The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Taste of Artisan Bread and Jam

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The Taste of Artisan Bread and Jam

Hello All,

Glad to have found you all! Been baking sourdough since the age of 9 with varying degrees of success. Wasn't till recently that I decided that it wouldn't hurt to improve the skill set some. What a surprise! The old bread recipes of flour, water, salt, scalded milk, sugar, and oil or shortening (think Sally Lund here) has given way to the Bread Law: Flour, Water, Sea Salt and Sourdough only. One other item is time. I've found that working bread baking into my schedule took a bit of wrangling with recipe and technique.

I happened upon Daniel Leaader's book, "Local Breads" some weeks ago and the old flame was rekindled. Since then I've acquired "Bread Alone" and "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart. The enjoyment of organic artisan sourdough breads with my Wife's artisan organic jams is really something to annoy other people with. Also, open faced sandwiches of poached egg with slivered smoked salmon and fresh chives is unbelievable. The accentuation of food with artisan bread is hard to describe without samples so I'll quit that subject now but I'm sure many on this site are already there and I'm glad to join you all.

 

Bon Apetit,

Wild-Yeast

 

P.S. The best sourdough in San Francisco is baked in La Brea...,

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Darn! you're making me hungry!  Just had mixed seed/whole grain rye with shredded carrots scattered throughout topped with spreadable mozzarino cheese.  Forgot chives.  Be back soon...

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

As a sourdough bread fan and an avid jam maker (100 pots on my shelf), we are on the same wavelength.

Now, you must get a hold of some think quince paste or jam then you can make yourself a "tartine" of slices of ewe cheese (like Manchego), topped with the quince on a grilled slice of sourdough bread... you'll have found heaven on earth!

Jane 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Wow! I'm Charmed! Manchego with quince on grilled sourdough! Something to spike a windmill for...,

Interesting, though, is how developed and sensitive the human palate is to the taste and mouthfeel of natural bread. This is true whether bread is used as a taste foil alone or in combination with other food. I have always been a raving lunatik when it comes to my Wife's organic Wild Blackberry - Satsuma Plum jam. It's made the old fashioned way and tastes like it sounds. The real surprise came when it was placed on top of a toasted piece of organic sourdough. This moment will always be frozen in time for me, as I experienced a Zen epiphany. I had long used bread as a taste foil and accouterment, similar to its French use, but had never given any thought to how artisan bread could enhance the taste when used in combination. The effect was, to a remarkable degree, nearly an order of magnitude in taste. Realizing that this discovery was going to complicate things, like my life, I resolved to take things at a moderate, well considered pace....,

I jumped right in!

Best regards,

Wild-Yeast

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'd say you're an EPICURIAN!

I had a discussion with some friends who has spent time in the North America and they said that American food seems to lack in taste. They were in Montreal and went around to a bunch of bakeries searching for some decent bread. Everything they tasted was bland. I had noticed that for many fruits and vegetables over there.

Over here, in my part of the world (in the deep, deep South of France) and I'm sure in places over there, too, we keep to the seasons and have access to very fresh produce, artisanal cheese and of course bread. All of it providing a veritable taste explosion! The big example we have these days are the strawberries. You can buy spanish, water-filled, yucky strawberries, but the seasonal, more expensive French ones are arriving and there is NO comparison!

I made some blackberry jelly last year. You wife does it with blue plums? I'll have to try that out!  

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

As regards taste, thank God I am a Californian though it is a shame I wasn't born in Provence...,

Montreal is an interesting town. It was, at one time, the financial capital of Canada. The Quebecois movement distressed the money interests to the point that they all moved to Toronto. Fine, finit, finum! The city has been in distress ever since but continues on despite all that has transpired. I like this city, even in its distressed state, as the spirit of the people still resides there, but the food has been corrupted by want of need.

That your friends could not find decent tasting bread has much to do with the industrial food goliaths in which cost control mandates leave little lattitude for vital nutritional need and taste in their products. Much of the flour in North America is Brominated which is outlawed in Europe because it suspected of being a carcinogen. This along with bleaching produces a product that has a long shelf. You can survive on it but it will not produce baked products that have any real taste.

The long sleep from taste is just beginning to be awakended here. It started four decades ago and is just now beginning to have what we call "Legs" with much thanks to the internet and sites like this. I predict that Montreal will effervesce once again, but will need time till the artisan movement returns there with a vengence.

The Organic Movement is still an infant here. Supermarkets just recently started organic sections to satisfy an ever increasing demand for food produced through consistently good agricultural habits and can be guaranteed to be chemical free.

The Taste Awakening and the Organic Movement are now beginning to mesh together despite the numerous harangues from adherrents. The best way to convince someone is to let them taste, getting food to them to taste is the latest frontier of gastronomy in the U.S. A modest, but accelerating, movement is the farmer's markets held on weekend mornings. The purveryor's know all about taste samples and most if not all are now organic. Artisan bread is also being sold at these markets but, we are still a long way from Les Halles, maybe one day...,

Now, on prunes, or plums as they're called here (prunes are dried plums and also a reference to being a California native or "prune picker"). The Satsuma is a very dark red to blue hued skinned plum. The flesh of the fruit is very dark red and firm with good sugar and acid content. The stone is reddish - brown. It is a very common variety grown in California and a prolific producer. The fruit is prepared normally except that the fruit is left to sugar under refrigeration till the fruit is saturated with it. This requires several days. The jam is then prepared using the normal methods. The sugaring phase has a determined effect on taste. I suspect that natural yeasts on the plum skins begin a slight ferment until the increasing sugar content halts it. This is a small secret of jam making that seems to have been lost in the interest to getting the job done.

Fresh, local and in season! Zen Bhuddism has a tenet that things either are evolving or devolving, there is nothing in between (spirit of wabi sabi in Japan). Capture of the ultimate flavor requires much practice and not a little luck (the luck part being part of the shopping treasure hunt experience). Finding by chance an ingredient which will command an entire menu for but an instant is one of the finest joys in life. This verve is very French. And so is the anticipation of the first fruits of the season of which strawberrys are so emblematic. My Wife raises ours in raised beds. The first berries are now just forming as our Spring weather has been quite cool with several periods of two day heats followed by extreme cool (the new grape berries were the subject of frost damage and may harm the wine crop this year). With God's good grace we should have our first in several days. I agree that industrial farmed berries have no remembrance of their days in the sun. The taste conveyance is that strong!

 

As Always, Bon Apetit!

Wild-Yeast

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Wild-Yeast. 

The discussion of bland fruits and vegatables obtainable elsewhere reminds me of my good fortune to live in the San Joaquin Valley, which produces a tremenous variety of fruits and vegatables year around. I shop at a farmer's market twice weekly where I can get organic produce, all locally grown. 

The orange and tangerine season is ending. Strawberries have appeared. We get Chandlers which are very delicate, so they do not ship out of the area. Of course, they are soft and intensely flavorful. I'll be making strawberry jam in a couple of weeks. We are in the middle of asperagas season. Boysenberries should appear soon, and local cherries. The first zucchini of the season appeared a week ago, as did snap peas and fava beans. I'm waiting for the myriad varieties of eggplant to show up. By late next month, peaches and nectarines. Plums are later in the summer. 

I grew up here. When I was finishing my training in Boston, I was so desperate for fresh fruit, I bought a honeydew melon for $6. (That would be more than twice the cost in today's dollars.) It had been grown about 5 miles from my home in Fresno. It was like eating wood. I threw it out. It broke my heart. 

The only other places I have seen comparable quality and variety of produce is in Provence and in Italy. I am spoiled, and I love it!

David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Here it's the same:

asparagus, green and white/purple, fava beans, carrots, peas, artichokes, bulb green onions, lettuce, fresh garlic, strawberries, in a couple weeks the first cherries will be here (my trees are FULL this year)... yum yum yum

As for jam, when I make it, I mix the fruit with the suger, bring it to boil, then take it off the heat, cover the pot and leave it at least 12 hours in a cool place. The next day it is cooked. Maybe that has the same benefits as the fridge stay for the plums. Interesting! I'll give it a try and compare. 

Jane 

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

I did, and now the kitchen is calling my name.  LOL. 

Fun morning read.  You folks are the best!

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I apologize if the narrative is making anyone hungry. Or could that be a good thing? Discussion of food in all its different aspects has fascinated me to no end my entire life. Guess I'm stuck with it. I find that discussions on food are required to improve ones knowlege from others on the subject. In reality it is not so very different from days in our primitive past where a healthy subsistence required a sharp mind and a sense of seasonal variation to time activities. Civilization has removed much of the transient nature of the human existence but I'll argue that this trait for searching out the seasonal best has not been affected in the slightest. It's called Gastronomy. Look it up on Wikipedia, you might be surprised!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastronomy

The Central Valley of California, what a glorius bin of food this place is. Ever wonder where the best six row barley that gives German lager beer its body comes from? I could go on and on but that would only be boosterism for an agricultural region that is undergoing changes that will permeate American food habits from top to bottom. To change things takes patience, persistence, hard work and time. Not viewable on the surface, this change has been at work over the last several decades and is beginning to show up at the supermarket. A funny thing happened several days ago. I was given a copy of the first issue of the "Mother Earth News" dated sometime in 1970. The lead article was a manifesto regarding renewable resources and something about too many people in the World etc..., Gee I miss those days when you really had to wonder whether Safeway would open Monday after the weekend street riots..., This was the beginning of the green movement in California. Yesiree Bub, right there in downtown Bezerkely, California. I move from my theme, but yes I was there and I remember thinking at the time that what they were espousing actually made sense but most of the movement ended up blowing smoke rings at the establishment. Some went off and started communes and then others just went off..., Humor aside, there was a coterie of less voluble but hard working people that took the movements axioms to heart and began serious discussions and actions that are now flowering. Amazing to me is that these people based their entire lives upon the tenets of this movement. And for us, thank God they did, for the revolution that is now spreading (yes, still much too slowly) is a harbinger of a sustainable agronomy. I think the most interesting aspect of this is that is not going to go away. It is here to stay and is quickly becoming the standard by which others are judged.

Which brings us to the farmer's market. I look at the farmer's market as an extension of my very own table. It is an extension of the conviviality of dining. Nothing in the World is so appreciated by a farmer than the sincere appreciation of his efforts by the customer of their produce. Farmer's in return get to survey the market and receive feedback on what's hot, what's missing and what might be worth planting next season. This close proximity feedback loop is one of the strongest ties between the farmer and consumer that I have ever observed. It should be, on one end your life depends on what you eat and on the other is the farmers livelihood. I've also noticed that a certain elan, a sort of savoir faire has begun to exhibit itself at the markets. More and more it is becoming very similar to the French model. No?

And on plum jam. Make sure to stir the refrigerated plums from time to time to distribute the sugar and add more if necessary. Refrigerating the plums is, I believe, similar to retarding a dough. It allows a low level of ferment to take place.

Sometime we'll have to discuss Pomegranite - Orange Marmelade Jam.

Well I'll blog out now as the starter needs refreshing...,

 

Bonne Cuisine,

Wild-Yeast

edh's picture
edh

You all are killing me,

I love where I live, I do! I wouldn't really want to live anywhere else. We have the last good scallop grounds in Maine; in December you can go down to the breakwater and buy scallops so fresh they quiver when you flick them. And this is the center of the wild blueberry universe. But right now...

Well, I just took the hay off the strawberry raised beds, peas, onions and turnips will get planted this weekend (though admittedly we're a week or two behind on that this year), and the asparagus and rhubarb have just barely poked their heads up through the dirt. Oh well, good things come to those etc...

I'm going to have to learn about jam and preserve making all over again, clearly. I always thought I was doing pretty well with the traditional way I'd learned, but now I see there's a more traditional way that I'm going to have to learn about. Plum jam is the family favorite, though I don't know the variety; they come from a friend's tree, and it came with the house when she bought it. Lucky us!

edh

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I've often wondered if you could survive on blueberries alone? Guess that tells you how I feel about them. Blueberry flowers remind me of the drawings in fairy tale books that fascinated me as a child.

As regards being envious, it is understandable, but the mystery is much deeper than the fact I'm located here. I keep looking for Pomona because I know she lives here, somewhere, but here. Her other permanent homes seem to be in Provence, Tuscany and parts of Sicily. She does a lot of traveling especially in the Spring visiting just long enough for the inhabitants to take notice of their seasons. Too many live an abject life, listless in form and animation. It requires only a small amount of awareness to be captivated and swept away by the seasonal transformation no matter where you happen to be. To some this is an art form and from what you've said you're already a seasoned practitioner.

Rhubarb Pie is my favorite since first taste. Do you eat it with two year old aged cheddar there? With French Extra Vanilla Ice Cream? We were finally able to locate a spot where the rhubarb seems to like it. It only took 26 years to find that spot..., Sheesh! Brings up the subject, how's the artisan cheese market there? We have some good aged cheddars here but nothing like that which I've had in the upper New England area. This would be the dessert of choice following a main course of Coqulles St. Jacque...,

On the subject line regarding a "Late Spring", it seems from all the anecdotal evidence that Spring is occuring late this year all across North America. From a farming perspective this does not harbor feelings of confidence. Weather being what it is implies that the continent may be in for some very hot weather during the summer season. Not what I would call an auspicious beginning for the growing season...,

 

Enjoy! Bon Apetit,

Wild-Yeast

edh's picture
edh

Spring does seem to be dragging it's feet a bit this year; we often get our peas in at the beginning of April, but the ground was still frozen this year. To be fair, we're also dragging; having missed the first week due to weather, we've missed the rest of the month due to being excessively busy!

It's not all slow, though. I saw my first Fish hawks of the year the other day which was odd, as I'm quite sure the alewives haven't started running yet, and the smelts certainly haven't run either. In some ways it seems like the season is more out of whack than simply late. I agree, it makes things unsettled in terms of agriculture.

We don't have much here (yet) by way of artisanal cheeses. Where we live, well, as the teenagers say, it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here. We are as yet just too isolated for the specialty food market to have flourished. The local economy can't yet support it, and the infrastructure doesn't yet exist to help food producers create and get to market those products that would be popular in a more affluent and populous area. You'll notice the frequent use of the word "yet;" the non-profit I work with is in the process of creating a marketing co-op and community kitchen to do just that, but as with all non-profit endeavors the going is slow, though we have lots of popular support in the community. There are some nice chevres being produced in Maine, though most of those farms are further to the west'ard, or inland.

Personally, cheese was one of my great food loves before I developed a dairy allergy. I think that's why I've become obsessive about bread...

edh

PS It took us 3 tries to get the rhubarb to take; it seemed odd as you couldn't kill the stuff in my parent's yard if you wanted to, but there you go!

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Identifying the need for a community Co-Op Kitchen and having a marketing plan is the first big step. There consequence will have a catalytic effect. Attitudes and outlooks have been profoundly changed in several of the programs that I am familiar with. The amount of personal resource and talent inherent in people around you may be the biggest surprise. Removing the hesitation of people to take on risk is the biggest challenge but, as always, a little success begets more.

You speak of fish hawks, alewives and smelt. Fisherman watch for bird piles. The type of bird is an indication of the fish type beneath. You're evidently located on or near the ocean and it sounds as if fishing is part of the towns economy. This along with the Co-op brought up an interesting thought. Ever thought about combining the two as a marketing theme? Bread, cheese and fish. A fishers staff of life. Just a thought...,

Hopefully after another turn round the Sun we'll have an established Rhubarb Patch. Of course I relish the anticipation of that first Rhubarb Pie still warm from the oven...,

Six nights below freezing reached in Calfornia's wine country for the month of April! Damage assessments are still coming in but its not looking that good.

By the by, if you have a freezer this would be a good time to buy beef. With the cost of feed so high many ranchers are selling off their herds depressing the current price. Won't be so in several months...,

 

Enjoy! Bon Apetit,

Wild-Yeast

edh's picture
edh

The marketing co-op started as an outgrowth of working with local fishermen, but we quickly realized it should be open to any food producers in the area.

Sadly, cheese won't be a part of it as licensing regulations require that dairy/cheese be handled in a dedicated facility (same as beef etc) and we have a very limited footprint, but it looks like there are several potential clients of the kitchen interested in baking facilities.

I'm hoping we can get at least one pie's worth of rhubarb from our little patch this year; it's looking far more promising than it did last year. Happily, we have a very obliging neighbor with a very vigorous patch which he's more than happy to share!

Funny you should mention beef; I just declared my intention yesterday of buying a half cow in the fall from a local farmer. We've done it several times in the past, and it's always worthwhile, both in terms of cost and flavor.

edh

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

As the subject line says it's best to seek success following the path of least resistance. The fishing business has been undergoing the disappear'in blues over the last few years. ALL Salmon fishing on the West Coast has been cancelled this season. The fisher folk are in a bewildering tailspin. The Salmon runs in The San Francisco Bay Delta have been so woefully low that this was the only mandate left in an effort to save the species here. The situation is very dire. As usual there is also an impending political situation regarding the amount of water pumped out of the Delta to Southern California. The lack of water flow has been used as one reason that the Salmon population is falling. Of course this is not the entire story nor will it have an end if history is any indication. I like to say that I live in the "Northern Bear Flag Republic, known as Water World in LaLa Land". We'll start water rationing in several weeks no doubt..., 1977 here we come, AGAIN!...,

Starters out, atempering to room ambient. Out of curiosity to see if it would work I used our Kitchen Aid food processor to make the starter. I was impressed by the fact that it took only a minute or so to obtain window pain development in it (sticky dough). The downside is that it's difficult to scrape out and off the blades. It also works it way up the inner shaft and flows down the drive shaft. Wonder if Kitchen Aid would listen to a few product improvements?

Any fish farming there yet?

 

As Always, Bonne Cuisine,

Wild-Yeast

 

 

edh's picture
edh

and follows the path of least resistance. I've found it a useful example in my life!

In the summer here, when the fog is so thick it will come in the back door if you leave it open, I remind myself that we have it easier at that time of year than you folks do. The water quality in town here may be such that we have to go out of town to a spring to lug water that won't kill my starter, but at least there's plenty of it.

I hadn't heard about the salmon fishery shut-down. That's grim news. We only really deal with a state fishery here, avoiding the federal fisheries politics as much as possible. It's becoming increasingly clear to us that the problems in the fisheries as a whole have been market driven, and thus must the solution also be. As consumers are becoming more concerned with the safety and sustainability of their food sources, it will become more economically viable for the harvesters/producers to stick to sustainable practices.

I haven't used a food processor for kneading, but I vaguely recall a thread about it sometime in the last year. It sounds very convenient!

Lots of fish farming here; it's all salmon, though it doesn't taste anything like what you're used to out there!

edh

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH  Hello, I love your post about the homemade jams and breads...I moved to California 7 years ago from the desert...now I have access to the most wonderful organics...my husband loves my strawberry jam...my daughter has a wonderful  large orchard and garden...she just recently moved there and I discovered her apricot trees are Blenheim apricots...oh my gosh are these to die for...and the jam!  They are almost ready for the picking...the trees are very large in the orchard...there's a hugh variety of fruit trees...I'm in heaven!  My mother in-law introduced me to making jam 40 yrs. ago...she had the biggest apricot tree I think in existance..it was way taller than the house and probably just as old!  It had a hugh trunk...the apricots were delicious...I have never found any to compare...they were not Blenheims...but the best tasting...Iam so happy to have discovered the taste of the Blenheim apricots.  The plums here are wonderful too. 

Your bread and jam sounds wonderful and makes me hungry.  Welcome, Im a newbee also.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Apricots are in the same genus as Plums, Prunus. They make great jam, almost a pie filling actually and are good dried which we do when we're getting inundated (dunked in a sodium bisulfite solution to preserve color).

Jam makers are an inveterate bunch. Good thing too, as the stuff foisted on the public is near criminal in content. You can tell that I am an impartial party in this opinion. Years ago, when I was a partner in a vinifera brokering business, my wife decided to try making jelly from the pressed lees of cabernet grapes (pressed grape skins). The amazing thing about this jelly was that it aged in a very similar manner to the wine made from the same grapes. That batch cleared the decks before I realized we needed to make more. It was really delicious as a replacement for cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. We always brine a Turkey in Gewurtztraminer, Sweet Apple Cider, Sea Salt, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. It is then cool smoked with twigs of Oregano, Majoram and wood chips of Apple, Cherry and California Bay. Finished in the oven a sauce consisting of the Turkey drippings and demi-glace is prepared for service. The Turkey does not last longer than a day or two after the feast....,

Apricots are a hardy cooking fruit and can hold up to all sorts of abuse and still look fabulous. Apricots can be switched for Plums in just about any recipe. The Germans make a Flame Kuchen (Flaowma Cooken) that would do extremely well with 'Cots...,

 

As Always, Enjoy, Bon Apetit!

Wild-Yeast

 

 

 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Interesting stuff! The world is so huge, yet so small. Just a few words... I grew up in British Columbia and went salmon fishing every year because we spent the summers of a thirty foot sailboat. Back then there were loads of salmon. Now, my dad tells me, there are constant restrictions. How very sad.

I am collecting jars for the jam season that will be starting very soon. Wild-Yeast, your wife's recipes sound so tempting and wonderful! I am a big fan of wine jelly. I also made some very good green grape jelly last year with some organic muscat grapes. Noone had ever seen that here.

I've already made two rhubarb crumbles because I found some fresh rhubarb but my baby plants are not very happy down here in the south. I love rhubarb, too!

Jane 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Is your recipe similar to this one?:

 

RHUBARB CRUMBLE

1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. oats
1 c. flour
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. uncooked cut up rhubarb
1 c. white sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, melted butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Press 1/2 of mixture into a 9 inch square pan. Cover crumb mixture with cut up rhubarb. Mix white sugar, cornstarch and water. Cook until clear and thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and stir. Pour over rhubarb. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.


Bon Appetite,

Wild-Yeast

 

edh's picture
edh

I've never done anything with Rhubarb but make it into stewed rhubarb or rhubarb pie (with or without strawberries), but this is definitely going on the list this year!

Our Rhubarb is still only about 4" tall, but I've got my eye on the neighbor's patch; I usually make him a pie to thank him for what he offers so freely, but I think the crumble would be even more welcome.

Thanks for the recipe!

edh

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Nope, it's the other way around... thanks for the recipe, will be doing it soon!

Mine is like this:

The rhubarb is cut up and precooked in a pot with some sugar and cinnamon and a little bit of water. Sometimes I add a bit of cornstarch.

The crumble top is a mix of oats, flour, butter and cinnamon AND walnuts... all of that is mixed in a food processor, than put on top of the rhubarb and baked.

I'm going to do the same but with a mix of rhubarb and strawberries.

Served with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream... of course! 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

This is one of the classic combinations for the Rights of Spring Dessert. Vanilla or Cinnamon ice cream as a foil, I am flashing on the taste imagination now rolling across my palate!

On a more Earthly subject, I had one of those off baking events. An overnight retarded dough, risen once, punched and allowed to rise again only to overproof for some reason. Punched it down, kneaded it to awaken new food for the yeast and set to proof again. Boule was slashed, placed in the oven to bake but the cast iron fry pan wasn't hot enough to really throw out steam for the oven. Ended up with a fry pan with a layer of water in it. I let it go as what else could I do?

A slightly mishapen, highly sprung boule with just the right touch of sour, crackly crust and elastic-chewey crumb was the result. The moral to this story is when things go wrong, as they occasionaly will do, it's best not to get frazzled. Just start thinking about the recovery plan, carry-on and hope for the best...,

 

As Always, Enjoy!

Bon Appetite, Wild-Yeast

edh's picture
edh

I, too, had an over proofing moment today; needed something a little less rustic and a little more sweet in the house, so I made Floyd's Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin bread, but got a little distracted during the final proof...

The loaves went into the oven at the very peak, but I was doing a cold start so they ended up over proofed. Amazingly the texture and flavor were the best I've had from this bread, but they were very odd to look at. We'll be keeping both loaves here and I'll make something a little more sightly to give away...

edh

Janedo's picture
Janedo

That's funny that you both should talk about it. The temps here have risen considerably and I didn't take it in to consideration and I overproofed a sourdough loaf. I didn't bake it, I just put it in the fridge and am planning on doing some experiments. I'll just use it as the starter and see what happens!

W-Y I always throw in really hot water but I often see recipes where they use ice cubes.I guess it depends on whether it should be a lot of steam at the beginning, then none, or a regular dose all through the baking.

I've always found that my trials and errors are my best guides. The books I've bought are really not helping much at all!

Jane 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Crust formation is extremely complex. Reducing the rate at which moisture leaves the surface of the loaf is of prime importance. An interesting experiment would be to heat an oven with only super heated steam during the spring rise at which point heating would switch over to a dry heat source. I've never seen an oven of this sort. It would require a boiler to produce the superheated steam. The rest of the setup would be normal to an electric oven.

Just performed a search on such an item and guess what! Sharp is/was offering an item that uses superheated steam but lacks the electric oven. Although not spot on it is almost there. This is intriguing!:

http://www.sharpusa.com/products/ModelLanding/0,1058,1539,00.html

The chamber is too small but I'm inclined to think that this could be something. The next URL is John Dvorak's new gadget blog on this item:

http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=1637

Miele also makes a unit but it doesn't use superheated steam like the Sharp...,

As Always, Enjoy!

Wild-Yeast

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

From Consumer Reports August 2006:

Steam ovens disappoint

Healthful eating is one of the claims of a new breed of kitchen appliance, the steam oven. These microwave-oven-size appliances come in countertop and built-in versions. We tested one of each, as well as the Kitchen-Aid KDRP707R range with a steam-assist feature.

The built-in Miele DG155 costs $1,700 and cooks only with steam. The countertop Sharp Superheated AX-700S (shown) costs $1,300 and can steam or bake, roast, and grill with or without steam. Capacity is about the same as a small microwave--less than 1 cubic foot. Both claim to cook food more healthfully than conventional ovens. But our analysis of food cooked in the Sharp and the KitchenAid found just as much fat in the food after steaming as before.

Health claims aside, these pricey ovens failed to impress. The Miele produced food that was pale and bland. The Sharp did a bit better, but it didn’t brown as darkly as a conventional oven. Steam didn’t improve the lackluster performance of the KitchenAid enough to justify its $4,100 price.

CR’s take: Skip them all.
This institution rarely misses a call. Using steam only to cook seems not to have impressed the staff though they don't mention anything about baking bread.
Pyramid Oven is no longer in business but did experiment with a commercial unit. Reviews on Amazon gave the Sharp high marks and two mentioned bread baking.
As usual the internet provides conflicting information. Using steam as an atmospheric modifier is the important message that's coming through as applied to baking bread.
One curious mystery is how, when and where did steam injection begin?
As Always, Enjoy! Wild-Yeast