The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

Lesbos flatbread   Lesbos loaf

 Lesbos Barley flatbread                                               Lesbos Barley Loaf                                                          

Wanted to provide bread in ancient Greek style for a class I'm teaching on ancient theatre.  A fourth century BCE Sicilian-Greek gourmet, Archestratos of Gela, praised the honey-sweetened barley bread of Lesbos in his book, Hedypatheia (Life of Luxury). According to legend, the bread of Lesbos was so famed that Hermes regularly got bread there for the other gods. There are, of course, no recipes. Herewith a reconstruction, entirely guesswork, in the absence of anything like firm records:

Desi Indian Barley flour, in a three to one ratio with

King Arthur Traditional whole wheat flour

Wildflower honey, from a beekeeper in NE Franklin county, Ohio

Sea salt

Olive oil

Giza sourdough

 

There was no dry yeast in antiquity, of course; the sourdough used here was collected in the ancient Egyptian site of Giza and obtained from Sourdoughs International. Barley flour was used by the Greeks for everyday bread; Solon at one point says that leavened bread was only used on feast days; in Peace, Aristophanes has a character refer to eating only barley bread, with the sense being that of a diet of bread and water. Also obviously, no refined or enriched bleached (or unbleached, for that matter) white flour would have been available. I also added a bit of wheat gluten to help there be a rise, even for a flat bread—which, again, would have been pretty much the norm for everyday use. The Egyptians of the period (and much earlier) used conical earthenware pots to bake loaves of bread in; I’m not aware of any similar ware in classical Athens.

Project was fun, And students devoured the flat loaves while looking at images of ancient theatres.

Alan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hello! Just wanted to show the machine I use to grate nut meats into flour. Same can be used for sunflower seeds, hard bread (crumbs) hard cheese, etc. The nuts are cut and not mashed or pressed so they remain fluffy and dry.

Here in Austria, in many recipes, the addition of nuts (as a flour) and such is done with an electric grater making a very fine and light "flour" not to be confused with chopped nuts or nut butters (what you would get if you milled nuts). Imposible to do on a grating box or by hand. I also use my electric grater to make fluffier bread crumbs. One could come close with a crank grater using the fine hole setting.

When I grind my own, I carefully look over the oil or fat content of a non-Austrian recipe and decide if additional fat is needed, the nuts themselves adding a fair amount of oil.

Here is the Exploded view of the machine.

Electric Grater

Electric Grater

Electric Grater Electric Grater

 Watnut meats in top...

Electric Grater

 ....And out comes the flour Walnut Flour

See the little curls of nut? This is what keeps baked goods from getting heavy or fatty.

 very delicate structure

Grated walnuts very close up

Mini O

 

Clock's picture
Clock

Great success first time, used one third wholemeal spelt and two thirds AP. Best I've ever tasted.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

NYT No-Knead Sourdough Conversion

NYT No-Knead Sourdough Conversion - Crust

I haven't tried the NYT No-Knead recipe, although I've read some of the discussions on The Fresh Loaf along the way. Based on some questions from KipperCat about the amount of starter that should go in a sourdough conversion of the recipe, I decided to give converting this recipe to sourdough a try.

I've tried to stay very close to the recipe in The New York Times, although I did a few things differently - some good, some bad, probably.

I have some photos of the process and also a spreadsheet in html or xls format.

Ingredients

  • 15 grams (1/2 oz, 1 tbsp) of 90% to 100% hydration white flour starter or 12 grams of firm Glezer style starter or similar.
  • 346g (12 oz, 1.5 cups) water
  • 450g (16 oz, 3.25 cups) bread flour, should be stronger flour if possible.
  • 9g Salt

Mix

Mix water and starter and stir vigorously until starter is fully dissolved. Mix flour and salt to fully distribute salt. Put flour and salt together and use a dough scraper to work the flour into the water. Continue working around the bowl scraping dough from the side toward the center and pushing it down in the center, until you have a shaggy mass. Do a few "french folds" (I still don't know what to call this technique) as in the video I took, if you want, but this step can be omitted. Place dough in covered bowl to rise at 75F for 10 hours.

At 70F it needs to rise for about 13.5 hours. Or, at 70F, use 45g of starter instead of 15g to have a rise time of about 10 hours. Similarly, at 65F try using about 130g of starter. If using larger amounts of 90% starter, remember to adjust the water down in the final dough. For example, for 45g of 90% hydration starter, reduce water by about 15g or 1/2 oz, and for 130g of 90% hydration, reduce water by 50g or almost 2oz.

As you can see, an important aspect of the sourdough conversion is knowing the temperature and how fast your starter is. The above suggestions for the various temperatures would work for my 90% hydration starter, which would double from a feeding of 10g:50g:50g (starter:water:flour by weight) in 6 hours at 75F. The firm version of my starter at 60% hydration would double in volume in 5.5 hours if you fed it (10g:50g:50g) at 75F. At 70F the respective rise times for 90% hydration and 60% hydration starters would be 8.25 hours and 7.5 hours, respectively.

The dough should roughly double in volume or a little less. It's not too important if it doesn't make it all the way to double, and it's probably better to lean toward stopping the fermentation and moving on to shaping earlier, rather than overfementing the dough.

Shaping

I have a video of my attempt at this. I was not used to the gloppy dough you get after letting it rise without folding for so long, but I pressed forward. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly dusted surface. Fold it over itself letter style, turn 90 degrees and repeat. I then attempted to form a boule, but I found it sticking to me and to the surface, so I turned it upside down and made the boule by gathering the sides in toward the middle and pressing together, as you can see in the video.

Place the round loaf seam down on parchment paper dusted with some regular flour and some semolina or corn meal. Place the whole thing in a "ziploc" big bag, or find some other airtight container for the final rise. Place a bowl of water in with the loaf to create a humid environment to avoid a dry skin on the loaf.

The final rise should take about 2 hours at 75F, 2.5 hours at 70F, and 3.5 hours at 65F.

Slash and Bake

Here again, I have provided a video of my somewhat frightening slashing attempts, as well as of lowering the loaf into the dutch oven.

Preheat the dutch oven to 425F about 1/2 hour before baking.

Slashing is optional. AnnieT suggested that this loaf needs no slashing and cracks on top during baking, resulting in a rustic look. I did slash it, but it's somewhat difficult to do with a wet dough like this. Getting the lame wet helps. A very shallow cut at an angle is less likely to stick.

Be very careful to use thick, heat resistant hotpads or very heavy oven mitts. A cast iron dutch oven preheated to 425F is dangerous to move. Be warned. Be sure to have a place prepared for the dutch oven and the lid that is heat resistant when you remove them from the oven.

Drop the loaf, holding it by the parchment into the dutch oven. Place the lid on top. Place the whole dutch oven back in the oven. I baked it for 25 minutes, less than the recipe states, as I was worried about discovering a small piece of charcoal in the dutch oven if I let it bake too long. It was fine, though, and not even that brown after 25 minutes at 425F. At this point, I should have just left the lid ajar and placed the whole thing back in the oven. However, I removed the loaf from the dutch oven, removed the parchment paper, which was very easy, and placed the loaf on the oven rack. It took only a few minutes for the ears on the loaf to start burning. The internal temperature was about 207F, but as is typical with higher hydration doughs, it was somewhat underbaked. Faced with a choice between burnt ears and an underbaked loaf, I decided to just stop the bake. I like to toast or reheat my bread in the next days anyway, so underbaking it is fine for that situation. However, I would in the future keep it in the dutch oven and hope that with the lid only partially ajar, it would keep it from scorching and allow a longer bake.

Summarizing, bake for 30 minutes at 425F with the lid closed, then place lid so it is slightly ajar to let steam escape, and allow it to bake to a dark golden brown color 10-20 minutes more, probably.

Results

The flavor was excellent. The crust was a little thin and soft, due to my poor decisions during the baking described above. However, it still tastes great and is easily rectified by reheating or toasting. The crumb is what I find typical of higher hydration loaves. The  texture is spongey and light with a moist, cool, creamy feel. This bread reminds me very much of the "Pagnotta" recipe in my blog.

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I used to make these bread sticks all the time, before I knew how to make bread. My husband put in a request for them last week, and it reminded me how good they are, and a snap to make.

Also fun if you have little ones who love to roll dough snakes.

Recipe here.

Grissini

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I baked this very large, rustic Italian loaf (pagnotta) a couple weeks ago from Daniel Leader’s wonderful new book, Local Breads, page 197.  He states that it is to bake until almost black or charred for the most authentic loaf.  I didn’t go quite that far but you can see it developed a lot of color which I always prefer in my loaves.

 

 

I generally don’t bake the large boules since there are only two of us rather I prefer to divide a larger recipe and make more loaves so I can share them.  At any rate, I wanted to try the large boule and it was quite an impressive loaf.  (It reminded me of a fully expanded Jiffy Pop for those of you that can relate to that visual.) 

 

 

It is renowned in Italy for its great keeping quality, staying fresh up to 7 days.  Unfortunately, ours was not entirely eaten, I hate to admit, but it did allow me to see just how long it stays moist and fresh as is its reputation.  Nearly 10 days after baking it I was shocked to see that the bread still appeared very moist and had no signs of mold having been kept at room temperature in a KAF bread bag.

 

The recipe uses a biga naturale which Leader calls “Italian sourdough” and also uses a very small amount of commercial yeast.  I’m not sure why the instant yeast is there but that is the recipe.  I do not add commercial yeast to my sourdoughs but I wanted to bake it the first time following the recipe.  I would really like to try it again without the addition of the instant yeast to see what happens.

 

The flour in the recipe, except for the sourdough, is all high gluten for which I used Sir Lancelot high gluten flour.  The bran sprinkled on the top makes a really beautiful loaf although it is very messy to cut but very well worth it.  I would like to incorporate that in other loaves for the beautiful texture it creates. 

 

 

The crumb had a beautiful color and texture.

 

 

The Genzano Country Bread was a lot of fun to bake, wonderful tasting and seems an easy recipe for a great boule.  I hope you give it a try.

 

More photos can be seen here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3585722#203734681

  
handsonleaven's picture
handsonleaven

  I recently read this on the Fresh Loaf as a "non-member" of the site. 

     Here and there Hamelman makes a nod to the home baker, but it doesn't take long for the amateur baker to realize that Hamelman is not all that interested in his or her plight. The continual references to steam injectors and oven vents, proper posture when lifting 75 pounds of dough, and potential injury from improperly holding 7 to 8 foot long peels while unloading dozens of loaves of bread quickly make the amateur realize this book was not intended for him.  

I decided after reading this: "Maybe I should join "The Fresh Loaf" and see if people are struggling with Natural Leaven in bread dough because books are written without the intentions of including the homebaker." 

   As a homebaker, artisan baker , and author of a natural leaven primer, I could relate to this statement very well. my publicaton is intended  primarily for the HOMEBAKER  and artisan bakers who want a simple approach to teaching the home baker about natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  I thought, "I wonder if anyone is having difficulty with the basic rudiments of natural leaven due to the fact that in a comprehensive baking book on bread; natural leaven may be covered, but not in simplicity for the "no experience' to "some experience" person who is struggling with personally discovering making and managing natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  While my study of natural leaven has been over a twenty year period of time and I don't cross the knowledge of a professionals, I thought maybe there are some "out there" who need help.I did at one time, but have mastered the skill and sympathize with homebakers who can't get the answers for Natural Leaven Bread they are looking for.

My primer is sold wholesale, so I suppose one person doesn't need 100 ( my minimum order); but perhaps I could get a feel for those who are reading books that are not intended for them and make conversation in personal discovery of makng and managing  natural leaven and its use in bread dough. I tried bloggin elsehere but the set up was irritating and this seems to be going good for the first time now that I have been set up correctly

Don't communicate on The Fresh Loaf your interest our farm publcation: "Each One By Hand": A Natural Leaven Primer; this 24 page full color gloss magazine style handbook can be discussed else where; but is anyone  struggling with natural leaven and needs some questions answered.  E-mail: dcf2005@kaltelnet.net with Subject: Question about Natural Leaven. 

I am new to Fresh Loaf, I think I am supposed to sign my user name so ,

handsonleaven

   

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Susan, I can't remember where you posted this recipe - and I have scrolled back without success trying to find it. You were suggesting someone give it a try and of course I had to jump right in as well. I have to say the dough didn't look very promising and it was rock hard after a night in the frig. However, after sitting on my little propane stove for 2 1/2 hours it had finally warmed slightly and I decided to bake. It really didn't look like much, but I went ahead and slashed it and covered it with the ss mixing bowl as directed. I have to tell you I was totally gobsmacked when I removed the bowl! Fantastic oven spring and when I took it out (205*) the crust was shiny and crisp with lots of lovely "freckles". I have to keep going into the kitchen to check it out. I have a question: why couldn't I use my stone instead of the cookie sheet? I'm not complaining, just curious. Can't wait to check out the crumb, thanks again, A.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Nice to be back baking :)

 Here's some challah from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  My first try at challah, they're as tasty as they are nice to look at.  The inside is soft, sweet and light.  Exactly what I think of when I think challah.

 

 

 

-Joe 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Here is a miche that uses a large proportion of high-extraction flour. Heartland Mill's Golden Buffalo is great for this. This is probably the heartiest bread I have ever made.

The recipe is here.

High-extraction miche Sliced miche

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries