Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Seeded Rye Bread
A recent post on the Artisan Bread Bakers site gave a formula for a seeded rye bread. 

This was the formula:

Bread Flour83
Rye Flour17
Caraway seed4

No instructions were given for mixing the dough. So time for some improvisation. Multiplying the baker's % by 10 gave me a start weight of 1,000g (830g bread flour and 170g rye flour).

Added the water (warmed to about 80oF) to the flours then mixed together in a tub with a dough whisk and left to autolyse for 30 minutes. 

After the autolyse the other ingredients were added and mixed by hand until all were incorporated. Over the next two hours performed a stretch and fold every 30 minutes for a total of four stretch and folds.

At the end of the 2 hours, placed the tub in the oven at the proofing setting for 1 hour. Dough had doubled by that point. Did one final stretch and fold then divided the dough into two. Shaped each into a boule and placed in bannetons. Placed the bannetons in the fridge to retard overnight.

This morning the boules had risen almost to the top of the bannetons after about a 12 hour retard.  Baked both loaves in the dutch oven at 475oF covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 20 minutes.

Final result was good oven spring and color. After cooling cut one loaf for a crumb shot. Very happy with the outcome, but will probably cut the yeast in half next time and retard for a longer time.

Good looking bread!

Sunday, March 6, 2016


This month's Bread of the Month for the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook group is Tartine's Olive Oil Brioche. I've always wanted to make a brioche, ever since I lived in Paris.

The recipe calls for 1,000g of flour and a stand mixer. Final dough weight is a massive 3,150g. I know my Kenwood will not handle that so I cut the recipe in half.

Here is the final product and crumb shot. Right hand loaf was an attempt at a four strand braid.

Finished loaves
Nice color and crumb

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Went middle eastern today with a batch of Pita Bread and eight Challah.


Used a New York Times recipe for Homemade Pita Bread. Begins with a sponge of water, yeast, sugar, and whole wheat flour. After about 15 minutes when the sponge is nice and active the olive oil, salt and all but 1/2 cup of flour are mixed in to create a shaggy soft dough. Using just enough of the remaining flour to stop the dough from sticking to the bench, two stretch and folds were done, 10 minutes apart. Then proofed for about 1 hour until the dough was doubled.

After proofing, the dough was punched down and divided into eight balls (each was about 80g). After rolling the balls they were left for about 10 minutes under a tea towel. 

The oven was set at 475o with the pizza stone at the bottom rack. Working in pairs, balls were rolled out to 6 inch diameter circles. When picking up the circle take care to keep the shape and drop it on the stone, followed by the second one. Cook 3 minutes, then turn with a spatula or tongs and cook a further 2 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Repeat with the other pairs.

Still puffed up, straight out of the oven
The finished product


For some reason, every so often I get a challah bake where the bread is dense and next to no oven spring. Those loaves become croutons or the basis for bread pudding or breakfast strata. I make the dough in a bread machine and I wondered if the yeast was not fully developing with the eggs and oil in the recipe.

Today was an experiment. With the use of a sponge in the pita recipe, I wondered if a sponge would work for the challah as well. Could not see any reason why not, so off I went.

I first took all the water, a tablespoon of sugar and all the yeast together in the bread machine bowl and left for about 15 minutes to get the yeast nice and active. Then added the remaining ingredients and processed the dough as usual.

First thing I noticed was that the dough seemed lighter and was easy to braid. Proofed for the usual 1 12 hours and into the oven. When they came out, the difference was noticeable - great oven spring, good color. Success!!

Eight challah
In the middle of all this I checked my levain in the fridge. It was threatening to spill out of the container! A quick internet search found Vannessa's Sourdough Scones. The recipe calls for unrefreshed sourdough so I figured the levain would work just as well.

And so a batch of raisin scones was born and half the levain was used up. A busy day in the Farmhouse Bakery.

Sourdough Raisin Scones