#41  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

The outside of your loaf looks good. Crust color is highly individual. I'd say increasing your hydration was a good idea. I don't usually push my loaves as far as Jay does- 203-205 is usually good enough for my taste, but going that little bit more does help with the crust if you like it that way. It won't fix the crumb, though. When you do your bulk rise, do you fold your dough? Do you do a lot of hand-kneading? My crumb always tightens up when I muck about with it too much- I let it get fully mixed in the mixer, and then dump it straight into an oiled bowl. Then I do the folding a maximum of twice. I don't do a lot of degassing when I shape it either. Like Dutch suggests, poke your loaves to see if they're ready. Unless they're way overproofed, you won't deflate them.

I baked two different lots of sourdough the other day- one was Reinhart's (where he says to start with barm, use your fed starter, they're the same thing) and the other was Hamelman's Vermont sourdough with whole wheat. I baked the Reinhart recipe all in one day, and the Hamelman I shaped, let it sit for nearly an hour, and put in the fridge for the next day. I let the retarded loaves sit out for about 45 minutes before I baked them, but they were still cold when they went in the oven. The inside oven, but the bread principle remains the same.

The two loaves together are the Reinhart loaves. The long one is the Hamelman. You can't tell from the picture, but that loaf is a little flatter than it ought to be, but not bad at all. The Reinhart loaves are a little taller. I don't have any crumb pictures, but they both had nice, open crumb, not tight at all. The retarded loaves were more on the sour side, pleasantly so. I got nice blistering on each set.

In the Hamelman book, he says it matters not if you put the risen, retarded dough into the oven straight from the fridge- he recommends you do so, since letting them warm up runs the risk of flattening them. I'd agree with this, myself. I preheat my inside oven to 475-500 before I bake, and I bake in the wfo at 500 or so. If it's that hot, the 30 degrees or so difference in temp isn't going to matter much. The trick is to figure out at what point to put your dough in the fridge- I don't think mine rose much in the fridge, and it didn't rise much on the counter during the time the oven was heating. I'm wondering if a bulk rise overnight followed by a regular rise the next day after shaping would work better?

As far as favorite breads from the book, the basic sourdough is good, and the pain l'ancienne is good as is the italian bread. The really invaluable thing, though, is the information! Always make the bread at least once the way the recipe calls for it, so you can see how it differs when you change things.

And always remember that unless you carbonize the whole darn thing you can always make really good croutons with homemade bread, especially the bread that's a little dense! And speaking from experience, panzanella with homemade croutons is just amazing. We had that last night for dinner with a little canned tuna on top and it was soooo good!
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Thanks Elizabeth! Good Comments! I need to reread Hamelman on straight "from the fridge". Hmmm... That doesn't fit right with my experience! (But maybe it is my wild yeast???) Also, your bread looks really good!

Back to crust. I really liked the thickness of David's crust. It looked really good. I just like a little more caramelization, more like Elizabeth's Reinhart loaf on the right which is why I like a higher baking temp.

As I recall you said the bread was BP65. That is a little on the low side IMO. I like to go for 68-70 and wetter doughs tend to give more open crumb. Elizabeth's comments on handling are right on. I like folding for wet doughs to aid in handling but it does seem to cause a tighter crumb so I really resist folding after the first hour of bulk fermentation. I want the pockets to have a chance to grow so I get uneven, open crumb.

The refrigeration/sourdough issue is an interesting one. I have to work on that...

Thanks!
Jay

Last edited by texassourdough; 09-02-2009 at 12:03 PM.
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2009, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Thank you all for the very helpful and interesting comments; I am learning a ton. Next time, I will skip the retard since that is about the only variable I have not played with.

Elizabeth, cut those loaves open next time so I can see the inside! They look great, though. I would like to try shaping a batard some time soon. To answer your question, I have been doing all my mixing by hand. I discovered that I really despise my KA. I don't like the way it walks; I don't like the way it whines; I don't like the way that 1 lb. of flour does not seem to be big enough a batch for it yet 4 lbs is too big a batch; and I especially don't like the way it kicks flour all over the counter. It just seems easier and way more relaxing to mix dough by hand.
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  #44  
Old 09-03-2009, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Good Morning David & Elizabeth (since we are the main dialoguers!)

An interesting revelation last night that sort of relates to David's comment about his KA. Like David I have pretty given up mixers and go totally by hand and have had no regrets. Two weeks ago they guys my favorite pizzaria got a huge spiral mixer (went from 22 pound batches in a Hobart to "dump two [50 pound] bags of flour in and..." This was my first visit since the new mixer. The dough was amazing. Whole new texture profile I have never experienced. Like soft, wet, yet totally well behaved. I am in shock. I am going to have to go in on a Monday when they are making dough and watch this machine in action!

I suspect I know how to approximate that quality by hand (or at least get closer) but...it was awesome!
Jay
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  #45  
Old 09-03-2009, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Jay
What is great about the spirals, which you probably already know, is that they have a very low friction rate. Takes quite a while to overheat the dough. Only better mixer I suppose is the reciprocating arm type...
Best
Dutch
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  #46  
Old 09-03-2009, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi Dutch!

I sit at the counter right by the fellow who forms the dough balls and last night the owner covered the spot for a while. I asked him about his new mixer and he handed me a ball and it was like nothing I have ever touched. Soft, velvety, extensible beyond compare, barely sticky, yet clearly wet. I had heard all the stories but I was not prepared for the real thing, i.e. the difference! The owner commented that they were in shock too by the difference it made.

I knew about the gentleness. And I have heard the logic that the fork mixer is the best but that seems much more controversial than the advantage of the fork/spiral over elliptical.

The crazy part was I thought I was making really neat dough by hand but... this was a real eye-opener.

As I recall you have an SP5???? I think CanuckJim does too. I may have to order one - its been on my list for about two years. Mainly want it to do big enough batches to easily load my WFO to a good level for great crust w/o the hassle of hand kneading multiple batches.

I am still shaking my head over the dough. It was sublime!
Jay
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  #47  
Old 09-03-2009, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

TexasS,
How do you load 15 lbs at one time without losing your steam?

Mark
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  #48  
Old 09-03-2009, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Jay
I wish I had a spiral mixer and the SP% is pretty great. We use a planetary type mixer but primarily to bring the dough together not really for development. I know what you mean about the kneading in small batches. In our home oven about 12-15 1.5# loaves was max...now in the restaurant oven that we are using to get used to the quirks of it it takes 20 just to make it a good load...depending on shape it can hold close to 30 if I hold my tongue right.
Mark
You have to do it as quickly as possible and then steam the oven manually after loading. As Jay mentions quite often the bread steams the oven while it is baking but in order for a great crust there has to be a load of steam...either a full oven load of dough or a little help. The ovens generally recover quite well.
Best to all!
Dutch
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  #49  
Old 09-04-2009, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi Dutch!

Thanks for the comments re: loading. My only suggestion would be "LOTS of help" in the place of "a little help". I don't see how people get bread out of their ovens that are as pretty as they are (maybe photography is kind) when they only load a couple of loaves!

I did some research yesterday. Doug had referred to his mixer as a spiral but it is technically a fork mixer. The videos I found online seem to show very similar dough texture and quality from both.

Thanks!
Jay
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  #50  
Old 09-04-2009, 04:09 AM
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Default Re: First loaves of bread

Hi Mark!

I don't worrty too much about humidity before loading. And it does take some time to load 15 pounds of boules and ciabatta and... so it is a concern, but...there is only so much you can do.

As I think I stated, I clean the oven out - just rake and brush - when it is properly heat soaked. I do not mop it until the temp is ready to bake. The mop is only damp - not soaked, but it does hydrate the hearth somewhat. Then I spray the dome lightly to increase the humidity. Load like mad. Spray about five seconds (not on the bread and particularly in the back. Close the door. And relax. The panic is over. About 20 minutes in I take a look and move a few loaves around to make sure things are going right.

I can't prove it makes a difference, but psychologically I really like to have some really wet ciabatta in the oven to serve as an extra source of humidity (usually around 3-4 pounds out of 15). It works for me and I enjoy the ciabatta! )
Jay
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