Monthly Archives: May 2012

Weekday Sourdoughs

Using a 2-times daily feeding liquid starter (1:2:2) and the Tartine country bread formula, I’ve been baking a steady supply of sourdough throughout the week.  This batch was six 500g batards, though my poor peel technique resulted in loading the oven with 3 breads at a time.  Terribly inefficient and the second batch were a little manhandled.

Bake was 475 degrees F, 20 minutes on steam and 10 minutes vented.

Here’s pictures of the first batch ala Instagram:Instagram Sourdough Batards

And the crumb:

Instagram Sourdough crumb



Steam Injection with an Espresso Machine

Steam does marvelous things for bread, hospital and home bakers have used a variety of techniques to inject steam into a home oven.  Fortunately for me, the Haussler comes equipped with funnel that pours water into a drip pan.

Unfortunately for me, the Haussler doesn’t generate a lot of steam.  While baguettes look good, boules and large batards do not exhibit the tell tale ear of a well sprung loaf.  In order to rectify this, I decided to inject steam via an espresso machine.

With the temporary plumbing (not very steam/heat friendly tubing), I injected steam for 2 minutes at 1/4 power.

The initial attempt was a modest success.  There were no explosions or damage of kitchen equipment.  The bread looked more or less like the stock steam generation method, with one exception.  The blond batard in the back row did have a start of the ear.

Men Who Bake Their Own Bread

As I was taking SFBI’s Sourdough at Home course over the weekend, there UK’s The Independent ran an article: “Dough Nuts: There’s a new breed of amateur foodie – men who bake their own bread.”  The majority of the weekend bread baking class were men, and those who had previously attempted sourdoughs before class were men.  It was interesting that most of the woman in the class were the new bread bakers in the group.

While I didn’t speak to every man taking the class, the discussions I had were quite fascinating.  We talked of the formulas being used, current breads being made, what issues were had, and ultimately what equipment we used.

As you can imagine, there was a variety of baking tools.  One person was building a wood burning oven, one person modified their home oven for steam injection, and another person build a dedicated proofer from a refrigerator.  I took the easy way out and bought a bread oven, but the ingenuity of my fellow home bakers was quite impressive.

Not to be outdone, I’m going to have to modify the Haussler.  While there is a steam drip tray, similar to some wood burning ovens, there isn’t that much steam production.   Because I don’t want to waste floor space with a cast iron pan, I’ll go with force induction.  At this point in time, it looks like I’ll re-purpose our espresso machine for the greater good.

And I think that’s it.  Bread baking is one of those hobbies that offers a confluence of activities that draw men: craft in making the bread, creativity in the variety and style bread, and creation or novel use of tools.  We only need to have home bread baking competitions to complete hobby.

2 Batches of Baguettes

Mid-week bread baking was successful as I found a way to work the Tartine recipe into a weekday schedule.
1. Feed starter at night
2. Leaven the next morning
3. Mix and shape the dough in the evening
4. Proof overnight
5. Bake the following morning.

In total time, salve that’s 2.5 days. But since I was able to stack schedules, page I baked two days in the row.

The first day, I baked 650g batards. Of the 6 batards made, only 2 were photo worthy. All 6 had nice rise and had a moist crumb.

The second day, I baked twelve 325g baguettes. While my standard recipe baguette recipe yielded physically larger loafs with better rise, the coloring and ear was more pronounced on the sourdoughs. Still can’t get the proper overlap of scores. This will require more work.

Sourdough baguettes

Because I made twelve baguettes, I needed to bake in two batches. For the first batch, the stone oven was a comfortable 475 degrees. By the second batch, the stone oven had dropped to 425 degrees. As you can imagine, two very different breads.

Lower and higher heat baguettes

Rise, color, interior texture was less desirable on the lower temperature bread.

At 475 degrees:
Sourdough baguette frontal

At 425 degrees:
Sourdough baguette frontal low heat

While this matters if you’re making baguettes to sell, for co-workers, the blond baguettes are still desirable. Here’s the dozen, packed and ready to go.

Baguettes in a bag