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cowfields

The Bread Thread.

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The Spelt was sort of a necessity because I bought two bags for 50p before the lockdown but I only had about 250g of bread flour left. It's basically whole wheat flour with less moisture retention so I modified the recipe you posted above to bring down the water ratio a little bit.

It's not doughy, I think it could have taken 5-10 minutes more in the oven but it's very bouncy and chewy and the crust is great, loads of flavour.


This might be a redundant suggestion if you've already looked into it but there are catering suppliers who have excess stock they are struggling to shift so that's a good avenue to look down for flour, though you might have to buy a bulk load. On the local "independent businesses & suppliers" facebook group there's people struggling to sell eggs in trays of 30 from little farms while people are fighting over the last 6 pack in the supermarket.

 

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Another tip I read is resist the temptation to cut into the bread straight away out of the oven. It's warm and would probably taste amazing but if it is too hot apparently the dough can go kinda gummy. It's best to try and let it cool down fully.  Not necessarily saying that was an issue!

 

I have been tempted to get a 16kg sack. it's "only" 32 loaves of bread and if I had too much I am sure neighbours would happily take some, but that said we are doing okay for flour for the time being. I got lucky with a Shipton Mill order early into lockdown, and we're still getting topups through Ocado,  and I think Natoora have flour back in stock so a 16kg might be too much right now. 

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Today's bread. Did the tangzhong method again. I really think it's softening up the crumb a little but hard to know without a control.

 

Made some sandwiches today and it was so good. I actually made a sponge thursday daytime, realised that was a long time, topped it up thursday evening, made the bread dough on friday morning. 

 

I then totally forgot I had bread on the go, and didn't have the time or inclination to bake it last night so I put the banneton in the fridge. This morning I baked it. So it's basically had over 24 hours fermenting more or less. It's really good for it. But shows how forgiving sourdough can be because this was one of the better loaves for a while I think, in terms of shape, rise, texture, and flavour.

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Looks good. 

I made some milk bread rolls recently and they were really good. The dough was super easy to work with.

I've got a loaf in process with a mix of the ends of bags of flour and topped up with some chapati flour, so we'll see how that goes.

 

 

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Great to read @cowfields method and seeing everyone’s results. I started making sourdough a couple of years ago but got busy and bored and my starter died so I sort of stopped.

 

As lockdown started I decided to make a new starter, and after a couple of false starts trying to remember how everything should feel I finally made a decent loaf. I agree with most of the recommendations in this thread but would add a couple of things:

 

- for sandwich sliceability I moved from round to long bannetons 

- this means shaping is different, I do it by initial shape into a square or A4 sheet, then  folding the ends into the middle, rolling it up them repeat, ends in, roll up. You end up with a sort of well behaved sausage with nice rounded ends.

- shaping is REALLY important to the final loaf. Took me ages to work that out. I was all like “don’t really care about shape, just want bread” but the shaping determines the crumb quite a lot.

- rice flour is godlike for dusting bannetons. I never worry about sticking. 
- I use a kitchen aid with dough hook because I’m lazy. 
 

process is as follows:


- weigh ingredients except salt into kitchenaid bowl

- autolyse 20 mins then add salt

- knead 4 mins in kitchenaid

- rest 5 mins

- knead 4 mins again

- leave for about 6-8 hours depending on temp

- shape and put into dusted banneton, then put this in massive ziplock bag

- leave overnight in fridge 

- preheat oven to Mark 8

- tip onto baking sheet and score deeply

- bake 10 mins, turn down to 5

- bake 45

- cool on rack

 

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I was perhaps overly ambitious in trying to do two loaves this weekend in the first place and I've ended up having an unexpectedly upsetting/emotional day or two which threw off all the timings and organisation.

Both of these were done in one big batch and I ended up leaving them too long for the bulk ferment and then when I tried to shape them they were impossible to work with, so I dusted them down and started over but ran out of time to bake them. I shaped one and left the other in the box in the fridge overnight and then that ended up being for far too long too as my hope for getting up early didn't really happen.

The roundish one was liquidy and really difficult to get into the cast iron pot, it was losing air as I moved it and dragged down the side of the pot as I put it in but it got a really good rise in the oven and that's the one that's cut open.

The other one I did with a pan of water and a square steel pan, aiming for something more square for sandwiches - you can see it completely blew out the side, it rose about twice it's size in the oven, I'm not cracking that one open yet, it might go in the freezer or something until I've finished the first one.

I'm sure all sorts of things could have gone wrong with this as well as the over proving, especially as I was using such a weird mix of flour but they have come out ok and it's really not that difficult. I'm going to try using the stand mixer for kneading next time if that works just as well! 
 

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Yeah, cheat, it’s fine :D 
 

Just found the shaping video I used to learn how to do my loaves. Watched it again and it’s brilliant. One for the mastery thread too!

 

 

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Today’s sourdough. So chuffed with this, after so many disappointments this is basically what I’ve been aiming for since the beginning.

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On 02/05/2020 at 23:42, MemoryLeak said:

- rice flour is godlike for dusting bannetons. I never worry about sticking. 

 

Absolutely, although I assume it's entirely down to the lack of gluten so I wonder if something like Rye might work too? Not that I've tried it, I've got rice flour, I literally only use it for dusting bannetons and a bag lasts a really long time as a result. 

 

I managed to get a 16kg sack of Canadian strong white from Shipton mill. That's 32 loaves of bread. About 32 weeks worth at the rate we go through it. 

 

I already had flour in stock as I said, but now I'm pretty good for a long time, and can give some of the spare flour to our neighbours. As a result of having this much, I've decided to do the thing that they say you're supposed to do and actually regularly feed and discard my starter. It's been in the same jar for a really long time and I realised the bottom of the starter jar was basically debris. I mean there's nothing wrong and I'm not sure what I hope to achieve - I guess the whole point of making the sponge is you're basically revitalising the starter you put in. But still, it's probably good to revitalise it.

 

The problem with bread is I would happily eat so much of it (I've also got a fair bit of manitoba 00 flour so want to do more pizza, and already making fresh pasta pretty regularly) but lockdown is already making us fatter since we seem to be drinking more booze and eating more chocolate. So I think we're supposed to be getting back to being healthy. 

 

I was tempted to get long bannetons as the round shape is a bit annoying (it's just the ends really are a bit useless) but then I couldn't put it in the dutch oven. Our oven is a bit shit, so I think the cast iron pot really really helps the baking process. 

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I’ve tried with and without a Dutch oven and prefer with, it means a more delicate crispy crust, rather than the tank armour crust I get without. But... like you say it means using round bannetons and I have decided I prefer the shape of the loaf over the slightly better crust.

 

Actually, more recently I’ve been baking at a lower temperature and that gives quite a nice compromise. A more delicate crust, but at the cost of colour. 
 

Im tempted to try and get a large rectangular Dutch oven of sorts to try and get the best of all worlds. Will report back if I get round to it.

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I overheard someone at work mentioning that Morrison's are going to start selling flour from their bakeries. I'm guessing they're still getting regular bulk orders, and are just going to bag it down for customers. Worth investigating if you need some. (Apparently all the flour production lines making bags for store shelves are running 24/7, but it's not enough to fill the hole that panic buying created, and keep up with the increased demand. There's no shortage of flour apparently, they just can't bag it fast enough).

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So it turns out that in the cellar I have a stoneware baking cloche thing. I think I used it a couple of years ago and didn’t get on with it because the bread stuck. I have since discovered rice flour so have no fear of sticking.

 

It’s ace! Lovely crust and sensible shaped loaf for slicing. Hurrah!

 

 

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On 21/10/2019 at 09:27, cowfields said:

It's really hard to kill a starter, and I don't feed mine as such. I make bread maybe fortnightly. I leave the starter in the fridge. When it's time to make bread, the night before I make a sponge with some starter. This is left overnight or longer, and it reactivates the starter, gets it all working again.


Do you leave the sponge overnight in the fridge or just out on the side?

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Let this one rise in the cloche as transferring into it is somewhat awkward. Was worried that the cold cloche bottom would cause problems, but other than a bit of sticking it was fine.

 

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I finally managed to get some flour, the local co-op had loads in last night so I picked up two bags of plain flour and I realised I had wheat gluten in the cupboard so I've made my own bread flour.

Two experiments today, one 100% white with the "home made" bread flour which I'm going to try shaping into a sandwich loaf sort of thing, and one 30% spelt with seeds which could end up being a disaster.

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If you have wheat gluten, try adding it to Rye. The taste of rye with the rise of wheat, I was pleasantly surprised how it worked out in a kind of "where is your god now" way. 

 

This is yesterday's loaf. I've got a rather rough knife for scoring so I can't really do fancy patterns like you see on Instagram unless I buy a razor lame thing. Kinda can't be bothered as it's entirely cosmetic for something that will get cut up. Still. It's fun making a pattern. 

 

Often add black sesame seeds. They look great and add to the taste in a way I love. 

 

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Next time I go to the supermarket I'll see if the little holland & barratt has Rye in and give that a go.

My white loaf came out looking lovely but when I came back to it this morning the crust had gone a bit rubbery. It had really good oven spring but the crumb is uneven and it's a bit dense. It tastes good but it's not really very sour, I don't think it fermented enough. 

The seeded one hasn't risen as much but it really looks great and has that bubbly crust thing going on. That one had some time overnight in the fridge so I'm hoping it's developed some good flavour. I didn't put as much gluten in so it will be interesting to see how it turns out, it was a much stickier dough but it firmed up nicely after shaping.

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This is our sour dough loaf taken out of the oven tonight. We fed our starter last night to beef it up and then made a sponge this morning (100g starter + 100g water + 100g bread flour). The sponge sat aside for about six hours before forming the basis of the dough. A few long rests with a bit of slap and fold in between and then 30 minutes in a Dutch oven + extra 3 minutes with the lid off. 

 

We've been following the instructions from a North East chef youtuber and we're getting better. I'll find the link and post it here. Part 1 he makes the sourdough and part 2 he bakes the bread. We've found it really useful to see someone go through the whole process.

 

Edit:

 

 

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I managed to get fresh yeast from Ocado so i've divvied it up and frozen some of it. 

 

As much as I love sourdough, and you can make any yeast bread with it, there's still something about the texture I think that ends up different than with conventional yeast. So this weekend I'm going to try making steamed bao buns.

 

I have no idea how it'll go. Last time I tried they were fine but kinda just tasted like normal bread, but sort of moist and steamed. I.e. they didn't have that....bao thing. But last time I tried I didn't really read around so now i'm on the hunt for advice on how to get them right. 

 

I think this is probably a good reason to do a Tangzhong. I don't have the flour I think I probably need for traditional bao, as in too much gluten, and I'm not sure plain flour is right either (and will probably taste shite). 

 

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Tried using a Dutch oven and made a boule. Turned out a lot better than my last attempt which I forgot to put salt in and made WEIRD BREAD. Pleased with this though!

 

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I've been trying for ages to replicate Glasgow morning rolls (I don't think they are exclusive to Glasgow but that seems to be the accepted name for them) and have finally found a recipe that is pretty damn close. https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/food/the-history-of-glasgow-morning-rolls-including-a-recipe-for-making-your-own/

 

The results weren't perfect but I think I maybe over kneaded my dough. The recipe says to only knead for 1 minute by hand but because it was such a wet dough I bottled it and used the bread machine and probably over did it. Tried again tonight so will find out tomorrow after the 16hr ferment if it's any better doing by hand.

The other thing that is mentioned in the article above is Ireks Voltex, sounds like a sci-fi villain but it's some sort of bread/dough improver, no idea what's in it or how it works but I've ordered some from ebay to try.

 

Mine looked a bit better than these but were a bit flat. Well worth a try though as they are really good, especially well fired.

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I had a nightmare with bread this weekend and it really pissed me off.

The source of all this stress, I think, was copying something I saw on youtube. Someone rested their flour and water mix overnight before making the bread, so I thought, ok.. I'll make the "sponge" and the rest of the dough at the same time, leave them both overnight and see what happens.

This was good, and the dough at first was, while sticky, easy to work with but then I threw it in the stand mixer and it kneaded it into soup.

I managed to get it back into some sort of dough texture and started all the stretch and folds but then when it came to shaping, I got soup again.

I added a bit more flour, re-kneaded it and then just threw it in the fridge because I couldn't be arsed.

In the morning I re-shaped it and let it proof, well.. probably overproof. When I turned it over into the cast iron to go in the oven it just splodged flat like a water balloon.

I think if I had managed to get the timing right and whacked it in the oven a bit sooner it would have been ok, but it turned out pretty flat in the end.

But, the actual crumb and texture is better than I've managed before, a lot more even and softer in the middle.

 

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That's really interesting. 

 

The crumb / texture thing is supposedly why people do the autolyse part or do a tangzhong as it's enzymes in the flour something something absorbing water something something which I guess is the overnight thing.

 

On the other hand, gluten develops, but only so far before it basically starts melting so I feel like that's what's happening. But when I've had this, it flops and looks like crap and doesn't rise but it often ends up tasting absolutely great. I mistook some flour I had recently - was a nice stoneground flour, not whole meal as such but not fully white, and I think it might not have been that 'strong' and had low gluten, so the normal time I ferment for was way too much and it didn't really rise. It was a little dense, almost gummy doughy in the centre of the loaf.

 

but it tasted great, more depth of flavour, but the heaviness and flatness just wasn't nice. So I'm probably gonna try and mix it in with some other doughs...but then again I have so much bloody Canadian strong white now I'm not about to buy any flour for months now. 

It was nice making stuff that wasn't sourdough though. the bao rolls worked really really well. Made breafkast muffins also which are really really fun to cook as you can do them on the hob. 

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The Ireks Voltex stuff I've bought does something, something enzymes too. I've bought bread mixes in the past that produce a very plastic like, unnatural feeling dough that always turn out surprisingly great. That's what I'm expecting when I get around to experimenting with these chemical additives that have no place in real bread.

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While w'ere on the subject of something something people should also check out Diastatic Malt Flour:

 

https://www.bakerybits.co.uk/diax-diastatic-malt-flour

 

From the link above:

 

"Diax Malt Flour – Diastatic (enzyme active) malt flour, made from finely ground malted barley used in small quantities (typically 5-10g per 1kg flour) to give improved rise, softer crumb and more crust colour development without the need for adding sugar. Diax is used - but not limited to - sticky malt bread, dinner rolls and Vienna bread and is especially useful for doughs made with over 30% prefermented flour or where there is to be a long fermentation to improve the fermentation vigour, crust colour and flavour. "

 

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