The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

20100802 New Stones, New Toys, and Test Runs

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Yippee's picture
Yippee

20100802 New Stones, New Toys, and Test Runs

As an old Chinese saying goes, 'If a craftman wishes to do a fine job, he must first sharpen his tools' (工欲善其事,必先利其器),  proper gear and setup, in addition to the right techniques, are essential in making good breads.


I'd noticed a 'deficiency' of my otherwise well functioned oven when I was making the sourdough bagels.  The browning was somewhat uneven and by the time the bagels were browned, my kids' favorite onion toppings were already burned.  To correct this deficiency, I opted for better quality pizza stones.  After a long wait of almost three weeks, the stones had finally arrived.  I chose the thickest stones (1") that, as represented by the manufacturer of the stones, the BTU of a home oven would support.  I've retained the same setup as before, with one stone on top and the other on the bottom.  However, this time the stones were cut in a way that there is a one inch clearance around them.


In addition, I bought a wine thermostat and turned one of the refrigerators into my official retarder.  This setup was brought to my attention by DonD.  I must tell you; it is another lifesaver after SteveB's proofer.  A big 'thank you' to both gentlemen again.


With good stones, it's natural to think pizza.  I'm curious if the temperature of the bottom stone can really be jacked up to over 550F (without rigging the oven) to make restaurant quality pizza, as one proud home baker boasted.  So I got an infra-red thermometer, which I forgot to use since I was busy watching my bread.


The bread I made this time as an experiment was almost identical to this formula, except for the levains.  The starter used in this bake was actually the final dough made from the same formula but ended up sitting in the fridge. I used this old dough as-is and did not refresh it before baking. The weights of ingredients were adjusted so that the % of prefermented flours and final dough hydration remained the same.


The controlled retardation was the highlight of this experiment and it was very playful to me.  The fermentation schedule was as follows:


Bulk Ferment



  • 2 hours @ 76F


Final Prove:



  • 10 hrs - @54F

  • 8 hrs - @65F

  • 12 hrs - @58F


I was a bit hesitant when deciding the oven temperature with the new stones in place as I had no prior reference. Therefore, I used a more conservative 485F to preheat and immediately lowered to 465F after loading.  The crackly part of the crust did not turn out as dark as last time.  I have to avoid the darker crusts because they seem to irritate my kids' throat.  It probably will take me a few more experiments before I find out the optimum timing and temperatures of my retarder and oven.  With the assistance of my new tools, I'm looking forward to a more enjoyable baking experience.


Here are some pictures:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/41705172@N04/sets/72157624533040855/show/


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Comments

ramat123's picture
ramat123

Can you send a link to the stone you're using?

Yippee's picture
Yippee

And here's the link: http://www.bakingstone.com/

Yippee

reddragon's picture
reddragon

loaves, and amazing pictures.


Murvet

Yippee's picture
Yippee

For your kind words.

Yippee

wally's picture
wally

Very nice look bake Yippee.  I'm curious about your final proof: is there a reason you varied the proofing temps as you did (low to somewhat higher to somewhat lower) during the 30 hr. retarding?


Larry

Yippee's picture
Yippee

The temperatures were adjusted according to the progress of fermentation so that I would have the dough ready when I was ready to bake.

Yippee

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

baking, Yippee!  What a beauty!  Have fun with your new equipment.


Sylvia

Yippee's picture
Yippee

How lucky you are to have a WFO! It's perfect pizza every time! Could you please share some pointers about making pizza in an oven? Thanks in advance.

Yippee

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I make pizza in my indoor oven all the time.  You can get some fantastic pizza's out of your home oven...and I mean fantastic..you need a good dough recipe..plenty in PR's book American Pie an oven stone and to get really good results a very hot 'preheated oven and stone' 550F convection or hotter if your oven will go higher...you should get a perfect pizza.  I pre-heat my oven for at least 50min...and that's it with a little practice shaping and topping the pizza. 


Sylvia

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Looking at your pain de campagne now I reallize how subpar mine still is... (just made my third loaf today) Wow... is all I can say.


 


Now I need to read up on this proofer room you are talking about.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

You know... we bought a little fridge when we were renovating our kitchen. I wonder if I could turn this into a proofer. I didn't even know you could turn a refrigerator up that high. I think my dough might be better if I could retard the proofing, but the main refrigerator is just too cold at 39 degrees.. My pain de campagne is going more than twice as fast as the books say it should (my kitchen is 76 degrees and one day it was 80 when we turned off the AC this past mild weekend). I overproofed them then. Hmmmm... now to check on that fridge! (Or did you have to modify?)

Yippee's picture
Yippee

This is all you need if you already have a fridge to spare:


http://s300420052.e-shop.info/


There are other less expensive refrigerator controllers on the market but they don't have the display which allows you to check the temperature from a distance. For me, it's worth spending the extra money for the convenience.


Yippee

rayel's picture
rayel

Lovely bread Yippee.  Your pictures are super.  Ray

Yippee's picture
Yippee

for your compliment.

Yippee