From a marathon baking session last weekend. The whole rundown is here.
it just comes back to this page....
that's a beautiful loaf of bread! Lovely crumb. I have wanted to bake that bread for a while, as it uses a preferment with 50% of the total flour in it, and I love the flavor those recipes give.
Oh, I fixed the URL. Should work now. I'm so used to html that bbcode messes me up.
It was a pretty long lasting loaf. I think I gave away and ate it all before any mold showed up, about 4 or 5 days. That's saying a lot in this super humid climate.
At this point I've still baked few enough loaves that I'm still surprised and amazed when I pull something that looks and tastes that nice out of the oven. Maybe because I've never been around any bakers.
You have lots more great loaves to look forward to. Remember at the beginning of Hamelman's Bread he writes about consistency. All of us bakers have that to aspire to. Keep track of things as you go, and when things go right, review how you got there. Keep track of temperature, especially, of the dough and the water that went into it. I'm learning I have to do this, and it's a good thing, being mindful of how we bake.
Pretty soon you'll find you'll be boring yourself by repeating great loaves of bread every time. ;-)
Oh yeah, I've already discovered how important temperature is for sure. An instant read thermometer is cheap and invaluable. You might think you know what 75 degrees feels like on your hand, but I know I didn't. What I always thought was lukewarm, turned out to be way too hot. It's also saved me from burning up some loaves, actually these even! The instructions called for another 10 min or so of baking, but the internal temp was right so I pulled them out. No one has exactly the same set-up you're working with, so you have to be flexible enough to make changes.
Im also not sure why so many people resist weighing ingredients. Not only is it easier to be consistent, it's flat out easier. Throw in an ingredient, tare, another, etc. No measuring cups! Less to wash!
In process this weekend, raisin bread & olive bread. Yum!
The one thing I don't follow Hamelman on, and I think I've heard this echoed around TFL, is the bake times. If I baked my loaves as long as he says, at the indicated temperature, I would get very overdone bread.
As you say, that's where an instant read thermometer comes in very handy. I've read around here that some people go by the look of the crust. I can't do that. If I did that, my loaves would come out underdone.
Weight vs. volume: I couldn't agree with you more. I love that tare feature on my scale!
In the oven: sourdough loaves.
I made this rustic bread for the millionth time and topped it with King Arthur Flour's Artisan Bread topping (it has flax, poppy, caraway, sesame, and sunflower seeds) and it was a very nice compliment. Knowing it could be a bit too pungent for the mellow flavor of the bread I was a little reluctant but feeling like I wanted to try something new. And I'm glad I did.
I just sprayed a little water on the loaves, sprinkled on the topping, and gently patted it down. (The way I did this is a little crude but I didn't want to flop the loaves over again in a tray of seeds because I didn't want to deflate beautifully risen dough). BTW: Watch the oven carefully though. The delicate little seeds can overbake quickly. I didn't have any temperature trouble but watched it carefully as I began to smell the caraway.