The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

my bread habits

ross's picture
ross

my bread habits

last night i made use of some of a pumpernickel soaker/starter i had going last thursday that was intended for a large batch of what i call my light rye levain, among friends i call it a sourdough but it's not usually very sour, so it really is happier under the umbrella of levain....as i was saying, the intent was to turn the starter into about 20lbs of dough that would become six loaves of bread to be used for bartering with vendors at my local farmer's market, but that didn't happen and i was left with a lot of this pumpernickel stuff. so i turned most of it into a heavy rye, it's made from organic pumpernickel and organic whole rye with the inclusion of maybe 1/4 high-gluten flour for a little more structure/mellowness, i threw in some caraway too, just for kicks. the boule is below. the flavor is complex, the texture is chewy and moist, and the bread is dense the way it ought to be. oh, that crust is thick.

 

 heavier rye w/caraway 9/4/07

heavy round rye: heavier rye w/caraway 9/4/07

 

a few weeks ago i baked my light wheat levain, it's based on the same recipe as my light rye except i don't use pumpernickel and about 50% whole wheat flour, it's a much easier dough to work with, i'll trade gluten for pentosans anyday if i'm mixing by hand. these loaves had great spring and some of them produced great a grigné which is always welcome. the photo below is of the first two to come out of the oven (the loaves weigh at least 3lbs after cooled and about 18" long) and the two baguettes made from leftover dough (after scaling), i made six large loaves that night. i'd include a photo of the crumb but i don't know what it looked like...all the loaves went to the farmer's market uncut, sometime i'll post a crumby photo, but i know that it's fairly open and wonderfully moist and chewy. happy baking y'all!

 

wheat soldiers

wheat soldiers

Comments

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

They look great. :D

I had to look up the meaning of pentosans, but now that I have I tend to agree with you.  Do you sell at your farmers market or simply barter for produce? I love that idea, and may try it myself one day - when I'm a better baker.

ross's picture
ross

well, i used to sell to a select group of friends and acquaintances on a weekly basis but stopped when i moved across town and wanted a bit of a break (the delivery/money collection got old too). i started baking in volume again as the farmer's market gained momentum and i found that a few of the vendors were willing to trade. the bread i take them is all organic and made from spring water and sea salt and their foods are all natural too. i can get organic produce, hormone/antibiotic free, pastured pork, free-range chicken and eggs, immaculate goat cheeses and yogurt, as well as raw milk! all for my friday afternoon/evening's baking. it's a wonderful way to go about things if you can. most farmers love good bread and are willing to trade with me.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

That sounds great.  I couldn't  bake enough to set up a booth, but might enjoy doing enough to trade. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Beautiful loaves. And you're getting better with the camera too. I just love rye can't get enough of it. Have a left over pork roast and the cold drippings spread on rye with sliced onions and a little salt... oh my, oh my, oh my! :) Mini Oven

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Ross, your breads are beautiful and I love that you are able to barter them at the farmer's market. I'm trying to work up the courage to ask if I could do that one of these days. Do you have a very large oven?

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

ross's picture
ross

Susan,

you know, i used to sell bread out of my standard, no-frills electric oven and was able to fit two of my 3lbs loaves in it at a time. i'd have to rotate them 2/3 through baking, but i would do that with almost any home oven anyways. now i'm living in a place with a nice, huge, commercial vulcan gas oven/range. the range is excellent, 6 powerful burners, but the oven leaves something to be desired (at least in my experience). i can't plug the vents because the flame goes out and couldn't get a satisfactory crust on my hearth breads until i literally made an enclosed tent out of aluminum foil and a standard sheet pan...in this oven i can do three loaves at a time but choose to do two because it's a little less cumbersome this way. at about $8 for a 3lbs loaf of organic bread i only need to take 5 to the market to get more food than i can eat in a week, so it's not that much time baking, really. plus, i really have gotten to enjoy working a substantial ball of dough (20-25 lbs) by hand.

 

as for approaching folks, your best bet is to bring some sample loaves to the market and just say, hey, i make some bread that i'd love to barter with you if you're willing. so often we bread geeks only see the flaws in our own bread, we often lose sight of the 'bread' that so many people subsist on, perhaps out by choice, perhaps not; even my ugliest loaves, those that i'm embarassed to show in public, are well received! i've had folks tell me they didn't want to trade, either they make their own, or they just don't want my bread, or they don't eat enough bread, or they get it elsewhere, etc.

 

It really can't hurt to ask. Good Luck!

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

Hi Ross, I'm intrigued, I'd love to know your technique for working 20-25lbs of dough. 

I don't have a mixer and wouldn't use one if I did as I love the feel of the dough under my hands, it is one of the reasons for making my own bread, it's a very personal thing to do.

Anyway, I only generally make 2 loaves at a time, so am working on only 6 or 7 lbs of dough I suppose (from 1.5 kg flour - sorry, I'm not very sure of exact weight of dough nor conversions to imperial units). I find it a bit of a struggle at times to manage that much dough, and have shied away from the idea of bigger batches as I thought it would just be a wrist breaker. How on earth do you manage that much dough?

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Is there any chance you could post a picture of your "tent?" I have tried to rig something out of aluminum foil but never could get it to be sturdy enough. I'm always interested to see what other people do to steam their loaves.

You're absolutely right, it won't hurt to ask at the farmer's market, I've just never been very good at cold calling. I'll work up to it, though.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

ross's picture
ross

be patient. i'll post something, maybe this w/e about these things. i'll take some pics of the oven and the weekly big ball of dough...