Saturday, June 09, 2012

Road Trip Report and Honey Wheat Germ Bread

Mrs PG and I are back from a road trip to New England to visit my parents and attend her nephew's wedding in Troy, NY. I didn't seek out any local flours or notable bakeries this year but I did add some new pieces to my collection of baking equipment. My father donated a recipe card stand that keeps my papers off the counter and away from spilled flour or water. At a store in Vermont called Basketville, I bought a grapefruit knife. It looks like a double serrated edge steak knife with a tipped up end of the blade. I thought it also looked something like a lame so I put down the required $2.59 for purchase. I tried it out on the subject loaf of this post and it seems to work well enough on my first effort.

The big addition is the cherry wood bowl that I found at Peterman's Bowls and Boards in Turners Falls, MA.
www.spencerpeterman.com
It's about 14" wide with a not too shallow depth to the bowl that should lend itself to the minimal handling procedure for making bread as described in this post from The Fresh Loaf site.

     http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22990/illustration-stretch-and-fold-bowl

The steps describe what happens after you've mixed your dough to the prescribed "shaggy mass" and left it to rest for 20-30 minutes under a cover of some sort. I have yet to try the method myself but plan on doing so once I've treated the bowl with enough food grade mineral oil. Reports on that will be posted in the future.

The pictures of a loaf of my sourdough version of an  Abfrisch (Bohemian Bread) as posted by Plotzblog were unceremoniously and unfortunately deleted due to my operator error with my new camera. The Google translation wasn't entirely clear but I took some guesses on this 46% rye bread and got some pleasant results. You can find the recipe in Plotzblog's post on "Wild Yeast" or try to find it at his blog. Plotzblog has posted many different German, Swiss, and Austrian recipes that may interest bakers that are willing to take some guesses with the translation. If you can read the posts directly in German, you'll have it made in the shade.
The subject loaf is something that I worked out on my own. I have no idea if someone posted or published something like this before but I think that any novice sourdough baker should be able to figure this one out and replicate it well. It's a great loaf for sandwiches or with a healthy schmear of peanut butter.

Starter
175g of 66% hydration white flour starter

Soaker
100g stone ground whole wheat
30g wheat germ
100g water

Dough
300g bread flour
178g water at 90F + 15g (1 Tbs) for correction
10g kosher salt
1 Tbs local organic honey
All of soaker
All of starter

I think the crust turned out well with good thickness and crunch. The color is probably due to the honey in the dough but that doesn't need to be fixed from my perspective. Hamelman's "Bread" has a suggestion for toasting the wheat germ used in one of his recipes. That sounds like an excellent idea to try in a future loaf.

Out in the garden, everything grew up while we were on the road. The tomato plants are about 4-5' tall and more like bushes than anything else. My snow peas didn't do well in the heat so they're on their way out. The dill and cilantro plants look like someone fed them plant steroids. That's OK for the dill, I guess, but the cilantro is too tall to use for food so after it goes to seed, I'll pull it out. Fortunately, nothing is wrong with the basil, oregano, rosemary, or sage. They all look like they're ready to contribute to some focaccia or ciabatta. The lawn already has cracks in the soil due to the dry conditions. Yes, Kansas could use some rain here but elsewhere in the state, the wheat harvest has begun earlier than usual so not everyone would agree with me on that wish. For some information on the progress of the harvest, sometimes called "The Big Haircut", go to www.kswheat.com.

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Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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