68F Now that we have real summer it is running 73-75F and BOY does this temperature change mess with bulk rise and proofing schedules!

With take four, I took the bulk rise time down to 8 hours from the 12-14 hours Ken rec's @ 70F. WAY too long. I got up to check in at 4:00 am after 6.5 hours bulk and it was already gone.

Okay, for take five, we will try an all day country blonde: Start the levain at 6:00 am, mix at 12:00 pm, finish bulk at 7:00 pm and proof and bake at 9:30. Still WAY over proofed.

For this successful bake, I started the levain at noon and mixed at 5:00 pm. With 30 minutes after the first S&F, the dough had risen by more than 1/3, so I dropped the next rest to 20 minutes and the final 2 S&F's to 15 minutes rest. I then rested the dough for 45 minutes and did a final fold at 8:00 pm. The dough had nearly doubled by this time, so the only way to save things was into the fridge overnight.

In the morning two hours on the counter, shape and proof for 1:40 rather than the 3:30 -4:00 rec'd at 70F. This baked at 475F in a covered DO for 25 mins and a further 25 mins uncovered, turning at the half.

I really like this formula! Happy baking folks!!! Ski

MC_Bread's picture
MC_Bread

Favorite Bakeries and Iconic Breads

The team behind Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is hard at work on their next multivolume set, which is completely dedicated to bread. We’d like to honor some of the greatest bakers and bakeries from around the globe in our new book, and we would love to hear from the Fresh Loaf community to expand our search.

What are your favorite bakeries for bread? Does the bakery have an iconic bread that they’re known for? Do they use any uncommon ingredients or special techniques to make their bread? Please provide the address of the bakery, name of head baker, and a photo of the bread, if feasible.

For example: Country Bread from Tartine in San Francisco, CA – Chad Robertson, baker

You can read more about the new book here, and here for more information about who we are and what we do.

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Central European cities - bakery recommendations?

We're following the college daughter to her summer nanotech program (okay, yes, I'm proud), and adding on a trip. While my family is out hiking or drinking world-famous beer, I hope to be tasting the delights of bread in these cities: Berlin, Munich, Budapest, and Prague. I'm especially interested in what I think is the specialty of the region, rye breads. The only glitch is that I do not know of any bakeries there.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping for a transcendent and inspiring bread journey.

Colin_Sutton's picture
Colin_Sutton

Specialist Cook Shops in Rome, Italy

I visit Rome on holiday every couple of years and on my most recent trip I was on a mission to visit cook shops, largely looking for bread-baking products. I hope the following research helps other visitors, and encourage anyone with suggestions I've missed to add them into this thread.

Specialist cook shops tend to be fairly small concerns, perhaps with a smaller product range than one would find in cities back home in the UK, but the visits were fun to do while sightseeing. I haven't included department stores, because it wasn't the sort of shopping I was doing on this trip.

C.u.c.i.n.a. — Four stores in and around Rome, including Via Mario de' Fiori 65, 00187 Rome — not far from the Spanish Steps. For cooks who like their smart equipment in steel, glass, wood and white ceramic. This store would be my recommendation if you could only go to one place while in Rome. More at: http://www.cucinastore.com.

Peroni — Two stores at Piazza dell'Unità 16 & 29, 00192 Rome. More bread-baking products here than other shops and one of the stores caters especially well for cake-bakers. Also good if you are looking for pasta machines and equipment. More at: http://peronisnc.it.

Gusto — A small, smart, store, run along side an equally smart pizzeria, restaurant and cafe — definitely worth eating there if the queues aren't too long. Really nice products and good for discerning gifts. It's a stone's throw from the impressive Ara Pacis museum and overlooked my the Mausoleum of Augustus on Piazza Augusto Imperatore 7, 00186 Rome. More at: http://www.gusto.it.

DOM — A reasonable size store, full of very colourful tools, though mostly general kitchen supplies, rather than baking. Via d'Aracoeli 6, 00186 Rome. More at: http://www.domrome.com.

Sorelle Adamoli — More homewares than Cookshop, but worth a visit if you are at the east end of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The store is on Via del Plebiscito 103, 00186 Rome, so easy to get to on the way back from the Forum, etc.

Kitchen Kiosk — Two cluttered and somewhat shabby shops at Viale degli Ammiragli 10/12 & 22/24, 00136 Rome. Quite a lot for the cake bakers amongst you, but it's a bit out of the way and maybe not the best use of your energy if you've just been round the Vatican Museums one very hot day :-( More at http://www.kitchencucina.it.

I didn't get chance to go to:

* Casa Bella di Trastevere — Via Luciano Manara 16, 00153 Rome.

* Kitchen Inc — Via Natale Del Grande 4, 00153 Rome.

Hope those are useful and have a great visit if you are heading over to Rome in the next few months.

Best wishes,

Colin

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