The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello! New to baking. Some pictures posted.

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whw's picture
whw

Hello! New to baking. Some pictures posted.

Hello to all you thefreshloaf.com forumers,


I am new to baking. I have baked about 8-9 times, with my first time about one and a half months back.


The book I used was Richard Bertinet's 'Dough'.


The first 3-4 times I baked were disasters. The first time I did not trust the 'working the dough' stage and added flour to the wet dough. Only on the 2nd or 3rd time did I get the dough to a nice smooth texture. But then I overproofed the bread and it collapsed completely when I tried to slash it. Visiting this site (and other sites on the Internet) made me know that I had overproofed the bread. I was learning new things fast, and understanding the jargon better.


On the 4th and 5th time, I deliberately underproofed the bread and got a nice rise.


The first few times I baked my shaping was terrible. But I was learning fast from my experimentation and from my reading.


I still have a lot to learn, and want to try a sourdough next. But I am held back by the fact that I have to 'waste' so much flour every few days having to refresh the ferment. I bake mainly for my wife, daughter and myself and we need about 2-3 days to finish a loaf.


Anyway, hear are some pics from the last 4 times of baking.


A sort of raisin bread.


The loaves from wholemeal dough. (The scones were baked by my mother-in-law)


Pain de Campagne loaves (overnight fermentation in the fridge). Very nice crust and much softer/moist crumb




Also Pain de Campagne recipe (from Richard Bertinet's 'Dough' book), with both loaves shaped into batards. I experimented by proofing this dough longer. It was slightly overproofed and collapsed slightly when I cut. But it was still alright enough to get a good enough rise. I am still experimenting!


Looking forward to hearing your comments, and learning more from all of you!


Regards.
whw


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

Like you, I am also new to bread making and I have also recently purchased RB's "Dough" and am still trying to master his kneading technique  .  The recipes in his book all look really yummy  but I wonder if I can still make his bread if I can't follow his technique.  I also have "Crust" but I don't think I will venture on to work with starters.  It sounds very complicated.  Did you use fresh yeast as specified in his recipes or just instant yeast and if so, how much yeast did you use in his recipes which usually use 500 grms? 


Judy

bnom's picture
bnom

Those are very promising loaves you've created!  You should be very proud of your efforts.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you are baking breads that good-looking after 6 weeks, I want to see your breads in a year!


Welcome to TFL!


David

wally's picture
wally

I wish that I had been able to produce loaves like yours after a half dozen bakes!  I look forward to more of your experiments.


Larry

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Hi whw. Your breads look beautiful, and I have no doubt that you will excel at sourdough loaves as well. You mention the waste involved in maintaining a sourdough starter.


There are some references that would have you throw away vast quantities of starter every day (or bake every day), and others that waste nothing at all. I fall into the second category, by keeping a very firm starter in the refrigerator and building a more liquid working starter the night before I mix my dough. To build the working starter, I take only a teaspoon of the refrigerated starter to mix with about 100g flour and 100g water, and let it grow overnight. That gives me about 220g of active starter which should suffice for 1kg of dough. I use all of the working starter, chipping off the refrigerated starter 1 tsp at a time. When it's getting toward the end of the refrigerated starter I make a separate batch just to refresh it. I make a 100% hydration just like the working starters, but when it is fully active and expanding fast (not when it has expanded to the fullest, rather some time before that), I add some flour to make a firm dough, and put it in a small refrigerator container couched in a bed of more flour. The idea is to have a good strong culture of the same mix that you usually bake with, then feed it well and chill it. Before it can start munching on the flour that you have given it, its metabolism drops and it goes more or less dormant.


The hooch that one sees on starter is evidence of the yeast (and maybe bacteria) dying as a result of running out of food. It's typical of starters that are liquid and refreshed with too little flour. I never see it on my refrigerated firm starter.


I'm with everyone else in congratulating you on your experiments, and look forward to seeing more.


Stewart

whw's picture
whw

Thanks to all for the feedback.


Judy - I iniitally started with instant yeast (the individually packed packet types). But now I used fresh yeast (the ones that come in a block that has to be stored in the freezer). I feel that the bread tastes better with fresh yeast compared to instant yeast.


Stewart - I am very interested in the sourdough starter idea that you shared with me. When you say 'refrigerator' you mean the fridge and not the freezer right?


If kept in the fridge (ie. not the freezer), won't the working starter (that you take 1 teaspoon from each time) continue to grow over time and will thus need regular refreshing?


Could you give me more details on how you make your 'working starter'. Thanks in advance.


 

leucadian's picture
leucadian

 


You asked about how I keep my starter, so here goes.


I have a small plastic container that I keep in my refrigerator, and in the container is my long-term starter. I refresh it when it has been almost used up, or when it gets to be a couple of months old. My concept of this mother starter is that I want to have a consistent supply of the sourdough culture from batch to batch. I figure that with every generation (refreshment) there's a good chance that the culture (proportion of bacteria and yeast) will change, so I stretch out the generations as much as I can. When it's time to refresh the mother starter, I do a normal build just as I would if I were getting ready to bake. For me that is about 50g from the mother, 100g AP flour, and 100g water, giving me 250g of starter. Dissolve the 50g from the mother starter in a little of the water, then add all the water and then all the flour. I let it ferment about 12 hours till it's good and lively. The mother starter is quite stiff, so the 50g is probably 35g flour and 15g water, making the first build about 115g water and 135g flour, or about 85% hydration. At this point it looks exactly like the starter for dough. I now mix more flour into it until it's quite stiff, about 50% hydration, so that would be another 95g of flour (115g water and 230g flour). I actually don't measure the flour that I add, because I put about a quarter of an inch or more flour in a clean storage container, and then I put the newly mixed starter on top of it and add some flour on top. Then it goes in the refrigerator at about 40F. My thinking is that the yeast and bacteria were peaking when I mixed in more food (flour) and chilled it to slow its growth and reduce its need for nutrients. I hope that this way the population will remain about what it was at its peak.


I always make the refreshment build separate from the baking build so I don't have to remember to hold back a portion of the baking build to refresh the mother starter. My method reduces discards to almost nothing, since on the next bread build I can use up the last of the original mother starter, or at most I lose only 100g or so of old starter every couple of months.


I think this method also preserves the original population of microbes because I use a good dose of the original starter to create each build, and the native yeast in the flour don't have an opportunity to assert themselves. I hope that the culture doesn't change much under refrigeration, but I know that it's more stable there than it would be if I refreshed it every time I baked.


Good luck.
Stewart


 

whw's picture
whw

Thanks Stewart for taking the time to write and share your methods.


I have printed out your post for my future reference.


Everything is quite clear, but this part - "I always make the refreshment build separate from the baking build so I don't have to remember to hold back a portion of the baking build to refresh the mother starter."


To clarify, you have only one starter in the fridge (which you keep in a container covered in flour) right? And you take a teaspoon of this refrigerated starter and add 100grams of water and 100grams of flour to bake your breads with.


And eventually when this refrigerator starter becomes less and less, you then take out 50 grams from it to make a new mother starter as detailed in your post above. Is my understanding correct?


Thanks and regards,
WHW

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I'm not very precise about the amounts in building the starters, so 1 teaspoon/1 tablespoon/50g are all about the same at this point, since it constitutes so little in the final mix. The idea is that I treat the builds for bread and refreshment exactly the same, up to the point when I make the dough or add extra flour and chill the new mother starter.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

if only I can get my hands on some.  Fresh yeast I'm told doesn't keep well and will need to be used up very soon.  I use SAF instant yeast which I buy from the baking class.

odinraider's picture
odinraider

I find fresh compressed yeast at my local Meijer in the cold cabinet, beside the chease and butter and all that. You might want to try a local / chain grocery conglomerate.


And it does not keep long, it lasts about two weeks from the time I buy it. However, it comes in small, inexpensive blocks, so there is little or no waste. I don't buy it often, though, as in my house we perfer the dry.


-Matt

whw's picture
whw

Hmmm..maybe what I am using is not fresh yeast? The yeast I use comes in a block the exact same size like a block of butter. When I buy it, it comes rock hard frozen. I store it in my freezer. When I need to use it, I take out the whole block and slice/press cut down on this hard block of yeast what I need (normally around 10grams).


This yeast that I am using has lasted for a long time now (about 4 weeks plus and counting). Since it's frozen solid in the freezer, I reckon it will last quite awhile. But only time will tell as I don't have prior experience.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

but I know that it comes in a block and it's kept frozen when not in use.  I've seen Richard Bertinet use fresh yeast on the video and he just rubs it in tog. with the flour between his palms.  I'm very tempted to give fresh yeast a try too when I have time to try out one of the recipes in his "Dough" book.


Happy baking, Judy

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

You are new to baking?  Well, you are a "natural" that's for certain.  What beautiful looking photographs.  Congratulations and happy bread baking (and eating)  :)

whw's picture
whw

Thanks for the encouragement!


And actually, I started baking bread because I love eating good bread with butter, and the local bakery I was buying bread from was really charging a high price (we Malaysian mostly eat processed white bread with no crust! So these so called 'artisan' bakeries charge a bomb, literally). And even then, the bread in this bakery was mainly white and puffy, not holey and chewy. So, have to bake my own bread now! Lol.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

At last I've found someone on TFL who is closer to home...are you based in Malaysia?  We also get artisan bread here in HK but most are using bread enhancers/improvers to make them soft and fluffy and probably give a better rise by using less flour.  Mind you buying the ingredients to make your own bread is not too cheap either but at least you get to have some fun out of making your own bread.  Cheers, Judy from HK

qahtan's picture
qahtan

some times a local bakers will sell you a small amount,,, it's quite cheap,


 qahtan

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I found some fresh yeast from my baking supplies shop.  It is inexpensive but it comes in a 500 grm block which will last forever at the rate I'm turning out breads. How should I use the fresh yeast? Take what I need from the frozen block and leave it to reach room temp before using or rub directly in the flour in its frozen state?   


I would love to try it for myself using one of RB's recipes.  If I can't follow his kneading techniqiue, would it work if I used Paul Reinhart's S&F method which also works well for me.

hmcinorganic's picture
hmcinorganic

I think your bread looks great!