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Old 01-11-2005, 11:39 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by pancake
subfuscpersona, once again thanks alot for helping me with this recipe! It looks so different than mine & I'm really excited about trying it.. I just wanted to make sure I understand the oven temperature thing..
I'll start off with 500F, then I'll drop it to 450F. Now after how long can I drop to 350F if my bread was browning quickly?
I'm not a fan of baguettes so I've never tried making them - Reinhart's method or anyone else's :!: I'm just providing the info for someone who wants to try it and then hopefully we'll all get feedback.

PR has you steaming up the oven using specific techniques to mimic the steam injection mechanism of the professional oven used by commercial bread makers.

I've tried various "home" steaming methods with indifferent results - the one thing I do notice is that my oven temperature drops exactly 50F when I use one of these techniques. Also, I don't have a baking stone and the stored heat of a baking stone is supposed to help keep the oven temp from dropping radically when steam is introduced.

I'm hoping others will assist you re. this better than I can. :D You really need Reinhart's book for the full explanation but in the meantime maybe this link will help

If you have an oven thermometer, the one thing I'd suggest is doing a practice run of your steaming technique without the bread and see what kind of temperature drop you get in your oven. The higher temperature is to adjust for the initial drop in oven temp.

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Old 01-11-2005, 12:40 PM   #22
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subfuscpersona, thanks for the link & tips :) I usually bake my baguettes on a bking stone with a steaming pan at the bottom of the oven & the temperature starts at 450F to preheat the oven. As soon as I put the baguettes inside, I immediately drop it too 400F and keep baking them for about 20 minutes.
I'll have to experiment here & let you know the feedback, thanks!

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Old 01-13-2005, 09:35 AM   #23
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Time to share how my experiment went.

The biga turned out beautifully. It grew up nicely and bubbled just like it was supposed to after sitting on top of my fridge for about 20 hours. It has that delicious earthy, yeasty smell. It's a tad tricky to work with though. "Sticky" doesn't do it justice! But I did manage to get it seperated into four bundles. Two went into the freezer, one into the fridge and one I used to try making the PANE PUGLIESE I posted in a previous thread.

Here's where the fun begins. I used my KA mixer to work the dough. I follwed the directions to a "T". After six minutes with the dough hook I kneaded it by hand for a couple minutes on the counter, becasue, well, it just feels good! I plopped it into a greased bowl, covered it up and sat it on top of my fridge again.

Two hours later it had more than doubled in size, but not quite tripled. I had a little trouble envisioning what my hands were supposed to be doing from the words in the recipe as far as the "rolling and shaping" goes, but by the third one I had it down pretty well. I put the three loaves onto wax paper and covered them up with a towel for their final rest.

I pre-heated my stone in the oven.

Then I tried to remove my bread from my waxed paper. And "tried" is the operative word here. I had floured the wax paper, but it seems I didn't use nearly enough. I could not get parts of the bread to come up. I had to mangle the bread, pinching it, turning it upside down and pulling off tiny bits of paper that felt like they were superglued on to the underside. Poor loaves, they looked like a wreck by the time I had one un-stuck.

Then I panicked because I remembered I didn't have any cornmeal (two glass canisters were broken in my move and of course one of them contained my cornmeal *sigh*). So I dusted a pretty nice coat of flour on the stone and plopped the what-used-to-look-like-a-loaf of bread onto it and quickly brushed off the excess flour so it wouldn't scorch in the oven.

I threw the other two loaves of uncooked bread away since I didn't want to bake another mangled mess nor did I want to painstakenly pick off bits of waxed paper. I wasn't discouraged though!! I am in definite "trail mode" state of mind and figured that it would take me at least a couple attempts before I could call it a success.

The cooked bread was a tad bit darker and crunchier than I prefer. But the bread itself, oh la la! What a wonderful taste! It has dense flavor and a nice chewy texture.

The good:

- Biga recipe is right on

- KA mixer worked much better than expected

- the flavor!

The bad:

- Waxed paper ~ I'll try parchment next time. Is it ok to let it raise on cornmeal? Maybe that would make it not stick so badly. Or else I just need to be way more heavy handed with the "dusting" of flour

- No cornmeal ~ mea culpa! Not having cornmeal for the stone means 50-lashes with a wet noodle for the cook, I know better than to start something without double- and triple-checking to make sure I have what I need.

- Uneven bread loaf sizes ~ this could be easily fixed by purchasing a scale. Having a scale would have made dividing up the biga much easier also. I'll be looking for one next time I'm in town.

- Bread over-browned ~ I don't have an oven thermometer, so I am adding one of those to my list also. Maybe the oven just runs warm. I think I'll wait on changing the oven temp until I can figure out for sure if it was really at 450-degrees for the cooking process.

Let's say it does read 450 like it should, is a 25-degree drop in oven tempature too drastic? Would a smaller increment be safer?

Sooooo, all in all, I'd say it went pretty well. Lots of little things that I can work on to make it more successful for my next run. Which may be this afternoon if I get ambitious again.

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Old 01-13-2005, 09:57 AM   #24
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Brilliant description, Zereh! I haven't even started yet.
Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
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Old 01-13-2005, 12:05 PM   #25
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thanks Zereh ! Havent started either--LAZY ME :x
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Old 01-14-2005, 11:55 PM   #26
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my attempts at white bread with a pre-ferment

Guess it's about time for me to weigh in with my bread-making efforts...

Since I lack a baking stone and have zero experience making "rustic" breads, I thought I'd try using Carol Field's biga recipe (link to recipe is in first post of this thread) for a white bread baked in loaf pans. I had to return her The Italian Baker to the library so I really had no starting point beyond her biga, a scale, a KA mixer and my past experience making loaf-style bread.

I did some reading of bread books that focus on rustic bread and I mastered the baker's percentage. I decided I wanted to make a white bread that used a high percent of biga and was wetter than the usual "American style" white bread but not as wet as the true rustic breads. The dough would be baked in a loaf pan. I wanted a recipe that yeilded 2 loaves, each about 1 lb.

After a couple of "by guess and by golly" attempts which seemed to produce an interesting bread, I figured it was time to be more organized about this recipe development. I decided to use 12oz of biga, 1/2 tsp AD yeast and 2 tsp Kosher salt plus, of course, white bread flour and water. And there was the dilemma - how much water? how much flour? I wanted to experiment with a wet dough but was otherwise clueless. Here's how I went about it. I weighed 16oz of bread flour, reserved about 1/2cup and used the KA to knead in all the other ingredients. Then I hand kneaded the dough adding the reserve flour in small amounts to the final dough until it "felt" the way I wanted. I went through 3 trials this way, once with 6oz water, once with 7oz and once with 8oz water. Each time, after the bread was made, I weighed how much of the original 16oz of bread flour was left so I knew exactly how much I used. I kept notes for each try and, beside eating my own product, gave away loaves to friends in my apartment building, asking for their feedback.

Enough babble - here's what I came up with (the instructions are for a stand mixer with a dough hook)...

A Few Preliminaries
If you're not using Active Dry yeast, go to http://breaddaily.tripod.com/yeast.htm for adjustments. (For example, instant yeast users need to reduce the yeast by 1/3 and stir it into the flour).

If you're not using kosher salt and you're measuring by volume you may want to adjust the salt quantity downward since 1 tsp table or fine grind sea salt weighs more than 1 tsp kosher salt.

The bread is baked at 375F so make sure you know how long it takes your oven to preheat to this temperature. When the bread has risen sufficiently you will run into problems if you try to make the bread wait for your oven to reach temp.

You will need 2 loaf pans, each 5-cup capacity; capacity is determined by pouring in water in 1-cup increments until the top of the pan is reached. I use pyrex b/c that's what I have - use what you like.

Ingredients in OZ and volume
biga               12.0 oz
AD yeast            0.05 oz    1/2 level tsp
kosher salt         0.30 oz     2 level tsp 
water               8.0 oz       1 cup ("warm" to the touch)
white bread flour  16 oz    3-1/2 cups using the "scoop into a measuring cup and level off" method is about 16oz
If the biga's frozen, defrost it. Don't make the mistake I did and defrost it in it's plastic wrapper then attempt to get it in the bowl. Dump it frozen into the bowl you're going to use to mix your dough. You can let it defrost in the frig or at room temperature. At room temperature it will take about 1 - 1-1/2 hours to defrost. It is ready when there no more lumps and it has returned to it's original gloppy state. Don't worry if it is still cool to the touch.

Put 16oz white bread flour in a bowl and 8oz water in a measuring cup.

When the biga's ready, pour about 3/4 of the water on top it - sprinkle the AD yeast on top of the remaining water in the measuring cup to dissolve (don't be compulsive about temperature here, you just want to dissolve the AD yeast in the water; it will take 5-10 minutes).

Get a little bowl and put about 1 cup of the bread flour in it, add the salt and mix it up.

With the dough hook, mix the biga and all the water on "low" (KA speed 2) until most of the biga has dissolved into the water. Add the AD yeast with it's water and mix it in well then start adding the flour. Add flour in smallish amounts and incorporate each batch before adding more flour. Start with about 1-cup of the bread flour, then your bread flour/salt mixture and then all but 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. This 1/2 cup is your reserve for hand-kneading. We're not in a lab or professional bakery here and the water content of the dough will vary. By the time you've added all but your 1/2 cup reserve of flour, the dough should be clearing the bowl and have balled on the hook. Increase the speed to medium (KA speed 4) and knead for about 2 minutes. Very lightly flour your board with your reserve flour, dump the dough on top of the floured board, invert the bowl over the dough and walk away for 30 minutes or so while the gluten relaxes and the dough hydrates a little more.

OK, 30 min or so later and you're back. Now we get to the tricky part b/c you're going to be kneading in your reserve flour until the dough "feels" right and what the *!?*$#* is that? Don't despair, I'll describe it as best I can and include pix. I generally find that I have 1 to 2 oz of the reserve flour left (that's about 1/4 cup) at my stopping point. Just don't knead in more than your reserve, using it to flour the board and your hands.

Knead gently, adding a small amount of the reserve flour at a time (a handful? about 2-3TBS?) and kneading it each time until it is completely incorporated. Don't smack the dough around - have a light hand here. The final dough should be smooth, supple and light but still soft to the touch (not firm like a more "standard" loaf dough); it may grip the board slightly when you're kneading so that you may to lift it to give it a quarter turn. If you lift it up it stretches out and glops down like this

If you press your palm lightly on the dough and then lift up, the dough sticks to your palm and then falls back in a soft peak leaving a slight residue on your palm.

When it feels right to you, lightly oil the mixer bowl, shape the dough into a ball, put in the dough, turn it up so it has a light film of oil on the top, cover the bowl with plastic wrap
Let it rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk. This will take about 2-1/2 to 3 hrs. Don't try to rush the rise - be patient.

Gently scoop the risen dough onto your board. It will deflate on it's own and flatten out like this

Grease your pans (I use shortening or lard rather than oil b/c I find that sometimes the baked bread sticks to an oiled pan. However, use what you're comfortable with.) With a knife, dough scraper or whatever, cut the dough in half (don't stretch or pull it to divide - cut it!). Lightly oil your hands (you should not need to flour the board at this point). Gently strech and pat the dough into a rectangle as wide as the loaf pan and about 3 times as long as the width of the pan. You're going to shape the loaf in a manner similar to folding up a business letter. Gently fold over about 1/3 of the dough and pinch it together then fold the remaing 1/3 over the dough, pinch together, turn the seam side down and place in the pan.

Lightly oil your hands, rub them over a piece of plastic wrap and cover each pan with plastic wrap, oiled side against the dough (if you don't oil the plastic wrap it may stick to the dough when you remove it). Let rise until doubled in bulk and just cresting over the top of the pan, approximately 2 hrs. Again, patience is all - it will rise.

The oven should be preheated to 375F so make sure it is ready when the dough has risen b/c the dough doesn't take kindly to being over-risen.

Bake about 50 minutes at 375F. To be honest I'm still struggling with temperature. Check it after 20-25 min. and if it's browning too fast for your taste, put some tin foil, shiny side up, on top of the loaves and reduce the temp to 350F. Cool on a rack. The bread should have a crunchy golden-brown crust and a soft interior with an irregular crumb.

Geeze - all this effort for 2 loaves of white bread!? It takes half a day (only a small part is actual work time but nevertheless...). On the other hand, never having made bread with just flour, water, salt and yeast, I'm really amazed at the flavor that can emerge from such simple ingredients. Everything came straight from the local supermarket (hey! not the H2O, of course, but let's not be picky here).

My neighbors who got samples all said they liked it and I think they were being reasonably honest. Two of the recipients like to purchase "artisan" breads from local bakeries or better supermarkets and they gave favorable reviews. We all agree that it shines when lightly toasted. The sides get slightly crunchy while the interior remains moist and it gives off a wonderful aroma - pretty much like fresh out of the oven. I think it is lovely with soft cheeses and have been told it makes great grilled sandwiches too.

I've read that using a pre-ferment (like the biga used here) is supposed to contribute to the bread's keeping qualities but so far all of us have finished the bread within 2-3 days (or faster).

Request to readers
If you decide to try this, please post your opinion. If you have any suggestions how to improve it, please post also. TIA and cheers to all.
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:41 PM   #27
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your post of 07-Jan-2005 said
I have very limited bread-making experience
however, your post on 11-Jan-2005 gave me all the basic info and your post of 13-Jan-2005 really helped me the most. I know it took some time to detail your recipe and experience -I'm so glad you've been the first brave one to share with us.

I hope others will try your recipe and report back

I hope you'll continue to explore pre-ferments. I look forward to hearing more from you. Thanks :!: :D
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:08 AM   #28
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Is biga the sponge used in ciabatta (slipper) bread? I love artisan breads as well as tangy breads.
My oven is on the fritz (thermostat) and what baking I am doing is by the 'seat of my pants'.
I don't like over baked bread.
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Old 01-29-2005, 01:15 AM   #29
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My White Loaf Bread with Biga Redux - Part I

My White Loaf Bread with Biga Redux - Part I

This is a follow-up to my post of 15-Jan-2005 12:55AM in this thread.

My goal at that time was to create a white loaf bread that used Carol Fields' recipe for a biga-type preferment. I was still struggling with a few issues but I posted anyway in hopes of receiving feedback. Alas, dear readers, feedback was not forthcoming despite an extraordinary number of lurkers. I struggled on alone, lonely but determined to succeed.

I now present, for your edification and delight, the fruits of my efforts...
> There are adjustments to the quantity of water and yeast
> There are modifications to the instructions which will shorten your labor, including the employment of a simple technique which professional bakers attempt to obscure from eager home bakers by employing the term autolyse.
> There is no need for expensive equipment. If you have two working hands, a bowl or two, measuring cups and spoons, a loaf pan and an oven you can make this bread.
> There are even more pix to guide you in your efforts. The pundits say a picture is worth a thousand words but pausing bread making to take pix isn't easy and my digital camera and I are still not on the best of terms. I hope you enjoy mine - it took a lot of effort to assemble them.

Some Musings Plus One Confession
> on yeast - does it matter what kind you use?
  • NO. My recipe uses Active Dry (AD) yeast simply b/c that's what your average USA supermarket carries. Feel free to substitute instant yeast or fresh yeast, using the conversion link in my earlier post. If you've gone to the trouble to get instant or fresh yeast, I figure you know what you're doing.
> on unbleached AP flour vs Bread flour - does it matter what you use?
  • NO. I have made Carol Field's biga with unbleached AP and bread flour. I have used either unbleached AP or bread flour in the final recipe. Either one works well and there is no flavor difference between them.
> on various home "oven steaming" methods - should you bother?
  • NO. At least not for this recipe. I have tried them all (as numerous small burns on my hands will attest). If you know what I'm talking about, feel free to employ them.
> on loaf pans and baking temperature
  • Numerous experts advise us that, if you use pyrex or dark metal loaf pans (as opposed to shiny metal ones), the baking temperature should be reduced by 25F. Frankly, I recommend baking at the temperature given regardless of the type of pan you use - just check the progress of the bread as it bakes in the oven. This leads me to my...
> One Confession
  • The baking temperatures and baking instructions for my recipe are from From Julia Child's Kitchen by (what a coincidence!) Julia Child. IMHO, Julia Child rules.
What the (expletive deleted) is AUTOLYSE?

It means mixing the flour with the water just enough to combine into a rough dough and then letting the mixture rest for 30 to 60 minutes. The resting period allows the flour to absorb the water. Any other ingredients (such as salt or extra yeast called for in the final recipe) are not included in this stage.

Autolyse is briefly defined in some bread books. Here's what Baking and Pastry published by the Culinary Institute of America has to say:
An autolyse step may be used in any bread formula...It means that the flour and water are briefly combined, just enough for a rough mixture to form. Then the mixture is left to rest for a period...allowing the flour to absorb enough water for gluten development to begin. The gluten relaxes since mixing is not agitating it. The dough has rested sufficiently when it appears very smooth...The salt and yeast are added to the dough after the auolyse is complete. Added earlier the salt would tighten the gluten and the yeast would would begin fermenting. The alcohol produced by the yeast would have an undesirable effect on the gluten as well.
However, no one sees fit to tell you how the heck you get the salt and/or xtra yeast evenly incorporated in the flour/water dough without a heavy-duty mixer.

My instructions do use this technique. I've compromised by including salt with the flour in the autolyse and hey - my gluten ain't tight (Culinary Institute of America - are you listening?). If you look at my prior post, you'll notice I said to let the dough rest for 30 minutes after completing the machine kneading but prior to starting the final hand kneading. By using this technique, I've eliminated that step and saved some time.

This really does make a difference. There's nothing like letting a time work for you. Why work when you can rest?

=:) =:) =:) =:) =:) =:) =:) = we now pause for a brief word from our sponsor =:) =:) =:) =:) =:) =:) =:) =

...b/c I'm concerned there might be a limit to how much stuff the sysadmins of DC allow in one post and b/c every time I do a preview I get asked for my login and password and what I've entered so far disappears and I'm getting frustrated...

Dont worry gals and guys - I'm on a roll. stay tuned for My White Loaf Bread with Biga Redux - Part II
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Old 01-29-2005, 04:07 PM   #30
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My White Loaf Bread with Biga Redux - Part II

My White Loaf Bread with Biga Redux - Part II

A Few Preliminaries

The recipe is for one 1-lb loaf. You may rely on the weight measurements and scale the recipe if you wish.

The instructions are entirely for hand mixing and kneading. I wish to encourage all amateur lurkers. Anyone who shelled out the big bucks for a powerful stand mixer probably needs no help from me. I don't think this recipe would work with a bread machine.

The dough is initially kneaded in a bowl; use an ample one, preferably one with slanted sides. If you ever liked making mud pies you will enjoy this step.

At times in the recipe I recommend "lightly oiling" your hands. I keep an el-cheapo plant mister filled with corn oil (any flavorless vegetable oil will do). You can squirt a thin stream on one hand and then rub your hands together. If you buy spray-on cooking oil you're already set.

One item you will find handy for this recipe is a tool to scrape the wet dough off your board. Of course, a baker's bench scraper is ideal. If you don't have one and don't want to get one, you could buy one of those tools used to scape paint off walls at your local hardware.

The paint scraper pictured is a little large - a bench scraper is about 6" wide.

Or just see what's around the house - necessity is the mother of invention.

I'll refer to my posts of 06-Jan-2005 12:19 PM., 15-Jan-2005 12:55 AM and 29-Jan-2005 02:15 AM. at various points so I don't have to repeat myself.

You must already have made the biga using the recipe in The Italian Baker by Carol Field

Read the Preliminaries section in my post of 15-Jan-2005 12:55 AM for comments on ingredients and pan size.

The bread is initially baked at 450F so make sure you know how long it takes your oven to preheat to this temperature. When the bread has risen sufficiently you will run into problems if you try to make the bread wait for your oven to reach temp.


Yield  Makes one 1-lb loaf white bread

You may use bread flour or unbleached All Purpose (AP) flour, whichever you prefer.

Ingredients         OZ
biga                 6.0     3/4 cup biga
AD yeast              .1     1/2 level tsp + 1/4 level tsp (a "scant" tsp)
kosher salt          0.14    1 level tsp 
water                5.0     1/2 cup + 2 level TBS
white flour          8.0     about 1-3/4 cups using the "scoop into a measuring cup and level off" method

If the biga is in the frig, just measure/weigh the amount you need. If the biga's frozen, let it defrost. If you have no scale, you must measure the biga when it is at least mostly defrosted but still cold. (See my post of 06-Jan-2005 12:19 PM for tips on measuring the biga.) If you put your 6 oz of biga in a lightly oiled container it will a lot easier to get it out later.

While the biga is hanging out at room temp, put the white flour and salt in your mixing bowl and stir it around to mix the salt into the flour. Pour in 1/2 cup water and mix and knead just until all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be stiff and look rough like this:

Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap. Congrats, you have just done an autolyse (see my post of 29-Jan-2005 02:15 AM).

Put 2 TBS of water in a small glass and stir in the AD yeast. I never proof my AD yeast and I don't think you need to either. See my small diatribe on yeast

Relax for 30-60 minutes or until the biga is defrosted. The biga is ready when there no more lumps and it has returned to it's original gloppy state.

Now comes the fun part. I recommend you get organized first b/c once you start your right hand (or your left, if you're left-handed - gotta be PC here) will be sticky with dough. Get out your scraper and spray oil. Put a small amount of flour in a bowl on your board. If you wear rings or a bracelet on your right hand you might want to remove them.

Put the biga plus the 2 TBS of dissolved AD yeast in the bowl with the dough. (Instant yeast users - you must include the extra 2 TBS water even though you don't use it to dissolve your yeast.) Your job is to get that biga and yeast water incorporated into your stiff flour-salt-and-water dough. Use your left hand to turn the bowl. With your right hand, grab a handful of dough and squish it through your fingers. Make a fist and use it to press, stretch and push the dough against the bowl like the Indians do (that's India Indians - not Native Americans). Press, squeeze, push, pull, punch - whatever works for you. When the dough no longer feels lumpy and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl you are done. It will still be a wet dough and you'll finish the kneading on the board. Wasn't that fun? Didn't you feel like you were back in kindergarten?

Sprinkle a very small amount of flour on your board. If you rub the flour through your hands and let it fall on the board you'll rub off some of that dough that persisted in sticking to your hand. The dough should look something like this.

Initially the dough will be too wet to knead by hand so use your scraper to fold and turn it. DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR!. After a few minutes of this the dough will become more elastic. At this point you can use the scraper to flip the dough (like a pancake) and then with your right hand give it a push and a fold. The scraper is held in your left hand. The sequence is: scrape dough off board, lift and flip, push out and fold with right hand, scrape dough off board...you get the idea. Once you get the hang of it you'll develop an easy rhythm. You can lightly oil your right hand at intervals to keep the dough from sticking to it. See the discussion and pix in my post of 15-Jan-2005 12:55 AM for pointers on how the finished dough should look and feel. The finished dough is put in a lightly oiled bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap to rise until doubled in bulk.

At this point you have two choices.

1 > You can put the bowl in the 'frig and let it rise there. When I do this I like to give the dough a small head start by leaving it out at room temp for about an hour and then refrigerating it. You must be prepared to finish the baking the next day. The longest I have kept the dough in the frig is about 16 hours but I normally take it out after about 10-12 hours.

2 > You can let the dough rise at room temp until doubled in bulk. "Room temp" is between the high 60sF and the low 70sF. Don't use any home-rigged contraption to raise the ambient temp and hurry the rise. I find it takes between 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to rise, depending on the temp in my kitchen. Your times may vary. Patience is all.

If you chose door number 2 I can show you an entirely optional but rather neat trick. You can skip this if you wish.

===== The Optional Neat Trick =====

This is not original with me; I picked it up from one of the many books on making bread I have gotten from the wonderful New York Public Library. The purpose is to redistribute the yeast and deflate any large bubbles that have developed in the dough during it's rise. It is especially well suited to wetter bread doughs and takes about 30 seconds.

When the dough has risen to about 1-1/2 times it's original size, gently scoop it out onto an unfloured board. You are going to gently stretch and fold it 2 or 4 times.

Fold One > Stretch the dough horizontally to the left, pick it up and fold it over like this

Fold Two > Stretch the dough vertically from the top and fold it over like this:

You may stop at this point or do two more folds. Fold Three would be horizontally to the right and Fold Four would be vertically from the bottom. Don't do more than 4 folds.

Return the dough to the oiled bowl, recover and let rise to 1-1/2 to 2 times the original bulk.

===== End of Optional Neat Trick =====

Whether you chose door number one or door number two, at this point you're ready to shape the bread and let it rise in the pan. Instructions on this step are in my post of 15-Jan-2005 12:55 AM. Let the dough rise in the pan until just cresting the top. Remember to have your oven preheated to 450F by the time the dough reaches this stage. The dough will rise about an additional inch during baking.

Baking instructions are unabashedly taken from Julia Child's From Julia Child's Kitchen and paraphrased here. Her instructions include all the familiar tricks of introducing steam into the oven during the first 5 minutes or so of baking. My take on these techniques plus some comments on pans and oven temp are in my post of 29-Jan-2005 02:15 AM.

Put the pan in the lower half of a preheated 450F oven. Bake 20-30 minutes, until bread has swollen and browned nicely. (Note: check after 20 minutes - the bread browns mostly during this initial period.) Turn temp down to 350F and bake about 20 minutes more. The bread should have risen about an inch during baking, have a nice brown crust and have shrunk very slightly from the sides of the pan. Remove, unmold the bread, turn off the oven and put the loaf back in the oven directly on the oven rack. Let it sit in the oven with the oven door ajar about 15-20 minutes. This dries out moisture from the bread and crisps the sides and bottom of the loaf slightly. At the end of this period, remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Here's a finished loaf

Request to readers

This is supposed to be a collaborative blog-like thread in which people post anything they want to say (or ask) on the topic of making bread with a preferment. You don't have to post a recipe or even ever have made bread. The thread is getting a lot of hits but not that many posts.

= = = I'm getting lonely here. Please come and play with me. = =

TIA and cheers to all.

subfuscpersona is offline   Reply With Quote


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