Sunday, February 05, 2012

Not Exactly Pretty Super Bowl Breads and an After Party Update

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, the largest day of gluttony, carbohydrate loading, greasy food eating, and beer swilling indulgence in the US. It's treated as a holiday but has no religious or patriotic foundation. It's part celebration of the final game of US professional football season and part mourning that the NFL will not be part of our Sunday- occasionally Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, television rituals until preseason games begin in August. If you're not familiar with US football, imagine a football (soccer?) pitch covered in guacamole or hummus extending 6.5 meters high and you may begin to grasp how much Americans enjoy overeating for this festival of sport, calories, and viewing TV commercials, some of which can be more entertaining than the game itself. On the other hand, most February weather is much more gloomy and oppressive than this year's weather and a reason to get out of the house to be with family and friends is very welcome.

The top loaf is another expedition into exasperation as I try to develop my Sunflower State Sourdough. I used Heartland Mill flours again and I seem to running into an obstruction from using the All Purpose flour. The flavor is still good so in the "taste matters first" it's a keeper. I still get the wheat aroma and a well rounded sourness that's hard to complain about. There's a great likelihood that my problem may be that I don't have adequate technique knowledge to deal with a softer-lower gluten or protein, flour. I'll give this one one more try then file the recipe away to work on when I learn how to better deal with AP flour.

 The next two loaves are for tonight's game party. Rob and Sachiko are providing the prerequisite "Buffalo Hot Wings" complete with sauce from the originators of hot wings, Buffalo, NY's "Anchor Bar" and chili. The boule is a high hydration (72-74%) loaf with 10% white whole wheat and 6% whole rye flour. It got excellent oven spring and feels light for its size so I'm hoping for an open crumb.



 The pan loaf is my Sourdough Walnut and Raisin Bread. It was enriched with two TBL of butter and 23g of brown sugar which puts it into more of a desert bread or bread for toast rather than eating with a meal. I could have easily used dry yeast in this formula. It was baked at 400F for about 45 minutes rather than using 450F. With the sugar and raisins in the dough, I figured that I could avoid an overly dark exterior. The lower temperature may have helped with oven spring because the pan was one of my 9.25"x5.25" pans that ordinarily swallow up the amount of dough and make it look ill chosen for the effort.

Update: The party loaves turned out to be really popular. The sourdough boule had an excellent, open crumb. It was moist, tender, and not too sour. It did have just over 5% white whole wheat (25g) and 5% whole rye (20g) rather than the 25%-33% combination of the flours that I usually have in my sourdough breads. The walnut-raisin pan loaf struck a fine note at the party with everybody having at least one slice. Rob put the clamps on the remainder of the loaf because it's his intention to toast some slices in the morning for breakfast. Life is uncertain so go ahead and eat desert first for breakfast Rob.

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 Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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