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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Flaxseed Loaf

Or Best Looking Loaf To Date
Or June Bread For Dad

After two not-so-successful loaves last weekend, it was good to make two very decent loaves this weekend. The first one, Flaxseed Loaf is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book 'The Bread Bible'. I've made three-four recipes from this book and they have all turned out well, just that they are not 100% whole grain. The ones I haven't tried are farther away from being whole grain and may not get a chance in my kitchen at all. I've made the Flaxseed Loaf before and remember liking it then.

The Dough
This bread does not follow the soaker or sponge method. It's a straight bread with only one rise, so it's ready fairly quickly. The recipe makes a loaf to be baked in a 9 x 5 in pan, about 2 lb 7 oz. It's a larger loaf than usual. I decided to make it more whole grain than the recipe specifies.

The ingredients

Water, cracked flaxseeds, rye flour and yeast (and honey)

I forgot to add the honey to this mixture and had to add it later. At this point I had to add the whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. I probably forgot to tare my digital scale (I'll never know). I think yeast was the last thing I had added, so if anything I was off by 4 g. The recipe calls for 374 g of all purpose flour and 144 g of whole wheat ( 518 g total). I thought I would even that out a little. I started with 255 g of whole wheat flour and added 100 g of of all purpose. Whole wheat flour would absorb more water, so, really I didn't need to add up to 518. From there on I decided to take it by feel and counted about 61 g of whole wheat flour (316 g total whole wheat flour). As I am writing this, I see that all that didn't add up very well and wonder if I added more all purpose flour that I didn't write down. I also added some w.w. flour during the kneading process that I know I didn't measure. There is a reason mise en place is popular among bakers. I just don't like the idea of having a sink full of dishes to clean later.

A very sticky dough

RLB recommends a 20 minute rest after ingredients are mixed well and kneaded a bit. After the rest, the dough is kneaded for another 5 minutes

Ready for first rise

Nicely risen in an hour

Shaping and proofing
While this bread was rising, I thought I would try to bake it in the cast iron pan-skillet combo instead of a loaf pan. I would also try to use them pre-heated. I shaped it slightly oval, just for fun.

Confused boule / batard

After 52 minutes, the loaf had risen dangerously and the oven still needed 10 minutes to finish pre-heating (400° F). On an impulse I decided to slightly deflate and reshape the loaf. In the next 10 minutes it had risen considerably again.

Reshaped and re-risen


Putting the dough in the very hot pre-heated cast iron pan was the scariest part of the baking that day. I had put some oil at the base before pre-heating after deciding to not use parchment paper at the base. The dough sizzled as it touched the bottom. The long end of the loaf touched the edges and I almost let it drop out of my hands in the end. I put the pre-heated skillet as a lid for the first 25 minutes and reduced the oven temperature to 375° F.

A little too much dough for the capacity of the pan

Best Looking Loaf To Date?

The bread
The bread looked wonderful after 40 minutes. It came right out of the pan, almost like it were floating in it. The bottom sounded hollow. The thermometer read 205° F (the book said it had to be at least 190° F). There were traces of dough on the thermometer and I thought they would go when the loaf cooked some more as it cooled. I wasn't sure if I should have left the loaf in the pan, but I took it out.

Sliced thin.

Decent crumb

I thought the bread tasted a tad under baked, another 5 minutes in the oven would have done the trick.I was misled by the good looking crust. This loaf was given to Dad, so I don't know how it fared on later days and if toasting made it taste much better like the book said would.

Date: June 5, 2011
Recipe: Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Bread Bible'

Flours: Whole wheat, all purpose flour and a little rye flour
Bread specific ingredients: Flaxseeds (cracked)
Sweetener used: Honey
Liquid: Water

First rise time: 65 mins
Proofing time: 60 mins
Comments: I was so happy to see the crust when I took the lid off the pan at half time. Just my luck that I didn't write down the measurements precisely. It would be worth trying to use more whole grain. Maybe reduce the total weight and size so it fits in the pan better. Will need to experiment more with using the pre-heated pan-skillet combo. Forgot to spray the loaf with water to create steam within the combo, but the moisture in the dough seemed sufficient. Also, it helped make that crackly crust. Just need to be super careful putting the dough in the pan.


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