Monday, September 26, 2011

A Nice Loaf of Bread

This has turned out to be a nice loaf of tasty bread. I don't think it fits under any special type or is typical of any nationality but it works for us so it's all good.

Starter:
150g at about 85% hydration, 85% AP and 15% whole rye flours, built in two stages.

Soaker:
96g whole meal flour
96g water
                                                               
Main Dough:
17g whole rye
17g spelt
270g bread flour
170g water at 85F
all of starter
all of soaker
8g kosher salt
15ml honey
15ml sunflower oil

I admit that I enjoy playing with a two stage build on the starter. It does take more self discipline to plan on how to have an active starter at the time of mixing, especially when I've slightly altered the characteristic of the starter by introducing a new rye flour. Fortunately, I have the time and a willingness to learn from any mistakes. The starter does pay back with a vigorous bulk fermentation and a better flavor.
The odd quantity of whole meal flour was due to the fact that was the end of the flour. I added the rye because rye and whole wheat or whole meal goes well together, adding a flavor that's hard to identify. The spelt has its own charms, especially as the loaf bakes. The bread's aroma seems to spread out further in the house. I like how this loaf turned out. It doesn't have the dramatic crackled crust but I'm still working on producing that.

That crackled crust might show up after I work with my newest flour, Heartland Mill Bolted Turkey Red. Turkey Red is the strain hard red winter wheat introduced to the US by Mennonite immigrants from Russia that settled in Kansas in the late 19th century. The land that had once been described as part of the Great American Desert in the early 19th century transformed into a bread basket to the world as the successful cultivation turned once pasture lands and buffalo commons into wheat fields. Turkey Red is no longer commercially planted in large scale because its yield is no where near competitive to more modern varieties. Heartland Mill does carry the wheat in both berries and flour. Even though its considered a heritage variety, the price is reasonable for someone interested in trying something new or as the case may be, old. It looks interesting to me.

As I continue my yard clean up chores, I'm finding more and more plantings of day lilies that were hidden by neighbor plants. The obvious resolution is to move them to empty spaces. Unfortunately, day lilies spread quickly when given the opportunity and present a new problem three or four years down the road. Then there's the digging up, moving, and digging new holes aspect as well. If I win the lottery or a rich relative passes away and leaves me all their money, I'll be able to move and leave the problem for the next owners. I have no great expectations for either circumstance to occur.

Seeing a bald eagle in flight isn't a big deal if you've never seen one in person. However, I have seen them and it's still an amazing sight. Considering how few were left due to use of pesticides after WW2, their numbers are now such that people may start taking them for granted again. I saw one overhead while working in the yard and they're as spellbinding as hummingbirds in their much different ways. The eagle is really big, with wingspans wider than that of an NBA center. They soar in a majestic flight pattern that makes me wish I had gone to flight school rather than college. No matter how documentaries or National Geographic specials you've seen, they can't do justice for this bird. I strongly suggest everybody find an opportunity to see them.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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