Friday, December 31, 2010

Bake, bake, bake

The first loaf is done and on the cutting board so to say. It's a country loaf from J Hamelman's "Bread". I chose it because, first I want to use my supply of active dry yeast that I keep in the freezer and I was intrigued by the very large amount of preferment used, about 50%. The preferment is in the style of a biga and is about 60% hydration, really firm. I started it a room temp and then set it in the basement at around 60F to slow down the fermentation. It was good to go after 14 hours despite using around 1/16 t of yeast.
The loaf is very light and had good oven spring. I miss the added flavor of that my starter  contributes but the clean flavor from using so little yeast compensates. This is a good recipe for new bakers to try out since it uses a preferment that should be convincing of its utility to someone who has never used or heard of preferments before. There are a couple of other variations included in "Bread" that are based on using strictly bread flour or an AP like KAFs or DMs AP, both of which are in the 11.5-12% protein range.
This is a recipe to bake again and the other versions should be good for occasions when folks might be reluctant to eat a sourdough because they're wary of the name sourdough. I do have pictures of this loaf and will post them when I can figure how to use Photobucket to attach them.
I've got my pain de levain and sourdough walnut and raisin loaf warming up after their 18 hour retarded proof in the fridge. They should be ready for loading in the oven by mid afternoon. Once baked, they'll be on the way to the NYE dinner in Farley, MO.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Opening Arguements

This is intended to a blog about my bread baking and gardening experiments. i may be good at both but I make no claim to being really, really good. I follow pretty basic procedures and rarely document my attempts at both.
Today, I'm between bakes. Monday night's bake was a sourdough miche- because it didn't look like a boule- with Dakota Maid All Purpose, some milled organic hard red winter wheat-20%, and 10% multigrain flour that I found in Middleton, VT at the co-op. There's no name for the recipe but it's a style that I often go back to for the flavor and texture. You might liken it to a Pain de Campagne or Thom Leonard's Country French loaf.
My sourdough starters haven't taken kindly to being elaborated at 100% hydration. They turned rather goopy, if that's a word, and had some hooch on top of the starter. Presently, I'm rebuilding the white flour starter to a 70% hydration because it keeps better in the refrigeration. I can go more than a week without refreshing the starter and still have adequate yeast power to build a fresh starter in 12 hours at the current room temperature around 68-70F.
The whole wheat starter is being built with the organic whole wheat flour I bought last month at the Bryant farm down Hwy 92, here in Leavenworth Cnty, KS.I'm just trying to build up a vigorous WW starter so I can dry the starter and keep it as a backup or send it to friends and family that need some. I have a couple other WW flours, one from Gleeson Farm in VT and another from Northstar Farm in MA., that I hope to build up to see how they compare. Then it will be survival of the fittest among the WW starters.
So much baking to do this week. I need to bake one loaf for home consumption and then two more for NYE at Rob and Sachiko's house. The NYE loaves will be a classic Pain de Lavain and a walnut and raisin bread similar to a recipe from the SFBI and Michael Suas.
Elaborate the starters, secure the flour stock, dust the bannetons, and don the apron- a King Arthur Flour apron to be exact, it's time to fill the sink with dirty pans and fire up the oven.