The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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abunaloaf's picture
abunaloaf

I have recently tried sourdough, and was really encouraged when on the second day I had bubbles.  My old earthenware crock was previously used to make saurkraut.  I put in one cup of strong bread flour, one cup of spelt and 2 1/2 cups of tepid tap water, covered it with a glass plate and left it to find yeast.

The starter smelled more yeasty and less sour after a week.  Instead of discarding starter when feeding I used it, but I have yet to get a loaf I am satisfied with.  I know how to make bread, so that is not an issue.  I have made the exact same bread weekly for many years,  But I have also learned a lot since I have become interested in trying variations.  Thanks for this site.

I let the dough rise twice before putting it in pans and it takes forever.  So two days ago I put my dough in the fridge overnight and put it into pans in the morning....The dough had some condensation and a bit of drying as well.  After all day in a proofing oven it was still having a hard time rising.  I sprayed it periodically with oil so it wouldn't dry out.  It turned brown after baking, even though I used mostly white flour. The end result was a flattish heavy loaf that tastes good, but I would like it to be lighter. That way I could put the saw back in the garage.  I think I will start adding a teaspoon of yeast so I get the taste without all the waiting. 

When doing research about how to go about doing this I noticed that some people start their sourdough with real yeast.  Is this a bad thing?

mauiman's picture
mauiman

 I have formed a loaf and set it aside to rise. But once risen, how do I transfer this slightly sticky body to a baking stone which I've left pre-heating in the oven?  Is there a time tested way to do this?

wassisname's picture
wassisname

 

Bagels, the perfect antidote to an overdose of sticky, tempermental sourdough ryes.  They may not be the prettiest bagels to ever come out of the kettle, but YUM!  I don't know why I didn't try these sooner.  These are going to replace english muffins as my "easy, little, single-serving bread" of choice... at least for a while.  The simple fact that there is nothing sticky going on makes them a breath of fresh air.

They are 100% whole wheat, straight out of Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  I didn't have any barley malt syrup, so I used dark, local honey, but I will definitely be picking some up for the next batch.

I'm eager to try different additions to the boiling-water.  For this batch I used baking soda and a little molasses just for the heck of it, but that didn't seem to get me a very bagel-like crust.  Not that I'm going for any kind of serious authenticity here!  Not really in my nature to stress about that, and besides, I wouldn't know an authentic bagel if it jumped out of the oven and sang "New York, New York."

-Marcus

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

8/30/10 - 2 Stage Liquid Levain Sourdough Boules

So this is an interesting bread for me.  It's the first full sourdough bread of my official baking season.  It's still quite hot here in NYC, around 90F, so my kitchen is in the 80's...  I wasn't sure what to bake, but my sourdough starter needed feeding, so I figured what the heck.  So the starter was fed at 7:00pm, and it doubled in 2 hours.  I took out 200g of the refreshed starter, and fed it again as below, and it doubled in a little over 2 hours to my surprise...  So I made my dough as below, and fridged it, not expecting much...  In the morning when I woke up, it had doubled in the plastic containger (4L).  I gave it a turn, put it back into the fridge and went to work...  When I came home at 6:30pm it had hit the top of the container, and by 7pm, it had popped the top...  Now time to prepare to bake before a dough explosion happens...  Usually when I do these levain only breads, I'm sitting around waiting for it to do it's thing...  This time, I had to bake when it was ready...  Now!  Enjoy the pics...

8/30/10

Liquid Levain Stage 1

200g Storage starter @ 100% hydration

20g Organic wheat berries (freshly ground)

20g Organic spelt berries (freshly ground)

20g Stone ground rye flour (organic/fresh ground if possible)

40g Bread flour (Gold Medal)

100g Water

400g Total

 

7:00pm - Mix all, cover and let rest for 2-3 hours, or until doubled.

 

Liquid Levain Stage 2

200g Bread Flour

200g Water

200g Liquid levain stage 1

600g Total

 

9:00pm - Mix all, cover and let rest for 2-3 hours, or until doubled.

 

8/31/10

Final Dough

800g Bread flour (Gold Medal)

100g WW flour

100g Rye Flour

675g Water

24g Kosher Salt

600g Liquid levain stage 2

2299g Total dough yield

 

12:15am - Mix all into shaggy dough, cover let autolyse for 30 minutes.  Prepare oiled plastic tub.

12:45am - Turn dough using French fold method with wet hands and dough scraper in bowl  until dough smoothes out and tightens up.  Stop when gluten starts to tear (turn not more than 8-10 times).  Transfer to oiled tub, place in refrigerator at 40-45F.

1:25am - Turn dough, return to fridge.  Go to bed.

8:35am - Turn dough, return to fridge.  Go to work.

7:20pm - Take dough out of fridge, divide into 4 equal pieces, preshape... (576g approx)

7:30pm - Final shape into boule, place in banneton for proofing, cover with plastic.

8:30pm - Place baking stones in oven on 2 levels along with steam pan, preheat 550F with convection...

9:30pm - Turn convection off.  Turn boules out onto peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone.  When all boules are in, pour 1 cup of water into the steam pan, close door, turn oven down to 450F.  Bake 45 minutes, rotating loaves between stones and positions halfway through bake.  Boules are done when internal temp reaches 205F or more.  Let cool completely before cutting (overnight).

Out of the oven, the boules weighed about 470g, which is about an 18% water loss, which is good.

I'll post a crumbshot tomorrow...

9/1/10 - Crackly crust

Crumb shot!

Breakfast!

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

The Second Bake

As with the first batch of Sourdough I baked Saturday (with reasonable success), I tried to manipulate the fermentation time of the second batch to meet my schedule.  The starter was ready Saturday afternoon, and I mixed the flour and let it sit on the kitchen counter for several hours, before deciding that it was getting late and the dough wouldn’t get shaped, proofed and baked until Sunday.  So I put it in the Igloo cooler with Blue Ice overnight.  I misunderestimated the fermentation rate.  Sunday morning it was a good deal more than doubled (big d’Oh!).  

IMG_1436

David (surprisingly still patient with my questions) said it might be overfermented and wouldn’t proof well or achieve good oven spring.  Not surprisingly, he was right.

I found the dough very sticky, but didn’t want to over-flour the board this time and repeat my seam-sealing problems of the first batch.  So I wrassled with it and got a lot of it stuck to my hands (I used the d'Oh scraper).  Knowing that a frequent mistake is to over-react to an earlier mistake, I used a moderate amount of flour on board and hands in the folding and shaping.  I tried to be attentive to not overflouring the dough’s surface, and I got it about right.   Having reviewed Floyd’s batard-shaping video again, I did a better (not great) job of shaping batard-shaped batards.  The seams were well-sealed.

IMG_1438

They rose little in proofing, and got little oven spring.  The shape and crust look pretty good.  On these loaves, I again suffered from the lack of a proper scoring tool.  I tried various implementss--sharp paring knife, grapefruit knife, very sharp bread knife, gas-powered weed-whacker [j/k about that last one].  Did I mention I need a lame? I ordered one today.

IMG_1441

As you can see, compared to the loaves from the day before, there was very little oven spring.

IMG_1443]

And the crumb was dense and heavy, underbaked.  To put a positive spin on it, I’m calling it very chewy.

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I suppose I could find a use for these.  I might take up carving duck decoys (but my charming spouse thinks they won't float).

On the bright side, I got very good broiler spring on our omelet yesterday morning.

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And the toast made from Saturday’s bake was crispy and delicious.

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Lessons Learned

From 10 hours perusing TFL, many conversations with Brother David, and a weekend of fumbling and bumbling, I got two pretty good loaves and two roughly-batard-shaped paper weights.  So what lessons have I learned from all the d'Oh! moments?  There are too many to count.  But the main ones are:

(1) You can manipulate rising time to fit your schedule, but sometimes you waste good dough doing so (it's not a waste of time if you learn from it). 

(2) Read lots of experienced people’s writings on a technique (or, better yet, watch videos) before you try it.  You’ll still mess up, but not as bad, and you’ll have a better idea what you did wrong.

(3) Some of the axioms bakers talk so much about are really important (use the proper tools, follow the recipe, shape the loaf just so), but the most important one is to stay in touch with the dough and read its signals.

(4) However much I learn, there’s still way more to learn than I know.

Sorry for the long post, but I needed to experiment with blog posting, too.

I plan to get better at both.

Glenn

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

This is the most successful Wholewheat multigrain i have baked so far. The Steaming technique this time was different. I drilled a whole through the roaster Lid and purchased a steamer cleaner to push steam through the hole. This was adapted from The baker steamer set that was marketed in TFL years back, but with much cheaper components.

The result was spectacular: the loaf gained color so fast, and the crust was crispy out of the oven. Oven spring was very good too. I left the loaf in the roaster for 20 minutes (should have been less: the bottom got charred).

If it wasn't for the charred bottom, i'd say , this is the one best tasting / looking bread i have ever tasted in my life.

Khalid

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Hello.  I’m Glenn Snyder.  I’ve been a member at TFL for some time, following the baking adventures of my brother, David, and enjoying this web community.  But I never baked bread before yesterday.  And never posted a blog entry before now.

I have enjoyed bread my whole life.  From Karsh’s Bakery (RIP) in Fresno where we grew up, then from various bakeries in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’ve spent most of my life.  My favorite breads are sourdoughs made by Semifreddi and Acme in the Bay Area, by Beaujolais Bakery and Fort Bragg Bakery on California’s North Coast and, of course and especially, those made by David [I may occasionally in this forum butter my brother up, but I also may try to get a rise out of him—btw, I don’t like puns as much as he does].

As has been recorded in these pages (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19250/premarital-counseling-advice-my-baby-brother-aspiring-sourdough-baker), I fell upon some sourdough starter that David left in our refrigerator at a family gathering several weeks ago.  It was intended for our visiting sister, but she had left town without it.  So I took it in, as a stray kitten.  I fed it.  It seemed to like me.  I decided I should try baking with it.

Now, I am already an avid and moderately skilled cook.  And I do love to eat good bread.  But I had never pursued home baking, except the occasional dessert.  I suppose it was partly because it seems so complicated and time-consuming.  And I already have enough time-consuming hobbies to fill my free time.  But the mewing kitten, and encouragement from my brother and my bread-loving spouse, got me to try it out.

Before I describe my first baking experience, let me explain the reference to “D’Oh! Boy”.   I work in a law firm called Pillsbury.  Our amateur ballteams have often been called “The Dough Boys”.  And I personally love Pillsbury’s biscuits.  The “D’Oh” reference, besides being a good pun and showing my general enjoyment of all things Homer Simpson, reflects my Guiding Philosophy in trying new things.  We learn from our mistakes.  Ergo, the more mistakes we make, the more available lessons from which to learn.  So I treasure those “d’Oh!” moments, and thankfully I have many.   As this post will illustrate.

Before starting my experiments, I read quite a bit on TFL, and got some very useful advice from David about tools and techniques.  I also adopted low expectations so as to increase the likelihood that the results would be pleasing (I am quite skilled at manipulating my own emotions).

First Batch

David suggested I start with a simple San Francisco Sourdough.  He suggested Susan’s recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6927/well-i-finally-did-it).  In order to maximize my experimental data, I made two double batches of dough this weekend to make four batards.  The starter was acting nicely.  It had been fed 1:3:4 with David’s recommended flour combo (70% APF/20% WW/10% Rye).  The first batch of starter was fed Friday morning and was ready late Friday afternoon, and I mixed the first batch of dough Friday early evening using a dough scraper and bare hands.  A very satisfying sensation.  I soon realized that the need to follow the dough’s schedule was going to interfere with sleep (not an option for me) unless I manipulated the fermentation time.  So, contrary to the recipe I was (not) following, the first batch went into an Igloo cooler with some Blue Ice to ferment slowly for the night.  I was hoping it would have doubled by morning but it had only enlarged about 50% (small d’Oh!), so I put it on our kitchen counter and it had doubled by early afternoon.

I stretched and folded per the recipe and had a nice springy ball to work with.

IMG_1416

 

 I clove the ball into two halves and tried to shape them into batards.  I didn’t do very well shaping (‘nother d’Oh!).  I had looked at written instructions on various TFL blog posts, but had not viewed Floyd’s very useful video on batard shaping (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1688) until after making my mistake.  They looked like a cross between a batard and a baguette.  A baguard, I guess.

IMG_1420

But they proofed nicely (I used the poke test…appropriate for a D’Oh! Boy).

IMG_1423]

And they looked pretty decent after baking on a pizza stone (with steam), except scoring with a paring knife didn’t work well.  I need to order a lame.

IMG_1424 IMG_1430

Unfortunately, in my first try at shaping loves I had not sealed the seams well and the bottoms cracked badly.  I think this was due to using too much flour on the kneading board, so the dough was not moist enough to cohere at the seams (dry d’Oh!).  I also must not have pre-heated my oven enough as the oven spring was only so-so and the bottoms are quite light in color (tepid d’oh!).

IMG_1427

The crumb looks pretty good for a first try.  David says it’s either natural talent, a good instructor or beginner’s luck.  I say it’s all three.

IMG_1435

The taste and texture were passable, far exceeding my low expectations, and probably good enough to motivate further trials.  The crust was crunchy and not at all tough.  The crumb was a bit too moist when first sliced, but is much more satisfactory today—pleasantly chewy, and excellent toasted. 

The flavor is complex and enjoyable—sour, yeasty, whole wheaty.  I’m not wowed, but I’m not gonna throw the experiment in the trash either.  Good bread, not great.

More about my second attempt and the lessons I learned in a later post.

This could get to be habit forming.

Glenn

 

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

As a follow up to my last post on super hydrated dough, I have been making a loaf every day now for 3 days. My first batch had 10% dark rye and my daughter thought it was uncommonly delicious. That's a big statement from a 17 yo daughter.

Day 2 brought a batch with only 5% rye and a less intense bake in the  early stage. The loaf was lighter in color and still delicious.

Today, I made a double batch and stayed with 5% rye which I scalded and cooked for 1.5 hours. After cooling to RT, I incorporated the rye and went to an autolyse period of 20 minutes. At that time I added the salt and yeast and folded for a dozen or so times to incorporate the salt. There was quite a difference in the way the dough felt and handled after delaying the salt for 20 minutes.

The flavor is quite unique. The nutty after tones are still there and it seems just a little sweet and wholesome. I don't think that is a very good description let me think about it and  talk to my testers.

Sorry I don't have an image to show at the moment. I'll try to get one up when my camera returns.

Eric

hmcinorganic's picture
hmcinorganic

I've been on vacation and not baking for a while.  I have been keeping my starter going, however.  Last week I made the 1/3 whole wheat 1-2-3 sourdough ... again.  I'm caught in a rut :)  

I forgot the salt though, and had to mix it in after 2 or 3 stretch and folds.  Seemed to work ok though.  Bread was good, but I forgot to take pictures.  I made 4 small baguettes.  Those are just hard to shape;  I need practice.  Scoring was good (I did 3 - 4 lengthwise slashes) but the bread was underproofed.

I have a question about storing bread.  I've read here on this site that you shouldn't store bread in plastic, as that makes it soggy and moldy, and that the fridge isn't good either.  We normally eat 1/4 of each batch the day its made, I give some away, but the last loaf sits around and gets very hard.  Still tastes fine....  I've taken to slicing up the last loaf and freezing it to make croutons or bread pudding "starters".  

I am baking the 1-2-3 loaf again today.  My starter got very runny, too much water at the last feeding, so I had to add a bit less water than called for.  I *didn't* forget the salt :)  I shaped it into to boules and they are rising right now on the counter.  I"ll post pictures later today when they're done.  

Its good to be back home and into my bread routine again.  I am going to make regular whole wheat sandwich bread tomorrow as school is starting and we need to pack lunches again...

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Although blogging has taken a back seat to other activities, I have been baking in the background.  It's just that none of those have made the leap from the kitchen to the Web.  And, frankly, most of them were old favorites and I really didn't have anything new to say about them, except for yum!

This weekend, though, was different.  My wife has decided to make some dietary changes, with the objective of greatly reducing the GI loads of the things she eats.  On the one hand, that means eliminating a lot of foods that are either sugary or constituted primarily of simple carbohydrates and replacing them with foods that contribute either higher protein content or complex carbohydrates.  So, when she had a package of 100% rye bread in her hand while shopping this weekend, I said "I can make that at home.  And I can use sourdough, which will make it even better for you."  All true but highly optimistic, considering some of my recent sorties into high-rye land.

Back at the house, groceries unloaded and put away, I made a bee-line for TFL and started looking at the accumulated wisdom and experience regarding 100% rye breads.  Of the various possibilities, Mini's Favorite 100% Rye was most appealing to me so I started the mise en place Friday evening.  First up was to prepare the rye sour.  Keep in mind that I pitched my old starter some weeks back and began another.  So, while potent with yeast, the new starter is still fairly mild in flavor.  It would have to do.  Next up (although not in Mini's original formula) was a soaker consisting of 100g each of cracked rye and boiling water.  Still another addition, a sunflower seed soaker consisting of "some" (about a handful) sunflower seeds and enough cool water to cover.  Yeah, yeah, I know, always measure for repeatability.  I was off the page at that point, anyway, so measurements didn't seem too important.  After that, off to bed.

The next morning, I toasted the bread spices in a skillet on the stove top and ground them.  Not knowing the exact formulation, I guesstimated that 2 tablespoons of coriander seed and 1 tablespoon each of caraway and fennel seeds should do.  Oh, my, the house smelled wonderful!  From previous experience, I knew to keep an eye on the fennel seeds; they start out with a greenish cast and turn a golden brown when ready.  The caraway and coriander start out a tan/brown color, so they aren't as helpful in indicating when they are done.  It is important to give the seeds a shake every minute or so to prevent scorching.

From there, it was a matter of combining the starter, the water, the spices, the cracked rye soaker, the (drained) sunflower seed soaker, and rye flour.  It's a bit of a stretch to refer to a 100% rye dough as "dough".  Wet mortar seems to have a closer similarity to this stuff than any dough based on wheat flour.  Anyway, the ingredients were thoroughly mixed, covered with plastic wrap, and left in the sunshine on our stoep.  We're seeing the first signs of Spring here in Pretoria and the sunny stoep was warmer than my kitchen.

An hour later, I brought the bowl back in, troweled the dough onto a wet countertop and worked in the salt, per Mini's recommendation.  The dough was put back in the bowl, covered, and set back out in the warmth of the sunshine.  At the 3-hour mark, the mortar/dough was showing some aeration, which indicated that the starter was at work. 

Since the cooking gear available to me is a bit different than Mini's, I elected to split the dough into two loaves and bake each in a 4x8 (inches) loaf pan.  Those fit neatly into a covered roasting pan, giving me the steam chamber that Mini devised by flipping one pot upside down on top of the other.  Having oiled the pans and dusted them with rye flour, I brought the dough in, divided it into two pieces, shaped each, and gently tamped them into the waiting loaf pans.  Each pan was approximately half full, giving me a reference point for gauging their eventual expansion.  Just to be sure that I didn't miss anything, I also lightly sprinkled the loaves' surface with rye flour, knowing that the resulting cracks in the flour would be another indicator that the dough was rising.  After that, I covered each loaf pan with plastic, put them in the roasting pan, covered it, and set the whole shebang back out in the sunshine. 

Two and a half hours later, or five and a half hours into the process, the loaves had filled the pans about 3/4 full, which was about a 50% expansion.  The top was a network of dark fissures in the lighter rye flour.  After debating the merits of allowing further fermentation/expansion versus the possibility of over-proofing, I decided to err on the side of caution and bake the bread.  I did remember to remove the plastic wrap (whew!) from the loaf pans before sliding the roaster into the oven.  I also chose to sprinkle a tablespoon or so of water in the floor of the roasting pan, just to add some more steam.  Maybe that helped, maybe not.

Per Mini's instructions, the bread went into a cold oven, then spent the first 25 minutes at 200C in convection mode.  After that, I took the roaster out of the oven, pulled the loaf pans from the roaster and put them back in the oven, then switched the oven from convection mode to a top and bottom heat mode, still at 200C.  Not knowing exactly how long they would take to reach the recommended internal temperature of 93C, I checked back in 20 minutes.  The internal temperature was barely 91C, so I gave them an additional 5 minutes.  At that point, the thermometer showed 94C, so I removed the bread from the oven and depanned the loaves onto a cooling rack, covering them with a cotton towel.  A few hours later, after they were thoroughly cooled, I put each in a plastic bag.

If you read Mini's account and compare it to this one, you'll notice that the added soakers and the division into two loaves are not my only departures from her formula.  She is working with a finely ground rye flour (Type 950, I think) that, back in the States, I might call a medium rye.  What I have available is a stone ground whole rye with noticeable flecks of bran.  I think that my dough was a bit stiffer than she describes hers, probably because of the additional absorption of the bran.  Consequently, I wasn't bashful about working additional water in from either the countertop or my hands.

Having given the bread 25 hours to for moisture distribution and stabilization, I cut into one of the loaves this afternoon.  Several things became evident.  First, I could have allowed the ferment to continue longer.  These are not bricks but neither did they achieve the airiness of crumb that Mini's bread shows.  My concern about over-proofing made me a little too twitchy.  I think that is going to be one of those experience things (with probably at least one flop) to know how much is enough and how much is too much.  Second, the bread spices that were so evident during the baking have taken a backseat to the rye itself in the finished bread.  They are still in there, but they are the background singers to the rye's lead (if we were talking music).  The sunflower seeds add a bit of nutty crunch and flavor to the blend.  The crumb is very moist and cool but not gluey.  Were it not for the textures of the the cracked rye and sunflower seed soakers, it would be almost cakelike; albeit a very dense and chewy cake.  There's a lot going on in this bread and it's only Day 1.  I'm curious to see how the flavors evolve as the bread ages.  Most importantly, my wife likes it!  Since it was intended for her benefit, that's a good thing.

The first picture, below, shows the loaf profile and crumb.  Like I said, not a brick but more proofing would have been allowable.

The second picture, below, shows the "crackle" texture in the flour sprinkled on top that was caused by the loaf's expansion during proofing.

There are things that I might do differently next time.  I'd probably skip the rye flour dusting in the loaf pans and use a solid fat instead of oil.  The oil/flour residue on the sides of the loaves isn't visually appealing to me.  I might also skip the dusting of flour on top of the loaves.  It was my choice rather than anything Mini recommended and I don't know that it helped me to ascertain readiness as much as I had hoped.  Oh, and I would try to remember to dock the loaves prior to baking.  That step got left out entirely and it was probably only because the loaves were somewhat underproofed that I don't see any problems as a result.

Thank you, Mini, for sharing your formula with us.  Once I feel like I have a handle on this bread, I'd like to try some that have a very long, low-temperature bake to see if I can approximate a pumpernickel that is baked in a WFO overnight.

Paul

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