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The rehabilitation of a failed baker


gsquared
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sigh...lots of flour on the couche, Use the same cloth each time and don't wash it - sterilise it by drying it out in a low oven. It builds up a sort of easy release layer. Some people use rice flour,

A slightly drier dough can help, but we did that,

You can get baguette pans made from silpat like material or even tin, and proof them in those. Grease them well, or you just get the cooked loaves stuck. They always leave an impression on the bottom of the loaf, so traditionalists disapprove.

The blade used to slash is called a lame (blade in french)

Not a good bread baking day, Jack. I am retiring to lick my wounds. I refuse to post pics of today's attempt. When I pre-heated the oven I used the thermofan setting as I always do. This time I forgot to turn the thermofan off when I put the loaves in. Must be the panic at not getting them out of the couche. Thermofan at 240 = normal oven at 280. Loaves burnt and discarded - even the seagulls would turn their noses up. Sorry about that. Shall we cancel today and repeat exactly the same procedure (without the sticking and burning bit) tomorrow? I have a baguette pan, so maybe the more we can do right now to focus on getting the dough right, the better.

gallery_7837_2715_31421.jpg

Question: if you prove in the baguette pan, and then put the pan in the oven, is the oven spring less? If so, how do you compensate for that?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Such a discouragement today, but thats two happy preferments in a row, and the last set of loaves rose.... progress is being made.

And you have Scarlet(t) pans - thats a positive omen, because "After all.... tomorrow is another day!"

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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The oven spring pretty well the same whether its a pan or a couche.

The texture is a bit denser, since you don't get the same heat transfer as contact with a hot surface.

The pans are a bit flatter than a couche, and will give you a stipple pattern and softer on the base.

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Still here to encourage you Gerhard, It s like following the olimpic games , next try will be the one , and you know what even if isnt who cares are you in a hurry??

No You have all the time you want , its a learning process it takes time and patience,and one important thing , dont forget to have fun meanwhile , if there isnt fun there is no point on doing it . :smile:

Vanessa

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When flouring cloths do not use white flour, the gluten in it just turns to glue. Use low gluten flour like rye or rice flour. My preference is for rye flour, don't have any sticking problems even with a 70% hydration dough.

regards

Bill

Kind regards

Bill

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...next try will be the one , and you know what even if isnt who cares are you in a hurry??

No You have all the time you want , its a learning process it takes time and patience,and one important thing , dont forget to have fun meanwhile , if there isnt fun there is no point on doing it . :smile:

Sigh. Was hoping to wake up to plump baguettes...

Thank you, Gerhard, for sharing with us your experience. Indeed, at least for me...this has been entertaining riveting a good learning process too.

I use rice flour on linen with close weave, works like a charm. Dan says rye imparts more flavour.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Thanks to everybody for all the good wishes and encouragement. I am still of good cheer. The preferment is made and fermenting away.

Jack, I think I will use the baguette pan for proving and baking. It makes sense to get to a good loaf first via the easiest route and then get the couching bit sorted out.

Adding insult to injury:

Four guests told me at breakfast yesterday that they would be visiting Knysna and would bring me a baguette from Ile de Pain, a famous bakery on Thesen Island. Bless their hearts, I found this in the foyer this morning. They had no idea of my delicate state, of course.......

gallery_7837_2715_10875.jpg

Jack, can you explain the knobs at the ends? Simply a sort of trademark, or does it have any significance?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Still here to encourage you Gerhard, It s like following the olimpic games , next try will be the one , and you know what even if isnt who cares are you in a hurry??

No You have all the time you want , its a learning process it takes time and patience,and one important thing , dont forget to have fun meanwhile , if there isnt fun there is no point on doing it . :smile:

Amen on the fun. I have always believed that, in matters where you have a choice, if you don't have fun doing it, stop doing it. That is why I retired early.

Edited by gsquared (log)

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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We may all end up driving you crazy here. For couches I use a light canvas I buy from bolts of the stuff at Wal Mart, cut to desired length, and then liberally floured with bread flour. My doughs are VERY wet. Even using them the first time, not a problem. But I flour them very liberally, and then rub the flour into the nap. Works for me. Alternatively, you could try parchment paper for now, making sure you sprinkle with something like corn meal or rice flour or semolina or something to minimize the effect a wet dough would have simply sitting by itself on parchment paper.

The knobs are just somebody's own idea of a nice touch. They'd probably have a little crunch to them, but otherwise, I've never actually seen that before myself. Maybe it's regional? Peculiar to the baker or the bakery? Dunno.

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Lori, I'm late with a response to your question, and Jack's already provided feedback for this, but I wanted to affirm that yes, or rather no, you don't keep the sourdough culture in a proofing box 24 hours a day. Keep it in the refrigerator, take out whatever amount you need for refreshing to get to the required amount of starter in whatever recipe you're working with, and then proof for however long it takes (for me, that usually means about 4 hours, something like that). I know it all sounds hopelessly vague. If you're really interested in following through, though, I would strongly suggest you invest in a text that provides a good blueprint for that, and then you practice. Of the several I have on hand (including Hamelman, Silverton, Reinhart, Glezer and a couple others I can't think of right offhand), Wood has been the easiest and most reliable for me as I've been learning. I don't use his recipes/formulas. Just his reference material on how to work with sourdough cultures. And for that, the book's been invaluable. Together with being able to read folks' experiences here.

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sigh...lots of flour on the couche, Use the same cloth each time and don't wash it - sterilise it by drying it out in a low oven. It builds up a sort of easy release layer. Some people use rice flour,

A slightly drier dough can help, but we did that,

You can get baguette pans made from silpat like material or even tin, and proof them in those. Grease them well, or you just get the cooked loaves stuck. They always leave an impression on the bottom of the loaf, so traditionalists disapprove.

The blade used to slash is called a lame (blade in french)

You are a great teacher. I'm so enjoying your coaching notes. Thanks. :smile: Now, here's my thoughts. I think if I was working toward a good loaf and my first success, (believe me, I've been there, done that) as a precaution, I'd cut a piece of parchment to fit into the couche so the chances of sticking would be minimized. Plus it would make removing them much easier. Or is this not kosher?

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Still here to encourage you Gerhard, It s like following the olimpic games , next try will be the one , and you know what even if isnt who cares are you in a hurry??

No You have all the time you want , its a learning process it takes time and patience,and one important thing , dont forget to have fun meanwhile , if there isnt fun there is no point on doing it . :smile:

Amen on the fun. I have always believed that, in matters where you have a choice, if you don't have fun doing it, stop doing it. That is why I retired early.

Bravo Gerhard! I think you're doing great and this process encourages many to try their hand at bread baking. I am soooo pulling for you to suceed. Remember, you didn't learn to walk the first time you stood up so keep trying. :wink:

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snip..

Remember, you didn't learn to walk the first time you stood up so keep trying. :wink:

Thanks.

You are right about the walking. But I could recite "The boy who stood on the burning deck" at 3. :smile:

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Jack, to summarise, the plan for the day is to leave the preferment for the full 12 hours, then mix using 300g water (with the preferment that gives 66% hydration, right?), proof for 2 hours in the baguette pan and then bake.

As an aside, I found it difficult to get the Magimix going again if I stop halfway through whizzing. The dough wrapped around the spindle and the machine started labouring. I had to stop it to add the ascorbic acid. Is this normal or indicative of anything significant regarding the consistency of the dough?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'll add my Bravos and encouragement...

I agree wih Devlin that the knobs at the end are just the local baker's nice touch. Those look good. Bakers love to talk - not enough people share their passion, and maybe you could enlist their help or even spend a night working in their bakery...

The idea of lining the couch with baking parchemnt is OK, but he parchement stops the bottom of the bread breathing and forming a skin that evenutally forms the crust, so as Devlin says sprinkle it with some cornmeal or he lik first. I'm glad other people are joining inthe advise here..

Yes the magimix does gum up. Helps a bit if you put the flour in first then add the water with the mixer running. Later we can try hand mixing/stretch and fold, but lets get he basics right first.

I'm still puzzled about the sticking. Its characteristic of very wet dough, and 66% isn't that wet. However the dough gets wetter during proof, and I wonder if we are still overproving so 2 hours, which seems short, might be OK.

Luck, and fingers crossed...

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I'll add my Bravos and encouragement...

I agree wih Devlin that the knobs at the end are just the local baker's nice touch. Those look good. Bakers love to talk - not enough people share their passion, and maybe you could enlist their help or even spend a night working in their bakery...

I know next to nothing about bread baking, however, baguettes with knobs on the end... well, we have a version available in Vancouver from the European Bakery. Read about it here if you are interested.

Back on topic.... Gerhard, I applaud your efforts. I made my first baguette in a cookery class earlier this year and though it was a daunting experience, it was also a rewarding one. Bon chance!

Edited by appreciator (log)

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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Today's effort under way. Here are the loaves before proofing:

gallery_7837_2715_14620.jpg

And after 2 hours, just before slashing and baking:

gallery_7837_2715_6069.jpg

In the oven right now.

What bothers me is that there is so little difference between the pre- and postproofed loaves. I would have expected some evidence of activity....

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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So here we are:- another failure to report:

gallery_7837_2715_4362.jpg

I did not think that this was going to be easy - if it was, I would have got it right about 3 years ago. Maybe it is easy, just not easy for me. In any event, not ready to give up.

JACK?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'm really really puzzled.

Lets take it form the top.

You make the preferemetn with 100g of waer and 100g of flour and a spoonful of mother starter

You ferment this for 12 hours at 30C until bubbly (I've seen it)

You then mix all the preferment with 500g of flour, 300g of cold water and 12g of salt (the Vit C helps but is not essential)

Shape and let prove at 30C for 2-4 hours...

Bake at 250C roughly for 40 mins.

Something must be killing the yeast during or after you have mixed it. How hot is the dough when you take it from the mixer? Should be warm, not hot...

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By the way, the baguette pan I used, the type that looks like expanded metal, is no good for baking a wet dough. The dough seeps (slithers?) minutely through the small holes during proving. Baking then expands the "seepage" on the wrong side of the pan to anchor the bread securely to the pan.

For tomorrow, I am back to linen. And rice flour.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'm really really puzzled.

Lets take it form the top.

You make the preferemetn with 100g of waer and 100g of flour and a spoonful of mother starter

You ferment this for 12 hours at 30C until bubbly (I've seen it)

You then mix all the preferment with 500g of flour, 300g of cold water and 12g of salt (the Vit C helps but is not essential)

Shape and let prove at 30C  for 2-4 hours...

Bake at 250C roughly for 40 mins.

Something must be killing the yeast during or after you have mixed it. How hot is the dough when you take it from the mixer? Should be warm, not hot...

Correct on all points. I also did not sing.

Not hot. Warm. It is still a possibility - I did not concentrate on the temp of the dough. Although I think I would have noticed if it was hot. I'll take its temp next time around. This seems to be the only point where the yeast can get killed off, isn't it. Assuming that the yeast in the preferment is ok. Can the foaming only be attributed to activity by good yeast?

Can we perhaps debug this by inserting checks at crucial points, even if it means a day or two spent doing just that without an actual baking attempt?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I wonder if using the stretch and fold method of mixing might give more control:

Here's how. Its essentially a version of Dan Lepard's method.

Instead of using the mixer to make the dough, mix by hand (or a spoon) in a bowl. Doesn't have to be perfect, just roughly even. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Wash off the bits of dough stuck to your fingers

After 10 minutes Oil your work surface and your hands, turn out the dough onto the work surface, Basically you need to need to stretch and knead 30 seconds or so - for example fold in three, sides to middle, then top to bottom, then form a ball as you have been doing. Wash out the bowl and lightly oil it, then put the dough back in it, cover it and leave in a warm place for another 10 minutes. Do this twice more - half an hour in all.

Cut off about 100gm of dough and put it in a glass measuring jug, if you have one, and leave it in your warm place. This is your tell-tale and timer. The dough should roughly double in volume by the time the bread is ready to bake.

Then do the same stretch and fold every half an hour for another 2 hours, or until you see little bubbles appearing when you make a cut in the dough. If the bubbles aren't there leave it longer, stretching and folding every hour until they appear.

When the small bubble are present, shape the dough and leave in warm place, covered for 2 hours or so before baking.

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I wonder if using the stretch and fold method of mixing might give more control:

Here's how. Its essentially a version of Dan Lepard's method.

Instead of using the mixer to make the dough, mix by hand (or a spoon)  in a bowl. Doesn't have to be perfect, just roughly even. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Wash off the bits of dough stuck to your fingers

After 10 minutes Oil your work surface and your hands, turn out the dough onto the work surface, Basically you need to need to stretch and  knead 30 seconds or so - for example fold in three, sides to middle, then top to bottom, then form a ball as you have been doing. Wash out the bowl and lightly oil it, then put the dough back in it, cover it and leave in a warm place for another 10 minutes. Do this twice more - half an hour in all. 

Cut off about 100gm of dough and put it in a glass measuring jug, if you have one, and leave it in your warm place. This is your tell-tale and timer. The dough should roughly double in volume by the time the bread is ready to bake.

Then do the same stretch and fold every half an hour for another 2 hours, or until you see little bubbles appearing when you make a cut in the dough. If the bubbles aren't there leave it longer, stretching and folding every hour until they appear.

When the small bubble are present, shape the dough and leave in warm place, covered for 2 hours or so before baking.

Does this mean that you think that the food processor is the problem? I will do the folding bit if you are sure that this is the only way of eliminating the most likely problem. I am not too keen on the amount of interaction required, at least not as a permanent solution. There is no way that I can set aside 2.5 hrs every day to be available for the folding. Also, the timing is out for baking for breakfast, unless I can still retard in the fridge.

How about simply doing the food processor whizzing and then taking the temp of the dough. If it is ok, it cannot be the food processor doing the damage. I am really keen to retain the food processor part, because it is so quick and easy. Please rethink - the more I think about Dan's method, efficacious as it may be, the more I realise that the exigencies of my life would not allow it as a daily routine.

If the food processor is not the culprit, I am at a loss where to go from there. That is, assuming the the dough temp is fine. Is there any way to determine whether the dough, after proving, has had yeast activity? Drop a ball into hot oil?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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