The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wow, oven spring!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Wow, oven spring!

Absolutely magnificent oven spring on my two totally-commercial-yeast-free panned white loaves still in the oven!  I know "oven spring" can be overrated, but I never expected any and I've got it anyway.  Also my experiment with the buttermilk plant was successful and I have a good supply of buttermilk, though it's a little thin; I'm going to try some scones with it tonight.  I refreshed that with some reconstituted skim milk powder and it's sitting in the warmest place in the house, on top of the fridge.  I never would have tried the buttermilk plant if I hadn't got into sourdough, and it was the people here who inspired me, so a big thank you to TheFreshLoaf!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It's got a very definite tang to it, but the crumb is soft and open and it's just delicious.  The dough itself is a joy to work with, and before panning it, I didn't bash it around or roll it out, I simply folded it over on itself after it had risen in the bowl, then cut it in two and plopped the two halves gently in their bread pans.  I'll try for pictures, but I can't promise anything.

Galamomof1's picture
Galamomof1

Gala of Texas

PaddyL, I went to the KA site and couldn't pull up a buttermilk starter.  Could you give me a link to click on or the name of the recipe for Buttermilk Starter at  KA.  They didn't respond to a recipe for a Buttermilk Starter.  Thanks ahead of time for your help. 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

You have to go to the Baking Circle which means registering, I guess, then go to Members' Recipes and down towards the bottom of the list....um, I could copy and paste it here, if you'd like?  That's probably the easiest.  Anyway, if you did get onto the BC as a member, it's under Wharrison.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I'm just now having success with sourdough.  I don't know if it's because I've got the hang of it or because the weather - and thus my kitchen - is warming up.  I use my oven with the light on as an incubator, but even so the ambient temperature affects the chamber temp.  Anyway, I just made some great mini-loaves this morning, and boy are they delicious!

Rosalie

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

Can you point me to to the thread or discussion about the buttermilk plant?

Thanks, Trish

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

...for rising dough or incubating sourdough; the top of my fridge is around 85 F.  I'll post the instructions for the buttermilk plant later tonight.  I've got to admit I was skeptical about it, but like yogurt cultures, it works.

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Excellent to hear that PaddyL.

Like Trish, I too am curious about the buttermilk plant.

 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It's quite simple, really.  You'll need a container, plastic or glass or earthenware that can be scalded, and it should be a little over a quart.  I used an enormous glass jar, of the type you see biscotti displayed in at coffee shops.  Now I've got it in a 2 litre plastic former ice cream container.  If you can get an ounce of fresh yeast fine, use that, but I couldn't so I mixed a little over 3 tsps. of instant yeast with a couple of tsps. of water to make a paste, then added an oz. of sugar.  If you use fresh yeast, cream it with the sugar.  Put this paste into a container that has been well washed and scalded twice, and slowly pour over it 20 fl. oz. of skim milk (I used 1%) and 20 fl oz. of water.  This should be tepid, a little warmer maybe than room temperature.  You do not want it hot!  Then cover the container, don't stir it, and let it sit in a warm place for a couple of days.  It will separate and look awful, but it won't smell bad.  It's supposed to smell like buttermilk, but I just got a yeasty tang from it.  After a couple or three days, line a strainer with cheesecloth, put it over a bowl, and strain the stuff through it.  I probably should have let it drain a little longer as my "buttermilk" is distinctly thin.  When there's nothing left but some curds in the bottom of the strainer, wash them by pouring over 2 cups of tepid water and let that drip into your bowl.  (I missed this step, sigh.)  You're supposed to be washing all the milk, or as much as you can, off the "seed".  Then scrape the "plant" off the cheesecloth, return it to its re-washed and doubly re-scalded container, and repeat with the milk and water as above.  Cover and store in a warm place.  The liquid in the bowl is your buttermilk.  You can apparently keep this going forever, as long as you do the straining routine every five days, and keep everything very very clean.  The buttermilk plant, that stuff that looks like cheese curds after draining, will grow and you'll be able to give some of it away, or if there are no takers, pitch some of it out.  I have put my buttermilk in a container in the fridge and plan to use it tomorrow.  It is said you can even drink the stuff, as you would buttermilk, if you are so inclined, and I'm not.  This is from an old Irish cookbook by Maura Laverty.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Paddy!  After the culture "seeds" have gotten a little larger, I have used a plastic seeve from a toy box (swiped it brand new from sand box toys) to wash them.   It is the size of a small plate with a one inch lip and fits nicely into the dishwasher.  I drank the buttermilk, never thought to put it into bread, that was years ago before TFL.  We are a buttermilk family, I have to mark it if I need it for a recipe.  Got the culture from a friend, now I realize the culture was right before my eyes thanks to you!  Thank you. 

Our favorite ways to drink it?  Mix half and half with bubbling mineral water.  Also makes wonderful salad dressing.  I just love it on matchstick zuccini (or cucumber) salad with a little caraway, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Or make buttermilk soup, warmed with a little soup broth and caraway topped with toasted bread cubes.  

Mini O

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

...according to some Irish lore, you'll be able to climb Croagh Patrick in your bare feet with no problems at all!  Croagh Patrick is a very stony, and holy, mountain in Ireland.  Maura Laverty says in her introduction to the "recipe" that since not every family has its own cow, or that it may be difficult to get out to milk said cow or visit someone who has that cow, especially in winter, this is the next best thing.  She originally called it "winter buttermilk".

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

This sounds like an interesting experiment. I saw fresh yeast at Whole Foods one of the last times I was there so maybe I'll check there after we get back from farmer's market on Saturday morning. I can't wait to try this!

Trish

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Mini oven... I think you've answered a question I've had for YEARS. Is buttermilk just Kéfir? Whenever a recipe calls for buttermilk I curdle milk with lemon, but I see there is always Kéfir at the supermarket and wonder if it's the same thing.

I'm going to have to experiment with that because I already make all my yoghurt, fromage blanc ... I can make kéfir too!

Thanks for the "recipe" PaddyL.

Jane

PS Oh, and great! for the oven spring! It's always a nice satisfaction.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but reduced the amounts to

  • 200ml H-milk .5%
  • 200ml water (boiled) 
  • Tbsp of Demerara sugar 
  • 1/2 package of instant yeast 

All in a boiled pear jar (rubber seal / glass lid)  no vacuum.  Sugar desolved in boiling water and allowed to cool.  Milk added, then yeast stirred in, covered and allowed to sit.  We will see on Sunday. 

Was reading under milk-kefir  for some ideas.  

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I looked at some French sites and they all talk about ordering Kefir seeds. Can it really be as easy and using yeast? Is it exactly the same thing? I'll give it a try as well.

Jane 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

In actuality, real kefir is made from kefir "grains", a colony of somewhere around 20 different strains of symbiotic yeast and bacteria.  The grains resemble rubbery cauliflower florets.  I'm not sure that ersatz kefir made from baker's yeast would confer all the probiotic benefits of real kefir.  It might be easier to just find someone near you who has some grains to give away:

 http://www.torontoadvisors.com/Kefir/kefir-list.php

The grains grow rather quickly and grain owners are always looking for someone to whom they can give their excess.      

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks Steve. It's sold in the supermarket next to the milk and has a arabic writing on it. To me it is a middle eastern beverage. They drink it! They don't make muffins out of it. :-) I'll see if I can find a grain donor.

Jane 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Jane,

Does the kefir available there contain inulin/FOS?  Here in the US, most companies add indigestible inulin/FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) to their kefir.  I prefer not to have those additives in my kefir, so I make my own.  In addition to drinking it, I've used my kefir to begin a very active sourdough starter which I've been using to bake bread for quite some time now.

As far as being a middle eastern beverage, kefir is thought to have originated in the Caucasus region of what is now Georgia/Azerbaijan.

- Steve

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I have no idea but I'll look next time I'm at the grocery store. It's a beverage here and I dare to say made in the traditional way.

Jane 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi Mini O

So, how is your buttermilk coming along?

Jane 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The milk soured but I kept stirring it encouraging it hoping for the colonies long remembered.   I had just a few little tiny specks, not much of anything but maybe a hope.  So I took about 4 Tbs milk no water and mixed them in.  Let them stand better than a day but had nothing but soft stringy curds and sour milk.  No little seed colonies.  I might have to put out an APB to find some kefir colonies like Steve mentions. Wow, so many wee beasties in one crumb?  A wee beastie commune....  I carefully checked over my yeast water for possible formation of water kefir... nope, but had a wonderful effervescent sip and stirred in flour for tomorrow.  Water starter was fed raisins and apple slices and fermented pineapple removed.

How did your experiment go, Jane?

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I was waiting for YOUR results before embarking on this adventure. I should be able to find the kefir seeds here.

I just remembered that I have a box of ferment for kefir in my fridge!!!! I'm a bit slow. I have to go see what it's for.

News soon,

Jane 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Mine came out on the thin side, but I did miss that last step.  Gets a bit thicker when I stir it up, though.  I tasted it and it does taste like buttermilk, and I need it to refresh my buttermilk starter.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Gosh it's been a while... I can't remember adding water to the milk. But maybe that is important in the initial steps, otherwise you end up with cheese and can't wash out the newly formed culture.  With all my traveling I lost track of the culture. I remember I kept it in a 1/2 litre jar in the fridge, washed it as I needed it. Must have set it out first to grow and then into the fridge, culture and all. But not sure on the specifics.

Mini O

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I'm probably missing something here but what the buttermilk plant does is make buttermilk right? What I've always done is add milk to the last of the buttermilk I have and let it sit till it's all turned into buttermilk as shown in this site......http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/BUTTERMILK.htm

 

Am I ending up with something different from the buttermilk you're getting from the buttermilk plant?  I'm  not good in the science department :)                                                                         weavershouse

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I've been making buttermilk the same way I make yogurt.  I start with a bit of buttermilk from the grocery store.  Then I scald a quart of milk with 2-3 tablespoons of dry milk.  When it cools, I add the tablespoon or so of buttermilk from the grocery store or saved from my last batch and incubate it overnight in the oven with the light on.  I use skim milk, but the buttermilk still turns out so thick that I end up passing it through a screen, just to break it up.

I do exactly the same with yogurt except that I have a dedicated Salton yogurt maker with individual cups (25-30 years old) and I don't have to screen it.

Rosalie

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I bought buttermilk today and it doesn't smell anything like the stuff that's busy separating on top of the fridge which doesn't smell bad, just a little sour, but the "milk" I get from it is quite watery.  I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong.  Maybe I do need fresh yeast.

cordel's picture
cordel

Originally, buttermilk was thin. To make butter you churned cream, and what was left had no butter fat in it, though there would be a few flakes of butter on top. Commercial buttermilk is quite different, since it has a higher butterfat content, and a culture to sour it, so it is much thicker.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I should have remembered that.  Got to go and drain the other batch.

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Well since you guys are discussing milk products :) I thought I'd post a link to a site that I use when making milk related products like cheese/yogurt/buttermilk. Hope it helps someone and sorry if it is off-topic:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML

Rudy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it clarifies Buttermilk but Kefir is not even mentioned (or did I miss something?) Does leave one to wonder if they are the same, I'm guessing they are not. I think kefir is more complicated although they both contain lacto beasties. Either could be made low fat.  Interesting about the temperatures that promote lacto growth.

Wonder if the lacto beasties in my sd starter were not better for a little experiment. Buying Buttermilk is just too easy! Right now my kitchen smells like a winery only smaller. My yeast water is now a cup of yeasty spelt starter... using Mike's muffin recipe for 6 big muffins (I have thoroughly enjoyed bending this recipe to my every whim sometimes making up to 10 muffins with all the stuff crammed into them) They have all this great pineapple/ pear (there it is again) smell starter and I plan on throwing in a Banana to boot. I'm getting a little tired of muffin shapes and this time use a bunt pan. Coconut flakes to dust the form and maybe smuggle some chocolate chunks inside. Sounds like a choco pina colada! Yikes! Dumplings come later and in a blog.

Thanks Rudy!   (Like the connection to Root Beer Extract, too!)

Mini O

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Mini Oven.

Kefir and Buttermilk are completely and absolutely different things. He does not appear to make kefir himself, probably because where he lives it is not as popular as it is becoming in other parts of the country. However, if you scroll towards the bottom of his page he has several links to other sites. One of them is dedicated to the production of Kefir. Here is a direct link to it:

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

Rudy

Janedo's picture
Janedo

That's what I always thought and also why I never bought kefir for recipes that call for buttermilk (that's "babeurre" and I can't buy it here). But can kéfir be used in place of buttermilk? I usually just put lemon in milk.

Jane 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

I think you can use kefir in place of buttermilk as they are both cultured milk, albeit with different tastes.

Doesn't lemon curdle your milk? :) I suppose you can add them separately too if that happens.

Rudy 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

If you need say a cup of buttermilk and you don't have any, you take an almost cup of milk and press lemon into it to make a cup and let it stand for ten minutes or so (there is a more scientific version with dosages and time, but it works fine this way). The milk curdles and becomes thick and the lemon gives the necessary tartness.

I've been doing it for the last fifteen years because I can never find buttermilk. And to me kéfir isn't the same thing and so never dared to try. 

Jane 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Buttermilk isn't available locally here (Taiwan) AFAIK, but I have found that it is really simple and easy to make.


I ordered some inexpensive DS (Direct Set) starters online for buttermilk and sour cream (from one of the cheese-making supply shops), opened up a 1.5-liter jug of whole milk, poured in half a packet of the bugs, drilled a small hole in the lid just big enough for the probe of my instant-read thermometer, cleaned that probe with alcohol, inserted it in the milk, and then moved the jug in and out of the fridge every half 20-30 minutes to keep the termperature at 72 F +/- 3 degrees, except for overnight, when I left it in the fridge (it's about 89 F in my kitchen.


Result: there was a noticeable thickening, and a cultured, mild yogurt-like flavor to it a day and a half later. I replaced half the water in my pancakes this morning with it, and they had a lovely flavor. I've never purchased or tasted buttermilk, so I can't compare this to store-bought stuff, but I wanted to have some on hand for when recipes call for it, and I wanted to try adding some to pancakes and English muffins (PR's BBA muffins were boring without it).


I'm going to try freezing this in ice cube trays to get tablespoon-sized buttermilk cubes for future use.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Ingredients:

Lactose, Lactococcus lactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium, Kluyveromyces marxianus

OOOOph, as I wipe my forhead!

That is what is written on the package of the box I bought to make home-made Kefir. It says on the box that the seeds cannot be commercialized because they don't pass the hygene standards. With this powder, I can make a litre of kefir and then take a half a cup of that and mix it with a new litre. It slowly depletes in energy and you have to buy a new box. I got it at my organic coop, so maybe you can buy it in a health food store?

Thanks for the site Rudy, I'll go check it out,

Jane