Monday, May 30, 2011

BBA Lavash Crackers

This is my version of Lavash crackers, using the formula from Peter Reinhart's book.  I adapted it by using 100% white whole wheat, and adding a little extra liquid to get the right consistency.  Here is the dough, ready to put into the fridge overnight to give it more flavor. 

I pulled the dough from the fridge this morning, and put it into my dehydrator at 80* F temperature setting. Allowing it to warm for 90 minutes, before stretching it out and sprinkling flour on top preparing it to be rolled with a rolling pin.

If I make these again, I will split the dough in half and roll it even thinner than I did this time.  The edges were a lot thinner than the middle and when I baked this the edges were thin crispy and crunchy.  I liked them a lot better than the slightly thicker portions in the center.

I sprayed the dough with water, then added rosemary, garlic, and Kosher salt.  Then I used a pizza cutter to cut them into smallish squares.  I wanted crackers you could spread a little bit of cream cheese spread on, and take a couple bites of.  Then I gave it time to rise a little bit, about 1/2 an hour while the oven warmed to 350* F.

This is how thin the outer edges were, which was just about right for this cracker.

Here they are all baked and cracked apart into individual crackers.  The thicker ones are crunchy, and not hard, but still I think would have been better about half as thick.

This shows you how thick the center ones were.

Links to my fellow baker's in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, 2011!  Here are links to their versions of this cracker.  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
Jim at OvenMinded
Coz at Scratchbaker

Some laps are awesome

They say a picture  is worth a thousand words...

Last summer I had a house filled with family, it seemed all summer long there were people around who spoiled this kitty.  He is my Mom-in-Laws kitten, but during the winter she goes to where it is warmer.  The older I get, the better that sounds!  Smoky though didn't understand when he was so used to having a ton of people around, plus a brother to play with, why suddenly there was only my husband to hang out with.  They spent about a month, just the two of them, alone.  He felt totally abandoned and really got attached to my husband, and when I came back he would hardly give me the time of day.  In fact to this day he follows my husband everywhere he goes.  Weird kitty....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hamelman's Pissaladière Page 275

I was actually quite skeptical about this one. First I have never had pizza without sauce on it, and second putting fish on my favorite food, well it just sounded rather bad. I decided though that I would give it a try, and I am actually rather surprised that I thought it was pretty good. Anchovies are not my favorite topping, and I will not be in a rush to put this on any of my regular pizza's, but I would definitely eat a pizza that already had them on it.

Here I sliced my onions, soaked my thyme in extra virgin olive oil, and have my can of anchovies ready to slice into thin pieces.

I adapted this recipe to use 100% whole wheat white flour, which means the dough will have lots of flavor and probably won't rise very high.  I prefer the White Winter Wheat berries for this type of recipe, so that it gives me flavor but  doesn't overwhelm the other flavors of topping etc.

I saved half the dough for hamburger buns, and used a 1 lb chunk for this recipe.  While the dough was doing it's 2 hour first rise, I sauteed the onions and sliced the anchovies.  Sauteed onions are one of my favorite foods, although normally I just chop some sweet onions and put them on top of my pizza to bake while it bakes.  I chose not to use garlic in this recipe, although I do love fresh garlic most of the time.

I stretched the dough out to approximately 12" x 6" rectangle, since I think it helps the dough's crumb to not use a rolling pin.  I actually didn't have to flour the surface of this wonderful cooking mat, and didn't use any oil on it either. 

Next I moved the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, which I believe is one of the most awesome inventions of all time. I then placed the onions on the dough, you can see the olive oil and thyme coated the top.  I then chose to put both black olives and green olives onto the top. Just so you know, green olives are really good on pizza.  I have never thought of trying this, until I was reading how Lutz on Mellow baker's did hers. 

This is the dough after it has done it's last proof, which I actually chose to do a full hour rather than the 20 minutes that was suggested in the book.  I actually needed to give my baking stone a chance to heat for 45 minutes, or it wouldn't have worked well for that initial rise and crisp crust.

I love how thick and poofy the dough looks here, and this is where I figured out that this not only doesn't have sauce, but it doesn't have cheese on it either!  This is also the point I almost stopped, disregarded all instructions and put the cheese on.  I had a mental debate, inside my head, something like this:  Pizza has cheese. You should be willing to try new things. But pizza has cheese, and sauce. You can't decide you don't like something without trying it.  Bbbbbbbbut... !!!!!!

From HamelmansPissaladiere

If you look at the picture you will notice, it does NOT have cheese.  My DH and I each had two small pieces, and actually enjoyed them!!!  I then however, could not stop myself and put a mix of parmesan, mozzarella, monterey jack, and cheddar on the top and guess what!  We actually enjoyed our pizza.  I will say it is not our favorite, and we would both choose pepperoni over anchovies, but it was actually ok.

I am working with a group of baker's which call themselves Mellow Baker's and we are baking from a book called, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  Come check the forum out, it's a pretty laid back group who bakes what they can when they can with no time pressure's on them.  There are a few recipes that are suggested for each month, and we simply bake the ones that we want to. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Death from above...

I think I need to find a new place for my bird feeder! I am thinking that the bird is going to lose in this situation.

What do indoor kitty's do all day?

 Well, first they eat and sleep a lot, but occasionally they find a pastime that is a lot more amusing for them.

Sylvester says something is happening outside!

Yes, there is definitely something going on.

See that faint shadow in the tree?

He's not sure exactly what that things is, but he knows he would like to play with it.

Black Headed Grosbeak Grosbeak info

This is going to be a long day for Sylvester, camping out just hoping it comes inside.

As I was taking these pictures, my daughter sent me this link to a cartoon.  I thought it really fit what Sylvester was going through, so I included it for you all to see!

Predatory Friend

Now wasn't that funny?

It's froggy this morning...

Did you know there are two 5 o'clocks in one day?  This morning I discovered this.  I actually knew the other one existed, and even occasionally see it, but after the kids left home I rarely get up before about 7 am much less actually leave the house and venture outside.  Most of you wouldn't believe I actually went outside at that time in the morning, so I will just confess right now and say that my honey took these pictures.  This is what our mountain looked like as the sun was rising, covered in fog from the massive amounts of rain we received yesterday. 

We also had a layer of frost everywhere, as you can see on the trees above us.   It's hard to see it lower down, but our cars were covered with it.

Today looks promising, with blue sky, but I am told that it is not supposed to be a warm day.  Maybe I should go back to bed and sleep some more....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My honey's birthday...

Note: If you want to see the pictures in their online album click the center of the slideshow or picture. If you want to control the slideshow, click towards the bottom of it and controls will appear.

It was a really low key day, due to the fact that he ended up working for 10 1/2 hours and had planned on taking the day off. Otherwise, it was a beautiful days, filled with flowers...

Spring growth on our trees, new sprouts in our container gardens, and dandelions in our fields....

And a sexy man at the BBQ,  showing me exactly how to make the meat juicy and tender.  BBQ Pork Ribs, marinated in BBQ sauce w/wine & BBQ Mushrooms marinated in olive oil & balsamic vinegar,  He might be a year older, but definitely getting better....

PS: He really does cook meat a lot better than I do, but even if he didn't I would never tell him and risk having to cook my own meal!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The art of labeling your bulk products...

Yes, this is about buying in bulk and labeling your purchases when you put them into containers. My labeling system is very simple, I use packing tape and paper. Nothing fancy, something I always have on hand, and very versatile. I simply write the name of whatever I am putting into a plastic sealed container onto the piece of paper, then I take a piece of tape that is bigger than the piece of paper and fold both ends over on top of themselves. This forms a little piece of tape on either end that is not sticky, so that when it comes time to pull the label off and use the container for something different it comes off cleanly.

Here I used the actual Bob's Red Mill plastic bag that I cut out.

It really saves on my level of frustration at trying to pull little pieces of tape off of containers. Then I simply try to put the tape over the label, and make sure it looks as straight as possible. After this is done, I simply put it onto the end of the container that is sticking out so that when I look into the cupboard it is visible.

The absolute best time to do this is when you are putting the product, say Oat Groats (whole grain oats) into the plastic container you will be storing it in. If you do it even a week later, then you risk labeling it Winter White Wheat instead.

 Now the trouble with this is:

They look almost exactly the same!  Now look at that, can you tell which is which?

The picture above is usually the first clue, the flour is way to white and the gluten is really really really weak.  The other clue is when you are finished grinding it, and it is all clumpy looking and the texture is way off.  That is when you go back to the container to make sure you used the right stuff. I mean it's label tells you what it is.  What the heck is wrong with the flour?  It has never done this before! I kneaded it for over ten minutes, and could hardly form it into a ball without it tearing.

After baking a loaf of Hamelman's 5 grain bread, which turned out 2 inches high and dense, you start searching your mind and the internet to find out what went wrong.  You spend a lot of time till you suddenly remember that you had another grain you were putting away at that same time.  You also remember that you didn't label that container till about a week after you put it into the cupboard. Then it all makes sense, and you perform tests to figure out if that is really Oat Groats in your White Wheat container.

The moral to this story is label your containers right away to save yourself time, money, and ingredients. Although the chickens did enjoy their bread treat today, I think we would have enjoyed it a lot more!

Failures in baking

Here's what happens when you experiment with one of King Arthur Flours great recipes:

From Crackers

These are Rye Krisp crackers, and are the first thing I have made from King Arthur Flours Baking Companion cookbook that hasn't been really awesome! This is really a great book on baking almost anything you can think of. It has a lot of information as well as the actual recipes.

They look so beautiful, but they turned out very firm. This is not the fault of the recipe though, since I changed it by using Whole Wheat and Whole Rye fresh ground flours. I think there was simply to much fiber in it and then I worked it to much, which just made matters worse. If I had used a flour with less gluten, it probably would have helped a great deal too. Really thinking I need to look for soft wheat berries just for making crackers and quickbreads, rather than the hard winter wheat berries I use for bread.

The actual process for making these was really simple, first you take the oil and dry ingredients and mix forming small crumbly pieces.  Then you add the liquids and mix them together. Do not overmix, you do not want the gluten to get strong. Once you can form it into a ball, then it's time to refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.  You do this to increase the flavor of the wheat, which makes them taste really good.  The flavor in mine is awesome, and I gave it 22 hours in the fridge.  Then you need to roll the dough out really thin, about 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick.  I used a rolling pin that has notches in it used for making lefse, for rye krisps you normally use a pin that has larger notches in it.  Once it was thin enough, about 14" x 17" I used a pizza cutter to cut the crackers, and used an egg wash on top of them to glaze them.  The two things I would do differently with these is I would sift a portion of the whole wheat flour, and I would use a soft wheat berry.  Even though they are hard, I still am enjoying them a lot. What a great flavor they have! 

Here are a few of the products I used when making these.  I actually used the King Arthur Dough Mat, but a silpat one works pretty well too.  No guarantees you will like them too, but thought I would include links to what I actually do use!

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Flowers, showers, floods, and snow!

Ok, so how was THAT for a title? While my house is high and dry, and for the first time since moving here I am thankful the creek is on the opposite side of the road from me. Right now there are others that are wishing it was. Here are just a few photos of the last few days living in the middle of no where! I started this folder of pictures on May 14th, when my tulips first started to open up. That was 2 days ago.

The one picture is of the neighbors driveway and house in the background, and the creek flowing through her property rather than around. We talked to them, and they are fine, just have to wait for the water to go back down before damages can be assessed. It's a similar story all over this area right now, and was followed last night by a thick blanket of very wet snow. Now where are my snow boots? I just put them away somewhere....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

BBA Light Whole Wheat Baguettes

I know this was supposed to be a loaf bread, but I have a couple meetings this week and I promised to bring whole wheat baguettes too.  I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and just make these into nice long shapely baguettes!  If I hadn't been in a hurry, and wanted to get this done in a single day, I would have been disappointed that none of the dough aged before baking.  As it was though, this worked really well for my schedule and that made it a nice bread for my really busy life right now. Here's a couple pictures of them:

I received a lame from Breadtopia for mother's day.  Really can't say enough about how wonderful this tool is!  It improved my slashing by a zillion percent!  Every slash I have done since receiving this has turned out wonderfully!

The crumb turned out nice for sandwich type bread.  Only complaint I have with this bread is that it was to sweet, which is probably because I am so used to lean breads that I am simply not used to sugar in them!

I had to slip these in, basically these are loaves of BBA Casatiello that I made into a baguette shape.  I wanted the slices to be more like a snack for my meetings this week.  Hope this works out ok!  I just used a different shape, but the same recipe.
First I took everything I needed out, measured it all out, and then added it to the bowl.  I mixed it, followed by kneading the dough for 6 minutes.  Seemed a little bit stiff to me, but it was supposed to be a sandwich type loaf so this should be fine.  It rose very high in my dough bucket, and the lid left an indent in the top of the dough.  Looks rather funny!

After the 2 hour rise, I shaped it into baguettes and allowed them to proof for an hour.  I then slashed them with my lame, and baked them like I would a baguette.  They turned out really nice, if a little bit to sweet for me. 

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
Jim at OvenMinded
Adam at Within Reason

Hamelman's 5 Grain page 129

This bread turned out really well.  I used fresh ground Hard Winter White Wheat, Flax Seeds, an 8 grain cereal mix, Oat Groats, Sunflower seeds, but had to leave out the rye chops which were not available here.  I got a lame for Mothers day from Breadtopia, which is making a huge difference in my slashes.  It just looks so much better!

The crumb came out light, with nice size holes evenly spread throught.  Overall, it looks pretty with all the little seeds showing. 

Everything in it's place, which always helps me not forget things like salt!

Here are all the grains together in the bowl of water.  Just looked pretty!

Mixed all together ready to autolyse for 1/2 an hour.

Kneaded the dough for 4 minutes, and it was one of those days that the bread just came together really well.

This is where I realized I forgot the salt.  I went ahead and kneaded the dough for a couple minutes, then allowed it to rise for another hour.

I shaped the dough and put it into my clay baker.  This is a really awesome tool for making artisan breads.  I put it into the oven while the oven and it are cold, then turn the oven on to 425* and bake for 40 minutes.  Take the lid off and bake 5 minutes if it's not brown enough. 

Aren't all those nuts and seeds pretty looking?  We really enjoyed this loaf, can't decide though if it will be one my make again list.  I think I should have used some rye flour in place of the regular flour.  I didn't use any bread flour, or ap flour though.  It was 100% fresh ground whole wheat.
I am working with a group of baker's which call themselves Mellow Baker's and we are baking from a book called, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  Come check the forum out, it's a pretty laid back group who bakes what they can when they can with no time pressure's on them.  There are a few recipes that are suggested for each month, and we simply bake the ones that we want to.