Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bulgur Loaf with Poolish and a Hybrid Soaker Loaf

So I'm still playing around with soakers and this time I'm adding some active dry yeast into the loaves. This first loaf had a bulgur soaker and a brief soaking of the whole wheat flour used in the bread. Those soakers and hopefully the poolish added to the flavor that was on the sweet side even though I added no honey or sugar. I did make a slight mistake here when I just grabbed one of my large loaf pans, a Wilton 9"x5". The expected oven spring didn't send the crown up, it merely filled in the gaps around the dough in the pan. Nonetheless, it was a tasty loaf for sandwiches or a smear of peanut butter in the morning with my coffee.

100 g organic  Central Mills AP flour
100 g water at 95F
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

60 g bulgur
42 g water at room temperature

Main Dough
188 g bread flour
72 g hard red whole wheat
140 g water at 85F
7 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp olive oil

The poolish and soaker were assembled at the same time in the morning. At mid afternoon, I started the soaking of the WW flour in the mixing bowl while I scaled the other ingredients. Raggedy home baker that I am, I just added the ADY to the bread flour on the premise that it would be hydrated slowly in the mixed dough. I could have hydrated the yeast in the main dough water before I added the WW flour. That would have worked a bit faster. Because the shaped loaf was lighter than my usual loafs, I shortened the baking time to 15 minutes at 450F and 18 minutes at 425F. At the end of the bake, I knocked the loaf out of the pan and onto a wire rack. Then I placed the loaf back into the cooling oven for an extra five minutes to give an extra crunch to the crust.

The next loaf was pulled from the oven this morning. I was behind schedule with the build of my levain, the second stage wasn't quite roaring away. So I decided to go ahead with mixing with a 1/2 tsp of ADY in the soaking water. There was little change in the flavor from the ADY and the crumb looks pretty good. It turned out to have adequate tang in the flavor for sourdough fans .



190 g at 125%, 75% AP/ 25% white whole    wheat

Main Dough
286 g bread flour                                                         
90 g white whole wheat
210 g water at 85F 
9 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp ADY                   
The soaking was nothing more than simply adding the WWW flour to the water in my mixing bowl after I hydrated my ADY. That lasted 20 minutes and I then added the levain. I aerated the slurry in the bowl with the whisk attachment then added the remaining flour. There was no autolyse. I mixed at first speed for three minutes, added the salt, and finished the mixing with three minutes at second speed. After shaping, the loaf got an overnight confinement in the refrigerator. Baking was done at 450F for 15 minutes and 425F for 22 minutes along with five minutes in the cooling oven with the door cracked open.

Our streak of cool weather has continued and is now affecting the trees to the point where some of them are starting to change color about two weeks earlier than usual.

A visitor from the Bahamas has found my obscure corner of the internet. 

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two City Limits Soaker Sourdough Variations

Just as another SWAG experiment to resolve my problems with shaping my dough, I decided to change my procedures a little bit, tweak the hydration lower, and see if I could still get a decent crumb. These are the first experiments and they didn't turn out bad at all. I think a long retarded fermentation wouldn't hurt, but so far, so good.

I lowered the hydration in simple ways, less water, less starter, and a lower hydration starter. That wasn't rocket science. Using my large wooden bread bowl for the first loaf, I soaked the white whole wheat flour in the main dough water before adding the starter, and aerated the ingredients into a slurry with a hand whisk.

I knew that doing that would slow down the yeast action because the dough temperature at the end of mixing wouldn't be optimal but it was my experiment and I wasn't in a hurry for another loaf.

After the slurry was ready, I added the flour and mixed until I had the desired shaggy mass, covered the bowl, and let it rest for about twenty minutes.Then I lightly misted the dough and spread the salt over the dough. With my left hand turning the bowl, I used a curved dough tool turn the dough with about thirty strokes. After two more turns at twenty minute intervals, I let the dough rest for another twenty minutes and then turned it out on to my floured work surface. Then I did a quick stretch and fold before placing the dough in an oiled container to finish the bulk fermentation.
When the dough was ready for shaping, it had plenty of strength to resist me. This particular loaf had a seven hour rest in the refrigerator and was slow to finish proofing. That turned out well and I had another trial loaf almost ready to slice in the wings.

The procedure isn't quite refined enough as of yet. I still have a few wrinkles to iron out. I don't claim to have reinvented the wheel here. The method does seem to lessen some of the problems that come from using  fresh ground or stone ground whole wheat flours. Soaking allows for easier judgement in whether or not the dough is wet enough and could also diminish the cutting effect of the bran in the WW flour. The second loaf used hard red WW yet it had little of the bitterness that is accepted as part of whole wheat flour use.

110 g at 100% hydration, 75% AP/25% WWW
230 g water
90 fresh milled WWW
Main Dough
270 g KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt

The second loaf was done in my mixer. I used the whisk attachment to aerate the soaker/starter slurry.

150 g at 80% hydration
90 g fresh milled hard red whole wheat
225 g water at 85F
Main dough
270 h KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt
This dough was relatively firm despite the fact that the mix was only three minutes at first speed, then three more minutes at second speed. Still, it's not a bad looking crumb for a 25% WW loaf.

The plants in the yard and garden are starting to show the signs of shutting down. The shorter daylight and below average temperatures do make the marigolds that much brighter but it's going to be tough to give up having more fresh, ripe tomatoes than we could eat. The sage and rosemary should last another month at least before its time to pack them in straw to winter over. That will give me time enough for a loaf or two of Panmarino and some focaccia with sage.

While I'm always pleased to see that my obscure corner of the internet is visited by people from around the planet, I'm presently very puzzled by the number of visits from folks in France, at least the statistics say they're from France. Given the number of great bakers in France and the longstanding tradition of bread in the food of France, there is a certain amount of amusement for me when the French read my raggedy home baker's blog. Is there a French visitor that will take the time to explain why he or she stopped by? Perhaps they're studying to learn how to speak like a Kansan.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, September 01, 2014

City Limits Sourdough with Wheat Germ

The introductory picture is a selection of chiles and a couple of tomatoes for some quick and dirty pico de gallo. If i don't talk to myself and say that I was fool, then I obviously didn't add enough chiles. The two big peppers are of the Giant Marconi variety. They're not a true corno de toro  but they'll do. The larger sample was about ten inches long. I complained about little production earlier but the plant seems to be just starting to hit
its stride now.

This particular loaf seems to be disappearing a bit faster than I expected. Just another "freestyle" loaf that happened to work out with a flavorful crust and a bit of a bite in the crumb from the wheat germ. We've enjoyed this particular formula.

130 g at 100% hydration,
75% organic AP/ 25% white whole wheat

30 g Bob's Red Mill wheat germ
30 g water

Main Dough
288 g bread flour
72 g WM Prairie Gold WWW
All of starter
All of soaker
9 g kosher salt

There's a smaller variety of birds at the feeders right now. Since the usual suspects aren't migratory, it's probably just a case of the MIA sorts are feasting elsewhere. Of course, part of the problem could be that the large number of finches are fighting it out for perch space. They've managed to bully the sparrows. We occasionally see a green throat hummingbird in the yard, usually around a Rose of Sharon bush.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.