The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm

I baked two batches of bread today, the first being a batch of Whole Wheat Seeded Rolls.

wheat rolls

I used the master recipe from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François's new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day as the base for these.  Portlanders: Jeff and Zoë are going to be at Powell's Tuesday evening.

The rolls are disappearing quickly because I also made a batch of Apple Butter.  Delicious, as always.

I also made a second batch of Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes.

baguette

I'm resisting the temptation to crack these open before they cool this time, which is quite difficult.

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Floydm

I made Struan Rolls to go with a pot of soup Dorota made tonight.




Often my Struan comes out a bit heavy (like in the photo in the recipe I linked to), but tonight I nailed it.  They were light, fluffy, soft, and just the perfect sweetness.  When you get Struan right, it is hard to beat.


In nerd news: WhiteHouse.gov is now running on Drupal, which is the software that The Fresh Loaf runs on.  That is very exciting to geeks like me.

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Floydm

Last week I posted a message on TFL asking community members to test out the new fundraising software I'd developed for Mercy Corps, my employer, by making a few small donations. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. We hit our original goal of one thousand dollars, which I feared might be unreasonably high, in less than 72 hours, and several community members expressed a desire that we extend this longer. If you are game, I'm game. Let's see what we can do.

What is Mercy Corps?

Mercy Corps is an international aid agency based in Portland, Oregon. With over 3,500 employees working in more than 40 countries, we work to help people build secure, productive and just communities. We do that by expanding educational opportunities, helping build water and sanitation infrastructure, providing microfinancing to women starting small businesses and running food and nutrition programs to prevent malnutrition.

As I've mentioned, I work there, but I was a supporter and fan of the organization before I began working there. Mercy Corps works in some of the world's toughest places, including many that rarely make the headlines, and is committed to being efficient stewards of their donors' money.

If you are interested in supporting our fundraising effort, you can do so here. Your show of support would mean a great deal to me.

Update 10/25: I am moving the discussion of this from the forums to a blog thread so that folks interested in the fundraising project can still chat about it without interfering with the bread-centricity of the forums. I've also raised the goal to $2,500.

More to come...
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Floydm

We started the day with Sourdough English Muffins.



After lunch I made my first batch of Anis Bouabsa's baguettes.




I hurried things a bit, only giving them about 16 hours in the fridge, probably not letting them rise quite enough before putting them in the oven, and slicing them while still hot.  Nevertheless, they were quite good.  I definitely want to try this again. 



Finally I made a sourdough miche using the technique crumb bum introduced a couple of years ago.



I've not cracked this one open yet.  I'm looking forward to it.


Actually this wasn't the end of the baking, because I also made corn bread muffins to go with the pot of green tomato chili I made, which was awesome.  Followed up by some of the remaining birthday cake Dorota made.  It is a pity that baking season comes at a different time than prime bicycling season here, because after a day like today I could certainly use the exercise!

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Floydm

I looked into my pantry today and found rye flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour, barley flour, cake flour, pizza flour, and high gluten flour for making bagels but no bread flour.  So, like ApplePie, I decided to go flour shopping.


I didn't visit a mill, instead hitting the local Cash & Carry, which carries a number of different brands of flour, the most noteable of which is Pendleton Flour Mills.  I was pleased that this time they had 25 pound bags of flour for under 10 bucks, so I picked up one bag of their unbleached Morbread flour, which I've been quite satisfied with in the past.  They had their Power high gluten flour, their semolina flour, and their pizza flour blends too, which I'm quite tempted to try next time.


So now I've just mixed up my first batch of Anis Bouabsa's baguettes and will set up a sourdough to ferment overnight tonight as well.  It is nice to have the rainy weather back... perfect for hanging around the house, reading, and baking!

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Floydm

I made bagels this morning using some of the General Mills All Trumps High Gluten Flour I'd ordered from NYBakers.  They turned out well.





With cream cheese and a tomato picked fresh from the garden this morning they were delicious.

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Floydm

Beautiful spring weather in Oregon this year so I've been spending a lot of time outside and away from the oven. I did bake some delicious sourdough boules yesterday though.



In other news, the local berry stand down the block opened today. 



I'm looking forward to being able to pick up cheap flats of damaged jam berries soon and making Strawberry Freezer Jam, probably my favorite thing to put on fresh bread.

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Floydm

I need to update both the features on the homepage.  Any nominees?  Even though it isn't a brand new thread, I'm thinking about David's post on Anis Bouabsa's baguettes since I keep seeing folks trying that formula and being pleased with it and I've been meaning to try it too.  Maybe a rye post too?  Or a SD post?  I'm open to suggestions.

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Floydm

Things have been very busy for me lately.  One of the more exciting things has been finally launching the new Mercy Corps website, which we've been working on for some time.  I'm very pleased with how it came out and urge folks to go check it out.


Traffic here has been nuts.  Last month TFL had over 1 million page views, which is an incredible figure.  There were a lot of factors involved in that: an increased interest in bread baking, an increased interest in doing things to save money as a result of the economic downturn, a couple of lucky placements in StumbleUpon, and a number of lively discussions going on here.  I do expect traffic to ebbs as the weather in the Northern Hemisphere turns nicer and more folks turn to their gardens to save money rather than their ovens, but we definitely have a new high watermark.


Despite all this, I have baked some.  Pizza two weekends ago.


Pizza dough


Pizza with sauce


Pizza with cheese


I tried tinkering with Jeff Varasano's trick of setting the oven on self-clean to preheat my stone.  Sure enough, after about 5 minutes on clean my oven locked itself and I had to turn it off for 15 minutes before it cooled down enough that I could open it and turn it back on.  I've not yet made the decision to try clipping the safety, but I'm thinking about it (insert standard disclaimer about "do not try this at home" here).


The pizza still turned out well at 550.


The pizza is done


Last weekend I made the obligatory batch of hot cross buns.


Hot Cross Buns


Yummy as always.

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Floydm

I baked two loaves today.


Two loaves of bread


The white loaf is a sourdough dough I prepared on Wednesday while working from home.  I wanted to see if I kept a sourdough in the fridge for 4 days would it still bake up well.



For the most part, it did.  You can see a bit of compression near the bottom, and in the center there were definitely some thick gummy parts.  I think if I tried it again I would make a smaller shape, but I was impressed that it came out so well after all that time. 


The other loaf is a 100% whole wheat loaf I made using a recipe from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.


whole wheat bread


The whole wheat flour was sent to me by flourgirl51, who sells freshly milled organic flour at www.organicwheatproducts.com.  The bread is good.  100% whole wheat is a bit much for my kids, so I probably will have to eat most of this loaf myself, but I certainly can see how if you are into whole grain breads you'd want to either mill the flour yourself or find a good vendor that mills it fresh.  The freshly milled flour is significantly more flavorful.

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