couple petit baguettes from a starter

I hacked together a starter, a wild yeast culture worked up from Stutzman farms whole wheat and then shifted to mostly white starter over the past couple days.  I tried it out by incorporating some into a simple dough last night, prepped the rolls this morning and I'm about to dig in ... pretty tasty.  Definitely worth pursuing.



Volume and little crispy boules that will eventually hold a meatball

Found a patent today I wanted to try to reproduce. The claim was a dough containing ascorbic acid, L-cysteine and xanthan gum produced a bigger volume bread than any single component. I've been trying little crispy boules because they're cute, they can be hollowed out to make a meatball slider and I can make a bunch of them quick if I want to feed the teachers.

Here's the comparison I did: 6 little crusty rolls on each side. These were made from 2 recipes varying only a few additives. Each roll started as a 40 gram ball.

Dough was made from water 90 g, unbleached white flour 150 g, sugar 5 g, soybean oil 1% rel to flour, Red Star active dry yeast 3.5 g, salt 2.5 g.

-added to Left 6 rolls' dough: vitamin C ca. 60 ppm
-added to Right 6 rolls' dough: vitamin C ca. 60 ppm, L-cysteine 10 ppm, xanthan gum (all nat Bob's Red Mill) 400 ppm.

click image to enlarge, the difference is a little more clear

The difference is tough to quantify (note: post baking weight average both sides 35 g). Finished bread volume is not trivial to measure, but the ones on the right look a little more full and they opened better at the slashed places. I'll let them cool until tomorrow and take a taste. While bread is warm, flaws are harder to catch, once cooled I can make some observations about taste, something to look forward to tomorrow.

Regarding parchment, on all but 1, I used a small disc in the bottom of the tin. It was plenty to prevent a blob from sticking. On the bread in the lower left corner, I used a cupcake liner and it stuck to the roll like glue. Those cupcake thingies are awful.


dried apple chips

I've never been quite sure what is in those packages labeled "dried apples."  This is what they look like when I make them - I do wish the images were better, but still tasty...

Slice apples thin.  I used a mandoline slicer and Galas (I think).  I put them on parchment in a layer with some overlap and sprinkled with some sugar and cinnamon.

Baked at 250°F for about an hour.  They don't get crisp, just dried and a little tough.  They'll continue to cook when out of the oven, so take them out and sample and put them back in until they are as dry as you like them.   But wait, there's more...

Ah, now that's more like it.  I popped the tasty, dried, but limp chips in a 200°F oven for another hour and voila, crispy apple chips.  This is the proper endpoint.  So, low temp and cook 'em a long time until they are crisp and delicate.


I've been making some many tons of dough lately, working on my silly VFR100 assay, I've got nothing blogworthy, but this is good

I've posted this before, but it's so wonderful and it's so good that Scoopy didn't eat it before it went in the oven, just a lame old pork shoulder from Walmart popped in the oven last night at 225 for 8 hours.  I had a little sugar, salt and pepper rub on it.  Let it cool a while and pulled.  It will supply at least a couple meals this week:
1. pork atop a bed of greens with asparagus on the side and bread
2. stuffed in tortillas
hooray pork!


Some menu items for the week...

First of an occasional series. I thought I'd share a few of our weekday menu items.  If lucky, I do some of the prep Sunday mornings:

Add your own in the comments.

1. Thai (well, not really) beef in romaine boats served with lentils on the side.  Just some seasoned beef (ginger, garlic, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, etc.) served in the sturdy portion of a romaine leaf.  Lentils or bread on the side.

2. Roasted butternut squash risotto.  Toughest part here is cutting the damn squash.  I got it cubed in the fridge.  I'll roast the fine dice till slightly browned and toss it in the risotto at the beginning of cooking just after the rice is sauteed in oil.[update]  This one is going to have bacon and the squash sauteed in the rendered fat.  That's what I prepped this morning.  Then I'll add it to the cooking rice half way through.

3. A staple.  Simple hummus and flatbreads.  Hummus made ahead (even quicker with immersion blender) and flatbreads made just before the meal in my plasma furnace.

4. I'm practicing my tortillas lately, so pulled pork tacos is a fun dinner and, cheating with the stove, too easy.  I'll cook the pork shoulder in a 225°F oven overnight the night before dinner, refrigerate it before work, pull and warm it briefly before dinner.  Pickled veggies on the side.  


VFR100 reworked assay

Another in a series of incredibly tedious posts guaranteed to scare away even the most dedicated of readers. To refresh your memory, this is to get an aggregate metric to characterize a combination of yeast, flour and any additive by the volume of the first rise.  Once analyzed it will be applied to see if this volume (VFR100) is predictive of final baked bread attributes.  See background of measurement in previous post.  I reworked my assay a bit.

1. add:
-salt as a 10% w/w solution
-vitamin C as a 0.1 g / mL solution
-qs to volume, 90 mL
-yeast 1/2 t (assuming bulk solid density for yeast is constant)
-soy oil delivered by pipette
-flour 150 g
2. knead 10 minutes via machine
3. scale a 100 gram piece and round it
4. let rise in cylinders like these, tall narrow to elongate final reading for precision, coated on inside with floured oil spray so the maximum height is marked after maximum rise falls, e.g., see typical final rise volume in image below.

click image for close up, left two are fast rise yeast and right has an extra 100 ppt shot of vitamin C
flour = Montana Sapphire unbleached white
C = vitamin C
yeast (charged at 2%):
salt for these 250 total dough runs, 2.5 g

fat (% v/w) yeast additive V of 100 g rise (mL)
0.0 soy
262 261 260 258 260
2.0 soy
308 313 263 280 301
2.0 soy
255 275 278 280 301
2.0 soy
C 1000 ppm
338 320 320 310 333
2.0 soy
275 280 274 275 295
2.0 soy
C 2000 ppm
321 326 338 345 360
Preceding runs anova=> R results
Significant effects:
-oil in the dough gives greater volume than no oil, consistent with literature for baked bread volume - may be worth evaluating more concentrations
-Big vitamin C effect but not so much between 1000 and 2000 ppm
-fast rise yeast bigger volume than active dry

*Additional values added after anova tabulated below
2.0 soy
C 1000 ppm, lecithin 1t
2.0 soy
lecithin, 1t
2.0 soy
Fleischmanns pizza
L-cysteine in yeast
4.0 soy

The sloppy discussion (by sloppy I mean I'll keep adding to it as I think about it) 

1. The volume effects, despite the unbalanced design, reflect a lot of what's observed in the literature. A low concentration of oil in lean dough is well-documented to result in bigger volume loaves and this is what's observed in the dough as well.

2. One of the biggest effects is the vitamin C (ascorbic acid)* added to dough.  Vit C addns. gave structurally sound, huge dough volume on rising.  As far as concentration, I killed it, 1000 ppm is a lot more than the more conventional 50 ppm seen in the literature.  However, I haven't yet found articles relating to the specific increases in volume of final baked breads as a function of vitamin C concentration.  In my hands, breads made with 1000 ppm (100 mg vitamin C per 100 g flour) have consistently crappy oven spring, it's a real bummer of a result.

3. Point 2 is leading me to believe the VFR100 just isn't predictive of the things I'm looking for in a final loaf.

4. This assay, to do with enough replicate runs is laborious, all the practice I did was interesting and useful.  I'm considering a way to make it a faster analysis.  That way I could crank many more effects and be able to see parameter interactions.  Maybe some pilot work and then take a look at reducing vitamin C/fat to try to figure out the interactions.

* Note: There are some who believe vitamin C and ascorbic acid are not the same.  They are, atom for atom, stereocenter for stereocenter, etc. etc. identical in every single way.