The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Formula Development V – The City Bear Jamboree

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proth5's picture
proth5

Formula Development V – The City Bear Jamboree

 Sometimes I get giddy - and that isn't a pretty sight.


But I had just survived a week in a city that had its coldest recorded temperatures ever and departed from the airport like a traveler fleeing a disaster zone - no restrooms in the terminal - no lights on the jetbridge (a big "thank-you" goes out to the helpful gentleman who downloaded the flashlight app on to his iPhone!)  A little cold in what should be a warm place and things go haywire. While sitting in what can only be described as a stress position on a regional jet, I tried to escape from the reality of the situation by thinking about bread. I came up with the idea to make two batches of panned bread with different sweeteners.


My theory was that they would be two different colors and I could make a pretty loaf or two by combining the doughs in creative ways.


Arriving home to greet the new lunar year - the year of the Rabbit - I did have to confront the reality that my feng shui advisor tells me my kitchen is now in situated in a very inauspicious direction and I should eat out every meal and avoid turning on the oven.


Just this moment I'm thinking that is good advice. Although at the time I didn't allow it to stand in my way.


I went back to 10% of the total flour in the pre ferment and that flour being freshly ground triticale, but vowing to use more local ingredients decided to make one batch with 3 oz of honey and the other batch with 3 oz agave nectar instead of molasses .  Both of these are truly local.  The agave nectar was a deep brown in the bottle and claimed to taste like molasses - so I thought it would be a good substitute for the somewhat less local molasses, and would turn the dough a darker color.


Which is why my friends, I don't trust myself to improvise.


Both batches were the exact same color - so my little plan of a "pretty loaf" was pretty much gone. The doughs were pale - like a standard white loaf colored only by hints of the pre ferment.


Of course, they didn't taste bad, but they lacked the nice molasses flavor of my earlier loaves.  Local - schmocal - this Dutchie wants her molasses!  It is a taste not everyone enjoys, but I grew up on the stuff.  I could eat it straight from a spoon.


To tell the truth, I would be hard pressed to tell the taste of the bread sweetened with honey from that sweetened with agave. They were both nice white breads with mildly sweet flavor.  I consider that if I could get my hands on strongly flavored honey, like chestnut honey (which, of course would not be produced locally) I might have a different taste on my hands, but alas my access to this is limited just now and well, if I'm going to go non-local - I want my molasses!


The general formula is below.  Just use honey - or agave for all of the sweetener.  See earlier blogs for the technique.  It doesn't change.



Total Dough Wt

 

62.478

oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

Percent of Flour in Levain

0.1

 

Final Dough

 

 

 

%

Wt

UOM

%

WT

UOM

Ingredients

Wt

UOM

Total Flour

1

27

oz

1

2.7

oz

Total Flour

24.3

oz

KA AP Flour

0.9

24.3

oz

 

 

 

KA AP Flour

24.3

oz

Triticale Flour

0.1

2.7

 

1

2.7

oz

 

 

 

Levain Water

0.06

1.62

 

0.6

1.62

oz

 

 

 

Rolled Oats

0.17

4.59

oz

 

 

 

Rolled Oats

4.59

oz

Steel Cut Oats

0.11

2.97

oz

 

 

 

Steel Cut Oats

2.97

oz

Boiling water

0.74

19.98

oz

 

 

 

Boiling water

19.98

oz

Shortening(leaf lard)

0.04

1.08

oz

 

 

 

Shortening(leaf lard)

1.08

oz

Agave Nectar

0.112

3.024

oz

 

 

 

Agave Nectar

3.024

oz

Milk Powder

0.04

1.08

oz

 

 

 

Milk Powder

1.08

oz

Salt

0.028

0.756

oz

 

 

 

Salt

0.756

oz

Yeast

0.006

0.162

oz

 

 

 

Yeast

0.162

oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seed

0.008

0.216

oz

0.08

0.216

oz

Levain

4.536

oz

Totals

2.314

62.478

oz

1.68

4.536

oz

 

62.478

 

 

But the lack of the strong molasses flavor did do one thing - it allowed the flavor of the grains to come through.  If you look at the original formula and how it has evolved, I've taken some care to reduce the yeast and slow down the overall fermentation process.  I'm sure that this has had some impact not only on the flavor but on the crumb  - still generally a fine grained tender crumb - which I hope to see when I bake the real original vs. my original vs. my final - which will come in the next so many weeks - or next year depending on my feng shui situation.  (See, it's getting the fermentation "right" - which means right for the style of bread you are baking.) The true original would not have survived the lack of molasses - it would have had no depth (but still would be better than some of those things they sell in the supermarket).  My current version could stand on its own.  I had to wonder, though, if I had "over molassesed"  the whole affair and obscured all that hard work on getting the fermentation "right" for this style of bread.

I also began to think  (because I apparently  I do this kind of thing) about adding a little of that brown color back - not with the color of the molasses but with whole grain.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood", but unlike Mr Frost, I may well have the opportunity to travel both.  It is only some grain, yeast, salt and other ingredients - and that most precious one of all - time.

Comments

EvaB's picture
EvaB

of your kitchen suddenly change, did you move it, or something else moved? I'm curious. My kitchen is in the same place its always been, and while I'm not sure of its feng shui, it being on the east side sort of middle of the building, I can't see it changing suddenly, unless I gut it, and move everything in the room!

proth5's picture
proth5

want to turn this into a feng shui lesson, but each year the luck of various directions changes.  So a kitchen in the East one year might be a good thing, but the next year not so much.


I spent a significant amount of time in Malaysia, with not much to read except the books in English that I could buy locally.  And many of them were on Feng Shui.  Made a permanent impression.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 each year the luck of various directions changes



For example, this year seems particularly inauspicious for the left.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

Left out? Left back? Left over? Left alone?


Don't make me write out a Feng Shui lesson - I'll do it - you know I will....:>)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I was not fishing for a Feng Shui lesson, but I appreciate the offer.


I was just observing the implications of your information regarding the temporal variability of Feng Shui for swings in the political leanings of our citizenry.


David.

proth5's picture
proth5

I really need to get out more.  I didn't even think of US politics - I was too busy cleaning up a mammoth spill in my kitchen.  I seldom spill stuff, but this is my second in two days.


I need to focus my mind on overcoming this inauspicious kitchen thing (that's what feng shui is about - focusing the mind) - or start eating out...


 

proth5's picture
proth5

Computer problems. Oi, again!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

more accidents until you're used to the new environment or nest changes made. (Knock on wood!) So don't maneuver in the dark! That way you can find the broom or the ice pack or the band-aids quickly.

My last rye dough I separated into 3 logs and rolled each into different seeds. I managed to twist them together (and should have stopped there making a nice oblong loaf) but stood the shape on end. That more or less obliterated any pattern or differences... lost my swirl… :(

proth5's picture
proth5

returning to my version of being "at home" - I've been being "at home" with a vengance.  Sometimes I do more harm than good.


Still figuring out the new oven.  Some things were a pleasant surprize, but others have required some thought...


I do have a bad habit of bumping around my kitchen in the dark - I ought to break that one...

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

if it is produced locally?


Like molasses, it has a strong flavor but isn't particularly sweet. (Not that it tastes like molasses, but it shares baking properties).


I think both buckwheat honey and molasses are particularly suited to breads with whole wheat flour or grains that are related to wheat (like triticale, spelt or kamut).


=== PS === I buy my buckwheat honey from a local, organic apiary that sells at my farmers market in the summer. I only buy organic honey, as the methods whereby non-organic honey is actually produced are quite discouraging (to bees and people).


=== PPS === Do you render your own leaf lard?

proth5's picture
proth5

consider buckwheat honey if it was 1 - local and 2 - even if it wasn't local, if obtaining it were not a major project in and of itself.  I don't drive when there is snow on the streets (I have a lightweight sports car that doesn't "go in snow") and although I live in an urban area with access to wonderful specialty store - none of the ones I frequent carries buckwheat honey.  While in theory I support local producers (and one of the stores I frequent does try very hard to do this also - the reason I am a customer) the ideal of having an afternoon to spend driving to the country to buy a small amount of product is something of which I can only dream.  I have six places to put each minute and I just can't be spending my time driving far afield - even though I have a cool car and even when the roads are clear. 


And yes, I render my own leaf lard.  My pal "Jimmy the Butcher" makes sure he keeps leaf fat in the freezer (Niman Ranch leaf fat) for me and many of the area restaurants. 


Hope this answers your questions.  Hmm - wonder what direction I will take next? Stay tuned....