'routine' for daily baking
Now that I've developed a very healthy and robust starter AND have mastered a couple breads that are favoured in our household, I'm trying to get myself into a routine for daily baking. Why daily, you might ask? Needless to say, my husband (and 7 y.o. son) have a penchant for extremely fresh bread. If I make two loaves, e.g., the second one is consumed at a MUCH slower rate the second day.
Ideally, the bread would be ready for breakfast and for preparing school lunches in the morning. Not wanting to get up at 3 to accomplish this, I'm wondering if anyone on TFL has developed their own routine for accomplishing the daily loaf. I should also mention that we are partial, usually, to grainy loaves, so many of the recipes I use involve an overnight soaker.
My current approach:
I am home during the day most days, so can accomplish the routine where I build my soaker and pre-ferment the night before and then work the rest of the magic throughout the day. The trouble here is that if I bake the loaf before supper, someone invariably hacks into it while it is still warm (grrrrr!) and then there is none left for the next day. I am working to time it so I bake the bread after the kids go to sleep, then let it cool overnight, because my attempts at behaviour modification have been futile....or else the smell of freshly baked bread is just too overpowering.
How do the rest of you out there do this?
What happens in a bakery that sets out fresh loaves at 6:30 or 7 am? Are these all accomplished by insomniac bakers who start at 3 in the morning? Or are there any other "tricks of the trade"?
I've got a similar situation - 4 small kids who could live on nothing but bread. I once found a loaf of bread in the middle of the kitchen table with a steak knife sticking out of it and a not inconsiderable amount of blood on it...
My routine is roughly this: poolish overnight, dough by midday, risings in the afternoon, shaping after supper, baking after bedtime. If you want it fresh in the morning, you could always shape your loaves the night before and refrigerate them. Most of the stuff I make just improves with a night in the fridge.
Wow, Deb! Four kids and baking bread -- I commend you!! :-)
Thanks for the tip...sounds like similar to the routine I end up with accidentally.
Do you do this daily?
MommaT, Novice Baker
This is the way to go. I use the same schedule, unless I'm not doing a soaker and then I can start while the kids are eating breakfast. I feed my starter the night before for sourdough and can be baking at sometime between 10 and midnightthe next night. I bake bread at least twice a week most weeks. Then there are the cookies etc...
I bake almost every day. We really DO eat LOTS of bread! It's mum's way of keeping sane...
Also, my exceedingly picky 4 year old doesn't know that "c-bread" contains half a pound of carrots, plus apples, in it, and "z-bread" is chock-a-block with zucchini. I'm pretty sure those are the only veggies he gets, so I'm motivated to keep baking.
Are these recipes you can share? Do you think I can get "c-bread"or "z-bread" past my twelve year old? I'd love to try. Thanks!
This is adapted from "Ultimate Bread" by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno:
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) water
3 1/2 cups (500g) bread flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 lb (250g) cooked mashed carrots
1 apple, grated
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 do 2 rises, make a big boule, and slash a big spiral on top. Bake about 45 mins at 400F. It's pretty moist, toasts up great, and if you do the spiral slash it looks like a groovy mountain. I'm going to try a pumpkin version soon.
My 4 year old eats it without question. My 6 year old thinks it's a cheese bread (because of the orange bits) and loves it, too.
Let me know if you want z-bread - that's just a zucchini loaf with chocolate chips and lots of sugar!
Thanks for posting the recipe, I might even get to it today. I do need to do the usual baking today, so we'll see. I'm going to use your pumpkin idea. If my kids see any "orange bits" they won't go near it, but they like pumpkin breads and such. Those are the sweet dessert type like your z-bread.
I've taken to making up the dough after dinner, letting it rise, shaping it, and then placing it outside for a slow final rise overnight. With temperatures getting down into the low to mid 50s, it's pretty much perfect. By morning, when I wake up, it's ready to bake.
If its a panned loaf, I just pop it in the cold oven, turn it to 350 and let it bake for 55 minutes.
If it's a hearth loaf, I'm lucky enough to have an oven that I can set to turn on 1 hour before I get up. So the oven's ready and I just pop that sucker in there.
By the time my daughter's up, the bread is cool and ready to slice for sandwiches.
well to answer a small part of the question. I ALLWAYS and i MEAN ALLWAYS started work between 10:00 AND 11:00 pm and i would finish between 9 and 10 the next morning. thats on a good day during the weekends and holidays i would...
start on 11:00 pm on november 22 go home about 5:PM on november 24. if i was lucky the place had a shower i could take a quick one and change into some clean whites about half way through.
so no sleep at night and no sleep during the day I guess that would be called insomniac PLUS. and i did it for 25 years. I think its in the blood. even to this day i only get about 3 or 4 hours of sleep a per day and i dont seem, to need any more than that.
1. Perhaps cool the bread in a location that is out of sight or out of reach?
2. Bake rolls. If one is snuck, there isn’t an entire loaf to be compromised. Initially I resisted regularly baking rolls due to the longer working time in shaping them. But total time is actually reduced. They rise faster. They bake faster (~20 minutes at and above ~425, first 10 minutes with a second baking sheet covering them). They cool faster (~25 minutes). This refers to my 85% hydration whole wheat. Sometimes I shape them, put them in the fridge (covered with plastic and a second upside down sheet pan as a lid), and pull out to rise and bake in the morning. This especially speeds rise time after shaping compared to a shaped loaf that is kept in the fridge before it’s second rise time. Perhaps you could omit the plastic cover on the refrigerated shaped dough if you, like me, fear accidentally putting the plastic covered pan into the oven on a bleary eyed morning (been there, done that).
3. Bake flatbread on a griddle. Same benefit as rolls as far as not compromising a whole loaf that is cut into early, and they cool down even faster. Love, love this one. Especially in the summer as it heats up inside less, and will sometimes take it outside to a shady side of the house to cook. Shape the dough into rounds, same as with rolls (anywhere from 74 to 80 grams each, lately settling on 75 grams, but can be more if my dough weight will divide into a higher gram count per roll). Let rise after shaping, same as rolls, but can rise slightly less. Electric griddle to 350. Stretch out dough, like a thick pizza dough. Takes a small bit of experience to do this satisfactorily, but not much.
4. Here’s an approach to a starter (or leaven) that takes less time, which can help with the timing of things for a better schedule. Never seen this anywhere else, but in a constant quest to simplify, or create efficiency I tried and now successfully (I like it at least) use the following approach:
—Make or acquire a starter. Starter is the word I use for the fermented flour/water mixture that is my leaven. Of course, others will use other words for this.
—Mix about a tablespoon of starter, at most (you can even use much less), with a tablespoon or two of water, and a similar amount of flour. Consistency is too thick to be batter, too wet to be dough. This is kept in a large mug that has a lid.
—Let this starter/leveaning mixture ferment for a few hours at room temperature, even overnight if not too warm. When bubbly, put in fridge.
—Use 40-60 grams of this as the leavening when making dough (925g water, 1093g whole wheat, 19g salt). The starter can look like “perfect” freshly bubbled starter, or it can look grayish and deflated after three or four days in the fridge, but either way it works about the same and to my liking. With whole wheat, and 85% hydration, rise time is about 5-7 hours, then however much rise time needed after shaping. And I usually (but not always) put the dough in the fridge overnight before shaping for rolls, or flatbread, or a loaf.
— This batch of dough is usually used over the course of 2–4 days, using some of it at a time to make fresh bread each day. That works for me, but some might not prefer (or might prefer) the potential extra sourness of the dough on day 3 and 4. Key is to time the first rise on the day of making the dough. If risen too much, then even day two could be too soured. But if not risen enough on day one I find it never quite makes up for it on the rise after shaping. I aim for rising that is about 3/5 to 3/4 full in a 4.5 qt bowl. Also, your fridge temperature matters. Ours is at 35 degrees. Warmer fridge could lead to too much fermenting before even day two.
—Notes: sometimes after making bread I only have scrapings of starter left in the mug I keep the starter in, but it still works to mix in water and flour to make a new batch of starter. You can use as little as 20 g of starter in the dough recipe above, but, it’s much slower to rise, so give an extra 2-3 hours rise time. I used to use 200g of starter, for years, but 40–60 grams in whole wheat bread helps me control the sourness so much easier. I get more consistent results now.