The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourdough enthusiast from Belgium

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Sourdough enthusiast from Belgium

Hello all,

about three years ago I started my sourdough baking journey. Looking forward to being part of this community.

Greetings from Belgium!

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Welcome to our gang! We look forward to seeing your breads. We are a bunch of friendly “bread heads” that are eager to help and equally eager to learn.

Danny

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Thanks Danny! Well since you asked (like I wasn't waiting for this ;-) :

Sourdough boules (wheat):

Boules

Sourdough batards (wheat):

Batards

Crusty rolls (yeast):

Rolls (yeast)

Ciabatta (yeast)

Ciabatta (yeast)

Ciabatta crumb:

Ciabatta crumb

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

All of your breads are gorgeous!

Especially like the 3 batards.

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Thanks again Danny, much appreciated! Here's the crumb of those batards:

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Well done and gorgeous.

I hope you become a regular participant on the forum.
We can all learn to bake better bread together.

As I said, “we are willing to share and eager to learn”.

Danny

MikeV's picture
MikeV

Wow, gorgeous bakes! As a less experienced baker in the region (not in Belgium but a short walk from the border), may I ask where you source your flour?

Cheers, Mike

mariana's picture
mariana


Dear Master, please accept me as your student [kowtows many times]. Please!!!

Whoa, your breads are extraordinary, Wake-N-Bake, so sooooooo beautiful. OH MY GOD, they are beautiful. 

Welcome!

Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

Hey! Welcome! Your bread looks great despite the fact that you are relatively new to baking. You obviously have either talent or excellent recipes, which you adhere to as closely as possible.

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Thanks Timothy!

Actually I've been using bakers percentage and trial and error (regarding the ratios flour, whole wheat, water) to make my own recipes. Ways of handling the dough etc. I've learnt through many channels like Hamelman's 'Bread' book, Trevor Wilson's 'Open Crumb Mastery' and lots of youtube videos :-)

jl's picture
jl

to the crust on the crusty rolls? Do you steam the oven?

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Hi JL,

these rolls I baked for 15 minutes with steam and only the bottom heating element of the oven turned on. Then I released the steam from the oven and baked for an additional 5 minutes, this time also having the top heating element turned on.

The first part with steam lets the rolls inflate to their maximum capacity without the crust forming too soon. The second part without steam is done to dry out the outside of the dough. Only after a few minutes the rolls have been removed from the oven, the crust 'shatters'. I think the dough contracts a bit when when it's removed from the oven and brought to room temperature. So when the crust is dried out, it is pulled down and the cracks are formed. So it's paramount for the crust to be thin and dry. I'm not sure but maybe the hydration plays a roll as well. Maybe dryer doughs will contract more/less than wetter doughs. This recipe was only 60% hydration. Again, totally not sure, but these rolls have a little bit of honey in them (less than 1gr per roll). This might have an effecect too, contributing to an even browning.

Hope this helps! :-)

jl's picture
jl

Thank you!

Benito's picture
Benito

Welcome to TFL you're obviously a very accomplished baker.  Please do share your bakes with us, we love to learn as a group.

Hi from Canada.

Benny

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Welcome. Your bread looks great. Lots of experience here at TFL.

Cheers,

Gavin

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

Wow, what a warm welcome!!! Thank you all so much!

@MikeV: The flour I use comes from a small local mill in 'Haacht'. They source their wheat from farmers in Belgium. Other grains they sell might come from other European countries. A great great Belgian mill is Vandenbempt.They have several locations where you can buy their goods. I'm unsure of the border to which country you live close to, but have a look on their website, perhaps you can find a location near you. Some of the best Belgian bakeries use their flour.

@mariana: Haha :D I'm flattered! The amount of failed bakes unfortunately exceeds the times I can post pictures of breads that are a bit up to standard. And so we learn I guess, failing, crying, lots of crying and starting over again...

@Benito and @gavinc: Thanks for the kind words!

Looking forward to all of your insights!

 

MikeV's picture
MikeV

Thanks for the tips on flour, I'm in South Limburg (NL) - locally grown spelt is plentiful here but less wheat and rye, once it is easier to shop cross-border I was planning to try some locally grown Belgian wheat. Indeed Vandenbempt has a sale point in Wellen, not too far away. I'll be looking forward to seeing your recipes, no "adjustment" from US flours needed!

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake

I'd recommend giving the sales point a call before you start your trip, just to be sure they have what you need. There's a sales point close to where I live and their stock is quite limited of what Vandenbempt offers.

That's interesting what you said about the adjustment from US to European flours. How do you go about that?

MikeV's picture
MikeV

Good tip on calling ahead, would be a shame to make the trip and find them out of stock - especially since I was thinking of going by bike!

On converting between flour types: after really struggling while trying to learn to bake using US-oriented recipes, I started getting much better results after I dropped my hydration substantially compared to what I "typically" see online. I usually bake (wheat) breads that are ~ 20-40% whole grain, and use a hydration in the range of 65-70%, occasionally as high as 75%. In contrast 75% seems to be the hydration "entry point" for many US-oriented sourdough recipes.

I had read that European wheat is typically softer and needs a bit less hydration, but I originally assumed that meant 5% or so max, not 10-15%! But reducing hydration gave me a dough that was much easier to work and had a texture that looked like what I saw in videos, instead of a sloppy mess. Recently I've been trying "bassinage" and slap-and-folds to see if I can push the hydration a bit higher without ending up with a flat loaf at the end.

Reading in your comment above that you learned flour/water ratios largely through experimentation, I am very curious to know what kind of ratios you use to get results like you shared above!

Wake-N-Bake's picture
Wake-N-Bake
  • The boules were 75% whole wheat, 80% hydration (flour was 11,5% of protein)
  • The batards 20% whole wheat, 68% hydration (flour was 11,5% of protein)
  • The ciabatta 100% bread flour and 89% hydration  (flour was 13,5% of protein)
If you're curious, I created a thread with my way of working etc.
MikeV's picture
MikeV

Thanks, indeed saw your methods described in the other thread as well. It is nice to confirm it is possible to achieve such nice results with low-protein flour and lower hydration - especially the lacy crumb on the batard, new motivation to try to achieve the same!

Cheers, Mike

Biased turkey's picture
Biased turkey

Welcome Wake-N-Bake from another Belgian newbie.

Jacques