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james 11-21-2006 06:51 AM

Ciabatta photos
3 Attachment(s)
Here are a couple of photos of your basic bakery ciabatta. Not mine. It isn't a particularly great example, but I think it is good to see. It really is flat by design, and very light. On the botttom, you can still see how they folded the wet dough with the fold lines still visible. You can also see the dog bone effect, where the dough is pulled on the ends, creating the knobs.

This is for dinner tonight -- I took a day off from my dutch oven bread. :)


CanuckJim 11-21-2006 05:31 PM

No-Knead Bread
James & all,

Took a shot at the no-knead recipe on Friday. Cut it up and handed it out to my customers as they stopped in for their daily. All liked it, one man in particular, an old customer, who wants one this week.

I used 13.5 ozs flour (half hard bread, half AP), 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp SAF Gold Instant Yeast, gray Brittany sea salt. Fermented about 24 hours in a shallow oiled bowl at 70F. Turned it out, folded it letter style (four folds), then put it on a heavily floured linen napkin (used a fine mesh stainless seive for this), misted the top with spray oil, then sprinkled it as well, rested two hours.

Preheated my Le Creuset 6 qt pot on a 560 F hearth. Turned in the dough. It did stick to the cloth, but only a little bit. I was always sceptical about the half hour bake time with the lid on. Baked it for 20 minutes, lid on, then 10 minutes, lid off. No sticking to the pot, but it's an old one, well seasoned.

The bread seemed fine, good crumb, cruncy crust, though I think the bake time should be increased to the the half hour specified, ditto the lid off time. Reasons: I didn't get as much spring as I would have liked, and the crust was a bit pale, even though I reached an internal temp of 207 F. I suspect, too, that a 6 qt pot is too large. One post showed a loaf baked in a smaller pot that had great spring; I think that might be the way to go to encourage that upward movement.

The flavour is not as complex as I would have liked. Next time, I'll be adding a quarter cup of wheat germ and about 10 per cent stone ground whole wheat flour to enrich the flavour. Next time, too, I'll be reaching into the pot with kitchen shears to dock the loaf. The dough is super wet, and this may or may not work. It might be an idea to toast some brown sesame seeds and add these as well, or, or, or. Temporarily, I've called this bread Le Lendemain.

I've also attached one pic of whole wheat pan bread made in the brick oven.

I post on the results next time. This method is a keeper, and it's worth exploring further.

Whoops, looks like I can't upload photos. Didn't get any files too big messages, but they are not appearing. HELP :eek: .


CanuckJim 11-21-2006 05:44 PM

One More Try
3 Attachment(s)
Okay, I'll try again with the pics. Doh, sizes were too large; my fault


maver 11-22-2006 05:26 AM

James, that's better spring than I've been seeing even with the 3 qt cast iron dutch oven I've purchased recently just for this purpose. I wonder if the longer rising time contributed to the spring. I've been fiddling with less yeast and using some natural leavening. It's starting to take on more sourdough taste, which does add to complexity of flavor - but I need to keep it balanced. The best spring I have had with this recipe was when the dough was really bubbling prior to the shaping - with the long ferment and the small amount of leavening I think I need to develop a better sense of when it is done. I'm starting Thanksgiving break early this year and will be away from work more so I should have more time to watch dough rise - I'd like to sort out what optimum rising time is for spring, although as it gets longer I imaging exact amounnt of starter and temperature are really going to swing this by several hours.

jengineer 11-22-2006 08:55 AM

you know i wish i had a nickel for everytime I see my family name on some bag of flour!

CanuckJim 11-22-2006 02:51 PM

Rise Time

I was pretty casual about the rising time. My key on high hydration, long ferment doughs is that I want to see a consistent web of fermentation bubbles across the top of the dough in the bowl. I was involved with lots of other breads the day I baked it, and I just kept looking until I was satisfied with the surface. I'll keep going with this and keep posting about it.

Hope it was some help.


CanuckJim 11-23-2006 02:35 AM


It might be worthwhile to clarify what the term "spring" means. During the first few minutes of baking, the dough continues to rise, and quite quickly, until the yeast is killed off by the heat of the oven. Steam, either in the pot or in the oven, keeps the surface of the dough moist for those crucial minutes, allowing the loaf to rise to its maximum. When the lid is taken off, the steam escapes, the crust is set, and then the sugars in the grain begin to caramelize on the surface. It's the moisture that allows for maximum volume. Depending on what kind of crust I'm trying to achieve, I sometimes crack open the door during the last two minutes or so of the bake. Finishing in a dry environment adds crunch to the crust.

However, you won't get great spring and great volume unless the dough has reached the peak of fermentation, but no more. It's a balancing act, really. As I said, I was looking for consistent bubbling across the surface of the dough in the bowl. That, I said to myself, is when the dough had reached its peak. I didn't really time the bulk fermentation, but next time I will and pass it on. With such a small amount of yeast, you've got a pretty long period when the dough is ready to go without going over the edge toward overfermentation. Doughs with a large amount of yeast are quite another matter.


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