Friday, February 7, 2014

The Mystery Of Sourdough

Just when I think that I have a solid understanding of sourdough, something happens, and I have to start all over again. 
I normally use about 1/4 cup of starter in each bread, but yesterday, for no apparent reason I thought I'd push the limit. I used 1 cup of starter in a single loaf of bread. I thought something bad might happen, but no, something good happened. I baked one of my best sourdough loaves ever. The loaf had a thin, crisp crust, was tender inside, had lots of mouse holes and a mild taste. Just the way I like it.
If you're wondering why I didn't bake in my wood-fired oven, I can only say that it's been too damn cold outside, and I wasn't ready to stray from the kitchen.
To make an outstanding loaf of bread, lots of elements have to come together such as:
quality of the flour
quality of the starter
correct amount of water
room temperature
correct duration of the proof
and there's more
In a domestic oven, ALWAYS bake undercover in a Dutch oven.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back From Guatemala

Just returned from Guatemala where Masons On A Mission (Not to be confused with The Masons or with missionaries) built 40 energy efficient stoves with the Mayas.
We divide into small groups of three where each group builds a stove a day. The wood-fired stoves are used for making tortillas, beans, stews, etc. Being vented to the outdoors, the Mayas will no longer be breathing smoke from their traditional three stone fires.
Stove paid for by Eric Msica from France