The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Glad I Saw Your Site

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nlavon's picture
nlavon

Glad I Saw Your Site

I ran across your site when I did a search on shortbread cookies, a fatal weakness.

I think baking is a pretty cool thing and your site looks really good. In fact, I am heading to my local library later to pick up a copy of The Bread Bakers Apprentice since it was mentioned here.

One of my prize posessions is a dog-eared copy of Uncle John's Bread Book which has wonderful recipes and advice in it. For instance, I learned that dusting a pizza peel with a light coating of corn meal (so it can slide around) is "applying in the Presbyterian manner." The things you learn :-)

I grew up near a Polish bakery and you could smell the fresh bread on Sundays and one of the lasting memories from my youth is going down there to pick up a fresh loaf of rye bread for a quarter. I would break off the heel piece and crunch away.

I have made some breads and pies and am ready to move on to the next step of actually having them improve, not just show that I did it. I especially like baking my own pizzas and I use one of the Uncle John recipes for French bread for the crust. Makes for an interesting combination.

At any rate, glad to be aboard as I go through the site. I will be especially intersted in the forums and the recipes and the advice. The part about steaming was interesting and it led to a call to GE (which makes my oven, the gas Profile) which told me I could put a pan of water in there for steam. Thank goodness, along with my quarry tiles from Lowe's, I'm hot to trot.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Welcome to The Fresh Loaf! 

Are you looking to reproduce the rye bread you remember from that Polish bakery? There are a number of rye bread enthusiasts on TFL, I being one of them. Can you describe the bread you are recalling?

David

nlavon's picture
nlavon

I was 13 or so at the time and it was my job on Sundays to go down to this small local bakery which, I believe, was run by a Polish family. They baked all sorts of stuff--bread, cakes, pies, etc. But what sticks in my mind was the smell as I neared the bakery. God, what a terrific armoa that baking bread let off.

I always agreed with those who said that the aromas of bread trigger something emotionally in the human psyche. I do believe it's true.

At any rate, I just recall the bread being a small loaf of medium rye, not all that dark, with a rich dark brown crispy crust. I'd break off the heel and chew it up before I reached home which was fine with my parents. I do recall the loaf costing a quarter. This would have been crica 1959-60.

I tried making rye bread once with my first wife (who intitiated me into the ways of the kitchen and encouraged my feeble attempts at baking by stressing how "guy-like" kneading dough could be) and I recall using cup after cup of rye flour as the dough absorbed it. I also seem to remember making a cornmeal mush to absorb the flour but that was a long time ago. It was difficult to work with but in the end, we got a serviceable loaf or two. I haven't tried any rye bread since because I thought it was very difficult to make.

I do love dark bread, however, so I would be interested in finding out more about it. From what I've read recently, the wheat flour and rye flour are mixed together. There are some good rye bread recipes in the Uncle John Bread Book (I'm glad I retained that since it seems out of print) but I would be interested in hearing what you have to say.

Does it really heat up the house to make rye bread in the spring and summer?

Neal Lavon
Takoma Park, MD
USA

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You are off to a good start with Reinhart's BBA, especially if you study the introductory chapters. He has a formula for rye bread in that book, but you might want to look at a couple other bread baking books which have more.  

Hamelman's "Bread" is a more advanced book. It was written for professional bakers, mostly. It has a very good explanation of the special characteristics of rye flour and the making of rye bread, with strong emphasis on German-style ryes. If you want more on Polish rye breads, Daniel Leader's book, "Local Breads," is recommended. I've baked all the Polish and Czech rye breads in that book, and they are all wonderful. Maybe one is like the rye bread you remember. 

One thing you should get clear on from the get-go: Traditional rye breads are all made with rye sour (sourdough starter made with rye flour), even if they have added baker's yeast. So, you have the wide world of sourdough baking to look forward to! If it's new to you, you will find abundant support and information right here on TFL.

David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Welcome.

nlavon's picture
nlavon

Nice to be here. I've joined similar groups (though not necessarily breadmaking) and found participation to be a sometime thing. Glad to see there is lots of activity here.

Neal Lavon
Takoma Park, MD
USA

Ruth Redburn's picture
Ruth Redburn

  Well, Neal, I am about ready to move back to Maryland now that I have found a fellow baker there. Haven't heard from any here in New Jersey.  I used to volunteer at the TP Adventist hospital when I lived in Silver Spring.  I too love rye bread since that was almost all we had when I was a kid.  I like to make the NYTimes no-knead bread with about a cup of rye flour in it which is very nice.  It probably isn't like your Polish bread but quite good.         Ruth Redburn

nlavon's picture
nlavon

 Glad to hear from you. TP Adventist is going strong but you should see Silver Spring! It has really blossomed beyond belief.

 A couple of years ago, the Discovery Channel put its headquarters there, moving from Bethesda. Big building, brand new, and that started a boom. Restaurants, hotels, etc., have moved in there and the place also got the American Film Institute to buy an old movie house which shows classic films.

The place is really motoring on. I suppose there are tons of bakers who are really good here and I just try to get some time on a weekend to attempt something, nothing fancy. I have been looking for a retirement hobby and I am wondering about taking some classes or doing something. Is there a link to the NY Times no-knead bread recipe somewhere? :-)

 Thanks for the reply!

Neal Lavon
Takoma Park, MD
USA

Ruth Redburn's picture
Ruth Redburn

     Neal, just go to nokneadbread in the search bar at the top of the page and it will bring up the usual messages.  One or more of them will be the recipe.  It is so easy and I think it is good bread.  Very wet, a little hard to handle for me but the results are worth it.  You can also try Bittman, or NYTimes recipes. 

Thanks for the info.  We moved just as the changes were starting. I understand that Trader Joes is also there.  A great place that I miss from California when we lived there.           Ruth Redburn

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Welcome.

If you like a bit of ale in your bread, try The Cooks Illustrated Almost No Knead bread.

The beer, vinegar, and light folding of the dough results in a very nice taste and crumb.