Monday, June 20, 2016

In Preparation For a Bangkok Mule

I like to think I'd be the first person to want the flavors of Thailand in a traditional Moscow Mule. 

Not sure of the volume of the jar, but this is the prototype. Stoli + lemongrass + galangal + makrut leaf. 

Every couple of days I will give the jar a shake, but plan on ignoring it for about a month, and hope for a tasty, tasty cocktail come mid-July.

Last Week's Loaf & Other Projects

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention last week's loaf.

I was going to do up that sourdough oat recipe that I started my journey on, and thought I'd do a soaker, and it almost went sideways.

Initially, I put the oats in a bowl, and was going to do 100% hydration to the oats and then follow the recipe as followed, and adjust the flour as needed during the knead.

Well, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing, and for 75 gm of oats, I put in roughly 125 gm of water. DOH! I let that sit all day to soak and do its thing.

I came home and set up the rest of the dough, using Einkorn APF (NOT bread flour! ugh. VERY SOFT!) and augmented a bit more with some spelt. I also had added a tsp of yeast into it as well, to ensure a bit more poof/activity, as the loaf I made for the week immediately prior to this loaf, did not activate and poof up enough for my liking and was entirely too dense. Edible and delicious, but dense as a brick. 

The resulting loaf was lovely, and despite the poofing during the proof, it wasn't overly full of holes in the crumb as I had hoped. But delicious. Inclusions were: bee pollen, hemp hearts and flax meal.

The dough was entirely too soft with all Einkorn (despite the minor adjustments of spelt). 

Earlier last week, I set up dough from this recipe to be used in a different application. Where the husband works, a co-worker is trying to get a "Thursday Pot Luck" off the ground, and I decided to make those buns, and stuff them with Trader Joes lamb koftas and dusted some buns with nigella seed, and some were dusted with duqqa/dukka,  (and provide a pint of curry gravy for dipping). And this was the result:
Feedback was positive. And I wish I held back one bun for myself to enjoy. Perhaps next time! Perhaps!

I was binge-watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, and the episode where he visits Ethiopia with Marcus Samuelsson was fascinating. And of course the injera bread got me thinking about the possibilities of using teff with sourdough. So at 2 a.m., off to Amazon I went, and bought some teff flour, more einkorn flour, and some malt powder.  And at some point, THIS will happen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rhapsody in Rye: Unintentional Detour

Given I'll be traveling soon, I needed to get our weekly loaf crafted earlier than normal.

I decided to make the sourdough beer bread as I did about 10 days ago. Only, I wasn't paying attention. Everything was fine, until I was measuring out my flour, and thought I was using rye, only to realize about 3 ounces into the weigh-in that I was using buckwheat. So rather than despair, I measured out the right amount of rye, then compensated by putting in only 9 ounces of bread flour (instead of 12). 

I'm letting it bulk ferment while at work, I'll do a bit of stretch and folding once I'm home, then before putting it in a loaf pan, I'll add some hemp seeds. I'll let it sit in the fridge until Friday a.m., take it out, let it rest a bit more, and bake it off once I'm home on Friday. 

So I won't know until late Friday evening how this turns out. I'm hoping it's not too dense; however, given I use buckwheat honey in this recipe, I'm hoping the accidental inclusion of 3 oz of buckwheat flour gives it a nice flavor. The flavor of this particular loaf is tasty to begin with, so it can only make it MORE delicious, I hope! 

My only concern of course is the oven-spring, lift, crumb, whatever you want to call the interior bubbles trapped in the dough.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Note To Self: Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies (With Musings on Pizza)

I'm getting in the swing of this sourdough lifestyle, and as such, I'm always thinking of new ways to use my "discards" (I discard before feeding, so the discard is nice and hungry. I find this works for my purposes, YMMV.).

So far I've made tortillas and naan dough (the latter works great for pizzas), and this weekend I made a great chocolate cake which will be a keeper.

On the horizon at some point will be sourdough oatmeal cookies, which I'll load up with (as I said to my cousin) "plenty of garbage" (i.e. craisins, chia, shred coconut, orange peel, you name it). 

I might use this recipe for my jumping off point, and already considering tweaking this recipe thusly:
  • Coconut flour
  • Soaking the oats overnight 
  • Splenda
It'll be a few weeks, but wanted to plunk this idea down for me to refer back to, when I'm ready.

Regarding the pizza I referenced, last Wednesday, I made pizza using up 1/2 a batch of the naan recipe in that sourdough book by Sarah Owens. Half white pie with bacon and onions for me, and half with prosciutto, pineapple and arugala for the Maharajah.

 Obviously, I rolled it out directly onto a Silpat and baked it that way, and while the end product was lovely, I feel I need to invest in a pizza stone, so that once it is halfway done, I can transfer it to the stone to crisp up on the bottom.   So, if anyone is actually reading my blog and can recommend a particular brand pizza stone, I'd appreciate any input in the comments section!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Note To Self: Bake This For Mother's Day

I'll be going to a friend's house for Mother's Day, and it's my habit to take along something for desert. I'm thinking this Sourdough Chocolate Cake might be the ticket.

I'm just wondering if I have it in me to follow the recipe AS WRITTEN, though. This is a clear sign of my mother's influence, as she always views recipes as merely "suggestions," just like boxed cake mixes are a "suggested use," though she always uses boxed mixes for half-homemade things. They are great time savers.  

And now I am having a brilliant idea of morphing a boxed cake mix into a sourdough permutation. 

Do I have the willpower to just follow this recipe? The photos look so enticing! 

Maybe I'll allow myself ONE tweak? Perhaps two? Mocha frosting, and I'll use yogurt as I have that on hand (and need to use it up) instead of the sour cream.

I just wish there were a way to totally HACK the frosting. I bristle at the idea of all that confectioner's sugar. Isn't there a way to bulk up a frosting and use Splenda to sweeten? (Also that frosting needs a pinch of salt, IMHO.)

Stay tuned, for Saturday evening we make cake!

Our friend's son is the "official taster" and grand arbiter of deliciousness, and he whole-heartedly gave his thumbs up for this cake. "It's a keeper!" And he of course ate second helpings of it.

Tweaks, such as they are, for the cake:
  • As I mentioned above, I was out of sour cream but had plain yogurt, so I used that.
  • I wanted a contrast in depth of flavor between cake and frosting, so the cake got that ultra dark cocoa powder (think: Oreo cookie dark), and the frosting used regular ol' Dutched cocoa.
  • The oil I used was macadamia nut oil, which I had on hand, and wanted to use up my supply. This lent a nice nutty/buttery aspect to the batter.
  • I divided the batter between a square pan and some cupcakes, and cooked the cupcakes for roughly 22 minutes, and the cake itself baked for roughly 32, and the cake still seemed a bit over-moist in the middle, but I let the cake cool in the pan.
  • I did not reduce the sugar AT ALL in this; however, if I were making this for a cake for home, I would adjust the cake with Splenda.
  • Frosting I followed the recipe, but I added a tsp of coffee powder and maybe 1-2 T of Ovaltine powder, and a pinch of salt. 
Future tweaks for this cake if I make it for myself:
  • Splenda
  • Coconut flour

I still had about five cupcakes remaining, so like a good DO-BEE, I brought them into the office for the buzzards. I brought them in on Monday, and by this morning (WEDS), there were still three of them remaining. Cream cheese frosting will not abide sitting out unrefrigerated this long, so while it broke my heart, I tossed the remaining three, and made a mental note NOT to bring in any more baked goods for these assholes.  Let no good deed go unpunished.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Rhapsody in Rye: The Post Before THE Post

As I alluded to in a previous blog post, this is the recipe I want to make my next attempt at rye bread.

Full Disclosure:

I already made it (with a few tweaks, to be itemized later on); however, I tried to get fancy at a mid point in the baking.

I bake my rye in a bowl, specifically, the top of a double-boiler, so I get a boule kind of effect, as I am lazy and cheap and neither want to spend money to get a proofing basket or a couche. 

So my failure came in the form of dislodging the loaf at the halfway point (much like I did with my baguettes); however, I did not take into consideration that the boule was considerably more dense, thus the surface tension of the crust didn't have the structural integrity to sustain being dislodged and inverted (the intent was to place the boule directly on the rack in the oven, so all the surface of the crust got nice and... well... CRUSTY). 

As you might imagine, it started to implode, and I quickly tried to salvage the loaf, tried to place it back in the bowl and bake it off.

Note to self: Next time, just bake the fucker off in the pan. End. Of. Story.

Taste-wise the bread was CRAZY GOOD. Nice, assertive flavor, not too top heavy with tang, and everything else about it was great--except for the appearance, and I'll take the blame for that (ipso facto, NO PHOTO TAKEN).

Now, the itemization of my tweaks:
  • Einkorn flour, not a "generic" type of APF.
  • Buckwheat honey, one ounce
  • What flour to be used for dusting and kneading was buckwheat flour (I used approximately 4T) 
  • 2T hemp seeds
Bulk proofing, I lost track of time, to be honest. And I did not pop it into the fridge, either. So, let's say, 24 hours, with 12 hours bulk proof, and 12 hours of it in the pan it was going to bake in. 

So, I'm two days away from my next "Saturday loaf," and I've got my game plan in place.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Not Soured on Sourdough Yet: Introducing My Kombucha Sourdough Hybrid

I'm a n00b about baking and bread and sourdough; but I knew I was onto something when I decided to splash some kombucha into my starter a few months back!

This morning I fed my starter, as I wanted to build up just a bit more of it before I use it in some recipes (my norm is to measure out my "discard" and use THAT for the levain for whatever recipe I'm about to use--THEN feed the starter and put the scoby back on top), namely YET ANOTHER attempt at rye bread, as well as a possible batch of naan dough and tortilla dough. I just have to give some thought about what food I plan to make this week. Naan dough does nicely as pizza dough, so I find it to be a great multi-tasker of the bread world. :)

Anyway, for those curious about the sequencing of my feed, for a friend, I created a Vine for her so she could see how simple it is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Because I'm Fancy

These have been procured. No particular recipes in mind, yet. Though, I thought both could potentially be great for naans and pizza dough.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Recommended Viewing: "Cooked"

I'm usually so behind the curve with things, so I noticed this was mentioned in a sourdough group I am in on FB, and thought I'd share for the few folks that visit my blog here.

Apparently Netflix has a documentary called "Cooked." I loved all the episodes, but in particular, I liked the 4th episode a lot, regarding "Air," which is devoted to bread making. I found it fascinating, and now of course, I want to see if Netflix has any other content to stream devoted to bread making.

Not Sour on Sourdough: Brooklyn Sourdough

I've tried several recipes from Sarah Owens' book, and have been quite happy with everything; the only minor exception is the Brooklyn Sourdough, so far. I made a batch yesterday and while I was happy enough with the result, the Maharajah was not. I guess he expected a more pronounced sour aspect to it? I don't know. But the bread proofed up like a trouper! Nice oven spring, too.  I have grown to love the book, and am considering working my way through the entire book one recipe at a time.

That being said, I am thinking ahead to next week's loaf, and am considering something a bit more assertive for the Maharajah. I'm thinking a beer rye sourdough. Of course, this necessitates another trip to get rye flour as I've got whole wheat, spelt, einkorn, bread flour and Antimo "00" at home, but no rye. I even have buckwheat and barley, but no rye. Plenty of time for that errand though. And this is the recipe I am considering using for this week's sourdough rye experiment.