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Since the day I baked my first San Francisco Baking institute’s Miche (Posted by dmsnyder here) , I wanted to have another go at it soon. Alas, I have been distracted by several other formulas and books and eventually ended up putting it off. Two days ago, I was reminded by the formula when I saw my wheat germ bag sitting in my freezer and decided to give the formula another whirl.

Although the formula calls for a high extraction wheat flour, all I had was whole wheat and bread flour. I  assumed that the Indian flour (Chakki atta, or Stone milled whole wheat flour ) that I’ve purchased recently was refined to an 85% extraction as is the case with other brands, but it was labeled: 100% whole wheat flour. I’ve decided to add bread flour to the final mix to approximate the ash content of the high extraction flour.  The % of prefermented flour is down to 10% as I was planning on baking it after 18 hours, but ended up baking after 8.



 Mix all ingredients at once, by hand or using a mixer for 5-10 minutes. Rest the dough for 5 minutes and resume mixing for another 5 minutes. The dough will not be sticky. Shape as a round and let ferment in an oiled bowl for 3 hours at preferably 78 F or 24-25C, folding it every 50 minutes . By the end of bulk fermentation, the dough will have risen by 50%. scrape your dough onto a floured surface, pat the dough even (Don't knead), Pre-shape it into a round, and leave it to rest for 15- 20 min, covered. Dust your basket or kitchen towel with a mixture of all purpose flour and rice flour, and shape your dough and invert it smooth side down into the basket. Retard your dough in the refrigerator for 8 – 18 hours at 10C.

Next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature. The final fermentation will be 3-4 hours, but watch the dough NOT the clock. 50 minutes before you plan to bake your dough, Preheat your oven with a stone in place to a 500F or 260.  5 minutes before loading the bread, place your steaming dish filled with wet towels on the bottom of your oven.  When ready, invert the dough on baking paper lined peel/ board and close the oven immediately. Bake for 15 minutes with steam, and then remove the steaming dish and reduce the temperature to 400F for another 20-25 minutes. 

When the time is over, remove your bread from the oven. Wear oven mitts, and tap on the bottom of one loaf, It should sound hollow. Furthermore, you may insert a thermal probe into the center of the loaf from the bottom, and the temperature should register 195-200F or 90-95C. If it doesn't, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Cool the bread completely on a wire rack, prior to cutting. 

 The bread was sliced after 4 hours, and the interior was moist. Breads of this type will use more rest period for the flavors to set, so it wasn't at its prime. Today, I made an olive and cheddar cheese , and it was delightful! This is a keeper despite leaving out the toasted wheat germ. I will purchase the high extraction Chapati atta I found lately for this recipe and add wheat germ to it next time.

 As to my pastry classes, I've had my first theoretical and practical assessment last weekend in Cold and hot desserts.The theory part was easy and I’ve done well. For the practical,  I was asked to do Crepes Suzette and Coffee Bavarois. I started with crepes suzette, but struggled to get it right. I made two scrambled crepes in two different pans, and felt frustrated. I began making the bavarois to boost my confidence up abit, and after pouring it into moulds, I mixed crepe batter again but managed to season the third pan properly. The crepe peeled off nicely. As to the sauce, it was somewhat tart, as I’ve forgotten to caramelize the sugar first and reduce the sauce, however, I managed to salvage it in the end. All that wasted my time, and I should have started with coffee bavarois first as It needs refrigeration. Ultimately, both desserts were plated and presented to the Chef and received approval. Sadly, I have forgotten to take a picture of the final products.

I have two classes and one last assessment in baked goods, and I'll be done.Time sure flies!





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Last week, i was contemplating the idea of creating a bread that is soft, delicious, and healthy for the young ones. Pullman, and toast bread were two favorites of my kids, but those were all white breads. Looking back in Hamlemans book: Bread, I saw a few notes I have scribbled once on how to convert the Pullman recipe into a whole wheat one without losing much of the original flavor and texture. It was time to put my thoughts to the test. I’ve created a preferment , added some wholewheat flour, and increased water to make a soft dough. The recipe is as follows:

 Stiff preferment:

182 g                                      Bread Flour

128 g                                      Water

¼ tsp                                     Instant yeast

(mix and let ferment for 8 hours at room temp. or for up to 3 days in the refrigerator)

Final Dough:

426 g                                      Bread Flour

300 g                                      Whole Wheat Flour

5 Table spoons                       Milk Powder

1.5 Table spoons                     Sugar

3 Table spoons                       Soft butter

517 g                                       Water  

1 Table spoons                        Salt

2 tea spoons                            Instant yeast


Total dough yield:            1576 g

% Prefermented flour:   20%

% Whole grain:                  33%

Total hydration:                                71%

The dough was mixed in my mixer, finished by hand, and was rounded and left to ferment for 2 hours with a fold half way through. The dough was then divided into 1 kg. for Pullman pan, and 576 g for a smaller pan. Final fermentation was 1 hour and 15 minutes, after which they went into a preheated oven at 400 F for 15 minutes, and 25 minutes at 380F.

Next day, I sliced the Pullman loaf into beautiful squares that had an even fine structure, and a very soft crumb. I made a Zaatar sandwich this morning and it tasted great! It tastes gorgeous toasted.

The recipe test went well. I plan on sneaking in more whole wheat next time and see how the kids would like it. They loved this one!

As to Pastry, it was time to move on to baked desserts, as ovens are now certified for operation . Among other desserts, we made Cream custard, Cream brulee, and baked cheese cake.  I was especially excited to learn how to make cream custard, as it was one of my childhood favorites.







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I have finally bought a Pullman pan! two, actually. For bread, my first natural choice was a Rye; my first  Borodinsky  from Andrew’s book: (Bread matters).

I’ve all but given up on finding a Pullman pan in Dubai, until I overheard a discussion among my Pastry class peers  and the Chef about  commercial sources of  the ingredients and tools used in the institute. Alarmed by the possibility of finding the pan, I took the address from the Chef and headed down to the warehouse. The two story warehouse sells different hospitality and catering equipments at somewhat reasonable prices. I’ve found two sizes for Pullman pans, all from the Italian brand Paderno, I was so excited. The one I bought for us$ 27 each, was an  11.75 *4 inch pan. There is a much longer version, but it was too much for domestic use. The pan had a sticker that says: blue steel ..etc. The pan was properly washed with detergent and warm water, but it had a slight oily layer, and a distinctive rusty aroma. I searched though google, and learned that blue steel is a steel that has undergone a deliberate oxidation prior to the final non stick coating. I shrugged my shoulders and wiped them clean.

For borodinsky, I mixed my ripe rye sour with rye flour molasses and salt with a fork, scooped the lot into my greased pan  sprinkeled with cracked coriander seeds. I had no barley malt syrup, so I skipped this ingredient. I wanted to try Andrew’s advocated method of no bulk fermentation for rye bread, and the bread rose in 2 hours. Total dough weight was 1346g which was more than twice the recipe’s yield. After two hours, the dough has risen to almost the top rim of the pan, and started to crack. I slid the pan’s cover on, and baked the bread for 10 min. at 420F and 30 minutes at 400F.

My regretful mistake was to bake it according to Andew’s recipe, which is to a total of 40 minutes, failing to remember that an extended bake is needed for larger dough. After 40 minutes, the dough was unmolded and steam escaped from the loaf. The loaf’s crust was very tender and the color was lighter than a rye should be. I didn’t take a hint, Ugh! I guess I was too captivated by the square-ish cross section that the Pullman pan was capable of producing.

When cooled , the loaf was wrapped with a cloth, and left for 12 hours. Next day, I couldn’t resist having a peek and I sliced a few squares. The loaf was moist and gummy. Ops, I’ve underbaked it!

I wrapped it once more, and left it to rest for another day. Today, I’ve sliced it, and it was still moist and slightly gummy (cutting shreds still evident). The flavor is typically rye with a faint sweetness, and a good dose of spice that complements the overall flavor. The crust was soft, and the crumb was softer. There is a subtle mouthfeel of rust at the end, but generally tolerable. I don’t know how to deal with blue steel rust mouthfeel, but I’ll wait to see whether the pan becomes seasoned as I bake on. Overall, the bread was really good, and improved when slightly toasted.

As for Pastry, I’ve skipped my two day marathon class of Chocolate. By the end of last week, I was completely worn out. My Pastry class 8 of the week before went well, though. We made frozen desserts, such as ice gateaux, cheese cake, tiramisu, fried ice cream.



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The practical classes have finally commenced after a 3 week halt due re-location. We have had the cold desserts last weekend, featuring popular desserts such as Pana Cotta, fruit flavored cold soufflés, and Mousses, in addition to crepes, fruit fritters, and rice pudding.  Most desserts featured below contain gelatine to set them. It goes without saying that everything was exceptionally delicious! We have still few classes left for cold desserts then we’ll be off to hot desserts and later chocolate.

Clockwise from left to right: Orange souffle, Chocolate Cousse, Mango and bluberry mousse, Pana cotta, and lemon souffle.

For bread, i wanted to bake loaves that are reasonably sour, but not chewy. I chose Rye sourdough with 5 grains from Hamleman's (BREAD). I've also decided to try baking them on aluminum baking sheets instead of a stone in hope of reducing crust thickness.

I have blogged about this bread before here. This time, however,  I’ve deviated from Hamelman’s recipe in more than a way. I’ve skipped yeast and honey, increased flaxseeds, and replaced rolled oats with fine corn meal. Also, I’ve folded the dough twice in bulk, and retarded the dough in bulk for 18 hours.

The dough has expanded considerably in the fridge. During preshaping, and shaping the dough was overly sticky, but succumbed to final shaping with no tears. I suspected that the long cold fermentation with 25% prefermented flour would lead to some gluten breakdown, and I was right. The loaves's cuts did not open cleanly and the final crumb was somewhat tighter.

The bread had a faint sourness, with prominent multigrain presence. My only regret was that I should have either reduced the pre-fermented flour to accommodate an extended refrigeration, or I should have retarded overnight. The bread loses too much of its character when subtle changes are made. As to sheet baking,the crust was slightly softer which made me happy. I'll play around with potential variables and observe the results.


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Last week, I’ve baked my first recipe from Andrew Whitely’s  “BREAD MATTERS”: seeded rye bread. The bread was wonderfully delicious and truly addictive. However, I failed to notice that the dough weighs 650g, and cannot fill up my large terrine pan. The bread, however, was an immediate success and half of it was literally devoured while being sliced!


A few days ago, I wanted to triple the quantity (* 3.4) and make two 1.2 kg  loaves. The bulk fermentation lasted for 2 hours only, and the final proofing was 45 minutes; while the previous loaf fermented for 4 and 2 hours respectively.  I’ve considered them ready for baking when their top started to tear and sounded hollow when tapped from below.  In the oven, they puffed high and quick! i was exhilarated for a few seconds, but then all started going down hill. The loaves deflated and shrunk back, and continued to do so for the next 30 minutes.

Baked, the loaves had a wrinkly teared crown. "Umm, they may be overproofed", i said to myself. Little did i know.

Finally, I cut through the loaf. Up to this point, I was contented with the results despite not being optimal. The bread sliced well and was not crumbly. I laid down a few slices in a bread basket, brought in the butter and cream cheese, and sat for dinner. I spread butter on a slice,  and chewed my first bite. I was instantly struck by the relative blandness! OMG! I forgot the salt, that’s it.

I was disappointed. I tried butter, salted butter… nothing seemed to work at this point, not even toasting. So, out of despair, I sliced the remainder of the loaf and freezed it. I wrapped the other loaf in linen after it had cooled and left it to mature for 3 days. Last night I’ve thawed a couple of slices and decided to give it a try with salted feta cheese. It was DELICIOUS!! Freezing / thawing seemed to have salvaged the flavor of this loaf, but I’m unable to explain why. I’ll try other toppings, but what matters here is that it was not a total loss after all! Today, I plan to slice the linen wrapped loaf and observe any improvement in flavor.

On another note, we shall resume pastry classes soon. Following a pause from vocational training (due to the recent re-location of the institute), we are scheduled for a class on cold desserts tomorrow.




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I've had bagels on my mind for quite some time now, and since i never tasted one before, i decided to create  some at home. I've searched TFL for other members' posts on the subject, and many were extremely useful and pointed me in the right direction. I've decided to try Hamelman's version, but without the malt extract, which i substituted with a Tbl. of brown sugar and a Tbl of Baking soda. I know that this wasn't authentic, but i had lye, nor malt extract. The stiff dough was kneaded in my mixer, and was retarded in bulk for 9 hours, as opposed to Hamelman's retarded shaped bagels. I also realized the importance of Mise en place for making bagels, and decided to prepare baking trays, toppings, and boiling water. Oh, and chilled water to cool things down as suggested by Hamelman.

Poached, chilled ,and garnished bagels waiting to be baked

My first impression when i sliced a still warm bagel, and had the first bite: wow those are crunchy! the unique aroma of the baked bagels were slowly permeating the house.They had an unmistakable fragrance hard to describe, but i think that the toasted sesame seeds played some part in the overall aroma.

As they cooled the aroma was more pronounced, and was very sweet. As expected, the bagels quickly became chewy two hours from the oven. I had my first slices with butter and another with feta cheese infused with olive oil, and i enjoyed them both while crunchy. I've toasted a slice, and it retained its crunchiness almost immediately.  I have frozen the remaining bagels, and have yet to thaw some for later assessment. My intial assessment is: really aromatic white bread with a lovely chew.

Aside from cream cheese and smoked fish, what do you guys think is the best way to enjoy bagels?

Thanks in advance!



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Two weeks ago, we made some cup cakes and muffins. Techniques like creaming (beating butter and sugar first), and all together were essentially what we used for cupcakes and muffins. Foaming technique was not used here, only for sponge cakes that require no soda or baking powder. This lesson wrapped up the baked goods section, and we were scheduled to start cold and hot desserts next.

For bread, I wanted to give Whole wheat bread recipe from Richard Bertinet’s book: “CRUST” a whirl. The bread is 50% whole wheat sourdough that calls for a stiff sourdough white levain. The dough took hours and hours to proof and I eventually had to retard it for 18 hours, after which additional warm up hours were needed to get it to proof well. I have mixed the bread as advised by Bertinet, i.e. slap and fold, but in hindsight I should have mixed the dough a la Tartine book. The reason being that I would mix the dough into a somewhat stiffer texture, autolyse it, and then add the additional recipe water, levain, and salt which can reduce the strain slap and fold has on my back.

I’ve sampled this bread with some cream cheese and it is sour! yet very nutty and sweet at the same time. The crumb was moist, and the crust was crispy and slightly chewy. I still don’t know what the perfect accompaniments for this bread are, but anything mild should be ok. It is a good bread, but if I were to do it again, I’dd add some wholegrains flour to the levain to boost its leavening ability.




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Last week end was lesson 5 for me: Yeasted goods. The lesson spanned over 2 exhausting days with so much to bake in so little time. Moreover, we had to mix all doughs by hand; not an easy quest for 90% of the new faces  that have signed up for only those two days. First we had to prepare our laminated dough and refrigerated it for next day. We’ve used high quality margarine for fat, but for sake of comparison, I chose plain butter. During intermittent refrigeration, we had to make foccacia, baguette, grissini (Italian flavored bread sticks), spelt loaf, and a wholemeal seeded loaf. All bread that was made was enriched with some butter or olive oil. At the end of day one, we mixed up a poolish for next day’s Ciabatta dough.


On day two, we began preparing sweet breads/buns. Again, We mixed many similar doughs instead of a single one all by hand. Cinammon rolls, Orange rolls (both not featured in the photos), and soft dinner rolls were all baked during the day. Also, we rolled our laminated doughs, created croissants and Danish pastries and to be fair, there was very little difference in flavor between the margarine croissants and the  butter ones. Texture and volume was substantially better with margarine, though.  Finally there was fatayer (savoury pastry with spinach and cheese filling), Brioche, Savarin, doughnuts, and at last Ciabatta. By the time Ciabatta dough was mixed, the poolish was alcoholic from the 24 hour fermentation at room temperature! I didn’t get a chance to sample the Ciabatta, but everyone liked it.


Yesterday, I mixed up a batch of 66% sourdough rye from Hamleman’s book: BREAD. I’ve cut through the batard today, and left the boule to age for another day to develop flavor. It is a very good rye, and I’m glad I baked it.










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So, here i am again. I've been too lazy and tired to comment or blog; the weekend class is draining me off and i don't have much energy to bake anything.

First is Pasry. The last two classes (4 sessions) were on cakes which we managed to finish on time. As shown, we've baked using the foaming, creaming, and altogether techniques. A shining example of the altogether was the chocolate cake; the queen of all cakes which brought an end to our cakes lesson.

Next week is: yeasted products!  Two days, to accomodate the useage of preferment i guess. I'm so excited :)



The cake was almost entirely decorated by the Pastry Chef, not us.

For bread, i chose to bake an SFBI miche that David Snyder blogged about often.  I wanted to stay true to David's recipe but i didn't, BIG MISTAKE!  The recipe's dough was somewhat stiff and considering the freshly milled whole wheat flour, i decided to increase the hydration to roughly 80%. The second deviation was to retard the shaped loaf for 21 hours instead of David's overnight (for scheduling purposes). On the day of baking, i removed the dough from the refrigerator and allowed it to sit for an hour while the oven was heating. The dough was well risen, and in very good shape. I preshaped , shaped, and molded it into a lined bowl. When ready, the dough was loaded into the oven with steam apparatus in place. I peeked through the oven glass, and watched the dough spread to a typical Miche disc.

The bread's flavor was very nutty. sweetish and wholegrainy, and packed a good deal of nutrition. I'll definitely have another shot at the formula soon, with-out changes. Thanks David!



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And my Pastry class continues. Last weekend ,we’ve started the cookies/cakes class with a theory lesson for half the day on cakes, batters, and creaming/foaming techniques and trouble shooting cakes. This particular lesson will be split into 4 classes. Here is a picture of the cookies made by all of the class (Mine and my team mate's are the ones on the cooling rack; they were uneven and somewhat ragged).


During my last visit to the supermarket, I’ve picked up a flour that has stirred my curiosity for a while. It is the latest addition to Waitrose’s line of organic flours. I wanted to try it in some recipe, and what better than my Trusty Whole wheat multigrain. 


I’v used cornmeal, flaxseeds, and Dark Rye bran for the hot soaker. my main deviation from Hamelman’s recipe was to use ½ a teaspoon of instant yeast in the final dough, instead of 1, and retarding the dough for 24 hours. The dough was mixed at 5:00 pm the day before yesterday, and at 5:00 pm yesterday it was removed from the fridge to be shaped and baked.

The bread is good, with solid multigrain flavors, though not sweet as the non retarded one. The reason I’ve added the yeast into the final dough, was that I had suspicions about the health of my levain. My White liquid sourdough starter has collapsed completely when I wanted to creat a levain fom it, which could have been bad to the yeast health in the levain. I now believe that my worries were exaggerated.




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