I was sent some small-batch, whole grain, locally sourced flour. I baked some bread.
One of my oldest friends recently went BreadCore on me. He is baking beautiful loaves, paying attention to hydration and scoring some cool designs with a fancy schmancy lame. To thank me for being his on-call baking consultant, he sent me 7.5 lbs of two different small-batch flours that he loves.
I am a no-stress it'll all work out in the bake, baker. I am over a decade into delicious bread, pizza, pretzels, waffles, and bagels and I don't like to stress over baking. Baking is a relaxing and fun food preparation method. I guess this is the opposite of everything a highly technical Breadcore baker wants to hear. I do not weigh my ingredients. So, my first thought about specialty flour was "Fuck, this'll complicate things!"
I was wrong.
I opened the bag of Hard Red Spring Wheat. I baked my first loaf at 70% Trader Joes AP flour and 30% HRS. I did reserve some flour from the initial mix, as I was afraid the HRS would drink more water than market flour. I ended up adding it all in and developed a very sticky ball of dough that rose very well. It baked up beautifully.
On this bake, I lowered my oven temperature 5 degrees. In my mind, I was holding back one Kadam for the imaginary Hebrew god to whom my parents dedicated the 12th year of my life. In reality, I'd noticed that my friend who baked at the same temps I did got a much less explosively crumbastic crust on his loaves. Read the rest
Sourdough is not the complicated, finicky bread baking technique some folks might like you to believe. Sourdough baking takes very little effort and is mostly an art of patience.
This loaf is an example of what you can achieve by barely paying attention to your starter. I left mine in the fridge for months, and then forgot it on the kitchen counter.
Here is the dough after its first rise, and before I spread it out for folding.
Here is the loaf in its proofing basket. It was VERY wet and took a lot of the flour out of the basket.
Here is the finished second loaf, baked from a starter that had been left on my kitchen counter, unfed, for over a week. Previous to ignoring the starter on my counter, I had left it in my fridge for well over 6 months.
Here are some details on preparation of a basic sourdough loaf. Read the rest
Everyone I know is on a sourdough kick. My sister was talking some stuff she learned in a class, so I took these photos to show her what "waking up the starter" means to me.
When I took my starter out of the fridge and looked in the crock I saw a deep pool of hooch. It has been since Thanksgiving that I used it, and I may have put this batch in the fridge back in June or July 2018.
I take a heaping spoonful of the starter and...
...gently mix it with 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Then I set it aside for 4 hours.
I feed the starter every 4 hrs when I am awake, until it is awake. When I sleep the yeast can sleep. Once I have 2 cups of starter in my bowl, I discard 1/2 and add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour again, maintaining the volume at around 2 cups. When the starter looks like this, it is ready to use.
I used the starter, baking a loaf of bread in my Dutch Oven.
Bread with butter, jam and cheese was yesterday's meal. Read the rest
Carbo pareidolia. Read the rest
Konel Bread specializes in bread that depicts animals, cartoon characters, and other fun stuff when it's sliced. Read the rest
Atlas Obscura just added an interesting new section on strange and wondrous foods, like salt-rising bread leavened with bacteria that cause gas gangene. Read the rest
I tried the popular Irish brand Odlum's Irish Brown Soda Bread mix to see if it was better or easier than my standby recipe. Read the rest
Kalli (@aurelianrabbit on Twitter) understands well the truest and most important quest of humankind: the proper storage of bread. [via
PREVIOUSLY: Sandwich alignment chart Read the rest
How many plastic bread bag clips does Yakima, Washington's Kwik Lok sell annually? "It’s in the billions," says the company's sales coordinator Leigh Anne Whathen. According to Kwik Lok, company founder Floyd Paxton dreamt up the idea in 1954. I wonder if he imagined their other popular use as a makeshift guitar pick. From Atlas Obscura:
As the story goes, while he was on the plane, Paxton was eating a package of complimentary nuts, and he realized he didn’t have a way to close them if he wanted to save some for later. As a solution, he took out a pen knife and hand-carved the first bread clip out of a credit card (in some tellings, it was an expired credit card)...
According to Whathen, Kwik Lok secured a patent on their little innovation in the early days of the company, and to this day, Kwik Lok remains one of the only manufacturers of bread clips in the world. Whathen says that the only other firm she’s aware of is a European competitor called Schutte. Kwik Lok also has the distinction of still being owned by Paxton’s descendants. Floyd’s son, Jerre, ran the company until his death in 2015, and today it is owned by two of Jerre’s daughters. “We’re still going strong,” says Whathen.
"Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single Company" (Atlas Obscura)
(image: DANIELGAMAGE/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Read the rest
If you have breakfast while traveling in Ireland you are bound to come across brown soda bread. Soda bread is super easy to make and a fantastic comfort food. Read the rest
Toast tastes great. I can't have toast, because I'm on a keto diet. So I hate all of you toast-eating people, right now. But I still love Taste Cheshire's toast identification chart, upon which I can drool this fine Tuesday morning.
P.S. I like a nice light E1. Read the rest