The Fresh Loaf

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sonofYah's picture

Well, this is my first blog. And It won't be very active at present. I seem to be working a lot of hours lately. About 60-70 per week. I have a full time job with a short-line railroad in SW Indiana. We move railcars for a major plastics/chemical plant in the area. I am also working part-time at a local grocery store bakery.

Wish the bakery job paid more. They have offered to train me as a bakery manager. But the money doesn't seem to be there. And if it is, the present manager could become upset. I think I would be making more than she does after 17 years with the company. Besides, it is not my type of bakery. Couldn't get my hands in the dough. Would have to deal with commercial breads and such.

Probably better off starting my own bakery. Then I could focus on the naturally leavened, whole-grain, artisan breads I enjoy making.

I have found a location on a major thouroughfare in town. It is a little small. But has great parking, wonderful location, and the rent is really reasonable. Now to buy the equipment. But first, I need to work on the business plan and make another appointment with SCORE.

Looking at raising some initial money by selling subscriptions online for meal menus. I figure I can make up four special menus monthly. The meals would be easy and nutritious. Yet fit for a special family meal. Also putting most of my wages from the bakery in a seperate checking account for expenses.

Looking at the possibility of apprenticing myself out to a local baker who makes the types of bread I am interested in. This means I would have to quit the other bakery job. But I have the okay from the owner of the shop where he works. This individual was trained in Italy. He has started and sold three bakeries in the area.

But first, I need to see where my railroad job takes me in the next month. There is the possibility that I could get the new Clerk's position. This would allow me to get inside out of the weather. It would also mean that I would be working days. Which means I would not be able to work at either bakery. I could work for myself though.

Decisions, Decisions.

Well, enough for now. 'Til Next Time.

whitedaisy's picture

There was soooo much food in my house, over the holiday, that I stoped baking so we could catch up. Yesterday my hubby said the words I love to hear, "Is there any bread." I made a variation of the recipe in lesson 1, and was surprised to see the loaf disapear in about an hour.

Floydm's picture

As I mentioned in my previous post, last night I placed my new sourdough starter in the oven with just the light on to see if staying 80 degrees overnight would give it some pep. It did, having slightly over doubled in size by this morning.

I also started a poolish last night so I could do a standard French bread if my starter wasn't looking lively. It too was ready to go this morning.

"Hey," I thought, "Since I have both, why don't I try making a yeasted and a sourdough version of the same recipe and compare how they come out? That's a good idea, innit?"

It is if you can remember which is which, but I, alas, could not.

My head was just not together this morning and I mixed up the two. What I knew was that I had two batches of my simple rustic bread: 14 oz. bread flour, 1 oz. rye flour, 1 oz. whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 12 ounces water. One of the two had a teaspoon of instant yeast and a cup or so of poolish in it, the other had half a cup of sourdough starter.

For the life of me, I could tell them apart: I was certain the one that was rising fast was the sourdough. It smelled like sourdough. Or maybe that was just the rye flour?

In the end I figured out which was which, but by then I botched the shaping of one of the sourdough loaves. Against all odds, the other one came out well.

The poolish bread:
poolish batards

The sourdough round:
sourdough round

The two side-by-side (sourdough on left):

A close up of the sourdough:
sourdough crumb

The poolish bread was much lighter and had a much more evenly open crumb. The sourdough was somewhat dense and should have been allowed to rise another half hour or hour (and would have, if I'd remembered which one it was), but it still developed a beautifully irregular crumb and tasted marvelous. That it came out not only edible but excellent proves my assertion that even a dunderhead can bake a naturally leavened bread if they are willing to keep trying.

Next weekend I bake ONLY sourdoughs, or a sourdough and something that I couldn't possibly confuse it with, like a brioche or a challah.

Floydm's picture

I've been feeding my starter every 12 hours since Thursday evening. It isn't too lively: I'm getting some growth and bubbles, but nothing close to doubling in size.

I went ahead and fed it again this evening. I put it in the oven with just the light bulb on, which keeps it around 80 degrees. We'll see if a slightly warmer environment stimulates it enough that I can bake with it tomorrow. If not, I may cheat and make a sourdough that is spiked with half a teaspoon of yeast, since it *smells* like sourdough. I'd like to get a chance to taste it.

I went ahead and made a poolish tonight too, so at the very least I could make a decent loaf of French bread tomorrow.

timtune's picture

My parents went to visit my bro in Melbourne, Aus recently. So I got them to get me some Kalamata olives from a Greek shop.
No wonder they're more expensive. They taste really nice!!

Here is a Sourdough Kalamata Olive loaf. (i think i'm baking everything with SD now..)

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Ingredients : 10% or less Whole wheat, Bread & AP flour, sea salt & Kalamata Olives.

PS* Btw, i noticed an increased in SD activity when i used Organic Unbleached AP flour.

timtune's picture

Nicely flavoured, but need to increase hydration.

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100% sourdough, with homemade muesli mix & cinnamon, Whole wheat & rye bread.

Floydm's picture

I tried baking with my starter yesterday but blew it. I left the dough too slack, so it ended up a puddle. I expected it to tighten up as it developed, but it did not significantly. Oh well, I'll try again in a few days!

Floydm's picture

Today the starter is looking real good.

sourdough starter

It doubled in size overnight.

sourdough starter

I'll probably try baking with it tomorrow.

Floydm's picture

I made pizzas last night using the Neapolitan Denominazione de Origine Controllata crust from American Pie. It is basically the same as the Neo-Neapolitan dough except it totally omits sugar and fats. I meant to make the pizzas the day before but didn't have time, so I just punched the dough down and left it in the fridge a second day.

I made a couple of small ones for the kids. I guess I didn't dress them w/ enough cheese and sauce, because they totally poofed up and ended up looking more like pizza bagels than pizzas.

kids pizza

I don't know if you can tell here, but they ended up being about 2 inches tall.

Our pizza came out more normal, with a thick, poofy crown and thin crust in the middle.

our pizza

timtune's picture

What do i do with excess sausages and leftover sandwich bread skins from Xmas??

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Toad in the Hole. But in a bread pudding mix, rather that Yorkshire Pudding.

MMmmm... :)


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