The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello . . .from another newbie!

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Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

Hello . . .from another newbie!

Hi Everyone:  

After lurking on this site for a week or two, I've decided it's time to get involved.    There's so much great information here!!

I've been baking for over 35 years.   Especially love the challenge of baking bread; sourdough is my favorite!    Guess you can say I'm a sourdough puriest . . . I shy away from sourdough recipes that add commercial yeast.  

I have a couple challenges with my baking . . . during the summer months we spend our time at our home in the mountains of Arizona where the air is VERY dry.   Baking at altitude (6,700 feet) certainly brings on it's own challenges too.   In the winter months we're on our sailboat on the west coast of Mexico, so my bread baking challenges are different there!

In addition to sourdough, I've gotten involved in the NKB . . . especially like the Cook's Illustrated Almost No-Knread 2.0; which works great while we're on the boat.     I've been baking in a cast-aluminum dutch oven on the boat, and a cast-iron here at home.  Today, I'm giving to try baking NKB in my Romertopf clay pot, have yet to decide if I'm going to use the whole pot or just the lid over a pizza stone.

Marni's picture
Marni

I just had to say I love your user name! Even more fun once I learned you live half the year on a boat! This is a great site, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Marni

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

 Thanks, seemed like the most appropriate title (since Captain was already taken)!  

Galley Wench

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Check out Bill's Saltwater Sourdough bread, it's right up your galley!  :)

Mini O

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

 

 Thanks for the link . . . very interesting.   Great photos, love the one at the nav station!     


Galley Wench

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Especially when you get to spend it 50/50 in the mountains and on a boat :-).

On a more practical note, I spend 2-3 months a year at 6,700ft in Montana so I am familiar with the challenges. Most of my challenges, however, have been in buying the quality and variety of ingredients I like (see funny story down below). Once I got to know the bread(s) that I bake, and developed a sense of "dough feel", I was able to adapt to the altitude quite readily. The dry air has never been a problem for me during bulk ferment because I do that in a closed environment (at home use plastic dough buckets, in Montana just tightly seal with saran), and during the proof I use a moist cloth on top.

The remaining issue has been that I need a little different temperatures in my oven, but I found figuring this out is most like dealing with a new uncalibrated oven (where you don't know the true temperature). Generally I make my doughs 1-3% wetter and that takes care of things.

Montana story: We're from California, but spend 2-4 weeks in February and 4-6 weeks in the summer in our family's house near West Yellowstone. The town has two supermarkets, but they're not anything like the giant Safeway or Whole Foods that we have here. On day we went shopping and bought several days worth of vegetables and fruits (for the three of us). Mind you, the selection is very limited (cauliflower, green beans, artichoke, broccoli and one or two other choices) and this was only for 2-4 meals worth. We get to the register and the woman who is ringing us up says to her "bagging" partner: "I've never seen somebody buy so many g*darn veggies in my life." It will not surprise you that the markets offer a much larger selection of meats and canned goods than veggies!

--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

GREAT photos!   I really appreciate the work that goes into food photography!    Here's a link to some of my photos:

 http://www.recipezaar.com/member/269521

I truly understand the challenge of finding quality ingredients  . .  I have the same problem in Mexico as well as here in the mountains.    When we head for Mexico, I usually have the trunk loaded with food items. . . espcially flour!   And as a back up, gluten for when I'm forced to use the local brand!  Here in the mountains we have a HUGE Walmart (supposedly one of the nations highest revenue producing), and a Safeway, however the choices are limited!    Sure miss the Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Sprouts !   Have to drive to Tucson or Phoenix (175 miles) periodiclly to stock up!

I have made flakes for all my starters  . . . five of them right now!    Usually have two going at a time.   While in Mexico this past winter, I was given some German Rye starter, still learning how to use it!      That's what I was looking for when I came upon this site.

The bread is soooooo bad in Mexico that I usually bake 3-4 times a week . . . baking one for immediate use and retarding the other for the following day.   That alone is a challenge on a boat!

  No- Knead @ SeaGalley WenchNo-Knead:  No- Knead @ SeaGalley Wench
Galley Wench

2brownbraids's picture
2brownbraids

 

Wow, well done ! absultely gorgeous loaf with thin, golden crust and nice crumb, I feel motivated to make something like this too today.  Is this a no knead receipe ?  since you have no knead beside the picture.    

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

It's the Almost No-Knead, which I think is a great improvement over the original NKB!     I've tried baking in various pot . .  this was done in a $10 cast aluminum pot that I purchased at Big Lots.   Also used a cast-iron dutch oven as well as a clay pot . . . no failures yet, well except trying to slash it on the top!


Galley Wench

2brownbraids's picture
2brownbraids

 

Thanks GW.  That explains the thin crust !  I use a cloche which is the same idea, I feel heavy duty covered pans produce much better crust than using hand spayed steam in the oven. 

If any one tried the latest steam ovens by Gaggenau, I would like to hear about their comments, thank you in advance.  

-2brownbraids 

 

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi Galley Wench

My daughter lives in Denver. She likes to bake (she hasn't tried bread yet but makes great pastry). Do you have any advice on high altitude baking or any books that you would personally recommend?

TIA - SF 

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

 

I have several but the one I've found the most useful is High Altitude Baking by Patricia Kendall, Colorado State University, Cooperative Extension.   There are some recipes, but best of all are tips how to modify you're favorite recipes.  


Galley Wench