Monday, 28 June 2010

Mellow Bakers June Breads

This month the Mellow Bakers made three fun breads from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. Well, actually there were three versions of the last one so technically up to six breads.. but I digress.
We made Beer Bread with Roasted Barley, which I have made into these cute little buns.

You could actually smell the beer more than you could taste it, and my experiments in sprouting barley for this bread were not successful so I ended up toasting some barley flour and adding a little liquid barley malt to the recipe. Yum! All's well that ends well and for some reason teenage boys are especially tickled to know that their bread is made with beer. I used Guinness, which I buy mostly for cooking and baking. I am a Canadian gal myself. Molson Canadian that is.


Always a favourite, we made Hamelman's Pizza Dough. It gets retarded overnight, (another thing that tickles teenagers), to develop the flavour and tang of the dough, and baked off in a super hot oven with your choice of ingredients artfully arranged on top. Bread bakers go easy on the toppings, we like our creation to shine through in all its natural bready wonder.

I topped mine with a little tomato sauce, tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese. I wish I could tell you that it was fresh mozzarella di bufala campana.. but it was plain old mozza, shredded up. Still delicious though!

And then we got into Hamelman's signature loaves, his Vermont Sourdoughs. The first one I did was his straight Vermont Sourdough, it is mostly white bread flour with a little rye in the finished loaf. They all start with a liquid levain (sourdough starter) that takes about a week to build up. I named it Jeffrey, naturally. (He may be honoured that I have named it after him.. but not when he realizes the fate that poor Peter suffered- the poor dear was neglected last month and succumbed to mould. Sigh. R.I.P. Peter)

It is dense and holey and tangy and delicious! Great with natural peanut butter slathered all over it.

Then I tried the Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat. It is largely the same, the whole wheat just taking the place of the rye in the finished loaf - a rather small proportion.
I experimented a bit and "spiked" the dough - that is, I added a pinch of instant yeast to lighten up the crumb and hedge my bets a bit. Not a full serving of yeast of course, but just a pinch.
You can see that the sourdough holes are roughly the same but the texture of the interior crumb is a bit lighter. They both have their place, and it was fun to do a side-by-side comparison.
Hubs thought that this loaf might have been slightly less tangy - it had had the same exact amount of sourdough starter and build up, and roughly the same rising times - but the whole wheat would also be less tangy than the rye.
I intend to try his third version tomorrow, while Jeffrey (the liquid levain) is still alive, the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains, but I figured I would go ahead and post today. You've seen two Vermont Sourdoughs you've seen them all, right? Maybe I'll try retarding those loaves, for further experimenting...

So, ready to come bake with us?