Wing-it Breads Bake-off

TeckPoh's picture

I know this is not the best thing to do, but, don't you sometimes (well, for some people like me, most times) wing it when you make your breads? I don't care if that exact bread can be repeated in the future. I do it because throwing ingredients (especially little-leftovers in bags) together seemed the most expedient thing to do. I do it because 'it just feels right'. Lately, I've been winging it all the time because I haven't replaced the batteries in my electronic scale.

To start this thread off, here's my latest Wing-it Bread. The flours are strong flour, spelt and wholemeal, and a white starter. Then the morsels are chopped dried apples, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wheatgerm and golden flaxseed. There's also 2T of kelp powder and 2T of lecithin granules. Because kelp is salty, I halved the salt which I normally put. For liquid, water was added, together with 2 wholesome ladlefuls of the slushy bottom of a barley/green bean/soya drink I made, until it felt like a 70% hydration dough.

Incidentally, this bread is supposed to help keep my cholesterol level manageable, but, it tastes so good, I'm eating so much of it that another problem might just rear its fatty head.

I hope I'm not the only bohemian breadmaker here. ;)



332 users have voted.


rossnroller 2010 July 20

Interestingly enough, I have been doing a fair bit of winging it lately, too. Well, now that I think about it, not quite winging it - more experimenting.

Once you have a few formulae you like and have settled on a method or two that you have confidence in, the door's wide open to messing around with your own modifications and tweaks. I've always tweaked and experimented with cooking, but I'm a bit slow getting on to this with bread - Shiao-Ping, for example, has been out on the cutting edge of bread experimentation for a long time. Have to confess, though, I do still use my scales all the time, and more often than not record my formulae and methods in my trusty book, imaginatively entitled 'Bread'. So, although I identify with your bohemianism, I can't claim to qualify as far as bread goes...

Anyway, your bread looks damned nice. Had a good chuckle at your 'fatty head' comment. Do I know what you're talking about? Oh, I know, I know...and it just...isn't...FAIR!


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 July 21

Not caring to reproduce it. However, if called to task, I think I may be able to do something close. I've amassed so much hey-must-try-sometime-ingredients, I have 2 fridges now, packed to the brim. The only way to use them up is winging it, throw them into the bowl of muffin batter or bread dough, not according to a % but, to the absolute amount you want to use up. This suits my family, especially my girls, who love different flavours/textures every day and every meal if possible.

Experimenting and perfecting formula needs discipline (to note down observations) and patience (hmm...this seems to be working but is not perfect time I'll do this....). At this particular part of the year, I just don't have the time for that. I'm all for it, though; MUCH THANKS to you 'lab' people for doing the hard work and testing and sharing with us. Your beautiful and delicious breads are greatly appreciated. Just don't make them TOO irresistible...gotta watch my waistline, ya know.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 July 21

 Great idea TP here is my wing-it loaf.  The bread was already at work so I used my cell phone's camera.


The loaf is 68% hydration, 20% preferment that is at 68% hydration, and 2% salt.  I did have a formula all printed up for this loaf but didn't have enough of my home milled flours made so I just winged it.  I did weight everything that went it to the bread if I wanted to make it again.  The bread tastes really good too.  Most of the flour is Bread Flour.  The home milled flour are sifted and at about 95% extraction.  The other home milled flours include wheat, rye, and barley.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 July 21

Where is it getting the dark hue from, LD? The rye? Is there any molasses?

Sigh...homemilled flours. Now, that is something to work towards.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 July 21

 You know in person the bread isn't dark at all.  No molasses in it just flour, salt and water.  I love the color of the crumb of this bread it has a pale cream color to it instead of while.  To bad I didn't have a better camera to take the pictures with.

Ok I decided to adjust the picture a little bit so that the breads looks how I remember it.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 July 28

 I made up a batch of dough just the way I wanted it and intended to put it in to the fridge.  I forgot to put it into the fridge and went to a friends birthday party.  Hours later I remember that the dough is out fermenting away so I come home finding it has fermented up really well.  I figure if I'm going to save the bread I had to cook it right then.  I turned the oven on to get it all hot and ready to go.  Then I shaped the dough and place it into a proofing basket.  The dough is turned out of the basket 15 to 20 minutes later slashed and put into the oven.  I don't have time to wait for it to rise.  You can see from the pictures the crust broke right down the middle of the bread connecting all the slashes together.  I think it gives it a nice rustic look.  The loaf is going with me a camping/fishing trip so no crumb shot.

Wing it 3

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 July 28

I love the look, too. You are one with your breads! Happy roughing it out! though...the other day, I watched Samantha Brown's Hotel series and they showed this place an hour's drive from San Fran which caters to luxurious camping...not the camping I know, for sure.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 August 18

Winged breads coming up... Ha ha!  My only regrets with my throw it in the bread philosophy, is that even I can't reproduce some of the most remarkable loaves!   And I just made it!  One of the most interesting loaves came from some crepe batter that my Son made.  "Hey Mom - there is some batter left, what should I do with it?" 

After determining that there wasn't anything in it not found in some type of bread dough - in it went.  Still trying to figure out why the bread from it was so amazing!



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 August 18

 Oh I forgot about the camping trip.  I made up a batch of sourdough for the camping trip thinking there would be opportunity to cook it sometime.  We had some much food on the camping trip I never got around to doing anything with it while we were camping.  When I got home I wasn't even sure it was any good any more but I figured a flatbread would be worth a try.  Here are pictures of two flatbreads that I just winged-it to see what would happen.  I guess I was trying to make Focaccia.  The first is covered in olive oil and fennel and pumpkin seeds.  The pumpkin seeds all fell off when it was cut.   The next one was coved in olive oil with fennel and fresh rosemary.  Both were very tasty.  I think it might be good idea to leave a lump of dough in the fridge for emergency bread like this all the time.  The dough of the last one had been in the fridge a week and a half.


Flatbread I

Flatbread II

 Seems the gallery isn't making the pictures the right size.

 Flatbread I

Flatbread II

breadlover 2010 October 24

One could argue that I'm way too much of a beginner to be winging it. But wing it I did - and am pleased to say produced a respectable fruit bread that has had good feedback from friends.

I use 100% hydration wholemeal starter (like the flavour w/meal produces) and in this case I based my dough on a recipe which uses 150g starter, 600g bread flour, 360g water & 10g salt. The wing it bits - I substituted half the bread flour for spelt flour and added a good dollop of honey, some ground ginger, ground cinnamon and mixed spice, handfuls of pecans, currants, cranberries and chopped dried peaches. Just what I had in the cupboard and I have no idea what quantities :)

Would love to post my photos but am having trouble uploading them to the album. I get 'page not found' after a very long time of trying to upload the photos. Have tried one at a time too. The tutorial instructions appear to have been superseded now.

Anyway, I'll post the pics when I work it out.


Edit - pics on flickr here: Just cannot manage to upload photos to this site (?) :(

breadlover 2010 October 25

It's ok, thanks LeadDog. I worked out the photos wouldn't upload because the files were too big. Have now compressed and successfully uploaded photos to my album. Photos of my attempt at Rossnroller's version of Hamelmann's Norwich light rye about to appear in blog (fingers crossed!).

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 October 25


Thanks LeadDog, you are a star!  How did you do that?


I just made links to the pictures you posted on the other site.

CayoKath 2010 October 29

Hail fellow winger!  With most of my baking I tend to wing it or go from memory more often than not.  Sometimes, when I want a really special item, I will get a trusted recipe and sort of follow it, such as Dom's Focaccia. Many times, though, a recipe is for me a learning tool to get a general grasp of proportions and processes or try new flavor I can wing it in the future!  Funny thing is, I usually can remember what I did and repeat it, more or less.  My family knows and understands.  hahaha  My friends who were served a wicked bad gnocchi experiment...well...they were gracious. 

It's no different with bread.  For me baking and cooking are creative outlets and I don't find being a slave to recipes very creative, although I appreciate the science and art of a good one.  Do I have massive failures?  heck yeah!  I learn so much from them, too, though, with the help of my SC friends.  Things like "oat flour is good in small measure" and "too much starter makes a brick not a pillow." 

So, cheers!  have fun!  Share your stories!  I love 'em.

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