Tuesday, November 27, 2012

50/50 Sourdough

The 50/50 ratio refers to the combination of half bread flour and half bolted Turkey Red flour. When I tried my first formula for a whole wheat multigrain loaf a couple months ago, I used a 50/50 combination of whole wheat and bread flour so this particular loaf didn't call for any trepidation on my part.

I like how it turned out with a nice soft crumb and an almost sweet flavor without using any sugars or other sweeteners. There was no retarded proofing, only a three hour proof on the counter due to cool room temperature of 70F.

Starter
150 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough

200 g bread flour
200 g bolted Turkey Red flour
280 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
All of starter

While the finches are ever boisterous around the feeders, the other varieties of birds are notable for the paucity of their numbers.Cardinals have long been a source of easy laughs from their antics but right now,I only see them once a day in the yard.Goldfinches aren't at their brightest coloring this time of year so its hard to identify them among the finches at first glance. Sparrows, as well as the woodpeckers, seem to have moved on to a different locale. I've started adding extra sunflower seed to the feeders but nothing new has stopped by lately. I think I'll buy some of the Costco bird food the next time I'm in one of their stores since all my feathered free loading friends show up for that stuff.

New page views originated in Hong Kong, Portugal, and Taiwan this past week.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
       
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Thumbs Up for Thanksgiving Day Loaves

It's a tough crowd to please when I'm baking bread for my wife's family in Omaha on Thanksgiving. Since I won't budge and bake the soft, whiter than white crumb dinner rolls that anybody can buy at  a supermarket, I have to make an effort that will please the family and myself as well.When I got the approval of a 16 year old cheerleader niece, a couple of BILs, and my MIL, I admit to feeling pleased with myself. The SIL that kept the few remaining slices at the end of the meal thought the crust was a little chewy but I told her to put them in a sealed plastic bag and they would be just fine for toast in the morning.

The loaf on the right in the first picture starts out as a light caraway rye and then got a couple of twists added in. First, I added some white whole wheat because I find that rye and whole wheat complement each other. You can make a pain de campagne without rye flour but then, why would you do that and miss the extra layers of flavor? I don't recall seeing any rye bread recipes that call for whole wheat specifically but small additions seem to work out for me. Let's call it a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". I also added a Tbs of molasses to enrich the color.

The other loaf is a kind of pain au levain loaf, the simple kind of bread that will expose flaws in your ingredients or procedures. I'm glad I passed the test yesterday. Both loaves used a starter that was with a 75 % bread flour and 25% rye combination.

Faux Caraway Rye

Starter
140 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
80 g whole rye flour
20 g white whole wheat
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs caraway seed
All of starter

Pain au Levain

Starter
140 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough

380 g bread flour
20 g rye flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, patience, and time

My thanks to the person from Hungary that dropped in for a page view this week.




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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Multi Grain Pan Loaf

This is another one of those works in progress for me. In September 2012, I did a batard loaf with a multigrain cereal that I thought was a successful, if not perfected, formula based on a Hamelman formula from his book ,"Bread". This wasn't the same formula. It's not a bad bread once you get past the unexciting appearance.

Starter
150 g at 80% hydration

Soaker
100 g Montana Milling 9 grain cereal
120 g water
pinch of salt

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
100 g whole wheat flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
All of soaker
All of starter

My first guess is that I overdid the mutligrain cereal content. In my original effort, I kept the cereal down to 80 g or a 20% content as opposed to a 25% effort here. My procedural change of adding the soaker to the flour at the beginning of the mix should have had some effect  as well.   Adding the cereal towards the end of the mixing would have been a better and smarter move.

We have been enjoying warmer than average weather lately so I've been tearing out some more plants from the flower beds. I wish we had adapted the attitude of less is more when we started. I have some blueberry plants that have got to go because they just don't do all that well here. The temperatures will be falling closer to the seasonal averages by the weekend.
Out in the county, some of the farmers are starting to sell off their beef herds due to lack of rain for water sources. Hay and other feed is still available but beef cattle demand a lot of water while they are being prepared for market.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Couple of Hamilton Loaves for the Bake Sale

Thursday was the date for the semi-annual bake sponsored by the Cushing Hospital Volunteers. Mrs PG asked and I volunteered to bake a couple of loaves for the sale. In jest, I told the head of the volunteer group to charge a healthy price for the loaves. She complied with my wishes and had them priced at $10 each. Every US $10 bill has a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Department head, on the bill.

Both loaves had identical ingredients with the only difference being the boule had an hour longer retarded proofing. I have room and equipment limitations that make producing two loaves simultaneously impossible. Once again, I printed labels with a brief description of the loaves, the ingredient list, and an email address if the purchasers had any questions. While I've never gotten any requests for more loaves, I've not been cursed out via email or been subjected to a bomb threat either. There must be a modicum of satisfaction among the folks who buy my bread.

Starter
160 g at 80% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
65 g white whole wheat
20 g whole rye flour
245 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, time, and patience

While my initial work indicated that the dough should have been very slack and sticky, it really wasn't bad at all. I suspect that the WWW flour, which I keep refrigerated, took up more than usual water. The pictures don't show it well but I did use a "bold" bake to get a darker crust that would show through any flour on the outsides of the loaves.


The third loaf, shown on a cutting board, is what's for lunch currently. I pulled out my spelt flour from the back of the beer refrigerator for this one. It's a good bread but I'm not sure I proofed it long enough. I took it out of the refrigerator at least three hours before I baked so I'm thinking that I was good enough on this one. It's moist, has tang to it that may be from the spelt but might have been the result of more frequent starter feedings lately to reinvigorate it after the season changed.

Starter
160g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
100 g white whole wheat
20 g spelt flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter
Attention to detail, time, and patience

My thanks to the people from Mexico and Sweden who took the time to stop by my obscure corner of the internet for a page view or two.

       
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

A New Sourdough Molasses Wheat Loaf

 Everybody has a blowout sooner or later and this was just my most recent, certainly not the last I ever expect. I expected that after 2 1/2 hours on my counter after a retarded proofing would be enough but, live and learn and bake some more.


My first sourdough molasses wheat was way, way back in the summer of 2011. This loaf was just a fun loaf and nothing competitive at all. What did I learn? Well, I suspect that if I had more patience during the proofing then I could up the amount of molasses. I also think that a single slash along the length of the loaf would be more effective for relieving the internal pressures.


Starter
155 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough

300 g bread flour
100 g hard red whole wheat
275 g water at 80F
9 g kosher salt
15 g molasses
All of starter
Attention to detail, patience (still working on that), and time

Despite what I thought was a highish hydration, the dough turned out relatively easy to handle. After baking, the interior crumb turned out to be moist with only a slight taste of the home milled whole wheat. Mrs PG gives it her approval for eating with pulled pork and sweet apple barbecue sauce. It does just as well with some unsalted butter.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

   
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Election Day Selections

Everybody that planned to attend the Election Day watch party was asked to bring some comfort food for a pot luck supper as we commented and speculated about the returns as they came in. I made a batch of Kansas chili and a couple loaves of bread. My goal was to bake two pan loaves with simple ingredients that could either stand up to use for chili dogs or on their own. I think I did alright.

The first thing I did was to build preferments and use as little yeast as practical. After mixing, I added a stretch and fold during the bulk ferment. Once shaping was complete, I used a retarded fermentation  for both loaves. The loaves have a great flavor with a moist, tender crumb. I'd have no problem serving either loaf to my Mother or MIL.

The loaves were products of my own based on what I've learned over the past few years from books and experience. Some would term that free styling and others would call it luck. It worked so there's no need to fret over it.

The first loaf was in the vein of a French Country loaf. The second loaf started out like a loaf of white bread but I added just a touch of rye flour to give the flavor a little twist.

Preferment
60g white whole wheat flour
40g bread flour
70g water at 90F
1/8 tsp Active Dry Yeast

Main Dough
15g rye flour
60g white whole wheat
200g bread flour
183g water at 90F
1/2 tsp Active dry yeast
9g kosher salt
20g unsalted butter
15g honey
All of preferment
   Preferment,  No. 2
100g bread flour
70g water at 90F
1/8 tsp Active dry yeast

Main Dough
15g rye flour
260g bread flour
183g water at 90F
1/2 tsp Active dry yeast
20g non-fat dry milk powder
8g kosher salt
All of preferment

The loaves were baked in an oven preheated to 425F on a rack in the lower third of the oven. After 15 minutes, I turned the pans around and lowered the temperature to 400F for 22 minutes when the internal temperature read 205F. The kitchen smelled great as I left them to cool on a wire rack for 4 hours before I sliced them

Next year's crop of garlic is in the ground. I planted 18 cloves of soft neck garlic, obtained around Gilroy, CA and 42 cloves of hard neck garlic, mostly varieties from around the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. The hard neck varieties seem to do very well here and the bulbs I harvested this past summer were of good size despite the drought conditions. There's still more work to be done in cleaning up the garden but its not time critical. The flower beds need my attention first.

Page views from out of the ordinary came from Israel, Serbia, and Singapore in the past week or so.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Return of the Whole Wheat and Bran Bread

This type of loaf was called a "pain complet au son" in a previous post. It's a good tasting bread but I haven't figured out how to get the impressive oven spring on this formula. I did presoak the wheat bran for a few hours and the hydration was a little high at about 72% so I expected more. It's a work in progress.My next step will be to work with a smaller loaf to see if that makes any difference.

Soaker
28g wheat bran
56g water at room temp

Starter
150g at 100%

Main Dough
267g  bread flour
133g white whole wheat flour
270g water at 85F
10g kosher salt
all of soaker
all of starter

Most of the birds that I noted as being missing from the feeders are returning. Cardinals, goldfinches, pine siskels, starlings, titmice, and a couple of downy woodpeckers have shown up over the past few days. My neighbor's health has improved to the point that he's ready to start feeding birds as well. He has  really large feeder with nine perches full of black sunflower seeds which means that appropriate head wear is called for when working in the yard. I also saw a couple of juncos a few days ago. Usually, juncos don't show up until late November so I don't know what to make of that. I hope it doesn't mean that we're in for an early winter.

I finished cleaning up a space in my garden plot for next year's planting of garlic. My estimate is that it's about 15-18 square feet or somewhere around two square meters. I have no worries about how much garlic I can plant, just how long my lower back will tolerate being bent over. I'm also working on clearing out some overgrown areas in the flower beds. The season is too late to transplant day lilies so I'm switching to taking out blueberry plants. They really don't do well in my soil and I don't have enough desire or room to plant enough bushes to make the soil amendment work worth my time and expense. Another annual agony going on is the removal of the tree saplings, sprouts, whatever that have a nasty habit of becoming a small tree as soon as I turn my back on them. The next forecast for rain with large downfall amounts is next Saturday so I have some work to do outside.

That doesn't mean I won't be baking bread. I have to figure out a loaf or two for the election night watch party on Tuesday and I'm in for a couple loaves for the Cushing Hospital Volunteers bake sale on 15 November. It looks like my starter will be getting a workout this month.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


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