I ventured over to Dan Lepard's website recently via the Links page from here. Has anyone looked at or is using his new book "The Handmade Loaf"...any and all comments welcome.
No I haven't seen his book, but I did register on his list soon after he started it.
Well wouldn't I have to I am almost sure he is a Brit, and so am I. :-)))) qahtan
If you go here you can get a bit about the book.... qahtan
Thanks qahtan... From everything I've seen about the book it looks like it would be helpful if you want to go the European style, natural leaven, whole organic grain, very slow rise, stretch and fold technique route.
I my main question: Is The Handmade loaf really suitable for beginner /intermediate home bakers?
A friend bought me this book for my birthday last year and I love it. It is really beautiful (Leppard is a former photographer) and very informative. There is a lot of history and cultural context for all the different kinds of bread from all over europe that are featured in the book.
I would definitely recommend it for people at any level of breadmaking. There are really detailed instructions on how to create your own sourdough starter and then recipes for more basic loaves. He has also tailored a lot of the recipes to recognize that lots of people work with underacheiving domestic ovens and gives tips on how to get the best bread in this situation. But because it's so nice to look at and it's written so well, you can't help being inspired to try some of the more ambitious recipes.
Winsey Thanks for sharing all your helpful comments. What a thoughtful friend! I can hear the excitement in your voice for this book and its encouragement to bake great bread.
The Book is excellent I recommend it to anyone. My unyeasted breads improved overnight. To back up the book, you can go to the website www.danlepard.com and get responses to your queries from a team of excellent Bakers and of course Dan Lepard.
As someone has already commented the book is well made and despite constant use it has not fallen apart.
Yes the site is tops. Well worth checking out.
How are the photos? Dan was a professional photographer before becomming a master baker. I know none of the pictures were arranged by stylists as in most baking and cookbooks. He took them as is on location all over Europe.
Martin Thanks for recomending it. Its definately next on my list for sure.
It looks like Dan Lepard is coming out with a new book or maybe it's just a paperback of his HANDMADE LOAF. Here is Amazons information:The Art of Handmade Bread: Contemporary European Recipes for the Home Baker by Dan Lepard (Paperback - April 1, 2007)
Wow, how interesting it is going to be available in paperback. I was lucky enough to snag a mint condition hardcover copy from half.com for about $30 at the end of December. It is a very interesting book with gorgeous photos. I'm so new to baking I have all these new books and haven't had enough time to make a lot of loaves yet. Some of the ingredients in his book are, self describedly, difficult to get but would be worth doing to make some of the unique recipes he has written.
I have made his Raisin-Cinnamon Sourdough bread twice and it is delicious. I will make it again and again as my husband loves raisins. You can see that bread here:
OK, a big favorite around here is sourdough raisin bread. I make sourdough focaccia converted from the BBA recipe. It's a very good combination of flavors - the sourdough acid, the raisins and a little salt flavor go very well. I'll have to find that Lepard book, too, now that I see this raisin sourdough recipe. I'm sneaking in some enjoying of the Glezer book lately, Zolablue, you'll be pleased to hear. And, as usual, your photos of the sourdough raisin bread are excellent. But will you quit with the I'm a new baker comments? Your breads look just great, and your ciabatta was a masterpiece, too. By the way, I made poolish ciabatta while out skiing recently in Montana, and it came out very well this time - you'd be satisfied with it, I think. I used about 10oz water and AP flour - practically could swim in it, it was so wet. I still did it on the counter because we had no good bowls, but I just got agressive on the folding technique with wet hands and gloppy dough - who cares if it stuck to the counter? I also punched it down, as Glezer says, and this time it sprung back like a champ. I have some ideas of how to get a sourdough version to work better, although the sourdough I did in the ciabatta challenge was not a disappointment with the family, just not as nice a crumb as the one you did. In Montana, I used some old heavy granite tiles that were left over in a junk pile in the oven, very resourceful, eh? Anyway, the poolish ciabatta was a hit - Montana grass fed steak sandwiches never tasted so good until properly nestled in a good ciabatta loaf sliced lengthwise.
Sigh, do we now have to deconstruct the Glezer and BBA french bread recipes, too? I'm not much of a plain french bread baguette fan, but comparing BBA to Glezer and what makes the holes could be another very good exercise at some point, like the ciabatta challenge, although I'm still recovering from all that ciabatta making.
Bill, if you love raisin bread this recipe is for you. It is super easy, you just mix in a bowl, he kneads twice for exactly 10 seconds each time and then rise and bake. He stresses how important it is to actually pack raisin bread with raisins unlike some bakeries that don’t use enough, although he admits understanding their need to make a buck. His recipe calls for 50% raisins and I think the photo of my sliced bread shows that very well. Every slice is just like that one.
Hey, Montana sounds fun. I’m very impressed with your skills and innovation there. I bet that bread tasted fabulous!
I’m very happy you are enjoying the Glezer book. I have been surprised that more people don’t seem to know her very well and it is amazing they don’t use her wonderful starter. I see people struggling and doing all kinds of things with their starters that seem so unnecessary after reading Glezer. I think that is why I’m drawn to her – she seems to have really weeded out the myths and gone to the heart of what works and why. I keep my starter in a pint jar and there it not only quadruples but quintuples so why use all that flour and huge containers. But it is good we all have the choice and frankly I still have lots of questions.
The only French bread I’ve made so far is the Acme baguettes. Btw, they are fabulous tasting and I crave them. I’ve made it a few times now. And, yes, my first loaves ever baked were December 15, 2006, so that is not so long ago, right? I’m just having good luck but also I’ve had some very big flops. That’s how we learn but I can’t stand when that happens. :o)
While the ciabatta thing was fun I’m not sure I’m in for the French bread deconstruction. (hehe) What I’d like to learn is how to use my leftover firm starter in other recipes. Glezer says you can save the “discarded” starter and keep in the fridge for a week but I’m just not sure how much to use in recipes. That’s very confusing to me – to use in poolish, or main dough recipe or what. And nobody else here except Andrew seem to use the firm starter so it is hard to know how to convert things.
I settled into such a nice easy routine with my starter, and it's so important to have a nice stable process, that I've been lazy about changing the routine. However, I might try switching over to using a firm starter and see what it's like. It should be much easier than starting one from scratch, unless I get some detail way wrong on the conversion or subsequent routine. Anyway, I may just give it a try as a learning experience. I do think there are some arguments for the firm starter, as Glezer and also I think Floyd point out.
I'd need some encouragement to really get hooked on a french bread deconstruction and test baking project because it's not a bread I like to do that often, unlike the ciabatta, which is a favorite. However, I did break down the spreadsheet and made a few comments in that thread, if you want to take a look...(hehe).
What I do to use my starter in other recipes is make a spreadsheet. If you match the overall hydration, flour composition, and roughly match percentages of preferments it usually works OK. I usually make the preferment from my starter as close to whatever preferment is in the recipe. For example, a recipe that calls for a poolish can usually use my sourdough starter as is, whereas I would usually build a "firm starter" if the recipe calls for a biga or pate fermente. Sometimes the recipes that use large proportions of preferments in the final dough can be a little tricky, as a sourdough "barm", like what I use will break down gluten, has more acid, and probably other differences, and so the dough consistency can be somewhat different at the same hydration. Sometimes, that means I need to add bread flour to keep the gluten structure, or change the hydration a little, or reduce the amount of the preferement, for example. Also, substituting in some rye seems to help the ones with high amounts of preferment come out better. Anyway, I could probably figure out some way to share examples of the spreadsheets I use, which are not at all sophisticated, if that would be useful. I've found it fairly easy using a spreadsheet to convert from one thing to another. Maybe I'm not understanding what you want to do with the left over starter. A specific example of what you wish you could do would help me zero in. Sorry if I'm on the wrong track.
Bill, if your starter is working great I'd stick with it. You can always convert it easily to a firm starter for those recipes that require one. Glezer has given the instructions. Hers is the only one I've done and it is working so well I hate to try another one either. However I would be interested to see how the bread taste is affected by the batter vs. firm starter.
Also, there are some differences in Glezer's starter recipe in Blessing of Bread which she wrote after Artisan Baking. I've been following the Blessing of Bread starter and have almost taken it completely down to the final but not quite as I'm experimenting. She has cut down the amounts to begin the starter and some of the refreshments. I did find it took a lot longer than the books says for this starter to get to the quadruple and I thought it was me doing something wrong. Now I believe it was due to a colder kitchen temp, very frigid weather, and basically a young starter that just needed more feeding. It is very simple but does require patience. I started it on January 4, 2007. I think it is fascinating that Glezer's bread recipes call for between 1 and 2 tablespoons of starter which just supports the fact that it is a very vigorous one.
I have a few questions. Well, first, I know I must learn to use the baker's percentages and then, if I understand it remotely, I could calculate the amount of my starter needed based on that for each recipe. But for using the amount discarded from the "mother" and using it in other bread recipes, I'd like to know if that can be done in basically any bread recipe you wish.
I would like to see your spreadsheet - not sure I'd understand it. You obviously have a very scientific mind. I'm an artist so I do look at things differently. Lotsa numbers sometimes make my eyes glaze or maybe my brain is glazing. But I'm always game to try!
I may not be understanding your question about left over "mother". How is the left over part of the mother different from what you use to make your bread? Is it just how much time goes by from when it was refreshed? If so, then I imagine there will be some differences depending on how fast the starter ripens. However, if you put the left over piece back in the refrigerator immediately, wouldn't it be still usable for several days? With my 1:1 starter, I can refresh it by 1:2:2 by weight (starter:water:flour) and let it rise for about 5 hours, refrigerate it and use it as "freshened" starter in any recipe for about 2-3 days. The character of the starter will change somewhat over the three days, but it still will work about the same over that time, getting a little more sour and a little less vigorous over time. In "The Bread Builders" there is a further technique of only letting the refreshed starter rise for 3 hours, let's say, if you want to wait an extra day or two more before using it. I haven't tried it, but it sounds reasonable. It sounds similar to Srishti's approach where the starter is refrigerated after only an hour. But, I'm afraid maybe this is not getting at the exact nature of the question about using the leftover firm starter.
I imagine there are similar ways to above to play with refrigeration, feeding ratios, and rise times with your firm starter so the timing suits you and you have flexible timing and quantities.
As far as modifying or converting recipes, all that I'm doing is using a spreadsheet to look at the total proportions of the various components of the dough and comparing side by side for the known recipe and converted recipe. For example, in the Acme french bread recipe, water is part of the pate fermente, the poolish, and the final dough. Also, flour is part of each of those. If you add up all the flour and all the water, there is an overall proportion of water to flour. Same is done with the salt and other ingredients. One of the main things that will make two bread recipes come out about the same is if the proportions of total ingredients in the final dough is the same. Another key variable that will make them similar is if the fermentations of the various components are similar. So, if a recipe calls for a poolish, you might substitute a 1:1 sourdough starter, especially if it's fairly mild and not too ripe. A biga may substitue for a firm starter, for example.
The amount of yeast needed can be complicated, because it grows during the rising stages of the various components. That means you can use a tiny amount in early stages and build it up over time in preferments or even just the main dough, or you can use large amounts in the final dough, but the products and therefore the flavor of the fermentations will be different. If you completely change the way the fermentations work in a recipe when converting one to another, the bread would probably have a very different flavor. Also, the amount of acid at various stages will change the texture of the final dough, in addition to the flavor. I'm not saying I've done this a huge amount. Maybe there are others who have a lot of experience with best ways to convert. SourdoLady has a very intuitive way to convert if you don't want to use spreadsheets. I just find the spreadsheets give you a lot of flexibility to play with the proportions, preferment sizes, types of flour, and any other factors, if the recipe has a number of pieces to it, like the acme french bread.
If you could describe a typical example you encounter with a specific recipe where you are wishing to use your leftover starter and want to make a conversion, maybe that would help me understand better what you're trying to do.
It might make sense to create a separate thread to work on a conversion example, if we get into this some more, like you did with the ciabatta.
Let me address that first. Maggie Glezer, in Blessing of Bread, says if you're planning to bake you can use your discarded starter to use in recipes for yeast breads. I think that would be great rather than tossing it but wonder how to determine the amount to use and how that would change the recipe.
Ok, now I have to read your spreadsheet/conversion info.
Just read the rest of your post and I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing. I get confused easily at this point but I'm trying! LOL. I think we should do a separate post on this because I have gotten permission to post the firm starter recipe I'm using and I have many questions about conversion to recipes using batter starters and have specific recipes in mind. Whew, that was a mouthful!
I found the recipe on Dan Lepard's site. If you scroll down on this thread you'll see his post along with photos (YAY) showing you ingredients and exactly how to make this bread. Note he makes it into a ring, which I did the first time, but I found it not as nice to cut for toasting. Thus I made mine into a free-formed loaf.
zolablue, if you check out this site, in the first posting "plane food" you can see how RLB uses the discarded firm starter. Very often she suggests using about 75 grams per loaf adding it to the dough after the autolyse, and of course you'll need a bit more salt to compensate for the extra flour. Good luck - I do this all the time with my liquid starter left overs (and believe me I have an awful lot of it lately!)
Wow, thank you so very much. That is excellent info. Plus that bread looks darn good. I appreciate the link, L_M!
Would this amount work fairly well for most recipes. Oh, gosh, I feel like I need to go back to school and learn math better. LOL. I was the artsy kid that always thought I'd never need to know that stuff and now look at me. (hehe)
I love this book - though I have to admit to having used only a few of the recipes. It is very easy for a beginner to follow, and has heaps of stuff for the more adventurous too. And loads of interesting stories about breads from different countries and cultures. There is a very interesting recipe using scalded rye - which I shall be trying soon.Andrew
You are a Brit, right? I have a few questions from the Lepard book. It is so fun to read the way he writes and I love his recipes. I just drool over them. But some of the things he says I'm not quite sure I understand like "works a treat" - I think that's how he says it. LOL. I think it means good though.
Also, he asks for a few ingredients I'm not sure of. I'll have to grab my book and take a look but one I know is caster sugar but I think that would be our superfine sugar. I know there are others...
I bought this as my token bread book on my latest trip to Canada and so far it looks very clearly written. The measurements are written in oz and grams (sometimes in cups as well) but the temperatures are unfortunately only in F. Since I don't have the original version it's hard to compare but I hope the info and recipes are the same. I'm getting my starter ready to make the Apple and Oat bread - sounds very interesting as I love the warmish flavour oats give to bread. This one also has a touch of commercial yeast so it will give me some extra rising power in case my starter still isn't up to par...
I'll post the results
L_M, let us know how your bread turns out. I really love this book so much even though I have the European hardcover edition (which is gorgeous) I'm going to buy the new paperback just to have it. These are the most unusual recipes as well as more basic but loaded with fabulous photos which is important to me in a cookbook as I'm such a visual person. I can't wait to make more of his breads and I know you'll love this book.
PS...I've been dying to make the layered apple and custard loaf. Looks outstanding.
It has been a while since my last post but at least I've had a chance to try out a few recipes from the book in the meantime.
The 'rolled oat and apple bread' turned out very tasty even though it was completely different than what I had expected - quite sweet from the apple! Next was the 'soft curd loaf' that smelled like heaven as it baked, and today I made the 'mustard and corn rolls' - they tasted great but they were hard, so I imagine something went wrong along the way. None of these recipes turned out as light as I had hoped - but maybe that is the way they are supposed to be....does anyone get airy breads from this book?
You are probably right - my timing was quite different from what was mentioned in the recipe and I just ran out of time so I baked the rolls before they were really ready, and in the past I've found that sometimes makes them turn out hard. Anyway we liked the taste so it is on my "try again" list. The timing was off because of - you know what - yes, my starter. I can't believe I'm still having so much trouble with it. Next time I'll add a full amount of commercial yeast and just add the starter for flavour.
Just today I decided that I really had to try something very different from regular routine of feeding 1:10:10, waiting until it almost or just starts to dip (reaches almost double in volume) and feed again. Room temp is now around 23 C - 24C and this cycle takes about 12 hours. If I feed 1:2:2 it takes at least 8 hours and never mind making bread... your basic sandwich recipe took about 20 hours before I baked it, and it really needed a few more. So it got me thinking that maybe I just don't have enough yeast in there - maybe the ph isn't low enough and only a few can survive or grow. Today instead of feeding I just let it go until it settled back down somewhat and a few hours after that I stirred it and let it rise again. This time it took only a few hours and it had many more bubbles throughout. It got to about half way between double and triple the original height, and the total time was 24 hours. My wonderful aroma isn't back yet but now it does have a very slight hint of yeast smell so maybe, maybe, maybe.....
Anyhow, if my starter isn't cured within a day or 2, then yes please - I will take you up on your generous offer! My goal is very mild tasting bread, so you know your starters best. When/if the time comes we can discuss details by email.
Thanks again and I'll keep you posted...
I tried doing a search but came up empty. Could anyone please point me in the direction of the recipe for Lepard's Sourdough Raisin Bread? Thanks!
Jen, I posted this link above but this is a pretty long thread so it is hard to get through to find it. So here it is again. Scroll down to find Dan's recipe and photo progression which is awesome.
I'd mentioned that I've made this wonderful bread several times and started forming a loaf because we love the bread toasted and it works better than the round for that. It is loaded with raisins as is Dan's philosophy on this type of bread. One of the best loaves I've baked of any of my breads. I do add a little more cinnamon because we love it.
Here is how mine turned out:
I was wondering if there was significant difference between the English version and the Americanized to have to purchase the Americanized one or can I opt for the one with the cheapest price. I use a scale and want to make sure the book version I buy uses grams. Can anyone confirm which of these books uses grams. Has anyone tried Dan Lepard's site in the past day or two I have been unable to access it? I made his pita bread recipe from the guardian the other day using minimal knead technique and added lots of herbs. They were very moist and tasted great. Thanks Bakerincanada,
I have "The Art of Handmade Bread" which I think is the US version and all of the recipes are given in grams. Lovely book - try the white thyme bread! Out of curiosity I tried to access his site with no success. I have it bookmarked so I will try again later, A.
Lepard's site worked for me last night and just a few minutes ago. I have his book and the recipes are stated in grams as well as cups, ounces and tea/tablespoons. Glad about the grams as scaling is so much easier, not to mention accurate.
Thanks for the feedback re the book. I will probably go ahead and order then. Interesting about the web site how some have access and others don't. If you get a chance would you post a link so I know the address I have is correct. I am sure it was as I had access last week. Happy Baking
After I wrote my note I tried the web site. It works. Wow some technical glitch I guess. Thanks anyway.