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"The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Reinhart


Marcia
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I tried the Bagel Recipe from this book this week with a few modifications. I didn't have bread flour available, nor baking soda. I'll post some pictures later!

However; Things didn't go quite as planned, and I have a few questions (and comments) regarding the recipe.

- I hand kneaded it. It's hard work! Especially if you incorporate too much flour, and need to make it softer. The book says to start with a soft dough, and make it harder. Good point, take note of it!

For those not familiar with the recipe; there is a "floating test" that decides when the bagels go into the fridge for a retardation period. When a bagel sinks, and floats back up in 10 secs. They're ready for retardation.

- My test bagel floated straight away! (Doh!) This lead to overproofed bagels that collapsed during boiling. So...

- To much yeast ? ( Don't think so, I use a scale)

- To much work on the dough, so that the yeast got time to work, while I was kneading (more likely)

- Should the recipe maybe be altered to use cold water?

I'll try again soon with colder water, and maybe process the dough in my kenwood. Taste and texture however; Excellent, 10 points :-)

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glennbech, when I made the bagels from BBA they also collapsed a bit during boiling. I think the reason is that my dough was not stiff enough. The book says that bagel dough is the stiffest of the bread doughs. I also used AP flour and did not make the dough too stiff because I was hand kneading it and it was quite some work. I believe the stiffness of the dough is what allows it to hold up during the boiling and since we both used AP flour which has a lower protein content, the dough was not as stiff/had less gluten to keep shape.

Ann_T posted how she does bagels and I believe she wrote that sometimes she skips the float test and just lets the shaped bagels proof for 30 minutes instead of testing at 20, and her bagels always look beautiful so I suspect our woes are not due to overproofing. I'm going to try again next week since I have bread flour on hand and resist adding more liquid to make the dough easier to work with, and I'll report back with the results.

Michelle Pham

I like pie.

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There are so many gorgeous breads on this thread. I am finally getting a chance to crack open my copy of this wonderful book. I made some baguette yesterday, and they turned out great. The crust is thin but very crisp, the crumb has great chew and the flavor is really nice.

I overestimed the length of my baking stone, though, so I had to twist the loaves to make them fit - that's why they look sort of like legs with kneecaps :raz: .

If anyone has any comments for improvement I would love to hear them. I find it difficult to critique them myself. Perhaps the color could be deeper?

Also, I only had to use a third of my poolish, and I don't know what to make with the rest (about 15 oz). I was thinking foccacia, but I really prefer a bread with chew. Any suggestions?

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Edited by Shaya (log)
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shaya,

your crumb looks great! and aside from the kneecaps, your shaping looks good too, however it is difficult to see your slashing in the picture. did you use steam in any way at the beginning of baking? that will help the color of your crust. also, a longer retard will help develop the crust as well. was all of this done in one day (aside from the poolish)?

good job!

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shaya,

your crumb looks great!  and aside from the kneecaps, your shaping looks good too, however it is difficult to see your slashing in the picture.  did you use steam in any way at the beginning of baking?  that will help the color of your crust.  also, a longer retard will help develop the crust as well.  was all of this done in one day (aside from the poolish)?

good job!

You're right, slashing is a big problem. I have these razor blades that we use to clean our glass-top stove, but I couldn't seem to get the angle right, it kept pulling at the dough, so I used a knife, but I'm sure they didn't go deep enough. I don't think I quite get how to slash properly yet.

Regarding timing, the poolish was made the day before, I mixed the dough the following morning, and did 2 rises of 2 hours each.

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Shaya --

If you want something a little chewier, I'd make the focaccia with the remainder of your poolish and then refrigerate the dough overnight. I find that aging the dough tends to make it chewier and also deepens the flavor profile.

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Shaya --

If you want something a little chewier, I'd make the focaccia with the remainder of your poolish and then refrigerate the dough overnight. I find that aging the dough tends to make it chewier and also deepens the flavor profile.

Thanks Tino. I might try that.

I forgot to mention Alanamoana, that I did indeed use steam; I had a pan on the top shelf with boiling water and I spritzed the inside of the oven 3 times in 30-second intervals, as directed.

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I made more French breads today. More baguettes, and I decided to do a boule shape too.

Here are pics of the dough slashings on the boule, as well as the final product.

I am really not clear on what I am going for.

Could somebody please explain what I am trying to accomplish with the slashings?

Also, which, if any of these, looks like it was done right?

And which slashing produced the big lip (left hand side) on the final product. I suspect it was the deeper slashing, but I'm not certain. Is this lip a good or bad result?

Thanks!

I will show the crumb later on, once it has cooled.

gallery_41870_2503_34781.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_443355.jpg

Edited by Shaya (log)
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I made more French breads today.  More baguettes, and I decided to do a boule shape too. 

Here are pics of the dough slashings on the boule, as well as the final product. 

I am really not clear on what I am going for. 

Could somebody please explain what I am trying to accomplish with the slashings? 

Also, which, if any of these, looks like it was done right? 

And which slashing produced the big lip (left hand side) on the final product.  I suspect it was the deeper slashing, but I'm not certain.  Is this lip a good or bad result?

Thanks!

I will show the crumb later on, once it has cooled.

shaya,

slashing your bread allows for the bread to bloom in the oven while it is cooking and avoid what are called "blow-outs" (huge cracks which rip the proved loaves). the slashing has to be done at an angle and not as deeply as you did. however, your bread looks quite nice regardless. using a straight edge blade is easiest. i think the whole method was explained in this thread somewhere and with pictures (near the beginning if i remember correctly).

once the bread is slashed properly and baked, the finished loaf usually opens up and expands to the point where you see telltale signs of the slashing and not deeply baked gashes.

your finished loaf has great colour btw. looks properly baked (and i am sure delicious) to me. :wink:

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This past weekend I made the Pane Siciliano....um um um um um! I love the flavor that you get with semolina flour. I think I overproofed, though because I didn't get the oven spring that I think I should have. But if this was a mistake, mistakes sure are delicious :biggrin:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

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Cajungirl, the pane Siciliano looks wonderful. I can't wait to try it.

Thanks for the feedback, ohev'ochel. I seem to understand the rest of the mechanics of breadmaking. The slash seems to be my achilles heal, I need to study it more deeply.

I made a grilled cheese with my French poolish round loaf today - thought I'd post so I can get some feedback on the crumb. It had a great texture, but I kept wanting more salt.

gallery_41870_2503_58954.jpg

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Cajungirl, the pane Siciliano looks wonderful.  I can't wait to try it.

Thanks for the feedback, ohev'ochel.  I seem to understand the rest of the mechanics of breadmaking.  The slash seems to be my achilles heal, I need to study it more deeply.

I made a grilled cheese with my French poolish round loaf today - thought I'd post so I can get some feedback on the crumb.  It had a great texture, but I kept wanting more salt.

gallery_41870_2503_58954.jpg

I think your crumb looks wonderful..you have succeeded in making me mighty hungry with that photo :rolleyes:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

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We made a few loaves of the Poor Man's Brioche today. Choosing it first over the other two thinking it would be easier dough to work due to the lesser amount of butter added. Wow, was this easy to make.

I see pain perdu and croques gallore in my immediate future!

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Right out of the oven.

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cross-section!

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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  • 2 weeks later...

More misserable bagel atempts here... They collapse during the boiling process! Im blaming the flour this time.

I also think I need an update on flour terminology. How can a "bread flour" for "pizzas and bread" only have a 10,7% protein content? This is what I got from my best stocked grocery store. Typo "0" flour I think.

I've also bough dried gluten powder. Can I apply some of this with luck??

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I (a simple home baker) made the Pane Siciliano for the first time a few days ago.

It was so good, I may never want to bake anything else again.

Queen, I made that a couple of weeks ago and was mighty pleased also :smile:

but, I could never limit myself to only one type of bread :wink:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

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I (a simple home baker) made the Pane Siciliano for the first time a few days ago.

It was so good, I may never want to bake anything else again.

I loved it. I make a sourdough version. Next time I am going to do 80% semolina or maybe 100% just to see the difference. I love semolina!

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i just made the foccacia (with poolish) for the first time - sorry, no pictures - and LOVED it. loved the texture - crunchy crust, not too thick, soft crumb with nice hole structure.

btw, i made if for a job interview - and it turns out to have played a big part in my being one of 2 final candidates for the position! gotta love the BBA :wub:

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More misserable bagel atempts here... They collapse during the boiling process! Im blaming the flour this time.

I also think I need an update on flour terminology. How can a "bread flour" for "pizzas and bread" only have a 10,7% protein content? This is what I got from my best stocked grocery store. Typo "0" flour I think.

I've also bough dried gluten powder. Can I apply some of this with luck??

You're using an Italian flour with fairly low protein content that is used to make Napoletana-style pizza. You should definitely look into a higher protein content flour.. King Arthur's bread flour is 12.7% protein.

I don't know if that's the only thing that will fix your bagels though. I first made the BBA bagels using KA All-Purpose flour (11.7%) and they deflated during boiling. Same thing happened when I used the KA bread flour. Another poster in another thread with bagel problems thinks it might be overproofing, but I don't know. Or maybe we're not making the dough stiff enough.

Michelle Pham

I like pie.

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I wonder why you are having problems with the bagels. Here is a batch I made a couple of weeks ago from this recipe and as always it works out great and everyone loves them. These are made with regular Gold Medal Better For Bread flour. I've also used All Purpose with no problem.

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E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm so defeated by every bread thing I bake. So, I tried the Italian Bread today.

Why do my batards, when they go through the final rise, just get wider and not taller?

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This was the "high" point.

After a while, I decided that perhaps we'd be better off with breadsticks instead. Some of them were thicker and chewier, some thinner and crispier. Best ever breadsticks, but I really wanted bread!

gallery_6263_35_25403.jpg

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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