The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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.

 

 

 

Caro_'s picture
Caro_

Hi, my name is Caro

I made indifferent bread from recipes for many years, until five years ago I took a year off work with chronic illness and started making bread almost every day, first as therapy, then out of fascination with being able to create something almost living, that was hand-made, creative, artistic and useful in my own small kitchen without any fancy equipment. After a while I didn't need recipes anymore, or even needed to measure much. I borrowed books from the library and read eveything I could about bread, moving on to master baker books. like 'Crust and Crumb" and even a manuel for building your own wood-fired oven.

Then, while on holiday in Scotland on the Isle of Iona, a local hotel needed a baker fast, mid-tourist season, and i stepped in, and worked there for a year, learning an enormous amount about baking on a larger scale and to a timetable.

I've been invoved in Bio-dynamic and Organic farming for many years and always use these ingredients, if I can. I'm not working in the food industry anymore but still bake all bread for home.

I live in Sydney, Australia, and would love to hear from anyone with the same interests or from Australia !

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I posted this somewhere here a long time back, but thought I'd post again to make it easier to find. I'll try to remember to get some photos next time I make them before they get all eaten! I may try to make these into a sourdough recipe like JMonkey did here in order to use up excess starter...I'll report on that when I do, but for now, these just use baking powder.

This is a recipe I developed about 2 years ago that people seem to love. I make it with whole organic spelt flour as I like the nutty taste of spelt - an ancient form of wheat that has very little gluten, so it's not as good for rustic breads but great in quick breads. You can also use whole wheat flour equally well but may need to adjust amounts depending on humidity. I added the whole brown flaxseeds for roughage, texture, and hopefully some health benefits, although the most benefit is derived from raw ground flax.

What I like about this recipe is it does not contain dairy - which I am allergic to (although it does have eggs so it's not vegan). It is also a little less sweet by using dark brown sugar rather than white, and is not too spicy as I omit nutmeg or clove, opting for the combo of cinnamon and ginger instead. I also make this same basic recipe with bananas or frozen blueberries or chopped apple rather than pumpkin and all come out equally great. If you like a sweeter muffin, add more brown sugar. Obviously, this can be made in a loaf pan as well as in muffin tins, but adjust baking time and temp. accordingly:

Spelt Flaxseed Muffins

 

Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins or 24 small muffins): 

Wet:

4 Large Eggs

1 c. Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Safflower, or Canola)

1 c. Dark Brown Sugar (maple syrup also tastes great as a sub but need a little more)

2 tsp. Vanilla

1 c. Whole Flax Seeds 

Fruit of choice:           

For Blueberry Muffins: 2 c. frozen or fresh blueberries           

For Pumpkin Muffins: 2 c. canned pureed 100% pumpkin           

For Banana Muffins: 3-5 overripe bananas, depending on size (I usually freeze them once they get too ripe so I always have some on hand)           

For Apple Muffins: 4 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped into small pieces 

Dry:

3 c. Whole Spelt Flour (or substitute mixture of 2.5 c. whole wheat and unbleached white flours, if no spelt available. Wheat flours are drier than spelt, so use less or mixture will be too stiff, resulting in dense, heavy, “hockey puck” muffins).

1.5 tbsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ground Ginger 

Directions:

1) In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the remaining wet ingredients, then mix in your fruit of choice and the flaxseeds.

2) In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.

3) Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir. If batter comes out too dry, depending on humidity levels, flour type, or fruit size, then add about 1/8 cup of water or fruit juice. Finished batter should be stiff enough to spoon into muffin tins without it dripping all over, but not so stiff that the batter forms peaks.

4) Grease 12 large muffin cups (or 24 small muffin cups) with canola oil-type cooking spray.

5) Divide the batter up into the cups with a ladle or large spoon and rubber spatula.

6) Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes for large muffins, or around 30 minutes for small muffins. Tap on top for doneness -  they should be firm and crusty, not too soft or mushy.

7) When done, flip muffins out of pans onto cooling rack and let cool.

8) Use within a day or two, or refrigerate in plastic bags for up to 10 days or so. Freeze the rest for up to 6 months. Just reheat in a toaster oven and enjoy!

anawim_farm's picture
anawim_farm

This past Sunday I made enough dough to make four loaves of  bread using Daniel Leader recipe for San Francisco Sour dough.

  

This first photo is one of the two loaves I baked tonight, the dough having been in the refrigerator for two days.  The crumb was open and the sourness buildup wasn’t significant.  Lousy photo but the coloration was browned well, I  lightly sprayed the loaf with water then slashed, there was some tearing on these loaves from oven spring as well.

 

On the Sunday batch I used a glaze of one whole egg with a little water and a dash of salt. The coloration was nice and the crust was chewy instead of crisp which seemed to bring out more flavor. The glaze gave a nice texture and something I would like to experiment more with, maybe using just egg yoke. Even though the wash moistened the crust and I slashed the loaf.  It expanded out the slashes and tore along the side.

 

DrMomentum's picture
DrMomentum

After reading the recipe in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" I finally got decent baguettes to come out of my oven. They even crackled as they were cooling! However, I sprayed the light bulb in my oven with water by mistake during the steaming phase, and it went "boom!" But it was worth it to finally get some success with this French bread.

pelosofamily's picture
pelosofamily

Does anyone know where to buy bulk quantities of Instant Yeast

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