Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whey Sourdough

Egnatius and Sue made some incredible cheese yesterday. Sue made her fabulous ricotta and Egnatius made mozzarella. In cheese making, one has to separate the curds from the whey and they whey is discarded.

Fortuitously, on Yeast Spotting this week, I noticed txfarmer's Whey Sourdough. She, too, apparently, had decided to make ricotta and used the whey for making sourdough. However, I was worried about the lemon juice in the ricotta being in the whey so I just used they whey from Egnatius' mozzarella.

There was a huge amount of whey left-- the result of an entire gallon of milk-- so I decided to make a variety of loaves. I made one double batch by txfarmer's specifications. I made the second set at Egnatius's design (he calls them his "designer loaves"). While I used the same process, I used this formula:

800g whole wheat flour
50g whole spelt flour
200g whole wheat starter
100g unbleached flour starter
610g whey + a little extra to soak the oats
20g salt
25g oat bran
50g rolled oats

The only changes to the method that I did were to add the soaked oats (both kinds) in during the mix at medium speed. I also added a preshape and a 25 minute bench rest to the shaping process.
Egnatius' Bread
Egnatius' bread was absolutely fantastic. It was nice and wheaty without being bitter. He is going to freeze one of the loaves and take it back to Ireland for his family.
Crumb is soft and crust is thin
So while whey thins the crust which I dislike, it also softens the interior and makes a 100% whole wheat loaf viable without being bitter which is fantastic. Whey is fantastic. Next time I will add even more whey for a more open crumb.

I also made two loaves by the specifications in the recipe. They were much lighter than Egnatius' loaves. They, too, did not bloom beautifully like txfarmer's loaves, but they were wonderful. The flavor was slightly sweeter and richer than traditional country sourdough on account of the whey. Also, the crust was heavier than on Egnatius' loaves, which I liked better. I am not yet sure of the reasoning.

If you make cheese, I would highly recommend using the whey for sourdough. It is quite a revelation for me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pizza Party

Egnatius' Homemade Mozzarella

Two nights ago I made some pizza for a bunch of friends. The pizza seemed to go better than ever before. I didn't get any pictures (I was making pizza for 8 people and trying to juggle the timing). I learned a number of things that I thought I would share.

The last time I made pizza for 8 people (bread baking day), one of the people I was teaching had worked at a pizzeria for a few years in between undergraduate and graduate school. He taught me how to shape pizza dough so that it has fluffy edge of crust. The method he taught me was to make a circle of finger indentations in a circle about 1-1.25 inches from the edge. Then, stretch the interior of the dough by flipping it from one hand to the other. This is the way that the make the lovely Neapolitan pizza at the pizza place near school. It also is the way that Eric seems to make it in this video. I am looking for another video that might have some better footage of the same technique.

While it has taken me a while to manage this technique (and I still have not mastered it), it turned out a lot better this time. This is the only picture I have. I made too much pizza so I refrigerated this one and I unfortunately only got to take it after it came out of the refrigerator. Also, sadly, this pizza does not have the cheese Egnatius made because we ran out of it. A gallon of milk only makes a small amount of cheese.
Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes
I also modified my sourdough pizza dough slightly (reflected in the current recipe). I had to make two batches. For the first batch I substituted 90g of semolina for the bread flour. The recipe now reflects this because the flavor was so much nicer. I did this once with fancy grind durum as well and it improved the flavor but I only substituted about 50g that time so it was not the entire flavor revelation. But the semolina really changed the texture and the flavor of the dough. The dough was thin and crispy while still soft on the inside of the edges. It was delicious. I also let the dough sit out for longer during the kneading process and only aged it in the refrigerator for about 6 hours.

The second set of dough that I made, I forgot to make the starter beforehand. Instead, I used some fruity-smelling whole wheat starter that passed the float test (226g to replace the starter). I then compensated for the added whole wheat by making the 50g of  whole wheat into bread flour. They were a little heavier, but still delicious.

The party was lovely. Sue and her husband plus Egnatius, another friend from my program, and her sister. The friend from the program brought over a lovely Zinfandel.

I suggest that if you have the chance, try the new version of the pizza dough. It is fantastic. I also used the pizza sauce recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day (p. 70). It was fantastic. Here is a modified version of the recipe (this is the recipe I used):
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28oz)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
I mixed this and simmered it for about 20-25 minutes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Land of Dreams? A Visit to Tartine Bakery

Tartine's Bakery
This has been quite a stressful quarter. So I came up with a crazy scheme to go to Anderson Valley with a bunch of my friends. Catullus II, upon hearing this idea, actually did all of the research and set up the trip. So Egnatius, Catullus II, and some other friends jumped in an SUV and toured Anderson Valley. On our way back, we stopped in San Francisco for the day. One of the places we went was the magical and wonderful Tartine Bakery which produces the book that saved my ability to bake bread, Tartine Bread.

Tartine Bakery is in a little unmarked building in the mission district. It's cute and all of the tables inside were taken. There were delicious chocolate cakes in the display case and you could smell it from an entire block away. I was really excited to be there at exactly 5pm to get the bread and I thought there would be a line out the door and only a few varieties of bread available like they say in the book.
Bannetons waiting for bread.
We got there at around 4:40pm. The bread, as it turns out, actually comes out of the oven at 4:30pm these days and there are tons of different varieties. The woman behind the counter listed at least five, although I only remember country, spelt, and white whole wheat. I bought a loaf of country and spelt.
You can barely see the country loaves rising on the shelf behind the glass.
I also got a croissant which was incredibly delicious and looked exactly like the one in the book. I was happy.

However, the bread did not look as it does in the book. The country loaf was great, but it was a tiny bit over-proofed (the crumb did not look like the gorgeous one in the book-- it was a little bit more honeycomb and thin although there were still plenty of irregular holes). However, one fantastic thing about this bread compared to mine did have one massive advantage. I usually use a national brand flour like Gold's or King Arthur. The local flour that they use at Tartine does have a lovely flavor-- especially when toasted-- that has a richer taste.

The spelt was fantastic although (1) it didn't taste much like spelt flour and (2) the crust was a little thin and the ears didn't bloom very nicely (see below).
Tartine bread: Country (left), spelt (right)
So, while the bread was still quite good, it was not quite the place I'd been imaging all year. I highly recommend giving it a visit. Have a croissant while you are there. It is delicious. But, while it is true that as Marie says in the video "no one should die without eating Chad's bread," you possibly can make it from his recipe instead of trekking to San Francisco.

While I was there, I did get a glimpse of the famous Chad. he was dressed like a hipster and hanging out directly outside the bakery. He seemed very nice and a little twitchy. He obviously wasn't in the bakery that day, just dropping by. But it was nice to see him. I sneaked a bad photo on my phone.

Although I leveled a bit of criticism against it, the bread was great. Also, as Eric says in the video below, a bit of the mood of the baker goes into the loaves each day. Maybe the bakers were just having a bit of a frenetic day.

One last thought: one of the things that I was most cut up about was the fact that there was no line out the door waiting for bread. I wanted to join the fray clamoring for bread at Tartine and experience the magic with other people. Instead, it was just me with a bunch of cranky people who had been driving for too many hours together and who had just had some stuff stolen (the car was broken into in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts). So I guess I just didn't get my magic moment. Maybe next time.