RSS

Category Archives: Baking

Sourdough Bread Baking: Sourdough Baker’s Percentages

January has been a crazy month. My baby boy celebrated his first birthday on the 18th.

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Laura made him a fun shark themed cake that matched the wrapping paper on his presents. He made a huge mess of it.

Messy Boy!

Cake Destroyed!

I also got in a car accident which rendered my vehicle useless.┬áThat sure has made the weekends more difficult, since I can’t even leave the place to get groceries unless Laura is home from work. At work we’ve gone through four separate change of responsibility ceremonies, starting at the company level and going all the way up to theater. Plus I’ve been preparing for two missions that I’m slotted for, one starting tomorrow and the other at the end of March. It sure has been busy.

So we last left off with making a starter and letting it mature into a levain by feeding it and keeping it healthy. If you followed those instructions and have been taking care of it, you should have quite nice mature liquid levain. It should be very active and smell nice and sour when it’s at its peak. Maybe you’ve even found a bread recipe to try it out with.

Well, now it’s time to learn how to formulate a sourdough recipe with your levain using bread formulas. Hopefully, at this point, you are well versed in basic baker’s percentages and have used pre-ferments before. Sourdough formulas can seem a little more complex at first, as there are extra steps and math involved. You’ll remember from using pre-ferments that you have to start with your total dough recipe. Then you select a percentage of your flour that you want to pre-ferment a day before. That requires you to subtract the flour and water that you used in your pre-ferment from the total dough recipe, which gives you your final recipe. Baker’s formulas using levains use that same basic concept. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Army, Baking, Bread, Food, Pizza

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sourdough Bread Baking: The Levain

It’s no secret that I love bread, which is why I often come back to it. We’ve covered some pretty good information on bread in the past in my Bread Baking Basics run of posts. Having gone over the twelve steps of baking, baker’s formulas, and how to use pre-ferments, we are armed with enough knowledge to make some pretty impressive bread. The next natural step would be to learn how to make sourdough breads.

But what exactly is a sourdough bread? In simple terms, it is a bread that is completely leavened without the use of commercial yeast. Instead, it is leavened with the natural yeasts that exist in our environment. This is achieved with the use of a sourdough starter, also known as a levain. Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Baking, Food

 

Tags: , , , ,

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry

Laura had to make a puff pastry recipe about a month ago for work. The chef there wanted to make a beef wellington for family meal, so it seemed natural to ask the pastry chef to make puff pastry dough. Unfortunately, she hadn’t made puff pastry since the days of culinary school, seeing as almost every company in the food industry buys it in frozen sheets. So, we found our old college recipe, and, being the laminated dough king that I am, I explained how to make the dough, make the beurrage (a butter and flour mixture), fold the beurrage into the dough, and make all the subsequent folds and turns to make that layered deliciousness.

Well, Laura made it at work. It came out fine and they used it for the wellington, but she wasn’t overly confident that she did all the folds and turns correctly. So, she’s been bugging me to show her how to do it at home. I saw it as a perfect opportunity to make some homemade turnovers, which I had been craving lately for whatever reason. A win-win situation!

However . . . Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Baking, Dessert, Food

 

Tags: ,

Avocado Chevre Torte

Avocado Chevre Torte

I’m continually on a quest for healthy lunch options, so I don’t have to eat so much canned tuna. I despise it. Canned chicken is a little better, but it still has that tin can flavor that I’m not so fond of.

Laura found a few pretty good looking recipes that I probably wouldn’t have tried without her encouragement. This particular one, called an Avocado Chevre Torte, is essentially a frittata with some pretty tasty ingredients in it. It was incredibly flavorful and easy enough to slice and store away as part of a packed lunch. This would also be a great brunch option, if you’re the kind of person that does brunch. Brunch is a great excuse to drink alcohol before noon. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , ,

Caprese Galette

Caprese Galette

It has been yet another busy week, and Laura has been doing most of the cooking. In fact, the only new item I have to share of my own doing is today’s recipe.

Fortunately, though, Laura has been putting together some pretty damn tasty meals and she’s been taking pictures as she goes, so I’ll still be able to share those in days to come!

A few weekends ago, we had some good friends over for dinner. I knew they were a little adventurous in their tastes and were open to me putting together any kind of menu, so I decided on an Italian-Hawaiian fusion three course dinner. However, the only course I ended up documenting was the appetizer, which was more Italian influenced than anything else. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bread Baking Basics: Ciabatta!

Bread Baking Basics: Ciabatta!

I absolutely love a ciabatta loaf. It has a great open and airy crumb, perfect chewy texture, and a thin and crispy crust. It’s a perfect dinner or soup bread. Not really meant for making sandwiches or slicing for toast. It’s definitely a grab-a-hunk-and-stuff-it-in-your-mouth kind of bread.

And it’s incredibly simple to make at home. Ciabatta, by nature, is a very wet dough, which is why it has that revered open crumb. The hydration for ciabatta ranges from 75% to 80%, though I’ve seen some crazy people use 85% hydration. It is almost impossible to fully develop the gluten, especially in a home kitchenaid style mixer. Our countertop mixers, although versatile and fantastic, just aren’t optimized for bread mixing, and this is an example where that shows. A stiff preferment is necessary to help out with developing the gluten structure. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Baking, Bread, Food

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bread Baking Basics: Autolyse and Pre-Ferments

Bread Baking Basics: Autolyse and Pre-Ferments

I must admit that I’ve been fairly busy lately. It is my last week of leave before I go back to work, so we have been running around getting things done, as well as trying to enjoy our time as a family. We had a pretty grand time spending our tax return money. A new mattress, tires for Laura’s car, and the rest paid off what was left on my car loan.

That new mattress is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever slept on. It envelopes me and wraps me in fluffy clouds and lulls me to dreamland!

Jack, of course, has been keeping us busy as well. He’s been pretty fussy lately, so we took him to see the pediatrician because we suspected he had acid reflux problems. And he did. Hopefully his medication will start working soon.

So, it’s Friday already, and I realized that I haven’t posted anything significant. Not that I haven’t been cooking and taking pictures, or anything. I just haven’t had a chance to put anything into 1’s and 0’s.

Yep. That was a binary joke. Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Baking, Bread, Food

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: