The Fresh Loaf

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Traci's picture

So!  This time there were numerous changes in my method.

1. Ingredients were weighed instead of measured by volume

2. The dough was kneaded longer

3. I paid strict attention to the time - 

   a.1.5 to 2 hour ferment

   b. 20 minute rest

   c. proof for 60-90 minutes

   d. bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees midway

4. Brushed the top with egg wash

5. Scored the loaf



sandwich loaf #2

sandwichloaf #2 cut 


Is my loaf pan is too big for that much dough? It says to use an 8.5in x 4.5in loaf pan and mine are 9x5.  Doesn't seem like that would be that much of a difference. It did rise very well, it just rose out and not so much up.  Kinda like me!

This loaf tastes really creamy.  It also smells really good.  (Wait does bread baking ever not smell good?) Good thing even bread mistakes taste great!  The french toast I made from this same loaf last week was really good. I think this loaf will be utilized that way also!




ahhoefel's picture

Today I baked my first loaf that came from a real recipe; Reinhart's pain de campagne. I had attempted a version of pain a l'ancienne before I had the book in my hands, but found it hard to shape. After reading the real recipe, I found that this is how the dough is intended to be --- pulled instead of shaped in a traditional way. 

The loafs made with the pain de campagne recipe were very easy to shape. I was able to tighten the skin quite readily and when I scored it, the bread peeled away from the cut nicely. The cuts are almost too deep.

So here are a few questions I have:

  • How big should a boule be? This one is 10oz and I found it rather small. I made 2oz buns along with this that also seemed small.
  • Also, how deep should the cuts be?  These seem disproportionately large for such a small loaf.

Cheers, Andrew.

 Pain de campagne from Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. This is my first attempt at a loaf from this book, as well as my first post.

nbicomputers's picture

norms roll 2

Just got back from the suppler.

picked up everything but the shortening dam i forgot it ill get it in a week or so i do have enough on hand to het stared for the holidays

just so it was not a lost day i made these

norms roll

roll crumb

 i made a video showing the way to shape  but it did not come out well i will edit it and post it i guess to you tube and link to it latter.

when you see the vid note thst the thumb does not move or come out of the roll untill the last fold. about 1/3 to 1/2 of the dough is folded over the thumb. you will also see that each bloomed in the oven and is  not atached to the other folds. by the look you can tell the roll is hand shapped and not cut or stamped. rye flour helps this with out it the roll will look like the shape is cut into the dough rather than formed.

Robin_Sun's picture

Sprouted Wheat Sourdough

My wife started an anti-arthritis diet that called for wheat only in a sprouted form so I revived my interest in sprouted wheat bread. I notice there are recipes for 100% sprouted wheat bread on the internet but they used a blender. My suggestion is to use a meat grinder to process the sprouted wheat. The meat grinder does not get the wheat as finely ground as regular flour but it works very well and you get a little exercise in the process. Plus you can make large batches of dough. We bought our meat grinder from Leman’s online catalog. It’s called a Porkert, which gives us a laugh as vegetarians. I use a sourdough starter but I have had trouble with big loaves not getting completely cooked in the middle so I’ve reverted to making bread sticks, which I love. After the initial sponge has risen, I use some non-wheat flour like rye or rice when I kneed the bread. I like the sweetness that the sprouted wheat gives the bread and I enjoy watching the wheat berries coming to life. I put them in the sun at the end to get a little solar energy. This has been a fun process for me drawing on experiments from my hippie days. If anyone has suggestions, it would be much appreciated.

Eli's picture

I finally found time to make Maggie Glezer's levain challah, the taste is amazing, rich, creamy and seems the longer it sits the sweeter it becomes. I didn't get the crumb I had tried to achieve but this is the first attempt. The dough was easy to work with and it worked great with my motherdough levain. It has a very unique taste which I think may be a result of the sourdough and the honey.

This has to be my favorite for a natural levain Challah. The yeasted version is PR's Challah in Crust & Crumb.


Maggie Glezer Challah (all four photos)



Bob F's picture
Bob F

Ihave tried several of the bread recipes in the Fr. Dominic book series with poor results.

 My most recent attempt produced a very dry, dense, tough bread which tasted OK but was very disappointing. I ate theree slices the rest went in the waste can.

 I must be doing something wrong because I can't believe that anyone could win a state Fair Prize with this loaf as claimed in the book.

 Can anyone share some comments as to why I seem to get such poor results?

   Bob F

ehanner's picture

4 Pound Onion Rye
4 Pound Onion Rye

The image doesn't give the scale of this loaf justice. This was the last batch I baked today and I wanted to make a statement. I mixed 8 Pounds of Sour Rye starting with 1000 grams of rye sour that had 5% WW included. I stayed with the rye percentage of my usual loaf. Staying with my theme of onion rye breads with various seed combinations, onion and garlic chips. I made 2 2lb loaves in bannetons and one 4Lb loaf free form. Managing the slack dough from counter to pan was a trick let me tell you. Once it's down on the parchment, that's it, you don't get a second chance to adjust it.

This might be a little dark for some people but I'm shooting for a crispy crunchy hearty loaf that's loaded with after taste. I haven't cut into it yet but it smells really good.

I also baked 2 loaves of SD with Onions today similarly topped with abundant seeds and what not. That was just my daily bread with the dough made up with onion water and a handful of re hydrated onions in the dough. My daughter who says she doesn't like onions is drooling over her 3rd piece. Here's a close up.
SD-Onion close
SD-Onion close

So it was a fun day of baking. That re hydrated onion trick I learned from Norm is a real winner!
Thanks Norm !


Elagins's picture

I'm on the Board of a local charitable organization, and last night (Oct 17), we had our annual gala, which includes a silent auction. As I do every year, I donated a bread basket (which, I'm happy to report, fetched a very good price).

Getting there was quite a challenge, since the basket, which was Jewish bakery themed this year, included a challah, a deli rye, a dozen bagels, a dozen bialys, a dozen onion rolls, and a Russian coffee cake -- six breads, six different formulas, one KA stand mixer and two GE electric home ovens.

It was exhausting -- and also gave me a look into the life of a baker. The first thing was to figure out my logistics, since my resources are limited and my output (twice the basket quantity so I could cherry-pick). To do that, I set up an Excel spreadsheet, with each bread on a separate line and columns representing 15-minute segments, like this:

Of course, things didn't work out that way, but the exercise helped me manage my time and work flow.

Thursday night was the easy part: I started my rye sour, assembled the onion-poppyseed-salt-oil bialy/onionroll topping, and mixed and shaped the bagels, then left them in my wine cooler to retard until I had time to boil and bake them on Friday.

So Friday morning started out at 7:30 as I expected, with the bialy dough, which I mix with ice water for a long, slow ferment, and a refresh of my rye sour, which at that point had doubled nicely.  At that point, I gave myself the luxury of an hour's rest, wherein I did all the other stuff that I wouldn't be able to do later.

I got started again at around 9, with the challah dough, using Nancy Silverton's recipe, but since I wasn't using preferment, I simply included her flour and water quantities into the main mix and increased the yeast (active dry) to 1% of flour weight, which gave me a nice, silky, low-hydration dough -- around 57%, inlcuding the effects of the eggs and oil. OK, mix the dough, knead for 8 or 9 minutes and then set aside to ferment. Three doughs down, three to go.

At that point -- around 9:30, I saw that my bialy dough had more than doubled, so it was time to divide them into 3-oz boules and let them proof, which I did on parchment-lined baking sheets. However, since my baking sheets and counter space are limited, I mistakenly packed them too close together, so that when they proofed, I was unable to separate them -- but of that, more later.

It was 10am and time to turn the ovens on: top one at 375 for breads, bottom one at 460 for rolls, and eventually the rye bread.

OK, so now the challah dough had more than doubled -- beautiful, silky, elastic dough, very easy to work with. Punch it down, divide it into 12 boules (two six-strand challahs) and let it rest for 20 minutes to relax the gluten. Clean up the clutter that's rapidly filling the kitchen, wash out mixing bowls, clean up mixer now spattered with dough and flour-littered counter.Then back to the challah: roll the boules into 18-inch long tapered strands, braid the challahs -- mess up the first one and get the second one right. Mix egg and a little bit of water for the glaze and brush the challahs. Check the bialys, which are nowhere near three-quarter proof.

Meanwhile, the onion roll dough beckons, so I mix that. Of course, here's where I have a mishap: while adding the oil and egg, I dropped the small porcelain bowl I was using into my mixer, smashing it to bits and scarring my mixing paddle. So dump the dough into the sink, fish out the broken shards and consign the rest to the garbage disposal, re-scale ingredients, and re-mix the dough. The challah are at about half-proof. Re-brush them with egg glaze. Check the bialys, which are now approaching three-quarters proof and are shoulder to shoulder on the cookie sheets.

So now it's 11 and the bialys nearly ready. Use Mimi Sheraton's technique (see "The Bialy Eaters") and press the centers down with the base of a 2" diameter juice glass, then fill them with the onion mixture. Let them stand for another 15 minutes.  Challah now fat and expanded at 3/4 proof, one more brushing with egg then into my 375 oven for 35 minutes.

Bialys are at full proof, so they go  into 460 oven for 14 minutes. A hot bialy, right out of the oven, slathered with sweet butter is my lunch -- unimaginably good.Check the challahs after 20 min, give them a final brushing and turn them to brown evenly for another 15 minutes.Wash out mixing/fermenting bowls. Move bialys into the dining room where they're not in the way.

One pm and I have to be done by 4:00. Onion roll dough is fully fermented. Divide, rest, flatten them hard in a saucer covered with onion mix, set them on parchment for their proof. Pull the challah out of the oven, gorgeous glossy golden brown loaves.The Russian Coffeecake is a rich, sweet, complex dough that ferments in two stages -- 40% of the flour, equal weight (100%) of the water, and 5% yeast to fight against all the fat in the finished dough.

Now the rye, which is a quick ferment and even quicker proof and an easy mix -- sour, bread flour (okay, so I cheated) salt, caraway and a touch of yeast. Set it aside to ferment.

Onion rolls are ready, first dozen into the oven, 13 minutes at 460. Back to the coffee cake: Nuke 1/2 pound of butter, grind cardamom and mix it with sugar, measure extracts, separate the eggs (4 yolks, two whole eggs). By now the sponge nearly fills the mixer bowl -- fortunately, it's mainly CO2 and collapses like a tired balloon when I drop the bowl onto the counter. Assemble the dough and knead under the hook for about 10 minutes. Dough is unbelievably slack, glossy, golden yellow from the egg yolks, with little dark specks of cardamom -- the fragrance of baking onion rolls, vanilla, and sweet cardamom fill the kitchen. Wash some more bowls, check the rye, which is now fermented and ready for shaping. Move the coffeecake dough into a bowl for fermentation.

Onion rolls out and onto the cooling rack. Still have two dozen bagels retarding in the wine cooler. Punch down the rye -- god, I love working with rye, so challenging and so rewarding when you get it right -- shape into two fat batards, set them on cornmeal-dusted parchment, mist with water and sprinkle with more caraway.

The coffeecake dough has risen incredibly fast and has become much smoother and more elastic -- still challenging to work with. Turn out about 1/4 onto my flour-dusted silpat, roll it thin with a silicone rolling pin and line the baking pans. Take half of the remainder, roll it thin, brush it with more butter, cover generously with sugar, cinnamon and fat black raisins, then roll it up into an 18" long sausage. Divide it in three and lay them on top of the buttered and cinnamoned dough in the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the cakes with more butter, more cinnamon and sugar, and a heavy sprinkling of chopped walnuts. Let them proof.

So now it's bagel time. Boil the water, add a tablespoon of food-grade lye water. When the water boils, take the first dozen out of the cooler, boil'em and arrange them on my bagel boards. 3 minutes on burlap, flip, and another 14 on the stone. Move the cool onion rolls into the dining room.  Check the rye. Do the second dozen of bagels. Coffe cake is proofing nicely, still a ways to go.

The rye is at 3/4 proof: my finger leaves an indentation when i press the dough. So big question: how will I slash the loaves? One of them is nice and high, so I'll cut that crosswise. The other is kinda flattish -- I guess I didn't draw the dough tight enough when I formed the batard -- so that one I slash lengthwise. Beauty contest: whichever one looks better goes to charity. Throw a cup of water onto the floor of the bottom oven, which I've now turned down to 350, but is still over 425 (a good thing when you're doing rye). Let the steam develop for a couple of minutes and then peel the loaves in. Boil some water and dissolve cornstarch for the glaze, let it cool. Wash more bowls. Check the coffee cake -- 3/4 proof, time to partially cut the logs crosswise so uneven oven spring doesn't throw the whole cake out of whack.

My wife comes home: she's picked up two different baskets and some really nice clear gift bags for bagging the breads.  We start judging the beauty contest and pick the best breads for the basket. Bag and tie.

By now, the Russian coffee cake is fully proofed.  Into the top oven, now dialed down to 350, for 40 minutes. The smells are unbelievable -- a mixture of caraway, cardamom, vanilla, citrus ...

4:00pm. The coffeecakes come out, beautiful, dark, rich. Hard to choose between them, so eeny-meeny-miny-mo. The rye needs another 10 minutes. Aesthetic decisions about how to arrange the basket.

Finally, at 4:15, the rye breads come out and get brushed with the cornstarch glaze. The cross-slashed loaf is clearly the winner; the lengthwise slash gets to stay home.

I sit down with a cup of tea. My back and feet hurt and I can barely see straight. The counters are invisible underneath layers of baking stuff, a light dusting of flour has settled everywhere. Despite my best efforts, the sinks -- both of 'em -- are piled high with pots, pans and bowls. My kneading board needs a good scraping. But I'm done.

This is what the winning bidder got:

Jewish Bakery Baskett
And this is what we kept:

The breads were a hit at the gala. I treated myself to a martini.


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