The Fresh Loaf

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dmsnyder's picture

SFBI Artisan I workshop: Day 5


SFBI Artisan I, day 5


Today, we baked 3 batches of baguettes - with poolish, sponge and "pre-ferment" (like biga). The didactic portion covered baker's math for doughs with pre-ferments. We reviewed a lot of material on mixing and dough handling. As a "bonus lesson," Miyuki demonstrated special baguette scoring techniques.


Miyuki called this a "Dragon Tail."


Dragon Tail baguette


Bend the baguette into a curve and cut as for an epi, except fold all the pieces to the convex side of the baguette


These are all Miyuki's - ready to load



These are mine - baked


Loading baguettes 


I don't think I've mentioned that there were wonderful pastries available with coffee when we arrived, and we were served delicious lunches each afternoon. Lunch today was two kinds of pizza - margarita and 5 spices chicken, mango and scallion - really delicious. Today, we were also served wine - a very nice pinot grigio. The desserts were lemon macarons and "nouveau linzer," a layer of flourless chocolate cake spread with raspberry jam under chocolate mousse. Ooooooh my!




At the end of the day, Michel Suas met with the class, which is a long story for another time. We tasted the different baguettes we made and also some hand-mixed baguettes Miyuki made and baked in a home-type oven. We took some photos and went home with a couple half-pints of ice cream the interns had made. I got strawberry and cassis.


Michel Suas


Class photo (3 students had to catch planes prior to this, unfortunately.)


I would certainly recommend this course to any serious home baker or any professional baker. For the home bakers: It really helps if you have studied modern bread making concepts beforehand. The workshop covers a lot of material, and it moves fast. You do not want this to be your very first exposure to baker's math or scaling ingredients or using pre-ferments, just to give a few examples. 

On the other hand, the class was about half professionals, some with many years experience as bread bakers in restaurant or bakery environments. There was no one who didn't learn a lot. I think I heard every one of them talking excitedly at one or more points about concepts and procedures they were eager to apply in their own workplaces.

Now, to go home and try to apply everything I've learned. 




SylviaH's picture

Sourdough Loaves, Banana bread & Apricot fried pies

The sourdough boulé is the same recipe I baked on my last post, except I made a few little changes replacing some of the bread flour with 120g of whole rye, honey instead of sugar and upped the hydration slightly.  I made two large loaves instead of three so I could make better use of my oven today.  The flavor was delicious and we enjoy very much both versions of this sourdough.  I had 5 very large ripe banana's perfect for doubling the recipe for 'Banana-Nut Bread' from the book 'Williams-Sonoma Bread', this is a great tasting banana bread, today I left out the nuts.  The fried apricot hand pies were made a couple of days ago.  I make them once a year, guess why!  I boil sweetned fresh apricots with a bit of lemon juice into a thick lumpy puree for the center filling or sometimes I use dried apricots for the puree, both are delicious.











Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

ConAgra as King Arthur?

I posted about buying 50 lbs. of KA Sir Lancelot flour here:

Yesterday, I happened to glance at the bag of flour I bought and saw this on the bar code tag:

Sir Lancelot

CC 06252010 21:32 B2

Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid

id- MFG by ConAgra Foods Omaha, NE 68102


Net WT 50 LB

Bar Code: 0081787ER

Question: What exactly did I buy? I thought I bought a bag of hi-gluten flour from the King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. in Vermont, not from ConAgra Foods in Omaha, NE.


Pablo's picture

Jason's Quick Ciabatta au levain

I've been making Jason's Quick Ciabatta lately and decided to try it with a wild yeast starter instead of the commercial yeast.  Except for a greatly prolonged initial rising, it performed much like the yeasted variety.  Instead of the 2 teaspoons of commercial yeast I used 200 g of active starter at 100% hydration, to which I added 480g of water and 500g of white flour and 12g of salt.  The "beat the hell out of it" stage may have taken a couple of minutes longer, but it was basically the same.  During the initial fermenting I boosted the temperature in the Proofinator 5000 (my proofing box) to 90 degrees and it took about 6 hours to tripple.  It was a little stickier to handle but not much and I'd been making the yeasted variety lately so my wet dough handling skills were up to it, also it didn't spring quite as much as the yeasted variety in the oven, but plenty for me and I prefer the taste from the wild yeast preferment.


An experiment that worked!


bread10's picture

Cold Oven - Clay Pot



Just made a wholemeal spelt sourdough with brown rice and final proofed in clay pot with lid overnight.


According to instruction provided with unglazed clay pot - I must place the pot and soaked clay lid into a cold oven to prevent the pot cracking from sudden heat change.

Problem is my loaf is ready to cook and is in the pot already so I'm worried the cold oven will affect the oven spring.

What should I do? 



dvuong's picture

Starter Hydration and Maintenance

Hi all,


I was wondering what the difference was between a starter's hydration % and it's maintenance hydration %.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that there's a difference between the two. 

If you currently have a starter that you are maintaining at 1:1:1, doesn't that make it 100% hydration starter?  Why is it that I'm seeing all this complicated algrebra in the forums on changing the starter's hydration level?  For instance, If I have 100% hydration and I want to convert it to 67% hydration starter, wouldn't I just feed it 1:2:3 (s:w:f) and then continue to maintain it at that ratio? 


I'm soo confused!  I currently have a starter that I'm feeding 1:1:1 but would like to bake a loaf of SD from PR's ABED.  It looks like his mother starter is 63%.  So to convert, wouldn't I just take a portion of what I have now and feed it 2:3 at my next refresh? 



ramat123's picture

80% Sourdough Rye from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread"

Hi All,

Is it possible to make these bread without yeast? Is there a replacement? I don't like the smell and taste of it.



eb16's picture

Which book?

Hi everybody,

I have been making bread for a little while but only from recipes for my "normal" cook books.
I'd like to get a bit more serious (not too serious, though :) and would like to get a book dedicated to bread making.
I've read here that The Baker's Apprentice has no metric measures (?) which puts me off.

Which one book would be best to have? I'd like a variety of recipes, some technical background, metrics and preferably nice photo(s) for each recipe.
Thanks for your recommendations!


MIchael_O's picture

Recipes Understood, Converted, and Screened

In response to hearing people ask recipe-related questions I have created a

chart that graphs all baked goods (cookies, cakes, muffins, etc) using three numbers. The chart is easy to understand There is some math behind it so I automated everything with a web application called Caked-Face Menace.

If you have any recipe-related questions; substitutions, conversions, hydrations, spotting bad recipes, what will adding an egg do to my recipe, etc.; the application was design to answer almost everything. It has taken about 3 weeks to complete; and it is still being tinkered with :)

I would like to hear some feedback, I heard from the artisan bakers, but I think someone say the word "cups" and got irked. I think this is a more appropraite forum for this post, but warning this application supports both grams and cups.

I have tried to make this very simple to understand and use. This is definitely a new way to think about baking.

cheers kids,

Michael O.

RobertS's picture

Sexy Baguette

Tried to improve crust and crumb and flavour and feel I hit paydirt with this one. It is basically a BBA L'Ancienne with some Bertinet folding, then 3 bouts of S&F spaced 20 min apart,before cold fermenting for 15 hours. Next day, noticed considerable rise in fridge,which I attribute to the S&F-ing, but it still took 4 more hours to warm up and continue fermenting, at which point I divided and stretched into 6 baguettes and one pot bread and proofed baguettes on parchment. 45 min later, slipped onto hot stone. Now here was the radical (for me) departure: I steamed with lava rocks and 3 spritzes, per usual, but used a cupful of room temperature (not boiling) water twice --- right away, and after 3 minutes. The water was stlll there 24 minutes later when I pulled them out of oven, after 1/2 convection, and one-half regular oven, at 455 degrees --- 20 degrees cooler than usual.

Crust was thin and just right amount of chewiness, and though appropriately red wine-dark, very similar in texture to Parisian traditonal baguette. To this point my crust had been a bit too firm and thick. Flavour fit for the gods, thanks to long cold ferment.

It is difficult to see how these could be improved, but of course, there is always tomorrow. Damn, I love this hobby!

ADDENDUM Aug 18: By the way, although it LOOKS like the crust is burned in some spots (in bottom picture), trust me it wasn't. Just a quirk of the dark shadows thrown from my blue-grey cabinet in the early morning light. In fact, here is picture of crust, top view, with blue cheese smothered on. And yes, sometimes I like flouring tops of my rustic baguettes!

I know they say don't spritz-steam while top-floured bread is in oven, but what the hell.

Please, dear Lord, let me duplicate these results at least once before I die.

Coffee and baguette: mutually-reinforcing vices