The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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janij's picture
janij

Why does Hamelman not preferment his whole wheat flour?

I love Hamelman's multigrain breads.  Both the levain version and the preferment version.  My question is, why does he not preferment or use the whole wheat flour in his levains?  I would think, and I am NO expert, that it would enhance the flavor to use part of the whole wheat flour in the preferments instead of the bread or AP flour.  Does anyone have any insight on this?  I think I will try using the whole wheat in the levain this time and see what happens.  I use fresh, hand ground flour.  So I don't know.  Anyne got any ideas on this?

kbrigan's picture
kbrigan

Let's Just Cut to the Chase: Kell's Unified Bread Theory

This is for anybody else who's usually in a hurry, but can't bear the thought of buying store-bought bread anymore. (My starter's name is Teilhard -- "Everything that rises, yada yada...") Also available as a higher rez jpg or Excel file, if anyone's interested. I have this taped up on the inside door of one of my cupboards next to the sign about being tranquil as soon as I find time.


Everything's been tested. I written up everything as 3-cup single loaves because I measure out flour before hand, and store it plastic containers so it's ready to go. It's fun -- and not too time-consuming -- to experiment with multi-grains on this. (My fav's 2 cups bread flour with one cup of buckwheat flour.)


I like doing a long-rise loaf mid-week: I mix up the dough just before bed, and let it sit at room temperature (RT) overnight. Then, in the morning, put it in the fridge before leaving for work. (When I've left dough out all day, it winds up falling irreparably big time, especially in the summer. The fridge retard during the day also helps the flavor.) I take it out when I get home, give it a stir or a knead, let it sit RT for two hours while I cook dinner or clean something or look for my car keys, then bake it before going to bed. I let the loaf sit out overnight to cool, and then have fresh bread for breakfast. So, for instance, a sweet loaf that's started on Wednesday night gets noshed Friday morning. For a sour loaf, I just have to remember to move the starter to RT and give it a feed Wednesday morning, but the rest of the process is the same.


Sources are numerous (saw a No-Knead bread book from 1949 by Pillsbury the other day); the most specific one is the "Short-rise" which shows up in B. Clayton's Complete Book of Breads, and later in the Tightwad Gazette as "Cuban Bread".


Later. I gotta go clean something, hang out laundry and find my car keys.


Kell


Unified Bread Theory

liseling's picture
liseling

will a mixer help significantly with wet dough? Help!

I am really bad at getting acceptable results with wet dough. I'd like to improve and start making baguettes etc. It seems to me that my problems have to do with mixing the dough without it sticking to everything and never seeming to get it to the point where it can be an actual cohesive piece of dough. Another problem that I always have is getting it to rise properly. Instead of rising into nice loaves anything I make with wet dough just flattens out in a puddle as soon as I start getting it ready to go into the oven.


I was thinking that I could solve the problem by getting a mixer of some sort so that I could mix the wet dough with that and avoid touching it as much as possible.


first question is what kind of mixer would help me with this but that I can get for $400 or less?


second question is whether any of you have previously struggled with wet dough and making baguettes and getting anything to rise and not come out of the oven as a flat brick-like object and who have managed to overcome these obstacles? I would REALLY appreciate any advice, tips, or any other information that you could pass along to me.


 


Thanks!


Annalise

chayarivka's picture
chayarivka

sourdough honey cake

Hi,
I usually bake a yummy buckwheat rye honeycake, but I would like to try a sourdough version. Does anyone have any tips or recipes for sourdough cake in general? Or specifically, honey? If it needs fat, I would prefer to use oil rather than butter or margarine.
Thanks,
CR

wally's picture
wally

Gringes..."Ive got to admit it's getting better..."

This past June marked the 42nd anniversary of the release of the Beatles seminal "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and with it, one of my favorite songs of the album, "Getting Better."


Today marked my umpteenth attempt at successfully scoring poolish baguettes, and to my utter joy a success at last!  So now I'm humming the tune in my head....over and over.



I did two bakings actually: My first mix this morning was for the baguettes with poolish, and I followed that up with another poolish-based rustic bread: Hamelman's Pain Rustique by way of James MacGuire and Raymond Calvel.  I love the fact that this no-knead, no-shape bread is ready to bake in just over two hours (not counting the overnight fermentation of the poolish).  What other bread can be created in such a short time with the distinctive nuttiness of the poolish-based dough?



As for the baguettes, I think I'm getting closer to the secret of getting my gringes to open consistently.  The biggest factor, I believe, has been the transition to a couche for final proofing.  And in particular, allowing the baguettes to rise seam-side up, as we did at King Arthur Flour.  Although I've repeatedly heard and read that allowing the dough to develop a "skin" will defeat successful scoring, my experience since using a couche has been that the up-side of the dough gains more surface tension, and it's been obvious to me in that my cuts are no longer dragging the dough, but (for the most part), cleanly cleaving it.



The second factor, I think, is a quick misting of the loaves just after scoring and before loading.  Finally, I've started consistently throwing 3-4 ice cubes into my cast iron skillet in the bottom of the stove about 1 minute before loading.  That's followed by a cup of boiling water onto the skillet once the bread is just in.  And then at 2 minute intervals I'm again misting the loaves very quickly - just twice.  So when I set the timer for 24 minutes, which with my gas stove is a full bake at about 460°, I'll mist at 22 minutes and then at 20.  After that I leave well enough alone.


Tomorrow I'm off to pick up a bag of lava rocks at David Synder's suggestion to see if I can successfully generate steam that lasts longer - as opposed to one scorching burst.


Anyhow, as the Beatles put it so well those many years ago: "Getting so much better all the time."


Larry


 


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Bread camp at The Back Home Bakery

I had the pleasure of spending a week working as a baking intern for Mark Sinclair at his The Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, Montana.  Other than the sleep deprivation, it was a thoroughly enjoyable week of measuring ingredients, washing dishes, mixing bigas and doughs, washing dishes, stretching and folding dough, washing dishes, pre-shaping and shaping loaves, washing dishes, making pastries and fillings, washing dishes, scraping the workbench, washing dishes, packaging the finished breads/pastries, building friendships with Mark and Sharon (his wife), and washing dishes.


A typical day would start at 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning.  We'd begin by pulling bigas from the refrigerator (they had been mixed the previous afternoon or evening) and measuring the ingredients for each bread.  Most of the breads were mixed in a 20-quart mixer, except for the baguettes, which were a larger batch that was mixed in the 60-quart mixer.  The other exception was on Saturday morning, when about half of the breads were mixed in the 60-quart mixer because of the larger batches being prepared for the Kalispell farmers' market later that morning.  Mark also pulled 2 or 3 frozen pastry doughs from the freezer at about the same time so that they could be thawed and ready for sheeting and shaping during a lull in the bread production.


After mixing, the bread doughs were placed in a proofer.  Most were given 3 stretch and folds at 45-minute intervals.  After proofing, the doughs were shaped and placed on sheet pans, then put back in the proofer for their final proof prior to slashing and baking.  The baguettes, again, were an exception to this general practice; they received a pre-shape, then a ferment at room temperature, followed by a final shaping and final room-temperature ferment before slashing and loading into the oven.  Mark uses two convection ovens; one is electric and the other is gas fired.  All of the baking is done on sheet pans, rather than on a deck or stone.  Neither oven is steam-injected, so Mark throws a can of water on a cast-iron griddle sitting in the bottom of the oven when a bread requires steaming.  


What I haven't conveyed well is the overall planning that Mark does in deciding which doughs are mixed first and which are mixed last.  Based on experienced he has gained and on the particular day's product roster (it varies from day to day), Mark sequences the production steps so that he can maintain a steady flow of bread or pastries in and out of the ovens without creating bottlenecks or gaps.  And it's all subject to change, depending on the activity of the doughs.  There are anywhere from 1 to 4 timers in use at any given point and each step of the process for each bread or pastry is noted on a sheet of paper.  If it didn't get written down, it would get lost in the ever-changing flow of the work.  A couple of examples may help to illustrate just how important time management is in a bakery.  One: "If you have time to stand around, you've probably missed something."  Two: Mark muttering "That timer rules my life" as he leaves the dinner table to put the rye starter in the refrigerator for the night.


I encountered several surprises during my week at The Back Home Bakery:


- Mark produces a variety of pastries, using both croissant dough and puff pastry dough.  I had preconceived that he was primarily making breads, but that was a misconception on my part.


- Mark uses Wheat Montana's AP flour, which most other milling companies would label as a high-protein bread flour.  Still, he produces incredibly tender and flaky pastries and robust breads using that same flour.  The man knows what he's doing.


- Aforesaid pastries, still warm from the oven, make a spectacular breakfast.  My wife ran out of adjectives by Thursday.


- Mark is something of a Renaissance man: teacher, coach, log home builder and baker.  And very patient with a well-meaning but sometimes-addled assistant.  I'm sticking with the sleep deprivation defense as long as I can.  


Saturday was the biggest production day of the week because of the Kalispell farmers market, so we were up at 1:00 a.m.  Sharon also pitched in, so there were three of us banging around in the bakery, trying not to trip over each other.  That morning we produced and packaged:


- palmiers


- bear claws


- croissants


- cherry croissants


- blueberry croissants


- cheese danish


- pain au chocolat


- apple strudel


- ham and cheese croissants


- sticky buns


- sour rye bread (based on Eric's Fav Rye)


- rustic white bread


- buckwheat-flax bread


- baguettes


- Sal's rolls (torpedo shaped, made from baguette dough)


- Portuguese sweet bread (shaped as rolls)


- Kalamata jack bread


All of the above was loaded in the van, along with the booth and display fixtures, and ready to roll by 7:30.


Here are a couple of pictures from that morning:



Sharon, wisely, bundled up for the chilly morning.  Mark's concession to the cold was to change from shorts to jeans and put on a cap.



Sharon waiting on early customers.


Mark's commitment to putting out a high-quality product is paying off.  He has loyal customers who come looking for their favorites and who are very disappointed if they arrive too late and find that item has sold out.


I'm very grateful to have had a week working with Mark and getting to know both he and Sharon.  Should you have the opportunity to pursue a future internship, I can highly recommend it.


Paul

DonD's picture
DonD

Pain Paillasse Revisited

Background


When I first saw the twisted shaped baguettes posted by Shiao-Ping on her blog, I was intrigued. Then I read the posting by Chouette22 on the Pain Paillasse by Aime Pouly and found out that it is an Artisanal Bread made in Switzerland, I was fascinated and wanted to know more about the man and his breads. I purchased Pouly's book 'Le Pain' and studied it thoroughly.


Having spent one year of college in Geneva in the late sixties, I have always had a soft spot for the beautiful country of Switzerland. Although, the Pain Paillasse was not around when I was there, I was determined to try to duplicate it. Problem is the recipe is a closely guarded secret that Aime Pouly only shared with two of his most trusted friends.


From the description and photographs of the basic Pain Paillasse, I understood it to be a Levain and White Flour based Baguette where the high hydration dough is twisted like a wringed towel before proofing and baking without any scoring. Although Pouly refers to his preferment as Levain, his formula for Levain is a mixture of Flour, Water and Yeast at 100% hydration so my guess is that it is really a Poolish instead. However for my first attempt, I decided to use a Poolish preferment made with a mature Liquid Levain instead of the Instant Yeast (similar to the Whole Wheat Levain that Hamelman described in his book). I chose the Liquid Levain to control the sourness from the production of Acetic Acid. To balance the sourness of the Levain, I used the principles of the Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne formulation first published by David Snyder to extract extra sweetness from the dough.


Formulation


Flour Mix


300 Gms AP Flour


150 Gms Bread Flour


30 Gms WW Flour


20 Gms Dark Rye Flour


Levain Poolish


125 Gms Flour Mix


125 Gms Water


25 Gms Mature Liquid White Flour Levain (100% Hydration)


Dough


375 Gms Flour Mix


200 Gms Ice Cold Water + 50 Gms Water


9 Gms Atlantic Grey Sea Salt


1/8 Tsp Instant Yeast


 Pains Paillasse Proofing


 Pains Paillasse


 Pain Paillasse Crumb


Procedures


1- Make Levain Poolish and ferment overnight for 8 hrs until tripled in volume.


2- Mix remaining Flour Mix with the Ice Water for 1 min. at low speed w/ flat beater and autolyse overnight for 8 hrs.


3- Mix Levain Poolish, Dough, Salt and Yeast with remaining water using flat beater on low speed for 1 min. Switch to dough hook and knead at low speed for another minute. Let rest for 30 mins.


4- Stretch and fold in the bowl using the James MacGuire method 4 times at 1 hr interval.


5- Dough should have nearly doubled in volume by the 4th fold. Divide dough in 3 and preshape into rounds and let rest 15 mins.


6- Shape into long baguettes, flour generously and twist baguettes before proofing for 45 mins.


7- Bake in preheated oven at 460 degrees with steam for 10 mins.


9- Continue baking without steam for another 12 mins at 430 degrees.


10- Turn off oven and let rest in oven with door ajar for 10 mins.


11- Remove baguettes and cool on rack.


Conclusion


The dough developed nicely during fermantation and was quite extensible but at 75% Hydration was not easy to handle. Generous flouring during shaping helped.


Oven spring was good, the crust had deep golden color and was quite crunchy. The crumb was cream color, fairly open with medium softness and a slight chewiness. The taste had a hint of toastiness and a slight tang balanced with a sweet creamyness (which is the trademark of the Gosselin Pain a l'Ancienne). Overall, I was quite pleased with the results. Next time, I will try using all AP Flour with a touch of Rye and a true Poolish which I think will be closer to Pouly's formulation. I would be curious to hear the detailed description from someone who has tasted the authentic Pain Paillasse.


Don 


 



 

cbtb's picture
cbtb

plexiglass proof box top

Hi All,


This is my first post. I have a culinary team building cooking program in NYC and to relax love to bake bread... I also use the breads for my program...my problem is that several years ago I bought a plexiglass proofing box top that fits nicely over a half sheet pan.  I love it. Now that I am a maniac and will bake all weekend long I need more and can't find any. Does anyone know #1 what I am talking about and #2 where to find more?


Many thanks for your help/


Suzi


 

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Bread of Basel

 


One of my favorite bread is the "Basler Brot" or bread of Basel. It is a Swiss cantonal bread and as I was born in Basel of course I favor this over other cantonal breads like the bread of St. Gall, or of the Ticino. An exception is the rye bread from the Valais, the Walliser Brot, as I spent the other half of my younger years in this region.


If you belief the history than this bread was the first time mentioned in 1792 in a bread book. And still as of today it is the runner in many bakeries in Switzerland.


The shape is longish oval and it is always baked as two loafs sticking together at the front. For all of you who have difficulties with scoring, this is the bread to go, because it has none. I also like the dark rather thick crust which gives it the wonderful taste.


The oven temperatures from the old days with the wood fired ovens are not attainable in a private household environment, but I was able to get good results with 550˚F during the steam period and finishing the bake with 450˚F.


 


 



 TFL Crumb Shot


Unfortunately I was not able to copy paste the adapted recipe as it is in table form and TFL doesn't allow to import published spreadsheets/*.xps files. But for those who are interested I have a printable version and an Excel version on my blog. Due to the higher ash content of European flour I have adapted the recipe to American flour and reduced the hydration to 68% instead of the 80%. The Excel spreadsheet let's you change the final dough amount, default is 1500 grams.


Thomas


http://tssaweber.com/WP/thomas-bread-secrets/bread-of-basel/

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Selling your homemade bread

Hi all,


I was wondering if any home bakers here have had success selling their breads from their home kitchen.  Were you able to sell to more than friends and family?  Farmer's market?  Anywhere else?  Your trials and errors would be much appreciated!


Thanks,


Mike

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