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"The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Reinhart


Marcia
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Well I just pulled my ciabatta and right off the bat I can say that I think I burned the tops a bit. I just really wanted to make sure I didn't get another wimpy crust! We'll see how the crumb is...

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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Aloha all,

Here are the promised photos of the ciabatta. As mentioned, I'm not completely happy with the results. I was hoping for more holes in the crumb. Otherwise, the crust, flavor, etc. were all fine. I did need to use more water than called for to get the poolish to be the desired consistency.

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Here is where there was some problem which may have contributed to a not so great crumb. You can see the dough has collapsed some on the right side of the left loaf. It was challenge to shape these without degassing.

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Can't wait to see your loaves bentherebfor and compare notes. :biggrin:

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Glossyp,

WOW! Your loaves are gourgeous! If you are dissapointed with the crumb you acheived wait till you see the one I was stuck with. Anyway from the beginning. I made the biga ciabatta and made the biga yesterday, gave it an overnight ferment, and yanked it out today. I think this is where my problems began. As I was kneading the dough, I decided that it was too wet and went ahead and added a little bit of flour (I knew I was looking for a wet dough, but I had added the optional oil and PR had said that some extra flour might be necessary). Anyway, I must have added too much flour because by the end of the kneading process I was left with a dough that was sticky, but not considerably stickier than the French Bread I made earlier this week. From there, everything went fine. I gave them a long proofing and rise, divided them into three loaves and baked.

Baking went well, I think. When I initially pulled them out I was a little worried about having burned the crust (I didn't want to end up with a non-existant crust as with my French Bread) but that turned out to be less of a problem then I thought. When I pulled them, they looked like this:

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I let them rest for about half an hour, then sliced and much to my dissapointment I had created yet another bread WITH NO CRUMB!

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I feel like I'm making high qaulity sandwhich bread here, not ciabatta! Not artisan bread! It has the appearance of Wonderbread. PLEASE HELP ME ACHIEVE A GOOD CRUMB!

So, is too dry of a dough the thing to blame? I mean, I've never handled a dough so carefully and gently in my life, yet I still can't get my yeast to work with me....

Still, on the bright side, the bread had good flavor, and it isn't dense, it just doesn't have the artisan type crumb that I desperately desire. It was quickly devoured though, so I look forward to a second attempt...

Perhaps next time I will try the poolish if I can get results like yours, glossyp... :raz::raz:

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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If you are making ciabatta, the dough is so wet its almost a batter.

You can't work with it in a conventional way. That is why its slipper shaped, as it slumps mightily.

If you look at the BBA formula,

Biga version:

Biga: 178 (water 71 flour 107)

Water 83.3

Flour 100

Hydration 154.3/207 = 74%

The wetness of the dough is the major factor in hole size. 74% or so is conventional for ciabbata, anything less won't give you the big holes.

Your crumb looks fine for a conventional bread, and the loaf has risen.

You also need to handle it very softly, so as not to knock out the gas that the fermentation has generated. All the traditional knocking back was to make a loaf with even, fine gas cells, the opposite of what is now desirable. Thus today we need to use what were considered bad practices to generate loaves with a lsarge gas cells, and just gently divide and shape. For ciabatta you really just pour it out.

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Thanks Jackal10 for keeping on eye on us over here! We appreciate your expertise and as a beginning baker, it is so helpful to get your input.

Bentherebfor, isn't this a great hobby where even our 'failures' are appreciated by the loved ones??? Plus, it's always fun to make the next one unless it's the bloody sourdough...sigh...

I do have one suggestion which might help. Whenever I try a new recipe I follow the directions without any variations (such as adding the olive oil to ciabatta for more tender texture) so I can try to establish a baseline. That doesn't mean I don't try to adjust to the conditions, just that I don't add or delete ingredients. I also take notes with each batch as to what flour was used and of any adjustments made, times for each stage and anything else which could be a factor including weather conditions. For example, my poolish formula was not the consistency of thick pancake batter as Peter said it should be so I added additional water in measured amounts until it was correct and made a note of that quantity for future reference.

The stretch and fold techinque of working the dough requires a different mindset and takes some practice. I'm getting better at it. My efforts at breads like pain l'ancienne have been mixed but I'm feeling more confident now and will keep trying.

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Ben, if you go back a few pages you will see that my first attempt at ciabatta was very similar to yours. Seth gave me some good advice and linked a Q&A with Reinhardt. I've made it once a week since then with excellent (and consistent) results (I've put a few photos up here and in the dinner thread)...I would bet anything you are overkneading, which was my first mistake. You barely knead ciabatta at all -- you just mix it enough to incorporate the dry and liquid ingredients then dump it on the counter. Oh, and I find it takes more water than he says -- the initial amount, plus I keep putting water on my hand as I mix the ingredients, so maybe almost half again the amount of water. (Maybe this is just because it is winter?) Anyway, It should be really wet and sticky, so that you need a good deal of flour on the counter to keep from making a huge mess.

The turning method merely involves pulling the dough lengthwise and then folding the ends over in thirds, just like a business letter. No kneading at all. I do this twice on the counter, then once as I set the dough in the couche. (the last turn seems to prevent the crust from getting pushed up off the bread. )

Good luck!

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They are about 1 3/4 inches tall.  Has anyone else tried this recipe, or does anyone have any suggestions?  Or perhaps, they're correct the way they are?

They are correct the way they are.I have made the Reinhart English muffin recipe many times and yours look perfect. The photo seems fine, too. They do come out on the tall side, which is why I think Reinhart has you bake them in the oven at the end.

How did you like the taste?

Congratulations on a good baking job!

Linda, thank you so much for your response, it really helps when you're not sure what you should be ending up with. I loved the taste, much, much better than the storebought version (which I don't like). The SO was really pleased too as they are one of his favourites and I buy them rarely. Such a good little girl am I. I have plans to make hot cross buns for Easter tomorrow, but that will all depend on timing as I have to get everything in order for Easter dinner for 30 on Sunday. :shock::unsure:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Made Pane Siciliano yesterday. I found the dough to be very slack and my KA mixer didn't do a very good job on the kneading. The dough bascially spun around on the hook constantly. I ended up kneading by hand to finish it. Peter says to give it a 2 hour rise, or until it doubled. My dough was rising much quicker. Not sure why as my kitchen is about 65-68 degrees. But I ended up turning the dough once after an hour to give it some more time to proof. Is this the right thing to do? When I got to shaping into batard/baguette/spiral, one of the 3 pieces was misbehaving and not in the mood to shape. Funny because 2 of them were fine. I was short on time at that point so I basically manhandled one of the loafs and it didn't come out as nice. I ended up baking 2 at once, then 1 by itself as they seemed a bit crowded on the baking sheet and I didn't want to have to pull them apart during baking. Really enjoyed the bread although the one I sampled was the roughly treated dough and the crumb was a bit dense. Don't have many mouths to feed here, so the other 2 went to the freezer after cooling. Maybe I can get a good crumb pic later with those.

rich

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Made Pane Siciliano yesterday. I found the dough to be very slack and my KA mixer didn't do a very good job on the kneading. The dough bascially spun around on the hook constantly. I ended up kneading by hand to finish it. Peter says to give it a 2 hour rise, or until it doubled. My dough was rising much quicker. Not sure why as my kitchen is about 65-68 degrees. But I ended up turning the dough once after an hour to give it some more time to proof. Is this the right thing to do? When I got to shaping into batard/baguette/spiral, one of the 3 pieces was misbehaving and not in the mood to shape. Funny because 2 of them were fine. I was short on time at that point so I basically manhandled one of the loafs and it didn't come out as nice. I ended up baking 2 at once, then 1 by itself as they seemed a bit crowded on the baking sheet and I didn't want to have to pull them apart during baking. Really enjoyed the bread although the one I sampled was the roughly treated dough and the crumb was a bit dense. Don't have many mouths to feed here, so the other 2 went to the freezer after cooling. Maybe I can get a good crumb pic later with those.

rich

That is a beautiful loaf of bread! I have the same experience with the rapid proofing and I thought it was due to the warm temps here in Hawaii. I've gotten to the point where I will put it in the frig for a couple of hours and then bring it out to finish proofing. It seems to help with certain doughs.

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Have just put in the oven my first shot at the 100% whole wheat loaf. This is to see if the pre ferment called for makes this good. Usually 100% whole wheat takes like dirt to me. Thought I'd take a run at this. It behaved as advertised the whole way through fermtation and proofing. I did use the optional oil but not the egg. I will post later about final results

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Have just put in the oven my first shot at the 100% whole wheat loaf.  This is to see if the pre ferment called for makes this good. Usually 100% whole wheat takes like dirt to me.  Thought I'd take a run at this.  It behaved as advertised the whole way through fermtation and proofing.  I did use the optional oil but not the egg.  I will post later about final results

Well, it was pretty good. The pre ferment clearly mellowed out the whole wheat taste. However, this was the first bread I have ever baked that gave no oven spring at all. Perhaps it should not due to all the whole grain. I was surprised by that. Had a piece for breakfast and it was cool to palette and with a nice crust. I believe I need to work with this a little as I think it should spring a little and the lovaes grow. However, overall I amhappy with this.

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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:

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

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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.

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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

I used to work at a bakery as assistant manager. I fell in love with bread baking and did a lot of experimenting at the 100,000 dolar Hobart bread oven and at home. The crust at the bakery would be perfect, my first crust at home beautiful but kind of bland and chewy. I tried the bread pan but I didn't get the results I longed for. So one day, I took my water mister (garden type) and gave the loaves a general spray as soon as I put it on my baking stone. Closed the door an after about 20 seconds generously sprayed the loaves again (sprayed the loaves directly, not the oven). I reapated this operations the first few minutes (don't remember how much) until the loaves started gelatinizing their crusts and let them bake peacefuly alone. The crust this time was much better. It had a good crunch and beautiful natural shine. Of course, results with the Hobart Oven ath the bakery where better but this is the way I do it at home. Be careful with the oven light. Once I sprayed it directly and it burst.

By the way, I find that the french bread in Peter Reinharts book is crustier. Pan a l'Ancienne and Ciabatta are less crustier (in my opinion, don't know if it's me, the chemistry of the ingredients or the nature of the bread). Also, the crust is best eaten within an hour or two after baking. I hope this helps.

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By the way, I find that the french bread in Peter Reinharts book is crustier.  Pan a l'Ancienne and Ciabatta are less crustier (in my opinion, don't know if it's me, the chemistry of the ingredients or the nature of the bread).  Also, the crust is best eaten within an hour or two after baking.  I hope this helps.

I have yet to try the pain a l'ancienne but for the ciabatta reinhardt specifically says that the crust is hard right out of the oven but is meant to soften up by the time it's ready for slicing.

Right now I've got 3 loaves of fendu-shaped pain de campagne proofing cozily in their couche. We'll see how that goes...

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Ugh. Okay my fendu shape has closed up and so I basically have three misshapen batards in the oven. I guess you need to re-do the seam after proofing. Oh well. Second time has been a charm for me so far, so we'll see if I get it to work next time. But after all that kneading! Youch.

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Well, I must say it tasted great and the crust and crumb were fine. Had I chosen or executed my shape better it would have been pretty damn near professional. But as it stands now, it's just too embarassing to photograph.

Has anybody tried the fendu shape? While he is a genius who must be worshipped, sometimes Reinhardt's directions are a little vague.

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Thanks to this thread, I finally got off my butt and ordered The Bread Baker's Apprentice last week. It came on Wednesday, and now that I'm done reading the intro chapters, I'll be attempting the Anadama Bread. The soaker is sitting on the counter already.

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Thanks to this thread, I finally got off my butt and ordered The Bread Baker's Apprentice last week. It came on Wednesday, and now that I'm done reading the intro chapters, I'll be attempting the Anadama Bread. The soaker is sitting on the counter already.

Congrats on your start! Please let us know how it turns out with photos if possible. Also, which molasses are you using? This bread was a real hit at the dinner party I made it for - very tasty. :biggrin:

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Hi there everyone!

It's been a long time since I posted here and I'm happy to see that some more people joined us with their brand new BBA book! :smile: Welcome, can't wait to see your first loaves!

Well, since my first disastrous attempt to make the sourdough bread I've been reading a lot about it. I tried to make it again and for the second time the bread had a good rise but with a completely grey and dense crumb.

I was about to give up but instead of throwing away my starter for the 3rd time, I decided to put it in the fridge and forget about it. Few days passed and the jar with the starter was there in the bottom of the fridge alone with its hooch on top. Then one day I noticed that on the top of that hooch there was a layer of big bubbles :blink: ! I took it out from the fridge and discarted the hooch, then discarted most of it and fed with fresh bottled water and flour. Then BAM! It grew up so fast, with tons of foam and bubbles!!

I baked a sourdough bread today and the result... was FANTASTIC!! Very very light cool crumb, delicious taste and crunchy crumb! Hooray! I'm so absolutely happy!! I actually very pleased that I had so many failures because they make me treasure this good result even more.

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Thanks everyone for your lessons, tips, support and encouragement. I'm now looking after my starter with great enthusiasm :wub: .

:smile:

Marcia

Edited by Marcia (log)
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!

I baked a sourdough bread today and the result... was FANTASTIC!! Very very light cool crumb, delicious taste and crunchy crumb! Hooray! I'm so absolutely happy!! I actually very pleased that I had so many failures because they make me treasure this good result even more.

<b>Marcia!</b> It is gorgeous - congratulations on your achievement. Your persistence really paid off and your good results are making me rethink trying sourdough again. It's good to see you back and rockin' & rollin' with the beloved sourdough!

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Has anybody tried the fendu shape? While he is a genius who must be worshipped, sometimes Reinhardt's directions are a little vague.

Aloha <b>Behemoth</b>, I have tried this shape and I used a 5/8" wooden dowel to make the impression and, yes, I did have to re-impress the seam just before baking. Love the "...genius who must be worshipped," comment! :laugh:

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Has anybody tried the fendu shape? While he is a genius who must be worshipped, sometimes Reinhardt's directions are a little vague.

Aloha <b>Behemoth</b>, I have tried this shape and I used a 5/8" wooden dowel to make the impression and, yes, I did have to re-impress the seam just before baking. Love the "...genius who must be worshipped," comment! :laugh:

Thanks glossyp -- I do want to give it another try. I am working up the nerve to try scissor cuts, and after seeing Marcia's beautiful loaf, sourdough...

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I am working up the nerve to try scissor cuts

I did try it last week and the results were so butt-ugly I couldn't bring myself to post photos! I'm going to try again though since I'm pretty sure the problem was not doing enough cuts to create an attractive spiked effect. I ended up with something that more closely resembled an alien baby's head with nodules...not appealing at all! :unsure:

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Thanks Glossyp and Behemoth for your comments! I also struggle to make the slashes and cuts. And I agree that the book is not very clear to give some instructions. I just wish PH could produce a video, it would be so much easier to understand...

Mmmm, I had the sourdough bread for breakfast today and it made a very good toast! :smile:

Marcia

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Well, I tried pain de campagne this weekend and was fairly pleased by the results. The crust was crisp, yet chewy and it tasted great. I would really appreciate any comments, suggestions, criticisms etc. as to how it's supposed to look, especially with regard to the crumb. Many thanks.

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My apologies for the poor quality photo of the inside, my SO was trying to be helpful with something besides eating the finished product! :laugh:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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