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Marcia

"The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Reinhart

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Marcia   

Hello everyone!

I've just baked my first French Bread.

I made the pate fermente a day before.

Used the microwave proofing.

Here's the picture of the loaves on their final proof. I haven't got a baguette tray so I cut the top of two boxes: one was baking parchment box and the other one was the freezer bag box. I lined them with plastic wrap and sprinkled some flour :raz:

FrenchBread1.jpg

Then I carefully rolled the loaf to a pan and scored the surface:

FrenchBread2.jpg

Then I baked for 20 minutes, pan with water on the bottom shelf, pizza stone on top shelf, pan with loaves on middle shelf, sprayed 3 times.

FrenchBread3.jpg

The bread is light and taste good BUT I still couldn't get a crunchy crust... :sad: It's actually very soft and sad. I definetelly need to use the pizza stone, might need to buy another one.

I also have the feeling that my oven is not so hot... the maximum it gets is 200-210ºC.

Marcia


Edited by Marcia (log)

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glossyp   

Marcia,

Your bread is beautiful! So clever of you to improvise your proofing pans; that's recycling at it's best. Don't despair over the crust though I completely understand since I have the same problem. After all, the most important part is the pleasure the creating and eating brings. :smile:

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FoodMan   

Marcia-

these look great and I love the idea of using these boxes as proofing containers, I will do that in the future. The crust looks very good in picture, and I am surprised when you say it is soft.

Elie

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rickster   

I baked the Poilane loaf last weekend using about 80% King Arthur white whole wheat flour and 20% bread flour. Unfortunately I did not get a great rise since I think my starter was weak. However, the final result was not bad and only slightly more dense and sour than Poilane loaf I bought once in a speciality store.

For what it's worth, I think I find I get a better crust doing the spraying early in the baking process but not leaving a pan of water in the oven.

I also have to recommend PR's American Pie book for some great pizza crust recipes.

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plunk   
Great pictures, I had similar results using this recipe.  I have found that I get the best results by using two baking stones, one that the bread sits on and the other on the top shelf.  It really helps to replicate a hearth.  This weekend I made the Middle Class Brioche for Cinimon Buns, and the dough was incredible.  I also made the Vienna Bread, it was light and airy, like nothing I have ever had.

Hi Sthitch. I'm going to replace my stone this weekend and came across your post. I had reasonable crust results using a baking stone and pouring hot water into a pan immediately after the loaves went in but one time I poured too much water in, it splashed, and cracked my stone into three pieces.

Have you tried the hot water method? Would you recommend one stone plus hot water generated steam, two stones plus steam or just two stones?

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Sthitch   

Plunk,

I put my good stone on the very bottom self, and the lesser stone on a higher shelf, with enough room to hold a pan. I have never had a problem with splashing water breaking the stone because the water I put in the pan is boiling and the stone is quite hot, so any small splash has little effect. I should note that it takes forever for the oven to come up to temperature with two stones in it.

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FoodMan   

I baked the Piolane loaf on Teusday night- late Teusday night. Since the recipe specifies that it should be rested for a few hours after baking I did not try it out till last night. Sorry about the late report. First the pics:

gallery_5404_94_1106801180.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106801423.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106801628.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106802233.jpg

The first picture is of the loaf right before going in the oven. As a whole the bread came out much better than before. Using the white wheat flour and a long first rise made a big difference. A tip for future Piolane Miche bakers, the loaf will bake for a long time in the oven, this one for about 45 minutes. So, if you are baking on a stone you might have to move the loaf up to a rack halfway through or the bottom might scorch. So keep checking on it. I simply moved it up to an oven rack and kept on baking.

I knew that this bread will be different from previous trials, as soon as the wonderful baking bread smell, indicating proper proofing, hit me instead of the raw sour wheat smell I've gotten before. It is still far from perfect though as the crumb is denser than I would like. I think by adding a small portion of white bread flour like rickster did I will get better results. Another thing I need to work on is the shaping, it is kind of tricky since the dough is not as flexible as others and I knocked out a lot of air when I did it.

All in all though, I am happy about the result and the sandwich was excellent even with store-bought (as opposed to Judith's home smoked :smile:) honey ham .

Elie

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Marcia   

WOW Elie, it does really look very professional loaf!!!

Ahhh and I know what you mean about the satisfaction of having that delicious smell of bread all around the house...! I'm pleased your efforts were rewarded!!

Marcia

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glossyp   

Elie, Your bread is gorgeous. Everyone here is baking such wonderful bread.

I will have time this weekend to bake. I can start tonight...recommendations from anyone on what to try? I'm stopping by the hardware store today to get the unglazed tiles for the oven. I'm thinking of the Piolane (due to Elie's photos!) or the French bread (thanks to Marcia) but am open to other suggestions.

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FoodMan   
Elie, Your bread is gorgeous. Everyone here is baking such wonderful bread.

I will have time this weekend to bake. I can start tonight...recommendations from anyone on what to try? I'm stopping by the hardware store today to get the unglazed tiles for the oven. I'm thinking of the Piolane (due to Elie's photos!) or the French bread (thanks to Marcia) but am open to other suggestions.

Pain De Campagne (sp?) is great, I usually make a couple different shapes.

Or maybe you can try the "Limpa" (Swedish rye bread) and let us know how it comes out. I've been meaning to try it but have not yet.

This brings and interesting question up. He asks for both anise seeds and fennel seeds for the Limpa? Aren't they pretty much the same thing?

Elie

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I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a loaf of Poilane in London, Elie. I can confirm that yours looks exactly like theirs, colorwise. Good job!

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I baked the Piolane loaf on Teusday night- late Teusday night. Since the recipe specifies that it should be rested for a few hours after baking I did not try it out till last night. Sorry about the late report. First the pics:

gallery_5404_94_1106801180.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106801423.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106801628.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1106802233.jpg

The first picture is of the loaf right before going in the oven. As a whole the bread came out much better than before. Using the white wheat flour and a long first rise made a big difference. A tip for future Piolane Miche bakers, the loaf will bake for a long time in the oven, this one for about 45 minutes. So, if you are baking on a stone you might have to move the loaf up to a rack halfway through or the bottom might scorch. So keep checking on it. I simply moved it up to an oven rack and kept on baking.

I knew that this bread will be different from previous trials, as soon as the wonderful baking bread smell, indicating proper proofing, hit me instead of the raw sour wheat smell I've gotten before. It is still far from perfect though as the crumb is denser than I would like. I think by adding a small portion of white bread flour like rickster did I will get better results. Another thing I need to work on is the shaping, it is kind of tricky since the dough is not as flexible as others and I knocked out a lot of air when I did it.

All in all though, I am happy about the result and the sandwich was excellent even with store-bought (as opposed to Judith's home smoked :smile:) honey ham .

Elie

Lovely bread, Elie! :biggrin: Thanks for the notes on flour also. I want to try this one soon. Will be baking some bread this weekend, not decided yet which formula to try, but maybe the miche.

Marcia, I love your box idea, very creative! :cool: I too am surprised your crust is soft. Do you have an oven thermometer in place? Perhaps the oven is not getting as hot as you thought?

This is a pic of of a french boule I posted a while back. I brushed this one with butter after baking -- I don't remember why I chose to do that, :blink: but the crust was still good and crunchy. :rolleyes:

gallery_12550_103_1099906259.jpg

These are bread and rolls from the white and wheat bread formulas. I really love these light and soft dinner rolls made with the white bread formula, variation 3. The wheat are good too, heavier and chewier, makes a nice dinner roll basket variety.

gallery_12550_103_1101381957.jpg

edit to add images.


Edited by lovebenton0 (log)

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Marcia   

Judith, your loaves are really beautiful, I loved your dinner rolls, they look so cute and yummy!!! Oh my oven is a total disgrace :rolleyes: ... I'd like a new one (a NEFF oven if possible) but we think we'd better move to a house first and them buy it, so... not for a while :rolleyes: ...

Jay Francis, where in London did you buy the Poilane miche? Was in that shop in Belgravia (Elizabeth Street)? :smile:

---

Seems like many of us are baking breads this weekend, can't wait to read about them all!! Please post you results and then we can all learn with your experiences.

I'm baking a Pain a L'ancienne again :smile:

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Marcia

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glossyp   

I realized that I can't possibly make the Piolane. (no barm) :sad: So I am deciding between the Potato Rosemary which has had good reviews here or the Pugliese. I can make a biga without problem and I really like the lean breads best. Has anyone made the Pugliese? If so, any suggestions or tips not in the book? Thanks and I look forward to reading everyone's report and photos of their "weekend" bread. :biggrin:

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vengroff   

Great thread and great pictures. After years of strictly cooking, I'm trying to learn to bake. I've got the Bread Baker's Apprentice and I'm also taking a course at the Culinary Communion in Seattle.

Here's last weekend's effort at home--epis.

First one loaf of the bread as a whole:

gallery_1327_709_62701.jpg

I think I could have cut a little deeper and gotten a better shape.

And then the crumb:

gallery_1327_709_5155.jpg

I was pretty happy with this. It had a nice toothsome texture.

I used a stone and a pan of boiling water to generate steam. I boiled the water in a kettle and also got the pan blazing hot on the stovetop before putting the boiling water into it and putting it in the oven. I've gotten good results this way even without spraying.

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glossyp   

So, I ended up making the white bread, variation 3 due to a request from the dearly beloved. I asked him what he thought I should try and he mentioned that he would like cloverleaf rolls to go with his rosemary chicken with spicy boonie pepper (think Thai peppers but smaller and hotter) cream sauce. Since time was short and I've made variations 1 & 2 before, I decided to try variation 3. I know white bread is not nearly as exotic or even as tasty as the others but there you are...when loved ones ask...we must respond!

gallery_19742_726_2654.jpg

Rolls just before baking

gallery_19742_726_11607.jpg

Finished and cooling - I'm still not happy with my oven even after the addition of clay tiles - it still bakes unevenly. You can see I had extra dough which I made into a small group of pull-aparts.

Anyway, the bread was very tasty and fast. The sponge was ready in 1 hour and the first rise took only 45 minutes and second was 35 minutes. So what did everyone else bake this weekend?? Inquiring minds want to know!

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vengroff   

I'm still concentrating on a basic 65% lean dough. There is still just a little variation in feel and fermentation time from batch to batch, so I'm trying to correlate that to the final results. I'll probably keep doing this for several more weeks or until I get bored and have the urge to try something else.

This week's dough was a little stickier than the last two, but not so sticky as to be unmanageable, except when it came time to slash it. Even my sharpest knife stuck once the blade was in more than a few millimeters. I'll need to get a razor blade.

Fermentation was about two hours, with four turns. I then rounded the dough, proofed 30 minutes, rolled and shaped, then 20 more and into the oven.

Here are some pictures of the results. First, the exterior view:

gallery_1327_709_95754.jpg

Each loaf is a little over a foot long, which means two or three fit nicely on my peel and stone. The shape is getting fairly uniform, but still not perfect. Should I just call it rustic and be done with it?

Here's a cross section showing the crust and crumb:

gallery_1327_709_35973.jpg

The crust was crisp and well-formed, except for the bit at the bottom right of the photo. I think there may have been an issue there with the parchment sticking to part of the dough that was not in contact with the stone, and thus it didn't get the benefit of the steam.

Once again I used a blazing hot pan of rapidly boiling water from the stovetop, which I put in on the lower rack. The upper rack had the stone and bread. No spraying was done, but there was plenty of steam when I opened the oven to pull the water out after 15 minutes.

Comments, criticisms, or suggestions from forum members greatly appreciated.

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So, I ended up making the white bread, variation 3 due to a request from the dearly beloved. I asked him what he thought I should try and he mentioned that he would like cloverleaf rolls to go with his rosemary chicken with spicy boonie pepper (think Thai peppers but smaller and hotter) cream sauce. Since time was short and I've made variations 1 & 2 before, I decided to try variation 3. I know white bread is not nearly as exotic or even as tasty as the others but there you are...when loved ones ask...we must respond!

gallery_19742_726_2654.jpg

Rolls just before baking

gallery_19742_726_11607.jpg

Finished and cooling - I'm still not happy with my oven even after the addition of clay tiles - it still bakes unevenly. You can see I had extra dough which I made into a small group of pull-aparts.

Anyway, the bread was very tasty and fast. The sponge was ready in 1 hour and the first rise took only 45 minutes and second was 35 minutes. So what did everyone else bake this weekend?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Nice rolls, glossyp! :biggrin: How did you think the variation 3 compared to the 1 and 2 as far as texture and taste?

I think it makes tasty, satisfying dinner rolls when one has to be a bit quicker on the delivery.

Vengroff, good job on the epis. The crumb is very nice. :cool: You're thinking right, a deeper cut would give you a more breakaway shape. Next time. :wink:

Disappointed to say that baking bread was not in my weekend plans after all. Unexpected weekend guests put a stop to that. :hmmm: My starter is ready to play when I am so . . . Tomorrow, the basic sourdough formula, but I'm going to play around with it a bit. :rolleyes:

edit to say: Vengroff, you were posting your loaves while I was reading BBA :blink: while posting the above and I missed them -- looking good, crust and crumb. They are "rustic" if the dough is fairly wet so I'd say just be happy. :wink::biggrin: As far as some variation in fermentation goes -- it will always be so. Dealing with living organisms and not in a strictly controlled environment -- our kitchens vary day to day enough to affect the yeast's fermentation properties certainly. Keeps one from getting bored with the same bread. :raz::laugh: .


Edited by lovebenton0 (log)

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glossyp   

Lovebenton0 - I'm envious that your starter is ready. No success yet with the seed formula from Crust & Crumb which was supposed to be better...I look forward to seeing your creations with the sourdough. As far as the variations on the white bread, I'm hard pressed to see much difference between them other than 3 is much faster to make. Your rolls were beautiful and shiny did you use just an egg wash?

Vengroff - Really nice bread. You must have a great oven to be able to fit such nice large loaves :smile:

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Marcia   

Glossyp, your rolls look great! I'm sure your loved one deserved them :biggrin: ! The cloverleaf shape is so cute, I think your bread is the cutest so far in this thread :wink: .

Vengroff, your loaves are fantastic too, what a nice colour and texture inside! How much water do you put in the pan that goes inside your oven?

---

As from me, I made Pain a L'ancienne again.

This time I baked for a lot longer and finally get a better crust. But still not fabulous :wink: . This time the taste wasn't as nice as the first time but I'm pretty sure I overprooved it :rolleyes: I left the dough in the worktop to de-chill and we went out. It supposed to be a quick walk but then we found a nice new cafe on our way, decided to have lunch there and then... forgot about the dough! :shock:

Pain-Lancienne.jpg

Oh, I've just bough a box of unglazed quarry tiles! They are 6"x6" and 1cm thick. I'm thinking of making two layers with them because they're not so thick, do you think it will make a difference? I'm also thinking of putting them inside a large pan sheet to make it easier to remove from the oven when I don't need them instead of collecting 18 pieces of tiles :blink: . What do you think?

:smile:

Marcia


Edited by Marcia (log)

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vengroff   
Vengroff - Really nice bread. You must have a great oven to be able to fit such nice large loaves :smile:

Thanks glossyp.

It's a pretty standard American wall oven. 27" size I think. The stone I use is 14" by 16", and the loaves are about 13" long, so three can fit side by side, though I usually make just two at a time.

Vengroff, your loaves are fantastic too, what a nice colour and texture inside! How much water do you put in the pan that goes inside your oven?

Thanks Marcia.

I put two or three cups of water in a 1qt All Clad pan. Basically as much water as I can get in there without it bubbling over when it comes to a strong boil. It holds a lot of heat for a small pan, and they are not that expensive, at least relative to the rest of the All Clad stainless line. My instructor used a cast iron skillet for the same purpose, but the boiling water isn't the best thing for the seasoning of the pan, so I used the stainless pan instead.

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glossyp   

As from me, I made Pain a L'ancienne again.

This time I baked for a lot longer and finally get a better crust. But still not fabulous :wink: . This time the taste wasn't as nice as the first time but I'm pretty sure I overprooved it  :rolleyes: I left the dough in the worktop to de-chill and we went out. It supposed to be a quick walk but then we found a nice new cafe on our way, decided to have lunch there and then... forgot about the dough!  :shock:

Marcia - The crust looks much crisper and crunchier. And, in the scheme of life, a nice relaxing lunch at a new cafe is as good a reason as any to neglect the dough! :biggrin:

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FoodMan   

I baked a Tuscan loaf yesterday (I will post pics tonight hopefully). I made the full recipe but decided to make one large loaf instead of two with it. I also overproofed in the pre-shaping phase since I had to leave. So it proofed for a few extra hours :shock:. I think this was not a bad thing though since the bread came out wonderful tasting with a definit sweet taste. This bread has no salt at all which might also account for the sweetness. However, I think it might be the longer proofing that broke down the starches even further into more sugars. Overall I am very happy with it and will try it again.

Elie

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Oh, I've just bough a box of unglazed quarry tiles! They are 6"x6" and 1cm thick. I'm thinking of making two layers with them because they're not so thick, do you think it will make a difference? I'm also thinking of putting them inside a large pan sheet to make it easier to remove from the oven when I don't need them instead of collecting 18 pieces of tiles  . What do you think?

Really no need to remove the tiles from your oven. They will make your oven more heat efficient if you just leave them in there -- better heat distribution. I bake anything on them if I need that rack. And they're the best for baked potatoes. :wink:

A note on rising and proofing. I used my oven with only the oven light turned onn and door closed to provide a stable environment for both the initial rise of the dough and the proofing after shaping. Excellent! Reads at 80 degrees F. The kitchen gets too cold and drafty with the heat cutting off and on. I have been setting the dough in the cabinet beneath the wall oven. On days the kitchen is too cold (either in winter or due to AC which is certainly a problem!) I have occasionally turned on the oven and allowed it warm that cabinet area slightly. But what a waste of energy! :blink: Premium priced energy at that! :shock:

So I did bake bread. I played a bit with the Basic Sourdough formula and made sourdough rye with cornmeal boules. I used some of my mother starter (which I keep fairly wet), to which I added a cup of rye flour and water to feed it a few days before, as the barm for the starter. This formula requires a firm starter -- like a biga, french bread dough consistency. I also added a cup of rye to the final dough and one half cup of cornmeal.

I baked one boule on the second day (yesterday) and left one to retard again after shaping overnight in the fridge. That one I baked this afternoon. You'll see -- the texture of the crust is different. Baking method was the same. I started each one on the back side of a baking pan then carefully transferred it to the stone once the crust had set after the first ten minutes.

Grain sourdoughs are more compact in crumb, but still should have variation there. Perhaps the first boule could have had more variation in the crumb but overall I was very pleased. I haven't cut the second boule yet.

Firm starter, cut for mixing with final dough, on day two after overnight in fridge.

gallery_12550_675_32859.jpg

First boule

gallery_12550_675_188619.jpg

The crumb

gallery_12550_675_48320.jpg

Second boule

gallery_12550_675_349420.jpg

There is no sugar in this formula, yet the bread is both sourdough tart and sweet, good crunch to the crust. The rye and cornmeal make a nutty grain bread without being heavy.

We liked it so much we had to have oven toasted sandwiches tonight for dinner with potato soup. :biggrin: Shredded pork cooked with sauerkraut, apples, onions and beer/cider vinegar, Muenster cheese, for sandwich filling. I made some hot/sweet mustard to go on these too. (That's onion confit topping the potato soup.)

gallery_12550_103_58859.jpg

I'll post a pic of the second boule crumb after I cut it. You can see it in the pic --the crust of the second one baked with tiny flaky bubbles all over it, yet the crust is still hard beneath those. I'm curious to see if the taste was also affected by the extra night of dough retardation then proofing from the chilled state.

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