The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread journal -- prehistory (what I've been doing)

man_who_eats_bread's picture

Bread journal -- prehistory (what I've been doing)

No idea if this is the right place to do this, but I want to start keeping better track of my bakes. Before I start, I want to clear my brain of the hazy memories from the past couple months of bread baking.

Phase 0: Bob's Red Mill loaves

On a whim I decided to try baking bread from one of the bagged kits from Bob's Red Mill. Multi-grain, or 9 grain, or something like that. Throw the ingredients in the Kitchen Aid, follow the instructions, and tasty bread results! 

Phase 1: Whole Wheat Sandwich loaves

Then I decided to take things a step further and make a few batches of Cook's Illustrated Whole Wheat Sandwhich loaves. Most of my loaves came out great, although one collapsed a bit, and another gushed over the side of the pan in the oven (creating a 4 inch by 2 inch by 1/2 inch extension that let me try that batch without having to wait for the whole thing to cool.

Phase 2: No knead

First I did the Lahey No-knead recipe published in the NY Times. The next week I did Cook's Illustrated's updated version (I've still got a can of PBR on reserve in case I want to make another... although now that I think of it, my Levains have been good enough that I don't care to go back. I guess I'll put that beer in the fridge for later).

Phase 3: Levain

At some point I started up a culture. Louis (named after Louis Pasteur). From there I made a few loaves from Flour Water Salt Yeast with my favorite being the bacon bread (latest, and most successful loaf pictured below). The Country Blonde was also fantastic.

Bacon Bread

Phase 3.5: Rye

My grocery had a sale on Rye flour so I bought a few bags. I tried making the Country Brown substituting all Rye for Whole Wheat. The result was tasty (I rip off chunks, toast them, and put them in soup), but didn't rise very much. It turns out Rye is a tricky beast! I took a bit of Louis and created an all rye starter. 

Using The Rye Baker I've successfully made a loaf of "Old School Deli Rye" and a less than appetizing Boston Brown Bread (just too molasses-y for my taste).

The Present

That pretty much brings me up to today. Right now I'm making the 70% Whole Wheat Tartine bread. The Dutch ovens are in the... oven (?), and the loaves are proofing. 

My goal is to find a good solid whole grain loaf that is easy to add stuff to. I'm liking the results I get from Dutch oven bakes, but I'd also like to figure out buns in time for Thanksgiving, and a nice sandwich loaf.


Bread1965's picture

hi 'man'... It looks like you've been making some great bread, learning a lot along the way and enjoying some seriously good eats! I like the Tartine 70% WW loaf but think you'll be challenged to add  stuff too. That's already a fairly full loaf with all that whole wheat.. I'd be temped to dial back the whole wheat to compensate or it might be too dense. But there's only one way to know for sure.. Let us know what you come up with! Bake happy.. bread1965!

man_who_eats_bread's picture
MonkeyDaddy's picture

to tell a story like this.  I love hearing about the evolution of a person in their baking endeavors.  And if you want a real treat, pick one of the more experienced folks here, like Dabrownman, Mini Oven, Alfanso, dmsnyder, Txfarmer, trailrunner, or any of numerous others.  Click on their name, which will take you to their profile page, then click on the "Track" button.  From here you can go all the way back to their earliest posts here and read forward from there.  It's tremendously inspirational and educational to watch the development of these awesome bakers unfold right in front of you.  Plus, you get the added benefit of seeing their personal bookmarks list, and what things they have found important to refer back to.