Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Singing Rye for the Bake Sale

Thursday was the first day of the Bake Sale for the Cushing Hospital Volunteers and as in the past, I donated a couple of loaves. That meant I got to go further along in my experiment with KAF AP flour. Just for fun, I also aerated the poolish I used in both breads. It looks like I got good oven spring but I couldn't inspect the crumb. The light rye with caraway loaf, the obviously under proofed loaf, sang out loud after I took it out of the oven. I think I'll repeat that loaf after Thanksgiving to see if I've got something going on with that recipe.

Pain Italien

Poolish
90 g KAF AP
90 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
310 g KAF AP
122 g 1% milk at 85F
60 g water at 85F
1/2 Tbs (7.5 ml) olive oil          
8 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Light Rye with Caraway

Poolish
72 g whole rye flour
18 g KAF AP
90 g water at 85F
pinch caraway seeds

Main Dough
310 KAF AP
182 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
7 g caraway seeds
1/2 tsp active dry yeast

The third loaf is one that I baked for home consumption. Its a 33% whole wheat sourdough that I aimed at a 70% or so hydration to see how the KAF AP based dough would handle. I found that the dough was a little bit sticky but not impossible. The crumb has been consistently open throughout the loaf after it was baked. Shaping wasn't my strong point on this particular day but that comes with the territory. I may have to try a smaller loaf or two and then work up in size after more practice with the KAF AP.

Starter
145 g at 80% hydration

Main Dough
240 g KAF AP
120 g stone ground whole wheat
232 g water at 85F
7.5 ml (1/2 tsp) organic honey
9 g kosher salt
All of starter

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mona's Memorial Breads

These three pictures are loaves that I baked for a post memorial service cocktail party. Mona-AKA Polly and sometimes Penny- Long was my friend Rob's mother. Mona was one of the last of the traveling vaudeville performers before WW2. She played trumpet, always enjoyed a glass of good wine and the occasional taste of Canadian whisky, was a raconteur and a memorable woman.

Rob predicted that there might be as many as fifty people attending the party so I baked three loaves. The first was a 70% hydration Pain Italien with wheat germ. The second was supposed to be a large multigrain wheat baked in a pan but since I already had the couche out, I split the dough into two smaller loaves for proofing in the couche. The third loaf  was a sourdough pain de campagne or French country loaf. No crumb shots were taken.


Now, I've also been playing with KAF AP rather than my usual Dakota Maid bread flour. The results show that I'm still adjusting to the difference in the flours. Shaping is more critical with the AP so I've been using the bandwidth to get tutorials from Youtube on shaping. KAF AP is now available in ten pound bags locally at Walmart so it behooves me to learn quickly. The DM is bought up in Omaha, three hours drive away, when we visit Mrs PGs family there. There is a difference in the taste between the two but not a difference in quality. I may be splitting hairs here but for me, the two companies are marketing their products to different niches. There's plenty of room for both of them.

Some more of our feathered friends are starting to return to the bird seed buffets that we offer in our yard. The first that I noticed were goldfinches, then came the titmice, and as of yesterday morning, a northern flicker. They're all fun to watch.

This little obscure corner of the internet has had a guest page view from Austria.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sonnenblumenbrot

This sonnenblumenbrot or sunflower seed bread is my first effort at the recipe found in the first edition of J Hamelman's "Bread". I had to scale down the weights for a single pan loaf. I haven't found any information on the possibility that the formula had some errors in hydration during a brief search but I did end up adding an extra three Tbs (45 ml) of water to get what I thought was a workable dough. Some of the extra water may have been due to my using WWW for the preferment. It was supposed to be a pate fermentee but I forgot the salt. It turned out more like a thick biga. Overall, the hydration is supposed to be 80% but I must have missed something somewhere.

I made a mistake in using one of my larger pans for this loaf. It doesn't look too bad and if I had possessed more patience to proof the loaf longer, I might have gotten a better crumb. But it still tastes good, either in a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich or with a healthy smear of crunchy peanut butter.

Preferment
72 g WWW flour
48 g water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Soaker
72 g rye chops
90 g water

Main Dough
360 g bread flour
187 g water at 85F
10 g kosher salt
5 g honey
4 g active dry yeast
90 g toasted sunflower seeds, unsalted, plus extra for top of loaf
All of soaker
All of preferment

The second loaf is a variation of the Hearth Grain Loafs that I've been working on lately. This loaf used 28% WW flour rather than WWW and got 15 g of brown cane sugar.

The notable visitor over the past few days, whether deliberate or by accident, was from the Czech Republic.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

           
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Multigrain Sourdough on a Couche

This is the loaf that confirmed my previous suspicions that using a couche could produce a larger loaf due to the expansion allowd for the dough. The finished loaf seemed to be too large for what I thought was a smaller amount of dough but I'll take the results.

As in previous years, November means a number of events where I'll either donate or supply loaves of bread. I really don't mind since it means that my starter will be getting some exercise to strengthen up for winter. The first flurries of the season are predicted for tomorrow so I don't think that I'm being premature.

Originally, I was planning on using the last of my malted wheat flakes. Somehow, the package that was at the front of the freezer must have worked its way back into the depths of the frozen food cavern so I opted for the multi grain cereal mix. One of these days, I plan and execute another loaf that ends the way I planned it in my mind but this wasn't that one day.  I guess we'll just have to eat this fine loaf and move the goal post date down the road.

Starter
150 g at 80% hydration, fed 50% WM Natural White AP,  25% stone ground whole wheat flour, 25% whole rye flour

Soaker
60 g Montana Milling 9 grain cereal mix
48 g water at 85F

Main Dough
260 g bread flour
70 g stone ground whole wheat flour
20 g whole rye flour
252 g water at 85F
15 g brown sugar
9 g kosher salt
All of soaker
All of starter

All of the garlic I wanted to plant is now in the ground and covered by wheat straw. Somehow, I seem to have ended up with just one variety, unidentified at that, of hard neck garlic. It has only four cloves per bulb but they are extra large. A single clove could be substituted for two or three cloves of smaller varieties.  There are 46 of those cloves planted and 24 cloves of soft neck garlic. The soft neck are small in comparison but I suspect that's just their nature. Still, I turned the soil over a few times to loosen it up and fertilized the soil as much as I thought would be wise. I'll report the results next July or so.

Two guest page views from unexpected places took place this past weekend. They were from Morocco and Pakistan.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
     
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

A Lean Hearth Grains Bread

While waiting for an idea akin to divine inspiration for a future loaf, I decided to filling the looming void in bread supplies with this lean Hearth Grains loaf.

I admit that after paying the fee for a small supply of the commodity from King Arthur Flour, I think that I can assemble a comparable mixture with locally available supplies. If I were a real baker, I'd have to consider the costs and frequency of utilization before starting that adventure. However, since I'm just a raggedy home baker, as long as there's room in the cupboards, fridges, and freezers where I can stash my purchases, out of sight means of out of mind and I can bake without feelings of guilt or foolhardiness.

The flavor of the bread is quite good with the crosshatched slashing pattern adding to the taste through carmelization of the crust. The next time I use this deep pattern, I hope to have proofed in my couche rather than the brotform.  Without scientific or even methodical documentation, I think that the couche leads to a more open crumb that is also more tender. The only drawback to the couche is that its sized for a higher production number than just one loaf. I need a smaller  couche.

Starter
150 g at 72% hydration, fed with 50% Wheat Montana Natural white, 50% WM Prairie Gold

Main Dough

260 g Dakota Maid Bread Flour
100 g WM Prairie Gold
252 g water at 85F
All of starter
50 g KAF Harvest Grains Blend
9 g kosher salt

The harbingers of winter's arrival are evident in the yard outside my window. Another frost came along this morning but it didn't seem to be deep enough to kill all the pollen and allergens. I walked outside to get the morning paper in my hiking shorts and didn't go into cardiac seizure so it wasn't that terrible at all. All the trees are shedding their leafs now, making more work for me with raking and an eventual cleaning of the gutters. The rose bushes are still possessive of their leafs for now. The plan for this afternoon is to clear out enough of the garden to locate my garlic bed. I have the wheat straw for mulch now so there are no more excuses for delay. Currently, my plan is to plant about 60 hard neck cloves, possibly more if I can't find an adequate number of soft neck cloves. Small cloves mean small bulbs so there's no point in wasting time or aggravating my lower back in planting them.

A few more juncos are showing up to feed off the seed dropped on the ground by the sparrows at the feeders. There haven't been any goldfinches in quite a while but they'll probably show up after I post this entry. I haven't seen very many hawks overhead lately but I suspect that they're looking for prey in the recently harvested fields in the area. Farmers are gathering the last of the soybean and corn crops still left undone.

Someone from Saudi Arabia stopped by here in the last few days to visit my obscure corner of the internet.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.   
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Saturday, November 02, 2013

Rosemary Bread Progress

After making a batch of spaghetti sauce, I knew I wanted to revisit a formula I worked on during the summer.I also wanted to try building the dough without the use of my mixer or hand kneading, just using in bowl stretch and folds and a final stretch and fold on my counter top. Rather than falling back on my familiar bread flour for its higher gluten content, I was hoping that turning the dough in the bowl, when done correctly, would be adequate for gluten development in the AP flour I used.


I think these turned out well for my second effort. There is room for improvement in that the slashes show evidence that I could have proofed for a little while longer. While I still have much to learn about using a couche, I'm liking the way batards turn out. I dug out my Italian loaf pan for this batch and it didn't do any harm at all.

Preferment
40g Wheat Montana Prairie Gold WWW
19 g Wheat Montana AP
41 g water at 90F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Dough

300 g WM AP
200 g water at 90F
All of preferment
1 1/2 Tbs minced rosemary
1 Tbs olive oil
8 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast

While there was a frost earlier this week that killed many more of the tender plants, it wasn't quite strong enough to take out the remaining allergens from the air or the last of the flying insects. Since Tuesday is election day in some states, it must be time to plant garlic. The common wisdom for planting garlic is to put it in no more than six weeks before the ground freezes. There's still some cleanup work to be done in the garden and in the flower beds on the east and south sides of our property. That will be a close run deal if I get it done.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


 
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