The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from the UK

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Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

Hello from the UK

Hello all,


 


I've been baking  bread for the last few weeks with reasonable success; I had become frustrated with the indifferent quality of many supermarket breads. So far I've made several batches of french bread, pizza dough, and most recently, yesterday two white flour levain loafs, with my main reference being this site and the Jeffrey Hamelman book (http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471168572.html).


 


off to find the correct forum to ask about tomatoes in bread,


 


Tom 

Ford's picture
Ford

Hello Tom,


Welcome to the Fresh Loaf.


I also like Hamelman's book "Bread."  Tomatoes in bread?  Pizza?


Ford

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Welcome on  board TFL!  This is a great place to learn and share about home breadmaking.


I'd be curious to learn how the Hamelman receipes are working for you with the flour available in the UK.  Are you able to buy flours that just work with North American-centric recipes, or do you have to make adjustments? 


sPh

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Tom,


I'm based in Northumberland; there are quite a few posters on TFL from the UK at the moment.


You have chosen a great base for you bread baking by using TFL plus Hamelman


Best wishes


Andy

jemar's picture
jemar

I am in N.Wales and I have baked from Hamelman's Bread with the flours available here and they work out fine.  I am not as experienced as many here and hope to keep on improving but the flours here are quite acceptable for breads, it is cake baking that becomes a bit more difficult when using US recipes, especially if they specify 'cake flour' which is unavailable here.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jemar,


you'll find the "plain flour" to be a perfectly acceptable substitute, generally.   UK wheat produces a soft flour on account of the climate, so our plain flour is much more akin to cake flour than it is to the US "All-Purpose" grade frequently referenced on here: we don't have this equivalence here in the UK.   For all that, an increasing amount of good commercial bread flour is now grown successfully here too!   As you write, tho'; this bread flour is very acceptable.


Best wishes


Andy

jemar's picture
jemar

Andy,  It is since I started using RLB's baking books that I discovered cake flour and I have been lucky enough to have had some, my daughter managed to get some for me, and believe me, there is a difference in the results you get by using the flour she stipulates in her books.  I was also lucky enough to meet up with the lady herself last year when  she was visiting this country and we discussed this very subject. There are ways to get around the problem which involve either substituting some of the flour with cornflour or potato flour OR using the microwave to heat the flour, it is now known as 'Kate' flour.  You can read more about this method on a blog by the said Kate on 'amerriereworld' a very interesting exercise!!!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi jemar,


Yes, I'm familiar with the differences between the 2 flours; I did choose my words carefully: "acceptable substitute".


Of course, in the US cake flour is more than likely to be bleached with chlorine gas.   This was banned in the UK a few years ago, and caused considerable worry to the cake manufacturing companies.   Heat treatment is a very acceptable replacement process, indeed.


The main factor, in the end, is the fine grind of the flour as well.   I have always found that plain flour is finely milled in this respect, although, again, appreciate not quite so fine as the special cake flour.


I guess I was making the point that plain flour is closer to cake flour than it is to the US All-Purpose.   A fair point?


Thanks


Andy

jemar's picture
jemar

Yes, I agree Andy, our plain flour makes a very acceptable alternative to cake flour and I personally would not want to use bleached flour regularly anyway.  i think you would have to taste cakes side by side to taste the differences in the texture.  Thank you for taking the time to answer my comments, I appreciate  your interest.  


Best wishes, Jeannette.


 


 


 

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

Firstly, thank you for all the replies.


In reference to the question about flour; I've been using 'Waitrose very strong canadian white bread flour' which seems to work well and certainly develops gluten structure quickly. 


I have access to a large number of tomatoes so looking at ways of using them, and have roasted several to integrate at a later point with dough; possibly a brown / white flour mix. I'm planning to try the sourdough English muffin recipe posted here Sunday night / Monday morning.


Tom

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tom,


Welcome to TFL from another UK baker.


Don't know if you have seen it but here is some useful advice on when and how to incorporate tomatoes in dough on this link to a recent thread .


Enjoy the Hamelman!


Kind regards, Daisy_A

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

Daisy,


 


Thanks for the link; I'm probably going to try integrating the tomatoes into a sourdough for my initial attempt. 


 


Tom (Norfolk)


 


 


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tom,


No problem. Hope it goes well! Kind regards, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

 


Hello, all. I also live in UK, in Greater London area, but originally came from Japan ...er...donkey's years ago.


I've been lurking here for a few years now but decided to join in properly to jump on this 'Hello UK-residents' bandwagon. Anything to do with food has always been my passion and been baking breads on-and-off since I was 10 yrs old but bread making is gradually becoming obsession rather than passion.  I was so thrilled to find this site a couple of years ago and I've been steeling great ideas and tips and information ever since. So thank you, everyone on TFL, for everything I've learned from your wonderful posts and for fuelling my mad passion for baking breads! :p And a special biiiiig THANKS to Floyd for starting and running this great site.


 


Anyway, going back to my reason for delurking.....


Regarding available bread flours in UK, has anyone used Waitrose's Leckford Estate Plain flour for baking French style breads, like baguette, batard, etc.? With 11.8% protein, which is higher than most of other plain flours on market, I've been wondering if it can be good substitute for T45 or US AP flour.


[url]http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Leckford-Plain-White-Flour-Waitrose/23443011?parentContainer=|13633|20001|20424|20717[/url]


I've been using their Leckford Estate Strong flour for making breads because I feel it tastes better than others (except for Shipton Mill's) but with 13.6% protein it doesn't quite produce right texture for baguette-type breads. I sometimes mix 30-50% plain flour to strong flour to lower the protein level but been too much of a chicken to use the plain flour on its own just in case it becomes unmanageably soft and wet.


I understand protein level is not always an accurate indication of gluten level, so if anyone has experience with Leckford Plain flour, your input is most welcome. Thanks!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,

Welcome to TFL. Glad you unlurked!

I've tried Waitrose organic flour but I'm afraid I've not tried Leckford Estate. Sounds interesting, though. Waitrose seems to bake up fine in general, although I much prefer the flavour of Marriage's. Have yet to try Shipton Mill, although I've heard good things about it. I know Shipton Mill has a T55, As far as other white flours at Waitrose go I've tried the Italian organic type 00 available there, in focaccia, and it worked well. 

On the subject of flours, one good source of flour for bakers in the UK is Daily Bread, Northampton. They have are a cooperative which also has an online shop called ecofair.

They sell small packs of Dove's Farm online at 99p. (excluding pnp), plus Marriages and some Shipton Mill. However at their store you should be able to pick up bakery bags of Shipton Mill on pre-order (phone in advance). These are 32kg of White No.4 for £23.16 and 25kg of Wholemeal for £16.24 (August 2010 prices).

They also do a range of gluten free flours and foods. Their main website with store address, contacts and a downloadable product list is here: http://www.ecofair.co.uk/dailybread/

Do let us know how you get on if you try the Leckfords. 

Wishing you happy continued baking! Kind regards, Daisy_A

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks for the welcome, Daisy. :)


Gosh, I made a mistake already, didn't I? I meant 'T55' not 'T45'....and realized I can't edit the post on this forum. Should be more careful next time I post. :p


Yes, Leckford is great. I thoroughly recommend it if you haven't tried it yet. I'd been using Dove's organic white before, but when I first tried Leckford a few years ago on plain white loaf, I was really amazed by its fregrance and the taste. It's also recommended by Richard Bertinet, as the second choice after Shipton's. I use Dove's Malt House flour often in place of whole wheat flour when I want to add a bit of WW to give deeper flavour to bread, because I like it extra flavour complexity thanks ot the way they blend and the malt, but that's the only Dove's I use these days. Flavour-wise, I found Dove's white flour lacked flavour compared to Leckford's.


Thanks for the info on Marriage flour. I'll have a look later when I have time.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


You got me there! I'm just finding out about French flours and I thought you did mean T45.  Both are referred to on this thread, which suggests that plain flour is the closest to baguette flour but that the T number refers to bran and ash content, not necessarily protein. (By the way I found out recently from Floyd that you can edit posts until someone replies and can continue to edit if you start the forum thread).


A UK poster on the baguette thread says that they have made baguettes with both Bacheldre Mill and Doves Farm with some success. I've made baguettes/ficelles a couple of times but the info. is on my old laptop, which I can't access at the moment. Will check when I can to see if I noted the flour. They tasted great but shaping was a bit rustic!


Confusing information on ash and protein, no, particularly given that plain flours can vary quite a bit? Blogger Farine has quite a clear post on her blog here , which interestingly suggests that French bakers are now moving to higher T numbers for baguettes. 


I agree with you on Dove's Farm. I used it at the beginning because it was organic and widely available but have since moved on to 'tastier' flours. Given this information I would think Leckford's plain is worth a try. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A


 


 


 

lumos's picture
lumos

Sorry for being a serial poster, but I've just 'investigated' about Marriage's flour on internet. They certainly look quite good and luckily I found one of their stockists was quite close to where I live ....AND they actually are the producer behind Waitrose flours! http://www.waitrose.com/food/celebritiesandarticles/producers/0609as11.aspx


I think I'll ask them which flours they produce for Waitrose and if they use same grain/blend for them as the ones of their own brand. If not, I'll try the stockist near me, which incidentally is quite close to my local Waitrose, too.


And yes, organic 00 flour at Waitrose. I always have it in my cupboard to make pasta and it's great for focaccia. But when I tried to make baguettes with it the other day it was a near-total-disaster. The protein content is so low (even lower than many of plain flour) , the dough stayed very soft throughout, it was very difficult to handle. I could've lowered hydration and kneaded more but didn't wan to do that because I was afraid it'd lose the texture of baguette-like crumb. In the end, I gave up shaping properly into baguette shape and the result was very..... 'rustic'. :p Maybe I need more practice with lower protein flours......


 

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

lumos,


 


I've been using the organic '00' flour available at Waitrose for pizza dough, which it works very well for, but I'm not sure it has enough "structure" for bread making.


 


Tom

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Tom


Yes, I've also been using their (or the one they import from Italy, rather) 00 flour for pizza, too, and I agree it produces great result. Its protein is 11%, so it's not that the protein content is extremely lower compared to some of French T55 flours, but for some reason it feels very, very soft. Maybe because of a particular type of wheat they produce in Italy? I don't know....  If I could produce decent bread with 70-75% hydration with that flour, I was meaning to use it to make ciabatta, but so far I just can't feel confident enough to do so with my present level of skill. Maybe one day......sometime next century......?


BTW, I sent a mail to Marriages Millers  to ask about Waitrose flours this morning and they promptly replied me with the following message, if anyone's interested. 



Thank you very much for your mail, I'm pleased to hear of your successes when using our flour. We pack all the Waitrose own label 1.5kg packet flours, including Organic & Leckford. The grists ( Blends of wheat used ) on their flours are very similar to our own WHM flours.



I'm quite glad to learn the flour I've been happily using for years has been  produced by the decent miller with respectable method of milling .... and there's no need for me to hunt down their own brand flour! :p  I haven't used Waitrose organic flour yet, so I may try it next time, epecially its stoneground WW.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi again lumos,


Don't worry about posting more than once. Quite long conversations get going on these threads. It's all good info!


I'm really glad you told me Waitrose is made by Marriage's as it is my local go-to flour! I'd heard they had declared their producer and that is was a good 'un, but couldn't find a name. Top link - thanks for that!


However, the info. on Farine's blog (referenced above), about bran interfering with gluten development makes my observations on Marriage's organic make less sense to me. You ask about how it compares to Waitrose flour. I would say from using the organic strong bread flours from both ranges that they differ in their specs. Marriage's own retains more of the bran, is more honey-coloured and fragrant and yet seems to have great gluten development. Haven't tried Leckford, though. I will give it a go.


The Farine info. does make sense of the problems with the Italian 00, though. Seems that type 1 would be a better fit for baguette flour so that it wasn't just the dough handling!


I've tried other UK organic flours, including Bacheldre Mill stoneground wholewheat (from Waitrose) and Little Salkeld 4 Grain, which was a present. They were amazingly fragrant like really fantastic green olives oils but needed to be handled carefully because of lower gluten content. Would like to try Shipton Mill, as said.


At the other end of the scale when I decided to start bread baking again this January, on a whim, I just toddled down the local 7-11 urban Coop and bought the only white (non-raising) flour they had, which was their own plain. Gave me much better results than might have been expected! Don't tend to use it now as I prefer organic and have learnt more about bread flours thanks to guidance by TFLers, particularly Andy/ananda. Sounds like Leckford plain is good. If French bakers are also using higher T flours maybe a mix of plain and bread flour is also worth a try and might aid dough handling?


Do let us know how it goes.


Kind regards, Daisy_A


 


 

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Daisy.



Don't worry about posting more than once.



You may regret saying that. You are warned. :P


 



Marriage's own retains more of the bran, is more honey-coloured and fragrant and yet seems to have great gluten development.



 Well, that really piqued my interest because that means its ash content is probably higher. Most of bread I bake is French/Italian style bread, so I'm constantly in search of flour which can substitute the type of flour they use,  with lower protein level than more conventional 'bread' flour in UK, so flour with too much gluten is not quite what I'm after but having higher ash content than average bread flour in UK is good, because it means better flavour like some of good quality French flour.  If I tweak a bit and mix it with plain flour I could produce something similar to T65....?


I haven't used Waitrose organic flour nor Marriages' ones, so I can't compare and with higher ash level than average UK flour for better flavour. with them, but with Leckford flour, when I used it for the first time, the moment I mixed it with water I could feel the difference from other flour I'd used before and, as said, the bread it produced smelled and tasted better, too. So next time when you have a chance, please try it....and let me know what you think of it.  Aaaand Shipton is definitely worth trying, too.


Bacheldre Mill's flour is another one I've been interested but haven't got around to trying. If my memory serves me right, my local Waitrose only stock their spelt flour. I may be wrong but I'll check next time I go there. (For spelt and rye, I usually use Waitose ones in their 'Wholesome' range which is quite good. ) 

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

Does Waitrose place the rye flour in a 'healthy eating' section? - I couldn't find rye last time I checked in the main flour area.


Tom

rocketbike's picture
rocketbike

Yes - at least in my nearest branch.  And rice flour is somewhere else again...  Bizarre!


R.

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

Thanks, I'll look out for it next time I'm there.


 


Tom

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Like you say another reason to be glad Marriage's prepare Waitrose flour is that they are a 'decent miller'. Both brands also come up quite high on the 'Ethical Consumer' list, while other supermarket brands come quite low.


http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/fooddrink/flour.aspx


Just thinking more about similarities and differences: looking at my current Waitrose Organic Strong White and Marriage's, while both are both good, there is a visibly higher bran content in the Marriage's. Protein levels differ slightly too. I have recently taken up collecting the side panels of the flours I use. Not because I think this will overtake stamp collecting as a hobby but because I couldn't find a similar level of detail on company websites. Maybe they think 'good for bread', 'organic', 'stoneground' is enough - that we can't get our pretty little heads round protein or ash content? 


Anyway here are the protein contents for some Waitrose Organic and Marriage's flours: 



  • Waitrose Organic Strong White Bread Flour  12.9g protein

  • Marriage's Organic Strong White Flour 12.7g protein

  • Waitrose Organic Plain White Flour 11.3g protein


I think you said Leckford Strong White was 13.6g protein? Sounds great for sourdough :-). Only the Waitrose Canandian tops that at 15g, (Although I know protein and gluten strength don't always correlate). I tried the Canadian and it formed a good, strong dough but I missed the more complex flavour so Leckford's Strong sounds good. Marriage's own was great for artisan breads, though - high ash, lower protein but great flavour. Don't know if you would need to mix with plain - need Andy's expert advice here. 


I can only get Bacheldre spelt at my local urban Waitrose too; money is in the county and they stock the wider range! Btw my husband bought flour a couple of days ago and there was an offer on Waitrose own. Don't know if it's still on...


Do let us know how you get on.


Kind regards, Daisy_A

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


This is an interesting thread developing, with really useful information about certain flours.


Can I start off with a qualifier, in that I have not used the Leckford flour referenced in the thread, so I can't comment about that specifically.   Apart from to say that a quick trawl through the Waitrose home delivery website suggested some generally very keen pricing on certain lines...including the Leckford.   The specialist Sharpham Farm is well over £3/kg, which is obviously a hefty ask.


Bacheldre is pricey too, at £3+, but for 1.5kg, not just 1kg.   I've only used their Dark Rye, and I love it...much prefer it to the Waitrose own.   Regards increasing ash content in your flour blend, I would add the Bacheldre Dark Rye at 5%, maximum 10%, rather than the wholemeal.   Dark Rye is the outer part of the grain, ash content equates to Type 135; so, very high!


Daisy, your comments about "information-reluctant" flour millers, is quite telling.   Flour is not generally milled to ash content in this country, however, a raft of information gathered from testing the flours will be stored on file, including ash content, and this would be made available to the commercial bakers on request.   But you would have to go the miller direct for this information.


Protein content is, of course, made available generally through the nutritional information.   However, this can only be seen as a guide, when determining the gluten-forming properties of any flour in question.   Regarding the proteins influencing dough structure and strength, the important factor is the quality of the protein, not the quantity.   To illustrate this, my Carrs Special CC flour has protein content of just over 12%.   The company rightly hail this as "world-class" flour, and it makes beautiful breads and laminated doughs, even though the headline protein figure is not super-high.


Also, the Gilchesters flour I use would probably have a protein level just over 10%.   But, it's gluten-forming ability is quite limited.   It makes great bread, if you know what you're doing, and enjoy making this type of bread.   Interestingly enough the other proteins in the flour tend to illustrate a higher ash content, as the outer layers of the wheat berry are quite rich in protein...just not the gluten-forming types!


So, the Waitrose Plain Organic at 11.3% is pretty generous to say the least!   The ash content in a plain flour would be reasonably low, at a guess.   Personally, I would never buy a UK Plain flour expecting it to make good bread.   That said, it is perfectly possible that some plain flours will make good bread, and the signs are there that this Waitrose flour is a case in point.   But mixing strong and plain flours is always a good tactic to try, and adding in the rye for ash is a good trick.


Italian "00": I've used this for ciabatta, and been successful with the 1kg bags in Waitrose.   I'm sure the protein is quoted near to 11%.   But you are right to be wary of the flours sold to ash content, in relation to strength of protein.   Less than 10% is getting very low indeed.   A guide to Type 50/00 and 55/0 is to look for 10.5% if you want to make bread.   That's my guideline figure.


Best wishes


Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

deleted

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Many thanks for the message and for responding so fully!


I'm using bread flour for breads now, following your early advice and really feel at home with Marriage's - many thanks for recommending that. For ciabatta/focaccia I've been happy including the 00 sold in Waitrose.


Now it's just getting the supply chain sorted out and fitting it in with our shopping habits! We shop now like my dear old ma used to do - fresh, seasonal, local, albeit a veg. box rather than a greengrocer. Dry goods we tend to go to a wholefood cooperative and stock up a few months supply. However, just as it took us a few goes to work out how many oats or much muesli we would get through in say 3 months, I didn't anticipate how much Marriage's flour I would need. When I was first trying it out I had never had more than 1 bag of any flour in the cupboard at the same time so 2 x 1.5kg bags seemed such a lot of flour. Now it seems like a tiny amount! 


Waitrose is our fall back for dry goods as it's close at hand and I prefer their employment practices and products to the rest of the major supermarkets. I've been maintaining my starters with Waitrose plain and wholewheat and they have been doing better with it than on Doves. I was wondering if the maintenance regime would go with Marriage's for building up and baking but hope it would, now I understand the flours are from the same miler. Have also baked some decent loaves with Waitrose Organic Strong White and am interested in Leckford, but intend to restock Marriage's. I am now going to change from Dove's rye to Bacheldre Mill or Shipton. Thanks for the recommendation.


As said the whole food coop does 32k sacks of Shipton Mill no.4. Will monitor flour use to see if I could get through that in say 6 months or would need to share with another baker. Thing is they don't do small sacks that I could compare with Marriage's. Just need to find a local supplier that does. 


Hope all is well.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A


As far as I'm aware 32kg sacks should have been replaced by sacks no greater than 25kg.   Supermarket ISBs now hold flour in 16kg bags.


There was a case held some while back when a female baker sued her employer for discrimination, account of the only reason she could not do the job was because she could not lift 32kg bags of flour.   Good for her; she won!


So, Im surprised Shipton haven't moved over to 25kg as a maximum.


Your estimate of using the flour within 6 months is spot-on!


BW


Andy 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Mmm...this lady baker didn't think of that. Good for the other girl, though.


Looking at weight charts 32kg seems to be the weight of an average 12 year old girl. Have lifted my niece at 12 years while doing dance routines but obviously she was able to help out and she's also relatively light! Co-op has ramps and flatbed trolleys and Peter will surely help but could look into getting wheels our end if I go for this. 


If I did this was thinking of storing in a plastic bin with snap down clips to hopefully keep out most insects. Don't think it has to be metal - no mice in the house! Would that be okay or would it need more aeration?


Best wishes, Daisy_A

yozzause's picture
yozzause

HI folks great thread especially for the pommie bakers, when i first started my apprenticeship flour came in hessian bags and weighed 150lbs the hessian bags were sometimes cut up for oven mitts but otherwise went back to the miller.The bags then changed to the plasticky weaved variety,(no good at all for oven mitts), about the time we went to kgs but still held the same amount. what a joy when the bakery went to a blow in bulk bin for most of the flour.


I then went to a hot bread shop and flour came in paper bags. and now with all the OH&Ss the weights are so much better to handle. I think MY bakers shape was partly due to the fact that we had to lift those 150 lb bags  off the ground up and into the mixers that were capable of taking 4 bags of flour.  No wonder im currently recuperating from a full width tear of the tendon in my right arm and a rotatorcuff arthroscopy.


kind regards Yozza

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi yozza,


Good to hear from you. Still wishing you a speedy recovery. 


I can see how lifting such big loads would have taxed anyone's arms and shoulders. Your baker's shape? Does this mean when well you have long, strong, bread-hefting arms? Got to say it makes more sense of Andy's references to weight training. I have tiny arms, although I have hefted a range of building materials in the garden. I might have to stick with multiple small bags ;-)


Love the idea of the bags being recycled, though I can see that plastic bags would make less good oven gloves! Perhaps you have seen the American flour sacks for home bakers that were made out of chintz? They are collectors items now. Flour would get emptied and then the lady of the house would make dresses, aprons, kids' clothes, curtains out of the sacks. The firms even issued patterns and commissioned leading designers. Apparently they sold loads more flour to the domestic market. Speaking as a lady baker it would be so cool to go back to that. Given the style-conscious nature of some of the home baking sector in the UK they'd probably sell a ton of flour as well. Not 150lb though, even if it would make a small pair of curtains!


Kind regards and good recovery, Daisy_A

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Thanks Daisy the term short and stout just about sums it up, the well developed stomach muscles have given way a a storage area im afraid, but it does give the impression of someone that enjoys his tucker.


I have heard of cotton or calico bags being used for all manner of garments especially around the time of WORLD WAR 2 (before my time) i,m pleased to say. you still see young people in Fremantle with THE LOCAL MILL FLOUR BAG over the shoulder tote bag. I have suggested to Rossenroller (TFL) that we might take a visit to the local dingo flour mill during my recuperation.   


Regards Yozza 

lumos's picture
lumos

LOL I haven't quite started collecting side panels of flour bags (not yet, anyway...), but I do have a list of protein levels I made of all the flour I use and some others I haven't used yet but am interested which I pasted on top of my bread recipe file, which is growing to a proper obesity level. (Another reason my daughter thinks my obsession on breadmaking is on the verge of madness...)


To compensate for the lack of sufficient ash level, I usually add small amount of either WW flour or wheat germ+bran. Not sure if I'm adding enough or too much and the amount changes all the time depends on what I make or on my mood, but it definitely adds some sort of depth to the bread....I think.


How is Marriage's plain flour like? Do you think it contains more bran than plain flour by other manufacturers, like their strong flour does? 11.3% protein is probably a liitle too low but if it tastes good I may mix in some strong flour to make it more manageable.


I use Waitrose's Canadian Very Strong flour for bagels because of its high protein level. When I make sourdough bagels, I even feed my levain with it so that the final protein level stays high to achieve chewy texture to make sure it 'bites back' as a proper bagel should do. I use malt powder rather than sugar for the dough and use malt extract to boil, which adds some complexity to the taste as well as sourdough, so I've been reasonally happy with the taste I got from them. At least my Jewish friends and other friends who used to live in NY are happy enough to pay me for my bagels, so I hope they're at least passable....


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Tried to post earlier - not sure where it went. Ah well, try again.


Re labels, I know, I know...It was just easier than writing all the small print up on the computer, particularly as the computer was on its last legs after 6 years of faithful service ;-) Still have decided I will also need a file. Not good to have the computer so near to the flour. 


As regards Marriage's plain, I'm afraid I've not used it so can't comment on it directly. However, it should be a good quality flour, judging by the Strong White and Wholemeal. 


Your bagels must be good if ex-New Yorkers will pay for them! Thanks for the tip on Canadian white for bagels. Think I would also use malt if making them. I was making malt loaf and finding I was getting through the jars too quickly so now I have a small bucket to use up. 


Speaking of your baking, were you thinking of posting or blogging on it? Would be good to know more.


Kind regards, Daisy_A

Tom Kershaw's picture
Tom Kershaw

I have some of the Leckford flour here; any advice on blending with the 'very strong Canadian'?


 


Tom

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tom,


Sounds feasible. Depends what you are baking, I guess. I take lumos' point that all-Canadian is good for chewy doughs, like bagel.


I've not mixed the Canadian in with Leckford but have mixed it with lower extraction bread flours in a basic sourdough to get strong gluten development but with more complex flavour. If both are strong flours, with Leckford being 13.6 protein to Canadian 15, you are unlikely to lose significant gluten development on a basic sourdough but could gain on flavour.


How about mixing Canadian/Leckford 50/50 or 60/40 for any white bread flour (as opposed to whole grains), used in the preferment and final dough? I normally draw up a formula table for my bakes but for the last sourdough the computer was on the blink and I was using up flour. However I think this is more or less what I did for my last adaptation of the Carl Shavitz formula posted on this thread


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18212/people-asked-so-here-goes


When not using up flour I would probably bake with just one white bread flour, though, normally in a mix with whole grains.  Was there a reason you were thinking about using this particular mix?


As lumos has used both these flours maybe she can give more exact information?


Kind regards, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

Sorry, Andy, I somehow seem to have missed your post completely. And thank you for the valuable input you gave us.


Many of the things you mentioned seem to be related to what I wrote, so please allow me to reply here.


Thanks for the handy tip of adding rye to increase ash level. I didn't know it would until I read your post, but it does make sense, doen't it. Though I did say I add WW to achieve that effect in my post, what I actually use most of the times is Dove's Malt House flour because I always have it and use it in place for WW because I like how they blend it with small addition of rye flour in it. I sometimes sift to remove malted grains, sometimes not because I enjoy its flavour and texture. Also almost everytime I make artisan-style bread, I add small amount of rye on top of MH (or WW, if I have) to add some depth/complexity to the bread.  And when I make poolish baguette I always mix around 3% (of total flour weight) rye to poolish. I've been doing that for the flavour but obviously I was increasing the ash level at the same time without reaslizing it. Glad to know I wasn't doing a wrong thing. ;)


Regarding Waitrose's rye flour, I must admit it is not my first choice for rye flour quality-wise. I used to use Shipton's rye, both Light and Dark, before Waitrose started selling their own a few years ago, and I much prefer Shipton's. It's just that I don't bake rye-rich bread very often these days because both my hubby and daughter think they're too heavy but only use it up to 25-30% at most, usually in much lower proportion like 10% or less, to enhance the overall flavour rather than to using it as the source of dominant flavour, so I stopped bothering ordering it from Shipton. .....Lazy me, I know......


I have used Carr's flour (actually they're based not far from where I live) in the past but only the ones from their retail range, and I'm afraid I didn't like it very much. I thought it didn't have much flavour at all. But as I said it's only the ones they make for retail market, so perhaps the speciality CC flour you mentioned is of completely different quality. Unfortunately it only seems to be available for bulk order for professional people.....Pity. Maybe I'd come and knock on their door in person with my flour bin and beg they sell me in smaller amount in exchange for ..... cleaning their office or something??? :p


With WaitroseLeckford flour, I have been reasonably successful in making artisan-style 75-80% hydration bread with roughly the half-and-half mixture of Plain and Strong (plus tiny addition of WW/MH for ash/flavour) so far. It's just the matter of trying to be a little more brave and increasing the portion of the plain flour a little by little to see how it will cope (Or how I cope, rather...), I guess.....


lumos

lumos's picture
lumos

Tom,


I more or less agree with what Daisy has said, but just to add a few things....


I use Waitrose Canadian Very Strong flour not only for bages but also when I want to add some strength to dough which is relatively high in rye, so that it would compensate for lack of gluten in rye to achieve increased volume and make the bread less dense. Sometimes I also mix it with Leckford strong flour in sourdough for the same reason. How much I add depends on how much of other flours I use and what sort of effect I want.


It also has pleasant tint of yellowish/honey colour, which looks nice.


But if you have only started baking quite recently, I'd rather recommend to use one type of flour for a while (like at least 2-3 bags) and get used to its characteristics and learn how the flour react before moving on to trying other flour with totally different characteristic. There're lots of things you have to rely on your senses rather than 'numbers' on recipe in breadmaking at home in uncontrolled environment (unlike professional bakery), if you start using too many kinds of flour, whether on its own or in combination with other flours, it often just make you get confused because you never know a different result is caused by other factors like temperature/time/handling/etc. or by a change of flours.


If you're using Leckford flour and you're happy with it, why don't you keep on using it for a few more months and then try a same recipe with Canadian flour to see what difference it makes? And then you can start mixing them to achieve a certain effect you want. If you've been using one flour for a long time and switch to another kind, the difference you notice is quite distinctive and you know how it's different, but if you start mixing flours from too early stage of breadmaking, it may not give you that 'Aha!' moment so easily.


Andy may have another opinion as a professional and more experienced baking instructor, but that's my 2 pence, anyway....


lumos

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,


Yes, sorry, I posted above as Daisy_A had asked specific questions and added in my name, so I wanted her to see it.


Good; to all your comments re flour use.   I too am a big fan of Shipton Mill flour, which I used exclusively for most of my period with Village Bakery, Melmerby.


Whereabouts in Cumbria are you based?


I'm sorry you found the Carrs flour a bit tasteless; I assume you mean the "Breadmaker" flour?   I use this at home quite frequently.   Actually it has a very similar specification to the Special CC, maybe not quite so good.   I use the Carrs flour because it gives me consistent and reliable results for students working at all levels.   Granted, it is an idustrial flour, but I don't want to put new students into the position of being disappointed by the results of the products they make.   I fully understand any desire to use more artisan flours, and I always hold a local organic flour from Northumberland in class for students to dip into as well.


I have to say that I have always made pretty tasty bread and am very happy using this flour at home and work.   But it depends what your expectations and tastes are, and, the in and out of the fermentation system used.   I observe that you like to use very high hydration in the dough.   Maybe that is why you found the bread made with Carrs flour a bit lacking in flavour?


I agree with your advice to Tom about becoming very familiar with just a few flours to start with.   Very good.


Bagels?   I'm still trying to get excited about them.   So far, LindyD has come very close with these magnificent offerings: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17391/hamelman-bread-challenge-quintessential-bagel But the general concept doesn't really float my boat, so I haven't made them myself.   Maybe one day?


Very best wishes


Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Daisy,


Yes, using malt powder instead of sugar definitely does a little magic to the flavour. But someone told me using honey wiould also improve the flavour, maybe not as much as malt powder but at least better than sugar, because it is more complex mixture of various types of 'sugars' than simple sugar. But using honey means having to adjust the hydration, so I haven't tried it myself yet.


As for blogging....well, probably not. The problem with me is that I spend too much time on PC/internet already at the moment and I enjoy it too much. already. So if I start my own blog on top of that which I'm pretty sure I'll get obsessed with the new toy straightaway, I wouldn't have enough time to leave my study and actually bake breads! :p I've been running a small cookery class at home last 13-14 yrs or so, and some of my students have told me I should start my own food blog, but I told them the same reason why I haven't done it and have no intention for doing so for the time being.


But having said that, I'm quite happy to share my recipe with anyone here who's interested. But with so many talented bakers in this forum constantly showing wonderful recipes already and many of ideas for my recipes did originally come from here anyway (with a bit of adaptation and adjustment to meet my taste and need), I'm not too sure if I can contribue something extra to people here. ;)


Anyway....


Regarding asking a miller about their flour and their reluctant tendancy to disclose too much details, I just happened to receive another email from Marriage's in reply to my request for the info on the ash content of their flour which I sent last night. And this is what they told me:



On Ash, we are not able here in the UK to give Ash results as the leglislative addidition of Creta would not give a figure that was representable say against a results from the States, sorry.



No wonder Shipton hasn't replied to the same request I sent them a few weeks ago. At least Marriage's has the courtesy to reply to my mail with a legitimate reason why they can't give me the info while Shipton completely ignored me....Oh well....


lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Thanks for your message. Yes, I also prefer to use more complex 'sugars' in general - malt, honey, maple syrup. Anything  with a more complex taste, basically. My malt is in syrup form though. 


You hold a cookery class at home - how cool is that? Do you mind me asking what sort of things you cover?


I can see why you might not want to do a blog although I'm sure you could add a lot if you did. There isn't as much pressure on TFL as there is for a single food blogger. As there is not just one blog carrying the site, there is always something new to read and posters can blog when it suits their schedules or when they have something particular to share. Many people only post every few months and that seems to be fine. I do have to say, though, you can get hooked on it and editing each blog and uploading photos can be quite time consuming. 


Would be good to know more about what you bake though. I think the posts that are adaptations of recipes found on site are some of the most useful. It would be good to have a place to share how UK bakers tackle the classics like Hamelman and how bakers can get the best out of UK flours. Maybe that is what this thread is turning into? Have to say I've also appreciated Andy's blog for an expert take on this. 


Having only restarted baking in January, having previously done a few yeasted tin and potato breads, I'm still learning about how to make the most of the flour and other ingredients I can get my tiny hands on for more artisan baking! It's good to have a group of people to riff about UK flours and baking with. 


Thanks for sharing the reply about measuring ash content. 'Legislative addition of Creta'. What is that? Sounds like they had to consult the Delphic oracle ;-)


With best wishes, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Andy,


No, I'm not based in Cumbria (though I love visiting the area as a tourist :)), but just outside London in west Essex. Actually, I was a bit confused when I wrote Carr's was not far from me. I was thinking about Wright's, not Carr's. Sorry.  Please blame my aging brain... Glad you asked the question which made me realize my mistake before it's too late. Or I might've already gone to Wright's factory (which is 20 minutes drive from me) demanding to give me Carr's flour!


But, yes, I have used Carr's flour once some years ago and I think that was their 'Strong white.' I remember it had rounded flavour but it was a little too rounded to my taste with not so much of any special characterestic that stayed on my palate. I tend to prefer flour with some character. But it was such a long time ago, so my memory may not be right (Have I mentioned the old brain?) , I might pick another bag when I come across  it next time.


Yes, most of bread I make is around 70-75% hydration (except for bagels, of course), because that's what most of French style artisan breads which I like are. So I keep my sourdough at the same hydration to make my life easy. It may not produce correct result  for recipes which call for stiff levain or liquid levain (I adjust the hydration of final dough accordingly, of course), but sometimes you have to go with some compromise to make your life less complicated .... and to  save precious fridge space.


One problem for a home baker here in UK is that there are so few of them around who attempt to make artisan breads at home, the market is not geared to provide appropriate flour for them In Japan where more people bake that sort of bread (esp. baking baguettte and pain de campagne )in their tiny home oven has been very popular, there're well over 20 different kinds of French style flour, both imported and produced by Japanese millers, are quite easily available in retail-friendly size, while here I really have to try hunting down some passable substitute or mix various flours to meet my need. I'm hoping these effort I've been putting in my pursuit of good home-made bread is giving some stimulation to my brain and all those struggling and suffering is making me a better person.....:p


As for bagels, I based my recipe on what I learned from a Japanese book entirely on bagels and tinkered it with some ideas I've picked up from this forum and other books and sites, including the use of my 70 % hydration sourdough plus overnight fermentation in fridge. I'm quite pleased with the result it produces for the time being, so are my Jewish and/or ex-NYer friends, but if they start refusing to pay for my bagels, I may start thinking of changing the recipe again....


btw, do you know any good bread baking classes for home bakers in UK, preferably not too far from where I live? What I really want to learn is proper handling of dough, especially shaping good-looking baguettes. Everytime someone post about their experience at SFBI, I got so jealous people in US has such a lovely opportunity. Richard Bertinet used to do some classes occasionally entirely on French breads but he doesn't seem to do it anymore..and his class is soooo expensive!!!  I know Lighthouse Bakery started the bakery school since they moved to East Sussex, but has anyone heard any thing about how the class is like?


lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


You mention about availability of french flours. Sorry I only just remembered this information, as it was part of a search I did a few months back.


Maybe you know of this but Cotswold miller FWP Matthews offers around 20 french flours, as part of their partnership with Moul-Bie? Thing is they largely cater to the bakery trade so a home baker would have to get through a lot to make it viable. However for anyone using one type regularly some of their prices are quite keen as they include courier charges. French flours are in 25k sacks and 1kg multipacks. 


The online shop is  here


More info on flours plus interesting retro advertising  here


I also remember looking at  flourbin   at one point for smaller bags but wasn't sure about products and prices compared to other online suppliers like Shipton Mill. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Like the advertising aimed at the UK professional bakery market by Moul-Bie here?


Looks like something Mad Men might dream up! Am getting into the series more now through watching back episodes with Peter.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Daisy and Andy, for the info about French flour in UK.


Yes, I've known about these people because I did spend a considerable time looking for suppliers of French flour in UK when I started baking artisan-type bread some years ago and I still do regularly (I LOVE net-surfing!). Flour Bin IS actually 'Shipton Mills' themselves. It's their own online shop mainly targeted at retail customer. And Moul-bie/FWP Matthews is one of the suppliers I was most interested because they're are one of very few suppliers of Campaillou flour in UK. (Campaillou is my ultimate favourite bread....so far)


But I tend to be a little less desparate these days because I'm gradually getting the hang of making up my own flour blend to fake a certain flour type I want. I'm still experimenting and learning, but I'm not that frustrated as I used to be, because I now know I can sort of 'improvise' with what I have. Though it's far from perfect I'm sure, at least it's fun. ;)


 


Re: One small warning on buying organic flour in large bulk.


I used to do that with Shipton flour. Main reason was because they didn't used to accept any order less than 6 bags of flour some years ago (they do now). But a few years ago, one of the flour bag started 'breeding' bugs a few months after it's delivered and it spread to all other flour bags in a same plastic container I kept my stock of flour. It's probably a sure sign they don't use potentially unhealthy toxic chemical in organic flour, but it wasn't a pleasant experience. The problem is often not preventing a bug outside to go into your flour, but, especially with organic flour milled in less industrialized, smaller-scaled factory (which is usually better quality, unfortunately), bugs/eggs are already in it when it arrived on your doorstep.


Someone adviced me keeping flour in freezer would prevent eggs of bugs from hatching (if there was any egg in flour in the first place), but I don't have so much room in my freezer to keep large amount of flour. That's why nowadays I prefer buying flour in small quantity as I need it. Though it's takes a lot of shopping trips but I go to Waitrose at least 3 times a week anyway and at least I can feel relaxed not having to worry about flour bugs. I wish I lived near Shipton's......


So if you're thinking of buying a large sack of flour, keep it in a freezer if you can.



Re: Replies to Daisy's earier post 


Quote:
It's good to have a group of people to riff about UK flours and baking with. 
Can't agree more! We need to get all our force together to help each other to enrich our baking life and hopefully be able to increase the number of home 'artisan bread' bakers in UK, so that one day there'll be more variety of flour and tools more easily available to home bakers. Where there's demand, there will be supply! (I used to work in the financial market before my daughter came.:p) 

Quote:
'Legislative addition of Creta'. What is that? Sounds like they had to consult the Delphic oracle ;-)
LOL yeah, I wondered about the same thing when I first read it. It must be one of those 'new EU legislation' thingy that's to do with flour/milling that everyone in that industry awes and worships while no one else outside the industry doesn't even believe or know its existence. :p

 


Regarding my cooking class,  I do all sorts of things, European, Asian (Far East, South East and South), Middle East, North African, etc. etc. Basically whatever tastes good, I attempt to do it.  But my favourite is probably Italian.


However I'm not professionally trained and I only started doing the class because my friends who'd eaten what I cooked had been asking me to teach them cooking for a long time, so when I stopped working after I had my daughter (who's a teenager now), I gave it a go. Fortunately a lot of new people keep on joining the class through word of mouth, but it's only a tiny class with 5-6 people at a time and only a few times a month, so it's more like hobby rather than proper 'job.' But that's how I want to keep it because I keep 'food' as my enjoyment rather than something 'I have to do.'

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Thanks for the further information on French flours and flour suppliers. Will look out for Campaillou :-)


Re online sites - have found flour direct  here  and flourbin


  here.   Are they both Shipton? If so mill site looks better although the mill itself may not be too far for an autumn day out!


I'm with you on making the most of the flours that are at hand, though. Sorry to bang on about it but I still really like Marriage's. Rang them up about bulk buying and they basically said that for the domestic market they don't factor in a large price differential between small and larger packs. So maybe I just need to buy 5 or 10 smaller bags when I go to the whole food cooperative, knowing I will get through them! 


Having said that, however, I just made a nice baguette mix with 46% Waitrose Organic Strong Bread, 40% Dove's Farm Organic (as 'softer' flour than Waitrose Plain) and 14% Bacheldre Mill Whole Wheat (which is gorgeous but quite strong on its own) for flavour and bran. I liked the taste of this mix and crust was nice and thin and crackly (tried Akiko/teketeke's formula). Shaping was woeful though :-(. Have thrown myself into sourdoughs over the last few months. Have only made 3 baguettes but this was the most lopsided by far, even though Akiko very kindly posted me a tutorial. Was the highest hydration, though. It just sort of made like a slinky when I tried to get it in the oven! 


Thanks for the advice on organic flour in buik - could be another good reason to buy multiple small packs, which I would store in the freezer more easily than large packs. I can see some of the independent millers like Shipton Mill are really beginning to gear up to the home trade but I think it may have taken others by surprise. Interesting what you say about supply and demand. I saw a real sea change in catering equipment suppliers a few years back. Several that had been trade only made an effort to be accessible to the general cooking public, even highly specialised shops like knife stores. 


Your cookery classes sound great! Must be good to have such a continuous demand and group size sounds perfect. Can be classes of 31 in schools, with just an hour to bash on through pineapple upside down cake. The cuisines really appeal to me as well. A lot of them cross over with what I love to cook. I once lived in Granada, Spain as part of MA research and have a number of Spanish friends so love Spanish and North African cooking. I've also loved cooking with Italian friends. My current favourite italian recipe is the validated recipe for Genovese Pesto. I don't always go for Academy recipes but found this really to my taste - it includes pecorino, which many British adaptations don't - makes a difference IMHO. Can be found  here.


I can do a reasonable 'Indian' curry as I'm used to some of the spices, like many British people and I like using books by Indian and Anglo-Indian authors, who are drawing on an even wider tradition. I'd really like to know more about types of South  and East Asian cooking, though. I love to eat in owner-managed restaurants rather than chains and have had some good Vietnamese meals in Cambridge and Korean in London. However I don't feel as confident handling foods from the South and East Asian palate at home, sadly. I think it's because I know the Mediterranean palate better and have cooked with people from those countries. Am thinking I should branch out and I can see how small group tuition would help people. It's just so much better when you can be shown things and cook alongside other people.&

amp;nbsp;


 


Wishing you continued good baking. Kind regards, Daisy_A


 

lumos's picture
lumos

I have to apologize again for another mistake my brain (Not me!) made. Yes, you're absolutely right. Flour Bin is a different company from Shipton. I was thinking of Flour Direct, Shipton's retail market dept., when I was typing my earlier post. Sorry....again.


And thank you very much for your link to the REAL Flourbin. :D I must admit I haven't checked their site for a long time because last time I did, they didn't have so much varieties of flour that I'd be interested in, so I gave up on them. Really appreciate you nudged me into their direction. I can see they're better than before, and they even have T65 now! I was looking for a supplier of T65 on internet several months ago, but because Google didn't hit anything suitable for retail buyer like me, I gave up then and started making my fake T65 blend. I wonder when they started selling it....or was it my Google being blind??? :p Their price of L.1-95/kg sounds a liiiiiittle bit too 'reasonable' and I must say I feel slightly dubious about the quality with that price, but I'll definitely try it someday and see what's it's like. Even if it's horrible quality, 1-95 is not a huge loss. ;)


Re; Campaillou--- This is really lovely bread with very complex flavour with depth but not too much heaviness. Selfridges in London used to sell it in 80's which was air-flown from Paris every week and that's how I first encounted and fell in love with it. They stopped doing it in early 90's but I happened to find an old baker several years ago totally by accident who sold almost-perfectly-authentic Campaillou that he baked himself at the market in Cambridge. But a few years ago he retired and sold the business to someone else, who still sell 'Campaillou' presumably using the flour mix he gets from Moul-bie, but the only resemblance to the real stuff is the name. It's nothing like the real stuff at all. Selfridge also re-started selling 'Campaillou' a few years ago, but it's not air-flown real one from Paris but something they get from a supplier in UK which is baked here. Again, it's nothing like authentic Campaillou AT ALL. So it's not only the flour blend (which authentic ones also use)  that makes 'Campaillou' a real Campaillou, I think, but also in its method. But it is a patented bread by Moul-bie (according to what Mr.Bertinet told me), how to make it seems to be a well-guarded secret. And it doesn't seem to be a very famous bread even in France anyway unless you're in artisan-bread industry or a bread-geek. None of my French friends have even ever heard of it, including the ones who came from Paris.


I'll try Marriage's flour when my present stock of white flour is finished. As I said, I found a health food shop near my local Waitrose is their stockist, so it won't be too much of trouble for me to pop-in on the way to Waitrose....three times a week. :p


I've never used Waitrose's organic flour range, because I've been quite happy wih their Leckford's,  I'll try that as well and let you know how I find the difference.


Regarding baguette, so far my favourite recipes are the ones based on poolish. Richard Bertinet's poolish baguette in 'Crust' is quite good with a little addition of rye in poolish and I quite like  Hemelman's 'Bread' with quite high percentage of poolish,  too.  So these days I tend to use a recipe I made up based on both great masters, combined with cold fermentation for several hours. 


One of the bestest-ever-baguette I've made was a creation of series of unexpected events some years ago. One day I prepared poolish before I went to bed, thinking of baking some for dinner next day. When the next day came, I remembered we were invited to friends' house for lunch which I'd clearly forgotten about (yes, I do that all the time...), so I hastily put my poolish in a compartment of my fridge where the temperature is kept just above 0 degrees, hoping it will survive until following day. In the morning of the following day, I started mixing up other ingredient to the poolish (which still looked 'alive', fortunately) when another of our friend rang us and we decided to go and watch a film. So I quickly made the final dough and put it in the fridge, half expecting it won't survive until next day and went out. But when I baked the dough the next day, it produced one of the tastiest 'baguette' with lots of large air pockets with lovely crust.



I said 'baguette' in a bracket because the texture of the crumb was not quite real baguette like but was slightly more chewy and less light (not heavy by any means) , like that of very light pain de campagne, maybe because of abnormally long-fermentation. But taste-wise, that was the best.


As for shaping of baguettes, I'm still trying to perfect it and I have seen many of videos, turorials, posts, both here (been lurking here everyday for more than 3 years) and other sites on internet plus DVD that came with R.Bertinet books as well as trying to learn the knack from all the bread books I've got (more than 20 of them, when I counted the other day. How did I get there?) and borrowed from the library. But I think what I really need is go to a class or something and see the action by a professional instructor in real time and get him to check the way I do, so that I can correct the handling if I'm doing wrong and find out how I can improve. I can do other types of breads reasonably satisfactory, including laminated dough like croissant, but shaping good-looking baguette constantly is still my unaccomplished dream.


Re: other aspects of cooking/food, I'll send you PM later.  It looks like we have a lot of common interests in that department. ;)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Thanks for your message. Glad you found some things of interest at Flourbin. Couldn't decide myself whether it would be good value or not - do let us know how the flour is if you try it:-)


Thanks for the information on Campaillou. I will be sure to try it if I come across it. I am sure you are right though, the characteristics of the final bread depend on the method as well as the flour. Shame the Cambridge supply is not as good now, as we do go there from time to time. I understand Carl Shavitz also sells a little bread round Cambridge way but I'm not sure where. We go to Oxford frequently so should try the covered market there, which is supposed to be good.


Do try Marriage's as it is a lovely flour. I'm not as sure about the Waitrose Organic though if you like Leckford. It could be handy in a mix as it is lower protein than Leckford but to me it isn't such a 'characterful' flour. I will try Leckford, tho'.


Your baguette looks really lovely - crumb looks so open and glistening. I might try again with poolish. I've only made 3 baguettes and all were long fermentation and tasted good. I even got one with small ears and bloom but it was shaped via stretching rather than rolling and sprung back a bit in the oven. I'm sure doing and seeing these things hands on is the best way to improve.


Yes, do feel free to pm with on any cooking themes. I'd be interested to share more.


WIth best wishes, Daisy_A


PS Apologies for slight delay in replying. My husband had an opening for the art show for his diploma course Sat. night plus had volunteered to coordinate refreshments - went off great, just lots of work beforehand!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos, Hi Andy


Thanks to both of you for your advice on baguettes. Have just managed to get a straight dough demi-baguette to hold together again using the Ciril Hitz technique. Was using Hamelman before. Sure it's a good approach but it's a bit too origami like and beyond me at this stage.


Also managed to transfer the baguette to the oven without collapsing it on itself like a loose spring :-). DH comment on this baguette 'that looks like a baguette'; comment on last baguette 'are you going to enter that in the baguette hall of shame?' I have to say he is one of my most avid supporters and I did warn him that it was 'the ugliest baguette in the world!' Still tasted great, though! Have done decent shaped demi-baguettes before and this one was much prettier again. 


Will try now with poolish and hope I can guide it so that it is not over-hydrated or over-elastic, which is where it went a bit wrong on the 'slinky baguette'. We shall see...


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


Good to read about your adventures into baguette territory.   I've only used Bacheldre Dark Rye, so thanks for the positive information on their wholemeal.   I suspect we'll be seeing an expansion in the near future, as this firm is fronted by some real "go-ahead" directors.


Have you seen Ciril Hitz's excellent video on baguette shaping?   This is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-WstoakmQ


With regard to "Moul-bie" this turns over some interesting thoughts and a contrast between French and other Artisan baking cultures.   A number of chains have evolved in France in the last few years; Moul-bie being one, another is "Paul".   Maybe "La Brea" in the US has similarities to these, although their products are "bake-off", I believe.  The French artisans chains are franchises of bakers producing the same types of breads, and offering considerable support and training to achieve standards of excellence.   The nearest UK equivalents I could think of, and they are not close by any means [!], would be ingredients manufacturers offering their "ready-mixes" to the market...how strange our bread-buying habits have become?!!


You'd have to read Kaplan's work to get more from this, but his key point would probably be that, to the French, the Artisan bakers' enemy is the supermarket, offering both ISB and factory-made frozen and bake-off type products.


All good wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Thanks for your message and encouragement. I've only made 3 baguettes. As I've said to lumos also, all were long fermentation and tasted good. One even had good bloom and little ears with a golden crust. It was the best shaped but shaping instructions said to stretch it out, which seemed fine but it sprung back a bit in the oven. Will watch the Ciril Hitz video - many thanks for the link. 


Very interesting what you say about French artisan baking, Kaplan and Moul-Bie. You may have also read this but it seems that FWP Matthews are going down exactly that route in this country, in partnership with Moul-Bie.


They are offering free in-house technical support by some seriously well-qualified French artisan bakers to bakeries buying the flour from them. More details here:  


http://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/french_flours.php  


They are also running an in-house bakery day on how to work with Italian flours.


I know we've talked more widely about food politics and this does seem like a good model. It seems so much better to offer training and support than to send people off cold with the products. Given that it's an economic as well as an educational model I hope that Matthews sells more flour this way. Hopefully that would give another incentive for the good model to spread. Matthews certainly seems more forward-looking on the educational side than some of the other independent millers. What do you think from the professional point of view?


WIth best wishes,


PS Apologies for slight delay in replying. Peter had an opening for the art show for his diploma course Sat. night plus had volunteered to coordinate refreshments. Bit nerve-wracking and lots of work beforehand as these things are but went off great1 Good to meet other artists doing the course.

lumos's picture
lumos

Am I the only one who thinks "Paul" is too overrated? I bought a few loaves from both their shops in Paris and here in London, but I always findit really disappointing, especially if you consider the price they charge. Poilane is expensive, but some of their bread is really special (expensive, though!), but with Paul..... Sorry, I'm not a fan of them. I've even started feeling mild rage whenever I see their sign in town these days....


And Royal Crown Tortano at Neal's Dairies (by FlourStation???)  don't have potato pieces in it anymore.....What's happening?!


Rapid increase in good quality food in this country did help giving us  much better breads with much wider variety, but I also noticed the quality of some really good ones have been going down the hill, too. Maybe maintenance of quality hasn't quite caught up with the rapid increase of production?


 


Gosh, I think I'm gradually turning into a very nasty bread-extremist......:P


lumos

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A and lumos,


Finally sitting down to answer these thought-provoking issues; sorry for the delay.   It's been a heavy week and this is only the first week students are back!


Juggling lots of balls; including the MSc, and loads of issues with my personal teaching load.


I feel it would be wrong for me to be critical of "Paul" products, as I have never tried them.   I think my concerns are to do with the shape of the UK artisan bread world moving forward.   This is why I found Kaplan's discussion of the re-emergence of good bread in France to be of interest.   Will the UK echo France, or, is our situation different?


La Ronde des Pains is a brand name set up by Grands Moulins de Paris [GMP].   This organisation has accounts with the likes of Nestle, and controls 10% of the French flour market.   25% of GMP business is with French artisanal bakers, so the crisis of poor bread leading to declining sales throughout the latter part of the 20th Century was a real and serious issue for GMP.


Interestingly, FWP Matthews could not be compared to GMP in anyway, given it is a small family firm.   We'll have to see how it develops.   For all that, GMP is noted for its dedication to existing client base, and it can, of course, boast of its ultra-famous school, Ecole du Boulangerie; for years, the home of Raymond Calvel.


Campaillou is indeed a brand name for a type of bread, along with Campaillette and Campagrains.   The standards of required manufacture for these are all laid down, and relatively clearly, by most accounts.   However, that has apparently not meant these standards are not open to abuse and misinterpretation, and it seems lumos' comment bears that out only too well.   Kaplan describes Campaillette as "another baguettefermented thanks to dehydrated sourdough..created in 1988...became GMP's flagship product".   He notes that the bread is made from T65 flour, and "when perfectly executed, the combination of leaven and true pointage gave...a palette of rich aromas and a robust flavour"   See pp.249-252 of Kaplan's book for this.   Reference is given in the booklists in my account information.   I'm thinking that lumos has come across examples of another branded product, Campaillou, some of which live up to the descriptions used by Kaplan for it cousin, and some of which don't.


So, does all the fancy training work?   Whilst I wholeheartedly support the investment in future baking skills for the artisans of the future, I wonder if this is the best way to go?   Maybe, as a baker, I'm suspicious of the miller?   I'd rather think I'm suspicious of the all-powerful food manufacturers.   If the likes of Puratos, IREKS, Delice de France, etc etc continue to hold sway, I'll maintain the mass market for bread will remain, at best, ordinary and uninspired.   At worst it is just so depressing knowing how these products are made, how much money and technology is invested into them, and how truly terrible they turn out; think of the pre-mixes used in the Maher's Bakery as a means to suppress the creativity of the only skilled baker employed.  A baker not reliant on logo-based pre-mixes and support, and still able to turn out the highest quality breads using long fermentation, is a powerful baker.   If you fall back on the technical expertise of others, you have lost the power.   The millers know that, and the giant food manufacturers certainly know that.   Think ISBs!   Herein lies the most credible explanation why our bread is so rubbish: there are few bakers left with knowledge and skill...the power has been annexed by the giants.


And the French companies are using pre-mixes; don't think otherwise.   Not quite so full of the additives we indulge in, but Ascorbic Acid and Bean Flour are 2 adjuncts that have been found in French bread since it became a more automated process in the aftermath of World War 2.


I would rather see artisan baking developing more from the bottom up.   It would be good to see millers supporting work by Real Bread Campaign/my College fostering both bakeries, and flour mills which are genuinely part of the local community.   I'm just not sure if logos such as Ronds des Pains really contribute that much to making this happen.   Let's reinvigorate knowledge and skill where it is needed most, and wihout reliance on logos and branding from mainstream operators desperate to hold the power strings.


All good wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


With you all the way here on bottom up skill-sharing being by far the best way to go!


Also being aware that Marriage's is a family firm I wondered if there was some interim model between the very small scale and say partnership with Delice de France, whose products are so debatable? At least the Moul-Bie training is being done by some seriously well-trained bakers. Nevertheless  it does make the whole operation dependent on the 'parent' firm, as you say. Had also clocked the mixes, which I was a bit sad about…


It seems good though to extend skill-sharing in general and at all levels. I wonder if places like Matthews are not sure where else to go to look for partners in training? In the interim skill-sharing seems to be happening on a smaller scale via short courses and one day events hosted by some mills, some bakeries, some schools, but not all of this is being done by trained bakers. I do think skill sharing between peers is invaluable and it is how bread making advances, particularly in the home, but it is good to have both that and professional support.


The partnership between your college and the Real Bread campaign sounds ideal! Andrew Whitley also seem to be ahead of the curve again with the Bread Matters courses. Perhaps there is a link there? Also liked the Real Bread Campaign's Lammas Day initiatives. Out of these Carl Shavitz at Foster's Mill seemed to bring together a small independent miller and baker to share hands-on skills with the public. A UK TFLer went and said it was packed.


As a contemporary home baker, though, I'd also love to see millers and professional bakers do more together to offer training and skill sharing. At the moment buying the artisan flours and learning the artisan skills are quite polarised activities. It's like 'here's your flour now go and find somewhere to learn what to do with it'. As a home baker I would have been lost without TFL and your mentoring.


Coming from an education background, however, I am surprised, for example, that Shipton Mill don't offer more training and support as they are one of the suppliers of choice for both small professional artisan bakers and home bakers attempting artisan breads.


I do know what you mean about in-house training being open to colonization by large milling businesses. But part of me thinks that as 'capitalism abhors a vacuum' this is even more likely to happen if there are fewer viable alternative models?Am I wrong in thinking that family and independent millers, although effected by the transnational trade in grain would have greater leeway to set their own policies in other areas than those controlled by large agri-businesses?


The other thing that is of interest in terms of support and training is how many contemporary artisan bakeries are emerging first as microbusinesses, and/or headed by bakers who are initially changing professions. This is something John Downes raised in reviewing the 2009 Brockwell Bake. Perhaps he is interested as this was his own route? However wouldn't it also be true of the early days at Melmerby? It can also be traced now in the emergence of The Loaf, Crich,, the Handmade Bakery and   The Natural Bread Company. On a smaller scale again there is Bethesda Bakers, Wales.


Also, as evident on TFL and elsewhere there are many home bakers who move on from baking for immediate consumption to selling on a small scale to friends, family and local shops. Many of these are baking at a very high level. What support and training can be mustered for bakers in these networks and from where? Where do excellent home bakers go to develop their skills when they are no longer consumers but not part of more formal, long-term, college-based training either? 


Seems as though some of the emerging bakeries are part of the picture, with several named above offering courses. I also know that some are affiliated to the Real Bread Campaign, others part of the exchange and skill-sharing organized via Dan Lepard's boards. Some fund their own research trips abroad to study other national breads.


Yet as many home and professional artisan bakers also want to patronise the independent millers what type of baker-led initiatives might they support? Speaking for Central England the Carl Shavitz/Foster's Mill day collaboration for Lammas Day seemed good as it offered a 'hands-on' experience but to date, such a tantalizing once a year event.


I really admire the pioneering collaboration of the Oxford Bread Group with local millers but also find it tantalizing. I didn't qualify geographically for their original members club, although now I think they have some open outlets. I would like to buy their bread and realize bakers do need support from both customers and professional agencies and that keen home bakers also like to support good bakeries.


However I no longer read things only as a consumer, even when their discourses target me primarily on that level.  Reading John Downes blog on Oxford Bread Group wheats, for example, makes me want to try Oxford Bread Group bread from a professional baker but also makes me think that I'd like to get my tiny, homemaking hands on some of that grain.


I realise it's professional bakers first but I'm also aware that previous generations of my ancestors probably baked with similar wheat on the home front. OBG do seem to be moving on, having shared the grain with community groups in Lambeth, post Brockwell Bake but these networks are still quite small. 


One of the things that led me to reflect on all this is that I recently upgraded our worn out point and shoot camera to a secondhand Nikon SLR. In camera terms I am now a 'prosumer', that is not a trained, experienced professional but not merely a point and shoot consumer either. I'm asking now where do the 'prosumer' bakers go, especially given that many move through that route to commercial bakery work or even to founding bakeries and want to bake the best bread they possible can? I know 'go to college' is one answer but long rather than short courses are not always possible to combine with other life commitments. Moreover if you have opened your bakery or made a commitment to supply a number of friends or a local shop you are in the thick of it already!


For myself, like many on TFL I'm so glad of both your cyber-mentoring and of the peer support and archives,  but real life equivalents that push home bakers towards a really excellent level of bread making are harder to find. Some national initiatives (like Great British bake-off) now seem to me to give some initial information but not press towards higher levels. On the other hand if I do any more professional qualifications I am going to be even poorer in old age than I'm destined to be already! The best 'RL' short course option I have found so far is Emmanuel Hadjiandreou at the School of Artisan Food. Given I've just replaced the computer and camera, though, that will have to wait…


PS On another note followed the Ciril Hitz video and demi-baguette (which is all my oven can manage), came out much better shaped Many thanks!


Kind regards, Daisy_A

Franko's picture
Franko

Interesting thoughts of yours on this matter Andy.


Being a supermarket baker myself I can tell you that what we do today in terms of what I call real baking is a far cry from what we did twenty years ago. Now days the general public expects to come into their local supermarket and be able to pick up a loaf of 'artisan style bread' to take home with them, many/most not realizing that what they're getting is something that although reheated in our ovens is not mixed nor baked in shop. The practical problem for the company that runs the supermarket is how to give the customers what they demand and still stay profitable. Here's where it gets down to the nitty gritty, since the largest part of our bakery budget is labour. How does an operator provide a product that by it's very nature requires not only skilled labour but considerably more of it and still remain profitable? This is where the likes of Puratos comes to the rescue of the mass market food retailer The factory made breads that are par baked and flash frozen, and which the retailer passes off as 'baked in store'...( technically not true) are playing an ever increasing roll in our product line as well. It just comes down to $ as usual, because the large retailer simply can't or won't afford to actually produce true artisan breads on premises based on what they expect to realize in profit. If we were to produce these long ferment breads we'd first need to find the skilled labour , which seems to be in short supply on a nation wide basis, and then we'd need to increase our per shop labour and hours requirements in skilled bakers by 100%..conservatively, not to mention our support staff of bench hands. 


I'd love it if the economic reality was different and we could all be baking breads in the traditional time honoured methods, but I'm not willing to go from earning a very middle income to a very modest income in order to facilitate that . The average consumer just will not pay $5+ for a loaf of bread, nor should they in my opinion, so something on one or the other side of the production/retail equation will have to shift before we see mass market enjoyment of real bread. It's a sad state of affairs I grant you, the employers being in a very difficult position and skilled bakers not willing to be paid less to accommodate the budget, but there you have it in a nutshell as to why, ( from my point of view) our bread has been in decline for the last 50+ years.


All the Best,


Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,


My views on the role of the supermarkets in the UK gets dimmer by the day.   Granted, they may not be as evil in Canada, as they are over here.   My main observation is that everything on the shelf just gets more and more "ordinary".   Artisan-style bread is a case in point...and exactly for the reason you state: it is brought in frozen and put through additional heat treatment in-store.   I think you rightly hint that the products are already baked; par-baking is one big misnomer to me.   These products are biscuits...ie "twice baked".   I'd sooner work to expose tricks like this for what they really are.


Unfortunately, it is tricks like this which allow the supermarkets to undercharge for bread; compounded by the disgraceful tactics of loss-leading with pappy white-sliced nonsense aimed deliberately at providing the carbohydrate base for those people struggling on low incomes.   Actually these people, more than any deserve better in terms of accessing healthier diets.   Sadly, food has been too cheap for too long.   We have grown accustomed to this, and now expect it as a right.   But cost prices for raw materials and basic food commodities have gone up exponentially in recent years, and most project will continue to rise.   I don't think the supermarkets will like this somehow!   But it's true, and I only expect it will make them more ruthless than ever before.   Some may think this a good thing; personally I believe it to be a disaster in terms of making good food available to all at realistic prices.


As for wages, I have worked in-store in the UK.   Ok, so bakers were better paid than most of the shop floor workers, but I don't think I'd be writing home about how well off I was working in a supermarket as opposed to in the craft baking sector.   Your average supermarket wage in the UK is not good, believe me.


In the end, I believe supermarkets actually don't have a role to play in the provision for good bread...does anybody out there really trust these companies to provide such breads?   I don't, not for one minute.   There is an alternative to the large retailer; that is fundamentally what I want to make the most significant part of my teaching in College in the years to come, and it's my commitment to the UK real bread-buying public.


Very best wishes


Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,


I wish you success in your mission to educate not only your students but the general public to the alternatives. If the large majority of consumers demand that they want real bread and not some mass produced impostor, it may indeed change over time. However for me, as a supermarket baker  I suspect it will be too late. I'll be retiring sometime in the next 8-9 years and I don't see the situation changing that quickly...but who knows. If the popularity of this site is any indication, it may happen sooner rather than later.


All the best,


Franko

lumos's picture
lumos

Very interesting discussion, Andy, Daisy and Franko,


I started writing my 2 pence this morning, but after spending a few hours writing and editing and rewriting, I thought it might be easier if I just post the link to this article from The Times a few years ago.


"How to find good French bread"


I don't know how many of the baguettes they blind-tasted were from high-end, 'famous' (=posh+expensive) Continental style boulangeries in London, but I've tried many of them, as well as many bakeries in Borough Market, but so far I'm still trying to find "My Favourite Bakery" as I wrote in My Profile, just as those French women in the article probably still are. It's so much better than 20-odd years ago when I first started living here, and I can see things are gradually improving and I'm really grateful for that, but it's not quite 'there' yet, unfortunately.


Anyway....


Shipton finally replied to my email of enquiry about the protein/ash level of their flours this morning. It came with apology for having taken so long, and they kindly provided me with all the info I wanted, even the ash level unlike Marriage's. (What happened to Creta regulation???)


If anyone's interested, here's the copy, if anyone's interested.



                                                             Ash     Protein


 


Canadian Strong White Bread Flour          0.63    12.6


 Finest Baker's White Bread Flour             0.63    12.4


 French White Flour                                 0.55    10.7


 Italian White Flour (00)                          0.55    11.4


 Italian Ciabatta Flour                             0.63    11.3


 Strong White Flour                                 0.63    10.1


 Traditional Organic White                        0.63    10.1


 Untreated Organic White Flour                  0.63    11.3



 


Interesting all of their flour seem to have relatively low level of protein. Only 12.6% even with Canadian Strong? I now know I should stick to Waitrose Canadian Very Strong for my bagel. And their French flour's really soft, isn't it, with only 10.7% protein. Untreated Organic White flour could be a good alternative with higher protein for making artisan bread until your shaping technique seriously improves.... Especially with 63% ash, it sounds good. :)


And really intriguing thing is that Mr.Bertinet recommends  Waitrose Leckford or  their Canadian Very Strong as the good alternative to Leckford's. But as you can see, Shipton's flours seem to have lower protein level while both Waitrose flours have relatively higher protein level than other flours on the market. Interesting......


 


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos, Andy,


Gosh, I've been writing such long posts recently - will try to make this more telegraphic but probably fail! 


Great information about flours lumos - many thanks for posting this. I asked the same question as Andy - what is the difference between 'organic' and 'untreated organic'. I thought organic was untreated :-S. Interesting also to see the protein difference between the two organic whites, although I fully take Andy's point that lower protein can also be of higher quality.


Interested also in the ciabatta flour, particularly given the low opinion of 00 flour proffered by one Italian baker when I said I used it!


Peter (my husband) tried to get some Leckford the other day but couldn't find it in our local Waitrose. Is it shelved in an odd place, lumos? Could be that we have to go to the 'posher' rural Waitrose to get it as only able to get Bacheldre there. 


Re. baguette shaping - to be fair to myself they are not all as ugly as the recent one - some have been quite pretty! Pictures are on other computer at the moment. But I lost the last but one when trying to load sideways from a curved holder. Couldn't shift it and did the most stupid thing and held it up by the end like a worm! Given it was 80% hydration it just collapsed on itself :-(. Last one was much better and peeled it fine from a straight board. However my most successful one was based on Don D's formula, which is lower hydration. I probably do more sourdough at the moment and these are lower hydration also. The Shipton flour would be good.


Nevertheless, and particularly given the article you flag up and Andy and Franko's comments, all the baguettes and other breads have tasted good, which is why we don't buy supermarket bread any more. (Don't have a close artisan baker). I remember reading this article - the homemade baguette won, didn't it!? Interesting also to know Costcutter trounced some of the higher end stores. 


I did find the article tone a bit odd, though. Suggestions that there are great baguettes to be had on every street corner doesn't fit with the latest assessment of the state of the baguette in France, on this link,, which suggests that the French bread industry has experienced some of the same problems as the British. The poster is an American woman, living in Paris. Interesting to see in comments, that when asked for a good baguette recipe, she points readers in the way of Peter Rheinhart/david snyder's adaptation of the Gosselin baguette. Given this was 2008 I think that baguette debate on TFL has moved on even further now.


Maybe the Frenchwoman who had been out of Paris for 22 years is remembering the baguettes of yesteryear? Perhaps the difference is that if you really search you can still find a few very high quality 'baguettes de tradition' in Paris, whereas in London the search is still on? Maybe there should be a Best Baguette in London competition? From another angle it's interesting to read on your posts and Akiko's how many good quality baguettes are available in Tokyo. Is there any reason why this bread gained such popularity rather than other continental breads? 


With best wishes, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

 


Yes, Daisy, you can get really good and often quite authentic baguette in most of major cities in Japan, but we've always had other types of French and other European breads (especially German), that is quite good,  too. Actually, one of the most popular white loaf in Japan is called 'Igirisu Pan', which literally means 'English bread.' It is very similar to traditional English split tin loaf or crusty white loaf, but much taller with slightly richer,softer crumb. Anyway, it's not all baguette over there at all. You'll be surprised to see wide ranges of breads bakers in Japan offer you. But yes, maybe baguette is the bread that is talked about most, and it's probably true that it is the most popular French bread there.


There're so many artisan bakeries, some independent and others big chains, all over Japan and many of them are seriously good.  It was, if my memory serves me right, in late 60's/early 70's small scale French boulangerie-style bakeries started popping out here and there in big cities like Tokyo, and with the boom of 'Nouveau Cuisine' in 70's several big chains of European-style boulangeries opened many branches all over Japan, which gave easier access to wider choices of European artisan breads for wider range of people. By the end of 80'/early 90's, virtually every reasonable sized town in most of major cities had at least one or two of their branches, along with some local, independent ones. And food departments in department stores in Japan are HUGE and they always have at least 2 or 3 bakeries, some of them their own, some independent bakeries renting the shop space, and large supermarkets often rented out some of their shop space to well known independent bakeries, as well as having their own in-store bakery. All those players were always competing each other, which was really great for consumers. And recent years, baking artisan breads, especially French style, at home is becoming a really big boom, so there're big markets for all the tools and flour you need to make them as well as loads of  books and baking class/school for non-professional artisan bakers, some of them run by famous bakeries themselves.  I think there being a larger proportion of stay-at-home-mums than here is helping the situation, too, because they have more spare time to pursue their passion.  So, as I said, where there is demand, there would be supply. 


I didn't know it then, but according to the article "The Baguette' by James MacGuire,  "Calvel had his greatest influence not in France but....especially Japan, which he visited first in 1954 and returned to many times" (excerpt from Vol.73+74, Art Of Eating), so probably that's why we've been very lucky in that field. And nowadays younger generation of artisan bakers who probably grew up eating the breads made by the first generation of Calvel's Japanese students (either directly or indirectly)  and were trained by them are the powerful driving force in artisan bread industry in Japan. Many of them have had a few years of training in France, Germany, etc, too. I understand the instructor David (dmsnyder) had at the course in SFBI was a Japanese woman, judging by her name, so she could be one of them but the one who didn't go back to Japan after training.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Many thanks indeed for following through on information about bread in Tokyo. This really helps to illuminate the situation. Good to hear about 'Igirisu Pan'. I never heard of that before. You really explain the cultural and economic spread of French bread well - it's much clearer to me now, in terms of how the different markets support each other and who is there to drive demand, both economically and culturally.


I haven't been to Tokyo, sadly, but studied with a student from the city who told me about the scale of the large department stores - she told me that there are whole floors in them that are independent art galleries. She was doing a dissertation analysing the Tokyo stores in the light of Walter Benjamin's work on the Paris arcades - very interesting.


Interesting also to hear of the effect of Calvel and his students - something that Andy mentions too. I can't really claim to understand economics but similar models hold sway in Cultural Studies also, which is my field. Some 'New History' theories advise researchers to look for social and cultural change not only from the 'top down' but by analysing powerful lateral networks of people, which often also drive change.


David's instructor does sound great - really pressing both professional and home bakers towards excellence. I really would like to find a course with that culture somewhere near me in the UK...


I found a list of courses on the Real Bread Campaign (RBC) link I also posted to Andy http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread/real_bread_campaign_bread_making_courses/ However I still need to reflect more on how course organizers and leaders imagine their potential course users and what levels of bread baking skills they are aiming to promote in the time given.... 


Any reflections welcome...


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,


Yes the information provided by Shipton is indeed of great interest.   Thank you very much for posting it here.   Actually, they are all moreorless exactly what I would expect, except the Strong Organic flour at 10.1%!   Although I would have expected the Italian "00" to have 0.5% ash content [French equivalent of Type 50 rather than 55]


The protein figures are very much in line with my commercial experience.   Maybe I should explain why:


The French flour has only .55% ash content, indicating the flour is more heavily refined [than those quoted with .63%].   So it is likely the proteins indicated in the 10.7% figure come from the inner portion of wheat kernel, thus being of the highest quality in terms of contribution to the gluten potential in the mixed dough.   A typical % quoted for French flour would be 10.5%, for a Type 55 flour.


I have used the Waitrose Very Strong Canadian flour, and I wasn't as bowled over by it as I expected to be.   Granted, I haven't used it for Bagels, because I don't make them, or rave about them.   However, for strength [and this is illustrative], this flour quoted at around 15%, I believe, is of inferior all-round baking quality to the Carrs Special CC I bake with.   The spec on this flour is very similar to the Shipton Canadian in terms of the headline protein % figure.   Obviously, from a baker's point of view, there is a lot more to flour analysis than protein and ash content % headline figures.   Please, always bear in mind that the % protein quoted on the bag can only ever be a guide at best.   It is quite feasible that a flour at 13% can perform just as well as a flour at 14-15%, maybe even better.  


Do you have any idea what Shipton promote as the difference between their "untreated organic" and the "traditional organic"?   At Village Bakery we used the latter as our main white flour in all our breads.   It was marketed then as "No. 4"   The Company was all-organic, and the only alternative at the time, I believe, was the Strong Canadian; prohibitively expensive.   But this is now 7 years since.


As a predominantly organic company, I would expect Shipton flours to be slightly weaker than the Waitrose range.   Additionally, Shiptons produce primarily for the commercial baker.   Commercial bakers would struggle to justify the extra cost involved in using all-Canadian super strong flours carrying heavy import tariffs and premium prices on the world market.   Especially if an Organic premium is then added on top of that.


Having used Shipton flours for 10 years in a commercial environment, I can assure you the company produces a very high quality product.   I cannot do the comparison thing really: the only Waitrose flours I've used are the Bacheldre Dark Rye and the Italian "00" flour [can't remember the brand], and I really like both of these.   The very strong Canadian I thought was ok, but not as special as I'd expected.


I don't think I've heard of the "Creta Regulation" either.


Many thanks for the link to the article; I'll have to follow this up later.


All good wishes


Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Andy, for lots of variable info.



Please, always bear in mind that the % protein quoted on the bag can only ever be a guide at best.   It is quite feasible that a flour at 13% can perform just as well as a flour at 14-15%, maybe even better. 



Yes, I do know protein level can only be a rough guidance for fiding out how flour would behave and that the different ways of milling grains which produced diffrent characteristics of each flour. But unfortunately most of millers in UK do not supply other data, like gluten level or ash content, it is the only source of info a home baker like me have to rely on to help me wild-guessing about the characteristics of particular flour I'm interested. Hope the situation will change one day, but I may be dead before it finally happens....:p


Anyway, I've got another email from the kind miller from Shipton's replying to my further enquiry, which included the explanation on the difference between 'Traditional Organic White' and 'Untreated Organic White' that Daisy asked, so I copy it here. 


Diffrence between between 'Traditional Organic' and 'Untreated Organic'



Both these flours are untreated at the mill we do not add flour improvers they are however two different flours. The Traditional contains Maris Widgeon Wheat, an old variety of wheat of which little is grown now days, It also contains other wheat varieties for strength.


The Untreated organic White contains English and European grains and has a higher protein. 


All white flours Organic or non organic must have additives prescribed by current legislation. So we add Calcium, Iron and the Vitamins Thiamine and Niacin these are at very low levels and all Millers in the UK do the same. Wholemeal flours are exempt from these regulations and we do not add anything to them.


Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Great - thanks for following through on the different Shipton whites! Maybe I should get some Traditional Organic White, then, so I can experience baking with traditional English wheats :-) I have too much on my wish list now for Shipton Mill - think a visit to the Mill might be in order...


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi, these are largely in response to Daisy_A's long posts above.


Answers may be snapshots, but here goes:


Regarding millers, bakers and training.   Shipton started going to the route of short course a while ago.   I think they had a link to some courses run in Italy, but don't quote me on that.   There is nothing at all on their website now; maybe that will change soon?


I agree wholeheartedly for the need to form partnerships to develop more effective training for those coming into small-scale commercial artisan breadmaking.   I do all I can here in College, but have numerous constraints.   All my courses run 1 day a week for a year.   So long as prospective bakers can travel into Newcastle easily enough, I would have thought that to be ideal.   But that doesn't help for those too far away...ie most people!   Special short course are an option, but a complete nightmare to timetable.   I'm already hopelessly overworked, and trying to study for MSc.   Teaching evening classes is beyond reason.   Also, a short practical session [even 3 hours] is seriously limiting for themes on long fermentation!


We have to move together on this; I'm so keen to change college focus and move it back to artisan within the college.   But we are employment-driven, and I am also enthused with work such as links with Allied Bakeries to deliver specialist plant baking courses, and open discussions with Allied, Warburtons and Cafe Royal about driving forward a local Apprenticeships Scheme.   Oh, did I mention I also spend 860 hours a year in a classroom, teaching...at the last count, 6 different subjects across Levels 1 through to 5.   Not to whinge; I jusst have to be realistic about what's possible in the here and now.   This is why it is so crucial to get the new Level 3 Artisan programme off the ground.   This is really ideal, and could be the ground-breaking initiative Daisy is really seeking to define.


OBG is indeed a great project.   I need to update myself on recent progress and initiatives.   The highlight of the Real Bread Conference last year, no doubt about it!


Franko, we've discussed when the supermarket domination will come to an end before, and agreed about it: when the oil runs out!!!   It will; or we'll grow crops for fuel and watch even more people starve instead.   A policy of lunacy!   But I think you'll safely make it through to retirementbefore it really goes pear-shaped.   Where's that crystal ball?


Lumos, I can't open the link you gave; please can you look into that for me?


Regarding bread quality in France, there really is no avoiding reading Kaplan's work for the best insight into what has happened to French bread, 1789 through to 2006.   As for London, I have really no idea.   Vincent is now working for Artisan Bakers in London; he may be able to comment.   I note Lumos' comment on "Paul".   Given the chain is making big in-roads in the Capital, how will that drive any quest for the "perfect" baguette?


DonD's baguettes: based on the Gosselin formula in the article, and a great post.   I posted a similar experiment at the time.   It also prompted a really interesting discussion on "bassinage" too, if I remember rightly?


As regards Tokyo, and the emergence of French bread in Japan; maybe copyu raised this, I don't know?   A certain Professor Raymond Calvel was instrumental in working with bakers in Japan to develop high quality baguettes and other traditional French breads.   You can read about this in Wirtz's translation of Calvel's "Gout du Pain/Taste of Bread"


All good wishes


Andy


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Many thanks for these responses. The models you have developed and are developing sound groundbreaking!


I know I should have said that I realize you are working flat out and can't do any more to single-handedly save the artisan baking industry ;-). If these models could eventually be rolled out, at some point in the future, though,  that would be fantastic.


I think many artisan bakers and home bakers seeking to start microbusinesses or simply to achieve a level of excellence in their home bread making would really welcome a 1 day a week dedicated course - lucky Northumbrian bakers! 


Level 3 artisan baking with associated economic models also sounds a really groundbreaking course. 


I'm with you on 'short' short courses. Now I know more about sourdough I am sceptical of signing on for half day sourdough courses as I realize one scarcely has time to proof the bread in say a 3 hour slot. 


I looked further into Shipton Mill. They did offer courses for both professional and amateur bakers but demand from amateur bakers at least far outstripped supply and now they have a waiting list. (Clive Mellum of Shipton Mill also teaches at Eckington Manor, according to RBC course information). Does show that there is also a demand for courses led by reputed artisan mills, though...


The Real Bread Campaign also has a list of UK courses on     this link  . May post this on new thread also to see if any UK TFLers have feedback on them. Handmade Loaf does an intermediate course called Rising Ambition, which looks interesting. However most courses seem to assume no or little prior experience with sourdough or preferments.  


Have more thoughts about a lot of issues to do with artisan training, economics, culture, specific courses to look at... May pm at some point.


In the meantime thanks again for all your feedback, particularly at a busy time.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

yozzause's picture
yozzause

A couple of links that Daisy and and Andy might find of interest the first being  classes being run in Tasmania  one of the most beautifull parts of Australia. The second of more interest to Andy as it is whare the training for baker apprentices is done here in Western Australia.


 kind regards Yozza


http://companionbakery.com.au/classes


http://www.polytechnic.wa.edu.au/course_finder/advanced_search/query/aglwc2MtcHJvZDFyFwsSBkNvdXJzZSILMTA2MTYwOlcwNTUM

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi yozza,


Many thanks for this link. This does indeed look like a gorgeous place to take a course, particularly with the mill in the background.


This is the chap from Sourdough Companion isn't it? I imagine from bakers on that site and from his own baking that he has a clear idea of how much home bakers can achieve. I say this because the courses do look as though they take on technical issues that challenge the home baker, such as how to control fermentation in a domestic environment. Looks good!


Best wishes, Daisy_A


 

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, all,


You're most welcome, Daisy. It's really lovely to be able to share the information with fellow UK home bakers.


Yes, having got those information on each flour, my interest to Shipton flour was piqued again after a few years of buying other flour (since the flour bug incident), too. Another flour I'm quite interested, but haven't tried yet, is their 'Swiss Dark Flour'. I once had  really wonderful loaf of served at breakfast in a small hotel in Switzerland years ago during holiday, have been wondering if Swiss Dark is something similar to that.


According to the kind Shipton miller, it is...



The Swiss Dark flour is a blend and is defined as Brown flour produced from wheat. ......The Swiss does not contain the full amount of bran from the grain so we cannot call it a wholemeal. It contains particular bran fractions and does not contain Rye so it will be light.



 So possibly it's something similar to High Extraction Flour, maybe? I think I might try it sometime soon.


Leckford's flour at my Waitrose is with all other flours in baking ingredient section.  There was one time several years ago when they couldn't sell any Leckford flour for whole year, because their wheat was damaged by some sort of disease, so I know it's more-or-less entirely sourced from the farm in Leckford Estate and it's not that  that huge, so maybe they only stock it at larger branches?


They're doing some discount on own brand organic flours, so I picked up a few bags the other day. I won't use it until I finish the already-opened one, but if I do, I'll let you know the result.


Re; Baking school/classes for non-professional bakers


One class I've been really interested is the ones by Lighthouse Bakery. Since they moved to East Sussex from their famous shop in SE London, they started school/class for mainly non-professional people, some of them for beginners and other for more advanced home bakers. There're various types of classes, so you may find somethint that'd interest you.


 http://www.lighthousebakery.co.uk/bakeryschool/


If anyone's tried their course, I'll be interested in hearing what it was like. Thanks.


 


Andy, here's the link for the article. I think it's the same one I posted above and the only one I have. Hope it works this time.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article4074087.ece


But I just posted that article only because the French ladies there echoed how I've been feeling so well, and nothing more than that, so I'm not sure if you'd find it interesting or not.


And, yes, thank you, I have seen DonD's baguette and many of other wonderful baguettes created by many talented TFLers here during my 3 years of lurking, and was discussing about baguettes in Japan with copyu the other day. I think there were some posts by other people who mentioned about Calvel's influence on Japanese artisan bread making before that, too.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Many thanks for sharing the flour information - much appreciated because as indicated it is not at all easy for home bakers to come by. 


I found a discussion of the Swiss Dark flour on Dan Lepard's forum - a baker there who had baked with that and French flour compared it to T110. http://www.danlepard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2716 Don't know if this matches with what you thought?


I've just used a very dark 4 grain flour that a friend brought as a present from Little Salkeld. This was dark because of the mix of wheat, rye, barley, oats, however, so it doesn't sound similar. It was very aromatic and flavoursome, though. 


May have to try the out-of-town Waitrose for the Leckford then, as it is larger.


The Lighthouse Bakery does sound interesting. Thank you for highlighting that. My in-laws live in West Sussex so I will try to find out how close it is. I liked the idea of the 'European Breads' course, albeit 'European' is a broad term. I use some type of preferment for so many of my breads now. This course seemed to have a clear focus - applying preferments to a range of traditional breads, several of which I have attempted and would like to improve. It also appealed that they offer courses on Indian and Jewish breads. After the gorgeous Jewish breads on the TFL test thread I would love to find out more and this is an area I have not tackled at all. It inspired confidence that their own breads looked good too!


Kind regards, Daisy_A


 


 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

HI Daisy ,


Yes the companion bakery is the one from sourdough companion.


Both my wife and i have always wanted to visit TASSIE so it should be a matter of killing 2 birds with 1 stone. I might also have to see if i can get our college interested in stumping up for the course or part thereof.


My dear old dad lives right on the border of West Sussex, LISS in Hampshire where i grew up, in fact his local The Flying Bull is built in both counties. Dad is making his pilgramige to Australia again this Christmas not bad for over 80 years old.


There was a programme on tv the other night Grand Designs about a guy that built a home in the forrest in West Sussex, it was very good and a friend of mine is keen to find out whereabouts it is as he does receive visitors and she would like to visit when she comes over next year., i really should be making my plans for my next uk visit as i am due my long service leave now it gives me 3 months off work, a wonderfull scheme that i have enjoyed on 2 previous occasions.


kind regards Yozza

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi yozza,


Visit to Tasmania sounds like a good plan as does the service leave visit! I know Canadian teachers have the same thing - makes sense rather than ploughing on without a break. 


My husband's family don't live in a particularly picturesque part of West Sussex but they've made a good life there. My mother-in-law was head of the most gorgeous little village primary school near Horsham.


Where you grew up sounds interesting - pub in two counties - whose licensing laws were they governed by or were they in the borderlands? Hope your dad enjoys his Australia trip - good on him!


Looked up the house in the woods. Reminded me of medieval great hall houses, like the late Christopher Lloyd's at Great Dixter, which had a later house built on the side. Information, including times of tours for 2011 is on this link. http://www.ben-law.co.uk/education.html Don't know if he does others on request. It is in Prickly Nut Wood, Lodsworth. Hope that your friend gets to visit. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A

yozzause's picture
yozzause

WOW Daisy that was fast, ask and ye shall receive.and with the wonder of the internet i have passed the info to my friends who are on their way to the Eastern States with their off road caravan.


Many thanks, i hope to be able to meet a few fellow TFL members when i get back to the old country and  have already received an invite from Andy to call by, we have realatives up at Huddersfield and Todmorden and friends at Glasgow so will be travelling north, also a sister in Cornwall. 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi yozza,


No problem! I was already surfin' the net and was glad to have it drawn to my attention. I think it would be of interest to my father-in-law and our nephew, as a place to visit. I hope your friend gets to visit. 


Also hope you enjoy your time in the UK. Keep us posted on when you expect to be around.


Kind regards, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks you, Daisy. Yes, I've seen the thread on Swiss Dark flour in DP forum because I've been lurking there for a few years, too. In fact that was one of the first bread related forums/blogs I started following some years back, even before I 'discovered' TFL, and it's the one I always check for any UK specific information on bread/flour,  though I haven't registered to join in.


Actually, there're a few posts on Campaillou bread  somewhere in the forum  a few years ago with Dan's recipe suggestion to approximate the texture/flavour without using the Moul-bie flour which I printed out and kept in my bread file.  I tried to give you the link to the post, but something seems to be wrong with either the site or my IE and I can't access the forum at the moment at all. Sorry.  But if you're interested, I think their 'Search' will take you to the right posts with 'Campaillou', when the site is back, and the recipe will give you some idea what Campailou is like. 


Lighthouse Bakery's classes look quite good, aren't they? Much more intermediate/experienced home bakers friendly than other baking classes for non-professionals. I can probably drive down there in less than a couple of hours (according to my sat nav), so hopefully I can go there and be back by the evening without having to stay there overnight.


If you're interested in preferments 'Advanced Baking' seems to offer some teaching on it, too. I use preferments in most of my breads myself, too, usually sourdough, poolish and pate fermante. I'm more-or-less happy with what I'm doing, but perhaps I could do with a few intermediate leg-ups by a professional intructor. I'm also interested in 'French'  and 'Italian'.   After years of combing though forums/blogs/sites for information and choking my book case with 30+ breadbaking books, I think the only way to improve my skill more, especially on handling/shaping, is to attend a hand-on class  or two and get a real-time experience and instruciton by a professional baker.  


As for Jewish breads, yes, I'm with you. Many of US-based TFL posters, especially the threads on that new Jewish baking book,  have definitely piqued my interest in Jewish breads beyond bagels, chollah and pumpernickels. One of the largest Jewish communities in UK is only 15-20 minutes drive from me, but I've only tried their bagels and chollah. I think I should be more adventurous and try their other offerings next time I go there.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,


Thanks for the information on Campaillou and Dan Lepard's site. I will look it up. 


I have done the same re that site - lurked but not signed up yet, although I did go to a very well attended workshop that Dan held as part of the Oundle food festival this year. I keep thinking about it particularly as other UK bakers who also post here are active on that site. You probably read this but they also arrange skill-sharing events among site users. 


I liked the European course at Lighthouse because I've just extended my rye baking - did my first 100% rye last night - and they included German rye. But you're right the Advanced Baking looks interesting also for its attention to preferments.


I also know what you mean also about courses being more intermediate/advanced friendly. I'm not advanced but I think I'm moving into that difficult low intermediate stage where while it's still amazing that the starter increases, the bread rises but I now want to do more; indeed I can do more but can't do all of it consistently. It's a bit like riding a bike. I can ride my baking bike in quite a straight line now most of the time but there are still moments when I find myself upside down in the shrubbery again!


i've gained so,so, much from being part of TFL and advanced in ways I never dreamed I would. However, I think I haven't had enough experience yet of seeing other bakers work with dough and no other baker has ever watched me work with dough. I can't see how this could be accomplished outside a class or skill share.


On the Jewish breads, do report back if you move onto other good breads..


Best wishes, Daisy_A 

lumos's picture
lumos

Found the thread on Campaillou.


http://www.danlepard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=69&p=259&hilit=campaillou#p259



.... no other baker has ever watched me work with dough. I can't see how this could be accomplished outside a class or skill share.



My thought exactly! I've lost count of how many breadmaking/dough shaping/etc. videos I've watched on youtube,etc. along with all sorts of instruction/tips in books/blogs/forums. But there's only so much you can learn from those things, especially handling/shaping of dough, where I think I still have some problems and I'm pretty sure that's the cause of my inconsistent results in texture and shape. What I really need now is get a professional baker to watch how I do things (espcially handling/shaping) and point out where I'm doing wrong.


I went to the Jewish bakery yesterday afternoon (Got a strong urge after I posted.:p), but I must say it was a disappointment. It was the first time in a few years I wen to the area and the first thing I noticed was some of the bakeries that used to be there were no longer there. So I went to one of the remaining bakery which was the most established one. The only distinctively Jewish breads they had was a few kinds of bagels (ones with seeds/sesame on top and ones without) and chollahs and a some sort of  'black bread.' All other breads were just ordinary looking loaves and rolls you'd see in any English bakeries, though I'm sure theirs were made from kosher ingredients. They had many kinds of biscuits and tiny pastries but bread-wise, it was not very interesting. No bialy, no pumpernickel. No wonder I'd only bought bagels and chollahs from them in the past!


Anyway, so I bought a couple of bagels to try myself and I ate it this morning, which was the first time in a few years I ate bagels from a real Jewish bakery. The texture was alright but not as firm as it bit back. But flavour-wise.....I'm sorry to be so arrogant, but I thought mine was better. It had a distinct smell of yeast-based dough which hadn't come through long-fermentation. Actually, But with the price they charge (mere 25p a piece), probably they can't afford to go through all the lengthy process and mine definitely benefits from the use of sourdough.


It's just one bakery I tried, so I don't think they represent the present situation of Jewish bakeries in UK. (I hope not, anyway) Maybe I'll try other Jewish bakers in north London area when I go there for my Japanese food shopping next time.


btw, I went to the stockist of Marriage's flour on the way back, but unfortunately they only stock brown plain flour and brown self-raising flour. No white. No strong. Maybe we have a lot of health conscious home baker for cakes and biscuits, but not enough breadmakers in our area.....


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,

Many thanks for the message and the link to the thread on Campaillou. Looks very interesting indeed although I would have to think of ways to adapt this for hand kneading. 

Sorry that the Jewish bakery goods weren't all you hoped for. I have heard that Brick Lane Beigle Bake is good but not tried it yet. Again it goes for a high turnover of bagels rather than the sweet breads. I've not baked bagels but as a home baker I have really enjoyed using preferments and long fermentation times for other breads like pain au levain and focaccia. Definitely improved the flavour. 

Sorry you didn't get the Marriage's white. In contrast I did manage to get some Leckford. Look forward to trying that!

Have moved to pm also.

Best wishes, Daisy_A

 

lumos's picture
lumos

I've heard Brick Lane Beigel Bakery is the best in London, so I went to the shop to see what it's like many years ago when I had lunch with some friends at an Indian restaurant there.....but I didn't buy anything. In fact I didn't even go in to the shop. :p


They had a mountain of bagels sitting in the show window at the front of the shop, clouding the window with the steam...and the sight put me off a bit somehow and I just turned back.  I know I should have gone in and picked up a few bagels. Apparently their salt beef is to die for, according to majority of reviews I've  read on internet.  (Which is actually another reason of my hesitation. Most of the good reviews raved about their salt beef but very, very few reviews on bagel itself. It made me wonder....)


I'll go back there someday to try their bagels. But I may wait until the standard of Indian restaurants improves to its former glory ....


 Re: Campaillou recipe


I don't own a mixer, so I make most of my bread by hand-kneading (except for some times when I'm really lazy and throw all the ingredients into my bread machine to knead for me for certain kinds of bread). For that particular recipe for Campaillou, I've only made a fake version by simplifying the procedure and hand-kneading.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy, hi lumos,


Eureka, breakthrough on at least 4 counts this week!


Managed to get both Bacheldre Mill rye and Leckford Estate Bread Flour at (posh) rural Waitrose. Obviously think we will get too giddy in the urban areas if we see such luxury items ;-)


Also used Ciril Hitz' shaping technique for baguettes and got a far tighter and more even shape than previously, with a better amount of dough in the centre than I was able to achieve with other techniques. 


Also made Borodinsky rye for the first time from formula in Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters - beautiful tasting bread...


Thanks both for your advice and support with these things. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A