Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Light Rye with Caraway

As I gain momentum to do the yard work around Casa PG, my starter seems to be doing the same for a similar reason, warmer weather. I admit to using a bit of IDY in my loaves that include bulgur, one of which is baking while I hunt and peck upon the keyboard, but for the most part my anxiety about my starter is diminishing.

This first loaf is a sample of the sourdough with bulgur loafs. They still have a taste that appeals to Mrs PG and I. They're also good for day to day use with some peanut butter or in a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich.

My most recent foray into the wonderful world of rye breads worked out well in terms of texture and taste. The crumb was soft and the caraway seeds, which I found at a Penzey's store, were just bright enough to stand up to bratwurst and some hot horseradish. This wasn't a loaf for a smear of peanut butter in the morning, it's meant for sandwiches and stews. Be sure to use an overnight retarded proofing.

150 g at 100% hydration, fed with
75% AP/25% whole rye

Main Dough
288 g bread flour
72 g whole rye flour
230 g water at 85F
12 g or 1/2 Tbs honey
9 g kosher salt
9 g caraway seeds

The leafs are starting to fill in on more trees. Tomorrow, 15 April, is our area's average lost frost date with no forecast for frost in the next ten days. Our daffodils are quickly fading away but our tulips are emerging as the color in the flower beds. All but one of my peony plantings have stems reaching twenty inches or more and I haven't been outside since yesterday so that planting may have caught up.

The juncos appear to have left the yard for their migration northward and have been replaced by more  regular visiting red winged blackbirds. It's still too early for the return of the hummingbirds in our area.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Maple-Bran Sourdough and Some No Knead Experimentation

I haven't been borrowing any recipes lately, just working on some of the now usual freestyle loaves that I think will work out or are the fortunate but not originally intended results of a "learning experience". This first loaf got going from having an opened bottle of some amber maple syrup in the refrigerator and some wheat bran crowding the downstairs beer fridge. There's some rye chops in that fridge that need to be part of an experiment as well.

In order to improve the dispersion of the goodness of the maple syrup, I put it in the main dough water and sent it through the microwave as I heated the water up to 85F. The bran soaker was 100% this time around. Because I mixed by hand, it didn't get spread evenly. A 1/4 tsp of IDY was added because I thought the bran might cut down on the oven spring by cutting gluten strands but I'm not sure that was ever going to be a problem after using a soaker.  In any case, the result speaks for itself and the bread is good.

120 g at 100% hydration

44 g wheat bran
44 g water

Main Dough
306 g bread flour
54 g hard red whole wheat flour
230 g water at 85F
25 g medium amber maple syrup
8 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp instant dry yeast

The second loaf was an experimental loaf as well. I wanted to take another try at the no knead method. Due to my deviations from the usual process, I ended up with something that didn't  quite live up to my expectations. First of all, I used some Wheat Montana Natural White AP which has a higher protein content than most APs. Then I lowered the hydration down to 70% rather than the normal 75%. Finally, I could have used a longer proof since I probably used too little yeast for the method.

It didn't turn out to be a disaster though. There was a soft, sweet interior crumb that's pleasing. I found that shaping the dough while it was still cold was quite easy. I don't know for certain that it will be as easy with 75% hydration and a lower protein AP but if it doesn't look like it will stay shaped enough for a batard, it can always be used for a flat bread.

270 g WM Natural White flour
30 g semolina flour
6 g wheat germ
212 g water at 85F
6 g kosher salt
3/4 tsp IDY

It certainly is Spring outside my window here on the Middle Coast. The Chanticleer pear tree is blooming, the peonies are starting to sprout up with vigor, and a variety of daffodils are spreading an enormous volume of cheers for Springtime. The garden's soil is much too wet and cold to be worked but I may take a shot at clearing a small patch for some leaf lettuce. I certainly have enough packets in seed collection that I can chance losing a small row to frost. The flower beds need some weeding and a careful eye for anything that might look like it's a tree seed that sprouted. Mrs PGs Rose of Sharon bushes spread a lot of seeds every year and every year I find something to complain about them. There are some eighteen bags of brown mulch for the flower beds that need to be spread in the next couple of days before I go back to Walmart for more.

As long as I'm going to pick up the mulch, I might as well pick up that 10# bag of KAF AP flour while I'm there.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.