Saturday, April 19, 2014

Welcome Spring

Springtime is a great time to remember that bread rise times are heavily affected by ambient temperatures. 

Enjoy some bread :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cultivating the best Yeast

I'm still experimenting with mixing different local floras of yeasts. 
I haven't found the perfect combination yet, but I will eventually.  

Enjoy some bread. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weigh vs Meausre

So if you read this bread log (blog, get it?) with any regularity you will know I am a proponent of weighing all ingredients.  This is in the style of commercial recipes which call for exact weights which is contrary to most home recipes which call for exact measures.  The difference between the weight of flour and a measure of flower can be dramatic based on how dense (how aerated) it is.  

The only PROBLEM with weighing ingredients is when your scale runs out of batteries in the middle of a key weighing.  This happens to me occasionally because I use my scale a lot and it runs on small watch batteries that don't last as long as I would like.

When this does happen you have to go with your instincts and add as much flour, yeast, water or salt as you think is correct. This is where being familiar with the texture of your mixed dough comes in useful because you will know if its too wet or too dry.

Now it may be a bit of an optical illusion based on spacing of the loaves, but the loaf in the front of this picture is 50% larger than the loaf behind it... It just so happens that I added about 150 additional grams  of water to it, which means I needed to add about 160 additional grams of flour, overall it came out tasting fine but it was a fun experiment in ratios.

Speaking of ratios I highly recommend this book: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.  It highlights the different ratios of flower, water, fat and sugar and how they range in spectrum from bread to cookies to cakes to pancakes and almost everything in-between.

Happy weekend, enjoy some bread!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend Bread

No major updates this week.  Enjoy some bread!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cooling Bread

This is one of my favorite things about baking - the sound of loaves cooling right after they've been pulled from a 500+ degree oven.  It reminds me of the sounds of a campfire.

Normally I bake Saturday morning's and my two girls are in full "play" mode so I don't get any chance to record the subtle sounds, but this past weekend I baked later while they were napping.

Its just shy of 30 seconds and the focus is a bit off, but you can almost see cracks forming and you can certainly hear the thermodynamic activity.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good rise and finding the right wild sourdough yeast

Over the past few years I've experimented with cultivating several local "wild" yeasts.  I do this because every San Francisco starter I get usually gets taken-over by local yeasts within a few months.

Recently I have two distinctly different local yeasts I have been working with and what is fascinating is to see how they each have different qualities.

Yeast #1 (above) has a great rise.  The yeast reacts well to its environment and is able to produce an amazing amount of carbon dioxide (CO) that is captured in the gluten structure and causes wonderful bubbles in the crumb of the bread.  Unfortunately just like commercial yeast which you can buy in the supermarket (sometimes called "instant" yeast) this variety has very little taste.  The bread tastes ok (it is home made) but it does not taste distinctly sour.

Yeast #2 (from last week) has a reasonable rise but there are no large bubbles when cutting into the bread.  Thankfully what it lacks in rise it makes up for in taste.  The sourdough taste is amazing and really makes a distinct impression on whoever is lucky enough to be eating it.

So what do I do next?  Well I'm going to try bread made with BOTH yeasts to see if I can get the best of both worlds...  I'll post my results here.

Enjoy some bread,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cracked Crust

If you look on the top left side of this loaf (right below the white flower) you can see a large crack that formed after the loaf was removed from the oven (62 minutes at 525 degrees) and started to cool.

I have some good video/audio of these cracks happening, but it has some background noise so I'll work to capture it more clearly so I can post soon.

Enjoy some bread!