The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gauri's picture
gauri

Struggling with whole wheat bread in India!

Hi,


I've been browsing the site for a while now, but after my n-th not very good whole wheat loaf, I'm writing to check if anyone can please give me some pointers on where I'm going wrong! Basically, my bread bakes up quite dense, and it nearly does not rise at all in the oven.


I have tried Peter Reinhart's 100% whole wheat recipe. Some changes I made were


- I use the regular atta that we use for chappatis at home. We get the wheat ground ourselves. But I do not know if the wheat is hard or soft.


- I seem to end up using a lot more flour (nearly 1/2 cup more in today's loaf) since the dough kept sticking to the work surface. I'd knead it and put it on the counter, and it would start sticking. I can keep wetting my hands and kneading it (like I do for chappati dough) but I'm afraid I might get too much liquid into the dough.


- I use buttermilk for the soaker, but its nearly 40 degrees C here (in Ahmedabad) and I can leave the soaker out only for about four hours before it begins to get sour.


- The risen dough always has tiny holes all over the surface. Am I letting it rise too long?


- I have a little oven (of about 34 L capacity) that we keep on the counter top.


If anyone can suggests anything that I doing obviosuly wrong, please do let me know. I'd like to know if I can get a better crumb without adding any other ingredient to the list.


Thanks a lot. Would appreciate any help!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Pain au Levain+Semolina Sourdough from "Bread", and some semolina pasta

Pain au Levain, delicate, well balanced flavor. Not sour at all. DH loved it, I prefer it a bit more sour. Borrowed this shape from SteveB's blog here



Another shape:



Nice open crumb, for a 65% dough, it's surprisingly open:



 


Now the semolina Sourdough, pretty straightforward formula, the dough indeed rose pretty fast just like the instruction says



I didn't mix sesame into the dough, put them on the surface instead. The shape is from "Amy's Bread". I like how the seam opened up during baking, and sesame got seperated on either side.



Open crumb, but holes are mostly distributed on the outside, probably due to the swirl shape



Made semolina pasta to go with the semolina sourdough above



With homemade pesto sauce & a generous piece of salmon, yum!




 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The best baking show ever broadcast

You have to be "of a certain age" to have seen the best baking show ever broadcast. It was a demonstration of making a Banana Cream Pie by Marshall Efron, an episode of The Great American Dream Machine broadcast on PBS in 1971.


I've thought of this landmark broadcast many times over the years and wished I could view it again. Well, I found it this evening, and I want to share it with you all. 



Marshall Efon - Better Living through Chemistry


Enjoy!


David

Avie93309's picture
Avie93309

My 1st Pugliese

Been looking forward to make this bread. Finally got my Durum Flour in the mail (not available at local stores). Followed the recipe from Rose Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. Flour (bread:67%, durum 33%), Water 80.4%, Yeast .79%, Salt 2.2%.


Biga: 75 g Flour, Instant Yeast 1/16 tsp, water 59 g, optional: Malt Powder 1/2 tsp.


Worried that I totally ruined the dough. I allowed the biga to ferment in a cool area for 24 hrs (recommended @ 55-65 F). I thought my storage room is that cool. When I checked the room temp it was 72%.


Baked on stone: 5 mins @ 500 F; 20 mins @ 450, turned half way thru. Internal Temp. Target: 205 F, Actual 200 F.


PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Crackly crust - finally!

I've been working on my sourdough bread for a while and finally got the really crackly crust I wanted.  I've read to leave the bread in the oven after it bakes for another few minutes while it cools down, but I guess I wasn't leaving it long enough.  Yesterday I got distracted and left it in there for almost 15 minutes with the door ajar.  The crust came out really cracked and crispy and still the inside was chewy and not dried out.  I'm guessing at some point, maybe around ten minutes, the cooked loaf isn't venting any more steam and the crust can really dry out.  This isn't the method I'd use for sandwich bread, but for a really crispy bread to soak up pan juices or dip in olive oil, it can't be beat!


-Peter


http://psoutowood.wordpress.com


 


Sourdough with crisp crust

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Dolceaqua bread

 


I wanted to share these pictures of the bread being sold in a stand in Dolceaqua, Italy.  It was a small festival displaying the products of Dolceaqua. The size of the bread was amazing. Imagine the size of the ovens. 


 



 


jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Nonya Rice Dumpling, an asian delicacy

Without going through the practice of making bread and everything,  I wouldn't have attempted this. As this delicacy requires techniques as complex as making a baguette,  and patience that is required in making sourdoughs.


This is to share with you here a different type of food we make in Asia.  The Nonya Rice Dumpling.  To share with you on how it looks as some of you may have read my blog mentioned under Vermont Sourdough.  It is not baked but boiled for 2.5 hours submerged in water. 


 




overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

What sort of malt?

I am trying to follow a bagel recipe and it asks for 1 tbs of "Diastic malt, either liquid or dry" and "Malt syrup, honey or sugar for boiling.


So I've scoured my local shops and I've managed to find a product called spraymalt in a brewing supplies store and malt extract from a health food shop (more detail below).


I'm happy to just throw in the malt extra where it asks for malt syrup as it can't be super critical if it suggests you can use honey or sugar. With the diastic malt however my (basic) understanding so far is that it has enzymes in it an that these might be important in producing bagels distinctive taste and texture.


Does anyone know whether either of the products I have found are likely to be 'diastic' and if not what difference that will make to my bagels?


 


Here's the blurb from the packet/jar:


 



SPRAYMALT MEDIUM. Rich malt flavour, ideal for bitters. Boosts the beer's natural body and results in a more rounded, mellow note to the final brew.


Use as a direct replacement for sugar in your brewing - lb for lb. Simply pour the sachet contents on to the beer kit extract in your fermenter and carry on brewing in the usual way.


Muntons Spraymalts are made using the finest premium malts, spray-dried into a fine soluble powder. This process is deisgned to retain all of the malt flavour, without imparting any burnt, off flavours. Spraymalts are ideal additions to any recipe, adding extra malt sugars and a delicious malt flavour.


Ingredients: Barley malt extract (from 100% malting barley)



 



HOLLAND & BARRET MALT EXTRACT


Traditional English Malt Extract. Delicios in baking, on toast or over cereals.


MmeZeeZee's picture
MmeZeeZee

Adding more whole wheat to Hamelman's Pain au Levain w/ Whole Wheat

Has anyone had success with this?  I love his PaL but I am want a 50% (at least) sourdough.  Does anyone have a formula that would help me work this in?  I've had great success with the white and whole wheat PaL, I just want to get a better whole wheat version.  I know that will change the consistency a bit, but hopefully it will still retain some of its lovely chewiness.

mlucas's picture
mlucas

(first blog post) How to use Murphy's Law against itself; sourdough tips from a newborn babe

With our second child, my wife was desperate to have the baby by the due date. Her parents were leaving for England for three weeks and they really wanted to meet the baby before they left!


It happened at that time we needed a bunch of topsoil to fill a big brick flowerbed I'd made. When the order came and we had a huge mound of topsoil on our driveway, I joked that due to Murhpy's Law the baby would come now, since we had all this work to do shoveling it. Sure enough my wife went into labour that night and had our daughter Maya the next morning. (I remember shoveling dirt like mad while she was in the early stages of labour!)


That was 2006. Fast forward to May 2010 and expecting our fourth child any day. I didn't realize what I was doing when late on the Friday night (May 21) I made up the dough for Shiao-Ping's Banana Pain-au-Levain, plus made up the soaker and elaborated a whole bunch of starter for Hamelman's Five-Grain sourdough recipe. I didn't get to bed until 1:30am!


Of course that night Kristen's water broke (around 5am) and we were at the hospital a few hours later. I was operating on less than 4 hours sleep, and calling my mother-in-law from the hospital asking her to put the soaker & starter in the fridge.


Our daughter Aria was born the Saturday night, just before midnight. I baked the banana bread Monday morning, just before heading back to the hospital to bring Kristen and Aria home. Finally on Monday afternoon I mixed up the Five-Grain sourdough (after the starter had been sitting 'active' in fridge for 2.5 days).


Banana Pain-Au-Levain


To my surprise, both batches turned out fantastic! Neither were overly sour. The banana bread had a lovely moist crumb with the characteristic flavour that Shiao-Ping described. And the Five-Grain rose well, which surprised me after the starter had been in the fridge so long, I didn't think it would still be so active. Thanks to the soaker, the seeds in the Five-Grain were deliciously soft, in fact the sunflower seeds cut easily along with each slice.


five grain levainFive-Grain Sourdough from Hamelman's 'Bread'


I'll always remember that I baked two batches of bread the day we brought Aria home. And I learned that it really is okay to let your active starter "hold on" in the fridge for a while until you're ready to mix the dough. (I'll still try to stick to max 24 hours holding time, but knowing even 2.5 days worked fine, I won't worry about it so much!)


Happy baking,
Mike

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