Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yeastspotting, Finally some time to bake bread again!

I decided to dust off a Miche recipe I've been tinkering with for a year and work on it some more for my first foray back into bread baking since opening the restaurant earlier this summer. I decided to use more Rye and less Whole Wheat since I prefer the flavor of Rye. Sorry Mr. Poilane! I guess I'll still call it Miche since it still looks about as butt-cheek like as any other miche.

My Miche

Build 1 7:20am

40g KAF Bread Flour
21g Rye Flour
19g Whole Wheat Flour
95g Water
22g 100% Hydration Starter

Build 2 3pm (Build 1 had doubled and looked like bubbly pancake batter)

153g Rye Flour
147g Whole Wheat Flour
158g KAF Bread Flour
3g Sea Salt
550g Water
all the levain from Build 1

Final Dough 7:20pm (Build 2 had increased by about 50% and looked like slightly thicker bubbly pancake batter)

525g KAF Bread Flour
21g Sea Salt
80g Water
all the levain from Build 2
plus about another 50g Bread Flour while kneading

1. Mixed until incorporated (about 2 minutes) and allowed 15 minute autolyse, then kneaded for 6 minutes and pre-shaped into large boule.
2. Allowed to rise at room temperature for 90 minutes then divided in 2 and shaped into smaller boules.
3. Allowed to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes then retarded overnight
4. Pulled Loaf #1 from refrigerator at 7:20am to de-chill. Sprinkled Loaf #1 with Caraway Seeds and Cumin Seeds. Oven set at 450 with steam pan in lower rack. Slashed with a # Sign. Loaf #1 in @8:40am 425 with steam for 15 minutes, then 40 more minutes without steam. 10 more minutes with door open.
5. Loaf #2 baked directly from refrigerator with oven set at 475 during re-heat. Then down to 425 when loaded. No seeds since Amy hates Caraway for some inexplicable reason. Baked with steam for 15 minutes, then without for 40 more. 10 more minutes with door open.

Sliced Loaf #1 after 1 hour and tasted it. Now I remember why I love bread and baking it! Nice slightly sour grainy flavor, great crumb & crust. I'm glad it's cooling off outside and I have some free time to bake again. At least I managed to keep one starter alive! Bagels tomorrow morning. I'll add the pictures once I figure out our card-reader.

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Like Angels Pissin' on your tongue"

Apparently this was the enthusiastic reply by one of our customers last night when Donovan asked how dinner was. I'm not sure it's slogan material, but at least the people where happy with the food! Things are still going well and we're into our second month of business.

Monday, August 04, 2008

...and here's the more later.

Like I said, things have gone quite well considering the stress and uncertainty of the last few days pre-open. Our soft opening Tuesday, July 8 went off without a hitch and we started off with a relatively easy first week averaging about 70 covers per night. The next week, as word got out that we were open, we got busier and started to really get into an effective group groove. The next week we got our liquor license and things really got busy when word got out about that. That Saturday night we did 160+ with no trouble at all. Well except for having to send Chris over to do dishes in the middle of getting slammed and having to muddle through down one cook. I guess we muddled well since I can't remember a single problem that night. Dishwashing has been the sore point during our first month. Our first dishwasher quit last week in a fit of anger over the fact that the waitstaff wouldn't do his job for him. He had expectations of the waitstaff well beyond any that I've experienced anywhere in my years as a cook and chef. Ijit! And this is in addition to the cooks doing a lot of his clean-up at the end of the night which is about the last thing that I want to be doing after a good 11 or 12 hours there already. So now we have a new dishwasher who has a fine attitude, but really needs to figure out a system to move things along a little faster.

Anyway, even with the Franklin County Fair in town, we had our best week yet, coming close to or exceeding the 100 mark every night this week. It took its toll on me, Jeremy & Donovan this week; with all of us remarking last night that our asses were kicked. I hurt from the bottoms of my feet to my neck and I'm definitely ready for the temperature to drop below 120+ in the kitchen. I'm glad I've got 2 days off now to recover. It's a good feeling anyway, working this hard and being this well received and doing it for the benefit of someone whom I like and respect instead of who I worked for over the last 3 years. But I won't say any more about that. I'm trying to keep this nice and that would not be a pretty rant. Hearing Donovan and or Art or Dana say thank you at the end of each shift is a big deal for me. I appreciate it.

About the best thing I can say about bread right now is that I've managed to keep my original starter viable despite ignoring for days at a time. One starter...out of four! Damn me! Also, we're making some of our own bread, in the form of corn muffins; which is something to be proud of. I will get back to baking and blogging about bread (soon?) but I need to be spending less than 12-14 hours/day out of the house to make it work. And it will be nicer when it cools off a little.

I'll try to keep the updates coming at a more regular pace, maybe with some actual bread posts too. No promises though, we keep getting busier week by week. Smoked BBQ Beef Ribs coming this week, made on our very own smoker! Woohoo!

"I'm not a cooker"

This is what one of our more promising cook candidates said when asked by Dana if he'd be interested in being a cook instead of server which is what he really applied for. Turns out Chris is a cooker. I was pushing for people with little or no "experience" aka bad habits, and Chris filled that requirement well. He's a seventeen year old baseball/soccer/hockey playing high school senior who worked at his family farm and another farm before coming to work with us. No restaurant experience whatsoever. He is fantastic! Calm, cool, and collected. Follows directions wonderfully and has a great memory. Has a great attitude and is pretty fast considering that he's still learning the dance. Not to forget anyone, our other hire besides Jeremy and me, Trevor, is just as good and comes with some experience and apparently no bad habits. But Chris was a particularly pleasant surprise considering we were all worried about him after his opening line.

Things are going ridiculously smoothly considering the new staff, new restaurant and new everything. More later I think.

"We're not the geniuses, are we, really? Just the technicians."

great quote from Marco Pierre White talking about making great food and the importance of the initial ingredients.