Tuesday, January 29, 2013

San Francisco Sourdough Revisited

Today, I baked 2 loaves of San Francisco Sourdough using David Snyder's formula Take 4 on the website, http://www.thefreshloaf.com. They came out really well. Here is picture of the two beauties -

Practicing Baguettes

Practicing making baguettes continued today with another bake of 4. I was after better crust coloration and I got it. The bake went really fast. I baked the baguettes for 10 minutes with steam at 460F and then no more than 10 minutes on convection bake at 460F without steam. Here they are, such as they are. I also attempted an epi shaping for one baguette

Monday, January 28, 2013

In Search of the Baguette

Well, after spending a whole week making baguettes in a professional oven, I came home to make some in my little oven. Much different set up, much different outcome, but all in all, not so bad. Here are my baguettes-
Close up of the scoring -

A Loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I've been trying to achieve the perfect 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for years. I got up to about 75-80% whole wheat but that last 20% or so has been hard to eliminate without causing problems in the crumb of the bread. Then, along came Peter Reinhart's book, Whole Grain Breads. What a revelation! He has put together a mix procedure that makes use of a biga(preferment) and a soaker. Most of the whole wheat dough in this loaf is allowed to sit in a mixture with water for at least 12 hours. What a difference a day makes! Here's a picture of this beautiful loaf made with 100% whole wheat that I ground myself in the Komo wheat mill.
The crumb -

Thursday, January 24, 2013

SFBI Artisan Bread I Day 4

SFBI Artisan Baking I Day 4

Oh boy, did we bake today!  5 batches of dough were prepared by each group of 4 students.  Baking included egg bread (challah-like bread made with butter), pan loaves, whole wheat bread (40% whole wheat), rye bread and a multigrain bread with a seed soaker.  All the loaves were mixed and shaped before lunch.  After lunch, we baked and baked and baked.  We then scaled up three dough mixes for tomorrow’s return to baguettes.  We also mixed a poolish, sponge and preferment, one for each batch of baguettes to be baked tomorrow.   It was a busy day, but I did manage to get some pictures of our beautiful breads.

The rye breads were actually scored before the final proof because of their delicacy due to low gluten.

Close up of rye loaf after baking-
The pan loaves were problematic because the bread pans had been washed with soap and had lost some of their ‘seasoning’.  The breads stuck in the pans even though we sprayed oil and coated the pans. At home I don’t rely on this technique but instead, spread a layer of shortening or butter into the pan and then dust with flour to ensure my breads will release successfully from the pans.  The egg breads were most impressive with their braids and shiny egg wash.  We shaped rye bread loaves into square shapes, something new and different.  We also got to experiment with various scorings.  The wheat bread had good volume and a soft crumb, very nice.  My favorite, however, was the multigrain bread with a seed soaker.  The seeds had been toasted in the oven before soaking.  A mix of flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds was used – very tasty!  The final loaf dough also contained whole wheat and rye in addition to bread flour.  The dough was pretty high hydration at 72%.  I and others had some trouble shaping the loaves adequately to get a good oven spring.  

After all the bakes, each team mixed poolish, sponge and preferments and scaled baguette final doughs for the three bakes. 

We completed the day with Miyuki reviewing our bakes.  I need to work on my shaping of batards to ensure a firm product and, of course, my scoring of the batards suffered due to the shaping issues.  My egg breads, pan loaves, whole wheat and ryes came out well.  Everyones whole wheat loaves had great oven spring. 

Loaves, left to right, are whole wheat, rye, multigrain seeded, pan loaves and in front, egg bread. All in all, it was a successful baking day.  I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day of class. It has gone by quickly, and I’ve never baked so much in my life.  I am very happy with what I have learned and experienced.  More baguettes tomorrow – I am going to focus on shaping and scoring in hopes of generating a better looking product.  Onward-

Happy Baking

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SFBI Artisan Baking I Days 2 and 3

Baguette, baguettes and MORE baguettes. We each made 15 a piece. On Day 2 we experimented with baguettes using straight dough – short mix, improved mix and intensive mixes. Of the three I liked the improved mix the best as far as flavor intensity and open crumb. I found the intensive mix crumb to be a bit denser and not as tasty.

In addition to baking, we also discussed topics regarding calculating mix times, the impact of baking loaves, and the role of steam in the baking process. The relationship of mixing and fermentation times was also a topic of discussion relative to the three different bakes we did that day.

The last thing we did on Day 2 was to scale up our mixes for experimenting with different flours and autolyse. We prepped an improved mix with bread flour, improved mix with hi protein flour and an improved mix with bread flour that will use autolyse.

Day 3 focused on wheat and flour. The types of wheat – red/white, spring/winter, hard/soft were discussed relative to protein content and applications/impacts on bread outcome. The batches we put together yesterday were mixed by the students, shaped and baked. While baking our loaves, we prepped mixes for tomorrow’s breads – egg bread, pan bread, whole wheat, multi grain, and rye. Then it was lunch time(whew)!

 After lunch we prepped all the pre-ferments for tomorrow’s bakes, and had critiques of the baguettes we’d baked. It was interesting to see the differences between the bread flour baguettes and the high protein flour bagettes, especially where crumb openness and taste are concerned.

My dough handling/shaping is improving (getting more open crumb) but my scoring still needs work. Although, I’ve found the practice is helping me become more comfortable with scoring and perhaps that’s the first step to improvement – being able to relax.

Day 4 will be a busy day with lots of different breads to bake and more prep for poolish, pre-ferment and sponge baguettes.

  I’m sorry I don’t have pictures, but I found myself working hard to keep up with the pace of producing the three batches of baguettes. For an experienced baker this would be a ‘piece of cake’ I’m sure. However, I’m used to being able to work at my leisurely home pace. We really ‘hoofed’ it today and had little time to spare. I felt sorry for Miyuki who had barely enough time to eat a 5 minute lunch.

Monday, January 21, 2013

SFBI Artisan Baking I Day 1

Today was the first day of Artisan Bread I at SFBI(San Francisco Baking Institute) in South San Francisco. Our instructor is Miyuki.  We went over mixing processes - Short Mix, Improved Mix and Intensive Mix, highlighting differences in the processes and impact they have on hydration, yeast, salt percentages and results in terms of gluten development, fermentation times, crumb structure, elasticity, extensibility, and dough handling. 

We also covered topics regarding the impact of flour, water, salt and yeast on dough qualities.  It was helped me better understand why some of the doughs I make have the qualities they do and what to expect.

There are 15 students in the class.  After the morning lecture, we worked on creating 5 baguettes each from dough as Miyuki led us thru an Improved Mix.  It was a great opportunity to feel the dough in its various stages, inital mix, final mix, thru bulk fermentation.  We also divided the 30Kg of dough into pieces for each member of the group to preshape , shape and score the baguettes.  After the bake, in which we were able to use bakery loaders and ovens, Miyuki critiqued each person's bake with respect to shaping, crumb, scoring and crust.  It was a great experience for me to be able to get help with my dough handling and scoring.  I really went to town on the scoring in a 'Jack the Ripper' kind of way which wasn't all good, but did result in good feedback from Miyuki regarding handling the lame.

The last thing we did before leaving for the day was to measure up ingredients for doughs for tomorrow's class.  We'll be making 15 baguettes each tomorrow, 5 per each type of mix. This is a great class with lots of hands on experience and instructor interaction and critiques.  I don't know if I'll remember all the information we are being given each day, but the class handouts are a great memory jogger and tool. 

Our class is a mix of home bakers, professionals, and restaurant cooks seeking to add breads to their restaurant offerings.  I thought I would be overwhelmed but I have to say doing a lot of reading on this site, studying bread books and diving into baking my own breads has taught me more than I thought.  I don't know it all by any means, but I am not lost in the woods and am able to keep up with the class. 

I can't wait for tomorrow.  It's time to get to bed soon, because 6 am. comes early, and class starts at 7!  Thanks, TFLers for giving me the encouragement to take this class.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

More San Francisco Sourdough!

I will be a SFBI(San Francisco Baking Institute) next week taking their Artisan Breadbaking I class, so before leaving home I wanted to make sure my husband had lots of sourdough bread to eat with his big pot of Grammie soup. 

I put together two loaves worth of dough yesterday, shaped it into one batard and one boule, placed them in bannetons and allowed them to rise slowly in the fridge overnight.  This morning they got a wake up in an 85F proofer for 2-3 hours prior to baking. Oh boy, did those loaves spring in the oven! 

The batard -

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Week's Eatwell CSA Box - 1/16/2013

More good eats headed our way from Eatwell Farm, the items include -

Navel Oranges
Red Russian Kale
Beets (with Greens)
Red Cabbage
Bok Choy
Mustard Greens

Is there more borscht in our future?  Seems so with leeks, beets and red cabbage on their way as well as rutabagas and beet greens.  Mustard greens sauteed served with celeriac and potato mash will go well along side some chicken picatta(use those fresh lemons).  Bok choy will create a flavorful stir fry (chicken or shrimp, haven't decided yet).    Navel oranges and mandarins are good for lunch fruit to go.  Rosemary will be a welcome addition to a lamb dish of some sort.  The red kale will be a good side dish for barbequed lamb ribs(yum).  Enjoy the great boxes we get each week!

San Francisco Sourdough Take 2

Got up early this morning to bake some San Francisco Sourdough bread. I love the way this bread tastes. It IS somewhat of a pain to make as it takes almost 3 days from start to finish. This has been, by far, my best effort using this formula - Tighter bread crumb structure but not too shabby -

Monday, January 7, 2013

Potato Bread - Inaugural bake for repaired oven

Finally, the repairman came and fixed my stove's oven.  It has been out of commission for over a week and I have been going stir crazy unable to bake anything for that length of time.  I am reminded that not everyone in the world has access to a private oven, many use communal wood fired ovens to bake their bread. I felt lost and adrift without mine.  So after the repairman left, I started a loaf of Tassajara Recipe Book's potato bread.   I also got to test out my new Brod and Taylor bread proofer.

Here is the potato before baking -
And the finished product -
Inside the loaf -

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eatwell Farm CSA Box - 1/9/2013

Time for more wonderful food from Eatwell Farm. This week features:

Green Cabbage
Butternut Squash
Navel Oranges
Satsuma Mandarins
Watermelon Daikon
Bok Choy
Collard Greens

Arugula for a salad with watermelon daikon and pickled beets, yum. Romanesco gratin as a side dish for an evening meal. Green cabbage cooked with apples and onions on which browned pork chops are braised sounds like a hearty dinner. Bok choy and broccoli with chicken or shrimp for a stir fry. Then maybe some butternut squash and leek soup. Lemons and collard greens will be used in a meal of fish poached with lemons, dill and capers with a side of collards and mashed potatoes. Navel oranges and satsumas make healthy afternoon snacks. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


We turned 5 lbs. of cabbage into shreds using a mandolin/v-slicer. Then added 3 TBSP. salt and 2 TBSP. of caraway. Everything got mashed into a one gallon glass jar, topped off with a clean plastic bag with water in it as an air stop. This will sit in a cool place for about 2-3 weeks and voila, sauerkraut! Crunchy and tasty with rye bread, pastrami and cheese sandwiches!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Great Food from Eatwell Farm

Tomorrow (Jan 2) I will pick up our first Eatwell Farm CSA box for 2013.  There will be lots of good things in the box like:

Navels from ours trees and Twin Girls
Satsumas from Everything under the sun
Red Kale
Red Beets
Red Cabbage
Romaine Lettuce
Pomegranate from Twin Girls
French Breakfast Radish
Celeriac will be great with mashed potatoes to go along with red kale  and our lamb chops from Sierra Farms (thank you, Mel Thompson).  Red cabbage and pork chops- yum. Tatsoi will make a great chicken stir fry.  The pomegranate will create a tasty salad dressing for romaine lettuce and radish/carrot salad.  Finally, the leeks will go along with some carrots and butternut squash as well as chicken broth to make a warming soup.  Good food for the week, along with navel oranges and satsumas for snacking.