Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers Challenge January 2010: Nanaimo Bars

So my dealings with Canadians up until a few years ago had been of disbelief. What? Canada? That's a completely different world. Of course, I never said this, but rather, "You're Canadian? Really?" Until I began to work with them, and my whole perception changed. Canadians are awesome. I am just going to repeat that in case you skipped over that sentence. Canadians are awesome.

One of my favorite radio shows, This American Life, even had an episode dedicated to Canadians, called "Who's Canadian?" in which they out several famous Canadians. I won't say who, but prepare yourself to say, "Really? Canadian?"

Aside from a recent New Yorker article arguing that Poutine is rapidly becoming Canada's national dish, I have no clue when it comes to Canadian specialties. So it was quite surprising to find out that the January Daring Baker's Challenge was Nanaimo Bars. Don't worry, I hit backspace a few times while typing that out, so you'll also get some time to adjust to the name.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and You can get the recipe here, though I'll post my measurements in metric at the end of this post.

I typically never, ever buy this kind of flour, though after reading Mark Ruhlmann's Ratio, I think I'll have to reconsider. Type 405 flour is low in protein and is taken from the very center of the endosperm of the wheat, so it's the whitest of the white flours, and is actually the most common. You can normally get 2kg for about a Euro in any discount supermarket, but I spent a little more to get a half kilo of a slightly better quality.

If participating in the BBA Challenge has taught me anything it's that having a good mise en place makes things go faster. It's also taught me that taking photos of your baking makes the whole process last as long as it would if you hadn't had a mise in place.

Here's the mise en place for the Graham Crackers. The only odd ingredient is the brown sugar, which is not the same as Brauner Zucker in Germany. Good brown sugar, the kind with healthy molasses mixed back in, can be found in almost any Asia Laden in Berlin. Why? No clue, but that's where you get it.

One of the problems I had with the recipe instructions was its high reliance on a food processor. I've generally been against them, but after having this small attachment to my hand-held blender, I might start looking at them, particularly since I love making hummus.

I did want to make the Graham Crackers gluten-free, but I could not find the flours in time, and the 405 was all-too-readily available. I think maybe next time I'll try Whole Spelt, just to see if there is a difference in flavor.

The liquid ingredients are mixed together. Honey, milk, and the ever-beautiful Vanilla floating atop the milk.

Mashing the dry ingredients is supposed to happen in the food processor, but I just didn't have the capacity. Instead, I relied on my Made-in-the-Czech-Republic Danish Dough Whisk.

I gathered the dough together as though making a pie, and refrigerated it overnight.

The next day, I rolled out the dough.

Put the flat pieces of dough on my baking sheet...

And poked holes in the crackers using a pair of coffee stirrers.

So the actual Nanaimo Bars- remember, we're making Nanaimo Bars. So the Nanaimo bars require Graham Cracker crumbs. One of the helpful suggestions was to crush them in a resealable bag. It worked wonderfully.

Although you can't tell from this picture the Graham crackers themselves came out rather brown. I think it is because I used my very heavy (and very dark) blue steel sheet pans. The bake time was way shorter than the 25 minutes the recipe called for.

Again, the mise en place: unsweetened flaked coconut, Sarotti Cocoa Powder, Graham Cracker crumbs (in all their dark glory), egg, butter, sliced almonds, and sugar.

You basically melt the butter with the sugar and the cocoa in a double boiler, and add the egg to thicken. When it's all thick and liquidy, you add the crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Stir until it all comes together into a wonderful crumbly consistency.

And then press down to make a uniform base for the bars. I used a rectangular Pyrex dish instead of the square one called for in the recipe.

The next step is my discovery of buttercream frosting. The mise en place is pictured above. 254 glorious grams of powdered sugar are called for in the recipe, but I used a 250g box since I just had it lying around.

The ingredients are creamed together. If the butter had been at room temperature, I would have put everything into my DLX and cranked it up to make the frosting. But I thought it would be a bit much to use a 8 quart capacity mixer to make a small amount of frosting. Maybe once I get through Ratio and bake a few cakes.

The frosting is spread over the first layer. That's two out of three.

The last step involves a chocolate frosting layer. I melted 85% Lindt chocolate with butter.

Though I'm by no means a chocoholic, this is is one of my favorite things to do with chocolate.

The mixture is then spread over the top of the two layers and chilled.

Here's where this post takes another turn. This batch was taken to the last day of work celebration of one of my friends and no pictures survive. Luckily, one of Amy's colleagues is having a last day on Friday, so I made these again.

This is what they look like in the Pyrex dish just waiting to be devoured. Plus, the first photo, way at the top, is what a special round bar, just for me, looked like before I discovered just how good this recipe is. You will too.

The recipe for the bars themselves is as follows, lifted wholesale from the Daring Baker's Challenge Page, but listed in metric measurements from my notes. The recipe for the gluten-free Graham Crackers can be found at the Daring Baker's recipe page for this month, as well as at Celiac Teen's wonderful post.

Nanaimo Bars


For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer

115g Unsalted Butter
50 g Granulated Sugar
40g of your best Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
160 g Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See this recipe)
55g Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped- My first bars used sliced almonds, the second ones used slivered almonds)
100g Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened) Mine was finely shredded.

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer

115g Unsalted Butter
40g Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Vanilla Custard Powder (I used Vanilla Pudding powder because it was all I could get)
1 box/250g Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer

115g of your best Semi-sweet chocolate (in my case, 85% Lindt chocolate)
28g Unsalted Butter


  1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
  2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BBA Challenge #29: Pugliese

I never did get to say good-bye to 2009, particularly since we were flying when the time changed over. We had no party on the plane, drinks were not handed out, and the pilot barely announced "Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now 12:06 in Frankfurt" as we speeded over the Atlantic. When we landed, all of our suitcases were with us, and after two layovers, we were completely beat. Still, we attempted our best to stay up despite sleeping only three hours on the plane and three the night before the flight.

On January First, after two weeks of mostly cold weather in California and Nevada, we landed to a winter paradise in Berlin. Snow, white and resplendent. Snow that hadn't been seen here for two years covered the city. The city was covered in clouds that made cast everything blue, and riding home in the taxi, I was happy to be home.

The very first things I unpacked were the bottles. Hennepin is my second favorite beer (after Saison Dupont), and I brought back one bottle of that, one bottle of Ommegang Abbey ale from the same brewery, one bottle of the Stone Brewing Company XI Anniversary Ale, which was the inspiration for their

The last bottle I opened is the most special. Hitachino Nest is the only Japanese Beer imported into the US from Japan. Put down your bottles, Asahi and Kirin are probably brewed in Canady in order to allow them to put "Imported" on the label. In addition, they brew interesting ales, in comparison to the light lagers that most world breweries make.

This is their classic ale- a plain pale ale aged in cedar casks. It is amazing. Amazing like only really special beers are. Amazing in the way Matilda from Goose Island or Trappistes Rochefort 10 are. Amazing in the way you think you've discovered a secret that no one else knows.

Unfortunately, the sore throat that I had been cultivating for most of the vacation decided to go at me with full force, and that night I fell into a deep slumber filled with the strangest dreams I have ever encountered. I had actually wanted to start bread the day after we landed, but, it took until the third of January. With barely enough strength, I took out the flour and began to measure.

As with all baking, there must always be something that goes wrong. In my case, it was a small mistake. I had made the full suggested amount of biga pre-ferment for this dough, figuring I'd keep the left over for pizza or ciabatta or something. I measured out the Semolina flour. Oops. I was going to use a 50/50 mix of semolina and flour, but measured out the whole thing in semolina. No matter, I thought. I measured out an equal amount of Type 812 flour. I'll just make the mise en place, I figured, and then just use half of it in the recipe after I photograph it.

Did you follow? Yes, no? Basically, I measured out twice the amount of flour. Tossed the entire thing into the mixer and... Yes. The dough was too dry and here I am trying to figure out why.

I forgot to only add half the flour. I thought about tossing the dough and starting over for less than the split second it took me to add the rest of the biga, measure out more water, yeast and salt, and throw it all into the mixer, thumbs pressed. (You press your thumbs here instead of crossing your fingers, though, really, I just cross my fingers and say I'm pressing my thumbs.)

I know, you are all calling foul for not having a mixer picture that you can all drool over. I'm sorry. I wasn't feeling too good, and just sort of decided not to take too many photos.

But, hey, the bread came out great, no? A little- no, a lot pale in color, unlike Kelly's deliciously golden loaf and rolls.

There is a very special place in my heart that is now reserved for Italian Breads. First the Casatiello, then the Ciabatta, then the eponymous Italian Bread, the surprisingly excellent Pane Sicilano, and now the Pugliese.

Without Peter Reinhart and the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, I probably never would have baked any of these breads. I probably would have stuck to the French Breads. Hey, I hear the Miche is coming up.

Other Pugliesers are:

Mags from The Other Side of Fifty

Angela from Gourmet Hotdish and Other Culinary Disasters

Carolyn from Two Skinny Jenkins

Janice from Round the Table

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BBA Challenge #28: Potato Rosemary Bread

Possibly the most humbling thing about baking, or even cooking, in someone else's kitchen is that nothing is where it should be. Rather, everything is somewhere else- The flour is in the pantry, but on a different shelf, and even the pantry is on the wrong side of the kitchen.

Last Thanksgiving was a whirlwind marathon of cooking. It's one of the few holidays I enjoy, mostly because I get to cook for people I absolutely adore as well as be thankful that I am able to cook and that these people are in my life. The bad thing about it is that it takes up so much prep time, and that this year, I was unable to do much in advance.

Everything was made from scratch, even the bread from the stuffing came from two loaves I had baked earlier in the week. The bad thing, though, was that I had to move most of my kitchen equipment in order to cook and bake. In all, we had to take a taxi there with half of our extant kitchen (one wheelie-cart, and two of those large Mexican shopping bags), and a taxi back because of exhaustion after a day of cooking and eating.

As some of my readers already know, Sunday night is Tatort night. However, sometimes Sunday night turns into an extension of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, and I find myself, like I did last weekend with the New York Deli Rye Bread (to come!), shaping and putting loaves in the oven while the show is running. The thing is, that the program lasts 90 minutes and is uninterrupted by commercials. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't a crime show, where anything could be a clue.

On the particular Sunday for the Potato Rosemary Bread, we were traipsing through Berlin doing I have no idea what. All I remember is that I was able to roughly time the rises according to where we were going.

Despite all this, I was able to make a mise en place for the bread, which included some pretty awesome roasted garlic thanks to a tip from Paul at Yumarama. I do have to confess that the mashed potatoes were left over from Thanksgiving, and were a week old at the time of their use. Also, they already had garlic, butter, cream and rosemary in them.

In addition, I didn't have any fresh Rosemary on hand. I do however, get fresh Rosemary every now and then, and dry it myself. No worries, there is no trick, I just put it in a bowl with the fresh thyme I also don't use and make sure it is in a dry spot in the kitchen. It pretty much dries itself. Though, I did soak it in hot water for a half- hour, and then used the same water in the dough.

This is what the melange of ingredients looks like at the bottom of the mixer.

As soon as I put on the scraper and roller, the fun begins and the dough takes form.

And all of a sudden, the bread just bakes itself!

No, not really. The true story of why I have so few pictures it that it was a really busy day and I just didn't have time. We were watching Tatort over at a friend's house. I knew she wouldn't mind me using her oven, since I had used it for about eight hours straight the weekend before for Thanksgiving dinner.

So, just before we left the house, I packed the bread in its first-rise bowl, and tossed a Gärkorb (Ironically called a Brotform in English) into a cloth bag. I thought it was a bit funny to carry the bread on the U-Bahn, but no one noticed. As soon as I got to her apartment, I politely asked, as I always do, if I could use the oven.

Possibly the most humbling thing about baking in someone else's kitchen is that you don't have your own tools on hand. A serrated knife stood in for the lame, and the bread was baked on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

But what has to be the most humbling of all is that the oven is completely different. The thermostat lies on every oven I've ever used, so an oven thermometer has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. This time, though I didn't have it on hand, the oven heated from the bottom so the crust did not get as dark. I have become so used to my small electric oven that I forget that baking bread in another oven will not be the same.

Still, the bread smelled heavenly and the taste was- well, I kept sneaking slices of this plain. The bread was soft and the crumb was moist and flavorful, like a savory cake made with flour, yeast, water, and salt.

Check out these other loaves of Potato Rosemary Bread:

Carolyn from Two Skinny Jenkins

Oggi from The Home Baker

Janice from Round The Table

Sally from Bewitching Kitchen

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

BBA Challenge #27: Portuguese Sweet Bread

I never experienced "Hawaiian Bread" growing up. For us it was either the store-brand loaf of soft white bread, or it was the long family-size loaf of brownish bread. Every now and then, however, my father would buy a loaf of wheat bread with a split down the top which promised to have been brushed with butter. Though I always bit off that part of the bread first, it never really fulfilled its promise. The thing I hated the most as a child was that my father had a passion for Pineapple-Apricot Preserves, and while I don't remember explicitly detesting it as a child, I was always happy when he brought home Strawberry Preserves.

Nowadays, I don't eat much jam, and when I do, I prefer the Belgian fruit syrups on a slice of anything toasted. The crunch of a good slice of bread followed by the intense sweetness of 700% fruit just cannot be matched for me. I know this is a bit sacrilicious, but I'm one of those few people who rarely butter bread. I usually do it out of boredom or if the bread is so bad that I need to do something to it. Plus, there is this weird habit of buttering sandwiches here that I just cannot get used to. When I spread mustard on bread people nearly gasp in horror. And when I spread fig jam on the opposite slice of bread- well, you would think I was going against nature!

That all having come out, though, it distracted me from the Hawaiian bread, also known as Portuguese Sweet Bread. The first picture, above, is of this weird sponge made with water, flour, sugar, and yeast. I actually had a false start with one sponge, not because it didn't work, but because I had no extracts. I had to toss it before trying again this time.

Above, as always, the mise en place, with the vanilla extract separating out and sinking away from the oily citrus extracts.

One thing that I am always amazed of is how dough just comes together after a bit of mixing. Of course it always comes together faster in the machine, even when I put it on the lowest setting.

The other thing I love is the way dough looks when it has developed. Not that it actually pulsates, but it has this life to it. The kind of way it feels almost solid but still soft. Warm and inviting. You just want to curl up atop it.

My friend K. brought these pie plates back during a trip to the lovely country of Canada. I do wish they were not non-stick because they will inevitably get scratched from heavy pie eating, but they're from Chicago Metallic, so I really can't argue with that.

The dough is formed into a ball and placed in the precise center of the pie plate. I didn't measure, but I do have a good eye for these things.

Even before I began this recipe, I knew it wouldn't fill the pan. Other bloggers who baked before me confirmed this. I did have my fingers crossed, or, as they say here, my thumbs pressed- but, alas, it was the same.

What came out of the oven was something I was not at all expecting. Two, count them, two loaves of the most beautiful mahogany brown. When I pulled them out, I remember thinking that they looked like pillows made out of wood.

Even the bottoms were perfectly browned.

Plus they were as shiny as can be. I really can't remember the last time I did an egg wash- mostly hearth breads take up my time, and then they're usually covered with a dusting of flour.

The weirdest thing, though, was that they were not soft at all. Perhaps because my oven heats primarily from the top, the crust got a bit too dry. I'll have to bake them at a lower temperature or for a few minutes less. Or maybe just stick them in plastic bags for a few days to soften up.

The interior, however, was very moist. And toasted, the bread was just heavenly. It reminded me of my time in Providence, RI and the bread we would buy there. The Portuguese Sweet Bread was always a mystery to me, partly because it had this funny shape that is explained by the pie plate. Those breads always filled the pie plate, and thus, weren't really properly boule-shaped, but more like boule-in-a-pie-plate-shaped.

Because this was one of the last breads of 2009, I can't remember much about it! Too much time has passed. i know that we gave one of the loaves away- yes, we are a small household of two, so bread is always being given away.

Other Sweet Portuguese Bakers include:

Cindy from Salt and Serenity

Kelly from Something Shiny

Chris from Eating Is The Hard Part

Angela from Gourmet Hotdish Disasters

txfarmer's blog (in chinese, but with lots of pictures)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Bread Year: 1-2-3 Sourdough Bread

This year I have decided to blog every bread I make, even if I have to double up on the breads per post, post breads multiple times or even just post only pictures as proof. Why you ask? Why not, I say. Though I really don't have time for the endeavor, I want to prove to myself that the failures (and there are always failures) are as instructive as the successes.

We begin with the first success: This bread is called 1-2-3 Sourdough Bread after this post from The Fresh Loaf, one of my favorite bread resources. Way back, a hundred years ago, in April, I was trying to get the hang of my Electrolux Assistent N26 (aka DLX) stand mixer and stumbled across the formula for the bread. Of course, this actually predates my purchasing the Bread Baker's Apprentice, and predates my knowledge of Baker's Percentages. I did have a scale from beer brewing, so off I went.

People always mention a learning curve when using the Electrolux Mixer. In my case, I never had a Kitchen-Aid, so my learning curve was on how to use a mixer in the first place. Back then, my first doughs baked into very flat bricks that never rose. Even the yeasted ones. I was actually thinking maybe I had made a mistake in buying the machine.

But from what I had read, people initially hated the machine. I was determined that the machine would work for me.

I quickly realized that I the advice I had read- let the machine run by itself for 12 minutes- was valid, but for larger batches of whole wheat bread. Plus no one had mentioned the speed of the mixer, and I also realized that the machine had likely overmixed the bread, thereby ruining the structure of the gluten.

My breakthrough came when I did two simple things: 1) I watched the dough being mixed from start until it was ready. Don't ask me how long this takes, but from my previous experience I know what dough looks like when it is ready, so watching the process helped me a ton. Reaching in and feeling the dough also helped determine when it was ready. All those years of hand kneading have really paid off! 2) I resisted the urge to add more flour. Also known as Add 90 percent of the flour and reserve the remaining 10 percent in order to curb this urge. The thing is that the dough looks like it will never come together. Eventually, like me now, you will just dump the measured flour and walk away.

The funny thing is, every time I pull a loaf of bread from the oven, I don't jump up for joy. I don't really get excited about things when they happen. But when I reach into the bread box at work and pull out a half loaf of my own bread, I smell it and can't believe I made the bread. It's like a twin version of me made the bread and gave it to me. I cut a slice, toast it, and just think about how good the bread tastes.

1-2-3 Sourdough Bread from this post on The Fresh Loaf
230g Sourdough Starter @100%- I keep mine fed with Type 1050 flour
460g Water
690g Type 1050 flour
14g Sel de Guérande

33% Sourdough Starter
66% Water
100% Type 1050 Flour
2% Sea salt

Baked in tiny oven with baking stone and oven steam. Results in a 71% Hydration loaf.

Monday, January 4, 2010

BBA Challenge #26: Poolish Baguettes

First of all, I'm apologizing for the gap inbetween posts. I began this post in early December, and tried to finish it the week before we left for vacation, but the week became too busy. I did manage to write it on the airplane on the way over thanks to the Apple MagSafe Airplane Adapter and's advice. However, I was sick for about 12 of those 14 vacation days and am still now recovering. I'll have a full report on what I ate, including, I hope, a post on churros, unless I burn my fingers off attempting to make them.

So here we go, Bread #26 of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.

When I lived in Brooklyn I tended to avoid French Bread. The bread was always had a bone dry but crispy crust with the whitest interior I'd ever seen. I tended to avoid it because I, after all, made far superior bread. No, no baguettes for me.

The very first time I attempted making French Bread, as in, bread shaped like a baguette was in university. Unknown to me at the time, but actually fairly evident, was the high hydration. I remember stirring the dough. Not kneading, mind you, but actually stirring until my arm hurt. The dough eventually came together, but I thought it was going to pull my arm off with it.

Everyone loved the bread, and even said it tasted like French Bread, though I can imagine that everyone was using store-bought French Bread as a comparison. At the time, I hadn't been to very few good bakeries. And even then, what had interested me more were the baked goods- muffins and cookies in particular. So, of course I was paying no attention to the bread, so even I didn't have a marker on which to base my failure or success with the recipe. Because of this experience, I decided to stick to my basic bread recipe.

So after the near failure of the French Bread and the success of re-doing it, as well as the consistent awesomeness of the Pain a l'Ancienne, you would think that I would have an easy time making Poolish Baguettes. Well, yeah, sort of.

I always place the liquid into the DLX first, then proceed with the mixing. Here is the water, flour, and poolish in the bowl of the mixer. The formula utilizes a large portion of poolish as well as a bit of whole wheat flour. As a comparison, Daniel Leader, in his very excellent Local Breads, gives his secret ingredient as corn flour. Not corn meal, mind you, but corn flour, which is finely ground and apparently turns the bread golden.

The dough came together fairly quickly, but still needed a bit to go. I actually want to make a video of the kneading action of the DLX just to show how the bread comes together. Then again, never having seen a video or real life demo of a complete knead in any machine, maybe my methods are completely wrong.

Eventually, the bread comes together into a ball and there you have it. Windowpane (not shown) and all.

The dough rose beautifully.

And then I decided to try my hand at stretch and folds. It is often described in the bread community as stretching the bread one side over itself like a letter, though whenever I think of a letter fold, I think of folding paper to make an envelope, not the fold up and fold down that is characteristic of this fold.

Here's the dough turned 90 degrees and folded again.

Also, in Germany it is customary to use window envelopes in DIN Lang size (equivalent to business size envelopes) and fold the piece of paper in thirds like a "Z" so that the address, on the letter, is showing through the window. It's rare, even for small businesses, not to use this type of fold.

I put it back in the bowl and let it rise again.

I think I might have erred in this in that I did the stretch and folds not in steps, but only once in the middle of the rise. Recently, I made a double batch of the Pain de Campagne using stretch and fold throughout the rise. The dough rose beautifully and the gluten structure was stronger than I've ever experienced it.

So here. Maybe here is when everything began to go horribly wrong. You see what I did? I began as any normal baker would. With a batard. Except they were too thick in the middle and too tapered at the ends. If I were making batards- and I really should have stopped here- they would have come out marvelously.

But no! I went fearlessly forward and decided to do as the recipe said, despite the size of my oven and the conditions I was working with.

I actually wanted them pointy, but it didn't really work, as they were a bit too pointy and thus too long. In the end, some of the points were hanging off the baking sheets, and I had to smoosh them back so that they would still be on the sheet.

As the shaped loaves were rising, I also made a different bread. I know I've mentioned this over and over again, but on my trip to Paris I became obsessed with the Poilâne miche. So I decided to make this recipe over and over so that when the real one came, I'd be ready.

This also dovetailed with my experiments using sourdough. Even I was astounded by the crumb. In the past, with a store-bought starter I had very flat very thick bread. This was the second loaf of many to come that I made with Beatrice.

Now, you might look at the results and say, "Mon dieu! those baguettes look amazing." But- and here's where my perfectionist streak comes out- I didn't like them. Not because they didn't have the wonderful flavor or aroma of the Pain a l'Ancienne baguettes. Not because of that. And not because the flavor was very reminiscent of the Pain de Campagne. I mean, it was a similar recipe, no?

No. What I didn't like was the crust. Somehow I used too much flour when dusting the couche and not enough water in the hearth baking. Or maybe the linen wicked too much moisture from the crust. The crust was too dry and too crunchy.

Or maybe it was because I had to bake them on a blue steel baking sheet instead of directly on the stone itself. My oven is a city oven, and is relatively small, so I can fit a 30x40cm baking stone in there but with poor air circulation. Also, the rack in the oven is only 30 cm deep, so I'd have some stone hanging off the rack and fears that chunks of the stone would collapse under the weight of the bread.

Still, if you look at the crumb there are very decent holes.

Though this bread might be authentic somewhere, it was not what I wanted- a shiny crust with no flour on it. Looking back, I should have misted the breads. Or increased the hydration. Yeah. No.

I'll try these again, but perhaps when I began baking out of Leader's Local Breads. Then I'll get everything right.

I really can't argue with the flavor, though. Since this formula included some whole wheat, the bread had a much richer wheat flavor. Still, the bread was not as good as the Pain de Campagne, which is slowly becoming my go-to bread when making breads out of yeast.