[Sca-cooks] Final thoughts from my Laurel's Prize Tourney entry

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Tue Sep 11 19:51:37 PDT 2007

> The manchet loaf came out well with a nice thick and chewy
> crumb. I did a major headslap moment just as I put the loaf into
> the oven. I gave it a quick brush with milk to brown the top. And
> then I realized I was making a manchet loaf and it should be as
> white as possible. I, without thinking, fell into a modern mindset
> to serve a browned loaf. Oops. But the interior was white as snow
> and tasted very nice. Especially when sprinkled with a small pinch
> of salt.

If you look at the paintings with manchet loaves, they tend to be a light 
golden brown.  It's the interiors that are supposed to be white. 
Interestingly one of the experiments I did was with an ale barm that 
imparted a brown color to the interior of the loaf.  I obviously need to run 
some tests on cleaning barm.

If you want to keep the loaf from getting too dark, don't put anything on it 
and about halfway through the baking cover the loaves.

> Two problems with the loaf were that it had risen oddly in the oven
> and there was a split on the side and an air bubble had developed in
> the top. One of the Laurels talking with me said she had watched
> the cooks at Hampton Court make manchets as short cylinders and then
> the top was dimpled with the thumbs. So, it appears I DID make the
> loaf right because a "fix" had to be created. Now I know how to avoid
> that problem next time.
> Gunthar

Without seeing the full process, I can say that these problems are usually 
caused by the yeast working too fast, the dough being raised at too high a 
temperature or incomplete kneading.


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