Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Similar Table Bread

 Summer arrived and has taken up residence in our patch of ground here on the Middle Coast with cruel and oppressive heat. That means changing conditions for my yeast in that even with the A/C on, the usual room temperature is somewhere between 78 and 80F. Fortunately, that's on the upper end of ideal temperatures for yeast, both dry yeast and sourdough. Adding to the new conditions for the yeast, I switched from using KAF AP to using Hudson Cream AP. The HC AP is milled here in Kansas, out west of Wichita. It's at least one full percentage point lower in protein than the KAF AP which makes it handle differently. BTW, it works just fine when used in feeding my sourdough starters.

62 g HC AP
62 g water at room temperature, around 80F
1/8 tsp instant dry yeast

Main Dough
208 g Dakota Maid bread flour
60 g Dakota Maid whole wheat flour
169 g water at 80F
7 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
olive oil for greasing fermentation bowl or container

Add flours and IDY into the mixing bowl, stir well to mix.Use the main dough water to help transfer the poolish to the mixing bowl. Mix to a shaggy mass, cover, and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Add salt and fold in. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, knead for about two minutes, place into an oiled container for bulk fermentation and cover. Do three stretch and folds at 20-25 minutes depending on room temperature, cover, and then rest until dough volume has doubled.

I had been presoaking the WW or WWW in my dough with the main dough water but in this case, I skipped the extra step. The resultant dough after the first mix was a bit dry but as it changed over to a tacky consistently later on during the bulk ferment. I suspect that the longer bulk fermentation at 70% hydration worked out in my favor here.

When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out onto a floured surface, preshape, cover, and rest for 10-15 minutes. Shape and place in a prepared banneton or couche for proofing. In my case, I left the banneton at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then placed it in the refrigerator, which allowed me to bake the loaf in the evening when the house had cooled down. Preheat the oven and a baking stone at 450F for at least 30 minutes. When the dough has finished proofing, turn the loaf out onto either a peel or onto parchment paper on whatever pan or cookie sheet you use. Slash, mist the top with water, and load the oven. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, remove the parchment paper if you're using it, turn the loaf around, and bake at 425F for 19-20 minutes.Turn off the heat, leave the oven door cracked open with an oven pad for five minutes. The room temperature made that foolish for me to do so I just kept the finished loaf in the oven for a couple of minutes and placed it on a wire cooling rack.

The end result was a good loaf; moist, tender, with a bit of acidity in the flavor.

The heat has yet to relent out here. The lawn has deep cracks in the soil and the garden needs watering at least every three days. So far, I've picked one cucumber and there are a few grape tomatoes that are now ripe. There aren't any peppers worth picking yet but they're coming along slowly. It's time to start digging up the garlic now, which I should do before the forecast thunderstorms rolling in tomorrow night.  I dug up one bulb out of curiosity that was fair in size but can't predict what size bulbs will come out of the ground tomorrow. I'm keeping my hopes up for a ripe tomato, the grape tomatoes don't count, by July 4th. So far, it looks like I'll have a San Marzano tomato to establish the bragging rights on that day.

Rumor has it that the hummingbirds are in the area but I have yet to see any.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Table Breads with Poolish Variations

The set of mixing bowls you see are actually older than I am. They've been given to me by my mother who found their weight made them difficult to use anymore. These post WW2 products from Pyrex  are still in great shape with only a small number of scratches incurred over some 69 years of use feeding our family and guests. My Mom also gave me a KA mixer which will be of use when mixing Christmas cookies and larger dough batches.

While I haven't given up on sourdough breads, I just haven't done anything different enough to post here. I have been playing with dry yeast breads lately with the intent of refining reliable formulas from past efforts. I started with a small loaf that included 15% fine durum wheat flour usually used in making pasta. The loaf was also the recipient of  some 40 g of  discard from the initial build stage of a starter.

85 g KAF AP
15 g fine durum wheat flour
100 g water at 88F
1/4 tsp IDY

Main Dough
175 g bread flour
85 g water at 88F
50 g discarded 100% starter
6 g kosher salt
olive oil for greasing fermentation container and for my hands during initial kneading.

I usually let the initial shaggy mass of dough rest for 20 minutes or so before adding the salt. I then put some olive oil on my hands and "air knead" by picking up the mass, roughly folding it to make it easier to pinch the dough with my thumbs, going up or down, while letting the dough hang. The dough takes on a kind of strip form after that, making it easy to fold and place back in the bulk fermentation bowl.

This bread did taste good for only my second time reworking the formula. I suspect I could use more starter if I wanted to but I probably should reduce final hydration from around 70% to 68%.
This second loaf is the basis for the second formula I've been working with lately. It's a 20% WW/80% bread flour project. It's smaller than my usual sourdough loaves and besides its taste, it also has the attraction being ready to eat in about the same time it takes to build up a vigorous starter. Upon slicing the loaf, I found that I need to allter my procedure. You see, I added all the WW flour to the poolish mix, a perfectly acceptable move.

When I use whole wheat flour and mix by hand, I get some streaks or swirls of a darker color in the crumb. This problem, if one chooses to see it as such, can be resolved by using a mixer if you have one. It's an appearance thing with no bearing on the flavor. I just baked a loaf with white whole wheat in the same quantities and procedures and it worked out fine, with no visible swirls in the appearance..

60 g stone ground whole wheat flour
40 g KAF AP flour
100 g water at 88 F
1/4 tsp instant dry yeast

Main Dough
200 g bread flour
108 g water at 88 F
6 g kosher salt
1/2  tsp IDY

The Spring 2016 season has been as unpredictable as those of past years. While peonies were weren't as plentiful and impressive as last year, the day lily plants are already quite bushy and getting ready to bloom. The garlic scapes have already been cut and the bottom leaves on the stalks are beginning to dry up. I may be digging garlic in a few weeks. The first tomatoes have shown up and today I saw the first baby sweet Italian pepper. I've tried three different lettuce plantings but they've all been failures, perhaps due to being washed away by the abundant rainfall over the last six weeks or so. I was fortunate enough to find a bale of straw to use as mulch in the garden. Wheat straw has become a limited commodity in this area since farmers have switched to planting corn to take advantage of the subsidies available.

Along with the usual suspects, I've been seeing some rose breasted grosbeaks and orioles, summertime birds for this area, at the bird feeders just outside my window.

Here is a list of countries of the visitors that have lately found their way to my obscure corner of the internet: Argentina, Colombia,Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Indonesia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, South Africa, and the UAE.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.