Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Breads for the Family



 The reason I haven't posted for a while is that Mrs PG and I visited my family in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for Christmas. The first picture is the house where I grew up and where my parents still live. My brother and I shared the room in the front half of the garage/bedrooms addition where we slept, often fought, and sometimes tested the limits of our parents patience.


While visiting, I baked five loaves for two different meals. For Christmas Eve at Aunt Freda and Uncle Mike's house, I baked a sourdough Pain de Campagne and a sandwich loaf with a pre-ferment. For Christmas Day, I baked a sourdough Pain de Campagne, a Pain de Campagne with pre-ferment, and a sandwich loaf with a pre-ferment. The sourdough loaves were identical in formula, the yeasted Pain de Campagne and sandwich loaves all used 70% pre-ferments that were kept overnight in the cool cellar of my parents' house. That cool and slow build worked out very well for flavor. The sourdough breads were nicely tangy and got the big nod of approval from Uncle Mike.
We never sliced the yeasted Pain de Campagne but my brother didn't throw it back the next day so either he and Jan, his wife, liked it or he was simply exhibiting the good manners our parents drilled into our heads when we were young. Mark baked sourdough whole wheat loaves for a while before I ever started baking so I like to think that they liked my bread.

Pain de Campagne

Starter
133 g at 70% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
80 g white whole wheat flour
40 g rye flour
280 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
All of starter

Pain de Campagne with pre-ferment

Pre-ferment
100 g bread flour
70 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
100 g white whole wheat
280 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
All of pre-ferment

Sandwich Style Pan Breads with Pre-ferment

Pre-ferment # 1
80 g bread flour
10 g rye flour
10 g white whole wheat
70 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Pre-ferment # 2
90 g bread flour
10 g rye flour
70 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
275 g bread flour
187 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Pre-ferment

Baking in my Mother's kitchen was really different than baking here where I can spread out my stuff and not worry about any messes. At the same time as I was staging my baking, Mom was making two "tourtiere" or French-Canadian meat pies. Her Kitchenaid Classic is a different animal than my mixer and instead of a baking stone, I used an inverted sheet pan. I found that her oven did a fine job at 425F whereas I'm used to starting at 450F and then lowering to 425F after turning my loaves around for an even bake. King Arthur and Gold Medal Better for Bread aren't my usual flours here in Kansas so I did do some adjustments during the mixing. Most of my breads are usually just taken from my own head or "influenced and judiciously modified" and these were typical of my lack of stylistic discipline so a little adjustment here and there wasn't too much stress.
My breads didn't get too many compliments at the meals but in our family, it's considered rude to try to speak with your mouth full. I liked the results.

 This rather "blown out" loaf is our current loaf. Essentially, it's a Pain de Campagne with a tablespoon of molasses added out of curiosity.I used a slightly large starter and less water than usual. Up to now, I've been starting out with a 450F oven but this time I warmed the oven to 450F, lowered to 425F after loading and then down to 400F after the turn around. Since this loaf was proofed at room temperature, I can't say that the lower oven temperature had anything to do with the dramatic blow out. But, it does seem like something to investigate.

Starter
165 g at 70%

Main Dough
267 g bread flour
100 g hard red winter wheat flour
33 g rye flour
272 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1 Tbs molasses
All of starter

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of my blog in this obscure virtual corner of the internet. As of this evening, there have been some 3995 page views of record though I suspect that some of those were mine because I hadn't checked to see if the block against counting my views was still on.

Be that as it may, I admit that I'm pleased that a lot of folks from around the world dropped by to see what I've been doing. Neither my baking prowess nor my writing skills have improved by leaps and bounds but I'm still having fun at doing both so you have yourselves to blame for encouraging me. The newest examples of encouragement have come from  page views that originated in India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. One of these days I'll find that widget that counts the page views and where they came from.


Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.






Monday, December 17, 2012

Barbecue Slider Buns and a Non Fatal Blowout





This first project has been on my proverbial back burner for a while. Kansas City is rightfully known as one of the great barbecue hot spots of the US and since I live 25 miles away as the crow flies from the city center, I've thought long and irreverently about contributing to the local BBQ lore with a sandwich bun.

Rather than imitating the soon to be forgotten "Wonder Bread" abominations, I used both a sourdough starter and corn flour. It remains a work in progress but still possessing enough merit to justify at least two more attempts.

Here's what I figured out so far. First, I scaled my pieces to 100-105 g. 150 g would bring them closer in size to a standard hamburger bun size. Next, I really don't need to use a sourdough starter because the flavor isn't noticeable. A preferment will be in my next try. Also, using an egg as part of the formula is worth a try as well. The finger poke holes in the dough before proofing seem to have contributed to a bun that seems to be normal in appearance after baking rather than too round like a dinner roll. Before I know it, I may have something entirely different from where I started.


Starter
150 g at 100% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
120 g corn flour
250 g  water at 85F
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
10 g brown sugar
9 g kosher salt
1 Tbs olive oil
All of starter

The finished buns have a slightly sweet flavor to them but with a smear of mustard or some barbecue sauce on the brisket, it's just fine. As a plus, the bun doesn't go all spongy on me like normal white bread would.




The current loaf in the house suffered a blowout during the bake. I'd like to think that it was all a case of not being proofed long enough even though it spent three hours on the counter at room temperature-70F- before being loaded into the oven.There's also a possibility that it was simply a weak seam on the loaf during the shaping. I do like the flavor in this variation.



Starter
145  g at 75% hydration
Main Dough
280 g bread flour
100 g Hard red winter wheat flour
20 g spelt flour
10 g kosher salt
12 ml honey
All of starter



Our fine feathered friends are busy fattening up for the winter weather. There is a forecast of 2-5 inches of snow predicted for Wednesday night so i might be calling this correctly. Sparrows have been finding their way back in numbers and their eating habits are just as scatter shot as the finches. The juncos which usually don't perch at feeders aren't so discriminating as to turn the beaks up when presented with such bounty from above. The goldfinches have their lost their bright plumage for the season. I haven't observed any hawks or crows in the area lately. Should we actually get some snowfall that sticks, the birds will be crowding the feeders and that should bring the hawks back to the neighborhood.

Lots of Latvian page views over the past 48 hours and almost as many Israeli views as well.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A TuTone Light Wheat

It's not that I've engaged in a sudden flurry of baking, I simply had trouble gaining the momentum for my previous post. And it's fortunate that I did start this loaf sooner than normal because despite my qualms about the last loaf's appearance, there was no problem with the eating qualities. So it's a good thing I have this loaf to exercise my writing habit today.

Today's presentation is another project in developing my use of molasses in bread. I will eventually get back to doing another Anadama loaf.

This loaf is something of a novelty loaf in that I used both hard red wheat flour and hard white wheat flour in the ingredients. I'd not seen that before in the all the formula and recipes  I've seen so why not?  My quantity measurements were well intended but casually executed so the hydration went a little bit higher than I planned. I'm confident that I wasn't the first raggedy home baker to do so and equally confident that I won't be the last. The proofing was done at room temperature for three hours with no refrigerator time at all. The good looking crumb is my reward for doing so. It has a pleasing flavor and a tender, moist crumb.


Starter
150 g at 80% hydration  

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
50 g hard red whole wheat flour
50 g hard white whole wheat flour
270 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1 Tbs molasses
All of starter

Comments, humor, and question are welcome.
Posted by Picasa

A Mediterranean Style Sourdough

As I've perused many of the recipes of breads from Mediterranean countries, I've found that other than shape, they're really quite alike. The recipes call for using a bread flour or an AP from King Arthur, olive oil, and sugar. Most recipes utilize instant dry yeast, a few suggest fresh yeast, and there are still a small number that offer a sourdough version.

This loaf used a formula from Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread"  as a jumping off point and does share some of my first work on a Pan de Horiatiko. While certainly edible, I do see the flaws in this bake. The first was that I used  too little dough in the loaf. The loaf is meant to be baked in an 8" cake pan and my dough slipped to one side, rolling over as I moved the pan, and hence the off kilter appearance. I estimate that my loaf was 100 g smaller than Ms Glezer's suggestion. A larger piece of dough would have stayed in place against the sides of the pan.  The second flaw is that I used a retarded proofing, which Ms Glezer advised against, and then failed to let the dough finish proofing at room temperature. Three hours just wasn't enough when the room temperature was 70F. That is probably the reason for the crushed looking crumb at the bottom of the loaf. Certainly nothing to cause the bread police to come crashing through the doors to seize my starter and yeast supply.

Starter
150g at 80% hydration

Main Dough
285 g bread flour
65 g white whole wheat
230 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
10 g brown sugar
10 g olive oil
All of starter

The diving temperatures have brought a lot of birds back to our feeders. Within a couple of hours, I've seen two varieties of finches, siskins, nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees juncos, and goldfinches. The sterile Chanticleer pear tree outside my window still has a lot of the berry like growths on the limbs. In years past, flocks of birds would attack the tree and the drop zone below and clean out the berries in less than three short winter days. It's difficult to type when such anarchic activity is going on.

Somebody from Malaysia dropped by for a page view recently.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
     
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Another Whole Wheat Multigrain Sourdough

I finally got around to using my wooden mixing bowl for some ciabattini last week. The mixing procedure is very basic and the recipe, of course, calls for lots of olive oil. I estimate that my dough was somewhere in the 80% hydration range. This didn't turn out to be a finished recipe. Perhaps it could have been a focaccia but I wanted to try ciabattini style loaves.Even though it wasn't a very successful experiment, I did try proofing the dough on beds of sesame seeds that were placed on the towel I used for proofing. That does work well with very few seeds falling out.

The full size loaf is another attempt at realizing a multi grain sourdough loaf formula. While similar to an earlier formula I borrowed from Hamelman's "Bread", I omitted the instant dry yeast and honey from his formula.. I got acceptable if not monumental oven spring through a longer proofing stage even though I was using 50% white whole wheat and a 20% multi grain cereal soaker. The basic ingredients are there right now, giving me a good flavor profile and a moist crumb. Including the IDY and honey from Hamelman's formula might give me that extra oven spring I like in my breads.

Had I used a round brotform for the proofing stage, I could have used a fanciful place name, called this a miche, and stopped while the going was good but I'm not ready to call this formula done.

Soaker
80 g Montana Milling 9 grain cereal
80 g water at room temperature

Starter
140 g at 85% hydration

Main Dough
200 g bread flour
200g white whole wheat flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter
Attention to detail, patience, and time

My thanks to the page view originating in Cyprus and the many page views that came in from Poland.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

         
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

50/50 Sourdough

The 50/50 ratio refers to the combination of half bread flour and half bolted Turkey Red flour. When I tried my first formula for a whole wheat multigrain loaf a couple months ago, I used a 50/50 combination of whole wheat and bread flour so this particular loaf didn't call for any trepidation on my part.

I like how it turned out with a nice soft crumb and an almost sweet flavor without using any sugars or other sweeteners. There was no retarded proofing, only a three hour proof on the counter due to cool room temperature of 70F.

Starter
150 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough

200 g bread flour
200 g bolted Turkey Red flour
280 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
All of starter

While the finches are ever boisterous around the feeders, the other varieties of birds are notable for the paucity of their numbers.Cardinals have long been a source of easy laughs from their antics but right now,I only see them once a day in the yard.Goldfinches aren't at their brightest coloring this time of year so its hard to identify them among the finches at first glance. Sparrows, as well as the woodpeckers, seem to have moved on to a different locale. I've started adding extra sunflower seed to the feeders but nothing new has stopped by lately. I think I'll buy some of the Costco bird food the next time I'm in one of their stores since all my feathered free loading friends show up for that stuff.

New page views originated in Hong Kong, Portugal, and Taiwan this past week.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
       
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thumbs Up for Thanksgiving Day Loaves

It's a tough crowd to please when I'm baking bread for my wife's family in Omaha on Thanksgiving. Since I won't budge and bake the soft, whiter than white crumb dinner rolls that anybody can buy at  a supermarket, I have to make an effort that will please the family and myself as well.When I got the approval of a 16 year old cheerleader niece, a couple of BILs, and my MIL, I admit to feeling pleased with myself. The SIL that kept the few remaining slices at the end of the meal thought the crust was a little chewy but I told her to put them in a sealed plastic bag and they would be just fine for toast in the morning.

The loaf on the right in the first picture starts out as a light caraway rye and then got a couple of twists added in. First, I added some white whole wheat because I find that rye and whole wheat complement each other. You can make a pain de campagne without rye flour but then, why would you do that and miss the extra layers of flavor? I don't recall seeing any rye bread recipes that call for whole wheat specifically but small additions seem to work out for me. Let's call it a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". I also added a Tbs of molasses to enrich the color.

The other loaf is a kind of pain au levain loaf, the simple kind of bread that will expose flaws in your ingredients or procedures. I'm glad I passed the test yesterday. Both loaves used a starter that was with a 75 % bread flour and 25% rye combination.

Faux Caraway Rye

Starter
140 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
80 g whole rye flour
20 g white whole wheat
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs caraway seed
All of starter

Pain au Levain

Starter
140 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough

380 g bread flour
20 g rye flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, patience, and time

My thanks to the person from Hungary that dropped in for a page view this week.




      .
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Multi Grain Pan Loaf

This is another one of those works in progress for me. In September 2012, I did a batard loaf with a multigrain cereal that I thought was a successful, if not perfected, formula based on a Hamelman formula from his book ,"Bread". This wasn't the same formula. It's not a bad bread once you get past the unexciting appearance.

Starter
150 g at 80% hydration

Soaker
100 g Montana Milling 9 grain cereal
120 g water
pinch of salt

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
100 g whole wheat flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
All of soaker
All of starter

My first guess is that I overdid the mutligrain cereal content. In my original effort, I kept the cereal down to 80 g or a 20% content as opposed to a 25% effort here. My procedural change of adding the soaker to the flour at the beginning of the mix should have had some effect  as well.   Adding the cereal towards the end of the mixing would have been a better and smarter move.

We have been enjoying warmer than average weather lately so I've been tearing out some more plants from the flower beds. I wish we had adapted the attitude of less is more when we started. I have some blueberry plants that have got to go because they just don't do all that well here. The temperatures will be falling closer to the seasonal averages by the weekend.
Out in the county, some of the farmers are starting to sell off their beef herds due to lack of rain for water sources. Hay and other feed is still available but beef cattle demand a lot of water while they are being prepared for market.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Couple of Hamilton Loaves for the Bake Sale

Thursday was the date for the semi-annual bake sponsored by the Cushing Hospital Volunteers. Mrs PG asked and I volunteered to bake a couple of loaves for the sale. In jest, I told the head of the volunteer group to charge a healthy price for the loaves. She complied with my wishes and had them priced at $10 each. Every US $10 bill has a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Department head, on the bill.

Both loaves had identical ingredients with the only difference being the boule had an hour longer retarded proofing. I have room and equipment limitations that make producing two loaves simultaneously impossible. Once again, I printed labels with a brief description of the loaves, the ingredient list, and an email address if the purchasers had any questions. While I've never gotten any requests for more loaves, I've not been cursed out via email or been subjected to a bomb threat either. There must be a modicum of satisfaction among the folks who buy my bread.

Starter
160 g at 80% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
65 g white whole wheat
20 g whole rye flour
245 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, time, and patience

While my initial work indicated that the dough should have been very slack and sticky, it really wasn't bad at all. I suspect that the WWW flour, which I keep refrigerated, took up more than usual water. The pictures don't show it well but I did use a "bold" bake to get a darker crust that would show through any flour on the outsides of the loaves.


The third loaf, shown on a cutting board, is what's for lunch currently. I pulled out my spelt flour from the back of the beer refrigerator for this one. It's a good bread but I'm not sure I proofed it long enough. I took it out of the refrigerator at least three hours before I baked so I'm thinking that I was good enough on this one. It's moist, has tang to it that may be from the spelt but might have been the result of more frequent starter feedings lately to reinvigorate it after the season changed.

Starter
160g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
100 g white whole wheat
20 g spelt flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, time, and patience

My thanks to the people from Mexico and Sweden who took the time to stop by my obscure corner of the internet for a page view or two.

       
Posted by Picasa