Saturday my mother and I decided to spend the day together in the kitchen. It's been awhile since we've done anything like this. We decided to make two cheeses and two breads. She is a complete bread newbie and we are both new to cheesemaking so this was an adventure.
Friday night I made a soaker and biga for PR's whole wheat sandwich bread. I also fed my rye starter and built it to 150 grams for "Mini's Favorite 100% Rye". Gathered all the bread making supplies that we would need. (flour, yeast, bread spices, PR's book, loaf pans, etc). Sent mom the recipes for cheesemaking so that she could prepare.
Saturday morning we set out, having a fairly strict schedule to adhere to. First, mixed the rye bread. I just love this formula. My spices are dried onions, caraway and fennel seed in equal amounts, to total a little more than 1 tbsp for three loaves of each spice. Rye was fully mixed and the clock started on it. I like to give it a full 8 hours unless it looks like it's going to overrise, which so far it never has. I think it might be because I use only 25 grams of starter when building my starter. It certainly isn't because the starter isn't active. My husband prefers the that the bread is as sour as possible so the more rising time that I can squeeze out of it the better.
Next, we mixed up the whole wheat sandwich bread. I love this recipe. I need to work on a better conversion to sourdough as the instructions for using starter that PR has don't work. He calls for an enormous amount of starter (equal to replacing the biga) and it caused my gluten to break down last time I tried it. I think maybe it was supposed to be used in addition to the commercial yeast? Perhaps I'll play around with it now that I just got my grain mill and see what I can do. I'm thinking that if I put whatever is not used in the starter over into the soaker that should work. Then, just use a basic formula for starter/flour ratio to figure out how much I need. Anyhow, we mixed up the sandwich bread, which would be a nice quick bread, ready to put in the oven in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
All was done by hand as mom doesn't have a "real" mixer. Just one of those $15.00 hand held ones. I guess I could have, should have checked out her bread machine but I was a little leary of trying a new gadget with my tried and true recipes. Maybe I'll try it on some pizza dough or something first, just to check out the dough cycle. I wish she lived a little closer (she's 40 miles away) so that I could easily run over and check it out. Rye was until all flour was wet, left to autolyse 20 minutes and then kneaded for about 10 minutes. This was a huge batch of dough, enough for 3 large loaves. The whole wheat was kneaded for 10 minutes, then a stretch/fold at 30 minutes X 1.
Next, we started the mozarella cheese. I took a cheese class about a week ago. That was so much fun. I couldn't believe how much better fresh homemade cheese is compared to store bought! I have been so excited to introduce my parents and husband to it. So, while we had been mixing up the breads, Dad ran to the grocery store for 3 gallons of milk, buttermilk and cheesecloth. After three phone calls and a second trip to the store for the forgotten cheese cloth all was "mis en place". (I had brought the rennet and citric acid for the mozarella) We heated 2 gallons of milk to 90 degrees, added citric acid, then the rennet. Sit, cut the curd, reheat to 105, ladle into a cheese cloth strainer. Boy did we get a lot of whey!! I will be trying whey for my next bread making batch. Has anyone tried whey with sourdough? We drained the mozarella until very dry/firm. Then we heated at 30 second intervals in the microwave for the fun part-stretching. Stretching is a lot like kneading. Sort of like kneading silly putty. In fact, just like playing with silly putty!!
Popped the whole wheat in the oven and went outside for a gardening break. Did some aphid patrol and washed off the tomatoes. Back to the kitchen for ricotta. That didn't go so well because there was a little tiny, tiny "U" on the label of the buttermilk. It was Ultrapastuerized. Those sneaky boogers!! So, we backtracked and added lemon juice. My mother and I are nothing if not creative! So, our ricotta became a ricotta/queso blanco hybrid which was truely delicious.
Rye bread went in the oven and became "the best rye bread my father ever tasted"
Total for the day-2 pounds mozarella. 2 pounds ricotta/queso blanco. 1 Whole wheat sandwich loaf. 3 loaves 100% rye.
After a day of baking and cheese making I went home and baked a strawberry-rhubarb crumble. I've been dying to find some rhubarb and while hunting for rennet I went to the high end grocery store "AJ's" and also found frozen rhubard. Strawberries have been such a bargain this year and it got me in the mood for strawberry rhubarb anything. This crumble was so delicious. Really hit the spot!!
Sorry, no pictures today. Everything is nearly eaten, LOL!!