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The Bread Topic (2016–)


DianaM
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I'm one of those folks who never really did much baking until being trapped inside by the pandemic. I was lucky to get my hands on some yeast in early April and I've been making a variety of baked goods since then.

 

This is Anadama Peasant Bread. I got the recipe here, but it's originally from Bread Toast Crumbs, by Alexandra Stafford.

 

IMG_4099.jpg

 

 

IMG_4107.jpg

 

 

 

ETA:

I forgot about my questions.

  1. The loaf has a ragged edge. Is that a blowout? Should I try to score the bread next time, even though it's a really wet dough with 92% hydration?
  2. The top of the loaf shows some yellowish spots and streaks. I thought I mixed it well before the rise. Any idea why I see the color variation?
Edited by chord (log)
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12 hours ago, chord said:

I'm one of those folks who never really did much baking until being trapped inside by the pandemic. I was lucky to get my hands on some yeast in early April and I've been making a variety of baked goods since then.

 

This is Anadama Peasant Bread. I got the recipe here, but it's originally from Bread Toast Crumbs, by Alexandra Stafford.

 

IMG_4099.jpg

 

 

IMG_4107.jpg

 

 

 

ETA:

I forgot about my questions.

  1. The loaf has a ragged edge. Is that a blowout? Should I try to score the bread next time, even though it's a really wet dough with 92% hydration?
  2. The top of the loaf shows some yellowish spots and streaks. I thought I mixed it well before the rise. Any idea why I see the color variation?

 

I don't know the answer to your questions - I just have to say that that is a gorgeous crumb!  Very envious here!

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13 hours ago, chord said:

I'm one of those folks who never really did much baking until being trapped inside by the pandemic. I was lucky to get my hands on some yeast in early April and I've been making a variety of baked goods since then.

 

This is Anadama Peasant Bread. I got the recipe here, but it's originally from Bread Toast Crumbs, by Alexandra Stafford.

 

ETA:

I forgot about my questions.

  1. The loaf has a ragged edge. Is that a blowout? Should I try to score the bread next time, even though it's a really wet dough with 92% hydration?
  2. The top of the loaf shows some yellowish spots and streaks. I thought I mixed it well before the rise. Any idea why I see the color variation?

 

 

First off, that looks really tasty! A lot of anadama seems super dense, but that looks nice and light.

 

It looks like the anadama variation is actually slightly lower hydration than the basic white dough -- the two flours plus the cornmeal come out weighing a little more. But beyond that, soaking the cornmeal in boiling water would gelatinize the starches in the corn, meaning I suspect some of that first cup of water is going to be locked away in amylopectin and unavailable by the time it's added to the wheat flour.

 

Fortunately I feel like a sandwich/toast loaf like this would look just right as a "split top" loaf with a score down the middle!

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@ptw1953  I made your recipe for pain de mei again yesterday.  I decided to scale the recipe to 80% in the hope that the lid would not blow off my pan.  As you can see, as a pain de mei it was not a success.  But as bread, it is very good.  I hope my new pan shows up soon.

20200521_123112.jpg

20200521_123036.jpg

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@ElsieD 

 

OK

 

it looks like a [ relative ]  outstanding success

 

as you were able to make it yourself.

 

dont get me wrong 

 

i wouldn't mind a loaf of that for myself.

 

toasted , sandwiched etc. crouton-ey

 

and no , Im not being wise

 

I do admire all that are doing these things 

 

nothing wrong w me BTW

 

C-19 or not.

 

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51 minutes ago, dtremit said:

 

First off, that looks really tasty! A lot of anadama seems super dense, but that looks nice and light.

 

It looks like the anadama variation is actually slightly lower hydration than the basic white dough -- the two flours plus the cornmeal come out weighing a little more. But beyond that, soaking the cornmeal in boiling water would gelatinize the starches in the corn, meaning I suspect some of that first cup of water is going to be locked away in amylopectin and unavailable by the time it's added to the wheat flour.

 

Fortunately I feel like a sandwich/toast loaf like this would look just right as a "split top" loaf with a score down the middle!

 

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. I actually measured by weight instead of volume, so the hydration percentage should have remained the same. I'm sure you're right about the amylopectin, or rather I will be sure once I figure out what it means.

 

I'll try a split top next time.

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@chord - a question.  I went and looked at the recipes and I plan to make a couple of them, seeing how well yours turned out. I was wondering about your baking vessel.  It looks to me like you used a loaf pan.  I don't have the Pyrex bowls that she recommends and, anyway, I prefer loaves.  I have two of the loaf pans in the sizes she recommends.  Did you increase your ingredients by 1.5, as she says?  Thanks!

 

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20 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

@chord - a question.  I went and looked at the recipes and I plan to make a couple of them, seeing how well yours turned out. I was wondering about your baking vessel.  It looks to me like you used a loaf pan.  I don't have the Pyrex bowls that she recommends and, anyway, I prefer loaves.  I have two of the loaf pans in the sizes she recommends.  Did you increase your ingredients by 1.5, as she says?  Thanks!

 

 

I only have a single loaf pan, so I made a 3/4 recipe. Below are the actual amounts I used. As I'm at altitude, my version is light on the yeast. Also, I realize now that I didn't account for the different flour weights, so there's less cornmeal and more whole wheat flour than in the published recipe.

 

Ingredient
Percentage
3/4 Recipe
AP flour
62.5
240g
Cornmeal
12.5
48g
Whole wheat flour
25
96g
1 cup boiling water
+ 1 cup 110F water
92
177g + 177g
Molasses
16
61g (3 tbsp)
Butter
5
21g (1.5 tbsp)
Kosher Salt
2.3
9g (1.5 tsp Diamond/.75 tsp Mortons)
Yeast (@high altitude)
0.8
3g (1.1 tsp yeast)

 

 

ETA: I previously made the standard recipe and really liked that as well. I made half of it in an Anchor Hocking glass bowl and the other half in the loaf pan as a short loaf:

 

IMG_4022.jpg

IMG_4032.jpg

 

There's a lot more info on the standard recipe at Alexandra Stafford's blog: https://alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

Edited by chord (log)
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I’ve been on a baking frenzy this last week.

three loaves of Cinnamon Raisin bread (some for my card playing friends) and a batch of Rosemary Potato rolls (recipes from KAF).

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Hi Bread Topic! 

 

I've been baking a lot of sourdough bread since the pandemic began, as apparently so have many others.

 

Most of the recipes and blogs I see are for Tartine/French style bread, which is delicious, but I want to bake traditional German breads. I've been looking for sourdough German bread recipes, but most of what I've found calls for yeast in addition to the sourdough starter. Why? I'd like to stick to 100% sourdough starter - will it work subbing starter for yeast in a recipe?

 

Thanks

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2 hours ago, Hassouni said:

Hi Bread Topic! 

 

I've been baking a lot of sourdough bread since the pandemic began, as apparently so have many others.

 

Most of the recipes and blogs I see are for Tartine/French style bread, which is delicious, but I want to bake traditional German breads. I've been looking for sourdough German bread recipes, but most of what I've found calls for yeast in addition to the sourdough starter. Why? I'd like to stick to 100% sourdough starter - will it work subbing starter for yeast in a recipe?

 

Thanks

Yes, though it will probably take substantially longer to rise. Some german breads can be quite dense and adding insurance yeast helps get you the best of both worlds, as it were. 
 

Today I did some more cinnamon rolls and two lean sourdough loaves. 
 

 

14256D2B-130E-4858-8B9D-040E4627C5E2.jpeg

136CA868-D4F1-40F5-BFA9-D5E5DB537C87.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Hassouni said:

Does adding commercial yeast to sourdough change the fermentation byproducts for which sourdough is so touted?

Interesting question. My guess is that it would just give your bread extra lift and may mellow out the sourdough flavor just a tad. Would be an interesting experiment... bake two loaves (one with sourdough & yeast / one with just sourdough).  If you like, I can mail you some commercial yeast.

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Another week, another loaf of sourdough. This was last week's loaf... tweaked the previous recipe by adding some whole wheat flour and upped the hydration from 72% to 74%. Will not be making a loaf this week... have a bit of bread in the freezer that I want to start using up.

IMG_6101-loaf.jpg.6771f89a2b62d49dd0ba3258ad1ac879.jpg

 

1535307777_IMG_6113-cutloaf.jpg.e7474b3f5bc0d4036300e0b3deaeb69b.jpg

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On 5/17/2020 at 10:13 AM, dtremit said:

 

Is the artisan whole wheat flour particularly coarsely milled? Sometimes flour like that can make it really hard to develop gluten, especially if it's a high percentage of the loaf. One suggestion I've seen is to autolyse the bread flour and wheat flour separately, and then knead them together; that way the bread flour can form stronger gluten on its own. Haven't tried it, though.

I've also started doing a longer autolyse *before* adding the starter; that way I don't have to worry about having the bread overproof while I'm waiting for gluten to develop.

 

 

Thank you for this advice, dtremit. I tried following it today, using the same recipe as before except that I mixed all-purpose flour in with the artisanal bread flour. I autolysed the artisan flour separately while I let the A/P flour mix with the starter; then mixed them all and added the salt. Whether it was the separate autolysis or substitution of A/P flour (for about 1/3 of the flour) I don't know, but the dough came together and developed in a much more civilized fashion. It folded. It developed a tight skin. It rose. It did all those things without relentless kneading and excessive resting!

 

And then it stuck to the basket on the way into the preheated Dutch Oven. And when it hit that hot pot, all out of shape, it deflated and stuck to the sides of the pot. Grr.

 

See that crispy-looking edge? That's where it stuck, and charred.

 

20200523_195142.jpg

 

The side view shows how deflated it is, and is reminiscent of Jughead's porkpie hat, for those of a certain age. Or maybe a cross-section of a pagoda.

 

20200523_195231.jpg

 

Still. The crumb is tender (more so than the last batch) and the flavor is pretty good. Next time I'll try a slightly lower temperature in the oven, in hopes of its not being quite so dark, and I'll work more diligently to keep the loaf from sticking to the banneton. A heavily-floured liner cloth, perhaps? The basket was heavily floured already, but I didn't line it.

 

20200523_195456-1.jpg

 

As before, advice will be welcome. @dtremit's suggestion was very helpful.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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4 hours ago, Hassouni said:

Does adding commercial yeast to sourdough change the fermentation byproducts for which sourdough is so touted?

 

So, honestly I think sourdough is a bit overrated. Is it delicious? Yes. Do I still go to a lot of trouble experimenting with it? Sure. But a lot of the benefits imo are down to just the extended fermentation time it gets. When it comes down to using the mediocre old white flours we all buy from the store, many sourdoughs are barely distinguishable from regular bread outside of the tang.

 

Anyway to your question, well, sure - if you add commercial yeast, you're going to almost assuredly speed up the fermentation time, which means you'll prep and bake your loaves more quickly, before the 'wild' microbes get a chance to work on some of those compounds in your dough. But your starter is still going to be chock full of amylases and proteases that will work on the sugars and proteins in your dough and create many of the same compounds. As mentioned, it'll probably be somewhere in between a standard and wild ferment, but environmental factors can play around with that.

 

1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 

Thank you for this advice, dtremit. I tried following it today, using the same recipe as before except that I mixed all-purpose flour in with the artisanal bread flour. I autolysed the artisan flour separately while I let the A/P flour mix with the starter; then mixed them all and added the salt. Whether it was the separate autolysis or substitution of A/P flour (for about 1/3 of the flour) I don't know, but the dough came together and developed in a much more civilized fashion. It folded. It developed a tight skin. It rose. It did all those things without relentless kneading and excessive resting!

 

And then it stuck to the basket on the way into the preheated Dutch Oven. And when it hit that hot pot, all out of shape, it deflated and stuck to the sides of the pot. Grr.

 

See that crispy-looking edge? That's where it stuck, and charred.

 

The side view shows how deflated it is, and is reminiscent of Jughead's porkpie hat, for those of a certain age. Or maybe a cross-section of a pagoda.

 

Still. The crumb is tender (more so than the last batch) and the flavor is pretty good. Next time I'll try a slightly lower temperature in the oven, in hopes of its not being quite so dark, and I'll work more diligently to keep the loaf from sticking to the banneton. A heavily-floured liner cloth, perhaps? The basket was heavily floured already, but I didn't line it.

 

As before, advice will be welcome. @dtremit's suggestion was very helpful.

 

Removing the bran and working it back in later is definitely the way to go. What's the temperature you're baking them at? Do you reduce the temp partway through the bake at all?

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50 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

 

Removing the bran and working it back in later is definitely the way to go. What's the temperature you're baking them at? Do you reduce the temp partway through the bake at all?

 

I'm not sure how I could remove the bran and work it back in later, except in the sense that I mixed the two flours. Perhaps that's what you mean?

 

The recipe calls for 500F, with the Dutch Oven preheated, and that's what I've been using. After about 30 minutes you remove the lid to let the dough brown, but there's no call to reduce the heat. In this case the bread was already dark brown when I took the lid off, but a thermometer said the bread wasn't done. I think a lower temperature is in order.

 

Now that you mention it, my Peter Reinhart recipe for this sort of bread (although it isn't in a Dutch Oven) calls for starting at around 450F to get oven spring, and then lowering the temperature to 375F. Maybe that's a better way to go. Next time I'll start at 475F, and maybe lower the temperature per Reinhart. Does that sound reasonable?

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Sorry, I skimmed your post before and thought that's what had happened. One of the problems with whole wheat flours is that the bran and other bits will actually cut your gluten strands, which is sometimes why they can be hard to knead and rise. A possible solution to that sort of problem is to sift out the bran and reincorporate it later, or use it as the flour for your banneton, etc.

 

I will say that I've seen the 500F number quoted all over the internet and I think it's too high; I've often seen posts like yours with people trying to troubleshoot burned breads as a result. I never start that high. I want to say I tend to do 450 / 400, depending on the bread but honestly I play fast and loose. I'm sure your plan is reasonable. 

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1 hour ago, jimb0 said:

Sorry, I skimmed your post before and thought that's what had happened. One of the problems with whole wheat flours is that the bran and other bits will actually cut your gluten strands, which is sometimes why they can be hard to knead and rise.

 

With all respect, didn't @nathanm and Modernist Bread debunk this theory?

 

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker
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10 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Will all respect, didn't @nathanm and Modernist Bread debunk this theory?

 


possibly? Bit expensive for me to find out. Cutting might be the wrong term, but they do seem to impact development at some level. The guy that wrote flour lab is still talking about it, anyway.

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24 minutes ago, jimb0 said:


possibly? Bit expensive for me to find out. Cutting might be the wrong term, but they do seem to impact development at some level. The guy that wrote flour lab is still talking about it, anyway.

 

Well they at least believe they have debunked the theory.  I am not a whole wheat girl, myself.

 

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8 hours ago, jimb0 said:

 

So, honestly I think sourdough is a bit overrated.

Hmmmm, where have I heard this before?

 

Oh yeah, I'm totally on that bandwagon.  Actually, I think I get pretty nice flavor (no, purists, not sourdough flavor) from a biga and a pretty nice, slow fermentation.

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I love sourdough .

 

I grew up in the Bay Area and there were always several choices later in life

 

that were fresh and locally made.  baguette style.

 

but not everything goes perfectly w SDB

 

full flavored cheese goes better w traditional bread I think.

 

so does chocolate .   the sourness of SDB overwhelms some of their flavors.

 

plenty nice to have a choice.

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

With all respect, didn't @nathanm and Modernist Bread debunk this theory?

 

 

Didn’t Nathan and modernist bread have you mix up dough without the bran in it and add it later so that it wouldn’t cut the gluten strands?

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15 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

Thank you for this advice, dtremit. I tried following it today, using the same recipe as before except that I mixed all-purpose flour in with the artisanal bread flour. I autolysed the artisan flour separately while I let the A/P flour mix with the starter; then mixed them all and added the salt. Whether it was the separate autolysis or substitution of A/P flour (for about 1/3 of the flour) I don't know, but the dough came together and developed in a much more civilized fashion. It folded. It developed a tight skin. It rose. It did all those things without relentless kneading and excessive resting!

 

And then it stuck to the basket on the way into the preheated Dutch Oven. And when it hit that hot pot, all out of shape, it deflated and stuck to the sides of the pot. Grr.

 

See that crispy-looking edge? That's where it stuck, and charred.

 

The side view shows how deflated it is, and is reminiscent of Jughead's porkpie hat, for those of a certain age. Or maybe a cross-section of a pagoda.

 

Still. The crumb is tender (more so than the last batch) and the flavor is pretty good. Next time I'll try a slightly lower temperature in the oven, in hopes of its not being quite so dark, and I'll work more diligently to keep the loaf from sticking to the banneton. A heavily-floured liner cloth, perhaps? The basket was heavily floured already, but I didn't line it.

 

As before, advice will be welcome. @dtremit's suggestion was very helpful.

 

So glad it was helpful! It was a bit of a shot in the dark based on a few experiments I've done recently. 

 

I can sadly not offer much advice on the banneton -- I struggle with that myself, and had a similar mishap on my last loaf! 

 

For the dark crust and Dutch oven, though, I've found that flipping the loaf onto parchment and using that as a sling to lower it into the pot helps a lot. It also lets me pull it *out* of the pot really easily to do the last ~10 minutes of the bake directly on the oven rack; that has helped me get a darker top crust without a tough/burnt bottom.

 

6 hours ago, weinoo said:

Oh yeah, I'm totally on that bandwagon.  Actually, I think I get pretty nice flavor (no, purists, not sourdough flavor) from a biga and a pretty nice, slow fermentation.

 

I say this as a frequent sourdough baker, but I often question how much of the sourdough flavor is actually unique to the starter vs just coming from a forced, repeated, slow fermentation in the starter. If you built a "starter" with a tiny quantity of commercial yeast, I wonder how different the results would be?

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