The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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drdobg's picture
drdobg

Atta flour

I have been experimenting with "atta" flour called for in many Indian flatbreads (such as naan, poori, chapati breads, etc.)  It seems to me it would be similar to some of the higher ash flours of french baking.  Can anyone give some insights to the similarities and differences of these flours?

LeahM's picture
LeahM

baking a lot of loaves--help!

Hello all--I am hoping to benefit from some TFL's patented expert advice and experience!

My father is having a 60th birthday party in July, and I offered to make the bread for the event. It's going to be a big open house, so lots of nibbles--bread and cheese being of course the world's best nibble option (IMO). I want to make 3 different types of breads, all of which I've been getting reliably good results with when baked as a single batch: sourdough baguette, walnut levain, and herb foccacia. I am thinking of making a triple batch of the baguettes (6 loaves), double batch of the levain (4 smallish boules), and a double focaccia (2 pans).

Here's my dilemma: my oven is TINY. It can really only fit one pan at a time (so, two loaves, or a single focaccia). And my fridge isn't so big either. So, I'm thinking of (trying to) mix/let rise all the dough the day before, having it proof overnight in loaf form in the fridge, and then baking everything sequentially in the morning. Does that seem feasible? And, some questions...

Should I make large batches of dough, or stick to the quantities I know I can handle? (I'm mixing by hand.) Is there a better time to put dough in the fridge for a "holding pattern"? Can I bake the loaves cold from the fridge? What about the focaccia? Any other tactical suggestions from the experts out there? (Is there anything else in particular to be careful of?)

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Best Crust and Crumb yet! For me

This is a 50% wholewheat from "BREAD". I have finally achieved the color i wanted and the crumb texture i like. THis is a keeper.

To obtain the color, I have improvised enclosed steaming for this one:

Poultry roaster with lid. Under the roaster a stone, and in the roaster lid: a stone squeezed-in in such a way that it dented the lid, but remained in. This way, i can get heat from a stone on top of the loaf, and from under the loaf, all in an enclosed space to trap steam. IT Worked!

Here are the loaves:

UPDATE:  here is the roaster steamer with stone device:

Khalid

 

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

How to bake a large batch of Artisan breads

Good Morning: 

  I learn how to make many Artisan breads from TFL site and really enjoyed it.  For about  a year now I enjoyed  baking breads for my family and shared it with friends.  Early this year I  have an opportunity to sell breads at my Community market by buying it from a wonderful bakery in Roanoke, VA.  I have since quited doing so since it is 70 miles round trip and I earned very little from this venture after taking off the expenses!  So, I am selling my own sourdough and regular breads at the market and customers love it.  My problems is my mixer only can mix two loaves at a time and baking (heart baking) only can be done only in a small amount on home oven.  I could only make about 12 loaves at the most starting on Wednesday for the market on Sat.

  I jokingly  complaint to my local Pizza store owner that I wished that I could have large mixer like his to mix my dough in large batch and out of the blue he said that I could use his mixer to mix my dough for free!

Now, I have a problem,  I don't know how to manage a large batch baking since I am only had experienced baking only two loves at a time!  I used the bread machine to mix the regular  breads and the regular mixer for sourdough.  I also have a regular size refrigerator for retarding the dough.  Is it possible for me to do it or just forget the large batch?  I would love to bake large quantity for the market but I have no clue.  Please help.

Mantana

 

 

RobertS's picture
RobertS

Rookie requires sourdough basic information

As a fresh-faced rookie baker looking to break into the Sourdough League, I am feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by  the mountain of info available on that subject. Can anyone suggest one or two of the very best, most reliable,  web articles, on TFL or wherever, that will serve to launch my sourdough breaducation? Grazi mille!

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Beauty and the Beast (A true beast, if not the truest beauty!)

 

I had the good fortune of being placed on the bench this morning, which translates to many, many baguettes. Here for your viewing pleasure were the best (probably) and the worst (probably) of the bake. My beastie caught underneath the loading board as it was being slid into the  oven, so its back end got tucked underneath itself on the loading.

In addition, because it caught underneath itself, it glued itself to the baking stone, and didn't slide in on ball bearings of flour as it should have, so it was a bit warped. Add imperfect shaping and scoring and what we've got is quite the beastie looking baguette.  But despite all my heavy handed-ness, the crumb wasn't too badly torn up inside.

I blame elderly dough! The older a dough is, the harder it is to work with, whether dividing, shaping, or scoring. A more relaxed dough with much acids built up in it will be elastic and have little extensibility, sticky and difficult to handle, sticking to hands and blades alike. On the one hand acids toughen up the dough increasing elasticity and on the other hand the dough is starting to break down (if this hypothesis is true, the dough has probably reached its limit of fermentation products, which work to break down the gluten, maybe)

I do hope I'm finally getting the hang of scoring, particularly with a lame. I'm getting less "breaks" between the openings of the scores, and I was actually able to notice the grigne opening up properly, due to the angle of the blade. All in all, not a bad bench day. Now I just have to master bench-work with a miche, heavy shaping, and a busy store.

--Chausiubao

MmeZeeZee's picture
MmeZeeZee

Managing a Long-Term Starter

There's a great thread on starting starters.  What about managing them?

I bake three to four times a week out of necessity.  I have two children under the age of four and a husband in the military.  I'm not really able to cultivate three or four different starters, so I'll let you in on a secret: I'm actually hacking a starter.  I made one according to Lepard's instructions and it worked like a charm.  Since then, I've been refreshing six days a week or so with whatever flour I'm using at the moment.  I'm guessing it's 50% whole wheat, 40% white, and 10% rye at the moment.

Today, I used a liquid starter when I really should have used a stiff starter.  Honestly, the difference in hydration is so minor for the whole loaf, I thought... really?  We won't eat bread for two days because it's not stiff enough now?

How do you maintain your starters?  Do you maintain multiple starters (and have children and tomato plants and a husband)?  If you don't, how many refreshings do you do before you consider it good to go?  Etc.

 

jvafis's picture
jvafis

meaning of "strong flour"

I just picked up Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf" in which many recipes specify a "strong flour.." In his discussion of flour he doesn't make any reference to this. Does he mean a high protein flour, like a bread flour, or is that just a British way of saying all-purpose wheat flour?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Vollkornbrot and Schadenfreude

In Portland (the Downeast one) the unbeatable Number One Bakery is, without question, the Standard Baking Co. Their baguettes and pains au levains not only make droves of bakery customers happy but also guests of the wonderful "Street & Company" and the noble "Fore Street Restaurant".

Today they offered Vollkornbrot. Of course I had to get one, out of curiosity, though Vollkornbrot is not my favorite - being force-fed with it as a child - to compare it with my own products. It looked quite nice, and had the right consistency, too. But, as with all the Vollkornbrot I've so far tasted in New England, the taste was bland and lacked any complex flavor. Even without any additional sweetener German dark rye breads (Vollkornbrot, Schwarzbrot and Pumpernickel) should have a hint of sweetness from rye starch turning into sugar due to pre-doughs and long fermentation (mehrstufige Teigfuehrung).

On one hand I was disappointed and a bit sad that my favorite bakery didn't do a better job introducing their customers to this German specialty, but on the other hand I felt a nasty little bit of Schadenfreude. Their crusty, holey baguettes might be way superior to my modest pains a l'anciennes - but my Vollkornbrot could beat theirs anytime!

Dear Dana Street, for this immoral impulse I will shamefully atone - next time we're in Portland we will not only spend our dollars at "Street & Company" (wolfing down as much pain au levain with our fish as we can) but also by buying not only two baguettes AND a large miche, but also a bag of rugelachs.

 

 

 

RobertS's picture
RobertS

Breaducation of a rookie

First of all, kudos to everyone who has worked to make this such a wonderful, educational site. I am looking forward to participating in the fun here on Fresh Loaf.

I have been baking from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the BBA, for several months now, but have had no other experience of bread-making during my 69 years of life. I thought that Artisan Bread stripped things to their esentials until I came across Lahey/Bittman bread on You Tube. Made a pot yesterday, and must say the first time was a charm.  The crumb and crust are obviously excellent looking (though the crumb may well be too thick for some people), but I found the taste a little disappointing, after the long --- 19-hour ---- ferment. It was good, but not nearly so good as some Ancienne baguettes I made recently following BBA religiously. With those loaves, I died and went to heaven.

I have two questions: (1) does maxiumum taste seem to be an issue with this manner of baking? (2) if the fault was mine, does anyone have any suggestions re getting superior taste when using this method?

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