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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Distracted Baking

My husband frequently comments on how I can cook dinner and maintain conversations with all of the members of my household and advance the laundry and answer the phone all at the same time. Distracted cooking is not really challenging for me. It kinds of fits with our family lifestyle.

Now distracted baking may be another thing all together. I am writing my final paper for what has been a challenging, annoying grad school course. The problem with online classes is that you are limited in your interaction with your professor and that he/she can post a comment onto your work that doubles or triple the amount of work that you have to do without any effort on their part. Maybe it is distracted teaching. Maybe there is a purpose to it.

I am waiting for this class to be over, but I am thinking about my paper and working on my paper while making Hamelman's sourdoughs with whole wheat and with increased whole grain. Distracting baking, perhaps not a good idea.

I made the levains last night. It is hot, humid and heavy here in Texas. Nothing is going to take more than 12 hours to be ready.

I assembled my mis en place for the whole wheat.

Mixed the flours, levain, and water. Waited for the autolyse phase to end, added the salt, mixed for 2 minutes and put it aside for fermentation.

The I assembled my mis en place for the increased whole grain. Can you spot a significant difference between the two mis en places.

I mixed the flours, levain, and water and made liquid slop.

Ah, distracted baking. Did I check the errata sheet before I started baking? No. Did I check out the Mellow Baker's web site, too easy. Look at the differences in bread flours between the two loaves. My increased whole grain mis en place had 8 oz which, we all know is not 5.5 cups. Not the 1 pound, 8 oz that the recipe actually needs.

It didn't take me long to notice the mistake. When I combined the ingredients, I made dough batter. No pictures because I was working so quickly to correct the error so the rye didn't turn into gluten mess. I added extra flour to what I hope is the correct proportions.

Perhaps now would be a good time for all of us to go through the errata sheet and make the necessary corrections. Or we could all work on our papers.

The dough fermented for two hours and then was shaped. The whole wheat loaf was easy to work with.

I am concerned about the increased whole grain. It has huge air bubbles, and is a little looser than I would prefer.

I ended up with some beautiful looking loaves. The ones on the left are the increased grain.

The rye is slightly darker. The both have a nice flavor.


  1. I learned so much from this post! The photos alone say so much, thanks for sharing. Your breads look wonderful.

  2. Very clear and well laid out post!

    As someone who possesses that pesky Y chromosome, I am constantly impressed by the ability to work while being distracted.

    This might be cruel, but it is true:

  3. Confession time here. When I started making bread, I timed everything, wrote post-its to myself, stuck them on bowls, and now well, I still weigh, but I don't time the proves and rely on my experience I guess, which means I forget the dough for hours at at time and it usually forgivs me. I scribble in JH's book as I too don't check the errata and then I have to convert everything to grams for my sense of how big the loaf will be, I can't think either in ounces or cups and there is loads of room for error, don't even talk to me about scaling the recipe up or down. Many mishaps there too! Much as I like the book and the writing, I find the recipes the way they are laid out seriously hard to work from. The print is small and brown and the book kind of dips in the middle and I constantly reverse the water and the flour weights and have to go back... and in fact the more I bake from the book the more the way it is laid out annoys me. There, confession and rant over. Joanna

  4. And where are my manners? That was all about me, sigh. What I meant to say was, your bread looks great and your post too and I wish I had one of your loaves here for the morning as we are on overnight white at the moment and a good VS would be much better!

  5. Kayte, did you learn to say no to multitasking?

    Burntloafer, loved the cartoon

    Joanna, I too am enjoying the challenge and the writing and the breads, but the recipe annoys me. Please, please metrics. 7/8th makes me insane. I feel blind whenever I look at the print.

  6. Thanks for the post, Anne Marie! I was reading it while my pizza was rising and it reminded me to go check the errata! Too late to adjust the yeast, but my pizza didn't seem to mind. =) I, too, need to go through the errata and copy everything into my book! Your breads look beautiful, even with the slight mishap.

  7. The loaves look amazing!

    I found errors too in the rye with increased grain. When I read the new corrections to the errata sheet I got really confused because the corrections read exactly as the recipe in the [early print] copy I have. In other words there were no errors to correct to begin with.:)

  8. Wow!You should be distracted more often. Great looking bread!

  9. I don't do distracted anything remotely well ... my multitasking maybe poorly developed.
    Your loaves look and sound wonderful.
    The class sounds ... distracting at the least.

    How odd, I'm really enjoying wonderful cool ... oh I'm in Michigan for 3 more days. How I wish I could bring it home with me.