The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Come Back Bake

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Come Back Bake

Well I took a few years off there! Hey everyone, nice to see the pros still baking on TFL. I have learned so much from you guys over the years. 

I am baking again now that I'm settled in San Jose, California, and no longer a monk. Let's get to what you want to know...

I tried to start my own starter without luck! Even after 5 different test trials with all different flours and two types of water... so a neighbor luckily shared some healthy bugs with me because I was getting impatient. (Monks get impatient???)

Side note: Danny aka DanAyo also lovingly mailed me some starter and I will be getting that going today. 

 

I love sideways levain shots...jk. 

 

I could see the levain was strong and so I threw together a nice little recipe. 

1 loaf

450g flour. I used mostly KA bread flour, 5% local WW and 5% Rye

74% hydration

18% levain

 

Levain build: 6am

Autolyse: 8am

Mix: 9am

Slap & fold, 4 times every 30 min. I only do what the dough wants. If the fold looks good after one smash against the counter, then that's all I do. Dough always slacks a little towards the end of the S&F work, so I put in a little more work on the last fold before BF. 

Happy dough, 75F throughout. 

 

After BF I shaped and cold retard. Baked in the AM. 15 hour cold proof. Wake up, coffee, pre-heat to 550F, slash and in. 20 minutes, uncover until color is good. Turn off oven and rest loaf inside until Avocado is ready. 

I'm happy with it, tastes good. Nice mix of flours and healthy starter, what more can you ask? I'll need to pick up some *parchment paper (not wax, raj) in order prevent the bottom from cookin' so good. 
*the Dutch oven was full of oil! Ha! 

happy baking, relax!

 

 

Comments

Benito's picture
Benito

Hi Rajan, I’m Benny and new here to you since I only joined a bit over a year ago and started baking with sourdough last year.  The loaf you just baked is amazing, I love the bloom and oven spring as well as the open crumb.  Did you really not bake sourdough bread since your last blog post almost three years ago?  If that is the case, you didn’t lose any of your skills or knowledge, truly remarkable.

I will look forward to your future blog posts and contributions.

Benny

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Hey Benny, welcome to the world of baking! Yes, took a long break and glad to be back. First load attempt—still got it! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Very nice crumb Rajan! ...and even an ear.

As far as the over browned bottom, how was it baked and did you use a stone?

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Dutch oven. Didn’t have any paper or specific flour on hand to dust the bottom. Also, the Dutch oven bottom was super oily! Ha. 

scraped off the burn pretty quick. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Rajan, regarding the burnt bottom which I missed the first time, I think you baked in a dutch oven or some other vessel going by what you posted.  I used to have the problem a lot and have found a solution.  Eventhough I bake my hearth loaves in a enamel cast iron dutch oven on the lowest rack I no longer have burnt bottoms.  I what I do is I place the broiling pan with rack on the lowest level of my oven and then place the dutch oven on the broiling rack.  The bottom of the broiling rack helps to shield the dutch oven and thus the bottom crust from the direct heat of the bottom element.  I’ve recently been trying to bake baguettes and also had the burnt bottom crust issue.  I now use the broiling pan with rack and place my baking steel on the broiling rack again on the lowest rack of the oven.  To shield them even more, I have now stuffed the broiling pan with crumpled aluminum foil, the put the rack on it and then the baking steel on that to bake my baguettes.  With that I am no longer having burnt bottom crusts.  Maybe these idea could help you.

Benny

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

I had too much oil in my Dutch oven. Forgot to clean it. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Ah that would do it, your next bake will be perfect I’m sure.  Anyhow welcome back to TFL.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

From what I gather, you're an old pro at this and you're getting back in your groove. Great come back loaf!  (and i'm sure you meant parchment paper and not wax paper.)

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

You saved me! I knew it was one of those aha. In hawaii we just used a wood oven so I've never taken that step before. Boy I miss making a fire every time I want to bake or make pizza. One day...

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Looks like a lovely bake...I'm sure it was tasty as well!

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Indeed it was tasty!

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Hi Rajan! That’s a beautiful loaf.

I too recently returned to bread baking and TFL after many years’ hiatus. I managed to build a starter from scratch, but it took 2+ weeks and the first few loaves were quite squat and dense. Looking forward to seeing more of your creations!

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

Thanks, nice to see you back. Starting a starter can have a slow start!