Monday, February 13, 2012

A Psomi to learn from

This isn't the same psomi loaf formula that did so well for me back in August. I went about this loaf with the idea of trying some things out to see if they'd work. It doesn't look like much but I did get some knowledge gains despite my rather unscientific approach. The first thing that was different was the use of some stone ground whole wheat flour from Dakota Maid Mills, a hard red winter wheat flour as opposed to the white whole wheat used in August 2011. The other deviation from my August project was to skip using a soaker for the WW flour and to do a 30 minute autolyse of all the flour to be used before adding any of the starter.After that, I added the starter, salt, olive oil and honey, mixed the dough and then went into bulk ferment.

After the bulk ferment, I shaped the dough into a boule and placed it in a well oiled 8" cake pan for proofing and baking. That's where I made the mistake that led to the misshapen loaf. I covered the dough with a floured towel and placed the cake pan in a large plastic bag for the proofing stage but when I put the bag down on the surface, I forgot to check to see if the pan was resting level. Consequently, the dough slid and wasn't centered as it rose. As soon as I saw what had happened, I tried to compensate but obviously, to no avail.

The results are what they are. The blow out on the bottom is a result of the sliding dough. If you look at the bottom of the front slice of bread from the loaf, you'll a big difference in the density of the crumb. It wasn't in the eating but not a satisfactory result. The procedure for baking the psomi calls for a 400F oven and a longer bake time of 45-50 minutes. No slashing is specified.

Right now I'm thinking that a black pan, such as the pans used for deep dish pizza, might be a better choice for this loaf. The trick will be to find a good black finished pan for the purpose rather than use a cheap pan that will have to be replaced in a year or two. Such a pan could also be used for making a small batch of rolls for a dinner. As for the taste of the bread, there was no problem. It was a moist, tender crumb with no bitterness from the hard red whole wheat flour. The same ingredients could be shaped for a pan loaf or for dinner rolls and get good results. I'm not sure when I'll use this formula again as I prefer the results I got with using the white whole wheat flour. It's a matter of taste.

We had our first real snow that actually didn't melt away by the late afternoon. the snow that fell early this morning accumulated to a meager 3". I got to use my new snow blade at last but I quickly found out that it's still no fun to deal with wet snow no matter how well equipped I might be. There haven't been any new varieties of birds at the feeders in the last couple of days, just our usual suspects. The red bellied woodpecker hasn't been around for quite a while now. My suspicions are that it visited due to the feed we were using. It had dried cherries and raisins that the red bellied woodpecker especially enjoyed. The current bird food is eaten by the birds but there are a lot of seeds dropped on the ground that I need to identify so I can avoid buying feeds that contain the rejected seeds. Given their eyesight and lack of a sense of taste, I didn't expect birds to be gourmets at the feeders. They must believe that there are such things as free lunches.

Some of the interesting countries that have been reported for page views lately have been Moldova, Iraq, and Zambia. If there are real people and bakers behind those unexpected page views, leave your town and nation on the comment page.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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