The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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uberathlete's picture
uberathlete

Coffee in Bread?

Hi all. I am thinking of using coffee as the primary liquid in my bread. Does coffee have a negative effect on yeast? Any comments would be much appreciated. Thanks!

wally's picture
wally

Alan Scott ovens

Does anyone have experience baking with an Alan Scott wood fired oven?  Starting this Fall I'll be baking using one and my experience so far is limited to baking in commercial gas ovens.


Any personal experience or book suggestions would be appreciated.  I'm less interested in construction details, and more in the process of using one and what major differences to expect from my experience with gas (I'm baking with a small 4-deck Italian oven presently).


Thanks!


Larry

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Stuffed Cabbage recipe?

I just harvested the last head of our winter garden's cabbage. Former heads have become cabbage soup, ham and cabbage, cole slaw, and three are fermenting into sauerkraut (hopefully). I want to make something different with this last one. I've eaten stuffed cabbage (with varying degrees of enjoyment) many times, but I've never made them.


I could google for a recipe, and get thirty million returns, but perhaps a few of you could point me to the recipe you've come to love.


Thanks,


David G

Kmarie's picture
Kmarie

Bosnian white bread

We have a lot of Bosnian immigrants moving in our area. All the grocery stores carry their bread. It's the best bread I ever ate. The crust is very chewy and crisp sor of like Baquette's yet the inside is a very fluffy soft texture. It can have some holes in it. Does anybody have any idea how to make this bread. By the way it is a white bread, and sometimes one can buy it in a whole wheat white bread. I do prefer white though.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

20100306 My First Croissants

This is a very exciting moment.  Many weeks of research and planning have paid off.  My dream of making elegantly curved, crescent-shaped croissants has finally come to fruition.  Along the research process, I’ve consulted sources from American, Chinese, French and Japanese professionals and reviewed several forum and blog entries at TFL about croissants.  If any of my procedures sounds familiar to you, it is probably inspired by your input and I thank you for sharing your experience with our community.


My procedures are a conglomerate of all the essence from different sources that I found helpful in achieving an effective workflow which produces quality results. This is a primary principle I’ve stood by in my day-to-day practice. There are numerous good croissant formulas out there.  It’s just a matter of settling down on the ones that best suit my needs.  For my first attempt, I was looking for a simple formula that doesn’t take forever to produce. After all, it’s merely a big lump of butter encased by bread dough.  It shouldn’t be that complicated to handle.  Luckily, I’ve been very familiar with the sweet dough used from making many loaves of Asian style breads. Therefore, once I understood the fundamentals of preparing a butter block and making turns, I was ready to tackle this part pastry, part bread challenge. 


I adapted the croissant formula from “Teacher Zhou’s Gourmet Classroom” (周老師的美食教室), a Taiwan based Chinese website dedicated to introducing foolproof recipes of a broad variety of foods. The host of this site is an author of three well-received cooking and pastry books in Chinese.  She currently lectures at a baking institute and is also a high school home economics teacher. The reliable recipes and formulae on her website are a guarantee of quality outcomes and I consider this Classroom the Chinese version of "the America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated". I particularly like her systematic approach of coaching and scientific approach of handling food.  I simply felt that our styles ‘clicked’.  Her croissant formula caught my attention because it was the easiest one I’ve seen and it only takes a few hours to complete.  With this formula, I won't end up having a full freezer of uneaten croissants.  The portion of flours called for is so small that I could even use my semi-retired Zojirushi to handle the job. 


The following is an outline of my formula and procedures:


 





I am very happy with my first croissants.  They look and taste like the real deal.  Next time, I’ll try the sourdough version.  The following are some pictures and photo credit goes to my husband.  Thank you, honey, for your help. 


 


http://www.flickr.com/photos/41705172@N04/sets/72157623822219114/show/


 




This post will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!

varda's picture
varda

how to make a better baguette

I have been trying to make a good baguette and reading up on this site, I discovered the whole discussion about the Anis Bouabsa formula.  I have tried it twice so far.   The first time didn't work out at all.   The second one is the best baguette I've ever made - not saying much since I've only made a few baguettes in my thus far short baking career.  I think because the dough is so wet it kind of sags a bit and instead of a round or oval cross section, I get more of a triangular one, with a very flat spread-out base.   My inclination is to tighten it up a bit by adding more flour, but wonder why others aren't having this problem - or if it's just part of the result one expects with this wet dough.  I note that the hydration for this formula is 75% - exactly the same as for the Lahey no-knead recipe, which requires a pot to keep it in decent shape.  I am using AP flour - I see that some people are using/ recommending other flours - but the original posts say the flour isn't the point - it's the technique - so I don't know if the type of flour has something to do with the sag or not.  

sortachef's picture
sortachef

Ten Tips for Better Pizza

 


We make pizza nearly every week here at Chez Bullhog. When you have an outdoor pizza oven, it's hard not to: pizza has become an obsession. But, even without using the special oven, we've gotten pretty good at turning out a quality pizza. Here are some tips:


 


For half the flour in the dough, substitute Caputo flour. This flour (tipo 00), made by Antico Molino Caputo in Italy, is formulated to let pizza dough stretch out. Using it in a recipe will keep your shaped dough from springing back from the rim when you flatten it. Available in Seattle at Pacific Food Importers, or through several sites online.


Cut the yeast by 1/3, and let the dough rise longer. Many dough recipes have more yeast than necessary in order to decrease the proofing time. If you're not in a hurry, let your dough rise at 70º (or even cooler) for at least 4 hours. Pizza aficionados let their dough rise in the fridge overnight, and then let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before shaping and baking. See 'Pizza time Pizza with long-rise dough' for details.


Drizzle olive oil onto the blank pizza. Joe Fugere, owner of Tutta Bella in Seattle, told me that when his original restaurant was certified by the Neapolitans, he had to omit this step. I never put olive oil into the dough, but I find that a thin coating of good olive oil enhances the flavor and keeps the crust from getting soggy during baking.


Use vine-ripened tomatoes and make your own sauce. The best and sweetest tomatoes are vine ripened. When our tomatoes are ripe, we don't bother making sauce, we just slice them onto the pizzas. Otherwise, we make a sauce with ripe tomatoes, a bit of onion and garlic, and freeze or can it. Second best is a big can of San Marzano tomatoes turned into sauce. When making sauce from canned tomatoes, use a bit of sugar to brighten its flavor.


Seek out quality toppings. The best toppings make the best pizzas, and in many cases less is better. A little prosciutto, a few good olives, herbed mushrooms dotted here and there. Locally made sausage, some fresh arugula - well, you get the picture.


Try different cheeses. This can make such a difference to your pizza and, again, you don't need massive quantities. Some suggestions: well-drained buffalo mozzarella, truffle-infused pecorino, gruyere, cacciocavallo, or fresh mozzarella. You can top the whole thing with a handful of shredded mozzarella if you like.


Balance salty with savory or sweet. All of the components of pizza already have salt in them, so you can easily overdo it with salty toppings. On the other hand, a fresh Margherita pizza (fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil) needs capers or a generous sprinkle of salt to balance it.


Learn to use a peel. There's a reason they use peels (wooden or metal paddles) in pizza places. A wooden peel gets a pizza into the oven safely; a metal one turns it halfway through baking and pulls it out when it's ready. While you can get the pizza out of the oven with a spatula or two, I'd recommend that anyone who wants to bake better pizza invest in a wooden peel. When the peel is topped with bread flour or semolina, your pizza will slide right off it and into the oven!


Make your oven hotter. My outdoor oven is at about 650º when we bake pizzas in it, and will turn out a pizza in 4 minutes. Admittedly, most ovens don't get that hot, but will go to 450º or more. At 450º, a 12-inch pizza bakes in 8 or 9 minutes.


Bake the pizza directly on a pizza stone or quarry tiles. I've saved the best for last. This simple addition to the center rack of your oven, even if you're baking your pizza in a pan, will instantly yield better pizza. Be sure to preheat your oven for a half hour before baking for best results. See 'Baking bread on Quarry Tiles' for more information on using quarry tiles.


 


One Final Note: Even as recently as last year, I would have included longer kneading on this list. Italians recommend 20 minutes of kneading the dough, which many Americans find excessive. As I play with some aspects of this, the list may evolve to include a 30 minute rest period - after mixing, but before kneading - which I am learning is nearly as critical for gluten development as the kneading itself. Stay tuned!


 


See original content for this and other bread and pizza recipes (woodfired and conventional methods) at www.woodfiredkitchen.com


 


Copyright © 2010 by Don Hogeland

ZD's picture
ZD

Miche

 


This weekends fun.


Home Bolted High Extration Hard Red Spring Wheat Miche



 



1050g Flour
578g Water
525g Leaven 100% hydration
26g Salt


Mix ingredients. Stir until there are no more dry spots. Autolyse for 60 minutes.


Fold  wait 30 minutes fold again. Bulk proof until almost double. Shape and proof


until just right. Preheat oven and stone to 500°F. Turn down to 450°F and steam


for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.


Greg


 edit typo

jpolchowski's picture
jpolchowski

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread?

Hi folks. I have been on a quest to find a 100% whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread and I've had some troubles, I'm not sure if that is even a possibility. I have made whole wheat bread for a long time but recently began switching to 100% whole-wheat (except for a bread flour starter) for the health benefits, but I get pretty much no oven spring and so always end up with wide, short loaves. I have wanted to convert to a whole-wheat starter as well but given my current troubles, I'm not sure if that will happen.


The recipe I currently use is:


Levain:


18 oz starter


5 oz whole wheat flour


Dough:


23 oz Levain


26 oz whole-wheat flour


16 fl/oz water


1.5 oz dry milk powder


0.75 oz salt


 


The bread is good and I enjoy it but I'm looking for a taller, lighter loaf but not sure if that's possible with that recipe. Using whole wheat flour I know that it tends to be dense as opposed to light. On my last loaf I tried using autolyze which I think did improve the crumb-it was less crumbly, but didn't help rise at all. I haven't tried vital wheat gluten yet since it's pricey but I think that is going to be my next step. One concern I have is that my starter may be weak. It doesn't bubble a lot when I feed it, but when I bake I get plenty of rise during fermentation and proofing, so I'm not sure about that. Am I going to have to compromise, going back to a 50% whole wheat perhaps, or would vital wheat gluten or other alterations make significant changes?


On a side note, are there any recommendations for softer crust as well? It might just be the nature of it being sourdough since I have to bake at a high temp-I generally bake at 400F for about 35 minutes. I spray the loaves with water during proofing and then right before baking. I tried a milk wash once before but that didn't change anything, but I may give it a try again.


 


Thanks for all your help!

copyu's picture
copyu

Can you really tell bleached from unbleached flour?

Hi all,


I hope this topic hasn't been 'done to death' already, but I was wondering...Can any of you guys actually see (or taste? or feel?) a difference between bleached and unbleached wheat flours? My search of this topic on TFL yielded lots of cries for help that usually start: "My recipe calls for unbleached APF, but..." and the usual responses are to visit KAF online.


SOME BACKGROUND: I live in Japan and, last Xmas, I went to Australia, where I picked up a lot of groceries that are either completely unobtainable [or 'almost unobtainable'] here and shipped the stuff back to Japan. My 'stash' included 1kg of 'organic unbleached plain flour'. To be quite honest, I can't tell, by looking at it, that it's any different from the usual "Nisshin" brand of plain/regular flour that every supermarket sells here. We also have a 'specialty' baking store that sells a huge variety of goods, with a slant towards home bread-baking. However, I can't tell any difference in color among their flours—or between them and the regular flours that I can buy in the supermarket. I can't see any difference, either, between the specialty flours and the Aussie unbleached. Recently, a very good flour called "Kobe Flour" with 11.8% 'gluten' has appeared on supermarket shelves at a very good price—for me, that's a good 'bread flour'. I've been told (by a University Professor, who is also a home-baker and actually teaches baking techniques as a volunteer) that you can't get unbleached flour here. [I later found out she wasn't 100% correct—it's for sale online at about US$5 per pound from the "Foreign Buyers' Club" Japanese website.]


So, I'm wondering—what is all the fuss about? Japan has virtually the same rules as the EU for imported flours. Top of the list: NO BROMATED FLOUR is allowed to be imported. I don't know what bleaching, if any, IS permitted, however. Is it *just possible* that all of the US / Canadian flour we buy here is just your regular, non-organic, unbleached flour? If there's a visible difference, would someone please let me know what I'm missing? Thank you!


 

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