The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Labor day bake

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Labor day bake

Whew, it's been a while since my last post! I've been busy opening a brewery,

I went up to Skowhegan, ME for the Kneading Conference this year, in part to learn about using more local grains in my beer, and part to take the home baker's course. It rekindled my fire for bread, and I've been baking up a storm.

Anadama bread came from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and the wheat berry whole wheat loaves are from Bread Alone.

For the Anadama bread, I find that following the formula gives me pancake batter. I had to add a significant amount of extra flour to get the dough just to come to a ball (well over a cup), then a lot more during kneading to get the "definitely not sticky" consistency called for. I had to add more salt to compensate (tasted the dough as I worked). I haven't checked the hydration percentages as written to see if there's a typo, but I'll do that when I have the books in front of me.

As for the loaves themselves, you absolutely must make this if you haven't yet. Almost impossibly soft, just a little sweet, with a cornmeal crunch on the crust.

For the whole wheat bread, I went off the formula a bit. I mixed the dough fairly wet, then did three stretch-and-folds at 30 minute intervals instead of the 15-minute knead called for in the recipe. Since there is a high percentage of wheat, I wanted the best chance for an open, chewy crumb, and I think I nailed it. The texture and flavor of the whole wheat berries in there with the lovely chewy crumb is just delightful. The slashes on the round loaf aren't great, and since I had to bake on the back of a sheet pan the loaves were a smidge misshapen, but that certainly didn't affect the flavor!

Polenta, wheat berries and sifted whole wheat flour came Maine Grains in Skowhegan. White flour was plain old Gold Medal AP flour.

Once I figure out the media library I'll upload more pictures. In the meantime, click here for a full album!


Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Your loaves look great. When I went up to Maine I bought some of the flour. It was good. Did you run into Jim Amarral of Borealis Breads in Skowhegan?

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

I did not. I did, however, get to take a bagel-making class with Allison Reid of Scratch Baking Co., and it was amazing. I've made bagels many times before, but these were life-changing. I'll make a separate blog post on them soon!