The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

The Journey Begins

I have officially deemed this week the start of my Bread Season.  As the weather gets increasingly colder, I can't think of a better way to warm up the house.



Not long ago, early this year (2010) I became obsessed with teaching myself to be an Artisan Bread maker. Throughout my life I have done this frequently. I'll find something interesting and obsess over it endlessly...well endlessly may be an overstatement. It's more until I find something else to obsess about. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.



Right away I hit the pavement; I went up to my locale library (which is an amazing facility) and checked out several bread making books. The first two that I picked up read like most other cookbook I had ever used, listing the ingredients and then step by step directions that usually lack the critical details to make any dish truly exceptional - enter my culinary education. Low and behold the book I left for last in the group would turn out to be my holy grail of bread making. I had stumbled upon "The Bread Makers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart, and so my journey began.


I can truly say that while most hobbies that I embark upon fall to the wayside sooner or later this adventure has transcended to something that's more a part of who I am as opposed to what I do. The lessons and fundamentals that I have learned to date have produced some rather exceptional results, in my personal opinion and I can't wait to share these experience with The Fresh Loaf.

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Walnut Levain

This is a new bake of the recipe I discussed in this post.


Minor chages:



  • sour sponge was 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup rye, 1 cup water

  • "old dough" starters were each somewhat bigger, using 1/3 cup water each and "enough" flour.


The main difference is that I accidently added about 1 cup too much water, so:



  • the loaf was bigger (about 3 pounds)

  • there was less sour flavor (since I used the same 1 cup water/1 cup flour sour sponge, for more bread)

  • I worked at higher hydration, somewhere between 65 and 70 percent (it started wet, but I worked more flour late in kneading, and some more during stretch and fold)


Then I baked it for a full hour, hence the dark crust.


Also, I chopped some of the nuts fairly fine to get more nut distribution throughout the bread. The purple coloration of the crumb is more thorough and even, but not up to Acme Bakery standard yet! This loaf is outstanding with jam, especially toasted.




Dwayne's picture
Dwayne

Cinnamon Loaf

Off and on people have asked about cinnamon bread recipies so I thought that I would tell what I've been using.  I've been using the Soft Sandwich bread from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day" with a few tweeks and it always turns our great.  I was one of his recipe testers for this book and this may be the bread that I've made most often from the book.  The tweeks are I'll some times trow in an extra egg and I have not been letting it set overnight in the refrigerator.  I'll either make a full batch which makes 50 oz or I've written in the book the weights for each ingredient to make only 40 oz which is what the Pullman loaf pan takes.


I like lots of turns and lots of cinnamon.  Lately we been getting some from CostCo that is excellant: Kirkland - Ground Saigon Cinnamon.  I need a longer counter top.



 


My son got me a Pullman loaf pan and I really like the way loafs turn out.  Sometimes when you do a loaf like this you can get air pockets but I'm thinking that this pan helps to do away with the air pockets.



 


Bake time are 25 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes with the lid off.



 


This makes great toast or french toast.  I've counted 7 or 8 rings of cinnamon in some slices.



 


So, I would highly recommend Peter's book and Pullman Loaf Pans.


 


Happy Baking, Dwayne


 

fayee's picture
fayee

hot lemon lava desserts

has anyone heard of the hot lemon lava  individual cake dessserts served at the Sweet Tomato restaurant chain?  many people on the internet are looking for a recipe to make from scratch at home but if you check many recipe sites they all talk about lemon pudding cake etc. which is not the same.


this recipe, from the descriptions i read, is like a chocolate molten cake baked in ramekins but from probably a sponge/lemon cake with molten lemon filling.


according to comments i read it is to-die-for  . so is anyone up for the challenge?


can't wait for the reply. thanks

fishers's picture
fishers

freezing dough a bust!

I froze 1/2 a recipe of dough before final shaping with the idea of shaping and baking within a week.  I thawed for 24 hours in the refrigerator and noticed some rise as it thawed.  Let it come to room temp and then carefully shaped so as not to degas.  That was it - no further rise after 3 hours.  I hate to throw out the dough.  Can I use it as a starter or something?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne

San Joaquin Sourdough

I made this bread this weekend and was so pleased with it I had to post some pictures and thank David for sharing his recipe.  It is a great bread.  The substitutions that I made was I used Gold Metal Better for Bread for the white flour and Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye for the Rye flour.  I had been getting my starter ready by feeding it every day for about a week.  Another change I made was the way I did the strech and fold.  I've been looking every where for those plastic scrapers and so I do not have one.  I did the strech and fold just by getting my hands wet and picking up the dough and using gravity to do the streching and I would do the folding.  I was very tempted to use Richard Bertinet's method, maybe next time.  David's directions were great with time intervals listed so I followed them pretty closely.


On bake day I was begining to wonder if my starter was working well enough, but the oven spring I got was amazing!  I tried to score the bread as David said and since this is a wet dough was having trouble but I got close.


 


The Crust.



 


The crumb.



 


This turned out to be one of the best looking loafs that I have made.  It was also the first Batard.  The flavor was great.  I was a bit dissapointed that it was not more sour but that will be another research topic - how to get your starter to yield a stronger sour flavor.  We had it toasted for breakfast and it was so good.


 


Again, Thanks David!  I will be making this again.


 


Dwayne

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

My first sourdough with fruit and nuts

Over the past couple of months I have been learning how to bake sourdough bread. I have produced a fair share of pale crusts, scorched bottoms, dense crumbs and one terrific doorstopper. I've spent hours on TFL looking for explanations and solutions (and finding them! Big thanks to all of you!). I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Last Sunday I tried my first sourdough with fruit and nuts and it all seemed to come together: it was delicious! As good a reason as any to start using the TFL blog :).


Loaves in the Big Green Egg


 


Formula:



  • 170 gr starter (I have a 100% hydration starter, maintained on roughly 1/3 rye and 2/3 wheat),

  • 230 gr water

  • 510 gr flour (about 20% wholemeal)

  • 10 gr salt

  • 250 gr dry ingredients for soaker: 100 gr raisins, 50 gr dried apricots chopped to raisin size, 50 gr hazelnuts crushed with a hammer, 50 gr rolled oats

  • zest from one medium orange, and some Madeira wine.


Method:



  • Start with the soaker: cover the dry ingredients with water and a generous splash of Madeira wine in a small saucepan, heat up to "nice and warm", leave to cool for 6 hours, stirring now and then. Put in a sieve to drain off the liquid before starting on the dough.

  • Mix flour, starter and water. Autolyse. Add salt and orange zest and knead gently (about 5 minutes). Rest a few minutes, add soaker and knead some more.

  • Bulk ferment, do a stretch&fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  • Retard in fridge overnight.

  • Take out of fridge, allow about two hours to get back to room temperature (my fridge is very cold), divide and preshape. Benchrest. Shape (if any raisins have worked their way out of the dough, remove them or push them into the bottom of the boule) and proof.

  • Heat oven with stone to 220C (430F).

  • Slash and bake covered for the first 13 minutes. Let oven temp drop to 200C (390F) and bake another half hour.


Schedule:


I use a spreadsheet I made to calculate quantities and to keep track of when I need to do what. You can see it here (I'd be happy to share the original spreadsheet). My house if fairly cool (room temp around 66F), hence the long proofing times.


Crumb shot


Notes:


My basic bread formula is Flo's 1.2.3 formula, with just a bit less water, because I do all dough handling except the final shaping with wet hands. For final shaping I use flour.


I cover my loaves in the oven with a tinfoil hat shaped around an upturned banneton. Works like a charm.


250 grams of dry ingredients swells up to a much bigger and heavier load after soaking (smells nice, though). It was quite scary to tip that quantity onto the dough; hydration went up too, obviously. Still, I got a good windowpane after the second stretch & fold and the dough was still manageable (just).


Funny thing was that we couldn't find a trace of the oats in the finished loaf, but I think they did contribute to the taste.


The crumb was more dense than in my "daily" loaf (which is made using the same method, but without the soaker), there were no big holes. Still, it looked and felt lovely, pleasantly moist.


We had a loaf for lunch, even though it was still so warm that butter on a slice melted almost immediately. My lunch companions are very critical foodies, and they loved it (one of them is my brother, and believe me, he wouldn't say so just be polite :)).


It really was delicious - on its own, with butter or with strong dutch cheese!


 

coffeetester's picture
coffeetester

Help I think my starter is not well

So Its been 12 days since I started my Pineapple SD starter. After about 9 days I thought I had a good starter going. It would double and collapse in 12 hours. It smelled pretty decent. On Friday morning I fed it a 1:2:2 feeding and it really looks like my starter has really stagnated. After 12 hours I barley had 50% growth and almost no bubbles in the top. I then went back to my 2:1:1 starter and I cant get an explosive growth out of my starter. Lots of forums are saying 3 to 4 hours to get a good double. My Sunday feeding did not grow in the first 12 hours so I did not feed it last night. This morning there is a stench that was there in the first couple of days. I feed it again this morning with a 2:1:1 feeding. Can I get some advice to tell if I damaged the starter. Here are some facts I do know


My Counter top/Oven temp is 71F. This is pretty constant but I have been trying to get it to 75 with boiling water


I am using King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flower


I use water from a filter system under the sink. I dont know the quality of the filter but the water tastes good.


 


On a side note using these same supplies I have made 2 successful loaf's the last two weekend so I dont suspect any thing wrong with the environment or water.

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

Quick Dinner Bread

Hello my Baking Buddies, I am totally new to the site, really enjoying the community and forums, I feel at home here :) I have a good topic to start a thread on so I though I would throw it out and see what hits.


I found myself in a situation over the weekend.  My fiance and I were invited over to have Halloween dinner by the parents of my ten year old sons friend ("Girl" friend).  Saturday afternoon I found myself wishing that I had started a batch of Pain A L'anciene the night before to bake off that evening to bring to dinner on Sunday.


Does anyone have a recipe for a really delicouse, quick dinner quality bread that can be baked in half a day?


I am just hoping that in the future if given short notice, I might still be able to whip up something immpresive.


Here is hoping


 


P.S. I did end up making fresh Pita Flatbreads and Fresh Hummus with Roasted Red Bells, which ended up being a huge hit.  But still, the expreice left me wanting a nice crusty dinner bread.

wally's picture
wally

Homage to SylviaH (and her sure-fired steaming method!)



Anyone who's followed my blogs knows that I'm constantly whinging about my gas oven and it's tendency to vent steam as quickly as I can create it.


But it's true: my relationship with my oven is probably like that of Ike and Monty in WWII - hated one another but needed each other.


So, having tried the numerous Rube Goldberg remedies found on TFL (I'm still using lava rocks in a cast-iron frying pan), and found them either impractical or wanting, I read Sylvia's recent post with interest - but skeptical interest I must admit.


Still, looking for anything that might offer a tactical advantage over my oven, I tried it out today with a pain au levain recipe using mixed rye and AP levains from Hamelman's Bread (still my favorite sandwich bread!)


I slightly improvised on Sylvia's instructions: I thoroughly soaked a terry cloth towel in water, placed it in a glass pyrex bread pan, filled it 3/4's with water and then nuked it in my microwave for about 10 minutes before placing it in my oven just before loading my loaves.


On loading a cup of water was carefully tossed onto my lava rocks, and then two minutes later, another half cup.  I removed the pyrex pan with the towel 15 minutes prior to finishing the bake.


Oh the result!  The most oven spring and the best opened cuts I've ever had at home - easily!


Here are some shots of today's bake:


    


 


    


If I could sell Sylvia's technique I'd be like Ron Popeil at this point.  However, I'm having difficulty visualizing an infomercial featuring a terry cloth towel steaming in a bread pan, so I'll give that a pass.


However, I will heartedly add my endorsements to those Sylvia has already received. 


This is one way of overcoming the shortcomings of home kitchen gas ovens.  And how!


Larry


And the crumb shot:



(Crumb shots to follow once the bread's cooled)

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