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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