The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Mini Oven's blog

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How I went about it...

I made Leader's Pierre-nury rustic rye dough. I like the dough so much, I'm experimenting again, well....

After following all the directions, carefully laid out the dough before me. I had just prepared all my ingredients:

 Garden rocket, dried tomato pesto, leeks, pimento, ripe olives, cheese stuffed mushrooms

toppings: Garden rocket, dried tomato pesto, leeks, pimento, ripe olives, cheese stuffed mushrooms (they are lurking)

 just smear it on dough with dried tomato pesto


 Leave it flat and finish adding toppings or...fresh leeks, chopped rocket, and pizza spices (chilie peppers?)

Then gently start to fold. First in half, and then again, so I quess that would be a double fold.


Then as you cut off a 2" piece with a bench scraper, pinch one end together so the "guts" stay put. Lay each cut piece on edge, cut side up (pinched side down) and let it just fall open onto the parchment paper.   I got 4 to 5 to a sheet.

cut and pinch

Then sprinkle sloppily with thin sliced red pimento, grated cheese, mushroom chunks, and sliced black olives. ...and into the oven!  Mine actually got to 600°F using fan and lower heat. wow. Throw some water in the lower pan and steam 'em good! Mine took 15 minutes, oven temp had dropped to 450°F after opening the door.

 well that's what it reminds me

"End of the winter tire sale"

 Toppings are quite heavy but cut these gems into slices, and they're the right size

After baking: Toppings are quite heavy and weigh the dough down.  My dough was made with all purpose wheat.  You might have better luck with the bread flour recommended in the recipe.

But they sure are Good!               (drool, slobber, yum, slobber, drool)

Pierre-nury pizza

Pierre-nury pizza

ENJOY! from your Mini O with all my love!


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


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Here is what got me into The Fresh Loaf, dealing with this and a similar oven.

 Stainless Steel salad bar bin used for toast bread form


Presenting: Mini Oven   (notice how wide apart the lower coils are from each other, not good, should be closer to the middle but this oven came with a spit that I never used.  It was the only oven in the area.  I compensated by shoving my casserole all the way to the back wall and rotating it often.)  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Many many months ago, in Austria far away, a sourdough starter was supplied from a baker, good and qualified. The Austrian starter was dried and traveled to China where part of it mixed and grew nurtured in the presence of Chinese all purpose flour and later with Austrian Rye flour. Sometimes it sat out to grow, sometimes it sat in a refrigerator, one time even froze but it lived long and prospered and provided many a loaf of bread. Then it was dried. This happened at various times in the last few months.

It might be interesting to compare the starter 6 months ago and now, making two identical loaves and see if the SD has changed in flavor. Two very different environments. A change in starter flours and water not to mention treatment. Will they taste the same? Will they rise the same? Have I changed the characteristics of the starter from the original?

First part of experiment requires re-hydration of dried starters, then feed and stabilize, keeping them separate but treating them alike. Then to use in a recipe and do blind taste tests. Mad scientist has her baggies of dried starter ready and they are February dried starter, April, and August, a control has been made using no starter. 10g of each dried starter was placed into a jar and 40g water was added, after 10minutes 15g of rye flour was stirred in. Each is covered with butter paper and just sitting there waiting for action. One interesting observation...April dried starter smells like cream cheese. (it should be noted that this sample was stored in glass for a long time and the others in plastic baggies...hmmmm)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

July 28, 2006 Found Buckwheat berries in the market.
They are hulled, meaning I can crush them between a finger and fingernail. This ought to be fun, one more whole grain without gluten to experiment with. The locals mix and cook them with rice to enrich it. I will first wash and soak them and add to my Poolish. They are shaped like little hearts with three sides reminding me of Austrian Löffel Kraut, a sort of nutty herb that grows everywhere there, picked for salads and high in vit C.
Having heard of Buckwheat flour for pancakes, I made a dough ball of fine buckwheat flour, water, salt, com. yeast and kneaded it. More like "play dough." It rose minutely for gas escaped in tiny little cracks all over the surface. I tweaked it and practiced my kaiser roll folds with it and left it in a little ball to rise. When I had had enough, I painted it with milk to seal the cracks and baked it. I managed to trap some bubbles and I like the taste but the dense grey puck cannot stand on its own. I cut it up and dried it.
My neighborhood dogs love me, by the way, they get all kinds of bread snacks. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've taught them all to sit. The ladies laugh as dogs of different sizes sit in a row like rice paddy ducks as soon as they see me coming. :) Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Submitted by Mini Oven on June 17, 2006
Taking a tip from SourdoLady and since I had a little orange juice (that I didn't mix with Campari) I tried mixing it with oat flour. I'm curious if it is any faster than the process I used for my wheat starter. Smells like breakfast (like the OJ got poured into the cereal). What do you think of "Breakfast in China?" Smell it once a day. It is three days old and maybe I'll add more orange and oats. I'm very patient and it helps to park it out of the kitchen. I refuse to "watch the pot." My other starter is on holiday... no name. No guilt when i pitch it.
Bought more wheat flour and I'm back to step one. Seems like every bag has it's own idea of how it should be baked. Yesterday, hocky pucks, today I added oat flour and they came out super. It's enough to drive me crazy sometimes.

Strong Oat Starter

June 21, 2006
Breakfast in China or Chinese Breakfast is officially a starter. I added more flour and orange juice and within the hour it had gone thick, bubbly and doubled. Smells wonderful. Now the orange juice can go back into the Campari. In this heat, 44°c the ice cube tray is wearing out but my Chinese Breakfast is keeping cool in the living room. I think the name is too long... Chuzhou Sourdough is also a possibility and our ancient nearby park including Lang Yashan Mountain. O heck, let's be Chinese and call it: "Sourdough Breakfast with SourdoLady on Lang Yashan Mountain with Oat flours in her hair" in honor and praise to SourdoLady.

Tonight I will add one cup white wheat flour and 8 oz water, beat it and mess with it in the morning
Next Day: Mixed it real good and Took out one cup starter for the fridge. Then one cup for my recipe (780gm loaf) and the rest went into dry dock taking dulke's advice and pouring it out on baking paper on a tea tray to dry.

June 22, 2006
I didn't use any baker or commercial yeast but did a 3/4 cup each flour and water poolish using my Chinese Breakfast bowl with some of it still clinging to the sides ( as I moved the starter to a bigger bowl). Today as I came back from the market, the dough had trippled and still on the go. (It wouldn't degas by dropping or banging the bowl.) I shaped some rolls aprox. 95 -100gm each and will have some fun with my scissors.

Today I will test out my new stainless stone. Now I know some of you will think it's not "earthy" but steel doesn't come from outer space and this particular plate was fashoned with lots of TLC. I bake with baking paper because of the fantastic non-stick lift I get, and it doesn't breathe either. As the bread lifts, it also separates from paper and "stone" so I think the major point of the stone is to give that continous concentrated heat right there at the bottom center of the loaf and has less to do with "breathing." I'm curious, did anyone ever try baking a loaf on a hot cast iron pan or griddle?

Yep, Oat Starter
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 25, 2006
Yes, Oat starter and it formed rather quickly too!
Well I don't know if it is the heat or air pressure, my dough in the air-condition room or because of the nature of the yeast but it seems to produce a lot of rise in the first 3 hours and then get lazy. By the time I want to bake it, it gets down right sleepy. I got a picture of my Barley loaf (later please) and granted it is a little flat. Seemed the longer I let it rise, the worse the skin tention, it developed rips and tears and wouldn't hold a shape. I did use a lot (over 50%) of barley flour, like I would with rye and also white wheat and oat flour. I kneaded with wheat. It also stuck to my heavily floured cloth when I tried to basket it. So it did get knocked around.

The next loaf, will be a white wheat/oat one with pure oat starter. If it acts the same, then I'll have to skip the doubling rise and shape after a 30 minute rest from kneading. If that doesn't work, I'll add comercial yeast to stabilize it. I'm at or just below sea level and I need all the lifting help I can get! The bread does taste sour enough and barley has a slight bitter taste that I'm not used to. Make better bread sticks snacks for beer and the next Argentinian game! Now, That's an Idea!

And the next loaf...
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 27, 2006
And the next loaf is taking it's dear sweet time. Isn't it funny, just when you think ya know something, your dough has other ideas? But I think I know why, I'm always experimenting and what I did last time with my starter was to feed it and pop it back into the fridge. a couple of days have past but I guess that just wasn't long enough for my cold (5°c) starter. I will go back to my old habits of leaving my starter out till it rises and falls. But I think there is still something funny going on and will figure it out.

While I was waiting, I whipped up a batch of Sweet Corn Raisin Bread and like the recipe with only two changes: honey for sugar and nutmeg. I used real medium ground cornflour and also added the flour very slowly, very slowly, with lots of beating in between. Very nice skin this time and you are soon to see what my scissors has done. (If I can only get my picture to be accepted by this program.)The house smells lovely! It was fun to see something rise the way it should.

Barley flour 25%
Submitted by Mini Oven on June 29, 2006 - 8:18am.
At the moment, I've got problems and I think it's the Barley flour. Seems everytime I use it, my yeast refuses to cooperate. I was noticing that barley can be full of alpha-amylase. Could too much of this be killing my yeast? My loaf has been sitting in a 23°c living room since noon yesterday. It never really doubled so after 8 hours, I did a final fold and shape and put one in the fridge and left the other one out, covered to rise. It's now morning and nothing. Pulled the loaf from the fridge and set them both outside where it's warmer. We are expecting thunderstorms soon.

The oat starter on the otherhand is brewing away. How can this be? I cut the loaf to look for bubbles and some are there, not what I'd expect. Reshaped into rolls, and stuck into a plastic bag to rise. I am going to start a serious experiment to test my starter and the reaction of the flour to it. I will take two spoons of starter, put into two small bowls and mix one with barley flour and the other with oat. Could it be that barley neutralizes the pH? Add to my experiment: two more spoons of starter, two bowls, barley, oat, but with a little orange juice in each. I need a control so one bowl gets only starter. Covered all five bowls with plastic wrap and wait for a reaction.

My husband is telling me to stop breaking my head over it and go back to adding comercial yeast. Looks like this batch are doggy biscuits. Is there anything I can do without overworking the dough?

Letting the whole grain flour soak for an hour helped a great deal and the satiny texture looks good. Even now the surface is intact and smooth. Unfortunately it just lies there. :(

11:00 ....Dough 1 cm higher. I just baked the buns, cut them through first to look for bubbles, a few. Then stretched them into sticks. After one hour, baked them. they did puff up in the heat. Broke one open, does have air pockets. Taste? Bitter but rye like with aftertaste like chewing on aspirin. Crumb? Still hot but not bad, no soggy or heavy spots, little tiny bubbles. Suggestion? Forget Barley bread and leave it for beer and whiskey production. If I bake with it, then in very small quantities under 10%.

Oat/barley experiment looks so far like this: after 3 hours, nothing much going on in all 5 bowls and hard to see bubbles. So at 11:00 added to all bowls: 2 tsp water, tsp white wheat flour, pinch of sugar, stir one minute. Plastic wrap back on and wait.
15:00 Looks like no bubbles in barley-water, and very little action in control starter with white wheat flour... AHA! Barley with orange is thick and bubbly, so is oat and orange, pulling up second is oats and water. What does this mean? What did I do? Develope an oat starter that only works with oats or orange juice? (And I complicated matters by alternating oat and wheat flour when feeding my starter.)

For all practical purposes, since I'm not about to add orange juice to every recipe, the starter I made only works with oat flour. White wheat & Oat Sourdough Bread recipe will need oat starter for the oat flour and commercial yeast for the wheat flour. But will the sour have a chance to develop? Guess I should bring my wheat starter back from holiday. Then if I want pure wild yeasts I would have to use TWO starters for my sourdough bread. Does anybody else have a combo going on? I was looking through the write ups and can't find anything specific. Is this covered in Bread Baking 101?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

June 20, 2006

I can't imagine what my loaves would be without the wonderful special bread spices. Oh poppycock, yes I do, they would be bland and almost boring. You see I bake low salt. Now if I want to cut back on the salt something has to add some flavour. I started out putting in bread spices (the flavour) not because of the lack of salt but just because I like it. Reducing the salt was easy.

When my local baker found out I would be going off to a foreign land, and would probably be baking, (Why bother in Austria where the bread, cheese and wine are so good!) he would give me a good 1/4 kilo portion of his special brotgewürz. On one condition, that I don't bring any of it back with me and go into competition with him. Fair enough.

Rye is my favorite grain, followed by oats and corn. Now when I first started out with rye, something always seemed to be missing. I threw in all kinds of combinations and included molasses. Molasses was a key. Eliminate the sugar and add molasses. Caraway rye, well who never heard of caraway and rye? Now the rye needed some glue and white bread flour fit the bill, a handful or two, and sometimes powdered milk, sometimes a spoon or two of oil. The secret was the spices and plenty of it. Well, my baker died, God bless his soul, and with him his secret. Before I came here to China, I also knew I'd be baking so off I went to my Austrian Supermarket in search of spice.... and low and behold! They now sell Brotgewürz and in the handy 320gm plastic vacuum sealed jar! Perfect for traveling.

You may laugh about this or you may cry but I'm just happy. It isn't quite the same, but it's very good. Now what are those ingredients? Well a combination of Fennel, Coriander and Caraway seeds, crushed. Packaged by Kotanyi GmbH In what proportions it doesn't say but it wouldn't take too long to figure it out. I personally add more caraway and it is a very hard seed to crush. I even like it in white bread or sprinkled on top of rolls.

The recipe on the label is for Farmer's bread from Frank Zimmer, a classic:

Farmer's Rye Bread

  • 570 gm Rye Bread Flour
  • 60 gm Wheat Bread Flour
  • 500 ml Water
  • 16 gm Sourdough
  • 13 gm Salt
  • 15 gm Yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons Brotgewürz or mix of Crushed Fennel, Coriander and Caraway

Mix all ingredients into a dough and knead till smooth and elastic. Let rest 30 minutes. Put into the desired shape and form and eventually bake in preheated oven 200°c for 65 minutes.

I haven't tried this recipe but it seems in order. I would reduce the salt to less than 10 gm. (one teaspoon=5 gm) If you choose to use only sourdough and no commercial yeast, I suggest letting it rise in floured form for 20 min before putting into the oven. As you can see, there is no sugar, A flat tablespoon of honey or molasses might help the sourdough rise. If your sourdough is as soupy as mine, use two cups of it and reduce the water above to about 200ml or 300ml. The dough looks like a wet one. The kind I like to beat in the bowl with a sturdy spoon.

Try putting some spices into your favorite recipe. Have you tried any yet? It's great just wiffing the jar! Have Fun.... :) Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Here's a tip to save that starter and take it with you or store it for another day when you need a break or don't want to throw it away.

This comes from a dedicated group of Austrian Ladies who travel a lot and bake bread.

Mix enough flour with the starter to form a stiff dough. Tear up into tiny pieces and squish between your thumb and finger to form thin small chips, let air dry, seal in glass jar or ziplocks. Send on holiday in a dark cool place. When needed add water to soak overnight and then feed to continue a new starter.

Once started, it never has to stop....happy baking! €:) Mini Oven


Subscribe to RSS - Mini Oven's blog