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 

universalbread's picture
universalbread

Hello Phil, great job, great photos. Jeremy Shapiro invited me from our common page on Facebbook (same name) to discover your bread and process. where are you from exactly? have you your own bakery? I agree, wholly fresh milled flour is the only real interesting ‘bunch of grapes’ for the baker. We have engaged in France a real great enquiry abt what exactly flour means. For a long time flour was flour and no one baker was really interesting to go further. We have discovered how the flour-milling impact on the quality of the flour and most of everything, the choice of seeds. Azelia Torres started this same enquiry in UK and we will learn a lot abt that. Most of the allergies people have got from gluten are solve using ancient seeds, grindstone flour, sourdough with really long fermentation. So we can really make the difference now between flour and flour, bread and bread. A nice and beautiful bread is not necessary a good bread for health. A baker can't be a trusting and blunt artisan anymore. It sounds you are one of these new experts of bread, providing the daily bread of Life. Nice to meet you

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks universalbread,

My thoughts about bread and flour have changed completely since I have started milling my own flour. In the past I would but a bag of flour without much interest or thought of where the grain was grown or how it was milled. I didn't think of things like  --  How was the growing season? What breed of wheat was grown? What grains have they mixed to produce the flour? When was it milled? How long has it aged for? How was it milled? .... etc

... milling my own flour adds another level to the flavour, quality and health benefits of the bread I produce for my family and friends.

I am just baking at home at this stage in Brisbane, Australia ... I have slighlty bigger plans, but they are some way off yet :) White winter wheat is the predominate crop grown here and it produces lovely breads. There are quite a few Biodynamic/organic farms and mills so getting access to quality grain is made relatively easy. I often use spelt and rye in my baking as well.

I do feel sad that something as simple and honest as a loaf of bread has been transformed into something that brings so much discomfort and illness to people. I hope we can turn this around.

Nice to meet you too

Cheers,
Phil

universalbread's picture
universalbread

Thanks Phil. Nice to meet a Home Bread baker. I think its not so common in the world nowdays. One of the most interesting bakers we have in France, Benoit Fradette, From Quebec and now breadbaking in Aix-en-Provence, started bread baking and selling his bread at home. he his now a chef. maybe an exemple for you. if you come to France, have a visit to his lovely bakery. you will enjoy his art baking.

el's picture
el

hi phil

i have been doing some research on the net to find grain suppliers in brisbane and your blog came up. i have not yet bought a mill and am completely new to the bread making game but am keen to purchase a mill and find a grain supplier to enable me to start making my own bread.

myself and my 2 year old son are intolerant to wheat and to a lesser extent other glutenous grains and i would love to see the difference if i were to make fresh bread myself. i have become more intolerant with my current (second) pregnancy and recently saw a nutritionist who buys and mills her own grain. she is originally from quebec and said when she first came to australia and tried to bake with already ground flour her family and her couldn't stomach it and could taste the rancidity in the flour. i didn't realise until researching this more, the structure of grains and how they are much more beneficial when freshly ground. this nutritionist is fortunate to have a group of people she buys in bulk with from an elderly farmer west of toowoomba. he grows a red winter wheat (among other things) and they buy a tonne from him once a year and divy it up and freeze it. he doesn't sell it commercially, only to people he knows.

i notice that you said there are quite a few organic/byodynamic farms and mills that you access your grains from around brisbane. are there any you could recommend to me? the only local supplier i know of is kialla and i couldn't discern from their website if they have the appropriate grains for baking breads.

also, what mill do you use? i saw on another site someone had recommended a german electric mill by schnitzer called "grano", have you heard of this one? what mill would you recommend? i know nothing about mills.

i would also appreciate any advice you could give me on other ingredients/equipment (eg. fresh yeast) that i will need to source. once i know the basics and source what i need, i think i'll be able to bake well as i am an experienced home cook and love being creative in the kitchen. i just have to get my head around the logistics of setting everything up to enable me to get started!

btw - i loved hearing about the food festival you baked at out west, i'd love to make it to the next one. 

thanks for your inspiring blog!

el

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi el,

It will be a big jump to start milling and learning to bake all at once :)

Peter Reinhart has a book on baking with wholegrains that may be worthwhile sourcing before you start spending a lot of money on mills ... A good way to see how the breadmaking can fit into your schedule and daily life.

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Reinharts-Whole-Grain-Breads/dp/1580087590

It might also be worthwhile finding out how intolerant you are to wheat before jumping right in? Could your nutritionist bake you something to see how well it sits with you?

 www.skippygrainmills.com.au/ is a great place to start looking at grain mills in Australia. My father bought a small Hawos mill from them which he is very happy with. He uses a bread machine to bake his bread on a weekly basis.

ok ...grains ...

The kialla grains are organic and great quality. You can purchase them easily through health food shops in Brisbane.

www.wrayorganic.com.au/

www.flannerys.com.au/

I prefer Four Leaf milling grain from South Australia and purchase it through fitness products in 20kg bags.

www.fitnessproducts.com.au

 

Hope this helps somewhat and best of luck with your endeavours ... Let me know if i can assist in any other way.

Cheers,
Phil

el's picture
el

hi phil

thanks for your speedy reply and for all of the info, it will be a great help!

mine and my son's intolerances aren't that bad that we can't eat products with wheat/gluten, they just build up at different times and i have to go through phases where i abstain or eat only a small amount and lean more towards spelt or rye.  so, i should be able to try out the wheat and then perhaps experiment with blends of other grains if a pure wheat loaf is too hard to digest. there is a ginger ensyme that can be put into wheat loaves that helps make them easier to digest and it seems to work for me so i may even be able to source that and give it a go. 

i wasn't sure about getting grain from SA as the nutritionist had mentioned the grain grown down there wasn't the harder type that you need for bread making. do you use a softer grain or have you found a harder grain from there? or do you make a blend? how do you store your 20kg bags of grain? was wondering if i should freeze or store in steel tubs. the nutritionist says as she gets a bulk lot once a year, she freezes but she has friends that put them in steel tubs and use a candle at the top to remove moisture - not sure exactly where/how you place and burn the candle?

with the kialla grains - which ones have you used? their organic wheat grain says it can be added to many baked goods if it is pre-cooked. what does this mean? i've seen that some grains need soaking too, do you have grains that you soak to use for baking? have you bought their oat groats.? was thinking i'd like to roll my own oats too.

anyway, thanks again for all of your advice, i'll keep researching. i'm not in a huge hurry as it will be a little while after i've had my second bub and settled back in to a routine that i'll be back in the kitchen baking regularly. as i'm a stay at home mum i do find a bit of time to bake though so i am looking forward to it!

cheers

el

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi el,

Glad your intolerance is not too full blown. My suggestion would be to look  in to Peter Reinhart's book for baking with whole-grains. He makes very good use of soakers which will aid in the digestion of the bread. I personally am hesitant to eat wholegrain breads that have been raised quickly with bakers yeast. I think either a sourdough process or long soaking of the flour is really necessary.

That's correct, the grain grown in South Australia is not as strong and its for that reason that I use it. The Four Leaf milling grain/flour has plenty of strength for breads and a much nicer texture and flavour than the harder wheat grown in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland. I think a mixture of Kialla grains and Four Leaf grains will give you a lofty loaf with a nice flavour balance.

Yep, the standard Kialla wheat grain is perfect for milling. You can soak or boil the grains and then add them to all kinds of things ... stews, bread doughs etc.

All the best,
Phil 

universalbread's picture
universalbread

amazing photos you did and do.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you,

Glad you enjoyed them :)

Cheers,
Phil