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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bread with Roasted Soya Nuts

Bread with Roasted Soya Nuts

With this bread I managed to use up some stuff that's been cluttering up the pantry.  I had some pickle juice that was in the fridge -- 271g from a homemade jar of 'sweet pickles' -- that I used as part of the hydration.  And I had a couple of leftover bags of roasted soya nuts, which I combined and from which I used 100g of them in this bread.


  • 1000g ww flour, freshly milled
  • 200g cracked wheat sourdough starter
  • 20g salt
  • 271g pickle juice
  • 529g water (with pickle juice, total ~80% hydration)
  • 100g roasted soya nuts

Slow Fermenting Sourdough in a busy schedule
But what is most memorable, for me, is that I mixed the sourdough starter one Friday after work, mixed the dough on Saturday before work (kneaded it and stretched it before 0400, when the dog woke me up and at 0500, when it was my normal time to get up, I refrigerated it.  Even without the dog's involvement, I would have been able to get this much done).  After work on Saturday, I took it from the fridge, left it on the counter an hour, then I kneaded it some more, divided it, shaped it, and placed it in some baskets, still cold to the touch.  This was left covered overnight in baskets at room temperature, then I baked it Sunday morning before work.  Sounds like a lot of work, and sounds like I had a plan going in.  It wasn't a lot of work, and I had no plan.  I was winging it.

Prior to refrigeration
After refrigeration: no rise, but the top has dried out a bit

Point is, it doesn't matter if you work 12 hour days.  Doesn't matter if life has collapsed to a cycle of wake-work-sleep, with little else to distract you.  There is still enough time to make sourdough bread.  Sourdough bread can be made on a nurse's schedule.  The slow fermentation techniques are highly adaptable to a busy life.  

Sunday AM: proofed all night

The soybeans are soft, but provide a nice flavour.

Blogging in a Not-So-Busy Schedule
Blogging about it: not so adaptable to a busy life.  It takes time to write about bread, much more time than it takes to make the bread.  And I usually make time, on my days off, to consider the bread I bake, the bread I eat, and what it all means -- because I like to write, and after almost 40 years of journal writing, writing has become more than a habit, it is a lifestyle.

But a certain sameness creeps into my writing (just as there is a sameness in the bread I make, I suppose) -- and after an indeterminate amount of time I begin to notice and think, 'Gee, I guess that's my voice.'  A certain amount of self-reflection is necessary to hear it.

After writing that last line, I went in search of a book I'd borrowed from a friend, on consciousness.  Somewhere in that book, I recalled reading a psychologist's theory that our consciousness is nothing more than this inner voice, this editorializing thought that continuously streams through our minds.  The idea was absurd when I first read it.  Surely, there is more to consciousness than words, even unspoken words that provide transport for thought.  When one meditates, and there is an end to the inner verbiage, one remains aware, so what is it that is conscious yet ineffably unvoiced? 
Alas, I could not find the book easily -- perhaps I have even returned the book to my friend (I hope so).  Probably some wiki would provide the name of the scientist whose idea that first was.  Yet I was in danger of losing my train of thought if I didn't give up the search for the book, and return to writing ( I had found a book of poems by Catullus instead, and was reading page after page, instead of making a concerted search for the originally intended book.  Catullus has a fine inner voice, his words still resonate... digression after digression!). 
But why think of that now?  Why did I want the book about consciousness in the first place?  What was it that made me think of the theory of consciousness in context with blogging and encountering my own voice in my words?  It wasn't the theory at all, but there was a connection.  I vaguely recalled...

Ah, that was it.  Vagueness.  The Theory of Vagueness.  This morning I encountered the Sorites Paradox.  A heap is a heap, and you take away part of the heap, it remains a heap -- but how much of the heap can you take before it is no longer a heap?

The problem is in what we determine to name a heap.  A heap is an aggregate of something else.  We call an aggregate of vapour a cloud, but clouds are not clearly defined, they are continuously breaking apart and joining other clouds, so what are we naming?  Likewise, consciousness is vaguely defined.  It is an aggregate, with multiple parts working in tandem, in parallel.  We can take parts of it away -- our memory, our identity, our sensory apparatus, our motor nerves, our ability to speak or understand speech -- but how much can we take away before what we have named is no longer consciousness?  The inner words are but one aspect of the whole; but if that aspect is lost, what is left?  Does consciousness remain?

It does.

Bread is an aggregate of finely milled grains, and water, perhaps salt, perhaps yeast, perhaps other ingredients.  Take a few slices from the bread, you still have bread; take a piece of the slice, you still have bread.  How much can you take away until you have no bread?

Or look again in another way.  Take away some of the ingredients of bread -- say, the salt, or the yeast -- do you still have bread?  You do.  Take away the water, do you still have bread?  Take away the grains, do you still have bread?

Some solutions of the sorites paradox would maintain that you do.

Or we can call this aggregate that we end up with, when all of our bread is taken away: nothing.  We are left with nothing.

And that is precisely what I started with, when I began blogging about my bread.

Much Ado about Nothing
In my job, I continuously meet with people who lose all their identifiers, one after another.  Think about what is important to you, right now.  THE most important thing.  Now imagine it being taken from you.  What will be taken from you that you currently identify with, when at last you arrive on your deathbed?  If you lost your memories, your hopes, your family, your senses, your ability to reason, your home, your job, your ability to walk, or to know, would you still be you?  I maintain that you would.  Something else defines you.  Consciousness.  As tricky to nail down as jelly to bread.

Get to know that part of you that can never be taken away.  The paradoxical heap.  The nothing that embraces all aggregates.  

Here, have some bread.

A good bread, with lots of mild soybean-nutty flavour.

This bread didn't have a very nice rise, it remained quite dense, and that, I presume, is due to the over-handling that had to occur when I shaped it.  The dough was still quite cold, despite my attempt to wait for it to come to room temperature before dividing it and giving it a bench rest.

Leaving the proofing basket of dough out at room temperature overnight before baking it was a bit of a gamble.  I was afraid that the yeast in the dough might wake up in the extra-long proofing, and cause the dough to over-rise, over-proof, and the protease enzymes to break down the gluten, the Lactobacillus bacteria to make it too sour, etc.  Fortunately, none of these scenarios occurred.  Even my wife said that this bread tasted good, didn't even smell sour.  

I am at somewhat of a loss to explain it, however.  Except that the dough was cold, it was a cool night at room temperature, the pickle juice may have retarded the action of the yeast, or perhaps there was salt in some of the roasted soybeans that similarly affected the yeast or LAB.  Whatever it was, this small gamble worked, and the bread was nice.  Very nice indeed.

Notes to Myself
  • Unfortunately the Wiki on Internal monologue didn't have the name of the scientist I wanted  -- the one who first proposed this idea that inner speech is the same as what we call consciousness.  I've had another fruitless search through Stream of Consciousness (narrative mode) and Stream of Consciousness (psychology), but the chain of association was fun.
  • If I ever find out the name of the person I was trying to quote, I'll update this.
  • How I've worded the last part of this blog reminds me of what Jesus said, in Matthew 6:19-20 (or its possible parallel in Luke12:33-34).  But that's not exactly what I meant.  What I was trying to impart was a little less Christian, a teensy bit more science, a tiny more philosophical/word games, a lot more Zen.  But take from it what you will.

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