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Artisan Breads

bakingmad's picture

French bread (large Boule) sponge-like crumb

July 7, 2006 - 12:04am -- bakingmad

I have attempted to make a large French boule, but the crumb always turns out like a sponge. I have tried higher and lower hydration levels. I want a fluffy, cottonball-like crumb, but consistently end up with an unusually heavy, spongy loaf and I'm tired of this!!!!

Here's the recipe that I tried...


1- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final dough

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water

I added enough flour to make a sticky dough that almost completely pulled off of the kneading surface and let it proof in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.

JMonkey's picture

Whole wheat, Laurel's Kitchen and a pre-ferment question

July 5, 2006 - 12:04pm -- JMonkey

I finally picked up the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, and I'm really enjoying it. It's so well written, and written with such enthusiasm -- really infectuous.

I have noticed a few places where the advice is not the best. For instance, they recommend storing whole wheat sourdough bread (she calls it "Desem" -- Flemish for sourdough. They got the recipe from a Belgian baker) tightly wrapped in the fridge. Stale city!

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Boy was this a busy weekend! Had the day off today, so I spent part of it baking.

First, the 'basic' sourdough recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Always a big winner.

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Had a bit of a blowout on the boule ;) It probably could have used some more rising time before going into the oven. The oven spring was beautiful!

Here's Pane Siciliano, also from TBBA. It's a wonderful recipe. The interior is soft, almost fluffy, and the exterior has a nice crunch to it. The sesame adds a welcome nuttines.

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The one on the end was supposed to be a spiral, but rose into something that looked remotely beehive-ish, then fell over :)

And here are my favorites in the looks department. I butchered a Pain de Campagne recipe in a bread book. The recipe was a 4-day recipe that told you to make a starter from scratch. I decided to use my rye starter (Clyde!) as the base, and modify the recipe to suit. Recipe follows.

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It's comforting to know I can basically wing a recipe, and the experience from dozens of loaves lets me come out with a finished product.
The one that looks all knotted up is just that - it's a square knot made with 2 long pieces of dough. I put shallow slashes in it to make it look like rope. I think it came out pretty cool! I'm bringing it to my father-in-law who is a Boy Scout Scoutmaster.
Oh, and the donut is an off-cut from making the square knot :) It was delicious! teehee

Starter recipe:

9oz rye starter
5oz flour - bread and whole wheat in about a 4:1 ratio
4oz water

Mix, let sit overnight.

Bread recipe:
6cp bread flour
4tsp salt
1 1/2 cp water (+/- 1/2 cup or so to suit the flour)

Mix everything together, knead about 10 minutes until dough passes the windowpane test, proof 3-4 hours until double. Punch down, shape, proof 2-3 hours until double. Preheat to 450F, bake on a stone 25-30 minutes.


Sylviambt's picture

Searching for cranberry-walnut mini-boules

June 29, 2006 - 9:22am -- Sylviambt

At least two of the better bakeries in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) occasionally offer deep brown and crusty mini-boules filled with dried cranberries and walnuts. They are wonderful with soups, with sharp cheddar or on their own with coffee. Can anyone suggest a recipe I can use to achieve these absolutely delicious wonders? Thanks.

In search of the perfect crust and crumb

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

pincupot's picture

Hello. I am new to this and new to bread baking. Have been trying all types of recipes from several books but cannot seem to find out how to calculate adding oat groats and other types of grain to bread. Is there a ratio to follow? Do the grains need to be soaked first? Any assistance would be GREAT! Thank you in advance!

Joe Fisher's picture

NY style sourdough rye

June 11, 2006 - 12:39pm -- Joe Fisher

Here's NY style sourdough rye from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. This loaf is delicious!!! It uses lightly sauteed onions in it, and it's out of this world.

I used organic stone ground rye flour, which I think contributes to the great flavor.

I tried using vital wheat gluten for the first time. Just a little less than 1 Tb per cup of flour. It greatly improved the rise and texture of the bread from my last try at sandwich loaves.

The pictures speak for themselves. These are my best looking and tasting sandwich loaves to date.


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