Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Times on the Prairie

There's nothing like a 110F heat index to help you count your blessings for central air. The high temperature today was somewhere around 97F so I decided to catch up on watering my garden before finding work to do inside.

The garden is interesting if not fascinating these days. Usually, I pick my first tomatoes by 4 July but this year doesn't look promising, maybe by the 7th or 8th. For some odd reason, my chile de arbol plant has kicked into gear. I could pick a few right now but I want to let the plant go a little further. The Italian sweet pepper, a Giant Marconi, has decided to set fruit now that some heat has been thrown its way. I have a Goliath Jalapeno that has some action going on but nothing worth picking.

The first variety of garlic that I've picked, a siverskin type, didn't grow to any size this year. I did do a fair amount of soil prep before planting, such as fertilizing and adding a seaweed solution for micro minerals but no luck this year. I may order some seed garlic of that variety from Filaree Farms to ensure that next year's bulbs will start from larger cloves. There is some hardneck garlic that looks promising in two different strains. In any case, we'll have enough to eat and enough to plant for next year. I just like to have enough to do all that and then give away the rest.

The current loaf  being served is one my "house" breads. It's 70% bread flour/ 30% whole meal flour. The starter build did go faster as is typical of the season. While the appearance doesn't scare children and horses, it's not brag shot material. I did manage to get a nice open crumb this time around. I'm not sure if that was due to soaking the whole meal flour or an overnight proofing in the fridge. It worked and that's enough for me.

I've done some research on Anadama Bread and bought the supplies I needed to keep it close to authentic. The thing is that there is no definitive recipe out there so I have a very loose framework to use to develop my formula. Some recipes show a very wet or high hydration, over 70%, while others barely get to 65%. Right now, I'm considering 68-69% so I can bake a free standing loaf such as a boule or batard. One thing that shouldn't have surprised me is that there are recipes that include rye and whole wheat flours in a small proportion, no more than 10-15% of total flour. I even saw a recipe that included lemon juice. So far, I plan to use some kind of preferment to make sure that the tastes are featured rather than a yeast presence.

Overall, it will be a two day bread process. The preferment and soaking the corn meal, maybe a little bit of WW, will start the night before. The second day will contain the rest of the work since I don't plan on doing a retarded proof. The molasses used will contribute some flavor and color to the crust, but I don't think that it will be too different in taste from my Pioneer Bread. Time will tell.

No comments:

Post a Comment