Howdy. Apologies in advance for another picture-less update. Big news to share with you all: my oven is on a boat! It's somewhere out there in the cold blue waters of the Atlantic, hopefully having an uneventful journey. It's due to arrive in New York November 4th. Yay! Hopefully soon after it'll be in Silverton.
In other news, I'm continuing to work on recipes and flesh out my routine. I'm feeling really good about how the Country and Six Grain loaves are turning out. My baguette dough is tasting really great but it's not hitting the aesthetic notes I'm reaching for, a frustrating experience that I think will get much easier to address with the right oven. The Dark Rye is making good progress too, I've been using a small portion of wheat flour and finding it very beneficial. I've started to work on some other recipes, looking forward to the time when I can do a full bake. In the works now are an Olive/Walnut/Rosemary, a Challah, and a yet-to-be-determined sweet bread.
On the subject of sweet breads, I'd been on the fence about whether or not to make them. When I think about my place in this community I feel it's important to make breads that are wholesome and nutritious. That's why I love incorporating whole grain flours and using long slow ferments. What I've decided to do, because I also like to indulge every now and then, is to offer once or twice a week a loaf that's been lightly enriched with a small amount of sugar, milk, butter, or oil. A bit of a compromise, but I think it's not unreasonable.
And finally, keep an eye out for my bread at the Pop-Up Co-op event this weekend. Swing by Seven Brides from 12pm-4pm Saturday or Sunday (24th/25th) to check it out!
Hello fellow bread enthusiasts. I hope this update finds you well. It finds me in the bakery, waiting to pull a couple of loaves from the oven. I'm falling into a routine over here, which is good. Bread is getting baked each day, a dozen loaves or so, one or two at a time, and it's finding its way over to Gear Up each morning around nine. I'm only doing one batch of dough a day, and so for the time being you can find the following breads on the following days:
That'll have to do for now. Sorry to be so brief, I'll try to post something a little more substantial next week.
It's been a busy, exciting, and stressful week here at the bakery. I've been officially approved by the Department of Agriculture to operate as a bakery! Yay! I'm working through a few challenges as I scale up my recipes, and dealing with a little frustration as a result. I'm quickly getting things fine tuned and I've been satisfied with the last few batches, even though I'm churning out these loaves in a format that's very far from my ideal.
For the interested, here's a few details about the things I'm working on.
Temperature and Timing. These two factors play an important role in the outcome of any fermented food, bread being no exception. As I increase the amount of dough in a batch I slow down the speed that it comes to room temperature, and that changes the time it needs to ferment. This is especially crucial because I'm fermenting my doughs overnight. If I mix too warm, for example, I don't have the opportunity to intervene and proceed to the next step ahead of schedule.
Equipment. I've got a couple of new pieces of equipment that play a crucial role in my baking process, and I'm learning that they're also sensitive to batch size. One is my refrigerator. I'm storing dough and shaped loaves in a refrigerator, a process known to bakers as retarding. When I load my refrigerator with just a few loaves the dough comes down to fridge temperatures rather quickly. When I load a lot of dough it actually warms up my fridge, and it takes a long time to cool down. I'm experiencing the same phenomenon with my oven, except in the opposite.
I've made some large corrections to my formulas, schedule, and methodology. I'll have a few weeks to make small corrections and get everything just right in time for the oven to get here, and go through this process all over again!
In the mean time, swing by Gear Up and try a loaf or a slice. Let me know what you think!
Good afternoon dear readers! I have some exciting updates for you all. This past week has been very exciting. Some very generous acquaintances have loaned me an electric residential oven, along with a lovely old mixer, and after over two months of waiting I've finally begun baking bread. Hurray! I can't tell you how nice it is to fill the air in here with the smell of fresh bread. It feels a like my patience is finally starting to pay off a little.
Unfortunately I can't share any bread with you all just yet, I've still got to lock in my Bakery License from the Department of Agriculture. In truth, I'm not really ready to begin sharing right now anyway. It's a bit of a steep learning curve baking in this new environment, on all new equipment, and using all new recipes. My first few loaves left plenty to be desired, but today I finally baked some bread that was good enough to at least document. I'm looking forward to continue dialing everything in over the next few days and weeks. Months and years too, for that matter.
What you're looking at up above is my version of a whole grain loaf. This sturdy beauty is a sourdough made with organic wheat and spelt flours, a house blend of whole and cracked seeds and grains, and a dash of honey, salt, and wheat bran. This loaf is for folks like me; those who want something wholesome and complete, but something that still has good flavor and texture. Versatile enough to enjoy at any time of day, but it'll serve as a meal in itself if you're in a pinch. Check out it's entry on the Bread Page for more details.
I'll be meeting with the food safety representative from the Department of Agriculture tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll have an update for you tomorrow that's full of good news. Oh! And my oven is scheduled to be shipped from it's factory in Italy tomorrow. Tomorrow should be a good day.
Have a great week folks!