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Henny Penny and Me - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Henny Penny and Me [Jan. 5th, 2012|11:16 am]
Zoethe
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My problem is that I really need more people around to eat my bread.

I’ve been experimenting with the most effective approach for getting a long, flavor-building rise in my sourdough bread. I’ve tried overnighting it during its initial rise, and in its final rise. Then on New Year’s Eve – when Ferrett sent out one set of invitations for 8pm and the other for 7pm, so I thought I had another hour before people would start showing up – I mixed up a bread but didn’t have a chance to knead it, so it went into the fridge for a 12+ hour autolyse.

It came out really tasty. Light and tender. And the oven spring was so high that it kind of ‘sploded. I’m inclined to say that it is the most successful of the methods.

But there has been nothing scientific about my approach to these breads, so I can’t be sure.

See, at this point, Shelob and I are so comfortable with each other that when I am ready to bake, or when there gets to be too much starter, I just pour some off into a mixing bowl. I eyeball how much starter is there, and add yeast, water and flour strictly according to a “that looks like enough” formula. So sometimes the dough is a little softer, sometimes it’s a little stiffer, sometimes there’s more of it, sometimes the loaf is a bit smaller.

To get a final answer, I need to take a Mythbusters approach: controlled conditions, careful measurements, and side-by-side tastings.

That’s a lot of carbs for a family of two. Who will help me eat my bread?!

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/789677.html?mode=reply:
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Comments:
From: simulated_knave
2012-01-05 04:20 pm (UTC)
Neighbors?

Your um-brother and um-sister, and affiliated children?

Homeless people?
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From: simulated_knave
2012-01-05 04:21 pm (UTC)
Alternately, mail it to your daughters.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
That doesn't work. It must be eaten fresh in order to make proper judgment. As it is, I'm irked that the first of the breads will be a couple hours older than the last.

Mythbusters, dude!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:18 pm (UTC)
It's a matter of coordination, really.
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From: simulated_knave
2012-01-05 08:12 pm (UTC)
I think that if you hammer on your neighbor's door wild-eyed and demand they eat your bread RIGHT NOW they will do so. Perhaps only once, but definitely at least once.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 09:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, but I want calm deliberation and consideration in my testers, not terror.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
I figured there would be volunteers. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-06 02:05 pm (UTC)
Shelob is sending another baby off into the world today. I'm very excited.

And in an experiment like this, the differences in flavor are subtle and perfect control and freshness really are necessary.
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[User Picture]From: rogue1717
2012-01-05 04:23 pm (UTC)
If ya feel like mailing some to Florida, I'll volunteer my household. I'll even do a homemade soap for bread trade. We'd just need to figure out the whole shipping and keeping it fresh thing.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fresh thing is a challenge.
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[User Picture]From: rogue1717
2012-01-05 07:27 pm (UTC)
would vacuum sealing be feasible? never tried it on bread
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:33 pm (UTC)
I think it would just smush it, bread being full of air and all that....
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2012-01-05 04:25 pm (UTC)
I have a similar problem; I would bake much more than I could eat. Fortunately I have a local bottomless pit^W^W friend who is happy to devour 75% of a loaf in a sitting and take the rest for breakfast...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:21 pm (UTC)
I can generally bake two loaves a week and see the majority of that disappear, but three loaves all at once would be a challenge.
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2012-01-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
I think we'd have a hard time getting through one sandwich loaf in a week, though French or Italian bread gets eaten with dinner and goes faster. And now with Mr. Husband going for a reduced grains/gluten diet, bread will last even longer...

I need a bread icon! :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:34 pm (UTC)
I am counter-programming all the gluten hate. I believe that it will be yet one more fad that comes and goes. People have been eating refined grains for centuries.
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2012-01-05 07:42 pm (UTC)
While that may be true, and it's certainly a fact that I can eat all the gluten I want without problems or weight gain, Mr. Husband has.. er.. digestive difficulties with it to the point that he went to get tested last week to see if he has celiac or an intolerance. Results came back today with neither, but he is still going to try a low-carb/gluten diet for a while to see if that helps him.

Some years ago he was on the Atkins diet. Before and after said diet he emitted some fairly noxious odours... but during the diet he was stink-free. (For the sake of non-graciousness, sometimes I ask him what died in his ass. *grin*)

I'm all for moderation in everything. My bottomless pit^W^W friend is young and wants to gain weight, so I'm not going to tell her she shouldn't eat bread. Mr. Husband is no longer young and wants to lose weight, so perhaps scarfing down half a loaf of French bread with a pasta dinner isn't the best idea for him.

I could lose weight eating bowls of rice every day. He would stack on the pounds. Everyone's different, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 08:40 pm (UTC)
That is true, and there are people who have real problems. But it's not as universal as some of these people are making their fortune pretending it is.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2012-01-05 04:26 pm (UTC)
The loaf you sent home with me got devoured within days. ;)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yay! Glad you guys liked it!
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[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2012-01-05 04:39 pm (UTC)
Do you ever do any baking with non-wheat flours?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
I haven't at this point. I figure I'll get through the BBA breads and then see what other challenges are out there.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2012-01-05 04:45 pm (UTC)
We have the same problem. My hubby LOVES to bake, but there's only three of us and we're all trying to keep our weight down (hubby himself is doing great on WeightWatchers). We currently have 3 loaves of bread, two pies, a dozen cookies and a bag of homemade pizzeles waiting.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
That's a problem lots of people would like to have!
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[User Picture]From: pjhandley
2012-01-05 05:07 pm (UTC)
well, if you were thinking of maybe coming up to ConFusion, I'm sure you could get rid of some of it there. I know I'd be happy to relieve you of a loaf.....
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:30 pm (UTC)
We WILL be at ConFusion! I hadn't considered baking bread for the con.
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[User Picture]From: pjhandley
2012-01-06 04:48 am (UTC)
it would allow you to bake without having to worry about the excess. And of course, consuites rarely turn down donations.
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[User Picture]From: noevilliveon
2012-01-05 07:25 pm (UTC)
There are times you make me sorely wish I didn't live in Texas...O.O
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:32 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to use my powers to draw all the awesome people to Cleveland. That's my secret plan.
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[User Picture]From: noevilliveon
2012-01-05 07:36 pm (UTC)
Alas, there are very few career options for me in Cleveland compared to Houston.... There's the Cleveland Clinic and not much else..
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 07:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, but if I get enough awesomeness here, that will change.

It's not a flawless plan, I admit. ;-)
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From: anonymousalex
2012-01-05 09:23 pm (UTC)
While it's generally not too hard to find some people to eat some bread on occasion, finding enough people to eat a lot of bread on a regular basis can be a challenge. You may need to resign yourself to sacrificing some experiments to the bread gods.

For the record, were I in range, I'd more than happily try your breads.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-05 09:26 pm (UTC)
Most of them find good homes, I am happy to say.
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From: anonymousalex
2012-01-05 09:34 pm (UTC)
If by "home" you mean "belly." :-)

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2012-01-05 11:18 pm (UTC)
When the heck are we going to get those Transporters installed? Fresh from the oven bread is pure delight!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-06 02:07 pm (UTC)
Maybe if we explain to scientists that fresh bread is at stake, they will be truly motivated.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-01-06 01:50 am (UTC)
For breads that bake on a sheet, could you just half the recipe? It wouldn't work at all for loaves, unless you can either find a freaky half loaf plan or make an oven-safe insert you could put in. Even if the insert is not exactly wide enough, it it is close enough then adding aluminium foil between the insert and the dough should prevent most leakage (or just shove foil in along the sides to prevent leakage). My googles only seem to come up with half height pans, which isn't what you want.

I've never tried this, but if you had half loaves you two could probably demolish a loaf every two days.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-06 02:09 pm (UTC)
These are baking in the Dutch oven, so no doubling up for cooking.

I've tried to make smaller loaves and thusfar have failed at the effort.
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[User Picture]From: butterandjelly
2012-01-07 12:22 am (UTC)
you bring the bread, we'll make the soup :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-07 12:35 am (UTC)
We will have to arrange a date sometime soon!
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[User Picture]From: fuzzyjelly
2012-01-07 05:27 pm (UTC)
Have you read 52 Loaves? It's about a guy experimenting with breadmaking. He does the scientific testing for you and makes you laugh like a loon in the process. Highly recommended.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-07 08:28 pm (UTC)
I did read it. A very fun book.
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