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JMonkey

As many of you know, I've been questing for a tasty, open crumb, 100% whole grain hearth bread for a long, long time now.

This weekend, I finally achieved my goal.



Nice open crumb, creamy texture, tangy and flavorful crumb, appealing slashes, crunchy crust.

Here's how I made it, and, to be truthful, it was mostly on a whim. The day before, I'd made some whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread, and had about 80 grams of starter left over. I didn't have time, really, to feed it, so I popped it in the fridge figuring I'd do something with it later.

The next evening, as I was thinking about what to cook for a visit from my folks (they'd come all the way from Atlanta, so I wanted something nice), I thought, "Why not try something akin to CrumbBum's miche?"

So here's what I did:

  • 40 grams of whole wheat starter at 60% hydration (Use 50 grams if at 100% hydration)
  • 375 grams water
  • 10 grams salt
  • 300 grams whole wheat flour
  • 150 grams whole spelt flour
  • 50 grams whole rye flour
So basically, its roughly 5 percent of flour in the starter, with a 60-30-10 wheat / spelt / rye flour combination at 75% hydration.

I mixed the starter into the water, added the salt until it was dissolved, and then stirred in the flour. I then did a stretch and fold at one hour, and then two more at half hour intervals. After the last stretch and fold, I shaped it into a ball, and let it sit overnight.

It's pretty chilly in our house at night, getting down to 63 degrees F, so your mileage may very, but the dough was ready to shape after about 12 hours. I preshaped it into a ball, shaped the dough into a batard after a 15 minute rest, wrapped it in baker's linen and then let it rise at 64 degrees for about 3.5 hours. After that, a few slashes and into a hot oven at 450 for 35 minutes.

I think the final piece that came into place for me was shaping gently, but firmly. And I suspect that the long fermentation helped with both flavor and texture. Anyway, I hope I can repeat this success.
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JMonkey

I love apples, and, at the Corvallis farmer's market, apples have been abundant lately. Everything from relatively new varieties like Liberty, to old varieties like Spitzenburg, to unusual European apples that are rarely seen in the U.S. like Calville Blanc, a very old French apple best suited for pies.

I decided that the height of the apple season deserved an apple-themed meal, whose centerpiece, of course, would be Normandy Apple Bread, a recipe from Jeffrey Hammelman's Bread that I've been eyeing for quite some time. The recipe is fairly simple. It's mostly white flour, with a bit of whole wheat, uses sourdough, substitutes half the water with apple cider and adds a healthy amount of dried apples. It also includes yeast, but I decided to omit it and let the starter work all alone.

I can heartily recommend it, based on my results:



And here's a picture of the crumb:.

The baked bread tasted almost like an apple pie, with the sourdough tartness substituting for the lemon juice I often add to a pie.

The rest of the meal included butternut squash stuffed with chicken sausage and apples, spinach salad with pecans and apples, apple cider and, of course ...

APPLE PIE. This is the "Best Apple Pie" recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, but, instead of a traditional top crust, I decided to do a simple crumb topping. My daughter, Iris, is in the background, finishing off a slice of apple bread. She's had some fun with face paints earlier in the day, as you can see.

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JMonkey

Working from home has its disadvantages: it's all too easy to blur work into home-life, you're somewhat isolated from co-workers, and it's tempting to try to do chores when work is slow.

But bread baking poses no problems at all. Most of bread baking, especially when you use the stretch and fold method to develop dough instead of traditional kneading, consists of 2-3 minute bursts of activity separated by long periods of waiting. The trouble, of course, is that the timing of those little bursts of activity is really, really important. Working from home, the kitchen is always just a few steps away from my computer, and doing the work of making bread takes about as much time as going to fetch a fresh cup of coffee.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of sourdough baking, even when the bread itself isn't truly a sourdough bread. For instance, here's my results from baking Peter Reinhart's Mash Bread, from his new (and fabulous) book, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.





The sweetness of the bread was really surprising, and I was astonished by how much oven spring I got. It's easily the best I've ever gotten from a 100% whole grain bread. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and didn't let the sourdough mature fully, so the flavor was less than I'd expected. In short, sweet, but bland. I'm eager to try it again, though, and next time I'll let the sourdough fully ripen, which is especially important, since the sourdough is used almost exclusively for flavoring rather than leavening. If you want to make this bread, I'd suggest heading over to Bill Wraith's excellent write-up.

I had some starter left over, so I made up some sourdough pizza dough -- two of the doughballs went in the freezer, while the others went into the fridge so that I could make them up for dinner the next night. Probably two of the best pizzas I've made. A woman at the Corvallis Farmer's Market was selling wild chantrelle mushrooms, so I got some, sauteed them in a bit of butter, and plopped them on the pizza. They were great, along with some black olives and turkey-chicken sausage:



The crust was nice and holey!



Here's how I made it:

Formula

  • Whole wheat flour: 50%
  • AP flour: 50%
  • Water: 80%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Olive oil: 5%
  • 15% of the flour is pre-fermented as starter
Recipe (2 crusts):
  • Whole wheat starter (75% hydration): 100 grams
  • Whole wheat flour: 130 grams
  • AP flour: 180 grams
  • Water: 250 grams
  • Olive oil: 18 grams
  • Salt: 7 grams

Mix the water and the starter, and mush it all up with your fingers until it's a soupy mess. Add the salt and the oil, mix again, and then add the flour. Let it sit, covered, for 1 hour and then give it a stretch and fold. Do two more folds spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart. Let it ferment a total of 4-5 hours at room temperature (about 68-70 degrees F), and then divide into two. Shape each lump of dough into a tight ball, pop them into plastic bags, and put them in the fridge if you plan to use within the next 3 days. Otherwise, put them in the freezer, where they'll keep for at least one month. When you're ready to make the pizza, let the dough sit out for about 2 hours if it was in the fridge, 4 hours if in the freezer. Shape, top and bake on a stone preheated for about an hour in an oven at the highest setting possible. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Last, my standby: whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.



Always tasty, always reliable.

Next on my agenda: some of those potato-onion-rye rolls from Peter's book!
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JMonkey

This is a recipe that Kenneth, a long-time poster to rec.food.sourdough, has posted a few times in response to requests. I made it this weekend and can safely say it's delicious. Tangy, but not overpoweringly so, with a smooth crumb that, though not full of big holes, is nevertheless a moderately light bread. It sprung well in the oven. In fact, it reminded me of some of the better Desem breads I've made. The hydration of this loaf is 68%, so one could go higher, I'm sure, and the salt is higher than usual at 2.5%, but the bread did not taste overly salty.

On a side note, I'm beginning to think my quest for holey, super hydrated whole wheat is misguided. The breads are no more tasty, in my experience, and though the crumb is more open, the high hydration has made the loaf flatten out considerably in the oven.

Back on topic. Kenneth, I believe, uses an authentic Poilane starter in his bread (I used Carl's) and emulates the high-extraction flour that Poilane uses through a combination of AP flour and freshly ground whole wheat (the loaf is about 40% white flour). He also uses 30% whole spelt flour, based on this page on Poilane's Web site.

How well does it imitate a true loaf from Poilane? I have no idea. The last time I was in France was 17 years ago when I was a not-so-well-heeled student, and today ... well, I'm not willing to part with the kind of cash it would take to have a loaf delivered to me from across the Atlantic.

All I can say is, it makes a nice loaf of bread. Here's my result:





And here's Kenneth's recipe, or at least, the version of it that I used:

Day 1, 9:30pm 474g Water + 120g starter + 236g coarse whole wheat, ferment at 69F.

Day 2, 7:30am add 65g coarse rye, 254g KA AP flour, 170g wholespelt flour, 20g salt.

Knead fully, then refrigerate 24 hours. Then, form boule, ferment at 69F for 5 hours.

Slash, then bake at 490F for 35 minutes, the first 15 minutes with steam...
Of course, I fiddled with the recipe. First, I didn't knead on Day 2. Instead, I mixed it up and then let it ferment for 2.5 hours. I gave it a fold at 1 hour, 45 minutes and then another 45 minutes. Then, I popped it in the fridge. When I baked it, I did use a preheated oven, stone and steam, but I feel certain that a cold start would do fine as well. I baked at 460.

I'll be making this again ....
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JMonkey

Even in the midst of moving, a family’s got to eat. And with the beautiful summer weather we’ve been having in New England (70 degrees F, sunny, low humidity – ah, New England, I’m gonna miss ya), I’ve been cooking an awful lot on the grill, and I finally got around to making grilled pizza. Of course, I did it with whole wheat.

I don’t have the recipe in front of me, but if there’s interest, I’ll add it in the comments sometime later. All I can say is, Peter Reinhart’s advice in American Pie is easy to follow, and makes a fantastic pie. It’s surprisingly simple to do.

To make the pie whole wheat, I simply increased the amount of water by about 2-3 Tbs per cup. I downsized the recipe to make just two pies, and smaller ones at that. A 12-15 inch pie would be too large to fit on one side of the grill, which was a necessity, since I was using the one-grill method.

The key, it seems to me, really is to rake almost all the coals to one side so that there’s a blazing hot side and relatively cool side. I shaped my pies in a rough oval, because they fit better that way, but they got deformed because, even though I slathered the back of my baking sheet with olive oil, it was still not an easy task getting the dough off the sheet and onto the grill.

I was a little too worried about burning the dough. I could have left the second pie on the grill a little bit longer and gotten a better crust. But who’s complaining? It was excellent! For cheese, I used a 50-50 mozzarella-parmesan blend, and then added dollops of goat cheese. Toppings were roasted tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers and dollops of basil pesto.



We’ll be making these again.

Friday night, I’d started refreshing Arthur, my whole wheat starter, at 1-5-5, and did so again on Saturday morning, so by Saturday night, I had about 550 grams of starter at 100%. I decided to set up three things:

  • Whole wheat sourdough hearth bread: 88% hydration with 5% of the flour pre-fermented as starter
  • Whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread: 85% hydration with 10% of the flour pre-fermented
  • Sourdough whole wheat English Muffins: I used this recipe for Sourdugh English Muffins, substituting whole wheat flour for the AP flour and adding 2 Tbs more milk. I used only 2 cups flour for the entire recipe. Good Lord these are easy!


When I woke up, I used what has come to be called “the French Fold” on both breads, and then set about making the English muffins. Did I mention that these are easy? And delicious?

Here they are set on the breakfast table:




And here’s one opened up. I was very pleased with the spongy interior!



I rolled these out a little thin, but they were still lovely. Plus I got 15 muffins, instead of just 12. Next time around, I’ll keep them thicker, though.

Here’s the whole wheat sourdough hearth bread we had for dinner. I was rushed when shaping, so I didn’t preshape and was a little rough. You can see the results in the crumb – not nearly as open as I’d like, but still good for dinner.



We had the bread with a delicious and quick-to-make asparagus-spinich pesto over whole wheat linguini and a white bean and spinach salad. (I like 101 Cookbooks a lot, and her cookbook, Super Natural Cooking, is very good, but she uses a lot of exotic, hard-to-find ingredients. For the salad dressing, I just used some lemon zest, plain olive oil and cider vinegar, and it turned out fine.)

Last, the sandwich bread. I let it ferment a bit too long, but it nevertheless turned out just fine, if a little on the sour side (which my wife says is a feature, not a bug). The blur you see is my daughter’s hand grabbing the slice mid-shot. She’s a growing girl, what can I say?

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JMonkey

I baked quite a bit this weekend, but, though it may seem I did nothing but bake, I really didn't. The nice thing about baking, especially now that I'm using the stretch and fold technique instead of traditional kneading, is that there's actually very little hands-on time required, except for bagels -- I'm sure it would work, but I don't want them to ferment that long before popping them in the fridge. So I still sometimes need to knead.

Saturday morning, we had sourdough whole wheat bagels. This time, though, I used a wet, 100% hydration starter. I think the sourdough tang was more pronounced, but it could very well be that I tasted what I expected to taste.

Later that evening, we had Desem bread. This loaf was not my best. Once again, I put the loaf on a hot stone and put the bell top the cloche over it. Once again, I pinched the edge of the loaf, which gave me a flat, burnt edge and prevented full oven spring. Still, it was tasty and the crumb was relatively open. It went beautifully with the broccoli, red pepper and cheddar chowder. Also, I highly recommend this recipe for baked peas.



That evening, I made two loaves of our weekly sourdough sandwich bread. %&*#$@Qing bread STUCK on me. Well, just one loaf. And it didn't rip in half, it just sort of opened up the side a bit. Salvagable. I knew I wasn't being thorough enough greasing the pan. That'll teach me.

Today, I had to be a bit creative. I was eager to make a recipe for Spelt Focaccia from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book. But I also had a meeting directly after church for our environmental committee.

I had a plan.

I packed the biga, all the dry ingredients in a big Tupperware, and a small Tupperware with the wet ingredients. Then, just before the meeting, I mixed it all up. After the meeting was done, I folded it, put it in the back of the wagon, and hauled the dough and my daughter back to the house (it's less than a mile away). Mission accomplished. The topping: roasted onions and olives.



I paired it with a simple salad and cream of asparagus soup.

The focaccia was good, though next time, I'll use plain olives instead of kalamata. Far too salty.

Next week, my folks are up and we're heading to Providence, RI, to try Al Fourno, the birthplace of grilled pizza! I'll report back. (Last week, btw, I visited the Cheese Board in Berkeley, Calif., which makes just one type of pizza every day. A real hole in the wall joint, with a sourdough crust. I loved the place -- we bought a bottle of wine and sat down in one of the six chairs they've got beside the three-man jazz band playing that night. The pizza? Eh. Was OK, but I wasn't wowed.)

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JMonkey

Well, I said I'd make this later tonight, but I didn't exactly expect it to be this late. Ah well, it'll still be "later today" for about 20 minutes.

Anyway, here's what I propose, TT.

  1. Let's use SourdoLady's method, with just a few caveats.
  2. If you've got scales, I'd prefer to use equal weights of flour and liquid ... say 1 ounce flour and 1 ounce water instead of 2 Tbs.
  3. If you don't have scales, no biggie -- we'll just follow SourdoLady's measures.
  4. My grocery store doesn't have pineapple juice so far as I know, so would it be alright to go with orange juice?
  5. I'll use freshly ground flour, as that's all I've got. Hope you don't mind, but since I've got the grains here, I'd rather not go out an buy a bag. What brand will you be using? If you can find fresh-ground flour, that'd probably help, but it's not necessary. I didn't use fresh-ground for either of the starters I made. I've got a whole wheat starter that I began with rye for the first three days and then switched to white flour -- I converted to whole wheat a few months later. That's Arthur the Whole Wheat Starter. Rhonda Rye is a pure rye starter.
  6. How about we start Saturday morning and we'll just post our pictures and commentary here. Sound good?
  7. Would you rather start with rye, whole wheat or whole spelt? I can do any of the above, though my preference would be whole wheat.
  8. Let's stick with whole grains until we're sure we've got something going. I think we'll have an easier time of it and, once we're sure the culture is alive, we can convert to white flour.


Sound good? I'm rarin' to go!
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JMonkey

Helas, that appeared to be the situation Saturday afternoon.

I'd thought I'd learned something about properly dusting a very wet loaf before proofing. And, in fact, I did learn something. Unfortunately, I subsequently learned something else: how to shape a wet loaf properly, thanks to MountainDog.

But we'll get to that in a minute. First, let me show you these beautiful and delectable Spelt and Flaxseed Blueberry Muffins. MountainDog, you are a genius. My daughter gobbled hers up in record time. My wife said, "Honey, you can make these again anytime you like."




Highly recommended. Sweet, but not too sweet, with a crunchy top, nutty texture and delicious spelty flavor. More about spelt to come.

Anyway, back to how MountainDog ruined my Desem through good teaching. Thanks to MountainDog, my boule of Desem rose higher than it had ever risen before, and all in just 2 hours instead of the usual 2.5. As a result, the undusted bottom of the loaf rose up and stretched to touch the sides of the top of the brotform (or banneton or proofing basket, whatever you will). The top of the loaf was ready to slide out just fine, but the bottom edge stuck to the sides - the whole loaf just tore itself in half. The moral is that I need to dust the loaf again after I place it in the banneton.

It was very dispiriting, especially since I'd aimed to bring that loaf to dinner with some friends we'd not seen in some time. Luckily, I had a loaf of whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread in the freezer, which served just as well for dinner bread.

But, as Marie Antoinette said (or more likely, never said but later had political enemies ascribe to her anyway), upon her coronation in the midst of a terrible bread shortage: "If they no longer have any bread, then let them eat brioche." So I made some brioche - specifically, the "Rich Man's Brioche" from the BBA. In baker's percentages, the butter is 87% and there's 5 large eggs in the recipe -- heck, I figured, if I'm abandoning whole grains, why not just go all the way. My wife loves lemon curd, and nothing goes better with lemon curd than brioche, so the Saturday before Mother's Day, I made up the dough. Stretch-and-fold is a great technique, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work with brioche. After all, we're talking about plowing a full pound of butter, that's FOUR FREAKING STICKS of pure, unadulterated, totally saturated fat into about 18.25 ounces of white flour.

It's not easy.

But I love my wife (even if I'm not showing much love for her heart, arteries or vascular system in general), so I soldiered on. After I got it incorporated, I put that slab of dough on greased parchment, covered it with transparent petroleum product and put it into the fridge.

For the following morning, I had a plan. I was all jazzed about spelt, so I decided to make my usual whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread, but with a spelt starter and 1/2 spelt flour.

Over two feedings, I built up enough spelt starter from about 10 grams of my whole wheat starter and measured out everything the night before. Then, Sunday morning when I woke up (as usual) at 6am, I could just mix everything together on autopilot, which would help me get warmed up to make good old fashioned buttermilk (whole wheat - what else did you expect from me?) waffles. No sourdough waffles this time; I got in pretty late Saturday night, and didn't feel like messing around with buttermilk at 11:00 P.M.

My plan actually worked! I mixed up the sourdough around 6:30 a.m., took out the brioche dough and shaped it, and then placed the brioches in my makeshift proofbox - we'd left the windows open overnight, so it was a chilly 61 degrees in the kitchen. I had to have everything done by 11am to be at church (my wife was singing a duet), So I couldn't let it proof on the counter.

Now, the BBA says that the brioche recipe makes 3 lbs of dough, but I only got 2 lb 12 ounces. So I decided to make two loaves and a 6-muffin tin full of mini-brioches. It was a great idea, but unfortunately, they wouldn't all fit in my beer-cooler-turned-proof box. At least, not flat on the bottom. A couple of tall plastic cups later, and I had a two-tiered system, which worked great until I tripped over the proofbox, uttered swear words, and sent the muffin tin careening into one of my half risen loaves, deflating it mightily right in the middle. So, I took the muffin pan out of the proof box and tried another trick. I boiled a cup of water in the microwave, open the door and quickly shoved the muffin tin inside. Presto, instant proof box.

It worked! I pulled the last loaves of brioche out of the oven at 10:52 a.m. which gave Iris and I the 5 minutes we needed to bike to church. The deflated loaf, unsurprisingly, looks deflated, but the braided pan loaf looks OK. And they taste ... very, very buttery.




As for the Whole-Wheat and Whole Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread? The stretch and fold, no-knead approach was a winner! The shaped loaves rose in the proofbox while I was at church and were ready to go into the oven when we got home. I took the stone out of the oven, and tried the cold start approach. Again, it was a winner! This bread's a little less light than my 100% sourdough sandwich loaves usually are, but not by much, and the flavor is sweeter with a nutty overtone. It's nice, especially with peanut butter.




Next week, I'll beat this sticky Desem beast, even if I do learn something useful yet again from MountainDog. Which is altogether likely.

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JMonkey

It hasn't been a snowy winter, but (an unnervingly warm first half of January aside) it has been a cold winter. Thankfully, spring has finally arrived. Our New England canopy is finally greenish again, and the temperature has been creeping toward, occasionally even attaining, 70 degrees. Which can only mean one thing.

Time to bake burger buns.

But of course, I had a lot more baking than that in mind. Plus, thanks to a post by TheGreenBaker which led me to revisit Mike Avery's Stretch and Fold video and lesson, I decided to try not kneading anything I worked on this weekend.

It worked beautifully and is easily the biggest breakthrough for my baking technique in many, many months. Knowing that I can just mix any bread in a matter of minutes and then only need to pay attention to it for 3-4 minutes every hour or so is hugely liberating. With a 3-year-old, finding 3 minutes is no big deal -- finding 20-30 is a very big deal indeed.



The first bread I made this weekend was Desem, as we were having friends over for dinner. The menu I'd planned was relatively simple. Asparagus with lemon butter, golden cheddar soup (a delicious, easy soup from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home with potato, carrots, yellow squash, onion, garlic, buttermilk and ... oh yeah ... cheddar) and carrot and avocado salad.

Basically, I thought these foods would go well with the bread I wanted to bake (surely, I'm not the only one here who plans menus in this bass-ackwards fashion ....).

Here's how I made it:

  • Whole wheat bread flour: 100%
  • Water: 90%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Starter: 30% of the flour was prefermented at 60% hydration


Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour: 350 grams
  • Water: 360 grams
  • Salt: 10 grams
  • Starter: 240 grams


First, I tore up the starter into small chunks, poured the water over it and mushed it up with my fingers. I then let it soak for about 10 minutes before I added the flour and salt, which had already been mixed together. A minute or so of mixing with the dough whisk, and I covered the bowl with a plate to rest at room temperature for an hour.

After an hour, I removed the dough, which was still very rough, and flattened it out gently, looking for thick spots with my fingers. When I found them (and there weren't many), I mashed them real good with the palm of my hand. I then did one stretch and fold and let it rest again. I did two more folds over the next three hours, before I shaped it.

Here's where I owe a huge thank you to all the kind folks who gave me advice on how to avoid the sticky sticky arrgggh sensation I'd come to know so well. It turns out Bill Wraith's advice was really key, for me, anyway. The dough was pretty wet (though not as wet as the 100% hydration high-extraction flour ciabattas Bill regularly wrangles with - now THAT'S amazing), so I was concerned that I'd get a stringy, gluey, sticky mess when I tried to turn it out of the proofing basket and onto the peel. But Bill had suggested dusting the loaf before placing it in the well-floured banneton. I did, and it worked. I used a 50-50 mix of white rice flour and whole wheat flour for dusting and, I'm happy to say, the loaf popped right out. Amazing. Thanks Bill, and everyone else.

I turned the dough out onto parchment on my peel, and then loaded it directly onto a hot stone at 460 degress F, which I promptly covered with the top half of my cloche. After 30 minutes, I uncovered it and let it bake for another 20 minutes.



The crumb was more open than it was a 85%, but still not as open as the beauties that Mountaindog and Jane pulled from their ovens. I'm wondering whether it's my dough handling? Perhaps I'm being too rough shaping the dough into a boule? Mountaindog, could you describe (or even better, video) how you shape your dough? I'm beginning to think that's the key to how you get such a beautiful crumb structure.

Nevertheless, I was the only one who was a bit disappointed. The flavor was everything I could have hoped for from a Desem loaf. One of our friends thought it had to have some rye in it.

On Sunday, I made sourdough waffles that came out ... very strange. The salt apparently didn't blend into the dough, which resulted in waffles that were mostly bland, except for pockets of pretzel-like saltiness. Unappealing, to say the least. I'm not sure what I did wrong, as I thought I'd blended the salt well. Guess I didn't. Anyone else ever have this problem? Pretzel-waffles are a concoction I can't recommend to anyone.

After church, I took a trip to Debra's Natural Gourmet in Concord to pick up another 50 lb bag of hard red spring wheat. It's a bit of a hike, but worth it - it's the only place I can get big bags of wheat berries in Boston that I know of, and it's relatively cheap. Just less than 50 cents a pound for organic berries.

So, in the afternoon, I made Kaiser rolls (gonna grill turkey burgers tomorrow night - yum) and some sourdough sandwich bread.

First though, we had to have dinner. Earlier in the day, I'd pulled a sourdough pizza doughball from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. Around 4pm, I put it on the counter and, after a trip to the park with Iris, came back to make the sauce, grate the cheese, chop the toppings and make the pizza. I was a bit concerned, since this doughball had been in the freezer for one month, but it turned out well, as you can see below.

.
I'm not sure why the cheese bubbled up to cover the toppings (roasted bell peppers, sliced turkey sausage and black olives) but it tasted fine, anyway. I used a new brand of feta, so maybe that's it?



The whole wheat Kaiser rolls turned out really well, though I made them wetter than I'd intended because I didn't compensate adequately for the eggs. I didn't do the Kaiser roll fold, though - I just tied them in an knot. My daughter wanted me to play dominoes (the knock-down kind, not the boardgame), so I didn't have time for anything really fancy.

Last, the whole wheat sourdough sandwich dough.



I used the stretch-and-fold method with both the rolls and the sandwich bread, and, I've got to say, the dough was at least as well developed as it is when I knead, and may have been even better. The only change I made to the recipe was to melt the butter for easy incorporation. From now on, I'll be much less kneady guy.

I thought I'd leave you with one more photo, just to prove that I don't do all the baking in the house. While I went to get grains (btw, I bought 6 lbs of spelt berries while I was there. I can't WAIT to try them out!), Aurora and Iris made brownies!



I used to lick the spoon in exactly the same way when my Mom made brownies.

Heck, when no one's looking, I still do.
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JMonkey



Well, thanks to Mountaindog, Tomsbread, Jane and, I'm sure, many others. I finally succeeded in baking a Desem bread at 85% hydration. The key really was folding and gentle, but firm, shaping. I folded three times during the bulk fermentation, preshaped and then did a final shape. It paid off -- the only flatbread I baked this weekend was a pizza.

I was also very pleased with the flavor of this Desem. Slightly tangy with a rich wheaty flavor that seemed as if it'd been baked with butter, though there was nothing but flour, starter, water and salt. The crust was crisp; the crumb was moist and chewy. Truly, a magnificent bread -- thanks folks! This doubter has been converted.

I also baked bagels Saturday morning (recipe is here). Just like Breadnerd says, bagels are a perfect bread to bake in the morning -- so quick (well, relatively speaking) and so tasty.

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