Bread

so much
depends

upon a red stand
mixer

dusted with bread
flour

beside a stove with one
dead burner


(This pandemic is just a forest of dead major appliances for everybody I know. We also lost the dryer about this time last year, and the icemaker on the fridge just died. And of course the dead one is the only decent burner on our crappy stove.)

Well, I am trying to find the clincher scene for this short story that’s due ASAP, and then I have to do the revisions on The Origin of Storms (which are not, thankfully, strenuous) so of course I am craving carbohydrates to make my brain run.

If you follow me on the instagrams, you may have seen the video of my stand mixer churning away on some bread dough. If, you know, the algorithm was kind.

A post shared by Elizabeth Bear (@matociquala)

So I made baguettes from the King Arthur Whole Wheat Baguette recipe, which I have used before with good results. I adapted it to work with sourdough discard/starter in addition to the small quantities of yeast called for in the recipe, using tactics gleaned from The Zero-Waste Chef blog, because I am way too much of a Yankee to throw away sourdough discard. (The chocolate depression discard cake on that site is also excellent.)

So, I made the levain/pre-ferment as instructed in the recipe, but substituted a half cup of fed starter for the equivalent amount of flour/water. I let that sit overnight, and yesterday morning I made the dough as directed, substituting ~250g of discard for the equivalent amount of whole wheat flour and water. (The whole wheat flour I am using is some Redeemer and some spelt, both from the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA, which basically meets all our carbohydrate needs that aren’t white flour or dried pasta for a whole year, and I bake a lot.)

The dough rises and then gets shaped and rises and shaped and rises and then goes to live in the fridge again overnight. Because I was in and out of the house yesterday (barn) it had to go in the fridge between shapings, too, and when I baked it off this morning I think the oven wasn’t as hot as it should have been. (Our oven is probably on its way out, too, and I should have listened to my instinct to bump the temperature up a bit.) Anyway I didn’t get as much oven spring as I wanted.

The result is delicious and fluffy and crunchy, but the crumb isn’t as airy as I would like and the crust not as dark.

I took two of the three loaves out a little early and froze them for emergency French bread. And I need to feed my starter again…

Good experiment. Would recommend.

Are you folks baking anything?

Best,

Bear

Loading more posts…