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More Sourdough Discard & Baker's Kaffeeklatsch

plllog
9 years ago

We left off at Troisième

I haven't had time and space for proper baking but sorely miss my lovely whole grain bread. Instead, I've been feeding my starters and gathering too much discard, so I've had it in mind to figure out what to do with super hydrated rye starter discard. There's a little less wet whole wheat starter in the jar too, but not much.

Today I had a weird idea. Biscuits! That doesn't take time or mess or hand washing dishes.

I made Cathy in SW PA's Grandmother's Sourdough Biscuits recipe, sort of, but with whole grain rye. I used the parve margarine as she suggested, and had to knead in extra flour--more than the extra quarter cup Cathy said--because I guess my very thin starter is just too darned thin, but it formed up nicely. It was still damp and stuck to the cutter so didn't pop up much, but the biscuits were light and fluffy inside. :)

The flavor? Think dark rye and baking powder biscuit together. A bit of bran presence in the texture. Probably not everyone's taste, but very satisfying to me. :) Should be great with eggs. :)

Edited to fix acent grave. What a relief to be able to....

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Dec 3, 14 at 21:55

Comments (143)

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    This mornings loaves were also a success. And the breakfast cornbread, yum.


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Nice! You can't get that kind of color in an electric oven. :)


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    Thanks Plllog. I'm pretty familar with the good and bad of sourdough starters and recognize the difference between what is an acceptable "smell" and one that isn't. I've been baking sourdough for about ten years now. First starter I kept going for s number of years. The last one that I neglected to the point of no return was two years old. To be honest, since I'm not really a big fan of sourdough bread to begin with, so I lose interest. My family, especially Matthew loves sourdough so I make it mostly for him and share it with friends. I do get a sense of satisfaction out of being able to bake bread from wild yeast without the addition of commercial yeast. Hooch is something that usually develops if I let my starter go longer than 8 to 10 days. I don't care for it so I pour it off. It isn't necessary to keep it. I know that my new starter is good and strong since it baked the above bread when it was only three to four days old. And without the addition of commerical yeast. The flavour is already quite developed. I fed both starters again this morning before leaving for work. And I used the discard to make a rye preferment that will be going into a batch of rye bread that I will handmix tonight and probably bake on Monday. This is what the starters looked like when I got home. One fed with white and one with rye. and the rye preferment had more than doubled.
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  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    One has the whole wheat. He said 1/4...250grams. Best we have had access to. From A NovaScotia mill. (i do have whole grains to grind but this was a nice surprise)....at the hardware store.


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I've found maple cutting boards and all kinds of good things (including mining equipment) at the hardware store here, but never flour. :) I'm thinking it's more of a general store there?


  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    Nails, paint, some yarn, needle and thread. Lottery tickets. Candy, English brands. Fireworks. PGtip tea! Instant coffee. Lots of cans. (we brought up green beans to roast our own).

    No crafts. Not like NewEngland hardware stores. This is the nuts and bolts.

    Taking a drive to 'town' tomorrow for a chainsaw. They have a CanadianTire, a grocery, TimmyHorton, and a tiny Walmart. (we just will quickly hit the equipment guy and the fantastic marine supply. Mercer's. ) Don't need Timmy or Walmart.

    Our fire wood is delivered in 'sticks'...trees. We usually borrow a chainsaw but it is time to have a good one here of our own.

    MercerMarine has the v-pan. Traditionally used for tea cakes. Worked really nice for my brown bread.



  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Sleevendog, Great looking Forkish loaf. Would love your oven. Looks like Speerville Flour Mill is producing some high protein bread flours. Good find.

    Been making more sourdough this past couple of weeks.

    Mixed up a batch of sourdough yesterday morning. 100g of starter, 750 g of flour, 510g of water and 20g of salt.

    Instead of making bread I used the sourdough for pizza crusts.

    Baked in the Bakerstone Pizza oven on the grill.

    A Greek Pizza for Matthew.


    And a second pizza for Moe and I

    topped with Italian sausage and mushrooms.

  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Fed my starter again yesterday and used 100g of discard to make a 750g batch of sourdough.

    Baked in Dutch Ovens.



  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I keep hoping I'll have something to share, but I'm sick (again) and just don't want to bake.

    S., thanks for all the descriptions and answers! Your Newfoundland home sounds so interesting. I'm too much of a wimp for that kind of life, but I love reading the stories!

    Ann, gorgeous bread and pizza. Couldn't you overrise a loaf or something?
    Just kidding. :)


  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    Sooo, now what. ? I think my sourdough starter is lovely. Smells sweet and yeasty like a brewery. (in the fridge now after the 6 days) Just add half to what and when, then feed. ? DH had his mothers starter years ago but is being a blank goon-ish sheepish clue-less ... : ) He should know. Denies he is getting elder, lol.

    I only make one bread, my brown. Start bigga night before...

    so how does a sourdough play into that....i know . dumb question. Now i have something that i took care of, and care about...need to use it.

    For example. DH starts his Forkish stretch. Lovely. Elastic. He could use my starter?...(he is snoring right now on the couch...I bet he knows...a.m. conversation, lol.)

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    If it's only six days old it probably needs a little more love and care than if it were years established. I know mine are getting hardier as they age. I suggest you go with the standard method for the next few months.

    If you can divide it into two parts that are 100 grams, at least, that's fine. If you don't have enough, feed it it's own weight in flour and water according to the proportion you're using. Let it warm up and digest, and double (hopefully within 12 hrs, but it might take a little longer if the air is cool and the starter is young), then divide it. Feed each division and put one back in the fridge right away. That gives it the feeding to chomp on while it rests. Let the other half rise to double and it's ready to use. If you're making a biga, however, depending on the recipe, you might be able to throw it right in rather than waiting until it doubles.

    It helps to start with recipes that are meant to rise with starter. I've tried adapting with mixed results. Get a handle on baking with the starter first. I was confused as h*ll when I started because I was trying to learn whole wheat and sourdough at the same time. Or you could try making your brown bread by substituting some starter for an equal amount of flour and water, and reduce the amount of yeast. That way you'll get some sourdough flavor without having to rely on it for the whole rise, which might want to be faster than using all wild yeast will give you.

    The longer the rise and the smaller the starter portion, the more sour flavor you'll get.

    I didn't have a good result when I tried Ann's recipe. I think the absorption rates of the different flours might have been to blame. It's certainly tried and true, however, and might also be a good place to start.

  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Sleevendog, the answer is actually yes. You can make a preferment (biga) using some of the discard or what I have been doing recently and it works just as well is to use 100g of the discard added to 750g of flour, 510g of water (68% hydration) and 20g of salt. I add the salt after the first autolyze period. The sourdough posted above, was made with just adding the starter to the batch of dough without first making a biga.


    If you want to make the preferment, you can add 60 to 100g of starter to 225 g of flour and 225g of water ,mix well, cover and leave to double overnight. Then add that to your flour and water.

    When I feed my starter, I feed 6 ounces of it with 3 oz of spring water and 3 oz of flour. I've started to maintain just one starter so I feed it with 1 oz of organic rye and 2 oz of bread flour. It usually doubles in less than 5 hours. Then it goes back into the fridge until I feed it again.

    I don't think that Plllog and I are using the same starter so that and the different flours we use might account for the problem she has had getting the same results.


    ~Ann





  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    Very helpful, both of you. Thank you.

    It smells so good. When DH made it a few months ago it smelled like a sewer burp.

    We never know where are attentions will take us when on holiday. This one certainly includes bread...and many visitors seem to appear just as a fresh boule or baguette or focaccia is going in or coming out of the oven. (none is going to waste while we experiment!).

    I am using my small ration of whole grain and grinding my own for the starter. The local flour is rather good and fresh as everyone here bakes their own.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Sleevendog, if you meant that when your DH and you made starter before it smelled like a sewer burp, that's actually okay. It means that the yeast is fighting the other micro-organisms for supremacy. They do win eventually. Feeding your starter freshly milled/ground whole grain actually prolongs this period because you're introducing new microorganisms. Once you've established a little yeast colony, you can feed them anything, though it's better to ease into a change by doing part and part in increasing proportions if you don't want to shock the poor dears. When they're shocked they just take awhile to get rising again. Kind of semi-dormant even though not in the fridge. If you're ever in that position again, you can feed with commercial flour for a few days and they'll settle down. Even quicker with commercial white flour. If you're stubborn, like I was, you can just keep feeding the smelly starter your nice fresh flour and the yeast will win after a few days, and it'll start smelling sweet and yeasty.

    You can also transition your starter from one kind of flour to another. If you're feeding your hand ground wheat flour, but want to do a pure white loaf, just do a gradual transition over a few days, feeding more and more white flour, and then a few more days of all white flour, and even if there's a little whole wheat left, it'll start looking and behaving like a white starter. (IME, white starter is gluier and looser (wetter) than whole wheat. Which makes sense because there's no bran to absorb the water. I keep my white starter at 10% less hydration than my whole wheat.)

    I think it's great that the neighbors stop by to sample your baking!

  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Today's bread was started last Saturday. Hand mixed and after the last stretch and fold the dough went into the fridge for a long fermentation. Taken out early this morning. Needed close to three hours to warm up before it could be shaped and then proofed.



  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Oh, that's nice, Ann! I've never tried that long a retard. I'm always scared of overrising and the subsequent cutting of the gluten by the bran. My last couple of loaves were started in the morning and not put in the fridge.

    I was looking through a bunch of my books looking for other stuff today and saw a whole bunch of recipes I'd like to try this Summer. Syrian breads and others from the Middle East. Maybe I can convert some to whole wheat! There's one with hyssop that sounds amazing.


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago




    Just wanted to stop in and say a very, very quick hello to my favorite baking friends! Haven't posted in such a long time due to bus"y"ness and new employment direction, but scan this thread to keep my eye on all the deliciousness and wonderful/unique contributions. Where else can you see the words "sewer burp" with stunning bread pictures! I love it!

    I've been trying my hand at making sourdough bagels -- really, really long learning curve because, as usual, I really have no idea what I'm doing. I just keep hearing my grandmother laugh and say "you're doing fine." I have learned that hand kneading bagel dough (remember Silly Putty? Think really stiff Silly Putty) is a HUGE workout; however, just when you think you think you've run out steam, it all comes together. It is some of the smoothest dough ever I've ever worked with. That said, so many places to make errors that I'm making copious notes.

    As an aside, I also started freezing them with food saver because these do not keep. at. all.

    Son said these "make great vehicles for cream cheese.":) Everything's a vehicle.

    I'll be checking back in sporadically to enjoy everyone's posts and to learn!

    Cathy in SWPA




  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Cathy, those are some great looking bagels. Beautiful colour and crumb. Be wonderful topped with cream cheese and Lox.

    The last couple of times I've made bagels I also did them by hand using the autolyze, stretch and fold method. And although the dough is much stiffer, it eventually comes together and the dough is then easy to work with.


    ~Ann

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Thank you for the kind words, Ann. There is a lot of room for improvement -- so many steps to screw up:) I'm thinking about trying toppings after I master the basic.

    You'll be heartened to know that on my day off, your pizza pictures inspired me. Actually, my family will be heartened. BTW, you may not remember, but I always think of you when I'm lucky enough to see a "sheen" (what I called "shellacked") on a slice of sourdough:)

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Hi Cathy! So glad you posted. Your bagels look awesome. I love it when bagels look like bagels. :) I'm sure your grandmother is right!


  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    Gorgeous bagels!

    DH asked why i was holding up a slice to the window light and examining..."looking for ann's silky sparkle"

    Just read through this on the different 'lame', (lahm) methods...https://food52.com/blog/13136-how-to-make-pretty-bread-like-a-pro?src=promo_bundle

    I've got two fridged puffers to play with.


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    I've been thinking about you, plllog, and hoping your "Wubby" is still kicking and delicious! More importantly, I'm hoping that you're managing the water restrictions. My goodness, what a game changer, to say the least. While I am weighing each ball of dough, the actual bagel shaping (rope roll) is less consistent than arm burns. I keep managing to burn the back of my right forearm pretty much in the same spot each time -- like a very bizarre tattoo:)

    sleevendog, I like the "silky sparkle" reference and am interested to see what develops from those fridged puffers.

    If you're out there lascatx? The knife you recommended is the only one that can slice these bagel crusts -- a superb tool.

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Ouch! Cathy!
    http://www.amazon.com/Steiner-Sleeves-9-Ounce-Retardant-Standard/dp/B000VZCADE/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1433364818&sr=8-11&keywords=anti+burn+sleeves
    http://www.amazon.com/Steiner-10341-Sleeves-9-5-Ounce-Retardant/dp/B004GKNGVK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1433364882&sr=8-13&keywords=anti+burn+sleeves
    http://www.amazon.com/Exclusive-Resistant-Withstand-Extreme-13-Inch/dp/B007VGUTCU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433364942&sr=8-1&keywords=anti+burn+sleeves


    Thanks for caring, Wubby, Wubby 2, and their offspring levain starters are all doing fine. :) I've only been doing the one bowl loaf (formerly no-knead, but with the occasional fold) for the past while because there's so little cleanup water. It's good bread! Just not exciting enough to post new pictures of.

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    I'm smiling, plllog. I love the "good bread" but not exciting enough to generate pictures -- best kind, my friend! I genuinely hope that things turn around soon regarding the water restrictions/drought. Those "life" things certainly put things in perspective.

    Ha! I love the sleeves and gloves. Really. My husband said that I need just one more line to make a tic-tac-toe board on my arm:) I've actually gotten better. The link below is the way I've been trying to make my bagels -- but the one comment "Wonderful piece. You know she a real baker because of all the little "oven kisses" present on her forearms." is what I've really mastered:)

    http://www.thekitchn.com/how-mary-ting-hyatt-of-bagelsaurus-makes-the-best-bagels-in-boston-maker-tour-203235

    My daughter just moved to Boston, so I've told her she needs to visit this place!

    I'm looking forward to seeing some of your "good bread"!

    Cathy in SWPA

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Interesting article! I also found it interesting that she was going for a "crisp, crackly crust." That's something I've never seen. Also interesting what the writer said about sourdough being unheard of. :)Cathy, your hashtag may be well earned, and "oven kisses" is clever, but I shudder thinking of you doing it. Please protect yourself. Even an old sweatshirt would work!

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Okay, color me grossed out. I was finally motivated to at least mill the wheat so I could maybe bake by Friday, and had chosen a recipe in ABin5 that I'd never tried. Not exciting, but I liked the grab and go aspect. There were beetles in the wheat! It was in an airtight canister so I figure the eggs arrived with it, but EEEEWWWWW!!! I may not keep kosher, but I have great cultural prohibitions against bugs in the food. Color me revolted. I mean, I know this happens, and commercial flour has the same bugs, but I can't help it. EEEEEEEWWWWW!!!

    I don't think I'll be buying from the bulk bins anymore. It's convenient, but there's no way for the store to guard against this. I have different wheat measured for a double batch of pizza dough, so if I have some energy tomorrow, I'll make that. It's been overcast, damp and chilly (normal June gloom) so I might as well, right? I have fresh peas. Do you think they'd be good on pizza?


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Hmmmm, plllog. Movement whether by tail, paws or wings is never a good thing to see in foodstuff. Kinda know about those things, but an actual visual ..... bleh. Always nice to have a friend with you to say "Did we just see that?" Looking forward to seeing your pizza with peas - sans the beetles:) I've been wanting to mix a salad of light greens to put on some pizza -- your peas would work in there too. My crust turned out fair yesterday (not like Ann's), but not a discerning crew here and it filled the bill, so to speak.

    You're kind -- and I have lots of old sweatshirts:) Not to belabor the bagel, but here's a strongly opinionated (tongue in cheek) by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/what-makes-a-good-bagel-bad-bagel-kenji-opinion-untoasted.html advising "A good bagel should have a thin, shiny, crackly crust spotted with the
    kind of microblisters that you can only get from proper boiling followed
    by a high-temperature bake."

    I don't bake mine at 450, but I'm working on those microblisters. Still aiming for more and a quest for consistency. I'm enjoying the learning process -- warts and all:)


  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    I'll triple your double eww. EEEW. I fought an infestation a couple years ago and it was war. I won eventually. Not sure who/what the culprit was.

    The SeriousEats bagel rant is funny.

    I have topped my pizza with fresh garden peas. Sugar snaps i julienne. But just the last moments of cooking or just from the oven. I have a full clam shell of micro arugula and three mixed that i completely forgot to add to last nights pizza.


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Dang, S! I'm hungry and haven't made the pizza dough! That looks scrumptious! I've put big handfuls of wild arugula on pizza (more tender than the regular kind, and smaller, but nowhere near micor). It wilts just enough on the heat from the pizza. Cathy, I think any salad would be great.

    Funny article! I agree with Kenji about the "bad" crust, and his extreme example of "good" isn't something I've seen but looks good, but I disagree with crunch!. Bagels shouldn't crunch in my books. The crust should be firm and require biting, but give rather than cracking. I'm thinking maybe the crackly thing is regional. Yours, Cathy, look like proper bagels to me.

    The NO TOAST was too funny! I used to have a similar aversion. My grandpa used to toast bagels. Fresh from the top bagel bakery bagels. Perhaps easier for old teeth? I don't know. He'd toast mine, too. Sometime after he died, and when I was an adult living alone so might have a beginning to stale bagel, I tried toasting in a toaster oven, so it was warm and the cut side was caramelized, but no toaster effects on the crust. Grandpa's were that way too--maybe his toaster was a manual flip. I don't remember. It was so warm and comforting and bringing me back to brunch with just Grandpa (very rare--usually there were hordes at their house). The butter gets down into the texture of the crumb and combines with all that brown caramelization, and I became a convert. NOT toast with lox!! But a plain water bagel as toast is actually good. :)


  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    Cathy, I do remember our exchange about the shine.

    Sleevendog, great looking pizza.


    We had pizza on Sunday. The dough was given about 32 hours in the fridge.

    Topped with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and mushrooms.


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    plllog/sleevendog - the SE article was entertaining, yes? Who knew that folks are so adamant and INVESTED in their likes/dislikes of bagels and "The litany of crimes committed against bagel-kind all over the country is diverse and shocking." I didn't have time to read the <150 comments, but people care. From crust, toppings, toasting and the one that threw me when I was researching -- do I roll or poke?:)

    Plllog -- THIS!!!!!!, " It was so warm and comforting and bringing me back to brunch with just Grandpa" Oh my! Wonderful! I love that food is not merely sustenance, but meaningful in very different ways. It can bring joy and brightness to my day.

    So, I had a lot of fun playing "guess the toppings." I will say, that I may have gotten a couple wrong on Sleevendog's (trying to see on my phone-- couldn't enlarge:) but I will also say that I would gobble both without any ingredient list. Thirty-two hours in the fridge would make quite a complex tasting crust, Ann.

    BTW, do all exceptional bread makers have stunning cutting boards? My goodness, you could arrange Velveeta on those and it would look appetizing:)

    plllog, hope these pizzas inspire you:)

    Cathy in SWPA

    ps -- my dad was getting ready to bite into one of these bagels and told me he had just gotten a temporary crown. Wow -- one of the quickest I ever grabbed food out of someone's hands:)


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Entertaining, absolutely! New York has its own strange (as in out of the ordinary) bagel culture that spawns a lot of emotion. For a lot of the rest of us bagels are more special than challah. Challah is special and for fairly serious holidays, including the Sabbath. Bagels are fun. Bagels come in a paper bag straight from the bakery on Sunday morning, with damp spots showing where the last bit of steam is trying to get out. They get dumped in a basket and passed. It could be a lazy in with the paper and the immediate family kind of day, or an everyone gathers after Sunday school lunch (Sunday school is for the little ones--they can do crafts projects and stuff on Sundays that are prohibited on Shabbat (no cutting, tearing, fastening permanently, writing more than a single letter, etc.)).

    Ever since some diet guru decided the hard little water bagels of my childhood were good diet bread (true!), the public awareness of bagels has blossomed. The general public didn't like the hard, chewy crust, however, or the big hole in the middle, or the fact that they went stale overnight. Yesterday's water bagel is today's teething ring! So they made them bigger and breadier, and squished the hole closed, and sweetened them. I used to go to an annual conference in the Midwest in a Catholic stronghold. They had these horrific round things that they insisted were bagels which had fruit in them. The cinnamon raisin bagel was bad enough, but understandable as a fusion of bagel and raisin bread, and, other than being sweet and having fruit, seemed somewhat bagelly. They had pink strawberry bagels and purple blueberry bagels. The dough was colored, not just like in a blueberry muffin or pancake where the color seeps out just around the berry.

    We probably had more pitot at home (aka "pita breads" in other parts). My mother was never a fan of bagels, and there was a great Syrian bakery that delivered pitot to the market. The good old fashioned sour kind, which had a tough crust and a terry cloth-like interior, not the risen, bready, fall apart kind we can get now. There were always fresh bagels at my grandparents' house, however, and if there was a family brunch at our house, we'd have bagels too.

    Yep. Lots of emotion and Jewish family connections to bagels. :)

    I just received a copy of Inside the Jewish Bakery, which is a history of Ashkenazi American bakeries with recipes. If I felt up to converting my rye starter, I'd make some rye bread from it. It has recipes for both New York and Montreal style bagels! The history is fascinating and the recipes are modern, inc. percentages, with technique pictures. The display pictures look surprisingly right to me. I'm used to this kind of thing being very New York centered, and the authors are New Yorkers. I think the key is that they trace a lot of the items back to Poland and Russia, so it's the common roots that are on display more than New York specific twists.

    ......

    Ann, that pizza looks hot. Your photography always makes the food look good to eat, and this one is no exception, but I feel like I can see the meltiness of the cheese and the crackling edges of the meat. Stunning.

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Aw, plllog. I love your post. Great sentence: " ... bagel culture that spawns a lot of emotion." Ha! My son is a guy after your own heart. I've seen him try to pick raisins out of cinnamon bagels; I will not tell you what he says that they remind him of -- know that the male conversation absolutely devolves at that point:)

    So, naturally I google <i>Inside the Jewish Bakery</i>"bagel" and found the recipe pdf. The sourdough is the different ingredient, but same process. While I would have given my eye teeth for most of this information, two things stand out because they were areas that I moved at a snail-like pace on the learning curve.

    "If you can’t get enough traction on your work surface, mist it very lightly with water or swab with a damp paper towel." Are you kidding me?????? That dough is silky, silky smooth, with a mere smidgen of moisture (think dry post-it note) and adding that last bit of flour was critical/ verging on impossible and now you want me to spritz water near it? :) Yep. Traction!

    I also blew a whole recipe by taking the bagels out of the refrigerator while the water boiled. Deflategate. Consequently, I have notes everywhere and but can now refer to this pdf too -- thanks plllog!

    When I have some time, I'm going to back and take a further look at the Jewish Bakery. Too little time for such fun stuff.

    Here are some pics from today's bagel adventure.
    Could have been a bit smoother/tighter, just rolled ready to rest:


    Where are my holes??? but they passed the float test:)
    Straight from refrigerator and boiled:

    The "vehicle" (as my son calls it) for cream cheese. (I've never tried lox, Ann -- need to branch out:)

    Going to investigate some more, plllog. Starting with bagel boards:) Fun stuff.

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Cathy, those look awesome!! Thanks for all the great pictures. (BTW, no HTML on this new system. You can use CTRL (Command in Apple-speak) + i or b, or use the buttons under the message window.)

    Worry not about holes that are risen small. They're still holes. Very different from the slightly oval bagels that squish together the holes on purpose. Those never have a proper bagel crust either. One of the treats is the dab of whipped cream cheese that plugs the hole when you stack the bagel high with vegetables and lox. Fully loaded, or all the way, can include tomato, onion, capers, and even cucumbers (but those tend to slide off and not blend well). Lettuce, not so much, but I've seen a red cabbage leaf used as a topper to keep everything in. Without lox, it might be anything from olive slices to roasted peppers. Alternative fish include smoked trout, whitefish and schmaltz herring. If you want to go upscale, substitute mascarone for the whipped cream cheese.


    I didn't bake at all in April due to Passover and all, and even with making a feast and having a lot of company, I managed to stay under my water goal. I will bake some bread, eventually but I think watching your results is going to be the closest I get to bagels until the snowy range is snowy again. There's a good bagel bakery an easy walk from me.

  • ann_t
    8 years ago

    It had been about a month since I last fed my starter. So I fed it once Saturday morning and again Saturday night with fresh milled rye. Sunday morning, I used 100g of the starter in a 750g batch of dough (650g white and 100g of fresh milled Red Fife). 72% hydration. No commercial yeast.

    I was working yesterday so I put the dough in the fridge. Decided I would use it to make pizza for dinner so I had Matthew take the dough out of the fridge around 2:30. It was ready to use by 6:00.

    I baked two pizzas.

    One a deep dish pizza for Matt.

    I'm not a fan of deep dish/pan pizzas but apparently it was really good.

    A second pizza for Moe and I topped with Italian Sausage and olives.

    There was enough dough left for a baguette.


    Sliced this morning for breakfast.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Oooh! Literally pan pizza! Lovely baguette, too.

    My camera is out of battery and low on my priority list, so no pictures, but I did finally get over the incident with the bugs. I think they were just in that one canister (I hope). It put me off of the bulk bins, however, and that was the attractive thing about that kind of wheat--local and in bulk. Since pizza just hasn't been in high demand here, either, I figured buying a different kind of other wheat (since I never heard back from the grower about this year's crop) was silly, and this weekend I finally made a loaf of the multi-grain, low cleanup water bread. I was feeling desperate after a couple of weeks of commercial bread in the house, even though it was good bread.

    As expected, the high protein wheat made all the difference. It didn't rise as high as fast, but it also didn't break the way the regular wheat did. The flavor was better too! Not that the other wheat was bad. I had adjusted the water down 15 grams but I think I'll try putting it back in next time. It's a closed texture loaf, but this one was just a bit tight. Absolutely delicious, however, and hit the cravings dead on the head.

    This was 455 g flour: 100 of fresh milled rye, 55 of white popcorn and kamut, and 300 hard red winter (pizza) wheat, plus 100 g of mix ins: rolled oats, millet, amaranth, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds and sprouted pepitas. 25 g VWG, 18 g salt, 440 g water, .5 tsp yeast and a pinch of ascorbic acid crystals.

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Aw, Ann. Those are some stellar pizzas! I loved this sentence -- "I'm not a fan of deep dish/pan pizzas but apparently it was really good." And that makes it all worthwhile:) I can tell you that both of those pizzas would have been inhaled (and I do mean literally) lickety-split here. BTW, you know what I find absolutely intriguing -- the gorgeous crumb on that bread almost mimics the incredible grain of the board? My goodness.

    "The incident with the bugs", plllog. I don't know why, but "incident with the bugs" makes me just cringe on the one hand, but they way it reads, you've made me smile. Can we smile over it yet? Has it been enough time:) Bug sleuthers unite!

    Hitting "cravings" dead on -- doesn't get much better. You are so far ahead of me in your fresh milled/seeds/etc. that I have no clue, but I bet I would love it your bread!!!! It sounds very complex but satisfying. I continue to think about the difficulties you still are having with water shortages. I absolutely have to soak anything that touches dough or it dries into a veritable dried on glue - I can only imagine what creativity is involved in working with that game-changing variable.

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Cathy, it's the same for me. Baking detritus proves why wet grain mash makes such fabulous glue when it dries. :) The trick to low cleaning water is not letting the dough touch much! This multigrain recipe is based on a no-knead whole wheat recipe I found kind of accidentally online. Kneading is the enemy with whole grain because the shards of bran cut the gluten. Same with over rising. If it rises to full double, there's too much stretch, and the gluten gets cut. Or at least, that's what the experts say is going on with the behavior where it won't rise again, and you can see all kinds of degassed pockets that aren't going anywhere. This low/no kneading means no board/bench to wash, no mixer equipment to wash, and fewer hands to wash. The scale bowl gets dusted, the cup the water is measured in air dries, and the bowl from the mill only gets rinsed when there's clinging flour that the brush won't remove--maybe after twenty uses.

    So, (after washing my hands) I weigh the ingredients, mill the flour, and dump all into a heavy glass Anchor Hocking measuring bowl which I bought specifically for the purpose. It has molded numbers and a tight lid, and doesn't need any babying. Before adding the yeast, I use my Danish dough whisk to distribute the other ingredient well, put in the yeast and water, and let it bubble a bit before whisking in. As I'm getting the last bits of flour wet, I do a few small stretch and folds. A piece of masking tape marks the level, and I just put on the lid to cover. I rinse my hands and the whisk. Instead of turning out onto a baking board, I keep a shallow wide container, like one might use for freezing a batch of cookies, with a flour bed in it. It's mostly white flour, which doesn't go rancid very fast. The experiment was to see if a little residue from a damp raw loaf would be enough to promote mold, but it's been months and the flour is still good. It just sits in the container, with a tight lid, between uses.

    When the dough is risen about 1.5x in bulk, I use a bowl scraper to ease it into the flour bed, then fold or pat the ball into shape, and cloak with flour--no pull! It degasses and doesn't form a tight cloak of gluten because it gets cut! (I tried!) Then it goes onto a piece of parchment on my peel, with rolled tea towels under the corners to make a cloche. I rinse my hands and the scraper over the bowl and loosen what's stuck on the bowl. The scraper (if it needs it) and the bowl/lid go right in the dishwasher. When the loaf has risen its last little bit, I cut around the parchment so there's less available to char, and slide it onto the hot steel in the oven (I prefer my heavy clay stone in the bottom of the oven for pizza and the steel in the middle for bread--both get rubbed and/or charred, not wet washed). One of the towels becomes the wrapper for the new bread, and the other goes for drying dishes--neither has gotten dirty. The loaf cools on a small cake rack, usually on the induction cooktop, with the parchment thrown away (it's done for by then). A damp sponge cleans the rack, and any flour that has been knocked off onto the stove.

    I used to be the kind who would wash with hot water and soap on general principles, but bread is "clean" anyway. My sourdough use a lot more water for cleaning. They can't help it. So I'm just keeping my starters alive and using the discard for things like waffles, which I can also make with low cleanup water.

    Thanks for the kind words about the bread. It doesn't suit everybody, but I love it. There was a phrase in the article about fancy chefs who some love basic mass produced items that Jakkom (jkom1) posted the other day, in the opening talking about trendily virtuous shoppers at farmers' markets, which could be talking about my multigrain daily bread: a loaf of whole-grain bread that’s so dense and bumpy with seeds and nuts that it resembles a block of macadam. Okay, the color isn't nearly as dark as macadam (I think you'd need a lot of molasses to achieve that), and there aren't any nuts, so it's really not the same, but it still captures the essence in a funny way. :)


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    It's taken me a long time to realize this is the best advice: "not letting the dough touch much!" I am so intrigued with your process, plllog. It is clearly evident that you have developed an efficient/expedient process and conservation model that still allows you to bake AND, most importantly, enjoy not only baking but also the final product:) I have to admit that sometimes the thought of cleaning up overshadows making bread for me; particularly, sourdough. I used to smile when the kids just kind of disappeared when it was clean up time -- it's okay, I'll let them enjoy baking as an "event"; hopefully, they will love it enough that they will a long life of cleaning "detritus" .

    It's interesting that you said you use a danish whisk. I've abandoned that more often than not (end up using a fork or whisk) because I have one little crook that gets dough absolutely wedged/glued in there. I could probably widen it, but don't care enough. Like you, scrapers are my friend. Because I hand knead, I use a metal bench scraper religiously and a soapy paper towel to wipe the counter (hate dough in all the nooks and crevices of my sponge:) All utensils go into an oversized glass filled with water to soak. Bowls get scraped with plastic baking scraper into garbage and then washed. And that ridiculous garbage disposal splash guard with all of its little holes gets removed prior to any bread baking:) That thing is just gross.

    Well, I feel better now, particularly because I got to use the word "detritus" by 8:30! Thanks for sharing your tricks of the trade. Puts things into perspective here:)

    Cathy in SWPA

    PS Made bagels yesterday because it went down to 55 overnight here!


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    LOL about teaching the kids to love a long life of cleaning detritus!

    I know just the spot on the Danish dough whisk you mean, but if you don't let it dry, it shouldn't be a problem. There should be at least 1/8" space there. If it's less than 1/16" on yours, it's definitely worth opening. I bet you could heat it up a bit and get the tip of a needlenose pliers in there and just pull them apart to spread it a little. Then just put it head first in your water vessel, or give it a quick rinse before putting it down, if there's wet dough on it. It saves a lot of water compared to cleaning it after the dough has dried! The DDW is SO good, it's a shame you have one that isn't working for you.

    Yum to the homemade bagels!

    A couple of weeks ago, when I just didn't have time to bake bread and was craving something different anyway, I bought some pretzel bagels. They were packaged (Trader Joe's ), but most packaged bagels around here are made by one of the two major bagel producers, so that doesn't necessarily make them bad. The pretzel crust was fine. The bagel part was fine, if a little spongy from being packed in a plastic bag. It was totally meh, however. The little pretzel bread baguettes at Whole Foods are similarly meh, though they made fairy wing delicious bread pudding. When a friend made pretzel challah, however, when the trend first got going, it was fabulous, and so is the pretzel challah from the corner bagel shop.

    I figured it out! The pretzel bagels basically tasted like whisper of salt, water bagels--and why wouldn't they? They're boiled! Bagels are boiled anyway. The whisper of salt comes from the soda in the boiling water, and the dough was just bagel dough, so it's basically a just water bagel with an inferiorly soft, ever so slightly salty, crust. And the WF pretzel bread isn't even that much because it's a white kind of bread with no malt or anything to give it flavor. (As far as I'm concerned, a water bagel without a strong taste of malt isn't much worth bothering with...) But the pretzel challah was good, eggy, tasty challah to begin with, made quite different from boiling in soda. It's the contrast that makes it so good. Hm...further thought: All the pretzel breads have a very dark, thin crust. The actual pretzels from the local pretzel shop have a golden crust that's much thicker like a good water bagel crust. The inside of them is a little salty and much sweeter than a bagel.

    I'm just going to keep admiring you, Cathy (and Ann) for making bagels. With all the great bagels and pretzels available here, I'm not about to make them. :)

  • Jasdip
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    CathyinSWPA, I do exactly as you do when cleaning up after making bread. I use a Danish dough hook and it gets plunged into water, just up to the start of the wooden handle to soften the gunk in that tight pig-tail.

    I also keep a screen in the kitchen drain to catch any food particles, and it gets removed as well. Trying to clean it from dough remnants is a royal pain.

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    plllog, i love this: "As far as I'm concerned, a water bagel without a strong taste of malt isn't much worth bothering with..." You may not remember, but we discussed malt in a previous thread? Diastatic Malt? In any event, I finally bought barley malt syrup at WF. I think of you when I use it in my bagels! I'm looking into pretzel challah today, if time permits. Very intriguing.

    jasdip, I had a crappy day yesterday, but your description of "tight pig-tail" brought a smile to my face. Perfect description. I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks cleaning "dough remnants is a royal pain."

    BTW, I actually contemplated using dental floss to clean the "pig tail", and then I thought, I'm just not. I may widen it in the future, but for now it's hung out to dry:)

    Cathy in SWPA


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    plllog, I was at the library reading an article/recipe in Cook's Illustrated (May, 2015) and thought of you. The title of the article "New York Bagels for All -- It
    doesn't get any better than the crackly crisp shell, tender chew, and
    subtle malty flavor of a New York bagel. So what do you do if you don't
    live in New York?"

    This quote (particularly the "soft, tasteless ring") reminded me of you and made me smile: “The
    average bagel is nothing special and not hard to come by: a uniformly soft, swollen, tasteless ring
    that’s mass-produced and sold at supermarkets, convenience stores, coffee shops
    and bagel chains nationwide. ..... But a proper New York bagel – that’s in a class by itself. In
    New York City, where great bagels abound, these rings have a fine, uniform
    crumb and a substantial chew. (New York Times columnist Mimi Sheraton once
    said that a good bagel should “give your facial muscles a workout.”)"
    Cathy in SWPA

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    8 years ago

    Open up that dough wisk a bit. I've not had a problem...but it did come apart from the handle once so i have two. Rub it with a tiny bit of oil before using.

    DH gets sticky dough everywhere but does do an ok job keeping on top of it. I tend to stay away when he is prepping dough. (and hear the occasional "oops" from afar.) Usually flour on the dishwasher handle and the drawer tops under that prep area...and the floor. The faucet handle, fridge handle....

    Good bread is worth it...(for the most part, lol)

  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    LOL! I resemble that remark! Really, though, if we had water for cleaning (loose flour isn't so much of an issue as sticky dough) I wouldn't worry about a little mess. :)

    Cathy, thanks for thinking of me. :) I've had bagels in New York. Manhattan, actually, for all of them. Considering the short time I was there, I had a surprising number of bagels (hostesses' choice). There were no angels weeping. Or singing. They were good bagels. I daresay excellent. But not different than other good bagels. Not a side-by-side taste test, and perhaps my traveller's sensibilities were just grateful to have a bagel and in a place where such a thing wasn't considered "ethnic". But, you see, I agree with all you've posted. Bagels--real bagels--sometimes yesterday's bagels or frozen (by mom) bagels, but really just bagels if they're real bagels--are given to teething children to gnaw on. They don't melt at the first encounter with spit. They're not croissants, brioches or even baguettes.


  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago


    plllog, I was thinking about you. No blueberries, raisins, dyes -- angels may have been weeping (or singing) on many levels about how my son used the "vehicle." HA! Spreadable swiss, bacon and homegrown tomato cooked/caramelized in the bacon fat (great idea/execution could have gone a bit longer/hunger trumped). Didn't get to the microgreens either. According to him, it was a very good use of the sourdough bagel aka the "vehicle.":)

    I hope you're well.

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Scrumptious! Cathy, I am a total snob when it comes to the foundation bagel, but absolutely no limits when it comes to toppings. Dealer's choice all the way there. I'd even be more lenient in attitude toward a bagel with the name of an agribusiness cake maker on it if someone declared that it was the absolutely perfect vehicle for something else. There could be a use for those flacid doughy rings! I don't think they'd have held up to your son's feast, however, and I'm sure your sourdough bagel was perfect. :)

    Thank-you, I'm fine, but I've needed to help the folks, we have no water, and it's been too air-conditioned for pizza or baking anyway. We had an El Niño this last Winter with a couple of wetter than usual storms, but not very long ones or very many. The phenomenon is supposed to be bigger this year, and we actually had measurable rain in July (last I recall was 25 years ago). They're saying this all bodes well for a wet Winter, but if it's enough to fill the reservoirs, it's enough to wreck havoc and destruction. Sigh. I've been buying the last good whole wheat from Trader Joe's (they discontinued the best one) and Dave's Killer Bread's 21 grains and seeds, and miss my home baked bread. We have further restrictions, though, and it's more civic minded not to bake. There are actual campaigns about leaving things go dirty. I'll be glad to deal with a flooded garage (happens when the soil is saturated) and all of that, but much as I want water, I'm dreading the landslides, mud floes, washouts, drownings, flooded houses and farms, etc.

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Aw, plllog. While I'm glad that you're "fine", I continue to think about you. Truly, I can only imagine ... just every single aspect of life would be impacted. I know that I had trouble not knowing when the polar vortexes would end -- not enduring them, just not knowing when it would be over. Not only has this been long term for you, it's so much more encompassing. I'm hoping for some (a lot actually- but no floods!!!!! or flooded garages!!!!) of "gentle, but measurable" rains and that life returns to at least a good new normal. And that you get back to enjoying baking (I know I would coping and not feel inspired right now-- just me.)

    Maybe it will brighten your day to know that I told my son you responded to his bagel pic. After a few seconds of reading your post, he smiled, and I knew that he came to the description "foundation bagel." More reading and the eyes widened with the real-deal smile erupting, accompanied by a loud "Ha!" I said, "What?" although I knew (and I know you know) what words he had read -- "flacid doughy rings!" A day-brightener!

    No need to respond to this, but maybe to lighten your day -- here's an excerpt that he had to write about a couple of years ago for rhetoric -- introduction paragraph to review Alton Brown -- Good Eats. Although he's ChemE (thinking about actuarial now, oh my) he loves to read, edit and write. And cook.

    "Some of my earliest and most powerful memories are of cooking with my
    mom. The crimson iridescence of a sliced strawberry, the sound of frying
    bacon (a standing ovation), the smell of proofing yeast…all are
    indelible sensations that permeate my childhood. And my culinary
    experiences weren’t just limited to the kitchen. The only TV stations I
    watched growing up were PBS and The Food Network (I wasn’t aware that
    others existed or that you could flip between them with a device called a
    “remote”). When I wasn’t tuning in to Kratts’ Creatures or Arthur and
    his anthropomorphic friends, I was learning how to flambé with Bobby
    Flay, filet halibut with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and make Coq au
    Vin with Julia Child. Only one host, however, continually captivated me
    with his wildly inventive, mad-scientist approach to food. His name?
    Alton Brown. His game? Good Eats."

    Continue to think about you!

    Cathy in SWPA


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I think about you too, Cathy. You always sound fearless, whether it's baking some new kind of thing or staring down polar vorteces. Thanks for the smiles! Love the pictures your son painted in his paragraph. Also the description of him reading my post. :) But I'm dead curious: What's an actuarial chemical engineer?

  • cathyinpa
    8 years ago

    Digression from Sourdough. Yep, I can understand you're curious -- "What's an actuarial chemical engineer?" HA! I have no idea, but I bet my son would love it, and he might do it. Should have said "double major CHemE/Actuarial Science.**" He told us that he's going to investigate (as a senior, mind you) the Actuarial option as he has a Math minor. Daughter's boyfriend is an analyst and there have been discussions (taking classes, which exams, etc.) So who knows. Either way, he's going to be the decision-maker and source of funding.

    I enjoyed watching him read your post -- it ended both of our days with smiles!

    Cathy in SWPA

    *This is the kid when five-years old answered during the
    children's sermon that he'd like to be either a Paleontologist or a
    Barber when he grew up. Support for career choice was that he loved dinosaurs but knew that Paleontologists had to travel a lot and Barbers didn't:)


  • plllog
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    LOL! Love the practical choice of barber. :) Five year olds are so wise!

    This is the kaffeeklatsch portion, so no need to worry about digressions. We're still talking about the chief sourdough consumer. :)

    Thanks for the explanation. Making the leap from Math minor to Actuarial Science makes much more sense! The only actuary I know started in the merchant marine to start, but nowadays their models are sophisticated enough to support an actual educational field (which is neither chemistry nor engineering, and uses some different kinds of math).

    If I were in it now, I think I'd lean towards materials science. I love things like those polymers that curl when light hits them and flatten in the dark. Reminds me of sunflowers and a funny little plant I have with red bracts that perks up (flowers and brachts) in the light and droops at night.