Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Turkey Red Loaf

I've done some extra research on the Turkey Red strain of wheat and its cultivation in Kansas. There seems to some conflict about whether or not it was the wheat strain brought over from Czarist Russia in the 1870s. One source said it wasn't typical of the wheat grown by the Mennonites near the Black Sea in that era. Another source relates how later in the 19th century, 15,000 bushels of Turkey Red were brought over from Russia and placed in boxcars in three different Kansas counties for distribution to the local farmers. I suspect that without some scholarly research at Kansas State University, I won't be able to present anything definitive. In any case, Turkey Red did become the dominant strain planted in Kansas for years as far as I've been able to determine.

The pictures are of my first loaf made with the bolted Turkey Red flour. It's a lean sourdough loaf with no added sugars or fats. Did I mention that it's really good as well? Consider yourselves notified.

Starter:
110g at 85% hydration
85% AP flour, 15% whole rye flours.

Soaker:
100g bolted Turkey Red flour
100g water

Main Dough:
200g bread flour
100g water at 85F
6g kosher salt
all of starter
all of soaker


It's in what I guess I can term as my small loaf format. Usually, my loaves have 400g of assorted flours. I used my regular procedures and the dough turned out to be easy to handle. The loaf was proofed in the shopping bag setup that Codruta brought up on TFL. It works very nicely for small loaves. A little more proofing wouldn't have hurt the loaf but I still got a nice oven spring. The flavor is much like that of a good white whole wheat flour.

There's some Heartland Mills whole wheat sitting in my freezer downstairs and I know I won't be able to stop from trying that flour soon to see which of the Heartland Mills whole wheat flours I prefer, Golden Buffalo, Turkey Red, or the whole wheat. I don't see that as a problem. The problem is finding the flour at a reasonable cost. I did find it at the Bad Seed Farmers Market in KC, MO earlier this year but that's only open on Friday nights. Shipping and handling from the mill in Marienthal, KS costs as much as the flour.

It's time for a break, call it a sabbatical if you will, for me. I'm going to take some time and get away from the computer and go about in the world for about two weeks. I've put my starter down to 60% hydration so it should be just fine in the refrigerator as long as there are no extended power outages. Check back around 16 OCT 2011 or so when I fire up the oven again. Leave any messages or questions for me through my account at The Fresh Loaf. Until then, may your dough always rise, the oven bake evenly, and friends gather around your kitchen table.
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