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Oh Joy!!!

Apr 17, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

i guess you know by now that when i'm this happy it can mean only one thing: i'm making bread!

home from the bahamas (more about this at a later posting) and the usual thought came up: what to make for dinner tonight. we arrived home to a surprise package from american spoon foods containing a jar of their new award-winning strawberry butter and a jar of their sour cherry preserves. my husband introduced me to the glorious combination of peanut butter and cherry jam years ago so my next thought was peanut butter and preserves sandwich but what kind of bread? i quickly defrosted some old sour dough starter and launched into one of my favorite sandwich breads--the sweet heart of wheat. it's my basic hearth bread using white flour but with the addition of bran and germ. it is the silkiest dough imaginable and perfect for any sandwich, especially when baked in a loaf pan.

the recipe for my basic heart bread will soon be appearing (june) on the bag of the terrific for bread new gold medal flour called harvest king. i'll be posting the recipe plus variations such as this one in june!


alexandra, two business letter turns only means fold it in thirds and then repeat a second time. but if you do it gently without tearing the dough you can repeat these two turns a second time with no ill effects. you are only exercising the dough and making it stronger! don't worry!!!


I have been given you Bread Bible and I have a quick question. In your recipe for basic sourdough bread you say to do 2 business letter turns. I am unsure as to what constitutes a single turn. Your description in front of book explains the complete process of a business letter turn which comprises 2 turns - is that process for one turn or do i need to complete the whole process again for the 2nd turn. I have been completing the process twice and wonder whether it is only meant to be done once.


Luca made Basic Heart Bread, first attempt, and replacing the commercial yeast with starter! I am so proud....... you won't believe.


gee i'm sorry to hear this because there is no mistake on this recipe. when you say it's burning into the center it it certainly sounds like it's baking too long. assuming your pan is the same size and of the same material, why don't you try turning the oven down 25 degrees and checking early for doneness. this is one of my favorite breads and it should be beautiful and golden. do let me know.


Lynda Teodoro
Lynda Teodoro
10/ 5/2006 07:42 PM

Help Rose!

I have made the pullman loaf sandwich bread (on page 256 of The Bread Bible 1st addition) several times and each time I bake it, it burns on the bottom, half way up the sides and into the center. It is as if it has cooked too long. I have checked my oven temp and the other breads that I have made, turn out fine. I follow the all the directions. Is there a temp or baking time correction for the book? I didn't see it on the corrections that are on the site. I make bread about every other day for our family of 6. The pullman loaf was appealing in that I wouldn't have to make as many loaves each week. Thank you.


josh, i have tried this and it doesn't seem to work. i wonder if you use organic rye you wouldn't have success wherever it is you are living?


Hi Rose,
I have made many of the bread recipes in the bread bible, and enjoy them all very much, especially Levy's Real Jewish Rye. I have tried many times to cultivate wild yeast, but find that the yeast here are too weak to raise my breads. I have ordered from the baker's catalog the pain de campagne starter, and am wondering if it would be possible to turn that into a starter that I can feed and keep in the fridge for use in sourdough applications.

Thank you for your help.


i'm so glad the over-night refrigerating is working well for you. try running your fingers under cold water instead of oil to prevent sticking. it may working even better!


Thanks, Rose -- I have done "overnight focaccia" twice now, and it's worked beautifully. I have some trouble achieving deep holes with dimpling, as the dough sticks to my heavily-oiled fingers -- but it's still delicious!


david, i'm sure it was as you suspected. the seeds act as little razors cutting up the gluten. but next time anything different happens bake it anyway. you never know--even if it isn't as you wanted it to be it can still be instructive and often even good!


ruth, i hope this isn't too late: i've never refrigerated the focaccia overnight for the final rise but i see no reason why this shouldn't work. be sure and dimple it deeply before baking to get the big holes!


when i mixed up the dough for the sourdough whole wheat with seeds recipe, i mistakenly left the speed on kitchen-aid "4" after adding the seeds. the dough had problems rising after the first and second business letter foldings and i junked it after a few hours. is this what happens when the gluten is damaged from seeds at the higher mixing speed? or was i a little too hasty in throwing it out? my sourdough culture has pretty good lift so i assumed something went wrong in the mixing.


I'm planning to make your rosemary foccacia for an early brunch this weekend. Can I mix, rise, and shape the dough the night before and refrigerate it overnight *before* the final rise? I assume that if I take it out of the fridge about 2 hours before I want to bake it, it will be back to room temp and have a chance to rise. Sound reasonable?


When a recipe calls for bread dough, can I substitute AP flour plus a little vital wheat gluten, to get the added chewiness that bread flour gives? If yes, what are the proportions? Can I use the substitute in place of bread flour when beginning a sourdough starter? I have limited space, and can bake bread infrequently. I am enjoying The Bread Bible a lot, and look forward to happy hours of baking with you.


i must report my spontaneous reaction: a sigh (of relief) and a smile (of happiness. not only are you hooked--you're soaring!


Thanks! I'll try giving it 2 folds next time. By-the-bye, breakfast this morning was my second attempt at ciabatta. It was glorious -- beautifully puffed loaf, soft open crumb, and shatteringly crisp crust. I think I'm hooked...


i do like to give two folds because it rounds out the dough package better as opposed to having a more oblong shape. then i tuck under the edges and round it a little before putting it back into the container. but i doubt if you could tell much difference in the finished loaf. sounds like your bread is coming out superbly and as you gain more and more confidence you will find that your hands just seem to know what the dough needs next!


I have finally gotten over my fear of bread and have plunged headlong into the Bread Bible. Thus far I've done 2 versions of the basic hearth bread and one failed ciabatta. My question is regarding the hearth bread. The instructions in the recipe state to give the dough one business letter fold; the instructions for the business letter fold in the "Ten Essential Steps..." section describe the business letter fold as a fold, a turn, and another fold. I made the bread with only one fold (no turn & second fold) and it came out beautifully. Did I correctly surmise the intention of the recipe, or should I give it a turn and another fold next time?


david, when you say wheat flour i'm assuming you mean white wheat and not whole wheat right? or are you talking about the whole wheat component. in either case it's fine to use as if it's whole whea flour and has been frozen it will be just fine.


i have a question about the sourdough wheat with seeds recipe. i have a 5lb bag of king arthur wheat flour in the freezer thats about 4 months old. is this ok to use if i add a pinch of commercial yeast to the recipe or should i play it safe and buy a small portion of fresh flour?


guess what: while busy at the computer, my husband arrived home early and ate all of his crunchy peanut butter destined for tonight's dinner. i offered my smooth variety but he declined so now his sandwich will be pure cherry preserves (things could be worse)! neither of us wants to stand in line at the supermarket to get more this late in the day.



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