The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What happens when you don't slash

Cooky's picture
Cooky

What happens when you don't slash

 

Aargh. I baked this multigrain sourdough in a covered pot in a pre-heated oven. Never considered slashing because the dough was so soft. I haven't cut into it because it was intended to go to a dinner party tomorrow. I may take it anyway because, you know, they're friends.

 

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Cooky, I rarely slash the NKB because of the wetness of the dough, and I think yours looks terrific. I was quite disappointed when my last one didn't have any interesting cracks. You know it will taste good anyway. Have you tried the version with steelcut oats yet? Good flavor and a nice crunch, A

Richard L Walker's picture
Richard L Walker

That is definitely one of the fun things about bread baking.  Even most failures taste great ... and then you get to experiment some more.

I've spotted several folks making bread in YouTube videos.  I'm waiting for one on ciabatta so I can see how wet / dry / medium the dough is actually supposed to be.  The whole process fascinates me. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I think your bread looks great personally. If you want to create some expansion relief and don't want to try slashing with a slack dough, try scissors. Just snip a few places around the sides and top. Regular slashing techniques get a little dicey with slack dough. But really though, your bread looks great as is!

Eric

browndog's picture
browndog

Cooky, there's a consensus here--that's not a failed loaf. Really it's very rustic and artisan-like. Most definitely take it to your friends'--just don't present it with an apology, it doesn't need one.

Cooky's picture
Cooky

Glad to hear it doesn't look as bad to y'all as it does to me. I think you're right, BD: If I unveil it as if it's exactly what I intended, who's to know? 

I'm also pretty sure it will taste good. I've used this blend before with great results -- KA bread flour, WW, rye, corn meal, flax seed and steel-cut oats. (As you say, Annie, the oats add an excellent crunch factor.)

If anybody mocks this loaf tomorrow, I'll sic you guys on 'em.

 

 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I think that nice crackly crust will taste great.  And now that you mention everything that goes in this one, I wish I could taste it.  I think I'll have to give this a try - I've heard so much around here about how good the steel cut oats are in bread.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Just say it is an extreme rustic loaf and present it with confidence.  Really, I think it is beautiful and very earthy.  And having great flavor is always a winner. 

 

Could you explain more about using the steel cut oats?  Do you have to cook them first?  Is it just an overall texture thing or do they add flavor? 

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Zolablue, I got the recipe from Eric at Breadtopia and it is my favorite of the NKB loaves. You can check it out on his site but all you do is add 3oz of the steelcut oats to the mixture that sits on the counter overnight. Plus 3oz ww flour and 10 oz bread flour. The oats aren't hard but the crust has a nice crunch. Hope you will try it, A

Cooky's picture
Cooky

I just added the oats to the mix, and like Annie suggests, let the dough ferment overnight.

Daniel Leader suggests in  his new "Local Breads" book that you soak oats, (and millet, flaxseed, sesame, whatever) in water overnight, then add to the mix the next day. He says the grains and seeds absorb the water, which you subtract from your dough formula. The result, he says, is a tender, flavorful loaf that has not been dried out by the grains etc. leeching moisture from the dough. I haven't tried his version yet, but the photos of his finished product look heavenly. 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Cooky, I notice that your ingredient list is a bit different than the one at breadtopia. Could you post your formula? I apologize if you've already done so - I did a quick search but couldn't find it.

Cooky's picture
Cooky

Oh gosh. I'm afraid this was one of my seat-of-the-pants efforts. If I recall correctly, it went like this:

2 tablespoons of stiff rye/wheat starter

1 cup water

1/3 c. each rye flour, steel cut oats, cornmeal and whole wheat flour

2 or 3 tablespoons of flax seed. (I think. It might have been a bit more.)

I mixed that all up and let it burble overnight, like a poolish.

I wasn't ready to bake the next day, and the poolish was pretty wet, so I added maybe another 1/2 c. of mixed bread/whole wheat flour and stirred it up a few times before I got to baking time.

When I was ready to bake, I added the poolish to 2 c. bread flour, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (I was worried about it being heavy) and some water. Here is where the seat-of-the-pants part comes in, since I can't remember exactly how much water I used. My basic ratio is 1 water to 2 flours, so it might have been a whole cup. But no more, since I wanted a dough that was firm enough to knead. Also, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. (If I were using table salt, I would have cut that to 1.5 teaspoons.)

I kneaded it for about five minutes, picking up flour from the bench as necessary to keep it from getting really sticky.

It then went into a greased bowl until it doubled (about two hours, as I recall). It had softened quite a bit by then, and was pretty sticky going into the covered dish. It baked in a 450 pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes, then another 20 uncovered. (It was already exploded when I took the cover off.) It seemed to take a long time to reach 200+ internal temp. I actually put the lid back on for the last 5 minutes or so of "uncovered" cooking so the crust wouldn't burn.

As you can see, I do not always follow strict scientifc protocol. Nonethless, I hope this helps. In the past, I have made this bread with a higher proportion of whole wheat. You could certainly reduce the amounts of non-wheat additions to as little as a few tablespoons each and still get some taste/texture effect. I'm not sure how much you could increase them. You need enough WW or bread flour to get gluten development, and I haven't tested the limits. I believe you could also add a couple tablespoons of honey and/or orange juice and get a nice result. I haven't tried that yet, but I will next time -- if I remember!

 

 

 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Thanks, Cooky.  That's certainly something I can follow.  I think I would like the mix of flavors. 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I forgot to tell you how good this was! I didn't do the kneading that you did, and it showed in my loaf, but it tasted marvelous!  (photos here) Leftovers were baked into a cheese bread pudding and topped with bluezebra's mulligan stew.

I didn't have the flaxseed then, but I do now.  Do you grind it before use in bread, or leave it whole?

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

As everyone else has said, I think this looks great. The wonderfully textured crust reminds me of a Finnish Rye, like this one.

Susanfnp

garyb59's picture
garyb59

I posted to this about 30 minutes ago, but don't know where it went.

Cooky, thanks for the recipe. I'm using it now, with a few modifications. I used roasted corn meal, and freshly ground white whole wheat berries. If I can learn how to submitt pictures, I'll post one, if it turns out well.

 

Another post disappeared on baking in a cold oven. Anyway the bread I baked in a loaf pan was okay, but a little heavier than I wanted. Made great toast toast. I made a sourdough and regular KN with great results.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That's what it should look like!  And that's what you should call it too!  --Mini Oven

Cooky's picture
Cooky

Thanks, Mini. Everybody was right; the dinner party guests thought the bread looked great -- and they gobbled it up! Even the kids liked it.

 

 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

rudolf's picture
rudolf

Personally I thought the loaf looked great, very rustic and nice and crusty, The purpose of slashing a loaf is because the bread expands in the oven and with the slash it has a built-in weak spot through which to expand, If the loaf is not slashed then the cracks in the crust could appear anywhere, even in the base of the loaf which doesn't look so good, Incidently I have tried slashing the risen dough with a razor blade or craft knife but with little success. Now I use a wetted bread knife which seems to work better

rudolf's picture
rudolf

I sometimes make a white loaf with 20% added brain, I take all the bran and all the water and place in a bowl with a couple of teaspoons of sourdough starter and allow to ferment and soak for 16 hours or so, I then add all the white flour etc and knead to a dough. this not only gives the bran a good soaking but allows the fibre to be broken down to make it emminently more digestible