Things to Make with Sourdough Starter Deux

plllogJuly 27, 2014

This is a continuation of thread Things to make c/discarded sourdough starter.

Pie. In talking about figs with MellowD, I mentioned a chicken pie, and thought I should make it. Little did I know when I bought the chicken that my figs had died! Sigh. Before that harrowing discovery, however, I was contemplating my discard jars. I have to get back to using them up rather than feeding them. The pizza didn't use that much. :) So I thought I should look up whether you can make a sourdough pastry crust. I didn't care very much how it came out, since the crust is just there to keep the steam mostly in on a pot pie, and if it tastes good, that's just a bonus. :)

There are all kinds of sourdough pie crust recipes on the web! Some have the most outlandish starters! I couldn't figure out how to adapt them. I mean, I know you can make a starter out of anything with must, in just about any way, but some of the methods I saw were pretty extreme. Since I have all that discard, I'm thinking I should invent one on my own. :) It doesn't have to be pie crust, which isn't very wet. It could be biscuit or even bready, right?

I don't know if I'll get more figs or just make a different pie.

Or make the lasagna instead.

Some kind of dough is about to happen, though.

UPDATE: We had a thunderstorm. Unusual at any time of year, but rain in July is plain weird. I couldn't keep my eyes open. No dough. No dinner, just scrounge.

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 20:53

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Plllog, do you save all of your discard?

I remember when I made my first sourdough starter. Every time I fed it, I would make a preferment for my next batch of bread, and I would feed the excess because I didn't want to throw it away. I ended up with about 6 to 8 starters that needed to be fed. It got out of hand. And then I just quit.

This time around, when I started my new "starter" in February, I decided that I would just feed two. I feed them both and make a preferment with some of the excess and then discard the rest. The only time I feed a third one is if someone asks for a starter.

As I mentioned in the previous thread, I started a batch of bread last night, using the sourdough Levain that I made on Thursday.

After the first rise, I did another fold and stretch

and put the dough in the fridge where it just continued to rise.

As you can see it is threatening to push the lid off the container.

Even though it has been in the fridge for 24 hours, it will keep on rising so I will need to knock it down before bed.

I'm off work tomorrow so I will bake tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Well, that looks happy, Ann!

I started with Wubby. The home milled whole wheat starter. One of the divisions became the white Wubby. When I made the stiff starter from divided Wubby for the Leader recipes, I saved the leftovers (one white, one whole wheat), but haven't fed them. If they don't bubble when I go to use them, I'll throw them in the discard. I did actually throw out the remainder of the white levain because I wasn't up to working out the hydration level.

In general, however, when I discard before feeding the starters, I add the discard to a jar of discard and save it. It keeps bubbling away in the fridge. When it was fresh, I did those experiments in the first thread, but I didn't find a good recipe. I was successful with the waffles, and moderately so with the pizza dough.

When I talk about feeding the discard, however, I'm not feeding it fresh flour and water. I'm giving it discard from feeding up the starter to bake. The new injection of starter at the end of its feeding cycle is good for the discard jar. Without it, it goes all hoochy. So far, I've only fed each starter once without baking. The one I want is usually ready to be fed when I'm ready to bake, so it all works out and there's usually extra left for the jar. I didn't want the jar to run over, however, so I also have a second small jar. I need to make more waffles and get some of this out of the fridge. :) And I think I'll try the pain de levain with discard, now that I'm familiar with the recipe. Maybe add some sweet to make up for all the starch the yeast has 'et up.

That was the original purpose of the first thread. Things to make with discard. :) When I was nursing the Wubby to good health there was a time when what worked the best to strengthen it was feeding without discard, then I was feeding too large a starter for awhile, while it caught. Made for lots of waffles! Really yummy waffles. :)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:06AM
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I used a type of starter called "Everlasting Yeast" and there wasn't any cast-off starter to contend with. It was much easier to manage because of that than a standard starter. You can also manage your starter to be used without any cast-off.

I've mentioned this recipe many times before, but King Arthur's recipe for SOURDOUGH CRUMPETS was a top recipe for a cup of starter. I always kept a stack in the freezer. Makes 8 crumpets.

Use a 4-cup container/measuring cup for mixing because it increases in volume. To one cup of starter add 1 t. sugar, 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. baking soda. Whisk quickly.

Sit greased crumpet rings on a preheated griddle (medium heat and turn down to low to cook the crumpets). Fill the rings with about 1/4-inch of batter and cook over low heat until the tops are set and full of holes. Remove the rings and flip the crumpets over for a minute or two. For the second set of 4 crumpets, flip the rings over (the other side will be relatively clean and won't require cleaning or greasing), fill with 1/4-inch of batter and repeat the process. Cool in a single layer on a cooling rack. Do NOT stack because they will stick. To store or freeze, place a square of freezer paper between the crumpets so they separate easily. To use: pop them into a toaster to brown and crisp.

-add finely chopped deli ham
-add orange flavoring (or Fiori di Sicilia) and finely chopped candied orange peel
-fresh snipped herbs




I'm not sure where I found this recipe....


Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups for 12 muffins.

Combine in a bowl:
1 c. all-purpose flour (I used freshly-milled spelt)
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. candied orange peel cut into 1/4-inch bits

Combine in another bowl until well blended:
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. sourdough starter

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients gradually, stirring only enough to moisten and bring to an even consistency. Spoon evenly into the muffin tins. Batter should come almost to the top of the pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until done. Remove immediately from the tin and cool on a rack.

The link below has a number of recipes including pastry. 


Here is a link that might be useful: [Cultures for Health \- sourdough dessert recipes](
    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Thanks, Grainlady! I'm glad you joined us. I have to admit I haven't used your crumpet recipe because I don't care much for crumpets and I like them better than most of the members of my household.

The pie on the page you linked is one one of the ones where I couldn't figure out how to relate my starter to the one they use. I'd have to set up a sequence of algebraic equations and I'm just not into it! Instead, I was thinking I'd just use the recipe as a starting place and wing it. I mean, I know how to make pastry. :) But I didn't since I wasn't up to doing anything yesterday, and my figs died.

So now I was getting really excited about the sourdough pasta recipe, but it's at the other site whose starter is incomprehensible to me! I also don't use lard, and I think subbing for it, and subbing my starter for theirs without a conversion, is asking for trouble.

Please, do you have any advice on how to use these recipes without making a whole new starter? If you just can tell me how liquidy the starter is, I could wing it. I just don't know how to get from what I have to what they have, unlike the bread book recipes which are very specific.

What's the difference between everlasting yeast and regular starter? Everything I've read says that once it's established, the yeast is the same kind (or mix of three kinds) no matter what the source and method of growing it was. Is the difference just a big jar of wet rather than a small jar of dry? If so, how wet is the wet? (Milky, pancake batter, cake batter?) I have to admit, I much prefer baking by weight to volume.

I think it's a waffle day. I'll have to see if I have takers...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Today's bread. Process started on Thursday and finished this morning.

Took the dough out of the fridge at 5:30 AM and the loaves were out of the oven by 9:30 AM.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:36PM
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I'm really happy with the crust, crumb and flavour of this bread.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Ann, I often admire the quality of your photographs. They rival the breads you make for beauty. Is that a frame, or a tray? The wheat sheaves are a nice touch. The bread looks delicious.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Thanks Plllog. It is just a chalk board in a frame. But it comes in handy as a background for photos.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:14PM
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Do any of you have a good, not high hydration, sourdough or active dry yeast, whole wheat bread recipe that doesn't require a major time investment?

I have recipes for any of those, but not all. I'm at the point of making my pizza dough, instead (it does all, and is just a quick mix and knead, and a slow ferment in the fridge after being portioned--dead easy).

I haven't been feeling great. I just used my post meal burst of energy to grate cheese for the dinners I have been avoiding making. In the Cuisinart. Not usually a task worth writing about. But that's the level of can't be bothered I'm at... There's commercial bread in the freezer, but I wish I had fresh home baked...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Have you tried Ken Forkish's 75% whole wheat? It has 80% hydration but there is no reason why you can't change that. I play around with hydration all the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: 75% Whole Wheat Bread

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:07PM
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Thanks for the link, Ann. I haven't tried any of Forkish. I finally ordered the book. I still think I have a copy from my bread books binge, but since I can't find it, I really don't. If it turns up I can give it away. I'm not baking this week so I have no excuse to procrastinate. :) First I'm going to make the Leader pain de levain again for my mother, and it's getting near the time I should be starting to freeze round challah for the holidays. I'll see if I can squeeze it in there.

The Leader miche was something like 75% whole wheat. What I really want is 100%. One of my favorite commercial breads is 100% whole wheat, water, yeast and salt, so I know it's possible. I don't know how easy/possible it is at home, but that's my goal. All your loaves look lovely, but I really don't enjoy eating much white bread. The pain de levain is something like 70% white, and while it was yummy, I couldn't eat it regularly.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:25AM
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Something for everyone Plllog, I don't enjoy whole wheat bread. Never have. But I enjoy creating white breads with more developed flavour and texture.

Not sure if this recipe is what you are looking for, but it is suppose to be a soft 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.

I started another batch of wild yeast sourdough yesterday to be baked on Wednesday. And hand mixed a batch of non sourdough bread for baguettes.

Fed both starters early. The one on the left with rye and the other with white.

Within three hours the one fed with rye had already doubled. And the one with white not far behind.

I left them both out a little longer before refrigerating.

Rather than make baguettes with the non-sourdough ,

I baked crusty rolls.

Perfect for sandwiches , but still big enough to slice.

Yesterday for dinner, I grilled a couple of slices and made Crostini.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:50AM
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The crostini look great, Ann. Thanks for the link. That's an oil and honey, soft bread. I have scads of recipes for that kind of thing. The great thing about the freshly milled wheat, as opposed to commercial whole wheat flour, is that it doesn't require sweetener to cover rancidity. I'm not a big fan of the flavor of honey wheat breads either. There's another simple recipe of the sort that I've had stashed. I just don't know enough about the fat to muck with it when my mind is elsewhere.

The recipe I started from as I developed my pizza dough recipe was a honey wheat. I did make it that way the first two times to learn the recipe, but I transitioned to sugar, to home milled wheat, to barley malt (for the malt flavor, though it's also sweet tasting). Grainlady assured me that I didn't need the sugar to feed the yeast, so I went for it, and the recipe needed to be dryer anyway. Pizza dough is usually a little sweet though. I don't want to make everyday bread sweet, and I prefer more of a crust.

So, given the little push you've just given me, I thought I'd go back to Reinhart's whole grain. I'd pushed it aside in frustration when I started this because he starts the chapter on hearth breads talking about how they're lean and the difference that no fat makes, then puts butter in it! So, today, I kept on, and found a multigrain loaf with no fat that sounds promising, and very adaptable. I'm not against fat, per se. I just want the kind of crumb you get without it.

Edit: Feh! I just reread. I seem to have missed the white flour in the biga the first time through. The adventures since I first tossed Reinhart aside have emboldened me, however. I think I'll just kind of combine the two recipes and see what I get. :) Or maybe I'll make the whole grain (which sounds tasty), and substitute a cup of whole wheat flour plus a couple spoons of vital wheat gluten for the cup of white flour and see if that works.

This post was edited by plllog on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 15:32

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Plllog, I'm interested in seeing your pure whole wheat.

Although whole wheat has never been a favourite. I am tempted to give the 75% bread a try. Moe would probably love it.

Wild Yeast sourdough - from the batch made Monday and refrigerated until this morning. Baked 12 small loaves. Some oval and some long.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Ooo, I like the deep slashes. They look so good!

The Leader 75% whole wheat was the recipe that had the error in the measurements. it was okay as is, but not worth replicating, and I haven't had a chance to chase down the correct numbers and try them. Do let me know if you try the Forkish one. It sounds like a sound recipe. Just a softer crumb than I want. I'd love to see what it looks like baked up. :)

I was about to start the biga for the multigrain bread, but the news said they're looking for a 20% water reduction. Since I didn't start wasting water after the last drought, I don't know where to cut! As it is, I've been grossing myself out by using a pot of standing water in the sink to rinse ick off in the kitchen. The kind of ick you just don't want hardening on the dishes before washing. But that doesn't require clean water, and I've been biting my lip and doing it. So. Baking bread uses a lot of cleaning water when all's done. I can buy decent bread at Trader Joe's, and really great bread at lots of places. So far I haven't been able to make myself use one bowl of water for all the bread making ick, even though it should be clean enough. So, no biga. I have to go to TJ's anyway. Sigh.

Question: Ann, what's the difference between Wild Yeast sourdough and regular sourdough? Or is Wild Yeast the name of a book or something?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Plllog, I'm sorry that you are dealing with a water shortage. That certainly can't be much fun. There are watering restrictions out here too. Very dry summer for us. Thankfully, we are in an area with a well so we haven't had a problem.

The difference for me between sourdough bread and wild yeast sourdough is the addition of commercial yeast.

I make both kinds. Sometimes I will add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of yeast just for insurance. Or if I want to bake the same day. I call this bread sourdough. But when I make bread using a preferment made with my sourdough starter without the addition of commercial yeast then it is a Wild Yeast sourdough.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Aha! That explanation makes a lot of sense! Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:59AM
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Wild yeast is yeast scavenged from the flour itself, or from the environment (depending upon whom you read). Bread made from wild yeast has no commercial yeast added, as Ann said. When I had starters all over the kitchen and explained to the kids (all adults) what I was doing, all sorts of not so appetizing imagery crept into their minds simultaneously. Once they tasted the bread, however, those images disappeared.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:12AM
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LOL! My starter is wild yeast. :) Most of the people who come in my kitchen wouldn't know the difference. They all think I'm mad anyway. But, as you said, they do like the bread. My friend's daughter, the college girl, made my pie recipe (she asked for the recipe!). She e-mailed me that it was yummy and sent pretty pictures, but confessed to me weeks later that it was SO much work. I got the feeling that she's more about the instant gratification of cookies. She loves the new "recipe" going around where you bake oreos into brownies. (I think you have to be young ::shudder::). Although she seems to have really enjoyed the loaf of pain de levain, when I offered to teach her, she went kind of still. I think she was repressing a shudder of her own. :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Plllog, thank you for creating a sourdough part deux! I'll be checking in periodically due to some time constraints, but I’ve enjoyed catching up with everyone’s adventures and as usual, learning. I hope that you’re feeling more energetic and better. Just as important, I hope your water situation resolves quickly. Really disconcerting on so many levels. You are absolutely spot on when you say “So. Baking bread uses a lot of cleaning water when all's done.” Flour and water makes the best glue when dried. Ha! I love the story re: your friend’s daughter and “SO much work.” I don’t know if I told you, but I had a book from the library about various chefs and their favorite recipes. One chef indicated that part of the cooking/baking/etc. process was cleaning up. Shared with son, and he agreed that cleaning indeed adds an element of appreciation:)

Ann, as usual, your posts are educational and pictures are stunning. The roasted tomatoes with feta(?) are beautifully plated. My son just said yesterday after eating a piece of sourdough “Wouldn’t this go be a great base for grilled cheese (he said Asiago:) with tomato soup?” I was thinking bruschetta would go well; particularly, for my no dairy kid, but those roasted tomatoes really are calling me now.

Grainlady, if you’re still reading, I started looking into the crumpets (no dairy!) then stopped at the rings, then the search morphed into looking into sourdough English muffins, and then searching for English muffins with no milk ... you get the idea:) I’m probably the only one who has never had a crumpet, but since we go through two packs of multi-grain English muffins in a couple of days, this idea has got my wheels spinning.

Whackadoodle baker question: So, if you’re a purist (sourdough/baking,etc.) scroll on by. Also, if you shun using volume anymore. A couple of years ago, my kids and I made the no-knead ciabatta per Chef John video (we found pretty entertaining) and it was good. Fast forward, I was thinking about making it again due to time constraints (18 hours room temp) and started talking to my son about just using starter instead of yeast. Of course we get into the whole volume versus weight/mass debate (Chem E kid), and I just end up replacing ½ cup of the water and ½ cup of the flour specified in the recipe with 1 cup of starter, crossing my fingers because I need to get this finished.

What's the lesson: I’m not sure what I did was right. Recipe was 4 cups of flour to 2 cups of water, yeast, salt -- I used 3 ½ cups of flour, 1 ½ cups of water, 1 cup of starter, salt. The flour and water of the starter is configured in the hydration, right? Wow, that sounded good in theory yesterday, but seems really wrong now that I read it:)

In any event, mixed dough at 4:30 pm, went for a run at 3 am (couldn’t sleep) and peeked at the dough -- good grief! it had tripled, almost overflowing). Threw it in the refrigerator, got it back out at 6 am, formed a half-hearted loaf at 10 am and baked by 12.

One last thing, son wanted to put slashes even though not traditional ciabatta. Of course, we don't have specific tool. Used a razor blade, pulled the cut/slash ... used serrated knife, same. Didn’t matter because they pretty much closed.

Very nice crumb, more pronounced tang than usual. Well received -- may experiment next time:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:38AM
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As if my previous post wasn't long enough, wondered if there is an economical serrated knife recommendation out there?


Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:47AM
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What do you mean by economical? Many, many people recommend Wustoff serrated bread knives and you can find them on sale under $100. I have an old (32 years) Chicago one that isn't great, but functions. Even though I love knives, I sort of retreat at the thought of paying a lot for a bread knife, but I do think a nice one is in my future, now that I bake bread. (I am on hiatus. Drought here, too, although not as bad as two years ago. And 107-117 "real feel" temps have me out of my baking mode.)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Good question. I have one my mom gave me from days gone by. Serviceable, but just was curious what others were using.

KD: "Even though I love knives, I sort of retreat at the thought of paying a lot for a bread knife, ..."

^This! I actually looked at a thread from several years ago here on GW. AKChicago recommended: "Cooks Illustrated magazine likes the Forschner Victorinox 10.25" serrated knife with Fibrox handle. It's a steal at around $28. In a review a couple of years ago, Cooks Illustrated said "tough on hard crusts, gentle on tomatoes, and easy on the hands. A terrifically sharp blade with all the best traits--length, curvature, and serration design." "I mean, at $28, how could I resist? It has been great! I really love this knife, and recommend it to all my friends."

Link shows now that the knife is $48.99.

There are a lot of serrated knives for less reviewed on Amazon that look interesting. Will spend on $$$ a santoku, but can't justify the same for a bread knife right now.

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenweb - Serrated knives discussion '08

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Hi Cathy! Glad you checked in. Your bread looks great, but you didn't tell does it taste?? Tang, yes, but how do you like it? What does it taste like?

I haven't tried since my early messing arounds with discard, but there are apparently as many conversion methods as there are types of starter! Yours obviously worked. :) It sounds like one of the ones I have saved. What I've learned in my baking this Summer is that, similar to using baking powder when improvising a cake, it doesn't really matter how much starter you use, but that you use it. The baking powder is more sensitive--one tries to hit a certain range. With the starter, so long as there's enough of it, and it's active enough, to breed, it's just a matter of letting it breed long enough to grow, and to develop the gluten.

Here are the three methods that I've saved because they make the most sense to me (no opinions as to success for any):
Converting to Sourdough
The easiest way I have found to adapt a recipe without altering the ingredients too much is to take all of the liquid from the recipe, stir in 2 Tbsp. starter, add the same amount of flour as the liquid. Let this sit, covered, overnight (room temp.) Next day, continue by adding the rest of the ingredients, remembering that you already used the liquid and part of the flour. If your recipe calls for milk rather than water, use water but then stir in some dry milk powder after the overnight proofing is complete and then mix your dough.

--SourdoLady on Fresh Loaf

you can typically replace the yeast with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of starter and simply subtract out the appropriate amounts of flour and water from the recipe. I have had good results this using this method and tend to use the 1/2 cup.

--Ryeaskrye on Fresh Loaf

To convert a recipe to sourdough, I start by replacing each packet of yeast (about a tablespoon, or 6 grams) with a cup (or about 240 grams) of active sourdough starter. I adjust the recipe to accommodate the water and flour in the starter. I figure each cup of starter has about 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour in it, while 240 grams of starter mixed the way we talked about in maintaining a starter will have 120 grams each of water and flour.

--Mike on Sourdough Home

I had to feed the starters yesterday, and was so tempted to start bread. I was going to do work stuff! One obligation was half cancelled yesterday, and the other was postponed today. I was feeling better (thanks for the good wishes, Cathy) so was willing to experiment, and the Reinhart whole wheat does say that the fat and sugar are optional, and also has a margin note about converting to sourdough. But I used enough water on the jars and measuring cups that I forced myself to think that a trip to Trader Joe's is better. :( I do have to start making challot, which is not the same kind of water hog, and isn't something one can buy. I'm going to try to do evening baking since it's getting hot again, but am totally unsure of the timing. It'll be interesting to go from metric weights back to English volume-ish by feel. :)

So. Since the bread was a no-go, and wanting to pare down the discard jars instead of just feeding them (and I must apologise, Cathy, I poured the hooch right down the drain), I made a full batch of waffles so the leftovers would be bread for today. My lunch sandwich was a half whole wheat sourdough waffle with salsa picante and sharp cheddar. Not bad, but not fab. It was best where the chunks in the holes were, so I figured out that the sourdough tang (of which there was still plenty even without the excess hooch) and the vinegar were not good playfellows. They were fighting each other for who got to be acid and who had to be bitter, while Sourdough was claiming the sour rôle even as Vinegar was trying to push him aside. Meanwhile, Hot was on the sidelines whimpering, "What about me?" Which is all kind of funny because Cheddar and Sourdough were playing very nicely together except where Sourdough was trying to push Vinegar out.

Bread knives are ritual objects in my culture. I have a pewter handled one which is dead ugly, but passed through the hands of many of the older women in my family. It's heavy, though, so while I buying other serving pieces to go with my casual and semi-casual flatware, I bought the bread knife too. OTOH, from when I was living abroad in a slum on a stipend, I have a cheapie cheap scalloped knife that was my only long knife there. I use it for bread in the kitchen when I need a long knife, like for the miche (my flatware knives are sharp and will cut bread fine if it's not too big for the length of the blade). There was something I made recently that the cheap scalloped knife wasn't good for. Maybe the buns. I got out the flatware's bread knife with its proper serrations for something...

All of which above is meant to say that you can use just about anything to cut bread and don't need a fancy knife. Look at Amazon under "bread knife". There are name brand (Henkles, OXO) bread knives for $10-15. I bet you could get one that's just fine for less at the dollar store.

Just don't use your bread knife on tomatoes! I'm babying my tomato knife. They don't make them anymore. The best ever were these cheap plastic handled things from the grocery store. They have very thin, curved, finely serrated blades and cut like the dickens, but the blades can break. Now they have similar looking ones that are "good", but the blades are too thick and they're not the same at all! So I only take mine out for the most squishy delicate tomatoes and guard it's $5 self carefully. Mostly, I use my 8" chef's knife. It cuts grocery store (thick skinned) tomatoes just fine. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 4:26PM
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A treasure trove of information, plllog! Thank you very, very, much for sharing what you've saved and your experiences regarding starter. I'm kind of partial to door #3 Mike:) No really, using starter as a complete substitute for yeast is an arena I haven't delved in, and I am extremely intrigued now. I appreciate it!

Second, I'm so glad that you're feeling better. Sometimes you really don't know how bad you felt until you feel better. Stay cool and post your challot(ah? -- not familiar with the term) results. I'm curious.

Hooch down the drain?????? Say it ain't so:) Very interesting about the vinegar/sourdough clash. My dad would say "just a near miss" kind of thing.

Of course, I'm dying to know about living in a slum on a stipend and your only long knife, but I'm staying on topic .... even though I segued off topic with bread knives and my curiosity. BTW, I love the idea of kitchen pieces with history, tradition or cultural framework -- evokes wonderful memories. My 97 year old grandmother is visiting from Florida -- ah, stories are my thing.

Ha! Did I like the bread? Yes. So much so, that I ate more than one piece, which is kind of unique as I'm usually just a taster, and I'm going to make again. As a rule, I actually enjoy manually kneading dough. There's actually a foretaste in the process, and I'm reminded of my grandmother who taught me by phone (long distance with a cord, no less!) how to knead bread when I was a mere pip:)

Hope you stay cool, feel well and see some rain in your forecast!!!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Cathy, thank-you for the good wishes, especially for rain. Which I'm generalizing in its intention to a wish for snow in the mountains which is what we really need. The semi-good news is that there's an El Niño in the offing. If it can manage to give us lots of rain this Winter, without dumping so much that we only have landslides and misery, we'll welcome rather than cursing it. At the end of the ten years drought in the '70's, we had three wet years in a row, and another one a couple years later. Very bad. Please may we have moderate rainfall and a good snowpack? Please?

I love the image of Little Cathy on the phone with a kitchen length curly cord teaching her how to knead. :) That's darling! My mother taught me, and always gave me a section of the dough to make my own loaf. I've been trying to figure out how to do bread with my little cousin (9yrs), but I don't have a lot of fun play space, and there's so much rising time... I suppose a made ahead lunch or something, but her poor parents...

Challot is plural of challah. I didn't mean to spring foreign words on you. It slipped out. :) More to come on that...

Re the starter/yeast replacement methods, I've done the #3 during my expermentation phase and it didn't really work well, but that might have had something to do with the other troubles I was having, like the weight of the water in the over wet dough might have stifled it. I should try it with a known recipe.

Short version of the knife history: I spent a year working abroad on a program which provides a stipend, which is barely enough to eat on, and housing. (It was a rural slum, so if my social worker housemate didn't tell me where all the social ills were around us, I would have thought it was just run down and poor.) The apartment had some melamine plates, stamped flatware and a couple of small aluminum pots, with a double gas ring to use them on. I bought a paring knife, a paring sized, triangle tooth, serrated knife and the long, scalloped knife really soon after I got there because there was nothing to cut with! They're cheap crap, and the paring knife broke (though I think after I got home--I was the last one left in the apartment and I was heading into grad school, so I brought them back). They made cooking possible, however, and I still use that scalloped knife. I can't even find a picture on Google. They probably don't make them any more. This isn't the kind with curves between points. It's like the edge of a quilt! But it works. :)

Thanks for the taste info. A second piece is a complement indeed!

As I was handling my scoop cups and oval spoon measures, it struck me that both had been given to me in my childhood, and I was still using them, and the nostalgic history I was feeling from them was all my own. (A lot of my kitchen tools were originally my mother's.)

How wonderful to have your grandmother visiting! I envy you the stories.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Cathy, this bread knife from Kuhn Rikon runs $20-25 (saw it for $20 on Amazon and Prime eligible).
I have one and it's surprisingly sharp. As in wickedly sharp and compares to one that was many times the cost and bought only because it was in a set DH drooled on in Sur La Table and it went on uber clearance.

Sounds like you ladies have been baking away. Not so much here. I did make a couple of loaves of and egg twist (a challah like dough with eggs, braided, but baked in loaf pans) so I could make French toast with it when my boys came home. That's been it.

Love the idea of sharing stories with the older generation(s). I miss that already. Also enjoy hearing that they taught you bread baking. My mom bought frozen bread dough and let it thaw and rise on the counter a few times. Those were special treats.

Little wonder that my first bread attempts were bricks and hockey pucks. DH talked about how if we left San Francisco, one of the things he would miss the most would be the sourdough. That was enough challenge to try it again and to add sourdough tot he equation. When my first son was born, we very rarely bought any bread. By the time the second one came along and they started eating pb&j, we were buying more bread than I had time to make. While they are both at college, I expect to bake more bread again.

Cathy, have you found an English muffin recipe? The one I used most recently was in a book close by, so I checked. It calls for a cup of milk and 3 T butter, but I suspect you could try a non-dairy "milk" and margarine or oil. It's from Classic Sourdoughs by Ed Wood. Let me know if you are still looking and/or want to see this one.

Hope California and other parts (a lot of Texas is still in dire straits) get the much needed rain in tolerable but satisfying means and amounts.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Lascatx, thanks for that wonderfully measured blessing. I wish the same for Texas as for ourselves, and for anywhere that thirsts. People show up or run away for the hurricanes, but just right, while not exciting, is so much better!

Challah is often baked in pans! White challah is almost always baked in small loaf pans, and egg challah is sometimes as well. I bake my round challah for the new year in pans, too, both sided pans and pizza pans, depending on the shape I'm making.

This batch over rose in the oven! It usually has a lovely dome shape. The pans help keep them vertical instead of flat. If they overflow, however, there's nothing holding them up and the edges sink, making them a bit mushroomy. :) In case you're wondering, there's one swirl twist, one spiral braid, and one twisted double braid crown.


Crumb where two loaves collided:

It was so lovely making a 31.25% hydration bread! Such a relief!! It's also rich and sweet and saffrony. It's a double rise, very yeasty bread with 12%-ish protein flour. Very different from daily bread. I tried the cold pressed palm shortening this time, and I wasn't thrilled with it. I think it's too wet. But, if I have a chance, I'll also try the Earth Balance margarine. I need to clear space in the freezer, though...

My mother created her challah recipe. I am lucky to have it as received knowledge. I promise you, she made quite a number of doorstops and crouton loaves before she got it just so. I hope you get a chance to bake more when the weather cools down.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:12PM
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Your loaves are still lovely.

It's fun to play with the designs and patterns in dough. No matter how you shape it, it still tastes good too. The spiral is a bit mushroomy but the other too k looked more domed than not to me.

You know what's funny is that I made that egg twist bread from a recipe out of a magazine before I ever remembered hearing about challah. Perhaps it's regional as much as ethnic -- I was raised on French bread, corn bread (still love both at the right time) and store bought sandwich bread with tortillas (called "flappy things" by another family member) when we went to Mexican restaurants.

I will bake some more when the boys are gone. If the time was good, the ac would let me bake, but we had one son come home after 6 weeks and he had his wisdom teeth out Monday. There's been a bit more waiting on him and waiting to get some of his college stuff packed than I'd been expecting. The other one comes home this Monday and gets his out Tuesday. They head off at the end of the week -- one Sunday and the other Monday. Too fast.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Whoa! Both with wisdom teeth out at the same time and only home for a week! I mean, I don't blame them on the one hand. When you're laid low, no matter how old, you want your mommy, right? It would be great if you had more time with them, though, especially post swelling. :)

There's a classic American loaf called "egg bread". It's nice whatever shape it comes in. :) Whether people other than Jews have challah may be a regional thing. In my neighborhood, it's sold at the chain stores because they want the Jews to shop there instead of at the kosher markets down the way. And where it's in the chain stores, lots of other people will discover it. Then, about 10 years ago, TV chefs started saying it was the best for bread pudding (which is patently false because if it's good challah there's none left to make pudding out of!).

Challah does not mean braided egg bread, though that's a common form. It's the bread made of the finest ingredients one has, in honor of the beauty of the Sabbath and holidays. "Challah" means separation, and refers to the piece that's sectioned off and not baked, but often burned, as an offering and/or symbolic of the tithe. It is always a purposfully shaped, rather than plain battard, bagguette or boule of bread, but any kind of shape can be done. I was just reading about a North African challah which is made in the shape of the chamsa (five fingered amulet). When baked in a simple loaf pan, if it's not braided, there will be a split and one side is higher. One story of the reason is to be symbolic of the separation, but others talk about more poetic symbolisms of humility under G-d, or the act of creation/creativity that we share with G-d, and also bringing beauty to the Sabbath. (Personally, I think it's just the easiest shape that shows design.)

Often there will be six strands of the braids so that in each loaf they symbolize the six days of the week coming together in a single Sabbath, and with the two loaves together (symbolizing abundance, and the extra share of manna that was given in the wilderness on the day before a day of no work) then have twelve strands to symbolize the twelve tribes. It's a women's mitzvah, and there are groups of women, dozens in each, who bake their challah together, each in their own kitchens, sharing the prayers that they knead into the dough.

I have no issues at all with people who know nothing of what's involved enjoying challah, but it's not challah if there's no offering. It sits a lot better with me when bakers who don't participate in the rituals say they're making a challah-like loaf, rather than claiming to be making challah. Your egg twist sounds like a great way to make a similar kind of loaf. :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Well, I see a lot of breads here, but not one answer to the pie crust question the OP was wanting.

Unfortunately I don't have a starter pie crust, but I have something not yet posted here. My starter was started in Denver in 2008, so it has that wild yeast, then it moved to La Quinta, CA in 2009, and now it is high in the Riverside County hills. Yeasts from many places. Fun!

Here is one thing I do with my leftovers:

Sourdough Onion Rings

Whenever I have a craving for onion rings, this recipe hits the spot! You will need:

3 onions, peeled and cut into thick slices
2 cups of sourdough starter
1/2 cup cold sparkling (carbonated) water
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying (I use canola)

Put oil into deep pan or deep fryer and heat to 375 degrees. Combine sourdough starter, water and salt. Put flour in separate bowl. Toss the onion rings in flour, then put them one by one into sourdough starter bowl and then the hot oil. Deep fry until golden and enjoy!

Apologies for the blurry photo. Anyone have that pie crust recipe?

Edit: Works on sliced bananas or green tomatoes too. And you can add cayenne pepper or any seasoning to it also. The crunch is amazing.

This post was edited by desertdance on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 14:24

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Desertdance, I'm so glad you've joined us!!

This is actually a continuation of a discussion of what to do with extra discard, and has morphed into a general sourdough discussion, with discursions into other breads and baking. Your wandering starter is most welcome here! Your onion rings look amazing!! What's the hydration level of your starter? (ratio of flour to water?)

The recipe that looked most useable to me was the crust for red currant pie at Nourished Kitchen. Best as I can tell, their starter is 2/3 hydration (66.66%). I didn't feel well enough to adapt mine or just feel for the water content while making it, but it looks good. There's another, similar one made over a campfire on That sounds like a granny recipe (often the best if you know how to make allowances for the different ingredients available).

Fret not about the pie question being unanswered. I didn't make it! By the time I felt well enough the figs had died. I made the lasagna. Then I made strapudderole (strata bread pudding casserole) with the staling end of the sourdough miche I'd made previously, a loaf of bakery pretzel bread that wasn't worth eating (not pretzely, nor good bread--I've had good pretzel bread, so do know what it's supposed to be like). I broke them up and let them stale for a couple of days. I have one of those silicone cabbage leaf covers that just fits my 5 qt. steel bowl. The custard was flavored with fines herbes and garlic pepper (I like using blends for things you can't sample for taste). I made a very thick cheese sauce out of the end of a manchego wedge and a heel of some tasty cheese that was very white and had red fruit in it (cherries?), reduced sliced criminis with merlot and shallots, and diced the chicken fine. All were supposed to be in the pie (though looser), so I stirred them together. The green bean pieces and garden produce teardrop yellow tomato halves, that were also to have gone in the pie, were sautéed together with a dribble of balsamic and a little crushed red pepper. A layer of the chicken/cheese/mushroom mix went over the bread/custard, then the veg, then another layer of bread/custard on top of that, with grated fontina leftover from the lasgana over the top to keep in the moisture. It was very good. The pretzel bread was exceedingly fluffy and delicious permeated by custard! I ran out of containers so only froze about half. The rest, rewarmed, ended up being taken as the main to a birthday dinner because the honoree didn't want to go out in the rain (arthritis). She really liked it! I was kind of surprised, because it's a very homely dish, and just all I had ready. Made of leftovers, and somewhat rich. But there's sourdough in there, so it's fully on topic!!

According to my reading, there are something like three yeasts that are the wild yeast that bakes the bread everywhere, and I think they're all found everywhere. There are more localized organisms that get crowded out by the good yeasts. That's one reason why a new starter can smell sickly or fishy. The unwanted organisms are being killed and decaying. I think that's one reason people carry their starter carefully from home to home, and get starter from friends and all. Nursing a new starter through the die off stage is tricky and takes a lot of attention! Mature starter is so much more reliable. I don't understand these recipes that are so popular and lauded that make a new starter each time. They almost always have some commercial yeast too, because how can you rely on a baby starter to rise up a whole batch of bread? It might work in a bakery kitchen where yeast just permeates the air, I guess...

Something I found interesting when I did a feeding recently. I fed a 100% (other than a few remaining grains of the original whole wheat starter) unbleached white flour starter, home milled red Winter wheat starter, mostly white (Euro style) levain starter, and 100% home milled red levain starter. The last was like a dessicated old lump of clay, but, like clay, when dropped in water it started perking up right away and bubbled happily. However that's the only one with a spot of mold in the lid of the jar. The wetter starters have enough exhalation to counter the other fungi.

I don't know how long I can last on this water conservation routine. It's nasty. I'm constantly worried that some contaminant, like egg, is breeding all over the sink. The eggs I buy are less likely to have salmonella than factory eggs, but they're still eggs... Meantime, besides getting on with the challah (which is a good thing), I've turned my experimental eye to snacks. I really wanted a cookie the other day, but I didn't want a sweet. What I wanted to consume was more like trail mix, but I wanted it to be a cookie. I've been making alternative cookies, and reading tons of recipes for them, because I have a Celiac and some vegans to deal with. None of the recipes were what I wanted, though if I'd had a black bean brownie in the house it would have sufficed. Being in an experimental mood from all this trying to discover sourdough recipes that I actually want to eat, I figured I'd try my first experimental cookie.

Into the bowl went a couple of eggs, some baking powder & soda, and salt, because those go in cookies. Also, because they sounded good to eat, quinoa flour, garbanzo bean flour, hemp hearts, almond butter, honey, vanilla, milk, a curly green kale leaf cut into short ribbons, a handful of sweetened cocoa nibs and sweetened, slightly salty dried cranberries left from picking the nuts out of the trail mix. They baked up fine. The texture needs work. I think they need to be a bit moister since they don't have any crystalline sugar in them. The cocoa nibs are anonymous. Maybe unsweetened would have been better with their stronger flavor (I was out). They are more of a textural than flavor element. The cranberries are as expected. The kale was a stroke of brilliance! It may perish faster than the rest (it's only a dozen cookies), but the bitterness is a great counterpunch. And it's so pretty! Anyway, while they're not perfect by any means, they're tempting and good eating, and it feels like eating food rather than empty carbs. It's not that I'm not willing to eat empty carbs sometimes, but the goal was actual food that eats like a cookie, not a sugary treat, and that was a total success. Not sourdough, but a success. :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:27PM
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I can't think of a pie crust recipe, but I can look. I have a couple of older books that would be the only place I might expect to see one -- but I don't remember one.

The onion rings looks so good. Would you mine passing them this way? ;)

plllog, I thought I posted a reply yesterday but I guess I got as far as preview. Anyway, thanks for that bit of education. I knew challah was special to the Jewish sabath, but I didn't know about the depth of the traditions. I always enjoy learning more about those things and understanding why foods and traditions are special and important.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

My starter is active. It's really bubbly. I came here for the answer to pie dough. Got it! on Google Will post results.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I just recently started making slow rise bread again. Today I had my worst bread baking disaster ever. I'd made a lovely dough with a per-ferment. I had a bagette in the oven on a baking stone baking for my lunch and a dutch oven preheating for a loaf.

I was checking on the loaf to see if it was ready to go in and my back was to the oven. Suddenly I hear a loud grating noise followed by some banging and turn around to see the oven bright with sparks - fireworks in the oven!

The breaker popped and turned it off before I could get to the off button. The oven was full of smoke. The beautiful baguette was ruined, the interior of the oven, the baking stone and the dutch oven were covered with a fine dark grey powder.

With no other alternative and a fully proofed loaf, I turned on the grill outside and put the cleaned off dutch oven in it to reheat some. Then I put the loaf in it. I guess I should have put something under the dutch oven to reduce the exposure of its bottom to the direct heat. So the bottom of the loaf burned.

The top 3/4 of the loaf tastes quite good but is not very pretty with the bottom that stuck to the pan torn off.

"Half a loaf is better than none".

I made pizza in our toaster oven with a dough ball I'd saved in the fridge.

Oven repair man doesn't come until Thursday. I hope we don't have to wait for a part. No bread baking for us other than something small in the toaster oven or something in the bread machine (or if I get brave another try at using my grill as an oven) until the thing gets repaired. That's assuming a repair is reasonable - otherwise it will be time to look for a new oven.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:54AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Wow! That's pretty scary! I've seen sparks in a microwave, but not an oven.

BBQ's are really great in a pinch. Up here in the foothills, it seems like every storm knocks the electricity out for a while. We are accumulating battery operated lanterns for inside and candles of course. We use our wine bottle tiki torches outside.

We cook on the bbq, and I invested in an old fashioned hand crank can opener. I've learned to keep a frozen chicken or two in the freezer so one can start thawing in the fridge and help to keep it cool till they fix the electricity

@cloud-swift, So what exactly happened with your oven?.

@;pillog, I don't know what hydration my starter is... But it sort of seems like pancake batter, so it's probably pretty hydrated. It jiggles happily when I shake the bowl it's fermenting in.

Biting the bullet today to try one of the pie crust recipes I found. We have a very prolific apple tree. Anna apple. It loves heat (bred in Israel for heat) and is so crisp with a sweet tang it makes great pies. I have a lot of frozen pie filling that I need to use, so today is the day for pie. I'll try to take photos and post the recipe I used. Fingers crossed..

So sad about that oven.

@Pillog, the figs died? Is that because it got too cold where you are? I have many fig trees. I could send some cuttings when they go dormant.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:54AM
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Suzi, I don't know what happened but I have a theory. I think the convention fan went out of balance or something and caused something to fly off and hit the convection heating element shorting that out and producing the sparks. In the process something got vaporized or pulverized producing the grey ash.

My DH who was more faced toward the oven said he thinks the noise came first and then the sparks. The noise sounded like a fan going badly out of balance and hitting something to me. There is a deposit that seems to be welded on to the outside of the dutch oven that lines up with the convection opening so I'm pretty sure the problem came from there.

Off topic for a sourdough thread, but I'm wondering if our Friday challah would turn out okay if we let it bake in the bread machine - possibly trying to time things to take it out and braid before the second rise or just accepting unbraided. What DH usually makes tastes so much better than the store bought stuff.

Maybe the repair man will fix it Thursday when he comes, but I've often had an appliance repairman come out for something and then need to order a part that can take a couple of weeks to come so I'm not optimistic.

Maybe he can at least put things in shape for the bottom oven to be used while we wait for parts for the top.

Do you get pest problems with the Anna apple? We tried a warm winter tolerant apple tree but had too many bug problems and didn't want to have to do a lot of spraying. I don't remember which variety but it wasn't Anna. We took it out and put in a pear.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@cloud_swift, no pest problems with the Anna apple, unless you call birds and coons pests...... We put bird scare tape up and rubber snakes. Our tree is old. It was on a twice foreclosed, seriously neglected property that we purchased. You'd think it would get worms or something. It's just old and tough, I guess. When we purchased it, it was loaded with apples. Yum! So we fertilized watered and pruned and bought another Anna apple bare root. Then came this year's harvest! OMG! Coming out our ears! And we bought another?

Many times repairmen have to get a part. I'm no expert on bread, but someone will help you on your challah question.

In about an hour, I will be rolling out the pie dough from the recipe I found using starter. I'll post the results tomorrow. Frankly, I thought the dough was pretty greasy, but it did rise and is chillin' in the fridge now. It tasted incredible for pie dough, but that's probably because the recipe required part lard and part butter. Butter always makes things taste better.

Good luck with your oven and your Friday challah.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:49PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The Wild Starter Pie Crust Was Amazing, but I'd do it different next time.

Original Recipe is linked below. I used 1 C lard (Grandma insists on lard for pie dough), and 1/2 C. Butter. My yeast was too hydrated. I'd make it less so next time.

The dough was hard to get pea size. Too greasy!

The dough would not hold together when rolled. Very tender already. Guess I'm not gentle enough. Here is the fold.

It was so tender, I had to literally press and patch it together.

Here is the patched pie ready for the oven:


Sliced it is very flaky:

Not professional, but really delicious!

Hubby LOVED it! I was critical, but it was the BEST crust I've ever had!

Recipe link is below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Recipe

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Suzi, thanks for posting the followup. I'm trying to imagine a sourdough pie crust. Beautiful pie. The crust looks tender.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Ann, my starter is quite sour, but I think all the other ingredients, plus the sweet pie filling takes away any sourness. The wild yeast must assist in the flakiness though because this was one flaky pie!

I didn't use all my dough, so I might make a bottom crust dutch apple pie with that nice crumb on top.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:59AM
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I got called away in the middle of replying yesterday. So much has happened!

Cloud Swift, your poor oven!! I hope it's a prompt, easy and cheap repair! I see that you found your answer about the bread machines. Great news. Off topic is allowable in this thread, never fear.

Lascatx, I've done that before. Thought I'd posted something but left it on preview! Though, occasionally, I'm pretty darned sure I actually posted and the thing disappears, like the program burped while it was transmitting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the challah background. I was hoping you would! But then I was scared it was too preachy or something. I really don't want to offend anyone. I do love the poetic side of it.

Suzi, it's no big deal, but it's 3 L's, no i, in PLLLOG. I didn't speak well and I'm sorry you were concerned. I don't have a tree. I just had a quart basket of fresh figs that were originally going to be fig pie, but then it wasn't a quart anymore so it was going to be a fig and chicken pie. Then when I got the chicken home, and started to make the pie, I found that too many of the figs had gotten moldy, i.e., died. A very sad end for beautiful black figs. :(

Congrats on your successful sourdough pastry! One of the reasons I've gone so hard into the wild yeast is the flavor.

Re hydration, your "pancake batter" is probably at least 100% hydration. When you feed it, do you use equal amounts of water and flour? That's 100%. The percentages in baking peg the amount of flour as 100%, and all the ratios are based off that. Edit for brain cramp: So if you fed a cup of flour and three quarters of a cup of water, your starter would be 75% hydration. So if you feed 100 g of flour and 75 g of water, your starter would be 75% hydration. (Figure less obvious percentages with this formula: Water is what percentage of Flour is W ÷ F x 100) When I read a sourdough recipe, I always try to find the starter recipe or feeding routine they use to know the hydration. That's why I asked you that about the onion rings ("pancake batter" is close enough for that, though maybe harder to estimate for a baking recipe).

I was interested in how your crust fell apart. I had that problem a couple of months ago with a no yeast pastry. I think part of it was that my kitchen was too warm and the shortening just melted. The other problem I had was that I think I piled on too many flaky secrets. :) I made the dough acid, and used pastry flour, and used icy cold shortening and water, etc. I think, to a certain extent, it over flakied! I've also come to the conclusion that I don't like working with pastry flour altogether. Perhaps a Southern cook, who is used to low protein flours, would find my pies and cakes tough, but I like a firm crumb that holds together. My favorite pastry is a version of the King Arthur whole wheat. It uses whole wheat AP and rests/hydrates in the fridge overnight. It rolls really thin and is not flaky, but it's very tasty, and I'd rather have thin and tasty than thick and flaky and falling apart. :) I don't know if any of this relates to your recent experience, but I'm always looking for new ways to do things.

I hope you'll stick with us, and report back as you perfect your sourdough crust.

My resolve not to bake daily bread is weakening...I think that multigrain bread is in my near future. I think if I triple up on tools, hold them in a bowl of water as they get sticky, and put them right through the DW, it might work for saving water. My bread bowl is about the same volume as my clear bucket, but requires a lot less water to wash (the glazed stoneware just gives it up more easily and doesn't need to be soaked). I used it, as usual, for the challah. I were sure of my recipes I could use that for the sourdough even though there's no watching the bubbles from the sides. But that means I should get to work on it now, right? Before the drought gets worse? (If we get to the point of saving dishwater to flush with, however, I'm taking an extended vacation somewhere wet!)

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 17:37

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@ PLLLOG Thanks for the hydration explanation and the spelling of your name. I needed that! I'm sort of an eye-ball it kind of cook. So it's never exact.

I just use King Arthur's Bread Flour for everything. We had fresh Lox & bagels at a tiny restaurant with a long line in Corona Del Mar, CA. Their bagels are made from scratch... Well, not bought. I decided to learn to make bagels with my wild yeast. OH MY! Incredible!

Next pie crust, I will use more flour than water for the starter, and if it's still a little hard to get a whole sheet out, I have decided to use cookie cutters to make pretty designs on top of the pie. I will be making apple pies all fall/winter, and then... more apples.. now two trees! I just loved this tender crust! Wouldn't want to mess that up.

I did find a recipe for chicken pie using starter, and I may try that too.

Bread will be my next venture.Going to feel my way through that also. That Forkish book cost a Forktune, and it's way to deep for me. Huge waste of money. I guess I'm like grandma. Measure nothing, and pass nothing on! It's all in the practice and the FEEL. Kills me we never got any recipes from either grandma.

Are you in California? I'm in Southern and the drought isn't as bad as it is north of us. I'm in the foothills, and we get leftover rain from the big mountains above. Hopefully the El Nino will rescue us all!


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@ PLLLOG If you ever get a quart of fresh figs again, microwave them for use in recipes. They are not like apples. They will not last forever in the fridge. They will mold really fast.

If you ever get one fresh off a tree... no need to cook them. One bite. Gone!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:19PM
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LOL! Suzi, yes, that's what happened to my quart of figs. That was enough for a 9" pie plus a few small pies, but they goned! I wasn't even sure I had enough for one big pie. So then they were going to be fig and chicken but I had to buy the chicken... And, yes, they mold really fast. :) I'm not so fond of them fresh from the tree. They're too sweet for me. Fig pie is another story, however.

Yes, SoCal, a few miles inland. I've just tried three times here to write sensibly about the dire water situation but it's hard to do well. Last go round: The 20% reduction is statewide, and I've been conserving water since the 10 year drought. The aquifers are being pumped dry. Lake Cachuma looks like a desert. Things are bad all over. If you have rain water, you're lucky. When (if) el niño hits where I am, we'll have a lot of pollution and property damage, but the water will mostly go to the ocean. We need snow pack and water in the North. We need the reservoirs to be filled and the groundwater to be replenished. That will take years of wet Winters, which means a lot of landslides and mud floes. A few moderate rainfall Winters, with lots of mountain snow, would be far more useful than a grand el niño. The 10 year drought ended with three years of massive flooding, a couple years of moderate rain, and another year or two of flooding. Unfortunately, the precipitation prediction maps show normal for Northern Calif. Hopefully, the Sierra Nevada, at least, will get plenty of snow. All of this is normal for California (aka "home") but it's still worrisome.

Back to our main topic, Suzi, I hope you'll post your sourdough bagel recipe!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:16PM
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plllog, aren't you happy that you started a part deux??? I am! First, I continue to think about you managing your water shortage. The simple decision of how well you can manage working/cleaning your tools really brought it all home.

Yes, I learned to knead over the phone, and I'm sure that my mom was toe-tapping because it was long distance at the time. We moved near Pittsburgh, and then my grandmother and I made bread together. BEST MEMORIES EVER!

Thank you for sharing your knife and nostalgic cup history:) There is so much more than just the recipe/finished product, etc. I like that and love this quote "My mother created her challah recipe. I am lucky to have it as received knowledge. I promise you, she made quite a number of doorstops and crouton loaves before she got it just so." And this "It was so lovely making a 31.25% hydration bread! Such a relief!!" HAHAHA!! Your "Challot" is stunning, and I bet delicious! BTW, we are kindred spirits about the egg contaminants .... no, really:)

lascatx, THANK YOU!!!! As soon as my daughter, who is the prime eligible:), comes home, I'll order one -- $17.98 is in my range. I recently crushed the crust of a ciabatta trying to get it started to slice. Good grief! Thank you for the kind offer for the English Muffin recipe -- we can wait until after your boys' dental cares and packing are finished! I actually found one that said you could use water instead of milk --- hmmmm, we shall see. As an aside, I really, really hope that the wisdom teeth extractions went well and the recovery was quick and non eventful. I was just roundly chastised this past week by a dentist for not doing this for my kids by age 16. Daughter is planning another consultation in September, son ....... well ..... we'll see. BTW, we are packing one up too for junior year -- can't walk through the house with all the bins, etc. I think he posted on facebook all the food I made him take when he first went away. It covered his bed HA! It does go very, very fast.

Cloud_swift -- I am so very sorry to hear about your oven, but I love your positive attitude -- half a loaf:) I'll continue to read how your bread baking in toaster oven/bread machine works, timing of Challah (ot?) and the timing of your repair. I hope it all goes well.

Desertdance, I have to tell you ... an introductory post/picture of onion rings is really an OUTSTANDING way to join the fun. Like lascatx, you can send some my way. I'll take some of that pie, too:)

Just some comic relief for all who need water, cooler temps, new ovens, etc. Tried to make another ciabatta and well, the slipper actually is more like a flipper. Like a Size 15 quadruple D, flipper. Full Disclosure of poor picture: 9" inches Wide about 1.5" Tall:) Taste is really good, but obviously there was not a lot of spring. Made some homemade cream of tomato soup using tomatoes from the garden (not any delicate skinned ones, plllog) and my grandmother's Beaconware sieve. It is really good and nicely overshadows how kind of comical this bread looks:)

Cathy in SWPA

ps -- Will be checking in amidst packing and travel. Enjoying pictures and discussions!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I need to learn that bread thing, but I got the bagels down!

You will need plastic wrap and parchment paper. These things make the process easier.

• 2/3 C. Very Bubbly homemade Sourdough Starter (I take it out of the fridge set it in a covered bowl on the counter and feed it for a couple days to get it nice and happy) I replace the starter in the fridge with some fresh stuff. I never want to run out!
• 2 3/4 C Bread Flour + flour for kneading
• Heaping tsp salt
• 1 Tbsp. Malt Syrup
• 2/3 C. Water
• Olive Oil (this is to keep the dough from drying out)

Knead it till well mixed, and roll the ball in olive oil and cover with plastic in a bowl and let it rest 2 hours till it goes double in bulk. Then knead the dough, and divide it into 9 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10” long rope. Make a circle, and seal the ends. Put the bagels on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise till double again, and put them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and get a big pot of water boiling.
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon water
• poppy or sesame seeds, cinnamon and sugar, and the list goes on

Take the tray of bagels out of the refrigerator and in small batches, boil each bagel for a minute per side, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a slotted spoon to fish them out of the water.
You can brush them now with the glaze, and put seeds or seasonings on them. I like mine plain!
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or so till the tops are brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.
Cool on a rack, then slice and toast.
Now is the best part. Slather cream cheese on them, and sprinkle that with capers. Then put thinly sliced red onions, a slice of red tomato, cucumber, lox and lettuce. Yum!! Don’t forget to salt and pepper your sliced tomato.
These are not perfect! They are made from scratch!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Plllog, hydration is usually based on the relative weights of the flour and water, not volume measurements because flour volume can be very variable.

So 100% hydration would be 8 oz of flour mixed with 8 oz of water.

1 cup of flour weighs about 4.3 oz (depending on the flour grind and how fluffy it is in the cup) and a cup of water weighs about 8 oz. So a starter with 1 cup flour and 1 cup water would be about 180% hydration (100 * 8/4.3).

For subbing, if the starter is a small percentage of the recipe amounts, I don't worry much about the hydration of the starter. I've used some slow rise bread recipes that start out with a small amount of starter where that applies.

If I'm putting in a larger quantity (e.g. a cup) of starter into a recipe that uses yeast, I figure out approximately the ration of flour and water in the starter. That is easier if the original recipe is weight based.

For example if my starter is 100% hydration, I figure half the weight of what I put in was flour and half was water. (I'm not sure how mucht the weight of the starter changes as it matures - some of it turns to gas and leaves the mixture, but that seems to be close enough.)

The calculation gets trickier if the recipe is by volume but you really only need to do it once for your starter hydration.
For example, a 100% hydration starter would have 0.54 cups of water for every cup of flour (based on 4.3 oz in a cup of flour). So each cup of starter has about 2/3 cup of flour (1.54 / (1.54 + 1) ) and 1/3 cup of water.

Suzi, I'm finding the Forkish book useful. I saved a few bucks and, more importantly, bookshelf space by buying the Kindle version.

His method does save on clean-up water since he does it all without utensils and the bowl the flour is mixed in and dough rises in doesn't end up that dirty. I prefer to use my dough wisk for some of the mixing but that doesn't take much water to clean.

I could do with less description of his life story starting the bakery cluttering it up. Also, I wish he had more recipes or descriptions of how to modify for different breads like ones with dried fruit, seeds and nuts mixed in, but I think I can manage that on my own or find other recipes on line.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I will never again call it "sourdough starter." From this day forward it will be "wild yeast starter." It is what it is. I've had this starter in Denver, La Quinta, and now in Riverside county. No town, but good wild.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@plllog You got the recipe and here is the joy!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:09PM
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Cloud_swift, thank you for some additional info re: hydration. I really need to become more proficient on this topic so I'm not continually at the beginning end of the learning curve each time I want to make revisions, etc.

Son made himself a four egg, ham, cheese, red pepper, onion omelet. Oh, my role? Getting it out of the pan/plated like an omelet. Not my day, is it? Tomato soup and salad. Yep, the biscotti look-alike ciabatta bread is as wide as the plate:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:47PM
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My wild starter is just about ready to use. I sure hope the tech is able to at least fix things to the point where the bottom oven can be used when he comes tomorrow.

If not, I think I can get 9 bagels to fit in my toaster oven for cooking. I've made bagels before but not with starter. Thanks for posting the recipe.

I bought some really good lox when I was in Alaska on business.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Cathy, I'm not only happy, I'm happy that you're happy that we're continuing the topic.

You have a great mom who managed to teach you the importance of watching your long distance pennies while she let you create the BEST MEMORIES EVER!

I never used to be particularly nostalgic, though I've always thought moving my stuff was better than replacing it. The colander I used for a form for the miche was also from that sad kitchen abroad (everything I saved from my stipend went for spices or kitchen equipment). It's also cheap crap, though I also got some better, Italian things. I mailed a big box of Winter clothes home, then had so much room in my suitcase, I ended up bringing my kitchen things back on the plane! Recently, however, as I've become the house where the holidays are, I've noticed more and more the things that I handle and use.

I always baked at my mother's house before moving here. I baked here even pre-remodel with the terrible oven. It was like using a bad woodstove, but I convinced it to make challah. I used cheesecake pans for the new year holidays because I couldn't find any of the "right" ones. My mother gave me half of hers, though, and this year I've been using them. And I never thought much about spoons. I've always had a small, stainless cooking spoon, which my mother gave me from her drawer when I first moved off campus as an undergrad. There's a large slotted spoon from their old RV. I've bought a spider and a solid (with small holes) skimmer, but I mostly just use my mother's old spoons. The small one is the perfect size for dividing sourdough starter! I think it's not even nostagia so much, as I'm using things that were given to me new or as cast offs--I don't have specific memories of my mother using them, like I do of her using the matching ladle--but it's the feeling of having my hands where ones before me were. I think I'm getting sentimental. :)

Cathy, you're too hard on yourself! Your ciabatta loaf looks just like the ones from the Italian deli. They're not all rolls! Some are full sized. :) Great pictures!

Challah: singular or group noun. E.g., I picked up a challah at the bakery. Tomorrow, I'm going to make challah--three loaves. Alton uses challah in French toast.

Challot: plural. Equivalent of saying "loaves of challah". E.g., We're having a lot of people over on Shabbat. Do you think two challot will be enough?

Challahs/challas: plural, two derivations, neither are as common as using the singular group noun or Hebrew plural, at least where I live. First is an English plural of challah singular, adding an "s". E.g. Are you baking the challahs? Second is an Ashkenazi Yiddish way of saying "challot" as challas (I'm not even going to try to approximate the final vowel).

More than you wanted to know? I like "egg twist". :) So much easier!

Suzi, thanks so much for the recipe! Not only is it nice to have a wild yeast recipe, it's the easiest bagel recipe I've ever read! That were proper boiled bagels, that is. They look yummy!! Your decor sounds like what an old friend's husband called a "bagel all the way". :) Joy it is!

BTW, have you ever rolled your pastry in plastic wrap? I didn't like it until I discovered doing it on a silpat. The silpat keeps it from moving and the plastic makes it so much easier to shape and move!

Cloud Swift, you're so right! I strated that paragraph with grams and then I bethought me that I should change to cups, and then sometime in there my peripatetic brother called to say he had returned from Siberia, so I got totally lost. A cup of flour to half a cup of starter is 100% hydration-ish, depending on the density of both. Which is why we use weights in the first place. I prefer grams because the units are smaller and because the math is easier when trying to adjust the hydration. But I totally lost it on that paragraph up topic (which I've fixed up), and I truly appreciate your noticing and correcting it!!!! I had a few days where I was totally on the ball, then the switch flipped (weather change?) and my mind turned to mush. Sigh.

I did get Forkish, but hadn't cracked it, so I appreciate you saying that it was easier on the cleanup water, but there aren't any in there that are whole wheat!

These authors are so worried about being fool proof. Sigh. Even the whole grain books don't really mean it. I don't think I'll ever apply myself to bread enough to write my own whole wheat book, but if anyone out there has the expertise and wants a coauthor, let me know. I don't edit myself online, but I do know how to write properly for publication.

Cathy, Kudos to your son for making the omelette. As to getting it out of the pan, I have several oversized, thin, flexible spatulas. They make it so much easier!

Meantime, I think I'm going to try the multigrain bread from Reinhart with the wild yeast and no white option, and just go ahead with washing my dough bucket and try not to use anything else that can't go in the dishwasher.

Cloud Swift, I'm awed at the size of your toaster oven!! Best wishes for a speedy recovery of your wall oven!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Plllog, do you mean none that are 100% whole wheat? He has a 75% whole wheat straight dough and a 50% preferment.

I've converted preferment recipes to starter recipes in the past by replacing some of the preferment with starter and leaving out the yeast so I expect that would work there though I haven't tried it yet with his recipe.

He also has a 75% whole wheat levain bread under hybrid recipes (made with starter plus adding some yeast). That could be converted to leaving out the yeast - the rise time might need adjustment.

In 11.1, he gives advice on making your own variations including adjusting the flour blend.

I identify with what you say about not editing yourself online but knowing how to write properly. For instance, I know which "there" or "their" to use - or which "to", "two" or "too", but when I'm typing something up quick on line, my fingers have a mind of their own and sometimes pick a letter match to the sound at random.

Our toaster oven will hold a 12" pizza pan (that came with it and there is a square pan about 12 x 12 that a pair of challot can squeeze into. They may end up overlapping the edges and touching in the middle but I don't think they will touch the oven sides.

Let's hope DH and I don't have to find out. I'm so impatient for that tech to come tomorrow so I know where we are.

And I also prefer to use grams. I find it easier on the scale to see where I am on measuring with grams. I used ounces in my example because I thought that might be more familiar to some.

I also happen to have the cup to oz conversion memorized for some common ingredients like flour, water and sugar so when converting an English volume measurement recipes I tend to default to oz instead of gram (and I guess that's what my DH does too since he converted the challah recipe). Perhaps I should make an effort to memorize cup to gram conversions.

You are fortunate to have a bread baking legacy from your mother. My mother never baked bread. Her mother didn't teach her cook at all so she only learned to cook some things. She did teach me how to make sponge cakes for Pesach.

I've never used pans for challah (until the bread machine experiment this week which kind of counts). We bake our round challah on a baking sheet like the regular braided ones. We used to do a coil (turban) but I found instructions for a round weave a few years ago and we like how that comes out better.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:56PM
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I'm new...just got my starter going right about 2 weeks ago.

Tonight, I got the starter out of fridge and fed up, in preparation for making sourdough biscuits in the morning..and I saw a recipe I want to make for the weekend, strawberry lime monkey bread. (with sourdough).

I have been playing rather lazily with the starter in the last week, only getting it out then day before I need it, and feeding it, then sticking back in fridge after I got enough to make what I'm making. This seems convenient, but not in the 'spirit' of things.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Dbarron, thanks for joining us! Do let us know how the biscuits come out, and the monkey bread after that. I've never had either a monkey bread with fruit or from sourdough, so will be very interested to hear.

As long as your starter is well established and doubles within twelve hours every time you feed it, there's nothing wrong with the way you're doing it.

If you're baking for a big family every day, it makes sense to keep it going on the counter, but few of us nowadays are making waffles in the morning, sandwich bread for lunch, rolls and a cake for dinner, plus snacks. If nothing else, those of us who do cook like that often utilize a double oven and freezer to make larger batches and make them last longer.

But speaking of which, if I'm going to bake tomorrow, I should go feed up my starter and get the pre-doughs going. :)




So I did just that. I dumped my whole wheat starter into my beloved 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup (I think it was my mothers!) and sat down to do the figuring on how much to add to it and adjust the hydration, but when I went to do it I decided I didn't want to adjust the hydration (it's only 5% off) and just fed up enough for the bread plus some to put away. But then I forgot to adjust the water in the soaker. :P OTOH, since I'm not using the optional fat and honey, maybe a couple dozen extra grams of water might be needed. Not that it says to do that. At this point, I think I've learned the texture of what will and won't work, so whether I have to knead in a little extra flour (which is on the list for "adjustments" anyway), I'm not too worried. I swear, my brain has gone a-beggin' today!

What was fun was playing mad scientist with the Multi part. I used what the margin notes say can go right in the soaker (as opposed to being cooked) and only used items listed. Two of those items are any kind of flour or meal, so I used some corn meal, the contents of a little container of anonymous red wheat flour (overage from something I baked, I'm sure, but I don't know which kind of wheat), and rye flour. Also some amaranth, flaxseeds, and rolled oats. It just said 170 g total, and I didn't measure. Just kept pouring things on the scale. It was rather irresponsible, but jolly good fun!

The final dough calls for about a packet of yeast. I'm going to do that to get it overwith. Wubby was very happy to be out of the fridge. He started growing while I was doing my calculations! And melted nicely into the water, welcomed the flour, and started bubbling right away. Since this was in place of a biga that is meant to be refrigerated, and since I was worried about it peaking too soon, I put it in the fridge. I'll take it out first thing and let it rise. If it needs another feeding, that's okay, because the soaker will keep. But since the recipe also calls for so much yeast, even if it only just about doubles, I'll just go with it. :)

I have loosened up immensely! But I do want it to be good, not just bread. :)

Second edit:

Oh! I can do this! I just reread the turn back to this other recipe instructions for finishing. It says to knead in enough flour so that it's a soft ball and tacky not sticky. I can so do that! That sounds like normal bread to me, and not one of these odd newfangled things that I have so much trouble with. I'd much rather knead in flour than water, and don't mind if my loaf grows a little, so that's all good. :) So, okay, the commercial yeast is a good addition. This time. When I have time to contemplate the dough bucket for days at a time, I'll try going wild for the whole thing (if I like the recipe).

Washing up so far: One measuring cup and rinse the bowl for the scale. The scraper and the soaker bowl can go in the DW.

This post was edited by plllog on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 0:04

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:33PM
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Oh, I did biscuits last weekend...they were quite good, though a bit different in texture than I was used to with non-sourdough "dough". I haven't done the monkey bread either, but it did sound it's on the radar for this coming weekend.

I made a a "cake" of sourdough potato bread (decided that making individual rolls was too much trouble) last weekend also. We enjoyed it greatly with some white chicken gravy over it (yes, I'm in the South) the next day too.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Well my biscuits today may be's a good thing I woke up early and started early. I cut the biscuits and put on the pan, then realized I forgot to add any sort of ingredient to cause rising. These biscuits will have to ferment their way to rising...I put them in a slightly warmed oven (warmer than AC'd house) and can give them about 2.5 hours to rise before breakfast needs to be made. Technically, does that make them rolls ? (lol) or old style biscuits ?
That's what you get when you cook half asleep I guess.

Edit: Cooked them, they had mostly spread out to the sides, due to being on a pizza pan and spaced out. We enjoyed them even if they were sourdough cookies for breakfast (lol).

This post was edited by dbarron on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 8:55

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:31AM
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Sourdough cookies! I bet I'd like those! When I was doing my first experiments using over wet, over soaked recipes, I "invented" something similar. They were supposed to be rolls, but didn't have enough structure to hold them together and became something I called "splats". The main loaf had a soft crust too--too wet not to! So they had this toothsome, tasty crust all over, and only just enough crumb to keep the top and bottom crusts apart. I even bought a muffin top pan to make more on, so they wouldn't run together, but when I tried to make them on purpose it didn't work. Sigh.

What kind of rising agent besides the starter did you mean to use? Baking powder? Or did you not put in any starter?

Re today's bread, the starter cup felt really cold when I took it out this morning. I don't know if retarding the starter was a good idea (but I wasn't about to get up at 6 am to bake like Ann, and I got a better night's sleep knowing it was safe and not bubbling over). Baking without one's brain fully engaged probably isn't a good idea either. :) I held the cup for a minute or two, trying to warm it, then set it on the cable box. That's what I do in the Winter to proof my yeast, using commercial. Why shouldn't it make wild yeast just as happy? Like the olden days when they'd warm clay bricks in the fireplace, then wrap in a towel and put under the covers at the food of the bed. All roasty toasty to warm one's feet. Though this is more of an electric blanket. :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Plllog, what's the "Multi part"?

Welcome Dbarron.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Sorry, Cloud Swift. :) I meant the fun was assembling the multi-grain part. This recipe is a bit over half whole wheat and the rest any old combination of grains and seeds. Rather than being good and measuring out what I was putting in the multi-grain part, so I'd know what I did, I just poured this and that into the scale bowl until it hit the target weight. It was FUN! Irresponsible, but it's just bread, not a motorcycle on a goat path. :)

The starter is still warming up. I wish I'd realized when I fed it that it was going to be so active! I could have just fed it this morning. After all those slow goes, who knew?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:41PM
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plllog, as usual, I enjoyed every part of your posts! Images of kitchen stuff in suitcases, the house where holidays are .... "it's the feeling of having my hands where ones before me were. I think I'm getting sentimental. :)"(yes!) Such interesting reads. BTW, I like egg twist too, but I find the information regarding challah/challot quite fascinating. Of course, now I'll endeavor to find occasion to use challot. HA! Aside, son is concerned about cooking once he's on his own ... Really, he'll be fine. Omelet was mangled, but good.

Welcome, dbarron! I liked your synopsis of sourdough baking:

"I have been playing rather lazily with the starter in the last week, only getting it out then day before I need it, and feeding it, then sticking back in fridge after I got enough to make what I'm making. This seems convenient, but not in the 'spirit' of things."

I, actually like that "spirit" and it meshes nicely with mine:) I'm sure the sourdough cookies were the best sourdough cookies ever. Jam, anyone? BTW, in the last thread, Ann T and I posted recipes for sourdough biscuits, in case you want to look. Ann's were beautiful (always) and mine kind of followed your sourdough philosophy -- pretty casual. Let me know if you want me to dig those up for you.

It was FUN! Irresponsible, but it's just bread, not a motorcycle on a goat path. :) Plllog, you're too funny. Living on the wild side? I have to go back and read about your bread now:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:29PM
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Dad loved them..he likes crusty things, so these were much better than if I had crowded them so that they would have risen higher (they more than doubled...unfortunately, mostly sideways). I had no problems eating them either..though I kinda like high fluffy biscuits. These were probably about 1/2 an inch or so high (lol) and though originally firm and cut nicely with a biscuit cutter...they probably expanded to almost 4 inches wide.

I might do the same sometime next week, just crowd 'em and let them rise again. I found I prefer the taste over the ones I had made earlier with baking powders to help faster rising.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Dbarron, me too! Prefer the taste of the wild yeast, that is. :) So, the let's have waffles (no oven treats), but we have to feed up the starter for that, turned into what's this box, let's use it up. :) It was supposed to be "good" whole wheat waffles. Not compared to my sourdough and soda rising ones!

Cathy, you're too kind! That goat trail remark is not about me, personally. I can extrapolate. After my three speed, electric blue, Schwinn Stingray with the sparkly white banana saddle, white grips and white wicker basket lost its brakes on the sidewalk on a hill (I was 12), I haven't been in the mood to tempt fate. :) I landed in a pile of cockleburrs with a broken arm and some major off-the-road rash at the beginning of Summer. As I said, irresponsible bread baking isn't like irresponsible life choices. :)

My wild life nowadays is all about the wild yeast. :)

So the wubby was really happy once it got the chill off and didn't need a long time to double. But then, the recipe gets very loosey goosey, and after reading three more times, I figured out he meant, "go make it into bread". So I did. He expects the biga to be very stiff so you can cut it into chunks, but even after I adjusted the hydration of my sourdough substitution (all according to his margin notes), that wasn't happening. He has you knead in the final flour, yeast and salt on the bench. Um. No. Not with Mr. Stickums de Wubby. I hate kneading in bowls, however, and don't have (nor do I have room to store) a kneading trough.

Thinking on that gave me the idea that a pasta bowl would be better than a mixing bowl. I have a couple of large ceramic, glazed, flat bowls with embossed olives that were the bases for holiday gift baskets I was given. I grabbed one of them, and other than where Mr. Stickums got a little cozy with the corners of the embossing, it was kind of perfect. Since this stage was knead and adjust hydration, I just went for it. I had such a nice dough ball when I was done, that I didn't want to pull at it for a windowpane test. To my hands, it feels well stretched and correct, tacky rather than sticky. My hands like this dough because they understand it. :) Bless the commercial yeast, it was already rising by the time I got the mother wubby fed and put away.

Water usage: I did have to wash ick off my hands three times. I used the cling wrap that had covered the soaker to line the bowl to weigh it, and the cup the starter was in was a known weight, so easy. I got the amount to discard at first try, but I forgot to take out the jar, so there I was holding up this cooking spoon full of active starter, waving it this way and that to keep bits from succumbing to gravity, trying to get the fridge open and the jar out with one hand, and getting the starter-glued lid off. It would be a riot if someone had video'd it, so I'm lucky I'm alone. :) And I thought of Cathy as I stirred the starter in with the discard's hooch. :)

So, the count is three hand washes (not including the first hygiene one or the ones I could combine with other tools), a rinse for the scale bowl and funnel (for feeding wubby in its jar), one starter jar, one measuring cup, one large pasta bowl, one silpat. The ball was small enough that I figured I could let it rise in my biggest glass mixing bowl, which can go in the DW along with the smaller one from the soaker. I put the handwetting water in the bowl from the soaker without washing it first (eew, but not actually dirty since the destination of the water was the dough the soaker went in). (I oiled my hands twice during the kneading but still needed water. Now that I understand what's needed, and that I should have put the flour in where he said something confusing, I might escape that in the future.) The scraper/stirrer, spoon and bowl scraper can go in the DW, as can the ramekin for the water. The dough will be shaped and risen on parchment.

That's not too bad. Less than usual, anyway, and it's the dough bucket that's the real water hog. Since this feels like a regular bread dough, and is only supposed to rise by half, I can do it by eye. The sad part is that the only "multi" that shows are the brown flaxseeds. It should taste good, at least. :)

Cathy, tell worried son that a great place to meet interesting singles is at cooking classes, especially the kinds that they have at cookware stores. :) I bet Hubert Kellar has mangled a few omelettes in his life too. :)



Arrrrgghhh!! The phone rang, and I was chatting then thought, "My bread!!!" It went about double the time, and rose much more than it was supposed to. It still seemed like nice bread to me, though. I couldn't stand it, so washed my bowl scraper, but was able to use the back of it to divide the dough instead of getting out a knife. It didn't deflate, and other than the one cut down the middle, I don't think I let any out, but it made two fat baguettes or thin batards. Since the wheels fell off long ago, I decided to finish them Leader's way, with the parchment couche. I'm also using a ramekin of tap water rather than the pan and boiling. This time, I set a timer. :)

Even though it's all over the map (and wheelless!), it still looks and feels like good bread, whatever it is... We'll see...


2nd Edit (why waste a post?):

It didn't call for slashes, but cracked a bit. The crust is nicely crunchy, but kind of flaky crunchy, rather than a heavy tooth. Nice. The crumb is moist and light. I think the flaxseeds are a little too pronounced. I have some sprouted pepitas that might be great, loosely chopped, instead. The oatiness and bit of rye are recognizable, but not so much the cornmeal and the amaranth might as well not be there. It would be a great way to use up ends. :) Since it says "or flour", I'm thinking that maybe I'll try the same recipe once with just wheat. I wanted the two loaves, but this recipe is also the right size for a boule. I also need to try the Leader pain de levain again with more whole wheat. Maybe I'll try with white wheat and see if I can keep the flavor of the rye prominent that way.

I wouldn't go so far as "yummy" on today's bread, but it's tasty.

This post was edited by plllog on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 2:15

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Since the bottom oven is now working and the starter was ready, i made enough for a loaf yesterday. I put in a bit of flax seeds, corn meal and oat flour but it was mostly white flour except that the starter was part whole wheat.

It seemed the right consistency last night when I was doing the folds. It was growing too quickly so I put it in the fridge for the night rather than leaving it on the counter.

Well this morning, it morphed into a tar baby. I couldn't get it to form a loaf with a good cloak. I kept putting flour on the counter and it would just make that disappear and become a sticky ball again. I've made doughs before that were higher hydration then this was supposed to be and I haven't had this problem before.

I eventually gave up, decided to call it focaccia and lined a pan with parchment, and plopped it in for a final rise.

I don't know what went wrong. Did I perhaps make a mistake on the water or the flour measurement? It didn't seem off when I was mixing or folding.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:43PM
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Cloud Swift, the technical mavens at Fresh Loaf, or Ann T, probably have more help for you, but that sounds a lot like the overly wet mess I was dealing with when I tried high hydration/soaking recipes.

I think the issues may stem from the amount of water the flour has absorbed from the air and the humidity of the kitchen.

I'd like to know the answer, too, so I hope you'll post here if you find out more.

OTOH, the instructions for my terribly sticky ball yesterday, specifically called for adjusting the flour so that it is merely tacky before the first rise. And adjusting the water if it's not tacky enough. This is the way I learned to bake, rather than by formula, so it felt very natural. I think in the end that it could have used being a little wetter, but it came out pretty well given how much it over rose.

Cathy had one like that, I think in the previous thread (link at top), that was soupy and she added lots of flour. It still came out with a lacy crumb.

How did the focaccia come out? It sounds like a good save. Giving yourself permission to just add as much flour as it wants is another. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Cloud Swift, I missed a whole post from you! And now, half of my reply has disappeared during composition. Very strange.

Re word choice typos, I'm totally with you! The curse of the experienced touch typist. The fingers seem to do what they please and often do it by sound. :) I know a little something about language and the brain, and understand how that happens a bit. (Personally, I also think that's why dreams often include puns...) But if I get distracted, my fingers will keep typing, and stray off on their own. :) Most disconcerting. :) Perhaps it's muscle memory. I can tap dance like that, where I get involved in a conversation and keep the rhythms up, but don't really pay attention to the steps, just let the feet do their thing. Just for clarity, I'll also say that while in conversational writing online, I'll use a lot of run-on sentences, penentheticals, even ablative clauses, as well as partial sentences, dangling phrases and creative punctuation, the purpose is to use spoken language in writing, rather than written language, and I am capable of tightly constructed paragraphs, and sentences which are to the point, rather than discursive.

Yes, I meant 100% whole wheat. Unfortunately, the whole wheat craze seems to be declining. It's hard to get a 100% whole wheat loaf at Whole Foods nowadays! Same with the bakery. Having gotten used to excellent whole wheat and multigrain breads, I find white to be wimpy and sugary. Having developed my whole wheat pizza recipe to a point of excellence (I'm sure it can be improved, as can anything, but to my own taste, I give it an A, and I do tend to be very critical), I am spoiled for pizza. A couple of weeks ago I was fed take out pizza. What used to be tolerable, convivial dinner was just sad. The crust wasn't worth eating. Take out whole wheat crust is worse, though. I've learned (thank-you Grainlady) that the problem is the flour they use is rancid. I'm wondering if that's not a big reason why people don't like whole wheat bread? The ones that have disappeared from the store were good, but if you don't know, maybe you don't try...

The only volume conversion I know is that the baker's standard for a cup of flour is 120 g. I do have a conversion chart for salt and yeast, which I think I found at Sourdough Home, but small things like that are better measured by volume for small recipes since half a gram makes a big difference and there's not a lot of compaction or anything. I have to say, I love my yeast spoon! I get it that the amount of yeast in a packet was designed to replace one standard cake (and I, for one, am thrilled with active dry yeast--cake yeast is the pits! It's the pellets or the wild yeast for me). Measuring out the jar is pain. The yeast spoon scoops flat (probably because of the bowl shaped bowl, and accurate. :)

Wow to the size of your toaster oven! I thought mine was big, but I think it's about 7". Maybe 9". Certainly not pizza pan size! My second oven isn't much more than 12" wide! (by 17-18").

After the holidays, I think I'll start some challah experiments. Yes, I am fortunate to have my mother's recipe, but I think I'll try a whole wheat, and maybe a pretzel. I think chocolate is foul, but I might try fig for the holidays, too. This last batch was using the cold pressed palm oil shortening, and I wasn't so thrilled with using it. My next challah experiment is using Earth Balance sticks. I used to do a round weave, but kind of forgot it. Thanks for reminding me!

How did your husband get into baking challah?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Today I watched a You Tube video on No Knead Sourdough with Wild Yeast Starter. I LOVED her method!

Sometimes when things seem too easy, they aren't exactly perfect, but I'm going to try it.

I have my starter bubbling per instructions. Supposed to be not as thick as toothpaste, but thicker than pancake dough. I think it's perfect. It's in the garage getting all bubbly. Tonight, I'll put the bread together, also quite simple, and let it ferment all night. Tomorrow, I get to fold the dough and bake it. Why the garage? Because the house is air conditioned, and the garage is toasty.

Fingers crossed!

OH, I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but for years when I put my starter in the fridge, I paint whats left in the bowl onto parchment, let it dry, crumble the parchment, put the flakes in a zip lock, and I have perfect starter flakes in the freezer at all times. This has saved me when I forgot to feed it. Starter from 2008 is not old, but I don't want to lose it.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Suzi, your method for drying starter sounds so much easier than any others I've heard! I'm going to do that next time I have extra fed up starter. I'm looking forward to your report on the new recipe.

Do any of you read Virtuous Bread? I found it while looking for a recipe even remotely like my favorite bread. What a trove! I haven't found the One yet, but there's a half whole wheat beer bread that I want to try. I'm going to do it as written with the commercial yeast once because I don't know what it's supposed to be like. It reads like it'll taste great with more whole wheat (maybe white wheat?) and wild starter. I can even imagine it as a challah for Sukkot. :) But I'll have to taste it and see.

Edit: I meant to report on the batardettes. They have some similarities, now that they're fully cool, to the miche. Very crusty and nutty. Lunch sandwich was a knockwurst in a boat made of the side of one section. There wasn't room for the veg, but the sausage and the bread (& mustard etc.) tasted good together. The corner was too hard, though, and wouldn't ease open. It finally split. I might have overbaked a little, and gotten it too dry. I think I might try this as a boule, as mentioned above, and maybe with some whole white wheat.

This post was edited by plllog on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 18:56

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I never heard of Virtuous bread, and am reading it now, but they don't use wild yeast for most recipes... Just dried yeast. Would my home made dried starter work as dried yeast?

Doubt it's powerful enough, but that fauxcaccia sounds really yum! I have a yard full of Rosemary. We use it to hold back the hill from falling into the neighbors! LOL! It's basically just drought resistant stuff to hold the dirt on the hillside.


Here is a link that might be useful: The fauxcaccia from Virtuous Bread

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:52PM
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There's a LOT of bread on Virtuous Bread. There's also a sourdough fauxcaccia. The wheat starters on this site are 100% hydration which means equal weights of flour and water (= twice as much flour as water by volume). Your pancake batter should be close to that.

If you want to be sure of the power and hydration of your starter, put a handful of it in a bowl, add a handful of water and stir them together, then add two handfuls of flour and stir it in (or, for heaven's sake, measure and do the same numbers of a measuring scoop). Use a piece of tape or a marker on the outside of the bowl to show where the top is. Leave it on the counter, loosely covered (plastic wrap is good, or a Tupperware lid that isn't sealed to the bowl). Within 12 hours, it should have doubled in bulk. That means it's strong enough to use for baking. If it seems wimpy or thin, feed it again and use a little less water.

Your starter is so well established, I can't imagine it wouldn't work. You just might need a little more flour if yours is wetter than the norm.

BTW, the rye starter on that site is 200% hydration! I'm going to make one. :) I have some new rye berries.


That's better! Ploughman's teatime? The multigrain bread, slightly warmed to make the crust more pliable, with a very ripe Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk (a delightful cheese) and black cherries. Yummy!! This bread is perfect to stand up to the cheese. It's not strong, per se, but extremely flavorful. Not the kind of cheese you want to adulterate with other flavors (no capers, confiture of figs, arugula, etc.), but I hate it when you can't taste the bread with the cheese. This is perfect. Flavorful, but doesn't demand the spotlight.

This post was edited by plllog on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 19:50

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:14PM
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The bread came out fine. It's tangy but not excessively sour and has a lot of flavor. The texture is good.

I just wish I knew what I did that made it such a sticky mess.

On top of that, I came out to see how it was doing after 20 minutes in the oven. It seemed to not have started baking at all and the oven said 350 degrees preheating. I'd turned the oven on at 475 degrees well before I'd put the bread in. Unfortunately I hadn't looked at the control panel when I put the bread in so I've no idea why it got in that state. I'll have to watch it more closely - maybe the bottom oven isn't fully functional after all. I heard DH on the phone with Miele finding out how to put it into service mode to test the elements.

I don't remember how my DH got into baking challah. We both worked and split the housework pretty evenly. For a while when the kids were small, he baked the challah mixing it in the Kitchen Aid. Then we got busier and there was a good place to buy it from so he stopped.

More recently we weren't happy with the challah we could buy as sources came and went here in the hinterlands of the Sacramento area so he started baking it again. It may have been about the time he retired. Also, at that point we had a bread machine which made making it less work.

He took early retirement and I work full time and travel on business often so he has taken over most of the house stuff.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@ cloud_swift, Your oven still isn't fixed? Are they giving you hope?

It's not an oven, but after 14 years, our extra fridge in the garage started whining. Local appliance repair fixed one part. Came back at no charge and it needed another part. We paid for the parts. Last, they replaced the entire motor but credited the other parts, no labor, so we have now got an entirely new fridge for about $600 bucks. We did lose a ton of meat and frozen goods, however.

Last night I mixed my bread according to the 1-2-3 method of that you tube video I watched, and it's looking ready to bake. Going to wait for a while to do that. Need a couple cups of coffee first. This will be my first no-knead artisan bread. I hope I can get it on to the floured board to fold it without busting it's bubbles... Tricky!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Cloud Swift, thanks for the background. Because it needs to be done is a good reason. :) So sorry about the continuing oven worries. I hope it's all better soon! At least the bread came out well!

Suzi, Thanks for the picture! I can't wait to hear how it turns out.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Dbarron -- "Dad loved them." Aren't Dad's the best? Growing up, my Dad was probably the biggest supporter of my bread baking adventures. He still is:)

plllog .... I have so many comments about your posts that are utterly off-topic, but I will tell you that I saw some "cockleburs" on a family walk yesterday and thought of you. Kind of reminds me the "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book (about to be movie:) I also hope that you garnered a tremendous amount of sympathy for that broken arm. I had a banana seat too and a sissy bar;)

"To my hands, it feels well stretched and correct, tacky rather than sticky. My hands like this dough because they understand it. :)" YEAH!!!!

BTW, I'm horribly impressed that you're baking with these continued water restrictions -- what an additional labor intensive layer of bread baking.

Your bread looks delicious!!!!!!!! No thanks to the knockwurst, but yes, yes, yes to the ploughman's platter. Sounds like a perfect combination. It may just be me, but I find that the "brown" breads just taste better the second day. Having that lunch and perusing the Virtuous Bread site? Nice! Confession: Had to look up Hubert Keller:)

Speaking of which, I'm almost afraid to actually delve into that website for fear of all the new things I'll want to try. I was looking at it on my phone for a bit, and it looks like a complete "distraction of the day":)


My dad will often say "Well, that'll do" and that's the gist of this post. Just made some "now or later" pizza or, to my mind, "you're on your own." Basically, partially baked pizzas that everyone can bake later with whatever toppings they want (sauce, margherita, pesto, etc.) Oh, and they can clean it all up:) Some really look like naan, some overbaked verging cracker-like in spots. In retrospect, should have made Breville size. Anyways, lots of distractions here (kids doing ice bucket challenge?) Son thinks pulled pork with chipotle barbecue sauce would be good on his -- I'm not quite sure how that'll actually happen, but why not think big?

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

@Cathy Your pizza looks fun! Artisan! We often do ours on the grill for that fire roasted flavor.

So here is the Wild Yeast Artisan no knead bread from this morning.

Wish I knew how to not get so much flour on it. Maybe I'll shape it on a circle of parchment next time and just slip it into the 500 degree heated cast iron dutch oven. I think I feared burns. No, I actually did fear burns!

Next time I'll try not to forget the salt. It tasted a little more like french bread than sourdough, and my starter is pretty sour. I wish it wasn't so flat, but it made some really good Roast Beef sandwiches for lunch. Next time I'll work on folding it thicker.

Here is a shot of the crumb. The texture was heavy as opposed to fluffy, and the crust was really crispy and a little chewy.

I'll keep trying! Suggestions and tips welcome!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Cathy, feel free to say what you please! As long as you're eating sourdough or feeding it, or rising it, or planning it, you're on topic. Or if it's something you really don't want to post, you can e-mail me at

I had to look up ice bucket challenge. :) Re Hubert Keller, I'd heard of him because he's based in S.F., but he's been a judge on Top Chef and a contestant on Top Chef Masters. Watching and listening to him, convinced me that he far and away more than most chefs one sees on TV knows food. Eggs are famously the test that often catches up the finest of cooks. I think burgers are second. It's not so much knowing the right way to cook something--I sort of know the right way to cook fish and I never will because I'm allergic. Knowing all the ways not to cook something basic and universal like an egg is what really sets the top chefs apart! But even someone like Hubert Kellar has probably had an omelette fall apart on him now and then. It's just one of those things that happen. (Hint to the son: cut the filling smaller.) :)

I think you're right about the bread being better second day. As with the miche, this was better as the excess moisture left.

"Well, that'll do." I've heard that from salt of the earth types. :) It gives me an image of your dad!

Your make your own danged pizza shells look great, and what a lovely composition with the bowl of I-want-one-now tomatoes!


I'm not an expert, but gummy bread usually means slightly undercooked. Don't worry about the flour on it! That's the way it looks at the bakery, too. :) If you just don't like it, you can use a soft pastry brush to remove a lot of it (after baking). Or you can just pick up your loaf when it's cool and give it a few good thumps. :) It looks pretty anyway!

I'd advise against the parchment. Use a full sized piece to slide the dough into the pot, yes, but don't put the parchment in. Remember Fahrenheit 451? Burning temperature of paper? My guests yesterday came in saying they smelled paint. Um. No. I said "sourdough" but what I meant was burning parchment paper from the day before. :) I couldn't smell it anymore, so it might have actually been something from outside, but not quite burnt paper is my guess. The first time I used parchment for bread it worked great. The second time it burned, and I realized I was baking at 500°. This last time, I was baking at 450° and it didn't really burn, but it smelled burnt. :)

Another thing I've found is that the protein content of the flour matters more with wild yeast than commercial. Did you use bread flour? It also might have been a bit too wet. In my very short amount of experience, I've found that higher protein flour (bread flour) takes more hydration, and Euro style or AP flours take less. But even within that, a little variation makes a big difference. My challah with King Arthur bread flour (high protein) is heavy and a little tough, but it's light and soft with Gold Medal Better for Bread (which has an ootch less protein).

If you want more of a sour taste, let it rise longer (you can even reduce the amount of starter to make it take longer). That gives the organisms more time to do their thing and belch.

Confession: I was looking for things to make with the made up waffle mix that no one wanted seconds of. Found funnel cakes. I was just noting that my safflower oil was getting a little old. Ladies of a certain age shouldn't oughta eat funnel cakes! It worked really well, and it gave me an excuse to practice pastry bag skills when it doesn't matter. I think my hands are too small because I'm usually pretty good at this kind of thing, but I can never get it just right. Maybe you have to learn as a kid? My father used to caulk all our cakes. :) He's great at that nice even bead. :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:11AM
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Suzi, the parts needed to be ordered so it won't be totally fixed for a week.

The bottom oven is supposed to be working now. It worked Friday morning for my DH baking challah. Then I turned it on to preheat to 475 for a loaf of sour dough. I put the bread in and when I came back to see how it was doing after 20 minutes, the oven said 325 preheating. I hadn't looked at the display to see the temperature when I put it in so I don't know if it was at temp then, It had had plenty of heating time.

I'm testing it by running it now and it seems to be doing okay so I've no idea what went wrong yesterday.

Plllog, getting something to squeeze evenly out of a pastry bag is partly about how you hold it. I twist the top and put it down along the side, then wrap my hand around it with thumb and forefinger toward the top of the bag. Then squeeze applying pressure with your palm and fingers. If doing a lot, your hand can get quite tired.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Thanks for all the suggestions on the bread baking. My starter was made with King Arthur Bread flour, but there wasn't enough left for the actual bread, so I used Pillsbury All Purpose flour for that. Our stupid small town has one grocery chain and they don't carry King Arthur in anything but a 16 oz size......... Next time I go to one of the bigger towns, it's on my list, and it's nice to know that the all purpose flour works fine for bread. Bagels need King Arthur Bread Flour for sure!

The flour rose a long time, but next time I'll make it in the afternoon and let it rise for even longer overnight plus about 10 hours. I do love the sourdough tang!

That tip on parchment was great! Also, I tried brushing that flour off, but not the whack! I wasn't sure how to wrap the leftover bread (which I will slice for today's sandwiches), so I wrapped it in parchment then stuck it in an unsealed ziplock. I'll give it a whack or two prior to slicing.

One question. Does Whole wheat flour get too old to make bread? I have a really old, like more than 10 years tupperware container full of it. I'd like to use it up. We are not whole wheat people... Well, hubby is, but not me. The flour looks and smells fine. What do you think?

Thanks Plllog!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 9:10AM
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Plllog, I don't think there is any downside to "retarding" your starter. By this you mean your "preferment" made with your starter? I have done the same thing with a Levain. The Levain is a stiffer preferment, than my Biga. I've left it in the fridge for a couple of days before adding it to a batch of bread dough.

The crumb of your whole wheat bread looks really good.

Desertdance, I like the rustic look of your loaf.

Cathy, good idea to prebake for pizzas.

I made a batch of dough early Friday morning before work. Sourdough Biga ( 2 ounces of starter, 1 1/2 cups flour and one cup of water). Made the night before. After the first rise the dough went into the fridge. Moe pulled it out for me about 3:00 PM on Saturday so that it was almost ready to shape by the time I got home from work.

Less hydration . Instead of 78% to 82% this batch was only 72%.

Shaped into eight smaller size baguettes.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Thanks, Ann! Yes, good crumb. Especially nice with the cheese. Pretty, inspiring pictures as usual. The sack is delightful. :)

I'm coming to the conclusion that my pizza stone is too much for the breads I've been baking. Other than the first Leader I did, the pain de levain with the AP and rye flours, the crust has been extreme. Since they've also been a little too moist, I'm going to try doing without the water. But I also might try baking without the stone. In a fit of whimsey, I also ordered a steel.

It was actually the feed up of the starter that I retarded. As in take out starter, feed to increase volume and double in bulk. It was growing so fast, which it doesn't usually do straight out of the fridge, that I knew it was going to reach its peak while I was fast asleep. Unlike you, I will not get up in the middle of the night to tend my bread. Right promptly in the morning yes, but only if I mean to come downstairs anyway. :) It worked, though. I realized that the cup was very cold when I took it out. Probably because there was so much starter in it and the bulk retained the cold. That's why I put it on the cable box, which is cool to the touch, but warmer than the room. I left it there as long as the glass felt cool. then put it on a neutral temperature cutting board. Now that Wubby is established, it's quite reliable, and it only took something like 7 hrs. to double including the warm up time.

Suzi, yes, whole wheat flour goes rancid almost immediately after it's milled. I was skeptical at first, but having tried new package from the store (King Arthur, not local artisan flour (which we don't have) that might be fresher) alongside home milled, I was converted. It's a totally different taste. I think what a lot of people don't like when they say they don't like whole wheat bread is that rancidity. It comes out as a cardboard taste if it's not really bad, or bitterness. A lot of commercial whole wheat bread isn't like that, which I think means they have fresh flour, but I was once given whole wheat pizza from a chain restaurant which was so bad, I thought it was their purpose to offer whole wheat and turn off the customers so that they could claim to have tried whole wheat but there wasn't the demand. I've had whole wheat pizzas from independents that were so delicious any white crust seemed wimpy and lifeless in comparison. Then I started making my own. :) Then milling my own. :) Pretty amazing stuff!

I think that's also why people think whole wheat needs to be sweetened, and all the hippies loaded it up with honey. It's not the bran, per se, it's to cover up the rancidity. Since the oils are in the germ (I think that's it), this doesn't affect white flour so much. I did have some white flour in air tight canisters in storage for a year (3 month remodel took 10), and had to throw it all out. You could smell that it had gone bad! But white flour keeps for months, at least. I mill my whole wheat right before baking. The whole grains, if stored properly, will keep for years.

If your ancient flour smells okay, make playdough out of it, or holiday ornaments, or put it in the compost bin.

To clarify about the AP flour, you can make bread out of it--it's flour. Some recipes call for it rather than a higher protein flour. But you can't just substitute it straight on for a recipe that calls for bread flour. Once you have a feel for your baking your baker's instincts may tell you just how to adjust better than any formula, still, next time you try this recipe with AP, try using 5-10% less water.

I've tried to find a recipe for bread out of pastry flour (low protein). It should be possible, but I couldn't find the right search string. It would have to have a different method to regular breads, however, to give the gluten a fighting chance. If you don't have any bread or AP flour, and do have pastry flour, the better thing to do is make a quickbread, which is more like a cake, and doesn't need yeast. I still don't have a good handle one just what whole wheat pastry flour is. I tried some and it was weird. Additionally, there are some who differentiate between cake and pastry flour. Pastry has less protein than AP by a couple of notches. If there's a separate cake flour, it has one notch less protein than pastry, and has been processed to absorb liquid from ingredients and sugar better. Or something like that.

Pastry and cake flour are used to have things be flakier and crumblier. I prefer a firmer crumb for most things and use AP.

Just as I was getting a handle on all of this, along with the French standard of fine flours which is about the mineral content when burnt, and the Italian which is about the fineness of the grains of milled flour, I learn that some flours don't list "other" ingredients, and may have vital wheat gluten or dairy added to boost the total protein. I don't think that happens with the American labelling standards ( Most U.S. packaged AP and bread flours have some diastatic malted barley included to lend enzymes that enhance the rise. That didn't used to be proclaimed, but is now on our ingredients lists), but it's important to know for foreign flours/recipes. My Italian 00 semolina flour doesn't actually have an ingredients statement. It says milled from the finest wheat, or something. It does list the moisture content at packaging, however (15.x%). U.S. is assumed to be 14%, I think, and, of course, that doesn't tell you what it is at time of use. It's important if you're trying to figure out the protein content. At least with home milling, you know exactly what you're getting. Or, that is, I spoke to the farm where my pizza wheat was grown, and they said the average protein content is about 14%. For breads, I've been using the organic wheat I can buy in bulk locally, and I don't know the protein content. It seems to be lower than the pizza wheat, though, and I'm guessing it's around 12% from the way it handles.

Cloud Swift, I couldn't hesitate a guess what happened yesterday, unless there's a possibility that there was a brief power outage that you didn't notice? (That happens here and there are enough backups and capacitors on things with clocks that it's hard to know. If I'm home I can hear the UPS beep, and sometimes one can tell if the DVR has reset (unless it subsequently turns on), so it can be a real mystery!) Good news that your one oven seems to be working, now. Do you know when the repair man is coming back?

Thanks for the pastry bag tips. I think that's about where my hands (which are only smallish, not freakish) can't seem to get around it. And I don't overstuff! I got some reusable ones, which helps (but is another water use). Towards the end of the funnel cake idiocy, I was getting better at the even flow. Thick, sticky waffle batter is great for practicing piping on, even though it's not great waffles! And the oily air was a good skin treatment. I didn't scorch the oil, which was too shallow for my candy thermometer, and I forgot all about my thermocouple IR/probe!

I mean, a lot went right, and they came out well. Real funnel cakes don't get pancake like bubbles, though, and I think that's how oil got in. Although they were proclaimed deliciuos, for me, they were too greasy, even though very little came off on the paper towel. They went! Unlike the waffles they started as. And that too sweet for wafflesness meant no reaching for the powdered sugar. :) But what a waste of oil! I wouldn't do that if I weren't on the verge of tossing the oil anyway. (I can afford to be profligate with cooking oil, but I think part of what I don't like about frying is killing all that oil.)

My rapprochement with cleaning water and bread. It takes more water than I'd like to clean the wubby jars. Soaking doesn't get the dried on paste off. Only running water and determined fingernails seem to work for me. But the starters are living things, and they need feeding and clean beds. While I could dry them and give up baking for awhile, maybe waste gas instead driving to bakeries for better bread, I'm not at that point yet. If the drought gets worse, yes.

I think the huge pasta bowl as a kneading trough was a good innovation. The ceramic cleans up so much more easily than glass, plastic or silicone (silpat). I'm wondering if I could us it for rising, as well. If not, I'll use the bread bowl, because, again, the glaze is so much easier to clean up. And I've realized that my beloved old closed handled Pyrex cups are too precious for daily bread. I've just put an Anchor Hocking batter bowl with molded lines (and a closed handle!) in my Amazon cart. It can go in the DW and if anything happens to it, it's replaceable. It's 8 cups, so will make a small dough bucket (big enough for the last recipe, for sure), perfect for pre-ferments, good for feeding up the wubby. Worth the $12. Should save a good amount of water.

This puts me in the cooks at home so uses water in the ktichen category, but out of the baking bread is wasteful one. I think. I hope.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Suzi, try to get your hands on some Canadian All Purpose flour. Canadian all purpose flour has more protein than US flours so you can pretty much substitute even in recipes that call for bread flour. I have been using an unbleached All-Purpose Flour from Rogers that has 13.3% protein. This is higher than King Arthur's bread flour.

If you can't find a high protein flour you can always buy gluten to add to your mix.

I would like to find some 00 flour for making pizza. I know there are a couple of places in Victoria that carry it. Need to stop next time I'm down.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 3:27PM
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The world is wonky. I have a new 10# bag of KA unbleached AP that says it has 13.3% (4g per 30g) protein. The label online is the same. The 25# bag label says it's 10% (3g per 30g). Same AP flour.

The unbleached bread flour is also listed at 13.3% protein! I don't know what it was when I last used it, but it was higher than Gold Medal (General Mills). Gold Medal Better For Bread, which used to be softer than the KA, is also listed at 13.3%. The dough seemed tougher to me as I was making the challah, but it didn't occur to me that they'd raised the protein level! It used to be 12%!

Anyway, they're no longer reliable!

Your point is the same, however. Real AP flour is supposed to be halfway between pastry and bread, at about 10-11%, but apparently yesterday's bread flour is today's AP.

Suzi, do you have the label for your flour?

I've never used 00 flour for pizza. I think I like pizza to be more rustic, rather than silky. It's the best for pasta, though. :) I look forward to when you get it and your pizza pictures. :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 5:00PM
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I mostly use metal bowls for the dough mixing, preferments, and any proofing before shaping. Sometimes I use a plastic dough bucket if I want to watch the rising amount really carefully and I used one to develop my starter because it had a lid instead of fussing with plastic wrap.

Since I'm short, the dough buckets would be hard to mix in - the bowl height works better for me.

We have them in stainless steel at various sizes. They go in the dishwasher. In the cabinet or drawer a lot can stack in very little space. My DH got them at the restaurant supply store. The form factor fits in my fridge space more easily if I need to retard a dough. The dough buckets I have are too tall for that.

Between refreshes, I usually don't was the jar that I store starter in the fridge in.

I have small hands too so I understand about that. I almost always use the disposable piping bags. Fortunately the technique seems to work without my hand going all the way around the bag.

Edited to add: I don't think there was a power outage. I was working in my office and the cordless phones are pretty sensitives to even short outages and would have beeped. The computer screen didn't glitch either.

I tried the oven again today with a digital thermometer that would beep if the temp went below the programmed threshold and the oven stayed hot so what ever it was hasn't been repeatable. I'll just have to hope that replacing the power board fixed the problem.

This post was edited by cloud_swift on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 18:25

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Plllog, King Arthur's website lists the protein at 12.7% for their unbleached bread flour. I think it is because they are showing 4% for 30g or 1/4 cup. A 1/4 cup of flour is 32 to 34 grams.

Here is a link that might be useful: King Arthur flours

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:25PM
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I will definitely try your way of twisting the end and holding and see if that helps with the piping bag. I find the ... vinyl? bags much easier to hang on to. The clear disposable ones are good for when air bubbles can be bad (though I use metal tips), but I always end up a goopy mess by the time I have one loaded and used. I think the reusable ones are easier to handle because they have more body. Actually, I think when I was young the bags were linen or something, and much easier... Maybe it's a texture thing?

Thanks for the bowl suggestion, Cloud Swift. My mother used an 8 qt. stainless bowl for her challah. I have a 5 qt. and some smaller/taller stainless mixing bowls, but I don't really like them. I use my 5 qt. for making meatballs. :) I suppose any of them could theoretically go in the DW, but they don't fit so I'd have to have a pretty empty DW, which lessens the water savings. I'm hoping the new batter bowl will fit where my big glass bowl does (but the stainless don't). It turns out that there was one with a lid. I thought three times about paying $10 (including the extra shipping) for a lid, but decided I'd probably use it plenty. Anyway, just have to hope.

I can't not wash the jars. They get all crusty! I'm guessing that yours aren't as icky. Oh! That's why I don't like the steel bowls! I couldn't figure it out when you brought it up. It's that I like to have markings! My bread bowl is Bunzlauer. I got it from King Arthur right when Polish pottery first started showing up in the U.S. I think it holds 13 quarts. The bands make judging the rise really easy. :) I do know how to judge by eye, but with unfamiliar recipes, and especially with sourdough which takes so long to rise, I like having the reference lines that are on my dough bucket and measuring cups.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:32PM
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What a beautiful bowl. I love Polish pottery.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 8:03PM
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I have a trick for loading the piping bag.

Take a big glass - one with a fairly wide mouth (but narrower than the top of the bag of course. Put bottom of the bag in the glass with the top coming out the top of the glass. Fold the top of the bag (like making a cuff) over the top of the glass.

Then spoon the frosting or macaroon batter or whatever you are going to pipe in. Once you have the bag reasonably filled, unfold the top. Twist the top, fold it over and get the bag ready to use.

I find this easier than the way I was taught which was holding the bag in one hand with the folded down cuff over your hand. I like having both hands free in case some needs to be scraped out of the bowl. It is a bit more messy on refilling but still not bad.

I have some bags that are like cloth on the outside with something waterproof on the inside - that may be like the old bags you remember.

That is a lovely bowl.

I usually use one of the Oxo angled measuring cups for bread. Not that I need the angled measurement when I'm weighing the water, but the are light and comfortable to use. Also big enough to use for holding the water for wetting my hand for the folds.

If I'm just using them to measure water, I wipe the cup out and put it back on the shelf. But if using to hold hand wetting water, they go in the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Wow!! Cloud Swift, I never thought of anything like that! Much better than hold it in one's hand that doesn't reach around. Especially because larger amounts squeeze out the air bubbles better. I will definitely give that a try. If I'm not already frazzled by the time I start squeezing, it might go a lot better. :)

Yeah, I think the old canvas bags might have been oil cloth... I didn't have to load them, but I can't remember if I was just young, or purely pitiful. :)

I use an OXO cup for weighing water too! When I was showing the 9-year-old how we make pizza dough, her father wanted to show her that it was the same number of milliliters as grams, and I had to intercept him over her head because the markings, while fine for volume measures, aren't accurate to the scale! For bread, I prefer the weight of the Pyrex and the closed handle. The OXOs aren't bad because of the shape and material of the handles (the only lever handled Pyrex I have is the 8 cup, and I use it as a bowl to hold measured flour rather than a measuring cup. :) ) I certainly don't try to lift it by the handle! It would slide right out of my hand! I'm hoping the Anchor one will be easier to handle. :) By the handle. [HEE]

I finally got dinner cooking. Maybe I'm still quesy from yesterday, but I was having trouble facing a naked chicken. :) I should be good and start the beer bread or something but tomorrow's iffy for baking. Maybe I'll make challah in the afternoon/evening.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Sigh. The multi grain was so good with the Red Hawk. Not so good for ordinary cheese bread with salsa picante and sliced cheese. I'm not ready to give it up. I think I'll try some diastatic malt. It rose fine, but I want to learn the difference between using diastatic malt and no-enzyme barley malt. Plus, the sweetener might help, as will a more conscious choice of what goes in the multi. It's a good quantity for daily bread.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:45PM
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Perhaps you can help me with a question what you do for storing starter.

If I'm reading correctly, Forkish says to take some for the fridge when at the time when the starter is ready to use - which would be 8 to 9 hours after feeding. Put that in a container (he says plastic bag but I prefer to have it in a jar) and into the fridge. It seems to me that at that point the starter is at peak activity but has used up a lot of the feeding.

Before I was taking starter for storage right after it was fed.

Today I compromised between the two, took some when Forkish said and fed it before putting it in the fridge.

What do you do?

I've mixed up some pita bread with just starter - hoping it will be ready to form in around 4 or 5 hours.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:18PM
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I divide off my starter when I'm ready to use it, and deal with the storage portion and the discard at the same. But I feed my starter right before putting it in the fridge, so it goes in hungry, but with food.

I've been lucky so far. I determined that 100% hydration was too wet for me and have my whole wheat at 80% and my white at 70%. OTOH, I adjust these to suit the recipes I'm using, and now that they're established, they both rise reliably without the three days of feeding that is often recommended. Maybe that's because I feed before storing? Mine also will go a couple of weeks in the fridge between feedings without throwing hooch or giving similar indications of hunger.

I don't think there's a "right" answer. Once it's established, it seems like its pretty hard to kill starter. My discard jar (in the fridge) will throw hooch when I haven't added to it in awhile, but that has to mean that the unfed starter I'm adding too it is still pretty darned active, as is the old starter underneath the hooch. :)

I can't wait to hear about the pita! (Or, in my parlance, pitot.) I've never made any. I also don't really care for the modern spongy kind. I bet wild yeast is better! When I was a kid, we got pitot that were hard, sour and a little salty, very thin and chewy crust, and when you pulled apart the inside it felt like sun dried terrycloth. All spiky and stiff. No bready, sponginess.

I'm not about to make my own filo, even though I've kind of had it with the kind I can buy nowadays. The good kind was just flour and water. (Well, the label said "flour, water and skill".) I could wrap my head around making pitot, though. Ooooh, you're making me hungry!

The new measuring bowl came. But now I have to wait to fill the DW so I can wash it! It does fit, and so does the lid. The lead seals too, which is great. It's taller and smaller than the Pyrex one, besides the molded lines, so much better for this use (and now I don't have to shuffle everything around like in Mommy Buy Me Chiny Doll). I have high hopes. :)

Edit: You've inspired me. I didn't want to buy bread because it's been cooler and I hope to be able to bake, so I got some whole wheat pitot to tide me over. They're not hard like in the old days, but they're not spongy. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 1:11

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Well the flavor of the pita (collective noun) :) was really good.

I tried making them on the skillet because it was a small batch and I didn't want to heat up the oven. They didn't puff and I usually get almost all the pita to puff so I don't know if it was because it was a different recipe or because I rolled them too thin. The recipes I read all emphasized rolling them thin as the key to getting them to puff, but I think it is possible to over do that.

It may also have been due to skillet vs. oven cooking or the temp I had the skillet at or just because I rushed them.

I will try the recipe again using the oven to remove one variable.

Pita is one of those things where being super fresh makes a big difference so homemade is best. They aren't hard fresh but they aren't spongy either - just great and chewy. They get hard if you let them sit.

I grilled the king salmon fillet I'd bought in Alaska. I wish I'd been able to bring back more but there wasn't much room in my suitcase. DH put together a chopped salad of peppers, tomato, cucumber with a bit of cilantro, lemon juice and, for mine, green onion.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:01PM
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It sounds like it was a lovely meal!

The pita (collective noun) that I've had in Greece aren't puffed, so maybe that's the kind you made. :)

It sounds like something I'll really have to try making. When I described "hard" above, I didn't mean as in stale. :) More like "solid" rather than with bubbles and firm rather than floppy. We got them fresh from the Syrian bakery. They did require teeth, however, and weren't the anonymous white bready things they mostly sell nowadays that fall apart if you look at them. I'm sure your answer is correct--homemade is the best.

The learning really is going well. My schedule has been all over the place, but I was underwhelmed by the bread choices (choosing the whole wheat pita was in part because nothing else except a large loaf of the bread I'm bored with was anything worth bringing home). I knew from my recent adventures how to get all of the flour into a low hydration soaker. ;)

This morning I decided I could do my one loaf as written with the beer bread, including the commercial yeast, and started a soaker for the whole wheat. The recipe calls for equal amounts of water and beer, and nearly equal amounts of whole wheat and white flour, and it also hydrates the yeast right in the mixing bowl. I've never done anything like this! My jar of yeast has proved very active, so I'm not worried about proofing it, but I needed water to soak the wheat (which the recipe didn't call for) and water for the yeast. So I decided that yeast can't be offended by ale! I did take the ale out of the fridge, though. :) The recipe calls for a particular Leicester bitter that various sites call mild and malty, but I don't have anything like it. I'm using Dogfish, which is hoppy and brown. I don't even seem to have an IPA! My ale hounds have been watching their waistlines. I'm sure it'll be fine. The recipe calls for "or any other ale" and in my experience the flavor of ales kind of dissipates in cooking, leaving a general beeriness. I would think that would be more so in bread. We'll see! So, anyway,,. it's out of the fridge so it'll be warm enough to bloom the yeast. I didn't want to soak the flour in the ale in case the bubbles are important to the dough.



2 glass mixing bowls, one custard cup, one measuring spoon, one butter knife, one scraper (go in DW), scale bowl, flour scoop (get rinsed only), one measuring cup that needed washing anyway because of bits of flour on the outside. Now that I know what's up, I could manage with one large prep bowl instead of one of the mixing bowls and the custard cup and the measuring cup. (I looked up the weight of beer and the difference between it and water is slight enough to be within the margin of error, so it's easier to weigh than measure by volume with a cup that's known to be inaccurate anyway.)

I kneaded in the mixing bowl, because it called for doing by hand. I've been having back and shoulder issues and it felt like good therapy. Not so much now...

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 21:46

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:42PM
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I'm trying to keep up with this thread, but packing is getting in the way.

lascatx -- I got my new knife!!!!!!! Too funny, the manufacturers had labels everywhere on the plastic warning about small children and the risk of suffocation, but none about the risk of cutting:) I can't wait to use it and will report back. I think it's going to work well for those hard crusts of mine. Thank you for the recommendation.

plllog, re: staying on topic. I was asking my husband about sissy bars, and he looked me so quizzically that I said "What?" He said "Aren't you posting about bread?" HA! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, that bread bowl! I'm going to return to this thread when I have some more time -- I want read more what you're up to and your sandwich "combinations" if any. I hope that your water situation is better.

Quick update: Thought I would make some Kaiser rolls to go with some corned beef I made. Son has a tremendous aversion to sauerkraut, so the whole Reuben combo is out. Instead, he went with Swiss, corned beef and honey-mustard. I said "Don't you want lettuce or something else?" He said "No. I just want to eat it.":)

Cathy in SWPA

ps report is that the bun isn't too tangy, but a great vehicle for corned beef:)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Rats -- didn't include part of my post.

Desertdance, if you're still here. There are some really knowledgeable folks on this forum! I hope that you will continue to forge ahead. I can tell you that I recently made a loaf of bread that only rose about 2":) Although I haven't vetted everything on this list, I'm posting a snip from another cooking forum that outlines some protein content of common flours. You may find it interesting and useful as you move forward. I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your bread. BTW, this was posted by "Antilope", and I've linked the thread where this information was taken below.

Some have probably seen this posted before but for those that haven't seen it, here's a chart I put together of U.S. supermarket wheat flour by type and protein / gluten content. Most of these flour brands are available at U.S. supermarkets:.

Wheat Flour Protein:

-Protein levels range from about 7% in pastry and cake flours to as high as about 15% in high-gluten bread flour.

-Protein percentage indicates the amount of gluten available in the a given flour. Gluten is the substance which develops when the flour protein, which occurs naturally in wheat flour, is combined with liquid and kneaded.

-Because gluten is able to stretch elastically, it is desirable to have a higher gluten flour for yeast-raised products, which have doughs that are stretched extensively; like pizza, most yeast breads, and bagels.

-For cakes, pie crusts, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pastry to be short and crumbly or tender, a lower protein flour is better. Also, in higher gluten flours, the gluten can overpower the chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda, causing the final baked goods to not rise as high.

-Hard winter wheat, mainly grown in the north, has a higher protein and more gluten, 10% to 13%.
Most northern and national brand all-purpose flours, bread flour and high-gluten flour is made from hard winter wheat.

-Soft summer wheat, mainly grown in the south, has a lower protein and lower gluten, 8% to 10%
Most cake, pastry and southern all-purpose flour is made from soft summer wheat.

Bleaching flour does a couple of things, it whitens the flour and it also alters the flour protein causing it to form weaker gluten. Most cake flours are bleached.

. CAKE FLOUR - 7% to 9.4% protein
Best Use: cakes, blending with national brands all-purpose flour to make pastry flour or Southern flour substitute.
-King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour, 7.0%
-King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, 9.4%
-Pillsbury Softasilk Bleached Cake Flour, 6.9%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour, 7.1%

PASTRY FLOUR - 8 to 9% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pastries, pancakes, pie crusts, waffles.
-King Arthur Unbleached Pastry Flour, 8%
-King Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, 9%

Best Use: biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles.
-Martha White Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 9%
-White Lily Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 8 to 9%

SELF-RISING FLOUR (flour, baking powder, salt) - 8 to 10.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, waffles.
-Gold Medal Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 10.5%
-King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, 8.5%
-Martha White Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.4%
-Pillsbury Best Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.7%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 8 to 9%

ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIXES (flour, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt) - 6.25 to 12.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, coffee cakes, pancakes, quick breads, pastry, waffles
-Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Baking Mix, 12.5%
-Bisquick Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
-Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, 6.25%
-King Arthur Flour All Purpose Baking Mix, 10%
-Pioneer Original Baking Mix, 7.5%

INSTANT FLOUR 10.5 to 12.6% protein
Best Use: thicken gravies, sauces, and soups without lumps.
-Gold Medal Wondra Quick Mixing Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best Shake & Blend Flour, 12.6%

Best Use: makes average biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, pizza crusts, quick breads, waffles, yeast breads.
-Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, 10 to 11.5%
-Pioneer All-Purpose Flour, 10%
-White Wings All-Purpose Flour, 10%

Best Use: cream puffs, puff pastry, yeast breads, pizza crusts.
-Heckers and Ceresota All-Purpose Flour, 11.5 to 11.9 %
-King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, 11.7%
-Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour, 12.0%
-Five Roses All Purpose Flour, 13.0%
-Rogers All-Purpose Flour, 13.0%

BREAD FLOUR - 12 to 13.3% protein
Best Use: traditional yeast breads, bread machine, pizza crusts, pasta.
-Gold Medal Better For Bread, 12%
-King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 12.7%
-Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, 12.9%
-White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour, 11.7%

DURUM WHEAT (Semolina) 13 to 13.5% protein
Best Use: Pasta.
-Hodgson Mill Golden Semolina & Extra Fancy Durum Pasta Flour, 13.3%
-King Arthur Extra Fancy Durum Flour, 13.3%

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR - 12.9 to 14% protein
Best Use: hearth breads, blending with other flours.
-Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour, 13.3%
-King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-Pillsbury Best Whole Wheat Flour, 12.9%

HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR 14 to 15% protein
Best Use: bagels, pizza crusts, blending with other flours.
-King Arthur Organic Hi-Gluten Flour, 14%
-King Arthur Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour, 14.2%

VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN FLOUR, Breadmaking Supplement - 65 to 77% protein
Best Use: Added to raise gluten. Adds extra gluten to low-gluten whole grain flours, such as rye, oat, teff, spelt, or buckwheat.
-Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 65.0%
-Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Gillco Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 66.6%
-King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 77.8%

Ann, as usual, your bread looks delicious. The backdrop (burlap?) enhances the bread and picture as a whole ... really. BTW, I ended up getting a couche! and am excited to try it out. I thought I'd post this picture to thank you for sharing about bulk sesame seeds. As you can tell, I'm having a lot of fun with them:)

Looking forward to having some time in a couple of days to read posts more in-depth.

Cathy in SWPA

Here is a link that might be useful: flour information

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:33PM
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Cathy, enjoy your knife! The buns are gorgeous and I am now hungry. Guess it's a bit late for lunch, so I am a little overdue and my stomach is suddenly grumbling to remind me.

I can't keep up with this thread -- reading it or the baking. Maybe later, but I did get two boys off to college and have baked them both chocolate chip cookies for their first care package. I was about to make some peanut brittle for a raffle basket when I discovered a swarm or large ants in my kitchen. The little ones are at the window near my computer. I itch just thinking about them, but had to take a break from the clean up after more than an hour.

Y'all have fun and I'll get to baking some bread eventually. For now, my starter is hibernating in the fridge.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:55PM
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I have that exact chart from Antilope Fresh Loaf, and it's WRONG. I'm sure it was right when it was first posted but at least regarding the flours I posted about it's WRONG. I was looking right at it, and the online info and the labels from the bags, all at the same time.

Wheat is variable. What's printed on the packages is only as close as they can tell on average, and both KA and GM are averaging more and more protein. I don't known if the reason the different sized bags of King Arthur AP have different protein numbers is that they're being made at different facilities with different incoming wheat, or if they think that more protein will help clueless home bakers.

My loaf settled! Pictures to come. But I think it's because I used my "AP" red wheat, instead of the high protein. :)

Thanks for the good wishes, but the water situation isn't getting better for at least a year, maybe two. If it rains. It's supposed to rain a lot this Winter, but if that doesn't mean snow in the Sierra, we'll still have little water. Sigh. I don't have mirrors in the kitchen, but I can only assume that the stank face I make when rinsing things (which will be later washed or recycled) with water that other things have been soaking in would frighten little children on Halloween.

Congrats on the knife!

Good luck with the packing!

I share Son's opinion of sauerkraut (I'm not fond of either cooked cabbage or lots of vinegar, so combining the two doesn't seem like a proper thing to do, to me. :) ) His sandwich sounds great! I would have done the lettuce, though, especially if it were purple. :)

The rolls look amazing!! I think you have the kaiser thing down!

Lascatx, Much sympathy on the ants! Do you think the cornmeal thing works? The cookies sound fab! (Nice mom!) Baking cookies counts if you do it within hollering distance of your starter. :) Do drop in when you have time!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:23PM
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Ackkkkkk!!!!! DesertdanceJust in case you didn't see plllog's post please disregard the list I posted! She indicated that it is incorrect. Mea Culpa!

lascatx -- You get a bazillion gold stars -- two boys packed!!!!!, off to college with CC cookies no less! I hope you enjoy a nice reprieve. Really. Sorry to hear about the ants -- I usually end up using Terro at some point with pretty good results. I had a fly in my kitchen today and IT DROVE ME INSANE!!! I have last day laundry coming up and a double batch of snickerdoodle biscotti to bake. There is an entire bin dedicated to food -- I have this bizarre notion that my kids may get hungry and not have anything to eat, and each year they have excess funds in their meal plans. HA!

plllog -- whew! I'm so glad you posted that there were errors in that list. It's a good idea though, isn't it? I guess not realistic. That list is all over the place. Looking forward to pictures because I'm having to scan threads at this point. I will tell my son there is another sauerkraut objector on this forum -- He will think you have great taste:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:15PM
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For lascatx -- because you have boys and know that boys tend to like sharp objects -- totally distracted from college packing by the thought of a new knife just waiting to be tested. Son's first successful attempt cutting horizontally without injuries:) Big smile. Wow. Really, really good.

Okay, back to work:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:39PM
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Cathy, I did the all caps on the "wrong" just to make sure you saw it. No blame here! I've been using that list until now, too! But maybe I was too hasty with my WRONGs. The protein listed on the package, at least for King Arthur, seems to disagree with their text (in the covered up bottom part of the description). I don't know if it's old text, or imprecise packaging!

King Arthur lists their unbleached cake flour as 9.4%, but it's 3g (10%) on the label. Their unbleached pastry flour is listed at 8% in the text, but the label says 2g per 26g serving, which works out to 7.7%. Their organic bread flour is listed at 12.7%, and the label says 4 grams per 30 (13.3%). The organic AP is listed at 11.8%, and the label also says 4 grams per 30 (13.3%). That's a gram difference but the same label!

In Southern California, you should be able to get both King Arthur and Gold Medal, depending on the store. Pillsbury Best might also be available. Their AP is listed on their website at 3 grams of protein per 30 gram serving (which it should be!) for both bleached and unbleached, and their bread flour says 4 grams of protein per 30 gram serving.

At this point, however, I'm totally flummoxed.

The Leicester Beer and Honey Bread (active dry yeast/commercial) is fine for sandwiches, but didn't have to be inventive because it's not challenging. It's a close crumbed, slightly sweet, half whole wheat bread. I think it would be tastier with 100% whole wheat, but as it is, it settled in the oven. It might be hard to see in the before and afters. I like oven spring, not oven settle! This might have been a good one to do in a pan like I use for the round challah (group noun). The recipe called for long loaves in pans, or a "cob". The pizza pan seemed a good way to go... Stronger protein would help too.

I tried a couple of things, but what set off this bread best was semi-artisanal cultured butter. Just bread and butter. Yum. Finding bread that's worthy of this butter isn't always easy, so that's a score right there.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 5:13PM
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I'm smiling, plllog! You weren't too hasty. Your all capped WRONGs were, in fact, very appropriate. Really. Tangent: My son gave a TED talk about how the internet has changed our critical thinking i.e. oh, I saw it on the internet ... it must be true. In fact, he was going to weave in a quote attributed to Einstein: "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots"; of course, Einstein never said that, and it underscored his thesis:) Long story, I'm sensitive to my perpetuating incorrect info! Maybe after all the packing etc, is said and done, I'll email King Arthur and ask. See what happens.

I rarely hope for rain, but I'll hope that you have nice steady rains so there aren't anymore "stank" faces:)

Now on to the important stuff. Your bread looks absolutely, positively delicious! I mean it. Particularly the crumb -- can I tell you that it looks intriguing in a really good way? I like the form as is (maybe contributes to that intriguing crumb) Is the crust hard or medium? And while I'm not really a fan of beer per se, I think I would like it this way. A bread that is great with butter is a great bread indeed.

I'll be keeping tabs on this thread!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 6:59PM
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Cathy, I did use Terro once I found where they were entering the house (far side of the door by my breakfast room, then went across part of the doorway, crossed to the rug under my table, went around part of two sides, then found a groove between two boards in the floor over to the island and then up and onto the counter where I spotted them). There was not good place to put the bait inside, so I put some outside along the cracks between the house and patio. I thought about the cornmeal but was afraid my dogs might try to eat it there -- they like corn, LOVE popcorn.

Are you packing up college kids too? My boys love snickerdoodles so much that I think they would think I ruined them if I made biscotti. Neither of them drink coffee or hot chocolate and one only drinks tea for singing, so no sweets with it (sugar messes with your throat).

Pllog, I meant to tell you how much I love your bowl and the idea that you have a reference point for rising doughs. I just use my mixing bowls and go from "small" to "big and fat" or "nearly overflowing." But the spoon rest I was using today is Polish pottery -- made peanut brittle for a raffle basket and came back to the computer to print out labels for that and the "Holy Mole Pecans." I was too late to meet the mom who is assembling the baskets today so I'm not rushing. Late because my freshman called to tell me about his choir placement audition -- he was given a callback for the top choir! Had to take that call and chat a bit. LOL

I remember studying that chart, and I also remember later noticing some variances -- I think it was comparing the KA flour on the grocery store shelf to the Gold Medal. To be honest, I haven't looked at labels in a long time. I just buy those two brands and stick to what has been working for me.

But here at last, I have a bread question -- do you think that I could make soft pretzels and mail them to the boys without them getting too tough or dry? They love them and have a micro to warm them up in.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:00PM
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Thanks, Cathy! When you have time, I'd love to hear more about your long story. I'm sensitive to accuracy to. I actually got poorer grades in grad school because I hedge on conclusions I didn't have sufficient evidence to make into assertions, and got compliments on the BS I padded with because one can't sell BS without full conviction. Sigh. Feet of clay. And sissy bars. ;)

I hope you call KA and report back to us!

Thanks for the compliments. It is good bread. I'd give it a solid B. The crumb is closed but not heavy. The crust is thick and toothsome, but wasn't meant to be crunchy, and I wrapped it because I didn't want it to dry out. I'm not sure that the ale really comes through. The sweetness is unmistakable, and some of that might be the ale. There are two tablespoons of honey, though. I think the loaf could be just a bit moister. It's 48% hydration if one is calling ale equal to water (which it nearly is but not exactly). It's a nice, stiff dough, and I forgot to oil my hands, so I think more of the water came out during kneading than should have. I'm only talking about a spoonful of water either way. BTW, I keep the ale around for the menfolks, but I have to say it makes for great braises!

It's so nice that you both send your kids off with food! When I was in college, we had pretty good food, and plenty enough variety (if the dinner looked repulsive, I could get cottage cheese from the salad bar). My mother never sent treats, but she did send lots of letters! I think the college girl is staying here if she's accepted. I've never heard of a twice baked snickerdoodle, but if she'll be here, I may need to get the recipe. :)

Pretzels: I accustomed to eating them hot from the oven. Once they've cooled, not so much. So, how do you (and the boys) like your pretzels next day? Do you wrap them in plastic? If the answers are 1) they're good and 2)yes, then you could send them express.

Perhaps an easier idea, though it wouldn't be homemade, would be to see if there's Postmates or a similar service near your kids. Order pretzels to be delivered to them when you know where they'll be. :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 8:37PM
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"King Arthur lists their unbleached cake flour as 9.4%, but it's 3g (10%) on the label. Their unbleached pastry flour is listed at 8% in the text, but the label says 2g per 26g serving, which works out to 7.7%. Their organic bread flour is listed at 12.7%, and the label says 4 grams per 30 (13.3%). The organic AP is listed at 11.8%, and the label also says 4 grams per 30 (13.3%). That's a gram difference but the same label! "

I think what is going on here is rounding error. Nutrition labels list protein, carbs, etc. as whole grams. Don't want to get the public confused with decimal points.

If King Arthur is saying something has protein content of 12.7% and it has 4 grams per 30 grams, I'd believe that the number that they gave to 3 digit precision is the correct one. Note that 12.7% of 30 grams is 3.81 grams which rounds to 4 grams so the numbers are not inconsistent - they are just given with different precision.

Ants - I get so tired of them. For some reason, they have been worse the last couple of years. They keep coming into my office bathroom and there is no food there - just water. They are coming from under the house and that spot is about 80 feet from the crawl space access so no way to put the bait outside. We put Terro on the back of the counter. Usually only adults use that bathroom and it's out of the reach of little hands in case a child comes in.

Plllog, that loaf came out about like my first try at a Forkish all levain loaf. I thought maybe I'd let it overproof but I've got another try underway on a Forkish all levain rising loaf that I'm sure didn't and I'm not convinced it's behaving any differently.

So far, I'm finding his method more difficult than the out of bowl folding and the forming methods from a King Arthur DVD I got. I may be over stretching the dough when doing the folds and tearing the gluten. If this one doesn't come out great, I think I'll give it one more try. If that doesn't do it, I'll go back to other methods.

Lascatx, I don't know about shipping soft pretzels.

Cathy, there can't be any change in the California water situation until we get well into winter (other than it will keep being used and keep going down). We don't get any significant rain in the summer (meaning from some time in April/May to some time in September/October most years). The rain fall is mainly November to March. There are showers in the mountains in the summer but generally not enough for significant run off.

Water here is based on winter precipitation filling up the reservoirs, accumulating a snow pack and doing something toward replenishing ground water. It will probably take multiple good winters to get us back to normal.

There is a line in the prayers for rain that we do in the fall (the climate in Israel being similar to that in California that's when the rainy season starts there too): "For a blessing and not a curse, for life and not for death, for abundance and not for famine," and that always resonates with me because we've had our years when too much rain came to fast too and we had bad flooding, levies breaking and mud slides as well as drought years. The worst I remember, all the main highways from Sacramento were blocked either due to flood or snow for a while. Once the high water mark on our street was about 4 feet up our driveway - it's a good thing our house is above the street. Water had knocked the man hole cover off the storm drain in the street in front of our house and was coming up through the opening as a mini-Lake Geneva style fountain.

So I hope we get a good wet winter this year with lots of snow accumulation in the mountain and not too much rain too fast.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Status report on the loaf - it rose fine but was a disaster getting out of the brotform. The top (in the form which would be the bottom when it baked) came out and the bottom stayed in. I scraped the rest out as best I could, folded the edges in to form it back up the best I could but it lost a lot of air.

I could use advice on using a brotform - preparing it from the start and getting the loaf out. I thought I had plenty of flour Perhaps I should do lower hydration loaves for a bit until I get the hang of it.

It's in the oven now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 12:33AM
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What's a leftover pretzel? ;-)

Seriously wouldn't know and would prefer them fresh baked. I wanted to make them for them while they were home, but we didn't have the chance. King Arthur also had an email not too long ago that showed pretzel bites. I know they had sourdough pretzels -- not sure if the bites were from that dough or a plain one. Doesn't matter. I've been wanting to make some ever since -- and now Cathy's buns are even reminding me of them. I know those are sesame seeds, but they still make me want to make pretzels. Maybe I'll just have to practice and be ready for Christmas. The ones I've made in the past were so-so but better than my bagel attempt. Seems far too easy to deflate the dough when doing the dunk before baking.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:03AM
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Cloud Swift, thanks for the review of the flour stats. Yeah, I get it about the rounding. As I said, I was too hasty. I'd never have gotten it if I hadn't found the protein listings on the KA site. Not exactly prominent! It's just really frustrating. I understand things so much better when I can give them precise names.

I haven't gotten into Forkish yet. I haven't been happy with high hydration, but I will revisit it, and maybe his methods will feel better to me. I'm following your efforts hoping to soak up wisdom. :)

I'm so sorry to hear about your stuck loaf!! My brotform has a linen liner, and it's just a matter of saturating it with flour same as any other pastry cloth. If you're using the grass directly, maybe it needs to be done in layers. Use a stiff nylon brush in the direction of the coils to get any dried dough off, then flour thoroughly. Next day, upend it, give it a few whacks to dislodge loose flour, and then a quick wipe with a cloth, once around the whole thing. Then flour again. Repeat. After the flour has gotten into the little crevices in the grass, you shouldn't have a sticking problem. Really, it's the same as getting a good flour layer on a cloth, but with bumps. :) Also, if your dough is cloaked and doesn't split going in, it'll help. Too wet, and the flour will just suck into the dough and so will the bedding flour and you'll just have sticky! But "too wet" means way different things to different people.

Let us know how your loaf comes out!

Oh, and I read on one of the sourdough sites, if your dough gets degassed, just set it to rise again. Makes sense, when you think of it, and it should work if your dough isn't exhausted (which it shouldn't be if you used fresh flour (rather than salvaged)).

Lascatx, your plan sounds good! I imagine that with all the sweets that come out at Christmas time, a pretzel would be an especially welcome exception. It occurs to me, though, that sourdough keeps better than regular bread. I don't know what implication this has for pretzels, but if you make a trial batch, you could save one or two on purpose and see how they are the next day. :)

Re deflation, my mother taught me to handle dough as if it were a baby chick--no clasping, no squeezing. If you can't convey it to the bath without clasping and squeezing, maybe you can use a spider or a skimmer? Or a small silpat?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:10AM
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lascatx -- I'm a big believer in Terro. My goodness, it sounds like your ants were in ultra-marathon mode. There's part of me that finds the whole parade thing a bit fascinating and another part of me that just wants to blast 'em. Terro has worked for me with sugar (more difficult) and carpenter ants (the big black ones.) I'm smiling about the corn .... and popcorn:) You are wise.

My seventh year of packing up for college. I'm not counting the summer stints. You'd think I'd have it down to a system, but I don't. I will say boys seem to be easier and an engineering major seems to have an eye for best space utilization. I'm sending tea too, not for singing but the looming colds. What wonderful opportunities (and easy to enjoy) for students in music in college, yes? Son is sax player and has enjoyed so many unique venues to perform, explore and attend concerts.

To your soft pretzel question. I haven't had much luck with anything "bread", in that it either gets wet (think wet muffins) or gets stale (with mailing times, poor storage .. like none:) etc) I'm going to post the snickerdoodle recipe below. It's different enough from the your T & T snickerdoodles that your boys won't recognize your messing with it:) Long oven time though for your hot summer.

plllog -- Oh, I like your work ethic! Vetting/critical thinking is worth its weight in gold these days. That bread sounds really, really good. From your picture, that is how I imagined the crumb. Perfect crust too.

There has been such a change in college food for the better. More variety, more nutrition/special diet awareness. I'm always amazed how a university/college can prepare for so many kids. Letters from your mom? What treasure!

cloud_swift -- I do hope that you have a wet winter/snow at an safe rate with no Lake-Geneva style fountains. Your posts and plllog's have certainly given me a new awareness. What an absolutely lovely prayer, btw.

I wanted to show you another picture of the new sourdough knife (son: "wicked sharp"). We call it the Las Cat X knife. I'm also posting the biscotti recipe. Disclaimer: Sorry not technically sourdough, but it was cut with the sourdough knife;) I know this is not the typical Nonna's biscotti. It is definitely softer than the purist/real biscotti, definitely mailable, and definitely good.


*** I add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest.
**** I NEVER have used the topping.

Snickerdoodle Biscotti (Brown Eyed Baker)
For the Biscotti:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
**** ½ teaspoon of lemon zest
For the Topping:
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. Cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. (I cream by hand) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. (I add lemon zest) Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing just until a dough forms. (I mix by hand)
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and rub your hands with a little flour. Divide the dough in two and form each half into a log about 4 inches wide by 10 inches long. Places the logs on the prepared baking sheet. (I don't do this next step) In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water, and brush each log evenly. In a separate small bowl, stir together the ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the brushed dough.
5. Bake on the prepared baking sheet until lightly browned and small cracks form on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 10 minutes (leave the oven on). Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Slice diagonally in generous ½-inch slices. Place them cut side up on the baking sheet and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned, turning over half way through. (I remove parchment paper for browning step) Cool completely on a wire rack. Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.

Picture doesn't depict a diagonal cut, btw. Will need to try again:)

Here is a link that might be useful: Snickerdoodle Biscotti - Brown Eyed Baker

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Cathy, I thought that your Kaisers looked perfect. And then I saw the sliced kaiser and then I knew for sure. Great sandwich bun and also makes a great burger bun. You might also like them topped with poppy seeds. I like both.

Not sourdough, but since we have been talking about protein.....

I finally got around to buying Caputo '00' Chef's Flour to make pizza.

It is suppose to be the "gold standard" of pizza dough flours. It is a very fine milled flour, but has 12.5 % protein.

Last night I hand kneaded a 500g batch of dough, at 65% hydration and 2g of yeast and 12 g salt. After first rise and stretch it went into the fridge overnight.

This morning I took it out and left it for an hour and then shaped it into two balls. The dough is back in the fridge. I'll take it out when I get home from work, give it an hour on the counter. And while the oven heats to 550°F I'll make the sauce and get the toppings ready.

The dough is silky smooth. Looking forward to seeing if there is a difference in the crust.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Look forward to seeing your end results. I've used KA's pizza flour and some of their specialty flours but haven't really had sources for things other than store brands and KA in recent years. Was that from a market or did you order?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 12:31PM
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The split loaf came out kind of between Suzi's artisan loaf and plllog's beer bread in texture. Dense because of the air lost when it broke into to pieces, but with a few holes left. Not a door stop - it is chewy with a really good crust and flavor but much denser than it was intended to be.

I did think about letting it rise again after folding it back together, but it was too late for it to rise again and bake that night. The oven was hot and ready. I guess I could have put it in the fridge and baked it today, but DH has his challah baking schedule in the morning and we are still down to one oven. (No word on when the tech will return with parts - big sigh.) Perhaps that is all just an excuse. I was frustrated and wanted to get finished with it.

I'm going to step down to a bit lower hydration for a while and/or go back to using a different folding method for a while. (I haven't compared the hydration on the Forkish loaves I've been using to that of the other sourdough recipes I was using before to see if the Forkish ones were much different in hydration.)

Maybe that will also give my brotform time to get seasoned enough for the loaves to stop sticking. If not, I guess I'll buy the linen cover for it - I didn't because I like the look of the groves.

I thought I'd try one more Forkish loaf before retreating but after the last "diaster", I need to go back to the tried and true before adventuring again. I'm tired of fighting with tar baby loaves that come out flat.

Lovely Kaiser rolls. They look perfect.

This post was edited by cloud_swift on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 15:17

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Cathy, thanks for the recipe!

Re college food, most of the expense is labor, especially if there are a lot of work-study jobs in the food service that are work-for-your-scholarship money funnels (double or more minimum wage). Institutionalal food buying, especially at a larger university, rather than a small, independent college, means the food doesn't cost much at all. Back in my day, the state bought whole crops on contract, like the world's biggest CSA program. Don't get me started on the year of the bumper broccoli crop (took me at least a decade to recover).

Even back then, just about everyone could find something to eat at any meal (there was always a hot vegetarian main, help yourself salad, fruit, bread/toast, cereal, seeds and nuts/nut-butter, yoghurt, etc. And ice cream.) The meal plan was mandatory in the dorms, and there was one girl who kept kosher (most kosher kids were also strict keepers of the Sabbath, and lived off campus to make it easier). Rather than release her from the meal plan, they just bought special food for her and let her come into the kitchen to prepare it for herself. You can make kosher food in a non-kosher kitchen if you have enough foil. :) I'm glad more colleges are serving better, and more accessible, food! Some of the stories I've heard in the past are quite shocking!

Ann, your pizza balls look good. :) I look forward to your report.

Cloud Swift, I only mentioned the re-rise because I didn't know before that it would work. Not excuses! Inductive reasoning. You did what made sense, and got a decent, if unexpected, loaf out of it. What's that we say around here? Even when you fail, you get bread?

Re the brotform, if you have a new large woven (not terry) dish towel, you can line your brotform with that and see if you like it before buying a liner. That's what Leader suggests with the colander method, and it worked great. The pattern of the colander was also visible and pretty on the miche. Saves me from worrying about buying a bigger banneton. :) I used cotton birdseye, which is kind of ideal because of the weave, but linen is classic. A slightly open or coarse weave holds the flour best.

No baking today. I'm supposed to be roasting vegetables...

Edit: Cathy, beer bread + smoked gouda = perfect combo. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 17:46

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Well, I have jury duty next week, so bake your hearts out, and let the bread rise!


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:46PM
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Cathy, those biscotti look great. Thanks for sharing the recipe -- glad to have a T&T recipe cuz I like biscotti and I love snickerdoodles. And I know I have the right knife to slice them to perfection! ;-)

That pizza dough has me thinking about pulling my starter out and making pizza this weekend.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Lascatx, I was able to purchase the flour in Victoria. One of the better grocery stores carries both the red and the blue bag. I bought both. Just one Kilo (2.2 lbs) each.

I was really happy with the pizza. Great flavour and texture.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:41AM
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Great looking pizza, Ann!

Suzi, I hope your stint on jury duty is swift and useful. :)

Cathy, for greatness and decadence, the beer bread with cultured butter and smoked gouda can't be beat! (I had two bites worth of the cheese that wanted using.)

I have one more wild yeast recipe on my list to try before I go back and start messing with the ones I've already done.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 2:28PM
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I wanted to share a photo of the pizza I made tonight, but my youngest son called while we were baking it and before I knew it, the pizza was out of the oven, cut and half of it was on plates. I was going to take a pic of the second half, and DH went back for more. So after I put the plates in the dishwasher, I was going to get that lonely last slice and post a tease. By the time I turned around, DH was cutting it up and giving the dogs a treat! I wanted to show you, but DH's phone was busy and mine was across the house.

At any rate, thanks for helping to inspire our dinner. DH and I, and the two dogs, really enjoyed it. And because I'm used to making 2 or 3 crusts when the boys are home, I still have dough left and we may be making pizza for dinner again tomorrow.

This post was edited by lascatx on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 10:45

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:58PM
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Lascatx, reports count! No picture required. Yours was very amusing. Now tell us about the process and texture!

One of the things I love about my (commercial yeast) pizza recipe (grandfather Reinhart, father Redappleguy) is that you weigh out the dough balls before you put it in the fridge. I haven't tried freezing since I perfected the recipe, but it should make that easy too. :) OTOH, I'm glad we get a second chance to see a picture!

The beer bread held up well to sloppy joes (they were supposed to be bison burgers, but I didn't have buns and didn't want to make them, and not everyone wants meat on a plate). It's done, however. The end is going for bread pudding... But I know I'll stay home and play baker tomorrow if I start something, so tortillas (TJ's wheat and corn) will have to suffice. :)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:13AM
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The pizza crust I use most often is something I adapted from a group of recipes when I wanted to make a sourdough crust at home. We had a local pizzeria that made sourdough crust pizza and loved their pizza -- didn't want to stop supporting their business, but wanted to be able to do something similar when we made pizza at home. It has become something I do more by feel than measuring.

Last night was pushing that a bit because I hadn't fed the starter. I considered adding some yeast to the sponge (1 c starter, 1/.2 c water and 1 c flour) to push things a bit, but I wound up just auto-piloting and making the sponge as soon as the starter got reasonably bubbly and then did the same with the sponge to the dough (scant tsp of salt, 1 1/2-2 T olive oil and enough flour to make a soft dough).

I just realized that I used to add a spoonful of sugar along with the salt which I always assumed was to feed the starter through that last stage. Well, I forgot it last night and it wasn't needed. I don't know if that was because I didn't let the starter and sponge go as long as I might have before, but I will leave it out now. It certainly wasn't necessary for the flavor, and if the crust browned a little less, it was a good thing (the pizza was amply topped and a faster browning crust might have resulted in a too dark crust or a too soft middle). We had sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, sliced grape tomatoes, and jalapenos (all the veggies sauted a bit to sweat them out) last night. Baked it on our stone in a 500 degree oven and it came out perfectly -- a crust with flavor, a crispy/chewy balance, open texture on the edges. I seasoned the sauce a little differently and really liked that too.

I tried freezing extra pizza dough once or twice in the past, but I don't remember feeling thrilled with it. We might have to experiment -- I went smallish on what I made yesterday and it still felt like a small amount to be kneading.

I'll try to get a photo tonight. ;)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Lascatx, excellent report!

I totally love that you do it by feel. That's the best way...if you have the feel!

'Course, now I have a hankering for pizza...

When I started this Grainlady assured me that I didn't need sugar to feed the yeast. My mother used to say to do that but that was with iffy cake yeast that had to be proofed. Now that I know more, I think it's that the yeast proves faster with sugar, whereas waiting around for it to eat the flour starches and start burping and multiplying can take all day. :) Sure enough, active dry yeast just needs (warm-ish) water to start bubbling away, and wild yeast can take all day. :) OTOH, when I was experimenting with leftover, discharged starter, when the dough was looking weak and hungry, feeding it sugar (jam), perked it right up. Fresh flour, especially white flour, will feed the yeast just fine. :)

So, I decided that instead of transforming the wheat and rye recipe to use my mature wheat starter, I'd go ahead and use their rye starter. I get it now why they say to use rye for people who aren't having success! I totally forgot to chill the rye berries before I milled them, but before I got the flour completely stirred into the water, it was already bubbling! This starter calls for 200% hydration! The rye certainly acted happy to be that wet.

So, after I started it, I thought I should make the pain au levain I had promised to my mother. But, I'd wanted to use my new measuring bowl, and had started the rye in it. (Silly, I know, but the instructions call for building it up rather than discarding, so not totally silly.) I figure I remember well enough what this is supposed to look like, however, so I made up the levain in a glass prep bowl. It has plenty of room to double, and it's mostly white, so I don't have to worry if it's off a little. It has plenty of structure.

I was very interested to see that the levain starter I'd put away from the last time, which was a log, had become a doughy sponge. It also smelled a little winy, but hadn't turned grey or hoochy. I did feed it once between then and now. Because it was so nice, I was able to just pull off a piece, and feed it in the jar. I fed less than the weight of the remainder, but I think it'll be fine since it was more slightly peckish than hungry. :)

Water: I used the big measuring bowl, little prep bowl, and raspberry colored scraper that I usually use for this kind of thing. The scale bowl, funnel, scoop and mill bowl have been dusted (+ 1 pastry brush) but not rinsed. I'm going to see if that freaks me out. The counter had just been cleaned, so I just wiped up the flour, too, rather than wet cleaning. And I managed not to wash the scraper between the rye starter and the levain. There's rye in the bread anyway. Re hands, I did have to wash sticky off my hands after kneading the levain, and did the scraper at the same time, plus a rinse off, and the first wash, of course. Oh, and I had to rinse the cutting board because the spilled flour wouldn't brush off of it (getting the rye flour from the mill bowl to the canister was something of an event! I thought the funnel would help, but I had to keep tapping it, and then flour would fly up. It was necessary for feeding the starter, too, but wasn't as big a mess). The real water suck is yet to come, but I think I got through the sticky part pretty lightly...

This post was edited by plllog on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 17:23

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Got a photo this time -- pretty similar to last night's but a little smaller. The dogs didn't get any of this one.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Oh, yummy!!! Lascatx, that looks awesome!

My dough is doing first rise. I managed not to rinse the scale bowl or mill bowl yesterday. :) No harm! Today I added the mixer bowl and dough hook, and the large glass bowl. No help for that. If it weren't the glass bowl, it would be the slipat. At least there's no dough bucket to wash! And I think I can do my folds right in the glass bowl. I've been using my cabbage leaf silicone lid, too, but it doesn't get icky, per se, and it goes in the DW. I think I was up to six hand washings/rinses, and three of the raspberry scraper. At that rate, I should have used the bowl scraper, but it saves the dough whisk which I don't like putting in the DW (much less water to rinse the silicone scraper while I'm rinsing my hands). I also managed to rinse the caked on starter from the levain bowl, and the ick from the dough hook, into the mixer bowl before it filled up (i.e., no overflow). More water went to the discard jar which I combined with the bigger one when I added the leftover levain. More fridge room, but it's FULL now. I need to make waffles! (Sorry, Cathy, the hooch went down the drain again...)

Bread's out. Only utensil addition was the bowl scraper, which I used for dividing, as well, still in the bowl. Not perfect, and the dough did degas a little, but that was inevitable from cutting it to make the requisite two batards. There's also the rack, but the bread has a hard crust, so it will only need dusting.

There is a fly in my kitchen!! I keep trying to tell myself that I'm lucky, that it's not Australia, and I'm only so outraged because of the sheer abnormality of the occurrence. But I had to drape the bread with a light tea towel to cool so the fly can't land on it. I thought of putting it in the steam oven, which hasn't been used since last night, but I worry that it'll keep the moisture in too much and all... I have to stop obsessing!

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 2:36

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Questions about oiling, cloaking, and slashing:

The pain au levain rose correctly, and was a nice soft dough. It's the kind of dough I'm familiar with of old. OTOH, while I do oil the bowl, as per usual, and cloak the loaves, ditto, and slash them normally, instead of bursting at the slashes and splitting, they just sit there saying, "What?", like the New Yorker in the movies whom someone gazes at for a moment too long. Like the slashes are decorative line, rather than releases.

Other than from dividing the dough, it's not degassed. Is it too warm? Basically, the slashes heal up right away, even though the loaves go straight in the oven. Yesterday's loaves were softer and splooshier than the previous batch, and stickier, but still in the range of normal, and they acted exactly the same way. And the crusts cracked on the bottom.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 2:38PM
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I wonder if they have risen enough when you slash them, the dough is a bit too soft so that it goes back together easily or if the way you have shaped the loaves makes them open more easily on the bottom. I've never had that happen though and am not speaking from any authority -- only guessing.

Thanks for the compliments on the pizza. I've missed making it at home, but the boys were so busy (and I often was) that it got difficult to time meals like that and we got out of the habit. DH and I agreed that it is also a lot easier to make one pizza for us rather than three (one for us and one for each of our boys), much less a party. And then there is always the fact that teens have gotten so much pizza for school and group events that it's not not that special anymore. Our youngest came home from 6 weeks away this summer and said he wanted anything but pizza.

And drat those flies! Hard not to let one in occasionally, and they always want to come in when you're cooking. Glad your water conservation seems to be going okay. I would think scraping off dried dough and considering anything left to be wild yeast would really be okay. Perhaps egg doughs should be cleaned up better, but basic breads anyway.

Hope the bread tastes great.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:55PM
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I also wonder if they have risen enough when you have slashed them. Also, was the dough cloak tight to begin with so that they rose up more than out. Perhaps the cloak stretched with the rise so that it wasn't taut.

I don't oil the type of loaves that I slash. They just sit there covered with a cloth or plastic while they rise after forming. I don't know if that would have anything to do with it.

Another possibility is that you aren't slashing deeply enough. When I was first doing it, I was pretty timid with slashing the loaves and, IIRC, the shallow slash would close up sometimes. I now try to get around a half inch deep when slashing and that works better.

I woke up the starter to do a batch of bagels. It's quite a change working with such a dry dough.

There seem to be two camps on bagel formation - either make a rope and join the ends to form the torus like Suzi's recipe or make a ball and poke a hole through. I used a Fresh Loaf recipe that is in the ball and hole camp. I've tried both and generally prefer the make a rope method, but this dough is so dry I don't know if it will join back up well. I had that problem in the past with one batch.

This is my first time doing bagels with wild yeast. Dough is in the bucket and I'm wondering if it will rise.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:54PM
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One thing I've learned recently is that if your yeast (wild or commercial) is proven, your bread will rise. No promises on when, and it might be when it b***y well gets around to it, but it will.

Re the bagels, Cloud Swift, you could sticky up the ends with water. I don't know if that will make them hold, but that's what I'd do. :) I'm going to have to try making bagels one of these days. But not 100% whole wheat. Probably just white, or maybe rye. It would just taste weird whole wheat, especially with red wheat.

Which reminds me, the pain au levain was very well received. I had a slice, and it tastes like before. The holes are good, as is the texture and the flavor. I think the rye is what makes it. I always seem to like them when I put rye in, and the golden color is so pretty, too.

It was well risen and exactly as it was described, though it did settle in the oven and kind of flatten out a bit. Perhaps the cloak wasn't as tight as it should have been. Do you have any suggestions on how to better that?

I'll definitely try deeper slashes. It calls for quarter inch, but that might not be deep enough. The cracks on the bottom don't worry me. The point of slashing is to prevent the cracks. Since with a batard, you put the "seam" on the bottom, and it's the weakest point, it doesn't surprise me that it cracked there, instead of on top. The seam doesn't open. It's just that parts of it are in the cracks. Makes it prettier, at least if the cracks are on the bottom. :) I can also try letting it rise shaped more than the recipe calls for. I've also considered trying this recipe as a boule.

The recipe specifically calls for an oiled bowl to rise in. I also oiled the plastic wrap I very loosely covered the couched loaves with because last time I used a damp towel, which is my usual, and it stuck. :) Do anyone think the oil could be a problem?

Any suggestions on how to make the cloak tighter?

Buying a lame seem silly, but perhaps it's worth trying. Maybe my knife is too sharp? I don't know why a razor blade would be better, but at least it would be something for the arcana files. :)

Lascatx, it's amazing that there are teenagers who tire of pizza!! I do get being tired of institutional or unplanned food, though. :) My mother was always a stickler for quality, so just getting good food on coming home was a treat. So glad you're enjoying the upside (i.e., easy pizza) to the empty nest. :)

I miss pizza. I gave up making it for the Summer. I've thought about making up some dough a couple of times but then it gets hot again before I do. It feels good to look at yours. :)

I forgot to feed the rye starter this morning! Erp!!!

I had left the rye starter (named Ruby) on the baking counter, which gets some morning sun and is away from the a/c. It was still bubbly, but starting to go gray and smell fishy. Since it's day 3, which is when things start smelling anyway, I'm going to assume that the gray patches were die off of the unwanted organisms. It didn't look like mold. Ruby was happy to be fed, finally, but seems fine. I'm not used to this soup. It doesn't grow much either, but how could it at 200% hydration. This is going to be interesting bread...

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 20:43

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Lascatx, that is one very pretty pizza.

I fed both my starters yesterday, early morning. One with white and one with rye. And I made a biga using part white and part organic stoneground Red Fife and two ounces of leftover starter.

The starters had both doubled in just under five hours and the biga was ready to use before 4:00 PM. So I mixed up a batch of sourdough rye. By hand.

Divided the dough and half went into the fridge and I baked two loaves from the other half. Loaves came out of the oven at 10:00 PM.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Well, those may have come out late, but at least it should have been cooler. ;) They look scrumptious!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:28AM
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So. The rye starter. It kept trying to die. The fishy stage lasted too long. So, with all the experience I had coddling the Wubby, I started fixing up Ruby. First I fed without adding water because it just seemed like too much liquid all over. Then I fed with some water. Then I was tired of the whole thing, but Ruby was bubbling and didn't smell so bad, so I figured it was time. I divided off a portion for the fridge and fed it with a full complement of water. The recipe didn't require much, so I put half of what it wanted in my big glass bowl along with an equal weight feeding.

Once that was bubbling, I did the preferment. It was supposed to be a long one, and I've lost my anxiety over such things. I just left it until after all the holiday doings. It was supposed to get "frothy", however, and at some point I realized it was too tight for that, so I added a bit of water. When I was ready to use it, it was more dough like than "frothy", but very bubbly, with a lattice work of large bubbles all the way through. So I gave it the flour and water for the final dough, and some salt because I used whole grain. Traditionally, this kind of bread doesn't have salt, but the recipe gave it as an option, so I went for it. I was worried the whole wheat would be too heavy but didn't want to use white flour, so I used all the wheat that I had milled yesterday, and filled the remaining portion with whole rye. I used up what I had milled for making Ruby, plus some Bob's that needs using up. I used the latter for the bench flour, too (plus a little AP which was at hand before I thought of it). I still have a smidge left. Sigh. I really like the rye in the pain au levain, as well as in that very wet thing I made at the beginning. The recipe called for white or whole wheat, but a rye starter, so I thought, why not?

It was very wet, but still a recognizable dough (not soup). I hand kneaded it, but I don't know if I did a good job because I wasn't feeling that hot. It's definitely something that could be kneaded in the mixer, and if it's good bread, I'm going to do that in the future. There are two stretch and fold rounds after that, and I may have overdone it making up for the wimpy kneading. I know all about why that doesn't work, but I was just letting my hands do what they wanted. It did seem to get stiff, though, so I hope it's not overworked. Then it's supposed to be a stiff ball for shaping, but mine was soft. It sank. I did my best to get a tighter cloak, but it did just soak up the flour. Then it spread and I tried to gather it back together, then realized that it would be better in a sided pan and had to handle it again. I had to reshape, but I didn't want to pull too hard. It didn't seem to lose volume, but I don't see how it couldn't have degassed, so I give it some extra rise time and it seemed fine. Except, that nice gluten stretch was gone and it was open on the top.

The oven was fine and there was a good domed spring. A lovely spring. I don't think it held at its peak after the recipe's reduction in heat, but it's still well higher than it was when it went in. The sided pan was definitely a good idea! I think this wheat just isn't strong enough to hold shape without help. It's Arrowhead red wheat berries, but I don't know the protein content.

Anyway, it smells delicious, and has a nice shape. It looks like a yurt. :) I did take a picture, but can't deal with resizing and all, and will wait until I cut it so I can show the crumb, too. This recipe is the one (ignoring the rye) that's closest to my favorite commercial bread. We'll see. :)

In the done my heart good file: I had a meal with my folks, who gave me store bought good bread. Fine with me. :) But then my mother, the one who taught me to bake, said they didn't bring in from the freezer the second loaf I'd given her of the pain au levain because she figured I knew what it tasted like and they wanted to save it for themselves. :D HIGH praise.

So, are all the kids packed up and back to college? The college girl here is still waiting to hear if she got into the program she wants.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 2:16AM
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This is the one! It's imperfect as stands, but I think it's the one I want to develop first. It's hard to see that it's nicely domed. The crust is firm and has tooth, but isn't meant to be heavy or crunchy. It's very similar, though, to the pain au levain's crust, which is done with the stone and water, whereas this is done in a pan on the rack without. The same yumminess of the rye comes through as well.

The crumb is moist and springy, with an all over pattern of small holes. It's the texture one expects from a Tuscan style bread. It is dense though not heavy, and that is likely from the trainwreck of overhandling it. I could also have given it a bigger pan. Next time, I'm going to add some vital wheat gluten to strengthen it, since it couldn't maintain its height. This is a problem I've been having with this kind of wheat all along. I could change over to my pizza wheat, but I'd like to learn to use the stuff that comes from the grocery store. And, as is, this is bread I could eat every day. (No one else cares as long as there's bread, or they take tortillas.)

Did I mention, it's 100% whole grain (minus a spoonful of incidental white), and delicious!

No sandwiches yet. Just some butter, and a piece with melted cheddar. I don't have to dream up things to pair with this bread. It's just good bread and should go great with any kind of sandwich. :)

Edit: I forgot to say how amazing this bread smells!! I keep sniffing it to get even more. :) Just had a fairly thin half slice with another piece of cheddar. No melting. No condiments or accompaniments. Just bread and cheese. Traditional travel food or ploughman's lunch. Oh, so very goody good! The bread tastes and feels rich, but it's just whole grain flour, lots of water, a very little bit of starter, and a weensy bit of salt. And a method where you worry it every hour. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 17:57

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 3:05PM
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I'm not reading the whole thread, okay? But I hope someone said pancakes. That's what my mom used to make with it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Thanks, Violet! I've been making waffles, but I'm sure I could make it into pancakes, too. :) Good suggestion!


    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 6:20PM
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I finally took the time to watch all the Ken Forkish videos (at least that I found) on youtube. I may be one of the few who doesn't have his book, but it came out after I already had a healthy number of bread books and got a lot pickier. I heard a lot of folks say they liked it, but hadn't really heard that he had a different methodology until more recently. I wasn't looking for something new, so I didn't hurry about.

At least now I understand why this thread started with using discarded starter. I've seen other books that discard starter regularly, but not so much of it. I'm curious about his method, but I"m not sure that I could throw out nearly all of my starter every time I use it. I think I'd back into it the other way. Still trying to decide whether to order the book. How long do you think that will last? Hee hee

Meanwhile, someone on another forum recently bought and asked about the Il Fornaio Baking Book. I pulled mine off the shelf and decided to put it to use. I made the Pane Acido di Semola -- a partially whole wheat loaf.
I actually made it twice -- the flavor was good with the first one, but I wasn't happy with the loaf. Second was better.

Do you find recipes that make only one loaf almost harder to knead? Like there isn't enough to make it worthwhile? Well, the recipe said to knead 20 minutes and I think I may have actually had an over-kneaded dough. The crumb was chewy and the crust was thick, hard and tight. I hadn't kneaded the second one that long when I thought it was starting to show signs of over kneading (tearing in the folding, getting less smooth), so I stopped and gave it a rest. It was behaving better, so I shaped it with minimal handling and set it to rise (this bread has 3 rises).

Both loaves rose faster than the recipe indicates, but I'm in Texas and it's summer. The crust on the second was crisp but not so dense. Texture was better too -- not chewy. More what I was expecting. I'm not sure why he had you do the third rise on a floured surface and then transfer to the peel. I was afraid of deflating the dough (my total failure with bagels), but managed to get both of them transferred without significant loss. That doesn't necessarily mean I will be trying bagels again soon.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Lascatx, you offer further proof that it's what your hands feel, rather than the recipe. Even though I was being dunderheaded and screwed up my last loaf, when I put aside the directions and just made the bread, it came out very good.

I did buy Forkish a couple of weeks ago, mostly because everyone's talking about it, but I've been under the weather and haven't really tucked in to reading it. I do want to learn his bread and add another arrow to my quiver. (Oh, cr*p! The metaphor jar spilled all over my keyboard!)

Re the discarded starter I opened this topic with, that comes from the rather old fashioned way I was taught to make a starter. Get it to bubble. Cut it in half and feed it its weight. Cut it in half and feed it its weight. Once its established, feed it up well more than its weight to bake with, save half of the original weight and feed it.

The rye starter just had a daily feeding and no discard, according to directions (unless I read them wrong), and it got all hoochy and hungry and started to die because it was getting less and less proportion of flour (50 g/day). So I left off new water, fed it a bunch of flour, got it stabilized, discarded, and saved a reasonable portion, tucked into the fridge, with its own weight again in new flour and water.

If you don't chill starter, you have to feed it every day, and if you don't bake every day, you have to discard so it doesn't get huge. :)

Re loaves, the clan is thinning out, but I grew up with feeding masses and still do hordes, so I'm used to making BIG batches. A basic batch of challah (we've been known to do double) is three large loaves, or six small. Same for the other breads and rolls I'm used to. Probably based on what the mixer could hold. :) I wouldn't even put a third of the challah recipe (not really possible, but in theory) in the glass mixing bowl I've been rising in. The loaves on these single recipes are definitely small.

The great thing about these one boule or two small batard recipes I've been making, besides the fact that we really don't need more bread so would be filling the freezer, for me is precisely that it's so easy to knead by hand. I would never put a dough I didn't already know well into the dough hook (but I just have a KA Artisan--one of the bread oriented machines might be easier to judge). Now that you mention it, however, I've been kneading these small doughs more like I would pasta or pizza. :) Heel of the hand, fold and turn. Different from the way one kneads a full sized batch of bread. For the mixer, a half batch of pizza dough works fine, and by volume, that's like half of a single loaf recipe sized dough ball, so I'm definitely doing the Toscano in the mixer next time with no worries about the volume. I used to worry that the hook didn't draw through these stiffer doughs, but I guess it bashes them enough, because they do come out well stretched glutenous balls (my mother's words).

I don't know if that's a decent response. I'm kind of loopy. :)

So about your loaf? Acid of the germ? Not that Spanish + French = Italian is really true... What's it supposed to mean?
When you say three rises, is that before shaping? My latest had that. No "until doubled" until the end. Rise for an hour, stretch and fold, repeat, rise for two hours, shape, rise to a quarter again of size. Or something like that. Is that the way yours is? Maybe it's the Italian way?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:06AM
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It was two rises before shaping. First one in the bowl, then you fold the dough over itself to create a new round (deflates significantly in the process) and then you turn it to put the smooth surface on top again and let rise again -- so it doesn't leave the bowl between the first and second rise. Turn out and shape - just a gently folding and tucking again. then let rise on a floured surface. He gave times -- about three hours on the first, 1-1/2 on the second and an hour on the third.

I'm not sure of the name exactly, but the notes say it is an adaptation (or influenced ) by Italians living in California with the native sourdough. Something like that. It was just mildly acidic. Used only 1/4 cup of starter, 1/4 cup white flour and 6 T whole wheat flour. in the sponge -- the rest of the flour added later is all white.

I didn't grow up making bread or eating homemade bread., My mom's "homemade" was the rare occasion she bought frozen bread dough, thawed it and baked it. We loved it just the same. Sounds like you grew up learning from your mom. My learning bread baking, sourdough, jam making and canning, pasta making and such were all self-taught. My grandmother tried to teach me how to crochet, but gave up. I learned both crocheting and knitting on my own too.

I'm more accustomed to the recipes that make two loaves (5-7 cups of flour range). I've never tried kneading a larger batch of dough that I can remember. Making just one seemed odd, though pizza dough is generally a smaller batch -- true. With both of the boys off to college, a single loaf may be more than we need sometimes. Ironic that now that I should have more time to bake, there won't be people around to eat it. :(

I will probably order the Forkish book -- I almost did today.

I need to get some sleep. DH has turned in and I have to get up in the morning and finish some stroopwafels he plans on taking with him in the morning. I'm too tired to stay up to do it tonight. See ya tomorrow.....

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:31AM
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Oh, cool! I had to look up stroopwafels--I've never seen or heard of them. Lascatx, I hope you got good sleep and got them finished in good order. The picture on Google looked yummy. :)

I do get the irony of the now that they're gone there's time to do what they would have loved. But that's good testament to the kind of foundational good attention you gave your kids, when they needed it, that you were mothering them rather than concentrating on baking. :) I have friends who suffered with the latter kind of mom, whether it was baking or saving trees or whatever the passion was. [Elided long discourse on the baking my mother did not teach me, though she did teach me bread, challah, borekes, blintzes, cookies of all types and cakes of all rises--I am very fortunate in what she did teach me, and the good mothering she gave me. We did mostly have store/bakery bought on a daily basis, but did our own for holidays and occasions. I got to help with things like pie and piroshki, and the famous have-to-be-a-physical-laborer-to-eat-'em orange sticky buns, but never to the point of even journeyman knowledge.]

The method for your bread sounds very familiar to me. It's not unlike my challah, other than the sourdough. On a cold day, with weak yeast, it can take three hours to rise double. In the Summer, with good yeast, it can be an hour or even less. Two bowl rises, the way you describe, then handle carefully shaping. So I'm wondering now if that's a California method I learned from my mother. :) The other breads I've made before this year were all single rises in the bowl (commercial yeast) and could handle getting beat up better. :)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:37PM
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I did learn to cook and bake from my mom-- directly and indirectly. But she wasn't a bread baker. And my boys did get home baking and homemade birthday cakes, but I found myself doing less time demanding thing in recent years. Both boys were out of state for their birthdays this summer (18 and 21), so I mailed them each a cake. It was a simple sheet cake in a foil pan, but they and their friends loved them. In fact, just yesterday, I mailed the 18 yr old a box with all the dry ingredients and a bottle of homemade vanilla so he could make a cake for birthdays in the dorm. All three girls. And I bet they are cute. ;-) He learned that trick form his older brother.

Assembled the stroopwafels this morning, but no other baking today. Mine don't look like the commercially made ones -- I start with the mini pizzelles (though I first made them larger because that's what I had) I sent them all off with DH to give to the lawyers he's meeting with. One of them had them last year and I planned to send her a package at Christmas, but it just didn't happen after my mom passed. I have these few that didn't fit into the bags.

This post was edited by lascatx on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 22:46

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Plllog, I think that your whole wheat looks good. And I like the shape of it. I've never been a big fan of whole wheat breads, but now that I am making all my breads by hand, and I have a new store that will mill organic wheat for me, I think I might actually start playing around with whole wheat as well.

Today's bread was started yesterday. I fed my sourdough rye mother and used the excess to make a biga (100% hydration). Done early in the morning so the biga was ready to go into a batch of dough last night. After the first rise, and another stretch and fold, it went into the fridge overnight. Taken out this morning at 5:30 and the bread was out of the oven by noon.

1000 g white, 100 g rye, 500 g biga, 680g water, 3 g yeast and 26 g salt.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Thanks, Ann! Whole wheat when it's good is unbelievably more delicious than white, and when it's bad it's like cardboard. :) Once you become accustomed to eating whole grain bread, though, white bread starts to taste like sugar. :) The local mill store sounds great!

Thanks for the kind words about my loaf. :) Yours are always so pretty!! I'm going to have to start working on pretty. :)

Sandwich report: An old favorite, barbecue chicken, smoked gouda and wild arugula with mayonnaise and honey habañero mustard, absolutely delicious. It's taking a very long time for this bread to stale! ( a Ziploc.)

Lascatx, the picture doesn't show. Is it on a private setting or something? I continue to admire the thoughtfulness of your baking. So kind of you to remember what the colleague likes and make it for her. And so clever to send kits off to college. You take nurturing to a higher level.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 4:04AM
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Hmmm. I see the photo of the stroopwafels and added it exactly as I did the pizza one. I don't know why you aren't seeing it. I deleted and reinserted it just in case that helped. If not -- well, they are the mini sized pizzelles with a thin layer of caramel sandwiched in between on a basic white plate -- nothing to get too excited about. ANd not made with sourdough.

BTW, my last partial wheat sourdough really dried out too fast. I'm not sure if the bag got left open , but the end is going to become bread crumbs. I don't think I'll be baking much for the coming week or two. Though part of me has considered taking some of this time to try something I haven't had time for -- like croissants. I may reward myself if I make good progress on two other projects I already had planned. That could be fun. But I'd have to take them tot he fire station or something. I probably could eat them all. And then waddle to the airport to pick up DH. LOL

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 10:57PM
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That did the trick! On the photo. Thanks! It was worth your trouble. Lovely picture. :) Where there's this kind of fault, it does usually look okay on the local computer. If I'm doing important computer design, I always verify on other computers and other browsers since they all draw differently.

Those are so pretty!! I love that you have two different designs. I also like the color contrast between the cookie and the caramel. The ones on Google looked appetizing, but the cookies were just brown waffle grids. I've pretty much given up eating cookies, but I do love to look at them. Yours are so pretty that I'm temped to go looking for my mother's pizzelle iron. :) (I have a shower type present to make with cookies in it to make.)

ROTFL on the waddly croissants! I haven't made butter pastry in decades and now you have me drooling over the idea of unwinding a flaky, lacy croissant. Do you have good a/c? It's impossible to make croissants if it's hot. Maybe you should make them at the last minute and take them in a basket wrapped in a pretty (pre-treat liquid-proof) napkin and carry them winsomely to meet your DH? Coming home to lovely and loving you is surely a delightful thing, but to you and freshly baked croissants? That's an instagram that will leave his buddies--literally--drooling! (And help with the waddling issue...)

I'm sorry to hear about your loaf. I had that happen a few weeks ago, and have saved it for bread pudding. I think mine might have been a bit over or a bit too hot, and maybe drier than it was supposed to be from the get. The problem with having an accurate oven is that a lot of recipes, including professional ones in books, were written for middle of the road ranges that never quite heat up. :)

I think I need to name thread #3 "sourdough kaffeeklatsch" so people feel more comfortable discussing their other baking and etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Must read thread in Kitchens--must follow the links, too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:33AM
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I almost didn't read that Kitchen thread, but I decided to open it last night out of curiosity. I loved it!. Anyone who is following along and hasn't read about the new toaster instructions needs to go take a look at the link above.

Glad you got to see the photo this time. I have to be honest and say I'd never heard of stroopwafels before I went to Holland or I would have searched them out. I'd never eaten one when I decided I had to try making them. I don't know how authentic the taste is, but I know they aren't the "authentic" look, but after seeing the ones with the grid and so thin (so commercial looking -- ya know? ), I, personally, like the ones made with the pizzelle iron.

Somehow the stroopwafels came up in a conversation between this attorney and DH (her husband is a great cook, and they wind up talking food and kitchens sometimes). She had had stroowafels in Holland and loved them and DH told her I made them sometimes. It was a couple of months later that she arranged her schedule to be here for meetings on another case so she could see our son in his high school musical (she's a former actress). That was a pretty special effort, so I decided to match the kindness (and make DH proud) with a bag of stroopwafels for her. She was the first person I knew who'd had them in Holland ad had mine and she loved mine, so I was happy. LOL

They do keep pretty well, so they would be great in a gift basket -- and most people have never had them. I've seen one commercial brand sandwiched with dark chocolate and want to try that for my oldest son. If you decide to try them, let me know. I use an adaptation of two recipes and will share that with you. If you want to find your own, the cookie has many variations out there and they have all worked for me. I use mostly vanilla and a little lemon or orange flavoring when I make stroopwafels. Martha Stewart's cookie recipe is good, but I had a total fail with the caramel in her recipe. The caramel I use is from Willy Dean's recipe found somewhere on the internet years ago. It is 1-1/2 c light brown sugar, 1 C butter, 1 tsp cinnamon and 6 T dark corn syrup boiled until it thickens. That's a lot of caramel. For this last batch, I doubled the cookie recipe from Martha's recipe and still had about a cup of caramel left over. Let me know if you try them.

As for the sourdough, I think it may have baked too long. The dough soft and slightly on the wet side, so I don't think it was too much flour. I was thinking the crust should have been a bit darker, so I left it in a few minutes longer. It was okay fresh, but it dried quickly. I have some other bread in the freezer for bread pudding, so I don't need this too -- hope it makes good crumbs.

I like your idea about retitling the next thread. Even baker's kaffeeklatsch -- we could soon be starting a new one every week. That's okay.

I do have AC -- can't live in the Houston area without it -- no natural AC like in CA. We used to live in northern CA and DS1 is now in LA and loves the weather. This is year 4 and grad school options are mostly north of the snow belt -- could be a shock to his system. I get the feeling you are in southern CA. I am going to tackle organizing my cookbooks before I do any major baking. It's driving me crazy to not be able to put my finger on books like I'm used to. That's going to bleed over into cleaning other bookcases. Could be worse......

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Thanks for all the great info, Lascatx. I haven't made caramel for eons, but I can see how important the recipe would be so that it would work well as the sandwich. OTOH, I wonder if I could get away with light corn syrup (which I have) and a dash of molasses (ditto) for flavor? I want to make them, if for no other reason than I'd get to say "stroopwafel" a lot. It's even more fun than "appelsap" (my one word from my very brief stay in the Netherlands).

Yes, I'm from SoCal. It's been a very contrary Summer with a sunny August and less heat so far in Sept. That's sure to change, but it's nice. :) I should have asked if you have an a/c cooled kitchen, since, of course, you have a/c in general. I keep mine so my kitchen doesn't get above 80° without the oven on. I'd want it to be under 70° to make croissants. :)

Your poor son won't know what hit him! I've never actually seen it snow more than a couple of flakes in the high desert, once. It seems kind of made up (which, I'm told, makes me one of the children of the king of Siam). OTOH, when I was mulling over graduate school applications from the coldest place I've ever lived (a different high desert), and shivering in three layers of warm clothes, I realized that even dreaming of MIT was totally useless. :) I'm such a lizard. If the sun doesn't shine and warm my blood, I don't move very fast...

I need to bake bread, and am feeling uninspired. I think maybe it's time to learn to barbecue pizza. :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 4:01PM
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At least in theory, it should work to use light corn syrup and add molasses. Looked it up and foodsubs says 3 parts light corn syrup and 1 part molasses, so go for it! Just spread the caramel while it is warm and you can do a thin layer.

I have yet to grill pizza -- it works so easily in the oven that I haven't wanted to stand out in the heat over a hotter grill. Ironically, I think it would be better when the weather gets cooker here. I was craving pizza yesterday and earlier today. I'm not sure that it's worth making it for one, but I'm not going to order our for one either. I have everything I'd need if I just make some dough for tomorrow......

My copy of Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast came today. I really don't have a place for the added equipment, so I'm going to have to think about how to try this.

And I'm with you -- I'll visit cold places, and for years have thought about spending Thanksgiving or Christmas somewhere that might have snow when my parents were no longer with us (which start this year), but I really have no desire to live there. Wool makes me itch. Even cashmere. No, he doesn't really know what would hit him.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cookbook reorganizing day. Pizza would be a nice reward. :)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 2:32AM
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Pizza is definitely a great reward for a hard day's work amidst the tomes!

I think I'm going to whip some up too. Maybe I'll make big pizzas, instead of individuals and pretend I'm using less resources. :)

I haven't grilled pizza either, and only have a little charcoal barbecue. Lars makes the Big Green Egg sound lovely (as did Igloochic years ago in Kitchens), but I'm not really an outdoors kind of cook. I thought it would be fun to do something like what Lars did, though, with the par-baked crusts and on the barbecue for a crowd. I could probably use the big lid from my college pots as a reflector. I have to figure out how to do it, first, though.

I hadn't started reading yet, so opened up Forkish to look at the equipment. Leader's trick of lining a colander with a floured tea towel worked really well in place of a banneton. I really don't want to store a collection of bannetons, so that has me contemplating everything I have that'll work that way. :) I have a dough bucket from back when I started with Reinhart, in the stone age (okay, 6-8 years ago), but it's a pain to keep in the fridge. It holds a bit less than my bread bowl, but I never put that in the fridge (which is why I've been using the dough bucket even for smaller loaves, though I have a couple of smaller, square sided food containers which might work).

I'm interested to see that Forkish also uses AP flour (11% protein).

Since Forkish says the recipes are for single loaves, I wonder why he says it has to be a 12 quart bucket? I bet you could get away with 6 or 8, which is easier to get into the fridge. I haven't baked anything this Summer (other than the three loaf challah) that rose more than four quarts.

Ann? Any opinion on the size of dough bucket needed for Forkish?

Is there any other added equipment that I'm missing?

I either have to make pizza dough already, or find a new sourdough to make. It should be the latter because I should probably feed. My apathy, I think, means I need variety. Actually, maybe I'll try the Leader pain au levain with half of the wheat flour whole wheat. Since it's a quarter whole rye anyway, that means only 3/8 would be white. :) I can definitely tell the difference when I eat partial whites. They have more of that candy taste and softness, and don't have the kind of satisfaction that I get from whole grains, that feels like I've eaten food. Yep. I should do that. And use my whole wheat levain starter. It'll be fun to see how perky it is. :) I think I'll try making a big batard, too, rather than two smaller ones. And add some vital wheat gluten. And maybe try an improvised banneton. :)

You've inspired me, Lascatx! Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Plllog, I had been using just a cheap rectangular container with a lid, until this past week when I stopped in the restaurant supply store in Victoria and picked up a round container. It is actually a little deeper than what I need, but the rest of the size is perfect for mixing the dough by hand and doing the pinch and fold method. I'll take a picture of it for you when I get home from work.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Plllog, Mine is a 12 quart pail. And I think the reason that this bucket is the best size is because of its diameter. I looked at buckets that were not as tall, but then the whole bucket was smaller. If you are going to use the pinch and fold method you need the space to work. I do wish that the 12 quart was maybe two inches shorter.

I cleared off one of the top shelves of my fridge and lowered it slightly to accommodate the bucket.

Last night, I started my first batch of whole wheat bread using the pinch and fold method.

I didn't look for a recipe, I just decided to wing it. I used fresh milled red fife organic wheat, 500g and 500g of my usual high protein white flour. I also added 80g of a homemade 11 multi grain mix, given to me by Pam, the owner of my favourite new store - Scoops Natural Foods.

I added the multi grain mix to the water in the bucket and let it sit for 20 minutes before mixing in the flours. Left to rest (autolyze) for 30 minutes before mixing in the 4 g of yeast and 26 g of salt. Left to rest again for 20 minutes before finishing with the pinch and folds. I did three more folds over the next 60 minutes before placing the dough in the fridge for an overnight rise.

I took the dough out of the fridge early this morning and it is now shaped into two rounds and is proofing. I'm going to bake the rounds in dutch ovens.

If I like the whole wheat, my next batch will be a sourdough version. And I will play around with the ratios.

What the dough looked like after one of its stretch and folds.

And what it looked like this morning when I took it out of the fridge at 5:30 AM. Had risen to the 4 quart line.

This is the container I had been using, which worked well, except, sometimes the dough would blow the lid off. That won't happen with the new bucket.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Well, congrats on the new bucket, Ann!

I see what you mean about the width. My three gallon dough bucket is taller and narrower, I think, which makes it easier to store in my fridge (it's tall and narrow, and I have a very tall shelf). My bread bowl is the perfect shape for manipulating dough, but it does not go in the fridge. There's no room. And it's too precious. I wouldn't want the Fibber McGee thing to push it out! I have a container like that, though, if I get into Forkish. I did a recipe awhile back that had folding, which I was able to do in my tall bucket, but I think it was a smaller amount of dough.

So, Lascatx, if you're getting a dough bucket, get one like Ann's!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Dang it! I started a new thread and totally forgot that there are no codes in Subjects! It's not worth trying to throw it away, though. And here I only called it that because it's so much fun saying troisième. Sigh.

I put an introductory paragraph in for people who happen by, and named it a hybrid compromise, with both German and French so we have no contests between the bannetons and the brotforms.

Sourdough & Baker's Kaffeeklatsch--la Troisième

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 3:54PM
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