BBA Challenge #29-32: Four Breads in a Row

As I don’t see any chance that I will ever clear my BBA Challenge blogging backlog I decided to hit 4 breads in one post. This also means, my blogging is catching up to my baking as the alert reader will already have inferred from my bread sidebar.

Let’s get started.

#29: Pugliese

This bread was fun to make. Actually, it is a 2-day bread, but I had exactly the right amount of biga left from the Potato Rosemary Bread (the biga recipe in the book yields 18 oz, and you need 7 oz for the Potato Rosemary Bread and nearly 11 oz for the Pugliese, so that was perfect). So I could begin right away. I ground some semolina to get semolina flour and mixed it with the biga, some bread flour (type 812), salt, yeast and water. The dough was VERY sticky, but Peter Reinhart states: “The wetter it is, the better the final bread will be”. Then, stretching and folding, 30-minute rest, some more stretching and folding, another rest and stretching and folding for the 3rd time. After a 2-hour fermentation I gently divided the dough into 2 pieces and shaped them into 2 boules. While the boules were resting for a few minutes, I prepared the proofing bowls – unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of them: they were totally improvised. I do think of getting a brotform/ banneton, though, because it makes everything so much easier. I transferred the boules to the proofing bowls and proofed them for 90 minutes. When the oven was ready for hearth baking I scored the loaves (which didn’t really work), stuck the breads in the oven (I think I already had my pizza stone then), provided some steaming, and baked the breads for approximately 20 minutes. This was the result:

The crust was crunchy, the crumb was open with lots of big holes. The flavor was nice, nothing spectacular, though. Still, this is a bread I want to make again.

#30: Basic Sourdough Bread

This is the first bread in the sourdough section of the book. Thanks to the Panettone, I already have a barm sitting in my fridge and it does behave pretty well. It takes 3 days to make this bread. On day 1 you make the firm starter. On day 2 you do all the mixing, fermenting, shaping and proofing (I shaped half of the dough into a loaf and the other half  into  10 rolls), and on day 3 you finally get to bake the bread. I don’t remember any serious incidents, so this is what I got as a result:

Taste-wise, the rolls were quite good. The loaf tasted exactly like the basic sourdough bread from our local bakery, too ordinary for my taste buds, though. Peter Reinhart encourages the reader to modify the method or the ingredients, so I might try that to see if the result is less ordinary then.

#31: New York Deli Rye

This bread was weird. I was totally convinced my kids wouldn’t like this bread because of the onions involved. The recipe called for 2 medium (or 12 ounces) onions – I read that and thought: “What? 12 ounces? That is A LOT!” I couldn’t imagine that 2 medium onions would weigh 12 ounces, so I (nerd that I am) weighed 2 medium onions, and they totalled 5 oz. Hmm, does Peter Reinhart come from Texas? I know everything’s bigger in Texas ;-). Can you American readers please let me know how much a medium onion weighs?  Anyway, 12 ounces seemed way too much, so I just stuck to the two German medium onions. I omitted the caraway seeds because I HATE caraway. Mixed everything together, fermented, shaped (I made 2 larger loaves), proofed and baked it. Here’s what I got:

As I wrote in the beginning, I was convinced my kids would hate this bread. BUT they surprised me by begging for more (of course I hadn’t told them before there were onions in the bread). Anyway, I thought this was a nice sandwich bread, and if I make it again I still won’t add 2 Texan medium onions, but will stick to the 2 German medium onions ;-).

#32: 100% Sourdough Rye

Now, THIS was a surprise. On day 1 I took my still well-behaving barm out of the fridge and made a firm rye starter. It was supposed to ferment for 4 hours and double by that time. No doubling after 4 hours, no doubling after 5 hours, no doubling after 8 hours. I doubt it rose at all. Was there something wrong with my barm? The barm smelled and looked good, and had provided some good rises in previous breads, so what was going on here? As there was no doubling when bedtime arose I decided to not put it in the fridge as was called for in the recipe, but to just leave it outside, hoping the yeast pixies would take care of it overnight. But, the next morning there was no rise either. The first day, I had also made a soaker, that now on day 2 was mixed with the not risen firm starter, white rye flour (I ground it and sifted it twice), salt and water. Some kneading (only a little bit so the dough didn’t become gummy) and a 4-hour fermentation. And guess what, again it hadn’t doubled. I could see a little rise because the dough was cracking, but by far not a doubling! Anyway, I proceeded with shaping the dough into 2 bâtards and let them rise for 2 hours. They were supposed to have about 1 1/2 times their original sizes. I guess, you know what I’m going to say. The loaves weren’t even close to that. This is when I was about to throw them in the garbage. I read some other reviews of this bread (here, here and here) and everybody was complaining how this bread was not behaving well at all.  I already added  this bread to my “Most likely will not make again” list with the comment “absolute failure”. But then I decided to put them in the oven. If I had bricks in the end, I still could throw them in the garbage. So, into the oven they went. The smell was fantastic! OMG – just heavenly!

Please take the time now to check my bread sidebar. Oops, it has disappeared from the bad list and mysterically moved to the “Will make again” list. I tell ya, the flavor was awesome. Like a real sourdough bread from a bakery. Yes, the crumb was really tight, but it was really scrumptious for my taste buds. Hubby didn’t like this bread, though. It IS true that the dough was weird to work with, but the result was great (maybe that is the German in me speaking; I think American tastebuds prefer milder breads).

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14 responses to “BBA Challenge #29-32: Four Breads in a Row

  1. Oooh, I am soooo jealous! But, what matters is that you did it! I guess that’s what that infamous bread should be like!

    Congratulations! And four breads in one post, you are on a roll….

  2. Nice job. It feels good to be caught up, doesn’t it? Once I finally got up-to-date, I vowed I wouldn’t get too far behind again for the rest of the challenge. So now I won’t let myself bake if I have two breads to blog about.

  3. Wow, look at you go! All four breads look great and make me feel excited to forge ahead! I’m (unfortunately) waiting on a starter -actually two- that have apparently stalled, but hopefully I can get going again soon! Your posts inspire me! =)

  4. I want to try the sourdough with the blue cheese and walnuts, on my to do list. I wonder about the differences in tastebuds. I gave half of the sunflower bread to a friend of mine who is German and she loved it. I thought that it was a little too hearty. She has volunteered to evaluate my stollen.

  5. You have convinced me to give the “brick” bread another chance.:D

    I agree about the onions, I also used half of the amount.

    Great looking loaves, BTW.

  6. Wow! Fantastic job with the 4 breads! I was pleasantly surprised with the New York Deli Rye, you really nailed em all!

  7. I’m impressed with all of your breads. You are an inspiration. I look forward to reading your posts before trying my next bread.

  8. I still have yet to learn how to knead a bread. Tried several times but never quite get it right. LOL!

  9. Your breads are spectacular! I can just imagine how wonderful they smell baking!

  10. You are a blogging wizzard! 4 breads in one post. I am very excited to do the 100% sourdough rye after reading your glowing review.
    When I made the basic sourdough I added dried blueberries and toasted pecans and it was yummy.
    Beautiful crumb on the pugliese!

  11. You are just zipping through these breads girl! Great job!

  12. Pingback: BBD #28: Buns – Pugliese Pizza Buns « Family & Food

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