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.

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