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2021 July 16

Sourdough beer bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:17
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My sourdough starter in the refrigerator burst out of the 1-pint plastic container, so I needed to bake bread again.  I decided to make up my own recipe, because I didn’t feel like following one from a cookbook. I mixed together

2 cups sourdough starter,
1 cup whole-wheat flour,
1 cup warm beer (Trader Joe’s Drive Through Red),
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

and left it overnight covered with a damp kitchen towel.  In the morning, I removed 1 cup of the sponge to save as sourdough starter and added to the rest

½ cup rye flour,
1 cup bread flour,
1 cup whole-wheat flour,
1 Tablespoon salt,
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar,
2 Tablespoons olive oil,
¼ cup warm water,

and kneaded them with the dough hook (I had to add the water at the end, because the dough was too dry).  I then kneaded the dough by hand on the counter, adding

about 2 Tablespoons whole-wheat flour to prevent sticking.

I added a little olive oil (a tablespoon?) to the bowl and coated the ball of dough with it.  I left the dough to rise about 3 hours, then transferred it to a loaf pan greased with cocoanut oil, where I let it rise again for about 4 hours.

I slashed the top of the loaf lengthwise, brushed the top with milk, and baked in an oven preheated to 350°F (set to 400°F on our oven). I brushed the top with milk again after 20 minutes.  At 35 minutes, the center of the loaf was up to 150°F, so I turned the bread out of the pan onto the baking tiles, and brushed the sides of the loaf with milk.  I baked the bread for another 15 minutes (for 50 minutes overall), bringing the center temperature to 190°F.  The crust came out a little too dark—I probably should have turned the oven temperature down for the last 15 minutes.

sourdough-beer-bread

The loaf looks good except for the too-dark glaze.

The crust was nicely crunchy, and the crumb was a good color, but a little denser than I prefer. The flavor was good, but dominated by the sourdough and the rye flour. It might be better to try a more conventional beer bread without the rye and with more bread flour than whole-wheat flour.

2021 February 13

Mixer-bowl bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:51
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On Friday, I made a variant of the mixing-bowl bread of a few weeks ago.

I started the bread on Wednesday, but baked it Friday afternoon.  I did not measure all the ingredients, so the numbers here are approximate:

1½ cup sourdough starter
1 cup bread flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon yogurt
2 teaspoons vinegar (with mother of vinegar—vigorously shaken before measuring)

The yogurt and vinegar were added to re-inoculate the starter with their bacteria—the focaccia last week did not seem to have enough old-dough flavor.  Use the dough hook of the mixer to mix the ingredients (they are too liquid to make a dough). Let the sponge rise for several hours, then take out a cup of it to save as the next starter.   The sponge did not seem very active, so I let it rise more overnight.

Thursday morning I added

1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar.

While mixing with the dough hook, gradually add

4 cups whole-wheat flour

The goal is to get a dough that is elastic but still slightly sticky.  Turn the dough out onto a counter floured with whole-wheat flour and knead by hand for a couple of minutes, keeping the dough lightly floured to keep it from sticking.  This used another

¼ cup whole-wheat flour

and resulted in a soft and elastic dough that was not too sticky.  Put it in a mixing bowl (not the one from the mixer) with a little olive oil and turn it to coat the ball of dough with oil.  Let it rise for a day with a damp cloth covering the bowl.

Friday morning, I greased the bowl of hte KitchenAid mixer with

cocoanut oil

and turned the dough into the mixer bowl. The dough deflated a little on being transferred from one bowl to the other. Let it rise in the new bowl for 4 hours. Bake at 400–450°F for about an hour and 20 minutes (until the center of the load is around 195°F). I turned the loaf out of the bowl then to bake another ten minutes on terra cotta tiles, but that may not be necessary.

The loaf is quite tall, with cute dimple in the middle from the corresponding bump in the bottom of the mixer’s bowl.

The bread was very similar to the previous mixing-bowl loaf, but with a slightly better crust.  The crumb was good and the bread had a good whole-wheat, sourdough flavor.  This is probably the tallest loaf of sourdough I’ve ever baked—about 13cm high (5″) at the tallest part.

2021 January 16

Mixing-bowl bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:40
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Yesterday I had a small bread-and-tea event (only 2 people besides me)—the events really don’t work as well on Zoom as on-campus, where the smell of the freshly baked bread fills the hallways. On Zoom, I can’t share the bread I bake.

The bread I made yesterday was not a particularly special recipe, but I tried baking it differently.  Instead of using a loaf pan or shaping the loaf on baking parchment, I just left it in the mixing bowl that it had been rising in, and baked it there.

I started the bread on Thursday, but baked it Friday afternoon.  I did not measure all the ingredients, so the numbers here are approximate:

1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups bread flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar

Use the dough hook of the mixer to mix the ingredients (they are too liquid to make a dough). Let the sponge rise for a couple of hours, then take out a cup of it to save as the next starter.   To the rest add

2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

While mixing with the dough hook, gradually add

2½ cups whole-wheat flour

The goal is to get a dough that is elastic but still slightly sticky.  Turn the dough out onto a counter floured with whole-wheat flour and knead by hand for a couple of minutes, keeping the dough lightly floured to keep it from sticking.  This used another

½ cup whole-wheat flour

and resulted in a soft and elastic dough that was not too sticky.  Put it in a mixing bowl with a little olive oil and turn it to coat the ball of dough with oil.  Let it rise overnight with a damp cloth covering the bowl.  After a couple of hours the dough had doubled in size, but shaking the bowl a little deflated it, without needing to punch it down.

In the morning, grease a different stainless-steel mixing bowl with

cocoanut oil (or butter)

and turn the dough into the new bowl. The dough again deflated on being transferred from one bowl to the other. Let it rise in the new bowl for 4 hours. Bake at 375°F for about an hour (until the center of the load is around 195°F). I turned the loaf out of the bowl then to bake another ten minutes on terra cotta tiles, but that may not be necessary.

Here is the baked bread still in the mixing bowl it was baked in.

Turning the bread out onto the tiles was very easy. I could have just cooled the bread at that point, but I decided to bake it a little longer to make the crust a little crisper.

The bread cooling on the rack shows the nice color and shape from the unusual loaf pan.

The bread had a slightly softer crust than some of my sourdoughs (as expected from using a pan), but the crumb was excellent—the somewhat soft dough and gentler handling of the bread before the final rising probably helped.

2020 October 23

Whole-wheat sourdough in loaf pan

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:31
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For today’s bread-and-tea Zoom meeting, I decided to bake a sourdough whole-wheat bread in a loaf pan, mixing several of my previous recipes together.

Yesterday, I mixed

1 cup sourdough starter,
1 cup bread flour,
1 cup water,

and left it overnight covered with a damp kitchen towel.  Early this morning, I removed 1 cup of the sponge to save as sourdough started and added to the rest

1 cup warm water,
1 cup bread flour,
2 cups whole-wheat flour,
½ cup rye flour,
2 Tablespoons sugar,
2 Tablespoons olive oil,

and stirred them together using a silicone spatula.  I then kneaded the dough in the bowl, adding

½ cup whole-wheat flour.

I added a little olive oil (a tablespoon?) to the bowl and coated the ball of dough with it.  I left the dough to rise about 3 hours, then transferred it to a buttered loaf pan, where I let it rise again for about 5 hours.

I slashed the top of the loaf lengthwise and baked in an oven preheated to 400°F (set to 450°F on our oven) for about 45 minutes, until the center reached 190°F.  I removed the loaf from the pan and baked directly on the baking tiles for another 5 minutes (turning the oven temperature down to 300°F).  In retrospect, I should have turned the temperature down sooner, as the top crust darkened too much.

The loaf is a little darker on the top crust than I find optimal, but it should work ok as a sandwich bread.

The bread cut well and had good crust and crumb, but I forgot to include salt! There should have been 2 teaspoons of salt in the recipe!

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.

 

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