Sunday, September 28, 2008

LBB status

So far so good. At 230pm this morning I out the boules in the fridge, which means they should be ready as early as 1030pm tonight for final rise. Downside is that it will still take 4 hours after the final rise to bake the bread, it will be too late tonight.

On the other hand, if I get up at 4am tomorrow morning, I will have fresh bread by 8am! :)

LBB sourdough recipe

Here's the "Country White" recipe I've been using. If you like it, buy the book!

2lb 2oz unbleached white flour
1/2c wheat germ
12oz LBB starter
1lb 2oz cool water (70 deg)
4.5 tsp sea salt

Add flour + wheat germ to mixing bowl. Then add starter and water. Knead on lowest setting on mixer using dough hook for 5 minutes. It will be a bit sticky, but pliable.

Cover with plastic wrap + towel and let rest for 20 mintues.

NOW ADD THE SALT. Knead on lowest setting on mixer for 5 more minutes. You may need to clear the dough hook every 30 seconds or so, if it gets clogged up over the top; however, dough will clear the sides of the mixing bowl.

Knead using pinch opposite/flip/slap technique described in the book. Form into ball and place in lightly oiled ceramic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap + towel, and let rise 3.5-4 hours. You'll know when it's ready when you place your hand on surface, "should feel cool and slightly flabby on the surface, center core should still feel firm." Press your fingertip into the dough, slight indentation should linger.

Turn dough out, cut it in two (should be about 1lb14oz each). Slap to deflate. Tuck all edges under, rough-shaping into a ball. Let rest for 15 min.

Shape into ball into floured basket. Let rise for 1 hr.

Cover boules with plastic wrap, and put in fridge for about 8-12 hours, no more than 24 hours.

Remove from fridge, cover with floured towel, and let rise for ~3 hours. Dough should be doubled in size and at ~62F.

Heat oven to 500.

Slash the loaf with a backwards C shape, shallow, like a flap.

Put loaf in, add water to broiling pan (or spritz oven), and bake for 5 minutes at 500, then turn down to 450 and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate boule after 20 min (total of 45 min). Should hit 210F when fully baked, and sound a bit hollow.

Let bread cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting in!

La Brea sourdough

It's almost 3.5 hours into the 1st rise of the La Brea sourdough, i.e., the "Country White" with wheat germ. So far so good! Started it this morning. It's an interesting comparison between the two (KAF and LBB, i.e., La Brea Bakery).

after 5 minutes of kneading in the mixer, was sticky but less wet then KAF
after autolyse + 5 more min kneading, a lot tighter and smoother than KAF
hand-kneading with pinch/flip/slap LBB teachnique, was a lot smoother/less sticky.

Maybe this means that the KAF is slightly too slack. The big difference is that I followed LBB's instructions to weigh out all the ingredients, and it turned out balanced. KAF uses volume measures, and despite my attempts to convert to weight measurements, seems to work better using volume measure.

I shared a bunch of the leftover La Brea starter with work colleagues on Friday, with the KAF recipe (i.e., sourdough #5, listed earlier in this blog). Hope it turns out good for them!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sourdough update

Late on the evening of Sept 7, I started Nancy Silverton's sourdough.

Within the 1st 2-3 days, it was very bubbly and active. After that, the liquids and solids separated, thick layer of pinkish/brownish liquid, and the whole mass began to acquire a "cheesy" smell, much like Parmiggiano-Reggiano.

The ferment period went fine; at one point last week I had seen what I thought was translucent specks of white mold floating on the liquid (these could've actually been mother, i.e., acetic acid bacteria + cellulose). I scooped it off along with some offending liquid using a ladle, then added 1 cup of flour and 1 cup water as suggested in the book, and stirred. That was the only maintenance I did.

Today is day 14, and is the 1st day of feeding. When I got back from the long weekend birthday celebration, I popped the top. Today the smell was similar but less cheesy and more vinegary. The top layer of alcohol had begun to turn to vinegar, as there was that sheet of clear cellulose (the mother!) floating on top. Poured off most of the vinegar liquid, discarded the cheescloth bag which contained the organic red grapes, stirred the rest together, measured out the portion I needed, then fed it with flour and water.

Even when pouring off the liquid, I could see it sparkling/bubbling. This to me suggests it's pretty healthy.

The refreshed mixture smells a little "cheesy"; I think this is probably OK, and will actually add some nice character to the bread.

So far so good. I wonder if it went too long without feeding (supposed to start feeding on Day 10). Should've fermented pretty well by now though, and the feedings should keep it nice and healthy.

The feeding schedule I plan is: 7am, 12pm, 5pm. Will keep you posted on how it goes!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

eggplant + zucchini

Two veggies that I reviled as a child, but now enjoy them. I didn't like my mom's zucchini because it was steamed, limp/soggy and flavorless. Likewise eggplant had a weird texture. I think in my early 20's I tried eggplant again when ate Indian food for the 1st time (I think it was Bombay Palace in L.A.).

Made another tomato/zucchini/eggplant salad last night, and had most of it for lunch today. The poblano, even without seeds, adds quite a bit of heat.

Zucchini and Eggplant Salad

2 zucchini, cut lengthwise
2 Japanese eggplant*
1/2 medium red onion, cut into rings
1 poblano pepper
Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Olive Oil
1 tb. Worcheshire sauce
1 tb. Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin

Cut eggplant lengthwise at the last minute (will brown otherwise). Season zucchini, eggplant, red onion and pepper with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw on grill over high heat. Cook eggplant, zucchini, onion for 3 minutes on cut side. Flip and grill for about 1 minute. Remove eggplant + zucchini. Leave onion on for 2 more minutes, then remove. Flip poblano to get a good char, then remove.

When cool enough to handle, cut zucchini halves lengthwise and into chunks. Cut eggplants lengthwise again and into chunks. Chop onion. Cut poblano in half and remove seeds, and chop finely. Combine all veggies in bowl. Add Worcheshire, vinegar and spices, and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.