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headupinclouds

This was an end-of-week project to use up the bran from my tempering + bolting experiments with Yecora Rojo.  It is named after Phil Hartman's (RIP) Colon Blow cereal skit on SNL:

None of this was measured very precisely, but I wanted a classic moist carrot cake type bran muffin texture.  I was surprised how pleasant, moist and fluffy the bran can be as the main ingredient.

  • 570 g Yecora Rojo bran + middlings at 100% hydration w/ a portion dedicated to a bran levain build
  • I did throw in 1/3 a cup of sifted YR at the last minute for binding, although I think I could have skipped it
  • 3 large carrots (shredded)
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • a couple of tablespoons of honey
  • 5 g of salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda

I made a soaker with the bulk of the bran and let it sit overnight to fully hydrate next to a large bran levain made from the remaining portion at 56F in my wine fridge and mixed it all the following morning for a half-day of fermentation (timing not critical), and then mixed in the remaining ingredients, including the baking soda, and baked it in oven ramekins at 375 until done.  It clearly needed more time after my 30-minute timer went off.  I didn't measure the remaining time, but I would guess it went another 15 minutes or so.  I let it set overnight and tried them the next morning.  They are delicious.

 

 

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headupinclouds

This is my second attempt at the home oven home milled soft white wheat pizza napoletana from Adam Leonti's Flour Lab.  The first attempt was posted here.  This version uses a sourdough starter instead of the yeast called for in the recipe and I increased the hydration from 63% to 70% -- an adjustment based on experience with the first attempt (I would probably take the mean of these next time).  The bran was sifted with a #50 mesh and added to the starter ahead of time.  I made a soaker (water + salt) with the sifted flour and placed it in a wine fridge overnight. 

The first version was one of my first open oven bakes using my fibrament stone.  It was good, but the pale crust was a disappointment.  This seems to be a problem with gas ovens, and I purchased a disposable aluminum baker to cover the pizza for the first half of the bake to help trap steam to trigger a maillard reaction.  I baked covered at 550 F on the stone for 7 minutes, then removed the pizza on a baking tray and rotated it carefully in the lower broiler section to take advantage of the exposed upper flame in order to sizzle the toppings and further brown the crust for another 3 to 4 minutes.  It was a big improvement. 

The 1000 g flour dough was fermented on the counter until slightly pillowy, then shaped into 4 mini boules, two of which were chilled in the wine fridge for dinner that night, and the other two went in the back of the fridge for the following night.  The difference in flavor and extensibility between the two nights was remarkable.  I enjoyed the first night, and the soft white wheat sweetness was enjoyable but a bit too strong.  It required a fair amount of patience shaping the low gluten soft white wheat on the first night to avoid tearing (there was no throwing this one in the air).  On the second night the longer fermented dough was much more extensible and easy to shape (if a bit sticky), and the additional sour notes from the extended fermentation balanced the sweet flavor of the wheat nicely.  Baking at the lower temperatures a home oven supports provides more opportunity to cook lots of toppings.  These were full meal red sauce pizzas with sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, Miyoko's cultured plant based mozzarella cheese, tamari marinated tempeh, portobello mushrooms, and red onions.  Fresh basil was added at the end after the broiler flame sizzling.  The soft white wheat works surprisingly well in this context.

 

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headupinclouds

CB 1:

  • home milled durum wheat (100% extraction) at 500g total (400 g mix + 100 g in levain) @ 70% hydration
  • 20% PFF via sifted and remilled bran powder levain (#30, #40, #50 stack) final 12 hour build 5:6:10 at 56F
  • overnight soaker (salted) from 400 g semolina
  • 2% salt
  • used a standard fold + roll batard shaping w/ tension which immediately created a bunch of pockmarks on the dough
  • 12 hour final proof in fridge
  • try increasing hydration next time
  • reasonable oven spring but tight crumb (flavor is nice and "bright")
  • monitored pH as I read comments that durum doesn't like acidity

 

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headupinclouds

A continuation of JMonkey's Desem with a whole wheat soaker (the epoxy method outlined in Whole Grain Breads) and an aliquot jar for proofing.  Bulk fermentation ended at <= 25% and final proof ended at around 75%.

Notes:

  • the aliquot jar markings in these images represent the starting height, 1.25x and 2x, even though the final proof was started at 1.75x -- in subsequent experiments and their images the final proof line was adjusted to 1.75x.
  • updated bakers percentage formula for these experiments in this link  (84% hydration)

 

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This summer, while social distancing in our cabin, I purchased a small wood fired pizza oven where I practiced applying my sourdough starter to making sourdough pizza.  At temperatures between 900F and 1000F (the later being "Hi" or my IR gun) the challenge is to continuously rotate the pizza to keep things from burning while ensuring the top and bottom cook evenly in 1 or 2 minutes.  In addition, chopping lots of tiny hardwood pieces of the precise size needed to keep the little firebox roaring adds to the list of chores.  Our felled locust burns very hot and works exceptionally well for this. 

I was missing the sourdough pizza from the Summer and have also been missing the excellent Neopolitan style pizzas from several nearby restaurants (Motorino, Robertas, etc) due to pandemic driven isolation now that we are back in our little Brooklyn apartment.  Inspired by recent TFL posts on home oven pizza, and after recently acquiring an oven stone to support the task, I leafed through some whole grain focused pizza recipes in Adam Leonti's Flour Lab and settled on the Pizza Napoletana [1] .

The recipe calls for a soft spring wheat flour (Frederick preferred).  I went with a Palouse Soft Spring Wheat (unknown variety) that would arrive in time for milling and baking on New Years Eve, but am interested in sourcing some of the recommended Frederick for a follow up.  He indicates his preferred wheat variety for each recipe.  In this case he explains:

I used Frederick soft spring wheat flour because it maintains that signature white hue, mild flavor, and soft crumb that is synonymous with Naples's most famous food.

The recipe is a basic 63% hydration dough:

  • 630 g water
  • 1000 g soft spring wheat flour
  • 14 grams sea salt
  • 2 grams active dry yeast (I used a chunk of Desem starter)
  • Neutral oil for greasing
  • Desired topping

I wanted to experiment with my cool low hydration Desem starter, which I substituted for the ADY.  I milled the soft white wheat coarse-to-fine and then made a soaker (saltolyse) which sat in the fridge for a couple of days to improve extensibility.  The dough felt far too dry at 63% hydration with this wheat (noticeable cracks and fraying) so I ended up increasing the hydration significantly after warming it up and mixing in a chunk of refrigerated Desem starter prior to bulk fermentation.

To add to the list of accumulating violations, this was destined to be a plant based pizza (i.e., no mozzarella).  I sourced a plant based cheese that melts reasonably well, tastes good, and doesn't resemble a rubbery polymer based lab creation upon melting: Miyoko's organic cultured vegan mozzarella.  On a related note, I sampled a fermented tofu at a Japanese restaurant in the Lowesr East side last year that was one of my notable culinary memories of 2020.  I think it would work swimmingly in this context, but I have yet to find a local source for it.  The process is described well in online videos, so it may be another one for the home fermentation lab.

I waited for some signs of fermentation and reasonable gluten development given the low protein flour, then shaped it carefully with the backs of my hands before finishing the slightly fragile dough into a pizza with raised crust using the tips of my fingers, taking care to de-gass the center portion before adding toppings.  The oven stone was approximately 525F.  After 5 minutes or so I added the fresh basil (at 500F the pizza cooks too slowly and the basil would otherwise dry out) and then cooked for another 2 minutes or so before removing it.

The flavor of the crust was excellent (beyond my expectation at least), with a mild tender sweetness and suppressed but still noticeable tang.  It did rise pretty well for the whole grain flour, but the biggest mark against the pizza was the crust color, which was unfortunately pale and somewhat lifeless, which was a real shame.  From recent discussions, I believe this is related to cooking uncovered in a gas oven.  I always use a wide clay cloche for my hearth bread bakes, and have not had success with open stone bakes and improved steam.  Perhaps something akin to a cloche is needed to trigger a maillard reaction.  Following older TFL posts on the subject, I may experiment with an inverted Graniteware roaster placed on top of the baking stone, or a "disposable" aluminum alternative. 

Another consideration is the lack of top heat in the home oven.  When the mini wood fired pizza is roaring, the chimney draws the flames from the rear firebox along the low ceiling over the top of the pizza and up and out the chimney.  That is helpful for matching the heat pizza stone underneath and providing the signature char. 

In our gas home oven there is no top heat source, but there is a broiler that could serve this purpose.  Next time I'm inclined to bake 1/2 way through covered on the stone, then remove and place under the broiler with a turning peel to add a hint of charring to the top crust.  It is worth a shot and would add the main missing element to the final product.

Any thoughts on this issue are appreciated.

[1] baking 400 F degrees short of the 932 F target using home milled whole grains would clearly cause some concern in the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), so this is really an "inspired by" translation.  In the words of Stevie Wonder "Ya gots to work with what you gots to work with."

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This is a beginner's attempt at Denise Polzelbauer's family Volkornbrot, from Daniel Leader's Living Bread.  I ran my Mockmill 200 at a coarse setting and a used a coarse kitchen sieve to catch the required rye chops.  I used subsequent milling and flour sieves to create the coarse rye flour and (presumably finer) whole rye flour the recipe calls for.  All of this was done by sifting guesswork.  This was a slightly cumbersome process.  Milling rye at a coarse setting on the Mockmill creates cracked rye in addition to a large percentage of finer rye flour.  My understanding is coarse rye flour is beneficial in lieue of gluten for loaf shape and oven spring with 100% rye bakes.  Perhaps there is a single coarse setting that can produce a usable blend of rye chops and coarse flour.  The bake uses a two stage 32 hour rye sour build: an 8 hour Grundsauerteig and a 24 hour Schaumsauerteig.  The recipe called for 2 9x5 baking tins.  Somehow I don't have any, so I used a large pullman pan I recently purchased to make sandwich loafs.  This seemed to work out fine.  It calls for a desired internal temperature of 190 F, achieved after 1 1/2 hours at 375 F.  I checked it at 1 1/2 hours and measured 208 F.  Despite this discrepancy, it seems the loaf could still be baked longer.  Perhaps baking as a single mega loaf alters the equation slightly and is more tolerant of a hotter and longer bake.