The Fresh Loaf

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dstroy's picture
dstroy

Well, I leave the baking of breads to Floyd (my husband, and the webmaster of this site), but I figured I'd post this in my baking blog here because, well, maybe someone would find it fun (and besides, I suspect Floyd won't mind). Our son turned 4 on Sunday, and for his birthday he wanted to have a Pirate Party. So, I made him a Pirate Ship Cake!


read more to see how it was done!

 

My boy wanted a strawberry cake, and I was a bit surprised at how pink the thing turned out to be. A few calculated slices and some picks to keep the pieces from falling, and we'd turn this into the scariest strawberry cake on the seven seas!

 

 

There's the pirate ship! I left the mast off until we arrived at the pizza parlor where we planned to have the party.

The ship was named after the birthday boy, with sugar skulls and a grape fruit-roll flag, pirouline cookie cannons, and chocolate malt-ball cannon balls

which turned out to be quite popular with the kids.

 

Arr there be a treasure chest filled with gems and dubloons by the cap'n too!

There she is, all assembled. The ice-cream cone crows nest was supported by a straw nestled inside of more pirouine cookies. The only part that wasn't edible (aside from the picks that held the shape of the ship and the straw, was the pirate flag hanging from the top of the mast. Oh, and the pirates of course.

 

The kids loved it!

Suiseiseki's picture
Suiseiseki

Don't make bread when you're sleep deprived! Mix everything but the yeast and salt into the dough before letting it autolyse!

I'm making potato rosemary rolls again (thank you for the clarification, Floydm) but incorporating the autolyse and cool rise techniques. I was half asleep at the time and thought it was a good idea to mix in the potatoes and proofed yeast while I knead. Mixing the yeast into the autolysed dough wasn't a problem but the potatoes didn't do so well - the kneaded dough has chunks of potatoes, spices, and whatnot randomly dispersed throughout but not blended. The dough is now rising in my fridge (or so I hope; I can never tell whether the dough has risen by eye) and it will be shaped and baked in the morning. I'll try to apply some gentle CPR to break up the potatoes then.

KazaKhan's picture
KazaKhan

Rapid BreadI started making bread about six months ago, I've been enjoying making bread so much that I've started TAFE to become a baker. My goal when I started was to produce a soft white sandwich bread in as short a time as possible. Now that I can do that I'll share what I've learnt. The first thing that I think is important is to use percentages and weight I do not measure by cups etc, I also keep an eye on time and temperature. Since approaching breadmaking with an engineers hat on so to speak my bread has improved considerably. So here is how I make a rapid bread from start to finish in about two hours. First I work out how much dough I need, today I'm going to do two baguettes at 450g and a lunch loaf at 550g which is about the maximum capacity of my oven, using two oven shelves never seems to work. So I need a dough of 1450g and I'm using the following formula.

  • 100% Flour
  • 58% Water
  • 2% Salt
  • 2% Olive Oil
  • 1% Sugar
  • 1% Yeast
  • Total -- 164%

PreparationI would usually use bakers flour and 1% bread improver however I wanted to test a cheap all-purpose flour with a protein content of 10.8% (Savings Brand in Austraila) and to see the result of no improver.

For my weights I do the following.
  • 1450g / 1.64 = 884g -- dough weight divided by our 164% gives the required flour weight.
  • 884 * 58% = 513g -- All other percentages are relative to the flour.
  • 884 * 2% = 18g -- Salt
  • 884 * 2% = 18g -- Olive Oil
  • 884 * 1% = 9g -- Sugar
  • 884 * 1% = 9g -- Yeast
Dry Ingredients I weigh my flour then add other dry ingredients to the flour and give it a good mix with a spoon. Next I start mixing slowly with a stand mixer whilst adding the liquids, once all is mixed I let it sit for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to let the dough relax.

Mixed Dough On a higher speed I work the dough for roughly 8-10 minutes. At this point I want a dough with temperature of about 28°C, I usually get the water temperature(20-22°C with the current warm weather) set by adding a couple of ice cubes(tap water is about 26°C here) to a jug of water before weighing the water off. Kneading the dough will warm it up a bit which is allowed for in the water temperature.

Window CheckHand WorkI pull the dough out and give it a "window check" if it's not up to scratch I'll give the dough some hand work. I've seen mentioned here somewhere not to tear the dough but this is exactly what I've been taught at TAFE and hence what I do which rapidly develops the gluten. I suppose there are many schools of thought on kneading :-)

TinnedI then let the dough sit again for 10 minutes to again relax the dough before shaping. I split the dough into the required weights and shape. For the lunch loaf I would usually punch down and roll a baguette shape, cut in half and put in the tin with pointy ends in the middle. But today I tried splitting the dough in half and putting 2 balls in, my loaf suffered as I didn't degas it before balling it (almost no oven spring).

For the baguettes I punched down the dough folded the sides in and then rolled it whilst maintaining tension. I slice the baguettes before prooving as doing so afterwards can be difficult.
Punch DownFoldRollFinished RollSlice
ProoverFor prooving I use a plastice storage container to which I add boiling water for steam. The rise takes about 30-60 minutes and may sometimes need more boiling water added to keep the heat up if the weather is cooler.

Ready To GoA spray of water and some seeds and into the oven at 220°C. I pour some water onto an oven tray on the bottom of the oven for steam. I turn the temperature down to 210°C and bake for approximately 25 minutes, a bit shorter for baguettes and rolls sometimes and usually a bit longer for loaves.

From todays effort I can say I rushed a bit and should have left the dough in the proover longer and the gluten was a little under developed. But not a bad result considering my mistakes and cheap flour and it still tasted good with some brie ;-)
Ready To GoReady To GoReady To Go

redhen52's picture
redhen52

I am a new bread baker for about 1 month. My bread taste great but, this crust is not very good TOO THIN How can I make the crust thicker.
PLEASE HELP

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I didn't bake this weekend. I made waffles and pancakes, but that isn't really baking, is it?

I baked last weekend, both a sourdough and a poolish bread, but I've been swamped. Work is busy and I'm doing some freelancing on the side, I'm taking a Spanish class, and I've really gotten sucked in to rereading The Iliad. Twisted, eh?

Probably the most bread-like thing I did this weekend was watch The Tick vs. The Breadmaster. If you have broadband and twenty minutes to kill, it is an amusing cartoon.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a used copy of Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf from a bookseller in Ipswich. I'm hoping it'll get here soon and that it'll kick me into the baking mood again.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thought someone out there would enjoy the soap opera of a sourdough newbie..LOL!
I have been studying the techniques of many mentors here..I had my notes on the long
proof of my starter,autolysing, folding & shaping, slack doughs, retarded rise..too many
facts for my feeble brain I fear!! I took my starter out Friday, poured out but 1/4 cup
and fed with 1/2 c flour & 1/2 cup H2O..a little later bubbling and very happy..into the
oven with the light on overnight..Saturday morning (12 hours later)slowing down..so I feed
& back into the oven. Sunday morning..I think I waited too long..still bubbling..but there
is hooch too. I mix my starter, yeast,milk,lemon juice & flour..cover and let sit 30 min.
Un oh..really stiff so I add a bit of H2O..way too sticky..then flour..still a mess.
I cover and decide to let it sit for 45 min..while I make Sunday breakfast..french toast,
fresh strawberries & bacon. My husband decides to assist and dumps the dough out on the
bread board ..OK..I tell him wait..not ready yet and cover it up. We eat..I go back
to my doughy mess..hmm not too bad..dough has relaxed ..so I fold..put it to rest ..I'm in
the shower and now remember I haven't put in the salt, sugar and olive oil!!..another 45 min
has gone by and it has risen..Hmm..I know I am committing bread suicide..I pour my dough into my food processor..add the salt, sugar and olive oil and do the wicked deed..and pray.
I let it rest again..fold and back into the bowl. A hour later..it has risen nicely..so
I divide and fold and into the fridge ... and so the sourdough rises.. I hope
until tomorrow...
I do have a dilemma..usually I get out of work at 2:30 PM..but tomorrow 5:30..
if my house is pretty cool ..in the 60's ..can I take my bread out of the fridge to rise
@ 6AM ish? so I can bake tomorrow night..and/or can I wait until Tuesday to bake..when I
get home earlier?

dhedrick's picture
dhedrick

I made some beer bread on Saturday and held back some of my dough to make a second batch once my Super Peel arrived - the first batch was very good, so I have no complaints over making it again.

The Super Peel seems fantastic! I am a little wary of using it just because gadgets that seem easy to me always seem to blow up in my face, but I shaped my dough and let it do its final rise on the peel, and then had absolutely no trouble transferring the dough to the baking stone - something that's been quite a headache in the past. I bake bread primarily on the weekends, so I'm anxiously awaiting this weekend when I'll be able to put the Super Peel through some more rigorous testing.

Oh, and I got one of my sourdough starters in the mail today - still waiting for another 1 from SDI, but hopefully that one will be here in the next few days too... It's been too long since I've made sourdough, and I can't wait to start making it again - hopefully it will mean no more commercial yeast for me.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

It feels like I took the weekend off, because I didn't make pain sur poolish or any sourdough loaves. But I did make pancakes for breakfast yesterday, chicken mole with homemade tortillas last night, bagels for breakfast today, and pizza for dinner tonight, so I guess I really didn't take a break. Felt like it though.

timtune's picture
timtune

Surprisingly, the sweet potato didn't gave as much sweetness as i expected. But it actually helped tenderize the dough and really keeps it moist. The bread came out soft and nice (without added fat), and didn't go dry even in the fridge after more than a day.

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Perhaps later on, i might experiment with yam, avocados, zuchinni, carrots & ...parsnips?? :P

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Howdy all,

I've been lurking around this website for about a week and decided to join in. I'm an occasional bread baker who would like to improve my loaves. I got into it because my sons have nut/sesame seed allergies. This meant my wife and I could not trust a normal bakery for good rustic bread because there is no way to be assured that the bread didn't get cross-contaminated with sesame seeds or nut products. Still, my wife and I still really love the occasional crusty loaf, so I started to make some bread (I average baking about twice a month).

We are really busy because we have triplet boys (collective age of 27 years old, look at my white hairs!), so I've had to tweak my protocol for baking bread to be as casual and flexible as possible. So, I thought that I'd submit to all of you what I do for feedback, suggestions, comments, etc.

I do love the taste of bread done with a preferment (a biga) and a slow rise, but with our busy schedule, I needed a way to do this with great flexibility. So...

I mix/knead a bread dough (I use the autolyse technique too) using instant yeast, bread flour, salt, and COLD water in a Kitchenaide mixer. I then put it in a lightly oiled stainless steel mixing bowl, cover with plastic and stick it into the refrigerator for a slow, cold first rise (usually about 18-24 hrs).

The next day, I take it out of the refrigerator, fold the dough (which when cold is somewhat stiff), put the dough into a new lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and then put the whole thing into a weakly warmed oven (Turned on oven for about 1 min, turn it off and then leave the light on -- my oven gets to around 90 F) and wait for about 1-1/2 hr to 2 hrs.

By then, the dough is slowly warmed to around room temperature (maybe slightly warmer) and undergoes a 2nd rise. I then shape my loaves and let proof. After proofing, I do the normal stuff -- slash, wet, bake.

The bread is pretty good (my wife loves it). I bet if I folded it more often it would rise higher in the oven, but as a trade off in my actual hands-on time, it works for me. It has a faintly sour taste (which I happen to like) and the crumb is somewhat irregular but not extremely open like some of the photos I've seen on this website (though my hydration level may help to explain that, I've been hovering around 65-68% for hydration level)

So, what do you think?

Mr. Peabody

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