Week 6B: Carrot-cedar-sunflower sourdough

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I really really want this to work: plump spring-harvested carrot and parsnip (grown by Melvin Yoder and Vernon Stoll–such great names!) in a whole wheat sourdough flavoured with cedar leaves and sunflower seeds.  It could be great!  But it could also taste too much like tree, in which case I will default to something a little safer, like rosemary or dill.  I came up with this recipe nursing my fever last week, and am testing it right now.  Mostly carrot with a little parsnip for added sweetness, and cedar leaves infused in sunflower oil to liberate their flavour.  Young cedar leaves are just loaded with Vitamin C–also good for me to munch on as I beat back this cold.

I decided to use a 70% whole wheat sourdough as my basis, but (of course) I’m experimenting with yet another new flour.  This one is called gold finch, and its a local soft wheat flour from K2 Milling.  Normally, I associate soft wheat with pastries and cakes, but I learned from Calantha Elsby, who makes beautiful breads at the Elora Bread Trading Company, that one does not always want high protein content (read gluten content) for sourdoughs.  This came as a complete surprise, so of course I had to check it out.  Mark at K2 sent me the protein breakdowns for his whole wheats:

Gold finch ~ 9.0%
Osprey ~11.5%
Red tail ~13.0%

To put that in context, the all-purpose flour you buy in the store is probably between 10.5-11.5%, while anything labeled bread flour usually has more, up to 15%. So for my bread experiment this week I’m comparing a 50:50 mix of osprey and gold finch–so, a kind of all-purpose flour–with 100% osprey, which is more like straight-up bread flour.

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The great thing about not being a practicing scientist anymore is I can do experiments where I don’t control for all of the changes I make. I mean, I really don’t think the gold finch flour will make the bread taste more or less like tree. The other great thing is I only have to convince myself, which saves repeating the darn thing 29 times.  And that is *so* great.

Pannier Week Four

2013-03-30 12.26.25

I spent the weekend on a mini-vacation in West Virginia visiting friends and playing music—my perfect holiday!  It was a little odd heading south into snow, but life was nevertheless stirring.  And did I mention there was a butter tart tasting? My personal favourite and the hands-down winner in the neo-trad category was appropriately created by OMG.

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This week I will be making the multigrain again, for Conny who requested it, and little baguettes that combine wild yeast and commercial yeast starters to create an aromatic bread with a crisp thin crust.  Eventually I would like to tell you more about the ingredients, but for now, here is a simple list.

Multigrain (except where noted, all of the ingredients are organic and locally grown and milled).  Oh, and Sky Pilot is the name of my starter.

K2 sifted red spring wheat flour, water, levain (P&H white flour (Western Canada), water, Oak Manor sifted stoneground wheat flour, Sky Pilot), multigrain mix (in equal parts: Hack Farm flax seeds, Oak Manor stoneground yellow cornmeal, conventional pumpkin seeds (somewhere), K2 rolled oats, K2 millet flour, K2 purple cornmeal, Cedar Down Farm whole unhusked barley, Forbes Wild Foods wild rice, whole K2 rye kernels, whole K2 spelt kernels), K2 red spring wheat flour, conventional K2 white winter wheat flour, sel gris from (France).

Mini-baguettes

P&H white flour (Western Canada), water, K2 sifted red spring wheat flour, levain (P&H white flour (Western Canada), water, Sky Pilot), poolish (P&H white flour (Western Canada), water, yeast), sel gris (France).