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Old 03-10-2005, 05:57 PM   #51
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SF, I applaud your valiant efforts and persistence. And hang my head in shame because I said I would join in this enterprise and have not done so to date.

I am just too engaged now to try this, but I love reading what you are doing and want to encourage you to keep on going!

Just remember that only the sun is guaranteed to rise dependably.
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Old 05-29-2005, 11:29 AM   #52
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I'm not sure where this "Quick Reply" message is going to go, but I hope it goes into the thread.
Okay, I am going to read the thread and see what I can glean from the messages because I am brand new at baking, which I love, but I use my Oster 2-lb bread machine to make the dough and I go from there. I have been very successful with my breads so I am not far off. But I am not happy with my crusts. Especially with Spanish Pan and Cuban breads. It's too thick and too tough. And the bread gets really hard quickly.
Welll anyway, I would like to join this nice crowd, it looks like fun.
Pete
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Old 06-29-2005, 11:53 AM   #53
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bump (here you go nytxn).
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:55 PM   #54
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You rock, htc.


Thank you!
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:33 PM   #55
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I don't know how I missed this thread. Looks like you all have been having fun.

Mostly I bake plain white bread: flour, water, yeast, salt. Gave up measuring, because there are just too many variables. I simply adjust the flour/water ratio as I go until the dough feels right: almost but not quite sticky, smooth, soft, and pliable. Then I usually let the dough rise, covered, for an hour at room temp (70-75F), form a loaf, then let it rise for about the same time/temp again.

I often use a "biga" or "sponge" or "starter" or whatever you want to call it. Basically I simply make a batter of the above ingredients and let it sit, covered, for varying amounts of time. 24 hours (+ or -) results in a pleasant flavor. 72 hours and you have sourdough starter.

Then I simply add flour to get the consistency desired. Softer, wetter bread if using a loaf pan, a little more dry and stiff for artisan type loaves.




For a thick, crisp crust, I set the oven at 400 to 450. For a thin, softer crust, 335 to 350. 375 seems a good "general purpose temp for me.

Baking time varies with the size of the loaf, of course. Tapping for a "hollow sound" tells me when its done.

For variations, I may add milk, eggs, butter, oil, olive oil, herbs, and/or brush the loaf with milk or an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seed, minced rosemary, etc.

Hope all of you enjoy bread making as much as I.
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Old 07-27-2005, 03:09 PM   #56
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Baking Temperature Tricks

Looks like the temperature is the key. Higher, thicker and lower thinner.

I will try my next batch at a low 325 to see what happens.

And, of course I need (and will) purchase some baggette pans so the shape will hold up instead of falling into a flat shape loaf.

And adding eggs, butter, olive oil, milk does make the bread very very tasty. Everyone loves the loaves.

Thanks gang.
pete
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Old 07-27-2005, 03:38 PM   #57
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Bread making #101

Oldcoot:
Thanks Pal. I don't measure any longer either. I just go by "feel" as you do.
The only thing I need is baggett pans to hold my dough so it doesn't flop down. I'll get some this week end and bake when I have time.
And I'm going for a lower temp, and adding milk, eggs etc to make the bread as tasty as possible. And also addes shelf time too. It lasts a few days longer than without.
Then when I get this correct, I will expand my baking avenues of posibilities.
Pete
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Old 07-31-2005, 05:56 PM   #58
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Just for fun, I decided to give some of the suggestions on this interesting thread a good try.

First, the "Biga" thing. Using the posted "Bakers' Percentages" (100% flour, 74% water, and 0.2% AD yeast) I made my biga - or rather bighino, I guess - using 5.4 oz AP flour, 4 oz (1 cup) warm water, and 0.1 oz AD yeast (estimated based on pkg weight of .25 oz).



Then mixed with KA paddle for 2 min., forming a thick, pancake batter - just pourable.


Covered the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp (75F day, 60 F night) for 23 1/2 hours. Had a pleasant, slightly sour aroma. Half an inch of water on top.

Added 2 cups AP flour (stirred cannister, spooned flour into measuring cup, scraped level with knife) each of which weighed 4.5 oz. Added level tsp salt, 2 tbsp Olive Oil (all that was left in the bottle!).

Mixed 10 min. with dough hook at low speed. Formed a soft, satiny dough that just "dripped" off the hook, and was slightly sticky. Formed a ball and placed in a covered, oiled bowl at room temp for 1 hour.




Formed dough and placed it in pyrex loaf pan. It took 2 hours to double!


Into a preheated 400 F oven for 35 minutes. I expected addtonal rising in the oven - didn't happen! Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Howcum???? Anybody????

Here's the result: Flavor not great. Slightly sour, but not that nice "sourdough" kind of sour. Texture fair, a tad heavy for my liking. Nice thin crust,'tho. Loaf weighed 1.2 lbs.


Conclusion: Bigas, sponges, etc. are fine, and add flavor and may improve texture some, but I have had equally good or better results without them. So I am still undecided. And far from convinced that careful measuring is much of an advantage. The texture of the dough after kneading seems to be the most indicative of the final result. But I am a rank amatuer, so don't take my word for it!
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:47 AM   #59
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Old Coot - what great work! Your post was great and the photos! Wow! It's like watching a cooking show :)
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Old 08-02-2005, 11:25 AM   #60
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oldcoot:

"The texture of the dough after kneading seems to be the most indicative of the final result."

This a quote from your last message and I couldn't agree more!

I also think measuring is a waste of time. I just go by what the dough looks and feels like and it turns out good.

And I am turning out better breads with thinner crusts with longer lower temperatures. When I require a bread with a thicker harder crust I will go back up!

My neighbors who I hand my bread samples to for their judgement say it is perfect and that I am a good baker and should open up a bakery. Well, I am flattered to say the least.

But thanks oldcoot for all of your help.

Oh, and also, I am not bothering with all of that starter stuff. Don't need it at this point. I would like just to get really good at bread making (#101) at this stage, then I can graduate sometime in the future.
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