Bread making

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661-Pete
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Bread making

Postby 661-Pete » 21 Jan 2016, 11:01pm

...or more specifically, sourdough.

We had a discussion (mixed up in a thread about something else) a few months ago, about my ongoing failures in getting a sourdough starter 'started'. I now am happy to report, my latest attempt at a starter is fizzing away merrily, and I hope for better results in the next baking. I thought those people who were so kind as to offer me portions of their starters, would like to know...

This time I used a different flour, "Bacheldre Watermill" organic rye, obtainable from Waitrose, along with bottled still spring water, in the proportions 50g flour to 100ml water. Nothing else added. And I followed the procedure, discarding half and topping up with more flour and water, daily. Previous attempts, I'd used Doves Farm Rye, and that didn't seem to work so well.

My first loaves from this new starter were still rather heavy, possibly because I hadn't let the starter mature long enough. I hope the next batch will come out better.

As usual, any tips most welcome!
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simonineaston
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Re: Bread making

Postby simonineaston » 22 Jan 2016, 10:05am

Funnily enough, I was having a chat on this topic with a keen breadmaking chum t'other day. We are fans of the food writer Jeffrey Steingarten (wrote for the New York Vogue - witty and knowledgeable - ex-lawyer). He wrote on making bread in his book The Man WHo Ate Everything, which I commend to all foodies... In this book there's a chapter on bread making and having read it, we calculate it took him 6 months to get it right. :wink:
ttfn, Simon in Easton
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freeflow
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Re: Bread making

Postby freeflow » 22 Jan 2016, 10:14am

Oh. It's actually about making bread. When I were a student, many many years ago, breadmaking was what we called all those activities that were unavoidable instead of revising for exams. Activities such as breadmaking :D

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DaveP
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Re: Bread making

Postby DaveP » 22 Jan 2016, 10:45am

I can't comment on the choice of flour for your starter because I haven't got round to trying sourdough for myself yet. The big question for me is what flour / s are you using for the main body of your bread?
Following two trips to France last year I was forced to get back into home baking last Autumn because I found I couldn't face mainstream English bread anymore - I just became aware of how much it had deteriorated over the last couple of decades.
I enjoyed doing some internet research, which improved my grasp of what actually goes on once you add the yeast and led to me experimenting with substantially increased proving times, well beyond that necessary to "double in size". To my delight I found that had much more effect on the quality of the loaf than kneading for 5, 10 or even 20 minutes. In fact you can make acceptable bread by just stirring it all up in your mixing bowl and leaving for about 7 hours - aka overnight!.
I never really tried this in the past because I remembered reading dire warnings about what happens if you leave a mix for too long. Obviously there is such a thing as too long, but its well worth experimenting with. However I understand that other flours such as rye and spelt don't contain anything like as much gluten as bread flour and are much more sensitive to over proving. If you are fixed on rye flour this may not be much help to you, but it was such a revelation to me that I felt obliged to share :D

Currently working with Allinson's Wholemeal bread flour and Sainsburys "Taste the difference " Very Strong Canadian White Bread Flour. Both give me decent loaves, but the 50/50 combination yields my best to date.
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al_yrpal
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Re: Bread making

Postby al_yrpal » 22 Jan 2016, 11:17am

I posted my experiences making Sourdough. Glad you finally achieved a decent starter Pete. For the record I have been using a wide variety of flours. Coop Strong White, Waitrose Canadian Very Strong White, Hovis Wholemeal, Aldi Strong White. The second starter I made was very active, on Paul Hollywoods suggestion I used a few white grapes initially to give it extra Oomph. The bread varies a bit, but thats fine because we like variety. A 50 50 white brown mix seems to produce nice bread and using just white flour always gives a better rise.
Had some interesting walnut bread yesterday in Oklava Turkish restaurant in Shoreditch, it was served with Medjool Date butter - scrummy!

Al
Last edited by al_yrpal on 22 Jan 2016, 2:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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simonineaston
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Re: Bread making

Postby simonineaston » 22 Jan 2016, 11:30am

Just hope you're not following the telly programme,Victorian Bakers... the episode I tried saw them kneading dough with their bare feet - eugh...
Which reminds me: Why did the burglars break into the bakery? 'Cos they needed the dough!
Had some interesting walnut bread yesterday in Oklava Turkish restaurant in Shoreditch, it was served with Mejool Date butter - scrummy!
Gosh - that does sound nice!
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661-Pete
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Re: Bread making

Postby 661-Pete » 22 Jan 2016, 12:52pm

I use the rye flour only to make the starter - because I read somewhere that - provided it's organic and stoneground - it hosts more wild yeast than wheat. You need to exploit the wild yeast that's already in the flour, to make proper sourdough.

For the main body of the bread I use wheat flour: either strong wholemeal or a mixture of wholemeal and strong white. The first batch was all wholemeal, but I think for the next lot I'll use a mixture.

Re walnut bread: Mrs P makes a very nice walnut bread: this is not sourdough though, it uses cultivated yeast. 50:50 wholemeal and white for that one. Similar for our olive bread - also delectable! And I come in with my soda bread (mixture of wheat and rye) now and again, by way of variety. Or chapattis, if we're having curry. Besides all these, we make bog-standard wholemeal (100%) with yeast.

I think we're quite well supplied with bread.... :)
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

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661-Pete
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Re: Bread making

Postby 661-Pete » 22 Jan 2016, 1:01pm

DaveP wrote:Following two trips to France last year I was forced to get back into home baking last Autumn because I found I couldn't face mainstream English bread anymore
If your intention is to emulate the classic French baguette, I wish you luck! It's one of the most difficult breads to get right, unless you have exactly the right sort of flour, the right strain of yeast, and the right sort of oven (this last is the most difficult to achieve in the UK). But good luck with the home baking: there are plenty of much easier and tasty breads to try your hand at!

However I understand that other flours such as rye and spelt don't contain anything like as much gluten as bread flour and are much more sensitive to over proving.
Correct. Rye is not entirely gluten-free (any coeliac sufferers, beware!) but it certainly is much lower in gluten than wheat. You should not knead rye bread anything like as much - ten minutes is the norm for wheat bread, but for rye, certainly not more than a minute. If you use a breadmaker it may have a setting for rye flour - but I'm not familiar with those.

If bread is allowed to prove for too long, it will develop large internal cavities. This will not spoil the flavour but makes it less aesthetically pleasing (and the holes allow the jam to escape! :shock: ).
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

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DaveP
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Re: Bread making

Postby DaveP » 22 Jan 2016, 9:07pm

661-Pete wrote:f your intention is to emulate the classic French baguette, I wish you luck! It's one of the most difficult breads to get right

I know! Fortunately its very easy to produce something vastly superior to the tasteless lifeless muck that we in the UK allow ourselves to be fobbed off with :D

661-Pete wrote:If bread is allowed to prove for too long, it will develop large internal cavities... and the holes allow the jam to escape!


Seriously, I find that a long, but not excessive proving can enhance the flavour. I do tend to knead quite thoroughly before popping my lumps of dough into the tins, and I think that helps control the cavities.
Anyway, there's always more jam :lol:
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Flinders
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Re: Bread making

Postby Flinders » 26 Jan 2016, 6:50pm

By accident last week I forgot to put the salt into my bread in the big kneading before the bulk fermentation stage. I stuck it in at the 'kneading immediately before shaping' stage. I expected a poor result.
The bread rose much better.

I was perplexed. So the next time I did the same, on purpose, to check.
Same again, much lighter bread. Seemed to be fresher and softer after thawing from freezing than usual as well.

None of my books on bread can explain this. If this works, why doesn't everybody do it? Any idea as to what's happening?

drliamski
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Re: Bread making

Postby drliamski » 26 Jan 2016, 8:56pm

You should always allow the dough to autolyse before adding the salt. The salt will slow down the prove or rise considerably... Usually leave the sourdough and flour together for half an hour before adding salt.

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Re: Bread making

Postby Vorpal » 26 Jan 2016, 9:01pm

The risk of adding salt late is that it will rise too much. If you are getting good results, I'd say carry on. You may have trouble with it in warmer temperatures. If you ever knead, and smell a beery smell, it has risen too much.
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DaveP
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Re: Bread making

Postby DaveP » 26 Jan 2016, 10:39pm

This might be of interest: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/salt.html
I always thought salt was just for taste, but apparently not. At any rate, if you have stumbled across a variation that works for you then stick with it!
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Flinders
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Re: Bread making

Postby Flinders » 26 Jan 2016, 10:40pm

drliamski wrote:You should always allow the dough to autolyse before adding the salt. The salt will slow down the prove or rise considerably... Usually leave the sourdough and flour together for half an hour before adding salt.


Sorry, I should have said - I'm not using a sourdough, just a bog standard mix. I make a balm with dried yeast, water, milk, Vit C, and honey. When that's going nicely I add the flour (first) and salt and knead- as per the recipes in the books. Then the bulk fermentation, then banging it down for a last kneading and then shaping.

Flinders
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Re: Bread making

Postby Flinders » 26 Jan 2016, 10:40pm

Vorpal wrote:The risk of adding salt late is that it will rise too much. If you are getting good results, I'd say carry on. You may have trouble with it in warmer temperatures. If you ever knead, and smell a beery smell, it has risen too much.

Thanks for that, I will beware when the temp gets higher.