All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What's in my Cupboard? Bread

"Whats in my cupboard?" Bread

Upon return from vacation, I just required some quickly made bread.  Coming home was like arriving again at some place I'd never been before. I had to take a look in my own cupboards to see what was available.  There was a lot there, and I just used what caught my eye, what was close at hand, or what seemed interesting.

After refreshing my sourdough, I made a simple whole wheat 100% wild yeast integrale bread, Tartine-style, but I also added on a whim some sunflower seeds that I covered with 50ml of water, and added some spices to:

  • ww flour 1000g
  • water 70g + 5g (+5g later with seeds brings this to 80% hydration)
  • salt 20g
  • leaven 200g
  • sunflower seeds 100g
  • water 50ml
  • ground coriander seed 1/2 tsp
  • ground cumin 1/4 tsp
  • paprika 2/3 tsp

The salt was added on the first turn, the sunflower seed mixture was added on the second turn, and I continued turning Q30min for another 3 hours.

The final result tasted good.  When fresh, the crust of this loaf was nice and springy, not hard and crunchy (like what my wife complains about).

A Baker's Clay Basket?
As the gift-giving season approaches, I've had a couple of people wonder what they can get for me.  Daniel Handler (of Lemony Snicket fame) wrote in Adverbs that you have to be very careful of what you say you like, as holiday season approaches, because even an offhand remark might result in you getting something unexpectedly weird and not so wonderful.

I think I already asked for some real bannetons -- these are proofing baskets too expensive to warrant the purchase of, if you are shopping for yourself.  I use colanders, or wicker baskets, nothing over a couple of bucks.  I love the official look of breads that have been proofed in real bannetons, but I've never felt the need to pay that much money for a real cane basket.

I don't know if I should have mentioned the banneton, though.  You see, I've had this idea in the back of my mind for some time now that I'd like to try something a bit different.  I wondered if I could make my own basket out of baker's clay, and have it work for proofing.  So today I had the kitchen all to myself, and decided to see what would happen.

The recipe for baker's clay is tons of flour, lots of salt, and some water.  You mix this up and knead it until it gives you something that feels like playdough.  You could add food colouring to make it pretty, but I didn't want to bother.  Some recipes also call for alum, and I didn't use that either since I didn't have any on hand.

  • 4 c flour (626g)         100%
  • 1 c salt (240g)       38%
  • 1 1/2 c water (360g)    58%

I mixed it up, rolled it out and spread it overtop of one of my wicker baskets that I'd lined with foil.  Then I baked the whole thing for about 45 minutes at 250 degrees F (yep, the wicker was in there too, on some parchment paper atop a baking pan).  Afterwards, I put it into my dehydrator overnight on a low setting.  The idea is, I want it to dry out enough so that it will get hard and retain its shape.

There was enough baker's dough left over for me to make a few large cookie-sized disks.  This was just a trial for another idea I had -- that of making something that would leave an impression in the proofing dough.   I was thinking, you could put them in the bottom of the basket and dust around them and on top of them, and it would leave a design in the final loaf, sort of like stencilling a loaf, only different.

I don't suppose a baker's clay basket could really be used for proofing bread.  The reason I say that is because the cookie-sized disks with designs on them did not come off the top of the bread easily.  Furthermore, they left the final loaf a bit salty in the spot where they intersected.  A proofing basket would intersect in all places with a proofing loaf, so the whole idea just sucks.

But it sure was fun to play in my own kitchen again.

Ah, home sweet home.

Notes to Myself
  • The spices didn't add all that much to the loaf, but it tasted quite nice. I think I chose them based on the thought "what would taste good with sunflower seeds?"
  • What other herbs and spice would taste good with bread?  Variety is...
  • What other seeds would taste good with bread?
  • My friend got one of these loaves. I was going to deliver it and walk his dog with my dog one day, but my wife wouldn't let me go, she had jobs around home that I had to do. So it goes.
  • I don't suppose it could really be used for proofing bread. The reason I say that is because I thought I'd try to use some scraps I had left over to make some cookie-sized disks with designs on them that I could toss into the bottom of a basket, to imprint a design on the top of a loaf. I used a couple of these baker's clay disks here, but they did not come off the top of the bread easily. Furthermore, the left the final loaf a bit salty in the spot where they intersected.


  1. I have two bannetons and I don't use them very often. I like when my loves look rustic rather then official.
    You are very creative person. I haven't played with baker clay for ages.

  2. so lovely bread, It is must very delicious!