Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turkey Red-Spelt Boule

Here's another loaf that I just free styled for the fun of it. I saw the turkey red and spelt flours in my beer refrigerator and decided to put them to work. The dough was a little bit sticky and not very amenable to slashing but I persisted because I wanted to try the fan scoring pattern that I had seen on Farine's blog.

This loaf benefitted from long bulk fermentation and proofing periods. The bulk lasted about 4 1/2 hours and the proofing lasted four hours at room temperature. The taste is mild and the crumb is tender.

Starter
First stage
40 g bolted turkey red flour       
40 g water at 85F
22 g starter

Second Stage
50 g AP flour
40 g water at 85F

Main Dough
250g bread flour
100 g bolted turkey red flour
50 g Spelt flour
280 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
150 g starter

My garden has been getting some attention lately. Yesterday, I added a couiple plantings of cilantro, an Italian flat leaf parsley, and some Barbecue rosemary.Today was spent digging and preparing a bed area for my tomato plants. I did manage to restrain myself and bought only three tomato plants- a Park's Whopper, San Marzano Improved, and a Tommy Toes cherry tomato plant. There are only three peppers so far- Giant Marconi, Big Chile, and an Anaheim, but I could be tempted if I saw something unique. After I put in some loose leaf lettuce and snow peas, I'll also add the bush cucumbers and baby watermelon plants. I'd like to add some fennel for the Monarch butterflies that stop by during their migration but since Mrs PG has added some butterfly friendly plants to the flower beds, I may just sit down and have a cup of coffee instead of adding more clutter to an already jam packed garden. The garden has been more overplanted in past years but this may be my first year that I can truly say that I cut back enough for it to be visible.

The male cardinals showing up at the feeders appear to be molting in preparation for a new set of feathers. The females can't be too far behind. A male indigo bunting has been showing up lately around the yard. The females are a non descript dun color so it's hard for me to identify them. They're summertime only residents.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Whole Rye and White Whole Wheat Bread

  This is a loaf that I developed from a formula in Hamelman's first edition of "Bread". His formula is a production recipe meant for businesses while I rationalize this one with the need for a loaf for supper the other day. I don't think that it would make much sense for a bakery but for just fooling around, trying to see how things work, I thought I'd put it into print (bits?) and get back to it sometime in the future.

The loaf does taste good but the crumb isn't wide open. Mr Hamelman mentioned in his book that the amount of rye and whole wheat would mean a denser crumb but that's all relevant to who is making the call. I'm not in Mr Hamelman's class of bakers so I have to keep practicing. It's the Carnegie Hall principal.

The first step I took was to build the starter which includes all the whole rye flour in the formula. About halfway through the expected time for the starter build, I initiated a preferment that included all the white whole wheat flour. The bulk fermentation required close oversight since the preferment isn't included in Mr Hamelman's formula. The room temperature here is averaging around 70F, not the 76F that is typical of bakeries, so my yeast growth is slower than the books I read. That includes using both my sourdough starter and my active dry yeast stock.

Shaping wasn't difficult since the dough was around 69-70% hydration. My proofing took a little longer than the suggested one hour but I think I could have stretched it out closer to two hours. Maybe next time.


Starter
20 g firm starter
93 g water at 90F
114 g whole rye flour

Preferment
114 g white whole wheat flour
93 g water at 90F
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
227 g bread flour
129 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
All of starter
All of preferment

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
   
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Polydactal Cats and a Pane di Como Antico loaf

Mrs PG and I got on one of Delta Airlines human cattle car flights to Ft Lauderdale, FL where we were fortunate enough to have the use of her nephew's home as a base of operations for a trip to southern Florida. We definitely weren't in Kansas.

After a look at a small corner of the the vast Everglades, we aimed our prodigious rental car for Key West, the southernmost city of the US. It's no longer the bawdy home of Hemingway or the hipster haven of Jimmy Buffett's youth. The town has been sanitized for the tourists that drop in by the thousands on cruise ships and the influx of the wealthy who always seem to tame the fun towns with their four star inns, Starbucks, artsy galleries, and yachts that are often larger than the flagships of many a third world country's navy. Something similar happened to Jackson, WY, Santa Fe, NM, Durango, CO, and is currently taking the cowboy out of Montana.

We had a beer at Sloppy Joe's, saw the free ranging chickens of Key West on Duval Street, toured the Hemingway house with its famed cat cemetery, and saw a few of the 46 famous six toed (polydactyl) cats that currently live there in feline decadence. I couldn't get a picture standing by the iconic marker near the Southernmost Hotel because there were too many people with the identical thought so I settled for a hat pin from a nearby souvenir store.               

The Kennedy Space Center turned out to be the best stop on our vacation from my point of view. While the visitor's center had some gimmicky attractions, I found the place to be a lot more overwhelming than expected. The Space Race started during my elementary school years so I've always had a quite romantic view of the program. That got changed somewhat after seeing the reality side of it. There were more than a few actual rockets there on stands and even one Saturn rocket, the type used to send men to the men, laid out vertically so we could see the size and complexity of the undertaking. Throw in a few recovered space capsules, a lunar rover, moon rock samples, and various space suits and the adventure geek will come out in a lot of guys. The number of foreign tourists there gave testament to the appeal of traveling to the moon. The art deco buildings on South Beach in Miami seemed pale in comparison and I took an art education specialty in college.

When we got back to KC after ten days in Florida, we were greeted with a 36F temperature and a 27F wind chill factor. Due to cool, damp weather while we were gone, very little had started blooming and trees still looked bare. The juncos that I depended on to clean up the bird food scattered by the sparrows had left to migrate north and the starlings moved on to better pickings in another neighborhood.

Over the last few days, trees have started to fill out and my collection of peonies are racing along to catch up with the season. There's a mention of snow in tomorrow's forecast but it won't stick around for more than a few hours.

The first loaf pictured is just a practice loaf for home use. The starter needed to be revived and I wanted to finish off the last of the hard red winter wheat I had in a freezer bag. I should have taken my own advice from a previous loaf and gone for a single slash down the long aspect of the loaf. The blowout on the side would have looked more dramatic or even artistic (shudder) had I done so.

Starter
140 g at 75% hydration

Main dough
267 g bread flour
78 g hard red winter wheat flour
55 g white whole wheat flour
280 g water at 85F
11 g kosher salt
All of starter

My starter suffered no ill effects from taking a couple weeks off and strutted its stuff in the second loaf, a pane di como antico. Once we get past the non-traditional shape and feeble slashing pattern, the formula is really tasty. Lily, the six year old daughter of an acquaintance and his wife, even ate the crust first before she went to the crumb. It will be several years before she's old enough to be an apprentice so I better spread this adaptation of the Carol Field's recipe around the 'net in hopes that someone will eventually give me a little feedback.

Pane Como Antico ( Old fashioned Como bread)

Starter
150 g at 78% hydration

Main Dough
435 g bread flour
65g white whole wheat flour
5 g wheat germ
5 g dry milk powder
360 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
7 g olive oil

At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough was still a little sticky due to what I estimated to be around 72-74% hydration so I went with using my oblong brotform. The loaf is traditionally round. I also used an overnight retarded proofing so I could meet my goal of having the freshest loaf possible for our friend Sachiko's birthday party on Sunday afternoon. This a big loaf but it is good enough to take to family dinners or impress your mother in law.

My blogsite has had new visitors from Algeria and Norway over the past couple of weeks. There were some 24 pageviews from Romania in the past few days so I guess someone must have borrowed a recipe of mine that I borrowed from someone else. I'm flattered.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.













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Monday, April 08, 2013

Another Molasses Wheat Variation

Spring is trying to catch up to the calendar for us on the Middle Coast. More of my daffodils are blooming along with some tulips, and the trees are starting to bud out. Some timely thunderstorms passed through and dropped at least 0.5" of rain, just enough to open up the soil for the next round of storms tomorrow. Last year at this time, the peak of the springtime allergy season had already passed through. The allergy specialists are convinced that the worst of the season hasn't started yet and we should prepare for the mother of all alergy seasons. That doesn't sound like fun to me.

Today's loaf is a revisit of a flavor favorite, molasses wheat. It was also an opportunity to try the "halo slash" pattern. I think it would have looked better if I had used the "magic bowl" technique. As it stands, it still got some good oven spring and the interior crumb is nicely open.

Starter
150 g at 100% hydration

Main Dough
267 g bread flour
133 g stone ground whole wheat flour
280 g water
11 g kosher salt     
All of starter

I enjoyed the outcome on this loaf in that I deliberately upped the hydration level thinking that the WW flour would absorb much of it. It turns out that my guess work was successful. After an overnight retarded proofing, I used a long counter top proof of about 4.5 hours. This was pleasant work.

The exotic locale page views for the past week or so included South Korea and Ireland.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Multigrain Loaf Lesson

Despite the less than stellar symmetry to the shape of this loaf, I'm feeling pleased, though not too smug, about the results today.  I did manage to confirm that I was too quick to accept the proofing level of my loaves in the past. Proofing for four to five hours has produced much better results when the room temperature is around 70F.  It's not rocket science but like a lot of other raggedy home bakers, I have to relearn these things on a regular basis.

It also appears that the way I shape the loaf should dictate the slashing pattern. For this loaf, I used two longitudinal slashes. I think I have to use a single slash to get the bloom I want. Because I didn't want the cane patterns from the brotform on the loaf, I lined the basket with a flour bag towel which brings about a shorter loaf. Next time, no towel to see if my rediscovered knowledge about proofing will produce the symmetrical loaf and dramatic bloom. As the pictures show, the crumb does have an open appearance. It is also a lighter crumb texture. I added 80 grams of presoaked 9 grain cereal and it's hard to see, as if I had tried to sneak it past Mrs PG's eyes. Since it tastes good, it is good and I still have a lot to learn.

Starter
145 g at 100% hydration

Soaker
80 g Montana Milling nine grain cereal 
56 g water

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
100 g hard red whole wheat flour
270 g water at 85F
11 g kosher salt
1 Tbs (15 ml) honey
All of soaker
All of starter

If it's April, I feel guilty when I don't take advantage of good weather to work outside. This week's chores will include relocating day lilies, trimming the butterfly bushes and Rose of Sharon plants, and getting after the dandelions in the flower beds before they get covered up by the other plants. The flower bed plants are still slow in growth which may mean a furious spurt as soon as the weather is consistently warm. I may plant some snow peas  by the weekend just because I can. The juncos are still around, cleaning up under the feeders. We'll miss their industrious endeavours when they leave.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome. 
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