The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Good Morning from Michigan

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SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

Good Morning from Michigan

Taking time to introduce myself. I've been baking breads for at least 10 years, primarily self taught. Started my own levain from grapes grown in the back yard and for the last 2-3 years have used it almost excluisivly to build breads ranging from SF sourdough to French style loaves with no hint of sour flavors. Still trying to perfect a nice rustic boule and bake almost exclusively with flour, water, salt and starter with the occasional specialties like roasted garlic or homemade bacon and gruyere added in. Lately I've noticed that when prefermenting overnight or too long the crust is pale and that doing a 5 hour preferment or placing a damp towel over the proofing loaves seems to give me a much more golden brown crust and trying to understand why that is. Next years project is hopefully to build a wood fired bread oven in the back yard. I'll be searching for answers to what appears to be a spent yeast in the preferment question and how best to correct it. Less preferment in the final dough? Less starter in the preferment? I'm looking forward to learning from everyone here!


Scott

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

I don't know the answer to your question but I'm sure someone here does. Where are you in Michigan? I am in Alto, southeast of Grand Rapids. By your name, I'm guessing you are an MSU fan. My son goes there. Good luck with your bread!


Mary


http://midwestbaker.blogspot.com/

SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

Mary you are correct! I at times to my dismay but not today. I think that is where the underdog artisan baker mentality comes from :) I am in Comstock Park north side of GR, but I go through Alto on a regular basis in search of stew fixin's to soak up bread with.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Greetings, Scott...from about 50 miles south of Big Mac.


What type of preferment are you using?  I don't think retarding your dough overnight is causing the pale crust color.  Are you baking on a preheated stone and steaming your oven?  Steam contributes to crust color as well as oven spring.


I think it will be helpful if you give more details about your recipe.


There are lots of good recipes for the type of boule you want - spend some time in the blogs and you'll start building a "to bake" list.


You'll also find some great threads on building a WFO.

SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

Preferment is currently about 72% hydration, and 36% starter, basically 4 ounces of typically cold starter, 8 oz chilled water and 11 ounces of King Arthur AP. This is similar to the Cooks Illustrated Biga with the substitution of the levain.  And I usually leave it on the counter overnight for up to about 10 hours. I like to make the dough and bake in the morning. Yep Stone in a hot oven, I steam it with an old pie tin driping water into a cast iron pan works pretty well. Bakes typicall run 500 down to 450 when the bread is in and down to around 400 at 12 minutes or so with a rotation at 20 and finish baking for 20-25 or more depending on the size of the rounds. I've been playing with all that stuff. It was just coincidental that I noticed that when I start my preferment and let it go for about 5 hours instead of 10 that I get a much better crust.  I really suspect the yeast has consumed most of the sugars but I haven't figured out what to do about it yet. My leavin is really strong and healthy. I could probably start the preferment for about 3 hours and retard it over night but I am lazy and forgetful when it comes to that. I like to just mix it up and go to bed and make dough in the morning.  Love the north country!

arlo's picture
arlo

Hello from Lansing. Sounds like your a pretty advanced baker!


Welcome to the best spot on the web for bread baking! Enjoy your stay!

SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

I'm not sure about that experienced yes with lots of trials and errors but I keep trying. Thanks for the welcome.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Sort of.  Clare Mi. checking in here.  I bake about 500 loaves a year, mostly yeasted breads, some SD.  I too have been tossing around the WFO idea for a few years now.  Who knows, maybe this year.


Mike

SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

Mike, 500 is impressive to me at least. I probably bake about 100-150 I typically take the summer off but it is bread baking season again! If I had that oven outside... I'm building a guitar at the moment and trying to focus on finishing one project before starting the next but a WFO is in my future just not sure what year. I have the go ahead as long as we redo the back yard. It would be fun to have someone half way close to walk through it with.


Scott

EdY MI's picture
EdY MI

Hello from just outside Detroit. Always nice to hear from another bread baking enthusiast in Michigan. Looking forward to pics of some of your breads.


Ed

SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture
SpartanArtisanW...

Ed, I hope to get some up eventually, funny thing happened on Saturday, my 10 year old shaped one of the loaves and got a better (if mis-shaped) bloom than I did. Same dough same bake better looking loaf and she was man-handling the thing. I wish I had gotten pictures of that. Maybe hers was the first one in the oven???


Scott

larryguy's picture
larryguy

Looks like a few from Mi just came on the other day looking at mixer, post on Bosch


If I get one I'll have to try my luck on bread


I plan on going to GR Sat. to look at them first hand.