I was riding past this for years, before I noticed it. So beautiful! Someone used it once, seriously..but now..it is..waiting for the next bake.
So excited! Lighting the first of a series of small kindling fires to dry out the brick in the oven, so we can put the cladding on. Burned well, chimney is awesome!
This is taking shape!
It’s a gorgeous early spring day, and temperatures are climbing, after a chilly start to the season. Today we poured this, the foundation for the hearth slab.
It's been a while since I've written. Taking a mid winter break and preparing for the coming season.
I've also been doing some test batch runs, using my new book, Tartine No. 3, Chad Robertson. It's a fantastic book and worth the purchase if you want some solid full-proof formulas for making whole grain and sprouted sourdough breads.
This week I made his Emmer porridge bread, and a sprouted spelt. Both came out wonderfully!
Today I made Minsk Rye, a`la Stanley Ginsberg (thank you Stanley!). Wow! moist crumb, light sour-ey sweet with a hint of caraway..to true gem.
He writes, "This bread is a rarity among northern ryes of Eastern Europe not because it is 90% rye flour but because that rye flour is all white in a bread that comes from Belarus, well north of white rye country" (The Rye Baker, 2016, p. 267).
If you like a moist and flavorful soft rye I highly recommend this one.
Isn't the summer..marvelous? hot and wonderful, full of life, like the oven
For the past few months I've been working on sourdough rye and have tried many varieties from such well known bakers as Peter Reinhart, Stanley Ginsburg, and George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker. I've made them with soakers, mashes, coarse rye flour, whole grain rye flour, dark rye, soaked rye bread crumbs (altus), chopped rye berries, mixed hearth grains-you name it. And I've had my share of failures-crusts too dense to cut, dough that was tasty but gummy, or too dry, or too heavy. Yesterday and today I decided to throw caution to the wind, and mixed my own formula in the morning with my rye starter and a handful of three different flours, some salt and yeast, and yes! It actually worked.
I have been spending the month of January in the test kitchen, perfecting my baguette, rye, pumpernickel and whole wheat styles. What a month of learning!
Today I made this super fibre oat bran whole wheat "broom" bread, chock full of both soluble (oat bran and flax) and insoluble (wheat bran). The formula calls for a biga preferment of whole wheat flour, yeast and water, and a soaker-oat bran and flax. The biga was in the fridge for three days, the soaker at room temperature for 24 hours.
It's called a "broom" bread because it apparently cleans your gut. But it tastes great too.
Happy with the result!
"When seed kernels such as wheat, rye, alfalfa and barley or legumes such as lentils, chick peas or mung beans are placed in water three main chemical changes occur as they germinate: the seeds begin to break down due to increased enzyme activity; elements of the seed begin to move around between the endosperm and the germ;and new molecules are formed. In the process, vitamin content and accessibility is increased, especially vitamins A, B complex, and C; minerals like calcium, potassium and iron are released, and the carbohydrates become more easily digested." P. Reinhart, Whole Grain Breads, 2007
Cool! This past week I tried making 100% Sprouted Grain bread, and what a treat! I used the sprouted grains of farro, spelt, lentils and barley. The bread came out super chewy and sweet, and had very little flour or gluten in it, but still tasted like bread. Awesome.
This week I got an order for hard rolls. So I went searching around a bit, and found a thread on The Fresh Loaf http://www.thefreshloaf.com/ about people who miss New York's wonderful hard rolls. I know what they are, and you can't find them here!
So I made these today, and I am very happy with them. They taste great, and the crust is wonderfully crunchy and satisfying.
Well, after thinking about the shape of the loaves (possibly over proofed?) and the taste (a little smoky and dull). I decided to try again with a different process the next day. I made a poolish of a bit of yeast and put the sourdough on 'start' and left them overnight. So no overnight bulk ferment. Mixed the dough the next morning at 8:30, let it rest till 10:30, cut and shaped and baked at 12 noon or so.
Much better! The loaves look and taste better, no doubt about it.
Plus I added the caraway seeds this time, and glad I did. They definitely add to the overall effect.
Today I made Russian Pumpernickel Rye, and it came out quite well! It wasn't too dense, and the flavors were great.
Making the bread was a four day affaire! I started the Rye Sour (with a raw onion in it) on Sunday morning, and fed it and stirred it for two and a half days. On Tuesday afternoon I mixed the cracked rye, rye flours, oil, salt, molasses and boiling water and let that sit for a few hours. While I was waiting I made a poolish with a tad bit of yeast, a pinch of sugar and equal parts flour and water-let that rest for about 5 hours. At 10 PM I mixed them lightly, kneaded a scant bit, oiled the bowl and left it on the counter-known as 'bulk ferment'. This morning I punched it down and carried it to the car, and oven, wrapped in my husbands down coat. At 8AM I stretched and folded twice every 45 minutes until 9:30, when I shaped it. Then I let it rise for another 2 hours.
I was thinking about nuts and fruits, with no spices added. That got me to cranberries, and what would go with them. At first I thought pecans, but pecans can get bitter with too much heat, better go with walnuts. I like the tart cranberry zing and the rich creamy walnut flavor mingling in this bread! A keeper!
We're a new member! The Bread Bakers Guild of America:
In honor of a great culinary tradition, and our French friends
“It’s a mysterious business, this making of bread, and once you are hooked by the miracle of yeast, you’ll be a bread maker for life.” -Beard on Bread, (1973)
"That which thy fathers have bequeathed to thee, earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it."
My first recollection of baking is dragging the old metal foot stool up to the counter to watch Lugret, our Pennsylvania Dutch friend, bake at our home in Chester County. I was probably three. A wonder in the kitchen with little formal education, she had a magic touch with all styles of cooking and baking, and passed this love on to me. When living in the Southwest I watched with wonder as the native Pueblo Indians fired up their little adobe ovens in the sweltering sun. Baking things gives life a special flourish, pleases us, and is a joy. Baking for others is healthy and fun, and adds to the richness of our lives. Our forefathers had a tradition of home baking which the busyness of modern life has long forgotten, but look around. There may be a bake oven lurking in your midst that is waiting to serve you!
The mission of The Berks Bakers Collective is to inspire and foster the use of traditional bake ovens in Berks County.