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  #11  
Old 07-25-2012, 06:23 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

We just finished building our oven, the bread looks great, recipe? I was wanting to make the dough in a bread machine? Your picture has me more excited for the bread than pizza.
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  #12  
Old 07-25-2012, 10:26 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Camarillo, CA
Posts: 367
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

Hey Carol:

The recipe is a combination of instructions of what Jay (Texassourdough) and Faith (Faith in Virginia) gave me. Read posts 15 through 17 on the thread linked below. Actually, read everything Faith and Jay have to say on the subject of sourdough and you will improve faster than you thought possible. (I baked my first ever loaf of bread on April 26. I baked my first loaf of sour dough on may 13...I haven't used maufactured yeast since that date.)

Here is the link:

http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f11/...ugh-17654.html (My first attempt at bread and making sourdough starter.)

Take what I say with a grain of salt I'm still a beginner...but my view is that
the key is to have an active, mature, sourdough starter. It is not rocket science to culture one...follow directions and it just takes just under three weeks or so to get something that will produce at acceptable efficiency. Mine took a bit over a month to get really good...and it is continuing to evolve and improve after three months (I started my starter on April 23 using wild yeasts from the skin of blueberries. Whether the offspring from the yeast that came off those blueberries are still the predominant organism in my starter is anybody's guess...but whoever they call their parents, they kick ass when it comes to making a mean sourdough.)

I get your interest in the bread. The pizza is great (made a BUNCH tonight for the gang)...and I mean no offense by this to the pizza afficianados...but I find the making of a good sourdough bread to be a much higher art form. And therefore more interesting to me. I'd say it's maybe sixty-five percent science...thirty percent art...and five percent random factors that I find difficult to predict, much less control. Sourdough is so ancient...so integral to civilization...yet so damn tasty and good. And it takes a lot of skill to do it well with regularity. Don't get me wrong...it's not brain surgery...but there is a very distinct learning curve and it's a fun one.

Bill

Last edited by WJW; 07-25-2012 at 10:51 PM.
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  #13  
Old 07-26-2012, 06:38 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

Good Advice, Bill! And great comments!

Some extra advice for Carol... IF you want to make great bread you will almost certainly want to grow out of the breadmaker. However, if you want to start there, fine. But you will want to bake the bread in your indoor oven for it takes at least 12 pounds or more of bread in my experience to get good crust in a WFO and I question you will make that much dough in your breadmaker! In addition, there are qualities you are likely to want to pursue (like open crumb) that you are unlikely to generate in a breadmaker mixed dough. That said, I won't say you can't, you probably can if you work at it long enough - but it need not be all that mystical for making great bread.

And in recognition of those who make small batches of bread in ovens, it can be done - but it typically gives a pasty, grayish crust that I find unappealing. But those are all decisions for you to make for yourself.

And, finally, sourdough has a "rhythm" and so does the oven. Getting them on the same coordinated schedule can be a challenge. Especially if your sourdough habits are not consistent and your timing predictable. I really encourage people to begin in their indoor oven and not move to the WFO until their timing is consistent and they understand the process a bit.

But...everyone marches to their own drummer. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. The most important thing is to give it a try. And if you aren't happy with the results - make a change and try again. (But don't make TOO many changes or you will have a hell of a time figuring out the process. We will help you figure out what to try next!)

Good Luck and Bake On!
Jay
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2012, 10:37 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rural Iowa
Posts: 37
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

Hi all, do you use a mister/sprayer to humidify your WFO when baking bread? If so, how does that compare with placing a container of water in the oven?

I've had trouble getting the "ears" even when the oven is loaded up.

I also have been disappointed in the over all color of the "white" bread. It tends to be a dull white even when baked at 480F. I understand the bread flour has barley extract that normally browns the bread, and of course we can use an egg wash, or some such, but would like to get good color naturally.

Finally, how is the rise related to the "tears" we get with no-knead breadd baked in a covered dutch oven in the conventional oven? IS it a function of the proper rise or the humidity?

Sorry for the rambling questions!

Joe
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  #15  
Old 08-13-2012, 06:05 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

Hi Joe!

The simplest and most accurate response to all of your questions is the same as for auto MPG....

"Your mileage may vary!"

There simply is no magic bullet that seems to work best for everyone. I personally consider putting a pan of water in a WFO heresy but there are people who find that it works for them. Many do use a sprayer. Others simply mop with a moderately wet towel.

Your lack of info on the details/habits of your baking makes it very hard to provide a confident answer. If your loaves are pale you are 1) overproofing (so there is no residual sugar) 2) baking them at too low a temp (you should be loading in the 550 to 575 hearth temp range in my experience, 480 is WAY low in my experience), or 3) your oven is dry (too low a loading - if you have enough bread you should NOT have a humidity problem - back to my mantra of a minimum of 12 to 15 pounds for a typical oven to get a great crust). (RE: 550/575 again your mileage may vary!) (One can bake smaller batches and get a great look but managing the hydration is in my experience not easy.)

Egg wash, barley, etc are NOT how to get the great look of WFO bread.

RE: ears and tears, it is proper proofing. proper humidity, and proper heat flow to the loaf which for a WFO is a fxn of the temp and heat loading of the oven. - both in the proofing and the bake.

Good luck!
Jay
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2012, 06:34 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rural Iowa
Posts: 37
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

Thanks Jay. I think I'll set up some experiments this week to test variables. I am particularly interested in proofing times and different methods of humidifying the oven.

I'm baking in a home made vault style oven (with a single layer of brick) that is maybe 42 inches by 34 inches: I could squeeze maybe 24 round loaves in at a time, though I typically bake 12-16 at a time. I fire the oven every Thursday till the soot burns off then let the wood burn down, spread the coals and close it up for the night. Next day about noon we rake the ash out and wait for the temps to drop to 450F. We mop the floor with a big, wet mop - usually trying to get the temp down.

We can get 4 bakes in before the temps drop too far - 360F. Then we reheat with small fire and bake 1-4 more times.

Thanks, Joe
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2012, 09:36 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

That helps, Joe!

You have enough dough in the oven. You should NOT be suffering appreciably from oven humidity if you are baking a dozen or more loaves (and are using a reasonably sealing door which I assume you are from your temp the next day). (I also assume it is reasonably sealed for the same reason.)

As a test...of humidity and proofing... Take one loaf and bake it indoors in your Dutch oven. I am forced to guess it will be pale from overproofing (since your oven SHOULD have enough humidity). If it comes out gold and the ones in the WFO don't then we will know it is not the proofing!

The other big issue is oven temp/management. My first concern is your oven is pretty light if it is only one layer of brick with no extra refractory so it can't hold a lot of heat. When you load 15 to 20 pounds of dough you are asking the refractory to hold a temp in the 450 range and to boil off about 2 to 2.5 pounds of water. That alone will require about 2500 Btu. Heating the flour and the water in the dough to 210 or so will require another 2000 Btu or so. If you have 500 pounds of refractory at 450 oF, the dough will drop the temp of ALL the refractory (assuming euqlized) by 36 degrees - to about 415 degrees. (NOTE: it is my experience that a full batch of bread knocks the equalized temp down by about 40 degrees - about the same). And note: the temp drops a lot more than that at first - knocking the air temp in the oven WAY down. The refractory has to pump heat back in to get UP to 415. With bread in the oven it would not get back that hot - probably be closer to 380 and then bounce on up to 415 with equalization. With lean dough you need to be a lot hotter. I don't know any serious WFO baker who targets lean dough boules for less than 525 or so at loading. And don't use a really wet mop. It should be pretty dry. Water really knocks the temp of the oven down.

Good luck!
Jay

PS: it is okay to mist the oven with a fine spray if you want to both before and after you load to increase the humidity a bit but it shouldn't be necessary if you are fully loaded. BUT, it should be FINE SPRAY and not too much (but you can be more aggressive if you go to a higher loading temp!)
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  #18  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:19 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rural Iowa
Posts: 37
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

OK, sounds like I have some experimentation to do this week!

Maybe one of my problems is that we prepare the dough in some fairly extreme conditions. In the winter it can be down right chilly while a couple weeks ago I noticed it was 98F in the house. Its hard to get consistent results when with these variables.

Another issue is the different types of bread we bake. The multigrain and cranberry pecan boules seem to brown quickly and get too dark if the WFO is above 450F. So this week we'll plan to get the baguettes then the batards in first and while the oven is at 525F and also use the dutch ovens with some of the same dough to compare.

I wonder if there is a way to monitor the air temps in the oven after loading? Currently I use a couple IR temp guns which are 20F different from each other (!). It is certainly possible that the temps are dipping after loading. It seems we're generally fighting to get the temps down before the dough over proofs though - timing is tough with the different proofing temps.

Anyway, thanks much for the input. Gives me some good stuff to mull over. I'll update with a new thread later.

Joe
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  #19  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:48 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Yet another big bake.

The normal baking pattern for WFOs is to stage the baking, potentially beginning with flatbreads at temps as high as 700 or so, then baguettes and other lean dough, small loaves that cook quickly, then moving to lean larger loaves that take longer, and so on with the sweetened doughs coming last. In your case you would probably want to bake in two batches. The first at the higher temp of 550 or so and the oven would probably equalize pretty close 475 (which is an easy adjustment to 450 as you indicated) for the final loaves.

I don't know of any decent way to really measure air temp in the oven but I guarantee you it drops a lot (as does the hearth temp) when the wet dough hits the hearth and stem fills the oven. As an aside, 2 pounds of water creates about 45 cubic feet of steam which is enough to flush your oven out about three times!
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