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Old 10-03-2006, 09:25 PM
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I'm firing the oven about once or twice a week right now and am continuing to learn a lot about handling the fire. I purchased and used the forno bravo caputo flour this week. I made a 65% hydration batch with 1 kg of flour per James' recipe (2tsp each of salt and yeast). I let the dough balls slow ferment for 2 nights - made 7 pizza, 6 260g and one 170g. These were Margherita (4), salami (2) and potato (1, I posted the recipe for this in a previous post, I continue to highly recommend this). My last pizza bake I used all purpose flour only but had an exceptional crust due primarily to how the dough was handled. The caputo was clearly better - more flavor, more crisp but still able to fold the dough without cracking, and it browned very well at high heat - hearth temp 800-850. I then gave the oven a few hours to cool and baked bread.

I had begun a sourdough starter about 10 days previously - my first try at this. I made three yeast breads, all of which called for biga and all of which also used active dry yeast. I modified the recipes to allow for an overnight cool ferment and replaced the biga with the starter. Picture included, I have not tried any of these yet other than a small bite of one of the ciabatta. The top two are ciabatta, the next one clockwise is altamura (a semolina/bread flour blend), then two loaves of bananna bread (had to use the oven heat and I had some ripe banannas ), then 2 loaves of a rustic rye (this from Baking with Julia). I should be good for the week.
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2006, 04:24 AM
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Very inspiring. I've got to start baking again.

Maver, if you have an extra second, putting a couple of tips on how you handled the dough, proofed and shaped, managed the oven, etc. in a posting in the bread section would be very helpful. I think a lot of us would appreciate it.

Great looking bread! What bread flour did you use?
James
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Old 10-04-2006, 07:33 AM
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Nothing special on the flours. The ciabatta and altamura were made with gold medal unbleached bread flour (the yellow bag in the supermarket), the semolina for the altamura was Bob's Red Mill, also a supermarket product readily available in any grocery where I live. Rye was Hodgson Mill mixed with gold medal unbleached all purpose flour. I certainly have some room to improve on flour quality - this was really just a continued extension of my learning of handling the oven.

I made pizza dough with your Caputo on sunday night in anticipation of baking on Tuesday. Late monday night I began all three bread doughs. The proofing for all my recipes I took some shortcuts on. After making all three batches (using autolyse techniques and aiming on the wet side of what the recipes directed) I placed all three in covered oiled bowls and left on my back porch overnight (temperature mid forties). In the morning I "punched" them down by banging the bowls on the countertop then placed all three in the fridge. At around 4pm I took the dough out of the fridge and shaped them per the final shaping stage directions for each recipe (although the ciabatta I let rice in a rectangular baking dish to help develop the shape). Each recipe called for some sort of folding to orient the gluten in the dough and I adhered to that. I deviated from the recipes in how they recommend timing and sometimes containers for the rises. I was interested in a long slow rise to let the sourdough do it's thing, but also was away from the house from 8 to 4pm so just left it in the fridge.

I've been using a hotter oven the past few times I made pizza; 800-850 for hearth temp and a bigger fire to maintain the temp during baking. These are surface temps with an infrared thermometer. Once I was done with pizza I spread the coals andlet them quiet for about 15 minutes, then shoveled them out of the oven into a metal bucket. I left the door off the oven for about an hour, then when the hearth temp was down to 550 I placed the door over the opening. 15 minutes later I was back up to 650 - left the door slightly ajar. About 30-60 minutes later I was down to 550 - this time with the door in place. I baked ciabatta (about 25 minutes) to internal temp of 205. These are fairly big loaves. I then baked the altamura and rye. Altamura also took about 25 minutes, oven was down to 475 at the start of the bake. Julia suggested the internal temp of the rye should be 200, and these loaves took a bit longer to bake, maybe 40 minutes. I started the bananna bread while the rye was finishing.

I've since had a chance to sample some of the bread. The rye I brought in to work last night and it was very well received. This loaf had a very well developed thick crust and a tight crumb - good flavor, just a hint of the sourdough from my young starter. I had some ciabatta with freezer jam this morning - it was a bit less delicate than I would have liked, I may want to try this in the future with a flour blend or use the caputo. The occhi are also a bit small, but the overall crumb is as it should be - loose and able to absorb jam or olive oil without falling apart. The pizza made last night with caputo was my lunch today - I have only a microwave to reheat at work so I eat it cold. No crisp but the chew is still good. Life is good.

Last edited by maver; 10-04-2006 at 01:32 PM. Reason: typo and a few additions
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