Sourdough Ciabatta

Sourdough Ciabatta

Aside from regular sourdough bread, I had been kind of wondering what else to do with my starter.  Luckily one of my FB groups are full of cooks and someone shared a sourdough ciabatta recipe they liked.  I figured I’d give it go.  The original recipe is here:  https://breadtopia.com/sourdough-ciabatta/

I didn’t have the requisite 550g of starter ready but had 300g of starter so adjusted the recipe accordingly.  When I was transcribing from the internet to a piece of paper (yes I’m still old school and typically don’t just look at a screen for my recipes but actually write them down on paper), I accidentally wrote my 2 so it kinda looked like a 7.  So when I was weighing out the water, I accidentally did about 50% more than I had anticipated using.  I then had to do a bunch of math to try to even things out.  I’m not even going to try putting the actual recipe values on here (just go look at the original recipe).  I’ll just go through my process and how it came out.

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Sourdough on top of rest of mixture
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After initial mix before adding in the extra water (after about 20 minutes of kneading)
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Added the extra water and tried to incorporate

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Parker House rolls (my variation)

Parker House rolls (my variation)

I learned about the famous Parker House rolls sometime ago while watching one of the many food shows that I use to waste my time.  This morning since I was up at 4 AM due to jet lag, I decided to try my hand at them (also because I didn’t think we had anything in the house for breakfast except for eggs and I figured that some bread would go well with eggs).

I ended up loosely following a recipe from King Arthur Flour, but made some changes based on what I had in my pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I used a mixture of bread and AP)
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used rice drink as that is all we have in the house)
  • 1 large egg (mine was more of a medium sized egg)
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter

The overall recipe was fairly easy.  Mix all of the above ingredients save for the last 3 Tbsp of melted butter – that was for later.  I did slightly warm up the rice drink with the egg whisked in to get it closer to room temperature.  Initially (maybe due to lack  of sleep), I only used 2 cups of flour and couldn’t figure out why the dough was so wet and seemed to be more consistent with a cake mixture.  I eventually realized my mistake and added the extra cup of flour and it still came together okay though was a very wet dough (I suspect from the all the butter).

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Forgot to add the 3rd cup of flour so it was a mushy mess.
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Much better with the 3rd cup of flour

I popped the dough into a lightly greased bowl and placed it in my oven’s proof setting for 80 minutes (originally it was set at 90 minutes but I took it out a little early).  The dough rose quite nicely.

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The King Arthur recipe calls to shape the dough into the orginial recipe shape  (as seen here).  I decided to do my own thing.

I spread the dough out into a roughly 8″ x 12″ rectangle.  I took some of the melted butter and generously brushed it over the entire dough rectangle.

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I then divided the dough into 16 pieces.  Each piece was then individually rolled into more or less a ball like shape and placed in some cast iron pans.

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I then let it rise for abour 40 minutes (the recipe says to let them puff up and not double at about 45-60 minutes).

In a 350  F pre-heated oven I popped both the cast iron pans into the center of the oven.  The original recipe called to bake for 20-25 minutes until brown but mine ended up taking closer to 30 minutes (maybe like 29 minutes).  I then brushed the top of the bread with the remaining melted butter.

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Overall I was impressed with how they came out.  The inside dough structure was soft and pillowy and there was a bit of crunch from the outside of the bread.  This is definitely something I can do again in the future.

-StewsCat

 

Bread boules!!

Bread boules!!

A few weeks ago I decided to make some bread for my lunch (I’d bring the bread with some deli meat and sliced cheese – very European I know).  I decided to just make two boules and bring one for a co-worker who has asked for me to bring some bread for her previously (little did I know that she’d be out sick).  I went back and found an old recipe and tweaked it slightly.

Ingredients:

Preferment:

  • 350 g bread flour
  • 364 g water
  • 3 g yeast

Remaining ingredients

  • 350 g bread flour
  • 266 g water
  • 14 g salt

I mixed up the preferment and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I then added that to the remaining ingredients above.  I mixed these up thoroughly and then let it sit for the water to absorb before I kneaded it.

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I then proceeded to knead it for approximately 15 minutes until it was relatively smooth and I could do the “window” test – not perfectly but close enough.  I then set it in a bowl, covered it and used the proof setting on the oven to allow it to rise (double in size).

I pulled the dough out, did the knead and fold method a few times with 30 minutes in between before dividing the dough into 2.

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Marathon Training Week 9

Marathon Training Week 9

Week 9 had some highs and a lot of lows.  As you’ll see below, I ended up only doing 2 runs the entire week.  For my scheduled Tuesday and Thursday runs I can blame work for not getting them in.  Normally I get off work around 6 but due to various circumstances on both those days I had to stay late and was just too tired to get a run in when I got home.  I’m not sweating it too much.

The high of the week was actually hitting the 18 mile distance and feeling somewhat okay afterwards.  I keep telling myself that for the actual race I’ll be doing an additional 8.2 miles so I better feel “okay” after an 18-miler.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0.00 (3)

Thursday – 0.00 (8) – in reality, 8 miles was a bit ambitious considering 18 the following day.

Friday – 18 (18)

Saturday – 4.05 (5)

Sunday –  0.00 (4)

Weekly Total – 22.05 miles (37)

My long run was taken along the American River Trail again.  This time I went further and traversed the bridge past William Pond Park.  I ran over this bridge when I did the Run The Parkway Half.  There were tons of Canadian Geese out.  They were just all over the place.

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It is amazing how quickly the water level drops after no rain for a few weeks.  Not sure when we’re going to get more rain but I feel like we need some more over the next 1-2 months to feel okay with being out of the drought.

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My last run I ran past this tree with these bright vibrant yellow flowers.  Now, 2 weeks later the flowers are still there but they appear so much more dull.

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So I crossed the bridge and explored some new territory.  I stopped at a bathroom/water fountain area that was cool but a bit isolated.  I pictured a horror movie where I was being chased by some masked villain.  Luckily this was only about a 1/4 mile detour.

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Even though my 18 miler was slower than my 16 miler, I think it is good progress.  It is amazing how I slowed so much on the 18 miler even though for the 16 miler, I had put in some tough fast hill miles the night before the 16 miler.  Strange how the body works.

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Sunday I woke up in a funk and just wasn’t feeling it (it = life).

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The dog had the right idea

So rather than get a run in that may have helped my mood, I went out to dinner for some cocktails and pizza.  I had the notion of doing a few night miles after dinner but when I ordered that second cocktail, I knew that running was out of the question.  I also had a baking fail.  I decided to make some bread but was too cocky and didn’t check the temperature of the bread when I finished and of course the center of the loaf wasn’t cooked.  It was just gummy paste.  Fail.  But at least the cocktail and pizza look delish!

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Negroni
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Three types of pepperoni!!  And prosciutto with arugula

-StewsCat

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No knead sandwich bread

Last week for our work potluck I decided to bring bread since it was easy for me to do and something homemade.  I had already done a trial run on some honey wheat dinner rolls but also wanted a backup.  On my fb feed I saw a posting from King Arthur about how 2016 was the year of no-knead bread.  Now originally when I started my baking endeavors, I started with the no-knead variety just due to the ease of it.  The following link came up the weekend before the potluck.  I really like that you can make this ahead of time and toss it in the fridge for up to 7 days without doing any additional work.  My scale also was on the fritz – which I figured out appears to be due to low battery.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups AP flour
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • ~2.2 tsp active dry yeast

Basically I mixed up all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  After covering it with some saran wrap, I let it sit out on the counter for about 2 hours before putting it into the fridge.

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After mixing, before letting it sit for 2 hours on counter
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After 2 hours on counter

I made up this mixture on Sunday and pulled it out of the fridge on Tuesday evening to make for a Wednesday lunch potluck.  I like how simple the recipe is because after removing it from the fridge, I layed the dough out on my well floured countertop and shaped the dough (no kneading, no stretch and fold, no additional manipulations).  Since my scale was not working, I eyeballed the size of each roll.

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Each roll was dusted with some flour.  I covered the rolls and let it sit at room temperature for about 1-1.5 hours to allow it to rise/proof.  After this time, I checked the roll by depressing a finger into the dough.  The dough sprung back about halfway.  During the proofing, I preheated the oven to 450 F.  The recipe calls for using a pan in the bottom of the oven to create steam.  Rather than fussing with this and tossing in water into a hot oven, I elected to just use my water bottle sprayer.

Once the dough was ready, I took a knife and made some slash marks on top of each roll.  I placed the parchment lined cookie sheet of dough into the oven and sprayed the inside with 5-6 spritzes of water before closing the oven door.  Initially I let the bread bake for 10 minutes, then opened the door and quickly spritzed some more water into it.  I then let it bake for an additional ~13-15 minutes.

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As you can see, there were some creases that opened up on the sides of the dough.  This was most likely due to my not tightly rolling the dough balls into a cohesive ball.  Nevertheless I think it gave them a more homemade feel.  My coworkers raved and said the bread rolls were good – I didn’t end up getting to try one.

I also attempted to re-create the honey wheat rolls.  However, as described above my scale wasn’t working properly, I had to eyeball the ingredients with volume (measuring cups) rather than weight.  I also tweaked it slightly and so when I had my wife pull it out and start the stretch and fold process (as I had previously done: here), the dough did not come together like I had hoped.  It remained a very moist gloopy mess that you could not form.  In an attempt to salvage it, I put the wet dough into my loaf pan to see if it would at least attempt a rise.  Luckily the dough actually did rise somewhat (maybe 1 inch in the pan) and I tossed it into the oven and hoped for the best.  Overall it didn’t get the oven spring that you’d normally see but it baked well and actually had decent crumb.  Wasn’t my best effort but was still good.

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I’m excited to see what I will continue to try doing in 2017!

-StewsCat