The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Portus

Having returned from holiday with a spare pre-mixed Ziploc bag of Abe’s VSSD loaf ingredients, I decided to use them with Anis Bouabsa’s baguette method to see what they produced.  Main changes were upping VSSD’s hydration to +78% and, as the baguette’s 24-hour retard method yielded no dough expansion, I added a further 12-hour, overnight ferment at room temperature (the norm for VSSD), which only offered a meagre ~10% increase in volume.  The VSSD stiff starter was about 3 weeks old.

This combination produced a pleasing baguette and loaf.  Both presented surprising oven spring, as is particularly evident in the loaf’s bloom.  For my palate, however, I am not sure about the hint of sour for the baguette that presumably came with the long retard and ferment cycles; for the loaf, the sour was more pronounced and better suited.  As the one picture shows, the loaf’s crumb was more baguette- than loaf-like, though some may prefer the irregular, larger holes.

 

 

Whatever, I was happy that 60% whole wheat delivered a delightfully crisp crust and an open and chewy crumb ahead of expectations. I am also rather amazed about what a mere 2% of a very mature, stiff starter can do without any intermediate levain-build.  I surmise that part of the answer may lie with the high % whole wheat, a touch of DMP (substituted 5g white flour), and gentle folding - aside from being fortunate with times and temperatures.

Joe

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Portus

A great read from Bill Buford, The New Yorker - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/13/baking-bread-in-lyon

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Portus

I decided to bake Hamelman's 5 Grain Levain in a tin and mix in some AYW.  This was in an attempt to get more oven spring, and prevent sagging sides.  I used 20% AYW of total water, and shaped (somewhat unsuccessfully) for a tin.  The result was quite pleasing, but I suspect the tin resulted in a slightly gummy crumb, so next time I will remove the loaf and bake free-form for the final 10 minutes.  I also used baking spray on the loaf top to prevent the plastic bag from sticking during retard.  This resulted in a very dark top crust, which I will "pass" with my next bake. 

Joe

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Portus

I have been fiddling with flour types and quantities for my regular weekly bake using 123 as the base formula with an overnight proof in the fridge (~4C).  I enjoy a mix of white and whole wheat, and recently added some rimacintata.  I am really pleased with the results I am getting with 61% white, 21% whole wheat and 18% De Cecco semola rimacinata - quite a delicate, tasty and moist, but not gummy, crumb.  The main pic was (slightly over-) baked this morning, the one inserted below is from mid-October.

The famed “123” formula is such a useful template for any variety of loaves, but I think it has caused be to become less adventurous since October’s anniversary bake! New year’s resolution is to renew acquaintances with Mr Hamelman 😉

 

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Portus

In preparing for the 123 community bake on Saturday morning I hauled out my wooden dough board and gave it a brief scraping down.  My usual maintenance regime is a simple scrape after use, then an airing outdoors in the sun, weather permitting, followed by a light scrape prior to next using.  This time I decided apply science to the "light scrape" residue by dropping the bits (<2g) into a plastic container to which I added another <2g water, closed the lid and waited for the evening.  I then added 20 g each of water and flour, and Sunday morning it presented a decent outcome as shown in these pictures.

I therefore conclude that a wooden dough board is superior to marble/other impermeable surfaces for mixing dough as it has the advantage of an inherent reservoir/store of starter should accidental destruction of the usual, maintained starter occur.  It also brought to mind the item I read a while back about one or other community that did not rinse out the wooden mixing bread bowl; the locals simply added water and flour, mixed the lot which was left to ferment overnight for their morning bake.

I wonder if, in terms of sourdough genetics, this wood be called a chip off the old block?

 

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… bakes by Lechem and leslieruf presented a personal challenge, so midweek I retrieved my aging AYW from the depths of the fridge, fed it a fresh apple and tried my hand at Hamelman’s recipe this weekend.  These pictures tell half the story, and the second half will follow with a crumb shot tomorrow – my first slice will be a celebration of SA’s victory over England at rugby this evening!  At first blush the raisins look a bit sun burnt notwithstanding a bake at 230C with protective stainless steel lid for the first 15 minutes followed by the balance of time at 220C.

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Portus

 

… with good results, I decided to adapt the recipe for a 750g loaf, plus a bit. 

Starting off with 120g 100% hydration rye starter (base NMNF), I built a loaf comprising a mix of 33% rye, 20% each of whole wheat, AP and HG flours, 10% spelt, 1.75% caraway seeds, 1% VWG, 2% malt powder, with a reduction in water resulting in 73% overall hydration. 

Slow bake for some 40 minutes, starting at 235oC reducing to 220oC after 20 minutes, this delivered a pleasing and rather tasty loaf with a decent rise and happy crumb.  Thank you Edo bread for the template!


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Portus

A Johannesburg filling station keeps passing motorists entertained with its daily ration of aphorisms.  I think this one is worth repeating, even if it's not new!

 

 

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