Sunday, December 14, 2014

City Limits Sourdough with Bran and Honey

 Been there, seen that, and got the coffee mug. BTW, it's a really good mug, with a nice heft and capable of holding about a pint of my favorite caffeinated beverage.

Mrs PG and I took a road trip to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to spend Thanksgiving with my family. While we were in New England, we took the time to visit one of my favorite places to spend money, the King Arthur Flour retail store in Norwich, VT. If you've ever heard that the store is a mad house from just before Thanksgiving through the Christmas holiday, rest assured that the word is true. If you need some sustenance either before braving the crowds or to recuperate from that experience, I suggest that you stop at the Norwich Inn or their in house pub, the Jasper Murdock Ale House. Try the Montreal smoked corned beef reuben sandwich and a pint of their porter.

We also took the time to find the A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA. Set your GPS to find the bakery because its on a narrow one way street in the downtown of Salem. Mr and Ms King have a nice, smallish shop where they sell their baked goods, coffee, and other foods for either their small dining area or take out. The real action goes on in their bakery adjacent to the retail area. I admit that I wanted to ask for a quick view or tour of their production area and perhaps plead for some of their levain but it was Tuesday before Thanksgiving so I dismissed that idea and settled for one of their brownies.

I haven't posted any recipes for a while because I hadn't baked anything interesting or unique for a while. We didn't suffer from a carbohydrate shortage though and I plugged away, baking for the house, and scratching my head in the hope for some inspiration. I'm not bragging that this loaf is a breakthrough thing but it exceeded my expectations.

First of all, I used Central Milling AP flour, about 10.7% protein, rather than my usual Dakota Maid Bread Flour, 12.0% protein, so I was in the dark as to how much water I needed for my loaf. The next thing was I wanted to use a soaker for some bran because I was concerned about the bran slashing the gluten strands. Then there was the bulk fermentation that lasted about seven hours before the dough got close to doubling. The dough was still on the slack, sticky side when I shaped so I just threw it in the fridge for an overnight proof. I figured that I had nothing to lose.

The shaped loaf sat at room temperature for three hours before my guesswork said it was time to light the oven. I was pleased when the dough didn't start doing a decline into pancake land when I went to slash. After the bake, this rather rough looking loaf with an interesting crumb came out of the oven. It tastes great and there's no bitterness from the bran.

Starter
150g at about 100% hydration, fed with 55 grams organic AP, 5 g wheat bran, 60 g water, 30 g starter

Soaker
44 g water at room temperature
22 g wheat bran
Soaked for six hours before mixing.

Main Dough

288 g organic AP
72 g home milled hard red wheat
230 g water at 85F
120 g starter
All of soaker
8 g kosher salt
1 Tbsp organic honey- Thanks to Thad and Tam!

As the weather here on the Middle Coast continued to get colder and more bleak, I expected to see more birds at my feeders. The usual year round resident suspects became more frequent visitors and lately. The juncos have come to town and taken up residence. Despite having bought some of the food that they have always devoured with great enthusiasm in the past, the birds haven't been outside the window for my constant amusement and diversion from the keyboard. I got an explanation yesterday morning when, in a blur of colorful feathers, a Cooper's hawk perched on top of the wrought iron support for the feeders. This was only the second time I've seen a hawk outside my window so it's still kind of a big deal for me. The Cooper's Hawk does visit feeders but only to prey on unaware or unsuspecting birds so the hawk may have been here before when I haven't been at the keyboard and it may be back in the future. I look forward to future visits.

Lately, visitors to my obscure corner of the internet have included addresses from Cypress and Macau.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

City Limits Sourdough with Experimental Starter

Nothing of interest has been coming out of the oven in the last ten days or so until I finished this loaf. After reading a TFL post by Dabrownman about the use of wheat bran from his home mill in his starters, I figured I could do something similar. I found some organic bran in the bulk food bins at the Hy-Vee supermarket across the river and the project started in motion.

I've used bran in my breads before and the stuff is notoriously thirsty. It's also where the wild yeast spores are at, as well as some valuable food for the yeast. The starter began at an estimated 150% and then I added 5 g of bran on the premise that it absorbs from 3 to 4 times its weight in water. The main dough water weight was just something I took a guess at since this was going to be another one of my "freestyle" loaves done out of curiosity.

The starter did seem to build a little bit faster considering the seed stock had been sleeping in the beer/flour fridge. I took it as either a good beginning or simply good luck that it was ready in ten hours.The dough was mixed by hand following the procedures I mentioned in the previous post, A New Semi Semolina Loaf. This time I had the opportunity to do an overnight retarded fermentation and it was a good thing.

The finished loaf is a nice bit of work with a good crumb that is moist, tender, and definitely tasty.

Starter
75 g water at 85F
50 g organic AP flour
30 g starter seed
5 g organic wheat bran

Main Dough
270 g bread flour
90 g home milled hard red wheat flour
225 g water at 90F
All of starter
7 g kosher salt

The killing frost arrived last Saturday and eliminated most of the insects outside. That's no loss to me. I've yet to really clean up the yard but did follow through on planting all my garlic for next year. I found bulbs that had four large cloves and some with five large cloves for planting so I've foolishly presumed that they are two different varieties. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't, either way, nobody is going to get hurt here. Approximately 68 cloves were planted and are now blanketed with a topcoat of wheat straw. As usual, I plan to try to give away at least half of what I harvest.

Despite the feeders being kept stocked with bird food, there haven't been a lot of birds around for the past few weeks. I'm presuming that its because the local farms have harvested the corn, milo, and soybeans recently so there may not be enough food pressure on the birds to seek out feeders. Particularly absent are the cardinals that have been so ubiquitous until lately that we expected to enjoy their company every day. An extended cold spell is predicted for next week so things may change.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A New Semi Semolina Loaf

I've been persisting at learning the method of making bread by hand and with minimal handling.Once again I've failed to reinvent the wheel while baking bread but I have found something on my own that works for me. Now, I might have read about this somewhere and it finally popped into action by fortunate accident but I'll take it.

It's another step in my procedure but this one doesn't involve another dish to wash which is a good thing.

1.  Prepare your starter or preferment. Lately I've played with a biga level-60-68% hydration, when the final dough is around 70-72% in hydration, a poolish level hydration- 100% hydration, when the final dough is around 66%, and 125% hydration when the final is 61-63%. Baker's choice here folks as long as you've done your bakers math. Overall, I try for a 68-69% final dough.

2. Add the flours that absorb more water than the white flour to a large mixing bowl, such as whole wheat or rye. Add all the water, warmer than room temp-90F or so, to the bowl, whisk lightly for ten seconds to be sure all the flour is wet, and then add the starter or your preferment. Whisk briefly to blend the bowl's contents and then let rest for a few minutes. You can scale the rest of your ingredients at this time if you haven't already done so.

3.Mix in the rest of the flour until you have a shaggy mass, cover and autolyze 20-30 minutes. Mist the top of the dough and add your salt over the top. Then, using your hands or a dough whisk, mix in the salt. Do a four way fold on the dough and turn smooth side up, cover and rest for twenty minutes. The dough will probably be sticky. If so, put a little olive oil on your hands when handling the dough.

4. Do three turns of the dough in the bowl at twenty minute intervals. Twenty minutes after the last turn, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface for a stretch and fold. Let the dough continue proofing in an oiled bowl or container until doubled in size.

5. Preshape, rest for 15 minutes, shape and place in a banneton or couche for a retarded fermentation in the fridge.

6. Remove the dough from the fridge and let dough finish proofing at room temperature. Before baking, preheat your oven and baking stone to 460F for 30 minutes. Slash, mist with water or ready your steam device, load, and lower the temperature to 450F for 15 minutes for an unbaked loaf around 720-750 g. At 15 minutes, turn the loaf around, lower the temp to 425F, and at least 20 minutes or the internal temperature reaches 205F. Smaller loaves obviously take less time in both stages. The semolina loaf, for instance, took 12 minutes at 450F and 20 minutes at 425. We like crust here at Casa PG.

7. At the  end of the bake, turn off the heat, crack the oven door open with a hot pad or wooden spoon, and leave the loaf in for about five minutes more before removing to cool on a wire rack. Wait at least three hours before slicing.

OK, so that won't win a Pulitzer prize but I found it to work for me. The crumb is very tender, moist, open, and sweet. The pictures tell the tale of what I achieved as a raggedy home baker so I know the procedure can be repeated. Refer to "Baking by Hand" by A & J King for one of the sources that motivated me and you may find a detail or two I forgot to mention.

Semi Semolina Bread

Starter
70 g at 100% hydration

Main Dough
200 g bread flour
100 g semolina
200 g water at 90F
All of starter
6 g kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil


The other loaf today is a variation on my house loaf designed to test the use of a more firm starter and a slightly higher hydration main dough. This attempt with a casual approach also worked though I concluded that I need to once again cut back on the size of my loaves until I achieve better shaping technique. It has the same desirable, YMMV, qualities for a loaf of bread that the previous "hand made" loaves displayed.

Handmade House Loaf-Variation #2

Starter
150 g at 66% hydration
75% organic AP/ 25% white whole wheat

Main dough
270 g bread flour
90 g home milled white whole wheat
250 g water at 90F
All of starter
8 g kosher salt

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.














Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Hand Made Sourdough Loaf


Two loaves in a row can best be described as kind of "meh". It's not that they tasted bad but I was less than excited with the appearance.The first one was a lean sourdough with about 28 g of wheat bran added in a soaker format. I'm not sure whether an addition of active dry yeast in the final dough would have produced a better oven spring or not but I doubt it would've hurt.However, I ran out of wheat bran on that loaf so it may be a while before I experiment with that again.
This second loaf was a sourdough pan loaf with a bulgur soaker. I used 60 g, about 16% of the flour weight, 42 g of water, and a smidgeon of salt for the soaker. The hydration ended up at 68% and would have been a bit taller with some ADY thrown in. The bulgur left a soft sweetness in the crumb and added an interesting texture on the crust.I suspect that I'll revisit this bread in the next few months because I've got a lot of bulgur in one of my freezers.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about making bread with as few gadgets and tools as possible. The trend started after I bought "Baking by Hand" by A & J King. "In Search of the Perfect Loaf" by S Fromartz kept the ball rolling. I really enjoyed that one even though it's not a bread baking book per se. Mr Fromartz does include some recipes which look promising but it was the details and descriptions of how he made bread that were fun to read. Once upon a time, he too was a raggedy home baker.

The books got my enthusiasm up so when I dug out my starter stock from the fridge to bake a sourdough crust pizza, I built a little extra to feed a starter for this loaf and to continue the supply.

By the time I was ready to pre-shape the dough for this loaf, I noticed that it was cooler the room temperature. I have no explanation for that and no reason to suspect that my using a wooden mixing bowl would be the cause. In any case, I shaped and put the dough in my oval banneton for five hours in the fridge. My curiosity got to me at about 5AM so I put the loaf on the counter to warm up and finish proofing. That still took six hours.

My confidence in using this hand made loaf method has been restored because this loaf is one of the best I've done for a while. We agonized through seven hours of waiting before slicing and were richly rewarded. The crust was firm but not shattering and left a great taste in our mouths after chewing. The crumb was really moist even though my hydration estimates have it around 70%, maybe a little less. I have the starter for another loaf using the same procedures building up presently. This will take some time to master for consistent results and though it seems easy to me right now, I suspect that proper technique is paramount. If I can learn this well, I should be able to teach the technique in a casual classroom situation.

Starter
150 g at 100% hydration,
75% organic AP/25% WWW

Main Dough
288 g bread flour
72 g home milled white whole wheat
220 g water at 85F
All of starter
8 g kosher salt
1 Tbsp organic honey

As the days grow shorter, the plants in the yard are fading fast, and the nights are getting cooler. That last aspect has become a problem for the neighborhood. The local red squirrels have taken to warming themselves during the nighttime on the top of power transformers, including the one in my front yard. The unfortunate result of this is that some of them are making themselves into electrical conductors as they climb around the transformers. Their careers as conductors are spectacularly short in that they end up electrocuting themselves. The local electrical utility, Westar, has tried to put shields in place to stop the death wish gestures of our furry friends, but they persist. Fortunately, the local feline population have been removing the singed remains of the victims.  

The last picture in today's post includes my 5 liter colander full of chile de arbol peppers from this year's overachieving plant. I only picked the peppers that were at 2 1/2" long and even then, I estimate I had well over 200 in the colander.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bulgur Loaf with Poolish and a Hybrid Soaker Loaf


So I'm still playing around with soakers and this time I'm adding some active dry yeast into the loaves. This first loaf had a bulgur soaker and a brief soaking of the whole wheat flour used in the bread. Those soakers and hopefully the poolish added to the flavor that was on the sweet side even though I added no honey or sugar. I did make a slight mistake here when I just grabbed one of my large loaf pans, a Wilton 9"x5". The expected oven spring didn't send the crown up, it merely filled in the gaps around the dough in the pan. Nonetheless, it was a tasty loaf for sandwiches or a smear of peanut butter in the morning with my coffee.


Poolish
100 g organic  Central Mills AP flour
100 g water at 95F
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Soaker
60 g bulgur
42 g water at room temperature

Main Dough
188 g bread flour
72 g hard red whole wheat
140 g water at 85F
7 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp olive oil

The poolish and soaker were assembled at the same time in the morning. At mid afternoon, I started the soaking of the WW flour in the mixing bowl while I scaled the other ingredients. Raggedy home baker that I am, I just added the ADY to the bread flour on the premise that it would be hydrated slowly in the mixed dough. I could have hydrated the yeast in the main dough water before I added the WW flour. That would have worked a bit faster. Because the shaped loaf was lighter than my usual loafs, I shortened the baking time to 15 minutes at 450F and 18 minutes at 425F. At the end of the bake, I knocked the loaf out of the pan and onto a wire rack. Then I placed the loaf back into the cooling oven for an extra five minutes to give an extra crunch to the crust.




The next loaf was pulled from the oven this morning. I was behind schedule with the build of my levain, the second stage wasn't quite roaring away. So I decided to go ahead with mixing with a 1/2 tsp of ADY in the soaking water. There was little change in the flavor from the ADY and the crumb looks pretty good. It turned out to have adequate tang in the flavor for sourdough fans .



                                                                                    
                                                                                  


                                                                        Levain

190 g at 125%, 75% AP/ 25% white whole    wheat

Main Dough
                                                                          
286 g bread flour                                                         
90 g white whole wheat
210 g water at 85F 
9 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp ADY                   
                                                                                                                                                                   
The soaking was nothing more than simply adding the WWW flour to the water in my mixing bowl after I hydrated my ADY. That lasted 20 minutes and I then added the levain. I aerated the slurry in the bowl with the whisk attachment then added the remaining flour. There was no autolyse. I mixed at first speed for three minutes, added the salt, and finished the mixing with three minutes at second speed. After shaping, the loaf got an overnight confinement in the refrigerator. Baking was done at 450F for 15 minutes and 425F for 22 minutes along with five minutes in the cooling oven with the door cracked open.


Our streak of cool weather has continued and is now affecting the trees to the point where some of them are starting to change color about two weeks earlier than usual.

A visitor from the Bahamas has found my obscure corner of the internet. 

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two City Limits Soaker Sourdough Variations

Just as another SWAG experiment to resolve my problems with shaping my dough, I decided to change my procedures a little bit, tweak the hydration lower, and see if I could still get a decent crumb. These are the first experiments and they didn't turn out bad at all. I think a long retarded fermentation wouldn't hurt, but so far, so good.

I lowered the hydration in simple ways, less water, less starter, and a lower hydration starter. That wasn't rocket science. Using my large wooden bread bowl for the first loaf, I soaked the white whole wheat flour in the main dough water before adding the starter, and aerated the ingredients into a slurry with a hand whisk.

I knew that doing that would slow down the yeast action because the dough temperature at the end of mixing wouldn't be optimal but it was my experiment and I wasn't in a hurry for another loaf.

After the slurry was ready, I added the flour and mixed until I had the desired shaggy mass, covered the bowl, and let it rest for about twenty minutes.Then I lightly misted the dough and spread the salt over the dough. With my left hand turning the bowl, I used a curved dough tool turn the dough with about thirty strokes. After two more turns at twenty minute intervals, I let the dough rest for another twenty minutes and then turned it out on to my floured work surface. Then I did a quick stretch and fold before placing the dough in an oiled container to finish the bulk fermentation.
When the dough was ready for shaping, it had plenty of strength to resist me. This particular loaf had a seven hour rest in the refrigerator and was slow to finish proofing. That turned out well and I had another trial loaf almost ready to slice in the wings.

The procedure isn't quite refined enough as of yet. I still have a few wrinkles to iron out. I don't claim to have reinvented the wheel here. The method does seem to lessen some of the problems that come from using  fresh ground or stone ground whole wheat flours. Soaking allows for easier judgement in whether or not the dough is wet enough and could also diminish the cutting effect of the bran in the WW flour. The second loaf used hard red WW yet it had little of the bitterness that is accepted as part of whole wheat flour use.

Starter
110 g at 100% hydration, 75% AP/25% WWW
Soaker
230 g water
90 fresh milled WWW
Main Dough
270 g KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt

The second loaf was done in my mixer. I used the whisk attachment to aerate the soaker/starter slurry.

Starter
150 g at 80% hydration
Soaker
90 g fresh milled hard red whole wheat
225 g water at 85F
Main dough
270 h KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt
This dough was relatively firm despite the fact that the mix was only three minutes at first speed, then three more minutes at second speed. Still, it's not a bad looking crumb for a 25% WW loaf.

The plants in the yard and garden are starting to show the signs of shutting down. The shorter daylight and below average temperatures do make the marigolds that much brighter but it's going to be tough to give up having more fresh, ripe tomatoes than we could eat. The sage and rosemary should last another month at least before its time to pack them in straw to winter over. That will give me time enough for a loaf or two of Panmarino and some focaccia with sage.

While I'm always pleased to see that my obscure corner of the internet is visited by people from around the planet, I'm presently very puzzled by the number of visits from folks in France, at least the statistics say they're from France. Given the number of great bakers in France and the longstanding tradition of bread in the food of France, there is a certain amount of amusement for me when the French read my raggedy home baker's blog. Is there a French visitor that will take the time to explain why he or she stopped by? Perhaps they're studying to learn how to speak like a Kansan.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


Monday, September 01, 2014

City Limits Sourdough with Wheat Germ

The introductory picture is a selection of chiles and a couple of tomatoes for some quick and dirty pico de gallo. If i don't talk to myself and say that I was fool, then I obviously didn't add enough chiles. The two big peppers are of the Giant Marconi variety. They're not a true corno de toro  but they'll do. The larger sample was about ten inches long. I complained about little production earlier but the plant seems to be just starting to hit
its stride now.

This particular loaf seems to be disappearing a bit faster than I expected. Just another "freestyle" loaf that happened to work out with a flavorful crust and a bit of a bite in the crumb from the wheat germ. We've enjoyed this particular formula.

Starter
130 g at 100% hydration,
75% organic AP/ 25% white whole wheat

Soaker
30 g Bob's Red Mill wheat germ
30 g water

Main Dough
288 g bread flour
72 g WM Prairie Gold WWW
All of starter
All of soaker
9 g kosher salt

There's a smaller variety of birds at the feeders right now. Since the usual suspects aren't migratory, it's probably just a case of the MIA sorts are feasting elsewhere. Of course, part of the problem could be that the large number of finches are fighting it out for perch space. They've managed to bully the sparrows. We occasionally see a green throat hummingbird in the yard, usually around a Rose of Sharon bush.


Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shiao Ping's House Bread


I haven't been satisfied with my progress on baking as of late. The dough just doesn't seem to feel right so I've tried changing the ingredient ratios, particularly the hydration and the flours, but the dough remains slack and tacky. I talked to the vendor at the City Market who provides me with home milled flours at a very reasonable cost and Jenni is having similar problems. The weather is our best guess and an easy target since it won't talk back.

My next variable to change is the flour ratios for feeding the starter. I've been using Central Milling AP almost exclusively so it may be time to concoct a batch of 70% AP, 20% white whole wheat, and 10% whole rye to use over the next month or so. I've long favored the use of a bit of rye to enliven my starter and it looks like now is a good time.

This first loaf is a sourdough with a Tbs of raw honey from Thad and Tama's hives. There was also 5% spelt added for the special aroma that comes out of the oven as the loaf bakes.

The second loaf got its start from a recipe in "Baking by Hand'. The recipe appears to be their derivation of J Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough. I dug out my big wooden bread mixing bowl for this one. With 20% white whole wheat, this tasted pretty good but I had done something like this before so it didn't give me that feeling of accomplishment.

This last loaf did get me going a bit and despite its ugly looks due to my shortcoming in shaping, I felt pretty good about it. If you've hung out at the Fresh Loaf or Sourdough Companion for a while, you've probably run across some posts by Shiao Ping, a very accomplished home baker. I scaled down her recipe for her house miche using Baker's Math to adapt her work to a loaf size better suited for Mrs PG and I. This was another loaf that I mixed by hand to relearn that technique. It's going to take a while.

On the other hand, this one came out with a great tasting crust that had the tang that lingers in your mouth after the bread has been eaten. It had a nice crumb and the walls of the alveoli were gelatinized.I have a feeling this is going to be one those loaves that I keep going back to until I feel I've mastered the technique.

Starter
166 g at 100% hydration

Main Dough
288 g bread flour
72 g white whole wheat
236 g water at 80F
9 g kosher salt

Even though we are now into the late summer season and the color of daylight is changing, my tomato plants are showing very little signs of early blight and the other afflictions that are common in my back yard. Good tomatoes are so common in the area this year that I'm having trouble giving them away. Joe F told me that he too hasn't had great luck with his cucumber and pepper production despite the better and timely rainfall of this year. The weather has brought us some very seasonal temperatures lately so lawns are turning brown, some trees are losing leafs, and the weeds are more easily overlooked.

The monarch butterfly migration has barely started so I'm reluctant to dig up some of the more raggedy looking flowers or to kill the milkweed. If I had planted some fennel in the garden, I'd know for sure they were in the area because their larvae(?) not only are attracted to the plants, they seem to strip everything off the stems.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.





Monday, August 11, 2014

A KAF Bread Flour Experiment Begins

Normally, I use Dakota Maid Bread Flour but for some reason, I went ahead and bought 5# of KAF BF to play with. So far, it seems like a nice bread flour but don't base your decision whether or or not to buy some on my say so. I bought the bag despite it costing over $5 at the local Kroger affiliate store.

My first loaf  was a sourdough with 25% white whole wheat and multi grain cereal soaker. I expected to see more of the soaked grains in the crumb but perhaps I should be doing that with a white bread formula.

Starter
130 g at 85% hydration,
fed with 75% organic AP/ 25% white whole wheat

Soaker
62 g 9 grain cereal mix
60 g water at room temperature

Main Dough
270 g KAF Bread Flour
90 g home milled white whole wheat
230 g water at 85F
All of starter
All of soaker
9 g kosher salt



It turned out to be nice loaf, with good flavor and crumb.








I had the opportunity to a class on bread baking for the Kansas Extension Service at our local library. While you might think you can cover a lot of material in an hour, I taught the class with no power point program or even using the video projector so I ended up clarifying a lot of times. One of the things I did do right was to bring in two loaves of basic white bread, both of which I had baked that morning. One was a straight dough and the other one was made with a poolish and an overnight proofing in the fridge. Fortunately for me, both loaves were good. The loaf made with the poolish really got a few of the basic points I had been teaching across to the class and the extension agent. It turned out to be such a good time, especially since I really hadn't taught a class in almost forty years, that I plan to work out a class in whole wheat breads to present as an idea at the next meeting of the Master Food Volunteers at the Extension Service office..

Basic White Bread
360 g bread flour
240 g water at 85F
7 g kosher salt
3 g active dry yeast

Modified White Bread Formula
Poolish
120 g bread flour
120 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
240 g bread flour
120 g water at 85F
7 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Lots of visits to my obscure corner of the internet from the People's Republic of China and from Turkey. If someone from Turkey reads this and wants to share a few recipes or formulas for Turkish breads, please get in touch.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two for Two Blues Loaves, lots of pix too!


 I must have had a yeast friendly atmosphere in my kitchen over the past few days when prepping my entries for this year's bread competition at the Leavenworth County Fair. I also baked a third loaf for the house which I really couldn't justify entering even though it still looks good to me. This year's grand prize went to a young woman who entered a braided egg loaf that, as soon as I checked out the competition,  recognized as having the look of the winner. As in baseball, there's always next year.

This first loaf, whose formula originated in a post by Floyd M. over at TFL, looked like a baurnbrot to me so I decided it could be an Austrian baurnbrot and that was how I entered it. I tweaked the recipe down in size and can't remember what else I might have changed over the past couple of years but it's still a good loaf It uses a huge pate fermentee, 50% of the flour, and only 3/8 tsp of ADY in all.

Preferment
220 g bread flour
118 g water at 85F
4 g kosher salt
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Dough
126 g bread flour
32 g rye flour
43 g whole wheat flour
All of preferment
156 g water at 85F
4 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp ADY

This was loaf that I expected to take the big prize. It's a 90% bread flour/ 10% whole rye flour sourdough. Besides the ribbon, it was bought by one of the judges to take home. Entrants can chose to donate the unsampled portions of their loaves for  sale to support the Fair or take the loaves home.

Starter
120 g at 82% hydration,

75% AP/25% whole rye flour

Main Dough
324 g bread flour
36 g whole rye flour
235 g water at 85F
All of starter
8 g kosher salt





This third loaf is the one I chose to stay home. It's close to a French Country loaf in design, using fresh milled white whole wheat in the recipe. The chevron slashing shows that I'm adapting to the use of a small boning knife I found after cleaning out the old cabinets to get ready for the remodel project. I had to do something, the grapefruit knife with a curved blade tip is missing in action due to the same project. This is a successful bake with good oven spring and a moist, sweet tasting, open crumb.

Starter
120 g at 82% hydration
75% AP/25% whole rye flour

Main Dough
270 g bread flour
72 g white whole wheat flour
18 g whole rye flour
240 g water at 85F
All of starter
8 g kosher salt

It appears that the area is destined for another period of drought. The Midwest rainfall passes to the North, around Omaha and Des Moines, or to the South towards Wichita, Springfield, MO and Tulsa. While we have experienced some stifling heat, we've also had some very pleasant, no A/C required days. None of my acquaintances who garden have had better results than I have with their gardens. The insects are thriving as usual but vegetable production remains spotty. My experiment with letting some loose leaf lettuce go to seed hasn't brought in more birds but has resulted in some awkward and surreal looking plants. They're on their way out to make room for me to access some basil plants. Basil pesto pizza will soon be on the menu.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.