Monty would be Proud

As of this very minute, about 4 p.m. on Thursday Aug 25, 2011, the Yumarama Blog has just 24 of them to go before hitting the amazing milestone of

Yes, we’ve now received TWENTY THOUSAND Spam comments! Spam, spam, spam, spam and spam… as Monty Python said so many years back.

This blog started up back in April 2008 and in that time has seen a pretty steady increase of not just spammers but actual visitors as well. Although we’re not exactly Google-ish in visitor count, Continue reading “Monty would be Proud”

LG Oven Problems or How To Put The Brakes on Baking

As those of you who pop into this blog now and again may know, we recently moved from Ontario to British Columbia and as such are now living in a new (to us) house with new (as in recently bought) appliances. One such major item is an LG oven with glass top and mutliple bells and whistles type add-ons like “proofer” (way too hot at 130ºF) and warming tray on the bottom. We had sold the old house along with the pretty awesome Whirlpool oven we had purchased a year or so prior since there was no point moving it 4000+ km across the country.

When I began using this fancy new LG all stainless steel, glass and digital buttons galore replete with convection, and a split 3rd shelf in the oven, I was quite pleased to see that when I set the oven temp to 450º, the oven actually got to 450º according to both the built in thermostat and my little oven thermometer. All is well with the world, I thought; a dependable oven is at hand!

Well, not so, it seems.

Continue reading “LG Oven Problems or How To Put The Brakes on Baking”

Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat

Here we are with the last of the Pain au Levain triumvirate, the Whole Wheat variation, all of course from Jeffrey Hamelman’s great book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

With respect to full disclosure, note that this bread is made with white bread flour, whole wheat flour and a little rye, so it’s not really and truly “whole wheat”, should some of you be reluctant to try a bread that’s too “grainy”. In fact, there’s not a whole lot of whole wheat in it but enough to give it a distinct taste.

And for those who are reluctant to eat sourdough bread because you think it’s “too sour”, breathe easy: this one isn’t sour at all.

If you’ve followed along, the earlier Pain au Levain and Pain au Levain with Mixed Starters followed basically the same process: start the starter(s) 12 – 16 hours before so this is the same case today. This time, it was a somewhat stiff starter at 60% hydration.

So let’s get this bread going!

Continue reading “Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat”

Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters

Same but different. Bread No. 51 for the Hamelman Challenge is a slight variation of the last bread I posted, the Pain au Levain. This time around, it includes both a liquid white sourdough starter and a stiff rye sourdough starter. Both were created from my normal 100% hydration white starter, PJ.

Is it worth keeping a liquid white sourdough starter and a whole wheat and a rye one, then maybe even stiff versions of each? Aside from the increased hassle of keeping the feeding schedule for a large number of different sourdough starters, there’s not really a great reason for the home weekend (or two) baker to go to all this trouble. I wrote to Jeffrey Hamelman about the issue of handling multiple starters recently and here’s what he said:

Hello Paul,

Thanks for writing and for asking your astute questions. Feel free to quote me on the answers.

I’ve maintained two starters for a number of years: a firm German-style rye culture (made the third week of August, 1980), and a liquid levain kept at 125% hydration (it’s about a dozen years old). We use the rye for all our rye breads, and the liquid is the base levain for all other breads. Continue reading “Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters”

Pain au Levain

April’s breads for include three variations on Pain au Levain from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. Today’s entry is for the first of the three, simple Pain au Levain. This translates to Sourdough Bread.

One thing that Hamelman makes a point of noting is that this bread is not given a long, slow retardation overnight. The subtle flavours for this loaf and it’s two companions, Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour and Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters, are all achieved with relatively short builds, even though the starters themselves do need to be made up the day before.

Once those levain builds are made up, it’s a pretty quick bread, for a sourdough.

If you’d like to give this bread a try, you can find the recipe in Jeffrey Hamelman’s book BREAD on page 158. You can also find an adapted recipe from Wally at TheFreshLoaf.

As always, I set out all the ingredients ahead of time…

Continue reading “Pain au Levain”