Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poolish Bread for Thanksgiving Dinner

I made a couple of loaves of bread to eat over the Thanksgiving holidays. I goofed.

I began making the bread using a poolish that was in the refrigerator for a week or so. This poolish is 50/50 flour and water by weight with 1/4 tsp of yeast. It rests on the counter until it has doubled, then is placed in the refrigerator until needed. When I took it out, it had a nice tang and was ready to use.

I began to build the bread using the standard ratio for a 65% loaf and calculated the amount of flour and water to use for about two 2 pound loaves. Here is my calculation:

2 loaves @ 900 grams each = 1800 grams total for flour and water (ignore the salt and yeast).

I weighed the poolish and got 510 grams, so that is 255 grams of flour and 255 grams of water.

The total amount of flour I want is 1800 x 0.65 - 1170 grams of flour, and

The total amount of water is the remainder or 1800 - 1170 = 630 grams of water.

But I already have some the the amounts I need to add are 1170 - 255 = 915 grams of flour and 630 - 255 = 375 grams of water.

I calculated 1% yeast as 1800 grams total x 0.01 = 18 grams of yeast. I measured it out into a small dish and did the same with the salt at 18 grams. (Oops!)

I mixed the poolish with warm water and added the yeast and began adding flour. Then I added dry milk, one whole packet, enough for a quart of milk. My thinking is that the milk will give a more tender loaf. I also added 1 Tbs of honey. I put the dough in the mixer with the dough hook and continued to add flour until the consistency was about right. It did not take all the flour.

I put the dough on the floured board and kneaded and stretched it, then covered it with a large bowl and set my time for 40 minutes.

When I came back the dough had lifted the bowl off the board and it was growing like mad! It was huge! I knocked it down and pulled and stretched it again. I looked at it and said it is done and cut it in two and shaped it and put it into two bread pans and covered it lightly with plastic wrap. I turned the oven on to 400 F. It took 20 minutes to heat the oven and when the bell rang that it was hot, the dough was a inch above the pan rims.
The crumb

I seeded the loaves with flax seed and cut the tops about 3/4 inch deep. They sprang open. They went into the oven with steam and bloomed like you see in the picture.

What happened? I clearly used too much yeast. The calculation should be on the flour, not the total and instead of 18 grams, it should be 12 grams.

The bread was done in 30 minutes.

The bread was good and did not have too much salt. It toasted nicely and was somewhat too tender. Next time I will use the right amount of yeast and half as much milk powder.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Dusquane Light Company Utility Bread, 50/50 wheat bread

  This bread is another try at the soy rich, dried milk rich whole wheat variation of the Dusquene Light Company bread seen here before. This time I used agave syrup instead of honey. It didn't work as well as I had anticipated. The honey really comes through and the agave syrup does not. I miss the flavor. I used one envelope of dry milk powder for this batch. I started with 500 grams of aged poolish from the refrigerator. This is 50 percent water and 50 percent by weight white bread flour with a pinch of yeast, mixed and let rise till double or so and then refrigerated until needed. It really looked yucky when I took it out of the refrigerator but the bread came out almost great. I rolled the loaves in a 5-grain cereal mix with added oatmeal for looks. There is some of the cereal in the bread also. The full recipe is posted elsewhere on this blog.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Grain Bread

This bread is an experiment using the Easy Bread method that can be found on (I can't stand the song.)  The method is similar to the New York Times No-Knead Bread that many of us are familiar with.  I used the easy bread recipe:

 3 cups of all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt, and
1/4 tsp yeast.

To this I added 1/2 cup Red Mill 5 Grain Cereal and the remaining, about 200 grams, of the 50/50 poolish living in my refrigerator. 

Everything is combined until the flour is wet, then set aside to rise for a long time.  In this case it was until the dough tripled.  The dough was then stretched and folded twice and placed in a bowl to rise for a couple of hours.  I turned it out onto the peel with parchment and baked it for 10 minutes at 450 F, then for 10 minutes at 425 F, and finally for 10 minutes at 350 F.  I used steam, a cup of hot water in the cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven.

The loaf needed a little more salt, but tasted delicious and the crust was crackling crisp.  Really good.  All in all a good loaf that is easy to make and tastes good.  Next time I will put the 5 Grain Cereal on the top of the loaf.  Make it look nicer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I have been working with a poolish of 50 wt percent flour and water with about 1.2 tsp of yeast, no salt, aging in the refrigerator. Today's experiment was to make a loaf of whole wheat bread, or more like half whole wheat and half white flour with a texture more like store bought bread or plain white bread. this loaf is the result and worked just as expected. All the ingredients are weighed in grams.

I began with some dough scooped out of the refrigerated container. 365 grams said the scale. That is about right, because I wanted about 1.5 pound load or about twice that for the final quantity.

Plain white bread uses milk, butter and sugar in the recipe, so I will need to add milk. The amount needs to be half of the poolish, or 187 grams. I weighed out this quantity and warmed it. I did the same with the whole wheat flour which lives in the refrigerator, too. I added 1 TBS of vital wheat gluten and about 2-1/2 tsp instant yeast to the flour and about the same quantity of sea salt. This all got stirred together and added to the poolish with the warm milk till all of the flour was incorporated. At this point the dough is very wet and about a 50% bakers percentage. It needs more flour. The question is: How much?

I started with 365 grams of 50% poolish and doubled it with WW and milk. Now there is 365 grams of flour and 365 grams of liquid. For the kind of bread I am trying for the ratio should be 60 bakers percent. The final amount of liquid should be 0.6 x the amount of flour. If we divide the amount of liquid by 0.6 we get the total amount of flour needed, or 608 grams. We already have 365, so we need 243 grams more. I weighed it out. Today I am using White Lily Bread Flour. The whole wheat flour came from a local Tennessee miller and was in a white paper bag at a country fair near Pigeon Forge. The snippet of the bag in the plastic container in the refrigerator doesn't say who the miller is.

I scooped 3 or 4 TBS of sugar into the mix, and added 2 TBS of melted butter and stirred these in, too. Then this was put on the mixer with the dough hook and kneaded. As the dough began to be kneaded in the mixer I incorporated most of the additional white bread flour. I set the remainder aside to knead in by hand as needed. The dough kneaded in the mixer for about 7 minutes. I then kneaded in the remaining flour on the board, shaped it into a ball, greased my big plastic bowl and turned the ball in it to grease the whole thing. I covered it and went outside to mow the lawn. August it HOT this year.

When the lawn was done, I shaped the risen dough into a loaf with rice flour on it and put it in a pan to rise again. I turned on the oven to 400 and went back outside to do some trimming. That done, the loaf, now nicely risen, [unlike the last time when I forgot and it flowed over the rim of the pan] was slashed and popped into the oven with steam for 30 minutes. I sat and watched it rise and drank a beer as I cooled down from the HOT outside work.

The loaf looks a little darker at one end than at the other. I should rotate the loaf during the baking cycle. [The convection oven is worse with the tiles in place.] I could have let it cook for another 5 minutes with the door open and the oven off, but the crust looked done so I didn't. Also there was a little too much oil on the surface of the risen dough and the crumb shows the swirl marks if you look closely.

My college student grandson says even the crust is good! He liked the bread and the sliced ham enclosed in his sandwich. I will do this again. It is pretty easy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The new Ratio Book

I've been reading and playing around with the recipes in the new book, Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman. This is an interesting book because it talks about the ratios of the principal ingredients in recipes, including bread, of course. The basic ratio is 5 parts flour to 3 parts water, with salt and yeast. This works pretty well I found out by trying it and failing a couple of times.

This loaf is made with the basic ratio. I mixed it up, kneaded the dough for 5 minutes in the Kitchenaid mixer and then let it rise till a little more than doubled. Then I refrigerated it for a couple of days. In fact, yesterday, I took 75 grams of the dough and made myself one English muffin in the frying pan before I cooked an omelet for my breakfast. Good. Today I took all the remaining dough, about 2 pounds, and shaped it into a boule while cold, then let it warm up covered until it rose a little. My wife and I went for a walk in the cold while the oven heated up to 450 deg F. When we returned, I brushed the loaf with milk and sprinkled it with sesame seeds and slashed it, then popped it into the oven. It sure looks good to me. I'll cut it tomorrow and show the crumb and let all know how it tastes.