Category Archives: Sourdough Breads

Where I show my attempts and often failures at mastering the art of sourdough. Since one learns from one’s mistakes, even the bombs are important.

BBAC No. 30: Basic Sourdough Bread

First, an admission.

I made and photographed this bread around Dec 10th but it’s now Jan 23rd so I’ve held off posting for well over a month. Why? A few reasons: Holiday season, other breads wanting to get made, getting a wee bit “done” with the challenge, among others. But now it’s time to try and get back into the groove, especially since we’re now into the Sourdough section of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice which I was probably most excited to get to during this Challenge. So yes, this is really an “old” post that I’m simply finally getting around to writing up.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get around to the next several breads in the Sourdough section in a more timely fashion.

So let’s get this show on the road then.

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Recipe: Cappuccino Biscotti

Head-CapBiscottiThis is the recipe used in the companion Step-by-Step Biscotti Treats post.

Coffee flavoured with added chocolate chips and spices, they make an interesting accompaniment to your breakfast cup o’ java.

This recipe was derived from TheFreshLoaf.com as supplied by member MimiCT. Continue reading

Pizza Napoletana

16-_Pizza_Nap-HeaderPizza! A regular treat for most North Americans, whether by the slice at the authentic Italian place or delivered from the mega chain outlet. Peter Reinhart gives us, for bread number 25 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, his version of Pizza Napoletana which he describes as a thin crust with, preferably less ingredients so that the bread experience is not overwhelmed by gargantuous amounts of toppings. “Keep it simple” is the motto here. A simple sauce, two or three cheeses, maybe a little pesto smeared on the dough or perhaps a white sauce and some fine herbs, crowned with one or two high quality toppings and you’re good to go.

Our standard Pizza Night order is tomato sauce, cheese (some mid-quality commercial mozzarella is what they put on), mushrooms, black olives (or sometimes onions) finishing with pepperoni (right half) and Italian sausage (left half). We deviate a little now and again but this is our “usual”. So I figure for this home-made pizza I’d do a little switch-up and try something new.

But before we can get to that part, of course, we need to prepare the dough for the pizza shell. Since this dough is noted as best chilled overnight, I have time to get to the store tomorrow and see what ingredients might inspire for toppings.

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Sour Rye with Caraway (from The Back Home Bakery)

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I’m a very big fan of rye breads and one of the primary reasons I got into bread making was to make this style of bread. Early on in my quests for good “deli” style rye, I came across a recipe that Mark from the Back Home Bakery  in Kalispell, Montana had posted on his website along with a few other recipes. He has at this point removed those recipes (I ran across them literally two days before the removal deadline) since he was moving his operation up in scale and set up a real live bakery in his house. If you want to see what a small artisan bakery is like, be sure to drop over to his site at TheBackHomeBakery.com. And if you’re lucky enough to live near Kalispell, you can visit his booth at the Whitefish Farmer’s market on weekends and get fresh (made that very morning!) baked goodness.

(Mark has since moved his operations to another town and set up his new bakery in a mobile trailer, very impressively put together, drool-worthy in fact – if bakery set ups impress you. Check out his online space on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SinclairsBakery)

So that’s a long way of explaining that I won’t be reprinting Mark’s Sour Rye recipe here but I’ll go through the step-by-step  nonetheless as there are probably similar recipes out where you can emulate the process I go through here.

UPDATE… Continue reading

Starter from Scratch: Vermont Three Ways

As recently noted, I decided to give the two new starters, Wally and PJ, a little bit of a competition and threw my standard starter, Carl of Oregon (a purchased starter that originated in 1800′s), into the mix to basically see which, if any, was the best of the lot. Just to explain, Carl, regardless of his ‘roots’ has been an active starter in my house for well over a year so has had plenty of time to become mature. So he’s up against two “new kids”.

V3-CulpritsNow I didn’t get into the usual step-by-step photo thing for this post because it was actually a little too hectic keeping track of everything. I basically had to mix three different batches of dough each with it’s own starter. I also decided this would be a good time to work up the next BBA Challenge bread: Kaiser Rolls.

Yeah, pretty much nuts.

So last night I set up the levain build, as per Hamelman’s instructions, but with a distinct change: I took the recipe and divided everything by three. So into each jar I made 1/3 of the levain ingredients but using PJ, Wally and Carl in each. Those got set aside for the night while I worked on the poolish for the Kaisers.

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Pane Italiano: Molto Delizioso

ItalIntroHere we are with Italian Bread, recipe #15 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. (And no, I won’t butcher the Italian language for this one any more than I just did.)

This recipe was pretty much a repeat of the French bread I made two weeks back so the steps along the way are nearly identical. The most obvious difference is the shape – the French bread was a baguette and this is a batard. There’s also sugar, malt and oil in the ingredient list where the French bread was strictly flour, salt yeast and water. The process itself, otherwise, was pretty much the same so as easy as the French bread was, so is this.

Let’s have a look at that.

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English Muffin Loaf, Peter Reinhart style

bakedLoafAs it looked like we were about to run out of bread (I gave away the remainder of the Focaccia to a neighbour) I decided to give a go at Reinhart’s version of the English Muffins (loaf style) after all to compare  it to the Mike Avery version I made a few days back.

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe has slightly different ingredients; it requires buttermilk where Avery’s uses milk powder, Avery adds a tiny amount of baking soda which Reinhart does not  and of course the most obvious being that Avery’s uses about 2c of sourdough starter vs Reinhart’s 14g of instant yeast, albeit the sourdough version makes two loaves and the BBA makes just one so the Avery version would have an equivalent of about a cup of starter.

Will that still affect the flavour significantly? How do they compare? Let’s go through the process and see…

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