The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yummy flops :0)

rmk129's picture

Yummy flops :0)

Last week I managed to try a few other recipes with mixed results...

1)Rustic Bread
Very nice loaves of bread. Delicious!!! I made it twice (once with rye flour) and my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed the two different types.

2)Sweet Corn Raisin Bread
I had quite a few laughs throughout the process of making this bread...since I have joined this site, I have read so many pieces of advice about working with wet dough that I think I took it to the extreme while I was making this loaf! After I *poured* the dough out onto my lightly floured counter (using my hands, arms and apron to stop it from oozing into the sink and off the counter!) I realized that I probably should have added more flour in the first stage :) Nevertheless, I persevered and somehow managed to shape it into a fairly round object (this required much patience and a constantly running tap to clean dough off my hands). I then plopped the globular mass of dough into a bowl that I had covered with a heavily floured teatowel and proceeded to clean up the huge mess I had made all over the counter! Sometimes I think it is a blessing in disguise that I have such a tiny little kitchen because then at least even huge messes remain somewhat manageable :) It rose very well, but to finish off my adventure, I really screwed up the scoring process by changing my mind halfway through...after all was said and done, the baked loaf looked like a golden brown loaf that had been attacked from above before it made it into the oven. However, it was scrumptious with a nice crumb...maybe I will have better luck with the process next time. There WILL be a "next time"!!!

3)Whole wheat/flax seed/bran/oatmeal bread
My own "failproof" recipe that has never let me down...until this week. Do you see a pattern here? I bought my whole wheat flour from a bulk health food store this week and it was very coarsely ground (I even found 1" bits of wheat ?chaff? in it!). I also had a very busy day so I ended up leaving the dough in the fridge for most of the first the end, I produced 2 teeny little loaves. At least they were not rock hard...they were actually quite moist and tasty. Probably a good way to prepare bread for bringing on an overnight backpacking trip :) I guess that is the beauty of baking bread...pretty hard to screw up a loaf so bad that it isn't worth eating!

4)Baguettes Bizarre
In order to keep my current disaster "streak" going, I decided to try out a new recipe for baguettes instead of my usual. So as I type, I am halfway through the process and keeping my fingers crossed. I got the recipe from a website link from this site, and it is completely different than any recipe I have ever tried so I will see how it works...on the website, she admits that this is actually a Reinhart recipe that he got from a parisian baker "Baguettes Ancienne". I had to mix up the flour, salt, yeast and ice water last night, knead it for 6 minutes with my mixmaster, then put it in the fridge overnight. This is not the usual biga/poolish method, because you don't add any additional ingredients the next day...what you start with the night before is what you end up with. Now it says to let the dough rest on the counter for 3 hours, then simply shape the dough (which the website author had huge difficulties with and I'm sure I will too) and throw the baguettes in the oven. Seems like such a short process compared to the way I usually do it, so I thought I would give it a try... Wish me luck!!!

5)Banana Zucchini Bread
On this weekend's list due to the fact that both of these ingredients are approaching the decay stage in my fridge...sounds yummy, doesn't it? :) I was originally going to follow a recipe I got from the web:Banana Zucchini Bread. I didn't have any self-rising flour, but I read somewhere that for every cup of flour you should add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to make it equivalent to self-rising flour. Hmmm...that would mean adding 3.5 x 1.5 = 5 1/4 tsp of baking I smell another disaster in the offing???? I guess it would make sense to end my week of oozing, non-rising, flopping, slashed-apart bread with a loaf that explodes out of the oven :) I just popped my loaves in the oven 5 minutes ago, and the ingredients I ended up adding actually ended up being a mixture from the original recipe (linked above), Linda's Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread, Floydm's Better Banana Bread, and a few of my own additions :) If it works out, I will post the recipe in my next blog entry so I don't forget what I did!


smiddlet's picture

I haven't looked over the recipe you provided, but if they're Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne, yes, it's a peculiar recipe, but it works out really well most of the time.

The shaping is crazy, but I was surprised how well it turned out. Instead of shaping, you really just cut pieces off of the dough in 8-inch lengths. Reinhart suggests you shape the big mass into an 8-by-6 inch rectangle and cut of six 8-inch-long pieces, which works well. Just make sure you constantly keep the pastry scraper wet. As I transferred these pieces to the waiting parchment paper, they enlongated into 14 inch baguettes almost instantly in my hands.

Let us know how they work out. Good luck!

rmk129's picture

In keeping with my week, these "bizarre baguettes" lived up to their name and didn't work out too well (even though I was so excited to try out my new baguette tray for the first time!)...

I must admit that, despite their ugliness, I really liked the texture of these baguettes.
However, as far as the all-important taste test goes, I found them rather bland. Maybe the 1/8tsp of salt is not sufficient for my tastes, but I assume that if I added more salt it would negatively affect the ability of the yeast to do its job???

I really wish I had read your post *before* I tried to shape them like I do with the dough from my usual baguette recipe :)

Here are some photos of the somewhat disastrous shaping and slashing process....we can't only post our grand successes, can we? ;)

*Oh my goodness!!! Dough before "shaping" process
May 31 013

*Slashing disaster!!! The dough was SO sticky that nothing worked...that is why I ended up using scissors for the baguette on the left :)
May 31 018

*Ugly baguettes in every way!!! :)
May 31 021

While I am showing pictures of is another MAJOR flop that occurred this week when I tried to make Floydm's flaxseed bread recipe. Good for a laugh, anyways :) How NOT to rise dough...

-Dough before rising:
May 31 022

-Dough *after* rising (look VERY carefully and you *might* be able to see that they have risen at least a millimeter or so!!!):
May 31 023

I did bake these anyways, and the only way I could manage to eat them was by soaking pieces of my "paperweight" loaves in hot chicken soup (at least the soup turned out yummy!!!).

One more photo...almost forgot to proudly post my "vertically-challenged flax/whole-wheat/oatmeal bread" (until this week it had been a virtually foolproof recipe producing nice loaves every time)...
May 31 005

smiddlet's picture

Whoa, yeah -- don't try shaping those. I used a lot of flour (Reinhart recommends 1/2 cup on the counter) because it's a tremendously sticky dough. I just cut off the pieces, transferred them to the greased/cornmealed parchment paper and popped a batch of three on the baking stone. I think you should give it another try. As for flavour, I don't remember how much salt I put in, but 1/8 tsp strikes me as too little. The yeast certainly got its job done -- once the dough warmed-up and awakened, it rose nicely.

As for scoring, I only scored one baguette, and I used scissors.

They weren't the prettiest loaves, that I will admit, but they tasted wonderful and six went in two days.

As an aside, I've had problems with the flaxseed bread rising as well. No hints from me -- just keep trying, I imagine.

Thanks for the images, too. Fun to look at and share.

rmk129's picture

Okay...with your shaping tips, I'm going to try those baguettes again! Everyone seems to rave about these baguettes, so I am determined to keep trying.

I just did an internet search to try to find out the amount of salt, and it seems that it was probably supposed to be 1/8 tsp *PLUS 1 tsp more*!!! The website I got the recipe from had a MAJOR typo in the recipe ingredients...serves me right for not ordering Reinhart's bread book yet, I guess. :)

Well at least my previous attempt at these baguettes proved that my taste buds are still fully functional and somewhat able to detect lacking ingredients. In addition to the extra teaspoon of salt, I will be using liberal amounts of flour on my counter this time...and I don't think I will be doing any scoring unless it is with scissors.

Wish me luck!!!