Swedish Rye and awkward teenage memories
I just made the Swedish Rye bread from Peter Reinhar't Bread Baker's Apprentice book. An interesting bread but it brought back some interesting teenage memories!
Check it out.
I just made the Swedish Rye bread from Peter Reinhar't Bread Baker's Apprentice book. An interesting bread but it brought back some interesting teenage memories!
Check it out.
Maybe this belongs in the "You know you're a bread baker when ..." topic.
I'm going to visit my younger son and his family next week. I haven't started packing, but I have the breads baked.
This is basically my San Joaquin Sourdough but made with the Gérard Rubaud flour mix. I tasted this loaf's mate yesterday (as in 4 slices). The truth is, Rubaud's flour mix is better when baked using Rubaud's formula and methods, and the San Joaquin Sourdough is better using my usual AP with 10% dark rye. Live and learn. Not that this is bad bread. It's just not astonishingly wonderful. (My grand daughters deserve astonishingly wonderful bread.)
These boules are the San Francisco Sourdough from Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread & Pastry." It's a wonderful bread. I spiked my starter flour mix which already has 10% rye with extra rye and made a very firm starter which was allowed to ferment for about 16 hours at room temperature. I got a bit more sour tang than previous bakes, which was what I was shooting for.
The crust is nice and crisp, and the crumb is quite open for moderate hydration (67%?) bread.
And, mostly because of how my wife's face lights up when she walks into the house while it's baking ...
The Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice."
I feel better, knowing we won't starve in Las Vegas.
I have been keeping an eye on an Aussy site for a while and enjoying some of the wonderful ideas they have created in breads.
The bakery is Companion Bakery in Tasmania and they have a still shot live feed of the bakery you can lurk here.
The fellow who runs the bakery I believe is Graham and his son who is also an excellent baker. To say these guys are adventurers would be short changing their spirit. They have a great site and lots of experienced bakers in the area that contribute. I suggest checking out these guys. A great project.
One of the breads they make is a Romano-Celery loaf that just looks great. I decided to try my hand and use the skills I have to make this savory bread. I used the percentages that Hamelman usually suggests for cheese and olives of around 20-25% and made a base SD dough with 15% WW at about 70% hydration. I thought I would use some flax seeds I had soaked prior to getting the bug to try this but I neglected to check the resource and used about 15% flax which I think was little heavy handed.
So here are a few images and I'll get back with a crumb shot later.
I'm drooling while I wait.---Drooling over!
The first thing I have to say is that the house smelled like Romano cheese for hours. That's a good thing! At the end of 43 minutes, the last 3 of which was oven off and door propped open, The cheese was smoking where it was in contact with the stone. Next time I'll use parchment over the stone.
The crumb is about right considering how I handled it. I rolled with tightening like Mark Sinclair does with no bench flour and a light mist of oil on the counter. Then I rolled the dough in bench flour before placing en couche for proofing of 45 minutes.
The flavor is Romano cheese. The celery is there every now and then but just. I softens up totally and is quite mild. The flax seed I can't appreciate at all. I know it adds nutrition and maybe there is more complexity but it would be asking a lot to identify the nutty flavor from it. I will make this again with less cheese and more celery. Actually I think an all celery loaf might be pretty good. I'm surprised really but there is a nice flavor. Maybe a touch of a milder cheese.
This is a bold full flavor bread that needs a similar main course. It was a hit around the table and during the afternoon as a snacker. If you want to try my formula here is what you need.
Levain: 250g (50g mother culture added to 80g water and 120g fresh ground WW) Let ripen overnight at room temp.
Soaker: 50g Flax seed and 80g water, covered overnight.
250g Levain added to
790g Bread Flour
130g soaked flax seeds and the now absorbed water.
Romano: 20% bakers percent or 180g
Celery: 22% or 198g
Mix and develop dough moderately. Stretch and fold twice over 3 hours, more if necessary. After second folding, spread dough out on counter and sprinkle cheese and celery over the top. Fold to incorporate ingredients. Place in covered container and let dough ferment until double. For me this was an additional 2 hours.
Divide as desired and pre shape, rest and shape. (I made 2- 1000+ gram batards)
I proofed for 45 minutes at room temp, slashed and loaded on a preheated stone at 460F. Steam as normal. Lower heat to 440F after 10 minutes. Bake for a total of 40-45 minutes. I propped the door open slightly at 40 minutes, turned the oven off and let the bread dry out. The crumb was quite moist so I would suggest a longer drying period.
As some of you know I have been working on Okinawa and not been home since early February. Well, I ended up staying longer than I had planned and the pace of worked picked up. Not being able to bake, I thought I would at least start a new starter.
I haven't had to start a starter for a long time, but quickly read up on the process and it did seem familiar. The question was that of flour.
With some grumbling that if I were just at home I could grind up some fresh whole wheat and maybe spike it with a little fresh rye, I resolved that I would need to purchase flour - so to market I went.
I can now go so far as to reveal that my work has been among folks who pretty much only speak English and that by working with these folks I have access to stores where you can buy American brands (if you know what I mean). Being short of time and Japanese language skills (lessons put on hold so that I might work long days) I found, not my good old KA, but an American name brand "organic" white flour and a name brand whole wheat. The only other "all purpose" flour that I could find was bleached - which didn't seem like a good idea. Rye flour alas was nowhere to be found.
Mixed equal amounts (by weight, bien sur!) of whole wheat flour and water - fed it a bit each day - and on day three had a bubbling crude. Having read Debra Wink's work I knew that this was mostly bacterial action and that the solution had to become acidic enough before yeast would take hold. I contemplated "The Pineapple Juice Solution" but strangely for an island that produces pineapples, their juice was nowhere to be found. Not having the confidence or equipment (I flew here with only my carry on and live in a hotel)to undergo a pineapple juicing operation, I also read her advice that given enough time the starter would become acidic enough - and I had time to wait. (oh, so much time - the theme song for "Gilligan's Island" kept playing in my head)
With approximately twice daily feedings of whole wheat (during this period I did not always get to eat, and I worked as many as 20 hours a day - but my starter was fed) living in the cool environment of my air-conditioned room, it took about a week for my starter to double (just barely) reliably. As I discarded parts of it, it seemed like a normal, healthy, although immature starter to me.
Then I started feeding it the white flour. Almost immediately it began to show signs of starvation - the alcohol smell, a little hooch developing , a dead listless quality and no rise. I was feeding it well - about twice a day. What was going on? Early one morning, coming home from work, I read the bag of flour. It contained no malt. Now, unmalted flour could very well have a low enough Falling Number to assure sufficient alpha amylase action - but then again, it might not. Hard to know with the information provided on your typical bag of flour. And I don't know of it indeed was the problem.
I do know that going back to whole wheat cleared up the problem.
But my OKI starter needed OKI flour (or so I told myself in my sleep deprived state). After work tapered off a bit I was able to get to a Japanese grocery store. Still unable to read Japanese (or speak much of it) I allowed instinct alone to get me to the flour aisle and using the time honored method of looking carefully at the pictures on the package (or the big English words "For Bread" on an otherwise inscrutable bag of what I assume was flour) I chose bags of white and whole wheat flour that had pictures that seemed to be of bread like products. Again, there was the question of flour characteristics, but now I was running completely blind.
So, nothing to do but experiment. The whole wheat flour (which was really very lovely, very finely ground flour with no big flakes of bran) seemed to be a favorite of the "beasties", but was relatively expensive. Additionally, I prefer to keep a white flour starter. So I switched to white.
This was not entirely successful. While not displaying signs of hunger, and just barely doubling in 4-6 hours, it didn't seem "right." It had a sticky, silly puttyesque quality that did not seem in any way familiar. Again, I don't know if this was the flour, or just a misbehaving adolescent starter, but it was a quality that I did not enjoy. Inspiration welcome.
So I must take a mental detour and consider how much we value our "old" starters. "My teacher" once told me that keeping a starter alive and vibrant for many years was "the baker's pride." There is a lot to be said for that. To invest the time and care to keep a starter vibrant for 10, 20, 30 years or more is something in which one can take pride. More than that, although our starters undergo minor changes, I know my starter. I have had it for 10 years. While not investing it with complex emotions or personality, it is a stable colony of living organisms and has predictable reactions to things like temperature, feeding schedule and flour quality. I can read the state of its health pretty easily. This new starter, not so much. I will add that with this new starter, I was totally adrift. Not one factor- being at sea level, a humid climate, sporadic air conditioning, flour, or water- is something that I experience on my home turf. I do remember that my own treasured starter produced some bad bakes when it was young and over time, without me doing much of anything, those bad bakes went away.
So back to the day to day, I decided on a feeding regimen of ¼- 1/3 parts of whole wheat flour and the remainder white flour. With this combination the beasties seem happy and I am "less unhappy" with the general texture of the starter itself. I have been feeding at an eyeballed ratio of 1:1:1 and that starter doubles (but not much more). The discard (about how one manages that in a Japanese hotel - don't ask , don't tell) seemed lively enough for a day or so. I was pretty sure I had some yeast working in there, but wasn't confident on its strength. Inspiration welcome.
I was never really happy with my Okinawa starter and just didn't know where to place the blame.
Knowing that I would finally be leaving Okinawa, I decided to dry some of the starter and take it home. I considered making a firm starter out of it but with the rigors of international air travel these days and the significant duration of the flight, thought better of it (advice from world travelers who travel with starter welcome!).
Once home, I dissolved the dried flakes in water and used that water to make a 100% hydration starter. Of course, I also resumed baking and feeding my old starter which had been well cared for by my faithful house sitter. I wondered if my good old KA flour would do my OKI starter some good.
Day 1 and 2 saw a pretty moribund container of glop. On Day 3, like magic, the starter more than doubled. While not looking exactly like my US starter, it was definitely looking like a very active starter. It has been improving steadily day over day.
So what was it? I'm asking - I don't know. If it is the yeast in the local flour that finally took hold, this would tell us that the origin of the seed doesn't matter - the local yeasts will come on like gangbusters - but three days seemed too little for local yeasts to become so active.
I considered that it had become "contaminated" with my US starter, but I had been careful not to use the same utensils, not have the two containers open at the same time and to wash my hands before working with it. It still has an aroma that is quite distinct from my US starter, so I would not call the two the same.
Was it the flour itself giving the boost to the yeast that was formerly struggling to reproduce? Was the OKI flour just not up to the task? Inspiration welcome.
Okinawa, by the way, has more of a wheat based cuisine than I would have thought. Okinawa soba is not buckwheat - it is regular wheat - so they are a people that know the properties of wheat (and know what to do with a pig, but I digress...). The texture of the Okinawan flours was very fine and silky and my tiny mind wanders to the impact of milling processes on flour behavior, but that's a topic for another time.
I will probably dry the starter again, save some of the dry starter to revive in the US and transport some to revive in Okinawa. It's one thing to have a house sitter feed one 10 year old starter, I'm not going to tip over the edge to have him feed two.
I've worked most of the angles that are practical for finding an oven on Okinawa. Obviously I am working with people who do not put a priority on home baking (and I am glad their priorities are where they are) and ovens are rare in Okinawa housing, so I don't think I will get to bake during my next hitch - which absolutely won't be as long as my last one.
What I will be doing is shipping some Japanese flours home to see how they act on the edge of American hard red wheat country. I may even send a sample or two off to the lab to see what is going on with them. That would be interesting.
But it's going to be awhile...
Oh - and even though I thought I would forget - I can still bake (and still can't do photography)
My recently acquired shisas - the guardian spirits of Okinawa - guard the same old baguette (levain, 65% hydration) that I always bake.
The male shisa has an open mouth to keep away the evil spirits and the female shisa has a closed mouth to keep in the happiness.
The crumb shot.
I followed the recipe from America's Test Kitchen, sort of. I used a bit less salt. 2 1/2 tsp. and not 1 tlbs. Used 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds instead of 3/4 c. called for in recipe. I substituted Sir Lancelot for the all purpose flour. Weighed the cereal and flours, and water. (I had been relying on volume measures in the past). Followed recipe guidelines for mixing and kneading, and stuck to the minimum times in the ranges given, for 1st rise and proof. Baked at 375F. per recipe. The cereal, after boiling water was added, wanted to settle to the bottom of the mixing bowl, despite a few stirrings while it cooled. I used the Sir Lancelot flour to give myself an edge in gluten development.(anything will rise with that flour, I think) I used the smaller amt. of pumpkin seeds, thinking it would be fewer puncture points in the dough's envelope. The slightly smaller salt qty. was to lessen my sodium consumption mainly. The flavor didn't suffer from less salt. The bread smelled wonderfull as it baked yesterday, and when finally sliced it was as deliscious as it smellled. Nice open crumb, the shorter bake time, 35 min. was all it needed. I hope it comes as good when baked again. I think I could have used a different shaping method, as a few slices separated near the top. I followed their shaping suggestion in recipe. I am wondering if this recipe would work with all whole wheat flour, but have a feeling I would run into problems with the added cereal weight. I am happy with my first try. Thanks to all the contributors' helpful suggestions to a previous post, I was able t Ray
Hello to all,
I have a question that may seem obvious or ignorant so I will have to ask you to excuse me:
Why is it that in all the tutorials regarding how to make a sourdough starter, they all say (after about Day 4) to "discard four-fifths (or half) and replace with equal amount of flour and water". Why must one "discard" what seems to be a well progressing starter? Is it not possible to transfer the contents into a larger container if one is worried about the thing growing too much and spilling over, or split the contents into two jars, that way you have two starters for future use? Like I said, excuse the question if it sounds too dumb (I´m trying to make my first starter), and I´ve tried searching the forum for any related topic but no luck so far. If there is a thread that answers this question, please let me know where it is.
This is what my starter looked like into Day 4, before the night feeding of Day 4. Am I on the right track here? I´ve already transferred the contents into a larger jar in anticipation of what may come (did I do the right thing doing this, or did I just screw up major?)
Thanks for your patience...
I baked Dan Lepard's Whole Grain Rye today. It includes whole-rye sourdough starter (80%), whole rye berries (160%), and light rye flour (100%). Also, some salt and optional yeast, which I used because my starter was over-ripe. I am not sure how it came out because it has to sit for 48 hours before I cut into it, but my question is -- how would the loaf change if I substituted whole rye flour for light rye flour?
Most woodfired oven owners only use their oven once a week or so to bake pizza or bread at fairly high temperatures. There's another level of cooking available, at lower and constant temperatures, which requires pulsing the oven with small fires. This is useful knowing about both to protect the oven from unnecessary cracking from cold firing and also to expand your cooking repertoire.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when many home ovens were fueled with either wood or coal. These ovens were used every day, and never lost their warmth. My father remembers his mother stoking the fire at the crack of dawn to bake the daily bread. Even today, I hear through this website of people in Greek villages and Eastern European towns using wood or coal as their main source of cooking fuel.
In order to replicate this method of everyday cooking, you have to commit some time. In order to roast a chicken today, I had to find three different times yesterday - in amongst a busy schedule - to light and maintain fires. If you can find the time, however, the benefits are astounding. When I was ready to roast the chicken (see Woodfired Roast Chicken), my oven maintained a stable temperature in the 350º range for 2½ hours with no active flame throughout the cooking time. With this ability, all kinds of baked goods (including dinner rolls and pastries), casseroles, roasted meats and fish become possible.
Pulsing your oven: The trick is to 'pulse' your oven with small fires over time, in order to slowly heat all of the masonry components - the walls, the floor and the bed of sand beneath the floor. The operative word here is 'slowly'. After a cold spell in which your oven has lain dormant, this will prevent the components from cracking. For more normal cooking or baking operations, this will raise the temperature of your oven into the range of a conventional oven, with very little charring or direct smoke.
Here's what to do:
Here are the temperatures I measured in my oven. As atmospheric conditions and your oven will likely be different, you will probably have different results, particularly during the first few fires.
Starting temperature: 52º, which was approximately the overnight low air temperature in Seattle (measured with an accurate thermometer).
After the first fire: 150º (measured with oven thermometer, as are all others)
After the second fire: 225º
After the third fire: 350º (I baked a pot of pinto beans for 2 ½ hours when fire was almost finished)
Starting temperature, 2nd day: 160º
After the fourth fire: 375º (I baked dinner rolls after this fire)
After the fifth fire: 425º (I let the oven cool to 350º and roasted a chicken. After 2 ½ hours, the oven temperature was 325º and the chicken was perfectly cooked.)
Final note: I just checked (10 a.m. on the third day) and, with no active fire since yesterday's noontime fire, the temperature of the oven is 160º. Hmm. I could just keep this whole thing going. Flame on!
I am trying to find DVDs of bread baking hopefully artisan bread baking and can't find any.
Are there any DVDs exist?
Today I finally got Bread by Jeffery Hamelman from the library! I have only read a few pages, but I can already tell that it is going to be a fantastic book. I already own two bread books, one of them being The Bread Bible by RLB, but I can't wait to bake from this one (isn't it cruel that the library deadline for returning is two weeks?). But I suppose I could always renew it. The big chalenge is going to be deciding what to bake from it first! I want to make something unlike anything I have ever made before (such as focaccia, which I make a lot of), but please, please, please give me suggestions! Is the cibatta recipe good? I have only tried making ciabatta once, and it definately could have come out better. I have never made baguettes either; should I try a recipe for them from this book?
Now I am anxious for when I get a scale in a few weeks!