Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Leavenworth County Fair 2012 Swag

          On Sunday morning, after the Fair had closed and the dust from the demolition derby settled, I went back to collect my prize ribbons. When I got to the exhibition hall, I found that Red Star Yeast, a sponsor for the competition provided some extras for the "Grand Champion". Included was a baker's apron, a spatula, two dial thermometers, and an oven mitt. The gifts weren't great in cost but I do appreciate the gesture. There's not much chance of landing an endorsement deal from Red Star Yeast in the future.

Today's bread is one where I used some the home milled hard red wheat that I bought at the Farmers Market. I've enjoyed using it and expressed my thanks by giving the vendors a small- 90g, piece of starter that I built up with the flour I purchased from them. I also gave them some dried white flour starter and instructions on how to revive it so they can have a plan B.

Using the hard red wheat flour really did add something extra to the starter. During the second stage of the build the starter tripled in about 4 1/2 hours at room temperature around 78F.

Starter
165g at 75% hydration, fed with 75% AP/ 25% home milled Montana Milling wheat

Dough
275g bread flour
25g whole rye flour
100g home milled Montana Milling hard red wheat.
280g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
1 Tbs Easton Hillside honey
All of starter

Sometime on Sunday, the blog received its 3000th page view. I'm baffled as to how that happened but my thanks to the readers who have found what is essentially my exercise in writing. I'm as good at writing as I am at baking with lots of enthusiasm but still a work in progress. 


The newest country to find its way into the blog has been a page view from Sweden.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

A Change in the Weather

    There's a possibility that the drought producing weather conditions around here may be breaking as I type. We had a short, sharp thunder storm roll through town a couple nights ago to deliver the first substantial rainfall in a couple of months. The long range forecast is calling for more rain on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. I know I'm not a farmer but I'm trying to be optimistic about that forecast. The quality of the daylight has changed more than a little over the past ten days or so. Maybe it's just my eyes but it seems to have a more golden quality to it now, a sure sign of autumn approaching.

The best part has been the cooler temperatures to the degree that we shut off the A/C today and opened up the windows for fresh air. The morning low for tomorrow is forecast to be 59F, something we haven't seen since late April-early May. Tomorrow will be comfortable but typical August temperatures in the low 90s are coming back by Sunday. After enduring the daytime highs in the 100s, it will be tolerable. With a little more rain, I may be able to resume weeding the flower beds.

The bread for today is another simple sourdough typical of what I've been doing lately. While my desire to improve my craft at baking remains, the creativity seems to be on hiatus. I wanted to finish off a bag of some Dakota Maid stone ground whole wheat so that was brought to the fore. I think it turned out pretty well with a good chewy crust and a reasonably open crumb.

Starter
165g 75% hydration starter, 85/15 AP/rye flour

Dough
300g bread flour
100g stone ground whole wheat
280g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of starter


I started developing a new procedure for making pizza dough this morning. There was no scientific reason, just a whim that holds some promise. I have been using a straight, yeasted dough procedure that is heavily influenced by, if not stolen from, a recipe in Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking". This morning's effort used a sponge preferment that is both easy in method and produces a better tasting dough that was easy to handle when shaping the pie. If any one tries it out, I hope you'll leave a comment for me with your results.

180g water at 95F
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
20g stone ground whole wheat
120g AP flour

All of sponge
126g AP flour
5g kosher salt

After mixing the sponge, I covered the bowl and let it sit out at room temperature for about 4 hours.I mixed the salt into the AP flour and slowly added the flour to the sponge. Because the sponge was quite active before mixing, I just put the resultant dough in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and then let it rest in the fridge for about 4 1/2 hours. After an hour's rest at room temperature, the dough easily stretched out to fit a 14" perforated pizza pan. The dough is approximately 67% hydration and should be able to handle a Tbs of olive oil or a little more water.Whole rye flour could be substituted for some of the whole wheat. This is an easy procedure where the clean up took as much time as the work of mixing and measuring. I'm not the neat and tidy baker I should be.

New visitors to this blog site over the pat few days include guests from Austria, Ghana, and Panama.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.





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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Leavenworth County Fair 2012 Results; What a Difference a Day Makes!

When I posted the first pictures of my entries for the County Fair, I wasn't wildly enthusiastic about my chances. I figured that if there was any competition in the categories, I couldn't be too dissappointed if I didn't win. Still, it's good to have the self confidence to enter into even a small time County Fair.

My breads were entered this morning and I returned to the Fair this afternoon, twenty miles each direction, there and back, to get the results of the judging.

After I entered the Crafts building and found my loaves, I was pleased to see blue ribbons for both of my entries. Better than that, my sourdough loaf was under consideration by the judges for "Grand Champion" of the yeast breads category. The judges asked me to make myself scarce while they finished their work so I went out to grab some pictures of the goats whom I always find amusing and photogenic. When I returned to the Craft Building, My attitude was further improved by finding that I had been awarded "Grand Champion" in the Yeast Bread Class. Not bad for a raggedy home baker such as myself.

Both loaves used the same starter. In order to add some punch to flavor and encourage more activity, the first stage feed was elaborated with whole rye flour. The second stage was fed with some AP from Wheat Montana.

Sourdough Loaf

Starter
165g 75% hydration

Main Dough
360g Dakota Maid bread flour
20g   whole rye flour
20g   Wheat Montana Prairie Gold WWW
280g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of starter

Rye Loaf
165g 75%hydration

Main Dough
300g DM bread flour
100g whole rye flour
280g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of starter

As I said before, the recipes are simple but they worked.


Comments, humor, and questions are welcome. 
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Monday, August 06, 2012

Still Warm from the Oven, Going to the Fair

    These are loaves that are going to the County Fair tomorrow morning. The top loaf is a sourdough and the other is a light rye. Neither one seems to show up well in the photos but they did smell great coming out of the oven. I'll have them entered by 9AM CDT and the judging should be done by 2PM.

I think that I'll take next year off from the competition. After figuring out how to maintain and use my starter to advantage, its time to work harder on my shaping. The size and weight of my loaves, around 850g or 30 oz before baking may be a large part of my problem. I also prefer my hydration levels to be around 70-72% so I guess I'm asking for trouble. But these problems can be overcome with more practice.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Malted Wheat Flake Miche

    Is a miche the result of an overhydrated dough for a boule? That could happen. Or is it a dough with too much gluten slicing ingredients such as whole wheat flours and/or grains? As long as it tastes good, the result is more important.

After ignoring the malted wheat flakes in the freezer for a while, I decided to make another loaf with them to see if I could get a more aesthetically pleasing loaf. After all, our eyes are involved in eating too.My starter needed a feeding as well to get it ready to go to work for my entries in the Leavenworth County Fair so I had motivation.

My two entries this year will be another sourdough loaf- I'm going for three blue ribbons in a row, and a sourdough rye bread that might be called a Polish rye, a Pain au Seigle, or a Maslin rye bread. I seem to keep finding breads that are cross border perhaps pan regional. It's either that or I'm cultivating a vivid imagination.

Soaker
50g stone ground whole wheat
50g malted wheat flakes
100g water at room temperature

Starter
165g white flour at 75% hydration

Dough
350g bread flour
180g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter

Despite my good intentions when attempting to shape a boule, the dough did flatten out before I could slip the stainless steel bowl over the dough. I don't know that if I had warmed the stone for a longer time whether or not I would've gotten bigger oven spring. The recipe on the back of the wheat flake packaging was for a pan loaf so that just might be the way to go next time as long as I don't develop an aversion to printed recipes.

By the way, the starter is doing really well.

New page viewers over the past week include some one from the Netherlands, Georgia, and Latvia.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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