The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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psmarak's picture
psmarak

Newcomer here.  I am very impressed with this blog.  It is about the only site where I could find any reference to baking Rosetta rolls.  I am still at a loss to find any mention of Leader's Rosetta rolls on the web.  I crave these as much as anything else from my stays in Italy. Can anyone help with a recipe? 

GlindaBunny's picture
GlindaBunny

I had to bring cookies to a church function.  My husband recommended the Sierpinski Carpet fractal cookies shown on evilmadscientist.com.  I thought the square shapes might be a little boring and decided to do Sierpinski triangle cookies instead.

 I made them green and added peppermint extract.  The recipes I used were:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

 

for the chocolate part and

3 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

1 cup sugar 

1 egg, beaten 

1 tablespoon milk

for the green part.  I didn't chill the dough at all because I wanted it flexible to work with.  It was tougher than I thought it would be to shape the triangular logs of dough, but they look pretty decent for cookies.

 

 

I ended up with lots of scraps.  I rolled them into a log and made swirled round cookies (I didn't want to waste the cookie dough).

Sadly, nobody at church even noticed that they were fractals.  *sigh*

baked cookies:

 

 

jpfridy's picture
jpfridy

I have a fledgling food blog, and I've recently posted about my travails in making simple white sandwich bread from BBA.

The story has two parts:

- Part I: failure

- Part II: redemption

As I post more about bread, I'll be sure to cross-reference here.

JP

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Gosh it's been too long since I posted any blog entries. 

Anyone who's seen my recent posts scattered throughout the forums will know I've been having difficulties with maintaining shape in my sourdough attempts as well as getting too much sour flavour (yes there really is such a thing...at least for my tastes! :) )

Today, a breakthrough came in the form of a 100% (no sifting) whole wheat miche  - it was less sour than recent attempts, still wonderfully nutty and flavourful and retained excellent shape throughout (with plenty of oven spring as a bonus).  It came out pretty much exactly as I planned it.  I'm really pleased, of course, and must give a lot of thanks to Eric and Bill - your tireless theorizing,  testing and experimentation were invaluable.  

More important than the delicious bread which I'm currently enjoying with slivers of Gjetost (mmmm brown norwegian yumminess!) - was what I learnt about my starter (Bubbles...yes I went ahead and christened my starter!).  I'm still organising and assimilating all the information in my mind but much has to do with the feeding cycle - something I already had suspicions about before.  Also learned a lot about how to apply a different strategy to whole wheat bread - using more starter/intermediate build in the final dough to get a milder result.

Well, that's all for now.  More stuffing my face to follow....

FP

 

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Well, I thought I could sail on through to the actual bread making but it seems not without a slight hitch that needs some sage minds to help out.

Meet Clem.

Clem is Audrey's first child. He was made of the following:

30g Audrey stiff starter (rye)
100g spring water
100g UAP flour

Clem grew up in a warm, cozy 81F environment and is now 18 hrs old. Soon he'll be expected to get a job raising bread. But he seems decidedly reluctant. At 18 hrs, he's barely managed to increase from his original 200ml to 250 ml when we are expecting him to reach 400 within 12 to 24 hrs. Clem is quite bubbly on the surface while rather mild natured but clearly lacks ambition to reach higher goals.

Clem at 18

What shall we do about Clem? I'd really like him to move out soon.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

This week I borrowed "From a Baker's Kitchen" from the library. The author is Gail Sher who was the first head baker of Tassajara Bread bakery, and it was first published in 1984. In the ingredients section she mentions bread flour and goes on to describe Spring wheat and Winter wheat and their different features. Then lower down she talks about Bread Flour introduced in 1982, a combination of high gluten flour and barley malt flour with potassium bromate added (a dough conditioner.) She states "This new product causes the dough to rise overly fast so that the true texture and flavor of the wheat do not have sufficient opportunity to develop. Therefore it is not recommended." I'm curious - is she referring to what we now mostly use for bread? Was it such a radical invention? Also, to hark back to my other post about low temperature baking, it seems that most of her breads are baked at 350*. Some, like the fougasse, are started at 400* for 10 minutes then lowered to 350*. Was this the old way, and how and when did we start using the high temperatures to create what I for one consider to be much superior bread? A.

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

So it's now 9 a.m. (about) and we're ready to go with feed number three. We've taken apart the previous feed ball and scooop out 30g of that starter from the bubbly center.

I might note here that there's a slight sour smell present although not terribly strong.

In the meantime, Mini has added a post to the original forum thread, saying she's started up a stiff ball as well so we'll then be able to track the two stiff starters at the same time to see what happens.

She also makes mention that she's added 70g of flour to her ball so that's what we'll do as well.

So for this third feed we have:

30g starter
50g spring water
70g organic rye flour

And here it is after getting a final dusting:

Audrey Feed #3

Off she goes into the proofing box and we'll check on progress and post any new pics if there's something noteworthy.

I'll also update the forum thread itself in case anyone's interested in following this little saga/experiment.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6826/oh-please-oh-oh-oh-please-grow-me

 

Part Deux:

So Mini says Audrey's all growed up and ready to go raise bread of her own. Awww... <sniff..>

They leave the nest so soon...

Anyway, since I didn't get that message until just a minute or two ago (gasp, I did stuff AWAY from the computer??!?) here's another update on where Audrey is right now...

Audrey goes flat again

 

So I'll now start using her and feeding her over to All Purpose then pop her in the fridge after keeping a chunk for some first run test bread.

Weekly feedings, I assume, pulling her out before the weekend to get some bread going.

Now to go hunt up a recipe or two. I suppose I need to also figure out what hydration ratio she actually is in case I need to use her in a normally comm. yeast recipe (no not right now, in the future). I'll add this to the thread when I get that done so that if anyone else folows along, they'll have the info.

So there we go, the Audrey Saga is sort of at an end already. Who'da thunk it would be so quick!

Of course the REAL end will be posting some bread pics. Since it's Sunday night here, not sure if I'll get time to make any for a few days... Those who are watching, keep an eye out!

Thanks a BAZILLION to Mini and Mike for their help. You guys are beyond great.

See you all in a couple of days or so with the first batch of Audrey Bread!!

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

So at this point, we're at the 10 hour mark and it's getting late so I mix up a fresh ball. I gather grab some of the previous ball's insides and mix up the following:

30g stiff starter
50g spring water
50g organic rye

Here I cut back from the previous 88 grams of flour which made, in my opinion, too stiff a ball. I'm still just guestimating at this point.

And here is the resulting ball:

Start of Feed no. Two

 

Audrey now goes into the proofing box, a cooler with a 15w bulb with the cover open enough to keep the temp inside a reasonably cozy 81F. Tucked in for the night, we'll return to see how well she slept.

<tick tock tick tock>

<cue SFX of rooster crowing and first few bars of Tchaikovsky's William Tell Overture>

Good morning! Let's check how our little dear did overnight...

Well, there's no question the dough is softer now! Flatness galore and several cracks showing but whether they're from the flattening and changing shape of from actual expansion, I dunno. So we'll go from here and assume out next step will be doing the third feed. But first, Audrey goes under the knife again.

Although the very action of slicing into this soft ball caused the exposed surfaces to get somewhat messed up, it seems from the dupicate holes on each side that there was indeed some bubbling going on. Let's continue with the dissection...

Peeling away the slightly dryer outside skin, we can now see that the insides are full of little bubbles and the texture is decidedly softer than the original 2nd feed ball was, which indicates feeding activity by the little critters. Excellent.

On to Feed #3...

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I'm starting this blog to track the events in the life of little Audrey 2, a reluctant starter that began as a rather wet batter form and, as recommended by Mini, was transformed into a ball of stiff starter. In a forum thread I started in order to get help figuring out why my then 13 day old starter was doing nothing, Mini's thought was that possibly I was underfeeding the starter in the wetter form (basically I was doing 50% starter, 25% each water and flour for each feed) which may have been the reason it went all hoochy rather fast: not enough flour to feed the yeasties and the acid bacteria was overtaking - or that was my thought on it anyway.

I'm also doing this as a blog so the forum thread isn't taken over by too many images and so it's easier to follow along, should anyone care to.

Since this starter, third time trying over a three month period btw, was pretty much destined for the recycling bin anyway in favour of starting yet again with a recipe Mike has on his site (Professor Calvel's Starter) as a likely successful candidate for starter if the previous verion failed. Since this was try #3 and I was already on day 13 with no real success, I was game.

So while I was/am waiting to locate a source for just 5g - about a tablespoon - of malt extract (it seems to come in 600g sizes or bigger running at nearly $10 a pop) to follow the Clavel reicpe, I got going with the stiff starter. So here's the saga.

As per Mini's sugegstion, I took 30g of the "going nowhere" batter starter, added 50g of water and "enough flour to make a stiff ball". Out came the flour and off we went.

Here's our first image, Audrey 2 after being mixed up. In all, I added about 88g of flour to get to this.

I now think that 88g of flour was too much but that's where we were then, so on we go. I had followed Mini's suggestion to drop the ball into the flour and coat it so that any developing cracks would be obvious which is why, even though it's a ball of wet rye, it looks very pale.

Three hours later:

At this point, there's either a shrinkage of the surface or it's expanding a little. Since the surface was still moist-ish to the touch, I'll say we had expansion.

At the six hour mark:

More activity although the ball is showing no signs of softening and flattening out as Mini suggested it would. I'm starting to think I went too far with the added flour.

At the 10 hour mark:

Definitely some activity and expansion has occured but now I'm sure the ball was made TOO stiff. Yes, the critters have lots of flour to munch on, but nothing to drink. Because I wasn't staying up much longer, I decided to do feed #2 at this point so it was time to cut up our ball and see what was going on inside.

Even manhandled like this, the ball is stiff enough to stay in shape. Slicing it open, thetexture inside is realtively smooth, if there are any bubbles, they're hard to see and distinguish from the texture of the rye flour. There's little sour aroma to this, mostly it smells like wet rye.

Time for feed #2...

shakleford's picture
shakleford

A few weeks ago, I finally got a copy of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  While I've read the book (most of it several times), I hadn't actually tried any of his recipes until this weekend.  Yesterday and today, I made the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (his basic formula) for sandwiches next week and a modified version of his German-Style Transitional Many Seed Bread to have with dinner.  Both came out great, but since the many seed bread was the more interesting to me, that's what I decided to write about.

In his book, Reinhart uses the term "transitional" to refer to breads that contain some white flour along with the whole wheat flour.  All of his transitional recipes have a 100% whole wheat counterpart except for the many seed bread.  As a general rule, I try to follow recipes as written once before I begin tweaking, but decided against that approach this time.  Instead, I decided to replace the white flour in the biga with whole wheat flour and the whole wheat flour in the soaker with millet flour.  Why?

  • I'm not opposed to using white flour, but prefer the taste of whole wheat in most circumstances.
  • I was craving a dense bread, and using a gluten-free flour is certainly one way to achieve that.
  • I thought that the mild, nutty flavor of millet flour would complement the seeds nicely.
  • I had a need to use up some millet flour (hey, at least I'm honest).
  • My (admittedly weak) understanding is that the highest-gluten flour should be in the biga, so I put the millet flour in the soaker instead.
Under the original formula, this bread contains 44.4% white flour, 44.4% whole wheat flour, and 11.1% rye flour.  Under my version, the percentages were 33.3% millet flour, 55.6% whole wheat, and 11.1% rye.  The recipe as written was also a bit large for me, so I reduced all amounts to 2/3 of what is in the book.

On Friday, I mixed the biga and soaker following the instructions in the book.  The soaker ended up a bit wetter than I wanted (I didn't realize how little water the millet flour would absorb), but other than that, things went smoothly.  On Saturday, I combined these items with the remaining ingredients.  Below you can see a photo of the final dough ingredients before mixing.  In addition to a small amount of flax seeds in the soaker, the final dough contains pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds.  Summed up, these are 33.3% of the weight of the flour -- definitely "many seed".

I followed Reinhart's instructions for mixing and kneading.  Although the large amount of millet flour meant that the final dough did not pass the windowpane test, I was pleased that the normally coarse texture of the millet flour was greatly lessened as a result of the soaker.  As instructed, I let the final dough rise for around 50 minutes, then formed a batard and allowed it to proof for around 50 minutes.  The rises were somewhat lackluster, but much higher than I expected with such a high percentage of millet flour.  I baked with steam (something I'm still fairly new at) using Reinhart's instructions, but had no oven spring to speak of (probably as a result of overproofing yet again).  Since I set out to make a dense loaf however, this didn't bother me too much.  Crust and crumb photos are below:

The bread was certainly packed with seeds, but I found it to be delicious and very satisfying.  The millet flour contributed just the flavor I was hoping.  I tried toasting a few pieces, and the bread was even better this way; the toasting really brought out the flavor of the seeds.  However, one mistake became apparent with the first bite:  it was probably a bad idea to use whole pumpkin seeds.  I always eat them this way, so I tend to forget that there's an alternative, but the hulls definitely made thorough chewing important (and also a bit of a workout).  Sure enough, in looking at the photos of this bread in the book, it's pretty clear that hulled pumpkin seeds were used.

Overall, I'm still happy with this bread, and will definitely make it again.  This may also be the best use of millet flour I've found so far (though admittedly, those looking for a lighter loaf would probably want to use no more than 10%).  The pumpkin seed oversight is a bit of a disappointment, but still far better than the time I accidentally used whole sunflower seeds in a bread!

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