Wednesday, April 30, 2008

At least one of my regulars is doing some good for the World!

A regular at Maxfields and friend of our family is working on sustainable Biodiesel that avoids the problems of rising food prices and deforestation. Here's the article. Dr. Phil, as he's known at work, has kids the same age as ours and we all occasionally manage to get together to let them play. Maybe his efforts will offset all the carbon that I must be responsible for what with all the combustion going on in the restaurant. I hope so. Some day my carbon footprint will be steps.

My Bread Pantry...Yikes!

I've turned into a pretty enthusiastic home bread baker, with plans to start a bread program at work soon. I seriously consider one day building a wood-fired bread oven and getting out of the restaurant business and into the artisanal baking business. One day; you know, after I learn to do it efficiently at work, and we climb our way out of debt. I keep adding more ingredients, tools, and stuff as well as learning new techniques and background theory. It was looking at all the stuff that I have now that gave me pause and made me want to write this post and see just how long that list turns out to be. So, here it is:

White 100% Hydration Levain
2:1 Rye:Spelt 130% Hydration Levain
Dry Active Yeast
Instant Yeast
Unbleached High Gluten Flour
Unbleached AP Flour
Coarse Rye Flour
Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
Unbleached Spelt Flour
Stone Ground Grits
Golden Flax Seeds
Brown Flax Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Brown Sesame Seeds
Poppy Seeds
Bran Flakes
Rye Flakes
Wheat Flakes
Rolled Oats
Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal Mix-a great add-in for Multi-grain breads like Struan
Vital Wheat Gluten
Ascorbic Acid-haven't figured out where I want to experiment with this, but will
Diastatic Malt Powder-In the mail, looking forward to trying Bagels when I get it
Milk Powder
Spanish Sea Salt
Baking Soda
Caraway Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Fennel Seeds
Maple Syrup-from our Maple Trees
Lame-for slashing dough; it really does seem to do better than a serrated knife
Bench Scraper
5 quart KitchenAid Artisan Series Mixer
Pelouze Gram/Ounce Digital Scale
Long Handled Peel
1 "real" bentwood oval Banneton
4 Oval Wicker Bread Baskets which work great as Bannetons that I liberated from work
2 Round Wicker Bread Baskets-these work better than the "real" ones because they're practically non-stick and require much less coaxing (and coating) than the expensive version
Baking Stone
Plastic Spray Bottle for Misting
5 foot long Butcher Block table with Drawers full of tools and more non-specific ingredients

Yep, that's a darn long list!

Thanks to Potsdam Food Co-op, all of my Flours, Grains, and Seeds are Certified Organic. Excellent!

I think this is about it, for now...until I desperately need some other crazy thing and can afford to buy it. I make bread of some kind 2 or 3 times a week and hope to be doing it every day at work some time soon. I'll start out small with only one type to supplement the products we buy in and build up from there when I can handle more in addition to my other Chef-y duties. I'm researching the oven-building thing and may soon go to the local Chamber of Commerce to see what kind of 3-5 year plan will get me out of the restaurant and into my own bakery. Any advice is welcome. I wonder if our local/regional Community Supported Agriculture network can help. Also if there's an ingredient/tool/whatever that you can't do without, I'd love to hear about that too.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bread Baking Day...Oats

April really got away from me, and now it's April 29th already. Fortunately, two of my favorite breads are oat-centric and I've tried to get into the habit of taking pictures when I make bread that I'm happy with so I'm not completely unprepared. I've got one proofing right now as a matter of fact. I've always been a fan of Peter Reinhart's Struan in all of it's iterations from Brother Junipers on up to the newest version in his new Whole Grain Breads, New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor. This new version uses a soaker to hydrate the grains and seeds and to break out some of the flavors from the flour. Here's what I started last night, and am finishing as I write.

First I built up my white levain to the amount necessary for his formula:
Levain 75g
Organic High Gluten Flour 225g
Water 225g
1. Mix until all Flour is Hydrated.

Next I made the soaker:

Spelt Flour 20g
Whole Wheat Flour 27g
Sea Salt 5g
Buttermilk 170g
Stone Ground Grits 30g
Rolled Oats 50g
Rye Flakes 15g
Wheat Flakes 15g
Golden Flax Seeds 15g
Brown Flax Seeds 15g
Poppy Seeds 15g
Sunflower Seeds 20g

1. Combine and mix all the above until well Hydrated. All the Grains & Seeds, with the exception of the Poppy Seeds, are Organic.
2. Allow to sit at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.

Then I Mixed the Final Dough:

Soaker ALL
Levain 400g
Melted Butter 15g
Maple Syrup (made at my house with Sap from my trees) 57g
Sea Salt 5g
Yeast 7g
Spelt Flour 20g
Whole Wheat Flour 52g

1. Combine all ingredients except Soaker and Levain in mixing bowl.
2. Break up Soaker and spread over the above.
3. Add the Levain and mix on low speed (Kitchenaid 3 for me) for 3 minutes.
4. Allow to rest/autolyse for 5 minutes.
5. Mix at low speed for another 3 minutes.
6. Ferment at room temperature in an oiled bowl until it rises to 1.5 times it's original size; usually about 75 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Get a steam pan in the oven, and have 3/4 cup water ready to go.
7. On a floured surface, shape into a loaf and proof in loaf pan until it crests at the top of the pan, about another hour.
7b. If you want to scatter seeds or Rolled Oats on the surface, slash the loaf when you put it in the pan, mist with water, and scatter away. This time around, I did Poppy Seeds, Rolled Oats, and Sunflower Seeds. Then proof as above.
8. Place in oven, dump water in steam pan, spray walls with water 3 times at intervals of 30 seconds with the door closed between each spray. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
9. Bake 20 minutes, rotate, bake another 20 minutes, rotate, bake another 20 minutes.
10. Check temperature, it should register 195F when the bread is done.
11. Remove bread from loaf pan and cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour.
12. Enjoy the Oat-y goodness!

This month I also made the seedy baguette I've already blogged about using Maple Sap in place of water just to see what would happen. The bread turned out about the same as always with a very slightly darker crust, and a very light aroma and flavor of Maple Syrup. It's definitely something I will try again more than once when the sap starts running next spring.

Here are the pictures...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

First Rye Levain & More

Since my last post I've been too busy making bread, boiling sap, working, and playing with the kids to actually write about making bread. I've made two successful attempts with my new Rye Levain. The first is the seedy baguette from "Local Breads". Can anyone tell that I just got that book and am working my way through it? It's only my third bread book and I'm very impressed with the attention to detail and testing that must have been done to get the formulas down for home-scale production. I forgot to take any before shots each of the three times I've made this one in the last ten days, but I do have some nice after photos.

Seeing that I've made three batches in ten days, I guess they were pretty popular around the house and at work. It's pretty easy to make if you're not afraid of slack dough. Although, you do need to have a German Rye Levain handy.

German Rye Levain 100g
Rolled Oats 28g
Sunflower Seeds 28g
Pumpkin Seeds 28g
Sesame Seeds 28g
Water (room temp.) 525g
Instant Yeast 5g
High Gluten Flour 500g
Sea Salt 10g

1. Combine Oats and Seeds in a bowl and mix with 175g Water. Allow to sit overnight.
2. The following day, combine soaker with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with dough hook on medium-low (KitchenAid 3) for 8 minutes.
3. Scrape bowl and dough hook down and allow to rest (autolyse) for 10 minutes.
4. Mix again on med.-low for 6 minutes.
5. In an oiled bowl, ferment for 2 to 2.5 hours at room temperature, until dough has doubled. Halfway through this time, pre-heat your oven to 450F and get a steam pan ready.
6. Turn dough gently onto a well-floured surface and form into a rough rectangle. This would be a good time to measure out water or ice for your steam pan. I find that 3/4 cup cold water works fine for me to create a steamy oven for about the first 12-15 minutes of the baking time, which is about all you want.
7. Cut into 3 equal pieces and gently form each into baguettes.
8. Transfer them gently onto a parchment paper covered peel or the back of a baking sheet. I use a baking sheet because they seem to fit better than on my peel. I can do 2 on one sheet and then do the last loaf solo. If you have a bigger peel/baking sheet/baking stone go ahead and do all three at once.
9. Slide them onto them baking stone in your oven, fill the steam pan with your cold water/ice and set a timer for 15 minutes.
10. Rotate 180 degrees at the 15 minute mark and re-set for 15 more minutes.
11. They should be nice and dark golden brown. Leader calls for reddish brown, but what you're looking for is a really deep, dark golden brown verging on "did I wait too long" here and there.
12. Cool for at least an hour if you can withstand the intoxicating nutty aroma that long. After that, go out and buy Leader's "Local Breads" if you don't own it already. You won't regret it.

I also made a 70% Rye German Farmhouse bread using my rye levain, but forgot to take pictures;
...and one of my weekly breads, Norwich Sourdough

Aside from making bread and working, we also tapped two of our five sugar maples ten days ago, and boiled our first 6 gallons of precious sap down to 2.5 pints of pretty nice looking, and tasting, syrup. I plan to figure out a bread to sneak some into and post about that some time soon. Amy has said she plans on blogging about this on her blog, so I'll let her show off the pictures of the professional sugar-shack we visited, our thoroughly unprofessional sugaring operation, and the liquid gold itself. Unfortunately, she's off to Maryland for the funeral of one of her cousins who died completely unexpectedly last week. So you'll just have to wait until Amy is back and in a blogging mood to hear more about it and see the pictures.