The Fresh Loaf

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Janedo's picture
Janedo

French Royal Cake or Le Trianon

I make several different versions of this very famous cake as it is probably my very favorite of all chocolate desserts and perfect for a fancy presentation. The only thing that may cause problems is finding the ingredients in the States. I don’t know what’s available over there, so I’ll do my best to describe how it’s done here.
For Sean’s birthday we had a very nice dinner of marinated, then BBQ’s duck breasts, a zucchini – chèvre tian and sautéed potatoes. I decorated his cake with maltezer’s and white and dark chocolate Mikado’s and 4 sparklers.

French Royal or Trianon

Gâteau Royal or Le Trianon

Marcaron base :

60 g finely ground almond
130 g sugar
15 g flour
2 egg whites
1 tsp cocoa

Preheat the oven to 220°C
In a bowl, mix 60g of the sugar, the almond, the flou rand the cocoa.
In a mixer, beat the egg whites and when they start to foam, add the rest of the sugar and let stiffen. Fold in the dry ingredients.
Prepare à springform pan (around 22 cm), line it with parchment paper and fill with the batter.
Bake ten minutes. Let cool and then remove from the pan.

Prepare a cake ring, or the spring form pan that has been cooled and washed. I use a ring that is placed directly on to the serving platter. I lined the outer edges of mine with a plastic ring so that when it came time to take the cake out, the plastic stops the cake from sicking on the side of the pan and then can be simply peeled off.
Place the baked base in the ring by cutting it to size.

Praline layer :

In France we have a brand of chocolate called Poulain 1848. They make a praline bar that is used for this cake. I don’t know if anything like that exists. You can also use milk chocolate blended with Nutella. Less « chic » but it works. Soft, pralne chocolate of any kind should do the trick. The gavottes may pose another problem. Here they are:

Gavottes

200 g pralinoise (Poulain 1848)
90 g crêpes dentelles « gavottes »
40 g ground praline

Melt the chocolate. Crush the gavottes. Mix the praline and the gavottes in to the chocolate.. Spread this mixture on to the macaron base, making sure the corners are filled and it is level.

Mousse au chocolat :

75 g sugar
1 egg + 3 yolks
200 g baker’s chocolate (good quality !)
300 ml whipping cream

Beat the egss and the sugar with 2 tbsp of hot water. This should triple in volume and become very light in color.
Melt the chocolate and then blend it in to the egg mixture.
Whip the cream until it form a « whipped cream » and fold this gently in to the chocolate mixture, making sure it is fully incorporated.
Spread this on top of the praline layer and even the top as much as possible.

Place the cake for 8-10 hours in the fridge. I placed the fridge at 1°C for the setting period.

Comments :

This recipe can be found on a great number of French cooking sites and blogs. The recipes vary somewhat. This one comes from a very nice blog called Amuses bouches
http://amusesbouche.canalblog.com/

I wanted to try the macaron base because I usually do a génoise-type base and often soaked in kirsch. I have to say, I prefer the génoise base. You can also skip the praline layer and make a chocolate brownie base. I do that sometimes and make a thicker mouse layer using only whipped cream and melted chocolate.

Trianon with sparklers

I also made this cute Batman cake for his friends at school. He was quite delighted with it. It was one of those things... 9pm, wanting desperately to go to bed, but I had to figure out how to do a Batman theme because it was Sean's special day. It worked out just fine. I was rather proud of myself!

Batman cakeBatman cake

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Creating a Drooling Zone

Savory-HotSavory Hot-CrumbSavory Hot-close
Savory Hot-Crumb

This bread has the best aroma I have ever smelled. I was afraid the fragrance of rosemary and garlic would wake the family last night while it was baking. Really heavenly!

Last week I discovered that the things I liked about Mark's Kalamata and Pepper Jack Cheese loaf was the herb infused oil and the hot spicy bite you get from the cheese. I decided to try just using the elements that stand out, skipping the cheese and olives all together. Oh, then I thought I would add some crushed fresh garlic.

So, this is a rustic basic white bread with 40 g of olive oil infused with 1-1/2 teaspoons of fresh chopped rosemary, 1-1/2 teaspoons dry French Thyme (Penzies), 1 heaping teaspoon of crushed red pepper run through the spice grinder to make it fine, and 1 large clove of garlic, crushed. I warm the oil in a custard cup for 25-30 seconds in the Microwave and let it set for a while. The oil mixture was added to the water in the final dough. I did subtract the weight of the oil from the water amount. This amount was for a batch of 3.2 Lbs or 2- 1.5+Lb loaves.

If you look at the close up shot you can see the flecks of red pepper that didn't get pulverized in my spice mill. I had hoped that I had over done the pepper and it would be way to hot for normal pallet tastes. But once again the heat of the pepper was subdued by the heat of baking .

I think next time I will roast a head of garlic and smush that up instead of using a single raw clove. The combination of Thyme, Rosemary and Garlic is a natural in many foods. Baked into any bread you have a crowd pleaser!

Eric

blockkevin's picture
blockkevin

Pain au Levain aux Huit Cereales

Hello Everyone



I haven't posted here before, but I have been lurking for many months seeing everyones beautiful breads, so I decided it was time to post some of the breads that I have been experimenting on.

A little about myself, I am a professional in the food service industry, and although I am not a baker by profession, I have worked in bakeries, and really enjoy the leisure time spent baking artisan style breads at home.

Anyways a little about the loaf pictured below. I have made countless breads before that I have made with a liquid sourdough starter (100% Hydration) that I cultivated 9 years ago, seeing as I like the extra "pucker" that you get with a liquid style levain. My wife on the other hand doesn't lke as much sour in her bread, and in an effort to appease the wife I came up with this formula for a french style pain au levain which I called Pain au Levain aux huit cereales. It is a not too hydrated eight grain levain with a small percentage of Rye, and about 25% Whole Wheat.

How was it? well we ate the entire first batard so I only have pictures of the second one. The Crust was crackly crisp, just singing as it came out of the oven, and the crumb was creamy, and a little chewy, not sour at all, but with a depth of flavor I would desciribe as "apple cider" beautifully paired with a local Camembert made a few miles from my house.



Pain au Levain aux Huit Cereales

Final Build of Levain

* Stiff Levain(refreshed 8-12 hours before) I keep mine at 60% Hydration 45g 45%
* Water (75deg) 50g 50%
* KA AP Flour 95g 95%
* Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat Flour 5g 5%



Soaker

* Bobs Red Mill 8 grain Cereal Blend 100g
* Water (75deg) 175g

Dough

* Water 235g 47%
* KA AP Flour 350g 70%
* Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat 120g 24%
* Fairhaven Mills Rye Flour 30g 6%
* Levain 125g 25%
* Salt 12g 2.4%
* Soaker 275g 55%

Method

I mixed the final build of the levain, and the soaker the night before the bake, and left them out to ferment at room temp. In the morning the levain was doubled, or a little more, and the soaker, had absorbed most, but not all of the water. When I mixed the dough I added everything together, except the salt, and let it rest for 20 minutes. After the autolyse I added the salt, and proceeded to knead the bread, using the "slap and fold" method for approx 8 minutes, or until moderate gluten development. I then put the dough into a bowl covered and let it rest for 30 minutes. I then removed the dough, and gave it a french fold. I repeated this process at another 30 minute interval. I then left the dough alone to ferment, it took 4 hours in my apartment, which I would say was 75 degrees yesterday. After full fermentation I divided the dough into 2, rounded them and let them rest for 15 minutes. I then shaped them into 2 batards, and left them to proof covered on a couche. It took about 1 3/4 hour for the batards to double in bulk, I then baked them on a stone in a preheated 450deg. oven with steam for 15 minutes, after I removed the steam pan I turned the oven down to 400deg. rotated the loaves, and left them to finish, it took another 20 minutes.

Anyways I hope you guys enjoy the pictures, and please post any critiques, if you see anything wierd. I am a little new to this whole posting thing, and I am sure I have forgotten some things, so by all means if you have any questions please feel free to ask.



Kevin


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Almond Butter

The subject of Almond Butter came up in a post a few days ago and I thought I would explain how to make Almond Butter.  I made Almond Butter by the 10s of thousands of pounds when I was in the Almond business.  Hopefully that gave me some insight to how a person can make Almond Butter at home.  I used a large machine machine that works very much like a blender so I figure a blender would work just fine only make less at a time.  I looked at some of the information online about how to make Almond butter and was surprised at the errors in information that I saw.  Anyway here is what I did to make three pounds of Almond Butter.

1st I roasted 3 pounds of Almonds in the microwave 4.5 minutes.  Next time I think I'll roast them 5 minutes.  The almonds seemed to be a little bit under roasted.  After roasting the Almonds let them cool to room temperature.  To tell how well the roasting is break one of the nuts open.  The nut should be a light brown right to the center of the nut.  If the nut is under roasted the middle will still be white.  The skins on some of the nuts will split length ways and the two halves will separate in the middle.

Next fill your blender half way up with the nuts and turn it on.  My blender just made a paste out of the nuts and it stuck to the side of the blender.  The blades didn't have any thing to chop because of this.  I poured this meal/paste out into a bowl and let it cool over night.  The next morning I put the meal/paste back in the blender and I had Almond Butter in nothing flat.  The Almond Butter I made will pour right out of the blender.  I think that maybe I could have made Almond Butter the first round if the Almonds had been roasted a little bit more.

Variations:  You can make raw  Almond Butter just keep chopping it up in a blender and then dumping it into a bowl to let it cool before you put it in the blender again.  Sooner or latter the raw Almonds will turn to butter it just takes longer.  You can make Almond Butter with Blanched Almonds, Almond Pieces, and different varieties of Almonds.  When you have made your Almond Butter try it with some honey.  There are some people who like it with Mustard also.  To make a chunky butter just add some nuts at the end of the blender cycle and chop them up a little bit.

Here are a few things I saw on the internet that you don't have to do.  You don't have to add any oil.  It will make it faster and easier but isn't necessary.  You don't have to use blanched Almonds to make creamy Almond Butter.  The skins don't end up as fine grit if it is made right.  I have never store my Almond Butter in a fridge or had it go rancid.

Last of all you can make Nut Butters from all different kinds of nuts so start trying all the different kinds of nuts that you like.  Pistachios make a green butter. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Why do breads baked in the breadmaker have a different texture?

This is my dilemma. We love homemade whole grain bread and LOVE the price of it versus artisan breads from the bakery. With kids and "life" making bread by scratch just doesn't happen like EVER even though I like it and have a knack for it. So, we bought a breakmaker 14 years ago. We used it a lot the first two years, but then stopped, because I couldn't stomach the texture. So, I gave the breakmaker to my best friend after it sat for at least 5 years without any use.

Skip forward a few years and I decide that if I have a mixer to do it (when I got the Electrolux DLX2000/ or Assistent), then we would have homemade breads. Guess what... I still don't make breads from scratch even with the machine, but I do use it for cakes and everything else .

So, last year I bought a Panasonic breadmaker on a super sweet deal on Amazon ($60 shipped). I have used it about once a week and well, my husband loves it, but my older son and I can't stand the texture.... two different breadmakers and the same problem. This past weekend I had the breadmaker knead the bread, and then I took it out and let it's last rise be in a basket mold, and then I put it in the oven to bake... guess what? No funny texture first day or second day... it's teh baking that does it, but HOW??? and WHY????

Now I'm an a quest to make the bread even better (crisper and chewier), but I'm still puzzled with the bread machine... why???

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Flaxseed Bread (Leinsamenbrot)

Hamelman's Rye with Flax Seeds1

Hamelman's Rye with Flax Seeds1

Hamelman's Flaxseed Bread - crumb

Hamelman's Flaxseed Bread - crumb

Jeffrey Hamelman's Flaxseed Bread from "Bread" is a 60% sourdough rye. It is almost exactly the same formula as his 66% sourdough rye, with the addition of flaxseeds added to the dough as a soaker. This is a delicious bread, but the wonderful flavor really comes together the day after baking.  One day 2, it is mildly sour with a prominant, hearty rye flavor mixed with a very distinct flavor of flaxseed. The seseme seeds on top, which Hamelman says are traditional, add another nice flavor and a nice additional crunch.

I have made many rye breads before and love them, but this is my first attempt at one of Hamelman's German-style rye breads. I must give credit to Eric (ehanner), whose beautiful rye breads from Hamelman inspired me to take the plunge.

 David

TableBread's picture
TableBread

Brioche question

Hey everyone I have a sweet dough question.

I was reading through Richard Bertinet's "Crust" and noted that his recipe for Brioche calls for a rest of 12 - 14 hours in a pantry.  Now I have experienced this kind of rest with biga's or a poolish starter to help develop the flavor but with a sweet dough?  I admit that I am not very experienced with sweet doughs but I have to ask:

1. What is the purpose of a 12 - 14 hour rest with a sweet dough?

2. Do you have a favorite brioche recipe you could share?

Thanks a ton,


Lewis

http://tablebread.blogspot.com

holds99's picture
holds99

English Muffin Wrap-Up

As some of you are aware, I have been experimenting for the past few weeks with various English muffin recipes in an attempt to determine what I think is the recipe that truly creates the closest thing to an authentic English muffin.  The exercise has been quite interesting and productive.  So, here's my opinion, for what it's worth.  Dan Lepard's recipe has no equal.  Mr. Lepards recipe is easy to prepare, produces terrific results and is far and away the closest to what I believe is an authentic English muffin.  I previously posted his recipe with some of my comments and measurement conversions.  The photo below is of my second batch from Mr. Lepard's recipe.  Here are some tips that I used during my second baking itereation of his recipe. 

I doubled the recipe and made something like a dozen slightly larger size muffins.

I cut the rounds for the muffins 4 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Use lots (I mean LOTS) of flour on the towel they sit on in the baking tray to proof.  Don't skimp on the flour or they'll stick to the cloth and at that point they're fully risen and very fragile, so use lots of flour.

Slide your hand under the floured towel to flip them onto your (floured) hand and place them in the skillet or on the griddle.    DO NOT try to pick them up with your fingers, spatula, etc.  REPEAT: Flip them onto your floured hand.

I reduced the cider vinegar (50ml single batch or 100ml for doubled recipe) by half (25ml for single or 50ml for double recipe) making up the difference in liquid with water and it worked great.  Just a hint of vingar, which really works well to contrast with the butter, marmalade, jelly or jam.  Incidentally, Charlene checked the Thomas English muffins package in the supermarket and they also include vinegar as an ingredient.

When cooking them, set your electric skillet or griddle at 300 deg. F. Cook the muffins covered (if possible) to capture the steam and hold the heat as they cook.  "Dry fry" them (no oil in skillet) for 10 minutes on side 1 and 5-7 minutes on side 2, longer if necessary.  Take a temp. check with a thermometer.  They should read 200-210 deg. F. internal temp. You can cook them in a skillet on the stove just be extremely careful with the heat under your skillet.  Otherwise, you run the risk of scorching them.
Let them completely cool on a wire rack (or they'll be gummy in the center) before serving them and split them using a fork, don't cut them with a knife.  That way you get the nice holes and great texture, as you can see from the photo below.

If you like English muffins I sincerely hope you'll try Dan Lepard's recipe... and let us know how it goes.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

 

  Dan Lepard's English Muffins - Second Baking

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins Second Batch

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Never Give Up Sourdough

(Picture below) 

I post this for 2 reasons:
1) I thought this sourdough was going to bomb, but it didn't. Never give up on your sourdough.
2) I made several changes to the recipe I have been using for 4 months, and I learned a lot. Maybe you will too.

Most important thing I learned: Never give up on your sourdough. (I mean the loaves, not the starter.)

This is a somewhat long story, with a few unusual twists to tell, so I apologize for the wind and will understand if you skip ahead.

As I was planning for this bake I was thinking about my previous sourdough experience. (I make a version of Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough, recipe already on TFL.) For the previous bake I made the final build of the levain at night, and mixed the dough early the next morning. An overnight retarding of the loaves would have been overlong, so I opted for same-day baking. When I took my shaped loaves out of their bannetons, they reeelaaaaaxxxxed. Into the oven they went, but their oven spring was underwhelming. The taste was tangy, wonderful, but the crumb was not open and airy as usual.

This time I was planning a few changes. I was concerned that the main issue had been gluten development. For starters I figured I'd go back to early-morning final levain build and mixing the dough in the afternoon, which would allow for overnight retarding.

On top of this I was considering something Mike Avery recently posted in a response, where he explained that autolyse does NOT involve yeast, commercial or wild. I thought that mixing the dough in advance, without leaven, might help build gluten, which I speculated had been at fault for my flattish loaves. I knew also that there would be some enzymatic action as a result of this autolyse process, so I hedged my bets and decided to let the dough sit for just 3 hours.

When I added my levain to the autolyse in my mixer, it was very, very wet. OK, I should have broken up the dough first, that became clear. But I figured I could still mix and distribute all the ingredients sufficiently. After 3 minutes the dough was still sticking both to the bottom and the sides of my mixer's bowl. (Fortunately, this no longer daunts me, thanks to the video of M. Bertinet that holds99 recently provided this link for: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough
Also, I wasn't tempted to add flour, having seen M. Bertinet say about such glop: "This is what dough should look like.")

I took the sticky mass and started throwing it down and folding it over. I "cheated" only a little bit with one dusting of flour. Within a few minutes, remarkably, the dough was coming together. There were a few pea-sized lumps but I flattened them when I found them. Then I let the dough ferment for almost 3 hours, with 2 folds to build strength. It still seemed loose and weak and I admit I was concerned.

I shaped 2 boules and put them in bannetons, which I had dusted (mistakenly) with AP flour instead of semolina as usual. I let the loaves proof for exactly 1 hour and put them in my refrigerator, which can hold between 43 and 44 dF, to retard overnight.

In the morning my heart sank. The loaves had barely risen. Never give up on your sourdough. Next came another change I had decided to try: I wasn't going to let the loaves wake up for several hours before baking. I pre-heated my oven to 480 dF for an hour, putting a steam pan in at the 45-minute mark. Hamelman, in Bread, makes a point that sometimes waiting for his loaves to warm up has rendered flat loaves, and thus unlike others he is not against more or less immediate baking. So that was what I was going for.

And that turned out to be a good choice. First, I had trouble getting one loaf out of its banneton (curse that AP flour). Still, for all the manhandling, it came out and held its shape! The second loaf came out more easily, but it looked puny. Still it held its puny shape.

Using my (Pure Komachi) tomato knife I slashed the first loaf with ease and confidence. The dough held: it was still cool! Into the oven und spritzen. Slash the second loaf, into the oven und spritzen again. The first loaf kept its poise, so I thought it would be OK. The puny second one sagged a little on the baking stone, and my confidence sagged with it.

At this point, if you're still here, it occurred to me that because the loaves were cool, they could handle more spritzing than usual. This turned out to be true. I turned the oven down to 460 dF and sprayed the oven 4 times over the space of 8 minutes. The crust hadn't yet turned color so I figured keeping the oven moist until I saw color would help, and it did. Still, the second loaf looked saggy. I sprayed it one more time and closed the oven, expecting the worst for that one.

Five minutes later, when I opened the oven door to turn the loaves and take out the steam pan, loaf 2 was puffed up almost like a volcano! I thought it had blown up inside, full of the air holes "where the baker sleeps at night." I turned the oven down to 440 dF and waited. Something else I learned: if you put your dough in without letting it warm up for hours, it needs to bake longer. OK, duh. So, as with being able to spritz for longer, I kept the loaves in the oven for longer, which gave me more control over temperature. At the 30-minute mark I took instant temperatures: the first loaf was only around 165 dF and the second was a little soft where the lava comes out, so I didn't bother poking it.

Ten minutes later I took temps. Loaf 1 was ready, at 208 dF. Loaf 2 was 198 so back in it went. I turned the oven down to 410 dF and gave it 3 minutes. Then I took it out and they both got 3 hours cooling time.

At this point I thought loaf 2 was a mess inside and I didn't figure it was worth showing it. Loaf 1 was beautiful inside and was half-gone in short order. When I started cutting into loaf 2 I realized I had totally missed the boat. Though it hadn't risen much at all in the fridge, and had sort of sagged in the oven, it made an amazing comeback. And I am thinking that comeback was because it was cool when it hit the oven, and I kept it moist long enough for the yeast to stage their heroic last stand.

Here's a picture of the crumb of Loaf 2:

 Never Give Up Sourdough

Sourdough crumb: Never Give Up Sourdough


Next time: I will repeat my sourdough with the autolyse, but I will use only half the flour for that, and I will break up the dough into pieces when I mix everything together. Otherwise, I'm sticking with my story.

Soundman (David)


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pane di Genzano

Pane di Genzano (the real thing)

Pane di Genzano (the real thing)

Pane di Genzano

Pane di Genzano 

Pane di Genzano Crumb

Pane di Genzano Crumb 

In "Local Breads," Daniel Leader has 3 breads from Genzano, a village just outside Rome. Well, 2 breads and a pizza. The 2 breads are an all-white bread (Pane casareccio di Genzano) and one that uses half bread flour and half whole wheat (Pane lariano). Zolablue had written about these breads some time ago. (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4417/genzano-country-bread-local-breads  ) Hers were gorgeous and sounded delicious. But the recipe spooked me at the time. It is a huge loaf and a super-wet dough.  Since then, I had gained some experience with slack doughs and felt up to trying one of the pane di Genzanos.

 

I'm not quite sure what to call the bread I made because I "split the difference" between the breads in the book. I used 25% whole wheat. I also did not follow Leader's instructions for mixing. I wanted to try the Hamelman folding technique on this bread, since I was so happy with how it had worked with my baguettes. I also wanted to try the "double hydration" technique recommended by Suas in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" for improved gluten development in slack doughs. 

 Formula

(I used my regular 75% hydration sourdough starter which is fed with 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% Rye for the biga).

Biga Naturale         368 gms

Water                       405 gms

Bread Flour             375 gms

WW Flour                 125 gms

Instant yeast                7 gms

Sea salt                      14 gms

 Unprocessed bran for sprinkling

 Mixing

In the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer, I mixed 300 gms of water with the biga, then added the flours, yeast and salt and mixed with a rubber spatula until the ingredients were all incorporated in a shaggy mass.

 I then mixed with the dough hook at Speed 4, with occasional bursts to Speed 6, for about 12-14 minutes. At this point, I had some gluten development, and the dough was clearing the sides of the bowl at Speed 4. I began slowly adding the remaining 100 gms of water, probably about 10-15 gms at a time, waiting for each addition to get incorporated before adding the next. I continued to mix at the same speed for another 10 minutes or so.

 (Note: Leader's mixing instructions are to put all the ingredients in the bowl and stir together. Then mix at Speed 8 for 10 minutes or so, then at Speed 10 for another 10 minutes.)

 Fermentation 

I then transferred the dough to a 4 quart glass measuring pitcher.  I had planned on fermenting the dough for 3 hours, doing stretch and folds after 60 and 120 minutes. The dough was overflowing the pitcher after 60 minutes. I transferred it to a 6 quart bowl, did my stretch and folds and covered the bowl. After 120 minutes, the dough had re-doubled and was extremely soft and puffy. The gluten was better developed. I did another series of stretches and folds and fermented another hour. 

 The dough was still extremely sticky. I scraped it onto a large wooden cutting board and attempted to form it. I could fold the edges, but the dough was sticking a lot to the board, my bench knife. I kept my hands wet, which prevented it sticking to me very much.

 Proofing 

I then transferred the dough to a large banneton, dusted with AP and rice flour, then with bran. This was not a pretty sight. The dough was dough but it was so slack, it could not be called a "ball." It was my own proprietary loaf shape. I called in a "glob." The surface was coated with more bran. The banneton was covered with plastic wrap.

 I pre-heated the oven to 450F with a cast iron skillit and a metal loaf pan on the bottom shelf and a large pizza stone on the middle shelf.

 I proofed the glob for 55 minutes. (Leader says to proof for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I was afraid I would get no oven spring if I proofed it that long.)

 

Baking 

Just before loading the loaf, I put a handful of ice cubes in the heated loaf pan to humidify the oven.

 I transferred the glob from the banneton to a peel, covered with parchment paper dusted with more bran. The glob hit the parchment, spread, but did not overflow the (large pizza) peel.

 I transferred the glob, which had assumed a somewhat pleasing ovoid shape on hitting the peel, to the stone. I poured about a cup of boiling water into the skillet and closed the oven door.

 After 18 minutes, I removed the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven.

 After 30 minutes, I turned the oven down to 400 degrees and baked for 30 minutes more.

 Cooling 

I transferred the bread to a cooling rack. Leader says to cool it for 2 hours before slicing.

 Comments

Well, you win some and you loose some. This bread is delicious. The crust is crunchy. The crumb is tender. You might have noticed that the biga naturale is 74% of the flour weight. The taste is quite sour, especially for a bread with a short fermentation for a sourdough. The whole wheat flavor is there and pleasing. I expect the flavors to change by tomorrow, probably for the better. 

 On the other hand, I'm not sure my deviations from Leader's instructions worked well. The dough was probably gloppier than it is supposed to be. I don't think I got the gluten development it needs. I didn't get much oven spring, and the bread is rather flat. Zolablue got a wonderful boule. Note that she used high gluten flour, and that probably helped. I've got to keep trying, because this bread is really worth the effort.

 Note: It has been noted that this bread is messy to cut. That is an understatement. The bran flies everywhere! I think I ended up with more bran on the counter and cutting board than I had sprinkled on the loaf and in the banneton, and the bread seemed to still have as much as before. The normal laws of physics apparently do not apply to this bread. My advice: Slice it where clean up will be easiest.

 This bread is known in Italy for its keeping quality. It is good when first cooled and stays moist for many days. There are many references to this bread on Italian travel web sites. It is said to make wonderful brushcetta. I have a good supply of delicious tomatoes at the moment. I plan on testing that claim.

 

 David

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