Gas station without pumps

2020 October 9

Scones again for bread and tea

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:22
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I made scones again, modifying slightly the recipe I used last time, but this time I’ll take photos:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Mix dry ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
handful of flame raisins

Add

8 tablespoons cold butter

and cut in the butter with a pastry blender followed by rubbing it with your fingers to get coarse crumbs.  It was a mistake to add the raisins before the butter—next time the raisins will go after the butter, but before the wet ingredients.

Beat the wet ingredients together:

1 large egg
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is a sticky mess. It wasn’t quite as sticky this time as last time.

Dump the dough onto the counter and pat it into a circle about ½-inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges (vaguely triangular wet blobs will do) and use a pastry scraper to transfer to a baking sheet that is covered with baking parchment.

Bake for 20–25 minutes.

The scones are tasty, fresh from the oven.  They looked nice also.

Scones cooling on the rack.

The display at the beginning of the bread-and-tea Zoom meeting.

2020 October 2

Sourdough Whole-Wheat and Rye Bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:45
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I decided to make a whole-wheat sourdough bread this week, for bread-and-tea on Friday.  I’m basing it loosely on the Norwegian Whole-wheat Bread and the Bread-machine bread without the bread machine, but starting with a sourdough starter.  The sourdough starter had a fair amount of rye flour in it, from last week’s Rye bread rolls again.

Mix

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon unfiltered, raw cider vinegar

Let this age for a day (covered with a cloth).  I added the vinegar mainly because my recent sourdoughs have not been sour enough for my taste, and I wanted to re-inoculate with a vinegar-forming bacterium.

Set aside one cup in the refrigerator for future sourdough baking. To what is left add

  • 1 cup warm milk (100°F–115°F)  (if the sponge had not been very active, then I would have added a teaspoon of yeast to the milk)
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1–2 Tablespoons molasses (there was a little blackstrap molasses in the bottom of the bottle, but it wouldn’t budge, so I used the warm milk to dissolve it)

Knead until smooth on a well-floured board, incorporating maybe ¼ cup more rye flour to get an elastic, smooth dough.

Let rise in an oiled  bowl for 24 hours, punching down whenever it doubles in bulk. ( I ended up punching down once, in the evening before letting the dough rise again overnight.)

Shape the dough into an oval loaf and place on baking parchment.  Let the dough rise until doubled again (another 4 hours).

Boil

  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch

in microwave and cool to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush cornstarch mixture onto loaf, slash the top of the loaf, and bake at 400°F for about 55 minutes.  Remove the parchment about half way through the baking, so that the bottom crust is directly on the terra-cotta tiles.

The bread  spread a bit more in the rising than I expected, so a slightly stiffer dough may be better, but still came out looking good.

The dough after shaping had a texture of bubbles on the surface, because I tried not to knead the dough during the shaping.

I slashed deeper than usual this time, to get a more pronounced effect. The shininess is from brushing on the cornstarch mixture before slashing.

I may have slashed a bit too deep, but the loaf still looks good.

 

2020 September 25

Rye bread rolls again

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:11
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I managed to resurrect my sourdough starter by adding more yeast and keeping it in the refrigerator for a week, and I made a whole-wheat sourdough bread that came out pretty good (good crust and crumb, but not sour enough for my taste). It was basically the same ingredients and amounts as bread-machine bread, except for starting with sourdough starter for part of the liquid, bread flour, and yeast, and substituting molasses for the sugar.  I also baked it on baking parchment (no loaf pan) for the first half of the baking time, then directly on the terracotta tiles for the second half.

The whole-wheat sourdough looked good, as well as tasting pretty good.

So this week I decided to do the rye bread rolls again—the recipe that originated my sourdough.  Now that I have a starter, the recipe is a little different:

Feed starter:

1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup warm water (105°–115°F)
½ cup Strauss yogurt (the sourest one in our local market)
1 cup rye flour

Mix together in bowl, cover with wet dish towel, and let sit at room temperature for a day.  Remove and refrigerate one cup of the mixture for future sourdough starter, and let the rest sit for a day or two more at room temperature.

Dough:

the aged sourdough starter
1¼ cup warm water (105°–115°F)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1½ cup bread flour
3 cups rye flour
1½ cup raisins

Stir down the starter, blend in water, yeast and salt. Let sit for 3–4 minutes so yeast can dissolve.

Stir in bread flour.  Add rye flour a cup at a time until dough forms a mass.  Stir with silicone scraper until dough has lost most of its stickiness.  Stir in raisins (this is different from last time, when I didn’t add the raisins until just before shaping). Turn from the bowl onto floured surface.

Knead on well-floured surface until dough soft and elastic (about 6 minutes), adding about ¼ cup rye flour to keep dough from sticking.  May need to scrape surface initially, as dough starts out very sticky. Put in greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1–2 hours.

Punch down, divide dough into 2-oz pieces, and roll into balls.  Place on baking parchment on baking sheets, cover, and let rise until double in size (about one hour). Makes 24 rolls.

Glaze:

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Remove cover, brush each roll with glaze, and cut X into top of each roll. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 35–40 minutes.  Done when browned on the bottom and feel solid when pinched.

Cool on wire rack.

The rye rolls came out looking good. They had a nice flavor and texture, but not as much sourness as I would like. I think I also need to cut the crosses deeper.

2020 August 27

White sourdough Try 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:45
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In White sourdough, I gave a recipe that sort-of worked for a white sourdough loaf, and two weeks ago in White sourdough Try 2, I had a disaster, because the yeast in the sourdough starter had died in the freezer.  I’m going to try again. I added more yeast to the starter 2 weeks ago and have been growing the starter in the refrigerator ever since.

As before, I’ll make a light dough to rise and sour overnight, then add more flour in the morning.

Mix

1 cup sourdough starter
3 cups bread flour
1½ cups water

together using a silicone spatula.  Cover and let rise overnight.

In the morning, set aside one cup for future starter. To the remaining, mix in

2¼ cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

with bread hook, then knead in

½ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth, springy, but not stiff dough. Grease the mixing bowl with

 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Place in dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise 3½ hours.

Punch down and divide into three parts. Roll into cylinders. Place on baking parchment for final rise, about 3½ hours.

Boil

½ cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

in microwave and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F with shallow pan of boiling water on bottom of oven (high humidity in oven makes for crisper crust).

Puncture any large bubbles on the top surface of the bread with a skewer.

Brush loaves lightly with corn-starch water and place in oven.  Try not to let any of the corn-starch water get under the loaves.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Bake 10 more minutes.

Remove pan of water from oven and bake another 10 minutes.

Remove baking parchment and bake another 5 minutes directly on baking tiles. The bottoms of the loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

Update 2020 Aug 30: I forgot to photograph the loaves, though they came out quite photogenic this time. There was no sticking to the parchment at all—I could just slide the parchment out.  The crumb was a bit finer than I expect for a sourdough, and the crust rather soft.  The flavor was ok, but nowhere near as sour as I like.  Overall, the loaves came out more like an ordinary white bread than like a sourdough bread.

2020 August 14

White sourdough Try 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:14
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In White sourdough, I gave a recipe that sort-of worked for a white sourdough loaf. I’m going to try to improve that white sourdough recipe.

I took my sourdough starter out of the freezer earlier this week to thaw in the refrigerator, and I started early this morning, adding a cup of water and a cup of bread flour to the starter and leaving it out all day, covered with a damp kitchen towel.  The sponge did bubble, but it was rather slow—I suspect that a lot of the yeast did not survive freezing.  Maybe what I have now is more freeze-tolerant.  This evening I stirred the sponge and set aside a cup of it in the refrigerator for starter for next week.  That left me with 1½ cups of a rather wet starter to use.

As before, I’ll make a light dough to rise and sour overnight, then add more flour in the morning.

Mix

1½ cup sourdough starter
3½ cups bread flour (all I had!)
2 cups water

together using bread hook on the KitchenAid mixer.  Cover and let rise overnight.

In the morning, mix in

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt

with bread hook, then knead in

½ cup all-purpose flour

by hand, to get a smooth, but somewhat slack, dough. Grease the mixing bowl with

 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Place in dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise 2½ hours.

Punch down and divide into two parts. Knead each part lightly until smooth and surface is not greasy.  Roll into cylinders. Place on baking parchment for final rise (seam-side down), about 3½ hours. (I had to reshape about half an hour before baking, because the dough was too slack and had spread horizontally too much.)

Boil

½ cup water
½ teaspoon cornstarch

in microwave and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F with shallow pan of boiling water on bottom of oven (high humidity in oven makes for crisper crust).

Slash tops in long diagonals.  Brush loaves with corn-starch water and place in oven.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Remove pan of water from oven and bake another 20 minutes.

Remove baking parchment and bake another 15 minutes directly on baking tiles. The bottoms of the loaves should sound hollow when tapped.  (I again had problems with one of the loaves sticking to the baking tiles after removing the parchment, but the other one was fine.  It was probably a result of brushing on too much of the cornstarch water, and having some pool under one loaf, so the bottom of that one was too wet.)

Top view showing slight browning of crust.

Low-angle view to show the spreading, rather than rising of the bread.

Bottom view, showing damage from loaf sticking to tile.

Note: I did not do a bread-and-tea event featuring this loaf—it was much too hot today to sit at the computer for an hour or so.

The bread itself was a failure—the dough did not rise at all, and the insides were still a mass of unrisen, not quite baked dough. I think that the yeast in the sourdough starter did not really survive the freezing. Though the dough seemed ok after the first rising, it had only risen a little bit. I’ll probably have to add a little more yeast to the sourdough starter, if I want to do another sourdough loaf. And I won’t try freezing the starter again.

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