Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Big Starter Loaf and More Peonies!

 While not really momentous, I did get something accomplished today, found some new ingredients for bread making, and narrowed my choices down for a new camera. I want to post better brag shots.

As of today, the largest part of the garden is now in. I haven't turned over the area I intend to use for cucumbers since there's still some cool weather predicted in the long range forecast.
I also put down some wheat straw as a mulch to help retain moisture and keep the weeds down. It also does a double duty of adding organic matter to the soil as it breaks down throughout the year..
The inventory of plants added to the already established garlic, snow peas, and lettuce is as follows: four tomato plants, one sweet pepper, three chile peppers, three Genovese basil, one Salem rosemary, volunteer dill and cilantro plants.

The peonies are really at work in the yard. There still another four or five varieties that haven't bloomed as of yet. I admit that I lost track of the number and their names a long time ago. I just plant them, take care of them, and enjoy them when they finally come around.
I suspect that the reason for them being so early is that they are sensitive to soil warmth rather than length of day. In a usual year, the trees would be just starting to fill out so that may explain why the rose scented pink variety is later. The trees in my neighbor's yard are shading the plants. However, by Sunday, there should be enough blooms of that peony that the rose scent will be obvious at least twenty feet from the plants.

Crows have started to hang out the neighborhood lately. They haven't raided the feeders as of yet but the squirrels are going to give them competition if they do. I've taken to putting crushed red peppers in the bird food to discourage their foraging. Some mourning doves have found shade outside my window under the peonies and other mysterious plants. They do a fine job of cleaning up any scattered seeds from the feeder. When something startles them they take off in a flurry of feathers and noise.

This another big starter loaf that happened by lack of attention rather than by design. I meant to save some of the build for seed stock but forgot and adjusted on the fly to get a nice loaf. Once again, I didn't soak my whole wheat flour and I think I'll have to go back to that. My results with a soaker are usually more moist and a little sweeter. For the time involved, it's a no lose step toward a better result.

I added a Tbs of molasses for this loaf and it certainly did no harm. The fermentation was good and vigorous and the crust well colored.

190g of 72% hydration starter using
15g firm starter
40g water
24g whole rye flour
26g 85% AP/15% whole rye starter feed
Second feed:
30g water
50g starter feed

Main Dough:

300g bread flour
100g stone ground whole wheat
27g wheat germ
290g water at 86F
10g kosher salt
15g (or 1 Tbs) molasses
All of starter

While out and about down in Overland Park, KS, I went to a Whole Foods (AKA Whole Paycheck) store to look for some fresh yeast. I talked to the baker on duty at the time who told me that her store didn't carry the product nor did any of the other area stores carry fresh yeast. She said that she had tried to find some for her own baking but couldn't locate any. The stop wasn't a total loss since I found some Bob's Red Mill wheat bran and corn flour for cheaper prices than I can find here in Leavenworth.

I'm not going to mail order fresh yeast given the warm weather we've been having so I'm currently stymied as to where to locate some in the KC, MO area. Topeka, KS and Omaha, NE are my next guesses as to where I might locate some. Time to do some detective work for the search.

Today's out of the ordinary page view was from Chile. If you see an American by the name of Craig Flip, that's my wife's nephew down there. Tell him we said "Hey!"and to email me any local bread recipes he can talk his friends into sharing.

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