When the Cat’s Away, the Mouse Bakes… A Lot
My wife, Cat, is away in Australia on business. Yes, my wife’s name is Cat, which may cause some confusion because we also have a cat. But the cat’s name is not “Wife”, which would make it even more confusing…and be pretty weird. Especially since one of my wife’s many nicknames is “Wife”.
Anyway, I’m stuck in boring San Francisco while she’s off traveling the World. So, I have to find a way to entertain myself. And what entertains me these days is baking. So, here’s the plan:
It’s now Friday night, and I’m on schedule. Last night I mixed the levain, toasted the walnuts and soaked the cranberries for Cranberry-Walnut Bread, based on the SFBI Raisin-Walnut Bread that David blogged on (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21289/walnut-raisin-sourdough-bread-sfbi-artisan-ii ). I have made that bread with raisins (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21384/sfbi-walnutraisin-bread-–-northern-version ) and thought it might be even better with dried cranberries in place of the raisins. This morning I mixed the dough—the cranberries were a bit watery, but it all worked in with extra kneading. I let it ferment while I started my work day (many hours on the phone and email). Oh, yeah, I also mixed the levain and poolish for proth5’s new baguette formula (aka “Bear Baguettes”).
The Cranberry-Walnut dough rose like crazy even though the dough temperature was below the prescribed 78-80F. I think my sourdough starter might have rabies (Is that possible? Anyone?).
During a self-imposed lunch break, I pre-shaped and shaped the Cranberry-Walnut loaves, one batard and one boule. The loaves also rose more quickly than I would have expected. During a self-imposed coffee break (a delicious macchiato), I slashed, steamed and loaded. By time my 3:30 call started, the loaves were cooling.
By time that call was over, I was hungry, and I happened to have some cream cheese--the perfect topping for this bread. Totally delicious! The crust is toothsome, the crumb is tender, the cranberries are tart and chewy and the nuts are nutty! A good bread.
Later, the poolish and levain for the Bear Baguettes (maybe we should just call them “Beargettes”?) were ready.
I mixed the baguette dough ‘til massively shaggy, let it autolyse 45 minutes, and mixed it up gently…a light mix as David and Pat have recommended. I found that my initial mix had not been adequate to incorporate the flour, and there were small clumps of dry flour. But I didn’t panic. I put on my “c’est la fleepin’ vie” hat, tried to hydrate the whole big ball of dough without over-mixing, and covered the bowl. If it doesn’t all work out, I’ll know better next time. Besides the flour clumps, the dough felt great. And after the stretch and fold, it seems silky and strong.
‘Nuff for now. More to follow.
UPDATE: Saturday Eve
My attempt at proth5's new baguette formula (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20831/starting-get-bear ) is out of the oven, cooled and tasted. I retarded the dough overnight, let the dough come to room temperature for a couple hours, shaped, glued on seeds, proofed 90 minutes, slashed and baked at 475, using Sylvia's steaming towel technique.
The flour is 100% Central Milling's Organic Artisan Baker's Craft with Malt (except the tiny bits of WW and Rye in my mother starter).
The result is gooood. Crispy on the outside and airy-chewy on the inside.
I had said earlier maybe we should call these "bearguettes." But since I had most of one with a dinner of lamburgers, I think they are "baaaguettes".
Tomorrow I bake the big SFBI miche.