With Lucy being on strike this week after she found out the FBI was surveilling both Hilary and Trump during and after the last presidential campaign. She wanted to know if I was surveilling her and she did not like it, not one little bit, when I said I could not confirm or deny any ongoing investigations by the Master just like the FBI’s director James Comey can’t talk about his investigations or confirm or deny they are even going on.
She then said,that usually, that is the FBI rule but it seems Comey broke it by telling congress he was investing both of them at the same time while they were running for president. I didn’t believe her at first. I was thinking such a thing would be impossible and really stupid for an FBI director to do but all I do is bake bread once a week.
Since she seemed up on these things, I asked her who would have the power and authority to order the FBI director to do such a thing. She said he worked under the Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She went on to say both Lynch and Comey were appointed by President Obama so, he too could tell Comey to investigate anyone he wanted by any means. I told Lucy I really didn’t care about spies, political intrigue and dirty tricks …… but I would be sticking to my rule of telling no one if I was investigating them or not and play Sargent Schultz by claiming to know nothing about anything .......which would right most of the time.
Lucy immediately went on strike by refusing to give me any help at all in the kitchen or provide me recipes and started to picket her pantry to keep me out. The last straw was she hid my new Cox Contour TV remote control which I just got and don’t really know much about or how to use either.
Now I was starting to get a little hot because it looked like she had been planning this for some time. To be so organized and ready to make my life more difficult than she normally did looked premeditated if you ask me. But, I cooled off just enough to tell her that my investigation wasn’t so important, nor likely to destroy completely, the possible first women ever president’s campaign - right before the election – twice. That had to surprise everyone - especially Hilary. Nor was it anywhere close to trying to bring down a newly elected president’s administration 50 days in ...like the FBI seems to be doing right now. I am forced to pay attention to such nonsense and can't help but to notice it since it is as plain as the big honking nose on Lucy's face.
This really ticked her off. Being totally brazened by the FBI, she started a hunger strike, refusing all food llike she was some kind oif prisoner or something. Well now, this brought a smile to my face. I told her we were out of her food anyway so her timing for me not needing her food anymore was perfect........ and made my life easier by far…… at least twice a day.
Now she is threatening to riot and burn the house down. Jeeze! I thought her mother was a nutso, knife wielding Sweed but her bone didn’t fall far enough from the badger hole it seems. Now I have to sleep with 1 eye open and one hand on her backside just to make sure she doesn’t torch the place killing us all out of a misguided moral compass - or just plain spite.
That is where we are now so it is time to get on to this week’s baking. Needless to say, this week’s bread had to be easy since I had to figure it out on my own. My brain hasn’t worked at all since I retired 8 years ago and is quite muddled after all the beer, wine, shots and margaritas over those years - especially today.
So, if you were expecting something ‘Lucy like’ this week….. you are as out of your mind as James Comey. He has to having bad dreams about Leavenworth prison since he is the low guy on the totem pole and the likely scapegoat since somone has greased it up pretty well. After being in Lucy’s doghouse all week ……I can relate – poor guy. Sorry, I digress
The bread is what Lucy would call a simple 13. No sprouts, 100% hydration, 13% pre-fermented, bran, 5 grain, 3 stage levain built from 10 g of NMNF rye starter. Since I am a doofus when it comes to these things and pretty used to just doing as Lucy tells me, I didn’t even start this levain until 8 PM yesterday. The 2nd stage at midnight was followed by 3rd stage at 7 AM this morning. Instead of using this levain fully ripe, I put it into the autolyse 2 hours after the 3rd feeding. It was very young for us old timers but in it went when it had risen about 25% or so.
The 5 whole grains were also a whopping 13% and made up of equal parts of Kamut, red and white wheat, rye and spelt. These are our 5 go to grains for just about any bread as a starting point but this one was especially light and more white than usual.
Since I couldn’t get my act together, the autolyse, with the pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top, was only 30 minutes. There wasn’t any bran and little whole grains to begin with and 30 minutes I thoiught was plenty but what do I know .......and Lucy isn’t barking orders for once in her life. All of the rest of the flour was Albertson’s bread flour - including the non bran in the levain.
We did s3 ets of slap and folds and 3 sets if stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals, pre-shaped and shaped the dough into a squat oval and paced into a rice floured basket, seam side up. We bagged it in a new trash can liner and left it for 2 ½ hours on the counter to final proof. With the oven pre-heated to 500 F and the combo cooker inside. See, I’ve learned something useful from Lucy over the last 5 years!
Unmolded onto parchment on a peel, slashed once down the middle and into the CC it went and right back into the 450 F oven between the two stones for 18 minutes of steam. Then the top came off for 12 minutes of dry convection heat at a further reduced 425 F.
When it was done to 210 F on the inside, the bread had bloomed and sprang well enough but for some reason it wasn’t as dark as usual for a 210 F bread of this size, bake temperature and time in the heat. We will have to wait for breakfast tomorrow to see the inside.
Lucy had built a new fig yeast water 3 weeks ago using rehydration liquid but I built another one from scratch last week too. The new one is what was used to make this batch of YW cinnamon rolls or, as they say in England - Chelsea Buns. The preferment was 25% preferment flour at 100% hydration using the fig yeast water that was allowed to sit for 6 hours.
The dough was enriched with 10% butter and sugar each but it was unusual because no milk or egg was in the mix. The softened, room temperature butter was not added until the dough was hydrated and the sugar mixed in using slap and folds. All the flour was Lafma AP. After 2 more sets of slap and folds, all on 30 minute intervals, the dough was rolled out and 20% softened butter was spread on first followed by brown sugar, chocolate chips walnuts and dried cranberries. No snockered fruits this time,
After rolling up and cutting it into 8 pieces, they were put into a sprayed Pyrex pan for proofing. In 5 hours they were fully proofed, Yeast water is pretty slow and new ones are even slower. The tops were brushed with milk and put into a 350 F oven for 22 minutes until brown. I brushed them again with milk when they came out of the oven and then spread on a cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze.
These were killer if you ask me but one of the girls didn’t like the walnuts and the other didn’t like cranberries - even though the other one asked for each of them to be in the middle. Lucy didn’t get any because she was on her hunger strike. Not getting her treat haced her off even more so there is no telling what she is upt o now. The girls only had one each since they didn't like what th other wanted. That left me with 6….. and they were gone in a flash.
I’m not having much luck with any of the girls this week even with cinnamon buns as bait. Very high maintenance - all of them but, if I get 6 of these sweet buns as a result, we will try to make it the norm around here. Happy baking.