Russell's Blog

New. Improved. Stays crunchy in milk.

Grad School

Posted by Russell on August 29, 2008 at 6:38 a.m.
Evidently I'm going to graduate school. I'm just not yet sure where, or what I shall study. Decisions, decisions.

First Sourdough!

Posted by Russell on August 07, 2008 at 8:56 a.m.
My first attempt at sourdough bread seems to have produced a pair of unexpectedly tasty results. I was rather skeptical that this would actually work the first time. The taste came out much better than I had hoped for; awesome sourness, but not so sour as to overpower the flavor of the wheat. These are 50% whole grain, so they have some nice texture from the bran, but are still chewy and moist.

The boules didn't quite shape up the way I wanted them to, and sort of spread out on the baking pan once they came out of the bannetons. That's why they're more disk-shaped than sphere-shaped. Also, I didn't attempt anything fancy with the crust.

I cultured the starter from stone milled rye flour, and fed it alternating whole wheat and white flour every 12 hours for two weeks. The starter was the only difficult part. I killed my first starter by accidentally overheating it in my makeshift incubation pan. I gave up on the precise temperature control, which seems to have produced a somewhat less lively starter. It lifts the dough just fine, though.

The ingredients were :

  • 1/4 cup starter
  • 3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
I know it's better to use grams than cups for measuring flour, but I don't have a good bench scale yet.

This made two loafs, which I put into bannetons for 12 hours of rising. I baked them for 45 minutes at 375F, with a pan of water bubbling away at the bottom of the oven.

I made the bannetons from some small fruit baskets that were sitting around attracting junk accumulation. I made the liners by reclaiming some nice raw linen that was part of an IKEA laundry basket that had fallen apart at the seams (carefully washed, of course). I floured the banneton liners carefully, so they didn't stick much at all.

Um, where are the issues?

Posted by Russell on August 02, 2008 at 10:49 p.m.
I thought the whole point of nominating John McCain was that he was supposed to be the honerable candidate, and that he would take on the issues with the Democratic nominee. You remember the issues, right? Our assorted wars, our collapsing banking system, forclosures, the energy clusterfuck, torture, wiretapping, abortion, global warming, gay rights, taxes, the budget -- that stuff.

So, uh, when is he going to get into that stuff? He is seriously going to talk about Paris Hilton? WTF?