Monday, February 28, 2011

What do you do when you have a grain mill?

Grind grain of course! You even take your trusty sourdough starter named Arnold, and give him 100% whole wheat flour to eat. Then you take the starter you pull off, add some water, whole wheat flour, rye flour, and salt. You mix it together, let it sit overnight or longer, shape it, and let it sit till it's risen to just the right level, and then pop it into the oven! Nummy, bread, not as holey as I am used to, but very good tasting and I am sure it will get better with time. Overall though a nice tasting and looking loaf.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns.... first attempt!

Links to my fellow baker's in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, 2011!  Here are links to their versions of this bread.  They are all very talented baker's, who have gotten together to share their results from baking the Bread's in Peter Reinhart's book Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Our host Chris at A Ku Indeed!
Coz at ScratchBaker 
Geraint at Sgratch13 
Jim at OvenMinded 
NancyB at Bread&Cake&More

The BBA recipes have all turned out awesome, just as they are (except maybe the brioche which had to much butter). I never added more flour or more water, they simply turned out great exactly as they were. I have struggled through the years to produce breads that turned out well, simply due to lack of knowledge of the actual process of making bread. It's amazing what happens when you learn about weighing ingredients, when to let the dough rest, when to knead it or fold it, and what your dough should feel like at different hydrations. I actually have two books now that you will probably have to pry away from me after my demise! One is Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, and the other is Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman. They give you more than just recipes, they give you tools on how to make awesome bread. I highly recommend them both, since they teach you different skills.

Here is a picture of the fresh ground flour that I soaked in Kefir for 20 hours. It felt a little bit dry, so I added a little extra liquid the night before. Total extra liquid was about 75 grams more than the BBA recipe called for, because my Fresh Ground Hard White Wheat seemed to absorb every bit I gave it. This made a really nice supple dough, about like I am used to for cinnamon buns. Looks like playdough to me.....

I again totally forgot to take pictures, due to rushing around doing stuff while I was making these. Here they are coming out of the oven, the thermometer said they were done but I think I should have let them cook another 5 minutes. I let them cool for an hour and then made a frosting of cream cheese and a few other ingredients a fellow baker suggested on It turned out really good, and I will probably use it again. That is also a link to the other's who made the regular recipe for cinnamon buns from BBA.

The taste was a little bit different than I am used to for cinnamon buns, but it was actually really good. Not sure if that was because I used Kefir, which tends to be a little bit sour tasting, or if it was the whole wheat, but we really liked these. The splenda worked out well both in the dough and the swirls of cinnamon. Only thing I would do different would be to not use quite as much water to hold the splenda in place before rolling the dough up. I will definitely make these again. They were light, fluffy, and definitely not like any 100% whole wheat bread I hace eaten before. I love the light wheaty flavor of them.

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Snow.... so beautiful!

This is the view from my backyard, as of Friday night. It's was incredibly beautiful, as the sun was setting behind us. When I see a scene like this, it makes me so thankful for what God has given us. Makes me feel a little bit guilty about how badly I would like it to be warmer, because it's so crisp, clear, and absolutely breathtaking at times. It wasn't to long after this that the extreme cold started forcing it's way through my boots, and my hands started to protest saying they wanted back into the warm house. Luckily I had brought the camera out and Andy took a couple pictures for me, so I can enjoy it some more today when there isn't a blue sky in sight!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cinnamon buns.... maybe I should have waited to make these!

The next challenge in the Bread Baker's Challenge is Cinnamon Buns.  At this point I'm starting to wonder if all of the breads in this book are wonderful, but filled with white flour and sugar.  Now don't get me wrong on this, I happen to believe that white breads are awesome.  The problem lies in blood sugar levels, and absolutely no fiber in the end product.  That is why I made the decision this week to make my cinnamon rolls with splenda (except the cream cheese topping) and fresh ground Hard White Wheat flour.

Now normally I would be expecting a dense cinnamon bread type of roll from this experiment, but earlier this week I made the most awesome loaf of bread with mostly whole wheat flour.  I simply soaked the flour for 20 hours in kefir (you can use buttermilk, or 1/2 cup lemon juice and water or milk) in place of the liquid in the recipe.  The issue with not following the beaten path is that whole wheat flour, especially since it is fresh ground, needs more liquid than regular bread flour or all purpose flour to end up with the same results.  Everything was looking pretty good, until I sprayed extra water onto the cinnamon/sugar/flour I sprinkled on the dough before rolling it up.  Normally I do this because the splenda is so light it flies all over as your roll, and a light sprinkle of water helps hold it in place.  This time it caused the higher hydration dough to stick together into one solid mass, making my cinnamon rolls look more like a solid roll.

Right now they are sitting in the fridge, waiting to do their final rise when I come back from town this afternoon.  I might have to do these over again, when I have more time to focus on what I am doing rather than the million other things I was focused on this morning.  They are not a failure, although I won't know for sure till I bake them, but I know that I can do so much better!!!

Andy says, "Oh, bummer.... another batch of cinnamon rolls!", somehow I don't believe he was actually heartbroken at the thought!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Kitties love each other....

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67% Whole Wheat Flax bread

This is by far the best tasting whole wheat bread I have made so far. It is soft, tender, and very light. I soaked the ground flax and fresh ground Hard White Winter Wheat flour in the kefir and water in my recipe for 20 hours. I then added the rest of the ingredients and mixed them together, plus kneaded for 6 minutes in my mixer.

I formed it into a boule, it was slighty tacky and not sticky at all.  Nice looking flecks of the flax meal, and a nutty smell. 

Allowed the dough to ferment for 1 1/2 hours, till double.  Then shaped and measured the dough into 2 two pound loaves, and 3 small rolls. 

I then let it rise for 45 minutes for the rolls, which I cooked first. 

I then put the loaves into the oven @ 380*'s for 30 minutes, and then tented it with foil for 15 minutes. I pulled from the oven these huge wonderful loaves.

The last whole wheat bread I made I also used 2 lbs of dough per loaf pan, and they were about 1/3 smaller than these.  This is just amazing bread, great taste, and light and fluffy.  Andy says it's the best whole wheat I have made so far.....

From WWFlax

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Been snowing all day...

It's been snowing almost every day since the day Andy came home from New Mexico. That was on the 11th of February, and I can safely say that snow is beautiful and at least it's not muddy rainy days, but I am really looking forward to more warm sunny days. Since I got up this morning it has snowed several inches, so it's all coated in this white fluffy mass. These pictures were taken yesterday from out by the barn.  It's really to snowy to take the camera out today.  Maybe it will stop later on....




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Sunday, February 20, 2011

BBA Challah braid.... reminds me of braiding my daughter's hair!

Links to my fellow baker's in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, 2011!  Here are links to their versions of this bread.  They are all very talented baker's, who have gotten together to share their results from baking the Bread's in Peter Reinhart's book Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Our host Chris at A Ku Indeed!
Coz at ScratchBaker
NancyB at Bread&Cake&More
Adam at Within Reason

The crumb was wonderful and the bread tastes great. The crust is flaky crisp, and this is definitely a bread I will be making more often. The best "wonder" bread I have ever had.

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I totally forgot to take pictures till I moved my dough to the greased bowl to rise. Here is is about 15 minutes after it started it's first rise.  I mixed the dough in my kitchenaid, using my dough hook.  It was pretty wet and sticky so I gave it a half hour autolyse, then kneaded the dough for 6 minutes.  It then formed into a really nice handling dough.

Twice the size and ready to be split for braiding.

Made it into a rough split, then allowed to rest for 10 minutes.

Rolled out into thin ropes for braiding.  I made them to long for a single loaf, so cut them into two pieces for two loaves.

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One braided, the other half way done.  The dough was easy to handle, and braided very easily.

All finished braiding, ready for proofing.  They took 75 minutes to proof.

Almost done and ready for baking, they are looking pretty good so far.

I baked these at 350* for 45 minutes on my pizza stone, which worked really well.  They looked and smelled really good when I pulled them from the oven and covered them with the flour sack towels to cool for a couple hours.  I was way to much in a hurry while making these, so I think that effected the entire shaping and braiding process.  The other's loaves are so much nicer looking then mine, but I will have plenty of opportunity to try this again when I am not feeling so rushed. 

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Goat kids

Sure looks cold and white out there.... wow, did you see that flying black goat kid go by?

Maybe we should see what everyone is up to....

Oh, look mom is taking my picture, let me pose!


We really should go out, better yet lets have dad pick us up and show us around. 
That snow looks really deep!
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New snow, it's getting really deep, reaches halfway up my legs....

Dad!!! This isn't what we wanted.....

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