The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
PhiloBreddoe's picture
PhiloBreddoe

 Sponge-started white (french?) above, yeast-leavened sourdough below

Two Starters: Sponge-started white (french?) above, yeast-leavened sourdough below

So, this weekend, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of baking with a sponge starter and a yeast-leavened sourdough (yeah, yeah, so sue me).  I wanted to feel the different textures see the different crusts, and make other comparisons between working with the two kinds of starter.  For both recipes I used the Joy of Cooking.  My experiences were, I'm sure, typical: the sourdough was much drier and the sponge very sticky; the sourdough was easier to work from the start, the sponge took a couple of foldings on a floured board.  As with most home bread-baking, where total failure is almost impossible, the outcomes were VERY good, in both cases.  Taste-wise, the french turned out slightly better.

And the insidesAnd the insides

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Whilst cleaning out the coin container on my dresser in preparation for taking the coins to the supermarket to be counted, I found an unused gift card from Barnes & Noble.  Had it been there 8 months?  20 months?  Who can say; the question was - what to do with it?

What type of book to buy was not in question, but exactly which book was.  I still don't have any of the first four Reinhart books (and would very much like American Pie), Leader has just released a new one, and there are other classics I don't have.  Based on reviews and comments here I decided to get Reinhart's new Whole Grain Breads.

This is without question an excellent book.  I have read some of the chapters and skimmed through the rest, and I would say it will take 4-5 thorough readings until I have absorbed everything Reinhart has to say.  Which is bad, because I am still re-reading The Bread Builders and trying to absorb that.   Reinhart has put together a lot of thoughts that I have been stumbling towards over the last year as I have tried to increase the fraction of whole grains in my bread (and other baked stuff), and it was interesting to see that the bibliography included many books (such as Bread Science) that  have read in the last year, as well as a nod to this web site and its participants.

I decided to start out with the Transitional Country Hearth Loaf, as my family's preferences lean toward white(er) loaves.

Given that I had not yet read the Theory and Process of Delayed Fermentation chapters when I jumped ahead to the recipe, the steps were fairly straightforward for anyone who had made a RLB or Hammelman recipe.   I tried to follow the recipe exactly to see if I would get the results from the book.  One point that bothered me was where the sequence said "combine the soaker and biga pieces with all other ingredients".  The "other ingredients" were 5g salt and 7g yeast; I was expecting some more water, flour, or something.  But when I mixed it up the texture seemed right.  One thing I did is carefully interweave the 12 pieces of biga and 12 pieces of soaker into a neat 3-layer pattern with the salt and yeast in between the layers.  I have zero artistic ability but the weave looked neat (unfortunately I did not hae the camera at that point) and I was gratified the next day to find a similar picture in the opening chapters of the book.

Here is the proofed loaf on the peel, waiting to be slashed and go in the oven:

sPh - Reinhart Transition Country Proofed LoafsPh - Reinhart Transition Country Proofed Loaf

Here is the baked loaf about to come out of the oven.  Since I proofed it in the banneton I was not able to put semolina on the peel.  I should have put some between the loaf and the end of the peel before sliding but did not, so the result was some ovalization of the loaf:

sPh - Reinhart Transition Country Baked LoafsPh - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf

This picture on the counter gives some indication of the size of the loaf with the thermapen in the background.  Quite a bit of distortion from the wide angle lens though since the standard Corelle bowl in the backgorund looks small:

sph - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf on Countersph - Reinhart Transition Country Baked Loaf on Counter

Here is the "crust and crumb".  I took this outside to get some strong light, which allowed a good handheld closeup.  The crust was good; thick and chewy but not too tough or crunchy.  The crumb was open and had a good taste but was a bit dry:

sph - Reinhart Transition Country Crust and Crumbsph - Reinhart Transition Country Crust and Crumb

And here is an end-on shot of the sliced loaf.  Note that despite my careful layering of the soaker (darker) and biga (lighter), mixing, and a total of 7 minutes of kneading there are still clear areas of light and dark crumb:

 sph - Reinhart Transition Country End View Crumbsph - Reinhart Transition Country End View Crumb

Conclusions?  Overall this was a good bread, well-received by family and neighbors.  As mentioned my family and I found it a bit dry.  The published hydration is 65%; when I make it again I will try 70% or even 75.  The taste was good with no bitterness and just a hint of "whole wheat" flavour; the crust was very good.  Toasted with a little butter it was excellent.   A good recipe and actually very easy to make.

sPh 

Sharonw's picture
Sharonw

Can someone tell me how to print out a recipee on this site without printing 25 pages? This sounds stupid< I know, but I can't seem to print them!

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

Earlier this month I participated in Paney Camp 2007, a bread making learning session with participants from the Garden Web Cooking Forum. I was the teacher and my "students" were from all over: California, Colorado, Michigan, Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina. Our base camp was a delightful Bed & Breakfast in Oak Ridge, NC which is near Greensboro and very close to the airport. My quilting friend, Marilyn, and her husband Don own the B&B and she has a large kitchen, just right for lots of people making lots of bread.

We began by making a sponge after our kick-off dinner (NC BBQ) followed by Shaker Daily Loaf (a white bread) and Herbed Country French Loaves (using the sponge) the next morning. We continued our baking by making Struan Bread and Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread. Soft Butter Knot Rolls and Orange Sweet Rolls followed the grain breads. The seven students worked in pairs, taking turns mixing and kneading. I tried my best to help some of them improve their kneading skills - LOL! One class member was a standout at kneading, having made bread regularly years ago. Her breads had a vastly different feel to them which I attributed to her kneading skills.

This group of experienced cooks did a champion job of cleaning up the kitchen every day! And I didn't even have to ask them to clean up or ask that they be quiet while I was talking! Going on field trips was a bit like "herding cats" for me though - LOL!

We went to the Old Mill of Guilford after a lunch break the first baking day. I purchased a few things for the class recipes at that time, but I was very pleased to have organized the class so well that we did not once have to run down the street to the grocery store the entire time - Wednesday evening to Sunday morning.

Thursday night we went to L'Italiano, a very good local Italian restaurant in High Point. Friday we alloted to shopping at the Vietri outlet in Hillsborough, A Southern Season in Chapel Hill (where we had a wonderful lunch at their Weathervane Cafe) and Replacements, Ltd. on I-40/85 near Greensboro. Dinner Friday night was at Blue Water Grille in High Point where we had delicious seafood, fish, and pork.

Saturday began with a morning visit to the NC Farmer's Market nearby. We found lots of vegetables and goat cheese for our pizza lesson that day. We continued class with Focaccia and pizza dough from the Basic Pizza Primer found here at The Fresh Loaf. I asked for questions Saturday afternoon and an hour later we finished up with the Q&A session! We concluded Paney Camp with homemade pizza on Saturday evening.

Our B&B hosts provided a delicous Italian Breakfast Strata (made with our breads) for our brunch on Sunday morning. Two members left for their 11:00 am flight and the other campers went to Old Salem and SECCA in Winston Salem, just a few miles west of the B&B location. All the campers had a chance to pack up bread we had made to take home if they had room. After our fond good-byes, I packed up and came home where I promptly crashed and didn't move for several hours - LOL!

All in all, I think the breadmaking camp and classes went very well. We couldn't do anything about the 100 degree temp heat wave that the whole Southeast and other parts of the nation was experiencing in early August. And...it's supposed to get up to 100 again today. Even though the B&B had A/C, it was about 85 in the kitchen with the ovens going all day. We did change our plans to go shopping after my friend at the Goat Lady Dairy called and said it was miserably hot there and they had no A/C in their cheese tasting room. Our planned trip to the potteries around Seagrove was also canceled due to the heat. But as the camp teacher/tour guide, I just went with the flow of what the campers wanted to do and everything was fine. I did make sure to call ahead and cancel our visits to the Dairy and the pottery where I had scheduled a demonstration.

Last year's camp was Canning Camp in Michigan, where the campers learned to can and make jams, salsa, etc. Next year may be Pastry Camp, but the location has not been set yet. In two years....maybe cooking classes in Italy??? I am soooo getting ready for that one!

Teresa, the "Doughmaster" (the name the campers gave me)

smartdog's picture
smartdog

Decided to bake a cake today, along with my weekly rye bread. :)Here is the "Chocolate Double Layer Cake"
IPB Image

And it's Rye Bread day:
IPB Image

And I keep wondering why I've gained 15 lbs. in a year!!! UGH

Luv4Country Soaps
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Is anyone else having issues with how the forum is displaying? It looks like the server reverted to an earlier point and changed the image space allocation. Floyd isn't logged in so he probably isn't aware.

Eric

zainaba22's picture
zainaba22

Ulrike (Küchenlatein) will host BBD #03, and she is asking everyone to make a sourdough-leavened bread, preferably rye.

it is my first time baked bread with starter and rye , my bread came out great!

My first starter

756 g rye starter.

2 cups cup dried dates.

2 Tablespoon Anise seeds.

4 cups  white flour.

1 2\3 cups whole wheat flour.

1 2\3 cups rye flour.

2 2\3 cups water.

1 teaspoon salt.

2 Tablespoon olive oil.

1)In the bowl of mixer, mix the flours, dates, Anise seeds, water, and starter until just combined, about one minute.

2)Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

3)Add the salt and oil and continue mixing about 4 minutes.

4)Cover and let rise for 1-2 hour.

5)Divide dough into 2 pieces.

6)With lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a rough oval.

7)Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

8)Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes.

zainab 

http://arabicbites.blogspot.com/










zolablue's picture
zolablue

Also known as Baguette aux lardons.

 

This is fabulous bread!  I baked it yesterday from Daniel Leader’s new book, Local Breads.  It is a very easy recipe, absolutely delicious fresh from the oven and today it made incredible toast.  The incorporation of slightly browned bacon and his recommendation to retard the shaped loaves overnight to infuse the dough with more of that great smoky bacon flavor is a winner.

 

His recipe calls for making four 316g baguettes but for some reason I only ended up with about 1100g total dough so I made 3 roughly 366g baguettes.  The dough was supple and slashed really well which I was concerned about with the bacon.  No problem though.

 

His method of using floured parchment and then making your own couche worked really well for this.  I was able to fit all three baguettes perfectly on a quarter-sheet restaurant style pan with rolled up dish cloths on each side to keep the loaves from spreading.  You make the troughs for the dough creasing the parchment between each loaf and then tuck the rolled cloths against them and the rim of the sheet pan. 

 

The next day I removed from the fridge and slid the entire thing onto the counter, took off the plastic wrap and covered with a cotton flour-sack towel.  I let them warm up and finish proofing for about 2 hours and then baked.  Even in my small oven all three loaves fit perfectly on my smaller-than-normal baking stone.  I steamed the oven and baked them about 25 minutes at 450°F and was really happy with the way they rose and actually grew ears.  (chuckle)  That is always welcome and always surprising for my breads, it seems but I’m getting better. 

 

I have not typed up this recipe yet.  I encourage you all to go buy Daniel Leader’s new book.  This is the first of his two books I have purchased so others are way ahead of me in the knowledge of his great breads and first book.  Mountaindog is lucky enough to live close to his bakery – wow!  That would be a treat.  So far in what I’ve read I’m very impressed with this book although since I use a firm starter I do have a couple thoughts that may differ from what his instructions are only by means of my own experience.  All in all it is a wonderful book and I’m thrilled to have it.  Can’t wait to try more new recipes.

Baguettes aux lardons

Great crisp crust and you can see how the bacon bits on the exterior crisp when baked. (yum)

Crumb was creamy with bacon infused throughout in little bits.  He doesn't show a photo of the crumb so I'm hoping this is how it is supposed to look.  He does have you beat the tar out of the dough and with a mixer it does break down the already small cooked pieces.  I didn't mind. :o)

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I'm posting this recipe for discussion as we have been talking about it on the Glezer firm starter thread.  I have made this bread often with variations because I did not have the high-extraction flour yet.  I recently purchased the Golden Buffalo flour from Heartland Mill in Kansas and it was superb.  I didn’t take photos of those so will next time I make it.

 

The one pictured here was made using Hodgson Mill WW graham flour sifted for the WW portion (250g) and mixed with the 750g King Arthur bread flour.  I’ve also made it sifting the King Arthur traditional and organic WW flours but I like the sweetness of the graham flour.  Still, I think after using that high-extraction flour the flavor was so extraordinary I would choose to make it that way more often.

 

Mountaindog has also posted her variation on this bread here and she makes beautiful loaves of it. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1806/thom-leonard-country-french-boule-recipe

This is a great recipe to play around with and it always comes out fabulous bread.  Another note – I generally like to make four smaller boules but when I made them with the high-extraction flour I made two boules and they were large and fantastic. 

 

Here are the some photos of the ones I made a few months ago (more photos here: http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/2671417#141408937 ) and the recipe follows:

Thom Leonard’s Country French Bread - © Maggie Glezer, Artisan Baking  

Makes one 4 pound (1.8-kilo) loafTime: At least 18 hours with about 30 minutes of active work 

Much of what makes this bread so special is the high-extraction flour used in it.  This is a bolted whole-wheat flour much lighter in color and sweeter in flavor than a whole-wheat flour (at 100% extraction), but much darker and more flavorful than a white flour (at 72% extraction).

 

The method I give here for making your own high-extraction flour will work best on coarsely ground whole wheat flour.  If you already have a good high-extraction flour, substitute it for the whole-wheat and bread flour in the final recipe.  Thom also includes a little of his sourdough rye starter in the dough, but it is such a small amount that I have bumped up the levain slightly and added rye flour to the final dough instead.

RECIPE SYNOPSIS The evening before baking - making the Levain: 

25 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons or 0.8 oz) fermented firm sourdough starter refreshed 8 hrs before (17%)

140 grams (2/3 cup or 4.9 oz) water, lukewarm (100%)

140 grams (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon or 4.9 oz) unbleached bread flour (100%)

 

Dissolve the sourdough starter in the water in a small bowl.  Add the flour and beat this batter-like dough until very smooth. Place in a covered container and let it ferment overnight for 8 hours, or until fully risen and just starting to sink in the middle.

Bake Day – Mixing the Dough: 

350 grams (about 12 oz or about 2 1/2 cups) Coarsely ground whole-wheat flour, preferably milled from an organic, hard winter wheat (eventually 25%)

750 grams (26.5 oz or 5 cups) unbleached bread flour, preferably organic (75%)

30 grams (1 oz or 1/4 cup) organic whole-rye flour (3%)

660 grams (24 oz or 3 cups) water (66%)

Fermented levain (30%)

23 grams (0.8 oz or 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) salt (2.3%)

Preparing the flour: 

Sift the whole-wheat through your finest sieve or flour sifter.  The large flakes of bran should be caught in the sieve (use them for flouring your peel or for muffins).  Measure out 2 cups 3 tablespoons (8.8 ounces, 250 grams) sifted flour.  Mix this dark flour with the bread flour and the rye flour in a large bowl or in the work bowl of your mixer.

 

Add the water to the fermented levain to loosen it from the container.

  

Mixing the dough: 

By hand:  Pour the watered levain into the flours and stir with your hands or a wooden spoon just until a rough dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto the unfloured work surface and continue kneading until the dough is very smooth and shiny, about 10 minutes.  This is a lot of dough and will take some muscle.  Sprinkle on the salt and continue to knead the bread until the salt has fully dissolved and the dough is very smooth and shiny.

  

By stand mixer:  Add the watered levain to the flours in the work bowl and stir the dough together with a wooden spoon or your hand (this will make the mixing go more quickly).  Using the dough hook, mix the dough on medium speed for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and almost cleans the bowl.  Add the salt and continue mixing until the dough is much tighter and cleans the bowl, about 5 more minutes.

This should be a soft, sticky, and extensible dough.  

Fermenting and turning the dough:  

Place the dough in a container at least 3 times its size and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment until it is airy and well expanded but not yet double in bulk, about 3 hours.  Turn the dough 3 times at 30-minute intervals, that is, after 30, 60, and 90 minutes of fermenting, then leave the dough undisturbed for the remaining time.

Rounding and resting the dough: 

Flour the surface of the dough and your work surface and turn the dough out.  Tuck the edges of the dough in to tighten it, round it, and cover it loosely with plastic wrap.  Let it rest until well relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, sift flour over a linen-lined basket or line a large colander with a well-floured tea towel.

Shaping and proofing the dough: 

Shape the dough into an even and tight round loaf without deflating it.  Place the dough topside down in a linen-lined basket or large colander, lightly sprinkle it with flour, and cover it well with plastic wrap.  Proof the dough until it is well expanded, about doubled in volume and remains indented when lightly pressed with a floured finger, after about 4 hours.

Preheating the oven: 

At least 45 minutes before the dough is fully proofed, arrange a rack on the oven’s second-to-top shelf and place a baking stone on it.  Clear away all racks above the one being used Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

Baking the bread: 

If desired, just before baking the bread, fill the oven with steam.  Turn the bread out onto a sheet of parchment paper or a floured peel and slash 3 to 4 diagonal slashes and 3 to 4 horizontal slashes into the top.  It will look like a skewed grid with diamond-shaped openings.  Slide the bread, still on the paper, onto the hot stone and bake until the bread is dark and evenly browned all around and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 70 to 80 minutes, rotating it halfway into the bake.  If the bread is browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (205°C), but still bake the bread for at least 70 minutes.  Let the bread cool on a rack.

  

mbecktel's picture
mbecktel

My history with bread seems to hold steady. The focaccia did not turn out as planned. I milled the flour, mixed it and let it rise. It was a beautiful rise. \The instructions then said to punch down and pat out onto an oiled baking sheet. Did this, and dimpled the top, sprinked on parmesean cheese and a bit of sea salt. Nice looking out of the oven, but TOUGH!

Bob gamely ate some with olive oil and herbs with me. The cement in the gut feeling came back. Not for him. He loves bread in any way shape and form.

Okay, I apparently have trouble with massive amounts of insoluable fiber. As said earlier, I have found whole grain bread to be dry and bitter, so oatmeal was the fiber of choice. No probls with that, but this whole grain stuff...whew

the reason I chose the Nutrigrain mill was that it had a fine setting. Well, fine is still pretty gritty. And tho I did drink lots of water that day, that is not the answer to the problem. I guess I need to work up to it, so for now, I will bake with unbleached white flour, and add some e fresh ground wheat, eventually working up to substantial amounts.

To be honest, I really want to master the yeast thing first. I can give a rip about the jjello thing (gosh my 'puter won't even let me type the word!) but I am so frustrated about the bread baking thing. At least I am in the right place, eh?

Oh, and the dogs love the focaccia.

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries