The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from the Pacific Northwest!

PNWBaker's picture
PNWBaker

Hello from the Pacific Northwest!

I discovered this site a few days ago, and today I made my first loaf of bread! I'm so happy I found this site. I bake a lot but I've never made a 'true' bread (I'm excluding pumpkin breads and non-knead, non-yeast breads). But because of this site I made my first loaf of 'actual' bread! It's very exciting and makes me feel very accomplished. I tried using a Santoku for the scoring, thinking that it was a thin enough blade, but I'll definitely be using a razor blade next time!

I used the Lesson 2 recipe and since I only have bleached flour, I used all KA bread flour. I was a little worried because some of the comments noted that using all bread flour meant it was harder to knead properly, but I didn't have any problems with it. For future reference though, is it usual for breads to combine flours such as AP and bread flour rather than just using one type?

 

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

Welcome!  It's nice to see another baker up here so we can share experiences.  What part of the PNW are you in?  I'm on one of the islands in Puget Sound, an hour or so north of Seattle.

 

Anyway, kneading with bread flour is normally not a big deal, although it can take longer to get an acceptable gluten level than dough made with AP flour.  If you make dough with lower water/hydration levels, it can also be harder to physically knead, since it is more elastic due to the stronger gluten chains.

 

Regarding using one type versus multiple flour types - recipes frequently call for multiple flour types due to their different flavor contributions, but not usually because of their impact on dough handling.  There is certainly no problem with mixing flours for that purpose, but there are so many specialty flours out there that it is not usually necessary.    For example, KA all purpose flour is as close as you can come to a mix of bread and AP flour since it has such a high protein content.  New York Bakers sells a ton of flours  specifically formulated to be good for baguettes or for pizza or for bagels, etc.

 

You will definitely have better luck with slashing using a razor blade or a small sharp knife like a tomato knife.  I use a Cutco steak knife - a table knife that has a small sharp serrated blade.  Meanwhile, there is a link on the front page to a great tutorial on slashing put together by one of the TFL members that is really helpful.

 

Good luck!

 

 

brad

sunnspot9's picture
sunnspot9

Another PNWer here, Welcome! Nice looking loaf!

kitcar's picture
kitcar

Nice looking loaf!
Just one more comment re: flours - it all depends how specialized you want to get! What I have found personally is once you get more experienced making your dough / baking, you can pretty much use whatever (wheat) flour mixture you want (Bread, whole wheat, general purpose, a combination of all 3, etc...), as you will just adjust other parts of the process to adjust for it (i.e. add more water, kneed longer or shorter, add more bread flour, etc...). I guess I just like working by feel more than anything :)

Granted if you want to reproduce the exact flavour/texture of a receipe found here, its always best to try and match the ingrediants as close as possible. Anyways, welcome!