The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
Monica's picture
Monica

Thanks for the Auburn rye recipe.  There is no mention of rye flour, did you forget about it?

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Today was the appointed day so I packed up two loaves, my bread board and knife, a tub of soft butter and napkins, along with a jar of starter. Unfortunately Mrs. T had forgotten she had a meeting and there was a substitute in charge, so things got a little confused. I never did get round to my spiel on sourdough starters, but I left the jar on the desk for them to watch it grow. Sliced the first loaf and the gannets descended!. I cut the loaf in half and then stood it on the cut side and sliced "half" pieces. After a while the sub. started buttering and that went much faster. I heard a few of the kids say they didn't like crusts but all that was left were crumbs! Apart from my grandaughter I got the impression that none of them had ever had home baked bread. Some of the girls were interested but the boys just wanted to eat, and eat they did. Maybe they didn't get much breakfast? Then it was cleanup time and back to work, A.

holds99's picture
holds99

I used Danielle Forestier's baguette recipe from her demo on Julia Child PBS video to make these batards.  My oven wasn't large enough to make baguettes so I opted for the batards.  She doesn't use a pre-ferment, only yeast. I didn't get the nice large holes in the interior that are characteristic of French baguettes/batards but I suspect it was because the dough should have been a little wetter and I wasn't gentle enough with the dough when rolling, pinching and shaping it, but they tasted very good.  I'll keep trying. 

holds99 

Batards - Danielle ForestierBatards - Danielle ForestierBatards - Danielle ForestierBatards - Danielle Forestier

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

A friend just sent me some comments by Dave Barry, including one I thought rang a bell:"There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'". Maybe 'obsession' would be kinder, A.

ejm's picture
ejm

Faux Stowe Crackers

This past summer, one of my sisters-in-law brought most wonderful crackers as part of her offering for a family dinner. My sister-in-law's crackers were fabulous and she claimed they weren't all that difficult to make.

It turns out she's right. Even though they require double baking, they're dead easy. And they're delicious!

I made a few changes to the recipe my sister-in-law copied out for me. One of the changes was to add the left over sludge from building up my wild yeast to the batter. I'm positive that this is not a necessary addition. It's a great way to use up the discards though!

The crackers are made by baking quickbread batter in a loaf pan, allowing the loaf to cool completely and then slicing and baking the slices on a cookie sheet til crisp.

Next time, to get our crackers to look even more like Lesley Stowes' crisps, I'm going to put a fold of parchment paper lengthwise down the middle of the loaf pan to create square slices.

(Faux Stowe Crackers are based on Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps, available throughout Canada and the USA.)

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

I decided to make dinner early for a change and needed to make some bread as well.

I began the bread so that it could rise while I was doing dinner. It began as my usual loaf, but I thought we needed more grains in our diet (seeing as I had been having porridge each morning for breakfast while I was getting used to the cold UK weather and then while the oven was broken and once it was fixed I have been eating bread for breakfast, lunch and snacks......tut tut tut)

So I threw some oats in a bowl and added hot water. Then after they'd soaked for an hour or so, I added more hotwater and some salt. I woke up some yeast in a bit more warm water with a little bit of goldren syrup and added that to the oat/water mix.

Then slowly added flour. Once I reached a consistency I couldnt stir but it wasnt thick enough to pull out and knead, I left it for about an hour and a half. I came back, and kneaded in almost 2 cups of flour.

Here I decided as I was stirring my barley that I was cooking (for vege barley soup) that it just might go nicely in the dough that I had finished kneading. So I kneaded in about 1/2 cup of cooked, still warm soft fluffy barley. Left it to rise till it doubled, punched it down, left it to rise again then gave it a fold for extra strength and left it to rest for 20mins.

It has made two decent sized batards and is now just proofing on a well floured bench covered with wet muslin.

I will take phots now, and once they are proofed, then again when they are cooked and their crumb. I am curious and anxious as to their taste and appearance......If it works, I have an idea for a nice healthy breakfast bread make with precooked Barley, Quinoa, Brown Rice (Basmati) and Rolled Oasts (if I find them I will use soaked/cooked steel cut oats as they offer more fibre and are worth more nutritionally than the rolled kind) With Wholemeal/wholewheat flour and covered in seeds. I want to try to get the most out my toast....and sandwhich (as well as for my family)

I will how ever try to make sence of the higgledy piggledy recipe above and write it out (and add things) in better order and adjust fermentation times. Might even make it with a preferment of the wholewheat to give it a more developed flavour.

I am pretty health aware and know that my daily porridge oats did much more for me than the yummy toast and toffee tasting set honey I have been eating. lol.

 

Bo be continued!........................................................................

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Though I'm sure I'll be lured away once again by the delights of a good poolish, I'm back to baking whole grains. In fact, last week, I think I may have pulled the prettiest loaf of whole grain sourdough hearth bread I've ever made out of the oven.



Here's the loaf just before it went into the oven.



And the innards.


This bread has quickly become my "daily bread," the loaf I make most often, whether for dinner or sandwiches.

I also took a shot at my own variant of the Dragon's Breath Bread that Eric Hanner posted several weeks back. I tried to make a 50% whole wheat ciabatta with sauteed garlic cloves and cheddar cheese chunks. It was an interesting experiment and made a killer sandwich, but next time, I think I'll chop the cloves up a bit and not bother with trying for ciabatta. As you can see, it didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, especially since part of the loaf stuck to the peel:



And the crumb ...


Thanks, Eric, for posting that recipe. Was fun!

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

After seeing some of the posts of bread bowls, I figured I would give it a whirl.  I made 4 White bread bowls, which were actually full size boules.  And made Broccoli Cheese Soup from a Panera Bread recipe I found online.

Here are 3 of the 4.  My youngest had little patience in waiting for me to get photos of them all, she was digging in while I was still posing my bowls.  Overall it was a huge hit.  My eldest daughter and I are huge soup fans, my wife is much more finicky with soups.  I got the nod of approval on this one though.  I would higly recommend it to others.

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe  

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter, melted (for cooking onions)
1/2 medium onion, chopped


1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar 

Sauté onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve

TT

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Below is a photo of my third attempt at home milling and sifting, which resulted in a flour very similar to my favorite "high extraction flour", Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour. The processes used on my second and third tries are explained further below. Additional photos of the process have been posted.

Home Milled Miche - Third Try

First Try

The first bread from my home milling and sifting project, blogged earlier, looked like a 100% whole wheat bread. Unfortunately, I still hadn't figured out a way to do home ash content testing, but from the results, a guess at the ash content of the flour that went into my first try might have been something like 1.4%. So, it had some of the darker material sifted from it and therefore had a lighter crumb than a 100% whole wheat flour might have produced, but the color and flavor was closer to 100% whole wheat.

Second Try

Home Milled Miche - Second Try

My second try was a little lighter but still closer to whole wheat in character. I allowed the sifting process to go on longer and used a couple of passes. After one pass through the Retsel mill at a fairly fine grind and then sifting through a stack of sieves (#25,35,45,60,70,80) on my sieve shaker, the breakout was as follows. A video of the equipment in operation is posted for fun.

Sieve SizeAmountpercentdescription
#2525g4%bran
#3542g6%middlings and bran
#4570g10%middlings
#60107g15%middlings and flour
#7063g9%cream flour
#8099g14%cream flour
thru #80311g43%white flour
total717g100% 

I then took the 219g caught by sieves 35,45, and 60, and re-milled them at about the same settings as the initial milling. The output of this second milling was then fed through the #60 sieve. The output was 53g of coarse material caught in the #60 sieve and 156g of somewhat creamy, grayish flour that went through the #60 sieve.

I then created a flour that is about 82% extraction by combining the all the flour that fell through the #60 sieve on the first pass with enough of the flour that fell through the #60 sieve on the second pass to constitute 82% of the total output. The resulting flour was lighter than on my first try, but the bread that resulted still had a color more like a whole wheat bread, although slightly lighter in color. The flavor was noticeably different, though. The second try had a flavor with far less of the grassy flavor of a whole wheat bread. Again, this flour was made before I had a way to test for the ash content, but I imagine from the color of it, that it was probably about 1.25% ash content. It was slightly darker than Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo flour. My second bread also had 5% whole rye and 10% whole spelt in it, as did the first one, so part of the whole wheat character of these loaves is caused by the addition of 15% whole grain flour.

Home Milled Miche - Second Try - Crust and Crumb

Third Try

I received my Meadows 8 Inch Stone Mill and decided to have another go at milling and sifting. Of course, the new mill works differently than the Retsel. The stones are much larger and turn much faster. I can't seem to get the grind anywhere near as fine as the Retsel will produce with just one pass. However, the Meadows mill is far faster, especially when re-milling flour. The Retsel takes forever to re-mill flour, and seems to heat up too much on a second milling. The Meadows Mill takes less than a minute to grind a few cups of grain, and re-milling the output takes only slightly longer.

I was happy to discover that for the amounts I would normally do - not more than a 5 pounds at a time, the flour was very cool coming out of the mill. In fact, it was noticeably cooler in temperature than the flour coming out of the first pass with the Retsel mill. I imagine that equation would reverse for much larger amounts, as the Meadows would heat up over time to a higher temperature, given the large stones turning at much higher revolutions per minute.

This time I went for about a 70% yield. I realize in retrospect that my first pass was probably too coarse, which resulted in only about 600 grams going through the #60 sieve and 323 grams caught in the #25 sieve, out of a total output of 1815g. I then re-milled the middlings from that sifting, and the output was 350g through the #60 sieve. One more pass resulted in an output of another 244g through the #60 sieve. The flour coming through the #60 sieve from this pass was lighter than previous attempts.

I did another sample of about 300g which was milled at the finest settings a couple of times. The result was a finely milled whole wheat, more like what would be done on a very fine first pass with the Retsel. The result was sifted through a #25 and 50 sieves to get 240g of flour, with only 15g of "bran" caught in the #25 sieve and middlings of only 40g. This was probably too fine. I'm slowly beginning to understand what setting of coarseness of the mill will result in a good distribution of particle sizes for more efficient sifting to get the flour desired.

The resulting flour was actually 68% of the total flour made during this session trying a couple of different strategies. This time, I was able to measure the ash content, at least approximately, using the home ash content measurement mentioned in a previous blog entry. The ash content is around 1.05%, maybe a little lower than Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour, which their site says is around 1.13% ash content and I calculated to be around 1.2 with my test, such as it is.

Resulting Bread

Home Milled Miche - Third Try - Crust and Crumb

A similar bread to previous attempts was made with this flour. However, I omitted the 10% spelt and raised the hydration to about 81% to compensate. I may have gone a little too far with the hydration, as I had some trouble getting the loaf to hold its shape well. Due to some unanticipated distractions, the loaf was about 20 minutes late getting into the oven, so it was also slightly overproofed. The result was therfore flatter than I would have liked. However, the crumb, crust, and flavor were all very good. I believe this loaf is very similar in most ways to country miches made with Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo flour in the past. The color is a little darker, but I believe that has more to do with the fact the flour is not aged, as the ash content clearly indicated that my flour was lower in conductivity than the Golden Buffalo flour and should therefore be a little closer to white flour than the Golden Buffalo flour. The texture of the dough and the general behavior of the flour while handling it seemed very similar to what I have experienced with the Golden Buffalo flour. By the way, the wheat berries used for this flour was Heartland Mills M2, which may be similar to the wheat berry product they are using to create the Golden Buffalo flour. Overall, I'm extremely happy with this result. The flavor and freshness of the home milled flour is a delight, and the prospect of being able to freshly mill a desired grade of flour on demand is pleasing.

Future Attempts

Now that I have a better feel for the right mill settings, my plan is to do a multiple pass approach, this time hopefully more systematically and with better mill settings. The outputs of the various passes will be saved and ash content measurements performed on each one. Hopefully, I can then make the process much more efficient and flexible. With ash content measurements available, blends can be created based on ash content of the final flour desired, and hopefully better yields will result for the same ash content, with better coarseness settings on the mill on the first and subsequent passes.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Cream of Wheat Middlings

My home sifting project resulted in "middlings", a term I may be using incorrectly. What I mean by middlings is the stuff I sifted out that is finer than bran but was coarser and darker than I wanted for the flour being produced.

This output of my milling and sifting process had a coarseness similar to semolina or maybe a little more coarse. It was a fairly dark brown. I refrigerated it, thinking it might be useful for dusting a couche or some other purpose eventually. To some extent, I was hoping to discover some good food use for this part of my output, which should contain a fairly large nutritional content, since it has much of the darker, vitamin-rich outer layers of the wheat berry in it. My more whole grain oriented friends might be less disapproving of my use of less than 100% whole wheat flour in some of my breads, if I could show that the other parts of the whole grain are still being used. Also, my wife is more interested in whole grain nutrition, so she asked me to save it, probably also imagining some good use she might discover for very freshly ground outer layers of the wheat berry.

The nice thing is that I can see this output will be consumed nearly as quickly if not more quickly than the bread that was made from this sifting session. My whole wheat loving friends would be happy, since we would be eating 100% fresh ground whole wheat by eating the bread and having the cream of wheat middlings and bran for breakfast.

This morning it occurred to me that the "middlings" were a lot like cream of wheat in consistency, just browner. I decided to try making "cream of wheat middlings". I forgot to measure, but roughly speaking the recipe was 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups skim milk, 0.5 tsp salt, 1.5 cups of "wheat middlings", and about 0.5 cups of "wheat bran", the coarsest output of my sifting process. I then brought it to a strong boil, dropped the heat to low, and let it simmer, stirring periodically, for about 15 minutes.

The resulting gruel was served with some milk poured on it, and some brown sugar sprinkled over it. My 13 year old son wolfed this concoction down with great delight, saying it was very good. I thought it was a great breakfast, more flavorful than cream of wheat and probably nutritionally much superior, and it would have significantly more bran fiber, for those who might like that aspect of it. I tried adding raisins to some of it, which I thought made it even better but my son thought detracted from it.

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries