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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 manner ever since and everybody loves it. I’ve been directing individuals who wished to bake the identical bread to the put up I wrote again then. Nevertheless, that put up just isn’t splendid in the event you simply need to know how you 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 couple of steps that (so far as I can inform) should not have a major affect on the consequence. To make it simpler for others to breed ‘my’ bread, I’ve written this new put up.

Crucial factor to get good outcomes is to make use of good flour. It needs to be “robust” bread flour with a excessive protein content material, at the very least 10.5%. The second most vital factor is the oven, particularly for the crust. However I’ve nonetheless been in a position to produce very good bread in unhealthy ovens, by preheating them for a very long time, and through the use of the broiler if obligatory. It helps to have a pizza metal or pizza stone, however that’s not important. It additionally helps to have a steam perform within the oven, but in addition that’s not important.

What is important is to have proofing baskets. I favor to make use of 2 proofing baskets for 500 grams of dough every, with a dimension of about 24 x 13 cm (10 x 5 inches), however it’s also possible to make one bigger loaf.

It can take at the very least 6 hours to bake this bread, not counting the pre-ferment that must be ready the night time earlier than. The energetic time is probably about half an hour altogether, however there are numerous 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 prompt yeast, plus 1/8 – 1/4 tsp for the pre-ferment
  • olive oil for greasing the container for the majority ferment


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

In summer season, chilly faucet water and 1/8 of dry yeast can be adequate. 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 subsequent day, it ought to have greater than doubled in quantity and it needs to be fairly foamy/bubbly.

Bother capturing:

  • If the water or ambient temperature was too heat otherwise you used an excessive amount of yeast, it might 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 might not have doubled within the quantity. If the yeast is working however slowly, you possibly can 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 the next ambient temperature.

Place 235 ml of water within the bowl of a stand mixer. In winter, this needs to 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 prime of the water. If it doesn’t, consult with the difficulty capturing above.

Course of briefly to combine the pre-ferment with the water. (This step just isn’t crucial and may be skipped.)

Add 365 grams of flour.

Combine with the paddle attachment on sluggish velocity till it appears like a “shaggy mass” and a lot of the flour has been integrated 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 prime of the dough.

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

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

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

If the dough nonetheless appears lumpy like this, it’s essential to knead it extra…

…till it appears at the very least as clean as this.

The dough needs to be fairly agency and really stretchy. In the event you elevate the dough hook, the dough ought to persist with it and take a very long time to fall off. If you understand what the dough is meant to appear like when you have got kneaded it lengthy sufficient, there isn’t a have to 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 needs to be giant sufficient to permit the dough to at the very least double in quantity.

There is no such thing as a have to flatten the highest.

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

You have to 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 occasions, till you have got 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 will probably take so much longer than 90 minutes for the dough to double in quantity. You’ll be able to velocity this up through the use of the oven as described above, or reap the benefits of the time to do go grocery purchasing or figuring out on the gymnasium (or no matter). The occasions are fairly versatile, so long as you do the “stretch and fold” twice and the dough doubles in quantity. Generally 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 one more 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 maintain 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.

Bother capturing: if the dough could be very flat and doesn’t maintain its form whenever 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 are usually 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 dimension (if making two loaves). I exploit scales to verify I’ve to items of about 500 grams every. If they don’t seem to be roughly the identical dimension, they gained’t cook dinner evenly and it is going to be tougher to inform if they’ve risen correctly.

Take the primary piece of dough, and fold over a 3rd. Be sure your fingers are dusted with flour and pinch the dough a couple of occasions 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 the work floor and your fingers are dusted with flour, so the dough gained’t stick. (Watch some YouTube movies to discover ways to form the loaf.)

Maintain tucking till the loaf has the right 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 a substitute of a container, it’s also possible to use a big plastic bag and form it as a ‘tent’, ensuring that the plastic gained’t contact the dough.

Permit 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. Rely on 2-3 hours at 20C/68F.

Preheat the oven whereas the bread is proofing. You will need to preheat the oven for at the very least 1 hour earlier than you set the bread into the oven. In any other case, the oven temperature will drop by an excessive amount of whenever you open the oven and place the bread it, which can negatively impact the “oven spring”, which is the enlargement/rising of the bread whenever you put it into the oven. When you have a pizza stone or metal (or aluminum plate like I’ve), you will need to preheat that as effectively. The temperature relies upon a bit on the oven. I exploit 235C/455F. In case your oven doesn’t go that prime, use the best temperature accessible. It might take some experimenting to search out out the very best temperature. Don’t use fan compelled until there isn’t a different setting. In case your oven has a supporting steam perform, use it.

In the event 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 possibly can 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 need to maintain as a lot air in it as doable.

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

Mud your arms with flour and gently push alongside the edges of the loaf to appropriate 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. It’s best to work rapidly, so the primary loaf doesn’t spend a whole lot of time within the oven earlier than the second loaf is added.

In the event you use a baking sheet, you possibly can 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 pressure the oven to work more durable, thus serving to with the oven spring. I exploit this setting for 10 minutes. In case your oven doesn’t have a steam perform, put a heat-proof container with about 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water within the oven as an alternative choice to the steam perform.

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

After the primary 10 minutes, flip off the steam perform (or take away the container with water from the oven), and bake the bread for one more 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’ll have to maintain it at 245F/475F, or flip it down even decrease than 235C/455F to get good outcomes (typically the bread already appears fairly darkish after the preliminary 10 minutes, and I exploit a decrease temperature resembling 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, maintain it in for one more 5 minutes. In case your oven doesn’t get extremely popular and the bread nonetheless appears very “blonde” after 20 minutes, chances are you’ll activate the broiler. In that case, monitor the bread rigorously. Consider that the time it takes to go from blonde to brown is for much longer than from brown to burnt, because the crust will take in extra warmth as the colour will get darker.

After turning off the oven when the bread is nearly darkish sufficient, maintain 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.

Permit the bread to chill off on a grill, so the air can flow into round it. In the event you put the bread on prime of a closed floor, the underside crust is not going to stay as crispy. In case your crust has attain optimum crispness, you possibly can hear it crackle whereas it’s cooling off.

You will need to enable the bread to chill for at the very least half an hour earlier than slicing it. In the event you slice it too rapidly, the within will nonetheless be too moist/tender.

Bother capturing:

  • If the crust seems too darkish, use a decrease oven temperature.
  • If the crust seems too mild, use the next oven temperature (or use the broiler on the finish as described in case your oven doesn’t enable for the next temperature).
  • In order for you a thicker crust, use a decrease oven temperature and an extended time.
  • In order for you a thinner crust, ensure the loaf has sufficiently risen whenever you put it within the oven and ensure to make use of steam and a excessive oven temperature whenever you first put it into the oven.
  • If the bread is just too dense, there could also be one thing mistaken with the yeast or the preliminary water temperature, or it had not risen correctly earlier than you set 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 maintain its form whenever 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 might take some experimenting to get the bread along with your oven, however in the event you use good high quality flour, you need to be capable to obtain a really good consequence with some follow.



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