The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gingersnapped's picture
gingersnapped

Reinhardt’s Poolish Baguette

[crossposted to my general baking blagsite, yeastvillage.com!]

The day you find yourself laboring over a fine grained sieve sifting the bran out of otherwise a-ok whole wheat flour: might as well admit it you’re addicted to yeast.

relax piggybank, it's turkey

open up; sandwich time

Personal success: half batch + stretch and fold + autolyse with a hella wet dough and shaped! appropriately! neatly!  It looks like bread when it came out of the oven! (this is perpetually delightful and surprising)

Personal failure: forgot to score and got ants in the pants and pulled it out before the crust could fully harden.  The biggest advantage I’ve found to cooking in someone else’s oven — I tend to walk away and leave well enough alone (perhaps an important life lesson there).

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

SD walnut & raisin spice loaf (beats compost!). Thanks to Sylvia for inspiration.

One of my experiments went awry a couple of days ago. I had some leftover buttermilk and decided to sub that for milk in my usual SD pancake mix. I've used buttermilk in traditional pancakes and it was good, but I found it wasn't prepared to socialise properly with the SD leaven. No matter how much buttermilk I added, the batter refused to thin to the consistency I like. Added milk in the end, and that made things runny, but alas - the batter refused to behave in the fry pan. While browning to a nice golden finish, it was like custard inside. No amount of extra heating would remedy this.

Moving right on, I decided against pancakes. Crepes were the go! So, swirled the batter quickly around the pan to keep it thin...fail.

Time to quit, so I sulkily dumped the bowl of batter on the kitchen shelf and left it there for the rest of the day. It could get as sour and nasty as it liked. Only one place that mess was bound - the compost.

Towards evening, I returned to the scene of the crime and made off out the back to dispose of the evidence. Then a thought struck me - wasn't this fermenting mess a sort of starter, or sponge, or whatever...? And if so, why couldn't I add flour and attempt to bring off a disaster rescue? I hate throwing out anything edible, especially starter, so promptly rationalised my way back inside with my bowl of trouble and set to work.

I left my premium bread flours alone, not wanting to waste them on something that was likely to be mediocre at best, and grabbed some plain (AP) supermarket flour. Threw in enough to get a good consistency.  Thought better of ignoring my good flours, and tipped in a bit of organic wholemeal. And some milk powder - why not?

Since there was sugar in the batter, I figured sweet(ish) and spicy was the way to go. Chucked in some cinnamon, and lesser quantities of mixed spice, ginger, plus a bit of dry-roasted coriander/caraway mix left over from a cooking venture some days earlier. The dough was a bit sticky.  A sprinkle more flour... Nice.

Recalling Sylvia's tantalising recent pics of her walnut and raisin bread, I chopped up some walnuts, then raisins (not golden ones - the large flat relatives) and a bit of candied spice. Folded them into the dough. Didn't worry about pre-soaking.

And so it went. No weighing, no recipe, working only by the light of instinct and experience - and it dawned on me that I was enjoying the freedom of it all! In fact, it was exhilarating!

Bulk proofed 3 hours with 3 S&Fs, rolled the dough in on itself lengthwise, bunged it into a bread pan, and retarded in the fridge overnight.  Baked straight out of fridge next morning: 40 mins @ 185C (365F), no steam. I didn't even bother with a glaze.

The result was thrilling! A rustic-looking loaf that rose well and when sliced for a sampling 2 hours later had my partner and I raising our eyebrows. The crumb was even and soft, but well-structured and elastic. The only thing I might have done differently with the benefit of hindsight was brush a bit of milk on the top before loading the dough to slow down the browning of the crust. Got away with not pre-soaking the fruit - it wasn't at all hard or too chewy, possibly because I cut the raisins into smaller pieces. And the taste test? An A-grade pass!

 

 

 

 

So, what began as a failed experiment ended as an unlikely triumph. I'm a bit regretful I won't be able to duplicate this bread exactly, but letting go of recipes and weighing was a liberating experience. I do firmly believe in exercising some precision in bread baking as a general procedural principle and will continue to tweak and take notes, but winging it every so often is a buzz. I do that all the time in cooking, but for some reason have not felt safe removing the safety net with bread baking until now. Will be living a little more dangerously in future!

Best of baking!
Ross

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

The Unrepeatable Loaf

Have you ever made a loaf of bread that turned out really, really well, better, in fact, than you ever would have thought possible, and then find yourself utterly incapable of making it again?  This is that loaf.

 

It was a revelation.  Shocking, actually, because of how different it was from previous attempts at the same basic bread.  It was a long, cold fermented 100%WW sourdough – just flour, water and salt.  But the crumb was open, soft, and fluffy like no other WW sourdough I’ve baked.  The crust, too, was remarkable – thin, yet toothsome.  It even stayed fresh for an uncanny length of time.

I am not including the formula here.  Whatever happened that day clearly had nothing to do with what was on the page, because, try as I might, I haven’t baked anything like it since.  And, oh, how I’ve tried.  The original formula doesn’t really even exist anymore, because I eventually I grew frustrated and began tinkering with it to try and find the elusive x-factor.

In time I managed to move on.  I hardly think about it anymore, really.  When I stumbled across this photo I felt I should share the tale, as I can’t be the first and won’t be the last person to go through this.

But occasionally I still wonder… what happened that day?  An exceptional bag of flour?  An accidental flour mix-up?  An extra ingredient that was meant for the other thing I was making that day (whatever that may have been)?  Pixie dust in my starter?  Maybe someday I’ll know, maybe someday…

Marcus

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Cinnamon Buns Hawaiian-Style

Since we got back from Hawaii a few weeks ago, we’ve been craving Hawaiian sweetbread.  When we were there we bought a local bakery’s cinnamon sweetbread, pull-apart buns coated with cinnamon sugar--not gooey sticky buns, just barely sinful.

When there, I tried the Hawaiian sweetbread recipe in this post (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21175/hawaiian-portugese-sweet-bread#comment-148186).  It was very good, and totally true to the local sweetbread we’ve often enjoyed.  Very much like the “poor man’s brioche” in Reinhart’s BBA.

Today, I decided to go for Hawaiian-style cinnamon buns.  I used the same dough recipe.  I divided the dough into pieces of about 85 grams each.   I made seven of them into plain sweetbread buns without cinnamon sugar.

They are soft, tender, shreddable and delicious.  They will make good teriyaki chicken sandwiches tomorrow.

The other 12 buns were brushed with water, rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and placed in a buttered baking pan, each with a dollop of butter-cinnamon-sugar glaze on top.  They were baked at 375 F for about 25 minutes.  The glaze was too dry to run down the sides of the buns, but it makes a nice crispy sugary crust on top.

They are delicious!  And not as guilt-inducing as “real” cinnamon rolls.

Tasha, of course, snoozed through the whole thing.

Hope you all enjoyed the day the world didn’t end.

Glenn

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Corn Muffins

 

I am on a quest to duplicate, or at least create a reasonable facsimile, of the Arizmendi/Cheese Board corn-blueberry muffins. I have The Cheese Board Collective Works which does not contain this recipe, to my irritation, but which can serve as a useful guide! My most recent attempt is documented here:

Preheat oven to 425. Thoroughly oil or butter a muffin tin. This makes 6 large or 9 medium muffins.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (relatively fine stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt (scant)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 1 T brown sugar

In a separate smaller bowl, mix these:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2T milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Cut in to the dry ingedients:

  • 4 T unsalted butter

Whisk in to the milk/yogurt combination:

  • 1 egg

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the well-stirred liquid ingredients. Mix gently, just to moisten the dry ingredients evenly. Portion evenly between the greased muffin tins, bake for 25-30 minutes.

NOTES:

These are not the Arizmendi corn muffin, but they're not far off. They're slightly salty, and not short enough. Next time: reduce salt to 1/2 tsp, and increase butter to 6T and/or use sour cream instead of yogurt. The yogurt used was low fat, which probably did not help. Anyways, go up to 5-6 tablespoons of butter, depending on how fat your yogurt/sour-cream is.

Also probably increase leavening a little to compensate for increase shortening, say 3/4 tsp soda and 2 tsp powder.

Also, 2T sugar, 2T brown sugar.

 

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Why did I stray so long? Shiao-Ping's 'House Miche' Revisited

I have a must-try list of sourdough breads and other goodies that I'm constantly working my way through, yet the list never seems to get any shorter. Trouble is, you guys on TFL keep posting irresistible pics, and the recipes go straight on to my list (and waistline).  O the trials of the home artisan bread baker! And of course, we wouldn't have it any other way...

When I'm not trying new breads, I fall back on my trusty repertoire of favourite breads that I do again and again. I'm sure we all have these, tweaked to personal taste. Every so often, I realise I haven't done one of my faves for way too long. So it was with Shiao-Ping's 'House Miche': I baked this again recently after somehow neglecting it for months, and it was like revisiting an old friend - familiar, but stimulating as well. I couldn't quite remember how it turned out (too many loaves ago), but I just knew it was a standout. Well, memory duly refreshed, felt I wanted to share this one with y'all. Blame it on the crumb:

 

And yeah, it's not a miche. I prefer batards - and the beauty of home baking is that you are free to customise as you please. I also like to take the option of adding a proportion of rye to the dough.

This crumb is spongy, which I really like, with a cool mouthfeel, nice structure and elasticity, a lovely creaminess about it, and nutty flavour tones that develop in depth and complexity the day after the bake. The crust has character, but is not so robust as to be tooth-endangering (conscious of this at the moment, having recently needed a crown due to chomping over-zealously on a pizza and breaking a back molar that had been sending me warning signals that all was not right for many months...dental phobics have unlimited capacity to ignore such signals).

This 'House Miche' - er, batard -  is an old friend that I'm going to make more effort to stay in touch with from now on. Well worth inviting to your table, if you haven't already.

Thank you again, Shiao-Ping!

Cheers
Ross

 

 

gmmace's picture
gmmace

Chinese pork buns question

Hello all,

I made some Chinese pork buns using a bun recipe I found on this site.  The bread came out nice and fluffy, though I need to tweak my filling recipe a bit.  But I'm wondering how to make the kind of rough textured pork buns you sometimes see at Chinese restaurants.  They look like they have burst open, a bit like popcorn.  It seems like the secret is probably in the shaping of the dough, but I haven't been able to find any recipes that will yield this kind of result, most recipes just form the buns into a round, or pleat the top.

Here's a pic of what I mean:

 Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

SFBI Miche - another variation - and a SFBI Sourdough

This weekend, I baked another miche using the formula from the SFBI Artisan II workshop I attended last December. The SFBI formula and method can be found in my previous blog entry: This miche is a hit!

I amended the formula and methods as follows: For this bake, I used my usual sourdough feeding mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% dark rye for the levain. The Final Dough was mixed with about 1/3 Central Milling "Organic Type-85 malted" flour and 2/3 WFM Organic AP, which is also a Central Milling flour. The SFBI method does not include an autolyse, but I did one. (Mixed the water, liquid levain, toasted wheat germ and flour and autolysed for an hour. Then mixed in the salt and proceeded.)

The bread flavor was the best yet, to my taste. I tasted it about 18 hours after baking. I had left it on the counter, wrapped in baker's linen overnight before slicing. This is the sourest miche I've baked. I like the sour tang and the flavor of the flour mix I used a lot.

SFBI Miche crumb

I also baked a couple loaves of one of the sourdoughs we made at the SFBI workshop. This one uses a firm levain fed at 12 hour intervals at 40% (by levain weight) of the final dough flour weight. After last week's trial of different methods of forming bâtards, I wanted to try the method portrayed in the KAF videos ( See Shaping) I think this method will become my method of choice.

The other loaf, which had an essentially identical appearance, was gifted to a neighbor before I took the photos.

SFBI "Sourdough with 2 feedings and 40% levain" crumb

This bread is meant to be a French-style pain au levain with little sour flavor. My wife's assessment sums it up pretty well: "It's just good bread."

Happy baking!

David

littlelisa's picture
littlelisa

percentage whole wheat in a white sandwich loaf formula

In my ongoing adventures with Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb, I decided to try one of the sandwich loaves. However, PR only presents a 100% white and 100% whole wheat in this book, and I really wanted to do a half-half. So did a  biga starter today using 2 cups white and 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, figuring I'd use the white sandwich loaf recipe and adapt it using around 40% ww flour. Any advice on this?

Cheers

Lisa

fminparis's picture
fminparis

Tips and Techniques for Bread Baking

Having baked well over a thousand breads over the years, I thought I’d write some things I’ve discovered while baking baguettes, batards, and boules.  I’ve used techniques from many people – Bernard Clayton, Greg Patent, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart,  Jim Lahey, others.  I still change and experiment but, for better or worse, here are some things I’ve discovered. I’m not here to argue; just presenting.  Take it or leave it.

 1) I don’t bother with no knead bread.  I don’t want to have to decide the night before whether I will want bread the next night.  Total time for me is 4 hours, from entering the kitchen to taking the loaves out of the oven.

 2) Best hydration for my boule is 70%; for baguettes 65%.  The baguettes have less water so they can be rolled and shaped. I don't overdo the boules with water because I like them high, not spread out.

 3) For best consistency, use a good, accurate  scale.

 4) I never found the need for a poolish.  No argument, I’ve done it with and without and don’t find a difference.  I don’t bake sourdough.

 5) The best kneading is with the Cuisinart, metal blade. One minute is all it takes. I find that the bread is, in all ways, a better, more consistent product than with a standing mixer and dough hook. I never tried all hand kneading - no patience for that.

 6) Autolyse is necessary.  After adding flour and yeast and processing for a second or two to mix, pour in warm (90’) water slowly while running the processor.  After a few more seconds shut off and let sit 20 minutes so flour can absorb the water. With  a spoon spread the dough around the bowl. Then  sprinkle salt over dough, so you don’t forget to add it.  After 20 minutes, process for one minute.

 7) Immediately after kneading, dump dough out and do stretch and fold. I used to flour a large wooden cutting board.  Now I just smear a little olive oil on surface of table - no need for messy flour all over. Dough won’t stick at all.

 8) If making baguettes or batards, after dumping out dough and doing stretch and fold (oiled table), divide dough, form balls and then allow each to rise in a separate oiled bowl covered by plastic wrap, rather than dividing after first rise.

 9) Best shaping for baguettes is by following: 

 http://techno.boulangerie.free.fr/09-ReussirLeCAP/03-lesFormesEnVideo.html    

 Other good stuff there also. Unfortunately, batard demo doesn’t work.

 10) I bake my boules in a La Cloche which is very convenient, with parchment paper round on the bottom.  I used to use a parchment covered cookie sheet with a pot turned upside down over the boule and that was fine.  The important thing for me is to allow the final rise to take place on the surface I’ll be baking on, so that there is no deflation moving it from one location to another. Slash, cover, bake. If I wanted to slide it onto tiles, I would let it rise on parchment covered cookie sheet, then use cookie sheet as a peel and slide paper and  dough onto tiles. Paper would slide smoothly and easily. I give 32 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered turning loaf 180 degrees halfway through (my oven).

 11) My baguettes I bake on the same parchment covered cookie sheet that they have risen on with an aluminum "disposable" roasting pan turned upside down. Slash, cover, bake. I give 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered switching loaves halfway through (my oven). Same remarks as boule if use tiles.

 12) I never found any difference whatsoever between using a heated cover or cold cover and since the cold one is more convenient to handle, that’s all I use.

 13) If bottoms burn, use two cookie sheets. One can be left in the oven.

 14) I never tried using a cold oven so can’t comment. I preheat to 450’ and bake at 450’.

15)  Give boule 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cool. Give baguettes an hour.

 

 

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