The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Laurel's Kitchen WW Breads

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Laurel's Kitchen WW Breads

I got the book 2 months ago, and I just love everything I've made so far. For WW breads, they rise so high! And the crumb is very light. Here's my question, as far as I can tell, she doesn't use any special techiques - a good thorough knead until passing window pane, 2 good rises, and a good proof. Her recipes I've tired so far are straightforward and contains simple ingredients, my quesiton is why does her breads come out so much better than other WW breads I've tried? Is it really just the combo ratio of ingredients and techiques? What are your favorite recipes from this book? I've tried the following 3 and love them all, the yogurt one is becoming my default lunch bread.


Here's  yogurt bread with sponge from this past weekend:




This is the highest and lightest of them all, the featherpuff bread:




Here's a sourdough WW one adapted from her basic WW bread:




 

Nim's picture
Nim

I could not agree more...I think I was fortunate to have stumbled on Laurel's book at my public library and started my bread baking with her 3 years back. It is still my favorite and her WW breads are light and flavorful. The featherpuff is one of my favorites too and so is her deluxe raisin bread which my daughter adores.


The difference I notice in her recipes is the two time rise before the final proof; most recipes ask just one.


While on Laurel's book, is a desem same as starter? How are the two different from sponge? I am trying to take the next step in bread making and want to attempt sourdough; did it once with good results not excellent ones and haven't stored my starter.

nova's picture
nova

Desem is what I call a cool starter...the temperature range is very restrictive in order to promote the cultured bacteria that produce such a lovely flavor and bread.  It is a type of sour dough, since the bread is tangy, but has to be grown and maintained as Laurel directs in her book.

wayout2day's picture
wayout2day

I bought her first book, in paperback 25 years ago.  The story is amazing.  They made bread in juice cans during the march on Washington, D.C. -- on the back of a pickup truck !   The Bread Book is fantastic...

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi txfarmer, nice breads all. How long was the sponge for the yogurt bread? Also, what did you think of the flavor? One more, did you use whole milk yogurt, low fat, or fat free?   Ray

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Nice photography, too.


I used to bake out of Laurel's book, and also Tassajara. Both many years ago, and they stood me in good stead.


I now use the books you see mentioned more on TFL-Reinhard and Hamelman. I bake mostly with sourdough and maintain both a WW and a white sourdough. I like the complexity of flavor, and I find it easy enough to maintain them on the counter so they're always ready to go. I'm not the 3-day planning-to-bake type.


You can find lots of information on this site about starting your sourdough. One of the most popular is the pineapple starter. I didn't use it, but many people on this site have, with good result.


Best,


Patricia

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I am also a big fan of the two authors you mentioned. In fact, I am a part of the BBA challenge, baking all the bread in that book one per week, has been a great experience so far. I am also getting into high percentage rye breads, which I use recipes from Hamelman. I am indeed keeping my own starter: one while flour, one rye, they are both in the fridge  though since I only have time to bake on the weekends. They are both healthy and active so far, I do take them out to the counter one day per week to feed them 3 times in 24 hours. I used the method in BBA to start mine.


 


 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I used no fat greek yogurt (Fage) which was what I had on hand. The flavor was very mild but yummy, I didn't notice any sour taste, but my husband said he could. I might experiment with other kind of yogurt later.

photojess's picture
photojess

I just looked on Amazon, and apparently, she has several books out.  Is it from the Guide to whole grain breadbaking book?


Thanks, and your images are beautiful....it's surprising to see how large the are.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

The original _Laurel's Kitchen_ and _New Laurel's Kitchen_ have many bread recipes, but the LsK team really threw their heart and soul into _The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book_, and that is the one people usually refer to.  There is a 2nd edition that adds a very short chapter on bread machines, but both editions have the same information on bread and grains.


sPh

photojess's picture
photojess

It's sitting in my amazon cart as we speak.  I figured it must be that one, and spent some time reading the reviews.  apparently, there are some reviews from people who get bricks out of the recipes.  I wonder if they were using fresh ingredients or not?  Can't wait to get my hands on this book.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Check whether you can get a copy from your library. That's where I got mine at first, I loved it so much that I bought it shortly after. The book reads and looks so old fashioned, and her methods "look" so simple and straightforward, I at first didn't expect much, but everything I've tried has risen so big and tall! And yummy to boot. I don't buy WW bread for lunch anymore.

rayel's picture
rayel

The recipe gives a wide range of sponge times, just wondering how long you gave yours?  Ray

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Oh, sorry, I missed your question last time. I did a little less than 7 hours at room temperature (about 72F).

Jaxhil's picture
Jaxhil

Hi txfarmer (fellow Texan here :o) )! I just wanted to say, those are some of the most beautiful WW sandwich loaves I've ever seen~great photography, too!


I just baked Laurel's Loaf for Learning for the first time yesterday-I found the book the day before at a local thrift store (for $2.50-YAH! ) and couldn't wait to try it. I made a triple batch total-two in my DLX, and one completely by hand. Mine weren't *quite* as lovely as yours, but amazingly, both the hand-kneaded and the DLX loaves came out wonderfully! I've never successfully hand kneaded before, so I was really thrilled. I have to admit, I cheated a little and added some VWG to each batch, because I wanted to avoid the normally somewhat crumbly loaves I get with whole wheat. However, after seeing how gorgeous your loaves turned out, I'm thinking I probably don't need to!


 


Thanks for sharing. I agree, it's probably the extra rising time, and maybe the yogurt-that helped make such high-rising and tender loaves (although since I was out of plain yogurt I used buttermilk instead).


I can't wait to try out the Featherpuff recipe~ and her Oatmeal Bread! May I ask, did you mix /knead by hand or machine?

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

So glad that another person found this wonderful book and discovered how to make great WW bread at home! I don't add VWG since it's really not needed.


I mostly knead by machine (KA 600 Pro), occasionally when I make a small amount, I will do it by hand. Since my post, I've changed my procedure a little - I now use 20 to 30 minutes of autolyse (mix all ingrediets but yeast and salt, let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes to hydrate WW flour and start the gluten developement) before mixing, which dramatically cut down the kneading effort. After autolyse, my KA can mix a full batch of dough to pass windowpane test in 6 minutes (at speed 3), while before it took more than 10 minutes. By hand, before it took me 15 minutes or more, now it's about 10. Here's a picture of the gluten developement after 20 minutes of autolyse and 6 minutes in my KA:



The dough above is the "fruited loave" recipe form the book, I made it into rolls.



Judging from the feeling of the dough, it would've been a very tall and fluffy loaf if made into sandwich loaves. I used dried cranberries, dried mangos, and walnuts, highly recommended!



Another light and tall loaf is the buttermilk bread, here I tried both the straight method and retarding the 2nd rise in the fridge over night. The next day I took it out for an hour, then shape and proof as normal. The one on the left is the straight method, and the one on the right was retarded, you can see both are fairly tall and fluffy, but the right one is slightly shorter.



Similar to yogurt bread in flavor and texture, soymilk bread is another one I liked



One bread I don't know whether I got it right is the soybean bread, the flavor is delicious, actually it's my favorite recipe from the book so far, but it's not as light as others I've tried. I've experimented with various kneading/rising/proofing techniques and timing, it just won't grow very high.



Next on the list to try is Oatmeal Bread and Deluxe Raisin.

rozzibread's picture
rozzibread

The pic from txfarmer at the top of the page... the shine is incredible. Made my first loaf this weekend and very please, thought they weren't as perfectly shaped. Did you glaze the top? Therer wasn't instructions in the recipe, but I did try to spray the oven to try to get a good crust.


Please advise!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

butter! After baking, I brushed a layer of butter onto the top to get the shine. It keeps the top soft too.

fungling3e's picture
fungling3e

Hi TXfarmer,  gorgeous yogurt bread you've made.  One question, did you use 100%  whole wheat  flour?  The yogurt bread recipe in Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook calls for WHOLE WHEAT BREAD FLOUR.  Do you think they are the same kind of flour?

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I use King Arthur 100% WW flour, have used Gold Medal 100% WW flour before with good results too. I think here ww bread flour just means the flour has to have relatively high protein content, which both KAF and GM ww flour qualify.

fungling3e's picture
fungling3e

I failed again in baking PR's 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from his Whole Grain Breads book last night :(.  I followed the recipe and all the steps strictly but it still turned out not really soft and was crumbly.  I have tried many other recipes before but without any success.  My standard of softness, lightness and fluffiness in bread should be like that kind of softness and lightness in Japanese bread.  Do you think it is possible to make 100% whole wheat bread that soft and light?

MrsW's picture
MrsW

Thanks very much for your response txfarmer, i have had this book for about a year now and i have loved it! My favorite recipe is the buttermilk bread, i substitute skimmed milk, if i haven't got buttermilk on hand. I too am using the method of mixing everything but salt and butter, and having a long 30 min autolyse, also i am using both WW strong bread flour and WW plain flour, and the bread comes out light as a feather and so fluffy and soft...i was just about to recommend this recipe to you, and the book,  but you beat me to it:)


MrsW