The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An Amateur's Amateur

jonty's picture
jonty

An Amateur's Amateur

Hi to all at this great website

My name is Jonty, and I am a college student too enamored with baking to waste time on my first ever blog on some other topic (ie: indie music, saving the world, angsty stuff).

To introduce myself to anyone who will read this (even if it is only ever me), I got into bread baking (I've been doing other types of baking with chemical leaveners for a while) from watching/reading a great anime/manga called Yakitate! Japan (of which I've found a couple of mentions on this site). I was inspired and eventually decided to give yeasted breads a try.

The first bread I ever tried was actually Erithid's Microwave Bread recipe that was inspired from Yakitate, and it turned out nicely (I'm still planning on trying to give it some filling in the future).

Then, I made the leap and made the Lesson 2 Bread, skipping Lesson 1 because I wanted a sandwich bread (of course, I ended up just eating the bread and not making any sandwiches. Such is life).

After, I made an even bigger jump and decided to try Bagels, using some freshly-bought KA Bread Flour. I made only a half-batch because of my tiny little cookie sheet. I ended up with three pretty good cinnamon-brown sugar bagels (though I think they could have used a bit more of each flavor addition) and three okay garlic-sesame bagels (I now know that bagels should probably be topped with already roasted garlic and not raw after having consumed a couple of fairly sour bagels). This will definitely be in my future again.

Presently, I have taken an even bigger leap to Floyd's ciabatta; it is now sitting on my kitchen counter on its final rise. I realize now that I may have had a little too much confidence as my dough ended up a bit lumpy (I think my autolyse was too dry). Also, I let my poolish sit for quite a while (something like 10-12 hours) because I got bored yesterday afternoon and decided to just make it. I'm not sure if letting a poolish ferment for that long is good or bad, but my dough kind of smells uncomfortably sour. We shall see, I suppose.

Future plans? I definitely want to give Pain Aux Raisins and Cream Cheese Snails a try, as well as Cranberry-Chocolate Sweet Buns, and Steamed Buns. Maybe I'll even try a challah or (gasp) my own sourdough starter? Well, sourdough is perhaps a bit far away from my reach, but I plan on being a diligent student for a while.

Comments

jonty's picture
jonty

Oven spring is the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.

jonty's picture
jonty

Okay, so a couple of things:

The loaves came out really darn thin (I won't be making sandwiches out of these anytime soon), despite the miraculous oven spring I got. I think maybe my hydation was a bit on the high side, or perhaps my gluten didn't fully develop because instead of dimpling as Floyd suggested, I actually had to fold my dough over itself on the sides before baking because they were falling of the sides of the pan.

Secondly, the bottom of the loaves were pretty black (read: burnt). Still edible, but unnerving. I suppose the smoke alarms going off should have tipped me off. Maybe I was using too high of an initial temperature? Floyd suggested as high as possible for his Daily Bread, so I did that, and my oven gave me a max of 550 degrees. Too high? In addition, my black-bottomed loaves took me on two adventures: getting the damn things off of the sheets (I suppose I should have greased?), and cleaning the sheets. They still have a few battle wounds.

The crumb was actually pretty decent, especially considering the fact that I had those lumps from the autolyse in the dough.

The taste wasn't bad, but perhaps a bit bland (granted, my taste buds may have just been a little numbed from the singed bits). I have yet to eat it with anything yet, though, so I'll stop my judgment there.

All in all, a good, if wobbly, experience.

 

Kate's picture
Kate

Hi Jonty,

Welcome, where are you from? I started my own sourdough starter very early on in my bread baking experience and I love it. It's much easier than it looks and the taste can't be beat! 

jonty's picture
jonty

Hi, Kate.

I'm originally from LA, California but I'm attending Berkeley at the moment.

I'm sure I'll eventually take a stab at a starter, but I don't think living in a tiny apartment with three other roommates while taking classes is the best environment to take on something like that. I don't think I even have the room/time to take care of a turtle. 

Kate's picture
Kate

I went to Berkeley, too. =) At one point I had a 1 bedroom tiny apartment I shared with one other person - you probably couldn't even FIT a turtle in there. At another point I lived in a massive co-op and there was always the worry there was pot in the butter or something nasty living on the counter. But good for you for baking! I don't think I ever even bought flour in college...

 

You have an interesting name, which is why I asked.  

jonty's picture
jonty

Ah, the co-ops. Something I am much too scared to try.

About my name: ny birth name is Jonathan, and I saw the nickname on a show called Manor House (so, I'm pretty sure the nickname is of British origin). I tried to introduce Jonty in High School, but no go. I reintroduced it in college and it finally stuck.

Yes, I realize that making up your own nickname is kind of...self-indulgent.

Kate's picture
Kate

I lived in Cloyne and it was NUTS. We had people who would show up to move in, walk up to their room and walk right out and not come back. We called them "scream and runs." But it was really, really fun. Parties ALL the time, 150 people wandering around to hang out with, a hot tub to start trouble in... If you can get past the filth and the drunken debauchery it is really a great place. =)