The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Amber waves of grain 2: a batard year in review

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Amber waves of grain 2: a batard year in review

No batards were harmed during the making of this blog entry.  All were proofed in a couche under retard.  Considering how much time I spend on baguette baking, I'm surprised at how many batards were part of the year.  A partial list...

Son of SJSD, Alfanso Style with 75% hydration mixed flour Levain.

Forkish Field Blend #2 with 75% hydration mixed flour Levain.

Gosselin with WW and 75% hydration mixed flour Levain.

Hamelman Pain au Levain with WW and stiff Levain.

Hamelman Pain au Levain w with mixed stiff & liquid Levains

Snyder Semolina Capriccioso

Snyder Semolina Capriccioso, Alfanso Style with 75% hydration mixed flour Levain.

 

Pane di Altamura, Alfanso Style with 60% hydration durum flour Levain. 

SJSD ALfanso Style Rye with caraway seeds and cornstarch glaze, 100% hydration Rye Levain.

WW Fig-Pecan with 75% hydration mixed flour Levain.

Hamelman Pain au Levain with WW, figs and pecans, 60% Bread Flour Levain.

 

Pane di Alfansomura Semolina/AP with 60% hydration Rye Levain.

SFBI Pain au Levain with caraway seeds and cornstarch glaze, 100% AP flour Levain.

SFBI Pain au Levain, 100% AP flour Levain.

Hamelman Olive Levain with 125% hydration bread flour Levain.

SFBI Pain au Levain with 80% hydration, modeled on SteveB's post using drywall taping knife for shaping.

Wow!  A busy and tasty year. 

alan

 

Comments

Ru007's picture
Ru007

I love all these pictures, check out those blisters! I think this is the only place where blisters are a welcome sight :)

Can't wait to see what you get up to this year :)

Happy baking

Ru

alfanso's picture
alfanso

and I broadened my horizons.  Looking forward to 2017 bakes although once I have 20 or so things that I like to bake, I don't necessarily feel the need to continue to experiment with new breads.  A few that I do have in mind ...

thanks, alan 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

lovely form and beautiful crust! your photography is great.  

Look forward to your 2017 bakes Alan

Leslie

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 

One thing that I do find really satisfying is that I can get some consistency from bake to bake, so a lot of these carry a 'signature' look.

just an iPhone camera and a black background seem to do it.

alan

inumeridiieri's picture
inumeridiieri

There is to learn from you ...

Gaetano

alfanso's picture
alfanso

We all have something to learn from everyone else, but if you have some specific questions that I might be able to help with, then please ask.

thanks, alan 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

2016 was a great year for your bread making.  Well doone and happy baking in 2017 Alan

alfanso's picture
alfanso

seemed to be the watershed year for me  when things really started to come together.  But this was a good one too.

thanks, alan

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Beautiful!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

good shaping, etc.  Tend to result in good bloom and big ears.  I feel that I've reached that domain.  Now...not to fall back and lose it!

thanks, alan

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

You really have this gift for long loaves! I think I remember the line "amber waves of grain" from a song which I think some years ago was sung in different languages. It even made news here because our language was included.

I really enjoyed your portfolio of baguettes and batards. Looking forward to your show this year.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

a quasi national anthem here in the USA.  I'm surprised that it would have been translated into other languages, or maybe the songwriters here lifted it from elsewhere.  

Im curious as to your knowledge of foreign languages.  It seems that you are pretty skilled at picking them up and it's pretty impressive to me.  A long term interest of yours?

thanks, alan

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Here is the song. Our language starts at 0:45 "Sa ibabaw ng mga prutas." which means over/above the fruits. And here is the full version.

My dream is to be fluent in 3 or 4 of the official languages of the United Nations. I'm starting now with French and Mandarin, I still don't know when will it happen. :) Languages and food around the world go so well together, don't they?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 America the Beautiful.  I had no idea that it was ever interpreted into another language.  Of course it took Coca Cola to do it, so not all is perfect!

another of the things about TFL that is delightful.  Instead of catering to a strictly USA bunch of bakers, the website is all welcoming to people from all parts of the globe.

alan

isand66's picture
isand66

Great looking and tasting (I'm sure), Year of bastard Baking!  May 2017 see a couple of boules sneak in there :).

Look forward to seeing what the new year will bring for all of us bread heads!

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

but even though I see boule after boule after boule all lined up so beautifully across these pages, it just doesn't do anything for me personally.  Maybe it goes back to when I first started this gig and bought a cast iron Dutch oven.  I used it probably les than a half dozen times in those first two months,and then decided to pack it away.  For all I know there may be a spider colony taking root inside of it.  

Now, I know that I can shape and retard a boule in a couche, so just for the fun and inspiration of it from you, I may do that very soon.  It's just that these darn baguettes seem to eat up the majority of my dough ;-) .

Thanks, alan

Skibum's picture
Skibum

I still can't get the beautiful ear you get with your score and kind of gave up on it. Oh well, still enjoying baking some yummy stuff. You are a very talented baker! Beautiful loaves!!!

Continued happy baking! Ski

alfanso's picture
alfanso

i wish I could tell you the secret to scoring, but really, I don't know what it is that I do differently than others.  I guess one difference is that I don't agonize over every slice of the blade, and I do read where people get unduly uptight about it.  I just line it up, think about where the tip of the blade will enter with what angle and depth and go from there.  But definitely no dawdling or manhandling either.

 Other than that, as Danni and I and so many others say it is just practice.  The worst is that you'll have great bread and poor scores, but learn something along the way to have great bread and fine scores.

alan

dough dog's picture
dough dog

Alan, your breads are perfect. Do you get tired of hearing that? Getting more acquainted with your posts I can clearly see --you have achieved a consistency that must be extremely gratifying. So when I say "perfect" part of what I mean is that you can consistently duplicate your results. Ah, Consistency... I have a long way 'til I get it, but I am really, really enjoying the process.

I must go back through your posts to read... I know that it is not one thing a baker does, but everything in unison that is yields such beautiful results as yours... I am thinking that you must be very conscious throughout the mix>ferment>shaping process of the strength level your dough... bringing it up or down to the proper degree as needed...

I can see your oven must reach a very high heat and have a lot of steam... I am sure this question has been answered in your other posts.

I became bored with the Boule/dutch oven during a spree (with library copy of the Tartine book as my guide) about 5 years ago... for me it was a compromise, a way to deal with not having a baking stone... and I never mastered it, anyways. Deep inside I knew that what I really wanted was to make good baguettes and Batards

alfanso's picture
alfanso

This week I'm away from home and working off my tablet and phone.  I would like to give you a more complete response with a few links that I hope you will like and will explain some of my philosophy and approach.  But right now it isn't conducive to do so.   Thanks for the very kind words.  (Mom, that isn't you using a pseudonym, is it?)

alan

alfanso's picture
alfanso

you will find a LOT of really high quality bakers on TFL who put out some superb stuff on a regular basis.  I'm pretty competent in my little corner of the bread universe, but there are many others on this site who have exceptional skills and knowledge.  And many of them have such knowledge that far exceeds anything I can offer.  Some of them don't post pictures and stories of their bake's, instead opting to offer help through comments and suggestions alone.  I'm certain you've already been able to find a few of them also.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi Dough Dog,

Now that I'm back home, I have a few links for you to peruse.  I hope this is what you are looking for, but if not, it can still be used as a kind of reference to how I do my baguettes.

Probably a few more scattered around here and there, but this is a good starter kit.

alan

dough dog's picture
dough dog

Alan, I somehow tuned in to your wavelength before you wrote today's post, because I was reading your DO'S & DONT'S with avid interest at 1 A.M. last night. Yesterday, after a problematic day, I found myself muting the day's static by losing myself in an analytical frame of mind, deciding it must but must be possible to draw a bead on why my last two bakes have failed. I found many of your posts via the "track" link Kendalm's profile. (almost felt like I was stalking you... but your baguettes are, well, iconic --you had better just get used to having fans)

Very interesting reading; key fundamental misunderstandings on my part (of the mix/ferment process) brought to the light.

dough dog's picture
dough dog

Yes, so much information, an embarrassment of riches at my fingertips. Today am trying to get this information organized into something I can understand. Last week's bakes: me blindly practicing newly discovered mixing techniques (i.e. stretching and folding) without understanding why, and achieving *surprise* results --some bad, some good --every bake a wild, disorganized adventure. This week's theme: "Why am I doing what I am doing and what am I trying to do?"

Yesterday I discovered this particular thread contained a link to a post from SFBI that was pivotal in my understanding of "it all":

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40613/dough-strength

Michael

 

 

 

 

 

Cellarvie's picture
Cellarvie

What golden beauties Alan!  And seeing your 2016 baking summarised here so deliciously makes my mouth water and inspires me to keep trying no matter what.  I've learned so much from you and others on this amazing site, but I've still not quite achieved the golden, plumptiousness of your bakes.  One day maybe, and when that day comes, I'll have TFL and all you generous and knowledgeable contributors to thank.  Happy baking new year to you.