The Fresh Loaf

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Looking for Help with a Huge Undertaking

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umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

Looking for Help with a Huge Undertaking

So, tomorrow evening we have a big food-fest planned for the end of classes. We'll be having all sorts of things: cheesey potatoes, swedish almond cake (semla), fruit salad, chocolate chip pie, and other things. oh. And a spicy bean soup. in bread bowls. for about 20 people. guess who (foolishly?) volunteered the bowl idea? : )

So I've started it. ~ 10 lbs of dough yielding 20 8oz bowls is fermenting.

 

You can see various objects for size reference. I was trying to multi-task by studying my psychopathology for an exam I have.

So now, things are calm and quiet. I'm going to let it ferment overnight and then tackle the beast tomorrow. And here enters my question:

I've never baked so much bread at one time. HELP!!!

Our baking pans were stolen from us as a prank (presumably...), and so at the moment we only have one pan and my round baking stone to work with. If I have to bake in cycles, won't the ones sitting out over proof? Granted, we have two ovens, but I'm hesitant; the temperature fluctuates horribly on one of them...

Any help or advice anyone has will be greatly appreciated! Oh man........

Back to studying... 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Well it sounds like a fun adventure.  If I were you I'd probably shape the final loaves, and if you're worried about overproofing stick a few back into the fridge (or somewhere cool) when they're about half proofed to slow them down a bit.  The good thing is since they are small loaves, they'll bake fast, so you should be able to bake them in shifts fairly rapidly.

 

Good luck--on your baking and your exams!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Use the fridge or a cold room in your house (garage?) to keep the later ones from overproofing.

Good luck, with both your baking and your exams!

Digger57's picture
Digger57

The Great use of grains is Bread Making. OW YA!!

I would definitely put them in the fridge to slow them down. I do that here in my home when ever I bake more than two loves at a time. If you don't have the fridge space look for the coolest place around that well help a little bit. Good luck with this and have a VERY Happy Holiday Season. Digger

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Very cool breadman, I like your gumption for volunteering to make this project. The advice above is what I have done several times I have undertaken a large bake. I usually stagger the mixing process also and start by preparing a 12 hour poolish. Every hour I mix another batch of final dough which in your case should be 4 boules. It will take 5 hours to bake 20 at that rate and that's way to long to allow over proofing so you need to use some form of cooling on all but the current set of loaves. You can study between shaping :>)

Show us how it works out. You have a big future ahead of you guy, dive in!

Eric

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

Thanks Eric, and everyone, I'm going to see what happens tomorrow. I hope there's enough baking space in the oven to reduce the number of cycles so i don't have to keep running back and forth a lot. I'm also hoping that the time it takes for one batch to bake will be about enough time for another batch to proof...but i'm guessing it probably won't be since they won't take long to bake...I might have to shape them all and put them on cutting boards instead of our non-existent baking sheets....ah well, the moment of truth is about 12hours away, and I'll let you all know how it turns out. In any case, I just hope they're tasty. 

I think next time, if I can keep things labelled/coordinated, I'll try the staggered mix eric suggested. More systematic sounds more reliable. 

-Cyrus

leemid's picture
leemid

did everyone miss the obvious connection between 'avid' bread bakers and psychopathology? Wow...

Leeeee hee heee, hee hee heeeeee

JERSK's picture
JERSK

   I did something like that, but I worked for a catering operation and had huge ovens etc. at my disposal. One thing you haven't mentioned is the possibility of soup bread bowls leaking. I glazed mine with egg as a precaution. It worked well, though the bread crust probably wasn't as good. With staggered baking of 3-4 boules at a time . it should only take a couple hours. Maybe. Then cooling and scooping. I did 150, but I had a professional kitchen and a staff. Good luck.

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hello all,

there is even another way to manage the problem (if one has a BIG freezer).

Bake you loaves, let them cool down, and freeze them in plastic bags.

The day you need them, you let them defrost (unwrap and leave them open for a while). They are like freshly made!

Harry
---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This event has come and gone I think but as long as were on the subject. JERSK mentioned leaking and it made me wonder. I've never made soup bowls but I would think you would be limited to thick "chowder" type soups. Ideally the baker would want to take steps to make a thick crust I would guess and the egg wash sounds like a good idea.

What say you JERSK or anyone with experience in this area? Are we looking at a 8oz boule of multi grains? As winter wraps it's icy arms around Wisconsin I might just give this a spin for the holidays.

Eric

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

 

So this is the culmination of the efforts, days after the fact. Sorry the shots are a little blurry. Fortunately, the soup was very thick/chowder-ey so leakage was not a problem, though I imagine for other soups it would be. I threw as many bowls as possible onto a single stone, and I think i got it done in three batches. For my first somewhat hectic large batch bake, it worked pretty well. As you can also see, some of those suckers really popped in the heat, looking like a volcano of sorts. My slashing was inconsistent for a bit as I learned what made a better "cap". Ultimately, I needed to slash, from a bird's eye view, almost all the way out to the edge of the boule in a circular (or triangle/hexagon/etc) to give it a decent, but not obscene lift in the oven while also making for a nice lid.

All in all, dinner was amazing. I think 8oz is a perfect size bowl for most people since, even with the insides scooped out, it's still very filling, cap, soup and all. I was a little concerned if the bowl would be too small in terms of soup-holding capacity, but it seemed to work out, and you can always go back for more. For those curious, there were grilled garlic-broccoli, toasted almond green beans, cheesey potatoes, spicy bean soup in a bread bowl (high extr. as i usually do), and a ginger-lime mango and blueberry 'salad'. Dessert was pumpkin souffle and semla, a swedish sweet-bread topped with almond paste and whipped cream, dusted with powdered sugar.

-Cyrus

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Great work!

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi Cyrus,

congratulations !
Looks very professional.

Harry

---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

browndog's picture
browndog

That looks so good!

Tell me about the 'salad'. Fresh or frozen blueberries, and was the dressing very sweet?

Semla sounds interesting, too. I researched it a little--now I can't believe you didn't give us a picture, and I know there aren't any left...

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

the salad was frozen blueberries and mango, with lime juice, grated fresh ginger and some lemon zest. we wanted to make it with fresh fruit, but it's december in michigan and we couldn't really find what we wanted on our budget....it would probably be a lot better. Maybe with raspberries or strawberries too? it wasn't too sweet since we didn't add any sugar.

-Cyrus

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Everything looks great!  I love the way you scored the boules, it works pefect for making the bowl.  And the size is perfect!  Will definitely have to try it.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This must be a graduate program. I've never known college kids to eat so well! Can you tell me what the dough mix is? Looks like a multi grain blend.

It's great that you all pitched in to make this meal. Good memories!

Eric

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

Nope, we're all undergrads! It was just the day after classes ended, so technically there were a few days free for us to study. So we made a feast instead.

For the dough:

Yields ~10lbs dough = ~20 8oz bowls

5.9lbs golden buffalo flour (or flour of choice of course)

4.1 lbs tap water

1.9 oz salt

~10oz 75% sourdough culture

I mixed the flour, sourdough, and water and let it rest for about 45 minutes before mixing in the salt. After that, I folded it maybe twice at one to one and a half hour intervals and then let it ferment overnight in a cold part of the house. It wasn't very sour, but for those who would prefer that, I think you'd have to either use a larger amount of starter or use the same small amount and let it ferment longer than I did, which I think was ~20hours.

I think multigrain would be a great idea, maybe adding some rolled oats/barley/rye or flax/sesame seeds. at least, those are my usual go-to grains.

Oh, and if you wanted to see the semla (and pumpkin souffle in a cup):

-Cyrus

browndog's picture
browndog

Thanks! Now I'm trying to decide if I can squeeze these onto my Christmas dinner menu, and yesterday I didn't know they existed.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Your bread bowls look great - and the meal looks very tasty.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Four ingredients and three sentences and look what beautiful bread Cyrus made. I love it. Great job Cyrus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               weavershouse

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Very nice job on this undertaking.  The bowls look great.. Nice assortment of foods as well. Marvelous.......

TT

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I give you alot of credit. I don't know as I would have taken on a challenge like that! Dinner looks awesome and I'd love to try the Semla, although after that meal I don't know as I would have had room!

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

to be honest, i could barely finish half, and the person who made the semla nearly ate a third of one...nearly...it was great.

I tend towards the minimalist/simplistic end of breads. If i want to make a whole wheat bread, often i won't add too much in the way of fats/sweeteners. its partly because i'm lazy (i have to be honest...), but also partly because I feel that there's enough of that stuff in what we put on our bread that it can do without. and if i get it right, it usually tastes great anyways. 

-Cyrus

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The more I see from you the more impressed I am with this entire project. You and your friends did a great job with this and I hope you recognise the rather remarkable accomplishment for you as young adults. Your clarity of mind in the baking area is wonderful. Strong and simple concepts applied with skill will carry you far, regardless of the media.

So, what's next on your plate Cyrus?

Eric