The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sometimes It’s Better To Be Lucky Than Good

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GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Sometimes It’s Better To Be Lucky Than Good

This is true in bread baking, of course.  We are all more or less methodical, trying to get everything just right.   But everything is never just right.  Then, something inexplicably wonderful happens and the best bread ever known comes out of your oven.  And it’s either because you’re amazingly skillful, or pixies, leprechauns, angels or karma paid a visit.  In my case, I would bet it’s pixies.

The same is true in photography (that’s why they’re called “pixels”). 

Yesterday was a lucky day both for bread and photography.

The bread was Hamelman’s Five Grain Levain, a bread I’ve made 5 or 6 times.   This time I used real cracked rye—as called for in the formula—instead of the cracked wheat I’d been using.  And I scaled the dough into six mini-batards (or short, chubby baguettes).  They came out spectacularly well—crust, crumb, ears, spring, flavor.

Then, of course, I had to capture them on camera.  So I pulled out my new underwater camera, placed the cooling loaves in the sunny dining room, and … PIXIES!!

The shots below are in more ordinary light, but still nice.

May luck visit you all.

Glenn

Comments

linder's picture
linder

Glenn,

The Force was certainly with you!  Those breads are gorgeous and I'll bet they taste even better than they look.  Let the pixies work their magic!  Nicely done.

Can you send them my way?  I could use some baguette pixies.

Linda

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

If you have the latest Chrome browser, there is an "upload pixies" option on the pulldown menu called "magic".

Thanks for the comments.  Yes, the breads tasted supernaturally good.

Glenn

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Very very nice, Glenn.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Glenn

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Glen,

So I am curious as to how the cracked rye changed the flavor in your opinion compared to your use of cracked wheat....I imagine it added a new dimension of flavor since rye has such a distinctive flavor and I imagine it effected the fermenting too.  These sure did turn out nicely and I love the shape and size :-)

Thanks for the post and photos and pixies,

Janet

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

The cracked rye had a subtle influence on the flavor, making it a bit sourer and, of course, rye-ier.  But not a major difference.  As to fermentation, I've always found this formula to provide a good airy crumb and substantial oven spring.  I didn't notice this batch acting differently.  It is also a very forgiving formula: these loaves were proofed, all 6 together, in our cool (50-ish) garage, but baked in two batches about 45 minutes apart (with the second batch remaining in the cool garage while the first batch baked and the stone reheated); the first batch proofed two hours, the second 2 3/4.  Yet both batches acted as if they were "properly" proofed--pixies?

Thanks for the comments.

Glenn 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the reply.  Interesting observations.  Nice to know the grains can be mixed and matched with more or less the same results.  I am grateful that most breads/doughs are forgiving :-)

 Also interesting that there wasn't much difference in your loaves that were proofed longer....I imagine there would have been a different outcome if the temps had been in the 80°s....  I would guess that 45 minutes isn't long enough to make a huge difference in flavor so it does make sense...

Always something new to discover :-)

Janet

evonlim's picture
evonlim

6 beautiful batards.. enhanced by right amount of sunlight. picture perfect!! of course the crumbs looks delicious with all the grains well distributed. yum... nom nom nom

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Glenn

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

means "the careful application of learned skills" in this case.  Very nicely done, Glenn.  Lovely breads.

Paul

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I'll admit I'm pretty good sometimes.  Just lucky that way.

Thanks.

Glenn

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

David to try and top these and tasty as all get out I;m guessing too.  Your new camera has seen bread before or you have read the operation book well.  I can't think of better picture you have taken - of bread anyway.  Just think how good those batard  pictures would have been underwater with the camera in its real element:-)    The bread might have suffered but the pictures..........

Very Nice Baking Glenn.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I'm confident that David's success is due in part to the fact that he feels no pressure.  He is what's called a clutch baker.

Glenn

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

As Pat is fond of saying, "Sometimes ya gets the bear, ..."

I will consider your theory that "Practice makes pixies." 

David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks, David.  Pat's saying is apt indeed.  I got the bear, and photos to prove it.

Glenn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Glorious! :^)

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

As I've said before, coming from a bread and photo artist like you, that means a lot.

Glenn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thanks so much, Glenn -
My photos are not what I hope them to be - my lack of skill/less than optimal lighting here at home -
maybe a pixie will pay a visit one day?
And I wouldn't rule out adding fairy dust as an ingredient for my next bake!
:^) breadsong

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I must say the pixies must be scared off by the cold we are having, so far no pixies have shown up here! They could come I like Pixies, in fact I was a pixie in Guides and Brownies both!

The new camera takes wonderful pictures as well, so maybe the pixies were there when it was made, I sometimes think that is the way of it, some camera's just take better pictures than others, and they can be the same camera from the same manufacturing lot! Can't figure that out!

 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

There are a lot of things I can't figure out, and I'm happy to attribute them to magic.

Thanks for the cpomment.

Glenn

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

What great pictures and beautiful breads, Glenn.  What's this about a drop-down menu in the newest Google Chrome?  Gotta check it out.  I love your mini-loaves and would like to bake the same, as I usually end up freezing half of my boules and sometimes the batards as well.  Now did you shape, proof, and bake all six at once?   Did you leave some in the fridge to retard?  I have only one oven and one stone, as well as limited rising baskets, so I'm figuring out how to do this.  Thanks!

Joy

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Joy--

I have the same capacity problem.  As note above, I proofed all six loaves in the 50 degree garage en couche, and baked the first three while the second three continued at a cool proof.  When the steam pan was removed for the first batch, I put it on a low burner on the stove to stay hot.  When the first batch was done, I re-heated the stone and steam pan in the oven for about 15 minutes.  So the second batch proofed about 45 minutes longer than the first, but all six seem properly proofed.  Could do the same with refrigerator proofing.

I don't think that approach would work with all doughs, but it worked well with this one.

Glenn

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Sounds like a very workable plan.  I have made Hamelman's 5-grain with rye starter levain and can easily try the 5-grain with "white" starter as well.  I'll keep you posted.  Love those loaves!  And, I might add, those are beautiful ears--and from a steam pan.  I've resorted to baking in my La Cloche to achieve those; my "steam pan" technique must be lacking, even with a cast iron pan.  Wonder if I should put the steam pan above instead of below the baking stone?

Joy