Monday, May 11, 2009

Days Off with Storms and Baking

A Southern thunder shower.

My four days off are over and it's back to work tomorrow. I have been busy living life more than writing about it with a bad case of spring fever. We have already had some heat. I tried to take a picture of a thundershower but my camera isn't good enough to catch it. We have the most amazing storms. Most of the time I really enjoy them.

We have been busy in the garden. When we first moved here 9 years ago we planted 36 roses. Over time fungus and disease have decimated that collection and the scrawny sick bushes gave me so much grief that we have been digging them up to go to the curb. I used one of the empty holes for rhubarb. The rest the Hunny wants to let grass grow back in so he can quit weed whacking so many areas.

The garden is sprouting and the excitement is growing.

Something is wrong with my camera every picture is blurry.

With all this heavy rain I do believe we are going to be having a bit of fun and some happy accidents in the garden. It looks like watermelon is coming up in the lettuce patch.

Another project this weekend is working on this.
We are working on this old mission rocker. I've had it for over 39 years. It's tiger eye oak. The Hunny sanded it, took apart the loose pieces, re glued it, and fixed it up to be a sound seat again. I stained it this weekend. On the out door "dining table".With all the rain why not bake?
Lots of folks have been showing how they bake bread. I am lazy I love my Bosch.
I have shown this before but you may want to watch again. I am having a problem with my loaves. Maybe you have a solution.

The basics for bread. Water not shown.

Nice warm, freshly ground flour, Prairie Gold white wheat. Courtesy of the Hunny who has become the resident wheat miller. Men are so smart. He is using his air compressor to blow the mill clean!

Well it's a blurry picture but I am adding yeast to warm water and honey directly into the Bosch.

The proofed yeast, bubbling like mad. I add my salt after all of this.If I wait until the flour I tend to forget.
Stop adding flour when the dough pulls cleanly from the sides. It'll happen all of a sudden.

Can you see the edge of the bowl ? No dough stuck to it. Now the lid goes on and it runs for 7 minutes on low. It comes out soft as a baby's butt.

Then the dough goes into a lightly oiled bowl to rest or autolyse. I like to let my bread age before baking it. The bowel is covered with a clean tea towel. This is a loaf of my last batch, look at the sides.

These are smaller than usual to see if the splits will stop and also to make pizza for dinner.

Notice the split in the side? This is driving me crazy, oh yeah, a short walk.
I am trying to figure out why my bread rises and splits on the sides like this. I was reading in my King Arthur cookbook and it mentioned that people who bake often may need to reduce the quantity of yeast in their dough. In their bakery they use half the amount because the kitchen is cultivated with wild yeasts from frequent baking. Could it be? I made smaller loaves thinking it was too much dough in the pan but the same thing happened. It might be the yeast! My bread rises fast for being a whole grain bread dough. Any seasoned bakers out there have any thoughts on this?

It doesn't hurt it, the taste is good the texture is fine, it just bugs me. I like a perfectly shaped loaf I am neurotic like that. I read a lot of yummy sounding recipes today and will be venturing out with some new breads soon.

The wind chime is a work in progress. We bought a piece of copper pipe in the plumbing section and the Hunny is going to saw it into 4 equal lengths. He suggested un equal lengths to have a variety of sounds. I don't know if it is even going to sound like anything at all! There are six holes on the dumb bell and I got enough pipe for 4 cuts. Maybe I should get another piece of thinner pipe and have 3 thin and 3 thick in different lengths. I could stagger the heights and make a nice looking effect. As I said before this is going to be the most expensive wind chime ever. So much for home made being less! You know we just can't compete with "made in China."

So where is your spring fever leading you?


Unknown said...

I wouldn't have a clue about what makes the bread split. I don't make bread often, but when I do it's in my bread maker. I love your rocking chair!

Flea said...

Mmmm! I'd love to bake! Maybe this week I'll try me hand at something warm and yummy.

joanne said...

Wow, I can't believe how busy y'all are!
We planted the veg garden and then it rained, rained, and rained some more...I'm expecting some intersting thiings to happen out there too!
I used to have bread turn out that way too. Some one told me it was the yeast but I never did figure out why it was happening. It tasted good but I wanted it to look 'purdy' too...;p

Laura ~Peach~ said...

love the chair, I have some volunteers coming up int he garden i think they are either squash or cucumbers but not sure which yet... got about 50 little seedlings...its always an adventure around here some just happens to get caught on camera and becomes blog fodder LOL
Have a wonderful week!

Karey Swan said...

When I first read your plea for help, I was thinking salt related, but seeing your pictures, it's a different type of split than I was picturing. Salt does inhibit some yeast activity, and when some people watching sodium lessen their amount of salt, the yeast will overwork it'll rise fast and the tops usually cave in. Your tops are still nicely rounded. So my question would be what kind of yeast do you use?

Your loaf does look as if it's rising fast.

Sorry to hear of your rose woes. All our areas have their differing personalities and idiosyncrasies. It'll be interesting to see how rhubarb will do in your area ... but I don't know how cold your winters are. I think rhubarb needs to have frozen ground for a spell.

Tho a snow dusting Saturday, we're greening up fast. My area packs it's blooming into a shorter time-frame. We helped our married son plant his garden yesterday. They're 1.45 hrs away and their season is 1-2 weeks ahead of us. Now back to my stuff.

Chris H said...

WOW I am impressed! YOu make your own flour and bread!!! That is amazing.
I shove all the ingredients in the breadmaker and switch it on! I CHEAT.

Sadie said...

I love the old rocker! and the garden with all the sprouts! I am still waiting for mine to come out!

I'm not sure if i like the black background better... I was tired of just all green, lol. I don't quite know what to do with my blog. Only a few people read, but since you are one of them, what do you think? :) keep the black, or try something new?

Unknown said...

I could almost smell the bread! Very yummy! Your garden is going to be exciting. I love what you said about the happy accident! That is so sweet!

Bakers said...

Hi there,
The split you are seeing is known in the baking world as a 'blowout'. It comes from the steam escaping the bread at the weakest point. This is why you need to be careful about how you shape your loaves, and be very sure to put the seam on the bottom.
Also, be sure your pans are the proper size so the bread can rise and expand.
If you have other bread questions, just drop us a line!

MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I can almost smell that bread. I have had wheat on the counter for two weeks, waiting for motivation to grind it and make bread.

You have an outdoor dining table? I am so jealous. I LOVE the rocker.

Spring fever is leading me to the rhubarb patch, planting the flowers--I still have many to plant--and to the lawn swings, visiting with friends.

Anonymous said...

I wanna go hang out in your carport and look at your yard... maybe rock in that rocker eatin' some of that bread!

Karen said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who kills roses. If a seasoned gardener like yourself can't grow them, I most certainly can't.

Michelle said...

Your bread looks yummy. My spring fever has led me outside. We finally have our garden planted and I am working on cleaning up the pool and getting it ready for the kids. I hope you post a picture of that rocking chair when you get it finished!

Kathy said...

I love working in the dirt. I love baking from scratch. I'd love to be your neighbor. (I have no idea why bread splits!)

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

Everything looks great out there on your "farm"!

My brother uses the same Bosch machine as you and makes fantastic bread. I was going to say that with French Bread you have to make the slashes across the top or the steam has nowhere to escape--maybe that is what is happening with your loaves?

When making the bread maybe try rolling the dough into an approximate rectangle, then rolling it up cinnamon roll style from one long side. Pinch the edge all along the log and make sure the seam is along the bottom when you put it in the pan. Just my 2 cents!

Big Hair Envy said...

You can just send those split-side loves of bread right on over to me....I certainly won't complain!!! YUMMMMM!

You certainly were productive on your four days off. You've inspired me to cram as much as I can into my next two...:)