The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from Alaska

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neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

Greetings from Alaska

Hello!


I've been reading the forum for a few weeks now, and am so thankful for all the useful information for my bread-perfecting journey.  I aspire to create the loaves many of you have pictured!


Before getting sucked into this art form, I made the occasional baguette from a recipe with a starter, but didn't do it very often because of the steps/time involved. I got a copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and have had the best time turning out bread without starters. I'm still in the experimentation stage with what works best in terms of dough hydration and handling techniques, but I did manage to pull this European peasant bread out of the oven yesterday:



 


It was the first time I got a decent rise out of my loaf -- previous loaves were too wet and spread out -- but the crumb was quite dense despite two days of aging, and I gather I'm handling the dough too roughly or too much, and pushing out too many of the gas bubbles.


Thank you for this community! Looking forward to participating :)


C~

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Yes, you are correct that you cannot handle ABin5 dough too much, or you knock the air out of it and lose the prized open crumb.  Shaping should be very quick and "light handed".


One hint (and from your picture it looks like you may have already figured it out) is that the book calls for a light dusting of flour on the dough when you pull it out of the bucket and shape it, but if you ever watch a video of the authors handling their dough, they actually use quite a bit of flour. 


The other key is to pull a good tight "gluten cloak" over the outside of your dough so it will hold its shape during the counter rest and bake.  But do it fast so that you aren't degassing the dough. 


If you do a search here on TFL for "stretch and fold" videos, you can see how that's done.  That technique works very well to shape ABin5 dough.  You do one full set of stretch and folds (Fold it in thirds one way and then the other) and then round the final dough, pulling the gluten cloak around tightly.  This will keep the air in your dough and is supposed to "organize" the gluten strands to support the finished bread. 

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

Jan, thanks for reminding me of the stretch & fold technique...I used it on my last two batches, prior to shaping, and it really helped to improve/tighten the gluten cloak, as well as prevent overhandling and degassing, which has greatly improved the crumb. I'm learning that the minute details can make a huge difference. Thanks again!

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

Thanks so much, Jan. I will definitely do the fold before rounding/cloaking my next loaf!