Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eccentricity in Baking

I don't think that I qualify as an artisan baker, but the description of eccentric does seem to fit. This is the latest out of the oven. As usual, I used the 1-2-3 formula as a starting point and then wandered across the lines and fell back inside just in time.
Most whole wheat recipes aim at a hydration of 65-68%. My estimation for this was around 73%. I was overconfident and didn't write down the formula so I ended up with about 12g too much water. Fortunately, I included Golden Buffalo flour in the soaker and, as I've noted before, it's a thirsty flour.

The dough turned out reasonably easy to handle for a high hydration batch. The rest of the results were equally pleasing. I had never used a soaker of three different whole wheat flours before- give me a break here, I have them so I use them- and the flavor of the finished loaf is just fine. The crumb isn't too defined here in the pictures but it is relatively open for a pan loaf. Just right for jam, peanut butter, and mustard. If there's any one that wants my formula for the loaf, I'm just vain enough that I'll email it when requested.

This loaf was a 30% WW/70% AP but the real goal for the next month or so is get back on track to a 50/50 loaf.

Outside in the yard, things are happening. The roses, including a David Austin, are blooming well with bright colors. Day lilies are stepping out on display with many yet to debut. We've lost count of how many different varieties are planted in the yard.

This is an old, in a tomato's life, picture of the year's first tomato. More have joined the company so I think it's about time to put up some anti-deer fencing that won't injure me when I go to pick some fruit. The cucumber plants are setting blooms but I don't see many bees in the yard yet so production has hardly gotten off the ground. It doesn't help that we haven't seen any measurable rainfall this month. We get predictions but the rain seems to go north or south of us. Local farmers and gardeners blame this effect on the "Tonganoxie Split", which the the TV forecasters describe as folklore. Supposedly, the  earth formations around the town of Tonganoxie, KS will cause the weather patterns to be less than generous with us. Maybe, maybe not, but I know that I'm not to blame for this situation.

Currently, the Missouri River, a few miles east, is just below flood stage of 23 feet. The latest large scale release from the Gavins Point Dam should be reaching us Friday to early Saturday. Predictions so far are for a river level of up to 33 ft which should cause some damage. We live far enough away that when we worry about flood levels, Noah will have gathered his pairings for a brand new ark.

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