8/28/15 Baking to Save my Sanity

Yesterday I baked a whole lot, and made a Taco dinner. I just had a relentless baking bug and picking the boy up from his second week of school was like tapping a baking race bell. I raced home to bake intentionally all weekend. I have been so darn tired since Eli started kindergarten that I have not baked but 1 thing all week, the pumpkin muffins. And even though our apartment fell apart around me, I was surprised that those were all that I had baked all week. I felt drained from the second week School and relieved that it was finally Friday so that I could not be on a schedule. I am not even sure how I managed to bake so much so tired; I slept like a baby though without herbs and even woke up tired, but at least I woke up to fresh made baked bread to reheat.

Unfortunately I used all my bread flour last night, aka Friday, the first night of my 2 ½ day school day vacation aka ‘the weekend’. I felt like their was nothing I couldn’t bake, even though I am still learning. My confidence was up a little since my sourdough starter was doing great and I had just been able to retire it to the fridge for weekly bread making instead of daily. I was making bread every day for a week while I started the starter.

So time to make bread for the weekly ‘discard and replace’ part of having a fridge sourdough starter ‘pet’, I actually took 2 cups out in recommendation of my landlord who does the same thing at home with his sourdough ‘pet’. I put a cup into 2 small mixing bowls. I activated each bowl with some brown and white sugar and some 100-110 degree water. Never any hotter then that, and I use a laser thermometer to be precise. I do not want to kill my starter babies. I replaced a cup from each one back into my ‘pet’ in the fridge after they bubbled up good. I had it in the fridge for a while my ‘pet’ and it did not bubble well. I was scared I did something wrong, so I consulted a baking book I just found in my room.

I said just found in my room, because I honestly forgot that I had this book, free from the food bank. I grabbed it and never read it and put it away and now I am so glad that I did keep it. Its called “Adventures in Sourdough” by Charles D. Wilford, from the 1970’s. Part of my instinct I guess to stock up on all the relevant 1970 recipe books. I do have quite a collection that I cannot part with for the life of me.

Anyways the book said when you replace the sourdough aka pet with discard from the babies of your pet, that you leave it out for a few hours before you put it back into the fridge, so I did that and I got the results I needed. In fact, I kept it out the whole time that I bake all day, and tried to joke with my husband last night after baking and said “ Ain’t nothing to rejuvenate your starter like baking all day.” it had like doubled on my by the time I put it away. I was happy.

I decided to make 2 different kinds of dough. Last time I made bread I made it really dark, with 2 cups of whole wheat flour in the dough along with 4 ½ cups of white. It turned out really dark and really hearty and although I loved it, the boys prefer a more whiter sandwich bread.. aka, more blonde bread flour. So I played with the ratios,for one of the doughs I started with 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour and the rest of the ratio used white flour. For the second dough I added more whole wheat about 1 cup, maybe a table spoon or two more was added when I rolled this dough out also, so it turned out heartier and darker then the first one, but not as dark and hearty as the last time that I baked.

my autolyse step
my autolyse step

For the process of my bread yesterday I tried to Autolyse, but I think I added ½ cup too much water to that process, both of my doughs were ok in this part, then I added the yeast starters to each one and they were way way too wet. I thought I could work with it. I certainly tried my best, but ultimately I know that I added too much water in the Autolyse step.

But I worked with it anyways, I added way way more flour to both of them after realizing my mistake and eventually got them out of the mixing bowls and into a proofing bowl each. One distinctively being darker then the other, but not too dark. I tried to let them bulk proof at room temperature in the kitchen for 2 hours then I gave up because they were just not rising in my house and shaped them.

I rolled half of the darker one into balls and placed into oiled muffin tins, I did the same with the other dough, I wanted to try dinner-yeast muffin topped rolls with them both. I then shaped the rest of the dark loaf into a ball and put it into a cookie sheet to make into a round loaf. I put the rest of the whiter dough into a loaf pan and left it out to rise. I put the yeast rolls in the muffin tins and the round loaf into the oven at about 200 to rise for an hour, then I baked them all at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I thought the muffins turned out great and I ate a few. My husband can tell that the dough is wet with every bite of yesterdays bread, it sucks. I need to measure more. I get confidence and think that I can bake anything without measuring much and sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometime it does.

I did end up cooking the last loaf the one I placed in the loaf pan ,after rising it for a long while on the oven while I was cooking the other bread. Unfortunately the pictures look great but once I took it out of the loaf pan, it was the wettest of all, and this morning I had to cut the wet bottom off and throw it away. I am so mad about that, but I have to be honest with ya’ll. I made a mistake, I did not measure my water yesterday and it killed me, precision is key in bread making. I tried making the boys pizza bread with the round loaf for lunch today and the wet bread killed the whole experience. I was stupid to even try and serve it, but I thought some time under the broiler with yummy toppings would revive the bread. Not so much.

The rolls I am still gunna eat, so that’s the problem here. I do not understand why the rolls are edible yet the loafs are not.. I am confused and now I have a whole lot of wet bread to deal with. But that was not the only things I baked yesterday. I decided to make some cake also, and I burnt that too, which made me even more mad and being tired I just must have not been thinking.

muffins and cake
muffins and cake

I made a “mystery box” cake out of the following ingredients; some buttermilk pancake box mix, baking soda, brown sugar, already made homemade jar of strawberry butter cream frosting (cause I was out of butter), 2 eggs, and some veggie oil and some vanilla extract.

The fact that I even produced an edible strawberry flavored cake is a miracle in my mind. I mixed the dry first and then mixed the egg yolks with the sugar and added the butter cream to that. I mixed the wet and dry together well then folded in the egg whites for a better shaped cake. It almost worked. I accidentally put it into the oven too hot, the top cooked perfect even poofed on me nice but the inside was not all done. I had to put it back into the oven at a lower temperature for a long time for it to cook inside and then the top deflated on me. I was upset, but after a while it was baked enough. I took it out to cool and it popped right out of the cake pan upside down on the cooling rack, it surprisingly looked and smelled really good. I was relieved but mad about how dark it got and the top deflating on me. But upside down it looked pretty good.

When I cut into it, the caramelized sides and corners were yummy and the inside was fluffy cake like, almost sponge cake but not enough eggs for that, and you can really taste the strawberry frosting that I used in the batter. I am happy because I made that frosting myself, and it needed to be used in something. Surprisingly we are still eating pieces of the cake the next morning, that cake was a better hit than most of the homemade bread I made yesterday. Funny how life works like that, you put all your efforts into one thing and then do something on the side that turns out better.

Hope you enjoyed another day in the boho kitchen, hey at least I tried baking something. The boys and I cleaned the house this morning really good and I almost feel the baking bug coming back again, and its not even Saturday night yet. That’s what I get for being a bakaholic I guess.

Here are the pictures from the baking day..

rolls I made
rolls I made
my round loaf
my round loaf
side view of rolls
side view of rolls
yeast roll blonder muffins
yeast roll blonder muffins
darker whole wheat round
darker whole wheat round
large loaf and muffins
large loaf and muffins
cake cut and round and muffins
cake cut and round and muffins
everything I baked yesterday
everything I baked yesterday
homemade pizza bread from my round loaf
homemade pizza bread from my round loaf
pizza bread from homemade bread
pizza bread from homemade bread
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