woensdag 30 januari 2008

80% Rye - Hamelman

This is a weird dough. I thought the Finnish Rye dough was weird, but this is even weirder. Best thing to compare the dough to is 'Play Doh!' clay. The dough has 10% high gluten white flour in it.
I like the taste, and structure a lot. The crumb is very moist. I am not sure about the tiny holes in the crumb, but I am guessing because of almost no gluten inside the dough this is normal.

Normandy Apple Bread - 2

Hey, I made the Normandy Apple bread again. I did this with an intention. Tomorrow it will be the first meeting of the Apple Computer User Group I am a member of. The first meeting we usually have something to eat like an apple pie or anything with apples in it. So I was thinking this would be a good idea to bake the Normandy Apple loaf again and share it with the rest of the user group. So, I know I posted this before but here's a pic once again.

vrijdag 25 januari 2008

Petit pain (filled with cream)

Well, this is truly one of my all time favorites! I tasted this the first time when we made this in school back in the mid eighties. Since then I am hooked! It is pretty simple to make. The same brioche dough like in previous postings, make buns and fill with crème pâtissière => When the cream is baked inside dough (like these small breads for instance), I often use a mix (milk + cream powder) instead of boiled cream. This is the only time I use a mix, otherwise I pretty much am against all use of mixes, but that is just my opinion.
Seriously, this is great, go ahead and try it!

Craquelin (Sugar bread)

Mmmmm, this loaf is yummie! Again, brioche like dough, added pearl sugar makes this loaf very sweet. Most of the pearls are melted and that taste is simply delicious!
I would not be eating this every day, but once and a while it won't hurt.

Raisin-currant bread

The dough is the same like brioche but with less butter in it. Great sweet taste. I did not have raisins enough so I added some currants too.

dinsdag 22 januari 2008


It's amazing how difficult it is to master the skills of a good baker. There's a 1000 things that can go wrong. Personally, I find baking rather difficult. Sometimes the flour will absorb more water, sometimes less. Sometimes room temperature can be high, sometimes low. All these factors have an impact on the end result. So what I am striving for is the optimum contitions of the ingredients, dough, room temperature, ...

Look at these croissants, they are made with butter. The taste really is terrific! Seriously, and the smell when they came out of the oven... I could have eaten them all! Now look at the layers of butter... you won't find a lot... I made the butter too soft when I incorporated it into the dough, thus almost no layers appear and the croissants are not puffy at all. I messed up. Next time I will keep this in mind. But for now, I am enjoying the great taste.

maandag 21 januari 2008

Finnish Rye once again

I decided to make the Finnish Rye again because I finally able to get my hands on some molasses (kudos to Rachel.) So I got the molasses in the mail together with some other stuff and I had to make a loaf that had molasses in it. The Finnish Rye was my choice, so here it is once again.

I think the result is very nice and I also used finely ground whole rye flour instead of the coarse-grained I usually buy.
I love this bread.

Whole wheat - Hamelman

Whole wheat loaf from the Hamelman book.
Uh, planning seems to be the key in bread making, but sometimes things don't turn out the way you planned them. Because something came up I had to retard the dough in the fridge. I must have not closed the door properly and the dough was over proofed when I took it out of the fridge. My bad, but these things happen.

The shape of the bread was, let's say "rustic" but the taste was not bad at all. I do have to admit that the first slice I tried, I was not impressed at all. The next day however I changed my mind and thought it really was not bad. This loaf has some honey in it which you have to keep in mind when baking (caramelizing.) I hope to make this loaf again and proof it properly.

donderdag 17 januari 2008

Dutch Bolus

I found this recipe in a magazine I purchased this morning and decided to try it. It's a dutch speciality and is quite tasty.
It is very sweet and moist because it's rolled into cinnamon sugar.

Olive Levain Crumb - Hamelman

Oh my God! I ate some slices today and I was blown away by the taste! This is a great bread! Anyone who likes olives should try this. The result was great! IMH opinion this loaf is pretty much perfect. Natural leavened bread rules!

woensdag 16 januari 2008

Olive levain

Bulk fermentation Olive levain bread. The dough looks good. I will bake this loaf tomorrow, it needs to proof for about 8 hours.

Dirty Laundry

Here is a pic of my dirty work clothes. This night I worked in a bakery for the first time since I left school, which is about 18 years ago. It was awesome! I did help making, shaping, slicing, baking bread.
Highlight was taking the bread out of the oven with the long peel. I wish I had a pic of that.
It was hard work, with almost no time to breath!
We did apple-, rice pie, I did grind cheese to make a few hundred cheese tartelettes, I did fill, glaze the viennoiserie, We also made the dough using pure butter for the viennoiserie (and in my opinion only butter should be used!)

All I can say is that running a bakery is not easy! There's a 1000 things going on at the same time and I not even thinking about the financial aspect of having it's own business. It a beautiful craft, but not easy at all.

Quick Ciabatta crumb

After my first try I had to try to get a better result with making ciabatta, so I made it yesterday again. Just look for "Quick Ciabatta" on 'thefreshloaf.com'
The result is much better that the first time. Irregular large holes is what I was looking for and it looks real nice. The taste was great too! You would think that because of using no long fermentation that it would not taste too great. But it actually did taste great!
I do think that the amount of salt is more than enough. If this recipe over here was used in Belgium the baker would be in trouble because law over here sez that the maximum amount is 2% of salt per 1000 grams flour. This recipe uses 2.8% salt which would be illegal over here.
I am happy with the result, next time I will try one with a pre-ferment.

maandag 14 januari 2008

Normandy Apple Bread - crumb

Here is a picture of the crumb, I am satisfied with the result. Maybe I need to cut the apples into chunks next time instead of slices. The book wasn't clear about this. The apples seem not to be distributed evenly, but that is my fault, and no big deal I think.

Normandy Apple Bread - Hamelman

From the minute I started this dough I had a good feeling about it. The dough had a very good consistency and needed only some water adjustment. It is made with a stiff starter.
It has Normandy apple cider in it as well as some apples. 90% flour and 10% whole wheat. The apples were first dried in the oven to prevent releasing too much moisture and intensifie their flavor.
It came out really well, and can't wait to taste it. I hope the crumb is okay. We'll see tonight...

vrijdag 11 januari 2008

West-Flanders Brown sandwich

I made this yummy sandwich with a bread I grew up with. I have previously posted pics about this bread and made it several times. I grew up eating this kind of bread and needless to say, I like it a lot!
It's a straight dough.
Here's the recipe :
Makes one loaf :

350 grams flour
145 grams cracked wheat
5 grams bran
310 grams water
3,5 grams instant yeast
8 grams salt
10 grams shortening

Mix the water yeast, bran, cracked wheat. Add the salt and incorporate the shortening (I always use olive oil.)
Knead for about 10 minutes with the Kitchen Aid.
Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic.

Desired Dough Temperature : 78°F

Bulk Fermentation : 35 minutes


Make loose boule shape, cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes.


After 20 minutes, lightly degas the loaf with your hand. Make sure you do this only very lightly!

Proof : about 50 minutes.

Bake : 450°F About 30-45 minutes.

You should try this loaf, I think it has a great taste and some crunch. What I also like about this recipe is
that you mix the flour and cracked wheat and bran instead of using let's say whole wheat flour. It benefits the
taste for sure!

donderdag 10 januari 2008

My kitchen aid.

One of the largest investments I made was getting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Thanks to some nice people on line I was able to get it real cheap. It is one of the best investments that I ever made!

I was lucky to get it so cheap, and it seems that the site where I got it on line does not have them any longer in stock. People from the States are even more lucky because they can get these 'Heavy Duty' mixers even cheaper than us over here in Europe.

So is it really necessary to have one of these? Not at all! But it helps a lot. There might be better mixers out there for kneading bread, that is for sure. But the KA sure is handy! Have you ever tried holding a pot of boiled sugar in one hand while trying to whisk the sugar into a bowl using your other hand? Well, I did, and it was not easy at all, and pretty dangerous too. Boiled sugar can burn your skin real bad.

So since I got it I no longer have to fear to get burned when making pastry, the KA helps me do it in no time and safe! Seriously, I am sooo happy that I got it.

dinsdag 8 januari 2008

Ciabatta with stiff starter- Hamelman - I have failed...

Uh, what is this? It is supposed to be Ciabatta. Well, it actually is Ciabatta, so what is the problem? I am not satisfied with the crumb! No large irregular holes, like the way it supposed to be. I am a failure!

Making and working with the super wet dough was fun! But the end result is not too funny! I don't know what went wrong, or what I did wrong. Oh well, actually I do. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I totally forgot to fold the dough after one and two hours during bulk fermentation. I did it after 3 and four hours of fermentation. Maybe that is the culprit.

Well, tomorrow is another day and after a not so great loaf will follow a good one! I am maybe too hard for myself, but I am always after the most perfect result. If anyone has tips, please leave a comment.

*EDIT* I tasted the bread and it was delicious! I love the taste! Not a great crumb but a great taste! So it was not too bad after all.

maandag 7 januari 2008

Sourdough Rye with Raisins and Walnuts - Hamelman

I keep on baking from the Hamelman book. This time the sourdough Rye with raisins and walnuts. I really like breads with some crunch in.

I also love raisins, they match perfectly with the walnuts. I ate this one with some Brie cheese and some honey. Do I need to say more?

Whole Wheat no knead

Heavily dusted crust.... it must be a no knead bread!
I made this dough very, very wet. It was so fragile after proofing it must have degassed when moving it into the die-cast pot.

The end result was good and the taste was super because I made this one with half whole wheat and some rye flour. Simple but delicious!

donderdag 3 januari 2008

Flaxseed bread - Hamelman

I love bread that contains a flaxseed soaker. The Finnish Rye has it also, this one too. I love the nutty smell after 12-16 hours soaking. When the bread came out of the oven the nutty flavor spread all around. Yummy!

woensdag 2 januari 2008

Crumb Light Rye

Tarte Eleonore - Ecole Lenôtre

I made this apple tart as dessert for the New Years meal. It has upside down puff pastry dough and apple compote as well as apple slices. This tart was yummy and this will be on the menu again in the future because it was delicious!

dinsdag 1 januari 2008

Light Rye Bread - Hamelman

I am making a lot of breads from the Hamelman book. This is the light rye bread found on page 197. I made it with my brand new rye starter.

I had an accident with my previous one. I broke the glass jar I was feeding it in and had to discard because I was afraid of glass particles in the starter. It seems the new starter is pretty strong. Pic of the crumb later as usual when I slice it.

Pain au Levain - Hamelman - Crust

Once again I think the result is extraordinary. Great open crumb. I like mister Hamelman's method a lot.