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breadsong

Hello everyone,

I wanted to try making another porridge bread from Tartine Book Nº3 - so this is a try at making the Rye Porridge bread, retarding warmer, and baking hotter, than the previous bake.

                   

I found some sweet, local walnuts at the market and used these in the dough, along with roasted walnut oil -
*amazing* flavor, with the 50% rye porridge; the flours were 50% organic bread flour, and 50% organic locally-grown
whole-milled whole wheat flour.

I am posting this one, even though it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, crumb-wise…but the flavor is absolutely outstanding, and I’m pretty excited about that!
I hope my enthusiasm about the flavor encourages someone else to make this :^)

I’m excited too about this morning’s sunshine and a rare opportunity in my house, to take a picture of the bread with some natural daylight!

Temperatures:
The dough temperature was 79F and was bulk fermented at 80F, for 4-1/2 hours.

This is what the dough looked like before dividing:
                                  

I divided the dough (sticky!) into three pieces, approximately 50%, 25%, 25%, to make three loaves
(wanting to try baking smaller versions to see how it might work out).

The dough was retarded at 48F for about 7 hours (warmer than my normal fridge temperature).  
I chose this temperature after reading about the Slow Final Proof method in Advanced Bread and Pastry (50F was recommended; I tried to play it safe by a couple of degrees, as per the book,  the dough using this method “should be a bit stiffer”; this dough definitely was not!).
After retarding, the smaller loaves seemed overproofed, the large loaf maybe just on the verge of; these  loaves did not have the airiness of the Oat Porridge loaves, at the same stage.

One of the small loaves was baked first, warming at room temperature for 30 minutes while the Dutch oven preheated.  The warm up did not help this dough – but I did it anyway,  wanting to see what the effect might be, after retarding at 48F.

For this first bake, I also tried placing a stainless steel cake ring inside the Dutch oven (narrower diameter), hoping the narrower diameter ring would ‘fit’ better with the smaller loaf, and help it rise up better, having closer ‘support’ on the sides.  This did not work out that well – perhaps I should have preheated the cake ring too – I think it could have been a somewhat of a barrier to the initial heat?  If I try this again, I may try with an aluminum cheesecake ring or something non-stainless, and preheat it.
I don't know why I thought this one would rise? - given its proofing state :^)

This is the crumb, from the first bake
                      

 

The second, and third loaves, were baked hotter, working my way up to 50F hotter by the third bake.
The third bake was the full-size loaf, and it was baked at 550F for 20 minutes, 500F for 10 minutes, lid off, then 500F for 15 minutes;  the crust color is approaching what I was hoping for.
                  

 

The over-proofing is evident in the crumb – this is more like a high percentage rye bread – but I love the purple color from the walnuts, and oh, did I say how gorgeous this tastes? :^)
                 

 

There is sweetness from the wheat germ and walnuts, and a lovely tang and aftertaste, the rye porridge and fermentation adding beautiful flavors, and another very moist crumb, from the porridge. I think this bread is going to be an excellent keeper!

 

Loved the rustic look of the top of the bread, scored with scissors...
                   

…and the pattern of rye flakes on the bottom,  contrasting nicely with the crust’s rich caramel color!
                   

 

Will I be making Rye Porridge bread again? You bet! And very happy to do so, and keep enjoying its deliciousness!, 
while I try to find the retarding temperature and timing that’s just right.


Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong           

 

 


   

 

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breadsong

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

A week before Christmas, Chad Robertson's new book, Tartine Book Nº3 arrived – earlier than I was expecting!,
and most welcome :^)

One of the things I really liked about the design of the book was the arrangement of the letters spelling out the author’s name, on the book jacket.
Turned 90º clockwise, the author’s name becomes the number “3” :^)
                                         


While I was waiting for the book to arrive, various recipes from the book were popping up online, one of them on the Food52 site – the Oat Porridge bread.

http://food52.com/blog/9376-chad-robertson-s-5-essential-tips-for-baking-bread
http://food52.com/recipes/25384-oat-porridge-bread

 

The Oat Porridge bread link above includes responses from Mr. Robertson to reader questions – some helpful information there - I’m going to make note of his responses in my book.

And Floyd – you’ll probably like this! – he refers one of the readers to The Fresh Loaf: “…I often direct people to this site http://www.thefreshloaf... and check it myself when I have questions like this. You'll find many excellent bakers posting a ton of knowledge here - lots of it geared towards making professional quality breads in a home kitchen and how to find the best tools to accomplish this.”   
:^) !


I really love oat breads, and the description of this bread and its flavor in the book was amazing...very happy to have had the chance to try making this one.

The Oat Porridge bread makes two loaves, so I decided to bake one as I normally would (Nº1) , and one in the recommended baking vessel, a cast iron Dutch oven (Nº2).
The scoring (not so beautiful!) follows the numbering…loaves Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3 :^)
                           

 

I like the look of the Dutch oven-baked bread better – I was a little uncertain baking Nº1 at 500F for the full 20 minutes, so backed off the temperature to 450F after 10 minutes; it was also getting a little dark around the edges, so I took it out 10 minutes or so before Nº2.
Crust color for Nº1 suffered as a result, I think.

I scored around the edges of the free-standing loaf, fearing it might blow out being baked cold right out of the fridge.
The scoring pattern was like this and may partially account for the less-than-round shape after baking?

 


When making the dough, I didn’t include the leaven in the autolyse as I wanted to soak the flour for the 4-hour period.
In place of high extraction flour I used locally-grown, whole-milled whole wheat flour, and I added the optional roasted (unblanched) almonds, and almond oil.


The dough I thought very beautiful, the steel-cut oats prevalent, the roasted color of the almonds a pretty accent.
                                    

 

Tasting this bread, the nuts softened but have that wonderful roasted flavor, the crumb is very tender and moist
(50% cooked-until-creamy organic steel-cut oats!), and the flavor is complex – there is a sweetness from the oats as Chad suggests, and caramel flavors from the crust – but also a pepperiness I wasn’t expecting! Very delicious.

Here is the crumb (both loaves had proofed up overnight in the fridge and I baked them from cold as the book instructed…but reading Mr. Robertson’s response to a question about this in the Food52 link above, he recommended a warm-up period after refrigeration at colder ‘home’ refrigerator temperatures – so I will try that next time – and see if the extra proofing helps this bread open up at all… 
                          
                                              …it’s going to be a lot of fun working through the breads, sweets and flavors in this book!
 

For some great photos of Tartine Bakery’s porridge loaf, please see this post from France about her visit to Tartine Bakery, 
at Tartine Bread Experiment…Chad’s beautiful bread, and the gorgeous loaves I know France is going to make,
will be my inspiration to keep working at it!

Thank you, Mr. Robertson, for your journey of exploration through these countries, breads and grains; and thank you to all of the talented people who worked to put this book together, as well.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong

 

 

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breadsong

I discovered this poem on TFL (in a comment posted by LindyD – thank you, Lindy, for sharing it);
I am re-posting the poem here - I thought it so beautiful, and so fitting, for the winter solstice.

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

  • Oliver Herford

 

This baking is inspired by the winter solstice and all of the stars, the moon and beauty lighting up the night sky.

Last year about this time, I saw a breathtaking Christmas Bread, made with rye levain, spiced raisins and roasted sesame - in a beautiful star shape, baked by Lutz of Plotzblog. The star shape and dark color of this bread made me think of the season’s dark skies, the sesame seeds like tiny 'lights' in the crumb.

The Plotzblog site is undergoing some maintenance so his formula isn't available at the moment; this is my interpretation of the formula Lutz posted:




 

This Christmas bread reminded me of an article a friend sent me a couple of years ago (written by Martha Rose Shulman, and so interesting!), about the French Pastry School’s Jacquy Pfeiffer and the baking traditions he grew up with in Alsace, France. One of the traditional holiday cookies Mr. Pfeiffer made was Zimtsterne, a cinnamon star-shaped cookie. These seemed like the perfect thing to bake, to go along with the bread. I'm so glad I tried making these - they are a most delicious cinnamon cookie! :^)

...royal icing glaze lightly caramelized, after a gentle bake
(baked at 335F convection for 15 minutes)
                                     

 

These cookies are called Vanillekipferl, a Viennese almond shortbread cookie, shaped like a crescent and rolled in vanilla sugar after baking. The shape of the cookie, and the vanilla sugar adding a silvery, glittery sheen made these cookies seem moon-like to me :^)

               Before baking...

...and after baking, dusted with vanilla sugar...beautiful flavor!

Here is the recipe, from something I saved from a magazine years and years ago.

 

  

I hope you like these stars and moons, and the poem for the winter solstice...wishing everyone at TFL a very happy holiday season!
:^) breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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breadsong

Hello everyone,

If you are a chocolate lover, you might like these Chocolate Salted Rye cookies!

I discovered the recipe, created by Laurie Ellen Pellicano of Tartine Bakery, in an airline magazine
(published here).  Rye flour in a chocolate truffle of a cookie - how could I resist?

The recipe is published in Tartine No.3 (had a look at the Amazon preview) and if these cookies are any indication of the flavors to be discovered in this book, I really can't wait for my copy of this book to arrive!

To make these, I used the best bittersweet chocolate I had on hand, Nunweiler's organic dark rye flour, and substituted a coarse, dark Demerara sugar for the muscovado called for in the recipe.

After mixing and shaping the cookie dough was very much like a chocolate truffle:
                 
                                                     (shaped with a mini-ice cream scoop)


Baked these at 335F Convection for 8 minutes, yielding a soft center for the cookie;
while baking, the cookies puffed up which created a nice, crackled surface.



The recipe makes lots of cookies to savor, enjoy and share


Thank you so much to Laurie Ellen Pellicano for creating this recipe!
I was in 'chocolate heaven' when I tasted this cookie.


Happy cookie baking!
:^) breadsong

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breadsong

Hello everyone,

It was lovely see all of the breads bakers around the world contributed for World Bread Day in October –
thank you to Zorra for her work to round all of these up!

                                                                               
BBD #62 - Bread Baking Day meets World Bread Day (last day of sumbission December 1st)

November’s Bread Baking Day (BBD #62) celebrates the breads contributed for World Bread Day,
inviting bakers to bake a World Bread Day bread for BBD #62.

One of the rye breads contributed for World Bread Day really caught my eye:  a Pumpkin Rye Sourdough bread, kindly posted by a Polish baker on the blog ‘The Scent of Bread – Zapach Chleba’.

Wasn't this an incredibly gorgeous rye? The beautiful, airy crumb and glorious color – I had to try making this one! This is my attempt at re-creating this amazing Polish baker’s bread.

                                       

I couldn’t find any information on the type 720 flour this baker used, so I used some whole, dark organic rye flour from Nunweiler’s.  This is a really, really nice flour to work with – I was very happy with the fermentation.
My rye levain was very happy, too – this picture was taken just before mixing the dough:

 

This bread has a fantastic flavor. I used squash and roasted it until it was really caramelized.
The sweetness from the squash is delicious in the baked bread!
                                                  (another picture of the crumb)

 

Here are the quantities I used for a 9x4x4 Pullman pan:



Thank you Zorra, for providing a venue for bakers around the world to share bread, and thank you to the baker from Zapach Chleba for baking this Pumpkin Sourdough Rye.



Happy baking, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!
:^) breadsong

(submitted to YeastSpotting)

 

 

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breadsong

Hello everyone,

The leaves are a blaze of color this fall, but quickly dropping from the trees, some trees already bare.

This afternoon, despite the breeze, there were a few brightly-colored leaves hanging on.
 


My friend's daughter likes dark rye bread, so I baked Mr. Hamelman's 80% Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker for her.

After baking, I turned the loaf this way and that, and thought perhaps when facing a certain direction the pattern on the crust might look like a tree ready for winter, leaves shed, branches bare.

                               

Now, there are lots of leaves are on the ground, a bit of color to enjoy again, this season.

  

Happy fall, and happy baking, everyone!
:^) breadsong 

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breadsong

Hello everyone,

                          Today , October 16, is World Bread Day.    World Bread Day 2013 - 8th edition! Bake loaf of bread on October 16 and blog about it!

Zorra’s invitation to participate described the idea behind World Bread Day:

“…to honor our daily bread and be grateful that we have sufficient food. Not all of us are this lucky.”

 

In the spirit of gratitude and our recent Canadian Thanksgiving, I’m offering my Thanksgiving dinner rolls as a contribution to World Bread Day.

Many thanks to Nancy Silverton for her recipe for Sesame Semolina Sandwich Rolls, and to Richard Bertinet for a shaping idea I saw in one of his books – a beautiful, braided sesame roll :^)

This was a soft dough but with careful handling it braided OK. Ms. Silverton’s formula includes instant yeast –
I reduced the yeast and retarded the dough in bulk overnight so it would be cold when I started to braid and shape, hoping this would make the dough easier to handle.

Dividing 30g strands, then preshaping
 
 

                     Preshaped (top), ends tapered (middle), and extended to about 6” in length (bottom)
                                       

Braiding, starting at center, flipping 180 degrees away from you, then finishing the braid
                      
                      


The tops of the rolls were gently pressed onto a clean, damp tea towel, then gently pressed onto a tray of untoasted sesame seeds.
After proofing, the rolls were baked with steam for 15 minutes at 425F, turned for even browning, and baked about 10 more minutes at 375F.

                                                                            

There was enough dough left over from the batch I made to make a small bâtard - 
  a bread basket for the Thanksgiving table

The flavor? Delightful, sweetness from durum flour, lovely toasted flavors from the roasted sesame topping, and a good, crunchy crust!


Ms. Silverton's Sesame Semolina dough made nice breadsticks, too :^)
               

             (breadsticks baked, slightly visible on the left)
            


Thanks to Zorra for putting together the bread display for this year's World Bread Day - looking forward to seeing all of the breads that were baked for today!

Happy baking everyone,
:^) breadsong

 

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breadsong

sunny dahlias in the gorgeous Volunteer Display Garden at WSU-Mount Vernon

 


Hello everyone,

The first two days of the Conference were amazing, and still, more great things to look forward to on Day 3!

Notes on the seminars and talks I was happy to attend on Day 3 follow:
“The Scoop on Braiding Challah” – Andrew Meltzer
“Flour, Flavor and Functionality – A Range of Choices” – Jan Schat


“The Scoop on Braiding Challah” – Andrew Meltzer

Andrew Meltzer demonstrated his amazing braiding skills!, showing us some beautiful ways to braid 100% whole wheat Challah dough, and brought an interesting book to about Challah traditions to class.
                                                                                              

Andrew recommended practicing with boat rope, and when working with live dough, to ensure the braids are a little bit loose, to give the braids the right amount of space and tension, so they proof evenly.

He explained how to get the most even braid, when doing straight braids with odd-numbers of strands:
- start at the middle and braid towards you until you reach the end
                          

- take the end closest to you, and flip it 180 degrees away from you
(the bottom side that was closest to you is now the top side, furthest from you)

- continue to braid towards you from the middle, to finish
                          

For a 3-strand braid, you take a strand from the outside and place it between 1 strand on the left and 1 strand on the right. That pattern is similar for the 7- strand shown above;  you take a strand from the outside, moving it over 3 strands, placing it between the 3 strands on the left and the 3 strands on the right.

That 7-strand braid was one of my favorites. Here is the completed braid, before baking, and another photo of it baked.
Andrew called this a fishtail braid, but someone in the class noted the finished braid looked like an ear of wheat :^)
                                                              

Andrew told us how he egg washes Challah, to get the best shine. The egg wash is made of 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt (to help break up the egg) and a few drops of water, whisked with a fork and left to sit for a little while. When the bread is almost proofed all of the way, brush with 1 coat of egg wash, let the first coat dry (this is the key), then apply a second coat, then bake. Andrew said it is the 'wet over dry' that makes the crust shine.

He also described a neat way to apply seeds alternately to egg-washed braids,: wet your thumb and press into a tray of seeds, then press your seed-coated thumb on the egg washed loaf, placing the seeds exactly where you want them. The seeds should transfer from your thumb to the loaf. Repeat with different colors/textures of seeds.

Here are more Challah braids Andrew demonstrated...

5-strand, before and after baking
 

6-strand, before and after baking
 

...and a Winston Knot
(the soccer fan next to me was quite excited about this one, likening it to a soccer ball)
 

Didn’t Andrew do a beautiful job braiding these breads?



“Flour, Flavor and Functionality – A Range of Choices” – Jan Schat

It was a tremendous pleasure to taste one of the breads Jan Schat baked (he baked three versions of the same bread, testing out three local wheats: an Oregon Hard White, an Oregon Hard Red, and a Washington Hard Red).

Jan’s bread was absolutely delicious, the one I tasted made with Fairhaven’s Hard Red wheat, sour and sponge preferments, and 60% fruit (30% raisin and 30% dried apple).
Just look at the fruit fest going on in this mixing bowl! – you can barely even see the dough :^)
(apologies for the blurry photo)
                               

Here is Jan’s lovely bread, before and after the bake
 




Another tasting pleasure was the Fig and Anise bread created in Martin Philip’s class, "Signature Breads".
I would have loved to have spent time at that class, and the bread formula the class developed was outstanding,
the resulting bread having beautiful flavor.
             




This Conference concluded with tours – I toured the WoodStone oven manufacturing facility in Bellingham. They make some really nice ovens, for home use too! and the test kitchen is really beautiful (cookbooks and cooking vessels galore, a great big mixer, those ovens – I could really have fun in a place like that!). I was able to pop into BreadFarm bakery for a quick tour, too, and pick up some delicious, fragrant loaves to bring home - that bakery is not to be missed if you are ever in the area (it's located in Bow-Edison, WA).

 

A really big thank-you to everyone who participated, presented, and worked to make this Conference happen -
it was so wonderful to be able to go. I’m really looking forward to next year’s event!

:^) breadsong


Previous posts: Day 1!, Day 2!

2012 Kneading Conference West posts: Day 1Day 2, Day 3

 

 

                        

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breadsong

beautiful orchard fruit, grown by the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation at WSU-Mount Vernon




Hello everyone,

Day 2 of the Conference had so many good things going on.

Notes on the seminars and talks I was fortunate to attend on Day 2 follow:
Keynote Address – “Grow It! Mill It! Bake It!: Adding Value Adds Up” – Thor Oechsner
“Flatbreads from the Tandoor Oven” – Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward
“Beyond Bread: Ideas and Products for the Wood-Fired Micro Bakery” – Richard Miscovich
“Flavor & Identity: The Renaissance of Single-Varietal Wheat Flours” – Naomi Duguid, Dr. Stephen Jones,
Dawn Woodward
“Roller Mill Demonstration” – Dr. Stephen Jones


Day 2: Keynote Address – “Grow It! Mill It! Bake It!: Adding Value Adds Up” – Thor Oechsner

We laughed when Thor Oechsner showed slides illustrating how he got the `farming bug’ early in life :^) …
Biological vector: mature corn                                  Non-biological vector: tractor
 

Thor talked about the journey he has taken to become a full-time farmer in upstate New York, and the business model he has developed, adding value to the grain he grows by milling it and baking it.
Farming on its own Thor thought a backwards business model: buying inputs at retail and selling at wholesale.
So he created a milling operation, Farmer Ground Flour,
 

and Wide Awake Bakery, to provide a finished product that is truly local - a testament to New York wheat.
And what an incredible testament his loaves are!
(There was a collective gasp from the crowd when they saw these beauties!)
 



“Flatbreads from the Tandoor Oven” – Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward

Well, this was fun! and a great (and rare) opportunity to slap flatbread dough into a tandoor oven!

Naomi explained how naan was the name for bread in central Asia, where Tandoor cooking originated; and that Tandoor cooking was originally in clay-lined earth, the earth being the obvious place to hold heat. 

We had the chance to try two different Tandoor ovens, a big fuel-fired one kindly brought to the Conference by WoodStone Corporation – and a second, smaller  homemade version, heated with briquettes (it looked like it was made out of a metal can, lined with concrete then clay).
 

( here's Floyd at the oven :^)  )

Naomi and Dawn had made two delicious flatbread doughs for us to work with: Snowshoe (Afghan) Naan, made with 75% Oregon Red Fife, levain and yogurt, and another, sweeter one called Nadzuki or Honey Flatbread, flavored with buckwheat and cardamom.
 

When shaping, Naomi told us to make sure the dough was thin, flat and even, and demonstrated how to do that by grasping the dough along its edges, letting it hang down, then moving around the edges of the dough, gravity gently stretch the dough into a thin round.

Dough round on the pillow, and full view of the pillow/naandle tool,
used to slap the dough into the big Tandoor oven
  

The dough was docked using beautiful, Turkish docking tools Naomi brought (the tool was floured first to prevent sticking). I wish I’d asked how to spell the name of this tool, but it was pronounced “checkitch”.
 

The wet side of the dough is slapped against the side of the oven (you slap towards you and never reach across the hot oven), where it sticks; as it cooks, moisture transfers into the clay and the bread starts to release when it is done. The naandle was used to place the dough in the big Tandoor oven, and oven mitts were used for the small one. When the bread looked ready, we used a pry bar to release the naan and a hook, or tongs, to remove it from the oven.

Mmmm, fresh, warm naan bread…!




“Beyond Bread: Ideas and Products for the Wood-Fired Micro Bakery” – Richard Miscovich

It was wonderful to see Richard Miscovich and get a sneak preview of his new book, From the Wood-Fired Oven.
                          

Richard was demonstrating techniques from his new book, cooking food using the whole range of oven temperatures in the WFO. Some really amazing, delicious food was coming out of that oven…

Dry-aged roast chicken (doesn’t that look fabulous?)

 Coal-roasted onions

So tasty, this Rustic Potato Pie

 Taralli,Italian sweet rings flavored with anise, boiled before baking

And this wonderful oven-roasted tomato sauce (we dipped naan bread in this – yum!)
 

There were so many delicious ways to take advantage of all that heat!




“Flavor & Identity: The Renaissance of Single-Varietal Wheat Flours” – Naomi Duguid, Dr. Stephen Jones, Dawn Woodward

This seminar offered the chance for taste-testing breads and crackers made with single-varietal wheats, to distinguish flavor characteristics of each wheat, and to see if the flavor of the cracker translated into, or predicted, the flavor of the bread.

These were the breads – seven breads, seven whole wheats (Red Fife, Red Russian, Pactole, Tevelde, Edison, Renan, Soissons)
             

The breads were made with white sour, 2.2% salt and different hydrations for similar dough consistency.

It was interesting how different people picked out different flavors for each loaf.  All of the grains (save one) were grown at WSU Mount Vernon (one came from Ontario), and all flour was milled fresh and used within one day of milling.

What struck me with these breads, is how each one had a grassy aroma, almost as if you could smell the field –
Dr. Jones said this happens with freshly-milled flour.

Flavors identified in these loaves by our group of tasters were a range: butteriness, caramel, sweet, pepper, spice, chocolate, bitter, earthy, milky – some loaves had more acidity than others. The bread I tasted made with the Renan wheat didn’t have an upfront acidity but acidity came through and lingered in the aftertaste - quite good.
The crackers to my taste had different flavors than the bread, for example, cereal flavors and lemon notes. 
The cracker made from Soissons wheat had a ginger/spice flavor – quite extraordinary!

The next day, Dr. Jones talked about the wheat breeding work conducted at his research facility – the large number of wheat varieties they look at each year, breeding for flavor, explaining, or pulling out flavors in wheat by variety, location and year, for chefs and bakers. 
It would be wonderful to buy single-varietal wheat, labelled to describe flavor notes and terroir – just like you might find for a bottle of wine. It was very interesting and exciting to take part in the taste test and hear more about the work Dr. Jones and his team are doing at WSU!

(more about this in Floyd’s post)

(Dr. Jones has written about wheat, flavor and identity in this article, Kicking the Commodity Habit, published in Gastronomica)





“Roller Mill Demonstration” – Dr. Stephen Jones

Have you ever wanted to see what the inside of a roller mill looks like? I have, and was grateful Dr. Jones opened up a roller mill to show us the inside, and the end result of milling.
 

 

Next post:  Day 3!
Previous post: Day 1!

2012 Kneading Conference West posts: Day 1Day 2, Day 3






 

 

 

 

 

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breadsong

local wheat, ripening in the sun


Hello everyone,
I attended the third annual Kneading Conference West this past weekend – a celebration of local wheat and grains, and a wonderful gathering of people interested in breeding, growing, milling and baking with them.

We couldn’t have received a warmer welcome – Dr. Stephen Jones and the other people hosting this event made us all feel right at home.
                                           

Once again, the hard-working Conference organizers brought us the most interesting speakers and presenters, creating a schedule jam-packed with so many great seminars it was difficult to choose which ones to go to. And everyone at WSU Mt. Vernon outdid themselves with their hospitality – we were very well taken care of by the staff, volunteers and caterers, with delicious meals and treats at the tasting events.

One of the lovely details – fresh flowers gracing our mealtime table
                                       

It was a pleasure meeting so many friendly people, and to see people I’d met before at this Conference.
The spirit of friendship and generosity was everywhere – people exchanging contact information, tips, formulas, experiences – and bread! The same gentleman who brought a beautiful wood-fired miche to share last year, did the same this year and this time I was lucky to be there when he sliced it and offered it for tasting. The crust had rich, caramel, roasted flavor, the crumb flavor was superb, with beautiful wheatiness and acidity. Check out this gorgeous bread, and crust!
 

I am not surprised there were so many people there I’d seen before at Kneading Conference West - the event keeps getting better and better, and continues to provide a great opportunity to connect with other bakers and to understand more about milling and farming.

To read more about this year's Conference, please see these posts:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/34918/kneading-conference-west-2013

http://www.farine-mc.com/2013/09/kneading-conference-west-2013.html

http://www.northwestsourdough.com/discover/?p=3824


Notes on the seminars and talks I attended on Day 1 follow:
“Bread Culture” – Dr. Darra Goldstein
“Yeasted Crackers” – Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward
“The Role of the Mill in Community Life” – Tom Hunton

Keynote Address – “Bread Culture” – Dr. Darra Goldstein

The hospitality experienced at the Conference and was a theme touched on by Dr. Darra Goldstein in her keynote presentation, “Bread Culture”. 
Dr. Goldstein took us through a beautiful slideshow of paintings and images depicting the relationship between people and bread through the centuries: bread as a basic necessity to survive, the labor to get bread to the table, bread as a symbol of charity, heavenly abundance and faith providing sustenance, bread and salt as the expression of hospitality in Russian culture, bread as political, bread becoming art, bread becoming Wonderbread. 
Some of the images (this is one of the images in the slideshow) showed people holding bread close to their heart or carrying bread close to their body. Dr. Goldstein suggested we should bring bread close to us again, to effect a cultural change.

 

“Yeasted Crackers” – Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward

                             

It was a pleasure to see Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward working with yeasted cracker dough, and I was glad I stopped by to catch some of their discussion about their beautiful crackers.

Checking on things in the wood-fired oven
                          

Here were some interesting things Dawn and Naomi mentioned:
- baking on a baking stone helps the cracker
- when baking with more flavorful grains, less sugar and salt are required
- the miller’s art comes through when tasting flavor differences in coarse vs. fine grinds
- interesting patterns can be imprinted on crackers, using the bottom of a whisk, for example
- a pasta machine can be used as a ‘sheeter’ to get cracker dough really thin
- lentil puree (lentils brought just to the boil, then pureed to a thick paste), when added to cracker dough, makes a supple dough

Turbinado sugar, sparkling in the sun, finishing this sweet cracker
                         

Everyone got to enjoy Evelyn’s Crackers later in the day – with gorgeous cheeses from Gothberg Farm, Samish Bay Farm and Golden Glen Creamery, and brew from Skagit Valley Malting. Truly refreshing! :^)
                                                   

 

                                     
  



“The Role of the Mill in Community Life” – Tom Hunton

Tom Hunton gave an really interesting talk about the work he and his family are doing down at Camas Country Mill in Oregon.  He talked about the mill being a community food hub, connecting growers, consumers, restaurants and baking schools, and food banks – by defining specific needs, facilitating intentional growing, and creating custom mixes at the mill.

Tom also talked about their focus on education and farm to school outreach. In addition to supplying Oregon school districts with local wheat for cafeteria programs, they have relocated the Lower Fern Ridge Schoolhouse, built in 1888 and in use until 1936, to Hunton’s Farm  – and are restoring it to use as an education and community center.  The school operated in Alvadore, OR and Tom said it was the last piece of living history there – it is lovely to think this building will not be abandoned or destroyed, but used once again for education, teaching kids (and adults) about farms and wheat, and how flour is made!

The Lower Fern Ridge School, relocated and awaiting its new foundation
                        

(more about this in Floyd’s post)


Next post:  Day 2!

2012 Kneading Conference West posts: Day 1Day 2, Day 3

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