Sunday, August 28, 2011

Whole-Rye and Whole-Wheat Bread

This loaf is 50% high-gluten flour, 25% rye, and 25% whole-wheat. As such, the rye flavor is very weak and the dough is very easy to work with. This is my kind of rye bread, a loaf without much rye.

I use a newly acquire brotform to for the final proofing. In this case, I didn't get a particularly round loaf, and, clearly I'm still working out how much flour to use when dusting the form and what are the best approaches to scoring. Still, this gave a reasonably attractive loaf.

Overall, this was a pleasant loaf—one well worth making again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Black Bread

The final bread of the month was black bread. This is a sour dough rye that includes old bread and ground coffee.

Readers of this blog will recall that I'm not a fan of rye bread. This was a 60% rye, so I probably don't need to say anything else. But, just in case, the ground coffee did not improve the bread. While this bread might appeal to some, this was not my favorite bread. Enough said.

Focaccia and Focaccia con Formaggio

The 66th and 67th breads in this challenge are also loaves that I'll pair and discuss together. The 66th bread is focaccia and the 67th is focaccia with formaggio (focaccia with cheese). Both use Hamelman's ciabatta dough as a starting point.

With the former, the dough is divided into one pound pieces and placed in round pans, is covered with toppings, and is baked. In my case, I topped one with caramelized onions, blue cheese, and walnuts, one of my favorite combinations for focaccia. The other I topped with olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary. Any number of other toppings could be used. Hamelman provides a short list of other possibilities.

The focaccia with cheese is a bit different. It uses one and a half pounds of dough divided into two pieces. The pieces are rolled out. One is covered with ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. (I omitted the fennel seeds.) The second piece of dough in placed on top and crimped to the lower piece. Brush with oil, sprinkle on salt, add a few slits, and bake.

As you can see from the photos, I had a hard time waiting. I just barely got the photos. Both were excellent.

Oatmeal Bread & Oatmeal Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins

The 64th and 65th breads in the Hamelman Challenge are Oatmeal Bread and Oatmeal Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins. I'll describe both of these breads in this post.

These are extraordinarily similar loaves. With the addition of cinnamon, more yeast is needed. But only if added directly to the dough. If the dough is flattened, the cinnamon is sprinkled on top, and the dough is then rolled up, the cinnamon will have very little affect on the yeast and no additional yeast is needed. Then the only difference is the addition of cinnamon and raisins.

This is the approach I took in making these breads the first time. I prepared the dough, divided it into two pieces, and then rolled the cinnamon and raisins (previously soaked in brandy) into one of the pieces. This allowed me to make both breads as once. And I prefer the cinnamon concentrated so that it has a strong presence at times rather than being a background flavor.

As you can see, the loaves turned out reasonably well. The bread was a bit dense, but was acceptable.

A week or so later I repeated the cinnamon loaf. This time around I replaced the raisins with dried blue berries (also soaked in brandy), and distributed the cinnamon throughout the dough increasing the yeast accordingly. I also use the overnight retard that Hamelman mentioned as a possibility. This time I made a boule rather than loaves and used a recently purchased brotform. This produce another nice but heavy loaf.

Overall, this is a good recipe. Based on my experience, I would increase the yeast a bit. I got heavy loaves both times I made the bread, even with extended fermentation and proofing. The overnight retard didn't seem to make much difference in flavor, at least to me. I like the taste better with rolled cinnamon rather than cinnamon as a background flavor, and the blueberries worked well. Based on my experience, you should feel free to experiment with different dried fruits. Either dried cranberries or cherries would probably work well.