Things to make c/discarded sourdough starter?

plllogJune 3, 2014

I've been nurturing two sourdough starters. They were born as one, but after it became stable, I split it and have been gradually transitioning the second one to white flour. The base starter is all home milled hard red winter wheat. Because I'm on the 30 days to maturity plan, I have a lot of discard. I also fed them up to do baking experiments and then reduced them. I finally found the optimal hydration for both to be 80-82%, where I had been following directions and doing 100%, which is too leggy to hold its weight.

This is all part of my learning to bake with whole wheat. I've got my pizza recipe down pat, but that starts with flour and does it's soak post-mixing in the fridge. The experimental breads I've made with the sourdough discard have been good, but heavy, even with added yeast. I'm having trouble finding recipes for this specific thing. They're either for whole wheat, starting from flour, or for white starting from sourdough. My white flour baking experience isn't helping me with the whole wheat, and the conversion ratios I've found, white to wheat, sourdough to flour and water, etc., haven't been doing it. I could up the hydration and the yeast. I plan to do the former, especially as I've reduced it in the starter, but would rather not do the latter.

Any favorite things to do with starter discards that you'd care to share?

We wanted a lighter treat, so I made waffles today. Finally did find a recipe for soaked sourdough that was touted as light and fluffy. :) I didn't follow it, of course, but the waffles did come out light and fluffy. :) I'd make a half recipe (counting by eggs) because it was well more than we needed and it's going to lose its poof in the fridge.

I should mention that I'm something of a waffle snob. I've never managed to make my A#1 favorite, but it's only available about 1000 miles away. The ones I made today aren't that either, but definitely an honorable mention. They were very good.

Light Waffles from Heavy Starter

1.5 c. active discard (top of current jar, still bubbling), half white, half wheat, 90% hydration
3 heaping TBSP active starter (mixed white and wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping TBSP buttermilk powder
2 heaping TBSP malt powder
2 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter

Sprinkle dry over wet wheat.
Add eggs and butter. Stir.
Slightly more than one waffle-ladle for one waffle.

Edit: typo in hydration number.

This post was edited by plllog on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 20:14

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When I feed my starters, I use the excess to make a biga or a levain to use in a batch of bread. I hate throwing it away.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 5:10PM
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Yeah, Ann. I've been trying that, but so far haven't learned enough to get it right.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 2:15PM
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You can spread a cup on a sheet of parchment (laid over a baking sheet) and let it dry at room temp. Crumble it up and store in the pantry or with your baking supplies. You now have starter to share with a friend or a backup in case anything should happen the main one. Both can be a good thing.

I use mine mostly for waffles, pancakes, pizza crust, bread (baguettes or a Farmhouse Sourdough from Beth Hensperger;s Bread Bible) though I have some pretzels from King Arthur's site on my want to try list -- and have seen recipes for cakes, noodles -- lots of possibilities,

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 6:26AM
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Pllog, You only need an extra two ounces to make a biga or levain for your next batch of bread. I always have about six ounces leftover when I feed my starter. I maintain a 12 ounce starter.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:19AM
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Thanks, Ann. It's the bread I haven't gotten right. :) Perhaps I should make a levain with the white starter and make a some white flour bread, but I got into this to learn to make whole wheat, and so far have gotten decent, but not great, breads. Any advice you have will be much appreciated.

Lascatx, do you have any recipes to share? I found one for pizza, which I plan to try today.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Do you have the Forkish book, Flour Water Salt Yeast? There is a pain de campagne recipe that calls for a total of 460 grams of levain. I think I accidentally used some of the discarded-but-not-thrown-away starter for this one and it was great. Am trying to deconstruct in order to calculate hydration and be able to repeat results, but I am not there yet.

Typing on ipad, forgive if messed up.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:28PM
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I fed both my starters yesterday morning before leaving for work. I had been neglecting them for two or three weeks. The one fed with half white and half rye doubled quicker than the one that was fed with just white. So last night I fed the white one again and used 70 gs of the leftover to make a Biga. The starter doubled in less than three hours and I left the Biga on the counter to develop over night.

This is what it looked like this morning at 5:30 am.

I mixed up a batch of dough - 82% hydration and left it in the fridge for a slow rise. Moe will take it out before I get home from work so that it will be ready to work with tonight. At least some of it will be used to make a pizza for dinner.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Such good photos, Ann. Always so instructive!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:12PM
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Wow! Thanks, Ann! For the info as well as the publication worthy photo layout.

My starters are now 3 weeks old, and regularly doubling. The white will more than double if the kitchen is hot. The whole wheat just barely doubles, but it does so reliably. Since I reduced the hydration, neither sinks. If I'm a little late feeding them, I can see them starting to lose their poof, but they don't sink under their own weight anymore. I might be able to increase the hydration on the KA white, but it seems happy so I'm leaving it. And I did my calculations on the computer to make sure my percentages were right. I'm planning to refrigerate them after the fourth week.

I've tried a couple of pizzas with the discard. One was a sourdough pizza recipe and wasn't great. The other was my good pizza recipe adapted for the discard. It was a little over hydrated, but it came out well enough. But not as good as proper pizza.

I think I'm about done trying to use the discard while its bubbling, though I'm going to try Ann's biga, which is very clear. :) I should have time to bake bread by mid-week.

KD, I'm pretty sure I don't have the Forkish book (it's not in my kitchen, but I only have about half of the bread books there). I've tried a similar one from Reinhart with mixed results. If I weren't trying to learn whole wheat and sourdough at the same time, this would be a lot easier. I got into the sourdough thing for the wheat...

So far, the very best thing I've made from the discard is the waffles. :) Those were very good indeed. :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Pllog, I'm just wondering what starter you are making that doesn't need to be refrigerated for at least four weeks?

When I first "grew" the starter, it took less than a week to get it strong enough to bake bread with. And when I feed it, usually on a weekly basis, as soon as it has doubled, usually within about four hours if not sooner, it goes back into the fridge until the next time. My starter was grown from just two ingredients. Organic Rye and spring water. Once it was ready to maintain, I started to feed one starter with just white and the other with sometimes just rye and sometimes half rye half white.

I usually feed it when I want to make bread. Using about two ounces of the excess in a biga, which is left on the counter for six or seven hours to develop. Usually overnight, but sometimes early in the day. Then I can either bake in the evening or just get the dough mixed up and into the fridge for a longer fermentation.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:49AM
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Well, sourdough waffles would be a great thing to have success with, Pllog! I wish you the best of luck with your starter -- I just use it, feed it, let it sit for 24 hours (expands/bubbles) and refrigerate until the next time. I've let it go for a couple of weeks. There may be an "alcohol-like" liquid on the top that I mix in because I like that flavor.

I've linked a recipe below that I use all the time. I can clean up the dishes by the time the biscuits are finished. My picture is for information purposes only and is taken outside because my kitchen is a mess:) I made these with half whole wheat flour which is different than the link -- both are good. I also add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar -- not sure why, but I do:)

I made four batches this past weekend for a couple of growing guys. My daughter likes the "outliers" or leftover pieces that don't make the biscuit cut.

Good luck trying new recipes. I'd enjoy hearing your successes!

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: Grandma's Sourdough Biscuits

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Cathy, thank you for the link. I love the idea of sourdough biscuits. I'm a little confused though by the "one cup of starter".

I use about two ounces of my starter to make a preferment and this is good for up to about 12 cups of flour. The recipe in the link calls for one cup of starter. I'm wondering if their starter is different than mine. I would never put a full cup of my starter in a recipe.

Do you think I could make a biga, and add that to a batch of biscuits?

When I let my starter go for two weeks without feeding it, I end up with "hooch", the liquid that forms on top of the starter. I drain off as much as possible because I don't like the "alcohol" smell or flavour it adds to sourdough.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:37PM
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Hi Ann,

I like old recipes. A lot of my bread books call for brand new starter, but the old recipes all say it takes at least a month to get really good. That's with twice a day feedings. I did start baking with mine after it got reliable. It overgrew during a heatwave when it was a tiny baby, so I spent a little time cooing it back to good health. This is the first time I've been able to make a starter without the flour going moldy before it could start to develop. That's within the first few hours. But I had success at the end of a long, dry heatwave, and have been nurturing it ever since. I can definitely see how it's changing with maturity, though the damp is back, and if I see even a hint of mold trying to start, I'll clean it up (remove surface layer) and put it in the fridge.

The base of my starters is home milled hard red Winter wheat. To preserve the yeasts, I froze it before milling, and continued to use frozen until it stabilized. Now I'm feeding it with the same wheat, but milled hours to a couple of days ago and allowed to get warm in the mill, so there will be fewer new organisms for the established ones to deal with. I didn't know if this would work, but it seems to. I don't have any of that new starter smell. After it was first stable, I fed it up to bake, then as I was reducing, I fed a portion with part unbleached AP white flour, and slowly transitioned it. It's now all white. Both are maintained at 200 g.

I've been discarding both into the same jar for a half whole wheat/half white mix. I used some of that discard to make your biga last night, and made dough this morning using a little dark rye and a lot of AP einkorn, because that's what I had available. I think it might be too wet, but since my starter is 80-82% hydration I just went full on the water. I can adjust while I'm shaping if I need to. It's such a relief to be working with white flour! The dough feels and handles like regular bread dough. :) I'm hoping it'll be some nice rolls and a sandwich loaf. :) One thing I love about these cold rise loaves is that I don't have to worry about getting on with things. :)

Cathy, Thanks so much for the encouragement and the recipe! I've been contemplating biscuits and had no idea where to start. I'm sure this would be excellent with the discard. With both baking powder and baking soda it's not relying much on the sourdough for the rise. I'll definitely give these a try.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:42PM
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I will link below to the best site for use of sourdough starters. There are a LOT of ideas almost all of them very well done. You will have enough recipes and ideas for many years !

As to the quantity of starter used in a formula it varies greatly depending on the type of bread you are trying to achieve and the sourness and acid levels etc. It is a very deep subject and requires months/years of study. There is no one right way. I regularly use 400 grams approx to make 3 / 750 mg loaves. If you look at Wild Yeast Blog and The Fresh Loaf there is a compendium of information. More than you will likely want or need but it is very instructive.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel as far as a successful sourdough bread or pizza or any other recipe. Before launching into developing your own formula you should endeavor to achieve successful loaves many times with the exact tried and true recipe from a reliable source such as Wild Yeast.

All of the above is of course is meant to be instructive and lead to perfect loaves each bake...I have followed my suggestions for the above and have never made anything but perfect sourdough loaves for a number of years. Hope this helps guide you to success also. c

Here is a link that might be useful: sourdough surprises

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Ann, it really is one cup of starter. I had originally bookmarked the link below, but wanted a quicker/less involved recipe. Perhaps, it might provide some additional information? There is also an update at the bottom in the comments. Btw, I'm really not sure how a biga would work with this recipe per se, but if you try something, will you report back?
"Hooch" is the perfect word :)

A couple of notes:

- I use about 1 1/4 cups of flour.
- I don't sift.
- I don't knead, but gather into a ball and place on floured surface.
- I lightly roll/4-fold/flip repeat a few times, until everything looks incorporated.
- I don't twist biscuit cutter.
- I typically get 6 (with odds and ends) and need to bake them longer.
- I make these with kosher/pareve margarine for a dairy allergy kid -- they are good, but I think butter would be superb.

Pllog -- it's a forgiving recipe and easy. Sometimes I just want quick and good that will go with a bowl of minestrone. As an aside, I've gotten over my paralysis by analysis, just bake and imagine my grandmother smiling down at me because I'm not wasting:) I've used starter cold/straight from the refrigerator (leads to denser crumb/flatter) and also active/room temperature (higher rise). I've also doubled the recipe and microwaved my starter a few seconds just to take off the chill (shocking, I know) Always learning, always writing notes.

Trailrunner, thank you for giving TONS of new reading. I just made kaiser rolls the other day using a granny knot. I'm excited to try those rosette buns. Great website.

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: the fresh loaf - sourdough biscuits

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:03PM
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Thanks for the references, Trailrunner! I should say, I'm really not trying to reinvent the wheel. :) I have been following a lot of authoritative directions that told exactly how to do things, but couldn't find any for whole wheat sourdough recipes to fit the discard I have. I'm perfectly fine with making less than perfect things. I can follow a recipe very well, but I want to make what I want to make so would rather make experiments that I can learn from than recipes for things I don't want to make. It's learning to handle the whole wheat that's tripping me up. I know how to make white loaves just fine. :) The blogs look like excellent resources. I do look at The Fresh Loaf, but I get weighed down there.

Cathy, you're a woman after my own heart. :) I was having trouble taking the leap into messing with yeast rising doughs the way I do chemical and egg rising, but the sourdough has definitely gotten me over the hump. I've only ever experienced boughten starter before, and wasn't really in love. Whereas I adore my homemade starter, and call it my pet since it has to be fed twice a day, I have to change and clean its bed, and deal with its waste. :) But I'm sure having fun!

Thanks for the notes on the biscuits too. I think if I were making something that specific, I'd be a little crushed if it wasn't great. Knowing how you do yours will help keep me on the straight and narrow. :) When I do follow a recipe, I really do want to do it right. The first time. :)

So, my Wubby (pronounced like Whoopie with a "b" instead of the "p") had a hooch day too, during that first, difficult week, but I fed him up and he got better. They do say that the hooch comes when the starter is really hungry.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:42PM
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Cute name for your starter.

I try to feed once a week even if I'm not baking. The only time I've had to pour off Hooch is if I let it go more than 8 or 9 days without feeding.

My poor baby doesn't have a name.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:27AM
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I think names just come sometimes, and sometimes they don't. Both the white and whole wheat are Wubby. :) I tried Wubby Jr., but that didn't stick. I think they could be Wubby 1 and Wubby 2, like Thing in The Cat in the Hat but I think they'd play tricks and say, "No, I'm Wubby 2!" I think Wubby 1 (WW) is envious of Wubby 2's (white) gluten and loft. And no matter how much I coo at them, they never come running, not even at supper time...

Thanks, Ann, for the feeding experience. My overall good instructions say feed every two weeks, or even longer, when chilled. I'll keep a close eye on them at when they go in the fridge if they could be hungry at one!

My dough is rising very slowly and the bubbles are all on one side. It's probably too cold. My fridge is a little stuffed and gets, um, frigid when that happens. I think the biga was okay... So I'm going to let it rise on the counter over night. It has plenty of room in the bucket if it gets over enthused, but it shouldn't get too very warm in the kitchen before I'm up. :)

Edit: I meant to ask... In one of my books there's a two stage rise where they expect the first stage to be at 60° F. How are you supposed to achieve that? My house never got that cold even during the Winter I didn't have heat! I was thinking of getting a "beverage center" fridge for a cheese cave, but I don't think they go that high... Is this bread that can only be made in a castle in the Winter?

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 1:26

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Ann, I would make a biga and use a cup of that. I've got books and have seen recipes on the internet that use anything from a liquid starter, a batter starter to a dough starter. They are all variations on how quantity and hydration levels for maintaining starter and I suspect they have evolved from different environments, baking activities and preferences. Common sense and a little experience with dough working will tell you if you are working in the right area or how to shift things.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Thanks Lascatx, this is exactly what I am intending to do. If I can bake bread using just two ounces of my starter to feed a biga and a batch of bread dough, I'm not going to use a full cup of starter to bake a batch of biscuits.

Looking forward to sourdough biscuits. I just hope they look as good as Cathy's.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:46AM
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All of these use a wet starter -- a thick batter consistency, or what looks like Ann's biga. When I started my sourdough, that's what everything I found used, with one book and exception that used two different consistencies.

This is my pizza crust recipe. I created it from a non-sourdough crust someone recommended to me. The note is to a friend who wanted beer in the crust, but I haven't tried it yet.

Sourdough Pizza Crust
for 2 medium/large pizza crusts

Make a sponge using:

1 cup sourdough starter (wet starter or biga)
1/4 cup water (this is where I'd play with the beer idea)
1/2 cup flour

Stir these ingredients together, adjusting the amounts of flour and water if your starter is on the thick of thin side. This is where I usually add any herbs. If you add wheat flour or grains at this point, they will soak up more water and be a little chewier -- you may also need a little more water. It should be a very thick batter, not a dough. Let the sponge sit at room temp for at least an hour, but preferably 4-6 hours. If it goes longer, it will be tangier. This is not an exacting recipe. In fact, when I've increased the water and flour to give myself more dough and/or a longer first proofing.

When ready to make the dough, sprinkle over the sponge

1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional, gives the yeast a boost)
1 - 2 T olive oil (less for a crispier crust, more for a softer crust)

Stir in and add unbleached flour 1/4 cup (usually about 3/4 cup to 1 cup total) at a time until the dough starts to form a ball. Turn out on a floured surface and knead, adding a little more flour if needed (but use as little as possible) about 8-10 min, or until smooth and elastic ( the earlobe and baby's bottom descriptions are good for this dough). Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about an hour (but sourdough is not always as predictable....if your starter may not be as active as you'd like -- it's been sitting too long or something-- or you just need to push the rise a little, add a tsp of dry yeast to the sponge)

Turn the dough out, divide into half or 4-6 pieces for individual pizzas, and pat, roll or toss (taking off your rings if you haven't already -- use your hands in a fist and twist and toss -- really )into the desired shape. If you aren't up to tossing, you can roll or pat on a floured board or on a peel covered lightly with cornmeal, rice flour or whatever you like to use. Brush or spray the crust lightly with olive oil before topping to give a barrier to water in the toppings that might make the crust soggy.

Top and bake the pizza at 450.

This is my go to recipe for weekend mornings. For best results, feed the starter the night before (or create a biga the night before -- you want a fresh bubbly batter consistency).

Sourdough Pancakes or Waffles

2 eggs, separated (if you have leftover egg whites, feel free to add an extra one or two here)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sourdough starter (at room temp -- esp important for the waffles)
2 T sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp water
FOR WAFFLES (omit for pancakes)
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled (can reduce to 4 T)

Combine the egg yolks and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together until they become thickened. Stir in the sourdough starter (you can use the whisk for everything -- it helps keep the batter light when you fold in the egg whites). Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, gradually adding the sugar. Fold into the sourdough mixture. Dissolve the soda in the water and add just before baking. (If making waffles, add the melted butter with the soda and water.) Cook on a griddle or in a waffle iron.

I have played with this recipe and added things to it. It is pretty
versatile, and especially good with pecans. We have added pumpkin puree and spices, a little molasses and spices for gingerbread, mashed banana, chopped apples and cinnamon, even some uncooked malt-o-meal cereal (try 1-2T)l. They've all been really good. The only thing I had a problem with was adding berries in waffles, and that was because they stuck to my old iron (have a new iron now and need to try again). As I said before, the very lightest ones seemed to result from the starter having just been fed and still being out on the counter. If you use less than 4T of butter or oil, the waffles may not get crisp on the outside.

And this is my often shared recipe from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible (great book, BTW) and my variation noted. Because it uses yeast, it is a great way to use starter that might be a bit weak, like that cup you need to dump so you don't wind up with a gallon of starter by the time you bring it back to life and full vigor.

As written, it is a delicious white bread with a buttery flavor that is great eaten fresh or toasted. It's a good one for times when you want bread today since it doesn't go through a sponge or 2-3 day process. It’s also good for using a new starter that may not have the strength to carry a full rise without added yeast. A dependable confidence builder.

Farmstead Sourdough Bread

1-1/2 c warm water, divided
1 T active dry yeast
1 c starter
8 T melted butter (I sub 4T plain yogurt -- still taste the butter but I feel better eating it)
1 T salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c fine cornmeal for sprinkling pans (if desired)

Pour 1/2 c warm water in small bowl and sprinkle yeast and a pinch of the sugar over water. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy - 10 min. (I'll be honest - I've gotten impatient or out of order and wound up dumping everything together and it works just fine as long as you know your yeast is fresh.)

In large bowl, combine 1/c warm water, starter, sugar, melted butter and salt with 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Add yeast and beat another 1 min. Add remaining flour 1/2 c at a time until a soft shaggy dough just clears sides of the bowl. Turn out and knead. Put in greased bowl and turn to coat. Let rise to doubled (1-1/2 hrs).

Gently deflate. Lightly grease 2 9x5 loaf pans and sprinkle with cornmeal. Turn out dough and divide in half. Shape into rectangles an place in pans. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise to 2x (about 1 inch over top of pan -- 1 hr.).

Twenty min before baking, preheat oven to 350. Bake in center of oven about 35-40 min. Cool on racks.

Suggests adding 1 to 2 c raisins or dried blueberries or 1 c granola to dough in step 2.

Sourdough Rye (this is based on Jame's Beard's recipe in Beard on Bread, but deletes the make-your-own-starter-first part)

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup warm water
2 cups rye flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp salt
1 T caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
2 T melted butter
3 T sugar
4 c all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 T water

The day before baking, combine starter, water and rye flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temp overnight. The next day, stir down the starter. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and add to the sponge. Add the salt, seeds and sugar. Add enough of the flour, 1 cup or less at a time, to make a stiff but workable dough. Knead 10-12 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place the dough in a buttered bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk -- about 2 hours.

Punch down and divide the dough in half. Shape into two round loaves and place on buttered baking sheets (or peels) generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool, covered with towels to prevent the crust from hardening.

Sourdough Scones (from The Wooden Spoon Bread Book)
These do have a little tang and are a little different from traditional scones, in case that won't appeal to your audience.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift into a large bowl

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 T sugar

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut into the flour

7 T butter (I have a note that I cut it to 1/3 c)

With a fork, stir into flour mixture

1-1/4 cups sourdough starter

Turn onto a floured surface and toss until no longer sticky. Divide into four parts. Pat each part into a round shape, 1/2 inch thick. Cut each round into 4 equal wedges. Place wedges on a lightly greased or nonstick baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes 16 scones.

I usually brush the tops of my scones with milk and sprinkle them with coarse ground sugar. I have also made these with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar

And this is my go-to for cinnamon rolls -- another recipe that uses both starter and yeast.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups sourdough starter -- at room temperature
5 cups all purpose flour -- approx
1/4 cup melted butter
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (about 4 T sugar and 1-2 tsp cinnamon, depending on taste and strength of your cinnamon)
(raisins, dried cranberries, pecans if desired)
ICING (I don't measure this any more)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the yeast and water in a large mixing bowl, stirring until dissolved. Blend in the sugar, salt and butter. Stir in the sourdough starter and 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Gradually add enough flour to make a soft, workable dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Combine and mix well the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg and butter. Butter 2 baking sheets or use baking parchment.

Divide the dough in half. Roll one half into a rectangle 12x9 inches. Brush with melted butter, leaving about 1/2 inch along one long edge unbuttered. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar and then any additional toppings. Roll from the buttered long edge to the unbuttered side. Seal the seam. Slice into 1-inch rolls and place cut side up on the baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove to wire racks and drizzle with confectioners icing (frosting them seems too sweet for my taste, but if you like them sweeter....)

My notes: I think I have cut the butter in the dough back by 1/2 and gotten good results.

This recipe adapts to a marvelous orange cinnamon roll: Add the grated zest of one orange to the water, yeast, and butter mixture. For the filling, soften 2-4 T butter and stir in the zest of one medium orange. Brush over the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. You can also add orange oil and/or zest to the icing -- I have even made the icing with the leftover butter from the filling. Orange in one place is good -- all three is good -- just depends on how much you prefer.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:27PM
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I should have listened to myself better re my dough based on Ann's recipe being too wet. I'm used to white dough that absorbs water and gets dryer feeling and forgot that these fridge rise doughs (which I've only done with whole wheat before) seem to get wetter (wetter feeling--it's not attracting that much moisture from the air...though perhaps it would have been less so on a dry day). It rose nicely on the counter, but was way too wet, and I couldn't work enough flour in without squishing it. I've decided to just bake it and see what happens. :)

Lascatx, Thanks so much for the recipes!

Do you know the hydration level of the starter you refer to? Most recipes I've seen call for a 100% hydration starter, that is equal weights of flour and water, which is about the same as half the volume of water as flour. Is that what you're using?

Edit: The rolls spread, but are yummy (I told myself I was making sure they were done, but ate a whole one). I overestimated the oven rise on the loaves, so they're a little short, but the visual doneness and the probe agreed (yea!), so I think they're fine. This was the half and half starter discard (not precisely half), and 3:1 AP einkorn to Bob's dark rye. Really pleasant tan color, and nicely sour without being eye-popping. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 16:19

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:37PM
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The directions I started with were 100% hydration, but I don't measure any more -- I just wing the feeding and adjust on the amount of flour added to the dough which I have to do anyway.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 1:23AM
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I mixed up a sourdough biga last night and this morning used half in a batch of sourdough biscuits. The only adjustment I had to make to my regular biscuit recipe was in the amount of cream.

Ready for the oven. Brushed with melted butter.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:26AM
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Oooh! Pretty biscuits!!

Now that I've had my making actual sourdough bread interlude, I have to go back to using up my discard (the bread didn't use up even one feeding's worth). I think I'm going to start with Cathy's buscuits and then work my way through Lascatx's recipes (I think I can manage the hydration--thanks for the clue), but I have a lot of June events, so I just have to hope it keeps...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Oh, Ann! I can almost taste those. What an exceptional outcome for "discarded" sourdough:) I would love to see your recipe.

Pllog said " I've decided to just bake it and see what happens. :) " So glad that they turned out "good". I really am enjoying your reports!

I'm going to grab some blueberries and try some of these scone recipes. After reviewing lascatx' and other links, there are some that are dairy-free too. Of course, I may lose my mojo:)

Here is a sourdough braid that my 19 year foodie son cajoled me into making with him. He is actually the one that was the motivation to make sourdough again. Recipe came from a sourdough cookbook that I used in 1978! He loved it, but also said "That's a lot of work":) And yep, that's him in the background amidst the 15 various bowls of various peculiar foods, waiting to dig into the bread. This is why I take pictures outside:)

Egg Braid

Yield: 2 Braids

1 package active dry yeast
1 Cup warm water
1 Cup sourdough starter
1 Cup all-purpose white flour
1/3 Cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ Cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 ½ Cups all-purpose white flour
2 eggs, beaten

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sourdough starter. Mix in 1 cup flour. Let mixture set for 12 hours or overnight to develop the sponge.

Stir the sponge. Add the sugar, 2 beaten eggs, butter and salt. Mix well. Add 2 ½ cups flour to the sponge. Mix well.

**** ( See Note below) Pour 1 cup flour on kneading surface. Pour sponge mixture on top of the flour. Cover with 1 cup flour. Knead until the flour is worked into dough. Continue adding flour until a stiff dough has formed. Knead dough for 10 minutes or until folds form in it. Place in greased bowl. Grease the top. Cover it. Let rise until doubled in bulk ~ 1 hour. Punch down the dough. Knead for 2 more minutes.

**** (See Note below) Divide dough into 2 equal balls. Divide 1 dough ball again into 3 equal parts. Roll the 8 parts until approximately 12 inches long. Place these 8 strips side-by-side and braid them by folding 1 strip over the other in numerical order. Tuck in the edges. Prepare the second dough ball in the same manner. Place braids on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled ~ about 45 minutes.

Brush braids with 2 beaten eggs. Bake them in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

**** I can guarantee that I didn’t do the 1 cup flour/sponge/1 cup flour deal. Just mixed with my danish dough hook then hand kneaded.
**** My daughter, the master French braider (like can braid her hair without a mirror), shaped these -- I think used either a 4-strand or 5-strand braid?
**** My hand reminds me of a shar-pei:)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:55PM
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Cathy beautiful braided loaves. That is a six strand isn't it? My favourite braid.

I used my regular biscuit recipe and the only change I made was to add half of the sourdough biga. Which was about one cups worth. And then I reduced the cream. I didn't measure so I can't tell you exactly by how much. I never measure when I make biscuits. I just pour in "enough".

I vary this recipe. Sometimes I make it with buttermilk, sometimes cream. Can be adapted by adding ham, cheese, chives, etc....


Here is a link that might be useful: Country Biscuits

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Cathy, those are lovely looking! The lefthand one is probably a five strander. --Edit: I defer to Ann T. with whom I cross posted-- I usually do four, which ends up looking like three, since the fourth is buried. Thanks so much for the recipe! I was contemplating the idea of a sourdough challah, since so many interesting ones are popular (pretzel, vanilla, rosemary, etc.). This will be a great starting point. :) Re the dairy or non-, I've had good luck with zero-transfat vegetable shortening in my very tricky challah recipe. I also have to try the Spectrum cold pressed palm oil shortening. I wasn't so happy with it for pie, but I think it would do better in bread.

My next rolls will probably be based on the wheat pillows from a link on one of those blogs Trailrunner recommended. I'm going to mess with it because I really don't want AP/cracked wheat, but it looks like a good recipe to muck up. :) And who could resist rolls that make good chicken beds?

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 18:27

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:23PM
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The braids are beautiful. I'll have to try that recipe. I've been thinking about trying the Farmehouse Sourdough with the blueberries, but I might roll it out and sprinkle cinnamon sugar and the berries so it is kind of like a cinnamon raisin bread but with blueberries. Sounds like something that would make good toast or French toast and I have berries from picking last weekend.

Most of the recipes I use for sourdough are either dairy free of could be made dairy free if you subbed margarine for butter.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:12AM
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New experiment: I liked the results of Ann's very hydrated recipe, so I decided to try it on my discard jar. I used the 100% hydration whole wheat. The biga I made from fresh active starter and the WW discard was fine. I perhaps should have stuck to that success and switched to flour, but instead, I used up my 100%/WW on the body, filling out the remaining weight with dry home milled WW flour. Knowing that the wet was very sour and exhausted, I also added three heaping TBSPs of fig butter (needed using up). The dough was struggling, though. After awhile, when I checked it and it was hardly bubbling and not rising, it just looked hungry, so I stirred in the rest of the jar of fig butter, propbably another few tablespoons. Almost instant response. It was still a slow rise, but did double. It wasn't as wet as the all dry flour version, but it was still more like a batter than a dough. I divided it into pans as I had before, and patiently waited until they doubled. They sank in the oven. The WW just isn't strong enough to hold the loft, I think. If I do it again, I'll try adding some vital wheat gluten. Even though they sank, the crumb is good, and there are good sized holes. I tried for a crunchy crust, but just got hard. :( Still, it's good bread. :) I used a lot of my discard. And I get to put the starter in the fridge in a day or two and feed it a lot less. :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 2:37PM
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I actually couldn't remember which braid, Ann, but daughter said "Ann is right (pause) can we make her biscuits?" She threw these together, much to the chagrin of my son who had done everything else. I’m making a variation of your biscuits this week. LIFE CHANGING -- DENT/DIMPLE THE TOP OF BISCUITS!!!!

Plllog - First, I’m sorry but I think I’ve been short changing you an “l”. Empathize braiding technique:) I thought of you while I was in the store the other day. I really need to generate some other alternatives to the Fleischmann’s margarine. It’s just easy/lazy for me. Your link made me smile “Alternatively, these might make nice pillows for a backyard chicken’s nesting box…” Ha! Have you tried these yet? Lastly, I appreciate your sharing your results. Any baker can empathize with “they sank in the oven,” and then “still, it’s good bread.” Probably great toast, too.

lascatx - It was fun to watch this dairy-allergy young man, my daughter’s boyfriend, try a biscuit. He took a bite, kept his eyes focused down on the table and I thought “Well, that really is too much baking powder.” Then he looked up and broke into a huge grin. He can eat the rustic breads, ciabattas, etc. He lives in Boston, visits every weekend or so and leaves with bags of biscuits in his travel bag. I made Dairy Free Cornbread this weekend that was surprisingly good. He ate it with Peppery Pinto Beans. As an aside, we have a host of health issues (nut allergy, diabetes, blah, blah, blah) but not being able to use dairy is a game changer. I found I use a lot of cheese. I'm reviewing more of your recipes. All will be home this weekend for half-marathon.

The following recipe is a work-in-progress and ridiculously long. It’s a combination of recipes, but I used my variation in the recipe below.

-All the recipes on this thread are providing a bit of motivation out of a rut. Thank you!
-Pictures will be for information purposes and huge because I don’t know what I’m doing.
- Was going to use this recipe for Blueberry Scones -- reason for 170 grams in recipe. Ended up using it as template because I didn't review properly, and it had cream. Plus, my eyes glaze over when I have to measure grams:)
- I looked at lascatx scone recipe and and used a combination. Used the 1/2 cup sugar:) I’m not sure about the bread flour either. May try with regular next time.
-I always start with a lesser amount of flour. I am glad that I used 2 cups. The dough was still pretty dry, but workable. YMMV.
- I added ½ tsp. of lemon zest and ½ tsp of cinnamon which I couldn’t taste, but my son said he could after I asked him if he could taste it:)
- Wild Yeast recipe used 8-inch cake pan. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate because I couldn’t find my cake pans!!!! Who loses cake pans? Good grief! In any event, to get the scone out, I had to run it under warm water all the while thinking about the exploding Pyrex incidents I’ve read on the internet.
- I’m not sure about the egg wash. Everyone else liked it. Jury is out for me. I’m also wondering if it will help it stay crisp, rather than the wet-top I typically get when storing muffins etc.
-While I’ve been pronouncing scone wrong my whole life, I think the crumb hit the mark and these were not sweet. They were huge.
- Consensus - 9 out of 10. Of course, these are family members’ rating, somewhat biased. They also know that if they don’t “really love” it, they’ll probably never see it again:) I’m taking these into my Dad, who is my best audience and appreciates everything his family does:)
- Son said these are great with Lemon Yogurt.

Work-In-Progress Sourdough Blueberry Scones

2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used 2 Cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon (Could not taste)
1/3 cup cold butter
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (Could not taste)
1 1/4 cups sourdough starter
170 grams blueberries (Future - use 2 cups)

1. Line a 9-inch glass pie plate with lightly-buttered plastic wrap. Sprinkle blueberries over the bottom the pan. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the bread flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon.
3. Cut in cold butter with knife or pastry blender until pieces resemble the size of peas (some larger are fine). Add the lemon zest to starter, add starter to dry ingredients and mix lightly until just barely incorporated. (At this point I would have added the additional ½ cup of flour, if needed).
4. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Work the dough (few folds/flip/rotate) until it comes together -- lightly.
5. Lightly press the dough into the pan so the dough will adhere to the berries.
5. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and freeze overnight, or for at least four hours. I froze overnight.
7. Let thaw for a few minutes. Unmold the frozen scone round. Use a sturdy knife to cut the round into 8 wedges. Obviously, care should be taken for even berry distribution.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:43AM
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For goodness sakes -- sorry.

7. Transfer the scones to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them stand until slightly thawed, about 30 minutes, preheating oven to 400F after initial 15 minutes.
9. Make an egg wash by beating the egg together with a splash of water and just before baking brush the tops and sides of scones lightly with egg wash.
10. Add any additional blueberries if there are areas that need some.
11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the scones are set and lightly browned.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:46AM
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Cathy, those look scrumptious, and I don't even care much for scones! On the braiding technique, the four braid is actually the secret to making a beautiful three braid without a base. Try it. :) It's a great trick. :) And don't worry about the "L's". I don't really care for the "i's" that people give me, assuming there must be a vowel, but it's not big deal and I only say something when it's in an ongoing conversation, and I give stars to the people who figure out which one is really a "1". :) Two "L's" is nothing. I only signed up to ask a question about French tops on ranges, but by the time I figured out that it wasn't the most useful screenname, it was too well established to change. :)

Re the Fleischman's thing, I haven't looked for awhile--they might have brought back a baking margarine--but when they changed the formula, I changed to butter, even though I don't like the texture as well. I'm used to a much firmer crumb, and butter seems wimpy! My brother figured out that the secret can be found in the Calorie count. If it says "100" then the margarine will bake well. Land o' Lakes and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter both make 100 Calorie per serving baking sticks. I've always disliked the dairy free kosher margarines, but someone here recently recommened Earth Balance and I hadn't tried them for years. I looked the other day, and beside the 80 Calorie no-go, they have a bunch of different ones. I picked up the "Soy Free Great for Baking Buttery Sticks" non-GMO, Vegan, Omega-3, 0g trans fat, non-hydrogenated espeller-pressed.100 Calorie per serving. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

The chicken pillows thing came from something Bob_cville said in another thread, then me finding that roll recipe that said the same. :) I do intend to try them, but have been more interested in using up my discards before they go bad. :) Just another few days until I can chill down the wubbies. i bought them these cute little Libbey jars:

It's not that I'm not thrifty. I have more jars than I know what to do with, and one doesn't want a tight seal on the starter anyway lest a build up of gas go kaflouey, but I like these because they're distinctive and hard to knock over. I'm going to try using the rest of the box of them for pizza dough balls because I'm tired of throwing away sandwich bags.

Re the sunk bread, it turns out that it's much figgier than I would have thought given the small ratio of fig butter to flour. I figured it would be like using honey and just be a sugar, but it's very present. It's all very dark and yummy, if heavy. :)

I don't know why I'm surprised. I just forgot everything I knew about what I was doing when I made this up. The Organic Hard Red Winter Wheat that I've been using for the starter is known to me to have brittle gluten, which is probably broken further by the bran. I wasn't happy with it when I was using it for pizza, and ended up finding some great 14% protein Spring wheat for that. All my remaining discard is half white flour, though, and I know to use something stronger for the flour component on my next attempt to use it up in bread. When it's gone, I'll start feeding my whole wheat starter something with more protein, but it doesn't really matter for that, since in normal baking one doesn't use that much starter.

BTW, do any of you have thoughts on the flour you're feeding your starter? I bought a new bag of King Arthur unbleached AP for my white starter, and it's very soupy and gluey! I've reduced the hydration to 70% and it's still kind of awful. I mean, I know there isn't much difference between starter and library paste, but I'm thinking my previous bag of flour was drier or something? I suppose it could be the air. I try to sleep when it's damp out, so might have missed a lot of the humidity..

I think I'll go make pie and stop worrying about it for awhile...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:14PM
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I don't care for scones either, Plllog, but I do like pie:) I hope yours was delicious!

Re the Fleischmann's -- I'm going to start to investigate a bit more based on your and your brother's findings (what a great brother!), particularly the 100 calorie count. Let us know how the "Soy Free Great for Baking Buttery Sticks" Wow! those sound a winner.

I love those Libbey jars! I just bought some Ball canning pint jars/plastic lids for sending soup back with my son -- it just looks more appealing than tupperware, doesn't it?

You know, your description of your very figgy tasting bread really sounds quite good -- I can imagine that with a skim of good butter.

Re the starter. I know that there are so many more accomplished bakers than me on this forum that could probably give you more sage/helpful advice. That said, I started this starter about two years ago and have just used King Arthur unbleached AP flour. Quite simply, I replace whatever I've used at a 1:1 ratio, vigorously whisk, let sit for 12+ hours and refrigerate. I've probably let it go for 3 weeks without using or feeding -- just stirring occasionally. I also stir in the "hooch" or separated liquid on top. In other words, I've neglected it, don't know what I'm doing and broken a ton of rules. I'm wondering if there was something different with your flour. I hope others will weigh in.

Cathy in SWPA (who used to frequent the Bird Watching Forum where location was important:)

PS I promise this will be my last picture. I took this picture after reading your description of "library paste." This is my starter sitting out ~ 4 hours after feeding -- consistency is really like a medium thick pancake batter and seems "aerated." Note the stunning Tupperware:)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:40AM
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Cathy, I love scones. And Blueberry scones are a favourite. Love how generous you were with the blueberries.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Thanks, Cathy! I love your pictures! I'm terrible at taking pictures. I didn't take one of the pie. It was a bit of a mess, anyway. It was for my father for Father's Day. Fresh cherry because I couldn't find any tart ones. Probably too early for them, and they're very rare around here, but there's a big cherry crop and the price was pie worthy. :) I had a recipe for fresh cherry pie, so went for it. My pastry melted while I was rolling it, however! And I started with frozen butter! So it was all kind of patched together.

The figgy bread is a bit too sour with just butter. I mean, it's okay, but would be a better complement to butter if it were sweeter. I did look at it differently, yesterday, however. Instead of a fallen loaf, I decided it was a big roll, and cut off a section, like one might a baguette, split horizontally, and made a sandwich with barbecue chicken, baby spinach, and chipotle mayo. The sweet/sourdough figginess was an excellent foil for the spiciness and it was a pretty great sandwich. :) Yep. That's me in my kitchen. :) A daily game of Chopped. :)

I was trying to take pictures as I fed the starters and realized I had a fallacy. I had embarked with discard to 100 grams, add 50 grams water/50 grams flour. When I reduced the hydration, I kept the same formula and just reduced the water and it worked fine. I figured it was the food to organism ratio that was important. It was wonderfully stable until the new sack of flour. I even did a couple of feedings with whatever I had on hand because I couldn't get to the store in time, and it was fine. If reducing the water to 70% doesn't work, I'm going to try increasing the discard.

My white is gloopier than my whole wheat, but when just fed, they're both doughy. Quite a bit thicker than the sourdough bread dough I've been making from Ann's recipe. :) At the end of their feeding cycle, for the last couple of weeks before the new bag of flour, they'd stay at their peak for a good eight hours. The white has started to sink, but some of that is from overgrowth (past double). At the peak, they're very spongelike with big holes. Since the new flour, the white, while having some of that structure, is more the consistency of heavy sour cream.

Mine is supposed to be a medium-stiff starter. I don't want a rocklike one, like my mother's. Hers lasts a long time dormant, but it's a pain to feed up. I don't want a liquid one either. I use a little scraper, rather than a whisk, to stir, but put the water in first to get all the remaining starter well distributed. It seems to be working so far, though I've only made the one batch of normal bread (the einkorn/rye sourdough from Ann's recipe). The rest has been trying to use up discard. The waffle recipe is a keeper, and works very well halved.

From what I've learned, hooch is a definite sign that the starter is hungry. No issues with stirring it in, but you should probably feed while you're doing it, or shortly after. The month long development has taught me a lot about maintaining the health of the starter besides establishing it well (though the latter is in question until I get this new flour sorted out). That's what led me to look at my non-rising figgy dough and think, "It's hungry!" and feed it more sugar, which totally worked. It just looked hungry!

I hope the Libbey jars will work with the starter. My thought is to put them in the fridge with silicone flower covers for a day before putting the tops on, since those fit pretty tightly. Let them gas out first. I could take the silicone gaskets off, but I figure they'll help keep fridge smells out. At least without a screw or bail, they should pop up if forced, rather than the jar breaking. I have the same jars an order of magnitude bigger and really love them. I use plastic canisters with pressure seals (Click Clack or OXO Pop) for dry goods, but like the glass for wet things. I also got some French "working glasses" (heavy beakers with plastic lids) for juices and things, and they're fantastic, and some Anchor stacking cubes for in between stuff.

I bet your jars make the soup your son takes away seem special. My mother used to give me the containers she least cared to see again, not because I wouldn't bring them back, but for the timing. Nice canning jars would definitely have elevated the experience, though mom's good cooking when taking the time to make a sandwich seems like a chore, is wonderful no matter how it's put up. :)

JC in SoCal, where I hear many more birds than I see...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 3:46PM
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I made some cookies with the Earth Balance. I can't give a really great report since it's been so long since I baked with margarine, but the results are good. There's none of that chemical, who-are-you-trying-to-fool--It's-Crisco kind of taste that the old time parve margarines had (this does have an OU parve hecksher, btw). In fact, I was lured into licking the beater, which I really don't usually do!

The recipe is a bit weird (not a keeper) but it made up fine. It's from the same family as Toll House. It seemed stiff when I was creaming it, but by the time the eggs were in it fluffed up. The dough got a little gloppy, but I think that was from the amount of moisture, not the margarine. It also came out a weird color, but, again, I don't think that was the margarine. I did test a baked cookie. It tastes good, but really only tastes of sugar. It's white chips and fresh cherries, and has almond extract, and all I taste is sugar. I'm hoping that the flavor cures or something. But the cookies spread and puffed up the way they were supposed to, and they caramelized well. Nothing weird about the margarine taste, and the crumb seems normal. The rest of the cookie is not-so-great recipe, but I can't find anything to complain of in the margarine.

I don't know how it would do in shortbread, where butteriness is kind of the point, but I wouldn't hesitate to use this in a cake or bread, or any cookie that isn't supposed to be mouth-melty. At some point I'm going to have to try it with a known recipe.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:38AM
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Ohhhh, this is a yummy-good thread!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:19AM
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Ann, I like your thinking re: berry distribution:)

Plllog -- loved your post. I'm sure that your pie was outstanding; more importantly, making it for your father on his special day trumps appearance anytime! BTW, your "figgy" barbecued chicken sandwich sounds ... wow! Really intriguing flavor combination --- you would not have been "chopped":).

I think I could just sit in your kitchen and chat about sourdough. I wouldn't even need coffee. Actually, I think my son, the budding chemical engineer, would be listening spellbound. He was the motivation for me to revisit sourdough because of the science, reactions, etc. He said in a school paper "Little did I know that my culinary curiosities would ultimately be the catalyst that ignited my fascination with all things chemical." HA! He also would have wolfed down your barbecued chicken sandwich on your "figgy" roll. I'm not kidding. As an aside, yes to your statement "Nice canning jars would definitely have elevated the experience, though mom's good cooking when taking the time to make a sandwich seems like a chore, is wonderful no matter how it's put up. " :0 He lives in a dorm with fridge and micro, walks around 4 to 6 miles to work in a research lab and takes an on-line class in the evening. He is very appreciative of quick home cooked. I did have an initial panicked text to him about the potential of thermal shock though:)

Keep apprised of how the Libbey jars work. My sourdough escapes and goes everywhere when in a jar. By the way, I'm one of those soap cilantro people, but I love the smell of that "hooch!"

Last thing, you inspired me to buy the Earth Balance Soy Free (everthing free) this morning. After I bought it, I thought I bet they make baking sticks and that's what you used. Oh well, I'll consider it an "experiment."

Enjoyed your post. I may try Ann's biscuits without the cream this weekend for the crew -- we shall see:)

Cathy in SWPA (who thinks birding by ear is the best!)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:38AM
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I fed my starters again yesterday and used two ounces of the excess to make another biga.

The Biga doubled in just five hours so late afternoon I mixed up a batch of sourdough using 1000 g flour, 500 g biga and 750 g water.

Baked eight mini baguettes. Took the last four out of the oven at 10:30 pm.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Beautiful, Ann!! Thanks for the pictures.

My biga looks about the same, but something is different. I know my dough has been too wet, though the whole wheat, all starter discard one (the figgy bread) was better than the einkorn and rye one. Once I've gotten the starters put to bed--probably tonight, actually, so I can clear down my work area for a pizza party--and I get the excess discard quantity down, I'll try it with bread flour. :) Before then, I'll try an all discard from my mixed jar, and maybe barley malt instead of jam. :)

Cathy, I'd love to have you here to chat about sourdough! I could even scare up some coffee. :) The thing about the pie is that when I'm making pie just to make pie, it's always fine. :) Of course, if I weren't trying to get it in on Father's Day, I would have done it in the cooler, damper evening, and it would have been fine... But I don't think he cared that it was lumpy and cracked. :)

Re the smell of hooch, I'm not surprised. It's yeasty, floury, alcohol! It's that bakery smell. Re cilantro, I'm one of the weird ones. I don't care for it, but I can tolerate it and get past it. Most people are either love or spit it out. It's supposed to be a particular enzyme, though some say it's genetic and tied to olfactory and taste receptors. My father's a hater. I'm guessing I just was exposed to so much as a kid in Southern California, eating Mexican food, that I got used to it. Same with cumin. I don't actually like cumin, though when it's in a blend it's fine and necessary. Mexican or Indian without it would be wrong but there are some heavy on the cumin Indian dishes that just taste like sand to me. I'm also not allergic to either, and things that I'm seriously allergic to taste really really awful, spit that out now, like coconut, so maybe that accounts for the tolerance as well. :) As in, it tastes weird but it's not poisonous. :) But sourdough hooch? Who, who isn't GF at least, wouldn't love the smell of that?

Yes, it was the baking sticks. If you got the tub, it's probably not the right formulation for baking. Usually tub margarines have more oil to make them spread more. Wait. Okay, I checked the nutrition tags, and they have the same proportion of fat, but different composition. Might work. :)

BTW, the package of baking sticks that I got was salted (I didn't see one that wasn't), so I did the standard quarter teaspoon of salt per stick reduction in the recipe, and that worked out fine.

I've been using one of the giant Libbey jars for discard, and the only time it escaped was when it was almost full, on the counter, on a warm day. :) That's why the cling wrap cover. It's never overflowed in the fridge. By volume numbers, the little ones are larger than my starter at peak, so I think I'm okay. My instructions also say to refrigerate right after feeding. I infer that's so the organisms have something to eat in hibernation. :) So, there will be plenty of room for them to grow. I begin to have an inkling as to why people buy tchotchkes for their pets. :) I love my wubbies so they deserve better than old jam jars... (Except that the point was in not having a screw top lid, so it is practical...)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:26PM
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I woke up with a headache. I couldn't bear the idea of milling more wheat. I used some of my wubby flour for the pizza dough because I was a few grams short. So I decided it was time to put it in the fridge already. :) I filled out my 50 grams with a little KA whole wheat. Wubby likes commercial flour. Less competition. :) And I can wash the wubby food canister and put something else in it. :)

I even took pictures! I took their hats off and covered with film because of the gassing out issue, but I had to put them on to label them, because I was too disorganized to do so before filling. They look so cute with their hats on!

BTW, another nice thing about glass is that it's easy to label with a sharpie. Water/condensation/drips don't touch it, and it comes right off with Two Buck Chuck (or any other dregs that are lying about, but Two Buck Chuck is cheaper than rubbing alcohol even though it's not $1.99 anymore. $2.49, I think...).

Following is a picture of the little Libbey jar and the daddy. :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 3:46PM
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So after marathon cooking and festivities, I guess I wanted comfort food. I would have made leftovers sandwiches, but no bread. Waffles sounded better than defrosting a loaf, but I just made my starters dormant, and divided up the fresh discard into the old jars. I thought about it really hard, tried to channel Grainlady's good science, and decided that it's the baking soda that really gives them their loft. I thought the old starter discard, which still has some bubbles, but is pretty well discharged, should be acid enough, and the buttermilk powder might be as well. I used two cups of the discard rather than any active starter.

I'm happy to report that it worked well, and the batter puffed up before I could finish stirring. The batter tasted particularly and unpleasantly sour, but when cooked the waffles were sweet with just a hint of a tang. All wonderfully light and airy. I'm glad I bothered, even though I'm still cleaning from the party. :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Experiment #2: The figgy bread wasn't perfect but it wasn't a dud either, so I decided the discard bread was worth another try. The old starter in the jar was just beginning to think of throwing hooch, and so was Wubby #1, though it was only about five days. Both starters were nice and bubbly and well risen in their jars, however, and hadn't sunk, so I thought I'd give it a try without feeding it up first.

I used the whole wheat #1 as the starter in the biga, but used my freshly milled high protein red Spring wheat with it. That would help along the weaker Winter wheat in the starter, and feed it. The biga looked good this morning so I think it was fine.

Then I used the mixed Winter wheat and AP starter from the jar for the flour and water up to the amount of water(*see below), figuring if I had to reduce hydration to keep it from being leggy, that it would be silly to increase it now and get soupy dough. I filled out the flour weight with the last of the milled Winter wheat flour I made for the biga and feeding the starter, the end of my einkorn flour, and some white AP, in about equal quantities. I put in a scoop of barley malt for sugar, since it was already in my work area and I was too sleepy to go looking for something else, and a double pinch of yeast just in case. It seemed less soupy, and I kneaded it by hand. It made a nice dough ball.

*I really was too sleepy. My mother taught me to make up my dough as soon as my eyes were open. Literally. But this required more thought than making well known recipes. I was supposed to double the amount of the discard to be both the flour measure and the water measure. It's rising nicely on the counter. I'm going to bake it as is. I'm scared if I try to amend it, it'll degas and die. I don't need more bread. It's just going to be salty.

Update: after the first bubbly excitement, my dough went dormant, like the last one. It was still cool from the flour/water having been in the fridge. Note to self: bring discard up to room temp. Anyway, the salt was worrying me, so I got the courage to fix my quantities. I also added half a scoop of white table sugar, based on the hunger from last time. This is the sticky wet gloopy mess I remembered! I figured tough was better than not stretched, so I kneaded the new into the old, such as it was. I did it in a bowl. There's no way to work this stuff flat. It didn't make a ball, but was less battery by the end than before. That might also because the new flour/water was right out of the fridge, or my poor dry hands might have pulled water out of it. We'll see what happens! I hope it's doubled before bedtime!

This post was edited by plllog on Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 16:12

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 2:51PM
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I love scones but have never used Cathy's method -- using the cake pan, freezing the dough or having the berries on top. I have always had them mostly in the dough, but that looks so appealing after they are baked. Will have to try it since DH and I picked 22 lbs of blueberries yesterday. The blueberries are wonderful and plentiful this year.

Ann, your loaves are so inviting!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Ann -- "Baked eight mini baguettes. Took the last four out of the oven at 10:30 pm." Now that's respecting the craft! They look phenomenal, and I bet they tasted it as well. They would have disappeared in minutes in our house -- not kidding. Was going to make your biscuits this weekend, but had very minimal success with new recipes. Need to regain some confidence.

Plllog -- LOVE the libbey jars and also your report on the waffles. Your description "sweet with a bit of tang" is how I like them. Crossing my fingers for your next experiment.

lascatx -- 22 lbs!!!!!! I really cannot begin to imagine. No, really. I'll be interested to hear what you will do with them. If you use the cake pan idea, don't be like me and add too many or really ripe blueberries. See "goo" reference below:)

Humbling Weekend Baking:

(Digress) Daughter wanted some blogger healthy granola bars -- Fail. My fault. I knew it when I was "patting" it in the pan and it was decidedly banana wet:) Grade - still sitting on kitchen table.

(Digress) Daughter tried baking healthy banana blueberry muffins - Medium fail. Grade - most still sitting on counter half marathon run and three hungry guys.

Me - decided to try the wildyeastblog -- Epic fail. Liked the idea of whole wheat/oatmeal but dough was wet, blueberries very ripe, couldn't remedy, and I created a scone with a "goo" top:) Grade - pitched.

Me - went back to blueberry scone recipe posted -- Good (with two errors) Blueberries were very ripe, I added too many and verged on that too moist top. I also upped the lemon zest and cinnamon. Grade -- they are gone, with the last one being cut, toasted and put over ice cream:)

Enjoying everyone's reports!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 8:15AM
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Oh, Cathy, so sorry to hear about the fails! I often find blog recipes to be better than book recipes because they're made by real people in real kitchens without the unnamed step that the writer forgot is a pro trick others don't know. So sad when it doesn't turn out! But where you say "medium fail", I say bread pudding!!! The best bread pudding comes from all the stuff that wasn't really great eating...

So, yesterday's dough was only half risen and starting to look hungry at 9:30 p.m. I decide to risk a stir and added a small scoop each of barley malt and sugar. Only to the middle, though, so as not to lose all the gas. It recovered it's height pretty fast, and I put it in the fridge. I can deal with taking the bread out at 10:30, like Ann, but not putting it in past midnight. This morning it smells very yeasty, but not hoochy, and, while the bubble development on the sides looks quite good, the height is exactly the same. While I was kind of hoping it would be ready to bake this morning, I didn't expect it. My fridge seems to be just too cold for that. The small fridge would be better, but my dough bucket wouldn't fit, and my smaller container isn't big enough. So it's on the counter again, and I'm hoping it'll be ready to form when I've done with my day's work.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Nice to see this thread continue.

Plllog, Love your little jars.

Cathy, I keep coming back to look at your scones.

I fed my two starters this morning. They had not been fed since last Monday.

Fed at 9:00 AM and by 11:30AM the one fed with rye had doubled and the one fed with just white was just a little bit behind.

With the excess I made a rye biga and a white biga.

This is the rye biga. It had doubled by 1:30. (4 1/2 hours). The white took another hour.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Oooh! Ann, those look good! I hope you're going to share what you make with them. :)

I'm being patient! I promise! The dough is looking good and bubbly. It smells very winey, but doesn't have that hungry look so I'm leaving it alone. And being patient. The higher little spot of masking tape is from three hours ago. It's risen a quarter inch since then. It started--lower tape--at almost exactly the 2 qt. line. People used to look agog at me when I told them about the double rise challah, but that takes constant monitoring. Thank heavens this is so slow that I can leave the house with impunity. :) I'm hoping it'll be bread some time or other... :) (Please forgive the I Spy game in the background. It looks messier than it is. :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:20PM
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How much starter do you plan on brewing? Most recipes I have use a half cup to a cup. I sometimes use two cups at a time for waffles, and would have to double it for a crowd, but you're well past that already. Can't imagine having a gallon of it all at once.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:41PM
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LOL!! No, Lascatx! That's DOUGH. Ann's is starter and a biga (beginning of dough). Mine is just dough. :) It will be bread as soon as it rises fully. It's made out of starter discards in for some of the flour and water, and some sugar for the yeast to feed on, since the starter is played out.

But that was then. Just now, perhaps because the a/c came on, but more likely because it was hungry, it had receded to the 1:00 p.m. height (upper tape line). And it smelled really hoochy. I should have fed it when that top layer didn't have bubbles... So I added a lot of sugar and a spoon of yeast, and gave a few quick turns with the dough whisk. It's no lower than it was this morning, so I only let half the air out. If the yeast doesn't fluff it up by tonight, I swear it's going to be flatbread!

And the rest of the discard is going to be waffles. The waffles are good and rise by soda. :)

I thought the bread would work because the gluten should be good.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Lascatx Is your question for me?

I keep two 12 ounces fed sourdough starters in the fridge. I feed them both once a week. Feeding consists of taking six ounces of starter and feeding it with 3 ounces of flour and three ounces of spring water. The leftover starter can be discarded or used to make a preferment. I feed two ounces of the leftover with 1 1/2 cups of flour and one cup of water. (230 g flour, 230 g water). Then the preferment is added to 1000 g of flour, 720 to 820 g water and salt.

I've never used more than 2 ounces of sourdough starter to make the Biga (preferment.)

I made two batches of dough. One sourdough rye and the other sourdough white. The white is in the fridge for a longer fermentation and I baked four loaves of rye.

Just out of the oven.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Sigh. Gorgeous.

My dough is much happier now. It's at least 2/3 of the way up, and smells much better. I really don't want to put it in the fridge, but I don't know how long I can stay awake. There's no time for baking again until Thursday, and it'll get hungry again before that... So either it rises in the next hour or so, or it's going to be whatever. It's very soft again, so maybe if I just kind of pour it into pans.... Sigh.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:35AM
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Plllog, can a person actually root for a loaf of bread? HA! I am anticipating a great report from you. Hope the timing worked out. Most importantly, I love your counter.

Humbling baking experiences/creative opportunities:) I'm putting your bread pudding idea in the rotation .... A) cause it's a first-rate idea and B) just in case:) The ice cream worked well too.

Ann, you never fail to impress. It's descriptions and pictures like yours that inspire; particularly after some my epic misses:) I appreciate the detail and enjoyed your method post.

One last digression -- have you ever noticed that you simply cannot swat a fruit fly? I covered my starter with some plastic wrap after feeding it because one was hovering like helicopter above it. A couple of hours later, my son, master of the understatement, came and said "You may want to take a look at your starter." Not that we were allowed to eat it, but remember Jiffy Pop Popcorn? Sourdough is fun stuff:)

Cathy in SWPA -- who needs to use up some more starter.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:13AM
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My starter has never looked like that. What did you do?!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Cathy, now that is one very active starter.

Sliced the Rye this morning for toast. Crumb.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:24PM
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Thank-you, Cathy, for rooting for the bread. Also for the kind words about my untidy counter. :) That cloud of bubbles? That's what it looks like anyway. That's amazing! We were allowed to have Jiffy Pop (which your cloud does look like in its wrapper), I think because of the science lesson that went with it. It's probably improved a lot, but in my childhood it wasn't very good popcorn. You weren't missing much. :)

Mixed results: I did succeed in making the same bread as I did with the einkorn and rye (don't ask when--I'd given up looking at the clock). It's not as yummy though, which I think is because of the play of the red wheat against the sourness. People had been encouraging me to try putting the pans--still too soupy to shape proper loaves--right on the pizza stone. That jibed with me not really wanting to deal with removing the stone at that time of night, since I'd forgotten to do so before. What that did is dry out the edges a little and overcook the bottom of the flatbread. The crust on the loaves was fine, though not crunchy. The flat, which I tested still hot, seemed very sour, though the end of the loaf this morning did seem to have some sweetness. I went for the baking when the rise seemed played out, so I think most of the sugar got eaten, but perhaps there are spots where it's a bit sweeter. The crumb is similar to the einkorn rye--nice, small bubbles, and moist.

I think that's it for me on this recipe. It did prove to me that I can bake with the discharged starter, but now that I've gotten rid of so much of it, I'm going to stick to the waffles for the rest, as planned. Let it do something it does well. :) And it seems to keep fine. I can always feed it a little flour if it goes hoochy. :)

OTOH, I got some whole einkorn berries to try. And I really liked the feel of this batch before I put the rest of the starter in. I think that gives me an idea of the hydration I need to make it work, which is easy enough to do with proper, dry, flour. :) So that might be the next experiment. Proper bread! Who woulda thunk? Feed up the starter and everything. :)

Ann, thank-you for the inspiring pictures!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:50PM
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YOWZA!!! Context matters so much!!! While I had been dreaming of a beautiful, opentextured loaf, like Ann's, so was disappointed in the dry end, I undervalued the yumminess of the current bread. The middle is very moist, and since I wrapped it, the far end and edges seem to have rehydrated. :) In fact, the dry may have come from sitting out cooling too long...

Waiting for a meeting, and time to grab something quick, means another episode of Chopped in my kitchen. :) OMG!!! SOOOOOooooo good! Cut thick, topped with a generous amount of sweet, fluffy (just fluffy, not whipped) cream and thick sliced roma tomatoes, it's divine! The sourness is a necessary foil for the sweetened cream, the acid of the tomatoes cuts the fat, and the hint of a topnote of sweet in the bread marries with both. The ingredients came as is from containers from the fridge, I promise. I could never have invented this out of nothing. SO good!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:15PM
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Aw, Ann. That bread looks so incredibly good. I so appreciate an open crumb -- it is an element that I'm working on. How long do you wait before cutting? Not to segue out of sourdough, but I tried a few no-knead ciabattas with results leaving room for improvement: one element that eluded was the open crumb. It had good spring, the crew ate it, it looked good, but the crumb was too moist/dense for me. I knew I shouldn't, but I put my thermopen in one loaf and IIRC steam came out. I do know that a few "second day" cut pieces looked like they had a sheen -- like they were shellacked. HA! Oh well, for another day.

Plllog, I am so glad that you all of your work/time/energy culminated into a great loaf of bread. Whew! As I was reading your second to last post, I was thinking I hope she made another sandwich:) The "acid cuts the fat" is one of my favorite combinations. Enjoy each and every crumb. PS. that Jiffy pop may not taste good, but did it look fun!

Kitchendetective, your post literally made me laugh. I can hear you saying it:) Out of all of these accomplished/skilled bakers on this thread, I'm the one that really has no idea what I'm doing. That is our starter after using/feeding about five cups over the weekend (see failures above plus three recipes of biscuits) Probably too much starter, too small container, warm house and plastic wrap were some contributing elements. It's settled now, but cleaning dried sourdough is not good.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:05AM
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Cathy, I don't slice until the bread is cool. Although that is easier to do when I don't take the loaves out of the oven until late and Moe is already in bed and not asking for a slice of warm bread.

You probably know, that the sheen is desirable. One of the things they look for when judging sourdoughs.

I've now incorporated Ken Forkish's folding method. I do it at least twice while the dough is rising. That seems to help create more holes.


Here is a link that might be useful: Judging Sourdough bread

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:56AM
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"Moe is already in bed and not asking for a slice of warm bread. " HA! Timing is everything, Ann.

Your so gracious -- No, I did not know that the sheen is desirable. For goodness sakes, I made probably an additional three loaves before throwing in the towel trying to get rid of the " shiny internal surface" and crumbs' "facet of the reflection and capture of light." That is it -- my "shellac" description!

I'm off to review the Forkish videos again. The stretch and fold method looks encouraging and intriguing. May have to give this another whirl.

Thank you for sharing your experience/knowledge!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Within the last couple of months, I've read a ton about what makes for a good, open texture like Ann's and have forgotten most of it. The underlying action is that the gluten breaks between smaller bubbles making bigger ones. I just forget how it was said to achieve that.

I should say that while I was dreaming of the big holes on this last batch, because they seemed to be there in the risen dough, and I really did pour rather than shape it into the pans, it did let out a lot of gas, and I think the pan rise just didn't have that texture.

I still haven't fed the white starter. It seems fine. But I think, maybe, it's going to make biscuits sooner than later. :) "But I have to make biscuits! I have to feed my starter!" :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:46PM
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Cahty, you have been making perfect loaves and didn't know it.

I took the batch of white sourdough out of the fridge that had been in there since Monday. Baked seven baguettes.

I also kneaded up a batch of dough for bagels. I promised Matt I would make him some before he went home tomorrow. Some topped with sesame seeds and some caramelized onion and cheddar bagels.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:25PM
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Plllog, it is always time for biscuits:)

Aw, Ann. That is quite a testimony to your skill and, importantly, being a mom! I bet Matt was absolutely thrilled and appreciated every bite. The bread looks stunning (and I bet has a great sheen:), and those bagels really look exceptional. And caramelized onion too? Did you boil with baking soda?? Looks like it:)

Two things are prompting my next attempt.
First, son (staying in dorms, dorm refrigerator, microwave, yada) called yesterday and said "Want to hear something good?" I thought he had was going to tell me something broke open with his research at the cancer center. He said "So, I walked home last night from work, got out a Ritz cracker, spread some Laughing Cow Swiss on it and sprinkled it with a couple of Craisins" (pause) "Best snack ever." He called it "Workingman's Brie".

Second, I'm not going into great detail, but I can't have Wheat Thins anywhere around me because I eat them like popcorn all day long and before I know it the family size has been consumed by one person, me.

Which leads to -- Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers. They're mixed up and are supposed to sit for at least 7 hours. Will report back success, needs tweaking, or fail (epic fail will be denoted also, if need be:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:32AM
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Cathy, no, just sugar in the water.

I'm pretty sure that my son would love your son's Workingman's Brie.

Looking forward to your follow up post on the Crackers. Pictures please.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:47AM
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Very interesting re: sugar with the bagels, Ann. That's new to me.

I just googled sourdough crackers and below was the first link. Just an FYI, there is some life philosophy on the page with some intriguing cooking/baking/nutritional comments and info.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers -- Grade: B+. Will definitely make again.

Baking notes:

-- Used unsalted butter. (We are the only people I know who "lose" coconut oil -- no lie. It's somewhere in my house.) I did not have lard from pastured pork.
-- Used starter cold from fridge.
-- Really went against the way I bake to add butter to sourdough, but I did it.
-- I needed almost the 1 whole cup of WW flour, added in 1/4 cup increments, in the initial mix.
-- After 7 hours used some additional WW flour because the dough had expanded/significantly wetter. I kneaded a bit.
-- Rolled ~ 1/4 cup and froze/ziplocked 4 separate 1/4 cups for future use.
-- Rolled on parchment that I had barely put some olive oil on caused I read it someone's comments. Wish I could roll uniformly -- outer ones that were thinner were better IMHO.
-- Preheated baking stone, slid parchment onto that.
-- Had to take back out after a couple of minutes. Was chitchatting with daughter, and I forgot to olive oil top and salt. Used Pennzey's flaked kosher salt.
-- After approximately 10 minutes, used a spatula, took crackers off parchment and put directly on baking stone.
-- Baked approximately 20 minutes total. Waited till brown.
-- Need to see if they stay crisp.
-- Made about ~20 (I ate too many before counting to be precise)

Very, very good. Outstanding foundation to build on. Short active time.

Initial impressions: May just be my starter, but there is a pronounced "tang" with these crackers that is more pronounced than in other things I've made. In some of the comments, people talked about a "cheez-it" flavor, and I can understand that "note" but these are just cleaner, if that makes sense. I may add just a wee bit of sugar next time. Thicker ones had more of baked tortilla feel which I don't like as much. These would be outstanding with garlic, crushed black pepper, etc. They also would pair well with wine and cheese (a bumped up Workingman's Brie -- oh, and they're better than Wheat Thins:)

Cathy in SWPA

Will follow with a picture of a couple broken ones.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whole Wheat Crackers

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 2:04PM
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Additional picture.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 2:20PM
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I just saw that my reply went missing! That's happened a couple of times this pas week. Those crackers look amazing!

Today wasn't supposed to be an experiment, except from the point of view that I don't have an established set of recipes I know for my starters. I started with a regular old recipe that sounded like good bread to me--it's actually for buns for the 4th. I mean it's a buns recipe, that sounds like a proper bread recipe. I fed up my white starter. Used mostly AP (though I had to put in some of my high protein hard red wheat because I just couldn't help it, and I needed to mill some for feeding my wubby anyway). The recipe said mixer, and I had to get in there with my hands. I also had to add a drop of water, but then it wasn't more than the difference between my starter and 100% hydration, so I figured that was fine. It kneaded up well.

And it's sitting there. I'm glad I put it in the dough bucket instead of a bowl, even though it's not that big, because this way I can see the sides. No bubbles. It was warm and smelled yeasty when I stuck my nose in, but no action. I know sourdough takes up to four times longer than commercial yeast, but this isn't even cold and it's going nowhere. I'm going to be baking at 2 am again. If it rises. Oh, wait. That doesn't account for the shaped rise. GRRR! I don't want to put it in the fridge. I just checked again. It still smells like it wants to rise. Just no actual movement past settling. Maybe I should just leave it and see if it's not overrisen in the morning.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:31PM
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I made a single egg braid this weekend, but I'm not going to be keeping up here. The blueberry hand pies I made proved it was just too hot to be working with a lot of dough. ;-) Besides, the boys are both gone and DH and I can only eat so much. Y'all have fun.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:50PM
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So at quarter to midnight, I figured it would be risen another quarter inch. WRONG! It was at the perfect height. Lovely, rounded, well stretched and springy. So, these buns might come out of the oven around the time the real bakers get started... They're uneven. I just didn't have the patience to weigh them out, so just zipped through with the wheel, made a couple of adjustments and went with it. I refuse to do quality work at midnight. ;)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:24AM
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I'm punchy. Forgot to take out a rack (there was a clean oven rack, so I just upended it) but remembered to take a picture. :\ Buns came out just about 3am. Kinda pretty. Nice and light, having started with a heavy dough. Must mean a good rise. :) Too bad they have to go in the freezer. :( But a good thing I'm not doing this at the last minute.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:39AM
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I think they look great. Glad I'm not the only one who has been up half the night baking because the dough said so. Not last night for me, but been there. Fell asleep on the sofa once waiting for the bread to rise. That made it an even later night.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:47AM
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Lascatx, I hope you will continue to post.

Plllog, Like Lascatx, I'm glad I'm not the only one waiting up for bread to come out of the oven. Not until 3:00 AM though. Although I have gotten up at that time to take dough out of the fridge so that it would be ready to work with by 5:00 AM.

Beautiful buns.

Cathy, thanks for the link and for posting pictures of your crackers. They look really good. Maybe next time my son visits, I'll bake him your crackers. He would love those with cheese.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:28AM
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Y'all make me feel better! I'm a night owl, anyway, so I was only a bit late for bed, but I'm relieved to know that this kind of thing happens in general. :) I made the dough when the starter said to, shaped the dough when the rise said to. I used to call the wubbys my pets. Now who's the master? [HEE]

I turned on the oven after I shaped, determined that I wasn't waiting for it once they were risen. At that time of night, I wasn't worried about heating the house, and bringing the oven to temperature is the big energy use, not holding it. It helped the kitchen against the damp night air (and dried out my towels making them stick, a bit!), which helped speed along the shaped rise. I think that only took about two hours.

I think all those good yeasty smells I was getting inside my dough bucket told the story. Unlike my experience with commercial yeast, which has a pretty linear rise, slow and steady, my sourdough yeast seems to have been eating and thinking and planning, but keeping quiet and low, then give it a great big exponential belch, and poof! up it sprang. I'm sure the reality is just a steep curve vs. a line, rather than anything discontinuous, but it was much more like Jiffy Pop than I'm used to. ;) In the rise equation, that is. It was just a beautifully risen dough when it was done, not mushroomed.

So, I couldn't help but nibble at a small funny looking one. And scarfed it all down before I could think of taking a picture of the inside. Nice, firm crust, but easily bite-able, Light, even crumb. I think they'll work fine. Way too sweet, though. The recipe is a keeper, but I'm cutting down the sugar.

Lascatx, I totally get falling asleep mid-rise! But what a bummer for your sleep schedule. I'd heard that Texas finally warmed up to Summer weather. The heat is good for my challah, and I think I need to bake and freeze. I hope you'll still hang out with us even if you aren't baking!

Ann, in one of the above experiments I would have had to get out of bed for the rise, and I have to say, I'm not that committed! Yet. Sigh. I just wanted to make some nice whole wheat bread. No. That's disingenuous masquerading as naivete. During the miserable year of my kitchen remodel, I kept buying bread books. I didn't just wander in all wide eyed and innocent. But I don't want to get out of bread for my dough!

Thank-you for the kind word about my buns. :) They're my first ever. Rolls, yes, but first sandwich buns. Also first really good rise with no yeast but my starter. They rose in the oven, like they were supposed to, rather than staying the same or falling. :) I may have had to rely on King Arthur to do it, but I'm happy with the result. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Wow. Good looking crackers, buns, and bread.
Have not followed this at all or baked bread or my crackers in a month or so because of the garden and the heat...(even though the central air is on.)
Deep, deep, into sprouted grain salads at the moment...the ones that were going into my bread are now in summer salad experiments...(garden is exploding.)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Plllog, it was a bun day here yesterday too. Although mine were not sourdough. I just adapted my regular baguette recipe by adding butter, egg, milk, etc... and made hamburger and hot dog buns.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Oh, I'll check in. I do have some baking I want to do, but I'm working it in here and there and just glad to get in any. One thing I want to do is try another recipe for caramel rolls for the PA at my dad's doctor's office. Somehow we got into a conversation about cinnamon rolls versus caramel rolls. She said she wasn't a big fan of cinnamon rolls, but that she loved caramel rolls like she used to get back home -- not sticky buns, but caramel. I tried one recipe and it was a fail. I have another one that I hope will be more successful. I really like my sourdough cinnamon roll recipe, so I may continue with that dough and just use the caramel part of the other. After that, I need to do something for a group of firefighters. These are thank-yous and part of wrapping up my dad's estate. More fun than the banking side.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:50AM
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Plllog, I absolutely love reading your sourdough chronicle/record. When you write " I just checked again. It still smells like it wants to rise" "Quality work at midnight" etc. I am right there. Then, I was bummed you were putting them in the freezer, but laughed when I read "So, I couldn't help but nibble at a small funny looking one. And scarfed it all down before I could think of taking a picture of the inside. " Yes!!!!!!!!! They look really, really, good, and I'm happy they turned out so well. Am interested what sandwich you make with them.

Ann, Moe might like those crackers too. Son asked if I thought they would go well with tomato soup. I'm still thinking about those bagels -- ideas percolating.

lascatx, what a meaningful and "sweet" expression of gratitude. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now, but maybe if you posted one of the accomplished bakers would be able to help? I know I would love to read about caramel rolls -- intriguing.

Cracker update:) Recipe recommended.
- I divided dough into portions and froze. Thawed, rolled, and baked with as good results as initial recipe.
-- Really have to completely bake. I left some thicker/underdone -- really, really bad.
-- Made a recipe with margarine for dairy free and they were good.
-- Kids started eating some at 9:30 in the morning were gone by 11:00.

Looking forward continuing to learn how to use up sourdough "discard":)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Forgot to add, I checked out a library book called "Local Breads -- Sourdough and Whole-grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers." It's an education way above my pay grade. That said, the knowledge shared by the other talented bakers on this thread rivals it.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Thanks, Cathy! You really warm my heart! It's always been true that my interests were generally too arcane to share with my local friends and relatives. I do a lot more listening than talking. Last weekend, though, I thought I had good party fodder with my adventures in sourdough. It's not like I'm delving into the minutiae. I have small talk! Q: What have you been up to lately? A: Making my own sourdough starter. What else am I going to say? Gave the sink a good scrub and did three loads of laundry? Expound on the rapid decline of oblique pronouns? Try to discuss the role of bravura tricks in the narrative stream of classical ballet? I mean, who doesn't eat bread? By the look of the table after one pass through the buffet line, not this crowd! And I have some pretty funny quips. I was armed with actual stuff to say about myself, which people are always asking for. But their eyes glaze over nonetheless. I got lots of complements on my green salad (my contribution to the festivities--lots of variety in it and homemade herb vinaigrette). They like to eat. But they're much more interested in my hairstyle than my wubby. :( So I come here to share with like-minded folks. :) Though I don't think the buns count as things to do with discard, since I fed up the starter for them. :)

Cathy, I'm sure they'll be fine in the freezer, so long as I remember to take them out tomorrow morning. I have excellent luck freezing breads, and I don't want them to be stale tomorrow. They're going to be hamburger sandwiches! I have very lean ground beef, but cooking the burgers will be an adventure. No barbecue because the old folks can't deal with it, and most of the younger ones are coming from a busy afternoon and will be tired, too. So I'm going to try my new Demeyere plancha/teppanyaki/griddle, and if people want anything other than medium well, they're going to have to figure it out themselves. :) There wasn't any iceberg lettuce Whole Foods yesterday, however! So I have to go look for some. Gotta have iceberg for hamburgers. Beefsteak tomatoes, white onions, avocado, dill pickle slices, ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickle relish, honey habanero mustard... Make your own sandwich. If people want cheese I have "deluxe American", smoked gouda and emmentaler. This isn't a kosher crowd and I don't care. :) There are also wieners and (store bought) white buns for those who prefer. For full on Americana, the sides are corn on the cob, potato salad and cole slaw mold, with apple pie for dessert. It's a starch/sugar extravaganza with a meat filling! Not my usual vegetable fest. But so classic!

Lascatx, do let us know how the new batch of caramel buns turns out. I've never even heard of caramel buns! Combining recipes sounds like a good plan. And how nice of you to work so hard to bake what they might want, rather than just what you want to make. That makes it a true gift, and I hope they love it.

Sleevendog, I love the picture I get from how you're kind of skipping over the bake bread part and sending the sprouted grains directly to table. In salads, of course. It seems a worthy way to do Summer. My house gets oppressive downstairs if the thermostat (in a central, no sun area) reads more than 75°, so that's where it's set, but the kitchen is hotter even without the oven. Sprouting being a good alternative to sourdough, I think your salads qualify for this thread, if you'd care to share!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Followup: The buns survived the freezer just fine and I remembered to take them out in the morning. :) The guys "didn't see them" in the pretty red bread basket next to the try with the store bought white buns (for overs and the guy who won't eat anything else). I didn't want to cut them ahead of time in case they dried out, so I think the guys just went the easy route. The women wanted "to try" the ones I made, but I got no comments, making me think they didn't like them. By the time I got to eat my burger it was cold, but I liked it a lot better than store bought! Perhaps it's different expectations.

Actually, I thought mine was very good. It wasn't too sweet or too sour, so maybe the couple days in the freezer milded them out. Or maybe it just couldn't compete with the onion. :) I love a juicy slice of white onion on a hamburger. :) Cathy, mine was ketchup and mustard, slice of onion, slice of tomato, slices of pickle, lettuce leaves--very American hamburger sandwich with the works. I couldn't fit the avocado, so I had it on the side. :) The great thing is that the crust held up 'till the end, even with all that wet, and the inside squished sufficiently to bite. Next time, I think I'll dock them and see if that's easier to eat, without the mound, but I was happy. :) The very bestest hamburger I ever had was at a roadside stand near the rain forest in Oregon. This wasn't in that class, but it was really good. :) In no small part due to the bun. (90% lean, but some olive oil on the plancha, made with eggs for stickum, and the end of a packet of onion soup mix that needed using up, since I never have the guts to use enough salt. Oh, and pepper.)

My next project is to make a good 100% (or nearly) whole wheat sourdough loaf. I think I'll add some vital wheat gluten to help maintain the rise. The buns took awhile, but all that white flour really sustained it. But this week I'm working on vegan protein snacks for under nourished college girls. :) I bought hemp hearts. :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:31AM
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Party fodder? HAHAHA! I love it, and I would immediately gravitate to you at a party, Plllog. I would much rather discuss sourdough than hairstyles. Matter of fact, I was erasing texts the other day; a serious number of regard food!

Your hamburger sounds exceptional! Love the toppings. Funny about the guys and unsliced buns and easy routes.

I hope that you've managed your vegan protein snacks. Lots of variables to manage with that one; creativity required. BTW, while my son is enjoying research this summer, he comes home each weekend five pounds lighter -- then puts it back on at home. He's just too tired taking an online class, working, walking to work, etc. I'll be happy when he can get back to the cafeteria this fall.

Made a galette (pronounced like palette?) this weekend that called for ricotta, sour cream or buttermilk. Very good, but then I wondered if I could have used my sourdough as a substitute for that liquid. Putting it on my experiment list.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:55AM
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Thanks, Cathy. :) The hamburgers really were good. :) I had more on Saturday because I had enough of the fixings leftover (cut to fill the platter, rather than second guessing the people). Yum! I should make them more often. :)

Do you mean you made the dishless tart type of galette? Or the pancake type? I'm guessing the latter if it calls for rising, acid and dairy. It does seem logical that the acid of a starter would work... When are you doing it? I'm so curious to know how it comes out.

Your poor son who needs to come home for fattening! I have two projects that kind of converge: GF for the one girl with Celiac, and vegan for the college girls. I got nut butters and seed butters and dates, which provide the guts of all these recipes, and I have a bunch of good things to put in them. I'm also going to try a black bean brownie. :) But not today! Today, I'm supposed to be making chicken balls. :) Which are both wheat and gluteny (though could probably be GF, I suppose. Won't, but could...).

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Sandwich of the Day: Chili cheese dog. In the interest of using stuff up. I had tried to make a few long rolls when I did the buns. They stuck to the towel while they were in shaped rise and got weird. (The ones cut off in the picture were partial veiws of other round ones, that spoiled the composition too much.) I thought since there was a hotdog left, I should try on of the long ones, even if it was weird and getting old. The rolls have gotten a bit harder but it didn't taste stale. So that was the base. But at this point in its life it was too hard to make into a pocket. Maybe with just the hotdog and some ketchup, but not a real sandwich, so I broke it open.

Onto the opened sourdough-rise roll went most of the end of a can of Amy's chili with vegetables, which is more like chili flavored baked beans, but you can actually see the vegetables, a slice of deluxe American cheese, and the sole survivor, an Applegate Natural uncured beef hotdog (all zapped), a big wad of baby romaine, the last of the roma tomato wedges, and a big handful of sliced scallions. So I did it! I managed a sandwich that was too much for the roll, at least without more give. It broke. It was a mess, but mostly on the plate. :) It was absolutely delicious with a knife and fork, and the flavor of the roll really had an impact. :) It's not a strong flavor, and not particularly sour, but the flavor it had came through. Not something one could say about the cracked wheat buns the guys didn't have to split. :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:01PM
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Dishless tart, plllog. I'm going to try to do a comparison of using starter vs sourcream this weekend with my son. I'll have to buy more cherries -- I ate all of them. It was a smitten kitchen recipe -- worked pretty well.

Oh my goodness, I love your description of chili-cheese dog and the fact that the sourdough roll was a delicious complement! Knife and fork required!! My husband would have paid large sums of money to have that:)

So, I actually made a first attempt at sourdough kaiser rolls. They lost all kaiser shape (plllog said "They stuck to the towel while they were in shaped rise and got weird" same with mine), but the little piece I snitched tasted really good. I had to cut one for the picture while still warm (one lucky guy will have a precut one, plllog:) which wasn't optimal, but the crumb looks okay, and the crust is really crisp, almost like a pretzel roll. I'll post a few pictures of process/end result.

I took the recipe from the linked website because I didn't have to make a sponge, poolish, biga, preferment, etc.:) In the end, I'm not sure that saved me time. I also don't have malt and probably never will.

Dough was a dream to knead by hand -- did not need any extra flour, came together quickly, etc. Probably could have risen a smidge more, but I'm on a short time schedule today. This was after 10 minutes of hand kneading and 1 hour ~ 15 minutes rise.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mike Sourdough Home - Kaiser Rolls

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:35PM
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No one else in my family likes chili dogs and you've got me craving one right now!

I did a run on the caramel rolls, but I'm not sure if they were what she was looking for. Another run will be required -- I took them to the office and she was on vacation. The caramel was much better than the other recipe I tried (threw those out). I think I would have preferred them with nuts.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Kaiser rolls shaped incorrectly. Did not loop the granny knot tail through two times. I did manage to find sesame seeds though thanks to the Ann/Annie's recommendations:)

I also should have followed my gut instinct and NOT turned them over prior to baking. The dough bordered on pretty soft, adhered a bit to the parchment and I managed to mangle them even further.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Full disclosure, these pretty much lost all kaiser roll shape on top, with kaiser shape maintained but dough almost "pulled" on the bottom. Clearly, I did something wrong.

Just ate another little piece -- very nice flavor without an overpowering sourdough taste.

I'll post one more pic of crumb. Last one, I promise.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:49PM
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If you haven't fallen asleep, last one! Sacrilege, I know, but I had to cut while warm.

While I have no idea what I'll put in them, I do know that they won't rival that chili dog or that peameal bacon sandwich:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:57PM
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Pretty dough bowl! Cathy, the texture looks good enough to eat. :) I don't have Ann T's expertise, but from looking at the crumb and the shape, I'm guessing that the rolls might be just a bit over-risen. The only harm, other than appearance, is that they're lighter. :) I don't eat a lot of kaisers, so I don't know what is "right" or "best", but the ones I'm used to have a strong directionality in the gluten. That is, you can sort of unwind the knot when you eat them (if you're into deconstructing your lunch). The mooshing together of the strands on top also looks like my braids when they over-rise (usually happens when I forget that I'm using a new jar of yeast).

They look good to me! Perfect for a turkey sandwich with lots of iceberg and mayo and a great big slice of beefsteak tomato. :)

Why no malt? I love barley malt! I use it instead of sugar in my pizza recipe. That was the missing ingredient. It's not easy to find--I haven't seen it at the local store, and rather than go searching around town, I just order it from Amazon. A little bag goes a long way. It does need a good air-tight container (I use Click Clacks) because it'll absorb moisture immediately, but it's no trouble. And they make it in syrup form, which might be better in a very humid place, if you don't mind adjusting the liquid in the recipe.

I'm glad you found the sesame seeds! They're so normal here, it's no trouble finding them at any grocery in packages as big as I can handle before they go bad. I was stumped by the question!

Oh! Okay, sandwich challenge! What to put on the kaiser. Okay, herbed grilled vegetables. Eggplant slice cooked all the way through (I really hate undercooked eggplant), long cut zucchini or yellow squash, charred red pepper, white onion, with roasted garlic chevre.

Thick cut smoked turkey (or bacon or ham), romaine, whole grain mustard.

Two eggs over medium, stacked, with a grilled mild chili pepper, melted manchego. and herb aoili.

I have to stop. Can you tell I haven't had lunch? I don't think I'll go fancy, but I'm thinking the fried egg sandwich is the winner. :)

I can't wait to hear if the menfolk fight over the cut roll!

Lascatx, that's very disappointing that your giftee wasn't even there. Once you've perfected it, I hope you post the recipe for the caramel rolls. Re the chili dogs, that's where the can comes in. If I were making them on purpose, I wouldn't use chili with beans, but the baked beans style chili were soft enough not to roll out. :) There's nothing like opening a can (or a small container if you freeze) for indulging cravings that others don't share. :)

Cathy, I love your pictures! Post as many as you like. If you have an online photo account (get a free one at Photobucket or many of the others), you can put several in the same post. Multiples are fine, but sometimes it's easier to do all in one. This is the code, below. Services also usually have an option to copy the code from their own version. You want the HTML, not bulletin board or forum code for GW. To get the URL of your photo, use "copy image location" on a right click context menu, or use whatever your service or browser has to "view image" and copy the URL from the location box.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:00PM
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It seemed stupid to turn on the stove, even though it's induction, with the a/c coming on. People don't talk about it much, but microwaves are great for not heating the kitchen. :) The last of the rolls are still only proto-stale. Hard, but not gone. I learned something important. I made an American cheese, barbecue sauce, and pickle sandwich, with chopped scallions because I had them. It's generally a good combo. The sauce, however, was what was open in the fridge, which was Hawaiian style, very sweet. It's generally good uncooked because of that, unlike sauces that have to combine with meat juice and caramelize to be tasty. This is more like the stuff that comes on the side of fried foods at burger joints, but with more flavor.

Not a good pairing. The sweetness of the sauce brought out all the sweetness I originally complained about in the buns. Thank goodness for the pickles! But sweet with sweet is just cloying. Definitely less sugar next time I make the buns, even if that does bring more of a sourness. The current batch smells like sourdough, but tastes like burger buns. :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Give you all the credit in the world, lascatx! I'm very intrigued with caramel rolls because I don't think I've ever had one. After a quick google, there seems to be quite a bit of variation with maybe some regional allegiance? Anyways, I hope your next run turns out. More importantly, I hope they're appreciated!

Yep, yep, Plllog. I've put image hosting on my to do list (and malt too). Ended up helping my 82 year old mom get pics from phone to her Ipad over the phone yesterday. Zapped me.

I'm going to give these kaiser rolls another go, taking into consideration your recommendations. These were the first rolls I've made without yeast, and I'm notably on the beginner part of learning curve. They just seemed a bit heavy, if that makes sense. That said, the flavor was extremely good. The remainder of the crew will be home this weekend, but my husband magically "found" the only cut bun on the plate for his burger late last night:) Told my son that I froze some for the weekend, and he said "How 'bout BLT's?" I'm NOT going to show him your enticing list of sandwiches because he will want to make ALL OF THEM:) Honestly though, how good do those sound?

I thought of you because I'm making Ham Barbecues for dinner (fairly revered in the 'Burgh) which are notoriously sweet. My husband and extended family love them, while I'm seriously lukewarm; so lukewarm, in fact, I designated them not worthy of the sourdough kaiser. HA!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Well, now, Cathy, "heavy" has me stumped. Usually over-risen are light, in my experience, the problem being if they degas in the oven or float away when they're cut.

Since you're using the natural rise, perhaps, being heavy, they were under risen? And the blurring of the knots came from turning? Did you weigh your dough balls before you shaped? That could help. When I weigh dough, I put a piece of parchment paper sprayed with oil on the scale's bowl and it works great without mess. Or you could just spray a glass or ceramic prep bowl. These are just guesses. I've never made kaisers and am only one (zany) batch ahead of you on the natural rise. :)

LingOL at the magic male cut-roll finder sense!!

So I had to look up "ham barbecue", and I did see that there are a zillion ways of doing them. I don't blame you for reserving your kaisers, though. If you can't actually taste the bread, why bother making it yourself, right? I used up some leftover seasoned beef as sloppy joes. And used up the commercial buns with them. :)

I love sandwiches, though. :) I know there are a lot of ways to serve bread, but for me it's sandwiches, cheese toast or ploughman's lunch. And French toast or bread pudding if enough manages to stale without going moldy.

I'm going to be needing bread at the end of the week. Which means I should start feeding... and looking for a recipe. :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:43PM
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[hanging head in shame] I was hot from driving around all afternoon. It was so cool and nice in the grocery store. I couldn't help myself. I bought a loaf of La Brea Bakery whole grain bread. It's very good bread. And I don't have to turn on the oven. That's a good excuse, right?

JC [peeking up through eyelashes hoping to look winsome and sweet]

edited for typo

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 22:17

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:15PM
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You didn't buy Wonder bread. I'm fine with it.

There is no shame in appreciating the craft of others. There is also something to be said for rest, relaxation and potential inspiration.

Cathy, the recipe I used for the caramel was from a recipe by Beth Henspberger. I've never had one of her recipes fail me. The cream in the caramel made me think this was going in the right direction. I think I slightly overbaked them, but with the caramel they were ok. Not great, but ok. I think I am going to do another round to compare the sourdough rolls with the dough from her recipe -- a richer dough with eggs. I'm also going to make some of them with nuts,

Your rolls look great. Is that a special recipe or were you using a basic dough and just shaping them specially?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Thanks, Lascatx! I imagine if I were starving and only had Wonder Bread (the wonder being the chemicals they use to keep it fresh in a plastic bag), I'd appreciate it a lot. :)

I think the egg dough for the sweet rolls sounds like a good idea. You might also want to up the salt just a tad as a foil for the caramel. What kind of nuts? My mind's eye is saying walnuts because the bumps would be interesting and they're soft enough not to compete with the caramel. OTOH, crushed macadamia nuts might be fab!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:38PM
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I'm in Texas -- the go-to nut is pecans. I could see walnuts with the caramel too. I love the sourdough cinnamon rolls, but I think the richer dough might stand up to the caramel better. Maybe next week. Not ready for that right now.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 12:09AM
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Plllog and lascatx: I want you both to know that I managed to spend my whole run thinking about sandwiches, caramel rolls and kaiser rolls. No kidding. Before I knew it, I was finished.

Plllog, yep, yep. I think under risen. I actually did weigh them at 3 1/2 oz which is just a tad too small for this crew. As an aside, to many folks in the 'burgh, ham barbecue needs to have Isaly's chipped chopped ham to be considered authentic. I'm not a fan, but I choose other battles:) BTW, I love lascatx's take -- no shame in appreciating the craft of others:) I might have to put that on my refrigerator.

lascatx, sounds like you're on the right path. Frequently, I am my own worst critic -- I know what the A+ is/should be. I can GUARANTEE that I would have devoured your rolls. Caramel is my absolute downfall. I could ignore forever the richest, most expensive, sought-after chocolate sitting next to me -- not caramel. May I tell you that you're baking in the Texas heat garners you additional gold stars?

Okay, I have to make the galette and a bunch of other stuff today, but ended up making this sourdough pizza that I've made enough times to recommend. Simple, uses up a nice quantity of starter straight from the fridge, and extremely flexible. I usually go with two round, but wanted square pieces to package for my son. Crust was put on my stone and is very reliably crisp however it is made. Picture not very good, but the pizza is.

Back to the stove -- I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: King Arthur Sourdough Pizza

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:27PM
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Hm.... That recipe might have been good for my starter discard jar. :) I'll definitely try it sometime.

Good looking pizza, Cathy. Lucky son. :) Do you vacuum seal the slices?

Today's sandwich was interesting, and good. Sliced barbecue chicken, smoked gouda, and chipotle bean dip used as a condiment. :) The refrigerator case good as homemade stuff, not the mass produced chemical laden kind. :) With whole beans. On the multigrain bread. No veg. No room for veg. :( Veg on the side isn't the same, but it was a good sandwich nonetheless. The chili dog made me adventurous with beans. :) I'm making barbecue baked pinto beans today, so I see bean and cheese sandwiches in the future... :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Oh man! Now I want to make pizza, but my starter's in the fridge taking a nap. I could wake her up tonight and get her ready for pizza tomorrow. Need to do that this weekend before DS1 leaves and we are kid-less again. This is really strange -- had almost a week earlier and this will be 3 weeks, but come August it will be until Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:41PM
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I've been reading the current food saver thread with great interest, plllog! Right now, it's just a ziploc and straw. Aw, you need to stop with the sandwich combos:) We just ventured into the world of pinto beans and made the Homesick Texan's Peppery Pinto Beans. It was hit -- barbecue sounds even more delicious.

Aw, lascatx, that's the best part about this recipe -- you can use your starter straight from the fridge. It is really not for the "pizza purist/Serious Eats/J. Kenji López-Alt" types, but it's really very good. My hope-to-be future son-in-law specifically requests it. The rise will vary, but if you read the comments, it's pretty flexible. I mixed it up around 8:30, threw it in the fridge because I had to run errands, removed around 9:30, let rise for about 45 minutes, shaped and baked. The silly sauce required more effort than the dough:) We made grilled pizza last week, and I'm going to try this dough. I could kill two birds with one stone: using starter and not heating the house:)

"... but come August it will be until Thanksgiving." School? I always get a bit melancholy when the kids leave, but honestly part of me enjoys the reprieve:) We have a revolving door right now. Whew! Didn't mean to write a novel. I hope you all enjoy the weekend !

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:06PM
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I promise this is my last picture. Round two of kaiser rolls, with a bit more success with shaping, but still just a bit dense. I'm going to order malt, plllog. From what you've recommended and what I've read, I'm hoping that I can just get a smidge more spring.

Son made this sandwich when he got home. He said that the kaiser created the "perfect vehicle" for a blt .... with cheese. Had two sandwiches and three pieces of pizza -- Hunger is the best sauce:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:43PM
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That is one awesome looking sandwich, and a great looking roll! Cathy, don't apologise for pictures! We LIKE pictures!

I don't know that malt helps the spring. Unless if you're subbing for sugar it's less liquidy? I just like the flavor. :) Holding back a spoon of water might accomplish that. :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Cathy, listen to Plllog, the more pictures the better.

Great looking pizza. And I agree with Plllog, that sandwich is a beauty.

I fed both starters and made a biga on Thursday at 11:00 AM. I then left to drive down to Victoria. By the time I got back the starters had both doubled and the biga was ready to use. In less than three hours. I kneaded up a batch of dough with 1000 g of flour, 530 g of biga, and 680 g water.

Before bed, I baked four baguettes with half the dough and the other half is in the fridge.

And yesterday, I kneaded up a Levain before leaving for work

and this is what it looked like when I got home from work.

Last night I kneaded up a second batch, using the Levain, at 72% hydration and after the the first rise it went into the fridge to join the other batch.

We are having a bit of a heat wave , low 90's which is hot for us, so really not the best time to be turning on the oven, especially at 500°F. But, after seeing Cathy's pizza, I have a craving for pizza so I think that will be on the menu tonight.

I'll have Moe take Thursday's dough of the fridge an hour or so before I get home from work so the dough will be ready to go.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Well, that levain is instructive, Ann! I've never had that level of broken bubbles (open texture) in a preferment or a dough. Everything I've read on open texture factors has fled my head so I have some remedial work coming. :) I would really like to make a California sourdough (i.e., purposefully sour) with an open texture, and preferably 100% whole wheat. I have the sour down. :)

Inspired by Lars and Cathy, I'm also thinking of learning to grill pizza. I have a screen, which I hope will fit on my little barbecue. :) I tried a King Arthur sourdough pizza recipe some time back which made a big mess, but this is a different one, and worth trying. :) And if I stretch it to be a flatbread style, it won't matter so much if it's short of gluten, right? :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:03PM
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I still had half the batch of sourdough from Thursday as well as the batch made Friday in the fridge.

I had planned to bake pizza last night using the sourdough from Thursday's batch. I was late getting home from work and it was just too darn hot to even think of turning the oven on to 550°F. So...........I got up this morning at 3:30 and took the dough out of the fridge and went back to bed. Got up again about 5:15. I had enough dough to make one loaf of bread and one pizza. While the loaf was rising, I made the pizza sauce. Seasoned ground pork for Italian sausage and sauted enough for the pizza. And then sauteed mushroom. By 6:30 Moe was eating pizza in bed watching the women's British Open.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Moe is one lucky man!

And you're a very dedicated baker to get up in the middle of the night to take the dough out of the fridge for his breakfast. :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:36AM
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We made pizza last night too. I should have taken photos. Actually, I did take this one to and sent it to my son to make sure he got the message that it was time to come down for sinner. LOL

DH made his piled so high with toppings I didn't know if it would get off the peel without a disaster much less bake. It did okay. I've missed making pizza.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:31PM
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That looks lovely, Lascatx!

Another day, another failed experiment. I wanted something other than the multigrain bread to serve with my yummy beans. But it was late, and I was tired, and I didn't want to go looking through my books for a not too sweet, not too sour corn muffin recipe. So I thought of Cathy's biscuits. But I just had to experiment, and I did whole wheat. Bad idea. Bad, bad idea.

The lack of water in the recipe should have deterred me. Whole wheat needs hydration, and not just for getting rid of anti-nutrients. I added some water, to make up for the fact that my starter isn't all that wet, but my flour really did need to be soaked. I think it also got overworked folding everything into it because it wasn't moist enough, even though I was being careful and trying not to squish the starter, too. With a ton of leavening it didn't rise much. The edges look open, so I don't think I squished them during cutting. They also got over dry in the oven, even though I reduced the temperature.

That seems to be my complete story on this adventure. Too wet or too dry, but no baby bear's bed.

OTOH, I'm ever so proud of my wubby! I hadn't fed it in about two weeks, though I checked for hooch a couple of times. I fed him up last night with the good gluten hard red Winter wheat I got for pizza and he was beautifully doubled this morning with no sinkage, even though it's damp out. Good wubby!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:56PM
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98, "real feel" 111. No baking here. Living vicariously through you folks. Even my starter looks a bit fatigued. Trying to cheer it up, so it looks as bubbly as those envy-evoking upthread examples.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Yikes! I learned in my youth that 39° C (102°+ F) is bearable and 40° C (104° F) is not! I can't even imagine 111, even if it's a "feels like". I take it that's humidity that does it? Because dry feels cooler than it actually is. I hope you succeeded in happying up your starter. My wubby seems very happy. I'm feeding him up to give some to a friend who asked. :) (He's in the background below).

That's More Like It!

When life gives you dried up cardboard wheat biscuits, bread pudding is the only cure. :) I have eggs and lowfat milk that need using up. I had the smoked turkey slab I bought to put in the beans but forgot because I was cleaning the fridge of so much else. :) I had some opened sundried tomato and garlic chicken sausages. And thanks to the reminder I got from Teresa_nc7 in the tabbouleh thread, I remembered a small packet of zaatar that needed using too. To the list, I added some pepper, dried parsley and basil, and dehydrated onions and mixed vegetables. Edit: And some fontina ribbons mixed in and on top. The hunk was sealed in heavy plastic from the store, but trying to go moldy after a week. Sigh.

YUMMY!! A little salty because of the smoked turkey and the salt in the zaatar, but the sumac and sesame really make it. And you'd never know that it started as a total failure. That first portion (my lunch) fell over because I just used a soup spoon to dish it up, and couldn't wait for it to set up firmly. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 23:36

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Wow! What a ton of fun! These pictures/posts are just the incentive I need for this weekend.

plllog, we were talking about malt and rising. I had seen on some sourdough home, the freshloaf, etc. sites posters talking about function of malt working to help with rise. I also saw that it should be used with short fermentation. Last, I read this blurb on King Arthur ".... active enzymes in diastatic malt help yeast grow fully and efficiently throughout the fermentation period, yielding a good, strong rise and great oven-spring." I experienced such paralysis by analysis I've effectively shelved the whole idea until I have "time to learn" the information overload:)

BREAD PUDDING!!!!!! That looks so dang good, plllog, and I'm hungry too! Son's work didn't turn out as anticipated and I shared "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original" Ken Robinson. Yours is a marvelous "original", yes? ps. you can send your hooch my way:) pss. that is one gorgeous plate.

Key quotes from Ann T:

"Before bed, I baked four baguettes ..."

"I kneaded up a Levain before leaving for work ..."

"I got up this morning at 3:30 and took the dough out of the fridge and went back to bed."

"By 6:30 Moe was eating pizza in bed watching the women's British Open."

That's 6:30 AM!!!! HA! Best narrative ever! Btw, that levain is truly a work of art -- no kidding. Of course, the pizza and bread are exceptional too.

lascatx, did you text that picture to him? What a great incentive! I'm really sitting here imagining him getting a text, opening it up to see that gorgeous pizza! LOL! Your pizza looks delicious, and it would have been inhaled here. Not kidding.

kitchendetective, can't begin to imagine how hot that must be. Quite honestly, that temperature would absolutely zap any desire to bake, let alone cook anything. I'd be living on tomatoes.

I enjoyed reading about/seeing pictures of all the great sourdough.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:51PM
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It is good, Cathy. :) I had a piece, cold from the fridge, for breakfast. The sumac isn't as noticeable cold, but it's stiff very good. :) The open textured biscuits were a perfect vehicle for the custard. And, since this was a whip up kind of dish, perfect for putting in the oven right away. Denser breads really need a good soak. The nuttiness of the whole wheat, and just a hint of sour, are great with all the herbs and a good foil for the strong flavors of the meats.

See, I'm good at sandwiches and bread puddings. It's the experimental breads they're made out of that I'm still baby-stepping on. I knew when I used the freshly ground wheat that it was going to be "wrong". I just had to do it to see how far wrong. Trailrunner was recommending using proven recipes, but even when I did Ann's recipe without monkeying with it I had problems. I'd rather learn my way through making things the way I want to make them (most of the recipes aren't really what I want to make), so I'll know in my bones what works, than just make recipes. I'm really thinking that the next one I slaughter will be the KA pizza Cathy posted since I fed my discard jar. :)

Oh! I get it. Cathy, did you mean the bread pudding was an original recipe? Yes. If you call it that. I call it making food. :) Or another episode of Chopped in my kitchen. Here's the way it goes: Dry bread = bread pudding. Axiomatic. Eggs and milk, check. Get out big stainless bowl and crumble biscuits into it. Oooh la la, it looks like more than it did unbroken. I'd better use my deep Polish stoneware rectangular dish rather than the shallow Emile Henry 9" square that friends of my folks gave me. Bread pudding is better deep anyway. Rinse the turkey slab to try to remove some salt (I know, lotsa luck, but it couldn't hurt). Cut into medium cubes and toss in bowl. Try to peel a sausage and tear it up (sausage tastes better torn than cut because the fat forms a flavor barrier when you cut, but it probably doesn't matter in pudding). Look at bowl contents. Too much bread. Tear up another sausage. I could chop and saute some veg but they'd still be too wet and the biscuits will float away (they're dry, but delicate). The dehydrated veg and onions will soak up liquid, which is good with lowfat milk. Put in a couple handfuls of each. Needs herbs as a foil for the strong meats. The end of the large parsley bottle (I have a new one) and a handful of basil will do. Needs something else. Something more subtle. Not Fenugreek. Sumac! Memory of Tamara mentioning zaatar. I have an old packet of made up zaatar that needs using. I love sesame so why not, even if it's a bit weird. I've been hesitating to add salt because of the smoked turkey and sausage but will that transmit in the custard? There's salt in the zaatar, probably more than I'd dare use. Put in the whole seedy, sumacy, salty package and be done with it. Mix well. Pour into dish making sure the herbs and all are well mixed throughout and not puddled in the bottom. The Fontina is starting to look moldy even though it's new. Open it up and get all the suspicious areas out, back aways. Use Microplane to make ribbons because it's easier than the grater and the Cuisinart is in the drawer and too much bother to get out for one wedge of cheese. Tuck a few ribbons under the cubes, carefully not to lose the seasonings to the bottom. Mix 6 eggs to 3 cups milk because it's lowfat. Whisked 'till frothy with black pepper because it needs something sharp. Poured over dish...and down the front of the cabinet! Probably just a couple of tablespoons--not noticeably missing from the dish--but what a mess! And eggs are contaminants. And when I opened the drawer to wipe the edge, some dripped into the fridge (drawer fridge). Ugh. Hot water and paper towels because the floor is getting mopped in another hour. (Good thing I was hungry, so was cooking early.) Top with fontina ribbons enough to form a crust to keep the moisture in.

And that's the very long involved description of the way to make a savory bread pudding. :) Probably takes longer to read than do. :) It's Chopped. Look at what needs using, and add what's in the pantry. But I knew that would come out. The only real variables are is the milk too watery and is there too much salt. (A: slightly, but I managed it well, and no, not too much salt but salt is a noticeable component, rather than background.)

Re MALT: Diastatic malt powder is mostly sugar. Read the ingredients before you buy, or start with King Arthur (trusted brand) or something. It has other properties, which I forget, and that may be what's helping the spring. Or maybe it's the sugar. :)

I was looking for malt flavor rather than anything else, so just got pure barley malt. Barley is sweet anyway. The malt does soak up moisture from the air, so it's important to keep in an airtight container. I substitute it for sugar in my pizza dough because I'm not really looking for sweet anyway, and Grainlady assures me that the yeast doesn't need sugar to rise. In my childhood, we used live cake yeast, and it wasn't always as lively as it should have been, so we proofed the yeast--yes, the yeast--proofing the bread is silly because you've ruined the flour if it doesn't rise. Proof the yeast instead, by starting it in warm liquid with sugar (if called for) or flour (less reliable), and you waste a lot less. I'm sure that's part of the reason for making a biga or levain--to proof the yeast before committing a sack of flour). Then, when the yeast is proven and in your dough, the dough just has to rise. :) But I'm used to using sugar to feed up my yeast. Which is a total tangent, but I haven't noticed a difference with the barley malt, and active dry yeast is pretty fool proof as long as it isn't old and is kept cool. :)

Re hooch, I wish I'd known you wanted it. ;) I had leftover starter after putting Wubby to bed and making a jar for my friend, so I stirred it into my still going discard jar along with a goodly layer of hooch. :) Feeding the discard is a new one for me. :) I wonder what would happen if I tried making the biscuits from discard...???

Thanks for noticing my plate. :) It's a cheap set, but each piece is different botanicals, and they were my first dishes that weren't my mother's old broken out kitchen dishes. One broke recently, and another couple are chipped, but I love them so...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Grrr.... It's going to be one of those baking days. I had transformed a piece of my white sourdough starter for a levain, and I was going to bake tomorrow, but I don't feel well enough to do what I was going to do today (weather and allergies--nothing serious), so I have to try to do it tomorrow, but I want the bread for tomorrow... So I've just made up the first stage of the levain, and hoping that it's warm enough to rise quickly (8 hrs.). That will have me baking in the evening, which is a good time during the Summer, rather than overnight. Given my luck with this stuff, I don't believe it! Though the white starter does grow faster...

I still haven't made the pizza. I lost my window. The experiments I'm planning for this bread are to do a seed variation given with it without doing the base bread first (probably--we'll see how the dough progresses), and using my oven's heavy baking stone which can only go in the bottom position with a dish of water above, rather than the recipe's stone over water idea. I've done this before with success, but this is one of those over-detailed recipes and I'm trying to actually make it, rather than really experimenting.

The levain starter is much more like my mother's sourdough starter (and I've sectioned off a piece of it for a friend). The preferment is also wonderfully stiff. Such a relief after all the batter style and heavy hydration recipes I've been trying. I chose this one because it looks more like bread I know, with sourdough, rather than being a whole different animal. Next time, I'll try whole wheat, but right now I'm not in the mood for try it and see. I may not get Ann's beauteousness, but I'm hoping for very nice bread. :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:07PM
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It's not even 1:00 a.m. but I can't stop yawning and the dough is still only thinking about rising. I gave up the seeds until next time, but I was trying to be very careful to follow the recipe. No more. I squished out room in the fridge and put the dough bucket in. It'll be fine if the loaves come out of the oven by 4:00 p.m. And it is dough. It handles like dough. I like it. :)

I also made some black bean date brownies. They're pretty good, but I think the dough for that was actually better before the cocoa powder. It calls for a lot of vanilla and just enough almond butter to wet and sticky it. The recipe definitely needs the moisture from the cocoa, but I think I could substitute more almond butter and make it work for a black bean blondie. :)

Sigh. Two days to make two small loaves of bread. Sigh.

It is very nice bread.

This morning I took out the dough before anything, but didn't think to put it on the baking counter, which is tile and gets warmed by the sun in the earlier morning (making it room temperature mid-morning), rather than on the cool soapstone.

So I waited for it to rise. And waited some more. It wasn't supposed to rise high, but it didn't look risen enough by time, even though it was as high as it was supposed to be, so I gave it an extra hour beyond the time counting from when it no longer felt cool. That looked better. Fluffy but not overrisen. Shaping was easy--it was just batards and I'm not all that anxious about perfection. I did weigh though, so the loaves were nearly equal. I was a big concerned about handling it, but it's good strong dough and didn't seem to mind at all since I didn't squish it.

The author of this recipe had a great tip. Maybe other people do this, but I've never seen it. He makes a couche out of parchment paper right on the peel, with bolsters of rolled tea towels. After rising, you flatten out the paper then slide the whole thing into the oven. Dead easy.

I gave it another extra half hour on the shaped rise, after which it looked good. It's been years since I made batards. I don't know if I did something wrong, but most of my slashes closed back up! Baked for the longer amount of time in the range because it seemed to want it (I tried to get a thermometer in, but no joy). In the pictures there's a dark spot that looks like it might be just a tad under, but it wasn't there IRL. Perhaps it was just a bit damp and it evaporated while I was taking the picture.

It's YUMMY! I mean really good. Not sort of good, or well, it's bread, but REALLY good.

The recipe is David Daniel Leader pain au levain. It's mostly KA unbleached white, some home milled high gluten red wheat, and a little dark rye (reciped specified rye and stone ground wheat). If I did the math right, it's 67% hydration. Baked in a thoroughly heated oven on the pizza stone, with a dish of ice to provide steam. Using a ramekin on a high shelf worked fine. The crust is hard and crunchy (hard to cut, easy to bite), the crumb is soft and moist. The dough tasted salty but the bread tastes right.

I'm glad I skipped the seeds and got to know this recipe unmessed with. One loaf went home with the college girl. Next time I'll do the seed variation, probably sunflower. Then I'll start upping the whole wheat content. I've been reading lots of recipes but this was by far the best sounding in terms of a dough I recognized. I just can't deal with the wet ones. I know the whole wheat may need more water, but at least I have a starting place that feels like bread to me. I will, of course, try some of Leader's other recipes since this one worked out so well. :)

Edit for having David on the mind and typo-ing him in where I was supposed to be talking about Daniel Leader. (I didn't correct the "stiff" and "big" typos, though put together like this they do seem very naughty!)

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 21:13

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:27AM
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What I remember on the malt is that it has enzymes that are helpful to the yeast and rising process. Exactly what it is escapes me at the moment, but it's about enzymes. And sugar.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:24AM
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Plllog, good looking loaves.

So you said that you use malt in place of sugar? So it adds a sweetness? Or do you use it just to feed the yeast? Or does it add flavour?

I never add any sugar to my breads, unless of course I'm making a sweet bread. But my regular sourdough and regular baguette dough is just flour, water, salt and yeast or starter. The yeast feeds on the starches and sugars in the flour


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Lascatx, that's interesting about the malt! So searching for that, I think I've found the info. Diastatic malt has the enzyme, amylase, that converts starch into sugar, thus increasing the food available to the yeasts. More info says that regular malt also acts as a sugar for feeding the yeast more quickly than if it has to chow down on flour. This is why they often add malt to AP flour. The first one says that by giving a sugar source to the fermentation end, it leaves more sugar in the wheat for a pretty caramelization of the crust. Or something like that. Diastatic malt does have a lot of sugar in it on the labeled contents. I infer (though could be way wrong) that it's to keep the enzymes alive.

Thanks, Ann, for the kind words about my loaves. :)

I know a lot of people have one go-to dough which they employ in lots of ways, and I think the pain au levain, above, would probably make great pizza, but it's pizza dough that I use the malt in--straight barley malt, not diastatic (like the insides of Whoppers candy). It's for flavoring. With active dry yeast and a long ferment, which my pizza recipe has both of, sugar isn't necessary for feeding the yeast. At least, Grainlady told me so several times, and I trust her science.

It's a whole wheat recipe, which I adapted from an adaptation of a Peter Reinhart recipe which called for sugar or honey. I wanted to put in barley malt because I researched my favorite commercial pizza crusts and they had it and there was something missing in the flavor. Since barley is sweet, and Grainlady said I didn't need sugar for the yeast, I just substituted it measure for measure. Actually, I semi-heap the measures because I like the flavor of the malt. :) I had reduced the hydration just a tad, and put it back when I took out the sugar. The malt attracts water rather than providing it. I forget sometimes, but it still comes out fine. Just a more closed texture.

Pizza doughs are generally sweet anyway (maybe because of the malt!), and I think the reason whole wheat doughs call for honey may be partially for the added moisture, and partly to disguise the rancidity of the flour. When I first tried (only partially successfully) to mill (hard red wheat) flour, I could tell the difference immediately. The freshness and sweetness of the wheat. That's why I bought the mill, and after a clue from Barryv, to mix white and red wheat 60:40, have a dough I really like.

It does get played out, though. It's best on the second day in the fridge, and okay on day four. I think speeding up the conversion of the sugars is what I don't want. OTOH, I'm wondering if the diastatic malt might shorten the rise times on the sourdough. I'm fine with the overnight preferment, and have learned my lesson about starting it in the morning and hoping to bake, but it's hard to get other things done when it takes eight hours of rising. It might be worth a try, at least.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:10PM
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plllog, some gems of wisdom in your posts!

Re: 7/15

"I knew when I used the freshly ground wheat that it was going to be "wrong". I just had to do it to see how far wrong." And this is how we learn:)

Savory bread pudding: Gah! Eggs down the front of the cabinet! After you took your first bite, you realized that it was worth a little egg splatter:) I thought of you this weekend as I was throwing together a frittata with a mishmash of refrigerator things. Inspired by your bread pudding in a sense.

Yes to proofing yeast! Yes to sending me your hooch! Yes to your dishes:)

Classic: "I mean really good. Not sort of good, or well, it's bread, but REALLY good." I concur! Really looks REALLY good:) Your kitchen set up looks REALLY good too!

"The author of this recipe had a great tip. Maybe other people do this, but I've never seen it. He makes a couche out of parchment paper right on the peel, with bolsters of rolled tea towels. After rising, you flatten out the paper then slide the whole thing into the oven. Dead easy. " Oh my. I'm going to look into that a bit. Very, very, very interesting.Did it deflate a bit when you flattened the paper? I have so much to learn and not enough time. Actually, I'm going to dig into David Leader bread baking in general.

Best of all -- "one loaf went home with the college girl." Made me smile.

lascatx: "What I remember on the malt is that it has enzymes that are helpful to the yeast and rising process. Exactly what it is escapes me at the moment, but it's about enzymes. And sugar." I somewhat knew this information a couple of weeks ago when I researched, but my short term (and long, for that matter) memory is absolutely shot. I'm glad you remembered and you posted, and plllog added re: malt. I won't have to research anymore.

Speaking of which, I still have yet to order the malt. It's a birthday month, been some under-the-weather stuff with family, out of town guests all leading to a little chaos. That said, I made one more batch of kaisers. followed instinct rather than recipe and decided to throw in some yeast. Part of the allure for me of this recipe was that it didn't require any overnight time (i.e. no planning). That said, it really does require something to help with the rise -- malt, time, or yeast -- just my guesses. I'm still going to order malt and try another batch, but for now, despite the irregular egg wash, these'll do.

Cathy in SWPA

PS Made pizza dough with no toppings, baked ~7 minutes then stored for others to make during the weekend with toppings of their choice. Very nice -- 10 minutes in 450 Breville will do for now too.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:16PM
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So, just as further evidence that my memory is shot .... on July 3, I posted that I checked out and read a book "Local Breads -- Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers." Author Daniel Leader.

I thought the name sounded a bit familiar but couldn't remember why, plllog:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Cathy, you make very pretty Kaisers. I see you found sesame seeds.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:21PM
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Cathy, those rolls look amazing!! A couple of weeks ago my mother picked up some kaisers at the deli in the very snooty market where she shops. They were overgrown hamburger buns! And since there was no directionality to the crumb, I think they must have been stamped! They were also pale and soft. Sigh. Yours are beauteous and delicious looking.

Cathy it's not your memory! My fingers sometimes type what they want to while I'm looking elsewhere. Before I got to your last post, I scrolled up to check another reference and saw "David" and fixed it. It says "Daniel" on my photo names--and, of course, on the book. It seemed like a standard slipup and not at all Freudian until I noticed the other wrong word typing I'd done!

That's the book. Local Breads. I find it hard to read through the recipes, though I've done at least one before. While I was remodelling my kitchen I kept buying bread books, and this is my favorite. If I just start to make one of the recipes, and only read ahead one or two steps, it's very clear (though I do read to the end before starting, even when the meaning is murky).

I found the dough very forgiving, even of being handled to weigh it and then peel off the cling wrap, etc. It's not one of those that degasses instantly, or demands being held so tightly it'll squish. It is pretty sticky, while still being solid, but it doesn't tear and leave stucky spots. It does all let loose, especially if gently encouraged by a bowl scraper.

Re the couche, it's just like any couche. You make soft pleats between the loaves and weight the edges to keep them up. I was worried about inhibiting the rise, and less concerned with the shape, so I didn't go tight. They didn't deflate at all, though they did spread just a little as soon as they hit the stone. I think white parchment paper has more tooth to hold flour. The unbleached that I use is a bit slicker. It doesn't bring flour up the sides. In a traditional couche, however, the point of the flour is to keep the cloth from sticking, not decoration. It would be easy enough to dust the sides after the rise for a more traditional look. OTOH, he says something about peeling the baked bread off the paper. I did flour the paper, as instructed, but it didn't stick at all. I think it's the smoother texture of the unbleached. It's a FAB trick. :) And since I seem to have a whole bear family of peels, I could do a double batch this way. :)

Thanks for the kind words about my kitchen. I spent a year designing it with a lot of Kitchens Forum help before I did it up. So far it'll do everything I've asked of it, except provide me with a cheese cave (said KAHv). Some day I might put one of those 50 degree "beverage" fridges in the garage, esp. if it's from Craig's List or something, but while cheesemaking is fun, it's highly unnecessary where I live. Plus, I'm allergic to lanolin and it's illegal to keep sheep in the city anyway. WF has good organic milk that makes wonderful mozzarella and ricotta (the only ones I've done so far), so who needs a cow? I can buy for what it would cost me to make, or less, the finest cheeses the world has to offer. I can also buy really good bread, but Whole Foods doesn't carry enough 100% whole grain and TJ's only has a few I like, so here I am starting on ordinary bread making (I used to only do "special").

Good for you for adding yeast! Good for your instincts that you seem to have been right! The main reason not to is if you want to go San Francisco sour, which kaisers aren't, usually. I read the explanation on Sourdough Home that less starter and a longer rise is what makes the bread taste sour. Though I'll add that my home milled whole wheat starter is a lot sourer than the white one, which started originally with a division of the whole wheat. I think it's that each feeding with whole wheat adds new organisms which may add to the sourness. But it doesn't get the rotting kelp smell like it did when it was a new baby, before the yeast caught thoroughly.

TIPS: I've been reading lots, and have gleaned a couple of tips from other forums (I wrote "fora" but it seems pretentious). 1. Folding and turning the dough (something in Leader's recipe) helps the outcome (though I forget in what way). Leader's version is different than for a double rise because you don't try to degas the dough, and you only fold on one axis. 2. I did the extended rises even though (with adjustment for the fridge time) I was getting the amount of rise the author said, because I also read that just letting it go gave a lighter, larger loaf. 3. Not confining the dough in a banneton or pan allows and encourages the dough to rise more and be lighter. Someone did experiments...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I think I'm going to do the pain au levain complet, which is only 22% white flour. I've fed up the wubby (WW) to make a levain starter. In doing these, and helping a friend, I've been reinventing percentage formulae. I have to derive them so I can check to make sure I'm using the right numbers, especially for changing the hydration levels. It's fun anyway. This recipe is for a small version of a pain Poilane, which I need like a hole in the head.

One thing I loved about the pain au levain was that it was a small recipe (which is all gone). Even this smaller one calls for a "large" banneton. I just have the one, which is 8.5". Leader suggests lining a colander with a tea towel as an alternative. I have the perfect one, I think and birdseye towels. But I'm also thinking I could divide off a part to fit the banneton I have, and try making rolls with the remainder. Dare I?

There's another pearl in this recipe. The reason for turning and folding the dough after an hour isn't like punching down to have more yeast multiply with less gas. It's to provide more oxygen to the yeast while they're working so hard. Or something like that. The oxygen part, anyway.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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From Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast- The reason for folding:

"Folding the dough helps develop the gluten that gives the dough its strength and contributes to good volume in the final loaf. Think of the three-dimensional web of gluten as the frame of the bread “house.” For the first recipe, the Saturday White Bread, just two folds are needed. Most of the other bread doughs have higher hydration, and many of these slack doughs benefit from three or four folds to give them the strength they need. Each fold takes about 1 minute. You’ll be able to recognize when to apply the next fold based on how relaxed the dough has become: it goes from being a ball with structure to lying flattened out in the tub. With each fold, it firms up a bit........"

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:37PM
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But what develops the gluten? Is it the stretching? Or is it Leader's oxygenization?

Whatever it is, people seem to have success with it. It feels familiar to me because I'm so used to double rise. Leader's recipes (I don't think I have Forkish) are much more accessible now that I've figured out my entry point. They also seem so much more familiar than Reinhart's, Silverton's, etc. I think that's because he's aiming at the home baker. I don't want commercial sized batches, mysticism, or disciplehood. :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:34PM
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So, I couldn't help it. Back to the discard. :)

Since I fed up the wubby for the next recipe (and he was very happy with the organic flour (less gluten), but it's hot and that may be helping), and since I really didn't need much to make into the levain starter, and my friend's piece isn't dead, just hungry, I thought I'd try the KA out of the fridge pizza Cathy suggested. But I also needed to feed up my discard jar, so I put half in that, and kept half the fed up wubby in the bowl, with some (measured) more water to be 100% hydration. So that was down to about 75% whole wheat, since the jar is mixed. So I thought, why not just use the rest of the wheat I had already milled since I don't really want white anyway? And, since the dark rye was out, I made up the difference with it. So then I had to knead it by hand because it was way too dry for all that whole grain. And after some hesitant drips of water, I thought, oh just do it, and got out the (2%) milk and dribbled in some of that. I think the tad of fat helped it stick better than just being absorbed into my hands. We'll see. I may need to loosen it up some more...

Addition: Sometime later. The pizza ball is growing. It's not double yet, but even following the recipe it was supposed to be four hours. It doesn't look at all stressed.

Then I looked at my whole wheat levain starter. The recipe calls for 50% hydration. It looks like it's risen just a tad, but it hasn't settled or flattened on top or anything, and it looks dry and hard like an empty lake, with nary a bubble to be seen. So I pulled back the cling wrap to investigate and maybe give a drop of water to its poor parched soul. Out came the warm breath of yeast burps and the surface was soft and cushiony when barely touched. Poor thing just has eczema. :) It's fine.

This post was edited by plllog on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 0:28

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:51PM
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Why, thank you very much Ann -- for the compliment and also sharing where/how to buy the sesame seeds many posts back:)

plllog --

"snooty market" -- HA!
"Daniel and David" Leader -- I just shake my head that I'm telling you in one post I need to check him out and I already had and posted about it no less! Sigh. I found the book a bit tedious, but that's probably just me. That said, I am going to look into the whole couche thing more based on your comments.
"Kitchen" -- what can I say? Truly exceptional and planned for a dedicated cook/baker. All the i's dotted and t's crossed with that one. What a journey! As an aside, I still have your graduate school vintage fridge and I have pegboard:)
"Folding" -- going to try that this weekend.
"Eczema" -- first time I've actually laughed about eczema:)

Well, I'm going to give some ciabatta sourdough rolls a try. I'm feeling pretty tentative because there are so many new variables/techniques and some of the comments leave me feeling a bit cautious. That said, I have time tonight/tomorrow. Plus, we are experiencing some unseasonably cool weather.

Also, son would probably appreciate having another sandwich "vehicle" in our repertoire.

Using the recipe linked below.

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: sourdough ciabatta rolls

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Cathy, if you are interested in purchasing a Linen Canvas (Couche) I found the best place to purchase is from The San Francisco Baking Institute. They have the best prices.

I bought three yards of the 31" wide size last year. I use a couche just about ever time I bake bread.

I cut one of them into sizes that fit round baskets.

The one I am currently using, is well covered in flour and when not in use, it is folded and placed in a zip lock freezer bag and kept in the freezer.

Yesterdays bread Proofing. Almost ready for the oven.

Looking forward to pictures of your ciabatta.

Here is a link that might be useful: Couche

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:47AM
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Lovely looking loaves, Ann. (It's alliteration day. :) )

I have linen, but I have to say, the parchment paper thing is a winner for small batches of small loaves (kind of the opposite of your picture). :)

Cathy, thanks for the kind words about my beloved kitchen! The old Kenmore was a good fridge--it moved with me three times--except for the crisper drawers which weren't (I kept photographic film in a Ziplock in one), and the fact that the light gave up, unfixably, after about six years, the milk would freeze in the back, lettuce would freeze at temperature settings that the milk would be too warm at, the bottom shelf pegs broke at about 15 years, and at 20 it was just...sad. One of the workmen asked for it, however, and it may still be chugging along nearly 30 years later. I hope yours is in better shape!

Re Local Breads, do try it again. I, too, found it a difficult read, and finding my way into the recipes was hard. Once I was really comfortable with playing with the hydration levels of my starters--which I had to do for their health--it became easier to transition one to a levain starter, rather than spending a couple of weeks making a whole new one. Taking a 100% hydration starter to 50% is easy if you use a scale, but can be done either way.

1. Feed the starter without dividing.

2. After it has doubled, divide off the amount you usually keep when you discard, feed it, and put it away.

3. Section off a generous half the amount you'll need for your recipe (or just an easy math number), or enough for the recipe and a remainder to store.

4. Figure out the hydration difference and feed. If 100 g has 100% hydration, 50g (more or less because of evaporation and handling, but go with it) is water. Feeding it the 50 g you'd normally do would give you 100 g of flour so you'd want 50 g of water for 50% hydration, so just add the flour and no water. I gave it 10 g, since I was starting with less.

Now you have playdough, with or without eczema. :)

I think I've figured out the timing. I wanted to try overnight, which had been the plan for the previous one, until plans changed. I kept thinking last night that I needed to make my preferment and telling myself no, it has to be right before I go to bed. Perfect. I was just getting to the right level (and shy of eight hours) when I got up. I'm just here giving it a little more time. With luck, the dough will be ready to shape by mid-afternoon, and I can bake in the evening, rather than the middle of the night. Next time, I'll do a mise-en-place ahead of time though, because it's easier when you're not half asleep and yawning. :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Plllog, I can see how parchment would work well.

But for small loaves or smaller batches I just fold the couche in half. In fact, that is the case in that picture.

The couche is 31 inches by 36 inches. Folded in half it is 18" by 31". Works great for up to about six baguettes or when I make the small baguettes I can get 8 of them on the half size. I like that it is reusable too since the last box of parchment I bought cost me $15.00.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Oh, I get that about just folding the cloth! I just meant that parchment wouldn't be a great option for your bigger batches of bigger loaves. The Leader trick is that the same piece of parchment goes in the oven with the loaves, and you set up the couche right on the peel. Once I've settled into a routine, I'm sure I'll use my cloth covered peel to transfer, and a baking cloth for the couche instead of the paper. I bought the little Libbey jars so I could stop throwing away baggies from the pizza dough (I know people wash baggies, but I can't see wasting the water to get the old oil out). For great little tricks, tough, paper on peel to be couche, slide-y thing, oven liner and reverse slide-y thing, Leader's method is pretty sharp!

So. I'm pretty sure I did the current recipe exactly as prescribed, except for the whole wheat starter and home milled rather than stone ground in the bag. I thought I might have to add a little water, but it seems okay. One of the things I like about Leader is that he does use more hydration for whole wheat, unlike many.

I certainly did all the weights right. I triple checked, with some time lag for the last re-check to make sure I wasn't stuck in a brain rut. My whole levain is 20 g lighter than the sectioned off part I was supposed to use. The recipe says "size of a tennis ball" and I have that, so I'm not worried, but then it also says the dough won't form a ball while on the hook, and mine did before I even got the hook into it!

Whatever. It'll be bread, right?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Yup, it will be bread. And probably very good bread.
That is what I like about baking bread. It is hard to screw up and even if you think you did, you still end up with a loaf of bread.

I use to use my pizza peel to slide loaves on to the hot stone.

But Moe made me a couple of transfer peels /flipping boards that work great. Long enough for baguettes and easier to handle than my long handled peel.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Ann, thank you for the couche recommendation and for also sharing your pics -- seeing the linen in use is tremendously helpful and also how you fold it. Even more so is your advice to keep the couche in the freezer. Never in a million years would I have thought to do that. Once we hit August, I'll place an order with SFBI and also get some malt. Btw, your bread looks perfectly risen and uniform. It is quite a testimony to your baking skills that you get such exceptional results consistently.

plllog, my refrigerator is around 25 years old. Remember how the color almond used to be in vogue:)? It sounds like a train but it does the trick (knocking on wood:) I'm going to give the parchment a try as well as just a really floured towel this time. We shall see. And if I can check old Daniel Leader out of the library next time, I will give him another whirl. Sometimes the stars aren't aligned with time and learning. I hope you're baking as I type this:) I love the playdough instructions.

Ann said "It is hard to screw up and even if you think you did, you still end up with a loaf of bread." I love this quote and I know it's true, but I think my ciabatta rolls may be outliers or have such "significant aspects for improvement" they don't even qualify for the bread food group. I don't know what I did with this recipe, but I ended up with basically gluey, thick pancake batter. I was supposed to hand knead this and then add the additional water to make the dough "very soft." HA! I usually follow a recipe to a "t" the first time, but this was soup; consequently, I "amended". I'm actually somewhat concerned it's going to overflow the bowl I have it in overnight -- not kidding. So, it may not pass the litmus test for bread let alone rolls. Maybe pancakes or .... a vehicle for bread pudding:) Will post regardless of success or failure. As an aside, it smells really good.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:59PM
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I fed my sourdough starters late morning and they had both doubled in three hours.

I fed them last two weeks ago on the 10th.

And I made a Levain with some of the "excess". It had also doubled in three hours.

I also started a batch of Ken Forkish's, same day Pizza dough. Mixing by hand and using his pinching and folding method.

Was suppose to take six hours but it had doubled in five.

So I now have five balls of dough,, about 340 g each shaped and resting. They have to rest for 60 minutes and then go into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. We will have pizza for dinner.

I'll leave the others in the fridge and bake another pizza and maybe a couple of focaccia over the next two days.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 7:06PM
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Isn't Summer great! My dough rose in something like 3-4 hrs. I forgot to check the clock. I had workmen, and I finished writing a letter. It was good and doubled with beautiful holes all through. This is from the dry-ass eczema playdough that didn't rise as much as it was supposed to! I did carefully dissolve it, as I was supposed to. I think the difference, besides the good weather for baking, is really the autolyse and second knead. I'm using the organic red wheat that has the poor gluten (plus some white flour). This recipe calls for a minute or two of kneading after the first hour of rising (during which it doesn't actually rise much). I think the O. wheat needs these helpers.

Of course, now I'm wondering what happens if I do a much longer autolyse with whey (or just ascorbic acid and use the whey for ricotta) to have the soaking one should have with home milled wheat. I don't think it could hurt? OTOH, the sourdough makes it acidic and from water to oven, the wheat is wet for most of the eight hours it's supposed to have... (I don't know if that counts... just sayin'.)

Anyway, the final rise yielded a lovely, moist, light but firm sponge. I totally didn't get what Leader said about shaping, but I've been making round loaves since I was a kid, so I did that. I tried to pinch the bottom together, like he said, but it was too floury to stick. I don't care. :) I don't think it was necessary, since it wasn't shaggy to start with.

I hadn't milled enough flour, so I used some whole wheat pastry flour that needs using up to supplement the bench and to flour the cloth. Being too tired to experiment, I just did the colander thing. It's a risin'. :)

Last night, I just didn't have it in me to bother with the pizzas, so put the dough, glass bowl and all, into the fridge. Well. It didn't like that. I could probably have soaked it a bit and livened it up, but the yeasts both looked and smelled like they'd quit. Instead, I rolled it out on a couple of pizza pans (I had breyer envy since watching Dcarch's pizza video and couldn't help myself when I saw a two sided marble one--it was great for the seized dough).

I didn't really expect (mildly hoped?) for oven spring. (I didn't even think to dock them.) They're fine as flatbreads. I, ahem, discretely, cut off an edge to taste and it was fine. One will be pizza for dinner. The other may go in the freezer. I should have added water when I thought of it yesterday...

Ann, I love your planks! They're pretty, too. :)

Cathy, that soupy stuff? That's what I was trying to deal with when I was trying those recipes up topic. Way too wet to handle! Just pour in a pan and hope it's bread. Good for you for amending yours. I never got beyond the WTF?, Gallic shrug, and, "Okay, if you think so..." The less water, less protein is working much better for me.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Cathy, Ciabatta dough is suppose to be very wet. You can never really shape it. 92% hydration is common.

Thanks Plllog, they are pretty aren't they. Western Maple burl.

I was really happy with the way my pizza turned out tonight. Topped with oven roasted Roma tomatoes and pepperoni. I used fresh mozzarella.

Love the crust.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Ann, if the ciabatta dough is that wet, how do you do the foldy thing that makes the squares?

So the cheatza was really good! Sometimes laziness pays. :) I prepped the veg earlier while waiting for the workman, but when I went to make the pizza, I found the lid not quite on the (now moldy) pizza sauce! I had previously opened tomato puree but no desire at all to make sauce out of it. Instead, I brushed a generous amount of puree on the shell to wet it and sprinkled garlic pepper, dried Italian herb blend and crushed red pepper, topped with pre-shredded cheese blend and a generous drizzle of EVOO. Heirloom tomatoes, scallions and a cooked chicken sausage that I didn't even bother to shred. Cheatza on didn't rise after all, mostly whole wheat flatbread turned out really well. Very tasty and satisfying, if not real pizza.

The bread rose nicely. Leader said to ease it into place with a hand underneath, so I think it was supposed to be as soft as it was, but it settled instantly, rather than holding the domed shape of the form. The slashes didn't grow together as badly as on the batards, but they also didn't spread, like I'm used to. Making this on the paper is not a good idea. I was about to pull it worried that the paper would burn just as the timer went. :) The baked loaf is flatter than I expected but it looks good otherwise. We'll see when it's cut...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Plllog, When you tip the dough out on to a floured surface you use a dough scraper to divide the dough and you dip your hands in water to handle the dough. The dough won't stick to wet hands.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:54AM
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Well, yeah, Ann, I get that (though I usually oil my hands instead of wetting them). But when it's all soupy like that, how do you divide it and fold it when it's just goop that all runs together like loose porridge? I wouldn't even call it "dough". I've made stiffer cakes than some of those high hydration doughs.

I'm guessing the answer is different flour and different climate, where either more of the water is being released into the atmosphere during fermentation, or the flour is a lot drier to start with. I don't think the kind of goop I had during those experiments was what you're talking about being able to divide with a scraper. A ladle more like. Are you working in a lot of flour on the bench?

I tried to handle the first one, because I didn't realize it was batter. As I was turning it out, I was worried it would run right off the counter. I did try to divide it with the bench scraper, but it just closed back in. That's when I got out the loaf pans and just scooped it in as best as I could. It sounded like Cathy was having a similar outcome.

So. It was too hot to eat much today, other than the pizza, and the bread was just sitting there calling, so I cut into it. Eh. It's bread. The edge of the crust burnt a little, probably from the paper trying to burn, but no biggie. At that point it was over the long end of the suggested baking time, and the thermometer said it was in the done range, but it's very moist inside, to the point of seeming underdone. Not by much, though. There's a firm crumb. It's just a bit tacky. Not much flavor considering the very sour low proportion starter, long rise time, and red wheat. It just tastes like bread. Very anonymous bread. The color and texture of the crumb do make me think of trenchers, though. :)

So. I just found a thread on Fresh Loaf that talks about all the terrible numerical errors in this book. That explains a lot. :) I'll make sure to go through all the weights, measures and percentages in the future, and also, when I'm awake, print off the errata lists. That's a shame. I find Fresh Loaf hard to slog through, but I'm really glad it came up. I was just Googling how to spell Poilâne.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:20AM
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I agree Plllog, your dough does not sound like it would be able to be worked even with a scraper. What was the % of Hydration?

Which cookbook is that again you are using?


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:59AM
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Thought I would post a quick timeline. The rolls are in the oven now -- will post finished pics later and comments on this recipe. Had a calamity when one fell on oven floor -- (wide eyed/scared emoticon)

I'm learning so much from you all. I'm so out of my element but am having fun:)

Cathy in SWPA

ps plllog, husband asked if I wanted to go to the library. Will try to find old Dan:)

pss still need to get on with the photo sharing site.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:44AM
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The wet goopiness of the sourdough doughs was a shock to me at first, but three or four folds has always worked wonders for coaxing the dough into workable form. See first 86 pages of Forkish, as I recall.

Pilllog, how are you getting French accents into your text? Are you cutting and pasting, on a computer or iPad or iPhone, etc.? Mine go away when I hit return.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:21AM
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So, this is such a good read. I really do wish we were all in one room together sharing ideas and food.

plllog: I never got beyond the WTF?, Gallic shrug, and, "Okay, if you think so..." Maybe the funniest thing on this whole dang thread ... although the fora rivals it. Love, love the cheatza -- spicy? I want to see the inside of that loaf. You know I could envision with a nice honey butter -- oh my! Correction ... just read your follow up about "anonymous" bread. A good vehicle for other things then, yes:)? BTW, are you saying that there are terrible numerical errors in the Leader book? Ha! I just checked it out of the library.

Ann -- goodness me! That pizza looks sooooooo very very good! You know my son would note that the ratio of crust to toppings is perfect too -- he's like that.
So, the final outcome is this tastes very good. I was talking with my hope-to-be future son-in-law about what I consider to be in baking/cooking a "labor of love." I tried to explain that there are so many steps that can go wrong, so many variables to account for that it is quite a challenge to replicate one time to the next. In any event, here are my mishaps and changes.

First picture above titled "just mixed dough" is with an ADDITION OF ~ 2 CUPS OF FLOUR. This recipe intrigued me because it initially combined ingredients with a portion of the water, kneaded and then added remainder of water. It was soup. IDK if my starter is really thin, if I didn't measure correctly, etc. very wrong. I got it to the point where I actually pulled it like taffy, then added the last bit of water. I've made ciabatta before, but this was new terrain.

Didn't add all the salt. Just seemed like too much.

Cannot shape dough proportionally for the life of me. Worrying about "degassing" "be gentle", blah, blah, blah. My rolls are really small loaves. The guys will be okay with that.

Will look into couche, although I just slid these guys right onto the stone in their parchment. But I think I just want a couche:)

I added way, WAY, WAY too much flour on parchment, but I also used semolina for the first time -- I really like that.

Dropped one loaf on oven element and parchment started to flame. Gulp, very, very unsettling. Don't ask me about a fire extinguisher today. Ask me how I like mine tomorrow. Lesson learned.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Sorry, I wanted to include one more picture to show how the rolls actually are loaves and definitely not slippers:) Little less flour than 2 additional cups next time.

Cathy in SWPA who is still picking dried dough off her arms, hands, counters, etc.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Oh! Cathy, thanks for the pictures! Interesting in general, and also shows that your dough was just wet, not goop. I would have been fine with your just mixed dough. Oh, wait. You amended, right? Added more flour? So sorry about the catastrophe! I hope there wasn't a fire and that you got it all cleaned up. Can't wait to hear how it turns out!

Ann, I don't remember the specifics of goop because I don't want to go back there (i.e., will never do those again so didn't make notes). They were the kind of high hydration recipe you use. Seeing your results with the same kind of recipe, I figure it's my flour and/or environment. Those recipes weren't from the book I'm using now (except, possible, a fly by the ciabatta--I can't remember if I tried that or just thought about it), and my starter was young and a little wetter. :) I always do check the hydration of the recommended starter, and adjust, but perhaps part of the problem is that 100% is wetter for me than other people. Usually, I figure it's just that they like a looser starter. These just under 70% recipes have been working for me, though, and I don't know if the small percentage difference makes such a big difference, or what.

In fact, while I have evidence that the numbers I used for yesterday's loaf were off (reports of errata--book = Local Breads by Daniel Leader), and I think it was a wetter, softer loaf than it was supposed to be, I'm very accustomed to handling delicate soft wet glutinous doughs. This wasn't nearly so glutinous, but the pillowyness was familiar. That one, as I actually made it, was 68% hydration (total, including the starter, but not counting evaporation and what may have soaked into my hands during kneading, nor whatever flour it picked up from the bench). This recipe sounded like it was supposed to look like Cathy's first picture, but it was actually a nicely formed pillow.

The loaf seems perfectly cooked this morning, so I'm guessing it just wasn't fully cooled when I cut it last night, and it was still steaming out a little. It also has more flavor. :)

KD, since I learned about the errata in Leader last night, I've been considering buying Forkish, but I want to make sure I don't already have it, because I kind of thought I did. It's probably with the grill press that I haven't found since the remodel. :) But as I said above, if it's dough, even sticky slack dough, I can deal with it. If it's porridge or batter, no way. :)

Re diacritics, the surest way to use them is with codes. All codes begin with an ampersand and end with a semi-colon. Because the codes go twice through a rendering system, once for Preview and once for Post, some of them don't work as well as others. The numerical ones are the best bet; some of the name codes aren't preserved on post. Standard language diacritics like French accents (scroll down to find the ones that include the letters) and ñ work fine, but there's one I tried not long ago that rendered fine in Preview but turned into a WTF box on the actual post. Some also will go through one preview and post, but not multiple previews. Useful is #176 (between ampersand and semi-colon, including number sign), which is degree symbol.

A shortcut, however, is cut and paste, and I did paste the whole name "Poilâne". That only works with the most basic symbols, you have to use one from the web so that the code is embedded, and your browser has to preserve that code. I'm using Firefox, in which it works. It might not in other browsers.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Cathy, we cross posted!

I'm so sorry about the flames!! But it looks like you got a good outcome with the rest of your bread. :) How's the oven doing? You know about the baking soda and boiling water/let sit way to remove char, right? (I learned it from Trailrunner.)

The small loaves look wonderful! I'm glad to hear they taste good too, of course. :)

I'm thinking your recipe might be one of those where you're supposed to know how much water to add, but they didn't actually tell you to stop adding when you got the right wet. :) I have a couple of recipes like that, and more that are add more flour until it's right. Some of that is that volume measures of flour are so all over the map, but that also allows one to compensate for environment and all. The art of it. :) That's what was behind the Gallic shrug. I knew it didn't look anything like bread I'd ever handled, but I was faithfully following the recipe. Good for you for fixing yours!

Re salt, it sounds like you got yours right since you're happy with the flavor. Ciabatta from the bakery are on the salty side which is probably why it was so high (i.e., plenty more salt than needed for the yeast reaction). The doughs I've made from Leader have tasted salty to me, but the bread doesn't. I wonder if it's the interplay of water and salt that made the Miche flavorless when it was overmoist, but flavorful when dried out?

For you:

It's starting to have flavor, and the piece I cut earlier and left on the board is positively tangy. I think the more moist it is, the less flavor. It doesn't have the nuttiness I'm used to with the red wheat, though, and it picked up a scent of char from the paper/crust edge episode. Kind of an overall peasanty taste, so I guess that kind of makes it authentic. :) It's fine, but can be greatly improved upon. I'll have to think up a sandwich to entertain you with. :)

By "spicy?" were you asking if the cheatza pizza was spicy? Not particularly, but I have a Southwest definition of spiciness. There was very little crush red pepper (though there were seeds) and not much garlic or black pepper by way of the garlic pepper. Just enough for some flavor. The sausage wasn't a spicy type either.

And yes, apparently my mismatched numbers with that loaf are part of a long list of known errata. Sorry about the book! But it's a good book. All the people talking about the errors on Fresh Loaf also say how worthwhile it is, and one said something like what I said way up topic about my experiments--that it was even better as an instructive volume because it makes people work it out themselves. :)

Even though we're about 2500 miles away, I'm really glad you're there, plus Ann, KD and the others. If we were all getting together IRL, there would be the school runs and the chimney sweep, and the vet, laundry, shopping and dinner to get on. Doing all of this is so much better with like-minded others, each at our own pace and level and time. Being together would be great in its way, but since this is the way we are, I'm grateful to be here. :)

Edit: Update. I only found beans and tomato sauces in the fridge and plenty of cheese. It was cheese bread, with a little Rao's sauce a la vodka (more cheese in the tomatoes) for flavor for lunch. And garden (not mine) teardrop tomatoes (more tomatoes) with no flavor. :( But I also had some beans (only a little bit of tomatoes). Just not in a sandwich. There's this big tub of homemade meat sauce in there, but it's supposed to be a lasagna... (even more cheese and tomatoes). No leftover meat. Just some beef that was supposed to be sloppy joe's and lamb that was supposed to be marvelous lamb burgers, neither of which I've actually made because I was busy with the bread and it was hot. Instead, both are going to be a vaguely gyros-ish meatloaf. :) Should make a good sandwich, no?

This post was edited by plllog on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 20:15

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Well, daaaaaaaaaaaaaaagg! You really can get all your questions answered on Gardenweb. I am indebted to you for that code link.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 9:45AM
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"gallic shrug" -- I love this sentiment. We have one called just "smile and nod":)

"I knew it didn't look anything like bread I'd ever handled, but I was faithfully following the recipe" -- Faithfully following the recipe! Ay-yi-yi! First time I rebelled -- I was taught to always follow a recipe in baking exactly, to a "t", no ifs, ands or buts. Taken from :

"The high-hydration (i.e., wet) doughs that produce those accommodating holes can be especially difficult to handle, and I’ve always relied on my trusty mixer to see me through. I was curious to see, here in this bare-bones kitchen where all the mixing is by hand (and all the yeast is wild), whether I could pull it off. ...

For high-hydration doughs, I love the double-hydration technique, where a portion of the water is held back until the bulk of the gluten development is accomplished ...

Method -- Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and mix (knead) until the gluten reaches a medium-low level of development. This took me about 10 minutes.
Return the dough to the bowl and add the rest of the water, mixing by hand until it is completely absorbed. Add additional water as needed to make the dough very soft.

Turning the dough out -- Not happening and the rebel in me bemoaned possibly wasting (my grandmother hovering) all of these ingredients. You know there are so many variables in this process (like was I distracted and added too much water, what's my sourdough consistency, temps, proofing, blah, blah, blah) that there can be a lot of trial and error. Honestly, I found adding two add'l cups of flour somewhat liberating:)

Which leads to your learning about Leader and about the sometimes temperamental art of bread making: "that it was even better as an instructive volume because it makes people work it out themselves. :)"

Cheatza/Pizza would be inhaled here -- literally, and it is sometimes frightening.

So the bread is "peasanty"? I would be there with my hat in hand waiting for a piece! Sometimes I prefer a bread with some heft and complexities rather than the one-note, eyelet types. Depends on my mood and what it's going to be partnered with. The ciabatta rolls (loaves) have gone pretty well with spaghetti and meatballs. Ah, just read your edit -- lots of tomatoes and cheese going on --Ha! The gyro-ish meatloaf sounds very, very intriguing. Yogurt sauce too?

"Busy with bread and it was hot" -- yes.

I am grateful too.

BTW, I will be making these rolls again because I consider bread makers masters in the art of perseverance:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:59AM
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I kneaded up a batch of bread dough last night using the Forkisk pinch and fold method. I added the levain made on Thursday and left in the fridge until yesterday, along with 900 g of my regular flour and 100 g of a heritage stone ground Red Fife flour and 780 g water.

I bought three of True Grain's organic flours. Red Fife Organic sifted, Red Fife Organic Stone Ground, and Organic Stone Ground Spelt.

True Grain is a local bakery making organic handcrafted breads from grains that are milled on-site.

It is their Organic Rye that I used to grow my sourdough starter and to feed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: True Grain

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:40AM
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This looks to be #150, so I'll start another sourdough thread with pie segue. :)

Cathy, I know the liberated feeling you're talking about! I had it when I started these experiments with the discard. I do as I please with most baking recipes, usually to success. I don't have Grainlady's technical knowledge nor Ann's experience and expertise, but I know that if you control the basics, it'll come out. My mother's challah is so tetchy, however, that controlling it is enough without messing with it. A cousin did that when I was young, and tried using it as a base recipe for other breads, and they were breads, but I didn't really like them. You have to know how to not handle the challah (no typos there) to make it work out right. Add to that the old miseries of using cake yeast and I never messed with yeast dough before. I really liked the figgy loaf! Worrying about keeping the yeast alive rather than if I was going to ruin the bread was great. But that was one of those very soupy things, and if I try that again, I'll use less water/more flour. :)

It's interesting that so many people think more hydration means lighter bread and more holes! That's the opposite to what I've experienced so far. Leader, like the ciabatta recipe, works the dough and develops the gluten. Controlled hydration seems to work better for me, and I definitely think the miche was too wet given how much better it got as it dried out. I had similar issues with the pizza recipe. One of the ones I tried, which was the result of much study in a pizza working group, was something like 90% hydration of whole wheat (though not soupy!). It was a very sticky dough and had to be made in a pan. It was not at all comfortable with toppings, though it was okay par-baked. Totally wrong for me, and it didn't have a good enough baked texture to stick with. It's not like my pizza recipe is low hydration. Just comparatively low. It's around 70% hydration.

Cathy, I agree that inhaling pizza of any kind is frightening! Thank goodness for the widespread publicity for the Heimlich Maneuver!

The miche is peasanty, as in plain old bread. I'd be happy to make the pain de levain for you! That has much more complexity even though it's mostly white. It's very yummy! The miche isn't as flavorless now, but it's not stand in line worthy, unfortunately. Next time.

It was supposed to be record setting heat this weekend, but we're having monsoon influence, instead. Not the actual monsoons, which are farther South, but damp and cooler. Spaghetti and meatballs and ciabatta sounds delicious and decadent right now! (Decadent because two starches--my mother never served bread with pasta.) My favorite way to eat ciabatta, however, is with a goodly layer of good butter and an even thicker layer of powder grated good parmesan. This is the breakfast the Italian stewards on the ocean liner tempted my mother with when she was underfed and ill and returning home. I am not underfed, so I don't indulge, but the slightly salty, slightly sour bread with the sweet butter and salty, umami parm is just amazing. (Okay, I'm not underfed, but I haven't had breakfast...) Standing in line for the ciabatta...

The gyros-ish meatloaf came out fine. It would have been better with more fat (who says that?), but the meat that needed using was very lean. I suppose I could have added some butter, but who does that? Not I. It's tasty, though. I didn't go full out on the seasoning (i.e., used the recipe) because I'd never made this recipe before. It could be kicked up a bit, but the flavor is about right. The leanness means I can be generous with the oil and grill some up later. :) No yoghurt sauce since since there are no pita either and my cucumbers and dill both bit it in the fridge. Tomatoes, onions and peppers will be fine. :)

Ann, one lesson I learned best from you is to just put things in the fridge. Fermenting yeast things, that is. Just put it in the fridge. It's the most freeing thing I've learned recently. I've read all about it, of course, and the pizza recipe is one that's meant to develop in the fridge, but the way you just whip up a levain and throw it in the fridge until you're ready, or make up some do and go off to work, with instructions to Moe for when to take it out. Of course it's a given that cold retards yeast, but so much of my bread life until now has been about keeping yeast warm and cozy and encouraging it to rise, retarding the rise in the fridge to manage the slow process of sourdough is a revelation. Thank-you!

Edited to add link and fix weird typo.

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 20:51

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:38PM
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