Category Archives: Baking Kit

Scaling a Bread Recipe to suit your Needs – BreadStorm comes to the rescue!

WithSesameCrust

Friday 29th August 2014

Hello my friends, hope you are all well and busy. This is one of my quick and slightly amateurish posts to point you to the BreadStorm site where you can play with a couple of dough formulae if you have a spare moment and explore what it can do.

I had hoped that WordPress would let me embed this interactive version of the kefir levain on the blog direct but it looks as if I have to upload it to BreadStorm’s site, which I have done and if you use the links below they will take you to their site and you can see how the magic of their BreadStorm scaling works. 

So no longer is one stuck with pen and pencil or calculator and rusty maths trying to figure out how to make a recipe smaller to make only one loaf, or bigger to feed a house full of guests, or even deal with the sometimes baffling mysteries of bakers percentages, this is an easy way round it.

Now I dare say if you are a wizard with spreadsheets and formulae you can do this all for yourself and I have tried a few spreadsheets over the years that other people have made, but for people like me, with mid-range maths and a habit of making errors who are baffled for the most part by spreadsheets, (ok I admit it, I loathe spreadsheets)  this is a gift.

Kefir Rimacinata Bread

You can do it on the site the links take you to and print it off or write the numbers down once you have used the nifty scaling boxes to suit yourself. I have the  BreadStorm reader app which is free on my iPhone and on my Ipad. You can find these on the App Store. You can download the free readers and download the formula and other formulae that have been published on the web. There are details on the BreadStorm site.  I have the fully fledged paid for version on my desktop and that means I can write and edit my own formulae and read and scale them. The free BreadStorm reader versions don’t give you the ability to write and edit formula but they are perfect for scaling up and down. Here is the Date Kefir Rimacinata formula  in a bun file for you to play with :-

I used it yesterday as I was baking to scale up my formula to make 2.5kgs of dough. It’s a versatile and useful addition to my small baking life, and now I have got the hang of it I suspect I will use it more and more.

everydaysourdough

… and if all that is just too much and a bit too geeky, here is one of Brian’s photos of tamarisk planted along the seafront at Burnham. You can see the wooden lighthouse on stilts in the distance. We walked out and the rain sailed behind us and inland and it warmed up nicely and we had a lovely ball chasing time with the dogs. As you can see it is in full crazy pink bloom right now!

Apparently it is used as a windbreak plant. It was crawling with bees of all shapes and sizes and scented the air with honey.  I recommend a walk on the beach to clear your head and put life in perspective, but to each their own. Have a lovely weekend all!

TamariskatBurnham

Disclosure -( I believe this is what one should write yes?)

(I am not paid by BreadStorm in any shape or form. I beta-tested their iPad app for a couple of months this summer for fun, and I have the paid for version on my desktop, paid for by me and they have not asked me to write anything about their software or promote it. I do this for love of bread and because I like their apps.)

 

NB … Just thought I would add a bit, (told you this was an amateurish post!). …. To see the scaling working on other people’s sites, which are either self-hosted or allow embedding of .bun files unlike this one :  Try visiting MC Farine or Karin’s Brot & Bread for lots of good information and examples of how it works for them.  MC has written extensively about how she uses BreadStorm software and a delightful post about the bakers behind the project  Dado and Jacqueline Colussi in her Meet the Bakers series.

Short & Sweet : Rye Crispbreads and Cider Squash Farls

Sourdough Rye crisp breads – extra thin and snappy with it! The Holy Grail for me at least of rye crackers is that they should snap and be brittle, something like a potato crisp (chip in US English) rather than something you have to gnaw your way through. Stale crisp breads usually respond well to a reheat in the oven, but if they are too thick and hard then they are no fun at all.

Like just about everything in the wonderful world of bread, tastes vary and this is what makes it all the more worthwhile making your own and finding your way to the breads you want to eat yourself.  Continue reading

O is for..

O is for… Obscure Objects Of Desire

I wrote a post about Fiori di Sicilia a while ago in which my intention was two fold: one to poke fun at myself for wanting all these strange bits of kit to play around with; and secondly to say thank you to Bakery Bits who managed to get hold of nearly all of them.

I am aware that by writing about these objects it probably encourages people to want them too even if I am making fun of myself.

So what do I do ? Do I write about them or do I pretend that I don’t enjoy the searching and thinking about these things, I think I will just continue to write about them, it’s all part of the fun of having baking as an interest after all.

Chocveg asked me if I had pictures of the presses I included in the lame post. So today I made a quick batch of dough and got them out and put them to work, all for you Choc!

Continue reading

L is for… Lames

L is for … lames   (pronounced like lamb or la-muh) *

One of the most common questions that people ask when they make their own bread is how to get those lovely patterns on the top of the loaves and whether a special lame (blade) will magically transform their loaf into an artisanal artefact.

Continue reading

The Partisan Baker’s Sourdough Primer

My friend Mick Hartley bakes bread at home, but unlike me he works really hard at it and for several days and nights a week transforms his home into a microbakery, taking orders and selling wonderful loaves to his customers. Somewhere along the way he has found the time to work on his books and I’ve just bought a copy of the first of these, which is called Bethesdabasics.  Illustrated beautifully by Wendy Shea and written in a clear and succinct manner this book deals with the business of making sourdough in a way that strips away much of the anxiety and worries that the aspiring sourdough baker is prone to.

Cheers Mick!

Next time I offer to show a friend how to get started with the sourdough, this will be an excellent book to have on hand. I am well aware that there are many fine baking books around and more seem to come out all the time, but there is much to treasure in this book and I like the way Mick’s calm and unfussy approach comes through in the writing. You are in safe hands with the Partisan Baker.

 

When I first started baking Mick used to post on Dan Lepard’s forum and he gave me loads of advice which has stood me and many others in good stead. Most memorably when I was dithering around and getting obsessed with different types of flour and trying to make baguettes, he told me not to worry and just make the bread with what I had on the shelf. I think the hardest thing when you start out is figuring out what you need to worry about and what you don’t and I reckon if you follow along with Mick’s lessons here you will have just the right amount of information to get on track to great bread and you will get the recipe for some ‘totally awesome’ flatbreads amongst many others.

Fiori di Sicilia for Panettone – obscure object of desire

panetonne, fiori di Sicilia, Bakery Bits
Panettone hanging out in the kitchen

It starts innocently enough, a Dan Lepard Guardian newspaper supplement, a childhood memory of Polish rye bread, one disgusting chilled sandwich too many at a motorway service station, a visit from a beloved Aunt who has always baked her own bread, a day baking with Simon Michaels, another day with Dan Lepard and before I knew it – I was one of them – a full-blown obsessive breadbaker. Continue reading

Goldilocks and the three shower caps

I had a little parcel this weekend from Lynne who is an enthusiastic baking friend who posts on Dan Lepard’s forum. She is based in Switzerland where I have it on good authority it is impossible to buy a decent sausage roll.

This is the best Wikipedia can do, but a good sausage roll is a mouthful to treasure!

We swap obscure ingredients from time to time and she eggs me on to bake things I would normally never dream of attempting. Lynne doesn’t have a blog yet, I think she is a bit busy, but I reckon it is only a matter of time…

Obscure objects of desire

Lynne knows my fondness for Boots disposable shower caps for covering my bannetons when the dough is rising and has sent me a box of three different sized food covers, so if the Three Bears do turn up and want to make bread, I’ll be ready for them. Though I am not sharing my picallilli with them. More on that in a later post.

She also popped in a box of French yoghurt enzymes to try out and, a very pretty little pack of mini loaf cases in the parcel and it’s not my birthday. Anyway,  I have put one lot in the yoghurt maker this evening and it should be ready for breakfast. Such a good idea, wonder why you can’t get them here?

So here are some virtual flowers from Zeb to say thank you!

Merci beaucoup Lynne!

The following morning – the yoghurt enzymes worked beautifully! A sharp fresh tasting French yoghurt. Now to make some Mellow Bakers breads…

A lovely bowl of super fresh yoghurt and Dorset Cereal!