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The Wood-Fired Blog

Water and Dough Structure

May 29, 2012

I have been experimenting with baguettes recently, including different approaches to fermentation time, better folding techniques, improved methods for loaf shaping, scoring, placement in the oven and steam. Now I am going to start trying to hone in on the optimal hydration for my flour of choice and my oven—Trader Joe’s All Purpose Wheat flour and a Presto pizza oven. As a general rule, wetter (higher hydration) doughs produce bread... Read More

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

May 28, 2012

600 grams whole wheat 200 white whole wheat 200 AP flour 600 grams (60)% water 10 grams (1%) yeast 20 grams (2%) salt 40 grams olive oil 30 grams honey 2 cup old fashion oats (3-5 minute cooking) 2 cup boiling water Pinch of salt Please forgive my slightly funky recipe format, where I mix baker’s percentages and grams with cups—but the bread came out really well, so I will... Read More

Salt, Pane Toscano and Pisa

May 27, 2012

I think we all know that salt is an important component of hearth bread, but if you are like me, you have never really known exactly why. On a personal level, I have eaten a great deal of Pane Toscano, the regional bread of Tuscany that is famous, for among other things, for not using salt. The bread is dense and dry, and it does not have a developed crumb—haha,... Read More

Why Supermarket Bread is Awful

May 26, 2012

I was doing research into gliadin and gluten, the two proteins that make up the wheat gluten that give bread its structure, and I came across a really interesting academic article on the science of bread from the British Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Really interesting stuff. I think I will refer back to the later with regard to the chemistry of gluten development, but their matter of fact description of... Read More

Technique and a Really Good Baguette

May 26, 2012

In my quest to learn to make a better baguette (dare I say a good baguette?), I have been experimenting with new techniques, reading about the science, watching videos, tuning my equipment (pizza oven, etc.) and even making equipment (my baguette flipper). I have been deconstructing the process and learning how to make beyond my initial attempts, which I would characterize as follows: 1. Mix 80% room temperature water dough... Read More

Whole Wheat Walnut Boule

May 23, 2012

60% whole wheat 20% white whole wheat 20% general purpose flour 73% hydration (going a little higher) 20 grams salt 10 grams yeast 40 grams extra virgin olive oil 30 grams honey 110 grams chopped walnuts (I will use more next time) Mix everything in a stand mixer and knead for 10 minutes on low (the two setting on a KitchenAid mixer). Then a bulk fermentation for about an hour,... Read More

Ice Water, Yeast and Crumb

May 21, 2012

This is a follow-up on my earlier posting on High Hydration Dough, where I ask (and answer) the question—”do I need to proof my yeast”?, with a clear and definitive “no”. As a little background, I mixed my flour, salt and yeast, and then added 80% ice water directly to the flour and mixed it. After a two-hour bulk fermentation, I shaped my baguettes, put then on a homemade couch... Read More

Handling Wet Dough and the Couche

May 21, 2012

In my previous posting, I made to notes on mixing and kneading high hydration dough (80% in this case), so I wanted to make a couple of notes on working with web dough—and point out a mistake that I made (something I know but need occasional reminding). First, don’t over-flour your work surface, or the dough, when handling wet dough. You can add a little bit of extra virgin olive... Read More

Mixing High Hydration Dough

May 21, 2012

I made 80% hydration baguette’s, and was reminded just how much longer (and a little faster) you need mix the dough to build the strands of gluten and develop the bread’s structure. That statement marks roughly the end of my technical knowledge on the science of web dough—thought I want to do some more research in order to understand why this is true. From this sequence of photos, you can... Read More

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