The Fresh Loaf

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

This weekend's bake, per my wife's request, was a walnut stout bread.  The recipe that I used (note that all measurements are volumes, not weights) can be found here: http://www.kitchenlink.com/mf/2/4133.  We first saw it printed in the Kansas City Star some years ago; the link attributes it to the Houston Chronicle.  It's probably one of those recipes that was reprinted widely, since it is so good.  Oh, and don't miss the Cheddar-Ale spread recipe at the bottom of the page.  It is wonderful with this bread!

There are a couple of insights that I can offer, having made this bread on several occasions.  It is essentially a rye bread, which means that the crumb is very smooth and somewhat dense.  The dough will be sticky as you handle it.  The recipe suggests adding flour during kneading to control the stickiness but I elected to knead with one hand and clean the countertop (and my hand) with a plastic dough scraper.  It helps to keep the finished bread from being too dry.  The recipe merely says "rye flour".  I don't know if it means white rye, medium rye, or whole rye.  In my case, whole rye flour was on hand, so that is what I used and it turned out fine.  The recipe also requires 1 Tablespoon of coriander, and that is not a misprint.  Between the coriander and the anise seed, it is a very fragrant bread.  As for the stout, I've used Guinness on previous occasions with good results.  This time, I used Boulevard Brewery's Dry Stout (local to Kansas City) with equally delicious results.  I think you could get away with using any dark beer or ale, whether stout, porter, bock or dunkel.  The flavor may shift a bit, but it wouldn't upset the overall results.  Obviously, the richer the flavor of the beer or ale, the richer the flavor of the bread.  The walnuts are, to my tastes, essential for the bread.  They contribute both flavor and a crunch that play off the other flavors and textures very nicely. 

The recommended baking time is 35-45 minutes at 375F.  I checked a loaf's temperature at the 40-minute mark and it was only about 180F, so I left it in for another 10 minutes.  If it had been taken out at the recommended time, it would have been gummy.  Since I only make this every two or three years, I haven't really experimented with different temperature/time combinations.

Here is a picture of the finished loaves:

Walnut Stout Bread

Paul

holds99's picture
holds99

Using Mike Avery's refreshment method (every 8 hours), after a 2 day refreshment I placed my starter in my jar (slightly less than half filled) clamped on the lid (with rubber gasket) to seal it and placed it in the refrigerator.  Next day I had a very active starter.  So, instead of tossing 2/3 and refreshing it again before storing it back in the fridge, I decided to hold out the 2/3 "discard" and make some whole wheat sourdough bread.  Incidentally, this is a 10 year old Nancy Silverton starter.  I'm not suggesting that Ms. Silverton's starter is better than other starters but it's what I made when I first started my sourdough journey and, as is evident, it still works quite well.  I'm Just thankful that I checked it when I did.  This is the same "bad boy" starter that lifted the lid off my dutch oven a while back during the baking of  a 3 pound boule.  

 Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter and Container: Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Anyway, I made a couple of whole wheat boules, mixed by hand.  I did two "stretch and folds" during a 2 hour bulk frementation, then placed the container of dough in the fridge for a 14 hour retardation.  The following day I took the dough out of the fridge (it had risen during retardation, which is unusual), divided it, shaped it, placed the 2 shaped boules into 2 heavily floured (half rice flour mixed with half KA AP) linen lined bannetons and let it do it's final fermentation for about three and a half hours at room temp, as it was still cold from being in the fridge.  Then turned the boules onto parchment lined pans, scored them, placed them in the oven and baked them at 450 deg for about 40 minutes, using a heavy dose of stream at the onset of the baking cycle---and turning them half way through the baking cycle.   

 Whole Wheat Sourdough Boules

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

They may have slightly overproofed because they dropped a bit after scoring, but overall I was pleased with the results. They tasted very good, had a good crust and very nice, rather complex, flavor and good texture.

 Whole Wheat Sourdough No. 2

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

proth5's picture
proth5

No wait, strike that – reverse it.

 

Summer is here and it’s too hot to fire up the oven which makes it a perfect time to take the electric griddle outside and make English muffins.

 

The problem, of course, is getting those great nooks and crannies.  My old formula and technique got me plenty of little holes in the muffins, but not those great nooks and crannies (well, the little holes caught the melting butter, but still, the drive for “just a little better” is strong.)

 

So I thought about both my formula and my technique.

 

I was using an adaptation of the King Arthur “English Tea Cakes” recipe which calls for beating the dough for 5 minutes in a mixer.  I thought about “Batter Whipped” bread and how beating the dough caused its fine texture.  Then I thought about baguettes.

 

Well, English – French, different, but in the end – all European.  So I thought I would adapt my baguette technique for my English Muffins.

 

I use King Arthur All Purpose flour.

Makes about 6 

The formula:

 

Levain Build

Starter    .65 oz (100% hydration)

Flour      .95 oz

Water     .95 oz

 

Let ripen overnight.

 

Final Mix

All of the levain build

Flour                9.25 oz

Salt                   .16 oz

Dry Milk         1.25 oz

Sugar                .55 oz

Vegetable oil    .55 oz

Water              9.25 oz

 

Mix to a loose batter.  Four times at 30 minute intervals, stir 30 strokes with a spoon or spatula.

 

Let rise until domed and bubbly.  Do not let it collapse.  This particular batch took about 3 hours at this phase.

 

Baked in greased muffing rings on a lightly greased griddle at 325F.  8-9 mins per side.

 

The results. 

(I'm no photographer - that's for sure...) 

Finally the nooks…

BRIANSU's picture
BRIANSU

How do I soften a bread recipe? I accidentally bought strong bread flour... I was thinking of baking cakes....I am new to baking....Please help...Can I make a soft loaf with bananas? I want to make use of the flour...

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

I had some cooked red potato chunks and some fresh sourdough starter discard and decided to combine them in a bread. I grated the potato "innards" and mixed them with the starter, about a cup of each, and added salt, water, bread flour and 1/2tspn instant yeast. Left the mixture to autolyse for 30 minutes and found it was pretty sloppy when I checked. I added a little more flour and did a french fold, then three stretch and folds over the next 2 hours. When the dough had doubled I cut it into three and made small boules. When they were ready I baked them on a hot cookie sheet under my roaster for 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes uncovered at 450*. They were up to 205* and I gave them another 5 minutes with the oven turned off, but when they were cool I cut one and found that the crumb was almost gummy. The good news is it made a great chicken and lettuce sandwich - the crust was crunchy and the soft crumb really went well with the filling. There were flecks of potato on the crust but no potato flavor in the crumb. I imagine it will keep well and make good toast, A.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Tuesday morning, we decided to go visit the Duc de la Chapelle, Anis Bouabsa's bakery in Paris. As you probably know, he won this year's Best Baguette. The bakery is situated in a modest neighborhood, far from the typical tourist traps and chic areas. We entered the bakery and asked he woman behind the counter several questions before buying a selection of breads. She was very nice and helpful. As we left the bakery, we took some pictures of the young baker/apprenti who was scoring baguettes and sliding them in to the oven. Disappointed by the quality of the photos through the window, Florence returned and asked if we could go inside and take just a few pictures. The woman showed her the way, no questions asked!

Once inside, who came through, but Anis himself! I felt like a teenager who was getting a real-live view of her movie star hero. He looked at me through the window and asked Flo who I was. I think he thought I was a bit idiotic because I had such a huge grin on my face! He opened the door and told me to come on in.

So, here you have two passionate home bakers in front of a master, and may I say the sweetest, nicest and most generous master. We started asking him questions and he told us EVERYTHING! He explained from A to Z how he makes his famous baguette. He adapted the recipe for home use for us and explained how we could do the steps at home. He showed us how to form the baguettes, slide them in the oven, what temperature.... EVERYTHING!

We even asked him if we could come and have a real lesson and he didn't say no, he said in September it could be possible.

Now, what he told us was actually quite surprising! The baguette dough has a 75% hydration, very little yeast, hardly kneaded, folded three times in one hour then placed in the fridge 21hrs. They are not fully risen when placed in the oven, it is the wet dough and the very very hot oven (250°C) that make give the volume. 

When I get some time, I will be trying his recipe. I feel success is near!!!!

Anis gave me permission to publish his pictures. They were all taken by Florence, "photographe extraordinaire".

Jane  

Anis Bouabsa

 ExplanationsExplanations

Baguettes à cuireBaguettes à cuire

OvenOven

BaguettesBaguettes

 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

[DELETED BY AUTHOR]

 

Chavi's picture
Chavi

All out of whole wheat flour, I searched my bread library for a recipe that at least incorporated grains for this week's loaf. I settled on Reinhart's Yeasted Multigrain from Crust and Crumb- a recipe I happened to have had my eye on for awhile.

So.. today before I went to class, I assembled the biga and came back to find that it had risen really well. The intense Israeli summer heat does wonders for rising bread dough! I put together the dough as called for using 1.5 ounces each of oats and cornmeal as I was out of bran and 2.5 ounces honey instead of the brown sugar. Due to the weather (I assume), I needed to add more flour for the dough to cohere. The first rise was pretty quick and I subsequently shaped it into a pan loaf for its proof which also went faster than the suggested time. I baked it until a thermometer hit the recommended time.. The resulting bread had a really nice oven spring and developed a nice brown color. After it cooled, I cut a slice and tasted to find a really satisfyingly crunchy crust and creamy looking interior. The crumb was nice.. as for the flavor.. I found it to be pretty mild but with a pleasant honey undertone.. I think this time I should have added all the salt but overall it was really good. Looking forward to having it for breakfast tomorrow morning!

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

[DELETED BY AUTHOR]

 

Chavi's picture
Chavi

One of my more recent acquisitions to my bread library is Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I try to bake bread at least once a week, but as a college student, that isn't always feasible- especially with our tiny ovens. So to inaugurate the book I decided to make a sandwich loaf (hearth baking is nearly impossible in these ovens) and because Im trying to stick to whole grains as much as I can (yes, I sometimes resort to white breads!) the first whole wheat bread in the section it was!

The night before I made the soaker using 1 percent milk (Im baking in Israel, not sure exactly what the American equivalent is). Once that was finished I made the biga- the texture of the dough was exactly right. The next morning my biga had doubled, even tripled beautifully. I put together the dough, which was alittle difficut to assemble- incorporating liquids and solid dough isnt easy. I let the dough rise and then baked in a sandwich shape in a loaf pan (after another rising!) without steam. The bread had beautiful oven spring and developed a beautiful brown color and the most intoxicating bread smell ever.

The bread had beautiful color, crumb, oven spring, and texture...........but I thought it was too salty. I measure everything by weight, including the salt. Either the salt here is different, or I didnt mix it in well enough. Oh well, my sister and brother in law didnt detect the salt and spread with jam it was barely detectable to me.

Overall, good experience.. will try again...maybe try another recipe... Bottom line... I think Im going to like this book...

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