Monday, April 15, 2013

yes, but is it kinfolk?

part one.

so, i went to a funky little store in echo park last week called cookbook, a tiny greengrocer in the funky echo park neighborhood of l.a.




the store was cute enough, tiny as a broom closet with a conservative collection of pricey goods that today, every must have in their larders - slender fingers of pink, french radishes, sacks heirloom grains. a couple of very serious-looking and borderline dour young folks stood rigid at the register, the girl of the two regarded me unsmilingly as though i had interrupted her backyard cow-milking with purchase of my measly bag of farine.



folks. yes, they were that sort of kinfolk eclectic which is hardly eclectic anymore. you know the bunch, you can spot them by their tragic loafers, perfectly down-at-heel and usually lacking laces. the girls, standing slightly pigeon-toed, always, wear impoverished smocks and hair-styles tacked together by a superfluity of mismatched bobby pins, the bangs of which land high on their foreheads. the boys, observe, must wear too-small cardigans with threadbare elbows, under this is a shirt of plaid, smaller still and buttoned tight at the throat. their battered old fedoras, the final infinitesimal accoutrement to the ensemble, perch high over their cowlicks, a wilted feather struggling at the band. and beards are back, did you know? the more scraggly the better, it would seem. rustic. he's been chopping wood (again), this beard says.



don't misunderstand. i LOVE gorgeous kinfolk. and i'm guilty too, not of these sartorial abuses, but we are all indeed photographing our masterpieces on weatherbeaten pieces of wood and pretending that the configuration was adventitious. oh, but a puff of silver hydrangea just there in the background, how clever, how accidental! and those leaves that tumbled down like that, capture them there, just how they've fallen, oh look how perfectly natural they lay. it's all fine and good. we say.

yes, but is it kinfolk?

well, is it? we beg ourselves, in appraisal of our arrangements.

but i digress, and nevertheless, cookbook confirmed that they had a few bags of central milling ØØ flour, which is tricky to find. and lo, a bucket of hydrangeas in the window, plum-colored, i think. and this brings us to our post today.

was it worth it? meh. the pizza was great, but it's great when i use bread flour, or even A/P. compare that at $5 per 5 lb. bag to $11 for a sack of ØØ at the same weight. alas, one must try new things lest one's life becomes too stale.



the long and short of this blather is that you can save yourself a trip across town and at least $6 and use either bread or A/P for this formula which we can get at whole foods, very well we know. but you may ask yourself, in view of your economy and when standing at that great wall of supermarket flours between les confitures and the sea of salts: but is it kinfolk?

the answer: indeed, it is not.

kinfolk is not just a magazine, darling reader, but an adjective to describe the mileu of our lives, the very organization of our minds. one must make an important decision, then, whether to be stylishly arranged, or in full embrace of one's frugality in matters of dress and wealth.

stay tuned, for part 2 in our ØØ series. for now, busy yourself with this.


decidedly not kinfolk pizza

THE DAY BEFORE DOUGH DAY

40g starter
100g ØØ flour, i used central milling
100g h2o

1. in a large vintage, kinfolk-inspired bowl, add the starter, ØØ and h2o 2. mix it up until you reach a smooth paste 3. cover 4. ferment your levain. mine fermented for 9 hours.

1.

2.

3.

4.

DOUGH DAY

all of the levain
500g ØØ flour i used central milling
350g h2o
14g salt
24g olive oil

mix up the levain with the ØØ and h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse for one hour.







after autolyse, squish the salt and olive oil in and knead the dough for 3 minutes by hand.

now is time for the 4-hour bulk fermentation. one hour after you kneaded the dough, fold/turn the dough as you normally would when making a boule, then in another half hour, perform another series, then one more in another half hour for a total of 3 series of turns.


it will be a smooth mass. pop in the fridge for the remaining 2 hours and ferment, unmolested.

MAY AS WELL MAKE YOUR SAUCE

1 14.5 oz. can italian plum tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
a glug of olive oil
4 basil leaves




pour the tomatoes into a small saucepan, break up with your fingers. using a submersible blender, blend it up a bit just to break up the larger chunks. add the garlic, about 4 leaves of basil, and olive oil, oh, and a pinch of salt; bring to a simmer, cooking the tomatoes gently, just till they reduce a bit. refrigerate when done.

after the 4 hour bulk fermentation, scrape the dough out onto a workspace that has been oiled with olive oil, divide into two, and rest for ten minutes. after the dough has rested, oil two small bowls, large enough to hold the dough which will rise to double. cover the dough with a plate, and refrigerate. your final ferment will be 12.5 hours (or more, you can ferment the dough for 20 hours safely).



PIZZA DAY!

one FULL hour before you plan to bake preheat the oven to 550 degrees, with a pizza stone installed.

GATHER: your sauce, a fistful of basil leaves, a ball of fresh mozz, a dish with a little olive oil and a brush for brushing the dough. arrange on a kinfolkish table (photograph it and start a blog) like this:





tear a piece of parchment large enough to hold the pizza, and lay it over your pizza peel. have it waiting on your work space.

15 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza, pull the dough out and give it a poke (for fun), it should have gotten all puffy.


turn out the dough right into your hand, and stretch into a rough round, this will take 5 minutes. place the dough over the parchmented peel, stretching so that it's uniform in thickness. let it rest for 10 minutes.



brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil, and scatter with basil (i like my leaves to be submerged in the sauce. i find that when you sprinkle it over the pizza, it gets leathery).


ladle the sauce over the dough.


slice the ball of mozz and lay it about.



slide the pizza into the oven, parchment and all, and bake till the cheese bubbles and the edges grow golden.



to the staff of life!

i sent this over to wild yeast blog for the world to see.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

it's just bread

i mean, it is just bread, right? so, it was a lazy sunday to be (it was friday when i decided this), i could feel it in my bones. and as a virgo, i planned for my laze by making a levain the night before the laziness really set in (you have no idea, my bones have a way of turning to jelly, and when this happens, oh man, nothing gets done but reading and stuffing my face. some people call it depression, i call it comfort zone).



many loaves that come out of my kitchen are just straight up plain, right, which is why i don't post very often. i'm baking, perhaps not posting, and i decided to post this here because i wanted to just say this, that it's just bread, okay. it's really no big deal. you've opened the cupboard, a farine reconnoiter of sorts, you saw what you had, right, maybe A/P, maybe bread flour, maybe a handful of each, and then that bit of rye that you've been meaning to deal with, because it's just sitting there putting all kinds of pressure on you.


all i had was A/P this weekend. and i was not about to go to the store. it's the nun in me. i'm not going to waste a handful of flour because there are starving people, like, everywhere, and just because i can run out and get something crazy (i can't, really), like, i don't know what, teff flour or something like that, so that i can pretend like i'm over here in some sort of lab, conjuring up all kinds of cool stuff because that's just my life, doesn't mean i'm going to. it's simple: i check the freezer - yeah, the freezer; i slice my bread and stick it in there, frugality, see, and when i'm hungry, i pry a couple of slices from the frozen block, slide it under the broiler, and there, i've got lunch - if the goods are running lean eh bien, it's time to make bread.


a boule with no name (is still a boule)

you don't have to make this some extravagant venture every time. you can (i'm serious) just sort of bake loaves if you're bored, or hungry, or you're too poor to buy someone a real birthday present. i think this batch of bread will cost you like 12¢ out the door, so you're either a cheapskate or seriously talented. whatever the case, you're terribly sophisticated to think up a loaf of bread instead of presenting your friend with a store bought piece of crap, because, yeah, that takes so much ingenuity. time is money baby, so loaves of bread baked for friends are equivalent to, say, tiffany rings with diamonds, lots of diamonds.



sometimes i think of all these ideas of things i should bake, but i never do because i'm part nun and totally broke, and all i have today (most days) is A/P or a few grams of bread flour and rye. always rye. if i don't have rye, my world stops, the world stops. so today i baked up the last of some A/P, and instead of just eating it, i snapped a few pix and decided to jot down the 'formula', if you can even call it that.

here you go. the formula below makes two loaves, i made this double batch and then another demi-batch. in the case of a demi-batch, just cut all of your measurements in half from levain down to the salt.

THE NIGHT BEFORE DOUGH DAY

make your levain:

100g starter
200g dark rye flour, i used 'to your health'
200g h2o

mix this together to make a paste and ferment. mine took 8 or 9 hours.




DOUGH DAY

make the dough:

500g levain
700g h2o
1000g KA A/P flour
25g kosher salt



mix together the levain, the flours and water until it reaches a shaggy mass. autolyse for 1 full hour. after autolyse, squish the salt into the dough with your hands.


begin the bulk fermentation. for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation, you will perform a series of turns every half hour at room temp. for the last two hours, pop the dough in the fridge and allow it to ferment, untouched.

after the bulk fermentation is complete, turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with brown rice flour, gather it up into a loose round and let it rest for 10 minutes. after it has rested, shape it into a boule.

pop this into a bowl lined with a linen that has been dusted with brown rice flour, pop in the fridge and ferment for 25 hours.

BAKE DAY

one hour before you bake, preheat the oven to 550 degrees. make sure your stone and both halves of the combo cooker are in there too.

after a FULL HOUR (i'm serious), unearth the dough onto a peel lined with a piece of parchment, score the dough in some lovely pattern, then slide it into the shallow half of the combo cooker.





pop on the top half and turn the oven down to 475 degrees. steam for 30 minutes. after the steam, remove the top half of the combo cooker using an oven mitt to avoid a nasty steam burn. turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake until the chestnut-colored.



verdict: it's just bread. and it's FANTASTIC.

to the staff of life!

this post has been exhibited on Susan's wild yeast blog. thank you susan, for giving us a platform to share our bread!

THE PLAIN JANES


Sunday, April 7, 2013

soupçon

this bread turned out more agreeably than i thought it would. so, it's buckwheat, right, and bread flour. here's the thing about flours not explored hitherto, you want only to start with a soupçon in order to gauge its behavior. my go-to weight for loaves with a total flour weight of 500 grams is always 80-110 grams: 100 grams of rye, 110 grams of wheat, perhaps, 80 grams of corn, i think, likewise for polenta, semolina too. i think that these training-wheel weights are such that no matter the behavior of the grain, it (un) won't assail the progress of your loaf, and (deux) will provide a sort of starting point where after you can exercise a more daring hand. this is not to fault the daredevil within,  but there is nothing more pitiable than the fallen loaf with skins of stone. the cautious have never suffered so much as the imprudent. mark my words.



so you do a little reading first, yeah? and then you decide to dive in and give it a whirl. be prudent, have a look-see, a sniff-about. ah, and then you can adjust from here.

buckwheat. aside from that guileless character with unfortunate hair, what do we know about it? Let's have a look.

BUCKWHEAT. Wholly not a grain, no less than a plant related to rhubarb. its darling seeds look and behave like a grain, thus is the luxury that we may employ it for bread. it contains no gluten, so crackers made from it can be had by those who cannot tolerate the stuff. think: tan asian noodles called soba, these are made from buckwheat, our new friend. and this little rascal, you will be happy to hear, is a complete source of protein.

let's enjoy this new discovery, right? good, because i've a bag of it that must be used.


i began this loaf remembering how wonderfully this flour behaved in some crackers i made a while ago. nutty, i remember them being, and as i love to flog a good, dead horse, i added sunflower seeds to the dough.

the dough, it must be mentioned, feels a bit gluey, flaccid, sticky, you may even feel as though your bread could not possibly come out well, given some evident lack of vigor. but forge on, because it will despite all of these ominous signs. and for those of you who have asked why sometimes i use bread flour flour instead all purpose on various occasion, it's because when working with another flour that lacks gluten, i like to make up for that loss with a higher protein flour, bread flour, as it were, which, of course, contains more gluten than all purpose. i use all purpose when there is no fear of the fallen loaf because all purpose is lower in protein than bread flour, thus providing a more tender crumb. i choose wisely, see, it's not all willy-nilly over here, despite appearances.



carrying on...

a brief note on seeds and nuts, any seed/nut for any bread: those worked into the dough must be toasted for optimum flavor, those that you press to the outside of the dough should remain raw; they will toast in the oven as the bread bakes. if you toast them prior, they will blacken and ruin your day.


with all that said. here is our latest bread. of course, i will post the ensuing results as i experiment with increased measures of this flour along with any further adjustments, using this loaf as a platform for the newest fork in our road.

i give you...

buckwheat & sunflower

THE NIGHT BEFORE DOUGH DAY

make your levain:

50g 100% rye, 100% hydration starter
100g dark rye flour, i used to your health
100g h2o

mix this together to make a paste and ferment. mine took 9 hours

DOUGH DAY

250g levain
110g organic, sprouted buckwheat flour
         (i used 'to your health' with fantastic results)
390g KA organic bread flour
364g h2o
100g toasted sunflower seeds
125g raw sunflower seeds
9g salt
20g organic sprouted barley malt, i used 'eden'

mix together the levain, the flours and water until it reaches a shaggy mass. autolyse for 1 full hour. after autolyse, squish the salt into the dough with your hands. add the toasted seeds. knead the dough for a full two minutes by hand, i mean, really beat the crap out of it. it will be sticky and horrendous, but loads of fun.




begin the 3-hour bulk fermentation. for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation, you will perform a series of turns every half hour at room temp. for the last hour hour, pop the dough in the fridge and allow it to ferment, untouched.


after the bulk fermentation is complete, turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with just  a whisper of brown rice flour, gather it up into a loose round and let it rest for 10 minutes. after it has rested, shape it into a boule.



just a whisper of rice flour, don't worry, the dough won't stick...

spread the 125 of raw sunflower seeds on your proofing cloth (i just use a rough square of linen), place the dough in the center...



now press the seeds to the sides of the dough, taking great care to thoroughly coat it, or it will stick and cause mayhem tomorrow when you are ready to unearth it.


pop this into a bowl, sprinkle the top of the dough with rice flour, then layer it with a dampened piece of cheesecloth, now cover it. pop in the fridge and ferment for 23.5 hours.



BAKE DAY

one hour before you bake, preheat the oven to 550 degrees. make sure your stone and both halves of the combo cooker are in there too. after a full hour (no cheating)...



unearth the dough onto a peel lined with a piece of parchment, man, did this baby rise; brush away any seeds that have cascaded from the dough (feed these to the dog); then slide it into the shallow half of the combo cooker.


pop on the top half and turn the oven down to 475 degrees. steam for 30 minutes. after the steam, remove the top half of the combo cooker using an oven mitt to avoid nasty steam burns.




turn the oven down to 425 degrees, rotating it every ten minutes or so to ensure even browning. at this stage, watch it fastidiously, if the seeds look like they are browning too quickly, turn the oven down a little more. best to go low and slow for even browning (and no burning) of the seeds, and a thoroughly baked interior. this loaf will brown quicker than you are accustomed to because of the seeds and the barley malt. the sugar in the barley malt causes the crust to caramelize quickly, but given your advanced skills as a baker, you will know exactly how to adjust that temperature.




using a large, flat utensil, unearth the bread and cool it for at least one hour on a rack. the bread needs at least this amount of time so that the moisture can redistribute through the crumb. if you slice it whilst hot, you will have a gummy dough. heed this advice, and reap the rewards of it.





be sure to keep a tiny bowl handy while you are slicing the bread to capture all of the little seeds that fall away. these make for lovely snacking.


verdict: goodness me, this bread is to die for. the interior was as splendid as one could hope for, so tender. and the crust was perfectly caramelized. it was pleasantly sour, undeniably nutty. if there is one thing that i will change next time round is to increase the amount of barley malt that i use to at least 40g (which would likely necessitate the reduction of hydration in the dough, so keep this in mind if you make this adjustment on your own). and i may cut the final ferment to 20 hours. i will keep you posted when i make these changes.

and another thank you to Susan's wild yeast blog for letting us flaunt our accomplishments so unabashedly.

to the staff of life!

BECAUSE I CAN NEVER DECIDE...




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