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"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" Zoe Francois (2010–)


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#31 lesliec

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 02:00 PM

Ah! The buns look great. The brioche dough is the one I haven't succeeded with yet, but I've been intending to have another go. Here's a good excuse!

I suspect my problem last time had something to do with mixing - I mixed everything happily, turned round and found the eggs still on the bench. Certain Words were spoken, but I won't repeat them here.

Thanks for directing me to the site, Zoe - I hadn't realised how much was in there. And you'll be most welcome to come and bake in NZ any time you like (we have a real Dutch windmill making 'real' flours - interested?).

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#32 Aloha Steve

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 05:05 PM

"I wonder if I made a mistake ? The dough almost tripled, 3 hrs, before putting in fridge 14 hours ago, just checked and its now only doubled, the original volume."

I think your going to be fine.
I start with cold water and stick the dough in the fridge imediately. The dough will about triple in 24-48 hours, then it will come down in size to about double or less, as time goes on.

If you used warm water, or left the dough out at room temp for several hours, it will rise right to the top of the container i use (see the pictorial). It then will settle in the fridge.

Thank you very much for the formula, tutorial and reply ! Water temp duly noted.

I'm still a novice so they taste MUCH better then they look.

This morning I made two batards from your recipe w/ the aforementioned increase % of the semolina. One I put a little rice/AP mixture and slashed, the other after putting the mix on, brushed with egg white/water and put sesame seeds on, right before putting in the oven. Both rose OK, the sesame collapsed a little in the middle, and either the cut was off which is what I think, or the egg wash being very cold deflated it a bit as once before on a different formula it deflated the dough a lot.

I used a pre-heated stove/stone, put dough on stone and covered with a warmed, only by hot water SS bowl for 10 minutes, uncovered and baked for 14 minutes more. It worked OK, well better than that probably. I'll know more tomorrow after I've eaten more. I just wonder how much better it would taste, if at all, with the water in the hot pan to make steam method ? This was only my second time baking bread with no steam and the first time doesn't count...... :raz:

heartsurgon.jpg

Heartsurgeon.jpg

It tastes good right now. I always wait a day for a final taste judgment as it seems the breads gets more flavorful with time.

It is absolutely extraordinary to me that no mixing, except to minimally incorporate the ingredients together could turn out such a...such a..uh uh....BREAD !

Edited by Aloha Steve, 22 March 2010 - 05:13 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
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#33 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:28 AM

a tip with surface washes and seeds

in my experience, when surface washes and seeds are used, you have to reduce the oven temperature (from 450 to 400 degrees) and increase the baking time (25% or so) so that the bread cooks (no gummy interior), but the seeds/surface wash doesn't burn.

your sesame seeds and crust look a tad "toasted".

if you like sesame...you should try nigella seeds (aka black sesame seeds)..sesame on steroids!

if you take a systematic approach, and work on perfecting one element of your bread at a time, you should able to produce bread that is exactly what you want.

if your not weighing your ingredients and using a oven thermometer, start doing it, it will allow you to reproduce your results from batch to batch.

you should also try a few different flours to see what you like. Many people end up using king arthur all purpose. i ended up there. it's worthwhile to try different flours to see just how different they can be!

final tips. bread freezes great! if you make more than you can eat, let it cool off and put it in a heavy duty zip bag and freeze it! you can microwave it later (the crust will become soft). a few minutes in the oven will firm up the crust.

one more final tip. My Walmart sells King Arthur Flour for way less than anyone else.

Edited by Heartsurgeon, 23 March 2010 - 09:35 AM.


#34 Aloha Steve

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 03:02 PM

a tip with surface washes and seeds

in my experience, when surface washes and seeds are used, you have to reduce the oven temperature (from 450 to 400 degrees) and increase the baking time (25% or so) so that the bread cooks (no gummy interior), but the seeds/surface wash doesn't burn.

your sesame seeds and crust look a tad "toasted".

if you like sesame...you should try nigella seeds (aka black sesame seeds)..sesame on steroids!

if you take a systematic approach, and work on perfecting one element of your bread at a time, you should able to produce bread that is exactly what you want.

if your not weighing your ingredients and using a oven thermometer, start doing it, it will allow you to reproduce your results from batch to batch.

you should also try a few different flours to see what you like. Many people end up using king arthur all purpose. i ended up there. it's worthwhile to try different flours to see just how different they can be!

final tips. bread freezes great! if you make more than you can eat, let it cool off and put it in a heavy duty zip bag and freeze it! you can microwave it later (the crust will become soft). a few minutes in the oven will firm up the crust.

one more final tip. My Walmart sells King Arthur Flour for way less than anyone else.

Thank you so much. I used toasted sesame seeds but now I am going to find nigella seeds, maybe we will develop muscles while eating them. :smile:

And please, no FINAL tip, as you think about offering any suggestions/tips/insights it will be most welcomed by me & I'm sure all the people on this thread and elsewhere.
Mahalo, steve

Edited by Aloha Steve, 23 March 2010 - 03:04 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#35 saluki

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 08:29 PM

[/quote]
Thank you so much. I used toasted sesame seeds but now I am going to find nigella seeds, maybe we will develop muscles while eating them. :smile:

And please, no FINAL tip, as you think about offering any suggestions/tips/insights it will be most welcomed by me & I'm sure all the people on this thread and elsewhere.
Mahalo, steve
[/quote]

If you have an Indian grocery in your area you will find Black Nigella seeds, but they will be called Kalonji seeds

#36 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:50 PM

I have used sesame seeds, nigella seeds (black sesame), a mixture of black and white sesame seeds, and blue poppy seeds, and black poppy seeds.

overall, the nigella seeds were he best in my opinion. Blue poppy seeds...meh.
Black poppy seeds and regular sesame seeds are good as well.

couple of drawbacks to seeds..makes sc

#37 Aloha Steve

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 04:06 PM

I have used sesame seeds, nigella seeds (black sesame), a mixture of black and white sesame seeds, and blue poppy seeds, and black poppy seeds.

overall, the nigella seeds were he best in my opinion. Blue poppy seeds...meh.
Black poppy seeds and regular sesame seeds are good as well.

couple of drawbacks to seeds..makes sc

What are the drawbacks to seeds ?

Have you ever put raisins in and if so how ?
[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#38 lesliec

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 05:10 PM

Steve, a few posts back Zoe herself pointed me at her site (artisanbreadinfive.com). There are a lot of good recipes there, including this one which incorporates raisins. Haven't done it myself yet, but it's on the list ...

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#39 Aloha Steve

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 06:39 PM

Steve, a few posts back Zoe herself pointed me at her site (artisanbreadinfive.com). There are a lot of good recipes there, including this one which incorporates raisins. Haven't done it myself yet, but it's on the list ...

Leslie?, thank you for the info and link, the log is proofing as I write in a bread pan
[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#40 saluki

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:06 PM

I have used sesame seeds, nigella seeds (black sesame), a mixture of black and white sesame seeds, and blue poppy seeds, and black poppy seeds.

overall, the nigella seeds were he best in my opinion. Blue poppy seeds...meh.
Black poppy seeds and regular sesame seeds are good as well.

couple of drawbacks to seeds..makes sc


Heartsurgeon-- Are you using any kind of wash on top of the bread when using the seeds?

Love the nigella seeds and I sometimes use them to replace the caraway in rye bread although, honestly my rye breads have not been that successful, even with the use of clear flour.-----but love those seeds---- good on Naan as well.....

#41 Aloha Steve

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 01:56 AM

Well I hope this new batch comes out alright.
I ran out of AP so I used Bread flour. Heart Surgeons based and changed to, 600 G Bread Flour, 200 G both WW and Semolina, 30 G non-diastic malt powder and Organic Barley Malt instead of honey, salt, yeast cut down 25% and a very little bit of the old batter. Boom, doubled in an hour, listened to Chris' advice and put in fridge.

K, I started reading this topic from the beginning and in the first three pages or so, read 4 times, if using bread flour INCREASE WATER at lest 25%........Ye gads, I did not do that. Now, I am sure it was under hydrated. I started debating whether to get the container and add more water or was it too late, being 1 hour room temp rise and 6 hours in the fridge. Got up to get and add, sat down LOL. 15 minutes later, got back up, got the container and added the about 25% more water, mixed as little as I could just to incorporate water as much as possible. Dough fell down to original level when first mixed, just checked it now, 1 hour after adding water and Voilà, as you can see its at lest doubled.

Here's the dough looking 'wet' Think too wet ? I am hoping it will be absorbed as time goes on.
2ndbztchhs.jpg

Here's the dough risen.
2ndbatchHS.jpg

Do you think with adding the water 7 hours later it will be OK ?

Edited by Aloha Steve, 25 March 2010 - 02:07 AM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#42 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 12:39 PM

i have used several different types of wash to hold the seeds (dilute egg wash, pekmez wash, molasses wash), they all tend to burn unless i turn the temp down. The main drawback with the seeds is the extra effort, and the mess (seeds end up all over the house when the kids eat the bread).

It's important to put down the exact weights of all the ingredients used for any discussion of results. by weighing everything, you can intelligently tweak any recipe to the desired result.

I cannot tell if everything will be alright with the recipe listed above, because i can't tell what your hydration percent is. Typically, over 82% hydration (weight of water = 82% weight of flour) and your dough will be overly wet. i prefer about 75% hydration so i can handle the dough and form the shape of bread i like, that's just my personal preference.

it's very instructive to try several different types of flour (all-purpose, bread, different manufacturers) to see just how different the bread will end up, in terms of taste, texture and crust. i would say that you should just started with 75% hydration (middle of the road) with any new flour, and adjust the hydration up or down, depending on the results. Increasing hydration and the second rise time after forming, will tend to improve the crumb (bigger holes in the bread), but make it harder to handle the dough.

i suspect your dough may be excessively wet. let us know how it turns out.

Edited by Heartsurgeon, 25 March 2010 - 12:41 PM.


#43 Aloha Steve

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 01:53 PM

i suspect your dough may be excessively wet. let us know how it turns out.

I think you are correct but we won't know for a few days.

I looked at the proof container which has been in the fridge for 12 hours just now. I am surprised that the level the dough had risen too, before I put it in the fridge last night, after mixing the additional water in, is the same hight; approx doubled after incorporating ingredients :wacko:
It has not gone down a fraction of an inch that I can see LOL. Last time, it tripled after initial incorporation of the ingredients and then after placing in fridge, came down to the level it was when right after initial mixing, before proofing.

Yes, Doc I usually am very scrupulous following formula's weights per ingredient, just bought a better scale so I can be more accurate. Documenting flour, yeast, sugars, fats etc used, in what volumes is extremely important to know. Whenever and whatever I can weigh I do so in grams rather than ounces, so I can be more exact. You did the measurements of your formula in grams for that very reason.

This time I guessed based on what I know 750 gms of water looks like from the container I use to weigh water, and tried to visualize 25% more.
Now, in my perfect 20/20 hindsight :cool: I should have weighted 250 gms out and put that in to try to stay inside the parameters and be more exact.

What does it mean, if anyone knows, that it rose and has stayed at the level in the fridge ? If the dough is overly hydrated should it have collapsed, or is there no correlation ?

Edited by Aloha Steve, 25 March 2010 - 01:59 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#44 robirdstx

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:48 PM

K, I started reading this topic from the beginning and in the first three pages or so, read 4 times, if using bread flour INCREASE WATER at lest 25%........Ye gads, I did not do that. Now, I am sure it was under hydrated.


Steve - I think you are supposed to increase the water by a 1/4 of a cup, not 25%, to increase the hydration to about 81%. When I make one-half of the "original" recipe for the 5 minutes a day loaf, I use 16 oz (454 grams) of KA A/P and/or KA white whole wheat, 13.43 oz (381 grams) of water, 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast, and 2 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt. My first try, before reading this thread, using the same flour had a hyration of 75% and was very dense.

Here's a recent loaf I made in my dutch oven:
dutchovenloaf02022010.jpg

Do let us know how your loaf turns out.

#45 Aloha Steve

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 03:43 PM



K, I started reading this topic from the beginning and in the first three pages or so, read 4 times, if using bread flour INCREASE WATER at lest 25%........Ye gads, I did not do that. Now, I am sure it was under hydrated.


Steve - I think you are supposed to increase the water by a 1/4 of a cup, not 25%, to increase the hydration to about 81%. When I make one-half of the "original" recipe for the 5 minutes a day loaf, I use 16 oz (454 grams) of KA A/P and/or KA white whole wheat, 13.43 oz (381 grams) of water, 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast, and 2 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt. My first try, before reading this thread, using the same flour had a hyration of 75% and was very dense.

Here's a recent loaf I made in my dutch oven:
dutchovenloaf02022010.jpg

Do let us know how your loaf turns out.

Ooops :sad: that's about 4 times what I did add.........should be interesting. LOL

Edited by Aloha Steve, 25 March 2010 - 03:45 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#46 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 05:32 PM

i think the reason your seeing a turbocharged rise in your dough is the addition of the Organic Barley Malt. this is going to change the dynamics of the rise.

typically, in the formula i've posted, using cold water, the dough will double to triple in volume over 3-4 hours if left out at room temp. it will stay at that volume in the fridge for 1-2 days, then slowly reduce in volume by about 25 percent.
When formed into mini-buns, and left out at room temp for 2 hours, the formed dough doubles in volume.

many times, i mix the dough and stick it straight into the fridge without any rise time at room temp.
the dough still doubles/triple in volume, but it takes 3-4 days to happen in the fridge. this is what i do when i don't plan to use the dough until the following weekend. Works great.

when you move to higher percent hydration, handling the dough becomes problematic, and getting the dough to keep its shape, and slide off a peel into the oven becomes a nightmare (at least it did for me)
placing (dropping a big blob) of high hydration dough into a pre-heated, heavy dutch oven and covering it with a lid for about half the cook time is a very successful way to make large boules using the high hydration technique. I think Bittman (the culinary equivalent to Chuck Shumer) has written an NYT's article (and a youtube video) on this technique. I've never done it, but the previous post appears to be demonstration of how nicely it works. That's one FINE looking piece of bread....

Edited by Heartsurgeon, 25 March 2010 - 05:34 PM.


#47 lesliec

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:07 PM

I'm not sure that just dropping a blob (without shaping) onto/into something hot would give the result we would hope for, but I can certainly vouch for 'tenting' the boule or loaf with aluminium foil for the first 10 minutes or so of baking. Just tear off a length of foil, make a loose tent and lay it over the dough once it's in the oven. Expect HUGE rise, but also be prepared to cook an extra few minutes (as much as 10, for me). I do this on a pizza stone, by the way; not in a Dutch oven.

I usually don't bother, since the bread is so good anyway, but it does give spectacular results. But having said that, last night's loaf was pretty spectacular without it. No pictures, and mostly all gone!

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#48 robirdstx

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:07 PM

Heartsurgeon - Oh, thank you!

Pictured below are photos from an early effort. My second loaf, in fact, which explains the poor shaping and slashes. LOL! This one I let rise on cornmeal and then slid/pushed it off the board onto my stone, poured hot water into a pan on the lower rack and closed the oven door. I had a little trouble moving the loaf onto the stone so have used parchment paper and the cornmeal for all subsequent loaves, on the stone or in the dutch oven.

ArtisanBeard-01.jpg

ArtisanBeard-02.jpg

ArtisanBeard-03.jpg

#49 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:59 PM

i recommend watching this video
blob of dough tossed into a heavy dutch oven
for a demonstration of the technique i've seen..

just goes to show you lots of different ways to get the desired result.
try lots of different approaches, and figure out what produces the kind of bread you yearn for.

#50 robirdstx

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:49 PM

i recommend watching this video
blob of dough tossed into a heavy dutch oven
for a demonstration of the technique i've seen..

just goes to show you lots of different ways to get the desired result.
try lots of different approaches, and figure out what produces the kind of bread you yearn for.


Wow! Hadn't seen that video before. That looks dangerous.

I don't drop my loaf into the dutch oven. I cradle the loaf in the parchment paper and lower it carefully into the hot pan. The loaf doesn't touch the sides of the pan at all.

dutchovenloaf-01.jpg

#51 Aloha Steve

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 10:46 PM

'tenting' the boule or loaf with aluminium foil for the first 10 minutes or so of baking. Just tear off a length of foil, make a loose tent and lay it over the dough once it's in the oven. Expect HUGE rise, but also be prepared to cook an extra few minutes (as much as 10, for me). I do this on a pizza stone, by the way; not in a Dutch oven.

I usually don't bother, since the bread is so good anyway, but it does give spectacular results. But having said that, last night's loaf was pretty spectacular without it. No pictures, and mostly all gone!

I have usually done the, pour very hot water in the cast iron pot in the bottom of the stove, for a shot of steam to emulate how a pro baker's oven works, touted by countless bread authors' method. A "magic" bowl method was discovered which I have done three times now instead. The idea is that covering the dough with a stainless steel or a aluminum or pyrex bowl, on top of the pre-heated baking stone/oven, will trap the steam coming off the dough and have the same effect. I bought a large SS bowl to do it this way and while it is much safer, and less intimidating then the throw water in a 450-500 degree oven way, I do not think IMHO it works as well.

On the other, very expensive side is this 'system' Almost all who have used it, wrote about it, which I have read their reviews/comments agree it works extremely well. I realize that taking the four elements of the kit, one by one, you can buy them NEW at about 1/2 the price of what the 'kit' sells for. Large stone (I'll be generous on retail prices with delivery for all) $50., steam making gun $40, stainless steel cover if one could find a comp $40, a plastic measuring cup, well let's say freebee :wink: . One of the problems for me is drilling a hole in the right place on the top. The inventor, when grilled strongly, insists the steam maker is of superior materials than the one that looks exactly like it selling all over the web for $40. Then one has to get a new SS top with handle that fits perfectly on the stone, and then having to drill the perfect size to fit the nozzle of the gun.

I've seen the Rube Goldberg versions of the kit, I've seen copper pipes fed into stoves w steam a gun feeding the steam thru and a variety of other ways to achieve a easier, safer, no chance to crack oven door glass and hot water burn back from 'throwing' water into a hot oven into a red hot vessel to create steam, way. I'm not creative, using building tools (drilling into SS) is not a thing I know, I am limited to finding a top that would work by my location and have not found a new top to buy by itself.

I will be pushing the easy button and buying the kit, its just a question of when. I do need a larger stone than the 13' diameter one I have now and a gun, that puts me 1/2 way there anyway.

PLUS, isn't a big part of our foodies' pleasure derived from the method as well as the end result ? Steaming just seems cool :cool:

PS: Dough in bucket, same hight 24 hours later. :wub:

Edited by Aloha Steve, 25 March 2010 - 11:37 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#52 Jmahl

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 01:08 PM

Heartsurgeon - Oh, thank you!

Pictured below are photos from an early effort. My second loaf, in fact, which explains the poor shaping and slashes. LOL! This one I let rise on cornmeal and then slid/pushed it off the board onto my stone, poured hot water into a pan on the lower rack and closed the oven door. I had a little trouble moving the loaf onto the stone so have used parchment paper and the cornmeal for all subsequent loaves, on the stone or in the dutch oven.

ArtisanBeard-01.jpg

ArtisanBeard-02.jpg

ArtisanBeard-03.jpg



Looks great - I can only suggest that you slash much deeper - right to the pan. That is what we do and it seems to work. (I use a pair of fine shears.)
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#53 Aloha Steve

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 01:17 AM


'tenting' the boule or loaf with aluminium foil for the first 10 minutes or so of baking. Just tear off a length of foil, make a loose tent and lay it over the dough once it's in the oven. Expect HUGE rise, but also be prepared to cook an extra few minutes (as much as 10, for me). I do this on a pizza stone, by the way; not in a Dutch oven.

I usually don't bother, since the bread is so good anyway, but it does give spectacular results. But having said that, last night's loaf was pretty spectacular without it. No pictures, and mostly all gone!

'system' Almost all who have used it, wrote about it, which I have read their reviews/comments agree it works extremely well.

I will be pushing the easy button and buying the kit, its just a question of when. I do need a larger stone than the 13' diameter one I have now and a gun, that puts me 1/2 way there anyway.

PS: Dough in bucket, same hight 24 hours later. :wub:

Just pushed the easy button and ordered the kit.

Dough in bucket: Chapter III.....I noticed a dark brownish color on the bottom of the bucket. Hmmm, cannot be something not good as there was really no culture happening before mixing the new batch. I did not clean out the old stuff, following Zoe's advice of leaving any old bits for a sour dough thing to happen. I think it is the liquid Barley Malt settling, OK, in for a penny in for a pound with not following formula directions, I turned the bucket upside down, to allow the stuff on the bottom to mix with the rest. I then noticed solid white stuff which I can only think is not mixed well dough. So, LOL, this should be very interesting when I finally attempt to make a loaf from this mixture. Oh, one other thing, the mixture is now the size of the ingredients, rather than having any rise like it did.
2ndbatchupsidedn.jpg

I know I botched the whole thing up and am expecting junk bread, if a loaf can even be made! Stay Tuned:
[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#54 Aloha Steve

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:14 AM

I've seen the Rube Goldberg versions of the kit, I've seen copper pipes fed into stoves w steam a gun feeding the steam thru and a variety of other ways to achieve a easier, safer, no chance to crack oven door glass and hot water burn back from 'throwing' water into a hot oven into a red hot vessel to create steam, way. I'm not creative, using building tools (drilling into SS) is not a thing I know, I am limited to finding a used top that would work by my location and have not found a new top to buy by itself.

I will be pushing the easy button and buying the kit, its just a question of when. I do need a larger stone than the 13' diameter one I have now.

Pushed the button and have bought and used the kit. Here are my thoughts and impressions:
I really like using this kit. The stone fits perfect on my oven rack. After following instructions on how to make the stone ready for use by increasing the temp by 100 degrees till 600 or the highest possible, in my case 500, and letting it stay at that temp for 1.5 hours the stone performs perfectly.

The lid fits perfectly and will accommodate anything I can think of to cook under it.

The steamer unit itself, is made of high quality parts as it feels to me.

Mark Schimpf, the owner could not have been more accommodating and helpful. He always answered my inquiry's via email thoroughly and usually within 20 minutes!

I feel that I got a major boost to my bread baking technique with having steam already made and I am now in complete control of how much to use for how long. Also the safety factor to body and oven is without measure.

I highly recommend getting it.

Edited by Aloha Steve, 21 April 2010 - 11:15 AM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

[size="3"]"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill[/size]
[size="4"]Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb[/size]

#55 BadRabbit

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 01:28 PM

Purely academically, can anyone tell me why you would add the salt into the water with the yeast and not with the dry ingredients? I thought salt retarded yeast development. It would seem you would want the yeast to get started multiplying before you added in the salt to the equation. I've seen this in recipes before and always wondered.

#56 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 01:40 PM

My guess is the reason behind it is just to ensure even distribution of the salt. For this type of bread we spend most of our time deliberately retarding the growth of the yeast (using cool water, refrigerating, etc.) to give the flavor time to develop before the yeast have finished doing their thing. So I don't think that's a concern here.

Edited by Chris Hennes, 21 April 2010 - 01:40 PM.
Fixed typo

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#57 lesliec

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:30 PM

I seem to remember this being answered somewhere (perhaps on Zoe and Jeff's site, but I just had a quick look and can't find it). If my recollection is correct, the answer was that, yes, technically the salt will slow down the yeast, but in practice it's a pretty simple recipe and you're putting the dough together so quickly it doesn't matter.

Zoe, if you're watching, feel free to correct this!

Chris - you've got a new photo!!

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#58 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:18 PM

Everything is mixed together within a few minutes. I can't imagine how adding the salt to the water first, or the flour first, is going to make any measurable difference in the performance of the yeast.

I put all the minor dry components (everything but the the flour) into a container first, add water and whisk until all the solids have dissolved. Then i add the flour and mix it in.
If you don't get the minor dry components (particularly the malt) dissolved first, and evenly distributed in the final dough mix, you end up with little pockets of clumped up malt in your bread.

#59 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 11:39 PM

the wife wanted foccacia bread, so here's the recipe i used:

1000 gms KA all purpose flour
12 gms yeast
20 gms salt
20 gms malt powder
20 gms semolina flour
700 gms water
50 grams rosemary/garlic infused olive oil
1 tbsp of minced fresh rosemary

(rosemary/garlic infused olive oil made by adding strippings off 10 sprigs of rosemary, and 6 peeled cloves of garlic to 1/2 cup of olive oil and pulsing into a mash using an immersion (stick) blender. the result was strained through sieve, yielding the olive oil and minced rosemary, which was also added to the dough. the remaining olive oil and rosemary was recombined, and later drizzled over the foccacia just prior to baking.

The dough was allowed to rise for about 3-4 hours.
lightly dusted with flour, cut in half, laid out on a oiled siplat/baking tray (using some of the left over rosemary oil)
the dough was pressed out with my fingers until it was about 1/2 inch in thickness, and allowed to rest for about 40 minutes.
dimples in the foccacia where made with my fingers, and rosemary/garlic/olive oil was drizzled over the foccacia. a very light sprinkle of Kosher salt over the focaccia, then into a pre-heated oven at 400 for about 30 minutes. The obligatory 1 cup of water into the broiler pan added when the bread went in the oven.

FANTASTIC result.
way easier than making boules, as i only make one big loaf, and since it's all done on the silpat, minimal cleanup, no transfer issues. no need to wait for the flavor to mature, as the rosemary provides plenty of flavor.

Thanks heartsurgeon! Even without the infused oil, malt powder or semolina, this makes fantastic focaccia. It also makes amazing pizza crusts. I have never been happy with my pizza crusts until using this recipe. Thank you!
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#60 Heartsurgeon

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:56 AM

with the foccacia bread, the rosemary/garlic/salt combo is so flavorful, that the malt and semolina are probably not really contributing in a perceptable manner.

you really have to try the rosemary/garlic infused oil.

take your extra virgin olive oil, add lots of fresh rosemary (without stems)and several cloves of garlic and use a stick blender on it. strain the oil (it will have a gorgeous bright green color and an intense rosemary/garlic aroma) and use 50 gm/ml in the dough mix. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of the strained solids (rosemary and garlic) as well. Mix up your dough. reserve the remaining oil.

just before baking, dimple the dough, and liberally brush the surface with the infused oil. lightly sprinkle the oiled dough with kosher salt. I no longer spinkle rosemary on the surface of the foccacia, as it tends to burn when baking..

this bread is simply amazing...you don't need any "dipping" oil with herbs or seasonings, as it is already incorporated into the dough.

try it. you'll need looser fitting jeans once you do!

Edited by Heartsurgeon, 25 May 2010 - 09:57 AM.