It has been a very busy month. Work, class, guests, birthdays, etc. I've baked fairly regularly, but I haven't had time to take pictures, post recipes here, or experiment.
Today I used my sourdough starter. I've been feeding it once a week, but I hadn't baked with it in a while. I just made some little buns:
They weren't bad. I served them with a pot of homemade split pea soup.
The real star of the meal were the homemade croutons. I used cheap leftover Safeway french bread that I cubed up and fried in a pan with about half a stick of butter, some salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. They were amazing on top of the soup! I'll have to try making them with some of my bread some time.
I have been storing my starter in a crock that I bought when I bought my starter. It is very nice, but I don't like the fact that the top just sits precariously on top. I have seen pictures on sites for starter where the starter is stored in wire-bail jars. That would allow for a completely air free starter. Anyone have any experience with the wire-bail jars, or should I stick to the crock???
I apologize if I'm asking this question in the wrong place but I don't see anywhere else to ask it.
I'm having great, really wonderful success baking my sourdough bread. As it turns out, I bake about every four or five days so feeding my starter hasn't been a problem.
One of these days though I'm sure I'll let time slip by before baking and I need to know how to feed my starter. I've read through numerous posts and have been unable to find out the following: When you feed your starter, what the heck do you do with it then? Should you leave it out to ferment for a couple of hours before refrigerating it or just plunk it into the fridge right away. I've read a lot of web pages by a lot of experts and I have been unable to find out this little detail.
Thanks in advance for your enlightening responses.
A little humor: What is an "expert"? An expert is a person who learns more and more about less and less until pretty soon he knows everything there is to know about nothing.
Here's my try at rye and pumpernickel bagels. I adapted the sourdough rye and sourdough pumpernickel recipes in Bread Alone to make bagels. I used high-gluten flour instead of the AP/bread flour in the 20% bran mix. I also made the dough stiffer than for normal bread.
The rye ones worked out great. They passed the 'float test' within 20 minutes of proofing. The pumpernickels are much denser, and haven't floated yet after almost an hour. Once they do, it's off to the frige for an overnight ferment.
I think my neighbors are starting to feel overwhelmed by all the loaves of bread that keep appearing at their houses :)
Like most of us here, I find little more satisfying than pulling a couple of gorgeous loaves off my stone. I don't have room in my freezer, and I'm way too impatient to wait until I finish one loaf to bake another :)
So what do you all do with your spare loaves? I was thinking of finding a homeless shelter, or the like, in the area to donate them to.
Well, I was surprised to see a big, flat package on my doorstep today. It was my SuperPeel, sent to me by Gary.
I ran inside to unpack it, and was pleasantly surprised at the professional packaging and instructions. I'm waiting for the belt to go through the wash once before I assemble it, but I was immediately struck by what a well-designed and executed product it is. I can't wait to play with it! It definately looks like its worth what he's asking on the website. I'll be sure to take some pictures once I get it all together.
Thanks again, Gary.
Oh, and you were right. My wife picked up the 'fake superpeel' piece of junk at Sur le Table. Besides having a cloth belt instead of a parchment paper one, the real SuperPeel just feels more solidly built, and looks like it's made from a better wood, or at least better cuts of wood.
Well, I leave the baking of breads to Floyd (my husband, and the webmaster of this site), but I figured I'd post this in my baking blog here because, well, maybe someone would find it fun (and besides, I suspect Floyd won't mind). Our son turned 4 on Sunday, and for his birthday he wanted to have a Pirate Party. So, I made him a Pirate Ship Cake!
read more to see how it was done!
My boy wanted a strawberry cake, and I was a bit surprised at how pink the thing turned out to be. A few calculated slices and some picks to keep the pieces from falling, and we'd turn this into the scariest strawberry cake on the seven seas!
There's the pirate ship! I left the mast off until we arrived at the pizza parlor where we planned to have the party.
The ship was named after the birthday boy, with sugar skulls and a grape fruit-roll flag, pirouline cookie cannons, and chocolate malt-ball cannon balls
which turned out to be quite popular with the kids.
Arr there be a treasure chest filled with gems and dubloons by the cap'n too!
There she is, all assembled. The ice-cream cone crows nest was supported by a straw nestled inside of more pirouine cookies. The only part that wasn't edible (aside from the picks that held the shape of the ship and the straw, was the pirate flag hanging from the top of the mast. Oh, and the pirates of course.
Don't make bread when you're sleep deprived!
Mix everything but the yeast and salt into the dough before letting it autolyse!
I'm making potato rosemary rolls again (thank you for the clarification, Floydm) but incorporating the autolyse and cool rise techniques. I was half asleep at the time and thought it was a good idea to mix in the potatoes and proofed yeast while I knead. Mixing the yeast into the autolysed dough wasn't a problem but the potatoes didn't do so well - the kneaded dough has chunks of potatoes, spices, and whatnot randomly dispersed throughout but not blended. The dough is now rising in my fridge (or so I hope; I can never tell whether the dough has risen by eye) and it will be shaped and baked in the morning. I'll try to apply some gentle CPR to break up the potatoes then.
I started making bread about six months ago, I've been enjoying making bread so much that I've started TAFE to become a baker. My goal when I started was to produce a soft white sandwich bread in as short a time as possible. Now that I can do that I'll share what I've learnt. The first thing that I think is important is to use percentages and weight I do not measure by cups etc, I also keep an eye on time and temperature. Since approaching breadmaking with an engineers hat on so to speak my bread has improved considerably. So here is how I make a rapid bread from start to finish in about two hours.
First I work out how much dough I need, today I'm going to do two baguettes at 450g and a lunch loaf at 550g which is about the maximum capacity of my oven, using two oven shelves never seems to work. So I need a dough of 1450g and I'm using the following formula.
2% Olive Oil
Total -- 164%
I would usually use bakers flour and 1% bread improver however I wanted to test a cheap all-purpose flour with a protein content of 10.8% (Savings Brand in Austraila) and to see the result of no improver.
For my weights I do the following.
1450g / 1.64 = 884g -- dough weight divided by our 164% gives the required flour weight.
884 * 58% = 513g -- All other percentages are relative to the flour.
884 * 2% = 18g -- Salt
884 * 2% = 18g -- Olive Oil
884 * 1% = 9g -- Sugar
884 * 1% = 9g -- Yeast
I weigh my flour then add other dry ingredients to the flour and give it a good mix with a spoon. Next I start mixing slowly with a stand mixer whilst adding the liquids, once all is mixed I let it sit for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to let the dough relax.
On a higher speed I work the dough for roughly 8-10 minutes. At this point I want a dough with temperature of about 28°C, I usually get the water temperature(20-22°C with the current warm weather) set by adding a couple of ice cubes(tap water is about 26°C here) to a jug of water before weighing the water off. Kneading the dough will warm it up a bit which is allowed for in the water temperature.
I pull the dough out and give it a "window check" if it's not up to scratch I'll give the dough some hand work. I've seen mentioned here somewhere not to tear the dough but this is exactly what I've been taught at TAFE and hence what I do which rapidly develops the gluten. I suppose there are many schools of thought on kneading :-)
I then let the dough sit again for 10 minutes to again relax the dough before shaping. I split the dough into the required weights and shape. For the lunch loaf I would usually punch down and roll a baguette shape, cut in half and put in the tin with pointy ends in the middle. But today I tried splitting the dough in half and putting 2 balls in, my loaf suffered as I didn't degas it before balling it (almost no oven spring).
For the baguettes I punched down the dough folded the sides in and then rolled it whilst maintaining tension. I slice the baguettes before prooving as doing so afterwards can be difficult. For prooving I use a plastice storage container to which I add boiling water for steam. The rise takes about 30-60 minutes and may sometimes need more boiling water added to keep the heat up if the weather is cooler.
A spray of water and some seeds and into the oven at 220°C. I pour some water onto an oven tray on the bottom of the oven for steam. I turn the temperature down to 210°C and bake for approximately 25 minutes, a bit shorter for baguettes and rolls sometimes and usually a bit longer for loaves.
From todays effort I can say I rushed a bit and should have left the dough in the proover longer and the gluten was a little under developed. But not a bad result considering my mistakes and cheap flour and it still tasted good with some brie ;-)