The Fresh Loaf

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Flourgirl's picture
Flourgirl

Well, I am not losing my mind, at least not over some carda-whatever.  I have a picture of a label in my camera-phone that I will have to upload if I can figure out how.  The label on the containers of carda-whatever are actually spelled wrong!  HA, no wonder I was confused.

Anyhooo, enough on my spelling angst.  I am only working every other weekend at the bakery for the winter and finishing my apprenticeship at a coffeehouse.  It's a lot slower paced there, with a very limited menu of baked items.  Muffins, brownies and cookies are all I have to make.  Usually, the owner makes the muffins as I can't come in early in the morning anymore because of my winter schedule.  It's the break I need as I have two really intense classes for the winter, accounting and small business management.  SBM is basically all about making a "real" business plan.  The final exam is presenting your plan to the class and teacher like they are bankers and you are trying to get a loan.  So, I am doing a lot or research into pricing of items like supplies, equipment and even drywall for the remodeling of my "shop."  I also have to come up with a name, menu and pricing, along with a zillion other things I can't think of right now as my head is swimming with ideas.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!

See where I am spending my apprenticeship:

http://www.8thstreetcoffeehouse.com/index.html

dstroy's picture
dstroy

 

My son is a huge Legend of Zelda fan. He has been for years actually.

When he was 3, he wanted to dress as the hero "Link" (Green Boy, as he called him) for Halloween.

Here was his costume:

 

So when he asked for a Zelda cake for his birthday, I had to think about how I was going to do this. I'm not exactly a professional cake decorator!

I finally took some classic imagery from the game - the sword in the stone, the hero, and the Tri-force symbol that appears throughout the game, as my inspiration for the cake.

 

I started with cookies, which I cut and painted with food coloring ink.

I made a couple of Link cookies to choose from, and a partial sword cookie too.

Then I made a chocolate cake, which I froze and cut and rearranged:

 

And finally some cream cheese chocolate frosting, purple sparkle sugar sprinkled (his favorite color) and some strategically placed non-chocolate frosting with yellow sugar sprinkles and voila!

zelda cake with candles

 

Felix with his cake

He liked his cake!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

This weekend I got to try a couple of flours that I haven't used previously.  

The first was an unbleached AP type (brand name Eagle Mills) that I purchased at a Sam's Club.  With a protein content of 4 grams in a 30 gram sample, it's as high in protein as a lot of bread flours that I have used.  Whether I was brave or foolish is open to debate, but I decided to try in in the BBA pain a la ancienne even though I've never made that bread before.  The flour worked very well in this application.  I'm still of the opinion that the water content in Reinhart's formulas don't begin to produce the types of doughs that he describes in the text, because I had to add more water to get the kind of softness that he indicates.  Once I got the dough sufficiently hydrated, it was very supple and extensible without being excessively sticky.  In fact, I'll cut way down on the amount of bench flour next time (because there will be a next time with bread that tastes this good) so that I don't have as much on the finished bread.  The crust was crisp and the crumb was tender, though not as open as I had hoped.  My shaping left a lot to be desired.  And let's just state up front that it is better to remember to slash the loaves before they go into the oven, rather than a couple minutes after closing the door.  However, ugly or not, this bread has a wonderful flavor.  It was a great accompaniment to the jambalaya that my wife made for lunch Saturday.

The other flour I tried was Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold.  A local grocery has a display set up featuring both the Bronze Chief (a red variety) and the Prairie Gold variety grains.  Each bin of grain feeds into an individual grinder, which I think are impact types.  Just push a button and it drops freshly milled flour into a plastic bag.  It's a bit pricey at 79 cents per pound (which is quite a bit higher than the already-ground and bagged flour of the same brand sitting on the shelf).  Still, I got a couple of pounds of each, partly to play with freshly ground flour and partly to see how the gold variety tastes in comparison to the red varieties with which I'm already familiar.  I used a honey whole wheat recipe that I have used for many years so that I could gauge the behavior of the Prairie Gold against past experience.  The dough mixed easily, but seemed somewhat wetter (because the fresh flour wasn't as dry as the prepackaged stuff, maybe?).  The dough also handled well, becoming very smooth after 8 to 10 minutes of kneading.  It was much tackier than I usually see with this recipe, although it wasn't at all gloopy.  The bulk fermentation easily doubled but although the last rise in the pans was quite a bit slower and seemed to run out of gas before redoubling.  There was very little change in volume while baking.  The crust of the finished loaves is perhaps a little lighter in color than loaves made with red wheat but the crumb is markedly lighter.  It isn't as white as a white loaf, but it isn't dark either; more of a sand color.  Since the flour grind was relatively fine, the crumb is free of any grittiness and fairly close-textured.  The flavor is, well, like whole wheat, but less so.  There is no bitterness or "grassy" flavor that some find objectionable in whole wheat breads.  Some writers have described the flavor as insipid, but I don't think that is accurate.  I think it is more that people are gauging the gold or white varieties' flavor against the flavor profile of the red wheats, which have more tannins.  That's not unlike comparing a white wine to a red wine and complaining that the flavor isn't as robust.  I'm certainly willing to use it in my bread, particularly if I know that the people eating it aren't fond of the flavor of the red wheat.  For myself, I'm happy to continue using the red wheat flours since I like that flavor.

PMcCool

Susanmarie's picture
Susanmarie

gf

Here are the NKB and the hearth breads I mentioned earlier:

NKB crumb

Hrth

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!  The NKB is the original recipe except for the pan, and the Hearth has 4 c. flour and 2 c. water, as opposed to the 5:2 I usually use.  I'm not sure if the holes are about what I can expect using this and AP flour or not...  I guess the holes on the Hearth are a little bigger than with the 5 cups...I said earlier they are not much different. 

Susanmarie's picture
Susanmarie

today's yield

If this works, you will see a photo of the previously mentioned breads I tried today...

jonty's picture
jonty

Hi to all at this great website

My name is Jonty, and I am a college student too enamored with baking to waste time on my first ever blog on some other topic (ie: indie music, saving the world, angsty stuff).

To introduce myself to anyone who will read this (even if it is only ever me), I got into bread baking (I've been doing other types of baking with chemical leaveners for a while) from watching/reading a great anime/manga called Yakitate! Japan (of which I've found a couple of mentions on this site). I was inspired and eventually decided to give yeasted breads a try.

The first bread I ever tried was actually Erithid's Microwave Bread recipe that was inspired from Yakitate, and it turned out nicely (I'm still planning on trying to give it some filling in the future).

Then, I made the leap and made the Lesson 2 Bread, skipping Lesson 1 because I wanted a sandwich bread (of course, I ended up just eating the bread and not making any sandwiches. Such is life).

After, I made an even bigger jump and decided to try Bagels, using some freshly-bought KA Bread Flour. I made only a half-batch because of my tiny little cookie sheet. I ended up with three pretty good cinnamon-brown sugar bagels (though I think they could have used a bit more of each flavor addition) and three okay garlic-sesame bagels (I now know that bagels should probably be topped with already roasted garlic and not raw after having consumed a couple of fairly sour bagels). This will definitely be in my future again.

Presently, I have taken an even bigger leap to Floyd's ciabatta; it is now sitting on my kitchen counter on its final rise. I realize now that I may have had a little too much confidence as my dough ended up a bit lumpy (I think my autolyse was too dry). Also, I let my poolish sit for quite a while (something like 10-12 hours) because I got bored yesterday afternoon and decided to just make it. I'm not sure if letting a poolish ferment for that long is good or bad, but my dough kind of smells uncomfortably sour. We shall see, I suppose.

Future plans? I definitely want to give Pain Aux Raisins and Cream Cheese Snails a try, as well as Cranberry-Chocolate Sweet Buns, and Steamed Buns. Maybe I'll even try a challah or (gasp) my own sourdough starter? Well, sourdough is perhaps a bit far away from my reach, but I plan on being a diligent student for a while.

Susanmarie's picture
Susanmarie

Today I tried to make the NYT no-knead bread.  I didn't have a heavy covered pot so I just put it in a baking dish, uncovered.  I tried to post a picture of it, but I have no idea what I'm doing wrong because nothing is happening.  I got all excited, taking pictures of the loaf, grain, etc.  My husband thought I was nuts!  I don't know how it was supposed to be inside, but it was spongy with even holes that were quite a bit larger than my normal homemade hearth loaf. 

I have been trying all sorts of things to get my hearth bread to have holes like I see in photos on the site.  Today I tried quite a bit less flour so that the dough was quite sticky.  I had a hard time getting surface tension, and my slashes were a joke!  The bread turned out nice and spongy inside but I was disappointed the holes weren't really any bigger than with the full amount of flour. 

 I really need to learn how to put in pictures because I really need feedback!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I baked buddye's sourdough banana bread for the first time last night:

sourdough banana bread

Pretty good. I can't say I noticed a huge difference in flavor from the 10 minute banana bread, but it was a nice way to make use of starter that I otherwise would have dumped out while refreshing.

I also tried a first batch of sourdough bread in my evaluation copy of the much discussed Steam maker bread kit:

three sourdough loaves

The top two I did the with steam maker, the third was my control.

It is going to take a few more batches before I have a hang of the thing and can render any kind of verdict on it.

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Qahtan inspired me to make these...

I used Whole wheat pastry flour.

I think the ww pastry flour gave these a really nice flavour. They were yummy, can't wait to make these again :)

WW turnovers

 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I made a half-serious resolution to bake in the outdoor oven at least once a month, and after a few weeks with subzero temperatures, and a weekend out of town, this was my last chance for February. We had a warm up all week, but it was only about 20 degrees at 8 am when I started the fire. We have a pretty good view of the oven from the house, so I was able to load it up with fuel and keep an eye on it from inside, so it's not too bad! The only problem was the warm temps created a very muddy yard, so between me and the dog coming in and out all day my house is not a pretty sight.

 

For this bake, I made three batches of bread: 2 ABAA recipes: the columbia sourdough, and Ponsford's ciabatta, with a levain-risen biga. I also made a couple of loaves of my favorite multigrain sandwich bread, my own recipe adapted from Reinhart's multigran extraordinaire. I mixed the columbia the night before, and as Mountaindog suggested in another thread let it rise about an hour before refrigerating it. I pulled it first thing in the morning, and let it warm up for 3 hours or so before shaping. The ciabatta biga calls for a minute amount of yeast, so I wasn't sure how much levain to substitute. The recipe's description is that the biga may not do much for hours, but will triple in volume in 24 hours, so I decided on a couple of tablespoonfuls of levain, and it perfomed just about right. I would probably use even less in summertime, or if my starter was exuberant.

 

All in all it was pretty uneventful, though I'm starting to realize that I need to let the fire burn down sooner, and/or allow extra time for the oven to cool off before baking. I keep finding myself with ready-to-go loaves and a 500+ oven, which is fine for some breads but a little too hot for others. Anyway my timing was such that it was consistenly 25 degrees or so hotter than I needed for each batch. I can leave the door open to speed up the cooling, but I worry about overdoing that too. I'm still learning, obviously. Here's some pics from the day:

 

Multigrain loaves in the oven with chcken curry--that turned out very well (made by my SO).

 

Some of the ciabattas got a wee bit dark. I've had a habit of taking them out a little too early, so I left them in longer--and overdid it the other way. Everything was quite dark actually, the flash makes them look just right though... :)

 

Ciabatta crumb: Not bad, but a little less holey than the non-levain version I made last time. The flavor is excellent though...

 

And finally, while finishing up with granola, it started snowing!! This wasn't expected to start until after midnight, but you know how that goes. I burned one batch of granola, and I blame blizzard conditions for my tardiness on checking on it!  We now have 8 inches of snow with more on the way--so I'm happy at home with wayyyy too much to eat.

 

 

 

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