The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Autumn baking - Fresh bread for friends

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Autumn baking - Fresh bread for friends

Mornings appear a little darker here after we quietly slipped into autumn with little fanfare or apparent change in day-to-day weather. Both Nat and I have been waiting so impatiently for the cool change of a winter’s day. And although we don’t get the biting cold and snow here in Brisbane, it will make such a refreshing change from the sticky humid weather of late.

While initially my baking centred on our home life, there has been an increasing amount of bread being baked for friends. And with each bake I am becoming less and less interested in baking with white flour. For me, one of the most exciting aspects of these bakes has been the opportunity to bake bread for our friends using wholly fresh milled flour.

Saturday was an example of one of these baking days … a bake day that started a few nights earlier. The bake list for Saturday included a batch of Wholewheat banana and choc-chip muffins, Desem Wholewheat x 2, Country Bread x 2, Walnut and Sage Wholewheat x 2 and a Vollkornbrot.

For our desem bread this week I wanted to use the white wheat fresh from my aunt’s farm near Dalby. This meant spending an evening during the week sorting through a kilogram of wheat picking out impurities and non-wheat material. My eyes were certainly a little blurry by the end of this process.

 

 

Something I have noticed is the correlation between the how well planned a bake is and the amount of mess I seemingly generate. Let’s just say I am rapidly improving on both counts! And as seems to be my usual process, Friday afternoon was spent milling, sifting, soaking, building starters and then cleaning up. The desem dough was soaked overnight with the salt added ready for mixing first thing in the morning.

When Saturday arrived it felt hot and humid though Nat assures me it wasn’t that bad. The morning sun poured through our kitchen window bumping up the temperatures into the high 20s by breakfast time. This was going to be fast paced day. I mixed the doughs cool but found everything fermented quicker than normal and it was safer to prove the shaped bread in the fridge for and hour or so before baking. My oven is still proving to be a bottle neck in these situations.

It has been sometime since we have cut a loaf still warm from the oven and stopped for lunch to enjoy it. We cut open one of the desem loaves, enjoying one of the best bread experiences we have had in a long time – a simple fresh lunch with many sighs and nods of approval.

By mid afternoon the Vollkornbrot was baking in the slow oven while friends arrived to collect cooling breads. With the kitchen clean, we stopped, sat outside, enjoyed a cup of tea and watched the world race around us for a change.

Cheers,
Phil

 

 

 

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Phil,

Our days are getting warmer and soon we will have your heat but without the humidity.  I don't look forward to the extra heat generated by baking.  It has been wonderful to bake in cold weather.  If you find you need help keeping your starter and doughs warm....I  have a great design for a proofing box  :-)  It is working splendidly - beyond my expectations even!

I see you finally disassembled your mill :-)  Pretty easy eh!  I love the simplicity.

Welcome to the 'dark' side.  I am just waiting to read about you dropping the sifting of your grains next.  People here LOVE the entire whole grain breads I give them.  (I too bake mostly for friends and neighbors now.    In fact, I have people penciled in all week as to who gets what loaf on which day.....)

Your loaves and muffins all look delicious!  I know well about oven time. The other day mine stayed on for 12  hours.  In fact,  it automatically turned itself off and I panicked for a moment thinking I had killed it.  A huge relief to know it is a safety mechanism.

As always, I love your photos :-)

Thanks for the post and the weather report!

Janet

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Janet,

Yeah the mill had to come apart after I jammed it when running some grains through it ... not sure what happened buts it's all good now :)

The only breads that contained sifted flour were the country breads ... and even they contain wholegrain spelt so the sifting is a very small part of my baking now. It's nice to have a lighter bread though ... and the sifted bran is really useful for dusting peels and baskets ... win win!

Even though I am baking larger quantities our power bill is continuing to drop as I manage the bakes better. A bigger oven or wood-fired oven is the dream ... patience :) ... and so far really positive feedback on the bread ... so that's nice.

Cheers,
Phil

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to where we're leaving -5 months of 60's and 70's.  It hit 82 F last week and will soon be over 100 F every day for months and months. It's not humid until the monsoons come though. They don't hit until July and are gone by September.  One year there was no monsoon so we had 150 days in a row over 100 F that year.  Got to 117 -120 F pretty regular then.  What a relief.  I'm going to take up pool pump fixing/replacing, while it's still cool, this or next week to get ready for the hell that's coming.   I'm taking my mini oven outside on the patio for a summer of pan loaf baking - maybe I'll perfect the Vollkornbrot this summer - if the mini doesn't self combust.  No cooking is allowed in doors in the summer.   It's just not done.   The house might burn down.  Thank God for the mini oven.  Rustic rules when it comes to sifting.  Janet's right you know.  That sifting's got to go sometime :-)  Don't know how you do it .  It will be kite flying season pretty soon. 

Loved your bread and post as usual.  Cheers

PiPs's picture
PiPs

We love the winter ... I know by the end I will be saying the opposite ... but I long for the cooler weather. Yeah, I feel a bit sheepish when the kitchen is blazing hot and I have the oven cranked ... doesn't seem the smartest :)

Oh the sifting ... nup, not going to give it up. I love the breads with sifted wheat ... and I love the wholegrains breads too. Give me choices thanks :)

Cheers,
Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Phil,

Everything is going the other way over here, of course.   It's still not warm of course, but it's been great to have plenty of  sunshine and it could be a lot colder too.

Wonderful breads as always.   The desem with freshly-milled wholegrain is what I'd like to be doing, but it won't fit my schedule just now.   I'm thinking you feel the same about wood-fired ovens?

All good wishes

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Andy,

The desem is a beautifully simple bread. Yes, the wood-fired oven doesn't quite fit into my life yet .... It's always in the back of my mind though :) ... patience ...

Nice to see all your fine baking as well.

Cheers,
Phil

scottsourdough's picture
scottsourdough

Just some quick questions about your process:

Is it true you pre-soak all of your flour (that's not going into starter)? And add the salt for this soak? Did you pick this up because of using fresh-milled flour, or had you been doing it before? And you leave it at room temperature?

The science behind autolysing and enzyme and gluten development can be confusing...just curious why you do the process like you do.

As always, amazing photos!

 

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi scottsourdough,

I often alter the process depending on things like schedules, weather and styles of bread. For the wholewheat breads I find the fresh milled flours very thirsty so I try and give the flour as much "wet time" as possible. So if the weather is cool I will do an extended autolyse overnight mixing all the flour (minus the starter) with cold water and salt. This helps soften the bran and will give the gluten development a bit of a head start. I believe their are some other health reasons for soaking the flour but I am at a loss to remeber them right now. Sometimes if the weather is hotter I may do a short 3-4 hours starter build and autolyse the remaining flour for that amount of time without the salt. I will mix it with cold water from the fridge and it will slowly reach room temperature around the time the starter is ready. The sifted wheat breads I will autolyse for one hour without the salt.

Hope this makes sense and thanks for questions.

Cheers,
Phil

scottsourdough's picture
scottsourdough

Thanks for the answers!

varda's picture
varda

You have a wheat farmer in the family.   How nice.   All your breads look great.   Are you selling your bread, or giving it away?    -Varda

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Varda,

Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise to me ... I thought they were cattle farmers ... was oblivious :)

I am asking just a few dollars for a loaf. Just to cover cost of ingredients ... this is in no way a money making venture :)

Cheers,
Phil

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Farm fresh wheat, what could possibly be better?  As always, lovely loaves and gorgeous photos.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks flourchild,

There is something special about picking through the fresh wheat ... it connects you to where it came from ... and it was not from a supermarket!

Cheers,
Phil

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

and ingredients, Pip!  Thanks for sharing.

Sylvia

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Sylvia,

It's a pleasure to share them.

Cheers,
Phil

sweetbird's picture
sweetbird

These loaves are beautiful to look at, as yours always are. It's a privilege to get a look "behind the scenes" and to see the special skill and care that went into making them. And the homegrown, hand-sorted grain...!! Your friends and family are fortunate, as they obviously know. Thank you for another great post, Phil.

All the best,  Janie

P.S., is the health benefit to soaking grains or flour that it begins the digestion process? i.e., activates the enzymes?

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Janie,

It is pretty special to use the grain grown by my Aunt ... and even better is that its bakes beautifully and tastes great!

I think the soaking also has some benefits with regards to phytic acid and making nutrients available ... but I have no source for these "facts" just remember reading it somewhere.

Cheers,
Phil 

Franko's picture
Franko

That's a good days baking  with superb results to show for it Phil! It's a good feeling to sit down finally after a successful day of baking and enjoy the fact that you've created something that's nourishing, delicious and attractive with your own two hands, something many folks never have the privilege of knowing. Your family and friends are very fortunate to have someone with your dedication to the craft bake for them. As for the mess of baking, I've long thought if I don't end up with a certain degree of kitchen chaos at the end of the day that I wasn't trying hard enough with the task at hand.

Best Wishes,

Franko 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Franko,

I think your right, it really is the best feeling to see results at the end of a busy day and hand them over to appreciative people. I think back to mess I used to make when I first started baking ... hilarious! Flour and bits of dough everywhere. In comparison my baking is now pretty clean and clinical :)

Good to hear from you.

Cheers,
Phil 

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice baking Phil. Great photos, as always. What's that vacuum cleaner-looking-thingamajig on the bottom right next to the millstone? 

Syd

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Syd,

That's a dyson vacuum cleaner ... my best friend after a day of milling and baking. Has some great nozzles which help give the mill a good clean too!

Cheers,
Phil