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Bread thread
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ivor


Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2009
Post: #1
02-05-2010 03:55 PM

I recently posted a thread to ask if anyone knew where I could buy fresh yeast. It seems there are quite a few keen bakers out there; one of you even offered to donate some 'sourdough starter' if I couldn't find yeast. It made me wonder if some Forest Hillers might like to join in a 'bread thread' to swap baking tips.

So, if you have any great baking techniques or recipes you would like to share or you need advice on baking, please post here. I have to admit that I am not an expert, simply a new convert to real bread, so I am hoping that more experienced bakers than me will be able to answer questions!

If you haven't made bread before, here is a great website to get you enthused : http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread/

Who knows where it could lead? A community-run bakery in one of Forest Hill's many empty shops, perhaps? Thumbsup

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dita-on-tees


Posts: 46
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #2
02-05-2010 04:03 PM

I'd interested as I bake bread - favourites are a sun dried tomato and parmesan or a spiced walnut bread.

I tried the overnight cool rising method recently, the bread had a good taste but hell it was dense!

Any other ideas would be great.

fresh bread out of the oven - yummy.

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #3
02-05-2010 04:53 PM

I'm the one with the sourdough starter which, to be honest, I'll share with anyone who fancies trying their hand at bread or sourdough pizza. It's a lot easier than you may expect - and, more forgiving than baker's yeast in terms of timings. I made the starter here so it's genuine SE23 yeast...

I only started baking with it November and get the following results...
   

And despite the long proving process, it doesn't end up too dense
   

One thing I would quite like to get my hands on are some decent proving baskets. So many of the 'proper' ones are extortionately priced - and I already have the linen to prove in so don't need the lined ones. I usually make 500g loaves so I guess I'm looking for one about 20-25cm diameter and about 7-10cm deep.

One top tip to share if you are making batons occasionally, get an old soft drinks bottle and cut it in half vertically - makes a great mould to prove the baguettes in.

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Elizabeth25


Posts: 212
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
03-05-2010 09:54 AM

Hmm, bread advice thread, I like it.

I have a sourdough starter, that I ended up ignoring for a few weeks. It is now a bit brown. I wonder if it can be saved, or should I start over?

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #5
03-05-2010 10:21 AM

Hmmm.... depends on a few things. The good news is that I've left a starter at people's houses and gone back after they've neglected it for 2-3 months and it's all worked well so there's definitely hope!

Brown might be worrying - if it's got any type of mould on it, chuck it.
If it's just a brownish liquid on the top, then that's just hooch from the fermentation and you can stir that back in.
If it's just brownish in colour, then it's worth a stab at resuscitation but your results might depend on how well established your starter was beforehand.

If you're retrying it, I'd suggest rather than discard/feed/straight back into fridge, that you give it some TLC for a few days. Discard/feed at room temperature for 2-3 days (perhaps even at 12 hour intervals) until it gets going again. Using some rye flour in it rather than white also can give it a nutrient boost.

If it doesn't work but you want to start again, let me know and you can have some of my Sammy sourdough.

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Elizabeth25


Posts: 212
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
03-05-2010 10:29 AM

Hmm, I've just looked at it, it is brown and dry and cracked. Might have to start over.

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Elizabeth25


Posts: 212
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #7
03-05-2010 10:31 AM

Interestingly, the article is in today's Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424..._lifestyle

(I think you caan see it with out a subscription, the article was too long to cut and paste)

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #8
03-05-2010 10:31 AM

Dry doesn't mean dead - drying sourdough is a valid preservation method. The yeast and lactobacilli can survive freezing and drying - it's only excessive heat that kills them.

If it was fairly lively before you neglected it, it's worth adding some water to soften it then giving it a bit of a stir before adding in the flour in an hour or so... Good luck.

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girl_canuck


Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #9
03-05-2010 06:56 PM

That WSJ article made me laugh - I too cried when I accidentally left my starter out of the fridge, hidden behind a canister on the counter, and found it dead a couple of weeks later. I've started a new one now, which is even better than the first one (changed it from a white starter to a rye).

A community bakery would be a-ma-zing. There really isn't anywhere decent around here to buy bread, unless you make a trip to Dulwich. And too many people don't realise how many nasties are in the bread (if you can call it bread) products from the supermarkets.

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #10
03-05-2010 09:13 PM

Made me chuckle too although think they over-emphasise the effort needed to keep them going. Yes, it's a hassle initially but I just leave it in the fridge most of the time in a LocknLock tub. I've donated a few Sammies out so hopefully if he ever dies/goes mouldy/gets forgotten on the counter, I can recover him. I keep meaning to try Dan Lepard's suggestion of freezing some but haven't quite got round to it.

Sadly there are probably lots of rules about making bread that you then offer for sale that might scupper the idea of a community bakery. And also sadly, properly made bread can be pretty expensive compared to supermarket stuff unless you are making it.

girl_canuck - do you bake mainly rye/wholemeal with your rye starter? I have a mostly white starter (it gets a dose of rye every so often) but tend to bake a traditional white sourdough most of the time (pretty much Dan Lepard's white levain from the Handmade Loaf which is an excellent book)

Any good interesting yeast recipes out there - might be interesting to try my hand at something different when I next bake? This week's batch is now cooling with a pizza in the oven as we speak... Mmmmm

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girl_canuck


Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #11
03-05-2010 10:22 PM

Applespider - i bake pretty much everything with my rye starter - it goes in white/wholemeal/spelt/rye, I'm not too fussy. It's the nicest starter I've had, simply because it's easy to revive it when I bring it out of the fridge, and it gets quite bubbly and active, without violently spilling out of the container like my white one used to.

As for freezing - I actually tried freezing some blobs of thick starter that Dan Lepard himself gave me. The batch I tried after a month worked great, the ones I tried after they'd been frozen for 5 months were totally dormant. It could be a good solution, if only a short-term one.

Here's some seaweed bread I baked this weekend - it's a yeast formula, but I threw some rye starter in for good luck Smile



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ivor


Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2009
Post: #12
04-05-2010 03:06 PM

Good to see so many posts! I am working up to the idea of making sourdough and love reading about your 'pet starters'!

Applespider, you asked for yeast recipes. Well, here is a wonderful one for Finnish cardamom and cinnamon buns from 'Falling Cloudberries' by Tessa Kiros. Definitely one for a lazy weekend!

For the dough:
250ml tepid milk
100g caster sugar
25g fresh yeast
1 egg, beaten
125g softened butter
2 teaspoons ground cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon salt
650g strong white flour

For the cinnamon butter:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g caster sugar

Mix yeast, milk and sugar and leave for 10mins. Add the egg, butter, cardamom and salt and mix. Add the flour bit by bit then turn out to knead until compact and soft. Return dough to the bowl, cover with a heavy cloth and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Mix cinnamon and butter and divide into 4 portions

Divide dough into 4 portions. Roll each in turn into a rectangle roughly 30cm x25cm and 2-3mm thick. Spread one portion of butter on the surfacee of the dough with a pallette knife. Sprinkle with about 3 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar. Roll each portion up to make a long dough sausage.

Cut each sausage slightly on the diagonal to make triangles roughly 5cm at base and 2cm at peak. Place triangles on their fatter bases, pointing upwards, on greaseproof paper. Press the peak of each triangle with two fingers so that the sides ooze out to make a lovely spirally shape. Leave buns to rise for 30mins while oven heats to 180 degrees/ 350 degrees / Gas 4. Brush with egg then bake for 20mins or until golden.

These are absolutely amazing and well worth the effort. Can also be frozen, either as raw dough or as ready baked buns. Yum!

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dita-on-tees


Posts: 46
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #13
04-05-2010 04:48 PM

sounds amazing - I willl definitely try that one!

thank you

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annsquire66


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #14
04-05-2010 08:04 PM

I've been reading this thread with interest as I am trying to pluck up the courage to bake something other than my gorgeous but fattening banana cake.
My daughter has been put on quite an extreme elimination diet, and we need a bread alternative. We've made some dumplings using wholemeal flour and Bertolli which are currently being used as a bread/rice/potato substitute.
I have purchased spelt flour and buttermilk with a view to trying to make some kind of soda bread- she's not allowed yeast, white flour or anything else dairy. If anyone has any tips I'd be very grateful.

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girl_canuck


Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #15
04-05-2010 08:41 PM

Hi Annsquire66!

Both my husband and I had problems way back when we used to eat bread from the supermarket. It could have been anything from the massive amount of yeast used, to the enzymes and pre-processing agents that are known-allergens, but not legally required to be declared on the label. All I know is that we no longer have any problems since I started baking all of our own bread!

People with a wheat intolerance, however, can get away with eating rye and spelt breads. I don't have a wheat intolerance, but spelt is my absolute favourite flour! It's so nutty and satisfying!

It works well as a sourdough - you just need to make sure (with any spelt bread) that you knead the dough a little longer, and bake it in a tin to give it lots of support when it's baking. Proving baskets work well too.

There are loads of instructions on the internet to get a sourdough starter going - it can get pretty complicated. IMHO though, it's pretty straight forward to get one started in our humid-ish climate.... just mix 50g water with 75g flour (spelt in your case) in a container that will fit in your fridge. (Don't put it in the fridge yet though). Every day, add another 50g water and 75g flour. (Water first, stir into existing starter, then stir in flour). When the mixture starts rising up and down, has lots of spores bubbling on top, and tastes like lemons, it's ready to use in baking. (Should take about 5-6 days). Keep it on the kitchen counter, or somewhere a bit warm.

After you've used it for baking, keep some back (around 25g is good enough), and pop it in the fridge. When you want to bake with it again, take it out, bring it to room temperature, and then start adding the 50g water/75g flour again. It should only take a day or two to become bubbly and active again.

When I try to create a starter at home in Canada, where it's really dry, it's such a chore to get it going. I add raisins in the first few days to try to capture some natural yeasts, and I have to keep a wet cloth between the jar and the lid to stop it from drying out. I reckon it's pretty easy here Smile

Here's the recipe I normally use to make spelt sourdough:

The night before you want to bake, mix together a pre-ferment, cover it and leave it on the counter overnight:

200g spelt starter
500g spelt flour
600ml water

Next day, mix the pre-ferment with:

600g spelt flour
25g salt
40g caster sugar

I won't type out the rest of the instructions as I'm running out of time, and it's just the normal sourdough process that you can find anywhere on the web.... mix everything together, knead for 10-15min, let it rise for an hour, re-shape, rise for an hour, re-shape, rise for one more hour, re-shape, rise for four hours, bake 45-55 min.

Good luck!

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annsquire66


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #16
04-05-2010 08:49 PM

Thanks so much girl canuck! It looks complicated but I'm sure it will be fine once I get started. She's not allowed sugar either! Do you think sugar substitute (xylitol) would be ok? Thanks again. Thumbsup

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #17
04-05-2010 09:33 PM

ivor - it sounds excellent. I'll give those a go sometime. I've also been told that if you go to the bakery counter at some Sainsburys, they have fresh yeast that they'll sell you - there are no signs apparently, you have to ask. Who knows if it applies in the FH one? If not I'll try the place in Crystal Palace that you mentioned.

The spelt recipe looks good too - my baking cupboard is running out of room for flours though at the moment.

annsquire66 - I'll back up girl_canuck. The sourdough bread is far easier on my digestion than any supermarket wholemeal/granary ever was. Far less bloating and I eat more bread now than I did back then. Good luck with finding a recipe that suits for your daughter.

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Contrary Mary


Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2008
Post: #18
04-05-2010 10:14 PM

Used to get fresh yeast at Savacentre. Don't know about Forest Hill Sainsbury's, but wouldn't hold y'breathWink

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ivor


Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2009
Post: #19
05-05-2010 09:18 AM

Annsquire66, there is a section on bread made without yeast in the River Cottage Handbook no 3: Bread by Daniel Stevens. It includes soda bread, roti, tortillas and Scottish oatmeal bannocks. PM me if you need more info.

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Mickey


Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2010
Post: #20
05-05-2010 12:50 PM

You can pick up fresh yeast from Dog Kennel Hill Sainsburys 1 for a huge block.

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