The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from Missouri

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Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Greetings from Missouri

Hello to all. Guess it's time to introduce myself, since I've already jumped in and started posting. (Just couldn't help myself :-) This site was almost overwhelming at first, but I'm gradually figuring things out. If you have any helpful tips for me on site navigation and notification settings, I'm grateful for advice.


Like everyone here, I love to bake. I'm an equal-opportunity baker---cookies, cakes and pies may be my favorites. But one can't live on sweets, and so I look to bread and whole grain baked goods to satisfy my need to bake, whithout breaking the calorie bank.


I am also a scientist at heart, and I enjoy researching and experimenting with methods, troubleshooting and tweaking recipes and formulas, and just talking science. Two of my loves---microbiology and baking---add up to bread. Especially sourdough. I have done a lot of work with starters, so you may see me throw my two cents into those discussions.


FlydM, you have a very nice place here. Thank you for having me :-)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Debra.


Welcome to TFL!


Looking forward to your microbiological insights into sourdough baking.


David


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hello , Debra, and welcome (again) to TFL!


(You wouldn't have gotten tossed off the island, that only happens in reality... TV.)


It occurs to me that there have been numerous threads, over months and years here on TFL, where the knowledge of a food scientist would have been very beneficial. So in the tips category, especially for you, I would recommend using Search on particular topics of interest to you. If you have some light to shine on even an old thread, it will "pop up" to the top of whatever Forum it's in, and become "current."


Responding to the other thread we were on, you are so right about needing to see some rapid evidence of life awakening in the slurry-bowl! As it turned out, my starter, though nicely bubbly, still took another 2 weeks to really raise and flavor good bread. But that immediate evidence of microlife did wonders for my confidence!


Have fun and help us out here!


Soundman (David)

davec's picture
davec

Hello, Debra,


I am also relatively new to this board, but I'm also pretty new to baking, and more recently, to sourdough. I am so happy to see someone with an interest and skills in microbiology join. Aren't you the person Peter Reinhart credits with developing the pineapple juice method of creating a sourdough starter? We need you.


As I have been surfing the web and reading books to learn more, I have been struck by how much baking knowledge is anecdotal, and by how little science there seems to be backing up people's convictions. This seems particularly true with regard to sourdough. For example, a recent post by a professional baker asserted that the chances of capturing wild yeast and lactobacillus are slim and none. Someone arguing against that claim stated that any starter will soon revert to local yeast and bacteria. Other authorities claim that a stable starter will always retain its own particular beasties, wherever in the world it is maintained. Seems to me only a microbiologist has the tools to address this kind of question. I'm looking forward to your informed input on these issues.


Dave


 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Thank you, thank you, thank you, David, David and Dave. I'm seeing a pattern here :-)


Yeah, where are all the microbiologists? They don't seem to bake. I find that odd, but I have yet to meet one in the artisan bread world. Cereal and food chemist-types yes, but microbiologists no. The really sad thing, is that there is, and has been research going on, mainly in Europe, all these years for industry (they can pay for it). But it seems there has been kind of a disconnect between the two worlds. I have found several research papers on the internet, but they are so technical they even slow me down. I think the problem comes from language that lay people don't understand, and lack of awareness that it's even out there.


And thank you, yes, the pineapple thing, that is me. Peter had me write an article on it a couple years ago, that was published in 2008 by the Bread Bakers Guild of America. It tells how it all came about, including all the scientific details on how/why it works. You might find it interesting. Is there a way to post pdf files here?


Thanks again for the warm welcome,
Debbie

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Debbie,


Now you know why I gave myself an alias. Let's see if we can't get Floyd's attention so you can post the article! (I'll email him directly.)


Soundman (David)

Marni's picture
Marni

Debbie-


I want to thank you.  The pineapple juice starter (probably a variation on it) is the only one that worked for me.  It's going strong now at about 10 months.


I'm looking forward to reading more about it.


Marni

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi again Debbie,


Floyd would be happy to post your article. He says:


"If she can send me the PDF, I will be glad to upload it to the server and send her the URL so she can share it."


I think he approves of my saying this: attach your PDF and email him at:


floydm at thefreshloaf dot com


Soundman (David)

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

Hi from your next door neighbor, Kansas!  (Of course, depending on where you are in Missouri, you could be anywhere from an hour to over four hours from where i live).  I think you will find this site a wealth of information, much like I have for the past couple of years.


-Harold

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Harold,


(pauses to apologize for threadjacking)


Where in Kansas to you live?  I'm in Overland Park.


Paul

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

Lawrence.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!  (Sorry, madatory shoutout to the alma mater.  Nowadays it's just where the kid goes to preschool and a major source of traffic on game days.) 


I sell bagels at the Lawrence Farmer's Market, if you are ever up at some un-Godly hour on Saturday in Lawerence, swing by.  It starts on May 2nd, I believe.  Besides my wonderful bagels (search for my posts and you'll see my market reports from this season), but there are several people that do fresh baked goods.  But I credit myself with originiality for the bagels, only one at market that sells those.


Harold

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Oh, I'd better not repeat what they say about Jayhawks around here ;-)


But, I'm more into baking than football, so I think we can still be friends :-)

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...I'm excited...bring on the research. ;-)

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Wisecarver, I'll take that as encouragement :-)


Soundman-David, thanks for contacting Floyd. Sounds like a plan. I sent an email to the Bread Lines editor to make sure it won't break any rules to post it here. If it's not okay, I'll figure out another way. Will let you all know what he says.


Thanks everyone!
Debbie


 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Well, the bad news is that I won't be able to post the pdf files of the Bread Lines magazine/newsletters. And rightly so. It is a valuable benefit of membership in the Bread Baker's Guild of America (BBGA). I wouldn't want to dilute that by making it so public, especially since they are a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and promotion of artisan bread baking.


But the good news is, that they are very supportive of me posting the text of my own articles with reference to the issues in which they are formally published. That is going to take me just a bit longer, because unless my husband can separate out pages of the pdf and create a new file for me, I will have to go back through my original WordPerfect document, edit and transfer the text into a blog entry. (An advantage to that is the possible addition of graphics that didn't make it into the published version.)


But that brings me to a question about the blogs here. The article on what happens when you start a starter (and the pineapple juice solution) is long and in depth. As a Word document, it spans about 8 pages, and in the magazine, it was ran as a two-part series. So, my question: Is it better to keep it all together in one really huge blog entry? Or is it better to break it up into more reasonable sections and post it a piece at a time?


That said, I should tell you about some of the advantages of joining BBGA. In addition to receiving Bread Lines, you also gain access to past issues and many great bread formulas, including those of Team USA. That's the 3-person team that competes in the Coupe du Monde (the bread baking olympics) in France, now held every four years. The opportunity to learn from the best of the best in classes and events offered around the country, and a chance to attend Camp Bread events at the San Francisco Baking Institute (a casual 3-day immersion into artisan bread baking, worth every penney it takes to get out there). I could go on, but then I'd just sound like an advertisement ;-)


Click here: The Bread Bakers Guild of America

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Debbie,


Not surprising that BBGA would want to hang on to material it has published.


My own personal preference would be one large post. It's not a really big deal one way or the other, because you could include a link or links to subsequent pieces of the post so that no one would lose the, er, thread. Maybe someone else will have a good reason to go one direction or the other.


In any case I look forward to reading your material, whatever format you choose!


David

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Positive, love it. (We all need positive friends, or we will sink.)


I'm willing to help you, actually let me word that better...
I'd like to mix it up with you on a few projects.

There are two topics I've been meaning to go indepth on:
1) Water...Why it matters.
2) Honey...Varieties are as varied as sugar is from lemons.
  All the best,
    Mark

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I hope I'm not presumptuous by pointing you to a couple of current discussions. You might be interested in the thread on Janedo's TFL Blog


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10182/french-and-american-flour-123-formula,


and a thread with Sandro, an Italian member, dealing with sourdough refreshment


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10018/some-questions-daily-feeding-sourdough-italy


Glad to have you aboard,


Stewart


 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

The amount of conversation that goes on here is too much for me to keep up with in my limited computer time most days, so I have to pick and choose. Both topics are very interesting. The desem threads too. I haven't played with desem for a while. I might have to dust mine off, so to speak, and start working with it again. Winter is a good time for that.


Mark, not sure I can help you on the honey topic. And, not sure how much I can say about water either, except that higher hydration favors growth of lactobacilli (yes, even the heterofermenters). I know that water hardness has an impact, but I will leave the dough rheology effects to someone else for now :-)

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...The right Honey for the dough is crutial.
You should taste my boiled Bagels made with Sourwood Honey. (No malt)

There are volumes we could cover on water.
Basic water, oderless/tasteless/mineral and chemical free...Mostly a dream.
The effect treated water has on ferment.
Maybe you boil the junk out, filter it with sand, etc, etc.

Then there's a tiny pinch of Honey in a preferment.
The Yeast/Wheat will make sugar/taste but how will the pinch of Honey change that...

I love experimenting with these things.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I have a water softener and an R/O drinking water system, so am using water that is free of most everything. Theoretically, I guess it should be pure, but in reality it depends on how clean all the filters are. I can tell you that it sometimes produces very slack dough. Some minerals are a good thing. You don't want water that is too hard, but you don't want it too soft either. Does sea salt replace those minerals?


Here's one way that honey might effect your sourdough. It's a mixture of glucose and fructose sugars, is it not? Fructose promotes acetic acid production from heterofermentative bacteria, so honey may affect the acid balance, as well as the total acid. Have you found that to be true? I don't think I've ever added it to sourdough, so have no experience with it.


Table sugar (sucrose) is also made up of glucose and fructose, but the microbes would have to separate it enzymatically to utilize it. And the organisms generally have a perference for using free glucose and fructose before going to the trouble of breaking down other sugars. Except for L. sanfran., which takes its glucose from maltose (it uses fructose to make acetic acid though).


So, I could see where it would make a difference to have free fructose ready for the taking, rather than having to wait for the fructose to be liberated from sucrose or the flour, by enzyme action of the yeast. And I did not have enough time to cover that in enough detail to be a very good explanation---maybe it would be a good blog topic for me :-)

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...We could really get into some juicy tech with this. ;-)

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I just wanted to let you all know where things stand at the moment. My husband was able to get the pages extracted as a separate pdf file(s). I sent them to BBGA to make sure they approve. The person I'm corresponding with is relatively new and not comfortable making the call on her own, because there are no clear policy guidlines in place. SOooooooooo, she is bringing the matter to the board at their meeting this week and I should hear back then. I apologize for the delay, but I think it's best to go through the proper chanels. It will work out one way or another :-)


Debbie