The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

how do i convert a 50% starter to a higher %

i currently have a sourdough starter than is doing well that i purchased from king arthur. i'd like to try breads with different hydrations. i do i convert my 50% starter to another hydration?


thanks, claudia

hanseata's picture
hanseata

September Birthday Plum Cake

There's no doubt about it - Pflaumenkuchen (German Plum Cake) is my birthday cake. In the beginning of September the first prune plums show up on the market just in time for my birthday.

My birthday party was always arranged by my grandmother, my Omi, who invested all her love and imagination in coming up with games and other entertainment for me and my friends. She definitely was my role model on how to make a child's birthday party a huge success!

"Hide-and-Seek" (in the dark), "Choose-the-Right-Candy" ( with nail biting suspense) , "Say-Whom-You-Love" (good for many giggles) and "Unwrap-the-Chocolate" (with hat and mittens, fork and knife!) were some of the games that raised excitement and noise levels to heights that called for quiet intervals of soap bubble blowing, or story telling, to calm down all the boisterous little guests.

Of course my grandmother also baked my birthday cake, a large sheet brimming full of prune plums resting on a bed of sweet yeast dough, generously sprinkled with almonds and cinnamon sugar. I loved that cake, and could eat a lot of it (though not quite as much as on those memorable occasions when my cousin Thomas and I would compete at wolfing down Omi's famous yeast dumplings!).

Nowadays, if I don't have to entertain a horde of hungry cake monsters, I bake a smaller plum cake version, either with a short or a streusel crust, in a springform pan. They taste as good as the large yeasted cake - especially with Gifford's award winning vanilla ice cream...


 



There are hundreds of German plum cake recipes, this cake here is easy to make and tastes best slightly warm, with vanilla ice cream.


You'll find the recipe here: http://hanseata.blogspot.com/2010/09/german-plum-cake-pflaumenkuchen.html


 

breitbaker's picture
breitbaker

Simple Cracked Wheat Sandwich BRead

New Blog Post


The favorite pan bread of my kitchen


http://www.brightbakes.wordpress.com


Cathy B.

breezebaker's picture
breezebaker

Graham Flour - Where to buy in UK?

Hi Everyone, 


I am based in UK finding it very hard to source 'Graham Flour', would anyone know where I can source this in the UK or alternativly source it from outside of UK? 


I have come across the 'Hodgson Mill' brand of Graham flour, but amazon will not send to UK. 


Please can you list websites etc of where I can purchase this type of flour! 


Many thanks,


BreezyBaker.

BNLeuck's picture
BNLeuck

Procrastinator's Sandwich Bread

Necessity is the mother of invention (or at least tweaking), right? It certainly is around here! I came to TFL (naturally) to find a solution to my problem: there was no more sandwich bread in my house. This is about as big a problem as no running water. My middle child is addicted to peanut butter sandwiches, and since she has a limited number of "healthy" foods she likes, we encourage her to eat them. (She's autistic; trying to get her to eat food she doesn't like/want is... well, next to impossible. Frankly, I'm just happy she eats anything but hot dogs and fruit snacks.) My usual recipe takes 4-5 hours, depending on the temp of my kitchen that day, and that just wasn't gonna cut it today. I needed something fast and simple.


I did a search for "basic white sandwich bread" and came up with a bunch of results, but near the top of the list was this post, with its GUMP Bread recipe. It had no comments, so no tried-and-true reviews or try-this adjustments, so I took it entirely on faith. The list of ingredients looked right, in proper amounts for a high-hydration sandwich loaf, so I figured how bad could it really turn out?


I made some adjustments for personal preference... butter for oil, regular milk for powdered milk and water, and flax seed for wheat germ. That last because I'd run out of wheat germ, not because I have something against it. And because I didn't have smaller loaf pans, I decided to make it all one loaf in my rockin' huge 9x5 Paula Deen stoneware loaf pan. These things are wicked deep and heat so evenly... I love them. I really do. And I thought to add vital wheat gluten because I'd heard it makes white bread do something interesting. (Very scientific, I know. LOL) So once I'd settled on all my ingredients and my loaf size, etc., I set about actually making the thing...


Procrastinator's Sandiwch Bread




  • .25c butter

  • 2c 1% milk

  • 2tbsp granulated sugar

  • 2tsp kosher salt

  • 5c bread flour

  • 4tsp instant yeast

  • 1tbsp vital wheat gluten

  • 2tbsp ground flax seed

  • more milk for brushing

  • 1tbsp 7-grain cereal




  1. Melt butter in microwave in a large measuring cup or bowl. (1 min on HIGH for me.)

  2. Add milk and heat to lukewarm. (1 more min on HIGH for me.)

  3. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve.

  4. Combine flour, yeast, gluten, and flax in a large bowl/the bowl of a stand mixer.

  5. Add liquid and mix to "shaggy mass" stage.

  6. Knead by hand or mixer until elastic. Dough will NOT clean bowl or form a ball; this is fine.

  7. Let rise until double, about 30 mins.

  8. Shape into a loaf, and put in greased 9x5in pan.

  9. Preheat oven to 350F; let dough rise 20-25 mins.

  10. Brush with milk and sprinkle 7-grain cereal on top, then score loaf as desired. (I always do mine diagonally, corner to corner.)

  11. Bake for 25 mins uncovered, with steam, then cover with foil and bake another 20-35 mins, until internal temp is 190F.


Now, since I really like how this turned out texture-wise, I intend to try cutting the yeast to about 1tsp, maybe 1.5tsp, and do an overnight rise in the fridge. Or somewhere else equally cold; this is Michigan, I'm sure I can find somewhere to put it this time of year! I think it'll really improve the flavor. But then it wouldn't be a procrastinator's bread, it'd just be a tasty sandwich loaf. I think I'm okay with that. ;)


 


Edited To Add: the pictures I completely forgot about...



Nevermind the foil. I like softer crust, so I let the loaf steam itself soft-ish for a few.



Crumb shot. It's very fine and tender, but it still has more flavor than that crappy Wonderbread. :P



Crumb close-up.

sherldoe's picture
sherldoe

my bread always mushrooms over pan

I am new to this site, but am really enjoying every bit of it!!  I have baked off and on through the years only using bread pans, but I am anxious to try some of the delicious looking artisan recipes.


I have a question about my breads.  It seems that no matter which recipe I use my bread always mushrooms over the edge of the pan and then splits when cut at that weak spot.  This makes no difference whether the recipe comes out a complete success, fluffy and light or hard as a brick and weighing a ton.


What am I doing wrong?

proth5's picture
proth5

IBIE - Monday

Monday 8:30 AM (Hey! This is like work!) saw a room full of bakers and imposters gathered to hear a lecture on commercially yeasted pre ferments from Didier Rosada and Jeffrey Yankellow.


I don't think it is fair, nor do I think it is possible for me to record the entire content of this two and a half hour lecture in this blog.  However, there are some highlights that bear reporting.


Mr. Rosada introduced a slide on the effects of fermentation and told the crowd that the mastery of this slide was the secret to great bread.  In short, fermentation produces CO2, alcohol, and acidity.  And he then told us in short the secret to great bread: "The secret is time."


Most home bakers are familiar with the principle of using pre ferments as a way to add flavor to our breads.  However pre ferments create acidity and also start some enzyme activity.  The acidity can add strength to a weak flour (up to a point) so a lower protein flour will perform like a higher protein flour.  Liquid pre ferments in particular favor "protease" activity which degrades the gluten somewhat and can add extensibility to the dough handling qualities.  In fact, a liquid pre ferment is the "classic" baguette pre ferment because a baguette must be rolled out and extensibility matters.


This really gave me something to think about.  For example, I have usually used a liquid pre ferment for my whole wheat loaves.  However, because it is home milled and because the wheat is usually freshly ground, I am essentially adding extensibility to what is already a somewhat weak flour.  It might be better to use a firm pre ferment and strengthen the dough a bit more.


While we're on that topic, there was discussion on the how the percent of the total flour in the formula that is pre fermented also can impact dough strength (more pre ferment making the dough more strong).  I've been yapping about the importance of this little variable on these pages, but it mostly gets ignored.  I knew it was important because I saw what changes in the percentage of flour pre fermented made in my own bread, but I didn't know exactly why.  This is Didier Rosada and Jeffery Yankelow (ok, I don't normally like to drop names, but this time I will) telling you folks - it matters.  A higher percentage of flour pre fermented will increase flavor, but have such a large impact on dough strength that the dough is impossible to shape. Something to consider in formula design.  I do think about these things from time to time.


Mr. Yankellow gave us a brief presentation on that most controversial of subjects - standard terms for various pre ferments.  I know that Humpty Dumpty is appalled by this whole idea, but I find it comforting to actually know what the person I am talking to means when s/he says "poolish" or "sponge."  Maybe it's just a limitation of my tiny mind.


Both of these gentlemen are advocates of salt in a poolish as it gives more control over when it will ripen and a longer "usability" window.  Using pre ferments - particularly poolish - at the right stage of ripeness was emphasized.


The lecture continued on with points that are more apropos for professional bakers than home bakers, but all in all it was still a very worthwhile session.


Then it was out to the exhibition floor.


I was immediately drawn to a robot bread scoring machine - which used a blade more closely resembling a tomato knife than anything else.


For the individual looking for a home deck oven (breadfairy!)  - well, this show really wasn't about home bakers.  I did encounter several "small" deck ovens being used in demonstration booths.  Miwe has the Gusto - which is a very small commercial convection oven, the Condo (small deck), and the Wenz 1919 - which they describe as a nostalgic deck oven.  The Bread Baker's Guild of America demonstration oven was a Matador (deck oven) designed for "in store" baking - which had the cutest little loader I have ever seen.  It is included with the oven, but I'll be doing research on buying one separately.  There must be some way to rig that thing for home ovens.  TMB baking was showing a TMB Mini Tube oven.  No one had printed collateral.  That's the best I could do.  You can type those names into your favorite search engine.


But while hanging about the combined TMB and SFBI (San Francisco Baking Institute) booth I did make quite a discovery.  SFBI is creating videos that demonstrate the making of every product in "Advanced Bread and Pastry".  They will be offering these as downloads with a projected subscription price of $60 per year.  Sooooo cool!  They scanned my badge so I will get an email when the product is finally released.  Wow.


The two or three people who actually read my blogs will know already that after getting a significant number of samples at the SFBI booth, I would be drawn like a moth to a flame to the Rondo booth where I could pine over a large variety of sheeters.


I then stopped by the booth of some kinda ingredient seller to find "my teacher" forming high hydration baguettes and batards.  Not only was it a joy to see those hands forming dough (and chat), but I found out that (shameless plug coming) The Bread Baker's Guild of America would be having a class in my very own Mile High City with "my teacher" at the helm.  So would make me want to join to get the announcement on that class (if I were not a member already.)  Wild dogs will not be able to keep me away.


Then on to North Dakota Mills to chat about how we home bakers might get some of these more specialized flours (no conclusion reached - go to the website www.ndmill.com and find a distributor was their suggestion) but mostly to score a plastic scraper.


I did drop by the Louis LeSaffre Cup where Teams Costa Rica, Argentina, and Brazil were baking, but my poor fragile feeties were beginning to hurt.  Reminding myself that this was indeed a vacation where I wanted to get rest and care for my rapidly aging body, I decided to go back to the hotel and rest.  Although I will not get to taste the offerings, they will be on display tomorrow.


All in all a good day at the show.  For me, to see "my teacher" made it the best of all possible days.


So I sit with my feet propped up waiting for a decent time to have a martoonie (of course, this is Las Vegas...) in anticipation of tomorrow's session on levain based pre ferments.  I can't decide if I am just pitiful or one very lucky gal.


Happy Baking!

BNLeuck's picture
BNLeuck

In search of a wooden bread slicing guide...

Someone, somewhere, please by the love of all that is holy, tell me you know where to procure a wooden bread slicing guide! LOL My boyfriend is about as proficient at slicing straight as a lead balloon is at flying. :\ I love him to pieces, but a loaf of bread is mangled in his hands. I've looked at the slicing guides available on Amazon and a few other places, but all the ones I've seen are plastic of some sort. They seem, well, flimsy. This thing will get ungodly amounts of use, so I don't want anything even remotely flimsy. I want good, solid wood. Or metal, but I've never in my life seen a metal one. I've looked at the bread knives that have the wooden piece next to the blade to prevent the bread from going any farther, so that slices are uniform, but I'm not really a fan. I like the bread knife I have now, so I just want a guide. Preferably one with multiple slice slots so I can cut a bunch of pieces at once without having to move the bread, but I'll take just about anything at this point. :P Thanks in advance, TFLers!


~Brianna

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Interesting Experiment with Sourdough Starters

I just tried my first recipe from Hamelmann's "Bread" - the Mellow Bakers September challenge: Sourdough Rye with Walnuts. Since I had enough mature rye starter I decided to experiment a bit. I made two sourdough starters, one following Hamelmann's instructions to the letter, ripening the starter for 16 hours at 70 F. The other got the 3-steps treatment (3 feedings at falling temperatures, from: M. P. Stoldt "Der Sauerteig-das unbekannte Wesen").


After 16 hours the 3-stage starter looked more developed and hat a very pleasant sweet, almost fruity, smell. The "Hamelmann-starter" looked a little less smooth and its aroma was much less pronounced. Both starters went into the fridge overnight. The next morning they looked about the same, the Hamelmann one smelled stronger, but still less than the 3-stage one.


Mixing the doughs I realized that Hamelmann's instruction pertains only for industrial mixers, no way a regular stand mixer could incorporate a cup of walnuts at the end of the mix, when the dough is almost fully developed, at low speed. Because I wanted to see the difference, I nevertheless followed the instruction with the "Hamelmann-dough", and, as expected, had to mix some more by hand in order to avoid the dough getting too warm. To the other dough I added the nuts slowly and continuously through the feed, and had no problem incorporating them without additional time or hand work.


Both doughs were then treated exactly the same, proofed in bannetons and baked together according to the recipe. When they came out of the oven, they looked pretty much the same. But when I cut them there was a remarkable difference: the "Hamelmann-Loaf" was denser and had an oddly marbled look - the nuts being basically in one layer - , whereas the "3-Stage-Loaf" was less dense and had a more uniform look - the nuts being evenly distributed.


But the most amazing difference showed when we tasted the breads. 3 people found unanimously that the 3-stage Sourdough Rye with Walnuts tasted better than Hamelmann's one stage version!



Both breads looked like this one: Sourdough Rye with Walnuts


 



Crumb: Sourdough Rye with Walnuts (following Hamelmann's instructions)


 



Crumb:Sourdough Walnut Rye (3-stage version)


 



Comparison - the upper slice is the "Hamelmann-Loaf", the lower one the "3-Stage-Version"

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

What's the deal with malt syrup?

Question.  What does malt syrup add to bagels, except for sweetness?  Is there something else?  I have been making bagels for a little while now, and they turn out great.  thanks!

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