The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MickB123's picture
MickB123

Hello from Gateshead, UK!

Hi all

I've been baking on and off for a few months now but still feel very much like a beginner. I've mainly made basic white loaves and have also had a reasonably successful crack at bagels. I'm keen to explore some new recipes and techniques so I'm sure I'll get a lot of inspiration from this site.

Cheers and happy baking!

Michael

 

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

How To Stop Challah Splitting While Baking?

I am a novice baker who enjoys baking challah for my Temple. Can anyone please offer advice how I can prevent my challah from "splitting" while baking and how I can get that nice golden crust without the "pool" of scrambled eggs around the base of the loaf?

Kelly1960's picture
Kelly1960

Leaven sinking like a rock....

my starter is about three weeks old, give or take a few days.  I've baked twice with it, and although the leaven "floated," I simply didn't trust it to completely do the job of adding air to my bread, so I cheated with a bit of yeast.  Today was supposed to be my first yeast free bake and, after messing around all week with flour percentages (whole wheat, AP, rye, tile grout - just kidding on that one) and weights of the actual starter (30 grams, 60 grams, 60 grams and so on) last night I made the leaven according to the tartine country bread recipe and this morning, 10 hours into it, I attempted to get the starter to float.  It sunk like it had on cement shoes.  should I again resort to supplementing it with a bit of yeast and swear to never mess around with my starter formula again or give it a couple of hours to ferment a bit more?  Will that make a difference?  Darn.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

Some Bakery History

Here's an item I just scavenged out of my memory.

I grew up during the 1950's in a mostly immigrant, Jewish neighborhood in Cleveland.  Our next door neighbors, who I'll call Mr and Mrs Jakov (not their real names) owned and operated a small Jewish bakery on Union Avenue, a mostly African American neighborhood which had once been the heart of the city's Jewish life in the 1930's and 1940's. Union Ave. had changed and our neighbors, now tired and middle age, had neither the money or the energy to follow the Jewish migration uptown.

Other things were changing as well. A few forward thinking supermarket owners were opening superstores: grocery stores with in store delis and bakeries. One of the most progressive of them was the Fazio chain of stores. Mr. Jakov accepted an offer from Fazios to close his small shop and work as a master baker for that company. He took with him his many years of experience as well as his recipes and knowledge.

He later related to my father that other former small bake shop had owners gone to work there and had contributed their recipes as well.

For the next couple of decades Fazios as well as a couple of other local supermarkets had superb bread of all sorts in their bakeries. Now just about all of these markets are gone, absorbed into bigger out of town chains. The breads in those in store bakeries are the same mass produced loaves that everyone else sells.

For a few years, though, you really could get a good loaf of rye or Italian bread at a supermarket around here. The taste may have reminded you of a small, family bakery on Union Ave.

 

 

msova's picture
msova

Basic question

Incredibly new to bread baking. I am endeavoring to recreate the amazing focaccia I remember from summers spent in my mothers native Genova as a youth. I have a few different recipes and such but mostly in the research phase right now. 

  My question: in my initial attempt, after initial rise whereby it successfully doubled in size, i put it on a bed of flour and proceeded to roll it out. Then upon lifting to place in oiled pan for a second rise, it mostly remained on the counter as I lifted up one end. just really stretchy. Couldn't support its own weight. (00 flour, fresh yeast, fdiaststic malt, etc). Forgive the incredible generality of the question. It probably doesn't have a simple answer without more info on what all I did/added. Thanks!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

The 100% Whole Grain, Multigrain - Mashed by Melon Test - 3 Ways

I started out to see what the keeping qualities and crumb structure of a YW /SD combo levain and a straight YW levain would be compared to a SD levain bread.  I figured that if YW alone couldn’t supply a decent keeping quality and was better in combination with SD for this while still mellowing the sour and providing YW’s unique crumb structure - there was no sense making a straight YW bread if you could get the benefits of it and still get the SD keeping quality with a combo levain.

  

Sounds great except my apprentice wanted to do an even more important retarded proofing test too, a test she sort of snuck in there while I was asleep.  At first I was a little miffed but heck, life is too short and after contemplating it, I thought the YW overYW / SD melon recovery test was a great idea. Why not kill 3 breads with two melons!

 

We took one of favorite 100% whole grain, home milled multigrain SD breads with whole berry 24 hour soak and 4 seeds, and made it 3 ways: SD, SD /YW Combo and YW levains.  To mix things up a little bit, 1 hour after the 3rd feeding, we retarded all 3 for 72 hours to bring out the sour in the SD portions.

  

As per our usual when home milling we took the 25% sifted out portion of bran germ and what nots and feed that to the levains.  They don’t seem to care and nit is a great way to get the hard bits of the wholegrain wet for as long as possible.  The grains used were 20% each whole berry: barley, Kamut, spelt, rye and wheat.  The AP in the formula was brought up to whole grains with the inclusion of the appropriate amount of Toadies.

 

We let the levains finish doubling after removing them from the fridge which took 3 hours.  We started the autolyse for everything else less the soaked whole berry, pumpkin and sunflower seeds 1 hour before the levains came out of the fridge to warm up.  We used exactly 2 bottles (11 oz each at 5.4% alcohol – no tasting) of Full Sail’s Session Black Lager for the autolyse liquid resulting in a 4 hour autolyse  for the 75% extraction flours, malts, VWG, sesame and flax seeds.

 

We divided the autolyse in half.  One half we mated with the SD levain to make a straight SD bread.  The other half we divided in half again and made one into a straight YW bread and the other half go the SD/YW combo levain.  All of these whole grain breads came in at over 90% hydration but less than 92%

 

Each got our new 3 sessions of slap and folds that Lucy shamelessly stole from Josh – this time 10 minutes, 5minutes and 3 minutes and 3 sets of S&Fs where the left out soaker and seeds were incorporated on the 1st one and fully distributed by the end of the 2nd set.

 

We were starting to like this method but doing 3 breads at a time was 46 minutes of slap and folds – whey.  But, at least I know that with the holidays looming, I’m ready for Michael Wilson’s required 30 minute minimum of panettone slap and folds. 

 

After a very short 30 minute rest the 3 separate dough balls were shaped.  The two smaller ones were going into cocktail loaf pans, due the high hydration and sized to have a 1 pound finished weight.  The larger lump was shaped into an oval and placed into a rice floured basket.  Once shaping was complete all 3 went into a used trash can liner and into the fridge for a 20 hour retard.

 

When I checked them at the 12 hour mark; midnight and all was well.  All three had already doubled and the cocktail loaves had risen above the rim in the middle.  I was worried that they would over proof in another 8 hours but figured they were good and cold after 12 hours and that the yeast would shut down while the dough got a little more sour.

 

About here is when I think things started going strange.  Lucy got out of bed and went out the doggie door next to the kitchen to do her business.  Right after she came back in I heard a thump coming from the family room or kitchen.

 

Lucy says everyone should start their day enjoying a good breakfast featuring Hanseata's Challenge Bread and have a fine lunch in the middle of the day of seafood pho, feta salad and Tzitzel pastrami sandwich.

When I investigated I couldn’t find anything wrong other than Lucy had a satisfied look on her mug.  Normally she would bark if a thump happened in the darkened house but not a peep came out of her this time.  So I figured it wasn’t an evil intruder and it was probably just the ghost of my previous baking apprentice; Gretchen, who sometimes comes out to play with Lucy late at night.

 This weeks smoked meat is maple and brown sugar cured, apple wood smoked bacon.  If you don't make your own bacon, you are missing out on what real bacon should taste like when made properly without nitrates and used to make a BLT.

At the 20 hour mark I went to get the trash can liner and bread out of the fridge and I noticed that the cantaloupe and Honey Dew melons I had purchased at the Sprouts were sitting right one top each of the two tinned loaves.  Both had been smashed down from their midnight high marks!

A mixed apple and stone fruit crisp is a fine desert for any dinner and no dinner is complete without a salad.

 

I though it was an accident since I had piled them up above and behind the bread in the fridge and perhaps they were unsteady and just rolled onto the bread, but nnnoooo!  Lucy had decided to do a Mashed by Melon Test on the YW and YW / SD tinned loaves to see if one could recover better than the other in the heat of the mini oven when baked.

 

YW left SD right and the combo in the middle.

We decided to bake the two tinned melon mashed loaves first so they couldn’t recover at room temperature.  They were placed in the tins seam side up hoping they would crack naturally on the seam anyway - if they cracked at all.  We chucked them onto the 500 F mini oven with 1 of Sylvia’s steaming cups and 1/3 C of water thrown into the bottom of the oven’s the door was shut to supply an instant burst of steam. 

 

Sourdough

After 2minutes the temperature was turned down to475 F and then down to 450 F 2 minutes after that.  After a total of 15 minutes, the steaming cup was removed and the oven turned down to 425 F, convection this time.

YW / SD combo 

5 minutes later, we removed the bread from the tins and turned them upside down in the mini oven to make sure the bottom got as well done as the top. After 5 minutes upside down the bread was rotated 180 degrees and flipped back over.

 

Yeast Water

In 5 more minutes the bread was 203 F and the mini oven was turned off.  When the bread hit 205 F on the inside it was removed to the cooling rack.  32 minutes total time in oven was all it took.

 

They both recovered somewhat from the Melon Mashing but the straight YW one recovered fully and not a hint of the MM was observable.  Plus one - for the YW over the YW / SD for the full Melon Mash recovery.

 

Combo YW / SD

We redid the entire process again with the oval in the basket.  This time the bread stuck in the basket and was deformed in one place so we immediately had a Basket Deformation test going for this loaf.   Lucy wanted to drop a melon on it too but we caught her just in time.

 

Soudough

The SD oval was out of the fridge for 45 minutes to warm up but was still cool when it was un-molded and slashed. Before going into the mini with 2 of Sylvia’s steaming cups this time.  We used the same schedule as before including the flipping over and rotating; 15 minutes of steam and 17 minutes with out steam - with a falling temperature and convection with the no steam portion.

 

YW / SD

The oval spread mostly, but did spring and bloom a little.  All the bread browned well on top but the big blisters were hiding somewhere else this time for some reason - Tiny ones were there agin though.   The crust was crisp as usual though.  Can’t wait to see the crumb of these 3 different but similar breads and how much different the taste is and how the keeping qualities compare.  As you can see the crumb is fairly open for these 100% whole grain breads.  All are soft, moist and tender. with the YW more so.  The YW has no sour and the SD / YW has a light tang and the SD is tangy as one could want.

Lucy voted this the best bread for a sandwich ever - especially when it is paired as a brie, homemade pate & bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich.

We love SD so it is no surprise we like SG bread the best - by far -  with the SD /YW second but those who don't like sour would likely prefer the YW.  They are excellent breads and would likely be nearly as good without the Session Black Lager and,  without the beer, the bread would have a lower GI and perfect for those with diabetes.   The crust stayed a little crisp but cooled much softer but it was very tasty on all 3 versions.  Now to see if the YW versions can withstand a week of counter and still be edible.

The last monsoon dust storm was yesterday for the year it seems and today feels like the first day of fall with a high of 90 F 

Formula

 

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3

Total

%

Multigrain SD Starter

10

0

0

10

2.44%

Whole Rye

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Kamut

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Barley

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Wheat

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Spelt

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Yeast Water

15

30

55

100

24.39%

Total

40

60

110

210

26.83%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multigrain SD Levain

 

%

 

 

 

Flour

105

25.61%

 

 

 

Water

105

25.61%

 

 

 

Hydration

100.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levain % of Total

22.29%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dough Flour

 

%

 

 

 

Whole Spelt

50

12.20%

 

 

 

Whole Kamut

50

12.20%

 

 

 

Whole Barley

25

6.10%

 

 

 

Dark Rye

50

12.20%

 

 

 

Whole Wheat

50

12.20%

 

 

 

AP

80

19.51%

 

 

 

Dough Flour

305

74.39%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt

7

1.71%

 

 

 

Black Lager 283, Water 29

312

76.10%

 

 

 

Dough Hydration

102.30%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Flour

410

100.00%

 

 

 

Black Lager 283, Water 29

417

101.71%

 

 

 

T. Dough Hydration

101.71%

 

 

 

 

% Whole Grain Flour

48.63%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydration w/ Adds

91.05%

 

 

 

 

Total Weight

942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add - Ins

 

%

 

 

 

Red Malt

4

0.98%

 

 

 

White Malt

4

0.98%

 

 

 

Toadies

20

4.88%

 

 

 

Ground Flax, Sesame Seed

20

4.88%

 

 

 

Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed

40

9.76%

 

 

 

VW Gluten

20

4.88%

 

 

 

Total

108

26.34%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multigrain Black LagerSD and YW with Soaker & Seeds

 

 

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3

Total

%

Multigrain SD Starter

10

0

0

10

2.44%

Whole Rye

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Kamut

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Barley

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Wheat

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Whole Spelt

3

6

11

20

4.88%

Yeast Water

15

30

55

100

24.39%

Total

40

60

110

210

26.83%

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the total weight for bothe levains.  Each levain was 105g total one

had 10 g of SD stater and the other didn't.  All the liquid for both was YW.

 The Melon Mashing Mama

Timbo's picture
Timbo

Hello

Hello All,

    My wife & I have decided to start eating healthier and want to start making our own bread. We are looking at bread machines and grinders and are kind of confused. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. It is us and two teenagers and we would like to replace all store bought breads with homemade. Any and all advise would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and help!!

Kelly1960's picture
Kelly1960

Have I killed my starter?

Well, now that I understand what the numbers mean (1:1:1, 1:2:2, and so on), and also realized I could reduce the amount of flour I was using (waaaay too much), I ended up running out of unbleached AP flour tonight and fed my starter with rye flour as it was the only unbleached flour I had and, well, that's all I can come up with.  I have no other excuse.  So, is my starter going to go into shock or starve to death tonight.  Will it totally reject the rye as the wee bacteria colonies have never been fed that as a fuel.  Im feeling like a terrible bacteria parent.  Should I just hang my head in shame, have a funeral for my 21 day old starter, and begin again tomorrow?

Any ideas out there?  I was planning on baking my second tartine loaf on Saturday.  Phooey.

 kelly

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Today's batard with an added twist.

The only twist was to add a scant 1/4 tsp of instant yeast after I added the salt to the top of the dough.  Ken Forkish recommends using a little commercial yeast for increased volume and a more open crumb.  Check on both points!

This bake used 300 grams total bread flour @ 75% hydration, about 20% 100% levain, 11/4 tsp coarse salt and 1/4 IY. This made some very tasty bread and is part of my loaf a day plan. I have good friends who were flooded out of their home in Exshaw last June.  After 3 weeks living in the local school, sleeping on cots, they were loaned a large travel trailer and are now in a local hotel -- not the best summer. . . Anyhow Marg said her son devoured the French style loaves and loved them. I always bake more than I can eat and frequently give bread to my neighbours, but for the next while, I will make sure Marg and her family have fresh bread every day, if I can manage it. Here is today's crumb:

I had a real skibum moment he other day. One could also call it a 'senior' moment . . . My plan was to bake 2 batards side by side, one using a levain fed 1:1:1 and the other with a 1:4:4 feed.  My object was to see if there was any difference in the flavour profile of the 2 breads.  So immediately the 1:4:4 mix felt different -- very slack with  little structure. Well it finally dawned on me that I had used all of the water in the second mix, forgetting to back out the h2o in the levain, so my slack dough was 85% instead of 75%.  Good practice folding in bowl with wet hand aka KF. I had a good laugh at myself when I finally realized.  For a bit I was thinking, wow it is incredible that a starter can make such a profound difference -- DOUGH!  There was no difference in  the flavour profile of either bread.

Here are yesterday's batard and boule:

Batard crumb

Boule Crumb -- should have done it as a ciabatta, next oops mistake!

 

Today's experiment involved mixing the same batch as above @ 77% hydration, bulk on the counter, which after 21/2 hours was at least 21/2 x in volume, the most volume I have ever seen from 300 grams total flour.  This has been shaped and will proof until morning in the fridge.  It is my first time trying this and it will be interesting to see the result.

Happy baking folks!

Brian

aptk's picture
aptk

The Sourdough Saga: Reviving the Starter

Yesterday my goal was to start the task of revitalizing my sourdough starter which had spent most of the summer in the fridge being ignored. I know it makes me a bad sourdough mom, but it's coming together now that there's snow on the ground and I hunt for reasons to keep my oven on!

I started yesterday morning and had almost immediate bubble action, and although I started with 4 cups of starter in the pot, it only grew 1 cup. I keep my starter in an old clear glass coffee carafe so that I can get a good look at it. This morning I dumped out about 2 cups, straight into the trash and added half a cup of fresh AP flour, it's only been a couple hours and it's bubbling good and has already grown to over the 5 cup mark, so maybe it wasn't as far gone as I thought, maybe it was only HUNGRY!!

I tend to use three methods for checking my starter. First is LOOK. What's it doing? Second is SMELL. I smell it just as I lift the lid off, give it a good swirl or a light stir and smell it again. And third is TASTE, Right now the taste in my starter is pretty bland, but I know it will be back as I continue to dump and feed. At any rate, I am on my way.

Planning on sourdough pancakes Sunday morning, Orange Cranberry Rolls about Tuesday, big batch of bread on Friday. That's the plan anyway, but keep in mind, this is sourdough!

 

 

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