Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whole Wheat Multigrain

This is my first attempt at duplicating J Hamelman's Whole Wheat Multigrain loaf from his book "Bread". I didn't slavishly follow his formula but it isn't that hard to repeat if you have the self discipline. My deviations were the use of a 100% hydration starter versus his 125% and the use of white whole wheat flour as opposed to Mr Hamelman's use of whole wheat. If you like a bread that has taste, a lot of flavor that you won't find on a supermarket shelf, this is one to try for yourself.

150 g at 100% hydration
                                                                                  Soaker:                                                                                 81  g 9 grain cereal                                                                                  90 g water at room temperature                                                                                  pinch of kosher salt
                                                                                   Main Dough:                                                                                   200 g bread flour                                                                                   200 g white whole wheat flour                                                                                  233 g water at 80F                                                                                   10 g kosher salt                                                                                  2 tsp honey                                                                                   1/4 tsp active dry yeast or instant dry yeast                                                                                   All of soaker                                                                                     All of starter

The 9 grain cereal is a Montana Milling product. You can substitute other such cereals from sources such as Bob's Red Mill. I made up the soaker after I prepared my starter. If you are concerned about enzymatic activity in the soaker, the addition of salt will slow that down. You can also put it in the refrigerator for a while. Using ADY or IDY in the main dough will speed up the bulk fermentation so a baker should be paying attention to the dough. I did stretch and folds at 45 and 90 minutes but Mr Hamelman uses a different schedule. Using a bread pan is an alternative with this formula. A larger, 5.25"X 9" size should be able to hold this quantity of dough. The quantity of WWW and the cereal  limits the development of an open crumb so a pan can be used without guilt.

I'd like to thank the readers who dropped in for page views from Japan and Roumania.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Simple Sourdough with Whole Wheat

 There was nothing technically difficult or innovative in today's loaf. I did soak the whole wheat flour and wheat germ which is nothing new. The most daring thing about it all was that I proofed it longer than usual due to a little absent mindedness more than adjusting for a cooler room temperature due to the autumnal temperature change. But it was all working for me when I did the finger poke test for readiness and the loaf ended up tasting even better than it looks.


150g at 70% hydration, two stage build


100g whole wheat flour
17g wheat germ
100g water at 85F

Main Dough

300g bread flour
180g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of starter
All of Soaker

As previously threatened, I went out and bought some new supplies today. I found a local source for Montana Milling products and purchased 5# of hard white whole wheat flour and 5# of 9 grain flaked cereal. White whole wheat has long been a favorite ingredient and since this flour was milled for me before pickup, I can't resist the idea of playing with it as a starter food at least once or twice. It's a curiosity thing. Since the 9 grain cereal was so reasonably priced at $6/ 5 lbs, I had to look up the multi-grain recipe from J Hamelman's book "Bread". It looks like an interesting formula since the hydration is 98% due the extra water needed for the multi-grain soaker. That might be one of those loaves that won't necessarily work out the first time.

I'll find out for certain in the next few days.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.   
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Faux Ciabatta

      I started out with the good intention of replicating a recipe from the "Farine" blog for Pain Pave.

 Traditionally, the loaf is minimally shaped to look something like a paving stone. After looking at the formula, I thought I'd end up with a loaf that would be somewhere between focaccia and ciabatta due to the hydration, which I guessed is somewhere near 80%.

I didn't quite stay within the guidelines but did end up with a tasty bread. High extraction flour is called for but that's one that I don't have around the house so I used King Artur AP and Heartland Mill Bolted Turkey Red flour instead.

150g at 95% hydration, fed with 80% AP, 20% bolted Turkey Red flour in a two stage build.

Main Dough
304g AP flour
74g bolted Turkey Red flour
287g water at 73F
9g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, patience, and time

Farine called for some different procedures than my usual methods. There are details provided in the linked blog post. The late addition of salt is one that I found particularly interesting because of the effect on the slack dough.

Authenticity wasn't a priority on this first attempt at this style of bread. I was close but not to the letter and still got a good bread. The formula yields two ciabatta type loaves, half of the original yield.

A straggling hummingbird stopped at the neighbors' feeder today.
There might have been some more migrating Monarch butterflies in the yard this year, but I don't recall seeing more than a few. It's really too late in the year to expect others.
While I'm trying to clean out the garden and flower beds for the winter, I did take some time today to plant a couple short rows leaf lettuce for a late crop. Fresh lettuce is simply so superior due to freshness that the store bought pales in comparison.
There's an attractive, simple sourdough with whole wheat cooling off in the kitchen this evening that seems to be asking for some kind of chili, soup, or stew to be matched with the autumnal weather. The equinox is almost here and the great migrations of waterfowl should be starting soon. The garlic will be planted around election day as usual because one stinker deserves another.

Visitors to the blog lately include page views from Argentina, Czech Republic, and Singapore.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Comfortable Batch of Ingredients

 When I began to build my starter for this loaf, I decided to use a comfortable combination of ingredients that has worked before. A little bit of spelt, some white whole wheat, and a not too dangerous amount of water. I know I have to try something new before the end of the month but it wasn't going to be today's loaf....   


150g at 80% hydration

Main Dough

20g Spelt flour
90g white whole wheat
290g bread flour
280g water at 92F
10g kosher salt
All of starter

The days are getting noticeably shorter now and much cooler. We did have some days in the high 80s but with cool nights in the 60s, it wasn't worth using the air conditioner. Other than the cherry tomato plant, there'll be no more size worthy fruit set this year.
Friday means pizza night at Chez PG so I'm going out on a culinary limb and use some of my basil for a pesto to put on the pizza. Not much pesto is called for a 14" crust so the clean up will be worse than the work. I'm still working with the sponge crust formula so another veering off the path to pizza heaven isn't a big deal.
I may not get there, but the journey is fun.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Vermont Sourdough Imitation and the Sponge Crust Pizza Saga Continues

 J Hamelman's recipe for a Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat  recipe has survived translation into Kansan. Besides being one of the most popular recipes from Hamelman's book, "Bread", the recipe has been repeated so often on the internet that if royalties were to be collected, Mr Hamelman could buy a large share of his employer, King Arthur Flour. 

My first attempt at the recipe was plagued by errors on my part but this second try has turned out a very nice and easy (for me, that is) to replicate loaf. As usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone and added my own variations to the formula's procedures.

When my levain build had achieved a nice bubbly personality, I scraped it into my mixer bowl, rinsed the levain container with the water for the dough, and added the whole wheat flour. I then used the mixer's whisk attachment for about a minute to aerate and mix those ingredients into a thin slurry. Next, I added the rest of my ingredients to the bowl and used the dough hook to mix at low speed for a minute to a shaggy mass of dough. After covering the bowl, I let the dough rest for 20 minutes in the expectation that the water would spread out and moisten the dough more evenly. It didn't seem to hurt anything.

From there, I went about my business in the usual manner and it worked out very well for me. There was some of the flavor of the hard red whole wheat in the bread but Mrs PG and I don't mind that. A hard white whole wheat flour could fit in this recipe very well.

Liquid Levain Build

70g bread flour
89g water
14g mature starter as seed


385g bread flour
53g hard red whole wheat flour
222g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
All of levain

I continue to play around at developing a pizza crust using a sponge preferment. This is a vanity/curiosity thing since there seems to be no call for this reinvention of the pizza dough wheel so that rules out the excuse that my exercise is an intellectual pursuit. BUT, its fun and so far, the resultant crust does taste good.

185g water at 85F
25g whole wheat flour
100g AP flour
1/4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast or instant dry yeast, depending on how pressed for time you might imagine yourself to be.

In a large mixing bowl, hydrate the yeast, mix well and cover. Let rest at room temperature for at least 4 and better yet, 6 hours. The sponge should be well covered with bubbles.

175g AP flour
6g kosher salt
1 Tbs olive oil

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 10-20 minutes and then form into a ball before placing in an oiled bowl or Cambro container and cover. I let my dough rest on the counter for about 45 minutes before placing it in the refrigerator for use later on. It rose slowly in the fridge and after I took it out into room temperature, it got up to doubled in size in about an hour. This crust at a 70% hydration is more suited to use in a sheet pan but I stretched it out to use in a perforated, round "pizza" pan of about 14".

That's where the sponge crust recipe stands so far. It is a work in progress and will probably be lower in hydration next Friday but I haven't given up yet.

The garden is fading fast out there. The summer really put the big hurt on my peppers and basil this year, two plantings that usually scoff at hot days. It is time to start ripping the under performing plants out and cleaning up so I have less to do later on when the weather is less conducive to working outdoors. The lawn is making a feeble comeback after an application of Milorganite fertilizer and rain on Friday afternoon. We still need a lot more rain to get out of the drought and to soften the ground to make weeding much easier.

Recent visitors to this blog's visitors list have come from S Korea, Egypt, and the Ukraine.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Resolving the Picture Backlog

  Now that Google fixed the problem that was preventing bloggers from uploading from their Picasa program to their Blogger accounts, I can get up to date. I also found a new scale that I hope will eliminate the measurement consistency problem that I've been wary of in the past few loaves.

The first few pictures are a pain complet au son or whole wheat with bran. I was trying to work out a formula that's smaller in size than my usual 400g total of flour. It wasn't the right time for my scale to display problems in measurement. Not a bad loaf for eating but my recipe didn't follow expectations. 


The next two pictures are from a pan marino, an Italian bread with rosemary and olive oil. The bag of flour in the background is White Lily Bread Flour which I had expected to be a little bit softer than my usual Dakota Maid BF. I started with a 60% hydration biga that I made overnight. My recipe math was set up to deliver a dough with 70% hydration but it didn't feel like 70% dough to me. The crumb photo shows a dense texture. While I need to do much more work on the recipe, I do enjoy the flavor the rosemary imparts to the bread.

This final set is from my first attempt at J Hamelman's "Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat". This is the loaf that convinced me that my old scale was falling down on the job. I had the whim to try a loaf that used a 125% hydration starter and this came up at the top of my list. This loaf turned out to be about 275g larger than most of my loaves. In the matter of procedure and execution, this wasn't one of my finer loaves but I did give myself good grades for my seat of the pants adjustments. Mrs PG has requested that I try it again and soon so I guess I can relax for now.

Here on the city limits of the First City in Kansas, we've been fortunate enough to get 2.5" of rain in the past five days. That's more than we got over the previous three months. The lawns are starting to green up in the patches that survived and many of the plantings in the flower beds are reviving as well. We're also fortunate enough to have large numbers of cardinals flying in and cheering us with their song.

Football season has returned to the Midwest and the NFL season starts tomorrow night. Oktoberfest beers are plentiful in the liquor stores, just in time for the season.

Have I ever mentioned that NFL football and US Presidential elections are my favorite spectator sports?

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Technical Problems; a short explanation

After I took some time off to visit my sister in Corinth, MS, I came back with a bag of White Lily Bread Flour and lots of intention to find out how well I could bake with my new find. As soon as I was ready to post about a revisited pain complet au son, the Picasa photo processing program wasn't working and has yet to return to operational status. I've checked the Picasa help forums and it appears that I'm not the only one who isn't able to upload photos over to Blogger. I also baked a batch of pan Marino, an Italian bread with rosemary and olive oil, and a Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat from Hamelman's excellent book, "Bread". Since I lack the computer proficiency to overcome or work around this problem, the pictures will just have to wait until Google fixes the problem at their end.

As if the Picasa problem wasn't enough, my inexpensive little scale is performing poorly as well. That can be fixed with a trip to a local Bed, Bath, and Beyond store tomorrow because they're having a big sale on soon to be replaced stock and have flooded the media with 20% off coupons as well. I do miss having a reasonably reliable scale.

As soon as the Picasa problem is fixed by Google, I'll have pictures. If someone has a simple explanation for a work around, I would be very grateful and willing to give it a try.