Monday, July 11, 2011

Sourdough Pioneer Bread

Adapting my earlier yeast risen formula to a sourdough formula was much easier than expected. After working out the math involved to confirm that my quantities were reasonably accurate, I launched into what I thought would be my final step in developing a reliable formula as a keeper. Well, as good as this attempt turned out, a big thumbs up from Mrs PG, I'm not quite satisfied.

Instead of using a yeast preferment, I replaced that with a sourdough starter of the same weight and hydration. With an air conditioned indoor temp of 80F, the starter build hit the mark in only 6 hours.
As per usual, I didn't keep my ingredients very consistent. I switched back to using Dakota Maid bread flour and Arnold's white whole wheat. The next time I work with this formula, I'll use unsalted butter rather than sunflower oil. I like sunflower oil in other breads because it has no strong flavor and has a high smoke point so the smoke detector doesn't get twitchy. Butter will smoke at a lower temperature and throw off the hydration by a small degree. I'm also considering using only 1 Tbs of butter rather than 2 Tbs. The original formula from the KS Wheat Commission uses 2 Tbs of brown sugar in the recipe. Once again I used maple syrup because I have some. When the syrup is gone, I'll get a zipper bag of brown sugar. Lately, the humidity here is high and I'm sure it would not be friendly to brown sugar.

Despite my complaints, the bread tastes great. The sourdough starter adds more mouth feel to this bread. That's not to say it's dense or gritty but more of the satisfaction derived from eating a good bread. The use of three types of flour and corn meal create a nice palette of flavor that goes well with sandwiches. This may end up as one of my submissions in the Leavenworth County Fair next month. I have the formula on an Open Office .odf document that can be emailed to anyone who needs or wants a copy. Just email me or leave a request through a comment or my account at the The Fresh Loaf.

There's an unidentified bird that has been dropping by the feeder lately. I haven't found it pictured in the Birds of Kansas identification guide and since I'm not an enthusiastic birder, I'm not surprised I've not seen one before. The bird is about the size of the local woodpeckers. It has a white chest, gray body, black wings and tail, a black head, and a black beak as long as any woodpecker I've seen around here. The library seems to be a logical place to go to find more pictures to ID this bird.

The weather outside is typically Kansas brutal hot. At 10 PM, the outdoor temp was still 90F. The high was about 98F at the airport-MCI, but that is more than 15 miles away. The lawns are starting to show cracks, the garden needs watering, and only the weeds are thriving. Just above the state lines in Nebraska and Iowa, there are regular rainfalls that prolong the flooding of the Missouri River. We checked out the river on Saturday and it's really high. The only thing saving the area from more damage has been the breaching of private levees. The levees built by the Army Corp of Engineers have been for the most part sturdy. The levee protecting Ft Leavenworth's air field was breached and won't be repaired for quite a while.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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  1. Would you be so kind to send me your recipe?

    God bless!
    Mama T

  2. Not being really computer literate, I've decided to post the recipe here which I hope will satisfy your request. After I found the recipe on an older thumb drive, I looked at it and realized that I forgot to include a suggested method for steam after the loaf was loaded into the oven. I still use a baking stone so now I use an aluminum foil roasting pan to cover the loaf for the first 20-22 minutes of baking. The last 20 minutes are uncovered at a lower temperature, say going from 450F to 425F. You might find such a pan in a nearby HyVee supermarket or at a Walmart. Another suggestion is to add a very small pinch of salt to the WW soaker if you need to leave it sitting for an extended period of time.Please keep in mind that I developed this recipe during a Kansas summertime when the indoor temperature usually averaged around 78-80F so watch the dough and not the clock when doing your bulk fermentation and proofing.
    I think that's about all I need to add. I do hope that if it works well for you that you'll post a picture of your successful loaf.

    Sourdough Pioneer Bread

    65G bread flour
    15g rye flour
    56g water at 80F
    30g Sourdough starter seed

    Soaker #1
    35g corn meal
    35g water

    Soaker #2
    65g whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
    65g water

    200g bread flour
    35 g rye flour
    100g water at 85F
    8g kosher salt
    30 ml or 2 Tbs sunflower oil
    30 ml or 2 Tbs maple syrup or honey

    1. In a small bowl with room for expansion, prepare starter by mixing seed with water and stirring. Add flours and stir until a dough like mass is formed. Cover and let ferment for 8-12 hours until bubbles form at top of mass and size of mass has at least doubled in volume.
    2. Prepare soakers by measuring volumes of water in two small containers and add flour. Stir well, leaving no dry corn meal or flour. Cover and leave on counter for at least four hours before mixing.
    3. When starter is ready, cut soakers into small chunks and place in mixer bowl. Dissolve starter by mixing in the water and stirring, then add to mixer bowl.
    4. Using dough hook, mix ingredients for about 20 seconds then add bread and rye flours. Mix to a shaggy mass, about 1 minute, scrape sides of bowl into mass, then cover and rest for an autolyse of at least 20 minutes.
    5. Add salt, fold into dough. Add honey and sunflower oil, folding in some of the ingredients.
    6. Mix at first speed to incorporate ingredients for three minutes. Adjust flour 1 Tbs at a time if dough appears overly loose. Mix at second speed for 4 minutes. Dough should clear sides but not bottom of the bowl.
    7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 30-60 seconds and form into ball shape. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover.
    8. Bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours with stretch and folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
    9. At 150 minutes, turn dough onto lightly floured surface and preshape into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10-20 minutes to let gluten relax.
    Shape the dough into either a boule or a batard. Place the dough in a banneton or on a couche with the seam side up. Cover and proof for about 75-90 minutes. As an alternative, place covered loaf in a plastic bag and place in a refrigerator for an overnight, at least 6 hours, retarded proof. Remove loaf from refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature for about 1 hour.
    10. Preheat oven to 450F with baking stone on the middle shelf. Remove the loaf from the banneton and place of a corn meal or semolina dusted peel. As an alternative, use parchment paper. Score loaf and load onto baking stone.
    11. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 425F for 5 minutes. Remove parchment paper if in use. Turn loaf around and continue for 5 more minutes at 425F. At 20 minutes, lower oven to 400F and bake for 16-18 more minutes.
    12. The loaf is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 202F. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 3 hours, 4 is better. Good eats!