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ejm's picture
ejm

bread discs
The other day when I made grissini, I used part of the dough to make Susan's (Wild Yeast) Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers). They may not look quite as nice as Susan's but I have a feeling that we like them as much as she does. I made ours with fennel seeds (didn't have anise seeds) and Pernod, which I'm guessing amounts to the same thing as "anise liqueur". Wow! These discs are fantastic! They are easy to burn though... But if they aren't burned, they are light and crisp, with a lovely hint of licorice flavour. (And I don't even LIKE licorice....) They're wonderful on their own or with cheese. They are the perfect thing to serve after dinner! They're also good with soup for lunch or great with coffee for elevenses. Frankly, even the darker ones were delicious. Thank you once again, Susan! We'll be making these often!
ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have been baking larger (2# ) loaves of rustic Italian formula free form recently. I decided to double the mix and drag out the large linen basket and try one more time to get the proofing right. Usually I over proof and the dough falls with a thud as I approach the slashing table with bare blades. I have been following Mariana's procedure for crusty Italian and my handling of the dough has been more on the gentle side with a strict 1 hour limit on the bulk ferment.

I had just watched a video of a french baker demonstrating how he shapes, slashes and handles his large boules. He bounced the boule out of the basket and onto the peel, slashed with confidence and into the oven. Very inspirational with little care of over handling. So I dumped the proofed dough out and slashed like I knew what I was doing and--well it worked out pretty well.
4# Crusty Boule4# Crusty Boule

CrumbCrumb

renae's picture
renae

I'm new to this and have a quick question. I have been making a natural yeast bread that is just a little lighter than traditional sourdough. I recently have been having problems with air holes forming near the top of the loaf and after it's baked there will be a big hole between the crust and the loaf. Any suggestions?

 

renae

sitkabaker's picture
sitkabaker

I am trying a new WW recipe from Peter Reinhart's new book. It calls for a very stiff starter and a mash. The 1st attempt my dough was very slack and not too much spring in the oven. Came out very tight grained and not much volume. My dough for this after my 1st rise felt good and springy. My 2nd attempt was not too good either. My mash was still warm (could that have an effect) but my dought was very lifeles after my 1st rise. It cooked off with not much spring and tight crumb. Any ideas. I feel like it could use more water? The 2nd dough was like a big dead lump!!

pretzelman's picture
pretzelman

CAN ANYBODY TELL ME IF THERE IS ANY DANGER IN BREATHING IN THE FUMES BEING FROM THE LYE SOLUTION?

dolfs's picture
dolfs

My wife loves pumpkin and so I'd been having this idea of making some kind of pumpkin bread, but I wasn't sure what recipe. Yesterday I happened to pick up Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread" and found, on page 178 the recipe for "Pan de Calabaza", a sephardic pumpkin bread. Looked good so I decided to make that. After thinking for a while what shape I would make it (3-braid, 4-braid, loaf etc.) I decided to try something different.

Double Pumpkin BreadDouble Pumpkin Bread

I call it "Double" pumpkin bread because it contains pumpkin, and looks like one.

Recipe (as computed from the original using my spreadsheet:

  • Bread Flour: 100%, 3 1/8 C, 506 g
  • Water: 28%, 5/8 C, 142 g
  • Salt: 1.6%, 1 3.4 t, 8.1 g
  • Instant Dry Yeast: 1.17%, 1 3/4 t, 5.9 g
  • Pumpkin Puree: 23%, 6 1/2 T. 110 g
  • Cardamom, ground: 0.19%, 1/2 t, 912 mg
  • Ginger, ground: 0.18%, 1/2 t, 859 mg
  • Sugar, granulated: 14%, 5 1/4 T, 52.8 g
  • Vegetable Oil: 11%, 3 3/4 T, 47.4 g
  • Egg: 9.88%, 1 large, 47.4 g

This makes 2 pounds of a 44.45% hydration dough, although I found myself adding just a teeny bit of water. Makes a large loaf, two small to medium loaves, or 1 loaf and a few rolls.

  1. Mix ingredients until incorporated (if using mixer, use the paddle).
  2. Knead or use dough hook on mixer until good development. Dough will "just" clear the bowl, and should be smooth, silky and pass window pane test.
  3. Transfer to oiled container and let rise until almost tripled in size. You can do this in a fairly warm place as the flavor of the bread is determined by the ingredients, and not much by fermentation, so no need for slow fermentation.
  4. Degas gently and shape into a ball. Give it a 15 minute bench rest before proceeding.
  5. Shape as desired. Challah type braid is traditional but it is up to you (see above!)
  6. Let rise until, again at least doubled and the dough does not come back when you push a finger into it.
  7. Brush with glaze of one egg and a pinch of salt.
  8. Bake, in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 35 minutes. Internal temperature 197-202F. If it is getting to dark, tent with aluminum foil.

The taste was delicious, with the spices noticeable, but subtle. Fine textured crumb, soft crust and very moist inside. Worked well with pumpkin soup and everybody at our Halloween party loved it (and the three pizza's I made!) In case you are wondering: I kept the teeth light by covering them with an aluminum foil cutout after about 10 minutes of baking.

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

The loaf I baked today was the best yet, great crumb and a crisp crust that "sang" as it cooled. Plus it rose like crazy, and I'm not sure whether it was my yogurt starter or the fact that I now know that I haven't been letting the starter work its magic. I can't remember whether it was Bill or one of the other great mentors who said to let the starter do the work. I kept reading that soudough was slow but somehow it didn't sink in, so now I make sure to busy myself with something else so that I'm not rushing the dough. Slow learner? I cut the huge loaf as soon as I dared so that I could share it with neighbors who suffered through some of my earlier efforts. Then I ate some with soup for supper! A.

ejm's picture
ejm

bread sticks

When I read about Susan's grissini, I thought they would be perfect for using up leftovers after building up the starter in preparation for making bread.

And I was right!! I used just half the yeast in our pizza dough recipe and with the leftovers from feeding the starter, there was enough leavening power to make the dough double in exactly the same time that it would have with just yeast.

Making the sticks was dead easy, even though I couldn't quite wrap my mind around Susan's instructions for folding each strip in half (nothing wrong with the instructions - everything wrong with my brain....) So I folded them in half to make shorter rectangles and twisted them to join the pieces together.

Grissini are fabulous!! Many thanks, Susan, for posting about them so we would try them too.

I just realized that I should have stuck almond slivers on the ends of each bread stick to make them scary looking for Hallowe'en! (They do look like fingers, don't they?)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Since Labor Day weekend, I have been out of the country on business trips almost constantly.  Most of my time is spent in the Ensenada area, which is about a 90-minute drive south of San Diego.  There was a 1-week trip to Trinidad (also business) but, other than the odd weekend back home every other week, I’ve been here in Ensenada the whole time.  The only exception was last week, when I spent a week of vacation at home.

 

In ordinary circumstances, that would be far more time away from home than I like.  My present circumstance is that we sold one house, bought another and moved in the Thursday before Labor Day.  And then I got the “We need you here next week” call on Friday.  The following Tuesday, I was on my way to Mexico, with only three weekends at home since then.  Not the best set-up for doing all the things that go along with moving into new place.  My wife is very competent and has dealt with the load very effectively and graciously but there is way more than she can deal with alone, particularly if it involves heavy lifting.  Consequently, my weekends at home have been crammed with moving heavy items, painting (LOTS of painting), yard work, etc.  I managed to squeeze one batch of sourdough bread in on one of the weekends, mainly because I needed to refresh the starter anyway.  Other than that, it’s been a long time with virtually no chance to play in our new kitchen.

 

Until last week.  Yes, housework still went on.  We painted two bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs (the kids were coming later in the week and we thought they might want quarters that looked like dwelling places rather than construction sites), hung pictures and mirrors, and, with help from one son-in-law, installed the surround sound system.  But, in and around all of that, there was baking; lots and lots of baking.

 

The first bread was the Pumpkin Cornmeal bread from Beth Hensperger’s Bread for All Seasons.  I was looking for something to start on while building the sourdough starter up, along with wanting to do something seasonal.  After looking through several books, it looked like just the ticket.  It’s a yeasted bread that includes pumpkin puree, cornmeal and some rye flour, too.  I shaped it into boules and baked them on a stone.  The loaves had a warm, golden tone in both the crust and the crumb, thanks to the pumpkin.  Wonderful stuff, as it turns out.  Very good by itself and delightful when paired with homemade applesauce.  It made delicious toast, too.

 

I got a little carried away with building the sourdough starter, winding up with nearly three pounds of it.  After giving it some thought, I realized I could use as much as I needed for whatever I wanted to make and refrigerate the unused portion for subsequent batches so that I wasn’t committed to baking everything in a single day. 

 

My first sourdough choice was the Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  I have made it several times before, with varying results.  This time around, I used a 50/50 blend of Wheat Montana’s Bronze Chief and Prairie Gold whole wheat flours, which gave me plenty of whole wheat flavor without the bitterness that sometimes accompanies the red wheat varieties.  I scaled the formula up enough to produce three large batards, adding some additional water to accommodate the “thirstiness” of the Wheat Montana flours.  That’s probably what gave me the best results that I have had with this formula.  The finished loaves had a crumb that was much more open than I usually achieve, which was both chewy and moist.  The good news/bad news aspect about scaling up the formula was that the loaves wouldn’t fit on my rectangular stone, so I wedged a round pizza stone in beside it so that I could bake all of them.  Not the best decision.  I think that I blocked enough air flow inside the oven that the heat sensors couldn’t properly measure the temperature.  As a result, the bottoms of the loaves came out a bit scorched.  The rest of the crust was an incredibly deep reddish-mahogany tone with lots of blisters.  I can live with the scorched bottom crust, since everything else about the bread turned out so well.  However, I won’t be using that approach with the baking stones for future attempts.

 

Next up was the New York Deli Rye from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  My wife loves this stuff and I can’t argue with her.  It’s a wonderful bread, studded with bits of onion and caraway (or fennel seeds, in this case).  Since I had whole-grain rye flour on hand, instead of the white rye that the formula calls for, I used that.  The loaves were probably a bit more dense, as a result, but in a good way.  Since I was using AP flour instead of a high-gluten bread flour, I added a tablespoon of gluten for each loaf, which probably kept them from being bricks.  I chose to bake it in loaf pans for sandwich bread, rather than as hearth bread. 

 

Before going to bed that particular evening, I mixed up some sourdough English muffins from the formula in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook so that it could ferment overnight.  The following day, instead of rolling out the finished dough and cutting the muffins, I scaled it into 2.5 ounce pieces which I shaped into loose balls and then flattened them into disks.  I’m still not sure about my results with these.  They look great and the flavor is fantastic, but the crumb tends to be smoother than I want; not the ragged, open texture that I’m looking for.  It’s probably two factors; one, a need for additional hydration and two, gentler (or less) handling.  However, nobody complained.  My 5-year old grandson even requested one for an afternoon snack.

 

The last bread that I made with the remaining starter was the Sourdough Oatmeal Maple bread from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  Instead of rolled oats, I used some rolled barley flakes that were on hand.  That was a good choice.  The resulting loaves were large, tall boules (enhanced, no doubt, by the addition of some gluten in the dough), crusty on the outside with a moist, chewy crumb.  The barley flakes should have been in a soaker overnight, but I cheated by soaking them in hot water while assembling the rest of the dough.  They added a lovely heft and resistance to the crumb.  The maple syrup showed up as a low-key sweetness, without an overt maple flavor.  Maybe it would have been more noticeable if I had used oats rather than barley.  The bread played very well against a beef roast that we had for dinner one evening.

 

While I would have loved to post some pictures, our home PC was in the shop that week for what turned out to be some dying memory chips.  The uneaten portions of the bread either went home with our daughters or into the freezer, so no pictures and no way to post them.

 

It was a wonderful week on a number of levels, not the least of which was the chance to be at home and baking again.

 

Now I’m back in Mexico and baking vicariously through other TFL members’ posts.

 

Paul

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I have completed a first version of my dough calculator spreadsheet that I think is in decent enough shape to share. I have described this spreadsheet (in previous incarnations) and previous posts. This version is quite different in that it is much more automated and supports a "normal" style of using baker's percentages with preferments. I've found it invaluable in reverse engineering formulas (when no percentages are given), scaling, and overall analysis (hydration for example). Please check it out and give me feedback.

Recipe Worksheeet

The above is just a screenshot of a tiny piece. You will find the documentation here: http://www.starreveld.com/Baking. The sidebar on the left contains a link to download the actual spreadsheet. Unfortunately, right now this spreadsheet is only supported on Windows, see the documentation. Macintosh users can use Parallels Desktop of VMWare Fusion, or Apple's Bootcamp (now part of Leopard) to run windows. In fact, the spreadsheet was developed under Windows XP running on Parallels on a 17" MacBook Pro.

Here is a (partial) list of functionality:

  • Compute weights and volumes from formula with percentages and total dough weight
  • Scale formulas to any desired dough size
  • Support unlimited number of preferments in dough
  • Compute slightly larger preferment sizes to compensate for evaporation and container loss
  • Compute final loaf weight based on estimated baking loss (evaporation)
  • Convert volumes of ingredients to weights
  • Reverse engineering. You enter ingredients and weights or volume in practically any units, and it computes the baker's percentages for you
  • Conversion between regular milk and dried milk
  • Conversion between sugar/honey/Splenda
  • General conversion between volume and weight for specific ingredient
  • Conversion between Fresh/Active Dry/Instant Dry yeast
  • Compute hydration contribution of each ingredient in formula
  • Compute adjustments to formulas when substituting different hydration level starters for others, or for yeast
  • Compute necessary water temperature for formula based on desired dough temperature, room temperature, ingredient temperature and mixer friction. Also computes amount of ice needed as substitute for water to reach the right temperature
  • Analysis of formula and overall dough for hydration, and cost

I am sure that there may be rough edges as, so far, I have been the only user. Please report back any problems in comments on this blog.

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

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