#11  
Old 08-13-2009, 07:35 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi David!

Kneading is, in part, a function of the baker, the bread, the flour, and the ambitions. The goal is to develop sheets of gluten that will create a web in the bread to capture the carbon dioxide and other gases and lift the loaf. It takes a lot more kneading if you do it immediately on mixing than if you autolyze (let the bread sit under a bowl or plastic for 20 minutes or so) and then knead. Among the serious bread makers there is a move toward folding as opposed to normal kneading (you can find videos on google). Better gluten allows better crumb, but its not rocket science and it isn't critical. Better to underknead than overknead (which can happen with a mixer).

One other comment on sourdoughs... The reason for the split expansion is the first expansion creates a lot of flavor for it is a very long (10 to 16 hour) ferment with both yeast and bacteria working. And enzymes breaking down the flour into sugars that the yeast eat. A refrigerator retard of the wild yeast will not give equivalent flavor or development. But you can't leave your dough out that long or it will overproof. That's why we do the split expansion. The first gives a lot of the flavor, the second provides the gases to lift the bread and is terminated at the appropriate point by baking.

IF you want to make the second expansion predictable there is not much problem with adding a little instant commercial yeast along with the flour/water/salt to accelerate the rise during the second expansion. Minimal impact on flavor and a predictable rise time (with experience).

Beginners seem to find The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Reinhart to be the best book for this approach. (And he has a lot of commercial yeast recipes that use retards for more flavor).

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #12  
Old 08-13-2009, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
Among the serious bread makers there is a move toward folding as opposed to normal kneading (you can find videos on google).
I just watched a video; it looks a lot easier than trying to develop a gluten window all in one kneading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Reinhart to be the best book for this approach. (And he has a lot of commercial yeast recipes that use retards for more flavor).
I've got this book on my b-day wish-list; hopefully some family member will come through.
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2009, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
A one meter oven typically needs about 12-16 pounds of dough or so to give really great crust. Anything less will benefit from spraying the oven - but my advice is to do it only once after you load the loaves. And spray it pretty well but not on the loaves if you can help it.
As a home baker, what do you do with 12-16 lbs of fresh bread?

Has anyone here experimented with parbaking loaves till 80% cooked and freezing them for finishing with a final bake in an electric oven?
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2009, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

I do a lot more folding than kneading now, but then i also use a wetter dough than I used to.

I completely agree with the double expansion Jay talks about. My absolute favorite bread uses a sponge overnight followed by a second rise the next day after the rest of the flour is added. The flavor is amazing, and it's pretty predictable if i add a bit of regular IDY to it- like 1/4 teaspoon, not much at all. I can also just let the sourdough do the work, but it's less predictable timewise.

I have the BBA book, his Whole Grain Breads book and the Hamelman book, all of which are good. For a beginner, the Hamelman can be overwhelming, though- I lent it to a friend who'd only used a bread machine and I thought her head was gonna explode! It does have some really good recipes in it though. The dried fig, rosemary and hazelnut bread is to die for, and the pecan/ golden raisin is also AMAZING. The BBA is very well explained, the pictures are good and the recipes pretty comprehensive for a starter book. Try the pain a l'ancienne- it's not sourdough, but it is a retarded overnight in the fridge dough, and the flavor is terrific.

I routinely make 10 to 12 pounds of bread at a time- I give a lot away, freeze some, and eat a lot of it. (I'm doing more whole grain, so it doesn't all go straight to my fanny and middle...) I make up double batches of the no-knead bread recipe (I do fold it once the next morning, so I know that's cheating), divide it into smaller loaves and bake in the wfo and freeze them for reheating when it's just the two of us eating dinner. The nice thing about the wfo is you don't need the pot for the no knead recipe- if you steam it well, the crust develops fine on its own!
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi David!

I don't like making 12 to 16 pounds of bread (as a general practice) so I don't routinely use the WFO for bread - I typically do it in cloche indoors which is effectively a tiny WFO for one loaf. (But I do typically make three or four loaves at a time.) I am pretty picky about my bread quality and I just can't seem to get the bread I want out of the WFO in small batches. So I don't! And I don't want to store that much bread, nor do I want to eat that much bread so I don't make big batches.

You ask about parbaking. I discourage that. Just bake it to fully baked (well, maybe a degree or two short - internal temp of 208-209 for sourdough straight breads. Wrap them tightly in plastic and freeze them for up to a two/three weeks with no/minimal loss of quality. Thaw for a couple of hours and then bake for about 15 minutes at 300 to 350 and the crust will be better (okay crunchier) than the original loaf you didn't freeze. If you are going to store the bread much more than two weeks it should be tghtly wrapped in saran wrap (or equivalent) and covered (tightly) with aluminum foil.

PS...I agree with Elzabeth on the books. IMO BBA is the best first book. Whole Grains is superb but a bit specialized for most beginning bakers. Hamelman is excellent but, not for beginners. (I laughed at your friend's exploding head, Liz!) I also agree re: pain l'ancienne although I am now using a similar - but somewhat different - recipe for baguettes.

PPS...those of us who really bake sourdoughs almost invariably become a slave to our yeast. We just let it do its thing and adjust our plans according to the temperature and the yeast's mood. With experience it gets pretty predictable but there's often a bit of "adjustment needed". The instant yeast makes it almost like clockwork. But that's sort of boring to those of us who have a relationship with our wild yeast!

BakeOn!
Jay
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2009, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

David (Gromit) you started a really helpful thread here with your bread. Thanks.

Elizabeth: Thanks for the earlier advice. I'm going to buy a garden sprayer tonight just for bread. I always spray bottle the heck out of my kitchen oven but didn't know I can do that in the WFO.

Jay, I've been reading some of your posts and you've got great info on bread baking. Questions though:

What exactly is BP? I still don't get it Is that your SD starter mixed with equal flour and water?
Is it better to fill your oven with multiple bread doughs? I get the impression baking is better with a loaded oven and that requires less steam injected (or am I mis-reading your posts?)
Any suggestions of what to include in a new Sour Dough Starter. My last SD starter (RIP) from years back I made with organic grape skins and potatoes. I read a post of yours suggesting 1 Tbs of Pineapple juice for acid.

It's been years since I read Reinharts BBA. I'll have to re-read his book tonight. But what wine goes with hydration, autolyse & wild yeast strains?
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2009, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi Dino!

I will try to answer without getting TOO longwinded!

BP is Baker's Percentage. Commercial bakers and lots of more "advanced" bakers like to work use BP to describe their doughs (pizza folk do to). In BP talk the total weight of flour is 100 percent or 100. A BP 100 starter is equal wts of flour and water. I keep mine that way for two reasons. First, I like the flavor (level of sourness - lower BP starters tend to be more sour). Second it makes batch calculations easier (though I actually use a spreadsheet so...)

I will use grams in this example for simplicity....

If I want to make sourdough with a baker's percentage 70 (chosen for convenience of math. BP 70 doughs can be hard to handle!). Suppose I want to make 3.4 kilos of bread. The final dough would contain 2000 grams of flour, and 1400 of water (which is 70% of 2000). Salt would be 40 grams (2% of 2000) (and yes I technically just made 3.44 kilos but the salt is in the round off).

So I know what my final dough should contain. IF I am using commercial yeast I have just figured out what to mix! With sourdough I do the expansions I described, and would simply subract the flour and water in the preferment (which normally be equal for me because that is the way I USUALLY do it) and I can easily calculate how much water and flour to add to the preferment to get the desired hydration.

The key to BP is it makes scaling easy and gives you an idea of what the dough will be like. The following are for bread flour. Down around BP60 is pretty stiff but lots of pizza dough recipes are in that range so they won't be too sticky. Around BP66 the dough starts becoming a bit harder to handle. By 70 you probably need some experience and practice. By BP 80 you are in ciabatta heaven, Really delicate dough! Super sticky unless you flour the hell out of it. You will see people refer to BP when they are talking about how wet the dough is.

People have very mixed experiences creating starters. In Europe it is usually easy. Here in the US a bit harder. It seems to be easier to get rye starter going than whole wheat or white (in about that order). Use unbleached flour if you use white.

While getting going the weights aren't very critical. Just mix say 1/4 cup of flour with about an ounce of water or better water and 1 1/2 teaspoon of pineapple juice for acid. The acid helps stop a bad bacteria that has been pretty common in US flour in recent years (from what I hear!). You can probably let it go a full day between feeding. To feed throw away half and add back about 1/8 cup of flour and a half ounce of water with a 1/2 t. of pineapple juice. Leave it out at room temp.

If it doubles real quickly the bad bacteria have taken over. Chuck it and increse the pineapple percentage. Otherwise it should begin bubbling a bit in 2-3 days and start being more vigorous daily. It can take weeks, however to really be robust and ready to bake with. Minimum is about a week and that is unusual. Once it is bubbling pretty good I would start weighing the additions so it gets equal water and flour and it will quickly become BP100.

NOTE: It may smell a bit bad during the first few days but...once it starts bubbling fairly well the smell should become yeasty and the bad smell should begin to go away as the yeast and good bacteria take over.

Good luck! (It's Alive!)
Jay

Last edited by texassourdough; 08-13-2009 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Bakers,

I baked again this weekend. I took a different route, but I ended up in more or less the same place: too tight a crumb. Before I over-fermented; this time I think I might have over-proofed. After the proof, the loaves were bulging out of their forms; they released nicely from the baskets and looked good at that point. They deflated about 30% upon slashing, and in the oven only regained about half of the height that they lost. What have I done?
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  #19  
Old 08-17-2009, 06:17 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

If they deflated that much when you slashed them, I'd say you over proofed. Probably not by too much, though, if you managed to get them out of the form ok.

Keep at it. You'll get it worked out. You're doing sourdough, too, and that's different in different seasons. As the temperatures fall, you'll find the proofing times change some again. Just remember that bread's a living thing right up to the time it hits about 140F all the way through!

Do keep at the same recipe until you get the feel for it, as well. Once you get the hang of the one, the others are easier. Until you get to rye, which actually has to be a tiny bit underproofed to get good rise in the oven...

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'll shut up now.
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi Gromit!

I am right on with Elizabeth! Only thing to add is I MUCH prefer to be underproofed to over. A lot of things happen when you overproof.

Before the peak there are more sugars in the dough the beasties (yeast) are feeding on. The sugars will caramalize in the crust and give you a prettier, darker crust. By comparison overproofed eventually goes sort of gray and pasty. Second the yeast are active and the amount of gas in the dough is rising (Isn't that surprising! )) But what is notable is that when action peaks, gas production declines and gases start leaking out of the dough. Then when you slash there its leaking too fast to make up the losses and you get flatter bread.

Slashing and baking a little early tends to give "rip" at the slashes where the dough tears as it expands. A lot of baker's like that look. I do so I go a bit early.

WRT tight crumb...Probably low hydration. What was your BP (if you know)? (or tell me your exact recipe and I will tell you). Could be you worked it too late in the process (you tend to want the last hour and a half or so to be untouched with wild yeast. If you are a bit rough with the dough in getting it from its form to the peel that can hurt you too. Could be ???? lots of things...

Hang in there. If bread were nearly as easy as it seems many of us would not be so detail oriented!

Good news is it still eats good!
Jay
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