The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The D’Oh! Boy’s First Bread… and First Blog Post

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

The D’Oh! Boy’s First Bread… and First Blog Post


Hello.  I’m Glenn Snyder.  I’ve been a member at TFL for some time, following the baking adventures of my brother, David, and enjoying this web community.  But I never baked bread before yesterday.  And never posted a blog entry before now.


I have enjoyed bread my whole life.  From Karsh’s Bakery (RIP) in Fresno where we grew up, then from various bakeries in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’ve spent most of my life.  My favorite breads are sourdoughs made by Semifreddi and Acme in the Bay Area, by Beaujolais Bakery and Fort Bragg Bakery on California’s North Coast and, of course and especially, those made by David [I may occasionally in this forum butter my brother up, but I also may try to get a rise out of him—btw, I don’t like puns as much as he does].


As has been recorded in these pages (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19250/premarital-counseling-advice-my-baby-brother-aspiring-sourdough-baker), I fell upon some sourdough starter that David left in our refrigerator at a family gathering several weeks ago.  It was intended for our visiting sister, but she had left town without it.  So I took it in, as a stray kitten.  I fed it.  It seemed to like me.  I decided I should try baking with it.


Now, I am already an avid and moderately skilled cook.  And I do love to eat good bread.  But I had never pursued home baking, except the occasional dessert.  I suppose it was partly because it seems so complicated and time-consuming.  And I already have enough time-consuming hobbies to fill my free time.  But the mewing kitten, and encouragement from my brother and my bread-loving spouse, got me to try it out.


Before I describe my first baking experience, let me explain the reference to “D’Oh! Boy”.   I work in a law firm called Pillsbury.  Our amateur ballteams have often been called “The Dough Boys”.  And I personally love Pillsbury’s biscuits.  The “D’Oh” reference, besides being a good pun and showing my general enjoyment of all things Homer Simpson, reflects my Guiding Philosophy in trying new things.  We learn from our mistakes.  Ergo, the more mistakes we make, the more available lessons from which to learn.  So I treasure those “d’Oh!” moments, and thankfully I have many.   As this post will illustrate.


Before starting my experiments, I read quite a bit on TFL, and got some very useful advice from David about tools and techniques.  I also adopted low expectations so as to increase the likelihood that the results would be pleasing (I am quite skilled at manipulating my own emotions).


First Batch


David suggested I start with a simple San Francisco Sourdough.  He suggested Susan’s recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6927/well-i-finally-did-it).  In order to maximize my experimental data, I made two double batches of dough this weekend to make four batards.  The starter was acting nicely.  It had been fed 1:3:4 with David’s recommended flour combo (70% APF/20% WW/10% Rye).  The first batch of starter was fed Friday morning and was ready late Friday afternoon, and I mixed the first batch of dough Friday early evening using a dough scraper and bare hands.  A very satisfying sensation.  I soon realized that the need to follow the dough’s schedule was going to interfere with sleep (not an option for me) unless I manipulated the fermentation time.  So, contrary to the recipe I was (not) following, the first batch went into an Igloo cooler with some Blue Ice to ferment slowly for the night.  I was hoping it would have doubled by morning but it had only enlarged about 50% (small d’Oh!), so I put it on our kitchen counter and it had doubled by early afternoon.


I stretched and folded per the recipe and had a nice springy ball to work with.


IMG_1416


 


 I clove the ball into two halves and tried to shape them into batards.  I didn’t do very well shaping (‘nother d’Oh!).  I had looked at written instructions on various TFL blog posts, but had not viewed Floyd’s very useful video on batard shaping (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1688) until after making my mistake.  They looked like a cross between a batard and a baguette.  A baguard, I guess.


IMG_1420


But they proofed nicely (I used the poke test…appropriate for a D’Oh! Boy).


IMG_1423]


And they looked pretty decent after baking on a pizza stone (with steam), except scoring with a paring knife didn’t work well.  I need to order a lame.


IMG_1424 IMG_1430


Unfortunately, in my first try at shaping loves I had not sealed the seams well and the bottoms cracked badly.  I think this was due to using too much flour on the kneading board, so the dough was not moist enough to cohere at the seams (dry d’Oh!).  I also must not have pre-heated my oven enough as the oven spring was only so-so and the bottoms are quite light in color (tepid d’oh!).


IMG_1427


The crumb looks pretty good for a first try.  David says it’s either natural talent, a good instructor or beginner’s luck.  I say it’s all three.


IMG_1435


The taste and texture were passable, far exceeding my low expectations, and probably good enough to motivate further trials.  The crust was crunchy and not at all tough.  The crumb was a bit too moist when first sliced, but is much more satisfactory today—pleasantly chewy, and excellent toasted. 


The flavor is complex and enjoyable—sour, yeasty, whole wheaty.  I’m not wowed, but I’m not gonna throw the experiment in the trash either.  Good bread, not great.


More about my second attempt and the lessons I learned in a later post.


This could get to be habit forming.


Glenn


 


 

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Some day, you will tell your grandchildren, "I saw Glenn Snyder's very first loaves!"


David

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Glenn:

Both David and Susan were my first teachers in artisan baking. They've generously shared their knowledge and provided detailed guidance to new bakers like me. How lucky you are to have such a skilled baker in your family!

Yippee

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Good of you to share this with us.  You already know what has to be done for the next loaves.  I for one am waiting eagerly and wish to congratulate you on your first loaves!  Isn't the smell of baking bread wonderful?


Mini

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I think you are on track to become an excellent baker (note the implicit assumption that you will continue baking).


You know, I've seen various parent:child combos here on TFL, maybe even a few mentions of a sister, but I think you and David are the first brothers to bake and post here.  Hmm, a little sibling rivalry.  This could get interesting so long as David doesn't get carried away with the "doctor knows best" thing.  ;-)


Congratulations on such a good start.  And keep at it.


Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

great Crumb for a start, Glenn! You got it into you, its a family thing.


keep us posted!


khalid

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks for the welcoming replies.  I can already feel how a web community like this can keep a baker motivated.


As for sibling rivalry, don't expect much verbal gladiatorial entertainment.  David and I share many interests, and (I think I can speak for both of us) enjoy celebrating each other's successes.  Let's call our relationship "sibling revelry". Enough about that;as David has rightly pointed out, there are other websites dealing with family function and dysfunction.  Let's stick to dough here (indeed in my next blog post about Batch Two, I will point out how much the dough sticks to me).


I hope you will all share your "d'Oh!" moments with me.  Though I learn more from my own mistakes, I find some lessons in the mistakes of others too. 


Glenn

wassisname's picture
wassisname


This could get to be habit forming.



...and a gift for understatement =)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Glenn,


I posted a reply on your forum thread before I read this so am adding in here also.


Welcome to TFL. This looks good for a first loaf - upper crust looks beautifully crisp and caramel, crumb looks well-developed and moist. If it tastes good and complex already, that's the main thing. Some bakers struggle to get that. There is a name for the shape - call 'em 'rustic sticks' (see Pierre Nury's rye). 


Noble of you to show the bottom. I guess you know about oven stones - that in a well-heated oven would help to deliver heat to the bottom. I'm quite new to artisan baking and that and well-directed steam made a world of difference to my baking.


Like the sibling revelry quip. Will leave it there, as requested.


Look forward to more bread reports.


 Kind regards, Daisy_A

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks.  I don't have much to contribute here in the way of baking knowledge, so at least I can try to be amusing.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Glenn has a refined expertise in handling d'oh, so I expect rapid progress. His first effort certain demonstrated his ability to provide himself with opportunities to learn from his mistakes, but don't look for him to repeat the same mistakes. 


David

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Glenn,


Not sure that's accurate. You turned the tide of comment well with one witty quip - it's something I can appreciate. However I'm sure you have much to contribute on the baking front.


The majority of my post isn't about one joke, though, it says welcome and great bread. Sincerely meant - the crumb in particular is luscious for any loaf let alone a first! It also echoes what I put on David's forum post previous to this, 'Great start - good crust, good crumb!' 


Look forward to more bread reports, as said. Not looking for anyone to repeat mistakes - I love to celebrate what people learn.


Bit short of it on my own front at the moment, though. I can see improvement with crumb and crust but I seem currently to have an endless ability to malshape loaves, so matter how much advice I read (and many thanks for your recent tutorial David). Ah well, must practise more.


Kind regards, Daisy_A

fastmail98's picture
fastmail98

What a great start to bread making, Glenn! Because I'm unemployed (it's like deja-vu all over again), I have time to bake a couple of days a week. One bread that I practice with is baguettes and I applaude your outcome. For a simple bread, it is the handling of the 'd'oh' that makes it a challenge. I bought Cyril Hitz's book on baking artisan bread and it came with an instructional CD. After watching Cyril make French bread dough and shape the baguettes, I was depressed for days. Well, maybe not days. Well, maybe not really depressed, either, but I WAS bummed out. He makes it look like such a normal, natural thing that anyone can do! I'm CONVINCED there is some magic trick, some kind of sleight-of-hand involved. Or at least some kind of special effects put in the video! In the meantime, my crust and crumb are good, but I have to keep practicing on the seams and shaping. Stay with it...we'll get there one baguette at a time!


Russ

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I think "d'Oh! Handling" is a great coinage. One of the greatest strengths a student can have is recognizing his own weaknesses.  I do plan eventually to get really good at this, and then enjoy being annoyingly arrogant about it.  But for now, humility just seems to fit.


Glenn

belfiore's picture
belfiore

Welcome to TFL. Your bread looks great & I'm happy David was able to "infect" you with a rising passion for bread baking. I, for one, am looking foreward to the repartee between the two of you.


This should be interesting as well as entertaining :-)  and by the way, your photography is very welcome.


Toni

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I look forward to learning a lot about baking (the repartee is fun, too).


One of the things I love about TFL is the great food photography.  If only one of the ingenious TFLers would come up with a way of electronically conveying taste and texture, and dough handling feel, we could all advance even faster.


Glenn

belfiore's picture
belfiore

In the interest of furthering D'oh's CE units and my own...would you clarify how many times you feed your starter before using it when you take it out of the refrigerator?


Let's say it's been in the refer for a week since it's last feeding & use.


The reason I'm asking is I think I may be underfeeding the starter. Could this be why it's not as sour as it could be?


Thanks!


Toni

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Toni.


I often feed my seed starter just once before mixing it into a dough, but I think it is better when I feed it twice.


There has been a great deal of discussion on how to produce a more sour bread. You can search TFL on "more sour" or the like.


In general, a firmer starter and longer fermentation will produce a more sour loaf. One thing you can do is mix a firm starter (50% hydration), ferment it to almost double then refrigerate it for a couple days. Then use it in a dough where it is 30% or so of the flour weight. (If using 500 gms of flour in the recipe, use 150 gms of firm starter.) Mix, ferment, divide and shape your loaves. Cold retard them for 12-24 hours, then bake.


That approach should give you a pretty sour bread.


Feeding your sourdough with a mix of whole grain flour and AP will also increase the acid production, by the way.


Hope that helps.


David

belfiore's picture
belfiore

...bowing to the master in gratitude! I did try taking a portion of the regular starter and feeding it with rye as some have suggested & baking with that but the end result was still not the sour I really like.


I will try your whole grain suggestion...I just fed them last night with AP so if I feed them again today with whole grain before returning to the refer maybe that will do it.


I love science projects! We're getting ready to go for a bike ride so I'll feed them first and see what kind of trouble they can get into while I'm gone :-)


Cheers,


Toni