Friday, February 10, 2017


Honestly the ciabatta experiment never really took off. The first attempt, while not perfect, was completely acceptable. And figuring out where to improve proved difficult.

Flirted briefly with tortillas. Again, first one came out pretty good - better than store bought.

The new hotness is danish (and maybe ideally croissants). The boys love danish, though rarely have it. And it seems like an impressive baking achievement. I have already tried to make croissants twice. Both abject failures. Not like, "well, it ain't pretty, but it's tasty" failures. Not like, "something is a little off" failures. Just complete fails. Terrible heavy lumps of inedible dough in pools of melted butter. Grotesque mockeries of croissants. It's time to figure out laminated dough.

Monday, December 5, 2016

French bread wrap up

Since the first ciabatta came out pretty good my motivation for that experiment has dissipated a bit, haha. I may continue, or pick a different style. It was good, and the boys liked it, but it doesn't make for good grilled cheese. Also technique seems far less important than recipe.

At any rate, I decided to do baguette again but this time to use the technique of pain d'epi to make a holiday wreath - make the loaf into a ring and then take the scissors to it and make a nice looking loaf that way. We'll see how it turns out.

Also wanted to take the opportunity to wrap up everything I learned about baguette making. Here are the key points.

  • Recipe -
  • I used 260g of water in Oct/Nov. More water did not make for bigger holes in the crumb and made it a huge pain to knead.
  • I prefer pointed ends in the baguette loaf.
  • Use a razor blade to make deep long slashes.
  • For Pain d'Epi cut deep into the loaf with scissors.
  • Preheat the oven with a small metal pan in there. Throw ice cubes in that after putting the bread in and just before closing the oven door.
  • Before placing the loaves in the oven, spray them with the sprayer from the sink so they're good and soaked.
Picture of the pain d'epi loaf coming shortly...

Here it is, going to call it pain de Noël since it's supposed to resemble a Christmas wreath.

And prior to cooking...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ciabatta #1

Ok, so first go looks promising, though I'm still doubtful that it's the ideal recipe. The crust looks nice, we'll see tomorrow how the crumb looks. Here is a shot of the 8 buns made with this recipe -

The recipe recommended 13-15 min at 450°, I ended up almost 20 because I wanted the right color. I guess I'm happy enough with the outside, that's not really what matters anyway.

EDIT - had an extra one and could not wait. Crust was crunchy, interior was nice and open crumb. Overall chewy and tasty. Nice bread!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baguette Evolution

I'm pretty pleased with how this experiment worked out. Great learning experience. Check out that evolution :)

Next, ciabatta rolls

Ok, I'm pretty happy with the French bread, time to try something new. Current plan is this recipe - . However this is only 68% hydration and I'm a big hydration fan, so I'll do this then try something crazy like this one at 95% hydration - .

Currently the biga is resting peacefully on the dining room table.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Finally, perfection

Well, ok, perfection might be a bit strong of a word. But it turned out very nicely. I doubled up the dough in one of the loaves to make a bit bigger loaf - worked well. Once again sprayed the loaves with water from the sink, then threw a handful of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven. Twenty minutes was perfect, crust looks glorious.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Attempt #5

Attempt #5 was pretty good, I used 260g water as an attempt at a happy medium between the low hydration and high hydration dough. I also made liberal use of flour when kneading. By the time I was done kneading the dough was not very sticky. As a result, the scoring went much better than last time. As for the crumb, I have not dissected the bread yet, it's still cooling.

Perhaps ever so slightly overcooked at 20 minutes. Check out the bottoms, a bit overcooked, and interestingly enough you can still make out the seams.

Definitely circling ever closer to a perfect bake. Next time I may try slightly bigger loaves, maybe just make two and cook for slightly longer. The skinny loaves are nice, but it would be fun to try something a bit more substantial.