Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mock Pane Rustica

I've been baking a lot lately. Besides my baking household loaves, I'm still intent on having five recipes to hand out to the class that the extension service has asked me to lead.

The first loaf pictured is another sourdough house loaf with 33% stone ground whole wheat. I did make an adjustment in the formula that I've used by simply adding 10 g less of water. This seems to compensate well for the 150 g of starter that I find more convenient to build up and use. Using a thirty minute autolyse also helped in getting a nice oven spring.         

150 g at 100% hydration, fed with KAF AP

Main Dough
240 g bread flour
120 g stone ground whole wheat
230 g water at 85F
All of starter
8 g kosher salt.

The second loaf, my mock pane rustica, is shown to the left of household loaf. it's going to be one of my handouts when I teach my class.  It's a mock loaf because I used a poolish rather than a biga. After shaping the loaf, I proofed it in my couche. It appears that using the couche, which I recently added to my "tool box", has an advantage over a brotform because it gives more opportunity for expansion in the loaf resulting in a more open crumb. This particular loaf had a total of 315 g of flour as compared to the 435 g in the house loaf. I'm not making any scientific or professional discovery here but I plan on further comparisons just of curiosity.

Mrs PG and I both enjoyed this second loaf. I started out with intentions of making some focaccia but ending up with a loaf. We had average room temperatures of 76-78F with low humidity on that day so the yeast had great conditions for application. The sticky dough was hand mixed and kneaded briefly, four minutes, but responded well to four stretch and folds in the first 90 minutes. Proofing took about 75 minutes before the dough was introduced to the oven.

100 g KAF AP
100 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp (.63 ml) active dry yeast
Mix and rest on counter at room temperature 12-14 hours

Main Dough
170 g bread flour
45 g white whole wheat flour
132 g water at 85F
7.5 g (1/2 Tbs) olive oil
6 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
All of poolish

The third loaf was meant to be a gift to a friend who was in town for her 40th year high school class reunion. It's a variation on the mock loaf being slightly larger but Kay won't get a chance at trying it since she has to leave to return to San Diego before I could give it to her. Don't worry Kay, I'll send pictures and let you know how it turned out.

Its strangely quiet outside this morning. The crickets and cicadas that had been so obnoxiously loud for the past couple of weeks seem to have moved somewhere else. The usual suspect birds at my feeders just about disappeared when the crickets and cicadas showed up in force. Now that the sparrows are flocking to my feeders this morning, I'm wondering if the insect noise drove away the birds who couldn't communicate. Of course, there's also the possibility that the noise attracted more and more birds to eat the insects until their numbers reached critical mass, decimated the insects, and left feeders like mine as the best free lunch once again.

Visitors to my blog in the past week or so included views from Indonesia, Bahrain, Greece, and the UAE.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Caraway and Rye Rolls

 Of the two breads included in this post, I'm more excited with the second, the caraway and rye rolls. This first bread isn't bad but its more a testament to my luck in recognizing an error and then adjusting for my mistake. I simply added too much water for the final mix because I forgot to write down my planned formula before baking. This has happened before and it'll happen again. It's good thing I'm not trying to make money at this.      

150 g at 80% hydration

48 g nine grain cereal
51 g water

 Main Dough
300 g bread flour
90 stone ground whole wheat
260 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
All of starter
All of soaker

I'm pleased with how my caraway and rye rolls turned out. They're a formula that I've developed for my upcoming bread class for the Kansas State Extension Service. I scaled out these rolls to 180-185 g before baking. They are big but just big enough for the rather large hamburger patties I like to grill. Even better than that, they didn't fall apart while we were eating our sandwiches. My yield was four of these large rolls  but the next batch will be set up to yield six 150 g rolls which should be closer to the "normal" size hamburger roll. The pepper in the photo is a "Jimmy Nardello", an Italian frying pepper. The tomatoes are San Marzano.

70 g whole rye flour
48 g water at 85F
<1/8 tsp active dry yeast
This all rye preferment didn't expand very much. One way to judge its growth would have been to sprinkle rye flour over the top and observe the preferment cracking open the flour. I just let it set undisturbed at room temperature for about eight hours. When I lifted the plastic wrap covering, it was making a continuous sizzling sound much like Rice Krispies cereal working double time in a bowl of milk.

Main dough
360 g bread flour
240 g water at 90F
9 g kosher salt
6 g caraway seeds
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
All of preferment.

The resultant dough was a bit sticky but not trauma inducing sticky. The bulk ferment, with two stretch and folds at 30 and 60 minutes, took about two hours to double in size. After dividing and shaping the rolls, they were proofed for an hour under an oiled plastic wrap cover. Baking was done at 400F for 28 minutes on a preheated baking stone.

Our summer time heat is almost over. We just opened up the house windows in anticipation of much cooler weather over the weekend. I'm still hoping for more rain to ease the removal of the weeds and tree saplings that have taken root over the summer when I wasn't looking. There are still some cucumbers growing and a more than adequate supply of tomatoes for the next few weeks at least. The chile peppers didn't do much this year but, as in baseball, there's always next year.

In closing, I'd like to note the passing of Gary W. Sherman of New Bedford, MA, a college classmate and roommate at Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA. Gary was an admirably cheerful man who married his high school sweet heart Jeanne and together they raised four children and became grandparents to three. Gary was also fortunate enough to put his college education to good use as an Elementary Education grades teacher over his entire career. As if all that wasn't enough to keep him busy, he also volunteered his time for his church and an outreach ministry. While he never achieved front page fame and international notoriety, he was a connoisseur of the occasional fine cigar, a good man, fine friend, and considered a friend by many over his lifetime. That's a good track record by my accounting.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Building a Better Batard

The arrival of my couche from Amazon and the first loaf formed in that couche motivated me to find simple answers as to how to get better looking loaves. This second loaf is a little bit better shaped  but I did observe that using the couche allows for greater horizontal expansion of the dough. Perhaps what I'm looking for is a loaf that is more stout than long with more of a belly. I used the shaping method as diagrammed by Mebake over at The Fresh Loaf.

There's also a possibility that I may be running into a wall here because of my usual inclusion of a good portion of whole wheat flour. An additional 40 g of wheat germ in the form of a soaker may have contributed to weakening the gluten.

Finally, I may have to start planning smaller loaves or changing my recipes to be big enough for two loaves, something I'm loathe to do for two reasons. First, I think my mixer isn't large enough to handle that much dough, 1200 g give or take a few grams. Second, storage space in my freezers is limited by their capacity. They're small from an American viewpoint and things have a knack of being overlooked when they get full.

Until I find the technique or answer that I've overlooked so far, I think this recipe would be just fine for use in a boule.

150 g at 80% hydration

40 g wheat germ
30 g water

Main Dough
All of starter
All of soaker
270 g bread flour
90 g stone ground whole wheat flour
240 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt

Somebody from Albania stopped in for a look during the past few days.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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