The Fresh Loaf

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Felila's picture
Felila

What to do with ww sourdough bread with burnt crust

My last batch of wholewheat sourdough was a disaster from start to finish. I was distracted and didn't mix the starter thoroughly enough. Nonetheless, I mixed up the dough and waited for it to rise in the refrigerator. Rise was slow and I was worried that it would be dry and hard, so I mixed up the dough with some extra white bread flour, commercial yeast, water, and honey.  I retarded it for a day and baked it this morning. I was online and not paying attention ... the bread got too brown. Not quite burnt, but the crust is unpleasantly hard and strong-tasting. Inside is fine, but very sour. 

Ordinarily I would just cut up the bread and use it in bread pudding. There's a plastic tub in the freezer where I store the bread bits until I have enough for a batch of pudding. However, this bread is so intense that I think it wouldn't work well in bread pudding. 

I'm thinking that I could slice it thin, cut off the crusts, and make garlic bread. Once baked, I could freeze it. Or perhaps some sort of onion soup with bread? Any other suggestions?

BTW, the sourdough made with white bread flour turned out superb, so the day wasn't a total waste :)

Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj

Seeded Multi Grain Sourdough

So Proud I had to share!

This is my comeback from an over-proofed disappointment (aka bread crumbs) on Monday.   This is my interpretation of a mixed grain seeded sourdough.

My formula;

16 oz Bread Flour 80%

2 oz Spelt 10%

1 oz WW 5%

1 oz Rye 5%

13-14 oz Water somewhere between 65-70%

Additions;

1 oz (pre hot soak) Flax seed Meal 5%

1 oz (before boiling until soft) Bulger Wheat 5%

.4 oz Salt 2%

Mix dough (just flours and some water) and autolyse 1 hr, Add the rest machine/ hand kneed until windowpane or as much as the Bulger will allow, retard in the fridge 25 hours.

Sit dough out for 30-60 minutes to warm up, shape, turn dough onto a wet towel then onto a sheet pan of seeds. I used a mix of sesame flax and sunflower, proof 90 to 120 minutes.

Score and bake in a preheated 475 degree oven with steam on a stone and drop the temp to 450. bake 30- 40 minutes.

Hope you all enjoy!

J

 

 

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

Sourdough rye Vollkornbrot with flaxseed and pinhead oats.

A couple of days ago I decided to try my hand at Jeffrey Hamelman’s Vollkornbrot with flaxseeds.  I did this with some trepidation because

a)     I’m a western expat living in New Delhi, India and THE key ingredient (rye flour) is not available here, meaning that I have to bring it in from Europe on each trip.  This one recipe  would blow about 1/7 th of my precious supply.

b)    The recipe as per Hamelman requires the  use of a sourdough starter, used to create a long fermenting sourdough and two soakers (flaxseeds and rye chops) .  To these are added the last fraction of the rye meal and the salt + some water and yeast so it’s not exactly a straight dough setup with minimal rise time.

The original recipe can be found in ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman, I’m not going to reproduce it here for the obvious copyright reasons.

Modifications vs the recipe:

a)     I didn’t have rye chops and there’s no way for me to acquire those here.  So I used pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats) instead.  This worked without a hitch.

b)    One of the big challenges of baking breads here is dough temperature control.  We’re past the peak of summer but still, the temperature in my kitchen is about 35 centgrade.  This is an obvious problem when using ‘long’ rise times/preferments etc.  What it boils down to is that I shortened the sourdough rise time from the recommended 14-16 hours at around 21 centigrade to 9 hours at 33-35.

 

The dough (detailed instructions see the recipe in the book):

For the sourdough I used a sourdough starter that had been initiated 3 months ago, it started out as a rye sourdough starter but has been refreshed countless times with normal bread flour so it’s totally white now.  This is added to 100% rye flour and water.  Hydratation is 100% at this point.

While this is covered and put away to start its long rise, a flaxseed and –in my case- a pinhead oats soaker were prepared.  I added all the recipe’s salt to the oats soaker in order to inhibit enzyme activity (long rise at high ambient temperature).

After 5 hours I could definitely see activity in the sourdough, based on the look/consistency and the taste I decided it was ripe after 9 hours of fermentation.  Tasting/feeling/looking are imho the only sure ways to determine ripeness.  Let it ferment too long and the taste becomes harsh/vinegary.

Everything was brought together with some extra rye flour and mixed at slow speed for 10 minutes.  Bulk fermentation took 15 minutes.

After bulk fermentation I had a very slack, sticky dough that proved almost unmanageable and had a very dense texture.  This was dumped in a large cake tin (no pullman form available) that had been oiled and covered in rye flour.  I used a spoon to flatten the top somewhat.

Baking:

First 15 minutes in a hot oven (245 centigrade)  with steam, followed by 1 hour 15 minutes at 195, dry.   Hamelman remarks that a full bake is imperative and I concur, given the high hydratation and the density.

Unpanning and cooling:

15 minutes before the end of the bake time, the loaf is taken out of the baking tin (very easily, no stick at all) and baked off the remaining 15 minutes to remove some extra moisture and firm things up.

After baking I was stuck with what literally seemed to be a very dense brick.  This then has to cool/rest between 24 and 48 hours so the internal moisture has time to redistribute.  It took an almost superhuman effort but I managed to wait 30 hours.  Don’t give in to temptation, I think the bread really requires this long rest before slicing.

Some pictures: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rye sourdough with flaxseeds and pinhead oats after unpanning and cooling for 30 hours at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the crumb is very, very dense and looks underbaked.  However, it looked and tasted exactly like the German whole grain Vollkornbread that’s for sale in (North) Germany.  It can be sliced very thin (4 mm is not a problem at all) with a serrated bread knife and the taste is slightly sweet, nutty with a delicate sourdough tang.  If you really want an extremely pronounced sourdough taste I guess you’d have to let the sourdough ferment a couple of hours more.  The bread goes very well with cured meats, jam, (dark) chocolate spread and cheeses that have a pronounced taste.

 





Big warning: Only try this and the other Vollkornbrot mentioned by Hamelman if you really like very dense German breads like Pumpernickel (the German version, has nothing in common with what's sold as such in the US).  Do not try to make rolls or smaller loaves as the crust is very hard indeed and -in the case of rolls- these would be inedible because this bread can only be enjoyed if you slice it really thin.

markwhiteff's picture
markwhiteff

Crust question

Hello,

I was wondering whether anyone has any ideas about the crust in the picture below

Bread was baked at 440 degrees for about 40 minutes and was abou 205 degrees when pulled out. The crust is actually darker than the picture shows. The crumb is very light. I was happy with the bread, but didn't like the large chunks of cracking that occurred about 10 minutes after i pulled it out of the oven. As you can see the crust is fairly thin. But it is the large cracking that i'd like to fix. Hoping somebody here will have some ideas. Thanks!

jarkkolaine's picture
jarkkolaine

Black Tea Yeast Water

Before I saw this beautiful yeast water bread by  isand66, I had never heard about yeast water. Or if I had, I had completely ignored the topic, so new it felt to me at that time.

But when I started looking into the topic, I found that The Fresh Loaf is full of people making lovely loaves of bread with this method. And I wanted to join them.

So, after an evening of reading about YW, about a week ago, I mixed a big table spoon of black tea with a cup of water and a table spoon of honey and left to rest on my kitchen table.

For the next week, I shaked the mixture a couple of times a day and watched it ferment. I couldn't stop checking on the jar and smelling it to see if something was already happening!

In two days or so, the water started bubbling and after a few days more, it smelled like the Finnish May first drink, Sima. I suppose that would have been the perfect time to try the water, but as I was travelling (the yeast water travelled with me, naturally), so I didn't get a chance to try to bake with it until yesterday. 

Here's what the yeast water looked like just before I used it:

I was worried that the YW might be overripe, but the results were very good (for a first try, at least!). Here's the formula.

Starter:

  • 100 g Yeast water
  • 100 g White wheat flour

The starter was left to room temperature for about 24 hours. It was bubbling already at 12 hours, but I felt it could use some more time (and I was busy...), so I left it to ferment a bit longer.

In the morning of the bake day:

  • All of the starter above (200g)
  • 200 g Water
  • 200 g White wheat flour

Again, I left the mixture on my kitchen table and went out for the day. When we came back about six hours later, the dough looked ripe and full of life (lots of bubbles and about doubled in size), so I decided it was time to mix the dough. 

I aimed for a 75% hydration, and a quick calculation (in my head) gave me the following numbers:

  • All of the starter from previous step (600 grams, at 100% hydration)
  • 700 g flour (out of which 100 g was fine spelt flour and the rest was bread flour from Vääksyn mylly, a smallish mill near Lahti)
  • 450 g water
  • 20 g salt 

I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes and then added the salt just before finishing the kneading.

After two hours, I shaped the dough into two round loaves and left the rise for about two more hours. When I came back, I was surprised to see that the loaves had risen very fast, so I refrigirated them until the oven was ready and then baked in my cast iron pan (covered with a clay pot for half of the baking time).

Here's what came out of the oven:

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

What To Eat With That Rustic French Country Sourdough Bread -Smoked Etouffee!

When I was in architectural school so long ago, way before 4 legged apprentices were allowed in the kitchen, one of my best friends, a fine designer, was of Creole decent from New Orleans - the heart of Creole Country.  Cajuns weren't well thought of in New Orleans and scarcely seen then.  His wife was and still is a Cajun from the bayou country around Lafayette - the heart of Cajun Country where Creoles were shunned and hard to find.  It’s not that they hated each other, after all they were both French based to the core, but it was a bit like thick oil and thin vinegar trying to make an emulsion without any duck fat.

Uncooked veggies and chorizo just added to the not very much roux.

Creoles were the upper crust of the French in Louisiana, the New Orleans Upper Crust merchants and the plantation owners who tried to emulate the aristocracy of France.  You can think of them as the perfectly scored ‘Paris Baguette French’ even though their blood was steeped in native American and to a greater extent the Blacks from Africa.

Smoked chicken and 2 smoked sausages - one pork, one chicken.

Cajuns on the other hand were also of French decent and mingled with native Americans more and Africans less but they also immigrated from Nova Scotia to LA instead of from France like the Creoles.  They were more rustic and country than their Creole cousins and weren't into imitating any kind of French aristocracy.  You can think of them as ‘Rustic Country French Sourdough Boules’.  The two things they could agree on was that they hated the English; with the Creoles and the Cajuns coming together to defeat the British in NO ending the war of 1812 after it had already ended on paper several week before and they liked the same kind of foods.  Even if they argued mightily over their slightly different preparation and ingredients of the same dishes it was still all gumbo in the end. 

The dark roasted chicken stock.

The Africans brought the spice, peppers and tomato to the Creoles and the Native Americans brought the crayfish to the Cajuns.  Both had that French sauce; roux, in their veins.   They say that the closer you get to NO the less tomato you will see.  This is totally incorrect.  Cajuns shun tomatoes and they weren't from anywhere around NO – the Creole heart where tomatoes are fine in just about anything.  You can always tell a Creole from a Cajun by noticing if they put tomatoes in the same dishes or not – because they make pretty much the same dishes otherwise - except for the little difference in the addition of file.  File as a spice is also Creole.  With Cajuns, file is totally optional and not required.  Cajuns also tend to put less onion, celery and green peppers in their dishes too.  Cajuns like 1 part onion, 1/2 part green pepper and 1/4 part celery.  Creoles want up to a full part of each.

Stock and beer hit the veggies and the roux.  

Needless to say, my married friends from LA were like night and day when it came to cooking authentic Creole and Cajun food from NO or the Bayous.  They both made every kind of sausage, gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, French breads and other food treats linked directly to the French in LA be they Creole or Cajun.  Both sides claim to have invented and perfected these fine dishes but, in reality, they worked together to make these dishes world famous and world class.   All of these foods have many variations depending on who makes it and who they learned from and with mixed Creole and Cajun marriages…… anything is possible!

Meat hits the pan- it's nearly time to eat.

It was so much fun cooking with my LA friends because they would always argue over how much of what to put in or not to put in every delicious meal - what ever it was.  Both were equally fine cooks – just different.  What ever we cooked always had a 6 pack of beer consumed as we waited for the low and slow roux commonality to get that deep brick red.  Another 6 pack went down with the meal.

Served over white rice.

Etouffee is usually crayfish or shrimp, when mud bugs aren't available.  The bugs give Cajun’s their main claim to authenticity especially when made with a nice mud bug or shrimp stock - depending.  This etouffee version is smoked chicken, smoked; chicken and pork sausage.   It’s  based on a great smoked shrimp and sausage gumbo I had in KC a couple of weeks ago at one of the many BBQ joints KC is known for.

After dinner bike ride rudely interrupted by a pesky sunset.

The Brownman portion of this recipe is the Mexican; amber beer and spicy chorizo added with the veggies.   The recipe might at first seem to lean toward Cajun since no tomato is ever allowed – too sour.  Too much tomato will spoil any sofrito too.   But the file, spices, peppers and ratio of veggies is pure Creole through and through.   The Mexican influence is unmistakable too.  Us 3, the old friends and cooks, are all represented in this fine etouffee that I’m sure each of us would be proud to call our own.   But I’m certain, both of them would want to change it to better suit their Cajun or Creole tastes.  So, it is not theirs – it’s all mine.

The sunset got better a few minutes later.

I prefer it served over large French Rustic Country SD croutons just to make it more Cajun and even the Creole tilting playing field.  But this time it was served over the traditional rice.     Call it bad planning or possibly fear of too much French :-)

In tribute to the previous nights orange sunset, an orange breakfast of Stan Ginsberg's Bagels, Minneola Medium Caramelized  Marmalade and Cantaloupe.  A magnificent 24 hours of nostalgia, etouffee,  orange; sunsets and breakfasts the Cajun, Creole and Brownman way.  Wish you guys were here to enjoy it with me as I enjoyed our cooking together so long ago. 

I'm such a doofus for forgetting to post the recipe.  Where is that apprentice when you need her?

Smoked Chicken Sausage Etouffee

Ingredients

 1 pound smoked boneless chicken – your choice - we use thighs

½ pound each of smoked pork and chicken sausage

¼ pound chorizo

1 C water

2 C dark roasted chicken stock

1/8 cup grape seed oil + 1/8 C Butter for the Roux Or all oil if you want

2/3 cup flour

1 small onion - diced

2 stalks celery – diced

1 small green bell pepper – diced

1 amber beer - or less if you taste test to make sure it isn’t spoiled –Bohemia preferred

2 bay leaves

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T Creole seasoning – equal parts; salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, smoked paprika, paprika, cayenne pepper - 1 T each for the roux and veggies.

2 T Creole seasoning for the chicken and sausages before smoking

½ tsp of Gumbo file - some say it is optional but it isn’t around here.

Tabasco sauce for individual serving heat if the Creole seasoning isn’t hot enough for you or others.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over white rice with some buttered French SD bread to sop up anything left in your bowl.  We sometimes just make huge French SD croutons and serve the etouffee over them instead of rice – great for folks who don’t like rice but love SD..

Make the chicken stock ahead of time.  Etouffee deserves the very best stock.

Smoke the chicken, sausage and chicken sausage with the Creole seasoning . 

Heat oil and butter in large skillet until it is hot but not quite smoking.  Add the flou and 1 T of the Creole seasoning, turn down the heat to low and cook the roux while constantly stirring until a dark peanut butter color is achieved.  This is called a blond roux even though it will be a brick red and may take 20 minutes or more.  Add the vegetables, the chorizo and 1 T Creole seasoning and cook while constantly stirring for about 6-8 minutes until the vegetables soften and the roux gets darker.  Make sure not to burn anything.

Turn heat up to medium.  Add the beer and chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Cook while stirring until the mixture boils and thickens to correct consistency10-15 minutes.  Etouffee is a thicker sauce than Gumbo.   Add in the smoked meats and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the meat is just heated through.  The chicken should be chopped into ½" cubes and the sausages cut into ¼" thick coins. Have Tabasco ready for those who want more heat.   Serve over plain white rice or some kind of rustic French SD croutons Which is my preference.  For a more smoked flavor you can smoke the finished etouffee in the smoker too.

 If 3 Cajuns or Creoles are making etouffee you need about 12 additional beers while making it in order for them to have a good time and learn to get along while working hard on that roux that takes patience and low heat.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Multigrain Pitas - The Tasty Pocket

The owner of A&B Naturals, the store that sells my bread, asked me one day: "Can you bake pitas, too?" I had never made them, so I said with conviction: "Yes!"

At least I knew where I could find a pita recipe!

In "Whole Grain Breads", one of my favorite baking books, Peter Reinhart has a recipe for whole wheat pitas - just the right thing for my grain loving customers.

I started my first pita dough. No big deal, until I got to the shaping part. The pitas had to be rolled out no thinner than 1/4 inch (6 mm), and to an 8-inch (20 cm) diameter. But my pitas already reached this thickness at 6 1/2 to 7 inches (16 to 18 cm.)

Pitas are shaped in three steps, first into rolls, then rolled out to 4"/10 cm. Don't skimp on the flouring!

Below: rolling out pitas to a larger round (6 1/2 - 7" or 16 - 18 cm.) Re-flour them, if necessary.

A high oven temperature is key to a pita's proper horizontal separation into two layers. This high temperature has to be maintained during the whole bake, from below as well as from above.

Many cheaper ovens don't heat up to the necessary 550ºF (280ºC.) Without that boost pitas can't produce the large gas bubble that creates a pocket. And without a pocket - no delicious filling!

A baking stone, or a rack lined with unglazed terracotta tiles (like I have), works best for keeping the  temperature stable, even when the oven door has to be opened several time during the baking process. And very hot stones make the best baking surface for pitas, too.

To reheat fast enough after each opening of the door I remembered Peter Reinhart's advice for baking pizza ("American Pie"), where the problem is the same: intermittently switching the oven to broil for a short time.

How many pitas can you bake at the same time? One batch of dough makes 8 (or 6, if you want larger ones.) Peter Reinhart says one at a time, but, of course, being a semi-professional I wanted to do it a little less time consuming.

After some trials, I found that I can put two at the same time in the oven. That's the maximum, with more it becomes very difficult to load and unload them without damage, and to keep control over their baking process.

2 pitas can be baked at the same time. Once out of the oven, they deflate quickly.

Of course, it takes a little bit of experience to slide the pitas into the oven without them folding over in one place, and to extricate them without nicking them with the peel.

But it's not rocket science, a smart child can do it:

  Josh, our carpenter's son, thought it was much more fun to help with my baking than reading his book!

Though Peter Reinhart's original 100% whole wheat pita is very good, I made a few changes to it. I substitute a 7-grain mix for some of the whole wheat flour, and add an overnight bulk rise in the fridge, this is more practical for my baking schedule, and, in my opinion, improves the taste even more. It also has the advantage that I can reduce the yeast amount by 2 grams.

Though I usually cut down on the sweetener in Peter Reinhart's recipes, this whole grain bread needs the full dose.

We like our pita filled with grilled Halloumi cheese, tomato and lettuce - the way we had it in Girne/Kyrenia on Cyprus. And how do my customers at A&B Naturals like them? They fly off the shelf so that I have to bake them every week!

Here is a link to the recipe in my blog "Brot & Bread".

thihal123's picture
thihal123

How to keep bread moist?

Is there a way to keep homemade bread moist for a longer period of time? My breads are pretty good (I'd think) for the first couple of days. After that, it gets slightly dry and begins to crumble easier. It's still good, but not what it was just two or three days ago. Any tricks I could use? My doughs are usually wet doughs and made with simple whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and sometimes sweetner like barley syrup, molasses, or honey (but sometimes no sweetner).

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Bolillos with poolish

Living in San Diego for school, I gained a love for the little rolls brought from the local panaderia down the street.  Like little mini batards, pulled from the oven and placed in bins alongside racks of pan dulces.  Alas, here in the oakland hills the closest panaderia is a 15-20 minute drive away, and the bolillos just aren't quite like the ones I used to get in San Diego.

Most of the recipies I've seen are straight-dough, and being that I can't leave well enough alone, I have developed the following recipe, based off of the Poolish Baguettes in Hamelman's Bread.  The percentages of fat and sugar are from a bakery near mexico city (I don't remember quite where).

Poolish:
166g Flour
166g Water
Pinch of yeast (less than 1/8 tsp)

Let poolish sit overnight or at least 8 hours, untill poolish begins to pucker in the middle.

Final Dough:
All of the Poolish
334g Flour
164g Water
15g Fat (Lard or shortning)
10g Salt
10g Sugar (unrefined cane or honey)
2g instant yeast

Mix everything but the salt together into a shaggy mass.  Let autolysis for at least 20 mins.  Add salt and kneed dough untill it passes a windowpane test.  Let rise until doubled.  Divide into 6-8 pieces, preshape into rounds and let bench rest for 10 mins.  Shape into ovals and place into a floured couche like you would for baguettes.  Preheat oven to 500F at least 45 minutes before baking.  Slash bolillos once lengthwise and place into oven. Bake for 5 mins with steam at 500F then turn down oven to 450F for 10 mins (or untill a dark hazlenut color is achieved).  Remove breads and let cool (if you can).  Enjoy with some avocado, pickled jalapenos, ham, and farmers cheese, or just with some butter.

 

Bread behind is some oakland sourdough, made with Central Milling's type 70 high extraction flour.

 

eat.bread's picture
eat.bread

New Oven

Hello wise bread bakers.

We are in the market for a new oven and would LOVE your advice on good, general use ovens that are especially friendly to baking artisinal breads. 

 

What's your favorite oven?!

Thanks!

Emily

 

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