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.

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.