Friday, July 27, 2012

Potato Water in a Sourdough Loaf

      Let me say that the flavor of this loaf is much better than my awkward title. If you think the title is bad now, you should have been here with me at the keyboard before my internal editor function took over and convinced me to be a little bit restrained. The ghost of my high school freshman English class instructor, Ms Dorothy O'Neil, would've hit upside my head had I not done so.

The potato water came from making mashed potatoes for another loaf earlier this month. I simply saved the water used and froze it for use at a later date that happened to turn up yesterday. Using water from mashed potatoes in bread is an old practice, old enough that my mother and MIL both used it.  My Mom used it back when I was a child as did Delores when Mrs PG was a child.
Besides being a more thrifty use of water, the practice also helps to give a more tender crumb to the bread. I can't say with scientific certainty that the starches in the potato water are easily converted to sugars by the yeast but that could be the case. Any reader with a more technical background that can definitively say yea or nay on that subject is welcome to weigh in. Besides being a novelty to folks that don't bake, the practice may also make the bread easier for children and elderly to digest. Other than taking up freezer space when you can't use the water in the near future, there doesn't seem to be a downside.

Another aspect to this loaf was the use of 40% white whole wheat flour. I have used that much before but I stopped while I was trying to tie down other loose ends in my technique. This didn't turn out perfect but the use of two variables when I'm not accomplished in using either doesn't make for a scientific approach.
Tomorrow morning, I'll be attending a class at a local 4-H building in Lansing, KS that will be taught by a representative of the Kansas Wheat Commission. The class will have two main focus points, shaping bread and utilizing more whole wheat and grains in bread. Those are both subjects where I can use more knowledge then put that knowledge to use in getting a couple loaves ready for the Leavenworth County Fair bread competitions.

Outside, the drought and heat continues. We've had a short break from the 100Fs and are enjoying weather in the cooler 90Fs. It's all relative, you know. At least I don't have to worry as much about which is louder, the A/C unit or the wheel spinning in the electricity meter, both of which are just outside my window.

Starter
160g of 75% hydration starter, built in two stages

Dough
267g bread flour
133g white whole wheat
280g of water used in making mashed potatoes, at 85F
9g kosher salt
All of starter

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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