Homemade Bread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by a1fa, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Our flagship bread. Durum stick

    [​IMG]
    #81
  2. Denis

    Denis Been here awhile

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    Jim, that looks delightful. What makes it that way?

    Denis
    #82
  3. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Fermentation and hydration (lots of water). If that bread doesn't look that way, I'm not happy!
    #83
  4. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

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    My last attempt at a loaf

    [​IMG]

    I forgot to open up the top before I baked it so it was a bit smaller and denser than I wanted, but still tasted fantastic. Somehow almost like black walnuts.

    I took the other 1/4 of the dough, sectioned it up and fried it in olive oil and garlic to go with my sphaghetti.
    [​IMG]

    That didn't quite work out the way I wanted, but I've got some ideas for next time.
    #84
  5. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Interesting that Saf, haven't seen it in Canada yet, will have to check with my suppliers. How does it compare with Fermipan Red? Called Fermipan Eagle in Canada, I always had good results with that one.:thumb
    #85
  6. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    Thank you very much Jim for offering your knowledge.
    I wonder if you'd offer some critique on my drunken post above.

    I wanted the holey/translucent-grain and fairly dense (weight, not texture) bread that comes on the table in a good italian restaurant. The recipe I used was for "biga" bread. About a third of the dough is allowed to rest for 12-24hrs in the fridge in order to develop the gluten (so they say).

    I'm trying to find the very happiest medium between fuss/labor (and cleanup), and a good single loaf since I don't want to freeze it, and one loaf is all I can handle at a time.

    The no-knead recipes I found were still a bit heavy on the rise time, fold, flip, rise time, repeat, and other little hassles.

    The biga recipe only required five to ten minutes of kneading so I used this recipe and used the dutch oven method to bake it. I was really really happy with what came out. Mine was only about half as coarsly aerated as your pic below for the most part but had some holes the same size. I preferred it that way. (that's why I mentioned recipes being "open source" programs that need adaptation to desired outcome. That's beautiful bread below. Good illustration what I meant by comparison with the bland styrofoam texture of 'wonder' breads.
    [​IMG]

    When you mentioned water it occurred to me... my dough seemed waaay too wet.
    2cups flour/1cupwater/.25tspyeast for the Biga
    3cups flour/2 1/3 cupwater/1.0tspyeast/2tspsalt for the main dough which gets kneaded into the biga after the biga sets for 12 to 24.

    This left me with a sodden dough that was really difficult to shape so I pretty much plopped it into the dutch oven and hoped for the best. Maybe that's why it turned out so good?

    Last night, in my quest for simplicity, I combined the uber simple recipe I made the whole thing the "biga"....
    5cupflour/2tspsalt/1.25tspyeast*/2.3cupswater
    and hand kneeded for about five minutes before sticking in the fridge for 12-24hrs.
    *(just tossing in local 'meijer's' brand "active dry "for bread machines and traditional baking" without any proofing)

    For some reason, combining them both at this point made for a much drier/stiffer dough. It's in the fridge right now and I"m going to bake in a few more hours. But I wonder now if part of what I liked about that first loaf was a result of the dough being almost 'runny'.
    #86
  7. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    I thought PORN was contraban here!!! :freaky
    WOW !!

    #87
  8. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    Sir Williams
    so for the total noob that likes to experiment, where do I start?
    I do have Biscuit experience and everyone that has had my biscuits raves about them. From one of our austin-area good markets I get plain, unmodified unadulterated unenriched unbotched 'bread flour'.

    but to make REAL BREAD like I see here, do you recommend that book that someone else posted? And what is a good basic yeast to use?
    And what is a good bread machine - that is, kneading machine?? I have a big fancy food processor but to be honest I know nothing about its capabilities :rofl

    #88
  9. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    You might've been on the right track with the first go around. Most of our doughs are pretty wet. They kind of pour out of the bowl. We scoop them out rather than pull them out in a mass if that makes any sense? Wet dough and long fermentation makes the best bread. No question. You're on the right track with using a biga. It's hard for me to tell what your recipe really is, since I think in bakers percentages, rather than cups. If possible, next time, weigh everything out and post back. I can break it down into percentages.

    As for your bread, without knowing actual percentages it's hard for me to comment on the recipe. Still, recipes are nothing more than guidelines, it's more about method. I could give you a recipe for the bread above, and it might change several times a year thanks to changes in flour, humidity etc. Temperature doesn't affect us much, since we work in 75F rooms year round. Humidity however greatly affects things thanks to flour sitting in trucks and warehouses.

    So, back to your bread. Mix it just until the dough comes together. Don't worry too much about the kneading part. Jsut get all the ingredients to come together. If the biga is stiff, that needs to be mixed in well with no lumps. I would recommend doing the same thing you did on the first go, then add in a series of folds. If you do one every 30 min, you'll be surprised at the difference in the dough. Fermentation develops bread dough as much as mixing does, and that's the reason these no-knead recipes work. Over the very long fermentation, the dough is developing itself.

    Gradually, you'll get a feel for it, and be able to get away with less mixing (kneading) and more folds. Alot less work on your end, and better bread.

    Here's a link to someone folding. It's pretty good, but for gods sake don't handle the dough so much!! I tell my mixers to "get in and get out". The more you handle it, the more damage your doing. That pick up the dough and fondle in midair thing she's doing is just bizarre:lol3 Basic idea is good though! The first time it may feel really sloppy, but by the time you do the second, you'll be amazed at the difference in the dough.

    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9oyg8K6J8QM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Good luck!
    #89
  10. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    You were born with two bread machines attached to your arms. Donate the other thing taking up space on your kitchen counter to the thrift store!

    That Bread Alone book is good, but the best? Well, it's pretty outdated.

    Some of my favorite books are Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman and Tartine from Chad Robertson. The Tartine book esp. gets down to the nitty gritty right away, and in a very approachable manner, but sourdough not yeast. Any serious bread maker will need to take the step to sourdough, and it's not as difficult as it seems. Like anything, there a few rules to follow, but it's pretty idiot proof. We maintain two sourdoughs at the bakery, and our sourdough bread is more consistent than the yeasted bread. It's actually much more forgiving, and makes better bread!

    This no-knead method is probably the easiest to get going with. It's funny, I've been making pizza dough at home using this exact method for 15 years or so. I never knew it would take off! After hearing about it, I took some of the pizzas dough I made, tossed it into a preheated cast iron dutch oven, and was blown away by how good it was! It's a great way to get started.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

    As for yeast, the above referenced Saf Red is a great yeast, that has a 1 yr. shelf life if stored correctly. It is the yeast referenced in the recipe, and if you can get your hands on it, I would recommend it. Stay away from any of the junk in the grocery stores labeled "fast rise" or "bread Machine" or anything along those lines. You can't make good bread with fast rise. It's not possible. Fermentation makes good bread. Not yeast. Most of the bread you buy in stores or local bakeries are not fermenting wheat. They're creating carbon dioxide!

    Hope that helps.
    #90
  11. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Ok, here's a pretty good write up on bakers percentages from a bakery I used to work for. It just happened to pop up when I googled bakers percentage. Go figure..

    Anyway, this is a good thing to know and understand since it helps manipulate ingredients, and understand the process a little more. This is also really easy to integrate into a spreadsheet if you're so inclined.

    Here's the link
    http://www.artisanbakers.com/percentage.html
    #91
  12. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    http://www.artisanbakers.com/percentage.html

    Excellent!! Since I'm a beginner I might as well develop good habits from the start.

    I just want to spend some time perfecting a loaf of plain bread. Might experiment with varieties much later. But I'd just love to get the skills down to do that basic loaf well whenever/whereever I happen to want to.
    #92
  13. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    It's a great tool. Esp. when used metric since it makes so much more sense than American. We're all metric at the bakery, and wouldn't consider switching. Bakers percentage allows you to keep things in check. The most important being salt which should always be 2-2.2%. That's a pretty hard and fast rule that should be followed. There are times when it may be different, like our olive bread for example is less than that, but that's because of the olives. Right around 2% of the total flour weight (including pre-ferments!!!) is perfect for flavor and controlling fermentation.
    #93
  14. AngryScot

    AngryScot .

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    going to start simple with the no knead type and see what happens.
    My mum use to make fresh bread when I was growing up and that smell of the kitchen is like a time machine!
    #94
  15. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    ... and fresh sizzling bacon. Just can't top the basics sometimes.
    #95
  16. MikeFly

    MikeFly Adventurer

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    This looks like one of the best loaves of bread I have seen. GREAT WORK:clap

    #96
  17. MikeFly

    MikeFly Adventurer

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    Great thread. I've been making bread for a long time but only recently started using a levain. It's a lot different than using regular yeast.

    Finally made a great baguette this weekend after temporarily giving up on some of the varieties of doorstops I have been making. I'm guessing that since I am used to a dough that is a lot drier, I am not using enough water in the dough.
    #97
  18. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    I would venture to guess that 99% of the bread made at home could have alot more water in the dough. Pretty much if it's not pretty sloppy after mixing, you can get away with adding more. Watch that video on folding to get an idea of what needs to be done. Just don't beat the hell out of it. It really doesn't need much man handling at that stage. A simple fold over onto itself and you're done. key is plenty of fermentation time to give time between folds for a rest.
    #98
  19. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Thanks. We just had some professional pictures done, so I enjoy showing them off. This photographer did a GREAT job with our products!

    I love this one of that bread coming out of the oven from above
    [​IMG]
    #99
  20. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    Yum!!!