Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stoneware Bowl Breads

As of late, my sourdough loaves haven't been all that picture worthy. On the other hand, my loaves made with either ADY or IDY have been more interesting to me from a curiosity perspective.

I purchased a stoneware baking bowl at the King Arthur Flour store in VT and while I haven't learned everything about it, it has been fun to use. I can use it to proof and then bake a boule or a reasonable fact simile.                                                                                                                               
The first loaf was built using a total of 300 grams of flour, including the preferment. The second was a 1-2-3 loaf using 120g of 100% hydration poolish . The top loaf had a gap between the finished loaf and the wall of the bowl. As the picture shows, the second loaf had kind of a belt line due to expansion above the rim of the bowl. I think the sweet spot for appearance will be something like 380-385g total flour.

Cleanup is really easy. Before you proof your loaf., wipe down the interior with a neutral tasting oil. I used sunflower seed oil though canola oil is also suggested on the literature. Once you've finished your bake, all you have to do is to wipe the interior of the bowl and then store the bowl.

Once again, I'm losing my perpetual battle with the weeds in the flower beds. It's getting hard to find them all when the day lilies have grown with so much exuberance. The peonies, which had an average bloom this year, are also spreading out their foliage to add to my frustration. The garden isn't quite ready to go into major production yet, I can pick some herbs and lettuce but nothing else. There are tomatoes on the plants but they're far from ripe. The garlic isn't ready for digging up yet. We've had 3" of rain recently so I'm hoping that I'll be able to let the soil dry out before I start my harvest.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

20% WWW with Beer Poolish

This project loaf was derived from a post over on the Fresh Loaf site. It didn't require any new ingredients and is a safe enough recipe that I've been using lately. The beer in question was some KC Pils from Boulevard Brewing in KC, MO. I decanted the 55 g of beer from a bottle that I was going to finish anyways and let the beer warm up before I used it. The poolish was slower to mature than usual by a few hours but I couldn't discern any harm done by that.

55 g Wheat Montana Natural White AP flour
55 g Boulevard Brewing KC Pils at room temperature
1/8 tsp IDY                                                                                                                                                                                

Main Dough
264g Dakota Maid Bread Flour
66g Wheat Montana Prairie Gold WWW flour
220g water at 85F
All of poolish
7g kosher salt
1/2 tsp IDY

Once again, I used my disposable aluminum foil roasting pan for the first twenty five minutes of baking to get a better oven spring from the loaf. I also tried out a three arc slashing pattern that I saw in D Leader's "Local Breads" that doesn't show up well in my pictures but looks good in person. There was a lot of singing emanating from the loaf right after I placed it on a wire rack to cool.

I have to say that I didn't notice any great beer flavoring in the finished loaf. It tastes quite similar to other loaves I've baked lately using the same recipe but no beer. It has a good, tender crumb, nice flavor, and was reasonably moist when I sliced the loaf. The next step would be to use the beer instead of water for the entire procedure. However, Mrs PG bought a bag of Dakota Maid Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour for me when she was last in Omaha so I'm going to be playing with that for a week or two first.

Today is a snow day outside my window. It appears that Winter is back for a brief spell. The snow is very fine and accumulating only on the grassy areas. The daffodils were just starting to bloom and the trees and bushes were budding out. The colder temperatures may be keeping me from working in the yard but on the other hand, it will slow down any growth for the weeds. My bird feeders are well stocked and are quite popular with the usual list of suspects, minus any sparrows, as patrons.

Guests from Czechia, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania (no Estonia as of yet), Morocco, Nigeria, and Viet Nam have found their way to my obscure corner of the internet lately.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Recycled Recipe Loaves

 For SuperBowl Sunday, I recycled a couple of recipes I had recently used and tweaked them a little bit. For the ciabatta, I switched from using KAF AP to Wheat Montana Natural White AP. In case readers aren't familiar with this flour, I found that it doesn't have the same behavior as KAF AP in that mixing it required a couple extra minutes and even then, it was somewhat slack pouring out of the mixer bowl. I also added some semolina, about 14 g, to add a little sweetness to the dough.

I followed the same procedures that I used in my 30 DEC 2016 post and figured that if the dough wasn't manageable, I could just divide it, put it in a pair of 9" cake pans, bake away, and proclaim the resulting bread to be focaccia. Fortunately, persistence paid off and the one 14" long loaf was a favorite at the supper table at our friends' house in Farley, MO.

The other loaf was a repeat of bread from my 7 JAN 2017 post. The difference for this loaf was in the baking procedure, not the ingredients. This time around, I preheated the oven to 450F and kept it there for a twenty minute period after I placed the aluminum foil roasting pan over the loaf rather than lowering the oven to 425F. When I removed the pan, the loaf had impressive oven spring. I then turned the loaf around and lowered the oven temp to 425F for another twenty two minutes. After the bake was done and the loaf was on the cooling rack, it appeared to be "breathing" at the top of the loaf. As a skeptical sort, I thought it might just be that the variable lens glasses I wear were distorting things.  This same phenomenon occurred on the next loaves I baked, a multigrain WWW sourdough and yesterday's loaf, a simple 3-2-1 WWW sourdough. One thing I can state with certainty is that all of these loaves sang their glutenous hearts out for me.
That was definitely cool.

While my family in New England has been getting slammed with cold and snowy weather and my uncle in Cupertino, CA has been witnessing  heavy rains, we've been having an unseasonably warm spell here on the Middle Coast. Daytime high temperatures  have been in the high 60s and today's high was around 73F, probably a record. These conditions are expected to last through Thursday. Seeing bees fly about in February isn't very common here in NE Kansas. There might even be some overnight thunderstorms.

Out in the yard, daffodils are starting to emerge in the flower beds next to the concrete driveway. The day lilies are starting to show some bright green underneath last year's leafs. I've pulled the straw off the garlic bed and there are about 45 shoots growing out. The straw will go back over the bed before the warm spell comes to a halt on Thursday but by then, the garlic will have grown at least another inch or two taller.

Visitors from Finland and Latvia found my obscure corner of the internet in the last week or so.

The next loaf on my "to do" is probably going to be one where I use some flat, warm lager beer as the liquid in the poolish. It won't be English beer but rather something from the Boulevard Brewing Co. in KC, MO called KC Pils. I'm not the guy who named a lager as a Pils so make your complaints or inquiries to the brewery or better yet, buy some if it's available in your local stores and see what you think. I think it's a wonderful beer for the weary soul who has finished mowing the lawn in the oftentimes brutal heat of a KC summer.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

White Whole Wheat with Poolish

This not quite little loaf was part of an experiment. I had been reading that if I were to use a disposable aluminum foil pan to cover a freshly loaded loaf on a baking stone, I could get results somewhat similar to using a dutch oven. The operative word was similar but it didn't come that close at all. When I removed the pan about twenty minutes into the bake, the crust wasn't caramelized as usual without a pan and the loaf was softer than the usual loaf. Oven spring was good but there wasn't much of an ear. No harm was done so no foul was committed.

55 g KAF AP
55 g water at room temperature
1/8 tsp IDY
The poolish took about 12 hours to mature due to the usual coolish wintertime temperatures here in Casa de PG.

Main Dough
264 g DM bread flour
66 g WM Prairie Gold WWW flour
220 water at 87F
8 g kosher salt
1/2 tsp IDY

For this loaf, I used my small mixer so I could aerate the poolish with the water and IDY of the main dough using the whisk attachment. That led to a reasonable time of about two hours for the bulk ferment. My cellar came into play when the ambient temperature of 60-62F slowed the proofing down. That gave Mrs PG and I an opportunity to eat dinner without my rushing from table to oven and back. After dinner, I retrieved the loaf and started baking at 450F about 1 1/4 hrs later. As mentioned earlier, the covered bake lasted twenty minutes and the uncovered bake was another twenty minutes at 425F.

Besides using a foil pan for experimentation, I also finally got around to using the oven light trick to speed up proofing on a couple loaves. Going from a room temperature of around 68-70F to close to 80F made a difference. with the 720 g sourdough loaves. Using some IDY, about 1/4 tsp, also helps but has a slight loss in flavor when compared to an entirely, natural leavened loaf. Production convenience can have a cost.

The two inches of snow that fell from Wednesday night to Thursday morning is still on the ground due to below freezing temperatures since then.The usual suspects have all shown up including the red winged blackbirds, mourning doves, and a surprising number of goldfinches.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.