Sunday, January 01, 2012

367 Days Later

There is no prize for guessing what the plant with the bright green leafs is. The surprising thing about the photograph is that I took it on Friday afternoon in the backyard of my house. After plenty of frost days, I'm a little bit amazed that a cilantro plant could still be alive at this time of year. Its existence has nothing to do with me or my having a "green thumb". Some things just happen. We have a California Poppy plant that's still green and for better or worse, so are some weeds in the flower beds.

This first loaf is a pain de Campagne I baked for a New years Eve dinner at Rob and Sachiko's house in Farley, MO. I can't help myself from baking this style of bread. This particular loaf owes its formula to D Leader's book "Local Breads". It was particularly successful in that people were cutting slices and eating them plain, with no butter or honey. Rob started people on slicing some mild blue cheese to go with the bread and that worked quite well. Michelle, from WWW., has sent me a couple of jpg. files of crumb shots that I'll post sometime in the next few days with the formula for this loaf. If you do cake decoration, check out her web site. She does do international shipping.

The second loaf in today's post is what I baked for home consumption. Besides using 30% white whole wheat flour, I also added 40g of wheat germ for this sourdough loaf. I suspect that it was the wheat germ that helped to bring about a much firmer dough than the 70% hydration I estimated before mixing. Usually, I will do two stretch and folds during a 2hr30min-3hr bulk fermentation. This loaf was ready to shape after a 1 hour bulk fermentation. I'm not saying it can't happen because it did happen this time. My saving grace on the loaf was probably a slow proof where I started in the refrigerator at around 42-45F then moved it out into the basement where the ambient temperature is averaging 62F. There was a decent oven spring. I have some crumb shots for this loaf that will probably added in the next day or two as well.

I first started this blog back on 29 December 2010. Since then, I'm amazed that I my blog has accumulated some 1690 page views. I have to be humble about that statistic because I also remember that there are over 6 Billion people on the planet with at least half of those folks with internet access. My blog may be available worldwide but it's still obscure. The fact that I get frequent page views from Germany and Russia is both flattering and puzzling since both countries have such strong cultural ties to bread throughout their histories.

Sometime in the near future, I'm going to find a guest book app to add to the front page. Maybe then I'll find out whether or not all those links from and are real people or spammers.

Comments, humor, and questions are still welcome.
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