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Old 08-25-2013, 12:45 AM
 
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Well, I made my pizza dough runnier than usual and left out the olive oil. I prefer my original version, but DH said he liked the newer version better because it's crispier. It wasn't too hard to do - I wet my hands with olive oil and just sort of spread it out on baking paper. Easier than rolling it out, really, but I couldn't do the stuffed crust. Not sure which recipe I'll go with in future.

 

And I had another disaster. I tried making a slack WW dough with the Michael Pollan rolling-in-the-bran method. Nope. My dough was just too runny. So much for the whole 'it'll turn out OK in the oven' thing. It did not. Gummy and weird. As I discovered after giving one of the loaves to a friend. :p Slack dough is haaaaaaaaard. *whines* It did have a nice holey crumb - well, gummy and weird, but with big holes - but the loaves were very flat, because the dough just slumped across the bottom of the Dutch oven. It's frustrating - I really want to master the technique and get yummy rustic loaves already!

 

So thus far my new bread adventures have comprised two failures, two successes (three if you count my regular bread recipe in the Dutch oven) and one mixed opinion. Hmph.

 

Mum really loved the Hokkaido bread, though! Raved about it, and she's not given to raving. I'm going to make hamburger buns later this week using the tangzhong method and an enriched dough - basically Hokkaido bread with less sugar and a cup of cornmeal instead of some of the flour. My normal hamburger buns are pretty good, but it would be fun to get them even softer.


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Old 08-26-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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And I had another disaster. I tried making a slack WW dough with the Michael Pollan rolling-in-the-bran method. Nope. My dough was just too runny. So much for the whole 'it'll turn out OK in the oven' thing. It did not. Gummy and weird. As I discovered after giving one of the loaves to a friend. :p Slack dough is haaaaaaaaard. *whines* It did have a nice holey crumb - well, gummy and weird, but with big holes - but the loaves were very flat, because the dough just slumped across the bottom of the Dutch oven. It's frustrating - I really want to master the technique and get yummy rustic loaves already!

 

 

 

What size is your dutch oven? I'm not familiar with Pollan's recipe. The Lahey No Knead bread is a very loose, wet, runny dough (3 cups flour 1/4 tsp. yeast, 1 and 1/4 tsp salt, 1 and 5/8 cups water and that's it). I can't really handle it, other than to slop it onto the parchment paper and into the dutch oven. Lahey's recipe suggests a 6 to 8 qt. pot, but I always use a 3 or 4 qt. pot to get a nice, high round loaf. I find the larger pot always produces a loaf that is too flat, at least with the No Knead recipe. 

 

I know you produced a beautiful round loaf before but I think you were using your traditional recipe (knead/proof/repeat etc.) with typical amounts of flour/yeast etc. If your slack dough from Pollan doesn't have the same yeast/kneading etc. as a typical recipe, maybe it also needs a smaller pot to help with the rise/oven spring. 

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Old 08-26-2013, 03:50 PM
 
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Yeah, it was a big Dutch oven. When you say to use a smaller one, do you mean essentially using it like a loaf pan - the dough completely covering the bottom and rising up the sides? Or is there something more magical about it, like the concentrated steam producing a better oven spring? Any chance you could post a photo of one of your typical loaves?

 

And yeah, my pretty round loaf was a traditional non-artisan recipe. I'm almost tempted to go back to it, but I WANT the holey crumb and the better flavour of artisan loaves!

 

I made Jeffrey Hamelman's Rustic Bread from the Fresh Loaf site yesterday. It was a slack dough, but not quite as slack as the Lahey no-knead bread. I'd looked up a bunch of videos on slack dough, and did my best - lots of folding and stretching with resting between, using oil rather than flour to prevent sticking without messing up hydration, and pre-shaping the loaves with a short bench rest before the final shaping.

 

I still had to use flour for the final shaping, and I couldn't get my boule to be a taut round ball - it went flattish. I shaped the other loaf into a batard, which was also flat. I hoped for magical oven spring, but I think I overproofed them? When I slashed them before baking they seemed overproofed.

 

Anyway, the results aren't bad - I'm eating a slice right now and it has a really yummy, chewy crumb, a good crust and a nice flavour (due to a decent amount of salt plus the preferment, I think). It's just the flatness that irritates me! The guy who posted the recipe on The Fresh Loaf showed photos of his attempts, which were nice and round; and he specifically mentioned that this was the first slack dough he'd managed to get high loaves out of. Grrr.

 

I'll make it again, simply because of the yumminess. Next time I'll try a retarded ferment in the fridge; that's supposed to be good for forming stronger gluten bonds. I added a bit of vital wheat gluten to the last batch to compensate for the WW flour (it's mostly white, maybe 2/3-1/3) - perhaps I should add a bit more next time?

 

I also want to try a batch of 'savoury' Hokkaido with mixed grains in it. Perhaps I can replicate those uber-light 'wholegrain' loaves from the supermarket.


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Old 08-27-2013, 06:23 AM
 
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Yeah, it was a big Dutch oven. When you say to use a smaller one, do you mean essentially using it like a loaf pan - the dough completely covering the bottom and rising up the sides? Or is there something more magical about it, like the concentrated steam producing a better oven spring? Any chance you could post a photo of one of your typical loaves?

 

 

 

Maybe both? Mostly, I think the soft wet dough benefits from some external support and climbs up the sides so it doesn't just puddle and spread out and come out like a big flatbread. 

 

I have 2 pots that I use. One is this oval casserole dish with a lid. It's 4 qts. The dough doesn't completely cover the bottom lengthwise but it does from side-to-side at the mid-point of the dish. 

The other is this 4 1/2 qt. round doufeu. The dough does cover the bottom. BTW, I only bought this pot because I found it on sale for an amazing price and couldn't resist. It's turned out to be very useful. 

 

I don't have a photo, sorry, but I'll take one the next time I make it and post. 

 

 

That Hokkaido breads sounds delicious. 

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Old 08-27-2013, 11:49 AM
 
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I use this one from Lodge, which I love because the lid is also a skillet! In my small kitchen, dual-purpose cookware is always a winner.

 

If I were to get a larger one, I'm coveting on oblong Le Creuset roaster, like what ollyoxenfree has... So jealous! They sometimes have them at my local Winners (I think it's called TJ Maxx in the States? Not sure if there's a Kiwi equivalent) for cheap, or at least cheaper than other places, because there's a defect in the colour of the glaze or something else that won't affect its actual use.

 

Smokering, you've got me reading all about Hokkaido bread now... Fantastic. I want to make a savoury version with bits of green onion in it, like the buns I buy in Chinatown.


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Old 08-27-2013, 02:28 PM
 
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I use this one from Lodge, which I love because the lid is also a skillet! In my small kitchen, dual-purpose cookware is always a winner.

 

If I were to get a larger one, I'm coveting on oblong Le Creuset roaster, like what ollyoxenfree has... So jealous! They sometimes have them at my local Winners (I think it's called TJ Maxx in the States? Not sure if there's a Kiwi equivalent) for cheap, or at least cheaper than other places, because there's a defect in the colour of the glaze or something else that won't affect its actual use.

 

Smokering, you've got me reading all about Hokkaido bread now... Fantastic. I want to make a savoury version with bits of green onion in it, like the buns I buy in Chinatown.

 

I love my Lodge cast iron skillets. I have a medium (8 inch, maybe?) and a large (12 inch). I bet that covered pot is awesome. It reminds me of my grandmother's cast iron rice pot. It's almost 100 years old and still fantastic.  

 

The oval casserole is stoneware, not enameled cast iron, so it's much less expensive than the other LeCreuset pots. I found it at another amazing sale price. It's not as good as the enameled cast iron, but it does the job. I have an enameled cast iron large Dutch Oven that I use a lot in the winter for stews, risotto, braised lamb shanks and so on.  I once read a professional chef who admitted that she searched flea markets, out-of-the-way antique shops and yard sales for her collection of Le Creuset. It's such long-lasting, tough stuff, she could often find terrific bargains.  

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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Hmm, OK. I have two pots that might work - a small, flattish Lodge and a small Le Creuset Dutch oven (really just a small saucepan with two handles - it came inside the big Dutch oven I use for stock). They'd both be too shallow to use with the lids on, but maybe I could do something complicated - put the small saucepan on a pizza stone and cover it with a larger upside-down Dutch oven. Do you think that'd work? You'd still get the steam. I used the pizza stone covered with the upside-down oval casserole for baking my last batch, and it was unwieldy but doable.

 

We got our Le Creusets years ago, before we got married, when we were buying stuff for the house and could afford such things. :) The big oval cast iron casserole I just bought was on deep discount - only $70! It's the store brand of a popular homeware shop - I hope it'll hold up. I've never heard of a doufeu, but it looks excellent for retaining steam.

 

Well, I'll go add the rest of the ingredients to the preferment for Batch #2 of the Rustic Loaf, and chuck it in the fridge. I'm out today anyway, which should help with my impatience.


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Old 08-28-2013, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Smokering, I hereby christen you The Bread Guru. 


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Old 08-28-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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Me? Ha! Heck no. I wish. :p I'm learning the terminology, but that doesn't mean I can make it go! Yet... (she says sinisterly, plotting world domination)

 

I got up at 6:45 to bake the bread this morning, because I'm a tad obsessed. The boule went in my small, shallow Lodge pan with a ceramic casserole dish perched upside-down on top. The batard went on the preheated pizza stone with my oval cast iron casserole upside-down on top.

 

This time the crust was fine, the flavour was great and I got a decently round boule, but less oven spring and NO HOLES! The crumb was virtually identical to my regular bread. I'm stumped. This is like alchemy. :p I mean, I shouldn't complain about perfectly nice bread, but why must it be so darned temperamental?!

 

As soon as the stand mixer bowl comes out of the dishwasher I'm gonna start the preferment for another batch of ciabatta. Here's hoping my first success wasn't a fluke - I'm not assuming anything these days! I bought semolina today - it makes a really nice dusting instead of bran or flour  - and will use that in place of part of the flour in the recipe. Apparently it's a thing; gives a better flavour. I hope so, because we'll be serving it to guests, although I froze one of today's loaves just in case!


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Old 08-29-2013, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got up at 6:45 to bake the bread this morning, because I'm a tad obsessed. 

 

But that is exactly why you are The Bread Guru. 

 

Have you read On Food & Cooking by Harold McGee? It's the bible of the science of cooking and I think you will find it excellent reading, if you haven't gone through it already. 


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Old 08-29-2013, 10:44 PM
 
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 But that is exactly why you are The Bread Guru. 

Aspergic tendencies. :p I get single-mindedly obsessed with things, sometimes for years at a time. Never housework, sadly. But anything you want to know about the Parker-Hulme murder case, The Lord of the Rings (book or films) or selected aspects of Tudor England, I'm your girl. Or guru, if you prefer. Hopefully this will prove to be one of my more useful obsessions, at least... it's surprising how rarely one needs to know about the Parker-Hulme murder case.

 

Currently halfway through baking Batch #2 of ciabatta. The semolina adds something - the crumb isn't quite as soft as last time (in a good way - it's more like fancy ciabattas I've bought). I'm baking them in a Dutch oven this time instead of on a baking stone. For such a peculiar dough the loaves are actually quite forgiving. I tried to reuse the baking paper for the second loaf and, being slightly burned and brittle, it tore when I was dumping the loaf into the red-hot Dutch Oven, slopping the dough all over the side. I hastily scooped it up and rearranged the drooping mass on a clean sheet of baking paper, but thought I'd ruined it. Nope - baked up nice and golden, with oven spring and everything. It looked better than the first loaf! It helps that ciabatta is meant to look rustic and misshapen...

 

Today I also mixed up my savoury Hokkaido, swapping 100gm flour for cornmeal, upping the salt and reducing the sugar. Put it in the oven for a retarded ferment. And I used the same bowl I used for the ciabatta without washing it, in the hopes that the leftover fragments of dough will act as a touch of preferment. (Also... lazy.)

 

We're having visitors tonight and tomorrow, so I've been cooking all day - the breads, sponge cake, tabbouleh, berry sorbet, glykinai and almendrados. Still have to do chicken and dukkah. Luckily the children are being low-maintenance and I'm having a lovely time!

 

ETA: Also, I saw a cool YouTube video last night by some French baker - can't remember who - on how to work with high-hydration doughs. He used a 'slap and fold' technique, which involves incorporating a sort of pocket of air into the dough with every move. Looked doable. It's so amazing to see the sloppy, sticky mess becoming smooth and sleek and workable. DH was (sort of) watching with me and I tried to get him to appreciate the awesomeness, but he wasn't impressed. I guess you need to have a few failed doughs to recognise the beauty of one that works!


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Old 08-30-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aspergic tendencies. :p I get single-mindedly obsessed with things, sometimes for years at a time. Never housework, sadly. But anything you want to know about the Parker-Hulme murder case, The Lord of the Rings (book or films) or selected aspects of Tudor England, I'm your girl. Or guru, if you prefer. Hopefully this will prove to be one of my more useful obsessions, at least... it's surprising how rarely one needs to know about the Parker-Hulme murder case.

 

The Tudors! Have you read The Tudors by G.J. Meyers? Or the most recent Phillippa Gregory novel?

 

Sorry everyone. I know I should not hijack this thread on bread with talk of historical royal dynasties, but it's a bit of an obsession for me...

 

Bread related - major fails lately. Hot weather is great for proofing, but who wants to pre-heat the oven to 500 in a 100 degree heat? I just can't do it... 


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Old 08-31-2013, 10:50 PM
 
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Nope! I haven't read any Tudor fiction (is The Tudors fiction?) about the time period for some reason. Mostly non-fiction about QE1 and books about the clothing and politics of the times. The closest I've gotten to Phillippa Gregory is watching The Other Boleyn Girl, which didn't grab me.

 

The savoury Hokkaido was really nice. I'm not sure whether I like it more than my regular hamburger bun dough or not - it was definitely softer, but I quite like the more substantial buns I usually make. Made the rest of the dough into little mini-buns topped with white and black sesame seeds, and they were a hit at church lunch today. A friend who briefly lived in China said they tasted just like the bread you can buy there, which was the idea, so yay!

 

Batch #3 of ciabatta is currently rising. DH requested it for Fathers' Day. I think the oven spring was just as good baking them on the stone as in the Dutch oven, so I'll do that again - way less hassle. And easier to fling droplets of water on 'em while they bake. I'm going to try to fold the dough on itself to get a slightly higher loaf this time, I think.


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Old 09-01-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nope! I haven't read any Tudor fiction (is The Tudors fiction?) about the time period for some reason. Mostly non-fiction about QE1 and books about the clothing and politics of the times. The closest I've gotten to Phillippa Gregory is watching The Other Boleyn Girl, which didn't grab me.

 

Try the books - a million times better than the movies. For me, they're so addicting I can never put them down, and even re-read them. 

 

For bread this week, I'm shifting Sunday bread baking until tomorrow since I have it (mostly) off work. I'm going to do a rye sandwich bread, because I finally remembered to pick up rye flour at last grocery shop. I think I'll just do a couple of basic boules. 


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Old 09-01-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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I might give them a go at some stage. I tend to be leery of historical fiction though, if it's a period I'm really interested in; just because it frustrates me not knowing which bits are factual and which are the results of sloppy research, Hollywood-style sexing-up, turning insignificant female players into scheming villains in the name of feminism, anachronistic dialogue, artistic licence and so on. I like to know what I know about something, y'know?

 

Yesterday's ciabatta turned out the best of all, although I have no idea why. :p I sort of squooshed the dough together and turned it under as best I could during the final shaping, and it may have helped with the oven spring.

 

We don't really need any more bread, but last night I couldn't resist autolysing some flour anyway! I was going for a 75% hydration formula - mostly white flour, with a bit of wholemeal and semolina - but due to the lateness of the hour I might have accidentally used 600g instead of 500g of flour. I can't be sure, but it was definitely not a slack dough this morning. So I squooshed some extra water in. I'll start the slap-and-fold technique in a minute (my main reason for wanting to make the bread!) In the meantime I'm soaking some mixed kibbled grains and will add them to the dough at some undetermined future stage...


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Old 09-01-2013, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I might give them a go at some stage. I tend to be leery of historical fiction though, if it's a period I'm really interested in; just because it frustrates me not knowing which bits are factual and which are the results of sloppy research, Hollywood-style sexing-up, turning insignificant female players into scheming villains in the name of feminism, anachronistic dialogue, artistic licence and so on. I like to know what I know about something, y'know?

 

Yesterday's ciabatta turned out the best of all, although I have no idea why. :p I sort of squooshed the dough together and turned it under as best I could during the final shaping, and it may have helped with the oven spring.

 

We don't really need any more bread, but last night I couldn't resist autolysing some flour anyway! I was going for a 75% hydration formula - mostly white flour, with a bit of wholemeal and semolina - but due to the lateness of the hour I might have accidentally used 600g instead of 500g of flour. I can't be sure, but it was definitely not a slack dough this morning. So I squooshed some extra water in. I'll start the slap-and-fold technique in a minute (my main reason for wanting to make the bread!) In the meantime I'm soaking some mixed kibbled grains and will add them to the dough at some undetermined future stage...

 

Yeah I know what you mean about the historical fiction - I used to be the same way. But Gregory's stuff is just so well done!

 

I had a dream the other night that we had like eight loaves of bread in our house, but I still needed more. Clearly this fits your house more than mine lately! 


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Old 09-02-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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Grr. It seems I still have a long way to go on high-hydration doughs.

 

I did the slap-and-fold thing, which was great fun, and then rested it and repeated at 20-minute intervals four or five times. It never came together like the YouTube guy's. For a few seconds it would look nice and taut, and then it would just go 'bleeugh' and slump down flat onto the table again. Very annoying. I don't know if it was the small quantity of wholemeal flour cutting the gluten strands, or what. Eventually I added some soaked wholegrains.

 

Shaped it as best I could, put it upside-down in a bowl and did a retarded rise overnight. This morning it was a tad reluctant to leave the bowl, which had been WELL oiled and floured - that's how runny it was. Turned it out onto parchment, and by the time I got my hot mini-Dutch oven ready it had slumped again. Stuffed it in the oven, which I put inside a larger lidded Dutch oven (both hot) and baked.

 

It's a decent-looking loaf - got some oven spring, at least - but the runniness of the dough meant the folds of baking paper around it left little wriggly wrinkles in the sides. And the slashes didn't really do their pretty slashy thing.

 

I am meekly not cutting into it until cooled, for the sake of the crust. Hopefully it'll taste good, at least. But this is all extremely vexing. I WILL conquer this! (said Mr Darcy.) Maybe I'll try a completely white loaf next time, just to avoid possible issues with the bran.

 

Mum mentioned that she tried the artisan bread thing several years back, and found that it didn't work as well as advertised because NZ flour isn't as strong, or has different protein percentages, or something. There might be something in that. I looked at the Mediterranean grocer for fancy flour and they didn't sell any; should try the gourmet food store in town. I don't want to be buying expensive flours, but if it works...


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Old 09-04-2013, 04:27 AM
 
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A muted woot for moderate success! Made a 75% hydration white boule today. I added a bit of gluten, did the slap-and-fold for ages and then about five sets of stretch-and-folds 20 minutes apart. It was still kind of sticky at the end - definitely stuck to the bench, unlike the YouTube guy's lovely silky dough - but it got noticeably firmer and more elastic between rests, and wasn't completely slumping everywhere by the end. Then I did the bulk ferment on the bench, preshaped and shaped it with just a little flour, rose in a bowl on parchment, and baked in the Dutch oven.

 

It rose - it isn't a football like my regular-hydration loaves were, but it's a very respectable-looking loaf, and had a ton of oven spring. The crumb is holey! The crust is nice and thick. And it tastes good.

 

So yay! I'm still not 100% satisfied. I undercooked it a bit - the crust browned too fast. Next time I'll turn the heat down after awhile and maybe keep the lid of the Dutch oven on longer. And my slashing still needs a lot of work - the serrated knife just isn't good enough. I need a razor blade. (And man, I REALLY need a dough scraper! I'm sick of cleaning dried-on dough off the bench.)

 

Still, this is the closest I've come so far. Also, that white dough with mixed grains turned out to be rather yummy. Go figure.


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Old 09-11-2013, 11:43 PM
 
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Anyone still baking?

 

My white loaves are getting more successful. I made a 75% hydration rye loaf the other day, but I'd forgotten how thirsty rye is - it soaked up all the liquid and made a very stiff dough. Turned out pretty, but it wasn't really 'artisan'.

 

Bought a grunty metal dough scraper and a smaller, flexible, curved pastry scraper.

 

DH is reluctantly spreading out some 80% hydration rosemary pizza dough, because I'm too sick to do it. Because of said sickness it's not as gluten-developed as it should be - I gave it the odd stretch-and-fold in the bowl with a spoon when I could haul myself out of bed, but I wasn't up to much tender loving care. Curious to see how it turns out, though - I'm using 00 pizza flour, fancy stuff from the wholesale restaurant supply shop. It was one of those "Hmm, do I really want this to work?" purchases - it's twice as expensive as regular flour. But hey, Art comes at a price. :p


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Old 09-12-2013, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone still baking?

 

My white loaves are getting more successful. I made a 75% hydration rye loaf the other day, but I'd forgotten how thirsty rye is - it soaked up all the liquid and made a very stiff dough. Turned out pretty, but it wasn't really 'artisan'.

 

Bought a grunty metal dough scraper and a smaller, flexible, curved pastry scraper.

 

DH is reluctantly spreading out some 80% hydration rosemary pizza dough, because I'm too sick to do it. Because of said sickness it's not as gluten-developed as it should be - I gave it the odd stretch-and-fold in the bowl with a spoon when I could haul myself out of bed, but I wasn't up to much tender loving care. Curious to see how it turns out, though - I'm using 00 pizza flour, fancy stuff from the wholesale restaurant supply shop. It was one of those "Hmm, do I really want this to work?" purchases - it's twice as expensive as regular flour. But hey, Art comes at a price. :p

 

​I have been exceedingly lazy in the baking department as of late. I've been doing muffins every week, mostly pumpkin and chocolate chip, and if you think about it and stretch the rules a bit muffins are kind of a form of quick bread, which is vaguely bread-like so therefore I think it should count. 

 

The weather is starting to cool finally (I think - it's been yo-yo-ing a bit recently) so proper bread baking is on my radar again. I;m thinking about doing up a rye loaf on Sunday. And for some reason, I keep thinking about Parker House rolls, so I may give those a go. 

 

And you are directing the bread baking from your sick bed!? This is hard core; you're taking this to another level here. And I hope you feel better soon! 


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Old 09-15-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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Heh - well, I'd already started the bread when I came down with the lurgy, so it had to be done. Mostly better now, thanks! :)

 

Just had an odd experience with the ciabatta. I was making the same dough as usual - 95% hydration, 150g semolina flour and 350g flour. I don't have any high-grade flour, so I used the posh pizza flour I bought the other day and added in a Tbsp or so of gluten. Then I decided to chuck in just a touch of sourdough starter. SIL gave me some of her rye starter which I've been feeding into wheatiness, and I thought maybe just a tiny splash would add some nice depth of flavour. And then I couldn't remember if the recipe used 1/2 tsp or 2 tsp yeast, but figured I'd use the lower amount and could let it slow-rise overnight if necessary.

 

I don't know if it was the runniness of the sourdough start mucking up the hydration, the lack of yeast or the use of the pizza flour, but the stuff WOULD NOT go doughy. I beat it for - no exaggeration - 40 minutes in the stand mixture and it just kept slopping around like pancake batter. Eventually in desperation I added another spoonful of flour, and then another, and then the rest of the yeast. Not sure which did the trick, but after another 10 minutes or so it was fine. It seems to be its usual marshmallowy, goopy self now, and I hope it'll turn out OK - but what went wrong? Any ideas? Seems funny that just a tiny bit of extra hydration would make that much difference...

 

Anyway, assuming it turns out OK I'm going to make two of the loaves into a yummy picnic lunch for tomorrow. What you do is slice the entire loaf in half like a panini, fill it with yummy things (I'll do butter, fancy cheese, salami and tapenade - thank you, gift voucher to the fancy grocer!), then sort of squoosh it down and let it meld for several hours. It's supposed to be very nice.

 

Then this Saturday we're having a BBQ here for a friend's surprise party. I'm in charge of dessert (pumpkin spice layer cake with salted caramel cream cheese icing, and coffee ripple ice cream) and breads. Think I'll do ciabatta because I can't resist showing it off, and then maybe some savoury Hokkaido hot dog buns, and then... fougasse? I've never made that before, but I've been hankering to. What do you do with it, though, exactly? Just pull off hunks and eat it?


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Old 09-18-2013, 05:17 AM
 
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Well, the ciabatta turned out fine, so... who knows.

 

I made fougasse! Basic white dough with a bit of semolina, 70% hydration (which seemed ridiculously dry by my new standards!) Made three loaves and tried a different shaping/slashing method with each - what works best is to shape and slash on a floured bench, then transfer to parchment and allow to rise. It helps the slits open up and gives a more rustic, less neat look. I pounded garlic, rosemary, rock salt and olive oil together and spread it on the loaves before baking, and pushed some whole olives in here and there (which was really yummy - I should use whole olives more often.) Did two loaves with white sesame seeds sprinkled on top, and one with black. Served 'em with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dukkah. And it was nice. :) I think I'll make it again for Saturday.

 


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Old 09-23-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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Just made the nicest sourdough I've ever baked! The Fresh Loaf informed me that for a less acidic, more yoghurty tang you should keep the starter quite liquid, whereas for a more pronounced sour taste it should be stiff. I've never liked sourdough, but DH asked me to make some, so I did it with the liquidy starter and it was delicious! I wouldn't have picked it as sourdough at all. All white flour, but with kibbled grains. The loaves weren't as high or pretty as I'd like, especially as I'm giving one away; but hey, they taste good.

 

Maybe this time I won't let my starter die of neglect.


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Old 09-23-2013, 11:14 PM
 
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I have been making wholemeal rolls with oats and flaxmeal. I'm having trouble getting them to stay a nice shape but the taste and texture is great.

Smokering, have you tried "slashing" with scissors? I've had some luck on loaves using that method.

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Old 09-23-2013, 11:18 PM
 
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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Kate, do you mean using a single blade of the scissors like a knife, or snipping the dough?

 

My sourdough loaves slashed quite well with the serrated knife - I let them slow-rise uncovered in the fridge overnight, so they developed quite a solid 'crust' (another trick from The Fresh Loaf), and I wet the knife before slashing. I still want to get a razor, but the fancy kitchenware shop had never heard of 'em.

 

Your loaves look lovely! Do you taste the flaxmeal?


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Old 09-24-2013, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe this time I won't let my starter die of neglect.

 

No matter what I do I can't keep a sourdough starter alive. Anyone have any tips? 


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Old 09-24-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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Kate, do you mean using a single blade of the scissors like a knife, or snipping the dough?

My sourdough loaves slashed quite well with the serrated knife - I let them slow-rise uncovered in the fridge overnight, so they developed quite a solid 'crust' (another trick from The Fresh Loaf), and I wet the knife before slashing. I still want to get a razor, but the fancy kitchenware shop had never heard of 'em.

Your loaves look lovely! Do you taste the flaxmeal?

Thanks :-) I used a spray bottle to spritz them with water before I put them in the oven. I read that tip in the River Cottage Bread book, which is also where I get my basic bread recipe from. You can't really taste the flax but it lightens the texture quite a bit. The straight wholemeal is pretty dense.

I use the scissors to snip the dough instead of slashing. I open the scissors as wide as they'll go and then do a long but shallow snip. It's a bit hard to describe. It worked well for the stickier dough that the knife dragged through.

I just printed out the milk bread recipe you mentioned from Our Daily Loaf. Children permitting I'm going to try it today.

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:52 AM
 
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 I just printed out the milk bread recipe you mentioned from Our Daily Loaf. Children permitting I'm going to try it today.

Ooh, did you? The recipe intrigues me. I've been meaning to try tangzhong in a regular bread recipe - apparently it helps with the ever-elusive goal of getting light, fluffy wholemeal bread. So far I've only made the basic recipe and a savoury variation (no sugar, subbing one cup of flour with fine cornmeal). It's amazingly shreddy and pillowy and soft. It *is* sort of bland and supermarkety - I wouldn't want it every day - but it works really well as hot dog buns or little soft rolls with garlic butter. I've gotten compliments every time I've made it.

 

Made another batch of sourdough today. This time I soaked the kibbled grains longer before adding them to the dough (a Good Thing; they were a tad too crunchy last time), and added a bit of rye flour. The dough's quite slack, so I baked one lot in a loaf tin (which juuuuust fit in the Dutch oven!) The other had to be freeform because my cake tins were busy, and it turned out pretty flat. Yummy though.

 

The crust on these things is incredible - you could slit your wrists on it. It's actually quite hard to cut. Yummy, though! DH loves it, especially with lots of butter and honey. And I do enjoy the 'magic' of watching sourdough work - I'm always faintly surprised when it rises. I remember as a little kid worrying very hard about the origins of bread - where did they get the yeast from? How did they know how to make something so complicated? It makes a lot more sense now I know about sourdough. :p


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Old 09-28-2013, 03:44 AM
 
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I did. Mixed results. The flavour was good. I followed the recipe but halved the sugar. I'm glad I did, we wouldn't have wanted it any sweeter.

The texture was pretty good. Not at light and feathery as the pictures on the blog. It looked a bit more cake-y.

The main problem though was that it didn't rise in the oven. First rise was fine. Second rise, in the pans, was fine. But then it didn't rise at all after that. So I had three fairly flat loaves.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

We ate the first loaf and ive frozen the other two to make roasted veggie sandwiches with.

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