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Everything posted by andiesenji

  1. CINNAMON ROLLS - Extra-large. Overnight dough in Bread machine (a new for testing) on Dough cycle. The 100° daytime temps make doing this during the day, impossible. Prepped, shaped and set to rise at 4:55 a.m. Oven preheated to 400°F. Into the oven at 5:22 a.m. Finished at 5:50 a.m. Ready for tasting at 6:00 a.m. exactly.
  2. It looks lovely to me. I like the big holes. I slice it maybe 1/2 inch thick and with a narrower loaf on a bias to get longer slices to toast lightly, rub with a garlic clove and use for bruschetta. The topping settles nicely into the larger holes so every few bites one gets an extra punch of the topping.
  3. I don't expect ciabatta to rise much. My loaves have a rather firm "skin" that holds the large bubbles inside and it firms up even more as the oven heat hits it. I don't think about it, because it is pretty much automatic. I pinch large bubbles that work their way to the surface as I am shaping the loaves for the oven. I want them trapped inside and not blowing out through the crust. I form my loaves so they are WIDER and flatter than a "batard" with blunt ends. In fact, I "shape" them crosswise on one of my utility trays on which I have a sheet of parchment. I use a rolling pin to widen them and press the ends against either side so they are a rectangular shape. I let them rise a bit and then into the oven with some ice cube in the cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven. I use a peel to slide the parchment onto the oven rack. I rarely use the baking stone or a pan, The dough for ciabatta is sturdy enough that it holds its shape on the parchment. The loaves are 14 inches long and about 7-8 inches wide and probably 2 inches high with maybe another half inch in the middle.
  4. I finally found my notebook where I recorded my results with the various cultures. Sourdough international stated about the South African culture: "This is the only culture we are aware of that leavens whole wheat flour better than white flour and is ideal for home bakers who grind their own. The flavor is truly unique, and the texture, sourness and flavor are unsurpassed. - It ferments spelt and kamut very well. - The nutty flavor persists. It is grown and packaged in whole wheat flour. This culture was collected by Gray Handcock in Kenilworth, a suburb of CapeTown." I used 1/3 spelt, 1/3 kamut and 1/3 bread flour to start the culture, and I used my "isolation technique" by using my steam cleaner on every exposed surface, including the ceiling, of the small room that was once a "utility" room with a laundry sink until I had that sink removed so I could use it for my dehydrators. Those were covered with large plastic bags. I only opened the starter in there and removed what I needed for each batch of bread and using that method, was able to maintain the culture for 8 months - at which time it became very sluggish and would no longer have enough "oomph" to rise the ground "ancient grains" which I had been using half and half spelt and kamut. It worked fine with bread flour or all purpose with no more than 1/3 King Arthur white whole wheat. In the meantime, I had activated, using the same isolation technique, the Bahrain Culture, which was extra sour and was very enthusiastic with straight bread flour or with bread flour with up to 1/3 NUT or SEED FLOURS. A friend had suggested trying sunflower seed flour. I was able to keep this culture isolated for about 6 months, only because I got careless and opened the container without takign precautions. The next one I activated, after a few months of no sourdoughs at all (kept the purchased cultures in the freezer) was the one from New Zealand that was recommended for RYE SOURDOUGH and it did a spectacular job. And that one I kept going for two years, the last year I worked and the first year of my retirement. I also froze some, and was able to revive it in 2012 and maintained it until 2015 when I had open heart surgery and was away from home for 2 1/2 months. If anyone is very partial to Rye sourdough, this is a fantastic culture and it resists conversion to "local" wild yeasts better than the others. I still had a couple of cultures in the freezer and activated the Australian (Tasmanian Devil) a couple of years ago. I did not go through all the isolation techniques because at this point I didn't care if the wild locals took over. My notes are rather sketchy on this one but I did note that it was VERY ACTIVE and produced distinctive sourdough flavor with HUGE BUBBLES in the crumb and made great CIABATTA bread in large, wide loaves. The remaining cultures I had in the freezer were Poland and Finland and earlier this year I sent them to a younger friend who has been experimenting with sourdough.
  5. When I first began doing my "experiments" with various regional sourdoughs, I couldn't find flours from the "ancient grains" so had to grind my own. In fact, that is what prompted me to get an electric mill- which was just so-so and a year or so later I replaced it with a Nutrimill which worked exactly the way I wanter. I found (as have many bakers before me, though few seem to mention it) that TOASTING the raw grains prior to grinding them - allowing them to cool first - improves the flavor a great deal. It's odd that many of the bakers with whom I have corresponded (before the internet) always seem to fail to mention that they routinely "bake" their flours before storing them. My best results with most of the "foreign" cultures was with a blend of emmer, kamut and a small percentage of rye. A couple of the cultures I got from Sourdo.com had a strong affinity for RYE flour and developed a very vigorous starter that lifted either rye or whole wheat or other grains to heights I had not seen before.
  6. The problem is keeping the cultures ISOLATED. I had a method to keep them isolated for a few months but the local NATIVE cultures have had centuries to acclimatize to a locale and they are strong. That is why trying to maintain a "foreign" culture in places like the Bay area, where that culture simply overwhelms any outside cultures within a few weeks. It is easier here in the desert because the wild yeasts are not as vigorous. in one thread I related my experience with an exceptionally STRONG sourdough response when a local brewery was still operating. It was an experience I do not care to repeat.
  7. I originally saw this on Twitter on August 4 and again a few days later and found this link. If you have a twitter account, you can do a search for Seamus Blackley and follow dozens of tweets about his "adventures in yeast, dough and breads" - not something you would usually see from a PHYSICIST! He shows where he is milling with emmer. and then the various breads. It's a very interesting thread. and I saved the link to The Guardian article: and the BBC article And I tweeted about the National Geographic production when Ed Wood helped reconstruct an ancient Egyptian bakery back in 1993. (they were excavated in 1991) That set Ed on a search for other strains of wild yeasts which became the Sourdo.Com selections of various cultures from around the world. I have posted in much earlier threads about my adventures with some of these strains, back when I was doing a lot more baking. P.S. There is also on Twitter - an Ancient Yeast Club!
  8. Yes, sulfites and other processes inhibits the proliferation of the organisms that develop into a colony that becomes a mother. LIGHT is also a problem after bottling. Often wine will turn to vinegar after time even when not opened but especially if opened and exposed to oxygen - which is oxidation but there has to be a certain number of organisms in a natural state for a viable colony to develop. There are several wine making books that also discuss the procedures used to AVOID conversion to vinegar and also how to make "artisan" vinegars. If there is a Brewer/Wine making supplier in your area, you might get some valuable help. There have been people who became successful, almost by accident. Read about the Madhouse Vinegar guys, how they got together and what they are doing. This is a recent happening and fascinating. I spent years fiddling around when my only information source were some old, out of date books but at that time I lived in the San Fernando valley and I found a great Wine-Making supplier on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills who was very helpful, sold me my first big carboys and introduced me to a couple of hobby winemakers who were more than happy to give me their unsuccessful results with which I could experiment, rather than pour it down the drain. After I moved up here to the high desert in 1988, I was lucky in that the neighbor behind me was Italian and HER father lived in Tehachapi and made red wine from his own grapes and from the wild blackberries that grow up there. I went up with her a few times and he always would give me a jug of wine, even though he knew I didn't drink, he told me to use it for cooking. And I did. I added some to the vinegar I had been nursing along for a few years and it really loved his wine. It improved exponentially. That was the batch I lost in the earthquake. By then he had passed away and I had no access to homemade wine of that purity and quality.
  9. Unfortunately, unless you are in an area where there are orchards or vineyards, where "friendly" organisms are in the air - and this means well away from any pollution from vehicles because fumes from burning fossil fuels destroy the beneficial organisms, you will not have any success. You have to be in a rural or semi-rural area. I experimented with various wines decades ago that "turned to vinegar" but a viable "mother" never developed and the vinegar effect that was a chemical reaction, deteriorated over time. You need whole, unwashed fruit that has not been treated with wax or washed so commercial fruits are not acceptable. You can try health food stores that carry Certified organic, unwashed fruits. Or if you live in an area where there are table grapes or wine grapes growers, you can buy from roadside stands. I have a friend who grows several varieties of grapes and I buy from him and juice my own grapes. For starting a mother, you need to juice the grapes and include both the juice and the skins in the jar. It has to be kept away from light because light will inhibit the fermentation. Be patient and avoid disturbing the jar for at least 6 weeks. Get a Ph test kit to monitor the progress. It may take several tries to get a viable mother to develop. And, not all the bacteria on fruits are beneficial! Some of the bacteria that cause fermentation, the "wild bugs" can invade a culture and make people ill. A hundred years ago there were no huge feed lots where thousands of cattle were fattened for slaughter, in the same area as table grapes are grown, as in the San Joaquin valley. Dust collected in the area contaminated with E.Coli. I personally wash table grapes from that area thoroughly and would never consider using them to develop a mother. The same with fruits that are grown near the huge egg production places where dust is floating around that contains salmonella. You have to educate yourself about the source areas where fruits are grown. This is why people who are serious about developing their own vinegar BUY commercial mothers so they don't inadvertently make themselves or their guests ill.
  10. It is less "sharp" than most vinegars. It has a very slight flavor that is somewhat "vegetal" and very pleasant. It makes great mild pickles and I used it to make shredded ginger pickle. However mostly I used it in marinades, especially for chicken and pork. I also forgot to include that I made a lovely vinegar with maple syrup that I used almost exclusively in fruit salads.
  11. I have several books on vinegar history, production, various homemade as well as commercial types. I have made vinegars from many fruit juices, starting with either the cider vinegar mothers or one converted to white wines. Apricot, pineapple, peach, pear, persimmon, coconut, passionfruit (from when I lived in the San Fernando valley and had an extremely prolific passionfruit vine), blueberry, raspberry, quince, gooseberry, kiwi, tomato, strawberry, white fig, currant red and black. I also made vinegar from cane syrup - a friend brought me a half gallon from Jamaica and being a diabetic, I decided to convert it to vinegar - which is done in Jamaica and I had tried the Jamaican product some years earlier.
  12. You can buy a bottle of Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar with the "Mother" - there are a couple of other brands that carry it and start your vinegar with at least a full pint bottle of the Bragg to which you add at least two bottles of red wine or white wine, keep it in a place away from direct light, covered with a permeable cloth that has been sterilized with boiling water (dry it in a very low oven, not in the dryer). After three weeks (it takes about 20 days for the mother to "take hold" of the wine) you can add another bottle. I have my vinegars in larger containers with spigots at the bottom so I can draw off vinegar without disturbing the mother. You can add either wine or fruit juice (boiled and cooled) once the mother is established. It takes about 6 months and 5 bottles of red wine for it to convert completely from the cider base to the red wine base for regular wine. If you use a SWEETER dessert wine, it converts more rapidly and with less wine. The mother likes sugar. It takes longer with dry WHITE wine but can be sped up with sweeter wines. I did a batch with 2 bottles of Liebfraumilch and one bottle of Riesling that converted in 3 months. Couldn't taste even a hint of the cider. Amazon and others online SELL wine mothers. These photos are of my main red wine, which is easiest to access in my big pantry. This mother was started in 1994 - after the January earthquake when my old GLASS carboy broke when something fell on it. I got this at a restaurant supply place, BPA free and acid-proof. The mother is a solid, disc-shaped mass that floats just below the surface. I "feed" it at least every 6 weeks, usually with boiled and cooled grape juice (I juice my own grapes). From time to time friends who are wine enthusiasts bring me bottles of opened and not finished wines from one of their parties. (I don't drink alcohol because of a severe allergy.) I drew off some and tested the Ph which is right at 2.7, which I consider ideal. This vinegar can be poured over crushed ice, seltzer added and drunk as a cooler.
  13. When I posted about my bread routine with a machine and the autolyse pause, and then removing the paddles after the final knead, I forgot to add that at this point I check the "feel" and the "response" of the dough. At this point a correct dough should have a smooth, non-tacky surface and it should RESIST and snap back when pulled. If it is too "slack" or has a tacky or sticky surface, you can knead a couple of tablespoons of flour into the dough until it has the desirable smooth, non-tacky surface and is NOT pillowy soft. Shape it evenly and drop it back into the pan from which you have removed the paddles. With this correction, you should be able to avoid the "sunken top" of over-proofing because that little bit of flour gives the yeast something to work on. I learned this a long time ago, before bread machines when I fell asleep, didn't hear my timer and a batch of dough shaped for the oven was badly over-proofed. I gathered all the shaped loaves and rolls onto the bench, kneaded some flour, a small amount at a time, into the dough until it felt "responsive" and was resisting my kneading and stretching. I divided it and reshaped it all and shortened the raising time a bit and was able to bake them all off successfully. It is important to learn the "feel" of dough during the various processes. Don't be afraid to touch it. I use gloves so if the phone rings I can peel off a glove and not have a messy phone. Invariably, the phone will ring when I am up to my wrists in dough.
  14. Here are a couple of photos from a couple of years ago to illustrate the little holes in the bottom of the bread when just the shaft is there. One sliced cut through the little hole. Makes a much neater loaf. I'm sure I have posted these elsewhere in another thread.
  15. I have been using bread machines since I got my first one in the mid '70s. I posted in the bread topic about the method I have been using for the past several years to take advantage of the AUTOLYSE effect which, in my opinion, allows the dough to develop so one gets a consistent result and if you want to bake the dough in an oven, it is much easier to work and shape. I add the oil and the water to the machine and then add the FLOUR, select the desired cycle, turn the machine on and allow it to go through the FIRST mix and knead cycle, that should run for at least 5 minutes, longer is better. At that point I stop the machine, cancel the cycle and allow the flour/water mixture to rest for 30 to 40 minutes - longer if using whole wheat or rye flour. At the end of that period I reset the machine to the original setting add all the remaining ingredients (salt at one end of the pan, yeast at the other) and turn it on. I know that when my machine gets to 1:55 remaining time, it will do the final quick knead - equivalent to punching down when working by hand. At this point I turn the dough out into an oiled bowl or onto a lightly floured counter and REMOVE THE PADDLES! I reshape the dough, if necessary, put the pan back into the machine, close the lid and let it finish the final rise and bake. Removing the paddles means you only have two little holes the size of a pencil eraser in the bottom of your loaf. If it doesn't fall right out when done, twist the drive flanges on the bottom of the pan, that should release the loaf.
  16. I've had this happen rarely. I use a ladle, removed the mold colonies and the mother and discard it carefully sealed in a plastic bag, trying to disturb it as little as possible so it won't expel spores. I then pour the vinegar into a saucepan and bring it to a boil and allow it to cool. Transfer it into a clean, sterilized jar and transplant some of my backup mother, add some wine or boiled and cooled fruit juice. I have never had molds re-establish in the same batches using this method.
  17. As a follow-up to my earlier post. This is a bit more than 1/3 the amount of dough produced that I put in an oiled plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator on Monday morning. It rested in the bag for 2 hours and then I dropped it into the bread machine pan. I left it to rise in the pan for almost an hour, tested it by pushing a couple of fingers in and when it didn't bounce back, I turned the machine on the "BAKE" cycle that is pre-set for 1 hour. It got a bit of "oven kick" and baked as I expected. This is a 3-pound machine so the pan is much deeper than on smaller machines. It has been cooling for a hour and I have to wait another hour before I can slice it.
  18. No, this needs the milk powder to work correctly. The amount of liquid would have to be changed and the diastatic malt left out. It is NOT a substitute for liquid milk.
  19. My apricot tree, which used to bear heavily but is now elderly and as it blooms early, often the blooms are lost to hard freezes here in the high desert. No fruit this year. Last year had a few.15 years ago it bore huge amounts of fruit. It is the "Moorpark" heirloom, large very sweet fruit usually with a rosy "blush" and is great for eating out of hand, for cooking, baking, drying and made the best apricot preserves I ever made. When I lived down below in the San Fernando Valley, I had a Blenheim and a Katy, which produce fruit very early, I would usually start picking Memorial Day weekend and as half the tree was grafted, that side ripened a bit later, finishing just at the Blenheim began maturing.
  20. I have a "few" utensil holders for the ones that are not hanging. Mine are mostly of "collected" gadgets and odd things. I have an isolated corner counter area that is pretty much useless for anything except holding my "spooner" which prompted me to use similar containers for forks and large spoons and get them out of the "flatware" drawer which never worked correctly and which, having an iffy "stopper" from time to time exited the frame, dumping everything on the floor. Some of my containers, metal mesh, came from Staples in the office supply section and because they are a bit lightweight, the bottom contains aquarium rocks or marbles to keep them from tipping with longer, top-heavy gadgets. And the hanging gadgets. Looks confusing but I know where everything is. Also my earthquake warning system. P.S. I also have ZERO "junk drawers" in fact I got rid of all but two small drawers in my kitchen that hold only small items such as corks, bottle caps, pour spouts, my tea caddy spoons, and other small gadgets, many in little plastic bags to keep them clean. The stuff in the "cans" go into the dishwasher periodically. The metal mesh ones can go into the dishwasher with their contents and then are set on a large cooling rack over a full-size sheet pan to dry. This is fairly rapid here in the desert, today the humidity is 9%. I got rid of the drawers after opening one that held some gadgets and finding a mouse staring back at me. The little pinkish desert mice invade when it is very hot, very cold or no rain for months. I do not want to share space with them. I washed everything in the drawer and set out traps, then decided to hell with it, broke up the drawer, tossed it into the trash and emptied all the others, cleaned everything that was in them and discarded them also. All food stuff goes into Cambro containers or is stored in the freezer. I have a lot of the large Cambro containers just for this reason.
  21. I've had some semolina flour in my big freezer for a year as well as some white whole wheat (King Arthur) and have used up much of my bread flour, so decided to use these as I have a recipe that makes great bread for sandwiches, for TOASTING and can be baked in the bread machine (1/2 the batch), in loaf pans or as Vienna loaves. It can be baked in baguettes but as it has a medium fine crumb, one loses the real advantage of this bread which is as a sandwich bread. Semolina Bread for Bread Machine Mine is a 3 pound Machine 2 Cups Water 1/4 Cup Oil 2 Cups Semolina flour 3 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour 1/3 Cup Milk Powder, whole milk 3 TBS Diastatic Malt 3 TBS Sugar 1 TBS Salt Bread Salt 1 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast Use White Bread setting. Place Water and Oil in the Machine Pan. Add the two flours Allow to mix and knead through FIRST mix and knead process of the cycle. Turn machine off to end cycle. Set timer for 40 minutes (autolyse) Add remaining ingredients. Select White Bread setting Push START! Check your machine for the cycle times. Set timer for Last KNEAD - in my machine it shows 1:55 time remaining. Remove dough from pan, REMOVE THE BEATERS! Divide dough approximately in half. Place half in an oiled plastic bag and store in refrigerator. Reshape remaining dough so top is smooth and replace in pan. Close the top and allow to finish final RISE AND BAKE. At end of Bake cycle, remove pan from machine and invert on cooling rack. If the dough does not release after a minute, turn the wing-like things on the bottom, which should allow the loaf to release.
  22. Welcome. You will fit right in as there are many, many members who like to experiment with various pastries, cookies, cakes, tarts and there have been some interesting discussions about macarons. I seem to recall a lively discussion in "Preserving Summer" with many references to Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber. and in the thread "Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Fruit Spreads, Butters" I am too old and infirm to do much now but I did some catering in the '80s and '90s. I spent a few years in the late '70s and early '80s developing a method of making crystalized ginger in large batches from large, mature rhizomes because the commercial stuff was expensive and often little pieces.
  23. I make a crisp waffle with half semolina flour and half white whole wheat flour (King Arthur) it uses yeast. I set a sponge the night before, add liquid, water or milk, 1 cup, just as my bread recipe, then beat in 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons oil (or melted butter- coolec), 2 tablespoons sugar, teaspoon salt. This is a very thin liquid to which I add 2 cups of the mixed flours, 1/2 cup at a time until the batter is the right consistency. This can vary from 1 3/4 cups to 2 cups depending on the humidity. If you have a favorite waffle recipe, just substitute 1/2 the flour for semolina or durum flour.
  24. I have a Capresso purchased in 2008 which replaced one that suffered a "fatal" accident when I pulled the plug on it, thinking it was the appliance I had in my hands and yanked it off the counter. I had purchased that one when the Infinity was first introduced. I am posting a screen shot (with permission) that shows the date of purchase in February 2008. I have used it extensively, have taken it apart for thorough cleaning several times and it continues to grind my beans - mostly Dark roast and/or French roast, Italian roast or Espresso - exactly the way I prefer. If you pro-rate the price, it was very inexpensive.
  25. andiesenji

    Afternoon Tea

    Nicolai, this is just lovely, your photos are evocative of how delightful Afternoon Tea can be in a lovely setting. Thank YOU! I LOVE Afternoon tea and I wish I had some photos of "Tea" in my grandparents home when I was a child. Presided over by my great grandmother, until her death in 1949, it was memorable. Although at the time I had no idea how "different" it was compared to how other families conducted their lives. Most had "dinner" at midday and supper in the early evening. There were two large round tables in the sitting room, one with the tea pots and tableware and the other laden with every kind of food one would find on a British tea table. My great grandmother had spent a lot of time in GB and one of my great aunts was born there. I was five when I was allowed to attend "tea" with the grownups, having a cup of "cambric" tea with my plate of goodies. My grandmother kept a starched, white pinafore in a cupboard to cover my regular clothes which might be a bit grubby. Or a bit horsey as I had a pony and often had to be forcibly peeled off it at meal times. During the latter half of the '40s although my uncles and aunts and their children had moved out of the big house, they still showed up for tea so there were usually twenty or more people to serve. I have some of the "receipts" for tea cakes and tea breads, scones and biscuits from my grandparent's cook.
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