After the Storm Bread

Last Thursday Dec 14 we went through a very strong storm with wind gusts approaching 100 mph. I live on the Washington Coast with the Willapa Bay in my back yard, so we were hit pretty hard. We lost power Thursday night and it didn’t come back on until the following Monday in the late afternoon! Our Artesian well kept pouring out fresh water, so that was nice, as you don’t need a pump to get water from the overflow. Anyway, it would have been a good time to try out camp sourdough, but I didn’t 🙁   We didn’t have any fresh sourdough all that time. However, the last batch I baked up, (a Basic White batch) even though it was stale by then, tasted great thrown on the top of the woodstove and crisped by the hot stovetop and then buttered. As soon as the power came on Monday afternoon, I decided to mix up a batch of sourdough as a preferment so I could bake the next day. I didn’t have time for the long overnight ferment of ripened dough but I sure wanted some fresh sourdough! I decided to mix up a new recipe that had a quick overnight preferment and baked up the next day, and so I made this:

After the Storm Bread:

In the evening I mixed up a preferment in a large bowl containing:

1 cup Northwest Starter

1 cup water

1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour

1/2 cup Rye flour

2 cups Bread flour

I covered this and let it set overnight at room temperature.

This is how it looked next morning:

preferment

Next morning at 6:00 am I poured this preferment into my dough mixer and added:

1 cup scalded 1/2 and 1/2 milk to which 1 cup of cold water was added to cool it off quickly.

2 Tablespoons Oil

7 – 8 cups of Bread flour (adjust for consistancy)

I mixed up the dough and let it rest (autolyse) for 15 minutes and then I added:

5 teaspoons salt

Then I mixed the dough for about three minutes and let it bulk ferment for five hours.

It was an active bubbly dough at five hours ferment:

bulk ferment

After the five hour bulk ferment I had 5 lb 7 oz of dough, enough for two large loaves and one smaller loaf. So just to have some fun, I shaped the smaller loaf into a Baguette shape and the two larger loaves into the Batard style shapes. I proofed them in a couche at room temperature. However disaster struck once again! The power company decided to turn off the power to fix the lines again! This was just at the time when I was about to start preheating my oven for an hour. So, I moved all of the shaped dough onto my covered porch which was registering a 45 degree temperature, lucky me, as I didn’t have any room in the refrigerator to put the dough. The power was off for an hour. So as soon as it came back on, I preheated the oven. When it was hot enough, I baked the Baguette loaf and it came out pretty nice. Then I tried baking one of the Batard loaves but it stuck to the pan as I was trying to pop it onto the stone and then I forgot to turn the oven down after the first five minutes of high heat and spraying. Ill fated loaf! It didn’t come out too good in looks, but it was still a good edible loaf. Then I baked the last loaf with slashes down it’s side intead of on top. Two out of three loaves, not too bad!

Here they are with the ill fated loaf at the top (obviously):

three stormy loaves

Here is an attempt to hide the ill fated loaf:

ill fated loaf hidden

Storm loaf

Here is the crumb of the Ill fated loaf, just to show you that it is still edible! Actually it is delicous!

crumb

With the mix of Whole Wheat and some Rye, it is not a real white crumb but an earthy, rustic loaf, just right for after the storm, and so very satisfying.

Rosemary Calamata Olive Sourdough

I mixed up a preferment for some Rosemary Calamata Olive Sourdough bread. The preferment was really nice and bubbly the next day. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and put the dough into the refrigerator for an overnight rest. proofing

Next morning I baked up the loaves, they weighed 1.5 lbs each:

Rosemary Calamato loaf

This dough was a mixture of Rye, Whole Wheat and Bread flour. It also has Basil in it.

Loaf #2

Here are both loaves together:

Two loaves of Rosemary Calamato bread

This dough was made up using Northwest Sourdough starter.

Here is a picture of the crumb:

crumb with olives

Closeup:

closeup

This bread is superb! The flavor is exceptional! It has a wonderful tang, flavorful olives and a whiff of Rosemary and Basil. I will be putting this recipe in the Special Recipe folder.

Desem…doing good.

My Desem starter is doing really good and performing reliably. I mixed up the preferment yesterday and baked one large loaf today. I had a three pound loaf come out of the batch. I have been having trouble with getting any good pictures inside. When I had some sun outside I did okay, but I guess I need better lighting. I did an experiment a couple of days ago with putting a roasting lid over my bread as it baked, to hold the steam closer to the dough. It was a very interesting experiment, kind of like baking in a pot, but not.

I also got pictures of those loaves but I am disappointed with the quality of the pictures, because you can’t really see what I am trying to show you. The loaves that came out from under the lid, were thin crispy crackly crusted loaves, the one that I didn’t put the lid over, came out looking nicer, but the crust wasn’t as nice. However the crispy crackly loaves, seemed to want to almost tear apart all over the crust and didn’t rise as high as the loaf not baked under the roasting lid. It was an interesting toss up.

Here is the Desem bread from today. It needed a little bit more proofing, but I had to go out and just couldn’t give it the time it needed:

Desem loaf

Desem crumb

As for the experimental loaves baked under the roasting pan lid. I will show you the loaf not baked under the roasting lid first:

experimental loaf

This was a variation of the Basic White Recipe with some Rye, Wheat and added cornmeal. The cornmeal slowed down the proof considerably so I had a five hour final proofing. Anyway, here is the loaf baked under the roasting lid:

under the lid loaf

Here is a closeup of the same loaf:

closeup

You can see the fissures and stretching of the crust. The pictures aren’t good but this happened all over the crust of both loaves baked in this way. Here is the other loaf, it was done as a boule:

boule loaf

This next picture is a bit closer but shows the great color and crispiness of the crust:

crispy crust

Here is the crumb of the regular baked loaf, it had a higher oven spring than the other two loaves:

crumb

Here is the crumb pic of the loaf baked under the roasting lid:

crumb# 2

I’ve got two Rosemary, Calamato Olive loaves to bake tomorrow.

They are setting in the fridge cooling down right now.

Getting the dough into the pot.

I was askd how I got the dough into the hot pot without flattening it. I took the suggestion of SourDom at the Australian forum, he suggested using a flexible plastic mat like those flexible cutting mats to turn the dough onto and then curving up the mat on either side of the dough and sliding it down into the pot gently. It worked really nice.

San Francisco Sourdough baked in a Pot

Well, I am a convert to Pot baking, I just wish I had a bigger pot, the size of my oven to be exact. The crust comes out incredible, with the crispy, crusty texture and crunch that one is after in a sourdough crust. I mixed up a batch of San Francisco Sourdough using the SF starter, it was slow to bulk ferment because I let it go 24 hours with no refreshment to build up the sour producing bacteria. I shaped the dough into boule shapes this time and proofed overnight in baskets:

shaped dough

baskets for boules

I let the dough proof overnight and you wouldn’t believe it but it took a little over four hours to proof, the dough was that slow. It is a good way to get a decent sour however.

I have been trying the dough baking in a cast iron pot. The last bread I tried was the Desem bread which came out pretty nice. This time it was a white bread, so the outcome was more dramatic…and was not disappointing! This was the first loaf of the batch to be baked:

First loaf

This was the second loaf to be baked:

Second loaf

This was the third loaf to be baked and I believe it was perfectly proofed and the oven was thoroughly heated, as I also used stones besides the pot:

Third loaf

Here is the same loaf while still in the pot:

In the pot

All three loaves together:

All three loaves

Here is the crumb of the first loaf:

first loaf crumb

As you can see the pot baking is a tremendous success. I feel the heavy pot and the lid keeps the heat wrapped around the loaf, and provides for it’s own steam. The third loaf’s crust came out the best, I sprayed that loaf with water just before I popped on the lid.

With the long proofing, the bread came out with a very nice tangy sour. All around a great baking day!

Desem…in a Pot

My hubby bought me a nice cast iron pot with a lid so I could try out the sourdough bread pot baking that is taking everyone by storm, even though it’s really as old as the campfire and camp cooking from long ago. You know…whats old is new again. So I gave it a go today with my new pot and ran into a little trouble. I mixed up the dough fine and bulk fermented and proofed the dough…and also preheated the pot and lid…but ran into trouble when the dough in the basket had to be overturned into the hot pot. The dough deflated somewhat when it had to make that fall from basket to pot bottom. So I am thinking of ways to avoid that drop. Here is a picture of the bread still in the pot:

Desem in pot

Doesn’t it look like some bacon and a pot of Jocko Beans are coming right up? Anyway here is the bread:

Desem Pot baked bread

When I turn it to the side you can see where the dough sagged as it deflated:

Desem

I haven’t sliced open the bread yet, but I know it is heavier than it could have been. It still seems like a pretty nice loaf though. I am hoping for the best! I was wondering if I could line the proofing basket with aluminum foil and then lift the whole thing out and place it in the hot pot instead of turning the basket over and having it plop down into the pot. If I made the dough a lower hydration, I could maybe support it with my hands and somehow get it down into the pot??? I don’t know??

San Francisco Sourdough with Motherdough too

Yesterday I mixed up a stiff sponge with San Francisco Starter, flour, water and some motherdough starter (aged dough). I left it overnight in a 50 degree pantry. The sponge was very nice and bubbly by this morning:

sponge

I added the rest of the ingredients this morning and let it ferment for five hours. When it was done I poured it out on a lightly floured surface. The dough was very active and lively.

dough poured out

I shaped the dough into two loaves weighing 2 lbs and one weighing almost 1.5 lbs.

dough in bannetons

I put the loaves into the banneton and let them proof for two hours. They baked up with the motherdough signature reddish hue:

baked loaves

baked loaves all three

Basic White Variation with San Francisco Starter

I am still using the San Francisco Starter after I brought it out of it’s sleep from my refrigerator. The sour is somewhat more pronounced but not yet up to potential. I think sour sourdoughs like to have an active starter with the refreshment not being a huge amount of the starter. In other words don’t dump out most of your starter and refresh it with a lot of water/flour and expect it to be sour and if you have refrigerated your starter or reconstituted it from a dry state, expect it to take a little while to build up it’s sour producing bacteria.

This batch of dough was a higher hydration than the last one and it was a bit harder to handle. My recipe was a variation of the White Basic:

3 cups starter

3 cups water

2 Tablespoons oil

4 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon Malt Syrup

2 Tablespoons cornmeal

1/4 cup Rye flour

9.5 cups Bread flour

The yeast is very vigorous in the starter which was refreshed about 18 hours before using. The bulk fermentation took only 3.5 hours, which is too fast for a good sour.

bulk fermentation

I divided the dough into three pieces which were all about one ounce shy of being two pounds.

Here they are roughly shaped and resting before their final shaping:

resting for shaping

I put them in the refrigerator overnight and gave them 2 hours to proof. Here are all three loaves:

three loaves

They all came out wonderful with a nice holey crumb.

Here are some closeups:

closeups

more closeups

closeups

Here is the crumb:

crumb

We will see if the sour is more pronounced as time goes by. I know the Northwest Sourdough would make a nice sour if I used it right now, but it has been active and used for quite a while without being refrigerated like the San Francisco starter.

Super San Francisco Sourdough!!

I took my San Francisco Starter out of the refrigerator a few days ago and have been refreshing it to bring it back up to vigour. Yesterday afternoon, I mixed up a new recipe for Super San Francisco Sourdough.

dough mixed

This is such a nice starter, it proofed wonderfully in four hours.

proofed dough

  I made enough for two large loaves of just over 2lbs each. I also made the dough a lower hydration than I usually work with. The dough felt wonderful, bubbly, alive and smelled great. Here are the two dough boules:

boules

The flecks in the dough are cracked wheat. I waited five minutes and rounded up the boules by using a twisting motion with my two hands and slight pressure. Here is what a twisted boule looked like after you put it in it’s basket:

twisted boule

I refrigerated these boules overnight and for many hours the next day. I didn’t bake them until about 12:30 pm. I wanted a very long cool proofing. Then it took only  1 -1/2 hours to warm them up and get them proofed enough to bake. Here is one of them slashed and ready to bake:

slashed boule

The bread came out absolutely wonderful! Here is the first loaf:

first loaf

Here is the second loaf:

second loaf

Both loaves:

two loaves

Here is a closeup of the blistered crust:

crust

Here are some crumb pictures:

crumb

crumb2

The bread was still slightly warm so I couldn’t tell how sour it was, as the sour comes on after it has completely cooled and set. It was already mildly tangy though. The crust is terrific and I would say it was a very successful baking day!

Diablo Sourdough

I have a funny blog today. I was running out of bread and with Thanksgiving today, I needed some for Turkey sandwiches! So on Tuesday night I made up a Rye sponge with  Starter, water and Rye flour:

sponge

I let this set overnight.  Next morning I added the rest of the ingredients to the sponge and bulk fermented the dough for five hours. This was a Rye starter but the majority of the flour added was bread flour.

The dough was sticky from the Rye:

fermented

dough poured out

I made up two loaves weighing just shy of 2.5 lbs. and put them into bannetons:

bannetons

They proofed nicely in two hours and I preheated the oven to 500 degrees. I was trying to compensate for the heat loss when you load the dough and spray  for the first five minutes or so. You would know it…. I loaded both loaves… sprayed and steamed for the first five minutes, then I set my timer and forgot to turn down the oven!!! Boy was I surprised when my timer went off and it was time for me to turn the loaves and they were practically burnt! Diablo Bread! I was certainly shocked. Not that I haven’t made that mistake before, I have, but I had two huge loaves in the oven and they were awesomely dark. I turned them around anyway, and knew that they still needed to bake in the center, so I covered them with foil and turned the oven down to 350 degrees. They came out very dark, but not actually burnt. I guess I could call them specialty Artisan Diablo Loaves! Ha! I got raves on the flavor! Wouldn’t you know! Make a mistake and people rave, do a great job, and no one comments. Here are my Diablo Loaves, the first one :

first loaf

The second loaf:

second loaf

two loaves

Well they will probably dry out sooner than usual, but slathered with mayonnaise and lots of Turkey, they will be gone soon anyway. Here is the crumb:

crumb

Anyway, next time you forget to turn down the oven after the initial five minutes, tell everyone they are Diablo Loaves 🙂