The Fresh Loaf

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artisan bread with 200 degrees centigrade oven ?

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sandys1's picture
sandys1

artisan bread with 200 degrees centigrade oven ?

hi guys,

caveat: I'm a first time baker

I'm based out of India (to give you an idea of weather), predominantly use all purpose flour or atta/wholegrain wheat flour and dry yeast.

My oven (which is a Samsung microwave + convection oven ) goes upto 200 degrees centigrade measured by a cheap oven thermometer.

My question is - do I have a hope of baking golden, thick, crusty breads ? I tried my hand at the no-knead bread - but I seem to be ending up with flat, white, hard dough. I dont seem to be getting too much baking going on.

Maybe I'm not preheating enough or not using a terracotta tile or something, but I cant seem to get bread baking going on. Should I get a different oven (which is kind of hard right now given finances) or is there a way to achieve that using things like a Dutch Oven (I just bought a stainless steel one) or a baking stone ?

 

</very frustrated>

 

thanks!

Pufff's picture
Pufff

which will get up to 230 C empty, but struggles to get above 200 C with a 500g loaf inside. I am quite pleased with what I'm getting though. I'll try to work out how to add photos! I have been trying to improve my Tartine Country Loaf, and it tastes very good. The crust starts out crunchy but softens quite quickly. I rise and bake the bread in a small Pyrex Casserole dish. I'm using the mini oven because my main cooker is a big old stove cooker which costs the earth to heat up to bread-making temperatures, although it does make a great loaf.

Pufff's picture
Pufff

latest attempt

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

living here for 6 years as an expat (Delhi).  I think you'll have a hard time with the oven you have but the only way to know it is to try it.  One of the issues (apart from the lack of heating capacity) is that in most cases the volume is small so the top of your bread might be very close to the heating element and bake/burn quickly if you don't watch out.  And 1 thing which I found out the hard way:  atta is absolutely unsuitable for western style breads, it has high protein content but very bad quality gluten. I won't even talk about maida.  Try to find imported bread or all purpose flour.  Some other local stuff is very good for adding though (ragi flour etc).

sandys1's picture
sandys1

btw, I checked out your past posts and figured:  and you're like the Yoda for Indian bakers. I mean you actually used urad dal in a bread.

Whoaaa...

sandys1's picture
sandys1

@xenophon - actually my problem is that my stuff doesnt brown. I have a top coil, but it comes on only on "grill" mode or in "fast preheat" mode. So in normal baking, I have my fan and hidden elements. Is this a handicap for bread baking ?

Thank you about the pointers on Maida (all purpose flour as I understand it). Do you mean to say it is absolutely unsuitable for baking ? The other day I tried my hand at some scones and they were very bad. I had zero raise, the whole thing just hardened without actually baking - I put it down to temperature (since most scone recipes call for 220-230 centigrade min).

I really dont have the affordability right now for imported flour - what do you suggest I do now? please help !

Also - what countertop oven equipment (we call them OTG) do you use/recommend to use  here in India ? FYI, I'm based out of delhi as well.

 

 

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

I actually bring in 10 kg bags whenever I visit Europe and locally I purchase US-imported all purpose flour or some of the Hovis bread flour from the UK, I get it either in Modern Bazaar (Priya market, Basant Lok), the shops at Defence Colony market or (sometimes) in 'The steakhouse' at Jor Bagh market.  Or at INA but be sure it's packed sealed in plastic if you get it from there.  And it's expensive, that's true, although the US All Purpose flour is still doable.  I never tried with maida, the problem is that it's so highly refined that virtually all nutritionally good stuff is out of it and you're basically stuck with the pure starch.  And they use a bleaching agent that's illegal in the west due to health reasons.

What might work is atta, provided you can add some high quality gluten.  This is sold in the west as 'organic bread improver', I don't use it anymore with the western flours but still have a couple of small packs left, if you want to pick up one let me know.  I travel a lot for my job but you're welcome to come pick one up for free when my wife and I are both home (I'm in Jor Bagh) if you want.  Or bring a friend, I'll bake something up and you can see the entire process if you'd like.

For the oven, I think yours may not have the heating capacity; that's often the case with smaller ones:  you may get the temperature up enough (but you'd need one that goes to at least 220-230 centigrade) but once you put in a mass of dough it can't keep up.  There's that and the issue that western breads need steam during the first phase of baking, else the crust hardens, they dry out and it just won't work.  I bake in my cooking range's oven, brought it over 6 years ago when I moved here.  Gas on top, electric oven.  Don't know the local appliances well enough to give a recommendation, sorry.  

What *might* work for you is baking some of the sweetened western breads or speciality bread like brioche because those bake at lower temperatures but there's still the flour issue to consider.  I gave lessons to the cook of a colleague and she manages to produce a passable raisin bread, I think in a locally made oven, will ask him about it.  One thing's for sure:  temperatures now are about ideal but come April you'll never have seen fermentation go as fast as here :-)  

Will get back to you about the oven, I'll be travelling from wednesday until march 19 (business in Japan) but if you want to try the improver with atta or take a look at my setup here, let me know, fellow bakers are always welcome!

 

 

sandys1's picture
sandys1

@Xenophon - wow that is awesome ! Thank you very much.

I wouldnt have a problem with procuring some "bread improver" on my own - but I would DEFINITELY love to watch the process of this bake.

This is really spooky, because my friend (and partially... I) run one of the largest food enthusiast groups in India and we were discussing for a long time about looking for a killer home baker and doing a "Masterclass" with a couple of us, for a feature in the magazine. Let me PM you, but I'm really excited !!