The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Well we went on holidays and I forgot to take my starter along so I had to live on bread machine bread while we were gone. My starter (Bob) survived the 3 weeks home in the fridge just fine. Today I finally had some free time and what I wanted most was Beer and Cheese SD. I used PR's basic SD recipe and replaced the water with beer and added the cheese after the 1st knead and rest.



I made 4 loaves. We just had to cut into them to go with supper, thus a perfect photo op.



This one is a lager and swiss SD. The swiss taste comes through nicely and my Starter seems nicely sour after his 3 week stint in the fridge.




This is an ale and spicy gouda. Wonderful SD flavors and the heat of the gouda is noticable, but not over powering.

wally's picture
wally

Last week I tried Hamelman's fougasse with olives recipe for the first time and had a very happy outcome.



However, in attempting to move the bread onto parchment after scoring it, I nearly had disasterous results, since the scoring leaves it without any 'backbone.' So I resolved to do a bake today avoiding last week's hassles by allowing the fougasse to rise on parchment paper.


Trouble is, I was too clever by half in my approach (as the results of my niçoise olive fougasse below attest).



Here's what happened, and, in retrospect, how to avoid my mistake.


The fougasse (a bread of Provence) goes through three shapings after its bulk fermentation:


1- it's lightly shaped into a ball and allowed to bench rest for about 20 min.


2- it's rolled into an oval shape with a rolling pin and then allowed a final rise for about 60 minutes, and


3- picking up the dough, you then stretch it out to about 1 1/2 times its orginal length, and then fashion it into a triangle whose base is about 1/2 of its length. After that, it's scored and loaded for the bake.


My misstep occured in step #2. I lightly floured parchment paper, and then rolled the boule into an oval and allowed it to rise for an hour. Unfortunately, after an hour resting on the parchment, it effectively glued itself to the paper, which made step #3 impossible. In attempting to scrape it off onto a floured countertop, I severely degassed the dough. Ergo the very, very overbaked (shall we just say burnt) middle of the loaf.


With my second bake - a roasted garlic and anchovy loaf - I smartened up and in step #2, I rolled out the dough into an oval on a well-floured surface - not parchment paper. After the hour's rise, I was able to lift if off the countertop without degassing it, and then transferred it to the parchment paper, where I did the final shaping (#3).


You can see the quite different result below.



I get raves about the bread - it's a bit like pizza without the sauce. In fact, someone suggested that a marinara dipping sauce would be a good accompaniment.


I'm surely going to continue baking this. Hopefully, the lessons learned in this round will lead to trouble-free shaping next time!


Larry


 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Every time I spend five, six weeks with my family in Switzerland in summer, this is the bread I am looking forward to eating the most.



It is originally from Geneva (the French-speaking part of Switzerland) and its inventor is Aimé Pouly, the author of the book “Le pain” (available, but out of stock right now at Amazon, only in French, as far as I know).


         


He is one of the originators of the “Slow Baking” movement, where bread dough is made completely without the too commonly used industrial flour mixtures that speed up the fermentation. Most  bakeries have everything but time, it has to be fast and cheap, and the lacking taste is being helped with additives – a very common approach nowadays, as the well-known German baker Süpke (referred to recently by Hans Joakim) explains in this very interesting article about preferments (in German though). He says, that until he discovered the Slow Baking movement, the only preferment he’d use in his bakery was sourdough. All other dough was made with the use of “little helpers” or convenience additives, as most bakeries do. Now, he says, he doesn’t sell a single bread with yeast  that has not gone through some type of prefermentation, and the change was everything but easy, he adds. The entire rhythm of the bakery changed completely, but the resulting breads were absolutely worth it.


Aimé Pouly believes in the old approach of a very long fermentation (about 24 hours it seems) and all breads are hand-formed and therefore no two of them are the same. This is the first fresh bread recipe worldwide that got patented, in 1995. Since then, every bakery that wants to sell this bread needs to get the license from Pouly, and apparently only good, quality bakers are able to get it. Then an advisor comes into the bakery to teach the bakers. MANY bakeries in Switzerland now sell the Pain Paillasse, and in the meantime also over 50 bakeries in Germany, and many places in France, Spain, Austria, Italy, and probably more, but the flour will always get delivered to all of them from Switzerland, as part of the recipe. A true success story of slowness, as it is sometimes referred to.


It originally came in three types: white, dark, and rustique (with seeds), but now also with olives, or chocolate, as a provençal version, and more.


         


The crust is strong, and the crumb is very open, soft, sweet (there is, however, no sweetness added, it’s just the long fermentation) and very moist.



The taste is just wonderful! My favorite one is the rustic one with the seeds.


 



Since the recipe is a secret, I have recently tried to recreate a version of it. I saw a recipe for Alpine Baguettes in the blog Beginning With Bread. It is from Daniel Leader’s book “Local Breads” and he got it from Clemens Walch in the Austrian Alps. Since I liked the outcome so much, I have now purchased the book and intend to try many more recipes from it.


We really loved this bread! I have made it twice now, the first time with a whole-wheat starter and the second time completely according to the recipe, with a rye starter (that I have changed from my AP starter over the course of three or four feedings). I could not, however, detect a really different flavor or behavior of the dough, thus in the future I will just take my WW starter. If you like breads studded with seeds (it contains a soaker of sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds, as well as rolled oats), then give this a try!


This was my outcome:



The Paillasse rustique has most of its seeds on the outside (it specifies this on the paper sleeve in which it is being sold), the inside just has a few and is otherwise mostly like the dark Paillasse. The Alpine Baguettes are full of seeds inside, but since the hydration is quite high, it's not easy turning the final loafs in a mixture of seeds and grains to coat them.


 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Day one of Artisan II course at the San Francisco Baking Institute, Frank our instructor touched on a buzz word for me - Freedom.  This was by no means any where in the manual or was there any hint on his part of an emphasis when he mentioned it; it was a casual passing comment.  He said the best bread for him is a bread with a pre-ferment (poolish or sponge where there is a small amount of commercial yeast) and a levain (in the final dough which is then retarded), and that this combination gives you a lot of "freedom."  


There were 16 of us sitting in the classroom.  Not everyone gets a message at the same level.   I am not suggesting one level is higher than another, or a student who gets a particular message is a better baker than the rest of the class.   I am saying - the message I received has a special meaning to me, and me only.  For the rest of the day, I was chewing on the concept.   I did not know what exactly in Frank's remarks that fascinated me - is it the excitement in the knowledge that the combination of a pre-ferment and a levain would give me the possibility of making a great flavored bread, or what?  It was not until the next night when I was reading my French bread book (which I brought from home) with the assistance of Google translator on French bread tradition that it clicked on me - tradition? freedom? 


Is tradition a quantifier and qualifier, a boundary, a set of rules and conventions; or is tradition a liberator?   Why did the best abstract artists in fine art history start their life-long pursuits by doing serious charcoal sketches and still-life drawings?   I am a Chinese, but do I want to be bound by it?   Freedom.   My tradition is one enriching element in my fabric but I do not want it to be a boundary.   I learn bread, but I do not want to be bound by the bread conventions.   I will make breads that are meaningful to me, whatever that is.   I answer to myself.


As in any learning, formula can never replace the reasoning behind.  The concept is always more valuable than the mere formula.  Once we are able to extract the governing concept or principle from the formula, we have freedom to construct our own formula.   The aspect of freedom excites me far more than the formula.  But I have to start my learning from the formula. 


A Sourdough Formula From Scratch - 5 Days Start To Finish


day 1 at noon, starting to make the culture



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g whole wheat flour

  • 400 g lukewarm water (80F)


day 2 at 8 am



culture on day 2 morning before feeding (after the very first mixing of flour and water the day before)



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g lukewarm water (80F)

  • 200 g culture from the day before (threw away the rest)


day 2 at 4 pm



culture on day 2 afternoon before feeding



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g water

  • 200 g culture from the morning (threw away the rest)


day 3 at 8 am



culture on day 3 morning before feeding



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g water

  • 200 g culture from the day before (threw away the rest)


day 3 at 4 pm, beginning to turn the culture into a starter


 


culture on day 3 afternoon before feeding and turning into starter



  • 300 g bread flour

  • 300 g water

  • 120 g culture from the morning (threw away the rest)


day 4 at 8 am



starter on day 4 morning before being fed



  • 300 g flour

  • 300 g water

  • 200 g starter, amount increased from 120 g to 200g as this would be used in the afternoon to make sourdough!


day 4 at 3 pm, starting to hand mix the following ingredients for sourdough:



  • 673 g bread flour

  • 471 g water

  • 18 g salt

  • 337 g levain from above


Total dough weight 1.5 kg and total dough hydration 76% 



  1. Mix the above ingredients in a bucket (or a large bowl) by hand. 

  2. Turn out the sticky mess onto the work bench.

  3. Use the palm of one hand, stretch out (like smearing) the sticky mess against the work bench for one minute, not any longer, to thoroughly hydrate the flour;.

  4. Scrape the sticky mess back into the bucket.

  5. With one hand holding the edge of the bucket, another hand stretches and folds the dough onto itself at one corner of the dough; then gives the bucket a 1/4 turn, and stretches and folds the dough again until you have done four corners (ie, one round); do two round in total, no more.

  6. At 30 minutes mark, repeat step 5

  7. At another 30 minutes mark, repeat step 6; at this point you will notice some strength in dough has developed.

  8. At another 30 minutes mark, repeat step 7.  As some dough strength has developed, you will notice the dough is smooth and silky and easily clears the side of the bucket as you stretch and fold in the bucket.

  9. At another 30 minutes mark, turn out the dough onto a well floured work surface.  Oil the bucket before you attend to the dough again.

  10. Now, pre-shape the somewhat loose dough (due to high hydration) into a boule by folding 1/4 of the dough onto itself until all the dough is onto itself, then flip it over; and with two hands on both sides of the dough, create surface tension by applying downward pressure against the work bench and form the dough into a boule.

  11. With the flexibility of a gymnast (joking), flip the pre-shaped boule into the bucket (right side in the bottom) in a swift motion.

  12. Dust your linen lined basket with rice flour or a mixture of bread flour and rice flour.

  13. At 15 minutes mark, turn out the pre-shaped dough onto a well floured work bench.  Shape again as in step 10 but try to do it as tight as possible without tearing the skin.

  14. Flip the shaped dough into the basket, right side down.  Cover.

  15. At 30 minutes mark, wheel (I mean, chuck) the dough into your fridge for overnight retardation (14 hours). 


day 5 bake this little baby



  1. At 7:30 am, turn on your oven to pre-heat to 450 F

  2. At 8:00 am, remove the dough from the fridge to room temperature. 

  3. Invert the dough onto a peel, and clean off rice flour on top if there is any.  Dust the surface with bread flour or stencil the top with favourite design of your choice. (At the last minute, I cut out three round circles as stencils.)

  4. At 8:30 am, score your dough; steam your oven for 2 seconds, load the dough onto the baking stone, steam for another 2 seconds, and bake for 30 minutes; then, bake for another 30 minutes with the oven door ajar to vent (in order to dry out the crust) or until the crust is of a desired color. (Note: for home baking the steaming is done after the dough is loaded with 1 cup of water onto lava rock filled cast iron roasting pan.)

  5. Cool completely before slicing. 


And, here is my true San Francisco Sourdough made in San Francisco.  (The above procedure is my own, adapted from various sources mentioned in this blog as well as Frank our instructor's instructions.)


 


  


   My true San Francisco Sourdough made in San Francisco


 


          


 


                 


 


Crust:  I cannot claim credit for the beautiful crust.  Frank was our master baker, the man at the oven.  He controlled the oven temp, the length of the baking, and all that cares that go with the baking.  The crust is very crispy and full of that caramel/charcoal fragrance.


 


  


 


                                                         


Crumb color: I have never seen such a beautiful crumb color.  You would say there was hardly any oxidization of flour at all due to the way the dough was mixed and fermented, resulting in this exceedingly creamy, somewhat golden, color. 


The taste is a little bit sour.  I am surprised as I would have thought with the liquid levain, there would be more lactic acidity, rather than acetic acidity.  Maybe overnight retardation is the reason.  Or maybe any true San Francisco sourdough is sour... that San Francisco air and sea breeze?


The mouth feel of the crumb is moist and mildly chewy, full of life.   


           


 


                                                        


 


Before I leave San Francisco I have one more job to do - to "immortalize" my San Francisco starter to bring home to Australia in dry form.  After using it to mix the dough at day 4 afternoon, I had about 460 g of liquid starter (100% hydration) left.  I turned it into a stiff starter (50% hydration) at the end of that day's class and this morning (day 5) I fed it again.  When I finished today's class, it was already very bubbly.  I brought it back to my hotel and was painting the starter onto a few parchment paper.  Before I had done painting the 5th piece of paper, the first one partially dried.  It was lucky that I turned the liquid starter into a stiff one as it dried faster; my decision was one of greed - I thought with a stiff starter, more flour, more beasties. 


 


                                                             


                                 Here is my abstract starter painting with flour and water to finish the day.


Shiao-Ping


p.s.  I asked Frank if I could blog today's sourdough.  I never received a YES answer so quick.   His reply was as if my question was unnecessary. 

boathook1's picture
boathook1

Once I've made a starter how long should I keep it before trying to bake with it? Does it continue to get more sour with age? MY AIM IS TO BAKE A REALLY SOUR LOAF...


I could not be much newer at this... I'm seeking two things:


1. VERY SOUR tasting results.


2. The simplest recipes.


Could I be asking too much? Is there hope for me?! !... I'm willing to learn... My baking history consists of a cookie mix that came in a cardboard container from the freezer dept. of the local Piggly Wiggly [?]... Oh yeah.. I did a few potatoes once too but if I recall correctly I ended up burying them in my back yard.... {late at night too}... I guess it's also worth mentioning that in the divorce papers I was served, my kitchen antics were a key factor in chasing the little woman from my loving embrace... {Have you ever tried reading fine print when your glasses are all clouded with flour powder?... And you're up to your arm pits in dough that is heavier than you can lift?}... A nasty rumor has found it's way to me as well... According to a recent ruling by the courts I'm not allowed to bake within 500 feet of my former wife......


I remain, your humble and curious student..


Boathook1

devil's picture
devil

first try without experience:



and...


this is the result



it's good looking but it's very hard.


second try with hope:


BUT,where is my rolling pin?



I use my hand to flatten the dough.And,I get these cutie shape croissants.



and finally,







90ye


yes, this is what I suppose to get(soft and crunchy croissant). YEAH!



 


 

Salome's picture
Salome

Gosh, my oven was running hot today. I was basically all day busy baking, which is a real threat. I spent the last two days hiking, walking around 14 hours in total, so I didn't feel like real physical exercise, the dough-kneading was just perfect.


I was like a bee. Once again, I made a new sesame version of the Whole-Grain Oat crackers (250 g ripe sourdough, made out of 120 g oat flour, 120 ml water and 10 g culture, 210 g whole wheat flour, 9 grams salt, 40 grams sesame seeds, 10 g sesame oil and water as required [probably another 100 ml].) It's pretty easy, actually foolproof. I let it ferment as long as it suits me (this time it was about two hours), then I pressed portions of the dough in either sesame seeds or oats and rolled it thinly with a rolling pin, cut it in pieces and baked it at any oven temperature between 180°C and 230°C until the endges were brown. Et Voila, that's it.



I've made these crackers many times now, using whatever had to be used. Great for leftover sourdough, which has to be used - then I simply use the wheat-based sourdough and add oat flour to the dough instead. I simply follow certain rules, when I "construct" the day's crackers recipe. Like, about 30% of the total flour amount is fermented (sourdough), 2% of the flour weight is salt, the hydration is around 60+ percent . . . It has always worked fine.


Secondly, I baked some whole-wheat Pita bread for todays lunch. Again, this is a classic at my home. We stuffed it with vegetarian burgers (Split lentil burgers, another favourite!), lettuce, tomatoes and Tzaziki.


And last but not least, I continued with my venture into the perfect Yoghurt-Whole-Wheat bread. Unfortunately, the loaves overproofed somewhat during their final rise whe I retarded them in the fridge. (I was out, driving with my dad, getting ready for the driver's license exam.) Luckily they still didn't collapse, just the oven spring wasn't as nice as I experienced the last two times.


Yoghurt-Whole-Wheat-Bread #2


Preferment:
175 ml water
250 g whole-wheat flour (I always use home-ground flour)
1/8 tsp yeast


Final dough
550 g whole-wheat flour
30 g vital wheat gluten
17 g salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
20 g malt
30 g butter
150 g yoghurt (I used 3% fat yoghurt)
300 ml water



 


I handled the dough pretty much like described in the last Yogurt Whole-Wheat Recipe. I let the preferment proof for about 12 hours at room temperature, let the remaining flour autolyse for about an hour, kneaded the dough well, let it double (2h), punched it down and let it double again (1.5 h), then, instead of shaping sandwich loaves I made two boules and had to retard them in linned bowls in the fridge (where they overproofed . . . So have an eye on your loaves, better don't retard them and don't go driving for more than two hours.). I baked them for about 40 minutes in 230° C with steam for the first 20 minutes, then lowered the temperature to 215° C for the rest of the bake.



Conclusion: The bread is tasty, but it's probably better baked in a tin at lower temperature. Although I did get a crust, it wasn't an extraordinary flavorful one. This dough benefits from the support it gets from a tin, this way it can become very light and fully proofed. As you can see on the pictures, the bread wasn't flat, but somewhat out of shape (shure, it's overproofed). The crumb texture is again light and pleasant, and the flavor is good! For instance with a piece of blue cheese . . .



What I'm gonna do: I'll keep this recipe in my recipe folder and take it out later again. Now I'm craving less plain breads again, maybe something with dry fruit, nuts, herbs? If I have a bread to often I get bored of it and don't appreciate it anylonger, that's definitely a sign that I should move on.


Very final conclusion: When I bake this bread the next time, then with exactly this formula, but in a bread pan. And I'll bake it at somewhat lower temperature, maybe something around 210°c? Or lower? This bread reminded me of another delicious tin bread, a recipe from Southern Tyrol. I'll have to get this out soon as well. It's a sourdough bread with rye and wheat.


Salome

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Has anyone here come across the French wheat varieties known as Touselle or Touzelle? (I did search first.) Louis XI, gravely ill, thought that only bread made from Touzelle could restore him to health.


I ask because a friend has written about the rediscovery of these varieties, and wondered if anyone had access to the article L'homme qui plantait des blés by Isabelle FAURE in Nature & Progres No. 59 (Sep/Oct 2006).


Thanks


Jeremy

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

A week ago I came back from my camping trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It is not the first time that we are in Yooper country with our travel trailer, it was a little bit on the colder side but camping and fishing was great fun.


http://tssaweberusa.wordpress.com/thomas/sommer-trip-to-the-up/


Before I left I forgot to feed my two starters (St.Clair, 100%, rye, and SanFran, 100%, AP) so all the tree weeks I was wondering if the two would survive and forgive my negligence. Coming home both had still a good smell but looked a little shaky. I started feeding them twice in 24 hours. The rye starter rebounded immediately and after four feeds I put it back in the fridge. SanFran took a little bit longer and after it tripled again as I was used too, I decide to bake some bread to make sure it is ok again. I was very pleased with the result and also SanFran went back in storage.


Thomas



 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

This past weekend, I was looking for a sourdough formula that sounded interesting and just couldn't find one that tickled my fancy.  So, I decided to free-lance a formula of my own.  I had about 320 grams of well-fed levain that I pulled out of the refrigerator before leaving for church on Sunday.  On returning home, I found it to be warmed up and at peak expansion.  


Since I wanted to be able to use the bread for sandwiches, I determined to make a pair of batards and guesstimated that a pre-bake dough weight of about 750 grams each should work nicely.  Having had a run of whole grain breads recently, I was ready for a change of pace but still wanted something flavorful.  After consideration, I built a 70% hydration dough with 5% rye, 10% whole wheat and 85% bread flour.  At the last minute, I chucked in 30 grams of flaxseed meal because, well, because it was there and it seemed like a good idea.  


The water, levain, flours, and meal were treated to a 30 minute autolyse.  Then I did a double round of stretch and fold, after which the dough went back into the bowl to ferment.  I did 3 more stretch and folds at 40 minute intervals, only remembering after the second one that I hadn't added any salt.  (That should have been a clue.)  I slurried a tablespoon each of water and sea salt and worked that into the dough.  After the dough was nearly doubled, I turned it out on the counter, divided it in two approximately equal pieces, pre-shaped it and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  After the rest, I finished shaping the loaves into fat batards and set them to rise in a parchment paper couche.


When the batards were still a little short of doubling, I preheated the oven to 450 dF with a baking stone and a steam pan in place.  When the oven reached temperature, I poured boiling water in the steam pan, slashed the loaves (still need more practice with that) and loaded them onto the stone.  After turning the oven temperature down to 400 dF, I set the timer for 25 minutes.  A few minutes later, I came back to see how the oven spring was working (very nicely, thank you) and it hit me that I was seeing all of my levain/starter baking.  I had not remembered to reserve a piece for storage!  I've avoided making that bone-head move for almost 4 years, but it finally caught up with me.  At that point, there was nothing to do but swallow hard and let the bread finish baking.  When the timer sounded, I checked the internal temperature of the bread and the thermometer went to 210 dF very quickly, indicating that the bread was fully baked.


The bread, thankfully, turned out very well.  No single flavor stands out, but the levain, the rye, the wheat, and the flaxseed meal all meld for a very satisfying taste.  Here's how it looks:



On this particular loaf, the slash at each end of the loaf opened beautifully, allowing the crumb to expand fully.  The center slash, however, must not have been deep enough, because it didn't open very much.  As a result, the loaf has sort of a Bactrian camel appearance with humps at either end and a dip in the middle.  


All I have to do to duplicate this is get a new starter going and try again in 4 years ...


Paul


 

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries