Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back Again, I Hope

So I just finished my applications to graduate school. It proved to be a more troubling process than I had originally expected, but I'm done and now I just have to wait. I do still have school and classes to keep me distracted, but I thought I would do an update on some general things while I'm slightly less busy.

A Thank You
King Arthur Flours, picture credit: Servia
A friend of the family and fellow food aficionado (actually, she makes much fancier food than I do), and her family gave me a generous gift certificate to King Arthur Flour. This is what I got.
  • Diastatic malt powder-- I've been hankering to try some of this for a while but it's just so expensive. Diastatic malt power is made from barley, my new favorite grain. It is a sweetener, but it's a sweetener made from sprouted grains, so it's actually good for you. It specifically uses the enzymes in the sprouted grain to convert the starches in the bread dough into their component sugars. I got a bunch of barley and I'm planning on making my own using this recipe (although I will use barley in place of wheat) if it turns out that I like it. It's often used in whole wheat breads that tend to be slightly bitter in order to help promote the process of starch conversion.It also helps improve the rise of the bread.
  • Non-diastatic malt powder-- this is the distinctive sweetener in bagels. It doesn't have the same enzymes as diastatic malt powder, but it does also give a sweetness to the dough. It can be used as a replacement for sugar or honey in bread, although I don't know how the proportions work.
  • Durum Flour (extra fancy)-- I absolutely love durum flour and I've noticed that the extra fancy tends to perform better in bread and pizza then the semolina. Some of my most beautiful breads have been made with substituting some of the white flour for durum (see the two pictures at the very bottom of my Bread Lesson II post).
  • Sir Lancelot High- Gluten flour-- I bought this flour for two reasons. The first is that I'm desperate to make another attempt at Bread Cetera's Multigrain Bread. This looks phenomenal, and I misread the directions last time so I ended up making a mistake. It tasted fine, but it looked really silly so I didn't even post it. This time I will not be foiled! I also plan to make an attempt at bagels again. Maybe with a group of people (because it's a lot of work for very little yield).
  • European Style flour-- Last year my family got me a book called English Bread and Yeast Cookery, in which Elizabeth David claims that soft flour has more flavor and so while the American breads rise higher, the European breads are more flavorful. While this is not actual flour from Europe, King Arthur Flour claims it is a good imitation so I want to see if it really is better.
  • Pumpernickel Flour--Servia is a big fan of Pumpernickel bread. I have never tried to make it, but at Christmas dinner she and two friends decided to do a Pumpernickel day. Since on of the friends is responsible for getting me this flour, I decided I'd get a bag so we can make some proper pumpernickel.
So anyway, thanks to my friends who gave me this gift card. It will allow me to bake and blog for the next few months at least.

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