Lucy and I were trying to remember the last time we made an all wheat bread and came up with the thought that it had been a really long, long time. This week was a good one for several reasons so we decided to celebrate it with something we rarely do – make an all wheat bread.
What made this week great was that yesterday was my birthday and it was a special one – 65. Wow! I am officially old and on Medicare. The 2nd milestone happened today. The Dow crossed over 20,000 for the 2nd time ever…. having hit it for the first-time last week and then retreating back into the 19,000’s. If it can close over 20,000 today it would be a very good sign indeed. Yea! I did close over 20.0000.
Though not as old as so many others, I am still old, especially when my apprentice reminded me that I was investing in the stock market and saw the Dow cross 1,000 for the first time….. and have seen it cross every 1,000 point milestone, some several times, since that time so long ago – 44 odd years now. It has been 44 years since I left Vietnam for the 2nd time as well.
It took the stock market 156 years to go over 1,000 from its founding in 1817. The stock markets birthday is in early March and it will be 200 years old. That isn’t a long time for European standards but the first stock market was formed in London in 1773 when the USA did not even exist. Oddly, it was only 44 years before the New York stock market opened after the London exchange. 44 looms big this week for me.
It took 156 years for the NY stock market to get over 1,000 but only 44 years for it to get over 20,000 – Wow, what a ride it has been. I have seen a lot in 44 years of investing but the speed of the markets huge advance over my investing lifetime just reflects the huge changes in wealth of the country over that time.
In 1817 the few businesses of America, and America itself, just weren’t worth all that much. The whole country was pretty poor by today’s standards. Today, the businesses in America are worth astronomical sums of money even though the dollar isn’t worth what it once was in 1973 - not even close.
The US dollar wasn’t created until 1777 but by 1781 it was only worth 1/40th if its original value. The currency collapsed in 1782. The first bank in the USA was opened in 1782 – the Bank of North America. But, there was no money to put in it…… so the US borrowed money from France to open it.
Near the end if the Revolutionary War, the country was so broke the government could no longer issue bonds to fund the war. Superintendent of Finance for the USA, Robert Morris had to issue bonds in his own name, that were financed by his own personal funds, to cover costs for the final months of the war. Robert was a believer.
In the 1790’s, US treasury bonds were being traded at 1% of their face value. The dollar and US bonds were the most horrible investments. The Revolutionary War had bankrupted the entire country. We were terribly in debt to France and the country wasn’t worth the paper that was printed to fund it.
For last Sunday's football playoffs we had to have ribs, sausage and chicken from the smoker
Those were the very worst of times the US has ever faced financially. They were way, way worse than the Depression or having the 20 trillion dollars in debt we have today. But, if you aren’t a history buff or lived through it, you wouldn’t have a clue what really hard times are like, how far we have come or how blessed we are today because of people like Robert Morris throughout our short history as a country.
Made some smothered breakfast, chorizo, potato, onion and egg smothered burritoes for my daughter to habe during the week.
The moral if the story is clear. If you are young, disciplined and insightful, learn to invest in yourself and our country's future today…… then there is a very, very good chance you can become very rich by the time you are old. It has always been so and will always be so….. as long as there are enough people just like you who are willing to sacrifice for all the right reasons to collect the benefits later in life. It pays to be a believer.
Do not listen to the many around you who say it can’t be done today. Ninsense! They are fools and are never to be trusted to do anything at any time. Keep them far away from you. If you want to have over $1 million in today’s money by the time you are 65 and you are 21 today, all you have to do is invest $6.41 every day in the S&P 500 index and increase that amount by 3% every year – that’s it. You don’t have to know or do anything else it is that easy – no worries. Be a believer.
On to this week’s bake: the levain was a 2 stage, 100% hydration one using a bit less than 12 % pre-fermented flour. The first stage was half of last week’s rye levain; 38 g of while rye retarded for a week and then adding 12 g of red and white wheat sprouted bran for stage two and letting it rise again 50%.
The dough white flour was half Smart and Final high gluten from the bins and half LaFama AP, which works out to a bread flour I suppose, and the remaining 76 g of high extraction sprouted red and white wheat. We autolyzed the dough flour and water with the 2% salt sprinkled on top waiting for the levain to rise – about 2 hours. The overall hydration was 78% but it could easily have taken 5% more water.
We did 50 slap and folds to get the levain and salt mixed in and 2 more sets of 6 slap and folds all on 30 minute intervals. Then we did 2 stretch and folds from the compass points only on 45 minute intervals. We shaped and pre-shaped the dough into a boule, placed the dough seam side up in a rice floured basket and bagged it in a trash can liner for 12 hours of retardation in the fridge.
When the dough came out of the fridge we fired up the oven with the combo cooker inside to the preheat temperature of 550 F. The dough was unmolded onto parchment, on a peel, slashed tic-tack-toe style and placed in the cooker for 6 minutes of steam at 500 F and 12 more minutes at 450 F.
Once the lid came off we lowered the temperature to 425 F - convection on now. We then removed the bread from the bottom of the combo cooker after 6 minutes and continued to bake on the bottom stone for another 12 minutes until the bread was nicely brown and 207.5 F on the inside.
It sprang, blistered and bloomed well under steam but we will have to wait to see how the crumb is when we slice it for lunch. Since it is only 33% whole and sprouted grain, the crumb should be pretty open - fingers crossed. The crumb came out, soft, moist, and glossy. But once again, it is the taste that is amazing. Our new favorite white bread.
Let's have another salad for Lucy
Levain – 12% prefermented flour, rye and sprouted wheat bran levain – 2 stage and 100% hydration retarded for 1 week after whole rye stage 1 doubled.
21% high extraction red and white sprouted wheat
33.5% Smart and Final high gluten
33.5% LaFama AP
Water to bring the overall hydration to 78%
2% Pink Himalayan sea salt.