Sunday, March 23, 2008

What About Bob?

For those of you who are planning on baking the May Bread Baking Babes bread with us and started your sourdough starters in the past day or two, or for those of you just playing along and taking the first plunge into making a starter of your own, let's see how we are all doing!

I've been snapping pictures of Bob, who has been bubbling away on my counter for the past twelve days, like a proud parent; documenting each feeding so you can check and see how your starter is doing.

Day 1 - Rye Soup: There isn't much that happens on either feeding one or two other than foamy bubbles about two hours after the feeding. You may not even get many of these. Don't worry if it just looks like brown, grainy soup.

Day 2 - It's Alive? : About twelve hours after the second feeding of the first day, you may notice that there are pockets of foamy areas. This is yeast attacking the last remaining bits of flour. This is good, showing the yeast is ravenous and ready to be fed again.

After the first feeding of the day, you should notice lots of bubbles and it should be frothy when you stir it up.

About six hours after the first feeding it will look pillowy and puffy and have large bubbles

Again, after the last feeding of the day before you go to bed, the starter will be frothy and foamy.

If you taste the starter at the end of the second day, it should taste like a very mildly sweet whole grain pancake batter.

Over the long weekend, I baked quite a few loaves of bread! I baked three sourdough cinnamon loaves on Friday. On Saturday, I played with a recipe I've been working on for a soft and rich bread for a friend who can't eat eggs.

I got the airy crumb I am looking for

but I'm still not happy with the texture of the bread. It's close but not quite as soft and springy as the egg bread she loves but can't have anymore. I've never played with egg substitutes before in bread but I have to place an order for some specialty whole grain flours from Bob's Red Mill later this week so I may order some of their's and give it a try. Has anyone used egg substitutes for egg bread before? How did it turn out?

And today, I baked a loaf of white wheat bread using the recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains cookbook with a few modifications that I prefer to the original recipe. I also tried something new today and split them on top and poured melted butter into the split before putting them in the oven. It resulted in a super buttery taste with a soft tight crumb.

I think it will make a great peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich that I'll take to lunch tomorrow.

100% Whole White Wheat Sandwich Bread
adapted from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book

Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf

1 cup and 2 Tbsp lukewarm water (about 80 - 90 degrees)
4 Tbsp melted butter
3 cups White Wheat flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1/4 cup dry milk
1 1/4 tps salt
1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp melted butter

Sponge: Combine water, 1 1/2 cups flour, and 1 tsp yeast in a 2 quart plastic container with tight fitting lid. Let ferment for 2 hours until bubbly and frothy.

Dough: Combine sponge and remaining ingredients to form a shaggy dough ball. If using stand mixer, combine with dough hook on medium-low speed (2 - 4 on Kitchen Aid). For both hand and stand mixer, on lightly floured counter, knead by hand dusting shaggy dough ball with small hands full of flour until slightly tacky and springy dough ball is formed. Let rest for 10 minutes on counter. Lightly grease a 4 quart bowl and place dough in, turning dough so as to lightly grease dough ball. Cover and let rise until double, about 2 1/2 hours.

Forming and Baking Loaf: Punch down risen dough and press out on floured counter in a rectangle about 10" long by 6" wide by 2" thick. Fold one short end over to about the middle of the rectangle, fold the other short end over so it rests on top of the other short end (like a business letter), seal top and ends and place seam side down into a prepared glass loaf pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is about 2" taller than edge of loaf pan.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Gently slash lengthwise down the center with a lame or really sharp knife. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and pour into slash. Bake uncovered for 35 minute, tenting the top with foil after about 15 - 20 minutes. Bread will be finished when top is is golden brown and internal temperature is between 200 - 205 degrees. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.