Friday, January 01, 2016

Sourdough Bloomers and another Bran Crust Sourdough

"The Bread and Bread Machine Bible" by Ingram and Shapter was one of my first bread baking books. By no means is it the best ever, but it's usefulness is evidenced the spin off books that use portions to create different titles. One of the breads included is an English loaf called Poppy Seeded Bloomer. According to the book, the loaf is an English answer to a batard. The recipe didn't attract me but the slashing pattern caught my eye and I finally gave it try.

While the original recipe called for a lean dough of about 64% hydration and an extended bulk fermentation due to using a small amount of yeast, my loaves are sourdough with about 70% hydration.

I have been proofing larger loaves in my banneton but these are smaller by 30 g of flour so the banneton was lined with a towel. While none of these loaves are picture perfect, the slashing pattern worked out well in that the loaves didn't widen out. That was a small accomplishment to be sure but since it worked, I don't regret it.

This last loaf is another 1-2-3 sourdough pain de campagne, boosted with a Tbs of honey due to slower yeast action in my somewhat cool, winter environment, 68-70F, in the kitchen. The bran was added to the outside of the loaf by rolling the shaped, somewhat sticky dough onto some bran. Just to be sure I got the desired result, I also dusted the banneton liner with bran.

Outside, the first measurable snowfall we've had is slowly melting as the temperatures flirt with rising above freezing temperatures. I'm located just a few miles from the Missouri River but there are no flooding concerns here, unlike downriver in the St Louis area. The ground is saturated due to rainfall and snow melt so occasionally I'll be surprised by the sound of the sump running. Fortunately for us and the US Postal Service, the 2016 seed catalogs are arriving daily to start us daydreaming about Springtime and getting our hands in the dirt again.

The usual suspects are visiting my bird feeders with occasional visits from starlings, who will eat everything, and flickers. While the sparrows still don't exhibit good table manners at the feeders, the juncos, who are primarily ground feeders, are once again the beneficiaries.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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