Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy Day

Today started out rinsing pieces of salmon. Fishing season will be starting soon and I need to use up what I have in the freezer from last year. Yesterday I took out seven sockeye, fillet them and then added coarse salt and brown sugar. I let them sit overnight in the fridge and the next morning get them ready for the smoker. Thank heaven's hubby now leaves me alone whenever I prepare my smoked salmon. He always used to give me "friendly advice" and I'll tell you his smoked salmon has been absolutely awful! Seriously I'm not trying to hurt his feelings but the man is clueless when it comes to the preparing and even the smoking part. Oh sure he thinks he knows what he's doing and maybe even believes but he has finally just given up and let me do it :) I have fiddled and perfected this recipe for over 10 years, I do believe I know what I'm doing (that's why he calls me "Little Miss Perfect." I told him that's "Mrs" with a capital M thank you.)

Anyway after putting the fish in the smoker I baked up more bread. Yesterday I found a couple of recipes online and, well, one of them was a disaster. I made 10 loaves using two different recipes and half were okay, the other half not so good. So today I took the good recipe and modified it quite a bit and came up with my own version. I've been trying to use up whole wheat flour and wanted a 100% whole wheat bread. I'm pretty close.

Here's what I did:
Yield: just over 5 loaves

6 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons instant yeast
5 cups whole wheat flour
Add the above five ingredients into Bosch bread mixer. Mix briefly. Let sit for 20 minutes to proof yeast. (I know it sounds weird to proof instant yeast but this works).
After 20 minutes the mixture should be quite high, if not, throw out and start again with new yeast.
Then add:
1 tablespoon salt
2 rounded tablespoons dough enhancer
1 1/2 cups gluten flour
7 cups whole wheat flour
You might use more or less flour but mix in one cup at a time until dough is sticky but not dry. I add the gluten flour because, as far as I know, whole wheat flour has very little gluten and bread just won't rise well without it... believe me I've tried and ended up with doorstops, reeeeeealy heavy doorstops! After adding the last of the flour turn your Bosch down to 1 and knead for 7 minutes (I picked 7 just because it's a lucky number). I'm sorta fanatical about the size of my bread so I weigh my dough, roughly 750 grams for whole wheat bread. I get 5 full size loaves and 1 smaller one with this recipe. I bake it on convection bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees in greased pans. It doesn't taste like whole wheat and has a very light texture. Even my "I don't like homemade, especially whole wheat bread" brother liked it! (Sometimes I can't believe we're related, let alone twins).

While fish was smoking and bread was baking I grabbed my camera and headed outside. A regular reader of my blog has asked about the iris in my flower garden so I decided to snap a few pics. Here's the best one out of....oooooh 50 or more! Thank goodness for digital cameras!

It was Victoria Day today and my oldest daughter came and picked up her brother, Jevan, and took him in to see the parade. Sydney jumped on the motorcycle with my brother and followed them. It was the first time she was on a bike so, of course, I had camera in hand when they got back.


DaviMack said...

Some comments upon the bread:

Do you use filtered water? If not, you might consider it, as that's typically where yeast dies, because of the chlorine.

If you proof your yeast in warm (110 deg. F) water, you can skip the worries about throwing away ingredients, as the yeast will foam up in around 10 minutes just with water & a tablespoon of sugar.

What you're really doing when you "proof" the yeast is waking it up, PLUS you're washing off the dead yeast from each granule to expose the living yeast & start it to working. That's why you're less likely to fail if you proof in water, rather than in anything else.

I've quit using added gluten, gluten flour, or dough enhancers, and been just fine: you just need to let the dough knead for a longer period, to develop the gluten, and you need to let it rest for longer, because whole wheat is difficult to fully hydrate, as it's a coarser flour. So, if you let it have a good long rise when it's somewhat wet, you'll have an easier time getting the gluten to form.

If you're using "hard" wheat, you have just as much gluten as you would with white flour - and the only time you'll run into "soft" wheat is if you go looking for it, 'cause it's used primarily for biscuits.

Oil is an ingredient which serves primarily to control yeast growth, as salt does. You can balance one against the other - a bit more of one, a bit less of the other - until you get it just right. That said, salt doesn't effect gluten formation like oil does, so I tend to avoid oil unless I want a very tender dough, as in some soft French loaves.

Apologies for the long commentary: I'm ... rather obsessed with bread. ;)

DaviMack said...

And more:

I've found that spray canola works wonders for getting the bread to release from the pans.

Have you tried this in anything other than a convection oven? Because I can't get anything like the shape you get - yours rise quite high above the pan, and I suspect that it's something to do with the addition of gluten, or maybe with the convection oven, and I'd like to know which.