Besides the croissants in the last post I did quite a lot of bread baking in the past two weeks. Some experimenting, some successful and some not, but not too much experimenting either as I want some edible bread in the end.
A while ago I seemed to have lost the touch with my main bread formula: Tartine. I decided to feed my starter twice per day with warm 37-38°C water, which seems to have made it a lot more active and better tasting as well. The levain I am making with the starter is now also done with warm water resulting in the levain being ready within 3 hours with much better flavor; more sweet and mild rather than sour.
Next up will be some experimenting with higher percentages of whole wheat and/or high extraction flour.
I have had a couple of tries at croissants but let go as I found it too much trouble and the results were rather lame.
In the week before Easter I had another try as I thought it would be the right thing to have for Easter breakfast. To my amazement the lamination of the dough went a lot better than before. I could feel that the dough was stronger and the butter didn’t ‘melt’ into the dough while rolling it out. The results were quite impressive, though I did find them a little on the small side.
Today I had another go. I was on a roll (pun intended) after all. The results were even better. The photo’s only show one half of the bake but I am so happy with the results that I just have to show them here.
So I have been baking baguettes every week now for the past month and I’d like to think that I am getting somewhat consistent results. However, I do find that sometimes the crumb differs from one bake to the next.
Last weekend I baked two batches of four baguettes each and the first batch came out exactly how I like them, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, while the second batch had a dryer crumb. The taste was still good, though.
I will continue to bake these on a weekly basis and strive for more consistancy and possibly improvement.
Despite the name of this blog I have mainly posted about baking bread. The time has come to post about something that I cooked. But it’s a salad. And how much cooking does a salad really take. Not much I guess. But I pan fried a chicken filet to go with it, so I’d like to think that counts as cooking.
For the panzanella I tore up some of my recently baked but now stale whole wheat and rye bread, threw in some coarsely chopped tomato and cucumber, capers and olives and a few blanched green asparagus. Extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper and there you have it: my version of panzanella.
Oh, and the chicken filet was simply seasoned with salt, pepper and some dried thyme and fried in some olive oil.
Last weekend was packed with baking. Lots of different types of bread as well this time: A variation on pain de campagne, a mixed seed sandwich loaf, sourdough wheat and spelt loaf and baguettes.
All these were more or less succesful. The baguettes and sourdough spelt loafs came out very good, though the final shape of the spelt ones could have been a little better. Having said that the structure was great with some irregular holes.
The mixed seed sandwhich loaf had great flavor but it probably could have done with a bit more baking as the crumb was a little too moist. I also found the crumb a little too compact. Maybe it should have proofed a but longer. Not sure. But it’s a recipe I will try again.
As for the pain de campagne, or my version of it. I little more dense than I expected but the flavor was great. It made a perfect sandwhich for lunch.
See the photo’s to get an idea of how my breads turned out.
I think we have enough bread to last for 2 weeks but I am sure I will be baking again next weekend.
Yesterday I managed to do some baking in the afternoon. This time I planned whole wheat sourdough loaves and ‘decorate’ them with some mixed seeds. The results were fine but as the loaves were harder to slash I didn’t get the oven spring I hoped for. Having said that the crumb was nice and open and the taste was pretty good too.
Second on the list were baguettes. I have tried baguettes before but never got the results I hoped for: crunchy with light, holey interior. Somehow they always ended up too soft with a dense crumb. The baking stone seems to fix that problem. See for yourself.
The next post will be about the recipe. Hopefully I will be able to take some step by step pictures. I usually find that I am too busy to think about taking pictures or my hands are covered with flour and dough not wanting to mess up my camera.