Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Sponge Rye Rolls

 It tool a while but I finally got around to using Rose Beranbaum's sponge directions for a project. I hadn't been inspired by it the first time I read her "Bread Bible" but something sank in this time around.

It's  relatively simple and quite logical once you think about it and apply it. You use all the water, 1/3 of your total flour, and no more than 1/2 the suggested yeast for the loaf size.  Then you mix up the sponge, blanket the sponge with the remaining flour and yeast, cover, and let it do its magic for at least four hours or more. When your ready to mix, add your salt, mix, and start your bulk fermentation.

That's an abbreviated description of the process. As you'll read, I used a small amount of my active dry yeast in the sponge only. I wasn't in hurry and even went so far as to place the bowl downstairs in the 62F basement air and then into the refrigerator after a while. It worked for me. I also added the rye flour and a pinch of caraway seeds to the sponge. It seems like I just can't leave a recipe alone.

245 g water at 85F
52 g stone ground rye flour
48 g bread flour
3/8 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of caraway seeds

Flour blanket
250 g bread flour

7 g kosher salt
5 g caraway seeds

The dough was scaled out to 150g pieces, shaped and proofed in my couche. Baking was 30 minutes at 425F on a baking stone. The finished rolls had a light, tender and moist crumb with mild rye and caraway flavors.

I think that I'll repeat this recipe for a larger single loaf for a Superbowl Sunday dinner to go along with smoked and pulled pork. i think its worth doing over.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Country Cracked Wheat with Spelt Loaf

A little bit of spelt in the flour mix does add a measure of anticipation while the loaf in the oven. The aroma that slips into the kitchen environment just makes my nose perk up and my expectations rise. It's a good thing.

I noticed my container of spelt in the fridge while I was rummaging around for the cracked wheat and decided that another free style loaf surely wouldn't hurt. When I hot soaked the cracked wheat, I thought that I might end up with a rather flat loaf due to a climbing hydration level that I hadn't considered before the improvising but it did work out for me. As evidenced in the pictures, the crumb looks fine and the oven spring worked out as well. Yes, the loaf did pass the taste test of Mrs PG.

140 g at 80% hydration

60 g cracked wheat
60 g very hot water
Cover and soak for 4 hours. Most of the water should be absorbed.

Main Dough

260 g bread flour
60 g stone ground whole wheat flour
40 g spelt flour
244 g water at 85F
All of starter
All of soaker
9 g kosher salt
1/2 Tbs organic honey

The weather outside hasn't been very consistent. Yesterday, the temperature hit 57F with high winds and today only 22F with light winds. No signs of any plants or flowers sending up shoots or signs of green yet. Several goldfinches have started feeding in the past couple of days and a rare sighting of a bluebird, supposedly a year round resident, occurred Sunday. A few starlings are outside right now, gobbling up any and all seeds dropped from the feeders by the sparrows.

Recent visitors to my obscure corner of the internet include page views from Croatia, Libya, Lithuania, and South Africa.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Comfort Food Loaves Repeated

My usual entryway into posting isn't working today so rather than letting even more work backup in the camera, I've decided just to post these pictures, yellowish fluorescent cast and all. There are worse things in life to bear.

These two loaves are repeats of earlier projects that I thought would pair well with the kind of cooking I've been doing lately. Dishes like a Yankee pot roast and white chicken chili need breads with flavors that can match up well. The first is the repeat of my Pan Campesino recipe,

My first attempt used a couche during the proofing and this one used an overnight retarded proof in a brotform because I was hoping for something that would stand up better. I may be barking up the wrong tree here and should consider small boules as is typical of the bread.
This second loaf is a lean hearth bread with seeds. The original recipe is here,

I like this bread. It has a nice chew to it and has flavor spectrum, if that's the proper description, that pleases Mrs PG and is useful for all sorts of purposes.

The notorious "polar vortex" weather has passed and we are now heading into a slight warming, 40s and 50s for high temperatures, for a few days. A massive starling vortex descended on our pear tree and cleaned out the little sterile pods on the branches. They must have been convinced they did a thorough job in less than a day because they haven't been back since.

During the last few days some blackbirds and cedar wax wings made brief visits. I haven't noticed anything truly exotic or out of place, though there are no hawks in the local sky right now. There's a bald eagle viewing event in Lawrence, KS on the 25th of this month. They nest in the trees on the banks of the Kaw River, just downstream from the old Bowersock dam.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.