The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Southern California

Patrick's picture
Patrick

Hello from Southern California

Hello Everyone,
I returned to baking my own bread about 6weeks ago after having not baked bread in about 35yrs. I tried it a few times when I was a teenager but didn't continue. Then lately it occurred to me that there's a problem with the quality of our bread so I started looking into making my own. I use a KA stand mixer to mix and knead my bread and a digital scale to weigh all ingredients directly into the bowl. It works out just fine with the stand mixer so if anyone has problems making bread with a stand mixer I would be glad to help. Generally I'm following Reinharts "Bread Bakers apprentice" -it's coming along quite well. I make his "light wheat loaf" and French bread (w/pre-ferment) right now; lately I've been experimenting with baking it on a stone. Very delicious. I don't have too much time for making bread so I'm always on the lookout for ways to make my bread-making more efficient. My wife is an excellent cook but she doesn't do yeast bread -at least for now. That's just fine with me, I enjoy doing it myself; she likes my bread. I'm a buckwheat person so I mix in a little buckwheat flour into my bread when possible. I use King Arthur flours mostly; Unbleached Bread Flour, White whole wheat, traditional whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose. And for shortening, I like to use a good olive oil. Well that ought to be enough for now ...looking forward to some good interaction with other home bakers on this list.

Patrick

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

In terms of trying to save time, I adapted several recipes using an overnight rise in the refrigerator. I'm told by others here in this forum that I essentially stumbled into the method described in the Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (for Pain a l'Ancienne recipe).

I mix/knead a bread dough (I use the autolyse technique to reduce the amount of kneading) using instant yeast, bread flour, salt, and COLD water in a Kitchenaide mixer. I then put it in a lightly oiled stainless steel mixing bowl, cover with plastic and stick it into the refrigerator for a slow, cold first rise (usually about 18-24 hrs).

The next day, I take it out of the refrigerator, fold the dough (which when cold is somewhat stiff), put the dough into a new lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and then put the whole thing into a weakly warmed oven (Turned on oven for about 1 min, turn it off and then leave the light on -- my oven gets to around 90 F) and wait for about 1-1/2 hr to 2 hrs.

By then, the dough is slowly warmed to around room temperature (maybe slightly warmer) and undergoes a 2nd rise. I then shape my loaves and let proof. After proofing, I do the normal stuff -- slash, wet, bake.

I find that this offers a lot of flexibility in terms of time for me.

Mr. Peabody