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.

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

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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