The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sonofYah's picture
sonofYah

Well, things are starting to look up for me in the bakery business. I may have an opportunity to go to just one job. For those who have followed my blog here, I have been working both a full-time and a part-time job for almost a year now. There was even a three week period when I had two part-timers.

I am presently working part-time at a local Mexican bakery that also does artisan breads. What an awesome opportunity this has turned out to be. I am in the process of talking to the owner of the bakery about going full-time and leaving my job with the railroad. Not a big railroad, so I don't make a huge salary like most think. It is very decent, though, and my boss is probably the best boss I have worked for. I hate to tell him I am leaving if things work out at the bakery.

But baking breads is a passion of mine. It is somewhat of a spiritual experience for me. Eventually I hope to run or own my own shop.

So those of you who pray to YHVH, keep me in your prayers. And for those who do not, wish me well.

I know my family would love it if I had one job. I could be home in the evenings and on the Biblical feasts.

gordon
keen de'el yeshuati

timtune's picture
timtune

This weekend i replenished my supply of dinner rolls, by processing all the dough in the style of bagels. Boiled then baked.
Got the tanned colourm but still lacks the shine...Sigh..

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Every weekend, I bake 2-3 loaves of sourdough (usually whole wheat) for my family's weekly bread. I love sourdough, and I particularly love that I've figured out (finally) how to coax sour flavor out of our sweet New England microflora (long, cool bulk rise with a stiff starter).

I absolutely hate, however, having to throw away starter when I feed it. Drives me bannanas.

So I had an idea earlier this week. Why not place an ad on Craig's list and give it away? I came up with a quick ad: http://boston.craigslist.org/zip/155223285.html

Less than 24 hours later, I've got 18 folks lined up, all of whom will gladly give my sourdough "waste" for the entire month of May a happy home. At this rate, I'll just have to put up one ad per month.

So now, I can make my sourdough guilt free. :-)

Floydm's picture
Floydm

What with spring cleaning, business at work, helping family move, my baking has been seriously curtailed the past month. This weekend, hopefully, I'll get a chance to spend a day puttering around the garden and baking a couple of batches of bread.

I've redirected my enthusiasm for good bread in another direction. I recently discovered Banh Mi, Vietnamese sandwiches. My office is in an area with a number of Vietnamese shops. I've tried the sandwiches in 5 or 6 different places now and totally fallen in love. The toppings are good, but for me the bread is what it is all about. Seriously, I don't think I've found better French bread in town as I've found at my favorite Banh Mi shop, a little hole-in-the-wall place next to a laundromat that always has a half dozen chain-smoking Vietnamese guys sitting out front. Two bucks a sandwich too: can't beat that.

Now that I'm looking for them, every day I'm discovering additional Banh Mi shops. Pho in the fall and winter, Banh Mi in the spring and summer. Vietnamese food is my new favorite cuisine.

timtune's picture
timtune

I always wanted to test steaming a WW lean dough to see if it comes out as nice as the white enriched ones.

This is a WW steamed bun with some spicy homemade biltong (kangaroo) filling :). I think it'd do better if i added some...cake flour? ..will be softer. Nevertheless it was nice and chewy. :)

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And this here is a Pane di Altamura, almost weighing 1kg from 100% durum wheat flour.

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Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

"My all time favorite is a blue cheese and walnut bread with 25% toasted waluts..." The Bread Baker's Apprentice, P. 234
Good place to start. This bread was/is truly amazing-- I more or less followed the proportions except I used the WW SD starter and added 25% WW flour to the final dough. Blue cheese was Stilton (Costco). Walnuts from Trader Joe's. This was some serious bread. Dinner was Lasagne coi Carciofi, Artichoke Lasagna...ooh baby...but thats another story. The walnut/stilton bread with salad was a perfect compliment to a great sunday dinner.

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sonofYah's picture
sonofYah

I am going to try linking to some pictures. Please be patient with me.

These are pictures of a starter I am experimenting with. See my earlier blog entry for an explanation.

Gordon

The control starter
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Sourdough Jack's starter
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Both starters for comparison
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Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Friday night is often Pizza night in our house. This one is a favorite: Tuna Pizza

Basic Pizza dough (I used 1/2 cup SD starter but spiked it with 1/2 t of fast acting yeast, 2 cups flour, 1/2 t brown sugar, 1 t salt, 1 T olive oil)

Fresh mozarella (dried with paper towel then cubed then a quick whir in the food processor)
some basic tomato/oregano/garlic/basil sauce, about 1/3 cup
1 can quality imported solid tuna in olive oil (spanish or italian) flaked into uniform 1/2' pieces, not too small
1 can flat anchovies
2 T capers (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)
10-12 strips roasted red pepper (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)

Notice a theme here...too much moisture is the enemy of good pizza, go easy on the sauce and dry wet ingredients where possible. In addition, I open the oven half way through baking and mop up excess moisture off the pizza by blotting the surface with paper towels. It is still a very juicy pizza but I avoid soggy bottom and side crust disasters!

Preheated 500 oven (rained last night, no outdoor grilling)

Building the pizza (and i believe in the hand form approach over the rolling pin) in this order: crust, cheese, tuna, anchovies,
sauce, red peppers, olives, capers.

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Slide it onto the tiles:

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12 minutes later, lets eat!

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sonofYah's picture
sonofYah

Well, Pesach and Unleavened Bread is over and it is time to get the bread ingredients out of storage.


Been a while since I was able to post. Have been super busy. Having a blast at the bakery job. The railroad job? All I can say is that I still have it and it is paying the bills.

I have been browsing the rec.food.sourdough newsgroup a lot lately. One of the messages I really found interesting was one concerning a 30+ year old sourdough starter packet. It seems that one of the regular posters on the group found an old packet of unopened starter in one of their sourdough books. This person did a little experiment to see if she could revive the starter. She seems to have had success.


I went on the 'net and found a copy of the book with a packet. Yesterday, I started my own little experiment. I measured out equal amounts of all-purpose flour and water in two seperate quart jars. To one I added my 1/2 ounce packet of starter powder. Twelve hours later I had activity in both jars. But the jar with the sourdough packet was markedly more active. The aroma of the starters were different as was the textures of the respective starters.


Not wanting to skew the results, I took 50 grams of starter from each jar and discarded the rest. I started with the control starter first, doing one at a time to control cross-contamination. I rinsed out each jar and added 50 grams of distilled water and 50 grams of all purpose flour. I added the water to the starter and made a liquid starter. I returned the starters to the respective jars. I then added 50 grams of all-purpose flour to each jar and stirred until well incorporated. I marked the levels in each of the jars. Again, twelve hours later, I checked the jars. This time I took pictures. There is quite a difference between the two. When I learn how to post pictures here, I will do so.


I am kind of suprised that the control jar (with no starter powder) took off so quickly. But then again I did a lot of bread baking before Pesach and Unleavened Bread. And no matter how good I tried to clean my house, there would still be yeast floating around in the air. (A spiritual lesson there) Hoping this didn't affect my little experiment. But the jar with the sourdough starter is significantly more active as you will be able to tell when I upload the pictures.


BTW, I made my first homemade matzah in a stone lined oven. Was a smashing hit with the daughters. And I got it in the oven in less than eighteen minutes. Just made a little over a pound.


Till then, let us bake bread.


Gordon
Keen de el yeshuati

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

All things require fine tuning and experimentation.
This time I used more coals--including some mesquite which burns really hot, moved the grill to the lee side of the house (out of the wind)and did not bother with water of any kind (no water in wood fired ovens, right?).
I did throw a couple water soaked wood chips through the air vent.
The temperature inside got up to 600+. I was resolved not to do anything that wood cause the temp inside the grill to drop so, no water and no opening the grill to peek.
In my oven, at 450 the bread takes 40-45 mins. I figured 30-35 mins in the grill. Theses are not big loaves.

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After about 27 minutes i wandered over to the grill to smell that lovely aroma of baking bread... more like burnt toast! I imagine this would have been a perfect loaf had I taken it out around the 20 minute mark. I baked the control loaf in the oven as usual. Both tasted delicious (had to cut the burnt bottom off the grilled loaf) My wife says that she likes the grilled loaf the best so far. She likes rustic things.

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