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Chives
True Blue Farmgirl

232 Posts

Victoria
Shelton Washington
USA
232 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  11:34:40 AM  Show Profile
Is it okay to grind my own soft wheat flour to start the mother? Thank you
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12892 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12892 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  11:46:23 AM  Show Profile
Hi Victoria,
If you mean "soft white wheat" berries, the answer is "no." You will need to grind organic "hard red wheat" berries or "hard white wheat" berries. Soft white wheat is okay for pastries but doesn't have enough gluten to give a good rise to bread. Gluten=protein. When there's an adequate amount of protein available, there's gluten available in due proportion. (This is further complicated by growing conditions but usually you can find out a hard wheat's protein content. 14% is what we used to shoot for when we milled berries for bread bakers.) The flours of hard wheats (11 to 14% protein) develop strong gluten complexes during mixing and are therefore suitable for making bread. Whole soft wheats (9 to 11% protein) yield flours that are used primarily for cakes, cookies, and pastries. Durum wheat is used to produce a relatively coarse flour, semolina, used for manufacture of pasta products. You need to use high protein (high gluten) wheat. Make sense? Here's a little trick Miller Barron taught me when I milled with him. Toss a bunch of raw berries into your mouth and go to work making them into gum. If after a good session, you take it out and you can pull it slightly like gum and it sticks together, you'll have a good loaf of bread.


And just to complicate things for us bread bakers, not all mills bring in high quality berries for grinding. Fudging makes them money, so it's important to get your berries and your flour from reputable companies who CARE that you won't be frustrated when you bake.

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru
~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~

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Chives
True Blue Farmgirl

232 Posts

Victoria
Shelton Washington
USA
232 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  12:26:22 PM  Show Profile
Great advice thank you vicki
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LynnMarie
True Blue Farmgirl

612 Posts

Lynn
Staunton IL
USA
612 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  1:27:23 PM  Show Profile  Send LynnMarie a Yahoo! Message
Has anyone tried using spelt flour? I can't eat regular flour.

Bringing the Past Back to Life
www.freewebs.com/decampsettlement


"You may never know what results come from your action. But, if you do nothing, there will be no results" -Gandhi
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carollynn79
Farmgirl at Heart

1 Posts

Carol
Port Hope MI
USA
1 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  3:10:31 PM  Show Profile  Send carollynn79 an AOL message  Send carollynn79 a Yahoo! Message
this bread sounds good, I will try it especially the rye version.


Carol lovin the country life
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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  5:26:33 PM  Show Profile
I started my starter last Wed with store brand flour and bottled water it has bubbles and is smelling like a good sour dough. I went and got organic flour at the Coop and the difference in the bubbles is amazing. It was working ok but the organic unbleached has really given it life. But I don't have 2 cups and some to keep the mother so will keep feeding until I have enough and bake bread later. I have well water and with regular bread it would not rise so I went with the bottled water and have used hot water when I feed the mother. I have a double oven and have put it in the lower one to grow it is warm and no drafts and I hope to see bread soon but I am really looking foward to sourdough pancakes.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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wooliespinner
True Blue Farmgirl

1311 Posts

Linda
Manchester Ohio
1311 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  5:44:40 PM  Show Profile
I don't know if it was somewhere in this thread or not but I was wondering where to get the small cast iron dutch oven to bake the bread in, not sure if thats what it is called. I went online and found a few small dutch ovens. Does anyone have the diameter of the one Maryjane uses in her magazine. If I had the dimentions then I would be able to compare and maybe find one. Thanks a bunch.

Linda

Raspberry Run Farm
Nubian Dairy Goats
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  6:56:32 PM  Show Profile
She recommends a 2 quart one I think but in my search I have found the dimensions can vary. Several have suggested sporting goods stores such as Cabelas, gander mtn, Bass Pro etc. You can also order online from Lodge. I haven't been able to find one quite like MaryJane describes. I'm thinking she needs to find a source and start selling them through her website!!!!

Farmgirl Sister #17
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Buffalomary
True Blue Farmgirl

199 Posts

Mary
Caldwell ID
USA
199 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  9:39:28 PM  Show Profile
Well, I made my first loaf yesterday and now I am ready to go skeet shooting! It just didn't raise like it was suppose to. I was concerned because the kitchen got a little cooler than it should have. Even though the temp reached 200 in the middle, it still looks doughy in the middle and the crust is so hard, I could hardly cut it. Oh well, my mother is still bubbling and it will just get better with age. So I'll try again this next Saturday!

As far as locating dutch ovens/cast iron pots, you might also try military surplus stores. That's where I got my two dutch ovens. Another source is Lehmans. They are in Ohio and cater to the Amish and homesteader types and have various types of cast iron. I originally got my set of cast iron pots when my son was 2 weeks old from Fingerhut. That was back in 1983! Other than my stainless steel and granny ware canning pots, I have been using cast iron since then.

Buffalomary
Farmgirl Sister #293

You can take the farmer's daughter off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the farmer's daughter!!

Please visit me at my blog: http://buffalomaryscorner.blogspot.com
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Ronna
True Blue Farmgirl

1891 Posts

Ronna
Fernley NV
USA
1891 Posts

Posted - Jan 18 2009 :  11:16:56 PM  Show Profile
It seems to me that those baking "bricks" are not allowing the dough long enough time to rise before baking. Can't really go by a clock, and the warmth of the place where it's rising will affect it too. Can't be too warm or it will start to bake before it hits the oven. On the other hand, if the spot is too cool, it will take much longer than what the recipe states. It's a whole different scenario from baking with yeast, where it starts to work right away and you know the dough will double in size in an hour and the loaf will double again in a bit less than an hour after shaped. Baking with sourdough is one of the "back to basics" that will become a lost art if generations to come don't keep it going. My own MIL did not care for the taste of sourdough, but knowing I did, told me she realized that's what her mother and grandmother used, keeping the starter at the back of the stove where it was relatively cool and using it to make bread daily. She was born in 1904 in Kansas. Ask questions, keep trying and if you're determined, you'll learn to make and enjoy your bread. Just today I added a half cup of starter to my pizza dough and the flavor it adds to the crust makes a huge difference. There are some great bread baking books (until the possibly upcoming one by MaryJane). Peter Reinhart has written several; I tested recipes for one he did on Pizza and other flatbreads a few years back. His books are very detailed on the what's and why's for those who want lots of info. The old ones, like Sourdough Jack's, are interesting to read along with picking up some good tips. Practice makes perfect to some extent. I've been trying to remember how my first loaf of bread came out and it's been too many years. I baked yeast bread before trying sourdough and probably that helped to have some experience in how it should look.
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  06:58:12 AM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
That's great advice, Ronna! I always would bake a cake or something first and let me sour dough rise on the coolest (but also still warm) burner of the oven as it baked the cake. Baking while the sourdough rose also kept my kitchen just a little bit warmer which helped a lot. Another thing you can do is have it rise while the bowl is on a heating pad. But you have to know your heating pad won't go over the 80ish degree range.

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
Put your pin on the farmgirl map! www.farmgirlmap.blogspot.com
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jpbluesky
True Blue Farmgirl

6055 Posts

Shirley Jean (Jeannie)
Florida
USA
6055 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  07:08:30 AM  Show Profile
I have not read through the all 8 pages of this thread, so perhaps this question has been asked......however, I was reading the magazine last night, and wondered exactly what MJ calls a muffin tin. She advises using one with water in it in the oven as you make your artisan bread. My muffin tin is what I call a cupcake pan.....would you put water in each little place, or is a muffin tin the same as a brownie or sheet cake pan?

Farmgirl Sister # 31

www.blueskyjeannie.blogspot.com

Psalm 51: 10-13
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Ronna
True Blue Farmgirl

1891 Posts

Ronna
Fernley NV
USA
1891 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  07:53:45 AM  Show Profile
muffin/cupcake, same thing. It's just less likely to slosh water than from a larger pan. Can also set the pan in the oven and pour water from a pitcher or measuring cup to fill it.
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12892 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12892 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  07:59:28 AM  Show Profile
JP, Yes, a cupcake pan with all the little places filled with water.

Ronna, I looked up the books you suggested on Amazon. I hadn't heard of Reinhart but his work looks fabulous. I assume his recipes are for kneaded bread. But I would think many of the same principles apply here, so please jump in and give me a hand!!!! I so want to keep everyone encouraged. I've learned that teaching/giving instructions is tricky. If you say too much, you lose people but if you don't say enough, someone will zoom in on that one little thing: cupcake vs. muffin! That's why a forum is so useful.

Once you "get it," it's so darn easy. It takes me more time to brush and floss my teeth than it does to make this bread on a daily basis.


MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~


P.S. My crew was the recipient of my recent sourdough frenzy. I had a huge mother going on the counter and loaves of bread raising everywhere. They ate every last morsel and raved about it. The day we ate Farmhouse White just out of the oven with butter and honey on it, I noticed everyone snuck back down to the bunkhouse kitchen within an hour for seconds. The rye was a huge hit for sandwiches. Carol cooked some of my new organic hamburger one day and we all had rye/hamburger sandwiches topped with a mountain of greens from our year-round greenhouse.

On days when I was in a hurry to bake any of it for photos or because of my schedule, I just set the loaves next to the wood stove on some wooden TV trays and it would rise in say, four hours.

P.P.S. My favorite 2-quart "oven" (actually called a cast iron saucepan) is 4 inches high, 6.5 inches across on the top (inside to inside) and 5 1/4 inches across on the bottom (inside to inside). It's an "American Camper." You can still find them on e-bay. I've had mine so long I probably bought it new while they were still manufacturing them. I found a new 3-quart cast iron saucepan that I bought recently (maybe it was a Lodge) and it works just fine. Think of it as a treasure hunt. I do treasure my cast iron.
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  08:24:59 AM  Show Profile
I'm gonna agree with Ronna on the not allowing your dough to rise enough! I imagine many of us are excited and cant wait to get it in the oven! BUT - if you aren't allowing enough time for the rise than you are missing a crucial step.

Consider too the temperature of the vessel in which you are conducting the rise. If you are setting it into a very cold cast iron pan than the temperature of your dough is going to initially cool just a bit. The natural yeasts are going to be most active in a warm environment.

If you are not currently using a stove you have several options for creating a warm environment.

FIRST - don't add cold water to the mother. Use room temperature water or slightly warm(NOT HOT) water.

Then you can do several things to create a warm environment. If the temperature of your house is around 70 degrees you should be fine unless it is really drafty or fluctuates as the heat kicks on and off.

MICROWAVE - Heat a bowl full of water in the Microwave for around 5 minutes. Immediatly remove and place your dough in the microwave and close. This will create a slightly warm enviromnemt. Avoid opening the door or you will let out the little bit of warmth you created.

SUNNY WINDOW - Set the dough near a warm sunny window. Just be careful it doesn't get too hot that a thick crust starts to form.

Heating Pad - a heating pad left on a low setting works great. Set the bowl on top of the pad.

If in doubt - give the rise more time. The more you work with the starter and the breads you will get an eye for it. Relax a little! Don't be afraid to make mistakes or you will make your self too cautious. Enjoy it!

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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dkelewae
True Blue Farmgirl

1310 Posts

Diana
Saint Peters MO
USA
1310 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  09:04:15 AM  Show Profile
Regarding the King Arthur flour...I noticed they have artisan bread flour(it's on backorder online). Would that work better or would there be any difference in using the regular organic flour?

Diana
Farmgirl Sister #272
St. Peters MO
Country Girl trapped in the city!

http://farmgirldreams.blogspot.com/
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12892 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12892 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  09:08:27 AM  Show Profile
I would stick with the organic but if you do get the artisan, let us know how it turns out.

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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dkelewae
True Blue Farmgirl

1310 Posts

Diana
Saint Peters MO
USA
1310 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  09:23:34 AM  Show Profile
I think I'll try them both for a comparison test. I'll be sure to post the results.

Diana
Farmgirl Sister #272
St. Peters MO
Country Girl trapped in the city!

http://farmgirldreams.blogspot.com/
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  10:03:10 AM  Show Profile
Diana I am doing some comparison testing between the KA All Purpose and Bread flours. I will let you know if I find any considerable difference between them. They just arrived mid week last week so I'm not to the baking stage yet.

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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dkelewae
True Blue Farmgirl

1310 Posts

Diana
Saint Peters MO
USA
1310 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  10:07:08 AM  Show Profile
Julie- I haven't even gotten to the store to get the flour yet. I had an emergency appendectomy on Jan 7th and go to the doc today for my post op visit. I'm hoping to get the green light to return to driving,etc. Let me know how your testing turns out!

Diana
Farmgirl Sister #272
St. Peters MO
Country Girl trapped in the city!

http://farmgirldreams.blogspot.com/
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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  10:26:33 AM  Show Profile
I just mixed in my salt honey and flour and it is in a warm place and looking ok I have taken pictures will post when it comes out of the oven. I did the parchment on a cookie sheet style with a smooth top.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  12:55:06 PM  Show Profile
Just curious to see if any of you have used stoneware baking pans and what your results were.

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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Pearlsnjeans
True Blue Farmgirl

246 Posts

Vicki
West Haven Utah
USA
246 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  2:15:33 PM  Show Profile
My local grocer had the regular King Arthur organic flour. So I started my "mother" yesterday, and can hardly wait until Saturday to try baking!

Vicki
Farmgirl Sister #120
Today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  3:23:07 PM  Show Profile
Great Diana! Can't wait to see the pictures and hear how it turned out.

Vicki- glad you are joining this project! Keep us posted!

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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wooliespinner
True Blue Farmgirl

1311 Posts

Linda
Manchester Ohio
1311 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2009 :  4:43:06 PM  Show Profile
Well I started the sourdough starter on Sunday with the unbleached white flour. I got a little braisen today and added homeground Montana gold wheat. I looked at the bag and its hard wheat. I did what MaryJane suggested and chewed on some of the berries and after a few minutes a ball formed like chewing gum....too cool.
So I am going to feed it the unbleached and the homeground and see what happens. This evening I looked and it was bubbling but I also noticed a little water seperation in a few places.
I am going to start looking for the little skillet. I think that would help with the shape to have one of those.

Here's to having fun with food........lol.
Linda

Raspberry Run Farm
Nubian Dairy Goats
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