The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Essex, UK

patm's picture
patm

Hello from Essex, UK

I have picked up a lot of great ideas and solved a few problems already.  So thank you!

Even made some progress with the Tartine recipe once I took the hydration down a little to adjust for European Flour.

This weekend I will try again with high protein canadian flour from Shipton Mill to see if that helps.

drogon's picture
drogon

Quite a few UK folks here now - I'm other side of the country in Devon.

I've not tried Shiptons canadian stuff - I use their No. 4 white which makes good bread. I don't chase big bubbles either - they don't hold the marmalade...

Happy baking!

-Gordon

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Welcome. I'm in London so not too far.

I didn't know Shipton did Canadian flour. I'm glad you've solved the European vs. North American flours so quickly. Been on here for almost two years now and only just discovered this myself. Thinking back it explains a lot things.

Looking forward to seeing your breads.

- Abe.

Colin_Sutton's picture
Colin_Sutton

And hi from south west London.  I'm travelling home right now to start a two-day weekend bake, with the hope that the starter I left on the counter hasn't got too warm on such a hot day (at least it's hot for England).  It certainly feels like we UK readers need to dial-back the hyrdrations in many American recipes when using European flours.  Happy baking. Colin.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

No matter. Starters are quite resilliant. A few good feeds and some TLC and it'll be fine. 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Whole rye starters are the most resilliant. So if going away and you don't normally keep a whole rye starter then converting it into one, or taking a bit off to make one as a back up, is a good idea. 

Don't know your starter maintenance but a few good strong feeds of 1:3:3 would be ideal after two days on the counter top. If sluggish after feeding at first then be patient and don't feed again till you see activity. 

Colin_Sutton's picture
Colin_Sutton

Hi AbeNW11 - Thanks for your suggestions.  I fed my 50% white / 50% wholemeal starter just before leaving for the office, anticipating the long rise time it'd get by reducing the levain compared to the flour & water. I was home a bit later than I'd planned: it looks like the starter had just about doubled and fallen a little by the time I was in.  The only thing that has got me through the last couple of hellishly busy days was the prospect of starting a bake this evening! Hope you are enjoying the start of yours. Colin.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

You have given it a good feed and sounds absolutely fine. Enjoy your bake. 

I'm helping someone at the moment with a very simple basic sourdough. 

 

500g bread flour

300g water 

11g salt

150g mature starter

 

Make the dough.

Knead till full gluten formation (about 10min).

Bulk ferment for 3 hours (or until doubled).

Shape into banneton.

Final Proof till 85-90% risen (almost doubled).

Bake in preheated oven.

 

Because I'm helping my friend with this I'll be doing it myself. So I'll be preparing my pre-ferment soon of 20g starter + 70g water + 70g bread flour (allowing for 10g loss through fermentation) and leaving that overnight to start the recipe in the morning. 

Looking forward to your bake. I'm sure you've got something very nice prepared. 

- Abe. 

Colin_Sutton's picture
Colin_Sutton

That's nice to be helping someone else - it sounds like you are baking in different locations?  Things are going just fine so far, thanks.  I won't be ready to retard my shaped boules until after midnight - just have to make sure I don't fall asleep before then… again… <sighs>

Hope you and your friend's bake go well.  Colin.

drogon's picture
drogon

That's essentially my standard recipe for a single large (800g) sourdough. I only use 8g of salt though as FSA guidelines strongly suggest 1% salt in the final weight. (and I'd use the starter right from the fridge as I keep about 400g)

Normally prove mine overnight though... Just finished mixing dough for tomorrows bake - (10pm) first lot will go into the ovens at about 7:15am. Zed time now!

-Gordon

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Of one a used to do which is also with 8g of salt. But someone said salt should be 2% of total flour weight including starter which would make it 11.5%

I also used to do 4x stretch and folds 10minutes apart (40min) then 1hr rest. After which is final proof till ready which was about 3 hours. Except my friend said she didn't find it tangy enough hence the now 3 hours bulk fermention and a smaller amount of starter in the build (now its roughly 1:3:3 to encourage tanginess). 

This is 30% starter. You are brave doing a whole night bulk fermention. I'd be scared of overdoing it. I'm never sure of howm long it should be on the outside time so I err on caution. But I bet the tanginess in yours is what we're after. 

Wishing you a goodnight. You've got an early start. I'll pick your brains sometime (what an awful expression) about how long one can stretch  BF which I've still got to learn. 

- Abe

drogon's picture
drogon

so this mornings bake is underway (26 loaves this morning & a tray of chelsea buns) and i'm now a slave to the timers...

but briefly, the overnight ferment doesn't seem to make it very sour/tangy at all. If I'm baking through the day then I might do the odd stretch & fold on the dough - when I remember/if I can be bothered...

I must finish off my proving/retarding cabinet though - then I can start to do some proper temperature experiments.

-Gordon

drogon's picture
drogon

I don't think there is any "should" quantity for salt in bread. You need a little for the stuff it does but not too much. I think Calvel states that 1.8% of the flour weight was right, who knows.

Because I sell my bread, I want to stick to the recommendations that the FSA state (although it's currently just a recommendation) they are saying that you should have no more than 1% salt per weight of the finished product... So for an 800g loaf, then 8g of salt.

See: http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/publication/saltincraftbakerbreadguide.pdf

-Gordon

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Then you'll have to abide by FSA recommendations. Don't know how you manage so many loaves. One takes up all my time. 

Well dough is made. I'm not so strict to catch it when it peaks anymore. Learning from you where you don't use recently matured starter and just take it straight from the fridge I am not concerned about catching a build at a supposedly "perfect" time. Got up this morning and it was still bubbly but past peaked. In it went anyways. Actually even if it was beyond that I can't see any reason why not to proceed. I'm thinking even after 24 hours, for arguments sake, it should still work. As long as your starter has yeast in it. Just adjust times accordingly. 

So I made the dough without the salt and rested for one hour. Then added in the salt and kneaded till full gluten formation. Now it's finishing off the BF. Debating on increasing it to 4 hours now. After learning about your overnight BF at the same ratio of starter. What are the benefits? I would have assumed the benefits was a more sourdough tangy taste but you said it wasn't so tangy. In reality one should be able to knead then go straight into a final proof till the dough has risen to the correct proportion. We add in a BF to increase flavour. Or am I wrong? 

 

 

drogon's picture
drogon

The benefits for me is to do with timing. That's what it all boils down to. I can mix/knead the dough in the evening, go to bed, then get up and scale/shape/prove then into the oven and out by 9am. This is my low-impact approach.

So todays breads started life at about 3pm on Friday when I bulked up the starters - I can rarely make direct from the fridge now (just the spelt most days) so I made up just under 2Kg of wheat starter by taking 380g of mother from the fridge, adding in double flour & water and leaving it covered to get on with life. (I needed 500g of spelt and 400g of rye too) then at about 8pm I started weighing & mixing up the doughs and was done by about 9:30 - the last thing I did was make up the chelsea buns which then went into the fridge. (overnight retard rather than ferment in this case as its standard organic commercial dried yeast)

This morning I was up at about 5:50am and the first lot went into the ovens at 7:20 followed by the 2nd at about 8:10 and it was all delivered by 9am. (apart from the 2 "enders" of the chelsea buns :-)

This was the first batch:

http://unicorn.drogon.net/IMG_20150711_075921.jpg

and this the 2nd:

http://unicorn.drogon.net/IMG_20150711_084950.jpg

This is daily bread, as it were. What most folks here are doing is making their extra special weekly breads (or every other day just one or 2 loaves) and for that it probably is worthwhile taking some extra care, making sure it's as good as you can possibly make it - local constraints aside.

One of the issues I've seen about kneading -> final proof is that the resulting dough is somewhat slack by the end of the time in the proving basket. Turn it out and its flying saucer time, so I think that my approach of a longer bulk ferment followed by a shorter proof seems to work - in this case anyway. Although longer proofs in the fridge might stiffen the dough somewhat.

I've family coming over this afternoon/evening for a BBQ and there's some brioche burger buns I've been meaning to try, so ...

Cheers,

-Gordon

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

They all look so nice. And what a schedule. I could never sacrifice my lie in on Saturdays. Well I say lie in, I normally automatically wake up the same ridiculous time I do through the week but nice not to be dictated to by the clock. 

Someday I hope to sample your bread. 

You are correct. While you need to turn out bulk as a bakery I only do that special one at the weekend where I can fuss over it. Don't have a tight schedule like you and an order to fill. I would still be proud of my single special loaf turning out like one of your breads.

You make an interesting observation and something to think about. While your long BF would mean a shorter FP and would decrease the chance of a dough flattening while vice versa we see spreading when taking out of the banneton. Perhaps this is something to take into consideration. 

Well 45min till I get shaping. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend with your family. 

- Abe

Reynard's picture
Reynard

Those Chelsea buns look truly yummy too. Am assuming the ends ended up as "baker's privilege" as we call it here chez Casa Witty. ;-)

drogon's picture
drogon

Or as I call it; Quality Control ....

These are slightly different in that the spread in the middle isn't the usual butter/sugar mix, but apple butter - which is basically apples slowly stewed over a period of several hours until they go a dark colour then bottled.

http://moorbakes.co.uk/recipes/apple-butter/

with cinnamon and some sugar sprinkled on-top as well as dried fruit!

-Gordon

Reynard's picture
Reynard

Can't let sub-standard ones slip through the net ;-)

I make my own apple butter too, Gordon - the advantage of living out in the boonies and growing lots of fruit. Bramleys are just the best for that. My Vics end up as plum butter. Both make great cake and pastry fillings, traditional in central / eastern europe (I do these glazed yeasted crescents filled with plum butter), but most of it just ends up on hot buttered toast LOL. I've got a huge crop of apricots this year, so going to make apricot butter in a couple of weeks when mine are ripe.

I generally use a 2:1 ratio of cleaned fruit to sugar - you can use less if you want, it's not an exact science, it depends very much on the acidity of the fruit and how sweet you want the end result. I cook the fruit first, adding a tablespoon or two of water in my pan to get things going. When the fruit is cooked, I add the sugar and carry on cooking it on a low simmer until it reaches a chutney consistency (the old spoon drag test) before jar-ing up and then sealing while still hot.

Never thought of using fruit butter in chelsea buns, might give that a go :-)

drogon's picture
drogon

I don't normally add any sugar at all - or maybe just a tablespoon if I think it needs it. I put this together a while back:

http://moorbakes.co.uk/recipes/apple-butter/

it's a really nice way to use up excess fruit! We chopped down our old apple tree last year, however there are many in neighbouring gardens and its looking like it might be a bumper crop here this year.

-Gordon

Reynard's picture
Reynard

Thanks for the recipe heads up, Gordon :-)

I use cooking apples to make apple butter (bramley and grenadier), so sugar is pretty well much a must, otherwise the end result just far too sour. If you're using eating apples, then yes, I can certainly see why you can get away with using barely any sugar. And with you being that much further south and west, and with a much more temperate climate, your fruit is inevitably going to be far more sweet than mine... The fruit I grow here is considerably more tart to what the parentals used to grow down in London.

Apples here looking only so-so this year due to some inopportune frost, but I have a bumper crop of bigarreau cherries, mulberries and gooseberries. Fruit butters are such a nice alternative to making jams, jellies and chutneys, especially when there's a glut. You use more to get a smaller end result LOL

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Ran out of very strong Canadian Bread Flour and used Alison's bread flour. I think what I've been hearing here recently is right. European flours need less hydration. When I try this again I'll drop it to 60%. Even 65% was spreading too much for a free standing loaf. It struggled with height. But having said that it is a nice loaf. I increased the BF to 4 hours to try and get a more tangy flavour. Here are some photos...

patm's picture
patm

Thank you for the comments and suggestions.

The Waitrose flower sounds worth a try.

I confess, I missed the mistake in the bakers percentages, which also didn't help. I know the author has a different view but I know I wasn't the only one :-)

In any case, I ended up chasing a white puddle around, even after extra folds. I lack the necessary skills for that at the moment!

I reduced the hydration to 65% with some success then read the Ken Forkish book and discovered I could dodge trying to slash a very wobbly jelly and put it in the DO "upside down" with very pleasant results.

Thanks for the welcome and the comments and suggestions.

I will try to post photos, however good or bad the results.

aroma's picture
aroma

... South Hampshire - if you want to try a good flour, try Very Strong Canadian from Waitrose. 

Cheers

Colin_Sutton's picture
Colin_Sutton

I've only used this flour (from everyone's favourite UK supermarket) in a bread machine with commercial yeast, but I agree, it is amazing - if you are looking for a high gluten flour.  Colin.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Marriage's Strong Canadian Bread Flour to be of the highest quality. 

patm's picture
patm

Yes, the mill is near to me in Chelmsford but their delivery charges seem a bit high.  I have seen their flour in Waitrose too so I might try to get some there,

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

They have a wholemeal version too. There's a wide range of strong and very strong bread and wholemeal flour. All in slightly different packaging. If it says strong or very strong you're doing well :)

Reynard's picture
Reynard

Hullo from north east Cambridgeshire :-) Another Waitrose flour user here too. Have their white Leckford Estate and their bog standard wholemeal strong flours on the go. I did buy a bag of the very strong Canadian flour, but have yet to try it as I have too many things open right now...

Even with the flours here in the UK, I've noticed that different brands of the same thing e.g. white or wholemeal or even rye do need slight tweaks on the amount of water. I prefer to err on the side of slightly less water too.

patm's picture
patm

Ok, I tried two different versions of the same loaf with different hydration levels.

Rye starter had been revved up since Tuesday and a levain built last night.

Shiptons Canadian white(112) 

First loaf was 75% hydration, quite difficult to handle but better than when I used ordinary white bread flour.

4 hrs BF with 6 folds in the first hour. Final fold before an initial shape and 40 mins bench rest, Final shape using a double letter fold and turning it to tighten it up.

It didn't maintain it's shape very well in the basket and proved quickly in about 90 mins.  This is where I am usually unsure whether the dough is just very soft or is only just "springing back".  Nevertheless I transferred it to the DO and after 20 mins covered and another 30 uncovered this was the result.

Actually rather nice!  Open crumb, thin crust(please ignore all the flour, handling problems) not bad at all.

Then I reduced the hydration to 65% and this happened.

It sang!  First time that's happened to me!

It held it's shape a lot better in the basket and was still nicely rounded when I put it into the DO.

Tighter crumb, which makes sense but this one really hit the spot :-)

Followed up by bagels, 20% spelt and a 100% rye.  I think I'll stop while I'm ahead :-)

drogon's picture
drogon

Your 2nd loaf is more like the regular daily ones I make in terms of the crumb.

Hope you're enjoying a weekend of good bread :-)

-Gordon