Thursday, August 20, 2015

Catching up and Bread

I've been bad about not posting but I have been putting some stuff over on Facebook. Any how, the garden is winding down for the summer and I am spending most of my time cleaning up and getting ready for the fall garden. Our friends from the UK are coming the last of October and Wendy has already warned me that she is expecting some 'produce' from the garden so I's better be getting on with it. As usual I'll be putting in garlic that will grow slowly over the winter and which I harvest the end of June. Bumper crop of 4 different varieties this year and all of it is better than what you get the in store. Most of the store garlic is California white which is reliable to grow but not nearly as flavorful as some of the lesser known ones.

I'm back to baking regularly with a new twist. I'm grinding my own flour from hard red wheat and it is amazing how much better bread I am producing. Store bought flours have oxidized and lost a lot of flavor and worse nutrition by the time they get to your store shelf. It is extremely easy and I have the grinding attachment for the KitchenAid which cost me a hundred dollars but I already feel I have my money's worth as I also use it to grind corn for cornmeal and grits.

Here is my current recipe for a simple whole wheat sourdough.

600 grams whole wheat ground finely (see note)
400 grams of 100% sour dough started refreshed (see note)
375 grams water(preferably spring or at least filtered)
20 grams of kosher salt
1 tsp rapid rise yeast
3 TBSp honey

Mix everything except the salt in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a big bowl and mix until the flour is fully moistened. Let it stand covered for at least 30 minuted to allow the whole wheat to absorb the water. Add the salt and knead with the mixer or by hand until you have a good pliable dough it is nice and smooth. Put it in a lightly oil bowl and cover letting it rise until double. Turn it out and divide into to two or three balls. I do two. Form into balls for a boule or a loaf shape for a batard or even put it into a standard loaf pan(s). Let it rise again until double and then bake at 425F for 25 minutes. At the beginning of baking a throw a cup of ice cubes into the bottom of the oven to steam the loaves for the first bit of cooking. This insures you get the maximum oven spring from the dough.

Note:
I grind my own wheat but you can use a good whole wheat flour like that from King Arthur or Arrowhead. You won't have the flavor or nutrition but it will still be good.
If you don't maintain a sour dough starter, shame on you, but you can make a poolish of 200 grams of all purpose flour(again preferably King Arthur) and 200 grams of water  and the yeast from the recipe. Mix this all together the night before and let it stand covered on the counter overnight. Add this instead of the 400 grams of starter. This will have all the yeast you need so you don't need to add more.

Holy Flying Monkeys Dorothy

I just realized that I have posted here in over a month. Such a bad blogger. I'd use the excuse of being busy in the garden but that would be a lie and you would know it if you were a friend on Facebook. I guess posting there kind of feeds my need to run my mouth online. Thanks for reminding me Steve that I am a miserable excuse for a blogger. I'll try and do a little bit better. Now that the clown show is getting underway for the election I'll have some incentive.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bees and Cucumbers

Too hot to really work in the garden today but the early morning was OK for a little macro photography.
Here is a little nature for you. First there are bees we hope and then there are cucumbers. It's a great system we are trying to destroy.



Monday, May 25, 2015

Milkweed Success

I planted milkweed last year as was very disappointed. I actually though it had died. This spring it came back with a vengeance and I have a very nice stand. The variety is Virginia Silk if my memory serves me and it is just now blooming. The bees are having a go at it. Still haven't seen a Monarch but I have my fingers crossed.

Garden Progress

As you can see from the photo we are making progress. Things are growing and we are beginning to get some produce....peas, arugula, lettuce, radishes and baby carrots. Finally, the crunch is over and I can just maintain. Still want to build three more beds so I won't be constrained as I am now. I have to wait until the peas finish before I can put in the butternut squash and I would like to plant another bed or two of corn. So far so good.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sourdough Whole Wheat

Having a down day today. Its overcast and there are occasional sprinkles so it is good day to take a break from the garden. Everything is planted and growing for now and I finished mulching all the tomatoes, peppers and squash yesterday. Today I am experimenting with making whole wheat sourdough bread and grinding my own wheat. It already smells different during fermentation than dough made with my usual King Arthur whole wheat so it will interesting to taste the difference. It is going to be a little coarser for sure since the grain mill for the Kitchen Aid doesn't grind as fine as commercial flour. I bought 5 pounds each of hard read whole wheat berries, hard white and soft white. The hard red is the first trial.

This is my standard recipe for sourdough whole wheat I'm just using self ground whole wheat instead of storebought.

My standard recipe is as follows:

500 grams whole wheat flour 
100 grams bread flour
400 grams sourdough starter refreshed (I use a 100% hydration starter)
350 grams water
3 tblsp honey
18 Grams kosher salt 1.5 tsp yeast 

I usually make two boules and bake at 425F for 25 minutes in a steamed oven.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just Not Right

Everyone one on the Boston jury was pro-capital punishment so it is not surprising that Tsarnaev got the death penalty.  It was not going to come out any other way.

I guess I never will understand how any rational person can think that killing someone you have in custody makes any moral  or logical sense. Put in its simplest form it is just revenge and not much beyond cold blooded murder. We make a big deal about our legal rituals and all that claptrap but when you get down to the nitty gritty we are still pretty primitive.

As I have said many times here, I don't believe in capitol punishment under any circumstances. Not for this young man or for anyone else. There is not a valid argument for why more death is the right thing to do.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Missed Spring

Struggling here with the early summer weather. We here in the Atlanta area basically went from Winter to Summer overnight. We got no Spring. It's been running into the upper 80's with no real sign it's go to let up. We are supposed to get some much needed rain later in the week which will cause the high to only reach 80 or so which is something I guess.

Working hard in the garden in spite of the heat. Ran out of raised beds with more needing to be planted so I built and filled another yesterday and will do another today. I have room to do three or four more before I start getting into areas that get too much shade for most of the year. I'll have twenty 4'x12' beds when I finish today and that is getting to the point of being too much for an old man to handle all by himself. We'll see.

Not much else going on around here other than gardening right now. Walk Miss Zoey in the mornings and then garden until 4 or so. I've got one more treatment tomorrow for my leg veins and then all the "very close" veins will be collapsed and not so visible and painful.  The doctor will only do one small section at a time so I've been going once a week for what seems like forever. Not too bad except for the fact that you have to wear support stockings for a period after each treatment which means I've been wearing them for a couple of months and boy are they a PITA. They don't make working in the garden in the heat anymore fun either.

Time to get Zoey up and on the walk and then tackle the cinder blocks for another bed. Need someplace to plant butternut squash. I'll probably wait until I harvest the green peas, fava beans and other early stuff before I plant anymore. More beans, pickling cukes and corn need somewhere to go. I have one bed of corn planted (Hopi Blue) but I also have some Bloody Butcher heirloom corn that I would like to try.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Simple Enough Reason to Support Hillary

No I am not going to unreservedly support Hillary but if she turns out to be the nominee then I will support her. I won't agree with her on everything but when you consider the current GOP alternatives she is the Goddess of all that is good.

Jonathan Chait offers five reasons why Hillary Clinton will win the presidency in 2016. But in the end, his sixth reason may be the only one that matters:
The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics.
via Digby