Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Slightly Eccentric Loaf

One of the pleasures of being an amateur home baker is that I don't have to produce loaves in consistency and volume to keep the doors open. It also means that if I "brick" the loaf or otherwise bake a tasteless or "off" loaf, I probably won't have another until the next afternoon. Yes, I could always throw together a quick yeasted loaf in about six hours but it hasn't come to that yet.

That kind of attitude lead me to today's loaf in question. First, I wanted to try to bake a smaller loaf, not the usual 800g+ loaves of habit. Then I also decided to use a rye starter on a 33% WWW loaf. It sounded like fun to me. On TFL, someone who's just starting into sourdough will ask if a baker has to be strict in their type of starter used, such as a WW for whole wheat loaf or a rye starter for a rye loaf. This happens frequently because they're concerned that they might have to keep more than one starter. Purists will do so but once you get past that stage, you learn that you don't have to. I'm still maintaining one starter and I adapt it to each loaf. There are no sourdough police to enforce such a rule so try what you want, keep the good recipes, and toss the not so good recipes in a file titled "To Be Tweaked Later".



Here's the ingredients for the loaf under discussion.

Starter
20 g seed starter
40 g water, room temperature
50 g medium rye flour

Soaker
100 g Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo WWW, or other white whole wheat flour
70 g water at room temperature


Dough:
200 g bread flour
130 g water at 85F
10 g unsalted butter
15 g molasses
7 g kosher salt
all of starter
all of soaker




 I think the loaf turned out well. Maybe an extra 20-30 minutes proofing wouldn't have hurt but the dough felt ready to me. The "Magic Bowl" method was used for this loaf and it looks like I ought to revisit this recipe in a month or two. A matchup of this bread and some bratwurst or smoked kielbasa sounds appealing to me as a lunch before a football game. Horseradish would fit in the overall mix as well.

Outside the window, the yard is in need of serious work. There was some 6 inches of rainfall between late Thursday night and Monday at noon. That has resulted in a surge of the "bad" grasses in the lawn, crab grass, nutsedge, and red fescue. The lawn looks terrible so when I give it a buzz cut tomorrow, it will merely go to the other extreme.
The Missouri River is still above flood stage and flowing at a higher than average speed. It remains an impressive sight.
There are a pair of hummingbirds in the area now. They visit the Rose of Sharon bushes in our yard. With the nights getting cooler each week, the hummingbirds will soon resume their migration southward and I'll have to look for some new aerobatic daredevils for comic diversion from the autumnal obligations of getting the yard and garden ready for winter.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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