Saturday, October 16, 2010

Seasonal Cold

I woke up this morning with a cold. Not serious yet but a bit of scratchy throat and stuffy head. Let's hope it gets no worse. I had plans for garden work but I am going to chill instead and do a little baking. I gave away one my daily loaves this week...well actually I traded it for a dozen eggs from my friends Kelly and Carmen down the road who have some chickens in the backyard. Good trade. So anyway, I need to bake the daily bread twice this week. I am also going to try to make 'michbrot' again. That's 'mixed bread' in German. Traditionally, Germans have used rye for their breads as rye grows better in the central European climate than wheat so the traditional German bread tends to be mostly rye...sometimes the heavy dark 100% rye or the lighter 'michbrot' which has wheat flour as well. I'm going for a 60% rye/40% wheat sourdough version and in order to make it traditionally, I am starting with a levain. Typically, a levain is a small piece of dough made from another small piece of dough left from the previous bake(a chef). The chef is mixed with a small amount of water and flour and left to ferment for 12 hours or so producing the levain which is then used to leaven the full bread recipe instead of or in addition to baker's yeast. Using a levain increases the flavor of bread immensely as the lactobacillus and various yeasts in it have a chance to produce many more flavor compounds than just baker's yeast alone. The secret to good bread is a long slow ferment. I've got my levain started using my sourdough starter instead of a piece of left over bread dough but the principle is the same.

So I am sniffing and baking today and not gardening which is a shame as it is a brilliant day.

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