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breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello,  


I've seen so many beautiful loaves here on TFL, with beautiful open crumb. When making dough by hand I know I'm adding too much flour to overcome stickiness when kneading. Guess what? No holes. I have shied away from the really wet doughs not really knowing how to handle them.


I recently saw a video by Richard Bertinet where he demonstrates his method for working sticky dough:
http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough


I found this video very encouraging, and now want to give a wet Ciabatta dough another try.  I read through various formulae and methods, to see how they meet the following criteria (what produces big holes in the crumb, as written by Rose Levy Beranbaum in The Bread Bible):


a) acid dough (use of a dough starter and a long cool rising)
b) underdeveloped gluten (from less mixing time)
c) high water percentage, to create a very wet dough
d) a slow rise
e) gentle shaping
f) an overnight rise of the shaped dough in the refrigerator (not applicable to Ciabatta?)


I decided to try Eric Kastel's Ciabatta formula as I've liked some of his others, and because there are similarities to Hamelman's formula, which gives me comfort (any Hamelman formula I've tried, so far, has produced really good results for me).
Kastel also writes about a double-hydration mixing technique that sounded interesting (discussed below).
Instead of 100% bread flour as Mr. Kastel's recipe indicates, I substituted 50% bread flour and 50% Type 00 Italian flour, to mimic 'ciabatta' flour, as shown in Mr. Bertinet's Ciabatta formula.


I saw different methods in different books, and tried to take bits and pieces from a few, to try to address the conditions needed to create big holes in the crumb:

a) Kastel's Ciabatta uses a poolish that ferments for 12-14 hours prior to mixing the dough.

b), c) Kastel's Ciabatta uses a double-hydration mixing method, using only 80% of the final dough's water for the initial mix (in the bowl, by hand for 4 minutes), then adding the remaining 20% of the water in thirds, continuing to mix by hand until each addition of water is absorbed before adding the next. Kastel writes the purpose of this is to allow some gluten to develop, while the dough is firmer and before the dough is completely hydrated. (Water is ultimately 81% of flour weight in Kastel's formula). 
Kastel advises that Ciabatta is a delicate dough and shouldn't be worked too much; Bertinet instructs to work the dough until it is supple and elastic; Hamelman says after mixing there should be some 'muscle' to the dough. I decide to go with Bertinet's more vigorous working method, partly because I want to see if it works, partly because I'm using some lower-protein flour, and not 100% bread flour, and because I trust Hamelman and his mixing recommendation. I turned the very wet, soupy dough onto the counter from the bowl and tried to do as Mr. Bertinet instructs. I mucked around (literally) for 10 minutes or so and got the dough to a stage where, while still very soft and sticky, had a bit of spring to it and would leave the counter in a cohesive mass when I picked it up. I am hoping that stretch and fold will make up for any deficiencies in my mixing or working of the dough.

d) Hamelman's bulk fermentation, at 3 hours, is longer than Kastel's instruction. I decide to wait it out for the 3 hours. When preparing for mixing, I made some formula adjustments as I was planning to let the dough bulk ferment for longer -  I wanted to slow down the rising - so used 1/3 less yeast (why 1/3? Only a guess). I also adjusted the salt to be equivalent to the percentage used by Hamelman as I really like how Hamelman's breads taste (I think they're nicely salted, and Kastel's recipe had a higher salt percentage).


Both Hamelman and Kastel indicate 2 stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. Peter Reinhart's stretch and fold video on Amazon instructs 4 stretch and folds for Ciabatta:
http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Reinharts-Artisan-Breads-Every/dp/1580089984
I will split the difference and go with 3 stretch and folds, at 45-minute intervals.  For the stretch and fold, Kastel says to flour the counter, Reinhart says to oil it. I'm going with Reinhart on this one, as I really want to preserve wetness in the dough.
I can feel the dough responding to each stretch and fold, and see air bubbles, which is exciting!

e) All the authors recommend using lots of flour and being really gentle with the dough when shaping.
I sifted a heavy coating of flour on the counter, gently turned the dough out of its rising container, and sifted more flour on top. I cut the dough into three strips. Shaping one dough strip at a time, I pushed the sides together as Rose instructs (to create the wrinkled look on top of the loaf), then inverted bottom side up. Then I gently picked the loaf up and stretched to lengthen it slightly while placing on parchment paper.


f) Kastel's final proof was for 20-30 minutes, and Hamelman's was for 1-1/2 hours. I chose the longer timeframe for proofing.


I followed Hamelman's baking instructions, 460F then 440F, and baked on a baking stone with steam.
I found the loaves were really browning so reduced the oven to 400F after about 18 minutes in the oven.


Here's how they turned out:


When I sliced the bread, the crust sort of splintered.  It's a very crisp crust. I am eating a piece of the bread right now as I finish this post...and the bread is good!
I am not sure if the crumb is as open as it could or should be, but it's more open than anything I've made yet, so for that I'm grateful!

Regards, breadsong


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Terrell's picture
Terrell

I am extremely pleased to say that the book I've been reading this week, 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander is a vast improvement over the previous bread-related memoir I reported on. It's possible, even probable, that you need to be at least a little baking obsessed to enjoy it as much as I did but anyone who has baked at all or even those of you who just really appreciate a good, chewy bite of the staff of life should appreciate this chronicle of a year of bread. Alexander, author of the 2007 book on gardening The $64 Tomato in which he told of his quest for the perfect garden, seems to have a problem with obsessions. Fortunately, he's very funny about it.


In 52 Loaves, he decides that he must, absolutely, recreate the perfect flavor, crumb and crunch of a piece of bread he ate some years ago while on vacation. He reasons that if he bakes the same artisan peasant bread every week for a year, he will come to understand it down to its tiniest filament of gluten and thus be able to achieve his goal. Along the way he guides the reader through the mysteries of wheat and flour varieties, the true nature of yeast, explains in plain English the fearful calculus of the Baker's Percentage and allows us to follow him into the subterrenean kitchens of the Paris Ritz. He travels to meet bakers, scientists and like-minded enthusiasts. He even grows, harvests, threshes, winnows and grinds his own crop of wheat. Best of all, he is hilarious as he describes his attempts to make his perfect loaf. In the last section of the book, he convinces the monks at a monastery in Normandy to let him come bake bread in their ancient community. This section is weightier and clearly important to the author. He seems to finally get close to the "why" of his bread obsession.


I highly recommend this book for any novice bakers (and even for people who have more than a few loaves under their belts). I guarantee it will make your own struggles with levain and alveoli easier and much, much funnier.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

On Friday morning, I did a rather large refresh of my starter, thinking that it would be the makings of a levain for something to bake this weekend.  There was no specific plan, mind you, just the notion that I needed to bake something and that sourdough would be preferred.  In taking stock of my pantry after a late dinner Friday evening, it became evident that whatever I made wouldn't contain rye--I needed to restock.  That may be good news to Nico and the rest of the crew at Eureka Mills but it did steer my considerations out of one path and down another.


What to bake, then?  After riffling through some books, the bread that looked most appealing to me was the Pain de Campagne from Leader's Local Breads.  Yes, it wants 30g of rye flour, too, but I substituted WW and was happily on my way.  My starter was at, or just passing, its zenith.  Since I keep a firm starter, I needed to add water to achieve the hydration of Leader's liquid levain.  Before doing that, I made sure to set some starter aside to refeed and put back into storage.  It's no fun to find out you've baked up all of your starter and need to start anew.  Even worse, there are no T-shirts after you've been there and done that.


In reading the formula, I found that I had just about the same quantity of levain (after adding the requisite water) that would be required for a double batch.  Good!  One mess and four loaves instead of one mess and two loaves.  That would yield two for us and a couple of loaves to give to friends.  Leader recommends mixing the water and flour for a 20-minute autolyze, then add in the levain and salt.  I varied by mixing the flour, water and levain for the autolyse and left it for 25 minutes, on the presumption that the coarser bran particles of the WW flour would benefit from additional time soaking.


Upon returning to the now-autolyzed dough, I found it to be wonderfully elastic even before adding the salt.  I worked in about half of the salt using a stretch and fold in the bowl process, then patted the dough out on the countertop and worked in the rest of the salt.  Leader directs the baker to knead the dough for 10-12 minutes.  For once, I followed directions.  The dough was a joy to handle.  It verged on being sticky at the beginning of the knead.  Per Leader's directions, I did not add any bench flour.  Instead, I would dust my hands with flour occasionally.  As the kneading progressed, the stickiness reduced to a light tackiness (and I mean that in a good way).  The dough left very little of itself on the countertop even though it was quite capable of latching on if left to sit for more than a few seconds.  It was able to produce a window pane at the end of the kneading, something that I don't usually check for, especially in a dough freckled with flakes of bran.  In spite of the addition of some WW flour (and rye, if you have it), this is essentially a white bread.  And I suspect that the dough felt so responsive to me because my previous bake was a 100% rye.  Two different worlds!


By this time, it was already close to 9:00 in the evening, so I had to consider my next step.  Should I stay up late through two fermentation cycles and baking, or should I retard it in the refrigerator?  Since I was dealing with a sourdough, I opted to leave it on the counter for about an hour more before placing it in the refrigerator.  My experience with sourdoughs is that they are rather slow to develop and I did not want to sacrifice that much sleep.  Imagine my surprise at about 7:00 this morning when I opened the refrigerator door to find the dough well above the rim of the bowl, straining against the plastic wrap!  It had at least tripled, perhaps quadrupled, in roughly 9 hours in the refrigerator.  I've never seen a sourdough bread do that before.  It must be that this starter, even though only a couple of months old, has a potent strain of yeast!


So, I divided the dough into four pieces and shaped each piece into a boule.  I only have two bannetons that size, and only two loaves would fit on my stone at one time, so I opted for using two half-sheet pans with two loaves on parchment on each.  While I can fit those into my oven, it does not leave any room for a steam pan.  When the loaves had doubled (visually) and the poke test indicated that they were fully risen, I scored them and brushed their surfaces with water before putting them in the preheated oven.  Leader recommends baking at 450ºF for 15 minutes, then dropping the temperature to 400ºF for an additional 20-25 minutes.  I opted to use the convection setting, with temperatures that were 40º-50º lower, supposing that I would get a more even bake.  I also planned to rotate and switch the pans at the 15-minute mark.  When I opened the oven, I found that the lower loaves were pressing against the rack above them.  Instead of the planned switch-and-rotate maneuver, I took all four loaves off the pans and placed them on the top rack, with the paler pair at the rear, to finish the lower-temperature last segment of the bake.


Here's how they look:


pain de campagne


As you can see from the crackling in the crust of the left-hand loaf, they sang as they cooled.  Two of the loaves suffered small blow-outs along their bases, indicating that they weren't as fully proofed as they seemed to be (or that I really did need more steam in the oven).  I'm very happy with how they expanded upward more than they did outward, since I was careful to get a tight gluten cloak while shaping.  I'm less happy with the scoring; it's a skill I need to develop further.  I anticipate some good eating from these.  We'll see how the crumb looks when I've cut into one.  That much kneading could lead to a fairly even and close crumb, even though this is a moist dough.


Stay tuned!


Paul

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

My travels are over,  and I'm back....


 


Soft Cheese Bread from Peter Reinhart's - Artisan Breads Every Day




 


The Mill Loaf (Adapted)  - Baked last week,  with my 2 mths dormant sourdough


 



More details in this blog.


 


 

bluerose's picture
bluerose


Hello All,


I'm a Korean home baker with 4years baking experience.


In most of Korean bakeries, they make some cakes and pies and sweet breads. Hard rolls are not popular here.


You can find some baguette. However, the baguette is not pure sometimes. They add milk, cheese, butter, sugar, etc.


 


When I traveled European countries, I tasted some really nice breads and I decided to make something like it by myself.


I studied from this website and some books.


 


This is the latest version of my study - my daily bread.


 



Bread1


Bread cut


 


<Sponge>




  • Whole wheat flour 400g

  • Water 850g

  • Pressed oat 100g

  • Molt 1g (1tea spoon)

  • Instant dry yeast 15g

  • Sea salt 17g


Mix them all, cover with plastic wrap and leave in room temperature for 30minute.


<Dough>
  • Bread flour 800g
  • Walnut 200g - pieced as you like
  • Grape seed oil 200g
Mix the sponge and bread flour just until no flour shown. Add walnut and grape seed oil and mix just until oil is fully mixed with dough. In a oiled bowl, put the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place at room temperature for 10 minute.
Carefully take out the dough from the bowl on lightly oiled work place. Stretch and fold 4 sides of the dough and put it back to the oiled bowl. Cover and wait for 10 minute.


Take out and fold 3 more times with 10 minute interval as described above.
Let the dough rise double of its original size in room temperature. Divide dough and make two big loaves.
Cover with cloth and let rise for 45 minute at room temperature. Bake at 230oC preheated oven 45 minute. I put one cup of boiled water in a bowl of preheated gravel to generate steam.
The final result is as above. Please advise me if I have something to improve.
Thanks.   

 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

First I want to say hello to all of you again after being "away at my summer job".  I've missed you all, and have not even had much time to just lurk, let alone post.  I've purposely held back from posting knowing I could, at any time, be completely unable to follow up or hold up my end on a discussion.  The latest part of Spring and the main part of Summer are my very busiest times of the year, when weeks and even entire months can and do go by without a break.  I've had the liberty of rearranging my schedule some this year so I have had some daylight time off, as a trade for night time on, to get some things done around the house, where I work.  That's the only reason I've been able to continue baking at least, to keep my hand in and the store-bought bread out.


The juggling of my work and off time schedule comes at the price of sleep too often, but it has permitted me to accomplish some baking things I'm proud of.  The biggest one we celebrated just tonight, with:


First Fire!! Woohooo!  The WFO got lit for the first time tonight with a small drying fire.


First Fire in New WFO


Thanks to a herculean effort the last couple of weeks, and the blessing of a wonderful neighbor who pitched in and helped, my earth oven is nearing completion.  Whenever I've been able to steal or swap for a couple of hours of daylight off duty time I've been working on this, since back in March originally.  Finally the rains quit and I could make some progress, then my "summer job" started and it has been pretty slow going.  I had to get it finished enough to use this winter before the rains come again!  I'm there, and will probably get it insulated in the next couple of weeks.  It must finish drying out first though, and this was just a small drying fire for less than a half hour to speed things along some.  It got things warmed up really well though.


This has been the highlight of my summer, without a doubt.  I've done some baking, of which this (back to front, RLB Beer Bread, RLB Sweet Potatoe bread as dinner rolls, and some of "my" sourdough) is my most recent highlight,



and I continue to explore the world of bread.  This oven will expand my horizons and challenge me even more.  I look forward to it with excitement.


I've many pictures of the entire building process from footing to, yes, first fire, thanks to the diligence and skill of my wife/photographer.  I plan on posting them somewhere (Flicker, or ...?) one of these days when summer is completely behind me and I have time to write the story.  Till then, well, we'll just take it as it comes.  It is starting to come easier as the harvest season here in The Valley heads into the home stretch.


It's good to be back on "The Loaf".  Thank's for stopping by for a visit.


OldWoodenSpoon

evth's picture
evth


 



 


Yes, this is one adaptable pastry dough: genesis - empanadas, second form -  apple pie,  fin - quiche. I have worked this modified version of Cafe Azul's Pastry Dough (see my apple pie blog for the recipe) into so many baked goods. Versatility is the key to a good recipe in my baking heart. It is no wonder that this pastry dough and I were just meant to be.

Since this is a high-yield dough (it is enough for two double crust pies or singles), you can freeze what you don't use. After making the apple pie, I froze two mounds of dough that were left over. The night before I was ready to make the quiche, I thawed the mounds in the fridge and in the morning was able to quickly roll them out for my tart pans with relative ease. I sing praises to thee, my dough of wonder!

As for the quiche, it is a fairly simple recipe. Here is my own adapted set of instructions for the filling, but you can make it your own according to what you have on hand. For example, you can include bacon or ham, drained and chopped cooked spinach, sauteed peppers or onions, etc. Don't get carried away, though. Less is more, in my book.

1) Saute a package of sliced mushrooms (I use baby portabellos)
2) Chop a handful of green onions (3 or so stalks) 
3) 1/2 cup of shredded cheese - use more or less depending upon your fondness for fromage (I use Gruyere) 

For the custard, I like to use Michael Ruhlman's ratio of 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk per tart. In a mixing bowl, whisk these together until smooth, salt and pepper to taste, and add a small grating of nutmeg.

After you roll out your dough, arrange the dough in a shallow tart pan. Scatter onto the crust the green onions, cheese and half of the mushrooms. Pour in half the custard, and layer the last of the mushrooms and green onions on top. Then add the rest of the custard, filling the pan up to about 3/4. Then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Carefully, place the pan on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated oven of 400°F for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven's temperature. When I made my quiche I forgot to use my trusty baking stone, and so the bottom crust came out a bit soft. I recommend that if you've got a stone, place it under your tart pan and baking sheet to ensure a crispy bottom crust. A golden and puffy quiche means that it's finished baking.



Voila!

evth

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

At the risk of sneers from the lean dough purists, one of my fondest bread memories is of the Onion-Curry-Cheese Bread from The Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley.  When I was a gradual student in the late '70s, walking through what has since become known as "The Gourmet Ghetto" (Cheese Board, Chez Panisse, Pig-by-the-Tail charcuterie, Lenny's Butcher and a great fishmonger whose name escapes me, all within two blocks), I would know from a hundred yards away that this delectable savory bread had just come out of the oven.  And I would make a bee-line.  The warm loaf in the grease-spotted bag made a satisfying lunch for a hungry carbotarian.  


So when I came into possession of a glob of David's sourdough starter, and decided to try bread-baking, it didn't take me long to decide I had to find the recipe. It didn't hurt that my Cheese-loving East-Bay-native wife encouraged the quest.


So I searched the web for the recipe, and found that The Cheese Board has published a cookbook, which--by pure coincidence--my wife gave me for my birthday.  And, yes, the Onion-Curry-Cheese Bread is right there.  They say it's the first bread they ever made.


It's a yeast leavened bread with a very low hydration dough (to account for the moisture in the one full pound of cheese that goes into three smallish loaves). The whole process only takes about 4 hours from start to finish.


Here's a picture of the dough (fresh yellow onions, curry powder, salt, black pepper, bread flour, water, yeast and a mix of cheeses).


IMG_1548


And formed (sorta) into boules.


IMG_1549


And the finished product.


IMG_1553


IMG_1559


Now, I admit, this is not a "nice looking" bread, but it's inspirational if you are a vulcanologist.  Its chaotic explosiveness makes the perfect contrast to Brot Backer immaculately formed and perfectly baked challah, posted this evening (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/brot-backer).  But the smell of the curry, onions and cheese as it bakes, and the moist spicy bread with gooey bits of melted cheese and crispy bits of carbonized cheese makes one close one's eyes in ecstasy anyway.  Warning: we do not recommend toasting this bread in a toaster.


This is the first non-sourdough I've tried, and it successfully captured the remembered flavor and texture of happy days past.  One of the three loaves is pretty well gone already.


All I can say is "Cheeses loves us!"


Glenn

Franko's picture
Franko

For my second bake from Richard Bertinet's 'Crust' I wanted to try something with ingredients I've never used before. The recipe that caught my eye was his Breton Bread as it calls for sel-gris and buckwheat flour, neither of which I've had any experience with. For anyone not familiar with sel-gris, it's an unrefined sea salt from Brittany that's very course and gray coloured. It's flavour is a little sharp at first, but leaves a subtle aftertaste of minerals that's quite pleasant. I think I'll be using it in my future baking quite a bit, particularly for rustic breads. For more info on this salt and others, here's a link to a guide of the various types of salt available for cooking and baking.
 
http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si_gourmet_reference.asp

Buckwheat pancakes are my only previous experience with this grain, having had them when I was a kid at Scout camp, but never using it professionally or at home for any baking. Some of the breads I've seen since joining TFL that use buckwheat, spelt, kamut etc. have intrigued me enough that I felt I needed to branch out more and discover some new territory. Our friend Khalid, in particular, has been a great inspiration to me with all the beautiful grain breads that he's made over the last few months.
 
Bertinet's formula for Breton Bread calls for using a pate fermentee as well as bakers yeast as it's leaveners but I thought I'd like to do it using a rye levain instead. Reason being, I had my rye sour going great guns, tripling in volume every 5-6 hours or so and thought it'd be a waste to not use it while it was so active. Late in the afternoon the day before mixing, I made the stiff levain but using rye starter as my base . By next morning the levain had doubled and domed so I went ahead and mixed all the other ingredients in the formula, adding the levain in chunks during the last part of the mix. Because the sel-gris is quite course, Bertinet advises dissolving it in a portion of the overall hydration, which is 69.8% (not counting the stiff levain).The dough was mixed on low speed for 8-9 minutes, then on 2nd for five. The dough came off the hook somewhat sticky but uniform and then was worked for about 5 minutes till it came clean off the counter. It rested for 1hr. at 73F, then stretched and folded and given another hour and another fold. After 30 minutes more of rest I molded it into a boule and put it into a heavily floured banneton, covered it with linen and put it in the fridge to rise. Four and half hours and 18 holes of golf later the loaf went into a 500F oven for 8 minutes with normal steam, then reduced to 440 for the remaining bake of 22 minutes. The loaf seems a bit over proofed to me but compared to the photos of it in the book it's quite a bit higher. It opened up much more along the slashes than I thought it would since it was a nice tight boule before going in the oven, so I'm wondering if this is perhaps a possible effect of the buckwheat flour content which was at 26%. I wouldn't call it a disaster by any means as the flavour of this bread more than compensates for any proofing or slashing errors on my part, but maybe next time I'll just give it a 9 hole proofing time. This is a really tasty bread, full of big flavours and aroma, the rye sour just adding another layer of flavour to it. My colleagues at the bake shop, who also serve as my tasting panel, all agreed that it was one of the more flavourful ones I've brought in for them to try. A few photos of it below. Please excuse the picture quality. My wife is visiting relatives back east and she decided to take the camera with her... for some reason, so I had to use my cell phone cam.

Franko


Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

 


Hello to all you Loafers!


This is my first blog entry and I thought I'd start out with my second most recent endeavor (I made sourdough bagels but didn't take any pictures!). I'd like to give a little preempt by saying that I am only slightly Jewish by blood and an Atheist at heart. That being said, if you have any Jewish blood or get Anthropological hard-ons, purchase Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread NOW! This book is filled to the brim with traditional but well tested/formulated recipes and all the stories, traditions and techniques that go with them.



As soon as I opened this book I would be baking a lot from it and the real challenge was to decide which recipe to try first, as you can see I choose one the the numerous Challah recipes and being a sourdough sucker I landed her My Sourdough Challah recipe.


 





 


This recipe is a winner! The one thing that a wild culture really adds to this recipe is the extra oven spring achieved that allows for this nice tears along the braids, it's one of the few loaves that have made my jaw drop. For the sake of full disclosure, I've been professionally trained as a baker and have made Challah before but those recipes were either too high hydration or fermented to quickly with too little oven spring in order to achieve those distinct braids.


 





 


I did make 1.5 adjustments to the recipe and they were to replace some of the whole eggs called for with yolks and half of the oil with olive oil. I did this for color, added richness and to avoid that eggy flavor that comes with the whites (just not my cup o' joe). The results were wonderfully yellow tinted crumb that was soft and just begged for a little of that naughty butter as well as making incredible toast.




 





 


The flavor was a perfect blend of rich and savory, using a natural levain really didn't add a tang so much as it amped up the flavor profile of the wheat to balance the eggs, sugar and oil. From beginning to end this dough was a pleasure to work with and I encourage you all to buy this book if you haven't!


 


 


I am submitting this to Yeastspotting


http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/ 


 

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