Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Practice Loaves

The onset of cold weather is a convenient subject for blame for my less than enthusiastic baking these past couple of weeks. Its more realistic to say that I need to get more practice and perhaps a few new recipes to spark up some more curiosity. I borrowed C Field's "Italian Baker" from the local library which has been the source of a couple new future projects and I'm just about to delve into my new copy of RL Beranbaum's "Bread Bible". I've found a range of organic bulk food selections at a nearby Hy-Vee Supermarket at reasonable prices which means I can now add cracked wheat, pepita, and roasted sunflower seeds to my baker's toolbox of ingredients. Those breads should be developing after the new year.

The set of four soup bowl breads started out as a sourdough loaf and then became an experiment for making a break apart loaf. I had seen something in C Hitz's "Baking Artisan Breads" where he took pizza dough portions, proofed them, and then used a bench scraper to make some indentations in the top of the dough just before baking. The goal was to have a bread that could tear apart easily into four or six parts. I did the bench scraper thing but must have missed an instruction or two because the indents didn't stay. Instead, I got some very nice mini bowl sized loaves, I wouldn't call them Pugliese, that have been just fine for eating with pasta. The leftover loaves froze very well.

130 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
360 g KAF AP
244 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
All of starter

Yield: 3 200 g and 1 140 g small boules.

The next two loaves were baked for a Christmas party on Saturday night for the local Democratic Party organization. The first is a pane cassericio, a homemade bread, or pagnotta. The name gives a lot of latitude to bakers and I stretched that latitude into a loaf with a recipe that kind of developed in the back of my head. If I chanced upon something that looks similar to a recognized style of bread, it was strictly accidental but do leave a comment at the end of the post to let me know.

100 g bread flour
70 g water at 85F
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
210 g water at 85F
20 g Non-fat dry milk powder
8 g kosher salt
1/2 Tbs olive oil
All of biga

The last loaf was another "Singing Rye" loaf that I've described in an earlier post (26 NOV 2013). It was gone long before the last crumbs of the Pane Cassericio bounced off the plate. I was the well pleased recipient of several compliments for the rye loaf so I think I can say that recipe is good to go now. I even bought four ounces of caraway seeds this morning to make sure that I'm ready for any future requests.

Recent drop ins to visit my obscure corner of the internet include page views from Finland and Oman.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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