Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BBA Challenge #2: Artos/Christopsomos

Last week I pulled out Fred, my sourdough starter for the second recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I fed him and then fed him again for a whopping 1440g of starter. I ended up using very little for the Christopsomos, and made a loaf of plain sourdough from the leftover starter minus the bit I put back in the fridge.

Because the DLX works by harnessing the awesome power of friction, you have to add the water and all applicable liquids in first, and then slowly add enough flour so that the dough pulls away from the bowl, wraps itself around the roller and squashes itself between the moving bowl and the aforementioned roller.

One of the secrets of successful mixing with the Electrolux DLX is to watch the dough as the gluten strands form. You have to resist adding more flour, as eventually you will definitely add too much. But at some point, the whole thing just comes together and it looks awesome.

So I added cranberries, golden raisins and freshly toasted walnuts to the mix a bit before I switched off the machine, and then tossed the dough into a bowl while I scraped out the stainless steel bowl of the DLX. Of course, I should have let it rise in the glass bowl, but I love peeking under the dishtowel and seeing the dough rise in the steel bowl of the machine.

Here it is after the first rise:

Because the oven that came with the apartment is one of those small size apartment ovens, I could only bake one loaf at a time. I actually made a batch and a half, so I ended up with a huge loaf and a half loaf.

The huge loaf was baked on a Blaustahl pan, normally used for pizza, and the small one on the bottom of a Springform pan from Dr. Oeteker. I used an egg wash for both of them instead of the sticky sugar glaze from the book as it seemed many others in the group complained about it.

For some reason, the top of the oven gets much hotter than the bottom, so I have a problem with overbrowning. I am constantly making foil tents for my breads, and even though I score my loaves, the top gelatinizes first, and the bread explodes Alien-style from the bottom. I am trying to find a Baking Stone in order to maintain better temperature for the top and the bottom of the oven, but it is very difficult to find one here that will fit the oven.

Nevertheless, the bread came out tasty. The larger loaf was donated to a First Communion Party, where it was a huge hit. Half of the small loaf was eaten as soon as it was cool, and the other half was enjoyed with fellow hikers who could not believe I had made the bread.

It still amazes me how others are surprised by homemade bread. I have been baking on and off (mostly off) for the past twelve years, and about two months ago, I had never made a baguette or anything other than my standard two-loaf batch: six cups flour two cups water, tablespoon each of salt and yeast.

I am looking forward to the rest of the book, and actually plan on skipping ahead and trying some of the other recipes beforehand. However, I still plan on baking with the rest of the group and keeping pace as we go through these recipes in order. Next up, Bagels!


  1. Looks fantastic. I have made twice and plan to make bread pudding with it at a catering gig! Now on to Bagels...happy baking!

  2. Your bread looks terrific. Have fun with the bagels.

  3. Great write up. Your bread looks terrific.
    It will be great to see how your bagels come out. :)
    Have fun,

  4. Your loaves look gorgeous...yum! :) I love how others are amazed by homemade bread too. :) I was definitely one of them until I started baking bread last year--yeast TOTALLY terrified me! :)

  5. I have DLX envy! I'll be baking mine tomorrow. Great photos!

  6. Thanks for all the compliments. Back in my "normal bread" days I used to do egg washes quite a bit, as it really was what put it over the top to amaze others.

    I love the DLX even though I am not used to it, but then again I've never had anything other than my hands!

  7. Wonderful looking loaf and photos. I'd love to see the bagels next week.:)

  8. really nice, good luck with bagels

  9. Beautiful Loaf! It really turned out nicely. The slices looked lovely too.

    I have a possible suggestion if you have a very small oven. Go to a flooring store and buy either one large UNGLAZED tile or some smaller ones. These will work great for you as a stone hearth. Pre-heat them to about 50 degrees hotter than you will be baking. Once they have reached the temperature then return the oven back to baking temp.

    If you have no access to a tile store, you can find a local potter that does high fire firing. Ask them to make you a tile to your specifications. It needs to go through a bisque firing and then a second high fire firing.

    Also, after hearing about over browning with the egg wash, I put mine on half way through the baking and that worked pretty well, it was still a little darker than optimal.

    Keep up the good work. I love your mixer!

  10. I made this bread 2 weeks ago and used type 550 flour. What type did you use?

  11. Hi, I am part of this BBA Chalalnge that I enjoy very much. I am looking to your pictures and they are rewarding. What did you put on top of the bread for baking, I alawys use egg wash. Your crust lucks delish....
    I am so happy to find somebody who likes Tarkowski, I can't beleve it! I see and enjoy all of his and here in Boston, were I live now I have quite few movies of him I watch from time to time. Are you an American in Germany? or you are born there?Ileana from ilibili's kitchen