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Shelby

Milling Heritage and Ancient Grains for Baking Bread and Beyond

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14 hours ago, Shelby said:

I never  thought about doing that.  Thank you.

 

Uhm, let me understand: you make the flour setting the mill on the lowest setting, then milling the whole grains in one single passage at the lowest setting?

If it's so, then I suggest to change method. Start with the highest setting, run the whole grains to get a really coarse flour. Lower the setting a bit, run the flour to make it a bit finer. Repeat this process, lowering the setting a bit at a time, until you reach the lowest setting. Then repeat running the flour at the lowest setting until you get a really fine flour.

If you run the whole grains in a single passage at the lowest setting then it's impossible to get a fine flour, you'll end up with a coarse one. I never saw in real life that kind of mill (actually I never saw a small mill for home use), but I suspect its mechanics are not super solid, this means that if you follow that practice (milling the whole grains immediately at the lowest setting) then you risk breaking the mill in the medium term. Such a thing should be written in the machine instructions, aka "the book no one ever reads".

 

 

 

Teo

 

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55 minutes ago, Barrytm said:

that will tell you whether it is a hydration or gluten development issue.

 

I'm pretty sure it's both. Coarse flour means much less active surface. Which means less water will be absorbed (ending up as higher idration) and less proteins are available to form gluten (less gluten development). Milling a correct flour (much finer) will solve this problem.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Im not sure Id pass flour through these mills more than once.

 

rather , find the finest setting and leave it at that.

 

what's my logic ?

 

heat.    and Im guessing heat will damage flavor, which is what home milling is about.

 

I say this having considerable experience grinding my own coffee.

 

 

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I have no experience with milling flour, but when grinding other materials, it is normal practice to start coarse and progressively grind finer and finer. If you are concerned with heat, you may need to wait between passes for the flour to cool before grinding again.

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I have a number of different mills, and with most of the better ones, they do not require that you run the berries through more than once.  I don't know that it would hurt to run it twice, but I never do.  I have used the Komo, and have had no problems with bread rising when running the berries through once.  For a few loaves, i tried a coarser grind to see how it changed, and it did not change the final loaf in terms of rise, but there was a different mouth feel. 

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Everything I've read online and in the instruction book regarding this Komo mill does not say anything about starting on a higher grind and then going smaller.  The flour is definitely warm as it comes out of the mill.  @Barrytm I'm glad you reported about using a coarser grind and it not changing the rise.  I'm definitely going to experiment further :)  

 

Thanks again for all the help from everyone.  I'm so glad to get it!

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I've had what I consider a success.  I used Hard White Spring Berries this time.  I ran them through the mill once on the lowest setting I could get and was happy with the texture.  I forgot to take a picture (sigh--I don't know where my head is sometimes).  I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour for Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread  .  I followed the recipe exactly as written except I used Bob's Red Mill Vital Gluten in place of the enhancer.  And I used the stretch and fold method when I kneaded it.  Oh, and I let it rest for at least an hour instead of the 20 minutes it called for after mixing the ingredients.  The geeky part of me is amazed at the difference between the dough in the beginning and after the rest.  Also the difference in how it feels using the stretch and fold method.  

 

And.  Guess what?  IT ROSE ABOVE THE LIP OF THE PAN :)  YES!

 

Ok, ok, it didn't billow up like a balloon or anything, but still.  It worked.

 

This bread makes good toast and will make good sandwiches.  You and definitely taste the sour, but it's not over powering.  I'd like it a little more sour, in fact.

 

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I've also started another batch of the pineapple juice starter --wanted to see if I could do it again.  @rotuts how is yours?   

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my PJ starter finally has some mold on the sides and has been retired.

 

Ill try again as soon as I get some more PJ.

 

I like the look of that bread !

 

how did it taste re heritage vs commercial grain ?

 

did you remove the bran ?   do an autolysis ?


Edited by rotuts (log)
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1 minute ago, rotuts said:

my PJ starter finally has some mold on the sides and has been retired.

 

Ill try again as soon as I get some more PJ.

 

I like the look of that bread !

 

how did it taste re heritage vs commercial grain ?

Yes, definitely try again.  

 

Thank you!

 

It tastes deeper....more "wheaty".  More like bread.  If that makes sense.

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10 minutes ago, rotuts said:

did you remove the bran ?   do an autolysis ?

I didn't do a true autolyse....just let it rest a lot longer after adding all ingredients together.  Next time I'll do just the flour and water and see if I get any different results.

 

No, I didn't remove the bran.  I like the bran in there :) .  If I start doing pastry-like things, that's when I might want to sift it out, though.....

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im wondering if the bran , unless its well soaked , or autolysed , affects the gluten strands on the final rise.

 

if you separated the bran , you could sprinkle it on the top before baking ?

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1 minute ago, rotuts said:

im wondering if the bran , unless its well soaked , or autolysed , affects the gluten strands on the final rise.

 

if you separated the bran , you could sprinkle it on the top before baking ?

I see what you're saying.  Ok, next go-round I'll do that.

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On 6/27/2019 at 9:46 AM, Shelby said:

I see what you're saying.  Ok, next go-round I'll do that.

I lied.  I didn't this time, but in my defense, here is what happened:

 

I had sent a half a loaf of the Serious Eats wheat bread over to my mother-in-law a couple days ago.  She ate it all in two days lol.  And, she never does this, but she emailed me yesterday around noon asking if I had any more of it and if I did, would I bring it over.  I hadn't planned on baking yesterday, but how could I not make her some more?

 

So, I dove in.  This time I followed the recipe exactly (like I did the first time, but not the second time).  The only difference is that I'm out of the Heirloom Warthog Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries, so I switched to Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries.  The first two times I've made this, I've now learned (thanks to you good people helping me and the pictures along with the recipe) that the gluten hadn't developed enough.  This time I processed it a little longer in the Cuisinart and it worked! (side note--I had to position the dough very strategically around the cuisinart--the dough always works under the blade and makes a huge mess.  This time wasn't so bad, though)  

 

 I knew I had success when it looked like this:

 

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This is not pouring in like it looks.  It's a taffy-like texture.  Very weird feeling, but it looked just like it should.

 

After the first rise:

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I was able to shape it a bit 

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LOOK LOOK LOOK!!! It rose way over the lip!!!

 

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I got so dang excited that I guess I over-proofed it sigh.  

 

After baking:

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Ronnie declared it the best yet.  

 

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Maybe the 4th time will be the charm and it will look good as well as taste good lol.

 

 

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Shelby nice loaf.  I think that spring berries will give a little more lift that winter berries, so that could explain part of the difference.  I think both loaves look fine, and obviously, they tasted great, which is the thing that matters.  Yes, the second loaf was definitely overproofed, but if you make it exactly the same way, and put it in the oven when the volume is a little less than in your photo,  meaning let it rise a little above the rim, it should be great.  Of course,  if you vary the amount of flour, water, or even type of berries, you can't use that level of volume as when to go into the oven.  Some say they bake enough that they can look at the texture of the dough to tell when it is ready, but I can't do that at all.  

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I'm impressed.

 

For those of us who are not quite dedicated enough to keeping a starter (or three) up and going, I wish there were a bakery near me that had starters available for the public to purchase. Buy a little bit the day before, feed it to get more (enough to make the dough), and then make it into your bread. If you have some left over, you can try to keep it going; if not, oh well, you can buy a little more the next time you need some.

 

I do fine with making bread from purchased yeast, but the frequency at which I bake is not enough for me to bother with my own starter. I've proven that multiple times now.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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On 6/29/2019 at 9:06 AM, Shelby said:

she emailed me yesterday around noon asking if I had any more of it and if I did, would I bring it over.

 

MmmHmm.  MiL and everybody.

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

Just wanted to pop in and say I'm sorry for not making bread for a couple weeks.  Life has been busy.  I hope to resume in the next few days :) 

 

You are conditionally forgiven.

 

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Hi.

 

Remember me?

 

I can't believe it's been since June that I've made any whole wheat bread.  My poor mill has been staring at me all this time, wondering what it did to deserve such non-usage.  I can only say that the garden did so good that I canned a lot lot lot and then my periodontal stuff has kicked my butt.  I didn't realize how bad I felt for such a long time until I got on antibiotics.  Ahhhhh the wonders of medicine lol.

 

Anyway.  I put an end to my mill's misery and made bread yesterday :) .  I decided to go with the Serious Eat's recipe again--and the 4th time would have been the charm had I not screwed up and forgot to add water and oil in the last step (banging head against table repeatedly).  I can't believe I did that.  I realized my mistake right after I put the dough in the pan to rise for the last time.  The dough felt really good so I decided to go ahead and bake.

 

Dough after second rise

 

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I'm not sure my screw up really hurt too much thankfully.....

 

I'm back on the bread wagon and I'm going to try new grains and recipes next.

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Looks perfect to me.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am so thrilled to see this topic here.  There are very few places to really dive deep into discussions about home-milled grains.   I resorted to posting some tips on my very plain website (text/photos only, no ads, animations, but I might still have a google analytics on older pages that goes nowhere but to a page whose password I've lost), but I would be surprised if more than a dozen people besides me have ever looked at it.  This is about why I mill in the first place (short version:  it's Dad's fault):

Baking with whole grains

And this is how I adapt recipes written for refined flour for home milled flour:

Adapting refined-flour recipes to whole grains

And here is my whole process from wheat grains to a loaf of bread:

Bread from Wheat to Eat

 

What makes it all worth it for me are really these things

 

1) I get the whole grain and the whole grain nutrition and all the fiber I need to keep things moving!

 

2) I again the most exquisite control over the flavor and texture of my baked goods by combining different grains and custom milling the flower for every single recipe immediately before I prepare it.  It is definitely about a lot more than just wheat bread!

 

–For most cookies, I start with 100% soft wheat if I want a texture like a toll house chocolate chip cookie, but if I want a shatteringly crisp short bread or biscotti, I use up to 30% brown rice, usually short grain or sweet rice.

-If I want softer for a cake, I might use a significant proportion of oat with the soft wheat, up to 30-50%, or if I want softer with a different flavor, corn.

-If I want pasta, I use durum (durum gluten is very strong but not as elastic as hard wheat gluten).  Or if I want a extra firm texture for some crackers, with an earlier than usual flavor, durum is great.

-I have moved away from a long period of almost exclusive use of white hard wheat because I think there might be a little more nutrition in the compounds that make the whole red in more traditional hard wheat, on the general principal that many of the key phytonutrients happen to be colorful, and because I started using some locally-grown heritage wheat from Roan Mills (I particularly like the Glenn, Red Fife (hard) and Sonora (soft) wheats), but unless I can special order and pick it up at the mill, they only sell them in combinations they control--not my thing at all.

-I have been studying Alice Medrich's Flavor Flours to see how she combines non-wheat grains with different flavors in various recipes, more assiduously now that my best friend has been diagnosed as celiac.  And I am playing more with non-wheat grains (even beans) for flavor and texture even when I am combining them with wheat, in part because I figure more variety in my diet should be healthier overall.

 

3) I virtually always use whole or lightly crushed/cut up spices milled in with the wheat for the freshest, brightest, strongest flavor.  Most spices can be milled in with the grain because you are not using them a high enough concentration for their oiliness or hardness to be a problem, with few exceptions (dried ginger, dried galangal!).  I used kitchen shears to cut up cinnamon quills and to cut whole vanilla beans into short lengths (no need to bother cutting it open and scraping out the seeds, just drop quarter inch pieces mixed in with the grain when milling).

This offers an additional benefit because I can buy my spices and slightly larger quantities, whole, and they keep for years without significant loss of quality, not something you would want to try with ground spices.  

 

MILLS
I first used a Kitchenetics Kitchen Mill, the same model my Dad bought, and I still use it regularly 35 years later.  It's an impact mill, and mills the flour extremely fine.  It has a setting dial for coarse to fine, but the coarse is very fine and the fine is silky.  It's loud.  I call it my baby jet plane, because it is loud.  Not that long ago, I did a comparison with a decibel meter between the kitchenetics kitchen mill (110db) and the mockmill (100db).  A Nutrimill Plus clocked in at 90db, definitely the quietest of the 3 I had available for my informal sound test.  I always wear earplugs when milling!  Its advantages versus the others are speed, finest flour, and it seems a little less prone to becoming jammed than the mockmill.  When milling a lot of grain at a time, it does heat the flour 130 to 140 degrees F.  They describe the motor as permanently lubricated; other than one servicing 5 or 6 years in when I foolishly attempted to powder sugar (DO NOT DO THAT!), it has just been brushed clean after each use.  It has certainly withstood the test of time, because I am sure that by now it must have milled more than a ton (US) of grain.  Blendtec now makes the same machine with slight differences. 

 

It did have a problem with a clamp that prompted me to try out potential replacements, but I still keep it and use it with a strap clamp to help contain the dust in use. 

 

I bought a Mockmill 200  to have more options from coarse to fine textured flour, and to see if the stone milling would truly be cooler.  I really do enjoy the different textures, quieter function (remember that the dB scale is logarithmic so 110 is way louder than 100), and that it is easy to keep it set up on my encounter without taking up too much space.  

I gave away the Nutrimill Plus: I found the set up & cleaning just a bit more than either of the other machines, its large size harder to store, and it had more difficulty with both very small and very large grains (e.g., whole corn and teff).  Still, especially for someone who lives in an apartment, it might be an excellent choice because neighbors have ears.

 

I have also used a Wonder Junior Deluxe hand mill, which I still use to get some very coarse grind that is almost closer to a longer or steel cut texture for some flatbreads, where that course grain adds flavor and helps control the thickness as I am rolling that though out.  It takes too much time and muscle power to get truly fine flower that I want for most of my baking, however, and it does not permit milling in the spices with the same evenly distributed result I get from the kitchenetics or Mock Mills.  So it mostly sits in the back of the cabinet until I am ready to make those particular flat breads or crackers.

 

All of these mills do fine with your basic wheats (hard, soft, einkorn, emmer, spelt, durum, kamut, farro); rices; oats; rye; barley.  As I noted above, the Nutrimill had difficulty with whole corn, but the others do not.  They generally are fine also with mixes that include millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum and teff; but chia and flax will gum them up if used at more than about 5% concentration because they are too oily.

 

I do like to add flax and Chia to many recipes at low concentration, because of their high omega-3 content obtained without resorting to strip-mining the oceans, and because they are useful binders for gluten-free baked goods without needing to resort to xanthan gum.  Plus they add nuttiness that is often quite nice.  But, as mentioned above, these cannot be milled except as part of mix with wheat or other grains at very low percentage, because they gum up the mills (>5% in the Kitchenetics, >2-3% in the Mockmill).  I get around this by using a coffee grinder/spice mill which is reserved only for seeds and spices, so it does not make everything taste like coffee.  I cannot get the flex and Chia as fine as the impact mill, but I can use them at larger proportion if I mill them separately.

 

(my take) SOURDOUGH STARTER & THE PINEAPPLE JUICE SOLUTION


Regarding pineapple juice and sourdough starters, I buy the small six-packs of pineapple juice and start new starters often, because I don't bake that much bread, and mine sometimes sadly becomes moldy when I neglect it a bit too much.  It can be quicker to make a new one than try to rehabilitate a neglected one when I use Peter' Reinhart's guide in his Whole Wheat Breads book & pineapple juice.

 

That said, I can keep a starter going for ages if I store it as a chunk of fairly dry dough buried in flour in my chinese crock in my fridge.  It's when I am building it up for a recipe and don't use all of it and don't take the time to prep that dry little ball of it and it sits as a very wet starter for months that it gets sad.

 

As it happens, I've got a phase 4 starter in the crock and today I'll bake with it for the first time, some crackers and flatbreads.  

 

I love these Chinese crocks, because they seal just enough to keep my cats out of it when it's on the counter, and refrigerator odors out when it's in the fridge, but let the gases out.

 

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I use the little crock (about 3 cups volume) for getting it started, and storing 'dry'' starter in the fridge; the big crock is for feeding/expanding higher volumes without overflow.  

 

When I can figure out how to do it, I'll post Wheat to Eat here with all the images but right now it's time to get off my duff and go prepare the stuffing.

 

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Bread from Wheat to Eat

 

This was not the best batch of bread ever, but still illustrates my bread technique pretty well.  I've played around with different techniques for mixing, kneading, rising, proofing, and baking, and this is what I do most of the time.  

 

I start with whole wheat berries, which I buy 25 or 50 lbs at a time, so I have a collection of buckets for storing the several varieties I usually keep on hand (hard white, soft white, and durum are the usual suspects, plus whole field corn).

 

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The wheat gets weighed out before milling, here 500 grams is about the limit of what my food processor motor can handle:

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I set up the mill in the sink like this to help contain the dust and lining the sink with the towel also cuts down on the noise a bit.  I call the mill my baby jet plane, because the milling heads on this impact mill spin at 28,000 rpm and it is LOUD.  I never mill without earplugs.

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Milling now, adding wheat to keep the hopper full as it blasts away.  Note the dust spot on the side of the sink.

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Next, after unplugging the mill, everything stuck on the lid gets brushed into the bowl.  The metal teeth there are the milling heads.  The little cups also get removed because a few teaspoons of flour gather in there and need to be brushed out.  Then the whole thing gets emptied into whatever is needed for the next step--here, into a mixing bowl, but it could also go straight into the food processor.

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Now in the food processor, I add about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of instant yeast directly on top of the flour.  I'm using the regular metal blade, not the 'dough blade' that came with it.

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I have some sourdough starter that I'm going to add for a bit of extra flavor, but because it hasn't been refreshed in a while and is not strong enough to raise the bread, this 'psuedo-sourdough' will also use a full complement of yeast.

The starter lives in a neat little three-part ceramic crock that seals tightly enough to keep it from drying out, but loose enough to let fermentation gases out so it doesn't explode all over the fridge.

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I used about 1 cup of starter that is about 1:1 water:flour, and mix it with the rest of the liquid used for the bread before adding it to the flour mixture.  Here, I'm just using another 1 cup of water, no honey or oils.

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starter
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1 cup of starter
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1 cup of starter plus 1 cup of water, and a bit

Pour it all straight in, and turn on the processor.  

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A dough forms pretty quickly--within much less than a minute:

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Now I let it sit for the 'autolyse' to hydrate the flour--10-20 minutes--before the kneading.  The dough is a bit stiff and dry, however, and I can tell that it needs more water--because it is rough and doesn't sag when the motor is stopped.  The 2 cups of liquid I added contained some flour, so my 'about 2 cups' wasn't enough.  

 

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After the 'autolyse', I've turned it back on to knead, and added another 1/3 cup of water as it worked.  After about a minute, the liquid is absorbed and the dough is 'cleaning the bowl'

This is now a very soft, rather sticky dough, might have overdone the water a bit:

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A tea strainer makes a great dredger to dust the work surface (a silpat sheet) with flour, thinly and evenly

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And now the dough is dumped onto the work surface, and kneaded a few strokes to round it, before it gets plopped back to a bowl for rising.

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The rounded dough here is a bit saggy:

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The dough and bowl are put into a plastic produce bag, and if you handle it right, it's easy to capture abundant air in the bag so it is puffed up well above the rim of the bowl.  This gives the bread room to rise without touching and sticking to the plastic, and keeps it nice and moist.  The clip is tight enough to keep enough air in the bag but not so tight as to cause the gases released from the fermenting dough to pop the bag

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After 45 minutes at room temperature, the bag is already misted on the inside with moisture;

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and a few hours later there are a few little trails where water drops have formed and run through the condensation

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The dough has gone a little over the top here, starting to sag back already before I got to it.  That's what happens when you're having too much fun in the garden to stop and tend it; fortunately, the bread will forgive the neglect.  Still, you want to catch it when it is still domed.

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Turned out again onto the silpat, re-rounded with a few turns, and back to the bowl:

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And into the refrigerator for rising overnight:

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The next day, the dough is removed from the fridge, and returned to the work surface for dividing and shaping:

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I divided this into six pieces for large rolls or small loaves--enough for one morning's toast or to eat with a bowl of soup.   Single serving loaves work best for me.  

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The shaped loaves are set on a silpat-lined baking sheet, sprinkled with coarse semolina flour, and are put back in the bag for rising--in this case, I just open up the bag to a single layer of plastic, which just covers one baking sheet, loosely, and doesn't stick to the dough because it's already pretty damp on one side:

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Now they proof for about 45 minutes.   The dough has to come to room temperature, and then rise, so this takes a while.  Here they're about doubled in bulk, and relaxed to a flatter shape.  Meanwhile, I've been preheating the baking bricks in the oven.

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Last stop before the oven is slashing the loaves.  I'm still not very good at making the right kind of deep, angled cuts, which permit the dough to expand without having to tear the already formed crust.  I used my bread knife because I couldn't find the lame.

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Now into the oven, onto the preheated bricks.  If I were really determined, I could carefully place the formed loaves directly onto the bricks, with a fresh layer of semolina in between, but here I take the lazy way out and just put the pans on the bricks.  I probably lose a bit of potential oven spring that way.

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 This time I tried a new trick for keeping the oven steamy, which helps keep the crust soft until the dough is fully expanded.  I put a small cast-iron teapot full of boiling water directly on the bottom of the oven, beneath this lower tray of bricks.  In theory, it was supposed to keep bubbling and steaming away....

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afterwards, though, there was still quite a bit of water in it, which I'm trying to show here, so I'm not sure how much steam it really made:

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I check for doneness not by knocking their bottoms, but checking the temp.  For simple country rolls like this, I want 205-210 degrees internal temperature

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And here are the finished loaves

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Transfer to a cooling rack, out of reach of bread-thieving cats or other dangerous creatures, and you're done.

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More on how home milling is not just about bread.....

 

A Cracker Primer

 

This is how I make crackers.  I was making two different batches of crackers this day, one batch of Corny Crackers, and one batch of Four-Seed Snapper crackers from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.

I love crackers, and like homemade ones, but was frustrated with the effort to yield ratio required, and the lack of crispness if I didn't get the dough perfectly thin, or the high proportion of scorched crackers if I did roll them perfectly thin.  I've since figured out some tricks that make it a lot easier and more efficient to make a bunch of them at once.

After you've prepared the dough of your choice, let it rest and chill if required, and preheated the oven to about 400 degrees or as called for in your recipe, pat handfuls of dough into a rough rectangle and place on a baking sheet liner (teflon, silicone, heck, parchment would probably work too).  If needed, set the liner on a damp towel to keep it in place on your work surface as you roll out the dough.

 

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Dust below and the top of the dough lightly to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.

 

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Roll out the dough to desired thinness (usually 1/16" to 1/8", 2-3mm), rolling always from the center out to the edge, to avoid the edge rolling sticking and rolling up onto the pin.  

Next, dock the dough:  with a fork, or better yet, a rolling docker, prick the dough evenly.  This is to keep the dough from ballooning up like pitas as it bakes and making uneven crackers.

 

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Now cut the crackers, with a knife (gently so it won't damage your baking sheet liner) or a rolling pizza cutter or other cutter.  I use a pasta cutter here.

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Now the crackers are ready to transfer to the baking sheet.  

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This is a slick trick:  no spatulas and careful arrangements needed.  Just slip directly onto the baking sheet, liner and all.

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Now slide the baking sheet into the preheated oven.  I keep baking tiles in the oven pretty much all the time, and bake two sheets worth of stuff at once.

I set the timer for halfway through the baking time, and switch the sheets top and bottom and flip them front to back for even baking.

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I do not try to get them fully crisp at this time--the first baking is to brown them.  They're going back in the oven like biscotti do to get crisp.  This way I will be able to get all of them crisp without burning many or any, or doing a dance with the oven to remove them as they're done while letting others bake on.  

Once they're done, I set them aside, still on their baking sheet, unless I need to reuse the sheet and liner.  If I were not double-baking them, I would remove them to cooling racks at this step.

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Then after all the dough is baked once, I turn off the oven and open the door until the temp is about 250 degrees F or so.  Then I return the crackers to the oven, loosely piled on baking sheets, and set the temp to 150°F (for overnight crisping) or 200°F (for at least two hours).  This is hot enough to dry and crisp them but not hot enough to burn them.

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Remove them carefully--even 150°F is plenty hot to burn bare fingers--and let them cool on a rack.  

Then enjoy your double-baked, crisp, easy crackers.

 

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