The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sonofYah

Well, things are starting to look up for me in the bakery business. I may have an opportunity to go to just one job. For those who have followed my blog here, I have been working both a full-time and a part-time job for almost a year now. There was even a three week period when I had two part-timers.

I am presently working part-time at a local Mexican bakery that also does artisan breads. What an awesome opportunity this has turned out to be. I am in the process of talking to the owner of the bakery about going full-time and leaving my job with the railroad. Not a big railroad, so I don't make a huge salary like most think. It is very decent, though, and my boss is probably the best boss I have worked for. I hate to tell him I am leaving if things work out at the bakery.

But baking breads is a passion of mine. It is somewhat of a spiritual experience for me. Eventually I hope to run or own my own shop.

So those of you who pray to YHVH, keep me in your prayers. And for those who do not, wish me well.

I know my family would love it if I had one job. I could be home in the evenings and on the Biblical feasts.

gordon
keen de'el yeshuati

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sonofYah

I am going to try linking to some pictures. Please be patient with me.

These are pictures of a starter I am experimenting with. See my earlier blog entry for an explanation.

Gordon

The control starter
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Sourdough Jack's starter
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Both starters for comparison
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sonofYah

Well, Pesach and Unleavened Bread is over and it is time to get the bread ingredients out of storage.


Been a while since I was able to post. Have been super busy. Having a blast at the bakery job. The railroad job? All I can say is that I still have it and it is paying the bills.

I have been browsing the rec.food.sourdough newsgroup a lot lately. One of the messages I really found interesting was one concerning a 30+ year old sourdough starter packet. It seems that one of the regular posters on the group found an old packet of unopened starter in one of their sourdough books. This person did a little experiment to see if she could revive the starter. She seems to have had success.


I went on the 'net and found a copy of the book with a packet. Yesterday, I started my own little experiment. I measured out equal amounts of all-purpose flour and water in two seperate quart jars. To one I added my 1/2 ounce packet of starter powder. Twelve hours later I had activity in both jars. But the jar with the sourdough packet was markedly more active. The aroma of the starters were different as was the textures of the respective starters.


Not wanting to skew the results, I took 50 grams of starter from each jar and discarded the rest. I started with the control starter first, doing one at a time to control cross-contamination. I rinsed out each jar and added 50 grams of distilled water and 50 grams of all purpose flour. I added the water to the starter and made a liquid starter. I returned the starters to the respective jars. I then added 50 grams of all-purpose flour to each jar and stirred until well incorporated. I marked the levels in each of the jars. Again, twelve hours later, I checked the jars. This time I took pictures. There is quite a difference between the two. When I learn how to post pictures here, I will do so.


I am kind of suprised that the control jar (with no starter powder) took off so quickly. But then again I did a lot of bread baking before Pesach and Unleavened Bread. And no matter how good I tried to clean my house, there would still be yeast floating around in the air. (A spiritual lesson there) Hoping this didn't affect my little experiment. But the jar with the sourdough starter is significantly more active as you will be able to tell when I upload the pictures.


BTW, I made my first homemade matzah in a stone lined oven. Was a smashing hit with the daughters. And I got it in the oven in less than eighteen minutes. Just made a little over a pound.


Till then, let us bake bread.


Gordon
Keen de el yeshuati

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sonofYah

Done some bread baking this past Sunday. Was fun getting the ole fingers into the dough.

The first bread was two loaves of 100% Whole-wheat Bread. I used the recipe from Laurel's bread book. It is called "A Loaf To Learn". I have made it several times. And it usually turns out rather good. Especially after I found Wheat Montana brand whole-wheat bread flour at the local Wal-Mart.

A wonderful whole wheat flour that is high-gluten as well as chemical-free. It will definetly be used in my bakery. All the loaves I have baked with it so far have had a good taste as well as a good rise.

I also baked two loaves of Jeffrey Hamelman's "Semolina (Durum) Bread". Tastes good. Especially warm with butter spread on it. Makes good toast. May have to try it out in my French Toast recipe. Has a nice golden color. Made me wonder how semolina flour would do in my Challah bread.

The last two loaves I made were "Sourdough Wheat with Assorted Grains". Used a little bit of my brain power and came up with the recipe myself. Both loaves went out of the house this evening (Tue.) so I didn't get a chance to taste it. Guess I will find out how they came out after the individuals let me know.

I used flax seed, rolled oats, cracked wheat and rye, and toasted wheat germ for my grains. The sourdough starter I used was my rye based, San Francisco sourdough starter. Thanks BM from SF. I did use bread flour in this recipe as well as whole grain wheat flour. Montana of course.

What made this recipe especially gratifying for me was that I came up with the recipe myself. And the fact that it turned out with a great crumb structure. It also raised well despite the fact that I used the "no-knead" technique. Seems that by the time I got all the ingredients together, it was too much for my KA 4.5 qt. stand mixer. I might work a little more on this technique of bread building and use it in my bakery. To me, it seems to go hand in hand with the artisan way of bread building. Like sourdough. And the length of fermentation time lends itself to sourdough breads. Definetly don't want to use instant yeast with the no-knead method.

I was going to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. But I wasn't sure of what the next day held in store. So I stayed up late and baked it.

Guess I need to get a digital camera so I can take pictures. Then I can look back and check my progress. Would help me refine my bread building.

Til next time, L'Lechem -- To Bread.

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sonofYah

Well, this is my first blog. And It won't be very active at present. I seem to be working a lot of hours lately. About 60-70 per week. I have a full time job with a short-line railroad in SW Indiana. We move railcars for a major plastics/chemical plant in the area. I am also working part-time at a local grocery store bakery.

Wish the bakery job paid more. They have offered to train me as a bakery manager. But the money doesn't seem to be there. And if it is, the present manager could become upset. I think I would be making more than she does after 17 years with the company. Besides, it is not my type of bakery. Couldn't get my hands in the dough. Would have to deal with commercial breads and such.

Probably better off starting my own bakery. Then I could focus on the naturally leavened, whole-grain, artisan breads I enjoy making.

I have found a location on a major thouroughfare in town. It is a little small. But has great parking, wonderful location, and the rent is really reasonable. Now to buy the equipment. But first, I need to work on the business plan and make another appointment with SCORE.

Looking at raising some initial money by selling subscriptions online for meal menus. I figure I can make up four special menus monthly. The meals would be easy and nutritious. Yet fit for a special family meal. Also putting most of my wages from the bakery in a seperate checking account for expenses.

Looking at the possibility of apprenticing myself out to a local baker who makes the types of bread I am interested in. This means I would have to quit the other bakery job. But I have the okay from the owner of the shop where he works. This individual was trained in Italy. He has started and sold three bakeries in the area.

But first, I need to see where my railroad job takes me in the next month. There is the possibility that I could get the new Clerk's position. This would allow me to get inside out of the weather. It would also mean that I would be working days. Which means I would not be able to work at either bakery. I could work for myself though.

Decisions, Decisions.

Well, enough for now. 'Til Next Time.

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