My wife is away, and I have the whole kitchen to myself. It is amazing how much of a mess I can make on my own, when no one's looking. Especially when I'm baking. I required some loaves to get me through the weekend -- I was working this Friday, Saturday and Sunday of our 'Holiday May 2-4 weekend', and my long shifts left me with little time to fiddle with recipes when I got home. So I made Thursday my "Baking Day in May".
I made several loaves, but if you just want to see what I consider the most interesting, and best one, skip to #2: Sumac and Sesame Whole Wheat Wild yeast loaf.
One of the loaves actually came out of the oven the previous night (Wednesday), but it is a 100% rye, so I've waited until Thursday to slice it -- thus, I think of it as a loaf from 'baking day' too. Let's start with that one, and list what I've baked:
1. A 100% Rye loaf.
The dough was mixed when I got home following a night shift. I was thinking that I might make a 100% rye bread with some rye sourdough I had elaborated from my whole wheat culture the day before.
As usual with rye loaves, one ought to wait a day before slicing them. I waited half a day, and the inside is still a bit gummy. Mild taste. This loaf has promise, but I still haven't mastered the 100% rye loaf. Does it need a hotter oven? Longer time baking? I wouldn't mind a darker crumb, in fact I'd like it: but I don't want a burnt crust. I have a lot to learn about 100% rye loaves.
2. A 100% Whole Wheat loaf with Sumac and Sesame seeds
There are lots of recipes online that one can find for flatbreads spiced with sumac and za'atar. This is not from those recipes. I had been thinking since last autumn that it might be nice to add some sumac to a bread. The bright red fuzzy sumac candles make a tasty lemonade when added to water, and I was hoping that the colour might give a bread a reddish tinge, and an interesting flavour. But the one friend who I share my bread with dissuaded me from collecting the sumac berries, telling me that it probably wasn't a great idea for bread. That stopped me last autumn. But then last week when I was getting some spices together for some other bread, I noticed they were selling sumac, and it had such an interesting scent, I bought some.
This bread contains only about 2% sumac (21g). The sesame seeds were an afterthought, and the sesames made the dough extra tight at 75% hydration. I kept thinking I should have gone up to 85% hydration for these loaves, because the dough didn't stretch easily. I think that the sesame seeds just soaked up a lot of the water.
I am told that za'atar has sesame seeds in it, along with other herbs, so this combination tasted interesting together. The taste is predominately sesame, but there is a tangy finish to eating this bread that I find very interesting. The bread itself is not sour, but the sumac gives it something extra. It didn't make the crumb red like I supposed, though.
|Sumac and Sesame Seed Whole Wheat Wild Yeast Bread|
3. A 70% Whole Wheat, 30% Rye bread
My everyday bread lately. I took one of these loaves with me to yoga, the girls in the class have been curious about the bread I make, and have asked for a taste of it.
After the Shavasana and meditation, I sliced a loaf and let them try it with some very old cheddar. I don't think any one was terribly hungry after our yoga set, but everyone politely tried some and they all said it was good.
One of the yogin said I can make her a loaf any time. Yes, I find I can give my bread away to anyone, at least once.
4. A Dill Seed Bread
Here was another experiment with my recent Sandwich loaf recipe. This was just whole wheat, but I added 2 TBSP of dill seed, which came to 12g. The starter I used was 3 days old, and probably should have been tossed, but I wondered if the extra sour flavour would go well with dill.
5. Extra Dough
I also mixed up some other dough: some for pizza, some for other bread I might need if I end up giving away too much. This didn't get used all weekend and makes up the next posting's question and experiment:
How long can Tartine Dough sit in the fridge before being used? The 5 min/day bread people keep their dough in the fridge for up to a week or more at a time. Does this work for sourdough too?
6. A second try at Dill Seed Bread
After yoga class, I also mixed up a stiff starter, so that I could try making another 'Dill Seed Bread' (since the last one smelled interesting but was obviously under-baked). In addition to the 2 TBSP of dill seed (this time measured at 18g) I also added 2 TBSP of celery seed (17g). This time I decided to try a different method. Jim Lahey puts a fairly high hydration dough out for 18 hours, letting the gluten develop on its own. Would that work for my dough? Rather than do all the folds that I supposed were so necessary to the recipe, I would do one fold after adding the salt and dill, and then put it right away into the tin. The tin would be left covered and refrigerated overnight (about 7 hours), and then baked in the morning while I got ready for work.
In the morning, when I took the tin out of the fridge, it looked like it had not risen much; but by the time the oven was preheated, the loaf looked a little expanded, and afterward there was even some nice oven spring. All the same, I left this loaf in the oven an extra 6 minutes, because the last couple of tinned loaves were a bit gummy on the inside. Verdict: still a bit gummy, but better than the last attempt. I can't really taste the celery seed, except to note that the dill scent is not as strong now. Curious.
Gee that was fun. Yeah, it's like a party when the wife is away. I'm such a party animal. Now to get that kitchen clean before she gets back.
Notes to Myself
- When you make a 100% rye bread, try a much longer time in the oven, even up to an hour; for the last 20 minutes, perhaps you can cover the bread with foil so the top doesn't burn. What you want to have happen is the moist crumb has to be heated entirely through and through. For that to happen, you need more time (I'm guessing).
- When you make a bread with seeds (like sesame seeds, or dill seeds, as I've done here), you can expect to use a higher hydration, because the seeds will take up some of your water and expand. This is one reason why some people roast the seeds (another reason is for a stronger, different, arguably better-tasting flavour) before adding them to dough -- once roasted, they won't take on as much water (I'm guessing). The original size of the seeds will probably determine how much extra hydration you will require. Here, the dill seeds don't require a lot more water, but the sesame seeds swelled up and took on more water. Would they have benefited perhaps from a presoaking?
- Sumac as a spice: here's the wiki, and here's the info from the bulk barn. Note that sumac is fairly high in sodium, so perhaps if you're going to use a lot of it, you might have to reduce the salt in the bread.
- Za'atar: here's the wiki, which tells us how to make it with sesame seeds, and the herbs oregano, basil, thyme, and savory.