Calculating Recipe File
(update 100928-4 PM *** I finished and sent out copies to those who had made a request - Ron)
After posting the Conversion Calculator Example - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19720/conversion-calculator-example -
I thought that there seemed to be some who would find an expanded version helpful, as well. At my age, it is easy to have great ideas - the trick is remembering them tomorrow. I find that my computers are my most reliable reminders of the ideas I have been fooling with. So, quite naturally, I have accumulated a lot of computer aids to my baking activities. Without a doubt, the way I "think" about any bread formula that I'm interested in, would be considered overkill by most others, but hey, it is my kitchen and my time, and yes, my pleasure. The result of this line of thought was a watered down version of what I use to think through a bread's formula. I cut out some - like calorie considerations and overall percentage calculations - and added in aids for those who are not that used to baker's percentages and hydration levels. I hope it may help in seeing how they fit into the overall recipe/ formula.
Here is a peek at what I came up with as a "Calculating Recipe File". The first image is an example of how someone might use it to examine bread formula. The second image is what they could maintain as their Master file, from which they would use a copy for creating recipe files.
For me, one of the greatest benefits is that I can have two, or more different files on the screen at the same time for comparisons (not true in Excel) because the spreadsheets in the free Open Office program permits multiple spreadsheets to be open at the same time. Not only can they be open, but you can copy material from one into another. For example, the last time you baked a loaf, you were less that totally pleased. You save a copy with a new name "2nd try" and open that beside the original. Make your considered changes in the new file - even note what your reasons were. Print a copy out and go start the your bread making efforts.
The 1st 4 columns permit you to indicate which of 4 categories the ingredient belongs in - Ref. Only, Flour, Water, Other. Notice that this allows you to parse the sourdough into the flour and water categories for hydration level information by only referencing the total strater entry. The 4th and 5th columns are where you name the ingredient and provide its weight reference - in grams per cup. The cup, Tbs, and tsp columns are where you play to create the value you want in the M (grams) and N (ounce) columns - Note ounces are only for info, and not used. As you run down the ingredient entries, the last 6 columns and the Percent Hydration Level (%HL) are calculated for you so that when the last entry is made, you already have the categorized amounts columns and the Bakers percentages in two sets of 3 column pairs - the 1st 3 by in grams, and the last 3 in Baker's Percentages. I think I would have been very pleased to have some tool like this when I was first trying to wrap my head around all of these considerations.
These images have been updated 100926 15:05 to show the Excel version after modifications.
This is just an example of what one might enter into a file. The Master Blank is shown below, and that is what one would start from in using this form of Calculating Recipe File. The Master Blank should have its [Properties] option changed to set the [Read Only] option as ON. Then one opens the Master and saves it with different "new work" file name. If you forget and attempt to modify the Master, you will be reminded that it is Read Only. Thus, you are much less likely to find that you have accidentaly destroyed your only Master Blank.
These images are in the Excel screen format, but if viewed in Open Office, there would be still be horizontal lines in the areas with background shading. For anyone using the free Open Office Spreadsheet, this program is available Open Office as well as Excel, and preferred by me, as it permits multiple files to be opened at the same time for cross referencing.
********* Updated 100928-4PM
I have finished the "Getting Started" write-up for "Calculating Recipe File". For those wishing a copy, send an e-mail with "TFL-CRF" in the subject line to - Ron@ronray.us .
I will send you the following collection of files:
1/ [Excel] "Ounces per Cup Baking Calculator": It just might be useful with the others - at times, so it is included.
2/ [Excel] "Grams per Cup Baking Calculator": It just might be useful with the others - at times, so it is included.
3/ [Word] "Getting Started with Calculating Recipe File": Hopefully with enough information to get you on your way in using the Calculating Recipe File.
4/ [Excel] "Excel_Master Calculating Recipe File": This is the Excel version of the Bread Formula program. It differs from the next file only in some additional background colors not being used in Excel.
5/ [Open Office] "Open Office_Master Calculating Recipe File": This is the Open Office version of the Bread Formula program. It differs from the previous file only in some additional background colors being used that are not in the Excel version.
end update ========== 100928.
*** Next blog: 101010
Anyone ever made a sausage-cheese bread?
Hi all I am looking for a sausage cheese bread recipe. I would like to make a loaf that contains a mix in of sun dried tomatoes, italian sausage and mabye some provalone or mozzerella cheese. If anyone has a recipe I would appreciate it.
No time; no worry
I learned a few things last week that I should have known but learning them because they happen to be the only way you get something done tends to stick more in ones mind.
I wanted to bake some of the Essential Columbia in Maggie Glazer's book. It is one of my favorite breads (a staple in my freezer) and one that i do fairly often. This last baking turned out four of the most perfect loaves i have ever done and, since a friend repeated my methods with the same results, I feel confident sharing. The interesting thing is that I wound up doing what I did because i had to in order to fit the baking into an otherwise hectic schedule.
Note: I wont repeat the recipe since it is easy to find in Glazer's book.
I had just refreshed my 100% starter a few times. It was very healthy. It was Friday night and I knew that i had a small window to bake (or even mess with the dough) on Sunday Morning. I planned on a double recipe to get 4 loaves. So ... on Saturday at 6:00 AM I made the firm starter from the 100% starter. I left for a day away from home but the starter worked on the kitchen counter (about 70 degrees) until i got home at 4:00PM. It was nice and expanded. At 4:30PM I mixed the other flour and water (only) and left them to autolyse, again at about 70 degrees. I went right off to an event and got home at 9:30PM. That's a LONG autolyse. But I had no choice. The firm starter was now about 15 hours old and bubbly even if it was a firm starter. Too Long? Nah. I mixed the autolysed dough, the firm starter and the few other ingredients in my stand mixer for 8 minutes on low. The gluten was great. I watched a bit of TV until 10:30 and then did one single session of as many folds as the glutenous dough would allow -- 5 or 6. I then put the dough into a plastic container with its lid on and put it out into the 50-55 degree garage. The next morning at 7:00AM the dough was beautifully doubled.
I shaped it, using both the baguette letter fold with the filone roll at the ends, into fat battards (using my linen-lined plastic fish-n-chips baskets as baneltons) and did a second rise for 2 hours. My slashes (one per loaf) were very shallow and from end to end at about 2 o'clock cross section . I baked it at 450 rather than 400. Voila! Perfecto! Great oven spring. Ballooned up to be round in cross section and with a terrific crumb. Oh, tastes great too.
So ... if I had a LOT of time I would not have given either my firm starter nor the autolysing dough nearly the time it deserved and the long overnight cool rise helped a bunch too. Actually, this was a great schedule for baking this bread and the results were amazing ... yah, I know, show me the picts. Sorry, take my word for it. But, I will not now be in nearly the same rush as I had been in the past. I will also say that the only "prime" time i spent on this bread was the baking at 10:00AM. Everything else was at a "no-conflict "time with the rest of my life.
Pain de Campagne
I have posted this recipe, more or less, elsewhere, but I am recording it in my blog for posterity, with some updates to my process and my thinking:
Again, this isn't a recipe for the baker who prefers precise measurements!
This is a two levain naturally leavened bread, based on Joe Ortiz' recipe from The Village Baker but modified so that, well, to be blunt, it works which the original doesn't really. The only substantive change is at the beginning, rather than starting a chef from scratch and expecting to get a sufficiently active culture to raise a loaf, I start with a liquid-ish starter.
My "storage starter" is a all whole wheat starter, fed every 2 days and kept at the consistency of mayonnaise, more or less. I use a pinch of salt in it to slow it down a little more. I use it often enough to keep it out of the fridge, but not often enough to want it sitting around eating its head off all day! So, I keep it a little hungry, and a little slow.
Feed my starter. If I'm planning to start the next day, I make sure to feed my starter the night before so that it's pretty active the next evening. I could probably improve this by feeding the morning of, and getting the first levain started in the evening. Anyways, making sure the starter is pretty active is important -- the levains will be lethargic and slow to work otherwise.
- approximately 1 oz liquid starter (2 tablespoons)
- approximately 1 oz water
- 2-3 oz whole wheat flour
I vary this according to how active my liquid starter is. If it seems a little sleepy, I will make this levain a bit larger AND use a higher percentage of starter in it. You're looking for 4 to 5 ounces of stiff dough here. It should feel like a regular american bread dough (say 50% hydration or so). I cover the bowl with plastic wrap, which keeps a crust from forming. I think it you cover with cloth, you may get a crust, which you might want to discard -- if so, make the levain bigger to you have some extra to discard!
In any case, use amounts of flour and water as indicated, but in ratios such as to give this stiff dough. The hydration of your starter will affect things as well, of course. I think that, based on the level of activity of your starter:
- use 2 oz flour, and 2 tablespoons starter if Very Active
- use 3 oz flour, and 3 tablespoons starter if Kind of Sleepy
- use something in between if your starter is somewhere in between
Then add water sufficient to make a stiff dough. I use 'the fountain' method which seems to give pretty good control here, but I have also just mixed all the stuff in a bowl as well. Knead a bit for some little development, but don't worry much about that at this point.
This rises overnight, 8 to 12 hours. Again, if the initial starter seemed sleepy, I might give it 12 hours. It will become soft and inflated, at least doubling. One test I have seen and used for ripeness is 'does it float' (or does a little piece snipped off and not degassed much float). When you deem this levain ripe:
Second levain (the next morning):
- all of the first levain
- 2.5 to 3.5 ounces of water
- 5 to 7 ounces, total, of flour -- equal parts whole wheat and white bread flour
At this point, again, the size of the second levain will be determined by how sleepy the first levain seems, and how big it was. If the first levain still seems a little slow, I'll mix the second levain smaller (to have a higher percentage of first levain in it -- I could make the first levain "richer" by adding more liquid starter, but at this point you're stuck with the first levain as-is, so the way to enrich is to actually mix smaller). The result will be 12 to 16 ounces of levain, again mixed quite stiff.
You'll cut the first levain up in to bits, and let them soak in the water (use maybe 2 ounces of water, 1/4 cup, for this), and then add flour as you think best to mix a smaller or larger levain (5 ounces flour if the first levain is Kind of Sleepy, 7 ounces if Very Active, and in between if in between) and then add water as necessary to get a stiff dough. Kneading this to get a little more dough development is probably worthwhile, as we'll be making up dough and baking today, most likely.
This rises for 4 to 6 hours, until doubled or so. You can use the float test here as well.
It should be about mid-day at this time.
- all of the second levain
- 12 to 16 ounces of white bread flour
- 8 to 11 ounces of water
- 1 tablespoon salt or less
Break up the second levain into 1 cup (8 oz) of water and let soak, add in appropriate flour. As usual:
- if the second levain seems sleepy, use less flour (12 ounces, you're going to bake a smaller loaf)
- if it seems active and excited, use more flour (16 ounces, hooray, you get a bigger loaf)
- if your second levain is somewhere in the middle, use somewhere in the middle!
Adjust salt. A tablespoon is good for the larger loaf, reduce it proportionately (probably never below 2 teaspoons).
Add water sufficient to make a wetter dough than the levains, but not a "wet" dough as such. 60% hydration, maybe. It will get wetter as it proofs, so err on the side of 'stiff'! If the levains have been slow and sleepy, mix this stiffer since you'll be proofing longer, and if you feel like you've got a vigorous and excited culture, you can go a little wetter. Knead thoroughly. It should windowpane, but perhaps not very well, as you'll be proofing for a while. I proof for a couple of hours, with a stretch and fold every hour or thereabouts.
Shape your loaf, and let proof until ready (poke test -- I use 'poke it gently, making a hole 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep; the hole should slowly refill, being mostly gone after several seconds').
Bake at 425 or thereabouts suitable to the loaf size and shape, with steam. I use 40 minutes for the "smaller" loaf shaped as a batard, and 50 minutes for a full-size boule (when I am able to mix the "full sized" loaf). You could probably bake it hotter and faster if you liked!
Pictures below are the batard, with levains mixed at, roughly: 5 ounces, 15 ounces, and final dough at around 35 ounces (probably baked down to 30 ounces or less):
The next level
Usually I am not too much involved in the blogging world, or the blogosphere, as it seems to be called. There is a fine line between writing just for serving your own ego and writing as part of a social endeavour, the desire to contribute to the wide array of knowledge and media which is the source for all the people, including myself, in the need for advice. I always feared going too much for the former.
When I started baking a few months ago, I learned that this is a craft which is less about pure facts and information but more about feeling, instincts, checking out boundaries, trial & error. All the things involved in social relationships. Thus it seems to discuss and reflect on the craft of baking in the environment of a social community is the natural way to do it. Often I learn the most from just reading about what other people have done, about their individual success and mistakes, originating from their individual circumstances. It makes me feel getting a better sense of the thousands of individual factors you have to take into account when baking.
As I am still quite new to baking, I am far away from being experienced. Therefore I won't be able to post fancy regional recipes yet. I definitely hope to get to that point in the future, in order to give something back to the community. At this point of time, this blog will be more of a personal baking diary, which serves as tool for myself to keep track of my own progress and mistakes, but maybe there are still some people left who are less experienced than me an might take some useful information out of my posts. That would be exciting!
General progress: sharpening my senses
Although I have produced some decent loafs of bread in the past, the results are generally varying a lot. Sometimes when taking the goods out of the oven I think "Wow, I should open my own bakery!". And then the next day something more along the lines of "Ehm, I should wrap this loaf in paper so that no one ever can see it" comes to my mind. Being well aware of having not quite figured out how long I have to knead, proper shape without every second loaf becoming flat again, at which point the final proof is finished and such things, I finally decided to buy a few books as advised here. I ordered Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Jeffrey Hamelmanns "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes", and "Bread Science" by Emily Buehler. The latter has arrived yesterday, so I haven't read the whole book yet (but I have a feeling that this will be my favorite and the most enlightening one), but I've already absorbed the other two.
Reading those books literally took me to a new level of bread making. When I made bread after having read them, it was the first time I really opened my eyes and tried to use my senses. It was the first time I actually started to get a feel of what I am actually doing. I learnt a lot of new concepts, like thinking about the dough having an axis, with two poles, the smooth side and the seam side, and that you should try keeping them on the positions. It feels like having progressed from step 3 of 100 to step 7 of 100 or so. Thus I am still far away to produce really good and constant results, but I have become yet again really motivated to finally get to this point.
Most recent baking experiments
dough pieces / oven spring / crust /
The Ciabatta is made from an 80 percent hydration wheat dough with a biga (30% pre-fermented flour). Since I don't have a stand mixer, I used the Richard Bertinet kneading technique (http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough). Unfortunetaly, I didn't knead long enough so the gluten wasn't developed enough, which I realized while doing the stretch & fold during bulk fermentation. That's probably why the dough flattened a little during the final proof, but that's okay. I am really happy with the crumb. It has an open and glassy texture, just as I expect it from Ciabatta bread. The flavour was good, too.
Still I have a problem which I still haven't figured out, which is the following: My Ciabatta loafs tend to have rather hard crusts. I believe I know why it comes out like this. When pouring the dough onto the counter, I need a lot of flour to prevent the dough from sticking. The dough has a really wet surface (probably partly because I do the stretch & fold directly in the bowl and with wet hands) which hydrates the flour and creates sort of an outer layer of fresh and unfermented dough. As I use more flour because it is absorbed into the dough over time, this layer thickens. In the oven it creates a hard crust and prevents the loaf from properly browning. Another problem arises when I turn the dough upside down on the baking stone after its final proof. On the bottom side of the dough the flour from the counter builds thick lumps (especially when you stretch or scrape the dough a little) which are often incorparated into the dough when handling it. These lumps harden in the oven as well. I'm still searching for the perfect solution to use as little flour as possible and create a nice crust. Not turning the dough upside down when going to bake helps (see this photo: http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=ciabatta5j5u1.jpg), but then all the flour sticks to the bottom of the bread and I almost have to cut it away because it is too hard.
Well, I'll keep trying.
proofed dough pieces / right after loading into the oven /
3 minutes of baking / 8 minutes of baking / crumb /
This is a Norwich Sourdough (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/08/my-new-favorite-sourdough/). I basically used Susan's recipe, but I used medium dark rye flour (Type 1150) because that was the one I had here. I used a little more sourdough (16,7% instead of 15% pre-fermented flour). I am really happy with this one. I would say, these are the best loafs I have produced so far. I've learned a lot from reading the above books and finally found out that my shaped loafs need much more than the advised 2 1/2 hours (which produced this underproofed and very dense crumb: http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=crumbkjw0.jpg). I let them proof about 4 hours and the dough still felt very elastic (springing back when poked). This time I used the "put some dough in a glass, mark it and wait until it doubled"-test (http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=glassj7eq.jpg ; I let it triple) which helped a lot.
Especially considering that you cannot really find high protein or malted wheat flour in German supermarkets (the usual one used for breads has 9,8% protein relative to the whole flour weight [including natural moisture], that's why most white breads that are sold in Germany have additional pure gluten in the dough) I am quite happy to have finally produced a rather "big" loaf that is holding it's shape. Maybe I will try to find some malt to produce a more reddish crust, but if I will be able to reproduce my current results I am perfectly happy for now.
News from the local baking scene
"Aldi", the most popular discounter in Germany (a supermarket that offers a limited range of products but to the cheapest prices), slowly wants to set up vending machines for baked goods. You can imagine it like this: You press some buttons on the machine and order some rolls. Then the order is sent to some people in the store who finish half-baked rolls which come from big factories (and may contain a lot of chemical additives) in their ovens. Traditional bakeries are now protesting against it by trying to make a case out of it to bring to court. The bakeries charge Aldi of falsy using the term "freshly baked" where in fact the goods aren't really freshly baked but just warmed up industrial food, kicking the traditional craft of baking with their feet and just trying to make money. One of the bakeries is "Bäckerei Huth" (http://www.baeckerei-huth.de/weitere-seiten/news.html), which is home near the town I was born and therefore well-known by me (they have my favourite lye bretzels!). I'm eagerly waiting for which direction this whole case will be taken and keep you updated.
I took the trip to the Amish store, and I brought back two types of bread flour, some high gluten flour, wheat gluten, whet germ, oat bran, and spelt. I wanted to try the spelt to make something hearty, something chewy and rich and full of old world flavor. The first thing I made was pasta. Talk about good! We usually use bread flour because I don't have any semolina to buy nearby. It is always good, but the spelt I put in changed it from good to ridiculously amazing.
Enough about that. The next thing I wanted to do is make a country style sourdough loaf akin to Dan Leader's pain de campagne, but my very own. Talk about success. This is what I came up with. Don't adjust your monitors; the loaf really is that dark. My wife thought it was burnt, even though it did not have a whiff of burnt odor. I was excited, because that is exactly what I wanted. I have the recipe below if you want to try it for yourself.
50 grams ripe, recently fed 100% hydration starter.
150 grams water.
50 grams whole wheat flour.
50 grams bread flour.
50 grams rye flour.
50 grams spelt.
Mix well and let develope, between 7 to 12 hours.
350 grams starter (50 grams left over for next starter).
13 grams salt.
250 grams water.
50 grams rye flour.
50 grams whole wheat flour.
150 grams spelt.
250 grams bread flour.
Mix well, do your normal dough mixing operation. I let it go about 10 minutes in my mixer on medium, then one minute on high. The dough should be soft, loose, and tacky.
Let it ferment for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, the heat the oven to 450 degrees. Shape the dough however you want, I think a boule would work best. I like an oblong, because it is easier to slice. Proof it for 1 and 1/2 hours. I proof it either on parchment or on linen, only because I have no banneton. That would work best. Anyway, bake it for 50 - 55 minutes, until it is nice and dark. Let it cool completely before slicing. Oh, and guess what - this is baked without steam!
Stalking the wild bear claw
OK, I have my laminated Danish pastry dough. I'm good to go. But I'm wondering what to stuff my bear claws with. Nothing fancy, I'm a man of the people. I have almond meal and sliced almonds. I have maple syrup and almond extract. Does anyone want to share the bear claw filling of my dreams? Any tips whatsoever gratefully accepted. The dough will be ready to play with starting tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to create what is to my mind the classic bear claw of my youth, but I have no idea what the filling consisted of or even, really, whether this pastry dough will be the right stuff. But I'm excited and optimistic. Anybody feel like hopping on the bear claw wagon and throwing some thoughts my way, I'm all ears. Thanks.
I'm looking for a superb eggplant recipe for these three beauties which I harvested from my garden about an hour ago. If you have a favorite and perhaps out of the ordinary recipe, I'd love to try it. Many thanks. Bernie Piel
baking multiple loaves
I'm new to bread baking (feel like ill need to add this statement to every post).
If I am baking up a few loaves at one time do I need to change the oven temp at all to account for adding that much dough to the oven? I know that it might take longer but is there anything else I should be aware of?