Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pan Campesino Prototype

I admit to having interest in reading any bread recipe that is supposed to be a peasant bread or a farmer's bread. Perhaps the usual simplicity of the recipes is appealing because the results leave little room to hide errors in creating the flavor during mixing and fermentation. Of course, it could also be that the aesthetics, how pretty the finished loaf looks, aren't as critical in these breads.

I've been through the bauernbrot and pan de campagne, pao de caseira, and now I'm in search of pan campesino. It's difficult for me to tell if Google has been my friend during recipe searches for this bread. While I can usually read a translation from German to English when done by Google Translate, the Spanish to English translations haven't been really coherent. But what can you expect when the translation doesn't cost money, just what they can data mine from my internet travels or these blog posts.

I haven't found one common style through all the different recipes I've read so far. Some have been sourdough but most use fresh yeast, a commodity that I can't find in any retail store in the greater KC area.  A couple recipes included the use of rye flour, three mention wheat bran, and others use some form of fat. Many are just an enriched dough with sugar and butter added. This means that my recipe, while not from a Spanish speaking country and originating from my own head, has about the same validity as any of the others. If I get enough hits on this post, it could be the definitive recipe some day on Google's search engine. maybe they'll buy me a cup of coffee when that happens.

This was my first, an encouraging result if I say so myself, attempt. The hydration level is higher than the Spanish speakers' recipes which called for around 60% in some cases. Instead of a boule form as some pictures displayed, I proofed this loaf in a couche which resulted in what I thought to be a large loaf considering the amount of flour used. It worked well enough that I'll use that couche again.

170 g at 75% hydration, fed with 50% KAF AP, 50% home milled organic rye, in a two stage build over 20 hours

20 g wheat bran
40 g water
Soak for approximately three hours.

Main Dough
270 g bread flour
90 g white whole wheat
240 g water
All of starter
All of soaker
9 g kosher salt

The only thing I varied in my methodology for this loaf was to add the bran soaker in two stages, at three and five minutes into the final mix. The final mix was only six minutes by my decision since I was using WWW and the bran. My guess was that gluten development wouldn't be that high.

The bread does taste good without any trace of the bitterness or gritty texture that is common with bran additions.

The garden is almost cleaned up. We've had a killing frost on Friday morning so many of the annual flowers are done for the season as well. The herbs in the garden are still alive and useful except for the basil that its demise due to frost. Once the garden and yard are cleaned up, I'll plant my garlic as soon as I can get some straw for a mulch.

More and more birds are showing up at the feeders as the local harvests leftovers are cleaned up. The usual suspects are around but one unexpected early visitor has arrived. A male junco has been around my feeders this past week which is a disturbing sign. He's either particularly early or I've ignored their arrival in years past.The early arrival may be a sign of an earlier and perhaps colder winter to come, perhaps not.

A visitor from Ireland has joined the ranks of guests on my blog this past week.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

My New Hearth Bread

Hearth Bread? Artisan Bread? Both terms are much abused and overused these days but this loaf turned out to be so good for a first effort that I can forgive my self indulgence. By no means perfect but on first taste, a light went on in my head and I thought "I can do this".

The idea started rolling last week while Mrs PG and I were visiting Vermont. First, we stayed overnight in Burlington where we had an excellent pizza and tasty beers at "American Flat Bread". The next day we motored across the state to Norwich, home of King Arthur Flour and their dangerous to the credit card retail store where I added a bag of their Hearth Bread Grains to my other purchases.

Not long after we returned to Kansas, I went about reviving my sleeping starter and staring at the recipe included on the back of the bag, looking for inspiration or something to steal.The following is what I managed to formulate.

165 g at 80% hydration

Main Dough
260 g bread flour
100 g stone ground whole wheat
230 g water at 85F
All of starter
70 g Hearth Bread Grains
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs honey
8 g kosher salt

A couple of minor details about this loaf. First, the shaped dough took a really long time to finish proofing after a night in the fridge. That may have been due to a lethargic starter or perhaps something as simple as a cooler house. It has been a regular observation that my starters slow down after summer has passed. The answer in the past was to build the starter in two stages over 18 hours or so. Second, I baked at 425F for the entire bake because I added honey and expected over browning of the exterior crust. It appears a slightly longer bake didn't do any harm.

The yard is getting a much needed clean up effort while the temperature is cool and the garden will be left for as long as I can get some production from what is left. The overnight lows haven't brought any frost yet but the average first frost date here is 15 October so I can't complain when it does hit. While I did purchase a particularly cold hardy rosemary plant, I'll dig it up in another effort to see if I can help it overwinter here next to the keyboard.

Unexpected visitors to my obscure corner of the Internet in recent days were page views from Brazil, Jordan, and Malawi.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.    
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