The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A busy baking weekend

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OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

A busy baking weekend

This was a busy baking weekend for me.  Thursday night I started the levain for a batch of "my" sourdough bread, which I baked on Friday night.  It turned out quite acceptably in the end, but I was most excited about the maiden use of my new 1 pound oval willow proofing baskets that I picked up on a Christmas week field trip to SFBI/TMB Baking.  I made this dough with a pretty low (64%) hydration because it was my first use of these baskets.  I did not want the dough to stick to them and mess them up before I could get them seasoned and broken in.  Given that, I had little trouble with the dough in handling, but I continue to struggle with proper proofing.  I have adequate conditions, but my "tester" is not yet properly calibrated.  All in all, though, they turned out pretty well.  They were good enough that the loaf we kept for ourselves dissappeared with tonight's lasagna dinner!


Here are the loaves after baking and cooling.


Straight 64% Hydration Sourdough


 


Here is a shot of the crumb of one of the loaves.


Straight Sourdough Crumb


The crumb came out about as expected at that hydration.  It was tender, and not too chewy, and the flavor was only mildly sour thanks to the pretty short bulk fermentation I allowed.  It's gone though, so I'd best not be too critical!


That was Friday.  On Saturday I was looking through Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible" over my morning coffee, wondering what I should bake.  When I came across the recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye I recalled how often my wife has reminded me that she loves good rye bread.  I recently purchased some good rye flour in hopes of trying some pumpernickel bread one of these days and thought:  "Why not?".  So I read the recipe a couple of times through and then gave it a try.  I must say it turned out to be less difficult than I expected.  I had the most difficulty judging the proofing (big surprise eh?) and would have over-proofed it.  I was saved by my own poor planning.


I planned to bake these loaves one at a time in my La Cloche baker.  Because of that I decided to go ahead and start baking early, so we could get on with dinner.  I had the oven and La Cloche preheated, and although I did not think it was quite proofed enough yet, I baked the first loaf.  It turned out to be a good thing I think.  The loaves below were baked sequentially, one after the other.  The La Cloche only had a few minutes between bakes to recover temperature, so it was probably a little cooler when the second loaf went in, compared to the first.  The difference in size between the loaves is more owing to differences in my handling during shaping though I believe.  In any event, the loaves baked up very nicely, and here they are.


RLB - Real Jewish Rye Loaves


And the crumb looks like this.


RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb 1


 


A final crumb shot, with a thank you to Rose Levy Beranbaum for her wonderful book.


RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb


I'm pretty sure that big hole in the dough is from my shaping of the loaf.  I was trying hard not to knock all the gas out of it while shaping it, and I think I did not get it well sealed together.  I consider it a petty good first effort though, and look forward to having another go at it.  I know I can get rid of it easily enough.  My wife raves about this RLB recipe almost as much as the Cracked Whole Wheat I bake from the same book.  The more I bake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible", the more excited I get.


OldWoodenSpoon

Comments

Marni's picture
Marni

It's funny how we are so critical of our own work.  It does move us to improve though!


The ovenspring on those rye loaves is great. 


I've also got The Bread Bible here (from the library) I may buy  a copy even though I'm trying not to add to my already too large cookbook collection.  Her breads come out great, but I don't really like the way she's laid out the steps.  I can get over that!


Marni

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

it seems we are all our own harshest critics.  I think it is akin to why we are active here on The Fresh Loaf:  we are striving to get better, just as you suggested.


I have now added this book to my "I want one of my own" list.  I checked out about a dozen of the most commonly discussed books from posts on these forums and blogs, and have gone through them all.  "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum is the first one to make that list, and all but one of the others has gone back to the library.  I love this book, and the recipes work for me.  Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment.


OldWoodenSpoon

breitbaker's picture
breitbaker

pretty loaves..i've been wanting to try that recipe for too long! fun to see a picture of it before i give it a go.  Also have to say that RLB's 'cracked wheat" loaf bread is simply my go-to for soft sandwich breads too!  wonderful chew/crunch/softness all in one! :) 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

and I think you will agree about this rye bread as well.  Certain things, though, are a matter of personal taste.  My wife and I disagree about the Caraway seeds in this bread.  She says it needs a bit more, and I say it takes a bit too much.  Such problems to have to deal with. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.


OldWoodenSpoon

roselevyberanbaum's picture
roselevyberanbaum

you did me (and yourself) proud with that levy's rye bread!

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I'm so pleased to know I've done this bread justice.  It means so much more to hear it directly from you. 


We really enjoy this bread.  I told my wife of your childhood memory of rye bread, cream cheese and sliced radishes.  She sent me to the store right away to buy radishes and cream cheese, and has had that for lunch twice now since I baked this bread.  She thanks you for that suggestion as well.