Friday, July 12, 2013

Rosemary Bread with Biga

The first few pictures today are of the current house loaf. I added a soaker of wheat germ to add a little more flavor and texture to the crumb. I'm beginning to think that my starter is either getting tired and needs to go through a several day refreshment regime to bring back its vitality or that its not reacting well to the change in brand of AP that I'm feeding it. The alternative is to go back and review my procedures to make sure that I'm not the problem. Raggedy home bakers such as myself can't always get by with good intentions or on luck alone.  In any case, the birds outside my window here won't be seeing the crumbs from this one.

Starter
150 G at 75% hydration, AP flour

Soaker
20 g wheat germ
15 g water

Main Dough
280 g bread flour
100 g stone ground whole wheat flour
20 g whole rye flour
11 g kosher salt
280 g water at 90F, plus 15 g water correction during final mix
All of starter
All of soaker

The second loaf is the rosemary bread with biga. I went to work with my wooden bowl again, using some of Ken Forkish's techniques from the book "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast". The techniques are interesting and for the most part effective but I'm not yet able to get the open crumb that I like to brag about. he has an advantage of experience and equipment so I'm not neurotic about my skill level yet. The bread itself needed more minced rosemary than the Tbs I used. However, if I didn't include the rosemary in the ingredients, I could still serve this bread to friends and family without shame. This is a good, uncomplicated bread with a clean flavor that goes well with Italian style pasta dishes.

Biga
80 g AP flour
20 g stone ground whole wheat flour
68 g water at 90F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
200 g water at 90F
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
8 g kosher salt
All of biga
1 Tbs (15 ml) minced fresh rosemary
Olive oil for hands in final mix

We are finally getting fresh tomatoes on all our plants. I particularly am waiting for the San Marzano tomatoes. Once the plant gets going, it produces well until the early blight or frost overtakes it. The plant is supposed to be determinate but since the plant I bought is the "improved" strain, it may not know that as of yet. All the garlic is in, cleaned up, and drying. The softneck garlic is smallish and I'll probably order some new bulbs from Filaree Farms next month. The hard neck garlic isn't bad, not as large as last year, but there's still plenty to save for planting, eating, and giving away. Given the dry weather and forecast of more of the same, all the garlic will be ready for storage early next week. I still have edible garlic from last year so I think I've learned a little about growing that crop.

The sparrows and finches seem to have discovered the suet feeder as of late. They hadn't noticed its existence for quite a while but now are jumping over to the feeder. I haven't seen any hummingbirds in the past few weeks but I'm not sure that we have what they like around the yard. while the monarch butterfly migration will be here in about three weeks, I'm not anxious to leave the milk weed plants in the yard. They don't do much for me or the appearance of the house.

My thanks to the readers that have dropped in to view the blog from Italy, Ireland, Malaysia, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


     
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