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Old 04-09-2006, 05:36 PM   #101
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This is so fantastic!!!!!What a great thread this is.A few years ago I started making bread using my dough hook.I don't have the energy to kneed by hand but it does not stop me loving to make bread.I have a bread machine now to do my kneeding. The book I have is called Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman.; I learned to make bread using (Biga)Italian Sour dough Starter; she explains it so well it was fun learning how to do this and I made beautiful free form breads,My question is can you make your Biga, then make a bread using your bread machine to do the kneeding.Now that I found you I will be around!!!!I still want to shape it and bake in the oven.
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:28 PM   #102
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ok, remedial lesson #1.

i made the european herb and cheese bread mix from hodgson mills, and added a few extra tbsps of grated locatelli, and a little extra dried parsley. oh, and since i used my favourite evoo instead of butter, i added an extra tsp of that too.

the bread came out ok; every loaf i've made in the machine has come out with a nearly perfectly rounded top. this one came out a little lopsided (from the extra ingredients, especially oil? or from my son opening the lid several times while rising?). but that is of negligible concern, really.
what i learned was that if you take a steaming hot loaf of bread, and squeeze it down when cutting off a slice without using a good bread knife, you squish the loaf so it doesn't come back to it's original shape.
i haven't stopped whining at my wife for three days for doing that!

my next experiment is making hogsdon mills caraway rye bread.
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:01 AM   #103
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Bread Thread

I am happy this thread is picking up again, its quite fun to read everyone's experience. With bread, there are so many different options that it would be almost impossible to try everything, therefore, it is always nice to have everyone else trying things and reporting back. It makes it much easier to determine what works, what doesnt, and what I want to try. So thank you for sharing!

With that said, I have been experimenting with my sourdough starter for the past few weeks and I am pleasantly surprised at the results. The initial "honeymoon" between me and my starter is now over, and my little pet is surviving nicely in the fridge. I imagine a long and fruitful relationship. I use no commerical yeast whatsoever, only wild yeast, and I am satisfied with what the Berlin air has to offer.

I made an onion sourdough yesterday (just let a medium-sized grated onion sit in about 1 cup of starter for a few hours, kneeded a loaf with some rye/white flour, evoo, sea salt, pinch of sugar). While the taste was fantastic, the loaf was mediocre. It didnt rise much after kneeding (let it sit for about 6 hours or so) and because of this I didnt punch the dough down and let it rise again. The result was that I ended up with very compact, rather wet dough with a very large air hole directly in the middle. My guess is that this occured because I didnt punch the dough down and redistribute the air inside? (Does this sound correct to everyone?)

The good news was that I ended up with my most successful crust. I always have put a cast iron pot with water in my oven when baking, as well as spritz the dough and sides of the oven before and at the beginning of baking. I dont have a spray bottle (why, I do not know) and this time I managed to take my time a bit more and "flick" some water on my dough (and sides of oven) a few times in the first 5 minutes. It paid off and I had a nice hard crust. The taste was also fantastic.

Next time I will be sure to punch down before forming the loaf and let it rise again even if it takes longer. I plan on trying a different kind of flour next time as well, probably a darker type, known in Germany as Bauerbrot (a heavier, darker flour.)

Today I am making a nice spaghetti sauce so I will bake a garlic/butter/herb baguette to go with it. I plan on making a "normal" dough with 405 flour, rolling it out and spreading my butter/garlic/herb mixture across the whole thing and rolling it tightly into a baguette form. Never tried this before so I would be curious as to how others make their garlic bread.

If I remember, I will snap some pictures. Keep the posts coming!
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:19 AM   #104
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Pictures

Baked my "Farmers" Onion Sourdough today and it turned out great, much better than last time. I used a heavier, darker flour (most similar to seven-grain flour, I suppose) with a small amount of normal white flour mixed in. Again, no commercial yeast. I can provide more details if desired, but for now, a photo:
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:52 PM   #105
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Thumbs up nice forum & nice thread!

hi, i'm new here and haven't had to to fully peruse the whole thread. i've never heard of biga before, but it sounds like it's essentially a sourdough starter started with a commercial yeast. do you make a fresh batch of biga each time using regular yeast, or do you use part of a previous batch of biga to start a new batch (as you would a sourdough).

the concept sounds interesting and i plan on trying it out. when i make a pizza dough, i make a very large batch and the older it is, the better the quality. i can see where adding some prefermented dough to a regular recipe would help give it that same distinctive quality.

well, i seldom follow a recipe, so whatever result i come up with may not be exactly quantifiable, but when i get around to it, i'll try to contribute to the thread. thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:18 PM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
hi, i'm new here and haven't had to to fully peruse the whole thread. i've never heard of biga before, but it sounds like it's essentially a sourdough starter started with a commercial yeast. do you make a fresh batch of biga each time using regular yeast, or do you use part of a previous batch of biga to start a new batch (as you would a sourdough).
This is a thread on making bread with a preferment. For a brief explanation of preferments see the post dated 01-07-2005, 03:46 PM in this thread. A preferment is simply risen dough that is used as one ingredient in the final bread recipe. Unlike a sourdough starter, preferment(s) do not have to be "fed" - and yes - they are made with commercial yeast.

A biga or "pate fermentee" preferment can be made in bulk and frozen in suitable portions for future bread making. The thread contains recipies (or links to recipes) to several preferments and breads that can be made from them.

You can find the recipe for the preferment I routinely use in much of my bread baking at my Freeform Bread With Biga - part2 which was also posted to this thread.
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Old 04-13-2006, 07:06 AM   #107
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I just stumbled on this thread from another area in here and I have to tell you, I'm very interested in reading the whole thing...I've baked bread for years and bought both The Italian Baker and the The Bread Baker's Apprentice. My first attempts at using biga were dicey, but now I love the taste. My next purchase will be a stone insert for my oven to mimic a real brick oven. I'm also trying to get my husband to build me a brick oven in my kitchen so I can get the results I want. Until then, I use the spray method while baking and it does a fairly good job. I look forward to looking through the posts for ideas/recipes too- will also send this on to my sister who loves baking bread almost as much as I do...
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Old 04-13-2006, 10:40 PM   #108
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instead of a stone insert, i've line the bottom of my stove with half thickness bricks (about 1 1/2 inches thick). they take a while to heat up, but i guess that's the point. i bake pizza and sometimes bread directly on top. i drizzle some water on when i want a moist environment. they also absorb a lot, then release it gradually. for a nice pizza crust, you can crank your oven up to the max then,when the bricks are hot, you can turn the oven temp back down low and not burn the toppings.
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Old 06-04-2006, 12:12 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage on 04-09-2006, 05:36 PM
This is so fantastic!!!!!What a great thread this is...I don't have the energy to kneed by hand but it does not stop me loving to make bread.I have a bread machine now to do my kneeding...My question is can you make your Biga, then make a bread using your bread machine to do the kneeding.Now that I found you I will be around!!!!I still want to shape it and bake in the oven.
I do not own, nor have I ever used, a bread machine.

That said, I see no reason why you could not use your bread machine to knead your dough as long as you are using a *firm* dough-like preferment such as a biga or "pate-fermentee".

Remember, there are two stages here:
Stage 1: make the preferment
Stage 2: make the final bread using the preferment as part of the final bread recipe ingredients

At either stage, I don't see why you couldn't use your bread machine to knead.

However, at stage 2 (final bread), even if you use your bread machine for most of the kneading, I would recommend that you do the final kneading by hand in order to learn the proper "feel" of the dough for the kind of bread you wish to make. A number of the bread recipes posted to this thread recommend reserving a small amount of flour for final hand kneading so that you "fine tune" the the final flour amount.

It does depend, in part, on the kind of preferment you chose to use. I would *not * recommend using your bread machine for a *poolish* preferment (equal portions *by weight* of flour and water plus a small amount of yeast). A poolish is like a very heavy batter and would be probably better made by hand in a large bowl (using a sturdy wire whip) or in an ordinary mixer.

Do review the thread for tips and recipes for a variety of methods to making bread with preferments.
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Old 07-16-2006, 11:17 PM   #110
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I have been making sourdough with some success. It is exciting to try something new, and while I have read about biga, i never thought to try it. I downloaded the recipe, and will give it a try.
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