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Focaccia Question

Focaccia Question

Hi Everyone.. my wife bought some focaccia tonight.. commercially made, very light, very open crust, flavourful crust because it was brushed with rosemary, olive oil and salt.. generally cooked very well.. was sold in a think plastic bag with at tie to 'seal in freshness'...

In all a very good bit of baking.. BUT.. if you ignored the top crust flavours, it was almost flavourless and the crumb had no aroma at all., and the crust was very chewy (all sides).. clearly made with commercial yeast, almost had a neutral sweetness to it..

My question is, what makes it so chewy? Could it just be the plastic bag that does that? I would say it must have been a high hydration formula given the size of the air pockets and lightness of the crumb.. possibly the protein content of the flour?

Apple Bread Roses

Apple Bread Roses

Weekend brekky on the beach with a frothy coffee.

pizza dough help

pizza dough help

I use a combination of all purpose and bread flour to make pizza dough. I use room temp water (r.o. water) to start my instant yeast (silver packet) which I mix with honey and 1/2 cup of ap until its all bubbly for 30 min. I'm not sure if I'm not kneading it enough after following the recipe but my dough is very rubbery in that it wants to retract as I'm trying to stretch it out for a pie. It eats well, even if I use it as a Stromboli instead of a pie. But I have to fight with it to get past personal pizza size. I'd really like to make a thin crust since I have had bariatric surgery and cant have a lot of dough anymore.

Image upload help

Image upload help

Floyd, I totally get that you don't want the traffic of large images on your server, and that FlickR/Photobucket is the way to go.

I've tried using links from both and the image resolutely refuses to show up. My photobucket link just shows as the URL link. The FlickR shortlink shows a tiny placeholder.

I'm used to using media online but this beats me!

Bread machine book but bake in oven...

Bread machine book but bake in oven...

I have searched online for what would be the best cookbook for using the dough cycle and then using my own oven but I don't want to have to keep ordering books and be disappointed. Any suggestions would be wonderful. Thank you very very much. 

Advice for slowing final rise

Advice for slowing final rise

Hey Gurus,

I am baking 1-2x/week.  It's hot and humid here in CT, USA (90 F) and I note that all my rising times are less than half of what they were in the winter.  This is expected b/c of heat and b/c I'm sure my starter is now very strong.  What I'm having trouble with is this: Final rise in fridge is also rapid.

After the bulk rise, I divide my dough and bench rest.  Then I shape, put in brotform and refrigerate.  Lo and behold I'm forced to bake within a few hours b/c loaves are rising quickly even in the fridge.  My fridge temp is 42F, so I know it's not that.  I'm thinking the yeast is so active that it's taking off anyway and not slowed by the fridge.  Now to be honest, I've not been courageous enough to let it go in fridge overnight b/c I don't want 4 over-proofed loaves the next day. Perhaps after 3 hours it'll slow enough to stall, but I'm chicken to try.

In a separate post I noticed that Alfonso talked about refrigeration during the last hour of the bulk fermentation, then removing and dividing, shaping and returning to the fridge overnight.  Has anyone tried this?

Thank you in advance


Bouabsa style baguettes (again)

Bouabsa style baguettes (again)

A break in the action.  I'd been so busy lately with my batard thing that I neglected the simple pleasures of rolling out a few baguettes.  So I took a time-out and decided to go back to the first (and easiest) of my baguettes formulae, the one that kicked off the whole thing for my attempts at achieving a good result - Bouabsa style baguettes.

As I had with my recent successes in batard bakes, I baked these directly out of the refrigerator.  The original formula calls for a bulk retard, then bench warm-up, divide, shape and final proof.  So I was rebelling against all of these steps as my overnight retard was with the already shaped baguettes, and no post-retard warmup.

From an external point of view, the crust is all that I would want it to be - well shaped and scored, baked dark and nice oven spring.  Internally, the crumb is tight!  Nothing like what I had experienced way back when the crumb just about exploded open.

So, quickly paring down the possibilities on why, it seems quite obvious that the lack of a final proof must be the culprit.  For the method that I've been playing with, refrigerator-proofed, insufficient bench bulk rise - 60 minutes with three letter folds, is a likely reason as to why they didn't achieve a better crumb.  

I will give these another go in a few days with a change to something or other - more likely than not I'll go for a more extended bulk rise to see how that experiment comes out.  The original 60 minutes was quite skimpy on the rise time, but for now I will remain stubbornly attached to a pre-shaped retard and direct-from-the-refrigerator bake. (It's that Janet's mother thing I'd mentioned a few months back - do something just a bit different to make it your own.)

Steam released and baguettes rotated.

For comparison here is a pic of the open crumb from an early successful Bouabsa bake in Dec, 2013:

Back to the drawing board...


Simple sourdough starter? Just flour + yogurt (Italian cooking show): Thoughts?

Simple sourdough starter? Just flour + yogurt (Italian cooking show): Thoughts?

Thought I would pass this along for discussion. I have not tried it, as I have a mostly whole grain wheat starter going at the moment.

This is an Italian language cooking show but with english language voice-over: YellowSaffron Sourdough starter recipe. The recipe is also in the video description (expand on YouTube).  Have not tried it yet... wondering what sourdough afficianados think of the idea?


This channel also has lots of other episodes on bread.

Understanding Local Bread Flour

Understanding Local Bread Flour

Hi everyone, have not been posting much lately due to the busy schedule I was having. Though, that does not mean I have not been baking. I have been wondering on why my bakes are still lacking on the optimum oven spring like most of the gorgeous loaves on TFL. Then one day, I tried out a recipe given by one of the active member in here, Abe. It was a Tartine Bread recipe from My Weekend Bakery. Stuck to the recipe anyway (except that I had to cut short on stretch and fold time due to the hot weather in here). The bread was not bad but it was too chewy and not much of an oven was because of this, I found out the local bread flour was simply too I have decided to embark on yet another experiment!


My Verdict :

  • 50% bread flour : 50% all purpose flour = Too soft, not enough of gluten to hold its shape
  • 60% bread flour : 40% all purpose flour = Slightly better, but still not good enough
  • 70% bread flour : 30% all purpose flour = It's getting there but the bread needs to be more chewy for my liking
  • 75% bread flour : 25% all purpose flour = This is the right ratio to work with...finally.


Here are some of my recent bakes with modified bread flour just loving the alteration I made and enjoying using the Dutch Oven too....not looking back at all!


With whole rye grain (hope this is the right term to use,LOL)       Accidentally In Love : )



This is by far, my most gorgeous friends told me it's poster worthy! Hope to have more in the future.


Crumb Shot (Denser texture due to the buckwheat that I added, I believe some of them got mashed!)


Suggestions and comments are all welcome...happy baking everyone!


Best Regards,


Rye Bread Needs Rescuing

Rye Bread Needs Rescuing

Hullo folks!

First time posting here about bread, I posted earlier about buying an Assistent or a Globe, the former won! Now I've made brioche quite happily with the Assistent as well as wholewheat, rye and white bread, however in making rye this time I seem to have hit a wall.

I decided to try a an old recipe that was given to me and figured I'd make use of some very precious rye flour (type 997) that I brought home when I visited my family outside of Berlin. The recipe calls for:

-300g rye (I only realized later on that a footnote specified type 1370)

-100g wholewheat flour

-100g white wheat flour

1/4L water

One yeast cake (lacking one, I used 2tsp. instant)

1.5 tsp. salt

Some sugar

and 25g. of shortening


I made the dough and kneaded for about 2 minutes by hand and 8 minutes in the assistent which left me with a rather smooth, if cannonball-like, mass of dough. I dropped it in my brotform and left it for the requisite four hours required only to be met with...well, very little rise at all! It looked all too much like a lightly kneaded wholewheat loaf, the kind you just know is going to come out of the oven gummy...

While any troubleshooting would be much appreciated (I fear that there might just be too much dark rye...) I was also wondering if it's possible to save it. Should I leave it overnight and see if it's risen any? Is there a way that I can make a white bread or something equally light and incorporate them together somehow mitigating my folly? Can I treat it as some kind of stiff starter?  

My focus right now is really to save my precious rye flour - and if possible have something to spread my freshly made apricot jam on!


At my disposal I have:

-A very sour rye starter that's been hiding in my fridge, made from the same flour

-AP flour

-Organic wholewheat bread flour

-Durum flour 


Thank you so much!

P.s. Posted it here as I really had no clue where it might fit best!

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