The Fresh Loaf

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PMcCool's picture

Today's bake was Daniel Leader's Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread, from his Local Breads book.  This bread combines a biga naturale for flavor with yeast for shorter, more predictable fermentation times.

The formula is straight-forward: the biga, water, equal parts whole wheat and bread flours, salt and yeast.  Final hydration works out to about 77%.  Based on Leader's description of the dough, I was expecting something almost in the ciabatta realm.  It turned out to be less gloppy than a ciabatta dough, perhaps because of the extra absorbency of the whole wheat flour.  Still, it was definitely better handled by the mixer than by hand.  I'm a little leery of his mixing directions, though.  First, he recommends an 10-minute run at speed 8 on a Kitchen Aid, followed by an 8-10 minute run at speed 10.  I didn't run it quite that long, or quite that fast, since I was seeing good gluten development.  Plus, the dough was clearing the sides of the bowl, even though it was very sticky.  The directions indicated that it probably cause the mixer to walk.  Hah!  I had to hold it down, what with the ball of dough slapping and releasing from the sides of the bowl.

After the mixing/kneading stage, the dough is dumped into an oiled container for 1-1.5 hours until it doubles.  It is then treated to a series of stretch and folds in the container (I used a plastic bowl scraper for this exercise), then allowed to double again.  Having finished bulk fermentation, the dough is scraped out onto a floured counter, divided in two, and (very gently) shaped into rough, rectangular loaves that are placed on bran-strewn pieces of parchment paper for their final rise.  The risen loaves go onto stone in a preheated oven, with steam.  The initial temperature is 450 F, which is dropped to 400 F for the second part of the bake.  Oven-spring was good.  The crust color is a deep brown, but not the near-black color promised in the formula.

The finished bread looks like this:

Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread

The crust is thin and crackly, although I expect it will soften because of the internal moisture.  The flavor is very good; closer to that of a yeasted bread than to a sourdough but with some complexity that isn't usually present in a straight dough.  There doesn't seem to be the bitterness that sometimes shows up in whole wheat breads.  The crumb is moderately open, though nothing like the big holes of a ciabatta.  That's not bad, since this will be used primarily for sandwiches.  The breads are relatively light in weight for their size, another indicator of an open crumb.  I'll have to get a crumb shot, later.

I will definitely make this again, although I may experiment with leaving out the yeast.  That should swing the flavor profile in a whole 'nother direction.  Before getting to that, though, I have my eye on a couple of different rye recipes from Local Breads.


trailrunner's picture

xaipete made me do it. The crust was OK., "nothing extry" as we say in Alabama.  It was a wild yeast dough that had been in the freezer for a couple months. It was very nice to work with but didn't rise too much . It did get nice and chewy and since I baked in a 550 oven with a really preheated stone the bottom was nicely browned in places. The topping was what made it so perfect. My sister in law brought me olive salad from NOLA. It is the best and since that was my home long ago I miss it and was so glad to get the gift. Added Itl sausage, sundried tomatoes from Whole Foods in NYC , fresh mozz and parma. YUM !!!

pizza Apr 4 2009

Jw's picture

I always like the positive approach. If have been able to progress with sourdough, the starter is really developing nicely. Last week I made my first sourdough from this starter, also somes pain ancienne. You can see that the crumb of the ancienne looks nicer (left), but the sourdough has more taste.


Today I made another sourdough, but used a flour called 'grobbe' to make the final dough. According to the label from the mill it contains: rye, line seed, corn and a few other things I cannot find the translations for. I basically followed the recipe for the Oregon Trail (The Doctor's Sourdough Bread). Happy with the result, the family judgement will be tomorrow at a birthday party!

This bread really asks for a lot of attention, but it is well worth it. Keep on baking!





xaipete's picture

OK, so I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it works! Baguette dough is one of my favorite pizza doughs because it is easy to handle, has just a hint of sweetness, and bakes up as a sturdy, crisp, and thin platform (no sagging) that works no matter whether the topping be light or heavy. I baked this in the oven on my new stone (I didn't want to risk repeating last Friday's BBQed-beyond-all-recognition pizza). I had planned to top it with some pesto and fresh basil, but the pesto had molded and the basil, shriveled, so I just went with sauce and fresh mozzarella.

Neapolitan style pizza


alliezk's picture

Summary of This Months Breads - The Obsession Begins.
Composed in terrible quality cell phone pictures (I am currently without a camera!)

I found this website about a month ago, while home sick and craving whole wheat pitas. I loved the blog style recipes - I always want more pictures - and I was greatly encouraged by my success with the pitas. I have been baking my whole life, but I have never had much success with yeast. I just never seemed to be able to get the timing down correctly, and things kept coming out flat. Once I found this site, I became immediatly obsessed with the challenge of sourdough and the beautiful loafs that were strewn everywhere. (As an aside, I cook and bake compulsively, as stress relief, and the college application process is certainly a stressful time!) Almost every weekend this month, I have tried a new recipe from the site and have had increadibly satisfying results. I have learned so much about bread, and hopefully my luck will continue to hold out. In general I have trouble sticking straight to recipes, and I do alot of improvising when I bake and take copious notes about the results. Just goes to show how chemistry is the perfect major choice for me.

The breads:
My first sourdough! I used a whole wheat starter with SourdoLady's blog as a guide, although I used grapefruit juice innitially rather than pineapple. My sisters said they could almost taste the grapefruit in the bread - it had a strong sourdough taste. Even more than what I was expecting. The bread is made with Deluxe Sourdough Bread Recipe, also from SourdoLady.


A buttermilk cluster - A new favorite!
I used a little less four than called for, and added a bit of whole wheat and maybe a tablespoon extra of buttermilk.

Soft Pretzels
This was my first time boiling soft pretzels before baking them. Im not sure if it needs this step. The dough for this recipe (the one posted by Stephmo) was lovely to handle before baking in comparison to the soft pretzels recipe I have been using. Hopefully I will have a chance to make that recipe this week and perhaps share the recipe if all goes well.

Rustic Loaf
For this recipe I made two larger loaves, and left one loosely dusted with flour. The other I added carraway seed before the final shaped rise and used an egg yolk wash with more carraway seeds on top. My Mom loves this bread warm with applesauce and butter on the top. Notice the giant pulled off piece destroying my picture of the crumb! I was really happy with the results. I want to work on shaping and scoring. I loved the texture of the rye flour and want to bring out more grainy texture in the bread, but im not sure how this will effect the rise.

I am playing with a firm rye started and hope to make sourdough challah over my spring break this week. I am also on the look out for easter dinner and dessert recipes, as once again, I am responsible for the family holiday meal (a blessing and a curse to love to cook and bake!).

Happy Weekend Baking to All.

bigjoe13's picture

i have wanted to make this for so long but i do not know how to braid, is there an easy way to do this and a good recipe? maybe even a kosher one?

foolishpoolish's picture


gothicgirl's picture

Posted on - 4/3/2009

Today is my birthday!!  I won't tell you how old I am ... that would just depress me.  But, I will tell you what does not depress me ...

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes 


Especially when they are in fun red liners from!!  Red is my absolute favorite color, and the liners stayed nice and bright after baking.  I love that!

So, to celebrate my birthday I made a batch of cupcakes to share with you.  Of course, you are not here to eat them ... I guess that means I will have to eat all these dark, moist, lucious, mocha cupcakes for you.  Oh, how I suffer!Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes 

These have a nice hit of coffee which is the perfect compliment to the Dutch-processed cocoa powder.  So, in honor of me, make a batch of these cupcakes.  Consider it my gift to you.   I'm off to celebrate! 

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes   Yield 12

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten with
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons strong coffee (I used three tablespoons hot water with 1 tablespoon instant coffee)

Heat the oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin tin with liners. 

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes - Dry Ingredients 

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.   Mix well.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes - Wet Over Dry Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes - Batter

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and coffee.  Blend until there are only a few small lumps left.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes - Ready to Bake 

Scoop into lined cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until the centers spring back when lightly pressed.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes - Cooling 

Cool for three minutes in the pan before removing the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes 

Frost as desired.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

TeaIV's picture

well, I didn't have internet access for a couple of days, so I didn't use any recipe like I usually do. I was going to make a whole-wheat loaf with a soaker (which I decided to leave out on the counter overnight) and a cold proof. then, I noticed that we had some roasted pine-nuts left, which are amazingly delicious. I decided to add them into the dough. I kept worrying because I thought leaving the soaker overnight would be too long, even though I heard Peter Reinhart talk about doing that in some video I watched... anyways, In the morning, I couldn't just stick the nuts, yeast , and olive oil in the bowel and mix it all together, so I just tried to knead it into the soaker.

(sorry for the blurry pictures)

the crumb was really airy compared to most breads that I make, but what was REALLY surprising is that the bread itself tasted like roasted pine nuts!!! It was amazingly delicious! I think this happened because when I was kneading the nuts into the dough, I probably squeezed them, and released the oils in the nuts (of which there is quite a bit if you ever ate them) into the dough. It was simply amazing. If you like pine nuts, you MUST try this! If you've never tried them, I certainly think you should.

xaipete's picture

This bread worked great for me. I used the starter from WGB instead of Hamelman's. I started the levain yesterday afternoon and this morning it looked and smelled just like it was suppose to. I was out of bread, so I finished the recipe, baked one loaf today and have one left that I retarded at noon in the refrigerator. (Let's see now, it's suppose to be good for 18 hours in the fridge at 42ºF. Now that was really good planning on my part because now I've got to get up at 5 am!)

I'm very pleased with the results. I did 2 stretch and folds and let the loaf proof for 3 hours, then baked it under a cloche on a stone for 10 minutes. It took 30 minutes total. I got a lot of oven spring, it has a nice open crumb structure and a pleasant sourdough flavor. I'm hoping tomorrow's loaf will be a little more tangy because I enjoy the sour taste.

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough



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