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My Bread – Stefan’s Connoisseur Weblog

Six years in the past, I studied the Modernist Bread books, and drastically improved the bread I used to be baking. I’ve been baking bread this fashion ever since and everybody loves it. I’ve been directing individuals who needed to bake the identical bread to the publish I wrote again then. Nonetheless, that publish will not be ultimate for those who simply wish to know how one can bake the bread, as a result of it discusses the modifications I made to the recipe in Modernist Bread and the alternatives I made. Additionally, I’ve simplified a number of steps that (so far as I can inform) don’t have a big influence on the end result. To make it simpler for others to breed ‘my’ bread, I’ve written this new publish.

An important factor to get good outcomes is to make use of good flour. It must be “robust” bread flour with a excessive protein content material, not less than 10.5%. The second most vital factor is the oven, particularly for the crust. However I’ve nonetheless been capable of produce very good bread in unhealthy ovens, by preheating them for a very long time, and by utilizing the broiler if essential. It helps to have a pizza metal or pizza stone, however that isn’t important. It additionally helps to have a steam operate within the oven, but additionally that isn’t important.

What is important is to have proofing baskets. I want to make use of 2 proofing baskets for 500 grams of dough every, with a measurement of about 24 x 13 cm (10 x 5 inches), however you too can make one bigger loaf.

It’ll take not less than 6 hours to bake this bread, not counting the pre-ferment that must be ready the evening earlier than. The energetic time is probably about half an hour altogether, however there are lots of steps.

This bread has nice taste and texture, so it’s well worth the effort.


Makes 2 loaves of 500 grams of every

  • 565 grams robust bread flour (divided into 200 grams + 365 grams)
  • 435 ml water (divided into 200 ml + 235 ml)
  • 11 grams salt
  • 1 tsp (3 grams) dry immediate yeast, plus 1/8 – 1/4 tsp for the pre-ferment
  • olive oil for greasing the container for the majority ferment


The evening earlier than, stir 200 ml of water with 1/4 teaspoon of dry immediate yeast in a plastic container with a canopy. Then add 200 grams of flour and stir till simply combined. Scrape down the edges of the container.

In summer season, chilly faucet water and 1/8 of dry yeast can be ample. In winter, room temperature water and 1/4 of dry yeast are wanted.

Cowl the container, and permit to ferment in a single day.

The following day, it ought to have greater than doubled in quantity and it must be fairly foamy/bubbly.

Hassle taking pictures:

  • If the water or ambient temperature was too heat otherwise you used an excessive amount of yeast, it could have collapsed already. Subsequent time, use much less yeast or cooler water or ambient temperature.
  • If the water or ambient temperature was too chilly otherwise you didn’t use sufficient yeast (or the yeast was useless), it could not have doubled within the quantity. If the yeast is working however slowly, you’ll be able to wait longer and put it in a hotter place to attend till the has doubled in quantity. Subsequent time, use extra yeast or room temperature water or a better ambient temperature.

Place 235 ml of water within the bowl of a stand mixer. In winter, this must be room temperature water. Add 3 grams (1 teaspoon) of energetic dry yeast.

Course of briefly with the paddle attachment till the yeast has dissolved.

Add the pre-ferment.

The pre-ferment ought to float on high of the water. If it doesn’t, confer with the difficulty taking pictures above.

Course of briefly to combine the pre-ferment with the water. (This step will not be essential and will be skipped.)

Add 365 grams of flour.

Combine with the paddle attachment on gradual pace till it seems like a “shaggy mass” and a lot of the flour has been included into the dough.

Clear the paddle attachment with a silicone spatula, and take away it.

Scrape down the edges of the bowl with the silicone spatula.

Sprinkle 11 grams of salt evenly on high of the dough.

Swap to the dough hook. Knead on medium-high pace for 4 to five minutes.

To knead the dough evenly, clear the hook with a silicone spatula, then proceed to knead on medium-high pace for 4 to five minutes.

The upper the pace, the faster your dough can be prepared. If the pace is simply too excessive, the stand mixer will transfer throughout your counter.

If the dough nonetheless seems lumpy like this, you should knead it extra…

…till it seems not less than as clean as this.

The dough must be fairly agency and really stretchy. Should you raise the dough hook, the dough ought to keep on with it and take a very long time to fall off. If you understand what the dough is meant to seem like when you will have kneaded it lengthy sufficient, there isn’t a must carry out a window pane check as described within the weblog from six years in the past.

Grease a plastic container with a canopy with a scant quantity of olive oil.

Switch the dough to this container with the assistance of a dough scraper.

The container must be giant sufficient to permit the dough to not less than double in quantity.

There isn’t any must flatten the highest.

Cowl and permit to bulk ferment (also referred to as first rise). The time this may take depends upon the ambient temperature. In winter, it could be useful to place the container within the oven with the sunshine turned on (in case your oven nonetheless has an old school gentle that can present some warmth; new ovens with led lights won’t work) or the oven turned to 27C-30C/80F-85F.

You will have to carry out a four-fold “stretch and fold” twice. In optimum situations (of 27C/80F) that is after 45 minutes and after one other 45 minutes.

Mud your arms with flour and use a dough scraper. Choose up one aspect of the dough, stretch it, and fold it over.

Then flip the container 90 levels, and repeat this 4 instances, till you will have folded the dough from every of the 4 sides.

Earlier than the second “stretch and fold”, the dough ought to have doubled in quantity. In cooler situations, it may possibly take quite a bit longer than 90 minutes for the dough to double in quantity. You’ll be able to pace this up by utilizing the oven as described above, or benefit from the time to do go grocery buying or understanding on the gymnasium (or no matter). The instances are fairly versatile, so long as you do the “stretch and fold” twice and the dough doubles in quantity. Typically I work out in between and permit it to go for two hours between the primary and second “stretch and fold”.

After the second “stretch and fold”, enable to bulk ferment for an additional half-hour or so. (Once more, no want to make use of a timer.)

Now the dough is able to be formed into loaves.

Sprinkle the proofing baskets precisely with flour. Attempt to unfold out the flour evenly.

Sprinkle your work floor (wooden is finest) with flour and gently flip over the dough onto the floured work floor. Attempt to preserve as a lot air within the dough as doable as you’re employed with it, so don’t press down on it and don’t drop it on the work floor.

Hassle taking pictures: if the dough may be very flat and doesn’t maintain its form if you flip it onto the work floor, you didn’t knead it for lengthy sufficient, or the flour you used doesn’t have a excessive sufficient protein content material (which each means the gluten usually are not robust sufficient to permit the dough to maintain its form).

Sprinkle the highest of the dough with flour, and use a dough scraper to separate it into two items of equal measurement (if making two loaves). I exploit scales to verify I’ve to items of about 500 grams every. If they aren’t roughly the identical measurement, they gained’t prepare dinner evenly and it will likely be harder to inform if they’ve risen correctly.

Take the primary piece of dough, and fold over a 3rd. Be sure that your fingers are dusted with flour and pinch the dough a number of instances to safe the fold.

Fold from the opposite aspect, and pinch to safe.

Rotate the dough 90 levels, fold a 3rd, pinch, and fold from the opposite aspect.

Now use the “tuck in” methodology to form the loaf. Be sure that the work floor and your fingers are dusted with flour, so the dough gained’t stick. (Watch some YouTube movies to learn to form the loaf.)

Hold tucking till the loaf has the correct form.

Place the loaf within the proofing basket, appear aspect up. Repeat with the second loaf.

Place the 2 proofing baskets in a big container and shut it. As an alternative of a container, you too can use a big plastic bag and form it as a ‘tent’, ensuring that the plastic gained’t contact the dough.

Enable the loaves to proof till they attain the highest of the proofing basket. It’s also possible to use the ‘fingertip check’ as described within the weblog of six years in the past to search out out if the proofing has completed. The time this takes depends upon the temperature. Depend on 2-3 hours at 20C/68F.

Preheat the oven whereas the bread is proofing. It is very important preheat the oven for not less than 1 hour earlier than you place the bread into the oven. In any other case, the oven temperature will drop by an excessive amount of if you open the oven and place the bread it, which can negatively impact the “oven spring”, which is the enlargement/rising of the bread if you put it into the oven. When you’ve got a pizza stone or metal (or aluminum plate like I’ve), you will need to preheat that as nicely. The temperature relies upon a bit on the oven. I exploit 235C/455F. In case your oven doesn’t go that top, use the very best temperature accessible. It could take some experimenting to search out out one of the best temperature. Don’t use fan pressured except there isn’t a different setting. In case your oven has a supporting steam operate, use it.

Should you use a pizza stone or metal, it’s best to make use of a pizza peel to put the loaf on the stone/metal. Sprinkle the pizza peel with flour earlier than turning the loaf onto it. If you don’t use a pizza stone or metal, you’ll be able to put the loaf on a baking sheet lined with oven paper (no flour wanted).

Gently flip over the rising basket and let the loaf slide onto the peel or baking sheet. Don’t let the loaf fall from excessive above and don’t push on it. You wish to preserve as a lot air in it as doable.

Use a pointy knife and make three incisions on high of the loaf with a decisive motion. This can take some observe.

Mud your arms with flour and gently push alongside the edges of the loaf to right the form and push it in direction of the sting of the peel.

If utilizing a pizza stone/metal, let the loaf slide onto the pizza stone/metal within the oven. Shut the door proper after and repeat with the second loaf. You need to work shortly, so the primary loaf doesn’t spend plenty of time within the oven earlier than the second loaf is added.

Should you use a baking sheet, you’ll be able to merely place it within the middle of the oven.

I set my oven to 245C/475F instantly after I’ve put each loaves into the oven. This can drive the oven to work tougher, thus serving to with the oven spring. I exploit this setting for 10 minutes. In case your oven doesn’t have a steam operate, put a heat-proof container with about 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water within the oven as an alternative to the steam operate.

Throughout these first 10 minutes with excessive warmth and steam, the loaves will broaden and the crust will kind. As quickly because the crust has shaped, the loaves can’t broaden any additional and can preserve their form.

After the primary 10 minutes, flip off the steam operate (or take away the container with water from the oven), and bake the bread for an additional 10 minutes. In my oven, I’ve to decrease the temperature again to 235C/455F, as in any other case the bread will burn. Relying in your oven, you will have to maintain it at 245F/475F, or flip it down even decrease than 235C/455F to get good outcomes (generally the bread already seems fairly darkish after the preliminary 10 minutes, and I exploit a decrease temperature equivalent to 225C/440F).

After the second 10 minutes (so 20 minutes whole), examine the colour. If the bread is nearly darkish sufficient, flip off the oven. If not, preserve it in for an additional 5 minutes. In case your oven doesn’t get extremely popular and the bread nonetheless seems very “blonde” after 20 minutes, chances are you’ll activate the broiler. In that case, monitor the bread fastidiously. Keep in mind that the time it takes to go from blonde to brown is for much longer than from brown to burnt, because the crust will soak up extra warmth as the colour will get darker.

After turning off the oven when the bread is nearly darkish sufficient, preserve the oven door ajar by inserting a picket spoon or spatula, and permit the bread to relaxation for about 5 minutes. This step will assist to dry out the crust, and thus make it extra crispy.

Enable the bread to chill off on a grill, so the air can flow into round it. Should you put the bread on high of a closed floor, the underside crust won’t stay as crispy. In case your crust has attain optimum crispness, you’ll be able to hear it crackle whereas it’s cooling off.

It is very important enable the bread to chill for not less than half an hour earlier than slicing it. Should you slice it too shortly, the within will nonetheless be too moist/smooth.

Hassle taking pictures:

  • If the crust seems too darkish, use a decrease oven temperature.
  • If the crust seems too gentle, use a better oven temperature (or use the broiler on the finish as described in case your oven doesn’t enable for a better temperature).
  • If you would like a thicker crust, use a decrease oven temperature and an extended time.
  • If you would like a thinner crust, be certain that the loaf has sufficiently risen if you put it within the oven and ensure to make use of steam and a excessive oven temperature if you first put it into the oven.
  • If the bread is simply too dense, there could also be one thing flawed with the yeast or the preliminary water temperature, or it had not risen correctly earlier than you place it into the oven, or the flour you used was not robust sufficient (protein content material too low) or the flour was too outdated.
  • If the bread doesn’t preserve its form if you slide it out of the proofing basket, the flour you used was not robust sufficient (protein content material too low) otherwise you didn’t knead it lengthy sufficient or the flour was too outdated.

It could take some experimenting to get the bread along with your oven, however for those who use good high quality flour, you need to be capable to obtain a really good end result with some observe.

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