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Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Chasing thin, crispy, not thick/tough dough

For a year, I have been the route with the best books, internet sites, conversations with authorities (King Arthur); have altered everything you can name (hydration, baking temperature, Pizza store and Lodge pot, spraying and not, baking time, etc. etc. etc.  AND, STILL produce thick, chewy (trip to the dentist) crust!  After trying all the best books/methods, I am now finally going simple (Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day).  Does anyone know what REALLY works for thin, crispy crust???  Thanks much.  Jim Burgin 

pain de provence

It is getting to be harvest season in my part of the world, and that means herbs are cheap and plentiful. Now is a great time to try baking an herb bread.

You can bake wonderful herb breads with whatever you have on hand: rosemary, dill, basil, thyme, mint, chives, you name it. I happen to have an excess of Herbes De Provence on hand, a mixture of savory, thyme, fennel, and lavender that you can find in most specialty grocery stores or order online.

I used my standard poolish french bread as the base for this, then added the liqueur and herbs recommended by Bernard Clayton in his recipe for Pain de Provence in his Complete Book of Breads. Feel free to experiment and use a different dough as the base.

pain de provence

Pain De Provence

Makes 1 large loaf

Poolish:
1 cup bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:
All of the poolish
2 cups bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup liqueur such as Beauchant, Grand Marnier, or orange Curaçao
1/4-1/2 cup water, as necessary

The night before baking, make the poolish by mixing together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of yeast to make a batter. Cover the container with plastic wrap and set aside for 8 to 16 hours until you are ready to make the final dough.

To make the dough, combine the remaining flour with the remaining yeast, salt, and herbs. Add the poolish, the liqueur, and 1/4 cup of the additional water. Mix the ingredients, and, if necessary, add more water or flour until the proper consistency is reached (tacky but not so sticky that the dough sticks to your hands).

Knead by hand for 10 to 15 minutes or in a mixer for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes. Remove it from the bowl and gently degas it, then return it to the bowl, cover it, and allow it to double in size again.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball or long loaf. Cover the loaf with a damp towel and allow it to rise again until doubled in size, which takes between 60 and 90 more minutes.

While the loaf is in its final rise, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 450. I also preheat a brownie pan into which I pour a cup of hot water just after placing the loaf in the oven. This creates steam in the oven which increases the crunchiness of the crust.

Just prior to placing the loaf in the oven, score the top of it with a sharp knife or razor blade.

Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 450, then rotate it 180 degrees and reduce the oven temperature to 375 and baked it another 25 minutes. The internal temperature of the loaf should be in the ball park of 200 degrees when you remove it from the oven.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving, if you can resist.

pain de provence

I couldn't.

Pain de Provence

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Thom Leonard Country French Boule recipe

 Hole-y-ness:

I've been asked how I get the big holes, and how I fold. Whether you are working with a bread dough that uses commercial yeast, or with sourdough, the same principles seem to apply from what I've experienced. Obviously, there are others here more experienced in sourdough who may have different techniques. It depends on what works for you.

What gives me the big holes is to use a very wet, soft dough, fold it 2-3 times for the first 60-90 minutes of fermenting to strengthen the gluten, and when you're ready to shape, VERY GENTLY pour it out onto your counter, VERY GENTLY fold the sides into the center to gather it up into a boule without degassing it in the least, flip upside down in your hand and tighten it into a boule by pinching the seam underneath closed. Then place it smooth-side down (seam-side up) into a floured banneton or proofing basket. Do not skimp on the rising time - if it needs 5 or 6 hours rather than the 3 stated in the recipe, let it rise all the way, and make sure your starter is very active.

I really like this bread, I just made it again this past weekend and it came out equally well as it did in the photo at top. It had more of a sour bite to it this time from the wet rye starter.

Thom Leonard’s Country French Bread (from "Artisan Baking" by Maggie Glezer)

Makes one 4 lb. (1.8 kilo) loaf

Time: about 18 hrs. with 30 minutes of active work

 

The evening before baking make the Levain as follows:

45 g ( 1 oz) fermented rye sourdough starter refreshed 8-12 hrs before (I use a batter-like starter made with equal weights water to rye flour, not a firm starter. If you only have a white flour starter, use that and just substitute 30 g of the white flour in the final dough with rye flour)

120 g (3.3 oz) lukewarm water

140 g (5.3 oz) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (see my note below on flour)

Dissolve starter in the water in a small bowl, then add flour and beat this batter-like dough until very smooth. Place in covered container and ferment at room temp (@70F) until doubled, 8-12 hrs.

NOTE: I use only King Arthur All-Purpose flour rather than bread flour as it has a high enough protein content and a high ash content compared to other all-purpose flour. The high amount of protein found in most “bread flours” makes the crumb too tough for my taste.

Next day make the final dough as follows:

100 g (3.5 oz) Whole Wheat Flour (if you like your bread a little darker add up to 350 g whole wheat here and use 250 g less white flour below)

1030 g (36 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur has best protein and ash content. If using a white flour starter in the levain rather than rye, substitute 30 g of the white flour here with 30 g rye flour)

660 g (24 oz) warm water

all the fermented levain you made the night before (305 g or 10.6 oz)

23 g (0.8 oz) sea salt (preferably grey Celtic sea salt if you can find it, often sold in health food stores)

Mix By hand: combine all flours in large bowl. Add the warm water to the fermented levain to loosen it from container. Pour the watered levain into the flours and mix with spoon, dough whisk, or hands until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest (autolyse) for 20-30 minutes. Turn dough out onto work surface, knead for 10 minutes, then add salt, and knead for another 5 minutes until salt has dissolved and dough is very smooth and shiny.

Mix By stand mixer: same as by hand except leave in mixer bowl after autolyse, then mix with dough hook on lowest speed for 5 minutes. Add salt and knead in mixer at low speed for another 4-5 minutes until very smooth and almost cleans the bottom of the mixing bowl.

The dough should feel soft, sticky, and extensible at end of kneading. If it is too stiff and dry, add a few more drops of water until dough just barely clears bottom of mixing bowl at end of kneading if using a stand mixer, or until dough feels soft and stretchy, and slightly sticky, if hand kneading. Softer, wetter doughs give you larger air holes in the baked loaf, which also gives the bread more flavor.

Fermenting: Place dough in lightly-oiled bowl at least 3 times its size and cover with plastic wrap. Let ferment for 3 hours at room temp (@70F) until well-expanded but not yet doubled in bulk. Turn dough 3 times at 30 minute intervals by gently folding like a business letter and flipping upside-down, (that is, turn once at 30, 60, and 90 minutes into fermenting time), then leave the dough undisturbed for remainder of time. OR: for even more flavor, ferment at room temperature for one hour (turning 2 times, once at after 30 and once after 60 minutes), then retard overnight in fridge, warming up again next day at room temp. for 2-3 hours before shaping.

 

Rounding and resting: Turn dough out onto floured work surface, and very gently round it into a tight boule. Cover with plastic and let rest for 10-15 min. to relax the gluten. While resting, prepare your basket or banneton by dusting with flour. If you’d rather make 2 smaller boules than one large one, divide the dough in half with a dough cutter, and gently form each piece into a tight boule.

Shaping and proofing: Shape the dough into an even and tight round loaf (or leaves if making 2 smaller boules) without deflating it. Place dough topside down into the floured basket or banneton. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap and proof for 4 to 4.5 hours at room temperature (@70F) until at least doubled in volume and a slight dent remains when pressed with finger.

Preheating oven: At least 45 minutes before dough is fully-proofed, preheat oven with baking stone on middle rack to 500F.

Bake: Gently flip the dough upside down to release it from the banneton/basket onto semolina-dusted parchment on an over-turned baking sheet or wooden peel, or directly onto a semolina-dusted peel if not using parchment. Slash the boule with a razor in a pound sign (#) design, or in a spiral, cross, or any other desired pattern, as long as the slashes go completely across the top to allow for even expansion during baking. Slide parchment onto hot baking stone in oven, or onto semolina dusted baking stone if not using parchment, and quickly mist side walls of oven with water in a mister (do not spray near the oven light!) and quickly shut the oven door to prevent heat and steam from escaping. The steam helps the dough rise very quickly in the hot oven (called “oven spring”) and also makes the crust more brown and crisp. Turn oven down from 500F to 400F and set oven timer for 30 minutes (20 minutes if making 2 smaller boules). Continue misting every 30 seconds just 3 or 4 times for first 2 or 3 minutes of baking, then leave to bake. When first 30 minutes are up, open oven and rotate loaves around to even out browning. Set timer for another 30 minutes (20 minutes for 2 smaller boules) and check the loaf when that time is up. If it is still a light color brown, leave in for another 5-10 minutes until it is a deeper brown but not burnt, then probe center of loaf with instant-read thermometer, loaves are done when thermometer reads at least 205F in center. If they are getting burnt but center is not done, your oven is too hot, turn it down another 25 degrees or so next time. Let cool thoroughly on rack before cutting as the centers are still cooking, at least 2 hours.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sourdough Italian Baguettes

Sourdough Italian Demi-Baguettes: Variations on a Theme 

David M. Snyder

May 3, 2015

  

Last month, I made some Sourdough Italian Rolls, using a formula I had developed and used previously to make bâtards. This week, I continued to play with this formula. I increased the proportion of durum flour in the dough, doubling the amount in the final dough, and I shaped the dough as demi-baguettes. (I wanted to make bâtards. My wife wanted more rolls to use for sandwiches. Demi-Baguettes was the compromise. We use that shape for sandwiches frequently.)

 

Total Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

AP flour

334

60.7

Fine Durum flour

200

36.4

WW flour

11

2

Whole Rye flour

5

1

Water

400

72.7

Salt

10

1.8

Sugar

14

2.5

EVOO

14

2.5

Total

988

179.6

  

Liquid Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

Liquid starter

40

40

Water

100

100

AP flour

70

70

WW flour

20

20

Whole Rye flour

10

10

Total

240

240

  1. Disperse the liquid starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Ferment at room temperature until expanded and bubbly (8-12 hours). If necessary, refrigerate overnight and let warm up for an hour before using.

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

AP flour

300

Fine Durum flour

200

Water

350

Salt

10

Sugar

14

Active liquid levain

100

EVOO

14

Total

988

Procedures

  1. In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.

  2. Add the flours and sugar to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.

  6. After 30 minutes, do stretch and folds in the bowl. Repeat 3 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  7. Continue bulk fermentation for another 30-90 minutes, until the dough is puffy. If fermented in a glass bowl, you should see lots of little bubbles throughout the dough. Volume of the dough may have increased by 50% or so.

  8. Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

  9. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds or logs. Cover with a clean towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.

  10. Shape as Demi-Baguettes or Ficelles.

  11. Roll the loaves on damp paper towels, then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  12. Proof for about 45 minutes, seam-side down, on parchment paper pleated to separate the loaves and supported at both long sides by rolled-up dish towels. Cover with a damp towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap.

  13. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. When ready to bake, uncover the loaves. Pull the parchment from both long sides to flatten out the pleats and separate the loaves.

  15. Transfer the loaves, on the parchment, to a peel. Score them as baguettes. Transfer them to the baking stone. 

  16. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  17. After 10-12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 6-8 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before eating.

 

After cooling, the Italian bread crust was soft. The crumb was nicely aerated, but not as open as expected for this level of hydration. I suspect this is because of the durum flour (higher protein but poorer quality gluten) and the extra handling installing the sesame seeds. The flavor is heavenly. This is a sweet white roll with the nuttiness of durum and sesame seeds, dipped in high quality EVOO. How could that not be delicious?

One of the baguettes was consumed for dinner. 

Panino with roast chicken breast, caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar, sliced dried calmyrna figs, emmenthaler cheese and a light smear of Dijon mustard.

Such a sandwich can only be washed down with good Italian beer, of course. 

I also baked a couple boules based on the "Overnight Country Blonde" from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. Summer has arrived, and my kitchen is running 75 to 78 dF, so fermentation runs faster than the book specifies. The result is that bulk fermentation was complete in 5 hours. I refrigerated the dough overnight and divided and shaped the next morning. Even with the dough starting out cold, proofing was complete in about 2 hours. 

All of the sourdough breads I have made from FWSY have a strong family resemblance but more or less distinctive flavor profiles, depending on the flour mix used, the percentage pre-fermented flour and the fermentation routine. This bread had a crunchy crust and cool, chewy crumb. The flavor had that nice wheaty sweetness and a quite present but mild sourdough tang, with the creamy lactic acid tone dominating. Although this is a higher hydration dough, the flavor profile is very much like the Pain de Campagne from Hamelman's Bread. And that's not bad! Like my San Joaquin Sourdough, it contains mostly AP flour but with about 10% whole grain flours, divided between whole wheat and whole rye. The procedures I used for this bake, with the overnight retardation before dividing and shaping, gave such nice results, I am going to use it for a while and try increasing the whole grain flours, maybe adding some toasted wheat germ for its nutty flavor and who knows what else.

It has been a good bread baking day.

Happy baking!

David

San Joaquin Sourdough

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Description

While I enjoy a variety of breads, the San Joaquin Sourdough remains my “go to” bread. It's easy to fit into a busy schedule. It uses few ingredients. It always tastes delicious. It's wonderful freshly baked but also makes great toast, French toast, garlic bread and croutons for salads or onion soup. It is almost as good after being frozen as fresh. What's not to like?

I first developed this formula about 3 years ago. Since then, I've tweaked the formula and methods in many ways. I know many TFL members have made this bread and enjoyed it. So, I thought an update on my current recipe might be of interest.

To summarize the changes I've made in the past 6 months:

  1. I substituted 25 g of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of the rye flour in the original formula. The difference in flavor is subtle, but I like it better.

  2. I adopted the oven steaming method for home ovens we were taught in the SFBI Artisan I and II workshops. 

Summary

Yield
556 g Bâtards
SourceMy own recipe.
Prep time6 hours
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time6 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

450 g
all-purpose unbleached flour
25 g
Medium rye flour
360 g
water
10 g
salt
100 g
Liquid levain (100% hydration)

Instructions

Procedures

Mixing

In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using a plastic scraper or silicon spatula, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals.

Fermentation

After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes with a stretch and fold after 45 and 90 minutes, then return the dough to the container and place it in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. 

Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

To pre-shape for a bâtard, I now form a ball rather than a log. Place each piece of dough smooth side down. Pat into a rough circle, degassing the dough gently in the process. Bring the far edge to the middle and seal the seam. Then go around the dough, bringing about 1/5 of the dough to the middle and sealing it. Repeat until you have brought the entire circumference of the piece to the middle. Turn the piece over, and shape as a boule. Turn each ball seam side up onto a lightly floured part of your board.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 60 minutes. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, I now favor the method portrayed in the King Arthur Flour instructional video. I encourage you to watch the video, but here is a verbal description of the method:

  1. For each piece of dough, place it in front of you on an un-floured board.

  2. Hold down the near side and stretch the far side of the piece into a rough rectangle about 8 inches front to back.

  3. Now, fold the far end two thirds of the way to the near end and seal the seam with the heel of your hand.

  4. Take each of the far corners of the piece and fold them to the middle of the near side of your first fold. Seal the seams.

  5. Now, the far end of the dough piece should be roughly triangular with the apex pointing away from you. Grasp the apex of the triangle and bring it all the way to the near edge of the dough piece. Seal the resulting seam along the entire width of the loaf.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side up and pinch the seam closed, if there are any gaps.

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and put your steaming apparatus of choice in place. (I currently use a 7 inch cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks.) Heat the oven to 500F.

Proofing

After shaping the loaves, transfer them to a linen couche, seam side up. Cover the loaves with a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaves have expanded to about 1-1/2 times their original size. (30-45 minutes) Test readiness for baking using “the poke test.” Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

Baking

Pre-steam the oven, if desired.

Transfer the loaves to a peel. (Remember you proofed them seam side up. If using a transfer peel, turn the loaves over on the couch before rolling them onto the transfer peel. That way, the loaves will be seam side down on the peel.) Score the loaves. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Steam the oven. (I place a perforated pie tin with about 12 ice cubes in it on top of the pre-heated lava rocks.) Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door. (If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake, and turn the temperature down to 435ºF.)

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 7 minutes to dry the crust.

Cooling

Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.

Notes

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Eye opening techniques

I know when I first started baking I nodded dutifully when I was told to knead until the dough will pass the window pain test. If you can't stretch a piece until it is translucent and you can see light through it, knead some more. This advice is found through out the industry help and how to books and is considered to be a core understanding by many. Far be it for me who is a lowly novice in terms of time in the flour bin to question the conventional wisdom, however. There are a few misconceptions that have become accepted as gospel that I believe hinder the new baker and for that matter any baker who wants to truly understand what their potential is in the kitchen. The techniques I address here are not my ideas or content. These things were presented to me by others here on the forum in pieces over the last few years and together represent the basis of my capability today.

The first bit of advice I have is to stop what ever you are doing and watch this video. If you're like me it will take a few times to get the hang of what the poster is doing. This is Richard Bertinet doing a demo for Gourmet magazine. He is making a sweet dough but it doesn't matter. The technique is key. When I learned this move and method of handling dough, my results instantly went from unpredictable to reliable. 10 or maybe 15 seconds with your hands in the dough and that's it, you're done. No more kneading is required. You might do a couple folds every 20-30 minutes during the primary ferment. This will work with sourdough or yeasted recipes and white or whole wheat with the caveat that WW will need a fold or two during the ferment. Once I learned to do the French Fold, I have rarely used my mixer. When you understand how the dough is supposed to feel with your own fingers it is much easier to produce a dough that will perform to your expectations.

Further EDIT: A regular contributor to this forum has produced some really terrific video training aids that can be seen HERE. Mark Sinclair is the owner of The Back Home Bakery in Kalispell Montana. He is remarkably clear in the message he sends about how to handle several dough types and shaping.
Mark demonstrates how easily you can mix, stretch and fold and shape dough. His style is easy to follow and well done. I highly recommend you take a look at these instructional videos. He just posted a new video on shaping a high hydration baguette that is excellent. Many of his recipes are search-able here or if you email him he will probably send them to you. His bakery products are beautiful and the photography is inspirational.

Mark now has 2 DVD's for sale that take you from end to end with 3 different breads and another on technique. There are lots of places to get information on how bake good breads. Marks Video's are reasonable and very helpful to the new baker.

There is another video that should be included is the Julia Child/Daniel Forester baguette demonstration. This is a 2 part video that shows how to put together french bread dough by hand and uses the frisage method. Frisage is something that once seen, always understood. You can read about it repeatedly but it won't make sense until you see it in action. See it http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html here.

Added by Edit: A great video is now available that I think is the essence of dough handling and shows how easy it is to mix dough without a mixer. If you can chew gum you can make great bread using Richard Bertinet's video HERE.

Secondly, Da Crumb Bum posted a concept that goes against all the common wisdom concerning pre heating your oven and using a stone for a thermal battery. Who hasn't thought that to get good rustic bread one must bake on a pizza stone or a tile surface? There are some instances where a stone and preheat is required like pizza and bread sticks but for the greatest majority of your baking, no stone or preheat is required. A link to the original post is http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1843/no-knead-preheat#comment-12597 . Most are skeptical this will work at first but trust me on this, you won't believe it until you see it with your own eyes. It is expensive to maintain 450F in a steel box both in terms of wasting money and by wasting the energy and resources of our planet. The minimal effect that preheating has on the crust is absolutely not worth the additional energy.

I share these thoughts and techniques as a way of thanking the many posters who have helped me to become at least a competent home artisan baker. The host of The Fresh Loaf (floydm) is top on the list with his lessons and frequent examples of solid baking. Hundreds of community members, posters, are here to answer your question or help with an issue. This is a great site because of the members. Don't be afraid to jump in, we are just like family.

ADDED EDIT:
It's been a while since I made this post and I wanted to come back and add a few things now that I have some experience under my belt.
1.) I still almost never use the mixer. A brief hand mix to break up the dry clumps of flour followed by a 30-60 minute rest and stretch and fold or French folding as per the top video will develop the gluten just fine. Stretch and fold every 30-60 minutes for the duration of the bulk ferments. Time will be your friend here. Be patient. If you use a very small amount of starter for inoculation or yeast, you slow down the bulk ferment. If you increase the hydration slightly, you will find you can fold every 40-60 minutes for about 4 hours. The dough will be perfectly satin smooth and will easily windowpane.

2.) Instead of starting from a cold oven, I now am starting the oven when the dough looks ready and the proof is about done. The dough is proofing on parchment, covered with a floured towel or a moist tea towel. When it looks like the proof is done, turn on the oven. My electric will go to 450 in 7 minutes. Slide the dough in, steam for a great crust. I rotate after 20 minutes.

3.) I think many people over ferment and over proof. Try fermenting for 60 minutes at 78F, shape and proofing for 45-60 minutes. Remember, the warmer it is where your dough ferments, the faster the dough will rise. Temperature matters.

4.) Make your slashes deeper than a 1/4 inch. You might be better to go back and retrace your initial slashes to make them just a little deeper. Be modest in the pattern. Remember what the purpose is of slashing.

5.) Not so much a technique but a suggestion. Adopt a basic formula that you can make in your sleep. Nothing fancy, a basic yeast or sourdough bread your family likes and work from that. You will be surprised at how many different types of bread you can make using your basic master formula by adding one or two ingredients or changing the handling slightly.
Have fun and learn at your own pace. The collective knowledge at The Fresh Loaf is being plugged into your own private baking school.

Eric

"It's not you he wags his tail for, but, your bread".

mrjeffmccarthy's picture
mrjeffmccarthy

Seed Monster Sourdough

Naturally Leavened seeded sourdough with chia, golden flax, and hemp seeds. Crusted with everything topping. Nutritionally dense and packed with flavor. 

Soaker

60g hemp seed

60g ground flax seed

60g chia seed

360g h20 @210F

Dough 

580g bread flour (I used locally milled) 

144g whole wheat (I milled my own hard red winter wheat) 

22g wheat germ 

557g H20 (77%)

17g salt  (2.4%)

 

110g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) 

 

Everything Topping 

Combine the following- 

Equal parts dried onion, dried garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds

Salt to taste (A good amount of quality flake salt or coarse kosher salt)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the Soaker: 

Mix the chia, hemp, and ground flax seeds together in a vessel large enough to hold them and the water. Heat the water to 210 F and pour over the seeds. Mix together and let stand 1 hr or overnight. 

Prepare the dough: 

Mix flours and germ to combine. Scale the water and pour 10-20 g of it over the scaled salt. Set salt/water aside. Add remaining water to flour and mix to create a shaggy dough. Autolyse 30 min to 1 hr. 

Add starter to dough and mix to combine. Once the starter is incorporated, add the reserved salt/water mixture. Mix to combine. 

Mix the dough to develop gluten. I use my kitchen aid stand mixer with the hook on medium speed, takes 6-7 minutes to reach full development. 

Bulk ferment for 3-6 hours depending on your temps. Stretch & fold dough every thirty minutes for first 1 1/2 hours. Add seed soaker during second set of folds. Fold once every hour or so until dough has  risen 30-50% 

Scale dough, pre-shape and shape as desired, I do two 950g loaves because that's what fits into my combo-cooker dutch ovens. Pre-shape should sit at least 20 minutes before shaping. You can either evenly sprinkle your tea-towel lined banneton with the everything topping or if you make enough roll the whole loaves in the topping before you place into the banneton. Cold proof loaves overnight in the fridge. 

Next day preheat oven with combo cooker lids (larger part) inside as hot as your oven will go. My goes 550F. Preheat at least 1 hour. When oven is ready take the dough from the fridge, turn it out into the combo cooker base which is lined with parchment or sprinkled with semolina. Slash loaf as desired. Bake covered at 550F for ten minutes. Lower oven temp to 450F and bake additional 15 minutes. Remove lid and bake until desired color is reached and internal temp of loaf is at least 205F. Takes about 5 minutes in my oven. Cool at least 2 hrs before slicing. 

Enjoy!  

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Home with bread / Fighting gravity

For the first time in five months I baked bread at home and it made me very nervous.

It is an entirely different proposition to make a hand full of breads in a home oven as opposed to the rhythm and flow that working in large batches provides. My attention and perfectionist streak is focused on too few ... the dough is essentially the same (though not quite as rewarding) ... but the loading of a home oven is problematic and inefficient.

... the nicest dough in the world can be ruined by a lousy oven.

So while my time with a wood-oven at Chester St has come to a close it seems that more possibilities may be ahead of me soon. Bread is my way forward ... it is my future ... but in the meantime I am thankful for some time to spend with my family and friends ... they have missed this busy baker.

 

 

 

There has been sadness this week though, as my good friend Daryl sadly lost his father Keith Taylor. Daryl worked with me in the kitchen at Chester St and his parents would visit us on occasions which was always a treat. Keith would stand opposite my bench and chat as I busied myself shaping or rounding loaves. He loved bread ... it was from his past ... it was a part of him.  As a young boy his father owned a bakery in Brisbane running a large scotch wood-fired oven and Keith was granted a special license at the age of 14 to deliver bread to the local community. The smell of dough and baked bread transported him back and he had many tales to tell. I will cherish those talks.

These breads are for you Keith ...

Keith Ian Taylor 23/12/1933 - 3/6/2013. R.I.P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

My time at home has also allowed me to catch up on another activity ... reading. The latest book I am ploughing through is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael PollanIn it he has a chapter called "Air" which is related to bread fermentation where he discusses the many aspects of bread and its production with the likes of Richard Bourdon, Chad Robertson and Dave Miller (my biggest bread influences).

While reading this I was inspired to begin milling and fermenting freshly milled flour. I couldn't help but do it ... I had to ... It has been so long since I have made honest heart-felt bread like this. This formula is influenced by Dave Miller's method of milling and mixing on one day then shaping and baking the next.

Fresh milled wholewheat (4 x 1000g)

Formula

   

Final starter build – 3 hrs 27°C

 

 

Starter

93g

50%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

186g

100%

Water

120g

65%

 

 

 

Final dough - 24°C

 

 

Whole wheat starter @ 65%

348g

18%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

1899g

100%

Water

1709g

90%

Salt

44g

2.3%

 

Method

  1. Mix final starter and leave to ferment for 3 hours at 27°C
  2. Mill flour and allow to cool to room temperature before mixing with water (hold back 100 grams of water) and autolyse for a one hour.
  3. Add starter to autolyse then knead (French fold) 5 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 100 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 10 mins.
  4. Bulk ferment for one hour at room temperature. Stretch-and-fold after one hour and place in a fridge at 4°C for 12 hours.
  5. Remove from fridge. Divide. Preshape.
  6. Bench rest 30 mins. Shape.
  7. Final proof was for 1.5 hours at 22°C
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 250°C for 10 mins with steam then bake for a further 40 mins. 

 

 

 

 

 

While shaping the bread the words of Dave Miller resounded in my head "You're always fighting gravity with wholegrains" ... I shaped them tight ... If I was going to struggle to get loft then I wanted bloom!

... and after 5 months of baking in ovens without windows I was again awestruck as I sat before my glass fronted home oven and watched oven spring unfold ... perhaps my home oven is good for something :)

Happy baking everyone ...
Phil 

There must be a hundred different cinnamon roll recipes, from the French pain aux raisin to the British Chelsea buns to Philadelphia style sticky buns to the Midwest American truck stop cinnamon rolls that are as big as your head.

Here is the recipe I grew up with and still bake most often.

Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
Dough:
16 oz all-purpose flour
10 oz warm milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup choppped walnuts or pecans

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Make the dough by combining all of the ingredients and kneading until smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. If it is too moist add a handful of extra flour. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl, and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size (roughly an hour).

While I'm waiting for the dough to rise, I like to plump the raisins by pouring very hot water on them and letting them sit in the water for 15 minutes before draining them. This keeps them moister when you bake them, but this step isn't necessary if you are short on time.

Sometimes I prepare my filling as you'll see below: by combining the softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a bowl so they can be spread together. Again, this isn't necessary: you can simply spread the butter and sprinkle the sugar and spices as best as you can by hand. It is up to you.

When the dough is risen, roll it out on a floured surface.

Cinnamon Rolls

Spread the filling on the risen dough.

Cinnamon Rolls

Also sprinkle the raisins on top.

Roll the dough up, trying as best as you can to prevent the filling form spilling out. Slice the roll into 12 even pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls

A tip from the Department of Slow Learners: I have no idea why it took me 25 years to figure out this trick, but it did. In the past, when I needed to slice something like this into 12 even pieces, I would eyeball it and then start carving one slice at a time off the end. Inevitably as I reached the final couple of slices I'd have either too much or too little left, so the final couple rolls are never the same size as the rest.

The trick I learned is to first slice the roll into two even pieces. Then slice slice each of these pieces into two even pieces, so you have four pieces total. Each of those pieces only needs to be cut twice more for you to have twelve pieces. Eyeballing how to cut a small piece of dough into three even pieces is much easier than eyeballing a twelfth of a large piece of dough.

Cinnamon Rolls

Moving on....

Now that your roll is cut into twelve even pieces, place those pieces in a baking pan.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cover the pan and let the buns rise for another 45 minutes to an hour until they've roughly doubled in size.

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake them at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes. Be careful about oven positioning and overbaking: because there is quite a bit of sugar in the filling it is quite easy to burn the bottom of the rolls. I find that the second rack from the top works best in my oven, and I try to pull them out as soon as they look baked.

Cinnamon Rolls

Let the rolls cool for 20 minutes or so before glazing them. The glaze will thicken as it cools, but if it is extremely runny feel free to add some additional powdered sugar to thicken it up.

Cinnamon Rolls

There is it.

Cinnamon Rolls

I'd be interested in hearing about other people's favorite Cinnamon Roll recipes/techniques. Please share your recipes, ideas, and photos.

Cinnamon Rolls

This weekend I found myself staring out the window at the abundant chives growing in my garden. What could I possibly do with them, I wondered, except eat them on baked potatoes? And how many baked potatoes can I eat before I never want to see another spud again?

Then it occurred to me that I've made potato bread before, so why not add chives to potato bread? And, heck, while I'm at it, why not throw in some other tater toppings like sour cream and bacon and have a full-on Baked Potato Bread?

By the time I had second thoughts about it, all of the ingredients were mixed together. But, you know what? It turned out excellent, the perfect accompaniment to a pot of corn chowder on a rainy day.

The full recipe is below.
Freestyle Baking

As I have written about time and time again, I think the real fun in baking comes once you have mastered the basics and understand how adding different ingredients in different proportions will change the character of your loaf.

Whether I am making up a recipe or checking out a new recipe in a cookbook, my point of reference is always the loaf I introduced in lesson 1, which is 3 cups flour, 1 + a little cups of water, 2 teaspoons yeast, 2 teaspoons salt. If I read a recipe and it has more water than, say, a cup and a quarter of water per three cups of flour I know it is going to a slack dough; more fats (butter, milk): a softer loaf; contains sugars: a sweet loaf; and so on.

When thinking up this recipe, I took the lesson one recipe, substituted potatoes for about 20 percent of the flour, substituted sour cream for about 50% of the water, and added the chives and bacon and bacon fat. It sounded easy enough, though I made some adjustments as I started baking, as you'll see below.

Potato Bread

I don't believe that I've every posted about a potato bread on this site, so a little introduction is in order.

Replacing between 10 and 30 percent of your flour with mashed potatoes results in a wonderful soft, moist loaf of bread. Potato flakes or potato starch can be used, as well, but leftover mashed potatoes work great even if they have some butter or milk or salt in them.

Do be careful, though: potatoes are considerably lower in gluten than wheat, so add too much potato and you will end with a dense, moist loaf, probably too much like a baked potato for anyone's liking. I find 1/2 cup potatoes to around 3 cups flour to be plenty.

In this recipe I used a couple of small red potatoes that we had steamed up as a side dish for dinner the night before. All I did was mash them up with a fork and mix them into the flour. I left the skins on before mashing them because I find the little red flakes speckling the loaf to be quite attractive.

Bacon isn't to everyone's liking, either for dietary or religious reasons. I see no reason why this recipe wouldn't be good even if you excluded it, but if it something you are able to indulge in I suggest you do. I definitely think it improved the flavor and consistency (and appearance, for that matter) of the loaf.

Enough blabbing. On to the recipe!

Baked Potato Bread

Makes 2 small (one pound) loaves or one large loaf

1/2 cup mashed potatoes
3 to 4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (I'll explain the ambiguity below)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cooked bacon
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

To begin, chop up two or three slices of bacon and fry them up. Remove them from the heat.

Mix the mashed potatoes, yeast, salt, and 2 cups of the flour together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. If you have active dry yeast and want to substitute, read this. Add the sour cream, water, chives, and bacon and mix together until all ingredients are combined. I also mixed in the bacon fat, which there was about a tablespoon of in the pan, because it improves the flavor of the loaf.

At this point you'll have a very wet, sticky mess, probably more of a batter than a dough. Add additional flour a handful (1/8 cup) at a time and mix or knead it in.

(I lost track of exactly how much extra flour I added, but it seems like it was around 9 or 10 hands full. I added 4 or 5 hands full and mixed them in while the dough was still in the bowl, then I poured the dough out onto a well-floured cutting board and added more, kneading it with my hands which I repeatedly dipped in flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. After 5 or 10 minutes of this I ended up with something that was still quite sticky, but was definitely in the realm of a dough and not a batter: it could be formed into a ball and generally held its shape.)

Once you have combined the ingredients well and gotten the balance of flour and water to a level that seems acceptable, return the dough to a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes at room temperature or until it has doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape the loaf or loaves. Notice how moist and gummy my dough was when I cut it to shape it into two loaves:

One probably could add more flour and make an acceptable loaf of bread with a drier dough, but I've been finding that I get better results the wetter I am able to leave it. But this really is an art, not a science, so use your own best judgement.

At this point you need to shape the loaves, cover them loosely and let them rise until they double in size again, about 45 minutes. You could put them in greased baking pans and let them rise and bake them in those. I wanted round loaves, so I put them in a couple of couche lined baskets:

Professional bakers use these kinds of baskets, which are very nice but completely out of my price range. I found two small baskets at Goodwill for 49 cents each and have found that they help keep the shape of my rounds very well.

The baking couche I got from a neighbor who works in bakery. It works very well, but you can fake the same thing with a well floured kitchen towel (the linen kind, not a fuzzy one).

As you can see in the picture above, I placed the baskets on a table, the couche over the baskets, and the dough in the floured couche in the baskets. I wrapped the edges of the couche around the balls of dough and let them rise. When they had risen I simply unwrapped the loaves and shook them out of the couche onto my peel (which I dust with semolina flour) and threw them into the oven.

While the loaves are rising again, preheat the oven to 425. If you have a baking stone, be sure to put it in early to heat.

When they have doubled in size (as I said before, about 45 minutes after shaping), put the loaves in the oven to bake. I baked them at 425 for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 and baked them another half an hour. The loaves are done when the internal temperature reaches the 185 to 195 degree range (as read with an instant-read thermometer) or when they are nice and brown on the outside and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. For me this took about 35 minutes.

And there we have it. The bread was wonderful while still warm with a pot of soup, but I actually think I preferred it the next day cold. With the bacon fat and sour cream, there was plenty of fat in the bread so it didn't need to be buttered; just plain it was rich and moist enough.

Baked Potato Bread

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