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.

50 g malted wheat flakes
50 g water

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.

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