Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Harvest Bread and Jimmy Nardello is back

While not a perfect loaf, the results are encouraging that I'll be tweaking and working on this formula very soon. It has a moist crumb and the flavors imparted by the wheat germ and bran are almost strong enough that you might think I was deliberately aiming for something healthy. While the oven spring isn't bad considering the ingredients, I think that the flattened aspect of the bottom of the crumb might be due to the fact that the baking stone wasn't hot enough for a loaf this size.

The ingredients might produce a better result were I scale down enough to produce two smaller loaves that would fit on my perforated Italian bread pan. The hydration is deliberately high because of the wheat germ and bran included. In other bakes I used a pre soak but this time I just put those ingredients in, hoped that the hydration would compensate, and this time it all worked out. I did heat ceramic briquettes  in an old pan along with the baking stone, throwing a wet towel on the briquettes for steam during the first fifteen minutes of the bake.

Starter
160 g at 85% hydration, 75% AP/ 25% whole wheat.

Main Dough

300 g bread flour
100 g stoneground whole wheat
20 g wheat germ
20 g wheat bran
290 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
All of starter

The biggest compensation for the hot weather that is currently annoying us here on the Western banks of the Middle Coast is the growth spurt in our cucurbits and nightshade plants, the cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. I think the Jimmy Nardello frying peppers will be the first of the chiles to be picked this year. The soft neck garlic has been tempting to dig up but so far, I've resisted that temptation.

I am somewhat troubled by the scarcity of bees in the garden. There are plenty of blooming flowers in the yard, mostly daisies and day lilies, but that hasn't done much so far. Hummingbirds are scarce as well so it may be more the type and color of flowers than say a problem like hive collapse. We do have cone flowers in the yard but they're not in full bloom so I'll have to wait and see. The Rose of Sharon plants also attract a lot of bees but they seem to be behind schedule due to the erratic Spring weather. As an example of the vagaries of this year's weather, snow peas which usually do well in my garden are only 2-2 1/2 feet tall rather than the expected four feet tall.

My blog attracted visitors from S. Korea and Sweden in the past week. An unusual number of guests from Russia have dropped in as well. Probably because I keep my political comments out of this space. Maybe some of them enjoy the formulas, I haven't heard yet.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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