The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

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anniexf
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by anniexf » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:30 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:Oh, oh, oh, oh, Doris!

Good stoneground organic flour, lovely Dove's Farm yeast, some unrefined sugar, a little Maldon salt, water delicately adjusted to "hand-hot".... no kneading, rose beautifully for hours at room temp.... result, possibly the most heavy and solid house brick loaf I've ever produced. Hell! :twisted: Oh Doris!
Angela, I'm so sorry! I should never have directed you to Doris! :oops: But your results do explain my poor mother's doorstops - though she was adamant that this was proper, nutritious bread and she was probably right .... :?

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by midget » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:31 pm

If it's any comfort, Angela I tried the Grant loaf recipe several years ago. If I had carried on trying I could have built a house with the results.
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:36 pm

Thank you, Ann and Maggie.... :) :) I shall persist. I shall try again with another method!

Another thing with Doris's loaf is that, with no kneading, the surface of the bread was very bumpy.

A lovely loaf just has to be possible!
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:22 pm

Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee, found it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The maiden's dream - located.

I knew all about this and I knew it was on my PC in England but luckily I had emailed all my UK bookmarks to France and, in the middle of a different set of food bookmarks, I found:


http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2 ... akingguide

Page 24 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... k.baking13) might help but don't get an overdose of vitamin C :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: That is what that Doris woman forgot. Look at the last sentence of Para 2 which should be clear even if you haven't got a doctorate in organic chemistry.
I found his oven steaming idea good. It saves leaving a damp cloth over the loaf as it cooks.

This was originally published as a pullout booklet which I have in England and IMHO is very informative about many types of bread. Should save you adding to the collection of housebricks!

HTH
Last edited by sejintenej on Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:28 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:Oh, oh, oh, oh, Doris!


"Newly-baked bread!" I trilled encouragingly. The loaf was fallen upon and almost entirely devoured by my two *heroes. A house brick is good if eaten quickly, but once cold seems to solidify horribly quickly - eek!
Angela; do be aware that home made bread is likely to go stale more quickly than some store made loaves which contain preservatives or other "additives". Our local bread only lasts for 12 hours though we do freeze some quickly (I can't eat a yard at a time) and it is fine when microzapped.
Angela Woodford wrote:*I say "heroes" because I am planning to grow shiitake mushrooms - and they ventured out into the wilds this afternoon and brought me back two beech logs. Fantastic! but two? "You may think up other log projects" they said.
Shiitake in one, a different type - perhaps oyster mushrooms on the other? I'd love to do that but the collection of mushrooms anywhere is permitted under French law ........................
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:05 am

David, the link to Dan Lepard is marvellous and thank you very much!

I notice that he includes Vitamin C. My Lakeland "Dough Improver" consists of "Flour Treatment Agent and Ascorbic Acid". Aha.

Dan Lepard recommends an initial 30 minute rise, with three light kneads over the 30 mins, then a much longer proving period. A hotter and steamier oven. Interesting. I shall definitely try this one next. Thank you David for going to so much trouble!

(All these Grauniad baking articles! Fascinating! I felt my hand hovering over the spelt flour in the supermarket... the NT property, Cotehele, not that far from here, has a real mill!)
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by Fjgrogan » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:05 am

I have been going through much the same trial and error in the attempt to make pulla, which are Finnish yeast buns flavoured with cardamom. Progress has not really been helped by the fact that the friend who first demonstrated the process to me is one of those people who guesses wildly at the amounts and makes up her own variations as she goes along, whereas I, having been trained by Miss Jukes, have to know exact amounts first before I start experimenting. The original recipe is from the back of a flour bag and is therefore in Finnish - that doesn't help! Nor does the fact that the Finns apparently measure their flour in decilitres ie by volume rather than weight; so I bought a measuring jug in Finland, but it got broken in transit. Different countries also seem to have different types of flour - I remember doing the same sort of guesswork in Ireland. My baking friend was here earlier this week, arriving with sachets of crushed cardamom (we only seem to be able to buy pods here and they are a pain to crush), so I suggested that she might like to make a batch of pulla which I could keep in the freezer. It was quite heartening to see the mess that she managed to make, juggling the quantities and getting it wrong, so that the resulting mix was too sticky (although the yeast rose beautifully) and adding flour while kneading didn't really help much. The finished products were overlarge, misshapen, and stuck to the baking tray in spite of baking parchment, but tasted fine; so it is not just my own ineptitude - there is hope for me yet! When I finally master the basic bun I shall have a go at the more fancy ones which are rolled up, rather like Chelsea buns but with cinnamon sugar. I now have a plentiful stock of crushed cardamom and 'kanelisokeri' (cinnamon sugar, which also seems not to be available here). So watch this space ............ I have discovered a baker locally who will sell fresh yeast too. I noticed when decluttering kitchen cupboards that Tesco dried yeast has changed the amount in a sachet from 6g to 7g - I wonder what prompted that (mind you it was ages ago - the first packet I discarded said 'use by July 2008!!). Later I shall launch into breads from different flours, and there are all kinds of possibilities with muffins!! My latest attempt was banana and walnut wholemeal muffins - mainly because my husband prefers his bananas green and will discard them at the first sign of a speck of brown on the peel, so rather than waste them I tried freezing them for baking. Note to self - next time peel before freezing! Also use white and wholemeal flour half and half for a lighter result; also buy wholemeal flour in smaller quantities or you end up with weevils!!
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:27 am

My original answer to this post seems to have been lost in the ether; if both appear, sorry

Fjgrogan wrote:I have been going through much the same trial and error in the attempt to make pulla, which are Finnish yeast buns flavoured with cardamom. Progress has not really been helped by the fact that the friend who first demonstrated the process to me is one of those people who guesses wildly at the amounts and makes up her own variations as she goes along, whereas I, having been trained by Miss Jukes, have to know exact amounts first before I start experimenting. The original recipe is from the back of a flour bag and is therefore in Finnish - that doesn't help!
Oh, Frances :wink: Eric Schmidt CEO would be heartbroken and in tears if he heard that you hadn't typed in "recipe pulla" (include both sets of ")on a Google search form. They claim over 6 million pages for just that.
If you get http://www.google.fi or something like that and text in Finnish change the country letters to co.uk leaving unchanged any search letters after that and you will get the English language Google search - I have that problem here.
Some recipes won't work, some will be duplications but there will be some which work for you. Many recipes will be from America but often there is a built-in conversion to metric measures. An American "cup" of flour is 125 grammes. (Check 3/5ths down http://www.americansintoulouse.com/content/view/39/65/ for every conversion you could ever want or not want!)
You could start with http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/finnish-pulla/Detail.aspx. All purpose flour is what we call "plain flour" in England. The conversion button is immediately above the ingredients list and you can even change the number of finished buns there*. I have used some different recipes from here - they worked for me so good luck
(*Just don't say that you don't want a bun in the oven or we'll hear from U no hoo)

Sounds like Miss Jukes only told you half the story. For patisserie exact measures are essential - something I am trying to do now needs 8cl of water and 2 x 80cl of egg whites (eggs have different weights!) and the temperature has to be within 2 or 3º.
For anything else like meat, pasta, veg* you can approximate to get the right texture. * IMHO fish needs to be underdone as does steak. Otherwise a nice 7 hour slow-cooked casserole is to die for. A recipe says a "pinch of salt" but is that a pinch from my 10 inch mitts or from Miss Jukes' fingers which were 4 and a half millimetres across? Making ordinary pastry you need to add cold water but the amount depends entirely on that batch of flour, not what the recipe says.

Just push the boat out; it is the results of that experimentation which gives good chefs their edge. When they are adding a recipe to the menu a not too experienced chef may make it 20 times with slight variations to get it right - an old-timer does it more quickly but still experiments.
As a reminder, in England a chef recommended Marriages flour against all others. Here in France a retired Paris chef told me to have my local wheat flour mixed with 15% of rye flour for pastry - he had experimented. Ask your local baker what he uses - if you dare.

Fjgrogan wrote:Nor does the fact that the Finns apparently measure their flour in decilitres ie by volume rather than weight; so I bought a measuring jug in Finland, but it got broken in transit.
Please. I would have thought that a measuring jug would be a basic implement in any kitchen and almost if not all have metric measures. A decilitre is 10 centilitres is 100 millilitres and is one tenth of a litre. That, for me, is the only use for learnin latin :twisted: :twisted: Measuring flour is exactly the same as measuring water - pour it in up to the mark. I use an unbreakable £1 plastic litre jug and replace it each year. Mummy - please send her one from your local pound store :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

HTH (and don't take me too seriously)
Last edited by sejintenej on Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by englishangel » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:45 pm

small pyrex jugs also have measurements in all sorts. Glass being easier to read than through than plasric. (I have a plastic one too).

do not Lakeland do measuring cups/spoons (various)?.

I shall have a look when I get home.
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:12 pm

englishangel wrote:small pyrex jugs also have measurements in all sorts. Glass being easier to read than through than plasric. (I have a plastic one too).

do not Lakeland do measuring cups/spoons (various)?.

I shall have a look when I get home.
Sure; and I have pyrex in England. As you say, they are easier to read, just heavier. Mine get a bit of a hammering; you have 7 ingredients with 5 being volume so that is 5 washings for one dish.
Don't forget the lady is in the land of the midnight sun (where they go for a roll in the snow) and at night things like the sun go in the wrong direction so they don't trust measuring jugs which go in the wright direction. That is why they use decies and not millies or centies :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by Fjgrogan » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:37 pm

Steady on David - I think you are confusing me with my daughter! It is my daughter Maria who is in the land of the midnight sun. I am in sunny Surbiton trying to replicate Finnish recipes with English ingredients. We were both taught by Miss Jukes and neither of us is a brilliant cook. Being in the A stream I was only allowed 12 cookery lessons - it never seemed to occur to those who planned our education that even the more academic child would still need to eat!! The result is that I can normally produce bread, cakes, biscuits (all the things which should not be fed to a diabetic husband or his overweight wife), but to this day I cannot co-ordinate meat and two veg so that they are all ready at the same time - that was only taught to the B stream who were taking Cookery (or whatever it was being called at the time) for O Level. By the time my younger daughter Kirri was taking GCSE she was at Horsham, where it was called Food and Nutrition,and was open to anyone of either sex and any level of academic ability, and she can actually cook well. By the way, in her group the boys outnumbered the girls 5 to 4.
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:27 pm

Fjgrogan wrote:Steady on David - I think you are confusing me with my daughter! It is my daughter Maria who is in the land of the midnight sun.
Apologies - I can only blame an advanced state of senility. Of course I should have realised that from the initials. Even so, hopefully the comment about decilitres helped.
Fjgrogan wrote: Being in the A stream I was only allowed 12 cookery lessons - it never seemed to occur to those who planned our education that even the more academic child would still need to eat!! The result is that I can normally produce bread, cakes, biscuits (all the things which should not be fed to a diabetic husband or his overweight wife), but to this day I cannot co-ordinate meat and two veg so that they are all ready at the same time - that was only taught to the B stream who were taking Cookery (or whatever it was being called at the time) for O Level.
Typical, absolutely typical. They waste your entire youth teaching you advanced calculus, the voyagers round Cape Horn, where to find Ulan Bator and a lot of other near useless and usually boring stuff and they fail to teach you what you need in life like how to balance a cheque book, compare interest rates, find a plumber or produce a complete meal on time. It's about time someone sensible was put in charge - an OB housewife from sunny Surbiton perhaps? :wink:

As for your coordination problem (and I do mean that in a nice way) the only answer is planning. You have been around long enough to know that to roast spuds you parboil them for 15 minutes, dry and peel them, roast them for 50 minutes and take them out of the pan and set aside in a warmish place for anything up to an hour. When you are 5 minutes from serving put them in a scalding hot roasting dish (220º) for 4 minutes. (That was loosely based on Heston Blumenthal's perfect roast spuds). Joking aside, learn and write down how long it takes to cook each type of veg and meat and then work back from your serving time. Don't go for 20 ways to cook spuds (my book has 30 pages on the subject) - perfect two methods and stick to them.

You CAN do almost anything you want - it just takes investigation and planning beforehand.
Fjgrogan wrote:By the time my younger daughter Kirri was taking GCSE she was at Horsham, where it was called Food and Nutrition,and was open to anyone of either sex and any level of academic ability, and she can actually cook well. By the way, in her group the boys outnumbered the girls 5 to 4.

Well, most of the better known chefs are still male though I don't really know the reason. I suspect many women would object to / flee a very hot kitchen, long hours, danger from knives and hot pans, working under immense pressure and using language which would make a navvy blush. However we see many women on Masterchef who seem to get through to the later stages. Do we need a new thread on the failings of the education service in the UK, Mr/Ms moderator?

Lastly, you say you are not a brilliant cook. Who else says so? Go to a Michelin star restaurant and, given the idea and practice, I'm sure you could copy each dish which appeals to you. Three things differentiate you from that chef - 1) the budget to buy the very best ingredients, 2) the artistry in presenting the dish and 3) - he has the confidence to know he/she can do it. Often it is that tiny trickle of sauce, the dots and commas of this and that on the plate which take the time and the most ingredients and for 95% of diners have no discernable taste. Frances - unless you always mistake sugar for salt or flour for rice you can be just as good as them. OK so you might have to adjust slightly for dietary requirements. As for weight, we did have that problem in this house and it has been solved, effectively, I think permanently and without pain.

Angela made an unjustified comment earlier (sorry to say that, Angela); I get all my ideas from restaurants, their menus and the internet, even the caramelised condensed milk recipe which cI learned in Rio de Janeiro. I had 0.0 hours of lessons up to April this year which makes you 11 cookery lessons more advanced than me. I simply try something - if it doesn't work then I try to work out why and do it again. I've been trying for 5 years but I still cannot get a klafoutis "right" but it is at a stage where peeps want it. Should be right by 2020. Frances, YOU CAN DO IT.

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:56 am

My Bread Machine --- being of USA manufacture --- gives recipes in CUPS (!!!!) :evil:

I have managed to avoid these, and use Metric -- to my own conversion ! (Is there a "Smiley" for Smug ?)

My Maternal Grandmother, was a superb cook, and never seemed to measure anything ----- I suppose that, after years of practice, she knew how big the "Handful" or "Pinch" needed to be ! :o :lol:

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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by jhopgood » Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:23 am

I read a report, or maybe saw a TV programme, where two experienced cooks were asked to make the same cake. Not sure what it was, it may have been a Victoria Sponge.
One of the cooks was a housewife, who did just about everything by approximations, and the other was a male scientist, who measured everything exactly. They used the same ingredients.
The end result was that his cake looked better and hers tasted better.
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Re: The Perfect Wholemeal Loaf

Post by sejintenej » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:31 pm

jhopgood wrote:I read a report, or maybe saw a TV programme, where two experienced cooks were asked to make the same cake. Not sure what it was, it may have been a Victoria Sponge.
One of the cooks was a housewife, who did just about everything by approximations, and the other was a male scientist, who measured everything exactly. They used the same ingredients.
The end result was that his cake looked better and hers tasted better.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (?sp), ex-professional chef and he of the River Cottage TV series, entered a local Victoria Sponge Cake making competition against amateurs and came only 3rd on a blind tasting.
Approximations come from experience, practice - call it what you will and have to be made with, for example, flour because different millers' flours are all different. That is why I have written that following Delia will produce (normally) a very edible result; that does not mean that it cannot be improved on - her recipes are "safe".
A lot depends on the cook/chef's intentions; does he / she want the family to have a nourishing edible meal or is he / she trying for 4 Michelin stars.

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