The Fresh Loaf

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NateHevens's picture
NateHevens

Advice/Help Need... Baking Bread in South Florida...

So, if you've seen my profile, then you already know that I live in Boca Raton, FL. If you don't know, that's about 45 minutes north of Miami via I-95, and less than 5 miles away from the Atlantic coast (the beach is fun... if you can beat the weather). I'm having an issue down here making bread, best exemplified by one specific recipe.

I have a very deep love for challah. I grew up Jewish (though I only identify as a cultural Jew now) and challah, to me, when made right, is the greatest thing. There's this recipe that made some of my favorite challah. It's "Cool Cats Challah". I posted the recipe here: breadmachine and no breadmachine. You should look at it carefully because it's the crux of the problem.

In Georgia, following the directions, this always came out fluffy and light, with a perfect crust and wonderful flavor. And I made both versions... with and without the breadmachine. Either way, it'd come out amazing.

Then I moved to Boca in 2009.

I didn't get back into making bread for a couple years because I just didn't have the time. Then, about 6 months ago, I decided to make the challah again (with the breadmachine) and...

It still tasted great, but the bread was dense and the crust chewy and tough.

I didn't change the recipe at all. I followed it exactly, and all ingredients were, as always, kept to room temperature.

What happened? Why this sudden change in texture? How do I fix it to get that fluffy light texture I remember from Georgia?

NateHevens's picture
NateHevens

Hi...

Hey! So I'm new to this forum, and although I'm not exactly a professional bread maker (I'm a beginner/noob in the truest sense of the word, and I don't have enough money to really get the proper equipment needed to make the high-quality breads I one day want to be able to make :( ). I use a breadmachine...

I joined, though, because maybe here I'll get the advice I can't find elsewhere, oddly enough.

But anyways, I'm mainly here for recipes and baking advice, so...

Odrade's picture
Odrade

Cherry Tomato and Oregano Sourdough

Some different breads. The one in the foreground is a cherry tomato and oregano. It turned out quite good but would go with less hydration next time to compensate for the tomato juice. The one before last is a rasin and pecan an the others are plain. The technique is as described in the other blog:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33632/blueberry-and-white-chocolate-sourdough

 

Sue Hoey's picture
Sue Hoey

Recommendations for good wheat-free breadmakers

I am looking to buy a breadmaker now that one of my young sons is wheat intolerant.  I expect to use Spelt flour - and any other flours that are easy to get hold of you might care to recommend... but actually I am wondering if anyone can recommend a good breadmaker for making wheat free bread?

 

Thanks

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Focaccia Pizza

Got this idea while watching Pizza Cuz on the Cooking channel. The two cousins visited a shop that sells only focaccia with toppings. It seemed to be a better rendition of Sicilian Pizza, distributed locally--Scranton, PA--and sold in Mom & Pop grocery stores when I was a kid. It was delivered in baking-sheet pans, and, as I recall, a 5-inch square sold for 5-cents. The crumb was like white bread, but chewy. The tomato sauce tasted like...tomatoes, with nothing but salt for seasoning.

I used sourdough focaccia dough (all Bread flour 72% hydration, 30% liquid levain), and made a tomato sauce with a 14 oz. can of diced tomatos, a 6 oz can of tomato paste, 4 oz of V8 juice seasoned with 4 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, basil and marjoram. I retarded the dough overnight at 54°F. I sprinkled a few fresh Globe Basil leaves on top immediately after baking.

My go-to pizza dough is a 50/50 mix of semolina and AP flours at 60% hydration, retarded overnight also. I roll it thin; we generally prefer thin-crust pizza. This is a nice change. The dough is particularly light, open and soft, and the bottom crust is crispy.

I made two. One is today's lunch, the second will be frozen. I will warm it up in a 375°F oven for a few minutes hoping to regain the bottom crust's crispiness.

David G

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Catching up

I've been overloaded the past couple of weeks, so I've fallen a bit behind on my blogging and baking. 

Going back the furthest: BreadSong gave me a heads up about an Advanced Baking class being taught very close to where I live at the UBC Farm a few weeks ago.  The class was being taught by Florin Moldovan, an accomplished Vancouver-based baker who ran a popular bakery in the Kitsilano neighborhood here.  Sadly Florin closed the bakery right around the time I moved here before I had a chance to visit.

Florin's blog is definitely worth checking out.

There were about a dozen of us in the class.  In his intro class, Florin covers the basic steps in baking (mixing, fermenting, shaping, etc). In the advanced class, he introduces preferments, soakers, sourdough, baker's math, and other things that folks had questions about.

Everyone was asked to bring a large mixing bowl with them. 

Florin provided the ingredients and had the soakers and starter ready to go. At the end of class we each got to leave with a bowl full of dough.

The next day the dough we'd prepared baked up beautifully. My photo doesn't do it justice.

Florin is an extremely accomplished baker, but one thing that struck me about the class is you wouldn't have to be that good to teach a class like this: a lot of us could do it. Gear-wise, since everyone was asked to bring a bowl and none of the baking was done there, all you really need is space you can occupy (and get dirty) for a few hours and about twenty bucks of ingredients.  Pre-measure the ingredients, have them ready in plastic cups or bowls before the class starts, and hand out a couple of print outs about the basics of baking and some simple formulas. Good times, and a great way to introduce folks to baking or meet other bakers.

* * *

Last week was a travel week, down to Oregon to see friends and wrap up our final loose ends there.  The storage locker is empty now; we are now fully settled in Vancouver.

* * *

After returning, I baked a nice loaf using a soaker and starter similar to what we did in class.  

Starter

100g rye flour

100g water

20g starter

Soaker 1

130g cracked wheat

140g water

Soaker 2

100g whole wheat flour

120g water

Final dough

300g Robin Hood "best for bread multigrain blend" flour

400g all-purpose unbleached flour

20g salt

330g water

The starter and soakers

The exterior shot is at the top of this post.  Here is a crumb shot.

 

Boston_Dan's picture
Boston_Dan

Ovens for the Home Bread Baker

Howdy friends, I need to by a new free standing gas range.  Electric is not an option.  I have owned a Kitchen Aid Superba conventional/convection oven for about ten years now and generally I have been very happy with it.  But alas it has now given up the ghost.  In really hot weather, the oven will not ignite and heat up.  (I know, I'm crazy for trying to bake bread on days when it's 95 degrees, like yesterday.)  The electroincs are also now completely shot.  I have to shut off the circuit breaker whenever I am not using the stove, because it has gotten into the habit of turning itself on.  (Scary)  A repiarman told me I was looking at 400 - 500 bucks to replace the igniter and electronics and that's just not worth it.

 

I have researched brands, but the typical reviews do not cover items that are critical to bread geeks, such as good insulation, consistent temp, etc.  I'm hoping you fine folks can give me some guidance.  I'm not looking for Consumer Reports types of reviews, but just some general brand recommendations.  I'd love a double oven or at least a range that included a separate warming drawer.  I've been looking at GE, LG, Bosch, and Electrolux.    Unfortunately, there websites are awful and even comparing their own models is almost impossible.  (I'm completely soured on KA at this point.  Besides, their selection of gas ranges is pitiful.) I'm willing to spend up to $2,000 - $2,500 if necessary.

 

Can anyone give me some sage advice?  Many thanks in advance.          Boston_Dan

dreadnatty08's picture
dreadnatty08

New baker here!

Hey all, just joined not too long ago.  I've been baking for some time now.  Have worked at Della Fattoria in CA and Wheatfields in KS with Thom Leonard.  Tons of great learning.  Currently working at a restaurant in DC with their exceptional bread program.  Also like to make lots of bread at home.  

Here's a shot of one of my latest (all sourdoughs).  It's a mix of AP, whole wheat and rye.  Retarded overnight and baked in my Lodge cast iron pot (recipe is mostly just a tweaked version of Tartine's Country White):

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hydration Adjustment When Adding Rye Flour

I am planning to add some rye flour to a recipe that doesn't originally have any.  Should the hydration be adjusted any?  I know when adding whole wheat flour, hydration should go up due to it soaking up the water more but what about rye flour?  I should know the answer to this question by now, but I am still on vacation brain.

John

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Ezekiel's Chacon

Having never made Ezekiel Bread before, this was a real treat for Lucy.  Us older ex-Hippie types haven’t made it for decades.   One reason is the 2 day sprouting for the beans and rice in one large pile and then sprouting whole grains in another.

 

Then you mix half of each pile, add the dough liquid to it and then chop them up in a mini Cuisinart chopper.  Chop them into the smallest pieces you can for adding to the dough as a horrible looking gruel .....that doesn’t smell too good either.  My apprentice appreciated me thinking of her by having this mix smell especially horrid.

 

There were 3 leavens for this recipe; SD, YW and a poolish.  Ezekiel is famous for rising from the dead and making the bread named after him into bricks.  He nmght do this just for fun or possibly spite since he was forced to eat an unleavened version of this bread for two years while wandering in a harsh desert.  I’d really be mad about that but maybe gladder at being alive at the end of the ordeal…. I guess.

 

The leavens were not made from sprouted grains but were made in (3) 4 hour builds.   The SD portion was then refrigerated overnight.   The poolish took 12 hours to double after the last feeding as did the YW levain.  Why they were so slow is unknown, but mysterious none the less as are most things coming out of this kitchen now a days.

 

As for using non sprouted grains in the leavens, Lucy said she is crazy as any other baking apprentice but she isn’t as stupid as some of them.  This is debatable and isn’t saying all that much anyway when you think about it a second longer than she does.

 

We were going to make this a 100% whole grain affair in keeping with the door stops that Ezekiel actually ate but thought better of it.   We could always do another bake at 100% whole grain if this one doesn't end up breaking rock in a quarry.

 

The leavens ended up being such a huge portion of this bread, we decided not to retard it and risk a possible IED in the fridge.  We are old enough to want to live forever so, tempting fate is not one of our strong suits - even though it seems we we do it all the time with much more dangerous things. 

 

We did our usual 10 minutes of slap and folds even though this dough, if you could call it that, was a sticky, goopy mess that wouldn’t begin to get tame until 5 minutes of being slapped around had passed.  Eventually it came together enough to let rest 15 minutes before 3 sets of S&F’s were done on 20 minute intervals. The left over half of the beans and rice sprouts, as well as, the grain sprouts were incorporated on the first set. 

 

The dough was allowed to ferment for 30 minutes before it being formed into one large chacon using a knotted roll in the middle, surrounded by 8 balls and then one twisted twin sister rope.  The design was then covered by the remaining dough that was shaped in the air into a huge bialy - a near unmanageable thing and I was glad my apprentice had 4 paws to make it into the basket in some decent shape,

 

The basketed dough was placed into a used trash can liner to final proof on the counter for 1 ½ hours before Old Betsy was cranked up to 500 F with top and bottom stones  .  Once the temperature hit 450 F we slipped in the CI skillet full of lava rocks, half full of water, on the bottom rack to create steam and set the timer for 20 minutes to allow the temperature lagging stone to get at least 450 F.

 

When 20 minutes was up, steam was aplenty and we un-molded the chacon onto a peel covered in parchment and slipped the bread into Betsy’s steaming hot maw.  After 2 minutes we turned the temperature down to 450 F.   13 minutes later we removed the steam and turned the temperature down to 400 F, convection this time.

 

We rotated the bread every 5 minutes on the stone for 25 minutes until the bread hit 203 F in the middle.   Then we turned off the heat and let the bread come up to 205 F when it was removed to a cooling rack.

 

The bread took on a handsome, if unusually deep, mahogany color that we have never seen before but like very much.  The crust was very crisp which we also like and it stayed that way as it cooled.   It wasn’t as aromatic as a bread containing aromatic seeds.  Even so, it smelled very earthy.

 

We can’t wait to taste it and see what this unusual ingredient list with beans, rice sprouts and grain sprouts will taste like.   The crust cracked beautifully right where we expected.   The taste wait is over and we have never had a bread that tastes like this.  Deep and rich like a pumpernickel... and with all the beans - Satan's Farts may be closer than you think.  It has its own taste but the taste isn't beans or grain.  My daughter liked it with butter out of the microwave.  I loved it toasted - a whole meal in one bread.  The process was long but the rewards were great.  One of those great meals in a bread.  Perfect as a salad foil.  The crumb was soft and moist but not as open as we thought it would be - not dense and heavy but not as open as we will get it next time.

Next time...... and there will be one, we will omit the YW levain - no need, do an overnight retard, make it 100% whole grain by subbing WW for the AP and get some crunch in there with whole hemp and millet seeds....possibly some dried edamame.  Haven't decided on the dried fruit but apricots come to mind.   It's a lot work for a baker and his apprentice compared to normal bread bakes - but worth it.

There is a  toasted and buttered slice of multi grain Dapumpernickel in the middle of this fine breakfast in order to compare it to the Ezekiel Chacon.  We like the Ezekiel even better and we love the pumpernickel.  Testament to a fine bread and breakfast.

Lunch wasn;lt bad either with a smoked pork, brie and hot pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich, watermelon, strawberry, pickled Thai eggplant, grilled summer squash and eggplant, salad and all the fixin's with home grown tomato, steamed broccoli and yellow squash, half a banana, BBQ baked beans, celery, red pepper and carrot sticks and a half an avocado.  Just yummy!  We like thsi bread very much and the sour has really started to come out on day 2.

Formula

YW, SD & Poolish

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3

Total

%

Yeast Water

50

30

0

80

12.07%

WW & Rye  SD Starter

20

0

0

20

3.02%

Amaranth

10

5

5

20

4.52%

Rye

20

12

12

44

6.64%

Oat

10

12

12

34

5.13%

Kamut

20

12

12

44

9.95%

Farro

20

10

10

40

6.03%

WW

20

18

18

56

8.45%

Buckwheat

20

12

12

44

6.64%

Barley

20

12

12

44

6.64%

Spelt

20

12

12

44

6.64%

Quinoa

10

5

5

20

3.02%

Millet

10

5

5

20

3.02%

Water

100

60

90

250

37.71%

Total

350

205

205

760

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YW, SD & Poolish

 

%

 

 

 

Flour

340

51.28%

 

 

 

Water

340

51.28%

 

 

 

Hydration

100.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levain % of Total

46.88%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dough Flour

 

%

 

 

 

AP

250

37.71%

 

 

 

Mixed Whole Levain Flour

43

6.68%

 

 

 

 Dough Flour

 

44.39% 

 

 

 

Salt

11

1.66%

 

 

 

Water

102

15.38%

 

 

 

Dough Hydration

34.81%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Flour

663

100.00%

 

 

 

Water

442

 

 

 

 

T. Dough Hydration

66.67%

 

 

 

 

Whole Grain %

62.29%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydration w/ Adds

69.99%

 

 

 

 

Total Weight

1,621

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add - Ins

 

%

 

 

 

Red Rye Malt

5

0.75%

 

 

 

White Rye Malt

5

0.75%

 

 

 

Toadies

10

1.51%

 

 

 

Honey & Molasses

100

15.08%

 

 

 

VW Gluten

20

3.02%

 

 

 

Total

140

21.12%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouts

 

%

 

 

 

WW

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Buckwheat

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Oat

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Spelt

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Farro

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Rye

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Whole Wheat

25

3.77%

 

 

 

Barley

25

3.77%

 

 

 

White Rice

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Black Rice

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Brown Rice

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Moth Beans

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Mung Beans

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Pigeon Peas

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Black Eyed Peas

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Red Beans

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Black Beans

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Orange Lintels

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Green Lintels

15

2.26%

 

 

 

Total Sprouts

365

55.05%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry weight for the sprouts.  Wet weight was 500 G

 

 

 

 

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