The Fresh Loaf

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dstroy's picture

We're back from San Francisco!


I took some pictures at Boudin's Sourdough market when we were playing tourist at Fisherman's Wharf.



These guys had headphones and an outside speaker so they could banter with the general public while they shaped breads into funny characters.








MaryinHammondsport's picture

Lately I have been switching around through various bread cookbooks, especially Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Book and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, in addition to experimenting with my sourdough formula and trying recipes from TFL. I thought I would post photos from my bakes of three of the Reinhart whole grain recipes. All three are 100% whole grain.

I don’t want the above to sound as if I think I am some sort of expert. I’m far from that. I have baked quite a bit, but it’s almost always loaf-pan sandwich breads, because that’s what’s needed in this household. Up until recently I have always followed standard procedure learned 50+ years ago -- scald the milk or heat the water, activate the yeast, etc., etc., etc. In other words, until encountering Reinhart and Artisan in 5, I baked bread the “old fashioned American way.” Nothing wrong with that, either!

I had never considered whole wheat baking to be particularly difficult, probably because I was too innocent to know better. I just went ahead and substituted whole grains in a recipe, or followed a recipe that included them. I didn’t expect that a 100% whole grain recipe would rise as much as a white bread loaf, but I always get a good enough rise to suit me. Then I began reading about how difficult some folks consider whole grain baking. Being innocent apparently helps!

So -- here are photos of my efforts with three of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from his Whole Grain Bread Book. All three recipes are found in his book so I won’t post them here. All three are a little “squatty” because they were the first time for each recipe and I hadn’t scaled them up to fit larger pans. I like to bake a recipe first “by the book”, then play later on.

The first is his Master Recipe. I used water as the liquid in both soaker and biga, and mostly KA White Whole Wheat Flour. I did substitute 1 cup of Hodgson Mills Graham Flour for 1 cup of the KA, which explains the somewhat freckled appearance. It’s a very tender bread, and I think it rose well, though the pan used could have held more dough. I will note that both soaker and biga were impossible to cut into chunks, as Reinhart directs; they were way too wet. I just had to blend them with my hands, before using the machine. Didn’t seem to hurt anything.

The Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread BookThe Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread Book

Second is the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin. Again KA White Whole Wheat, but no graham flour. Note that the raisins made the loaf darker, because I added them while kneading in the mixer. I threw the walnuts in at the last minute.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon Raisin Bread

Lastly, my most recent experiment, Straun. This didn’t rise as high, and I suspect that this was due to the cooked grains. It’s delicious -- very moist without being soggy, delicate, and sweet without being “sugary.” It really was an experiment this time. Instead of assembling a whole bunch of different grains, I used Grande Pilaf from Bob’s Red Mill for all the grains. This is a pilaf we like to eat as a “starch”, and contains several different grains, seeds, etc, (red wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, triticale, barley, buckwheat, and sesame seeds) so I thought it would be appropriate for Straun. I just cooked up a pot of it, measured out the 6 ounces called for in the Reinhart recipe, then we had the rest for dinner. It worked fine. This time I used KA Traditional WW flour, not White WW.

My version of StraunMy version of Straun

I really like the KA White WW, especially in combination with a cup or so of the Graham Flour. This is probably my new go-to combination for most breads. I have a tendency to be able to taste a bit of bitterness in regular WW flour that I don’t taste in the White WW. I think this is one of those tasting differences that we all have. I’d like to encourage folks who have had trouble with this flour or whole wheat in general to give it another try -- if I can do it, so can you, because I don’t do anything special at all.

sphealey's picture

Well, not really - I can only claim one of them as being anything close to my own recipe.

My younger son and I went out for dinner Saturday and stopped by a used book store on the way home. Whenever we are in a used book store, antique store, garage sale, etc I annoy my wife by saying "why is there never an _Artisan Baking Across America_ or something at a reasonable price?". Saturday there was; I found Glezer's ABAA hardcover in like-new condition for $25. List price new was $40 and ones in average condition go for $40 today on Bibliofind so I snapped it up.

Since I had to feed my King Arthur Vermont sourdough anyway I thought I would try Glezer's Thom Leonard Country French Sourdough. Since I had two other breads to make today (Sunday) I decided to try the Hobart KitchenAid K5-A I picked up on eBay for a fairly reasonable price. This was the first time I had used a stand mixer for bread dough.

I didn't have either high-extraction wheat or a fine-screen sifter, so I just used whole wheat. The overall process went well. The K5-A got very hot on top and the dough kept climbing the hook; I have a lot to learn about using a mixer. But the dough did come out very smooth and silky. After I took it out of the mixer is was a bit sticky so I kneaded it by hand for another minute or so, and for the first time I am fairly sure I made a dough that would "pass the windowpane test".

I folded every 3x 30 minutes per instructions, 90 minutes more. My banneton is not large enough for this much dough so I used our large metal colander which I sprayed with bakers joy and floured (based on previous experience with trying to rise crumbbums' miche in it which did not go well). Proofing was about 4 hours because I had pizza in the oven at the 3-hour mark.

I got the dough out of the colander and onto the peel. It puddled quite a bit but kept it large boule shape at about 14 inches in diameter and looked pretty cool. I even managed to slash it in a diagonal pattern.

Then - what looked like disaster hit: the dough stuck to the peel. Once it was out of shape I figured I had nothing to lose and kept shoveling it forward with my super-sized spatula (gift from younger son). The dough kept folding under itself until what was on the stone was more like a 16" super-batard with a spiral pattern of cuts around it. A cup of boiling water in the cast iron pan. 15 minutes at 500 deg.F, remove the pan, not looking too bad. Then 30 minutes at 450 and 30 at 400. The result:


OK, that is the coolest looking loaf I have ever made. Purely by accident, but I will count it. The slashes that rolled under the loaf ended up making a neat pattern around the full circumfrance of the baked loaf. Oven spring was excellent. Not pictured is the crumb which was reasonably open with a mild sourdough flavor. In the background is my weekly sourdough rye, this one with added sunflower, flax, and poppy seeds.

Two more from previous weeks while I am at it. First a Hamelman Vermont Country Sourdough:


I think Hamelman calibrates his recipes for dramatic oven spring. And a Hamelman Sunflower Seed Bread with Sourdough Rye which I made as two french loaves in my Chicago Metallic french pans for a dinner party:


Even though it was a wet dough lengthwise baguette-style slashing worked nicely.



Bushturkey's picture

Olive levain just out of the oven

Olive levain just out of the oven

Olive levain - crumb

Olive levain - crumb

The recipe called for a liquid levain. The flavour was extraordinary. I didn't know the flavour of the levain can change as much as it did (going from stiff to liquid).

For a culture, I used left-over levain from the Pain au levain recipe (Hamelman's levain recipes always have an ounce or so of surplus levain in order to perpetuate the sourdough), which I made into a liquid levain (125% hydration). I found it was slower to start rising than my usual sourdough.

When I mixed the final dough, I tried to let the flour autolyse with the water. I found it a bit too dry, so i added a bit of extra water. When I then added the liquid levain I encountered two problems:

  1. The hydration was way too much (the recipe called for 65%, mine felt more like 80%!) and
  2. The dough had chunks of the stiffer flour/water mixture in a smooth batter-like dough.

I worked it and worked it, until I got the chunks ironed out and I added a bit of flour to make the dough less slack. Then I got worried that the extra flour I'm adding won't be as worked as the initial flour and I didn't know how this would affect the dough, so I stopped at some point, even though the dough still felt slack.

Even though my culture was active, the final dough seemed to take a long time to rise. It was at 69.8 F (close enough to 70). Even at 2.5 hours, there wasn't much rise in the dough. I was pressed for time, so instead of waiting longer I proceded with the foldings and dividing and shaping. I let the loaves rise in nylon baskets, dusted with rye flour. 

The loaves also took a long time to rise, and (something which I'm used to currently!), the dough stuck to the baskets when I up-turned them onto the baking tray to load into the oven.

The bread tasted good but, as you can see, the crumb is not as open as it could've been.

I've just refreshed my sourdough and I'll have another go. 

Janedo's picture

Baguettes "Monge"

Sandwhich "Monge"

These are the "famous" french baguettes from the Kayser bakery rue Monge in Paris.

I upped the hydration level, but didn't really calculate. The recipe here is the original and I don't know how it would work with american flour, so if anyone wants to try, keep an eye on the dough.

I also would leave them to rise a bit longer next time, but we were in a rush to go on a picnic (the fated one where I broke my pinky!) I thought the crumb should be a bit more open. They are really good, though. Obviously not sour because the sourdough doesn't have the time to react, but it sure gives great oven spring.

Baguettes "Monge"

500 g farine T65 (or maybe just white bread flour?)

100g liquide starter at it's peak

5g fresh yeast (or about 3/4 tsp fast acting package yeast I think)

10 g salt

270 ml water at 20°C

Mix the fresh yeast with water and leave 20 min to ferment.

Then make a regular dough using your method. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest 20 min.

Take the dough out and divide it into three pieces. Form three equal size balls and leave them on the counter to rise, covered with a damp cloth, 40 min.

Form three baguettes with pointed ends, place them in a baguette banneton or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Sprinkle flour on the baguettes and do the incisions. Do the water thing (coup de buée) and place your baguettes in the oven.

Leave them to back around 20-25 minutes.

dmsnyder's picture

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

This is the second time I have baked Janedo's Pain au Levain (Sourdough) recipe for what she calls her "basic bread." Since I cannot truly duplicate the flours she uses in France, I am liberated to experiement using different combinations and proportions of American flours.

 The first time, I used a combination of King Arthur First Clear Flour and Guisto's White Spelt flour. This time, I fed my starter with KA Organic Whole Wheat Flour and used KA Bread Flour in the dough. The Ingredients were:

160 gms Starter
307 gms water
540 gms KA Bread Flour
10 gms Salt 

 The dough seems just very slightly less hydrated than my last attempt. As you can see, the crumb was denser, as expected. It was very chewy. The crust was a bit crunchier and less chewy than the First Clear/Spelt version.

 Overall, the taste was less sour this time, and the whole wheat flavor was less apparent than I expected. This was a bread that would be an excellent sandwich foundation, but it was not my "target" bread. I think the combination of flours was too strong.

 So, what flour combination should I try next? KA Artisan Flour with a little spelt? Or a little whole wheat? Or Golden Buffalo and spelt? Hmmmm....


dmsnyder's picture

Nury's Light Rye from "Local Breads"

Nury's Light Rye from "Local Breads"

Nury's Light Rye2

Nury's Light Rye2

Nury's Light Rye crumb

Nury's Light Rye crumb

I know there have been several blog entries regarding Pierre Nury's "Light Rye" as described in "Local Breads" by Daniel Leader, but I felt a "reminder" of how wonderful this bread is would not be out of order. So ...

 This bread is wonderful!


shakleford's picture

Today I decided to try my hand at a new recipe, a Whole Wheat Chipotle Black Bean bread.  The idea for the recipe, along with the majority of the ingredient list, is taken from the Sourdough Home recipe.  I tweaked a number of ingredients and amounts, but my main changes were to convert the recipe to all whole wheat flour and to change it from sourdough-leavened to commercial yeast-leavened.  The first change was because I generally prefer whole wheat breads, while the second change was mainly to eliminate a possible point of failure (I'm still quite new to sourdough baking).  With these changes, my ingredients for a single loaf were as follows:

  • 360g whole wheat flour
  • 150g dried black beans, cooked and mashed
  • 3/4 cup (approximately) water, including cooking liquid from beans
  • 3.5 g yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chile oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 can chipotles, lightly rinsed and coarsely chopped

I soaked the beans overnight on Friday, then cooked them for around 90 minutes first thing Saturday morning.  I blended them, using around 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, until mostly smooth.  Afterwards, I spread them on a plate and placed them in the fridge to cool them to room temperature more quickly.  Meanwhile, I rinsed and chopped the chipotles (I used canned chipotles and wanted to get rid of some of the excess adobo sauce).

I borrowed the basic procedure for preparing this bread from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.  I followed a normal mixing/kneading procedure except that I added the chipotles in at the end of the kneading.  Canned chipotles are quite soft, so I basically treated them like very plump raisins.  The dough had an unusual feel, presumably because of the beans, and took quite some time to pass the windowpane test.  However, it smelled terrific, so I didn't mind the extra kneading too much.

After finishing the kneading, I let the bread rise once for around two hours, then a second time for around one hour.  Both rises were higher than I'd expected, given the ingredients.  After completing the rising, I formed a single round loaf and allowed it to proof for around an hour (the loaf is shown below before proofing).  In retrospect, I probably should have proofed in a bowl or basket - the loaf spread more during proofing than I was expecting.  Just the same, it was a very pretty dough.  The photos unfortunately do not show the flecks from pepper seeds and larger pieces of beans.

I baked this loaf at 350 (with steam) for around 50 minutes.  I was considering a hotter bake, but I was baking a loaf from another recipe at the same and that one called for a lower temperature.  Due to spreading during proofing and a complete lack of oven spring, I ended up with a much wider, flatter loaf than I had planned.  On the bright side, it smelled incredible while cooking and darkened to a very nice deep brown.

As you can see, the crumb was not very open.  However, it was probably the softest of any bread I've ever made - in fact, the texture was much more cakelike than breadlike.  The chipotles lent a smoky aroma to the entire loaf as well as a bit of a bite whenever you got a piece.  The entire crumb had a slight tang, thanks primarily to the chile oil I suspect.  Not a bread I'll be making every day by any means, but very flavorful and an excellent complement to other Mexican dishes.
zainaba22's picture

Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog selected oat as theme for this month's Bread Baking Day.

BreadBakingDay #9 - bread with oat

I got inspired from zorra for this recipe & the method from iban.

For more information about sourdough starter you can read Susan post about Sourdough Starter from Scratch .

60 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) oat flour.

374 g (2 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour.

670 g (4 1/2 cups) high gluten white flour.

1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

2 teaspoons sugar.

2 teaspoons yeast.

46 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) milk powder.

2 Tablespoons oil.

90 g (1/3 cup) sourdough starter.

3 cups water.

1) Place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer; beat 10 minutes to make soft dough.

2) Cover dough and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hour, stretch & fold every 30 minutes.

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces

4) Shape each piece into round loaf, cover; let it rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 40-60 minutes.

5) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 F.

6) Before baking dust flour over the top of the loaf, slash the bread.

7) Reduce the heat to 400F, bake for 15 minutes with steam, & another 15 minutes without steam.



Bushturkey's picture

Pain au levain

Pain au levain

 A breadman. He/she even looks French with a beret!

Pain au levain -crumb. Do you reckon he/she looks French and wearing a beret?!

Holes big enough to hide a mouse?

Holes big enough to hide a mouse?

I had a go at Hamelman's pain au levain (95% wheat, 5% rye, 65% hydration). I didn't do some things as well as I should have.

1. After mixing the final dough, I left it overnight in the fridge. It was 2300 hours, I was tired and working night shift from home.

Next day, the dough was cold and it took a long time to "wake up". May be it was exhausted. It seemed to take a long time to rise.

2. I probably under-proved the loaves. The oven spring tore the loaves apart and my scoring was probably sub-optimal.

Ah well, the journey continues. It would be nice to have a baker near by to learn from, though.


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