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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

End of Year Breads I. The important Smokey Tomato Loaf

Results of the December 21st baking day

Cutco Knife

One day this year when I delivered some bread to my friend David who helps me eat it, I noticed that a couple of his fingers had bandaids on them.  He had cut his finger while trying to get his flimsy bread knife through my tough crust.  Later on, when we discussed fasting, he was curious about the calorie content of my bread.  It all depends upon how thick you slice it, of course, and during that conversation, I was astonished to learn that he was cutting the slices outrageously thick -- around 1/2 an inch.  This is the thickness that one usually finds when home-made white-crumbed, lightly crusted Italian loaves are sliced.  I never bake those kind of loaves, and I'm not interested in them.  I was going more for the much more dense German-style loaves, which are generally found to be sliced quite thin, 1/8" or less.  Was David cutting them too thick because he didn't have a knife that would get through those tough crusts?

For a Christmas present, I gave my friend David a good, Cutco Bread knife.  I'm really happy with mine, and love the way it saws through my tough-crusted bread thinly.  I would recommend them to anyone who loves homemade bread, especially German-style bread.  If you are wondering what sort of gift to give a home-bread baker, this is it.  And you may notice I do not have any advertisements on this blog, this blog is not monetized, I get no kickbacks from saying this.  I also know no one who works for or distributes Cutco knives.  I'm just sayin'.

I also gave David 10 band-aids.  Just in case, until he gets the hang of his new knife.

 My Late Year 2012 Breads

For completeness, these are the some of the last breads I made and ate from 2012.  December was a busy month for me, and many of the blogs I was working on haven't been completely finished, although the bread I made while I was researching and writing them have long disappeared.  Let's catch up, shall we?

Dec. 21: ww, Smokey Tomato Bread, and old Sourdough Bread
I'm still learning how to bake with the new convection oven.

Made a couple of loaves with 100% ww bread (with the usual 20% Sourdough starter, 2% sea-salt, 5% wheat germ) at 75% hydration.  This was good, but side-by-side with it, I made a similar but even more excellent bread using some homemade smokey tomato sauce (I've made bread with the pulp of that sauce before, but this time I used the sauce itself).  One mason jar of sauce was 278g, and to that I added 500g water.  Later I added another 50g of water when adding the salt.  Because I don't know how much water is in the actual sauce, I don't know the final hydration of the bread, but it had to be around 72%. 

This bread smelled wonderful when baking, and tasted really excellent, toasted with a bit of cheese.  It had a nice rise in the oven, and remained quite moist when toasted.  Full of flavour.

I usually experiment with different things to do with my leftover sourdough.  Here I made a semolina/ww bread using 187g of old sourdough, 187g each of semolina, ww, water.   The resultant dough was 777g, so I got 1.8% of that for the weight of the salt (14g) [Later, when tasting the bread, I realized it was too salty and figured out my mistake.  I should have taken the water out of the total (777-187=590g, 1.8% of which is 11g].  When adding the salt I also added 30g more of water.  This dough was placed in a tin, although there wasn't nearly enough to fill it.

These breads were baked in the convection oven, one at a time on a stone with steam.  The first bread was baked with the one in the tin, and after that each bread was done separately.  

Using steam in this oven was quite successful, however the oven senses the steam and beeps incessantly.  Perhaps it assumes that there has been a spill, or is warning about the steam-heat within the oven.  I don't know.

This oven has a clear window and an excellent light, so that I'm able to see the bread baking.  This has been a revelation.  I was under the impression that most of the rising takes place in the first 5 minutes.  But my bread rose during the entire first 20 minutes of baking, and the filling-in of the score marks and upraising of the crust occurred in the last 10 minutes of that time.  The last 20 minutes gave the crust its characteristic hardness; I turned the oven down to 425 degrees for the final 20 minutes.  Even Cutco knives don't need to be so challenged, let alone the teeth of the victim who tries my bread.

I'm liking this convection oven, the bread bakes evenly no matter where I put it in the oven.  Unfortunately, during the renovations my cracked pizza stone -- that had a convex shape that allowed me to put it close to the round one that isn't cracked, so that I could bake 2 loaves at once -- that cracked stone got 'lost'.  I've unfairly accused my wife of throwing it out without asking me, but who knows?  It might still be simply lost, somewhere.

Notes to Myself
  • That smokey tomato bread was excellent, but although my wife liked it, she was upset that I'd used an entire jar of it in the making of it.  This is precious stuff in our household, we generally use it sparingly.
  • I tried the old sourdough in another bread using similar weights, with less salt, later, and it worked fine.  This bread was surprisingly not very sour.

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