The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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venkitac's picture
venkitac

Sourdough yeast vs bacteria and temperature

In the recent "Very liquid sd" post, there was a lot of information on yeast vs. bacteria. One thing that I found confusing is this: I have heard from other sources (including at a class at SFBI, assuming my notes are correct) that w.r.t temperature, lower temperatures restrict yeast activity *more* than bacteria activity. This also seems to match with my (naive?) experience: if I leave a starter in the fridge, it takes forever to double, but the sourness is there in 12-24 hours easily. But, but, in the earlier thread Debra Wink says:


"Dan gave us a good overview of how dough is affected by hydration (some cereal chemistry as well as metabolic effects), but now let's take a look at how the culture is affected---the population dynamics---because that will determine the magnitude of the metabolic effects. Lowering hydration will slow all the microorganisms, yes, but yeasts are not quite as sensitive to it as the lactobacilli. In other words, the growth rate of the bacteria declines more sharply than that of the yeasts. Sourdough LAB thrive in warmth at high hydrations; low hydration and cool temperatures really slow them down. Yeast benefit from this, because they have less competition from the bacteria, so they have more space, and the resources to expand. They aren't quite as hindered by low hydration, low temperature, low pH, salinity, etc., as lactobacilli are, so even if they do slow some, they gain an edge because the bacteria are slowed more."


i.,e, the exact opposite of what I heard at SFBI, read elsewhere, and my experience, w.r.t the effect of temperature on yeast vs. bacteria. Can someone (Debra?:)) clarify the effect of temperature on acidity and bacteria, please? Thanks.

drdobg's picture
drdobg

Atta flour

I have been experimenting with "atta" flour called for in many Indian flatbreads (such as naan, poori, chapati breads, etc.)  It seems to me it would be similar to some of the higher ash flours of french baking.  Can anyone give some insights to the similarities and differences of these flours?

LeahM's picture
LeahM

baking a lot of loaves--help!

Hello all--I am hoping to benefit from some TFL's patented expert advice and experience!


My father is having a 60th birthday party in July, and I offered to make the bread for the event. It's going to be a big open house, so lots of nibbles--bread and cheese being of course the world's best nibble option (IMO). I want to make 3 different types of breads, all of which I've been getting reliably good results with when baked as a single batch: sourdough baguette, walnut levain, and herb foccacia. I am thinking of making a triple batch of the baguettes (6 loaves), double batch of the levain (4 smallish boules), and a double focaccia (2 pans).


Here's my dilemma: my oven is TINY. It can really only fit one pan at a time (so, two loaves, or a single focaccia). And my fridge isn't so big either. So, I'm thinking of (trying to) mix/let rise all the dough the day before, having it proof overnight in loaf form in the fridge, and then baking everything sequentially in the morning. Does that seem feasible? And, some questions...


Should I make large batches of dough, or stick to the quantities I know I can handle? (I'm mixing by hand.) Is there a better time to put dough in the fridge for a "holding pattern"? Can I bake the loaves cold from the fridge? What about the focaccia? Any other tactical suggestions from the experts out there? (Is there anything else in particular to be careful of?)

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Best Crust and Crumb yet! For me

This is a 50% wholewheat from "BREAD". I have finally achieved the color i wanted and the crumb texture i like. THis is a keeper.


To obtain the color, I have improvised enclosed steaming for this one:


Poultry roaster with lid. Under the roaster a stone, and in the roaster lid: a stone squeezed-in in such a way that it dented the lid, but remained in. This way, i can get heat from a stone on top of the loaf, and from under the loaf, all in an enclosed space to trap steam. IT Worked!


Here are the loaves:






UPDATE:  here is the roaster steamer with stone device:





Khalid


 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

SFBI baguette weekend workshop - a photo report


 


I have wanted to take classes from SFBI for so long, but TX is not exactly close to SF, and my day job really gets in the way of scheduling. When I saw they started offering some weekend workshops, I jumped on the opportunity. And of course, I picked the baguette class, since that's my main obsession.


Arriving early to be greeted by friendly classmates, teacher, and lots of fresh croissants. While we were going through our class, the students were just producing breads nonstop the entire time, and lucky us got to sample a few.



 


Hmmm, I wonder if I can ask for this to be my birthday gift? I am sure we can fit one in.... if we tear down our living room and den!



 


Would anyone notice if I just take a couple?....I AM KIDDING!



 


Now, let's get to work, 3 types for the first day: straight dough, poolish, and sponge. All done with minimal mixing (hand mixed to incorporate), and 3 sets of S&F.



 


I have done S&F every weekend, but handling 7.5KG of dough is decidely different from handling 1KG. Note to self, must lift weights.



We had lectures while waiting for the dough, but my favorite part is the hands on part. Look at the big tubs of dough, this  is when I realized that professional baking is a very very very physical job. Oh, I also would like a kitchen that's as big as this!



Teacher Frank is showing us how to divide and preshape. Even pieces, even tension, repeat.



We make 5 pieces for each type of baguette, my preshaping is far from perfect



 


Many many many trays of dough - 15 pieces per person per day



It's almost 2pm, we are starving. Let's get these babies shaped already! My batch of straight dough baguettes here - with my name on it!



Lunch , thank goodness. We inhaled that one. On 2nd day, we had pizza (yum!) and wine for lunch. Let's just say there were a lot more giggling in the afternoon session.



Well fed, let's check on the dough, ready to be scored and baked!



Loading is "interesting". Frank also showed us the home oven method (baking stone, cast iron skillets underneads to create steam etc.).



Best part, time to taste and critique! These are Frank's, hole-y and beautiful



These are mine. The dough is about 68% hydration, not so wet, so scoring was not difficult, I am semi-happy with the left two, no idea what happened for the one on the right. Seems that I loaded it too close to the right edge, didn't get browned on that side. It's straight dough, poolish, and sponge from left to right.



 


Not as open as Frank's crumb, need more practice with the new shaping method.



 


We all like the taset of sponge one the best, but all three are delicious.



 


We did 3 more formulas on the 2nd day (With teff, with sunflower seeds, and ww with wheat germ), and tried epi too.



 


All in all, a great experience! A lot of the info were familiar to me thanks to the knowledgable people here at TFL, but it helps tremendously to see close up how a professional handles the dough , and practice on 15 baguettes each day. Frank was very helpful answering questions and helping too. The shaping and preshaping methods are slightly different from what I have been doing previously, I like this new way better, will keep practicing at home for sure. Everyone ended up with loads of bread at the end of each day, since I was from out of town, I gave most of mine away to a classmate, who then distributed to elders in her neighbourhood - makes me happy.



 

RobertS's picture
RobertS

Rookie requires sourdough basic information

As a fresh-faced rookie baker looking to break into the Sourdough League, I am feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by  the mountain of info available on that subject. Can anyone suggest one or two of the very best, most reliable,  web articles, on TFL or wherever, that will serve to launch my sourdough breaducation? Grazi mille!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

AB5 weight equivalents in recipes

It seems that I just can't leave well enough alone some days. Even though I just added a stand mixer to the tool box, I had to borrow a copy of "Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes" from the local library when I saw it standing there on the shelf.


Everybody that has read or skimmed through the book already knows that the recipes are printed using volume rather than weight for quantities. I googled the book's website looking for any info on baker's percentages or weight of ingredients I could find. So far, I've found 140g for an AP flour cup weight and 135g for whole wheat. Water is listed as weighing in at 225g for a cup.


I took a chance and mixed a half recipe of light whole wheat for baking tomorrow morning and it looks like 76% poolish to me.


Has anyone else come to the same percentage and weight equivalents? I'm not heavily invested in this exercise, it's mostly done out of curiosity so if I missed something, I'll happily read about your experience and suggestions. When Thursday morning comes around, I'll be back to using my starter.

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Beauty and the Beast (A true beast, if not the truest beauty!)

 



I had the good fortune of being placed on the bench this morning, which translates to many, many baguettes. Here for your viewing pleasure were the best (probably) and the worst (probably) of the bake. My beastie caught underneath the loading board as it was being slid into the  oven, so its back end got tucked underneath itself on the loading.


In addition, because it caught underneath itself, it glued itself to the baking stone, and didn't slide in on ball bearings of flour as it should have, so it was a bit warped. Add imperfect shaping and scoring and what we've got is quite the beastie looking baguette.  But despite all my heavy handed-ness, the crumb wasn't too badly torn up inside.


I blame elderly dough! The older a dough is, the harder it is to work with, whether dividing, shaping, or scoring. A more relaxed dough with much acids built up in it will be elastic and have little extensibility, sticky and difficult to handle, sticking to hands and blades alike. On the one hand acids toughen up the dough increasing elasticity and on the other hand the dough is starting to break down (if this hypothesis is true, the dough has probably reached its limit of fermentation products, which work to break down the gluten, maybe)



I do hope I'm finally getting the hang of scoring, particularly with a lame. I'm getting less "breaks" between the openings of the scores, and I was actually able to notice the grigne opening up properly, due to the angle of the blade. All in all, not a bad bench day. Now I just have to master bench-work with a miche, heavy shaping, and a busy store.


--Chausiubao

MmeZeeZee's picture
MmeZeeZee

Managing a Long-Term Starter

There's a great thread on starting starters.  What about managing them?


I bake three to four times a week out of necessity.  I have two children under the age of four and a husband in the military.  I'm not really able to cultivate three or four different starters, so I'll let you in on a secret: I'm actually hacking a starter.  I made one according to Lepard's instructions and it worked like a charm.  Since then, I've been refreshing six days a week or so with whatever flour I'm using at the moment.  I'm guessing it's 50% whole wheat, 40% white, and 10% rye at the moment.


Today, I used a liquid starter when I really should have used a stiff starter.  Honestly, the difference in hydration is so minor for the whole loaf, I thought... really?  We won't eat bread for two days because it's not stiff enough now?


How do you maintain your starters?  Do you maintain multiple starters (and have children and tomato plants and a husband)?  If you don't, how many refreshings do you do before you consider it good to go?  Etc.


 

jvafis's picture
jvafis

meaning of "strong flour"

I just picked up Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf" in which many recipes specify a "strong flour.." In his discussion of flour he doesn't make any reference to this. Does he mean a high protein flour, like a bread flour, or is that just a British way of saying all-purpose wheat flour?

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