This weekends baking...

This weekend, I did a pretty large bake. I did the old standbys of oat bran-flax bread and challah. I tried a different braiding pattern for the challah this time. In Hamelman's book, he describes a "Winston Knot". The loaf on the lower right is my attempt at it. I like the size of loaf it makes but I din't roll out the strands long enough. By the time I got it into shape, they got a little smashed together. Will have to try it again.

This week, my King Arthur order came with my new "pet". I ordered some of their sour dough culture so I could start experimenting with different sour dough recipes. I have already built it up into 2 separate levain starters. One is traditional white flour which I have nicknamed "Renee".

The other I am in the process of converting to a rye levain which I have nicknamed "Heidi". I think I will be keeping them both as stiff levains at about 80% hydration. According to Hamelman, stiffer levains will develop a stronger sour flavor which is my goal. Instead of throwing out some of the levain with the last feeding of "Heidi", I decided to take a try at a plain old Pain au Levain and tried the recipe from Peter Reinhart's "Bread Bakers Apprentice".

I cheated a little because I spiked the final dough with some instant yeast to accomidate my schedule. Otherwise it would have been a 4 hr ferment and a 2 hr proof. Adding the yeast cut things down to 90minutes and 60 minutes. Bread turned out pretty well with just a hint of sour flavor. Let the experimentation begin...


This weekends baking...

This weekend I did a fair amount of baking. I did Pane Siciliano which is becoming a standby when I have the prep time.

A month or so ago, I got Jeffery Hamelman's "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes". He had a recipe for a roasted potato bread which I tried this weekend. Aside from the screw up I did on the pre-ferment, it turned out pretty well and Lou proclaims it her new 2nd favorite bread for peanut butter and jelly. The PBJ index tends to be a guiding factor in each weekends bake.

Lastly, I took a run at brioche from the workshop I took this summer. I had a little trouble with the mixing of the dough so it didn't develop the structure it was suppose to have. I turned most of it into apricot-pear tarts with some home made pastry cream. Thus proving even failed attempts can usually be rescued with proper application of some eggs, butter and/or sugar. The book from the class has a couple other variations on brioche that I might try next time.