The Fresh Loaf

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Last and First Loaves

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Franko's picture
Franko

Last and First Loaves

 

In the first week of October we began a complete renovation of our kitchen with the idea that should the local real estate scene ever return to a seller's market, an up to date kitchen would be necessary if we wanted to list the house and draw acceptable offers for it. The other side of the coin was that if we opted to stay put, at least we'd have a kitchen that would serve us well for the next 10 to 15 years. The reno took just a shade over 4 weeks to finish, the end result we feel was well worth the inconvenience of doing without a kitchen for what seemed a very long month.

 Before we sold the old oven I managed to get one last bake in to tide me over for at least some of the time while the renos were in progress. Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough from “Bread”, my go to loaf of late, produced two good loaves for me and I was happy to see the old oven go out on a high note of sorts. I love the classic flavour of this bread with it's subtle rye and sour notes giving it just the right flavour to enjoy as Hamelman suggests, everyday.

 That oven turned out a lot of bread, pastries and cakes over the years and had always preformed reliably for my wife and I so I was a little sorry to see it go...but only just a little. The new oven we selected is from the same Sears Kenmore line as the previous one but with a convection function and a few other whistles and bells included that the old one didn't have. Besides having convection, one of the features this oven has is a top range of 550F/287C whereas the old one topped out at 500F/260C. For pizza and some breads I like having the option of using the 500F+ temps for a short period to maximize the jump and/or for crust colouration.

 The very first item baked in the new oven was a pizza made from approx. 220-250 grams of dough that went in at 525F, lowered to 460F and baked in convection mode. The pie baked off in just under 9.5 minutes coming out with a little char around the edges but leaving the bottom crust an even coloured light brown, something I rarely managed in the old oven and never in less than 10 minutes.

This looks promising I thought, but knew I'd have to keep a close eye on things until I became familiar with this much stronger oven.

A few days and feedings later my rye starter had come back to life after it's month long hibernation and  put to work making a levain for another loaf of Vermont Sour. As with the pizza I started the bake at 525F but kept it going for the first 10 minutes (with steam) before lowering the heat to 440F with convection on and removing the steam tray. I stayed in the kitchen for the entire time monitoring the bake as it progressed and it's a good thing I did. The loaf coloured up rapidly, probably 5-10 minutes faster than what I'm used to. I found I had to lower the heat down to 400F and change it's position several times to get an even colour during the final 10 minutes while the internal temp of the loaf came up to 210F. In total the entire bake time came to 40 minutes for the 1,050 gram loaf, roughly the same time it took the old oven to do at a steady average temperature of 460-470F.

 

For the next bake I wanted to try something different and settled on Hamelman's Potato & Roasted Onion Bread from “Bread”, one I've been meaning to make but hadn't gotten around to yet. It seems I've been missing out on a real treat for all this time. The bread is a joy to eat, very moist for a lean bread and with great flavour from the roasted potatoes, and with roasted leeks that I substituted for the onions. I've made two of these loaves in the boule shape so far, attempting to get the Fendu style loaves shown in photo # 12 of “Bread” with no success. I've come to the conclusion that the doughs I've made are too large for the brotform I have. Next time I'll try it in my large banneton and hopefully the extra room will allow the crease to open up the way it should.

Earlier in the week I'd made some Maple and Black Pepper cured bacon that I thought would go nicely with toasted Potato Leek Bread in a BLT....

and it turns out I was right! 

The recipe below is my adaptation of Jeffrey Hamelman's Potato Bread with Onions -Pg- 120 of “Bread A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes 

Link to Procedure *Here* 

 

There is another bread that I've made recently but I think I'll save it for another post, this ones become an epic. 

Cheers to all and a very happy Thanksgiving Day to all my fellow TFL members in the US

Franko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Franko,
Wow, what beautiful breads and pizza...!
We are all witness to the beautiful baking your old oven has produced...it must have been bittersweet seeing it go;
but now you have your new oven and it's also doing a wonderful job.
It helps that the ovens have such high-quality dough to work with!  :^)
Your new kitchen looks great and I wish you much happiness working in your new space.
:^) breadsong

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi breadsong,

Many thanks for all your kind words on the breads and the kitchen as well. The old oven went to live with my cousin who was the one who did the overall design of the kitchen. He tells me it's doing very well and I can come and visit it anytime I want. :^) Seriously though the new one is great to work with and I expect it will be every bit as reliable as it's predecessor. 

Thanks again breadsong!

Franko

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely, every one them. Congrats on your new kitchen, looks elegant! The oven is nice! Well done on the choice.

Khalid

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Khalid,

Thank you my friend, greatly appreciated. For the first few days my wife and I almost felt out of place when we were in the new kitchen. Somehow it seemed too nice for us...if that makes any sense. We got over that pretty quick though.

How are doing Khalid? Not too much discomfort with your back I hope. Take it easy and you'll be up and baking in no time.

Best wishes,

Franko 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Healing from a spinal fusion is a long road, it turns out, and involves coping with post surgery pain. 

I'm hoping to get back to baking soon, but that is something my back condition will have to dictate.

Khalid

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Franko,

Nice breads and nice kitchen!  

We re-did our kitchen about 14 years ago and that was enough for me in this life time!  It was worth it but a challenge too especially since I had 3 young children at the time that required regular meals....We are going to replace the counter tops in the next couple of months - maybe replace a couple of the cabinet doors that have been water damaged but I told my husband NO remodel...

I have been adjusting to a convection oven too.  I finally have a base line temp. to follow for the different types of breads I bake and have found that steaming works best if I turn the heat off while the steam is in the oven....If the oven is running the steam just shoots right on up the vent and is gone.  It does bake more quickly than my old oven and my electricity bills show the difference....a nice benefit.

I look forward to seeing more of your breads made in your new oven :-)

Janet

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Janet,

I couldn't agree more, kitchen renos are not something I'd want to go through again. Can't imagine what it must have been like for you trying to feed your family 3 or more times a day. I had enough difficulty feeding myself one full meal a day. My wife being vegetarian did fine by steaming veg and rice noodles in the micro, whereas my meals take a bit more effort than that. The main criteria I had with getting a convection oven is that I had to be able to bake with or without it if I wanted. This oven has 2 bake modes, regular and convection, so once the steam phase of the bake is over I just switch over to convection. No problems so far doing it that way.

Good to hear from you Janet and thank you for the compliments on the breads and kitchen.

All the best,

Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Beautiful kitchen remodel and appliances.  Wow, you ripped it all out and did one fine job of replacing it all plus.  I can just imagine how happy you are baking away in your new oven and everything all shiny and brand new.  

Your loaves look beautiful and delicious.  The extra high 550 sure makes for a nicely baked pizza and it looks delicious...even though I couldn't eat a bite right now,  I ate at least seven, different varieties of pizza tonight 'lol' not to mention all the other food.  It was my grandson's 19th B-day, and I just wanted to stop by to congratulate you on the lovely new kitchen, before dropping off into bed.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

Sylvia

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Sylvia,

Always a pleasure to have you stop by. Seven different kinds of pizza? Sounds like my kind of party! :^) Both of us are really enjoying the new space and appliances but I think I'm a bit more enthusiastic about it all than Marie, or maybe I just show it more. So what wonderful things do you have planned for tomorrows feast, a turkey roasted in the WFO perhaps? Whatever you make I know it will be delicious. Have a good one tomorrow Sylvia.

Cheers,

Franko

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

:) I'm envious! Beautiful loaves of bread and a renovated, spiffy kitchen.

Happy thanksgiving, and I wish you years of happiness with your new oven.

Zita 

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Zita, and thanks so much for your compliments and good wishes. Very kind of you indeed!

All the best, and have a great feast tomorrow.

Franko

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

I'm sure you must be really enjoying your new kitchen, knowing how much pleasure you get from all things food.   It looks like a great place to spend your time.   The latter breads suggest you have a great new oven...the pizza looks fab, but the potato and leek bread has the edge for me.   More of the same really my friend.   Great bread from the old oven, and now, from the new one too.

All good wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

"really enjoying your new kitchen" You got that right my friend! Very easy to keep clean and more efficient use of the space as well.

We even had a flour bin built in right below my work station which is super handy, and Marie is thrilled she doesn't have a big plastic tote full of various flours sitting off in one corner anymore.

If I'm ever able to get my micro bakery going when I retire, the Roasted Potato Bread of some variation will be one I'll make for sure. It's one of the nicest new breads I've tried in a while, with lovely texture and mouth feel for such a lean formula.

Many thanks for your very generous comments Andy!

All the best,

Franko 

varda's picture
varda

in both old kitchen and new.    In particular I love the lighting you chose for your new kitchen.   I am struck by how fabulous your Vermont Sourdoughs look in both last and first bakes.   Here's to lots of great baking to come.   -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Varda....or is it Ms Miller ? :^)

So cool you're milling your own flour now Varda, I'll be following your experiences with the process closely for when I'm able to do the same...next year I hope.

The lighting in the old kitchen was always a sore spot with me. We decided to solve the problem by having lots of lighting put in, particularly for the counter-tops. The valance lighting is LED on a dimmer and it's the light we find ourselves using most often when we're preparing something. Very nice light compared to halogen and quite  low energy draw as well. Super nice compliments on the Vermont Sours, thank you Varda!

Cheers,

Franko

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Breads and kitchen, both!

Paul

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Paul!

It's nice to have some normalcy back in our lives now that it's all done.

Franko

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

know it, the new oven will make you forget Old Betsy!  Beautiful baking all the way around and the smoked bacon isn't bad either.  Love your remodel and surprised it only took a month :-)

Happy Baking

 

Franko's picture
Franko

Old Betsy who? Aah yes, I remember her vaguely. 

Thanks dabrownman, your kind comments are greatly appreciated.

All the best,

Franko

isand66's picture
isand66

What beautiful looking breads!  I am jealous over you new kitchen as well!  I live your scoring on the boule to.

have a great turkey day.

regards

Ian

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Ian,

The scoring pattern on the boule is one I've done a few times before but I think this one is the most successful to date. It's always good to get some feedback, pro or con, on these things so I appreciate you stopping by and letting me know. I was relieved to hear you made it through Sandy safe and sound, and something more to be thankful for. 

All the best Ian,

Franko

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hey Franko,

Both your new kitchen and the baking produced in it look great ... 

Nice to see you baking again :)

Cheers,
Phil 

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Phil!

It's good to get back to home baking again, no question, but in retrospect it was good to take a forced step back and focus on other things for a while as well. Re-charging from time to time, for me at least, is necessary just to keep fresh and interested.

Hope all is going well with you Phil, great to hear from you.

Franko

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

The quickest kitchen remodel on record -- and a beaut at that!  I thought only The Property Brothers could do remodeling at that speed.  Ours took months, and months.

Beautiful picture perfect breads.

Cheers,

Tom

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Tom,

Other than a couple of cupboard doors that we're waiting for because they weren't cut the right size, it was functional in 4 weeks. We had the contractors all  lined up and scheduled well ahead and lo and behold ...they all showed up on the right day and time. Neither my wife or I have ever gone through one these before so it all seemed normal to us but I have been hearing a few horror stories since. Just lucky I guess.

Thanks for your very generous compliments on the breads and the kitchen.

Best,

Franko