The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rinehart's Artisan Breads

margaretsmall's picture

Rinehart's Artisan Breads

I bought three of Peter Rinehart's books, read them avidly, then vowed that they would not just sit on the shelf and provide inspiration. Instead I decided to work my way through the Artisan Breads book. I reckon if I can master all of these recipes ('master' might be too ambitious - let's aim for 'do a reasonable job of them') I just might be able to claim to be a breadmaker.

I've been keeping a diary with some pictures as I've gone on. The first three cunningly evaded the camera. Here is no. 4 'Pain au Levain', made on 6th December 2012.

Now I will be the first to admit that these are hardly wonderful.  Two challenges here - the first was that the dough seemed very wet. I only used 250ml liquid (of whey rather than water as I'd just made some cheese) instead of 312ml as the recipe suggests. The three earlier breads were all too wet for me to handle so I decided to cut the liquid back, but still not enough. The other mishap was baking these rolls on the pizza settling in my oven (I'd just made a pizza and forgot to change it) which I think is why the tops of the rolls are mottled not nicely browned. They did taste OK.

Then there was a break in breadmaking, mainly because our house was being painted. The next effort was on the 17th December which happened to be a significant birthday for me. I baked a 'Neo-Neopolitan Pizza' and a 'San Francisco Sourdough'. The latter used a rye starter which I had already, made from Andrew Whitley's directions. This time, I used 50ml less water, only to find that the dough seemed a bit tight. I made two rolls and a cob. Just to jazz the cob up a bit I added walnuts and blue cheese, as suggested by Peter  - here it is, suitably inscribed:

Rather misshappen, let's say rustic. Not sure that the cheese was a good idea, as it melted, leaving blue tinged holes in the bread.  This was also baked on the pizza setting, so the crust is still a little pale. I enjoyed it but my husband, who is not a blue cheese fan, thought the cheese taste was too strong.

That was it for 2012, 2013 starts in the next post.



dabrownman's picture

your bread will eventually improve - I'm guessing dramatically.  Peter likes his wet dough as do many others and his video showing how to handle them properly is top notch works!  Before long your bread will impress that pesky not to too much  blue hubby too:-)

Happy baking

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

If you're not making mistakes, then you're probably not trying hard enough. The trick is to learn from them the first time and not to repeat them. Once you get a little "bread awareness" and confidence under your belt, you'll find that you can catch those mistakes or oversights as they happen and then improvise your way out of trouble. Sometimes you've got to follow the rules and sometimes you have to make new rules on the spot. You'll figure it out.

margaretsmall's picture

Thank you for your encouragement, its nice to be in such a supportive community.

Now, I  wrote up my January breads, only to have the whole thing disappear into cyber space. So here I go again!

After a pleasant Christmas break at the coast (I'm in Australia, so mid-summer) with the family, I returned to breadmaking with enthusiasm. First up, and next in the book, was '50% wholegrain rustic bread'.  After the stretch and fold part, I had a phone call to say our daughter and her family were about to descend upon us. Not sure if her young teenagers would appreciate this experiment, so put the dough into the fridge, where it stayed for 2 days, by which time it was overflowing the basin. After the visitors left, I pulled it out and put the dough into a basin lined with a floured tea towel and left it to rise. After two hours it looked pretty good so I turned it out onto a heated metal tray - disaster! The dough stuck to the cloth and after I peeled it off, it collapsed into a shallow puddle. Not deterred, into the oven at 250oC and baked for 25 minutes.  So relieved to see a good amount of oven spring (due no doubt to the wetter dough) and I thought the almost burnt crust looked appealing. It tasted pretty good too.

So on I went. On 10th January I moved onto the '100% Whole Grain Rustic Bread'. Followed the directions except that I used 24ml less water. Formed them into eight rolls and baked them at 200oc for 20 minutes, after which they seemed not very brown and a bit soft, so I left them in the oven, now turned off (it's very well insulated and keeps the heat) for another 10 minutes. I think they were a bit under proofed, and needed a hotter oven. The texture is somewhat cake-like. Not my best effort.

When I reviewed the recipe the next day I wondered if I'd left out the olive oil.  So on 21st January I made it again, with the oil, and again, less water. I baked it as two rolls of 160gm each (we like big rolls thank you) and a cob.  I baked at 250oC initially, reduced to 200oC after 20 minutes, when I took the rolls out. More oven spring, and I thought they look pretty good. Taste good too.

Now really inspired. Years ago the town where I live was swept by a bagel craze. Every cafe offered bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese, and I loved them. Strangely, they have completely disappeared, but my friend who goes to NY regularly to visit her niece who lives there tells me that this combo is alive and well in NY, and it's the first thing she eats when she arrives. So bagels were next on the list. Not nearly as daunting as I expected. My husband thought they tasted pretty good. My friend said they were a bit fat, but otherwise looked good. I thought so too.

So that took me to 26th January, which happens to be Australia Day, but Peter didn't seem to have any breads which I could call 'Australian'!  No wattleseed, no smoked kangaroo, no macadamia bread. So I turned to 'Everyday 100% whole wheat sandwich bread'. I used some whey as the liquid instead of the milk and water, as I'd made some ricotta the day before. I also mixed it in my breadmaker and didn't do the stretch and fold thing this time.  When I started to weigh the flour I found I only had 13oz wholemeal, so it turned out to be somewhat less than 100% wholemeal - it had 5oz rye, 13oz wholemeal and 10oz white flour. I used the suggested amount of liquid, but as usual ended up adding a good handful of flour so I could finish kneading it by hand.  After the overnight rest I formed it into 4 rolls and a boule.  I then 'forgot' about it and left it to rise for 3 hours, and was afraid it might be overproofed, but no. The temperature, 350oF seemed low since the other wholemeal breads are baked at a higher temperature.  However, I notice that the other sandwich breads are baked at a lower temperature, so perhaps it's because this was intended to be baked in a tin. Therefore it could have been a wetter dough. I started it at 225oC, reduced it after 10 minutes to 200oC 5 minutes, took the rolls out, baked at 180oC for 1o minutes, then another 10 minutes with the oven turned off.  The texture of the crumb was a little denser at the bottom than at the top which suggests to me that if anything it was underproofed. But another good result all the same.

So this, you will be pleased to read, brings me to the end of January. I think my breadmaking skills are improving. For which I give thanks to Peter who deserves the credit for the successes, and is in no way to blame for the failures!







Jmarten's picture

You know that song, things can only get better, well they will believe me. I strongly suggest you visit YouTube and type in, susans French bread. This would be a great place to start to make a very good and easy loaf of bread, of course you don't have to make it into a baguette shape as demonstrated. Even now I have become a confident bread maker, I still use this recipe for ease. This lady (Susan) has other great recipes on her site too, really worth looking at. When I first started making bread I would stick to the recipe rigidly but you soon realise that sometimes you may need more or less liquids, it's a case of getting to know how your dough should feel for the particular bread you are making, I suggest you steer clear of the high hydration recipes for the time being as they are more difficult to handle. I use a Kenwood mixer to do all of my kneading, my rule is 5 mins on a slowish speed the 5 mins at a higher speed.
There is also another great video to view on YouTube, it's Raymond Blanc Kitchen Secrets Bread.

Good luck and don't give up.

margaretsmall's picture

Thanks for pointing these YouTube clips out to me. Nothing like seeing someone actually doing stuff.

So, now to catch up with February's bread - a short month, and even shorter as I don't see myself making any more bread before March 1.

I started the month nurturing the seed culture I started on January 31st. I did something wrong with the amounts I added, so ended up with 10oz instead of 8oz, but no big deal. I had a culture going, made from the Whitley book, but over Xmas it must have rebelled over the lack of attention, as when we eventually returned from holidays there was a layer of white mold floating on the top. Yuck! That one was much wetter than Rinehart's, but at the end of the process I had a nice bubble going on. Celebrated by making another batch of bagels, this time a little overproofed I think, so they were a bit flat, but still delicious. I can't believe that throwing dough into simmering water doesn't kill the yeast, but there it is.

So with a sourdough starter on hand the next effort was 'Soft rye Sandwich'. A bit of a gamble as my husband seems to be somewhat allergic to some commerical sourdoughs, and as well, he's not keen on rye. I followed the recipe as laid down, formed the dough into a long loaf and four rolls, baked it at 225oC for 10 minutes, 00oC for 10 minutes, took the rolls our, baked the loaf for another 15 minutes at 180oC.  Very pleased with both the look and and the taste of these.

Pretty nice eh?

Then I made '100% whole wheat sourdough' which looked and tasted Ok, but a bit sour for my taste. The dough matured in the refrigerator from Monday to thursday, too long.

Next, on February 23rd, the best yet, Peter's famous, and deservedly so 'Struan', what a bread. Delicious, best yet according to my husband.

Maybe not so pretty, but definitely will be made on  a regular basis. But I wasn't finished yet, a couple of days later, a not so successful 'soft White sandwich Loaf'. It looks good -

but somehow.... the crumb is, well, crumbly. A good sandwich has, in my opinion, slices of bread with a bit of body, that will hold together when you bite into them, which hold the filling in place. This one, crumbles when you take a bite. Made good toast thought. Not sure what went wrong, maybe a bit overbaked (didn't record the time this time). Certainly they were nicely risen.

Then last, but by no means least for February, a bit of nonsense - two colour soft rye. Same recipe as earlier this month, but I made it in two halves and added 28gr unsweetened cocoa powder to one.  Only one sort of rye flour available here, sort of intermediate I would say between light and dark. Was feeling a bit weak, so used the breadmaker to knead the dough. Oddly, the dark one somehow didn't knead properly, failed the window pane test, seemed dry, so I added a bit of water, kneaded it by hand. Better. Put the two doughs in ziplock plastic bags in the fridge overnight. Measured off 600gr of each colour, rolled them out and then rolled them up. Did the same with the left-over dough, then cut the little sausage into three rolls.

I would have liked the crust to be a bit browner, and I find the dark dough a bit off-putting to look at, but my husband, as already noted, is not a fan of rye or sour dough, thought this was great. And I think the grandkids will love it.

So that's it for February. My further adventures will be more in real time, and will, hopefully, have a little more detail of their makes, for what's that's worth!