The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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boophils's picture
boophils

Breadmaker makes heavy, dry and tough bread.

Have obtained a Morphy Richards Fast Bake from a friend who no longer wanted it. Downloaded manuals and following it to the letter, however the bread is heavy, dry with a very tough crust. It is edible, but not what we were hoping. Tried 3 different recipes and new yeast sachet used each time. I have seen many people saying that they use bread machines for making the dough and bake it themselves in an oven. Is the the best way to get a good texture and a good crust or does anybody have any other ideas?


For information our favourite general breads are granary, baguette and tiger loaf.


 


 

FoodHacker's picture
FoodHacker

Need help and have questions about making brioche

Sorry I wasn't sure where to post this but here goes


 


Starting off I have never made this bread before but reading the recipe list of several different suggested ways to make the bread it sounds delicious....OK so here goes      
1) I have a 6 qt. Kitchen Aid mixer 600 Pro series, can it handle the mixing time and speed this bread needs?
2) Almost ever recipe calls for cutting the dough into balls and placing them in the pan in a row or side by side.... why is this done because I can't for the life of me figure out why I would want to make a loaf of bread like that other than for looks,  why not just shape the dough into a loaf and put it in the pan?

I was wanting to make it mainly for my wife to eat in the morning for breakfast before work and to use as French toast and of course I understand it makes pretty good sticky buns as well as other things I'm sure.

Any and all input on this is greatly needed and appreciated as I would really love to make this bread but I don't want to kill my mixer doing it.

Thanks in advance

polo's picture
polo

Barley Malt Powder

I've done a quick search on this subject. but I am still a little confused. I have need for diastatic malt powder. I've searched local in my local shops here, but have only been able to fine a product labeled as "Barley Malt Powder", it contains no other ingredients.


So here is my question: If the product is labeled simply "Barley Malt Powder" how can one tell whether it is diastatic or non-diastatic. I know the difference between the two, I am just wondering which one I purchased. The constistency is that of a fine flour and it is mildly sweet, if that helps.


Thanks in advance.


Polo

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Temperature adjustment with the microwave

Since the liquids in nearly every dough need to be tempered, I went looking for some straight forward, repeatable method to get the temperature I wanted. My answer was to use the microwave. The next step was to figure out how to get the right time for any mass of water or milk, and for any temperature change.


We can see that the time required (Sec) is proportional to the mass of the water (M) and to the change in temperature (ΔT), multiplied by some constant (C). 


M × ΔT = C × Sec


Rearranging to solve for the time; Sec = M × ΔT / C


With my microwave oven, the constant is 312.5 for weight in grams and temp in Fahrenheit. There's a kink in the formula though. My oven requires about 3 seconds to come up to speed, so I add that to the calculated time. For example, let's say I have 350g of  40F milk from the frig that needs to be 65F for an intensively mixed Vienna style dough. I need to raise the temp by 25F, so 350×25/312.5+3 yields 31sec to raise the temp to 65F.


How do you find your magic number? Measure some water, say in the 300-450g range. Take its temperature, and zap it for some reasonable time, e.g. 30 seconds. Measure the temp. Repeat with the same weight of water, for a different length of time. Plot the two tests on graph paper (or use a spreadsheet or graphing calculator), and extend the line through the points to where it crosses the zero temperature change line. Where it intercepts the zero temp, the time line will have some small value. That's your start-up time. Now multiply the weight of the liquid by the temperature change and divide by the time less the start-up time. For example, 350 × 25 / (31 - 3) = 312.5 Notice that that is from my own earlier example. Do the math on your other test(s). The C values should closely agree.


Once you have your magic number, any weight of water or milk and any (upward) temperature adjustment will provide the zapping time for your microwave.


cheers,


gary

Terrell's picture
Terrell

Texas Kolaches

Back in the fall I promised my niece-in-law that I would make kolaches for her birthday at the end of November. Which I did, using the recipe from the point of departure. They were OK, but not quite right. Too dry, a little doughy and the flavor was not quite the same. Wait a minute, you say, not the same as what? What the heck are these kolaches of which you write?


 Apricot Kolaches       Apricot Kolaches


Right smack in the middle of Texas there's an area that was populated by people of Czech descent. Well, a bunch of Germans, too, but right now we're interested in the Czechs. They brought a number of traditions from the home country that have worked their way into local culture, most prominently the sweet roll that makes a true Texan's heart do a little extra thump---the kolache. When I was little, the ladies from the Catholic church in Ennis would come up to our church in Dallas to fundraise by selling home-baked kolaches to the big city folks. We didn't get quite as excited as we would for Christmas that weekend but it was right up there with, say, Easter. Mom would buy six dozen and freeze five of them to be brought out for special occasions during the year. We got to eat one box that morning. Now, you have to realize that there are nine kids in my family. Add two parents and that meant that we each only got one kolache. And I still remember those five or six bites as a highlight of my year.


After a couple of my brothers moved to Austin to go to the University (no need to qualify which university in Texas) our kolache supply got a little steadier. Anyone who made the drive between Dallas and Austin was required to stop in West, Texas (the name of a town, not a region that is in central, not west, Texas) and pick up a couple dozen. It was a regular enough occurrence that we could request certain fillings instead of just grabbing whatever was available. I always went for apricot first, cream cheese second. Or maybe prune. And then, I grew up. Moved away. Lost my source and only ever got a kolache fix if my visits to Dallas happened to coincide with an Austinite's. Joined that community of expat Texans who could only dream. Now and then I'd find a bakery that claimed to make them but they were never anything close to what I remembered. You know, if it's not right, it's just not right.


Now you probably think I'm crazy, just wierd to feel this way about a pastry, but I am not alone. My niece who requested them for her birthday isn't even a Texan, just married to one. When I went looking for a recipe on the internet, the passionate postings about dough and fillings were everywhere. They all seemed to point one direction, however. The recipe posted on The Homesick Texan blog seemed to be the place to go for the real thing. There were 138 comments on the post that all say pretty much the same thing, "Oh my god these are amazing, just the way I remember them." So I used her dough recipe exactly. I subbed in some other fillings since I was out of apricots but that's not important. It's the bread that matters. And now there are 139 comments on that post including mine which says, "Oh my god these are amazing, just the way I remember them."


I'm not going to reprint her recipe. You can go see it for yourself. I will just tell you that I found I had to bake them a little longer than her timing states, more like 20-25 minutes. It may just be that I need to check my oven temp. There are some tiny details that she leaves out that make them even more perfect like you should put them close enough together on the baking sheet so that the oven spring makes them just kiss each other and you wind up with a slightly squared off, not perfectly round finished product. I found the Posypka recipe needs either more butter or less flour/sugar to make it clump properly. She only includes a recipe for apricot filling but it seems more authentic to have a variety so I made three kinds. I used some Trader Joe organic strawberry preserves for some which, while cheating, still came out well. I took some plum conserve my brother made from his home-grown red plums, drained out most of the liquid and mashed up the plum bits. Those, too, were pretty successful. And I really wanted some raspberry ones so I just tried some raspberry jam I had in the fridge. This was way too watery and made a mess on the cookie sheet. They also got the 'best taste' vote from all my testers so I'm going to work on how to make a drier version next time. I also have a request for the cottage cheese/cream cheese filling from my nephew. Can't wait to try it.


Homesick Texan Kolaches

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Pure semolina?

I've let myself run out of white bread flour, although I have plenty of soft flour, semolina, rye and wholewheat.


I'll try the 100% semolina sandwich loaf, and I just thought I'd check in here to see if anyone has any favourite recipes that use lots of semolina, or even 100% until my Manitoba arrives.


Thanks


Jeremy

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

San Francisco Sourdough Experiments. Results Need Explanation.


IMG_2044


Last week I made San Francisco Sourdough, and learned a lot.  I decided to try it again this weekend with some variations relating to flour mix, dough handling, retardation time and loaf shape.


I again used the formula in Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb, and I again used primarily Bob’s Red Mill bread flour.  But this time, instead of 100% bread flour I used about 9% dark rye flour and about 11% whole wheat flour.  I used the rye and whole wheat in each of the three mixes: the liquid starter, the firm starter and the main dough.  I did not adjust the hydration (64%).


My other departures from the C&C formula were:



  • Though the formula calls for kneading the dough, then letting it sit unmolested in a bowl for four hours, I gave it a four-way letterfold every hour.  The dough was firmer (less slack) this time, compared to last weekend when I did no folds.



  • I followed the formula’s specifications for ripening and then retarding the two starters, but I decided to test the effects of retardation after proofing and to test the attributes of different loaf shapes using this formula.  I scaled the dough for 3 mini-baguettes of 250 grams each and a boule and a batard of 615 grams each.  The baguettes I baked as soon as they were proofed; the larger loaves were put in the fridge overnight after proofing 3 hours as in the formula.


I should also mention that I proofed the baguettes and the batard on linen couche, and the boule in a linen-lined basket.  I did not spray oil on the loaves at the beginning of proofing as Reinhart specifies.  The baguettes were covered with a fold of couche fabric and a tea towel over that.


Here’s the fermented dough after a 3 ½ hour rise.


IMG_2035


Here’s the proofing loaves. 


IMG_2039 


The baguettes baked at 450 on a stone with steam for 10 minutes, then without steam at the same temperature for another 10 minutes.   Then I left them to sit on the stone with the oven off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes.  The internal temperature was 209F.  They’re really pretty to look at.


IMG_2040 


IMG_2042


 


The crust is darkish, and very hard.  Indeed, it is positively tough, as in hard to bite through.


The crumb is very good tasting and nicely chewy, not what I’d call tough.  Not a very open crumb, but not really dense.


It was a really good thing I had delicious Chicken Cacciatore to dip the bread in to moisten it (the bread made a fine mop).  Thanks for the recipe, David.


IMG_2045



So, you experienced bakers, what caused the rock hard crust this time?



  • ·      Increased gluten strength from the folds during ferment?

  • ·      Baguette shaping?

  • ·      Baguettes getting too much air (not sealed in plastic) during proofing?

  • ·      Too low hydration?

  • ·      Too bold a bake or too much time drying on the stone?


Any help would be appreciated.  The boule and batard just came out of the oven, and I’ll report results later.


Thanks.


Glenn

 

teketeke's picture
teketeke

I was about to make Larry's cheese bread but...

As I mentioned to Larry on the other his post yesterday, I made your cheese bread (   I was about to..).... but I found out that I didin't have enough sharp cheese although I though I had enough...   So, I made " Cheese sheet" to fold into the dough like making croissants instead.


 


It is not neat.. 



VERY TASTY! They will be our breakfast today :) Thank you, Larry!


There is one thing that bothers me.   I can smell any other breads with instant dry yeast more and more when I heat it up in a microwave since I have known sourdough bread and fruit yeast bread.  I also smell yeasts when I slice it when it is warm slightly( Shouldn't I do that?).    


Happy baking,


Akiko

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

Danish Kringle

 


I love these and my local bakery closed down leaving me with no good sources.


Hours and hours scouring for an authentic recipe led me to Beatrice Ojakangas.  She had shared the recipe with Julia Child, and has authored a book containing the recipe.


 




 


Here is her recipe from her website http://beatrice-ojakangas.com/2010/03/much-requested-danish-pastry-recipe/, along with my results.


Basic Danish Pastry (Quick Method)


1/4 cup warm water, 105*F. to 115*F.


1 package active dry yeast


1/2 cup milk, at room temperature


1 egg, at room temperature


1/4 cup sugar


1 teaspoon salt


2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter


 


Pour water into bowl; add yeast and let stand for 2-3 minutes until yeast foams. Add milk, egg, sugar and salt and whisk to mix; set aside.


Measure flour into food processor with metal blade in place. Cut butter into 1/4 inch thick slices and drop into flour. Pulse 8 to 10 times, until butter is cut into 1/2 inch pieces.


Empty flour mixture into bowl with yeast and with rubber spatula, gently fold the two mixtures together just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t be too energetic! The butter must remain in pieces so that you will produce a flaky pastry, not a bread dough or cookie. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 4 days to suit your schedule).


Lightly flour a work surface; turn dough out onto it, and dust dough with flour. Using the palms of your hands, pat dough into a rough square. Roll out to 16 inches on a side. Fold dough into thirds, like a business letter and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again, into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long. Fold into thirds again. Roll out to make a 20-inch square. Fold square into thirds again to make a long, narrow rectangle. Then again, fold into thirds to make a square. (If at any point in this procedure the dough gets very soft, cover and chill it for 30 minutes or so.) Cover and chill the dough before final shaping. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for 4 days or wrap it air tight and keep it frozen for 1 month; thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.


 


Butter Cream Filling


1/4 cup soft butter


1 cup powdered sugar


1 teaspoon almond extract


1 cup finely pulverized almonds


1 (3-ounce) package almond paste(optional)


1 egg white


Pulverize sliced almonds in food processor until fine.  Add butter, extract, sugar, paste and process.  Add egg white last.


 


Icing


1 cup powdered sugar


1-2Tbsp warm water


1/2tsp almond extract


 


Assembly


Gather sugar, icing, filling, dough, almonds and 1 egg.


Roll out dough so that it is approx. 36” long by about 4” wide.  Scoop butter cream filling down the centre, roll up.


Form the kringle into whatever shape you wish, I used a pretzel shape.  Glaze kringle with egg and apply sugar on top.  Add almonds on top and proof for 45-60 minutes.


Bake @ 375 for 30-35 minutes.


Remove, apply icing, and cool.


 




 

wally's picture
wally

Odds & Ends

                                


This week I found time to come up for air and play with some of my Christmas toys, so I tried a little experimentation where I haven't been before, and also revisited familiar places where my skills can always improve.  The result is an interesting, but somewhat perplexing, apple-walnut sourdough, and more practice with croissants and my favorite poolish baguettes.


I've wanted to try an apple-walnut bread for some time, but frankly, I'm too lazy to either dry apples or buy dried apples.  So, my thought was this: why not puree an apple, make allowances for its hydration, and see what would result.  I used Hamelman's Vermont sourdough as my 'base' recipe.  To this I added a pureed Macintosh apple.  Now, according to my Google explorations, apples are about 85% water. Armed with this information, I adjusted the flour and water weights and mixed the dough, having built my levain over a 12 hour period.  The first thing I found is that even pureed, the apple has not released all of its water during the mix, so I ended up adding a small additional amount of water to reach a dough that felt right (Hamelman's Vermont sourdough is at 65% hydration, so I figure I upped it to about 68% - no big deal).


I mixed all ingredients except salt, did a 40 minute autolyse, and then added the salt and mixed for 3 minutes on speed 3 of my Hamilton Beach.  After, I added chopped walnuts and mixed on speed 1 for an additional minute.  Bulk fermentation was for 2 1/2 hours with two folds at 50 minute intervals.


The initial thing I noticed about this dough was that it was very slow in rising during the bulk fermentation.  After dividing and shaping, I left it for final proof downstairs where the temperature is a chilly 60 degrees F.  After 5 hours I was not satisfied with its progress and brought it upstairs to a more hospitable 68 degrees where it proofed for an additional 2 hours before baking.


Now, if this were simply Hamelman's Vermont sourdough both the fermentation and final proof would have been accomplished much sooner (unless I opted to retard overnight).  But with the addition of the apple and walnuts, the levain worked much, much more slowly.


The bake was fine - there was noticeable though not spectacular oven spring.  The profile, as you can see, is not bad, but not what I am used to when baking this recipe without additions.


    


Good things: instead of pieces of apple in the finished product, there are flecks of the peel and a nice, but not overwhelming flavor of apple, with some additional sweetness it brings.  The walnuts are a perfect complement.  The bread is surprisingly moist and has stayed fresh much longer than a straight sourdough.


I do wonder if there is something in the pureed apple that inhibits the levain (cue for anyone to offer opinions, or better yet, definitive answers).


Following the sourdough experiment I decided that, it being wintry and cold - outside and in my kitchen - it was a good time to revisit croissants.  Lately I've spent some time with our pastry bakers at work rolling out croissants, so I've developed some confidence in my shaping and overall in the feel, texture and thickness of the dough.  The results, shown below, were accomplished using a recipe adapted from Dan DiMuzio's excellent textbook, Bread Baking.  I laminated the dough using two single-folds and one double (book) fold.  I'm pretty pleased with the outcome and the crumb.  As with everything in baking, I'm finding that the 'secret' is pretty simple: practice, practice, practice.


    


Finally, I wanted to bake something for my friends at my local pub (which also supplies me with Sir Galahad flour in 50# bags), so I did a bake of poolish baguettes taken from Hamelman's recipe.  I've tweaked his to up the 68% hydration slightly via the poolish, but when I did the poolish mix last night, his recipe was closer to me than my spreadsheet, so this is straight from Bread.  I like it particularly because it demonstrates the openness of crumb that's attainable with a hydration that is not overly high.


I'm including a picture below of the ripened poolish for the benefit of anyone who is not familiar with what this should look like.  What I'd like to call attention to are the small rivulets of bubbles that have formed, displacing for the most part larger bubbles that dominate under-ripened poolishes. (And actually, this could have ripened for probably another 20 minutes or so, but my schedule pronounced it 'done' - and in any event I'd prefer a slightly under-ripened poolish to an over-ripened one).



Here are the 10 oz 17" baguettes (mini baguettes really) that emerged from my new FibraMent baking stone after 23 minutes at a temp of about 450 degrees F.


    


Aside from the few slices shown here, the rest was quickly devoured by patrons and kitchen staff at the Old Brogue Irish Pub.


    


Larry


 


 

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