Friday, January 25, 2013

Multigrain Country Loaf

This loaf was worked up so I could see how much Montana Milling 9 Grain cereal I could add without it collapsing as soon as I inverted my loaf bearing banneton onto the the sheet pan I use as a makeshift peel. I haven't found that out yet. The loaf is just fine as for taste and crumb characteristics. The pre-soaked cereal doesn't even show up in the crumb. That can be taken either as a sign that I can sneak the cereal in without people noticing its presence or there's more work to be done. Of course, I can just enjoy the bread and start looking for a new formula that I haven't tried for my next bake.

Starter
170 g at 70% hydration

Soaker
75 g Montana Milling 9 Grain cereal
75 g water

Main Dough
267 g bread flour
100 g white whole wheat flour
33 g rye flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter

There have been lots of birds at the feeders over the past few days. The forecast is calling for chances of rain over the next four days but I have no idea if that would make a difference in the feeding habits of my feathered visitors.

A new page view from Panama showed up this week.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
     
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

An Abfrisch Imitation

This bread has its beginnings in a book about Viennese bakers in the 1930s and was brought to my attention in a post on the Wild Yeast site by a blogger who uses the handle of "Plotzblog". He has excellent taste in the formulas he chooses to post and his execution is outstanding. His posts are in German, a language whose surface I barely scratched in two years of study in high school and now have have very little retention at all after some 45 years. Google translator may be my friend in some cases but the translation from German to English seems to indicate that there are troubled relations between the languages these days.


Be that as it may, I was ready to take a second attempt at this bread. The translated formula starts off with a two stage build of a really stiff biga clocking in at 50% hydration built up over 5 hours. Plotzblog used fresh yeast, a commodity that isn't readily found in retail outlets in the KC, MO area. So I improvised by using a small amount of starter and expected a much longer build that finally finished in 24 hours.When I uncovered the starter, I could hear a sizzling sound which I took to be fermentation gas escaping through the moistened starter.
The posted formula for the main dough specifies 5 g of yeast. His formulas are usually very precise so I figured that dry yeast was intended. The bulk fermentation is listed as 30 minutes at 24-26C so I used 4 grams of active dry yeast for a slower bulk fermentation that I could observe and control better.  I threw in a stretch and fold after 45 minutes and began the preshape at 1 hr 30 minutes.

Even though I proofed the loaf in my very cool garage, 50F temperature, the dough rose vigorously and after 2 hours it was time to fire up the oven. I thought I was getting really close to over proofing.
After slashing the loaf, I loaded the loaf onto the baking stone in a 450F oven for fifteen minutes. The oven was lowered to 400F for the final 22 minutes after I turned the loaf around. At the 37 minute mark, the internal loaf temperature was 205F and it was time to cool off on a wire rack.

I didn't slice the loaf for 20 hours after drawing it from the oven. Even though I estimate the hydration to be around 64-65%, it turned out to be moist, soft, and somewhat sweet. Mrs PG really likes the crust on this loaf. Since I have another loaf cooling off as I type this post, I plan on slicing the remainder of this rye bread to freeze and use the slices when I want to eat something that I expect to go well with this bread. It does merit regular bakes once I get the final tweaks in. I think it can stand a little more hydration and I'd like to try caraway seeds, a combination of caraway and chernuschka seeds, or rye chops.

First Stage (Frischel)
36 g whole rye flour
18 g water
6 g starter

Second Stage (Abfrisch)
All of Frischel
123 g whole rye flour
62 g water
At this point I added 22 g more water to make the mixing easier. It helped but it was still very dense. This adjustment was subtracted from the main dough water.

Main Dough
All of Abfrisch
340 g bread flour
220 g water at 85F
4 g active dry yeast
10 g kosher salt

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

A Nice Pair, Of Loaves

These came out of the oven Wednesday. The boule is our house loaf currently. It's a white whole wheat and wheat bran loaf. The oval loaf is a sourdough rye with caraway, something that will go well with sandwiches and soups. I mailed the rye loaf to my cousin who lives on Southport Island in Maine. Hopefully, Paul will email me a jpg. file of the crumb for me to add sometime in the future.


White Whole Wheat with Bran

Soaker
28 g wheat bran
52 g water at room temperature


Starter
150 g at 68% hydration

Main Dough
267 g bread flour
133 g white whole wheat flour
280 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter 

Sourdough Rye with Caraway

150 g at 70% hydration
Main Dough
267 g bread flour
100 g whole rye flour
33 g whole wheat flour
280 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
10 g caraway seed
1 Tbs Molasses
All of starter
 
The boule is consistent with other similar loaves that I've been baking lately. A doctor told me that I shouldn't expect any great health benefits from adding bran to my loaves but it does add a little bit of nuttiness to the flavor. I had it, I used it, and I'm in a "lets clean out the odds and ends in the cupboard" mode again.

Lately, I haven't been doing too much retarded proofing. Proofing for 3-4 hours at room temperature as needed appears to give me a more consistent open crumb without the squashed bottom. It's only aesthetics but how many bakers, even raggedy home bakers as myself, don't aspire to a better looking loaf. Appearance does count when eating.

Even though the snow has melted away and the ground is exposed, we have quite a few of the usual suspect birds at the feeders. I fixed the chain for the suet feeder and have been rewarded with daily visits from woodpeckers. A pair of red bellied woodpeckers drop by and a downy woodpecker will push aside any chickadee in the path to the feeder.

I just noticed that I have two more countries to recognize for page views, Denmark and Lithuania.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.   
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Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Bully Boule with Malted Wheat Flakes

       
For those not too enamored with the study of archaic American slang, the adjective "bully" has been most associated with the early twentieth century Republican Party president, Teddy Roosevelt. A quick glance at his Wikipedia page will mention his public service as New York City Police Commissioner, as a colonel in the Spanish American War, a noted conservationist who championed the US National Park system, and the first major politician to propose a national health care system back in 1912. I doubt that the current Republican Party would accept him as a candidate for dog catcher these days. He was also a noted xenophobe among other shortcomings so the man didn't and still doesn't qualify for sainthood.

While I did bake two loaves for New Year's Eve, I failed to take pictures. I did another pan loaf with a pre-ferment that confirms my previous formulas that I worked on for my Christmas loaves. The other loaf was a cranberry-walnut bread that requires more work. It had no real shape and looked more like an oval focaccia loaf. It tastes good but with such a shape, even my forgiving mother would arch an eyebrow and ask me if the shape was intentional.

On the other hand, I think the current house loaf came out rather well. The crumb seems to be reasonably open, moist, and has a sweet flavor.  There have some changes in my procedures that may or may not be significant. My starter seems to be thriving on an organic AP flour from the local Kroger affiliate, Dillon's. It doubles somewhat faster though not the much sought after eight hours on the counter. That's to be expected since I don't refresh the starter on a daily basis. 

I'm seeing better oven spring even without added sweeteners and that matters but there may be other explanations than the revitalized starter for that. Rather than using the refrigerator for a retarded proofing, I'm placing the loaf in the basement where the average temperature at this time of year is 60-62F. The yeast component of the starter may slow down but it doesn't go into a suspended animation. The shaped dough can sit in the basement for four to six hours without over proofing. Another 1 1/2-2 hours at a 70F
room temperature on the counter and its ready for a 425F oven. I'm wondering if the slightly lower oven temperature allows for greater oven spring because the internal temperatures don't kill the yeast as soon or the outer crust doesn't dry and firm up as quickly, stopping expansion. With the bread books I've got sprawled over the floor in my man cave, there must be an answer somewhere.

Soaker
50 g malted wheat flakes
50 g water

Starter
160 g at about 70% hydration

Main Dough
267 g bread flour
100 g hard white spring wheat flour
33 g whole rye flour
270 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter
Sesame seeds for topping (optional)

The recent snowfalls have meant an increased patronage at the bird feeders. The juncos and cardinals are particularly welcome because they will feed at ground level and clean up after the finches and sparrows throw seed around from the feeders. On occasion, woodpeckers have shown up and some titmice have found out about the buffet stations outside my window. 
The last time I checked, the sage and rosemary in the garden were still alive and doing well with the wheat straw around them for cover.

During the past six days or so,  there have been some page views from Serbia and Malaysia. It's fun to be an obscure blogger on an international basis.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.