Category Archives: Bread

July 1 Tartine Country Loaf modified

This dough takes a good amount of abuse:

  1. Bulk ferment times was 5 hours (2-3 hours too long).  The ferment had bubbled over, growing more than 2.5x the original size.
  2. Only stretch and folded in the beginning hour.
  3. Haphazard mix of rye (5%) and whole wheat (15%+).

On a weekend day that I want bread, but don’t want to be holden to a baker’s schedule, this modified Tartine country loaf seems to be working.

Modified Tartine country loaf

Modified Tartine country loaf

Modified Tartine Country loaf crumb


June 25 Tartine Country Loaf modified

I’ve been maintaining a 2x daily feed starter for my weekend bakes, online and thought that I should mix it up a little bit.  Instead of throwing away the 200g (reserving 50g for 1:2:2 starter:water:flour feed), I was going to use it as the leaven for my baking.  This meant two bakes a day or at least two preps a day.

The country loaf from the Tartine Bread book calls for 200g leaven so it was quite convenient to bake two 1000g boules.  To shorten the time, I skipped the autolyses by adding salt and additional water from the beginning and then augmented with 4g of instant yeast.  Blasphemy, I know!

These loaves were actually 10% whole wheat and 5% rye, 85% AP.  The loaves were cooked in a Lodge Combo Cooker, covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 25.

Tartine Sourghdough with 4g instant yeast

Tartine Sourghdough with 4g instant yeast

Tartine Sourghdough with 4g instant yeast

June 3 SFBI Sourdoughs

Still playing with the espresso powered steam injection, buy I made a batch of SFBI sourdoughs to compare against the oem drip pan system.  While rise was generous, page it wasn’t enough to produce a pronounced ear.  Two of the six loaves had ears, the other four simply spreading.  It could be that the steam lowered the oven temperature too much, and thus reducing the full rising capabilities of the bread.

SFBI sourdough batards

SFBI sourdough batards cut

SFBI sourdough batards crumb

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

Sourdough Weekend

This weekend I spent baking sourdoughs in the Haussler.

Saturday, sickness I made two Tartine country loaves and three rye loaves. We had been out and about during the day so the breads over proofed. The ryes in particular were overproofed, nurse and you can see the fallen country loaf in the middle.
April 21 sourdoughs

Sunday, I did the same breads, but tried different shapes and scores.
April 22 sourdoughs

While the oven spring did not appear as impressive as the combo cooker, looking at the interior crumb, it was much more even.
April 22 sourdough boule crumb

My favorite was the batard, placing the entire 1100g loaf in a linen lined elongated basket.
sourdough batard

The interior was moist with open crumb.
Sourdough batard crumb

Tartine Sourdough Step-by-Step

After a few attempts, medications I was able to finally able to bake a Tartine sourdough county bread. Here’s some step-by-step photos.

After a 5 hour bulk ferment with 4 stretch and folds, pancreatitis here’s the preshaped dough:


30 minute bench rest (note that I had portioned a small amount of dough on the side):


Following the boule shaping recommended by the book:


In the basket for the long proofing period:


The extra dough, I made into a mini boule (same degass and shaping) and placed in a plastic Glad container to accurately measure dough rise. My previous attempts failed at this step at the process. Insufficient proofing time killed prior sour dough attempts:


At 70 degrees, took 10.5 hours to double in size. In comparison, at 80 degrees it’s supposed to take 4 hours:


Transferred to a cool combo cooker bottom. The large top was preheating with the oven at 500 degrees. I find this less dangerous than transferring to a preheated bottom, and allows me to work at a more measured pace:


Scored in the box pattern:


After 20 minutes at 450 degrees with top on, and 25 minutes with top off:


Cooling on a wire rack:


The crumb. I’ll have to try a different scoring pattern to get a better rise on top. A little dense in that area: