Friday, March 29, 2013

The 4 T Red Loaf

The plain and simple explanation is that I used 40% bolted Turkey Red flour in this loaf. I still have some left and I'm making an effort to use it more often. I bought a 10 pound bag of some Green River stoneground whole wheat flour that I found at Costco and I am trying not to open the bag until I finish up at least one the two containers that never seem to empty out whenever I buy new flour. Something has got to give sooner or later.

Besides working with 40% whole wheat in this loaf, I also stretched out the proofing time. I had been proofing for three hours after pulling a loaf out of the fridge but I waited for 4 1/2 hours on this one and it appears to have worked out. I also had the opportunity to slash the loaf with a rather dangerous edged scalpel and that was not bad work for using the knife for the first time in several months. It still takes practice. I didn't find the practical limit of hydration that matches my shaping skills with this loaf but It seems to have a nice but not spectacular crumb.There'll be more to practice next week.

150 g at 90% hydration

Main Dough
260 g bread flour
140 g bolted Turkey Red flour
280 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter

There's more and more green showing up in the flower beds. While the peonies are still holding close to the ground, the day lilies are sprouting up quickly. The daffodils still haven't recuperated from the recent snowfall but there should be blooms by Tuesday. My garlic seems to have survived the winter and I've pulled the wheat straw mulch off to give the leafs a chance to get some sunlight. The mulch will have to go back on Sunday night when the temperatures are expected to go back below freezing. The oregano and sage plants look like they'll pull through but that rosemary plant is quite hopeless. My lawn is an embarrassment and sorely in need of investment  of expensive amendments which don't seem to be in its future. More than fertilizers and chemicals, it needs regular rainfall to recover from last year's drought conditions.

Unusual page view origins over the past week or so include Greece, Panama, and Romania.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Another Show and Tell Loaf for Class, Edited 10.24.2013

It seemed like I was in kind of a baker's slump for a few loaves where I didn't find anything noteworthy to post. However, I seem to have gotten back in the right frame of mind this week.

I figured that if I baked a familiar loaf well that I could build on that experience and start another string to blog about. The first loaf came out the oven on Monday and was a typical French Country Loaf/ Bauernbrot loaf that I'm fond of baking. One of the endearing qualities of this style of bread is that the flavor improves as the days pass.

The second loaf is a "Rustic Loaf". The original formula was developed by Jeff Hamelman and included in his book, "Bread". The formula was then adapted by FloydM, the site manager for the "Fresh Loaf". Because Floyd used ounces rather than grams, I adapted that formula to grams for my own use by using bakers' math. It wasn't very difficult and my results justified the effort. I brought it to class yesterday.

There are a few notable aspects to the formula. First of all, the preferment used is a "pate fermentee" or "old dough", something that is currently out of favor in the latest bread recipe books. The next thing is that 50% of the total flour is used in the preferment.. Finally, My math called for the use of only 3/8 teaspoon of yeast, if I had used instant dry yeast. I used active dry yeast and stayed with the measurement and as you can see, still got a nice loaf to bring to class. I wanted to show my classmates and the instructors something a little different from the sourdough I brought in earlier. This was a successful effort. I got a loaf with a good crumb where you can actually taste the whole wheat and rye flours. I suspect that if you baked two loaves, one with whole wheat and the other with white whole wheat, you could tell the difference when you otherwise followed ingredients and procedure.

The Rustic Loaf is an ideal bread for the beginner who is ready to take the step into preferments and more complex flavored breads.

Preferment or Pate Fermentee

250 g bread flour
148 g water at 85F
5 g kosher salt
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
This preferment will take 12-14 hours for adequate development at a room temperature around 70F. Plan accordingly.

Main Dough
156 g bread flour
40 g rye flour
54 g whole wheat flour
195 g water at 85F
5 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast.
Due to the low quantity of yeast, this loaf developed only a little faster than a typical sourdough. The bulk fermentation took about three hours with a couple stretch and folds. After shaping, the proofing took about 1 1/2 hrs. If time is available, following the formula will reward you with a fine yeasted loaf

The blooming of our daffodils is being interfered with by the onset of early Spring snowfalls. I can sympathize with the folks who have been posting "Wanted" posters of Punxatawney Phil on the internet. So far, I have had only a single crocus bloom which is disappointing but not that unusual in Kansas. We have a large number of the usual suspects at our bird feeders including many juncos that I expected to have left by now. My garlic is starting to push through the wheat straw that I use as a mulch for the bed.

Visitors to my obscure corner of the internet in past ten days include hits from Belgium, Kazahkstan, Latvia, and Macau.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Potato Bran Bread and a Project for Class

Lately, I've been digesting the information I've been gleaning from K Forkish's "Flour, Water, Salt,  Yeast". I've long been interested in the many different methods of preparing a loaf without a mixer or extensive kneading so his book appears to be worth a careful read. I haven't yet followed his method from beginning to end  but it's out there and the curiosity may get exercised or is that exorcised?

I wasn't satisfied with the first loaf pictured here. The slashing  was incorrect in that it hindered oven spring.

The next loaf, the boule, is one that I just free styled and hoped for the best. I used some mashed potatoes in the main dough and built up the fiber with some pre soaked wheat bran. I also proofed with the seam side down,  an approach that I first read about in the Forkish book but since seen it from unrelated sources so the approach can't be new. It looks fine but probably needs a steam injected oven for better effect.

160 g at 70% hydration

60 g wheat bran
60 g water at room temperature

Main Dough:
300 g bread flour
60 g white whole wheat flour
110 g mashed potatoes
240 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter

My initial expectation was that I would find a very slack dough at the end of mixing the main dough. It was a little sticky but not as bad as expected. After some stretch and folds, the dough came around quite well and shaped easily Now I'm wondering what it would've looked like if I had used the "magic bowl" method during the initial bake. The bread tastes fine with a tender moist crumb, good for sandwiches, soups, and stews. A healthy smear of peanut butter on a slice is a fine way to get a few carbs and some protein.

While building up a starter for my class project, I had some starter that I just didn't want to discard from the first stage of the build. So I started thawing out some of my industrial red sauce for a pasta supper and plotted out an appropriate bread. There were two goals to achieve, first, to use some Western Family bread flour I had stored downstairs, and then to use a minimal mixing / minimal kneading procedure for bread that I found on the "Fresh Loaf" website. The WF flour isn't very much stronger than some AP flours I've used so I figured I had nothing to lose by using it in an experiment.

After a 20 minute autolyse, I added the starter and salt and mixed the dough with my dough whisk for about thirty strokes or so around the bowl. The bowl was then covered and I turned the dough at thirty minute intervals for the next two hours. Surprisingly to me, some gluten had been built up so I oiled a bowl, shaped the dough into a ball, flipped the dough around in the bowl to coat the outside, and then left the covered bowl downstairs in our 60F basement for an overnight stay.

After 12 hours downstairs, the dough had doubled, maybe tripled, and was ready to shape. It wasn't that easy considering the hydration was at least 70% and a little on the slack side. However, I did soldier on and tried to form two crude baguette type loaves. They didn't look pretty before being loaded into the oven and didn't look pretty when they came out BUT with practice, I may get better at these. For a basic white flour sourdough bread, I got a good result that works for Mrs PG and I. For better results, it will take practice, practice, and more practice.

My project loaf for my class in the Master Food Volunteer program, the last two pictures, turned out very well. It looked good, tasted better, and I got several compliments from people in the class and an instructor. The compliments gave me a nice ego boost and when some other breads were passed around later in the day, I knew that I had brought the better bread to class. Not bad for a show and tell and knosh.

133 g at 100% hydration

Main Dough:
300 g bread flour
75 g white whole wheat flour
25 g whole rye flour
265 g water at 90F
9 g kosher salt
All of starter

I'd like to thank the people behind the page views that dropped into my obscure corner of the internet from Switzerland, Denmark, South Africa, and the People's Republic of China.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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