The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm

Fall is here and my baking reflects it.  Today it was zucchini muffins.  Earlier this week it was a grape focaccia.

My grapes are Concords.  I remembered ZolaBlue's beautiful Concord Grape Focaccia but ended up using a recipe and technique for a Rosemary Grape Focaccia with Sea Salt from Dan Leader's Local Breads.  

As you can imagine, it is more savory than sweet.  Though I used a poolish, the dough was a bit plain and pale, seemingly underfermented.  It improved a bit the next day.  

There are more Concords on my vines, so I may try the sweet version soon.  Or I wonder if it would be good to combine the two and use sugar instead of salt with grapes and rosemary?  Hm....

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hi hi from Vancouver, British Columbia!

My family and I are spending the remainder of summer up here, with me telecommuting back to the office a few days a week.  

There is a ton to see and do here.  Bakeries are, of course, on my hit list.  I've already sampled a fair share.  I visited Siegel's Bagels our first morning here. 

Their bagels are so, so good.

Terra Breads are quite good and easy to find in the local grocery store and on Granville Island.  I hit Mix: the Bakery this morning (beware, music on the website) and tried their scones, which were heavenly. The flat bread selection at the local market is amazing, too: pita bread, naan, taftoon bread, and other flat breads I've never seen or heard of before.   Many more photos and posts from up here as I get out and explore the city.

-Floyd

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Floydm

I upgraded the WYSIWYG editor on the site today.  It now has a spellchecker (yay!) and should work on newer versions of IE.  I think.  

Please let me know if you run into any trouble.  If you can include browser and platform information in your comment it would be most helpful.

Thanks!

-Floyd

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Floydm

In March I travelled.  A lot.  My best guess is about 10,000 miles.  And, of course, when I travel I search for good bread.


Vancouver from Granville Island


First up was a trip to Vancouver for a Canucks game.  I did not get a change to go to all of the bakeries that folks here recommended, but at least I did get a chance to try Siegal's Montreal-style Bagels.


Bagels


I don't know for certain that these are authentic Montreal-style bagels but fresh out of the oven they were delicious.  I will definitely be hitting Siegal's again the next time I'm up there... Perhaps for a playoff game in a couple of weeks!


Next up, a trip to Chicago for Drupalcon.


Chicago


The conference was two blocks away from Fox & Obel, an upscale grocery store with a very good bakery in it.  The bakery was recently named one of the ten best bakeries in the US by Bon Appetit magazine.   I did not get a chance to take a photo of any of their breads, but their Olive Ciabatta rolls fueled much of my visit.  And of course I had to try a Chicago style pizza while I was there.  I had a veggie one from Bella Balcino's that was quite good... not a total gut bomb, which I could not handle a few hours before hopping on the plane home.


A quick trip home and back east to Washington DC.


Washington Monument


Incredible weather, decent food, and the Presidential motorcade went past us twice close enough to see Obama's face.  Needless to say, my kids were thrilled.


After DC we went through Providence, RI.  I walked around the Johnson & Wales campus a bit and tried to go to a pizza joint that Peter Reinhart had recommended, but alas it it was closed on the night of the week we were there.



Final destination: Boston.




Mike's Pastry in the North End is famous for their cookies and cannoli.  The Cannoli were excellent but it was the pignoli cookies that really blew my mind.  I definitely intend to find a recipe for something like them soon.


And now we are back.  My starter survived just fine and made some lovely baguettes yesterday.


baguettes


-Floyd

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Floydm

I went down to the Red Mill to wish Bob a happy 82nd birthday today.



Bob and Charlee Moore


Most folks on the West Coast, particularly bakers, are very familiar with Bob Moore and his Red Mill.  For the rest of you folks: Bob's story is well worth reading in full.  In short, over the last forty years Bob built a hugely successful business promoting whole grains and healthy eating.  Bob's Red Mill's products are widely distributed in grocery and health food stores all over the US and Canada.


 A year ago, Bob celebrated his 81st birthday century by handing ownership of his company over to the employees.  This year, Bob celebrated by giving away $5 million to Oregon State University and another 1.3 million to Portland's National College of Natural Medicine to fight childhood obesity.



After a toast from a few friends and associates, Bob gave a brief thank you speech and got a laugh with his suggestion that starting the day with hot cereal was the key to his longevity and good health.  



(You can find more photos of the Red Mill and of Dave's Killer Bread Bakery, which is right across the street, in this Flickr slideshow).


I spoke to Bob briefly but long enough to give him my thanks and express my appreciation for all he has done for the community, both the baking community and Oregon.   


Happy Birthday, Bob!  May you have many more and continue to be a role model to us all.

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Floydm

I had a busy weekend and did not bake this weekend.  First time in quite some time, actually.


I don't think I ever posted the BBQ Chicken Pizza I made during the Super Bowl.


super bowl pizza


The crust is Peter's Neo-Neapolitan recipe that is my standard.  Cheap store-brand BBQ sauce as the sauce, chicken breast, cilantro, red onions, and a mixture of chedder and mozarella. Super simple and the kids loved it.


super bowl pizza


I made Current Cream Buns that weekend too but they got gobbled up before I could take a picture.


The other thing I've been making recently are Crepes.  Our new favorite filling is a pat of butter, a scant teaspoon of sugar, and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Super simple but absolutely delicious!


 


 

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Floydm

I baked a couple of things this weekend.  The first was the Sourdough Carrot Cake recipe from King Arthur that someone (TXFarmer?) posted about a couple of months back.


Carrot Cake Muffins


I halved the recipe and baked them as cupcakes rather than a cake.  It is quite good and a useful way of disposing of ripe starter.


I thought I also baked a walnut levain today, but judging by the timestamp* this is a loaf that I'll bake 205 years from now.


Walnet Levain


It looks like it'll be good.  I'm looking forward to trying it someday!


 


* I suspect the fact that my 8 year old son has been borrowing my camera to make stop action movies with Lego figures recently has something to do with the timestamp getting changed.  

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Floydm

I made a potato bread today, using Dan Lepard's recipe from The Art of Handmade Bread (AKA The Handmade Loaf) as the basis and tweaking it a bit.  If memory serves me right, I used:


300 grams water


200 grams mashed potatoes


500 grams bread flour


1 tablespoon sourdough starter (cold from the fridge)


1 tablespoon honey


2 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon instant yeast


I gave it quite a while, 10 minutes or so, in the mixer, then let it rise slowly most of the day, folding it a couple of times when I noticed it cresting over the edge of the bowl..  I shaped it an hour or so before I wanted to bake it, then baked it with steam at 465 for 15 minutes then 400 or so for another 20 to 30 minutes.


Potato Bread


Potato Bread


It has a relatively tight crumb but is really nice and soft.  I'm thinking I may make this as rolls for my Thanksgiving day feast this year.


My kids and I also made fresh butter in Mason jars as discussed here


Bread and butter


The kids had a blast dancing around the living room shaking the jars (we put some music on) and the butter was truly delicious.  It is well worth the effort!

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Floydm

I received a copy of Tartine Bread in the mail today and realized my baking bookshelf is now full.


My bread book shelf


(click the photo to see a higher res version on Flickr).


Um... yeah... I guess I'm going to need to start a new shelf!


Tartine Bread reminds me a lot of My Bread.  A West Coast version.  I haven't had a chance to bake from it yet but there are some interesting sounding recipes in there, like the Olive Oil Brioche that TXFarmer posted about recently.  I'm excited to check it out!

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Floydm

So, yes, this evening we had a user get upset and try to expunge himself from the site.  For now, I have shut down the account.


Sadly, there isn't a simple way for a user to erase his or her own account and all associated content or for me to do that.  They've added that feature to the next version of Drupal, the software this site runs on.  It is the oldest feature request in the system (look at the URL... it is node number 8).  For almost 10 years people have been asking for this feature. I do want to respect individual's ability to manage their own information and remove it if/when they decide to leave, but until Drupal 7 comes out and I upgrade the site (early 2011?) there isn't a reliable way to do that. My apologies.


I don't think it is appropriate to get into the specifics about what led up to this, but at a high level:



  • member A left a rather specious comment on a three year old thread that, frankly, I should just delete.

  • member B made a moderately nasty reply insulting member A.

  • member A flagged member B's comment as offensive, as did a few other folks here.

  • I removed the offending comment and asked member B to please be more courteous, even if privately I agreed with his opinion.  

  • Member B did not respond well to this and, after first asserting that it is my responsibility to verify that all posts are factual, began the self-immolation.

  • I closed member B's account and cleaned up what I could.


In the five years I've run this site, I think I've been pretty consistent about the policy here.  If I could boil it down to four words, it'd be "Don't be a jerk" (though I tend to use a stronger word than that).  There are thousands and thousands of unmoderated listservs and bulletin boards online where the loudest and the snarkiest rule.  I'm not going to let the happen here.


It is also true that I don't believe that being right or a being a better baker gives one the right to treat others disrespectfully: there are plenty of things that I am convinced I am right about that I probably disagree with many site members about. I'm sure they are equally convinced their views are correct and that I am the foolish one.  So it goes.  If we can find a civil way to exchange opinion, correct facts, and help each other see things from the other's perspective that is wonderful, but if it is going to slide into mudslinging and name calling I will ask folks to move along and discuss something else (like an NYC cop: "Alright people: shows over.").  


Similar incidents have happened a few times before and I'm sure will happen again.  I don't hold any ill will against the parties who've been asked to leave or who've chosen to leave on their own and I hope they will respect -- even if they disagree with -- my approach and what I've tried to accomplish here.  Many folks enjoy this environment and are willing to check some of their opinions at the door, but I understand that this doesn't work for everyone.  Thankfully the internet is a big place and there is room for all of us.

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