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"The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Reinhart


Marcia
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Susan-

From your picture it seems like you are not using any kitchen towels or any other device to act as a couche to support the sides of your batards as they rise. See page 37 of the BBA book for a picture. I do not have the professional couches, so I just use a heavy kitchen towel. Hope this helps.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Smacking hand on forehead, she goes duh! Thanks Elie. I don't have professional couches, either, but I do have a really heavy linen dishcloth.

Do you have trouble getting the loaves from the couches to the peel? Any hints on this?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Smacking hand on forehead, she goes duh!  Thanks Elie.  I don't have professional couches, either, but I do have a really heavy linen dishcloth.

Do you have trouble getting the loaves from the couches to the peel?  Any  hints on this?

Yes, a great tip: rub the couche or teatowel with rice flour. No sticking even with very slack doughs. Amazing how well it works.

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Smacking hand on forehead, she goes duh!  Thanks Elie.  I don't have professional couches, either, but I do have a really heavy linen dishcloth.

Do you have trouble getting the loaves from the couches to the peel?  Any  hints on this?

Hi Susan,

Use the cloth you have but make sure you dredge it heavily in rice or rye flour before placing your shaped loaf. Gather the sides of the cloth and fold the edges to get a wrap round the dough. Do not wash the cloth after use, just give a good shake to remove the loose flour and hang to dry.

Hope this helps.

Cheers...

Don

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My first ciabatta:

gallery_6263_35_85365.jpg

I'm not proud of it, but then again, I am.

Next time, I wouldn't mix it as long (I did it in the KA and was multi-taking). I would add more water next time. I found that as it was, not needing kneading and just folding, it was very easy to work with.

But the couche thing. My folds in the very heavy linen towel that I had rubbed heavily with rice flour kept flopping, and so I ended up putting it into a higher sided pan and putting skewers on top of the pan, under the top side of the folds. Should the folds be stiffer? If so, how do you achieve that without actually buying a couce? Should I starch a towel?

And, I had an extra loaf. I just wrapped it up, stuck it in the fridge and figured that Tuesday night, I'd warm it and crisp the crust in the oven. ???

But, I will say this was a mighty tasty loaf. I had made the poolish on Friday and didn't make the loaves until today.

Oh, and another question. We're heading north to our cabin this Friday. We're having soup and bread on Saturday night. It would be much simplerl to make dough for the Italian bread at home on Thursday than to do it up there. Will the dough be OK friedged until then? I'm bound and determined to no longer be bread-baking impaired.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I've had this book for ages but had only made the pizza dough. Until last week.

This summer we got hooked on Ciabatta from the Farmer's Market. Unfortunately, the vendor is from Evanston and we never go there. Farmer's Market ends in December so I decided I needed to make my own Ciabatta. How hard could it be?

I made the poolish, read the directions, got overwhelmed and let it sit in the refrigerator for three days. After taking it out of the refrigerator and letting it come up to temperature, I weighed the flour, mixed it with the yeast and salt in the bowl of my KitchenAid. Added the poolish and 6 tablespoons of water. Turned the machine to low.

Now, why was I surprised that flour flew everywhere?

I was more surprised by the line "You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough"? Seriously? Is there anyone here who has had to add additional flour?

I added a couple more tablespoons of water but not the entire 3/4 cup. Because I hadn't read this thread.

The bread was very tasty. Even though it didn't have many holes. I was still more than pleased with the outcome because it tasted better than store-bought breads.

Then I read this thread and found I was not alone. And I tried again. But first, I bought a Ciabatta roll from Farmer's market so I could do a side-by-side comparison.

This time, I added more water to the poolish than the recipe called for. I kept adding water until it was the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. I only let it rest in the fridge overnight. This time when I added the 13.5 ounces of flour, I also added at least a cup of water. The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons to 3/4 cup but it needed more.

I never would have had the nerve to add that much water had I not read this thread.

I baked the bread on a pizza stone on the middle rack. I had a pan in the rack underneath and added a cup of boiling water to it when I put the bread in the oven. I did not spritz the sides of the oven with water as I can't find my spritzer. Next time.

This time, I had beautiful holes in my bread. Hard to believe the difference in taste and texture. This bread was so light and airy.

I cut the purchased Ciabatta roll. The crumb looked very much like my first attempt. Where were the holes? Now that I know what Ciabatta should look like, I wonder if the bakery Ciabatta rolls ever had big holes. But now I know that I can make Ciabatta. Maybe not as good as a bakery can on a good day but definitely better than a bakery can on a bad day.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I made some Tuscan loaves today. I started yesterday morning by making the paste (flour and water mixed together) and let it sit all day yesterday. I made the dough last night and let it retard in the fridge overnight. Today I baked the loaves. They are really dense, and, of course, saltless. But the texture is nice and chewy, and the flavor is almost sweet. It's not the type of bread you would want to eat every day, but it suited my purpose tonight, as I had a hearty Tuscan bread soup (Ribollita) on the menu. I look forward to grilling some tomorrow and serving with flavorful toppings,

I would appreciate any comments/critiques with respect to slashes, shaping and texture.

Tuscan Loaf

gallery_41870_2503_17153.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_49577.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_51429.jpg

I lightly toasted some for a lunch sandwich of chevre feta, avocado and fleur de sel.

gallery_41870_2503_12673.jpg

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  • 5 months later...

I am hereby Picking up the thread and challenge you other guys with the book to bake something this easter!

I did the foccacia last week, and was a little bit confused about the suggested total height of the finished loaf. The book says something about 1-1,5 inches, but the picture in the book looks a lot more like lets say 0.5-1 inch.

I guess mine are somewhere in between. It isn't always easy to dish up a pan of the exact dimensions of the recipe!

Anyhow... I was pretty happy with the result, except from a few burned pieces of sundried tomato and olives....

gallery_44514_2999_1090855.jpg

gallery_44514_2999_27468.jpg

gallery_44514_2999_558589.jpg

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I am hereby Picking up the thread and challenge you other guys with the book to bake something this easter!

I did the foccacia last week, and was a little bit confused about the suggested total height of the finished loaf. The book says something about 1-1,5 inches, but the picture in the book looks a lot more like lets say 0.5-1 inch.

I guess mine are somewhere in between. It isn't always easy to dish up a pan of the exact dimensions of the recipe!

Anyhow... I was pretty happy with the result, except from a few burned pieces of sundried tomato and olives....

gallery_44514_2999_1090855.jpg

gallery_44514_2999_27468.jpg

gallery_44514_2999_558589.jpg

Your focaccia looks great! I use the pain a l'ancienne technique for foccacia. Sometimes I bake it in a half sheet pan, and it ends up about an inch thick. When I want focaccia for sandwiches I bake it in a 9x13 pan and it comes out about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.

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Your focaccia looks great! I use the pain a l'ancienne technique for foccacia. Sometimes I bake it in a half sheet pan, and it ends up about an inch thick. When I want focaccia for sandwiches I bake it in a 9x13 pan and it comes

out about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.

Thank you. Peter reinhard's Foccacia recipe has a lot of oil in the dough, and a lot of herb oil sprinkled on top.

Do you use the same amount of oil when making sandwich foccacias? Or do you use the Pain a l'ancienne recipe as well as the teqhnique?

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Your focaccia looks great! I use the pain a l'ancienne technique for foccacia. Sometimes I bake it in a half sheet pan, and it ends up about an inch thick. When I want focaccia for sandwiches I bake it in a 9x13 pan and it comes

out about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.

Thank you. Peter reinhard's Foccacia recipe has a lot of oil in the dough, and a lot of herb oil sprinkled on top.

Do you use the same amount of oil when making sandwich foccacias? Or do you use the Pain a l'ancienne recipe as well as the teqhnique?

I always use pain a l'ancienne because I'm leery of all the oil in the other recipe. With pain a l'ancienne, the only oil is what is drizzled on top. I don't measure, but I'd say I end up with about 1/4 cup oil. I also keep mine pretty plain because I always end up freezing it. Here are some pics:

half sheet pan:

gallery_50587_4042_43410.jpg

9x13 with the addition of chopped fresh rosemary to the dough:

gallery_50587_4042_27700.jpg

Edited by Sararwelch (log)
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But the couche thing.  My folds in the very heavy linen towel that I had rubbed heavily with rice flour kept flopping, and so I ended up putting it into a higher sided pan and putting skewers on top of the pan, under the top side of the folds.  Should the folds be stiffer?  If so, how do you achieve that without actually buying a couce?  Should I starch a towel?

Oh, and another question.  We're heading north to our cabin this Friday.  We're having soup and bread on Saturday night.  It would be much simplerl to make dough for the Italian bread at home on Thursday than to do it up there.  Will the dough be OK friedged until then?  I'm bound and determined to no longer be bread-baking impaired.

Couche: Place a wine bottle on the outside of either side of your folds in your towel. The weight of the bottle will force the dough to rise up, not out.

Refrigerated dough: Absolutely. I've had doughs that I made one night and didn't go through the rest of the process for 2-3 days later. In fact, Peter Reinhart actually suggests a similar method for his Pain a l'ancienne. What I would do is make up my Poolish on Thursday morning and let it sit out at room temp all day. Thursday night, make up your dough and immediately put it in the fridge. After about 3 hours it should be sufficiently cool enough -- punch down/fold over the dough to degas. When you are ready to finish making the bread, take it out of the fridge and let it warm for 1-2 hours and then continue on as normal.

The nice thing is that the extra time in the fridge helps to release even more of those starches from the flour.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am hereby Picking up the thread and challenge you other guys with the book to bake something this easter!

.

.

.

Hello. I'm a first-time poster to this forum.

I made the Pain a l'Ancienne last week - not Focaccia shaped, but just as suggested in the book. The result was delicious, but based on some of the photos in this forum I'm sure my loaves could have been better.

One thing that I found quite unusual is that the recipe does not seem to call for rising of the shaped loaves. True, he does say to "de-gas the dough as little as possible" while shaping. But that is presumably just to help encourage irregular holes. After shaping, the loaves go straight into the oven. No couche, no doubling, etc.

The loaves I baked did indeed have irregular holes and they were very tasty and chewy. But they but were not "very light, almost airy" as the recipe suggests. I wondered if this was due to not being set aside to rise.

Has anyone else noticed this? Any suggestions appreciated.

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Hi Concordal and welcome to the forum ! :)

I have noticed this :-)

The recipe actually says (step 7) that if you want to bake rustic, ciabata-style bread they should ble left to proof for 1-2 hours, and they will resemble and perform like ciabata.

... And also notice that the recipe is for baguettes. The result of that will be very different from a loaf, as the loaf will be heavier and restrict the rise in the oven. Ciabata and baguettes are lighter and will rise more easily in the oven I think.

You mentioned that you had been baking loaves?

Do you bake on a hot stone? In my experience, the hot surface and high liquid ratio and a "mature" (overnight) dough that has lots and lots of small gas pockets will rise mostly by "oven spring". I've had flat loaves blow up like soccer balls in my oven, it's amazing to watch :-)

Just some Ideas, maybe you could tell us what kind of loaf you were shaping (weight?) and a little bit more about how your oven was set up for bakin?

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Concord-

Welcome!

I've said this before here, but when I bake mine I follow the recipe exactly except for the shaping part. Instead of six baguettes I make four and bake on a very hot brick-floor oven. Like glennbech said, all you need is the oven to get them nice and puffed.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Hello, glennbech and many thanks for your response!

Yes, I did say "loaves", but I shouldn't have. They were free-form just as the recipe directs. I baked the 'baguettes'in two lots. The first lot was three very slender baguettes as Reinhart suggests. The word baguette means 'rod' in French and these were rods indeed ... a bit too slender for me. So for the second batch, instead of 3 slender baguettes, I formed them into 2 less-slender baguettes.

The second batch slumped more than the first and was less airy. Still chewy and tasty, but not as light.

as the first batch, even taking into account the larger size of the baguettes. Having said that even the first batch did not look as light as some of the photos in this forum. Not bad, but but not quite artisan quality for batch one. The second batch however was a 5 out of ten.

Yes I do bake on hot stone, or more accurately hot thick quarry tiles. I had a metal container in the bottom of the oven and put in a cup of hot water according to the B.B.A. protocol. This was followed by the requisite spritzing.

The oven temperature was 500 degrees F. to start and I lowered the thermostat to 450 after the three sprayings were complete.

Yes I did see the remarks in The B.B.A. about Ciabatta -- I was just surprised that the baguettes didn't require proving after they were gently stretched into shape.

Perhaps a couche and a 45 minute proving period would do it.

Any further comments/diagnosis would be most welcome!

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... Sounds to me that you are doing all the right things :-)

Did you buy the "Hand made loaf" by Dan Lepard ? (you can see him lurking thee forums from time to time ) I usually mix and match a few techniques into the B.B.A recipes. I never knead for a long time (only short 10-15 second kneads, at 15 minute intervals). I am certain that my "crumb" performance rocketed when I started using his techniques.

I also do a few "stretch and fold"'s. (Like the B.B.A ciabate recipe) when I try to achieve a real open and light crumb.

Another issue that you might consider is to reduce to flour for "sprinkeling" I've found myself adding way to much flour to the dough during shaping. Water or oil on the hands and work surface can often replace the tons of flour you see in the B.B.A book. You need that wet dough to get the open texture!

Pictures?

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Any thoughts on making Reinhart's sourdough in a bread machine?

I've made the sourdough numerous times before, and since my housemate bought a bread machine a while ago I've been wondering about trying out some of Reinhart's recipes in them. I've never used a bread machine before, so to be honest I'm not even sure if this would work at all.

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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I had thought to try the french baguettes from this book tomorrow, but in reading over the recipe, I feel defeated before I even start! This spraying the oven walls with water doesn't sound like a fabulous idea to me. Can I just heavily mist the bread with water?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I had thought to try the french baguettes from this book tomorrow, but in reading over the recipe, I feel defeated before I even start! This spraying the oven walls with water doesn't sound like a fabulous idea to me.  Can I just heavily mist the bread with water?

You can do that but the result won't be the same.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Sigh. Ok. I do have a stone and I also have perforated baguette pans. Should I just cornmeal the pans and put them on the stone? Yes, yes, I'll do the misting of the oven etc.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Sigh.  Ok.  I do have a stone and I also have perforated baguette pans.  Should I just cornmeal the pans and put them on the stone?  Yes, yes, I'll do the misting of the oven etc.

I've been getting what I think are pretty good results w/ the perforated baguette pans straight on the rack, no stone.

gallery_52440_4436_406589.jpg

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Oh they look great! My pans are non stick. Should I still use some cornmeal or anything?

I'll give this a go. Why not? A couple of months ago, I'd never made bread in life :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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