The Fresh Loaf

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holds99's picture

I recently purchased Daniel Leader's book: LOCAL BREADS.  After reviewing it I decided to try to bake Pain de Compagne (French Country Boule).  I doubled the recipe so I would be able to bake 2 large boules using 2 different baking methods: 1. Using a covered Dutch oven,  2. On a parchment lined baking pan with steam.  I wanted to see if there was any significant difference in the 2 baking methods.  Instead of making his liquid levain I used my sourdough starter to make a liquid levain starter and placed it in a covered plastic container.  I followed the recipe and left the levain starter out for 12 hours at room temp.  At the end of 12 hours the levain starter had not really kicked in the way it should have.  I decided to press on regardless.  I made the bread dough (water, wheat, rye and A.P - K.A. flour) by hand in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid.  It turned into a very dry ball that wouldn't absorb all the flour (I had scaled the flour).  So, I added a bit more water to get a ragged dough that I thought looked right and then I let it rest for 20 minutes per instructions.  When I went back to the dough in the K.A. bowl it was a SERIOUSLY hard, stiff dough (far stiffer than bagel dough).  About this time I was getting a feeling like... I was arranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.  Anyway, I mixed the salt into the, not so vivacious, levain and added it to the K.A. mixing bowl containing the rock of Gibraltar and turned the K.A. on low speed.  Thoughout the next ten minutes i would mix, stop the K.A., scape the dough off the dough hook, and repeat the process.  Finally I got it all mixed into a smooth, sticky dough.  I then spayed a gallon plastic container with cooking oil, placed the dough in the container, marked the outside of the container (top of the dough) with masking tape, put the top on and set it aside for the 2 1/2 to 3 hour rising time.  2 hours into the rising tme there was only about a 20% rise.  At this point it should be 75% risen (now I feel like I'm re-arranging the chairs on Titanic's deck).  So, I empty the dough onto the counter and examine it to see if it is fermenting.  The patient has some vital signs and pulse but at this point it doesn't look good.  I know if I don't take immediate action I may lose the patient. I spread the dough onto the work counter and stretched it into a large rectangle.  I sprinkled 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast over the entire surface of the dough.  I rolled the dough up and hand kneaded it for 10 minutes to evenly distribute the yeast, put it back into the plastic container, covered it and set it aside.  2 3/4 hours later it had doubled in volume.  I returned to the lightly floured work surface and divided it in half.  Shaped both halves into boules and place each in a heavily floured, linen lined banneton.  An hour ahead of baking I pre-heated the oven with the cast iron Dutch oven in it (sitting on the stone).  I placed one boule in the cast iron Dutch oven, covered it and put it into the oven.  I placed the other boule on the parchment lined baking pan and scored it.  After scoring, the boule started dropping fast so I immediately put it into the oven, dumped the ice cubes onto the tray under the stone.

Anyway, here are the photos of the results.  Both boules turn out fine, despite all MY problems, but the Dutch oven turned out the better of the 2 boules.  Incidentally, it tasted fine, light touch of sourness, good texture.

Pain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked in Dutch OvenPain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked in Dutch Oven

Pain de Compagne - Interior - Baked in Dutch OvenPain de Compagne - Interior - Baked in Dutch Oven

Pain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steamPain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked on parchment lined

baking sheet with steam

Pain de Compagne - Interior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steamPain de Compagne - Interior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steam

bshuval's picture

Hi all,

Today I had the pleasure (together with Susan, Sue, and Kurt) to attend a class given by Peter Reinhart in San Diego. It was a great class in which we learnt how to make some breads from Peter's new book.

Since I have Peter's new book, I already knew a lot of what he was presenting. Still, I got to taste and see some breads I would not have otherwise made; I got to meet Peter Reinhart; and I got to taste some properly made breads.

We all had a great time, and I strongly recommend this workshop. In case you cannot attend, or are undecided, or simply curious, I wrote a lengthy description of the class on my blog with many pictures. I wrote it quickly, so it may not be very elaborately written, and probably has typos and grammatical mistakes studded all over, so I apologize about those in advance. I hope you enjoy my detailed description (and please feel free to ask some questions lest I haven't answered something).


My blog:

proth5's picture

I am creating a new blog entry to discuss bwraith’s flour test results just to move it up as his original entry was getting old.  I admit we’re going overboard on this, but I find it all very interesting (no pictures- just discussion of flour test results) – so be warned!

Letters in my responses correspond to letters on bwraith’s test results.

I don’t know how to do that “quote thing” so I’ll just put bwraith’s original words in quotes when I want to respond to something directly.

Also, these are just my humble speculations.  If anyone has a more complete knowledge, I would be most grateful to hear their interpretation of the results that were so graciously provided.


As you said…”One main thing that was unexpected for me, was that the lowest ash white flour coming out of the second pass had high protein and wet gluten content, yet it did not have great mixing qualities in the farinograph (low mixing tolerance). My theory is that the first grinding pass may result in some very high protein dust particles being released through the 80 mesh sieve. Maybe that extra protein in the flour out of the first pass is needed for good gluten formation and is proportionately too low in the flour from the second pass. I've been reading that some of the different types of protein vary in size and whether they adhere to the starch granules or not. I guess there are milling operations that use air separation to separate the different sized protein particles and then blends them in various flours to create desired protein specifications.”

What intrigues me is that I am told that the outside of the endosperm is whiter (lower in ash) than the inside of the endosperm and although the protein/gluten is higher it is of lesser quality.  If P2a was producing flour from the outside of the endosperm, this would be consistent with your result of lower tolerance.  What you are getting as flour on P1 would be acting as a balance against the P2a result when blended for baking.I don’t think your process is reducing protein quality – I think that your process may be delivering different parts of the endosperm at different points in the process.Also, if you look at the Seguchi paper that I cite in my other blog post, it may be that the flour was aged insufficiently to see the full potential of its protein.  He is looking at aging periods in excess of 100 days to achieve full potential.

What also intrigues me is that the results for P1 tracked so closely to whole wheat flour.  I frankly would have expected those results to be more like the Golden Buffalo.Nice to know that the multi-pass milling created flour with lower starch damage than commercial flour.  I have seen some discussion that some home milled flours seem to be “thirsty.”  This would be indicative of a kind of starch damage that you did not experience.

Finally – when all is said and done, the values for both of the flours are within those considered acceptable for commercial baking – not necessarily ideal values, but well within tolerances.  This is borne out by the bread that you produce. So, no need to age to maximum potential to get good bread.I know, I need to get enough flour milled to get some tests on my stuff.  I’ll do it – I really will.  I have some other things to attend to in the short term, but I know I’ll do it.  In the meantime –

Happy Milling!


Shawrae's picture

I am very very much an amateur at bread baking of all kinds, but recently I have seen a lot of reviews ( good reviews) on the King Arthur : All Purpose Baking Companion.  Is this book any good for such an amateur like myself.  I have only been baking breads ( yeast and quick) for about 2 years with NOT much success.  But I am definaltely persistant and I keep trying.

So, does anyone have any opinions on this?


Thank you-

Shawna Rae

cnlindon's picture

Here are some multigrain buns from Bob's Red Mill Baking Book. They are easy and fast to make and very tasty. We try to use them anytime we have burgers, pulled pork(as shown) or any other sandwiches that are served on buns. (I know a fatty hamburger served on a multigrain bun may be counterintuitive, but every little bit helps doesn't it?) The only changes that I made are that I cut the recipe in half and I didn't have any millet flour, so I adjusted with bread flour. I also brushed them with water before they went into the oven and sprinkled with rolled oats.




Floydm's picture

I made my pain sur poolish today. I was eyeballing the salt and intentionally added a little more than usual, but I think it overdid it. It wasn't bad, but it just had that puckered look and listlessness it gets when you add too much salt. So it goes.

GlindaBunny's picture

baked rolls

I made rolls to go with the beef stew.  This is my favorite basic dinner roll recipe.

1 1/2 C warm milk
1/4 C melted butter
2 t yeast
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
4 1/2 C AP flour

Mix ingredients, let rise in oiled, covered bowl for 2 hours.  Shape into 36 balls.  Put 3 balls in each cup of a 12 cup muffin tin.  Cover and let rise for another 1/2 hour to 1 hour.  Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.




kebe's picture

I am a new baker, do I need to mix my active yeast with warm water and sugar before I mix in my other ingred's?

thanks, kebe

marketwoman45's picture

I've always loved to bake...cookies, cake, bread...whatever calls for flour I wanna make it.  Recently I've been paying closer attention to the bread we eat.  Noticing the texture, the taste, the feel of the dough.  Our local grocery sells great Italian the price of $4.99 per loaf.  Can't quite let myself continue to pay it.  So I'm off and running....gonna make my own.

Today I have some dough for Italian Crusty Bread in the machine....gonna bake it in 2 oval loaves on my baking stone.  Can't wait to taste it....

zainaba22's picture

breadbakingday 7

bbd #07 with the theme flatbreads hosted by Petra Chili und Ciabatta . Deadline: March 1st, 2008

Many thanks to zorra. for created Bread Baking Day .


2 teaspoons yeast.

3 cups white flour.

 3 cups whole wheat flour.

4 Tablespoons oil.

2 teaspoons sugar.

2 teaspoons Salt.

4 Tablespoons dry milk.

2 cups warm water.

116 g sourdough starter.

Wheat bran for roll the dough.

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 30 minutes to 1 hour.

 3) Divide dough into 16 pieces.


5) Shape each piece into a ball .cover; let it rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

 6) Roll each in wheat bran to a 16 cm round.


7) Bake on hot baking surface for 1 minute per side.





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