Thursday, 31 May 2012

Worthy wheat wholegrain rye

I don’t know about anyone else but the reason I have been slow off the mark for the May Mellow Bakers Challenges has been the desire to get a supply of light rye flour.  This was specified for two recipes.  I’ve had two orders through the normally wonderful Real Foods to no avail.  By the end of the month I have had to admit defeat and use 100% rye with added plain flour (as advocated by a number of sources) in its place.

The dough mixed up:

Here's the obligatory "wrap in greaseproof paper for 24 hrs" picture

after which it wasn't too gummy.

Wholesome in all senses of the word. Worthy but not spectacular.

It didn't help that I 3/4rd the recipe to fit the ingredients I had to hand.

I have to admit that the whole grains I used were wheat grains, as rye grains also proved elusive.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Honey and Ginger Wafers - You're Fired

May is running out and it's time to grasp the Mellow Bakers two remaining May challenges

Gingerbread biscuits... Mmmm

There was an issue about firing. High bake biscuits or mellow gingerbread.

I'm still not sure which I prefer. The drier biscuit will last longer, but there is something sumptuous about a bready texture.

These are very photogenic - even when raw:

and very tasty when baked:

I followed the recipe - except for using a storecupboard bottle of maple syrup in place of the honey. Then I agonised about how long to bake them for.  The ones in the book had a higher bake than the recipe produced, but you don't want to burn anything with a high sugar content. These are sweet and high on dairy. Very more-ish.

Next Wholegrain Rye Bread

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

All in a night's baking

One burnt, one battered and two French floozies.

The first is a 100% Rye sourdough that rose more quickly than expected. Although the clingfilm was oiled it took the top off the loaf when I removed it. This is one of the best textured 100% Ryes to date.  

The second is a hybrid rye sourdough with yeasted wheat addition. This was baked in a lidded Pullman tin  and had wonderful elasticity, but stuck to the bottom. It came out in one piece but coercion was required, and hence the wrinkles

Then there's my insurance policy - a couple of white baguettes (with added old dough - ssshhh) that even the most pernickety consumer will eat!

Tomorrow the tasting.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A New Twist

48 hour retard loaf

I've got the Hairy Bikers sussed now. Each programme has a genuine revelation in it: It's the bit where they visit a baker who really knows what (s)he is doing and they muscle in on it. Funny but it seems these recipes don't appear in their bread book.

So far it's Norway - Apent Sourdough, Austria - Challah/Kipferl, France - the 48 hour baguette, Spain the sourdough with the thermometer control, and Germany - the 48 hour retard loaf.

Today I'm attempting the last.  (Of course that's two days ago I started attempting this).  I made my dough from a sourdough starter mixed with added flour and salt and yeast and kneaded it until it started to look silky on the surface, popped it in a plastic bowl with a cling film cover in the bottom of the fridge.

Hedging my bet I took half out after just 24 hours, shaped it pretty much just by twisting it on a semolina dusted surface,  let it warm up for an hour or so and then baked it.  The results were impressive enough for my daughter to try some! (A success in itself)

1day loaf

Right now is 24 hrs later and the other half is in the oven. The question is: will there be a significant difference between the two?

In fact, and to my surprise, there was. The two day bread had a better taste, a more open web, more sourdough character and an excellent crust. It's not really a fair comparison because one bread was already a day old. Also I might have learnt from the first bake  But until further notice it's a 48 retard in this house!

The unknown factors from the programme:

  • The dough was said to be made of just water flour yeast and salt. Was there a sourdough element like mine?
  • Was there a rise between the shaping and the baking - it looked like there was (and it had been edited out) to me.
  • Was that semolina on the weighing scales and work surface?
I'd pay for the BBC to get Joe Ortiz to recreate his Village Baker trip around Europe. (Well I'd pay a lot to see it anyway.)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

I can do the six string plait!

Unashamed boasting but I thought this would be beyond me.

I can do a four string plait but 6 ???

Now I know there are a few steps missing - like all of them but I'm not setting out to give instructions and you shouldn't get dough or flour on your camera. There are videos on youtube - one of which I followed. Here's a tip - choose the shortest video! (The rule is along the lines of " take a strand from one extreme, pass it under two strands and then wrap it under and around the next one. The take the strand at the other extreme and do the same and so on"

It works!

Challah - Never been known to disappoint.