Date jar

We tried our first date from the date jar last night. Dinner in the reverse order. So we began with dessert and moved our way forward to dinner.

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Bread experiments

I made this loaf of bread yesterday experimenting with chiltepin. It turned out to be pretty spectacular and my best yet.

I recently purchased some thermometers, one for the oven and one for the inside of the bread that has helped a lot in determining how long to bake. I discovered that the maximum temperature on my oven which states 230° C actually only reaches a maximum of 200 degrees C. For this reason, my prior loaves were not adequately baked given my assumption that they were cooking at a temperature much higher than they were in reality.

I also found scoring the loaf with olive oil on the blade made for a much finer cut. The end result yields a loaf that looks much cleaner.

Also, before putting the loaf in the Dutch oven, I sprayed it generously with water before putting the lid on. This in turn led to turn in the crust a much darker golden brown that I’ve ever been able to do previously.

The loaf costs about 10 pesos to make (roughly .50 cents).

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Moka

A week ago we found this cute little pup on our way home. He was running with another dog that looked to have a bad leg. We chased them down and I was able to catch one of them. He was a bit resistant. But eventually we got him home thanks to the help of a neighbor.

He was so cute, an exact replica of Scout. Sadly, Scout wasn’t much interested in any new edition to the pack.

We had a bit of pressure to find a home for him before our departure. Fortunately, we found a place a day prior.

Given that he was with us nearly a week, we had to come up with a name. So we went with Moka. He will be missed.

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Guanajuato last photos

Guanajuato is such a neat city. We had a great trip. We want to return zoon

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Wanderings

Began the day with breakfast at a small French bistro with a great view. The food was spectacular.

Spent the rest of the day wandering around town and visiting various museums.

Yun bought a bag of alfalfa and lime juice for 13 pesos. Not too bad

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Guanajuato

Left this morning for a week vacation in our favorite city in Mexico. Our tickets to Guadalajara were $35. First on and first off.

We took a four hour bus ride from Guadalajara to Guanajuato for $10. It’s a nice trip on the buses are comfortable.

I had a spectacular dinner of duck with a magnificent view. The city is so beautiful. It is a Monday night and there are thousands of people everywhere. I love this city.

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Belated cake

Our neighbors and good friends Yrem and Heidi had us over for dinner a few nights ago. Heidi made Yun a pretty spectacular ice-cream cake. Good times.

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Bread Experimentation

Since the last loaves did not come out very airy, Matt suggested one option to try to improve that would be to increase hydration. The formula I was using used 68% water, so per the recommendation to increase, I raised that to 70% and 75% in today’s experiment. In both loaves I am using Los Gallos to keep that variable constant.

Also, I printed up a guide to follow and check off in hopes to reduce the amount of mistakes I make (since I am again making two loaves at a time with different formulas).

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The 70% mixed in the Kitchen Aid the same in appearance as the 68% formula, but the 75% did not ball up as the others. I suspect I should have mixed it longer, but since I wasn’t sure, I didn’t. This could prove to be problematic later.

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The 70% loaf when done mixing felt similar to the original 68% while stretching and folding, but not as tight when stretching. The 75% loaf felt significantly less tight. It felt so loose that it was hard to stretch and fold. It is a significant deviation from the feel of the original formula. Both of them felt really light.

The 70% was sticky, but not so much that I thought it might be a problem for the banneton. That proved to be the case.

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I should have taken a photo of my scoring, because after the dough is baked, it is always hideous. I don’t know what exactly I am doing wrong in that regard, but overall the loaf looked as good as it gets (to date) from what I have made.

This is the 70%.

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20180127_173046The poor looking shape in the photo above is probably due to the pre-bake shaping. Dana says I need to work on that to avoid weak spots. I wasn’t aware that was a thing. So that will be something to look into.

Both of the loaves are more airy, but not enough. That might suggest the moisture was only one element among others. I’m not impressed with the 70, but the 75 looks pretty decent (although bigger holes would be nice). Both loaves are far too soft though. It seems like they should be much harder (at least on the outside).

With the 75 you can see from the photo that I didn’t use the banneton as it doesn’t have those pretty lines. Instead, I used a cloth lined with flour (which is why you see so much flour). There was no sticking to the cloth and I think it would have been fine to have used the basket. It was much more difficult to shape though given how sticky it was and how loose and light.

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I desperately need a thermometer I can stick into the bread. I’m not entirely sure both breads were thoroughly cooked, but not knowing their temperature, I can’t say for sure. This would also provide a way to measure the temperature of the ingredients to ensure there are no deviations.

Also, I need a thermometer for the oven. My suspicion is that it is not actually  baking at 230 Celsius (which is the maximum for my oven), but rather lower than that. I baked both loaves for 45 minutes which should be much longer than necessary if it were truly 230.

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Sequence

Getting our Sequence on. So fun.

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Flour tests

We’ve been experiencing with various flouras available to us here for the past few months. We don’t have a lot of quality options. I did however find a new brand at Walmart a week ago that claims to be organic. I really have no idea if that will make a difference or not, so today I’m making two loaves. One of which will be our control with the flour most often used in our house which is Los Gallos. It runs about 9 pesos per kilo which is roughly $0.50. The organic option is called San Blas and, if I recall correctly, was about three times that price for 4/5 of a kilo.

I’m doing Reinhart’s lean/straight dough method. I noticed the organic flour is much darker than the control. So much so that Yun initially thought it might be whole grain. But I’m pretty confident that’s not the case.

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They both mixed up the same with no problems. The directions call for 4 stretch and pulls with 20 minute intervals between.

And I’ve already made my first mistake. I accidentally did a second stretch and pull out of sequence as I was confused working with two loaves at the same time. So the organic flour had a second stretch and pull approximately 10 minutes earlier then it should have. I’m just going to move forward as though I didn’t do that which will amount to a fifth stretch and pull for the organic loaf.

Now we wait 90 minutes for it to rise.

And into the bannetons for an hour more to proof.

And into the oven.

And out of the oven.

As it turned out, the cheaper flour had a better raise and a darker color.

The results.

Yun was right, the “organic” flour was whole grain. It’s a bit surprising it raised as high as it did.

The whole grain tasted better. It was surprisingly pretty good. It also smelled better. The Los Gallos control wasn’t bad, just offered nothing spectacular or special. Neither loaves had large air holes. I still have yet to figure out why I am not achieving those.

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