Monday, May 18, 2015

An Experimental AP Loaf

My baking over the last five weeks  or so has been on the pedestrian side with some experimentation that hasn't been really productive until this weekend. The experiments in using Great River AP flour have been somewhat disappointing in that I haven't figured out how to deal with its enormous thirst for water. I tried to work on a couple loaves with about 74% hydration and ended up with a door stop twice in a row. I'm guessing 76-78% is my next stop with that flour.

I also decided to buy a gallon of spring water at the supermarket for feeding my starters. Having read the local water department's analysis reports on their water I noticed they were using a chemical that won't dissipate into the air as chlorine will. Even though I was using  Brita filtered water, I thought that a dollar and change for tax would prove or disprove the suspicions I harbored about the local water. It did help when starting the elaboration or first stage of my starter. The second stage and bulk ferment of my dough wasn't affected as much, probably because I was dealing with larger numbers of yeast spores that hadn't been refrigerated.

So I went down to Walmart last week in order to buy some KAF AP to use in baking and to feed my starter. Since many books have their recipes developed with KAF AP in mind, I wanted to try that out again and see if I had learned enough to make it work out for me. After getting the flour, I decided to reduce the amount of overall flour by 30g for a slightly smaller batch of dough. My earliest experiments with KAF AP had sticky dough after the bulk fermentation which meant I couldn't take any detail for granted. I also threw in another variable, admittedly bad procedure, which was to overnight the starter build in the fridge. Anyways, that did result in a flavor with more tang for the finished loaf.

When the loaf was finally done and sliced, it did work out. The dough didn't collapse while I was slashing. The end color of the crust wasn't bad and the crumb, as noted, had a nice, mild sour flavor and tender texture. Not a perfect loaf by any stretch but one with potential as long as I keep working on the procedure. Practice, practice, practice!

110g at 100% hydration, fed with 75% KAF AP,
25% white whole wheat flour

Main Dough 
264g KAF AP
66g WWW flour
220g water at 85F
All of starter
7g kosher salt

Baked at 450F for 15 minutes, then turned around and baked at 425F for 18 minutes.

We haven't experienced the severe weather locally that has afflicted much of the Middle Coast. There has been a lot of rain that resulted in vigorous growth by the lawn. The peonies which grew to almost 4 1/2 feet tall, have bloomed prolifically and drooped to the ground as the rains passed through. The garlic is quite tall and the stalks are fat and bright green. The rest of the garden seems a little slow but that will change as the soil warms up. I've identified a new visitor to the bird feeders outside my window as a gray catbird. The bird was almost drab looking due to its, you guessed it, gray plumage but its song is quite similar to that of a cat. Hummingbirds haven't arrived yet.

Over the last four weeks or so, my obscure corner of the internet has gotten a large number of visits from the Ukraine.  I have no explanation for that other than either there are people who enjoy my excruciating and meandering scribbles or they have too much time on their hands. If these visits aren't just some computer driven hits and are real people, I'd like to hear from you and perhaps get some of your recipes.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.