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dad.
Apr 25, 2010


Otm Shank posted:

I asked this in the general thread but maybe I'll get more tips here:

I want to bring a loaf of fresh baked bread (challah, specifically) to work in the morning but I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to start it. Would it work to refrigerate the braided loaf overnight then let it sit at room temp for a couple hours before baking? Should I do this before or after the final rise?
How can I keep the raw loaf from getting gross and crusty in my fridge?

if you retard the loaf for any amount of time after forming, the crust will have blisters which might be pretty on a sourdough, but not really what you're aiming for in challah. If anything, prove it to the point where it would go in the oven, egg wash it, and freeze it. Bake it for a longer period of time at a slightly lower temperature. the loaf will shrink a little in the freezer due to thermal expansion, but it will rebound.

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dad.
Apr 25, 2010


Happy Hat posted:

Defrost before baking, or straight in an oven?

The process would go:
1. Finish forming. first egg wash.
2. Prove to baking volume, second egg wash, place in freezer.
3. Freeze until egg wash is dry and loaf is cold/firm (doesn't necessarily mean frozen solid), wrap in plastic, store for no more than a week.
4. remove from freezer and place in preheated oven

This is all contingent on using good, not old yeast.

dad.
Apr 25, 2010


ChetReckless posted:

I would really love for someone who is educated on the subject of starters to post something about them. I tried making one a few years ago with no real results. Is it a worthwhile pursuit for someone who bakes bread occasionally (i.e. a few times a month)? Is there a fool proof method?

One of the cooler, easier, methods of producing a starter is by making some prison hooch. You'll need a handful of raisins that aren't any real specific kind, as long as they aren't the bleached golden variety. Organic isn't really vital. Add this handful of raisins to a pint of water and let them soak for several days in a consistently not cold place. Initially the raisins will be resting on the bottom of the container, but eventually the yeasts that were on the skins of the grapes activate and start to ferment the sugary raisin water. You'll know it's fermenting when the raisins float to the top from the trapped gasses, and the liquid smells like juicy juice. Strain this water off and mix it with an equal weight flour, whatever type you want. Let this ferment for about 24 hours and be sure to stir occasionally to feed air to the yeasts. This is a good starting point for feeding a culture. Feeding this with a different weight of flour in relation to starter quantity and feeding schedule will give you different results that, if you allow it to reach maturity (for a liquid starter: it has soapy bubbles; for a stiffer starter: it is JUST beginning to collapse) give you a perfectly valid, usable preferment.

As for storing a starter, a stiffer starter refrigerated 3 hours after it's last feed can be stored for two weeks healthily without a re-feed. Liquid starters can be put away immediately after being given a feed of equal flour to starter weight and can last about two weeks as well without a refeed.

The raisin water method can also be used as a preferment in lighter, more subtle breads to impart the fruit's characteristics. The raisin method can be applied to other dried fruits as well, with my preference being apricots. You can add fresh fruits or vegetables to a raisin water to modify the flavors you want to get, just give it a few additional days to ferment with the new addition. Strawberries are great. Perhaps squash?

dad.
Apr 25, 2010


The real benefit of using a higher extraction (more of the wheat berry being used) flour or any integral flour is the additional nutrients and enzymes present to promote sourdough fermentation. It is true there is more stuff riding in the flour, but something-something motion of the ocean.

dad.
Apr 25, 2010


"enzymes" comprises more than just alpha and beta amylase. There certainly is more protein in anything milled whole, it's just not structurally beneficial, like how rye has approximately 14% protein but you're not getting brioche-like volume in loaf made of it; also again, enzymes and pentosans etc.

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