Archive for November 2008
Breads with a lot of rye flour in them have a lower profile, which is a brain-teaser for people who like to bake small loaves, which already have a very high crust/crumb ratio. The only remedy I can think of is to make the dough a little tighter and bake at a higher temperature. Or, get a very small baking tin. Mail me if you have found one for 800g-loaves. I think, next time I will make a huge loaf. ‘Altdeutsches Brot’ or ‘Old-German bread’ was the name given by the company, which offers a couple of bread recipes on their site. 2% of yeast was used in the original recipe, I decreased the yeast quantity to about 1%. A 1kg loaf was recommended, which, at a total hydration of 70%, would mean a total flour weight of 588g. I’ve used 500g of flour, so mine is a bit smaller.
Professional bakeries today, with their laboratory environment and the capacities to monitor everything from falling numbers to humidity, should – in theory – be able to make the best bread in history, but isn’t every baker also standing on the shoulders of the giants? Pioneers, who did things intuitively, beginning at a few thousands of years ago, allegedly one sunny day in Egypt, when the baker let the dough sit out in the sun for too long and discovered yeasty fermentation. So this week-end I found myself playfully and foolishly determined to make this loaf the old fashioned way!
- Bread pioneers would use a wood-fired oven, which is hot. Conclusion: I put the bread in at the hightest temperature my modest home oven can reach, approx. 270°C.
- Bakers of past times would let their breads rise next to the oven. Conclusion: I used the warm room, where the washing machine resides, as a proofing chamber.
- In the old days, ovens had little or no controlled way of injecting steam, a wood-fired oven certainly had no integrated steam injection. Conclusion: I baked without steam.
Very good bread, more robust by the inclusion of rye meal, freshly ground. The bread is quite sour. Looking at it I see a resemblance to the Sauerländer Mengbrot Petra has in her Brotkasten. ‘Not the worst sign’, I thought. Petra keeps showing us how it’s done almost every day on her blog.
- 225 water
- 160g rye flour
- 1 tsp mature rye sourdough, hydration:100%
Let stand at 25°C for 14-16 hours.
Rye meal soaker
- 100g fine rye meal
- 100g hot water, 60-70°C
Let stand for at least 2 hours, or overnight in a cool place.
Bulk fermentation: 1 hour. Desired dough temperature: 27-28°C.
Shape round, then oblong.
Final fermentation: 45-60 minutes.
Bake at 270°C for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 220°C and bake for further 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely.
Looks like the people behind the internet presence of shut down Belgian bakery Bloch are still working at keeping up the memories of better times, when life in their bakery was buzzing. They keep adding recipes from the bakers (Link) and now there is a flickr gallery.
Got these off ebay. Very heavy and sturdy. Supposed to be used with baking spray. Going to use a little oil and baking paper. Two “normal” ones for wheat doughs, that straighten themselves out a bit by oven spring. Two higher ones with rather straight sides for rye doughs, that would overflow the normal ones and have a weird trapeze shape after baking in them. Big ones for 1kg+ pieces of dough. Cool!
I have been baking, but the gloomy days make it hard to take acceptable pictures. My canera, an Ixus, makes great photos in full day light, but it is having a hard time in the wintertime, making breads look a little somber.
This is the lightest bread I’ve made so far. When I picked it up after it had cooled, I was quite startled. I am German and was raised on heavy breads. Its feathery crumb seemed to defy gravity. For a proper Brotzeit some might consider the texture and flavor of this Ciabatta a bit too elusive, however as company to a steamy soup or in a bread salad, or for a soft panino the next day, with lots of strongly flavored toppings, wrapped in plastic wrap and put into the fridge overnight, it is marvelous. You could bake it to a softter loaf without the extra crisp exterior by baking it at 250°C for about 10-15 minutes and then let it cool.
Also, what you could do, is take a look at Teresa’s excellent blog and her new feature “Magnificent Sourdough”. Wink Nudge….
Ciabatta (2 loaves)
- 225g strong white flour
- 155g handwarm water
- 50g white leaven, hydration: 100%
- 4g salt
- 5g fresh yeast
- 7g good olive oil
Bulk fermentation: 1 hour
Desired dough temperature: 26°C
Cut in half, roll in flour.
Final fermentation: 90 minutes.
After 60 minutes of the final rest, lift the pieces up, stretch them a little, and flatten them. Put them onto baking paper and let rest for further 30 minutes.
Bake at 230°C for 25 minutes.