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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jun 08 2009 :  3:48:45 PM  Show Profile
Pam - thanks for reporting on the use of Honey! I found that mine tended to be a little doughy if I rushed the rise a little bit.

Farmgirl Sister #17
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pamcook
True Blue Farmgirl

228 Posts

Pam
Chapel Hill NC
USA
228 Posts

Posted - Jun 08 2009 :  4:25:45 PM  Show Profile
I let them sit overnight. Some of them broke apart in the boiling process (I think they were a bit dry after sitting overnight).
I'll try again though. The flavor is delish!

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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jun 11 2009 :  08:39:33 AM  Show Profile
I just re-read the MJ Mag Simple Bee on page 70 it tells us how to put Our mom to bed for a few weeks. I got so excited about the bread I don't think I finished the whole Mag.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jun 11 2009 :  09:51:14 AM  Show Profile
Yeah I put my mom to "bed" for a few weeks in may while things got crazy at school. I woke her up but she is going back to bed tomorrow while we are out of town visiting my mom and dad next week! The process is so easy!

Farmgirl Sister #17
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Georgiaberry Mobley
True Blue Farmgirl

79 Posts

Georgiaberry
Fouke AR
USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2009 :  06:47:05 AM  Show Profile
Hi all - I used the recipe from the simply bee issue (I guess - it is in the first post in this thread, anyway) to make bread yesterday and it was great. I thought it was interesting to compare that recipe with the recipe that came with my starter (yes in the interest of full disclosure, I am not using my own homegrown starter but an established starter which I have had for a long time now - it originally came from King Arthur Flour - she and I are old friends at this point LOL)

However - that said - the formulas for these two doughs are dramatically different. Here is MJ vs. KA:

MJ
2 cups starter
1 1/2 cups flour
approx 8 hr rise

KA
1 cup starter
5 cups flour
approx 24 hr rise

so a ratio of starter to flour MJ 1 to 3/4 as opposed to KA 1 to 2 1/2. (I have been reading a new cookbook called "Ratios" and I think about this all the time now). This is so different that it may as well be a totally different thing, one is bread and the other is ???.

Anyway, I am so thankful to have come across MJ bread formula because I would never have experimented to such a wild divergence on my own. I made a big mistake - I failed to line my cast iron pan with parchment (as MJ instructions tell us to do) and although I oiled the pan the bread stuck like you would not believe! When I finally scraped it all out, it was like a pile of bread chunks - but that did not last long because it was quickly devoured in a feeding frenzy. My starter is really sour by this time, and this bread would almost bring tears to your eyes it was so sour - just what we have been wanting.

Also - I bake bread on the grill in the summer as I mentioned in an earlier post. I preheat the grill, then put an insulated cookie sheet on the grill rack and whatever I am baking on the cookie sheet - close the lid and turn the burners down to medium or low. Set the timer to check it often and turn if it is cooking unevenly. My grill has a built in thermometer so I can roughly set the temp. Not foolproof but doesn't heat up the house.

Farmgirl Georgiaberry

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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2009 :  12:47:33 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Georgiaberry-

What I am thinking as to the difference between the two recipes might be explained by how you feed the starter. It depenends on how much flour is in the starter mix when you start baking. Also if they use commercial yeast the proportions needed are probably different as well. There is a huge difference between the weird commercial yeast and the wild yeast.

Alee
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Georgiaberry Mobley
True Blue Farmgirl

79 Posts

Georgiaberry
Fouke AR
USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2009 :  7:11:52 PM  Show Profile
Yes - how we feed the starter is an issue probably. I wonder how the consistency of everyone's starter is? When I followed the original instructions for my starter, it was way to thick in my opinion. It was hard to get out of the container and measure, as it was very elastic and sticky. I started adding more water each time I fed it, until it got to be a consistency that I could at least get into a measuring cup, for pete's sake! The picture of MJ's starter looked alot like mine - kind of . . . pancake batter thickness, maybe? Whatever is the "right" way, this is working for me, as my starter is active and tastes good and makes good bread.

Don't get me wrong - the KA bread recipe made good bread - really good. It's just that the recipes are very different, and I think that is interesting. There are alot of ways to make bread, I guess. For those who are interested in a "historic" starter, the KA people claim theirs has been going for almost 200 years! I think that is very cool - a taste of history.

However, I read that a starter, over time, will become colonized with local yeast and its flavor will change to match the local flora. So, if you want San Francisco style sourdough, and get starter from there, then for a while it will make San Francisco tasting bread, but gradually it will shift to Arkansas tasting bread (or wherever - plug in your own location lol). I don't know if there is any truth to this, but it makes sense. And it explains those unique regional breads, like from San Francisco.

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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2009 :  10:08:34 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Hi Georgiaberry-

The MJF starter starts out really thick but after the yeastie beasties (as Alton Brown calls them) are established they start producing hooch in small amounts that naturally thins the starter. If you water it it down too early you might not be providing enough food in the environment for the yeast to grow properly. I am not 100% sure about that. That is just conjecture. I just know that after a few weeks, mine thinned out and that was about the time my bread started rising really well!

Alee
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Shanda Fitte
Farmgirl at Heart

3 Posts

mrswonderfulteacher
Salmon ID
USA
3 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2009 :  9:53:39 PM  Show Profile

I just bought a hand grinder for wheat at a second hand store, However....It takes like 5-6 times of putting it through to grind it fine enough. Any tips?

Do what you love, love what you do, and do it with ALL YOUR MIGHT!
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2009 :  10:03:53 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Welcome to the forum Shanda!

You are way ahead of me as far as grinding your own wheat! Congrats! That must feel amazing to do that for yourself!

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
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mikesgirl
True Blue Farmgirl

3659 Posts

Sherri
Elma WA
USA
3659 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2009 :  11:17:45 PM  Show Profile
I'd love to have a hand grinder - I grind mine in the Vita-Mix and although it's much faster that way, I feel like I lose part of the experience and the connection to the grain - if that makes any sense!

Farmgirl Sister #98
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pamcook
True Blue Farmgirl

228 Posts

Pam
Chapel Hill NC
USA
228 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  05:54:32 AM  Show Profile
I need to work on that badge to organize my kitchen. I want to have space for a grain mill or vita mix (I think I could donate my blender if I had a vita mix...).

Anyway, Mary Jane had asked me to report in on how my starter does through the humid summer. So far, so good. I had a brief episode with some mold but after switching to a clear bowl and changing the cloth a couple of times a week, no mold (touch wood) for several weeks - and boy, has it been humid. Also, we installed new wood floors in our family room this weekend - going to bed exhausted with no thoughts of feeding my poor starter. I panicked last night - found it very "flat" with a thin, thin layer of hootch. I almost teared up! I fed her and boy, did she bubble! Whew! Crisis averted.

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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  06:29:54 AM  Show Profile
Hi Girls! Sorry I have been away. We had a tornado and some straight line winds comethrough our town on Friday and our power was knock out for two days. Now we are on vacation visiting m parents in Virgina! Anyway...

Georgiaberry - we are "neighbors"! I live in the Searcy area! The biggest thing we have to contend with here is the hot humid weather! The starter will be quite thick in the first week so this is nothing unusual. As you continue to add water and flour it will balance out and become a consistency you are more familiar with. I will check out the KA recipes when I get a chance. I am not sure what their differences are. In developing recipes for this thread I have dicovered that you can really use the starter in a variety of recipes to add a different flavor profile. I'll have to look up where Fouke is. It would be cool to get together if we are fairly close.

Pam - "Hooch Happens"! ;) I have had it on occasion with mine. I found the best way to combat it was to increase my feedings to twice a day for a few days. Let me know how it goes!

Farmgirl Sister #17
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pamcook
True Blue Farmgirl

228 Posts

Pam
Chapel Hill NC
USA
228 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  07:08:11 AM  Show Profile
It was the first time I had hooch since I stopped using KA flour. I think she was starving. I fed her Thursday evening - not again until Sunday afternoon! (man, do I feel guilty!).

Julie - it sounds like you're okay though? The storms are brutal, aren't they?

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Georgiaberry Mobley
True Blue Farmgirl

79 Posts

Georgiaberry
Fouke AR
USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  5:42:32 PM  Show Profile
Hi Julie - I noticed there are quite a few Arkansas gals on here. Fouke is south of Texarkana - a haul from Searcy, but I have been there before.

I have been using my starter primarily to enhance flavor - I think I have a french bread recipe that is really good now that I have tweaked it to use 2 cups of starter instead of one. It isn't sour - just flavorful.

I have a special baguette pan that I ordered from King Arthur - it has a perforated bottom to let out steam and bakes three loaves at a time.

Here is the recipe I am working with now. **Please note that this is not a pure sourdough recipe - so if that is what you are sticking with it won't work - it has added yeast.**

2 cups starter
1 cup very warm water
1 scant teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups white flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten

or for part whole wheat, replace 1 cup of the white flour with stone ground whole wheat flour and increase wheat gluten to 2 tablespoons and water to 1 1/4 cups

This is a fairly wet dough - hence the steam escaping, and I spray the loaves with water several times during baking to make that crispy french crust. I am not getting very good browning, but since I am not using my regular oven I can't be sure about the cause. It tastes great though.

This amount of dough is a bit much for my pan - it slides over the edge a little. Tonight I made buns in my cast iron biscuit pan, and then three loaves with the remaining dough and it was about perfect.

Question: Is hooch really bad? Is there some reason besides aesthetics that we want to avoid it?

I am experiencing different results with my starter since I switched brands of flour. Now it is keeping a layer of foam on top and is remaining more elastic. It is all ok though. I am going to order some MJ flour one day. In the meantime I need to get some bob's red mill to feed my poor abused starter. She is so brave! And she is getting a real workout lately. We have been making alot of bread!


Farmgirl Georgiaberry

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pamcook
True Blue Farmgirl

228 Posts

Pam
Chapel Hill NC
USA
228 Posts

Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  05:24:40 AM  Show Profile
Hooch isn't such a bad thing - when I was using KA flour, I had a lot of it. When I switched to Mary Jane's flour (or a local hard wheat organic flour)and feed it like I'm supposed to, I never get it. If I remember correctly, the hooch shows up when your starter is really hungry - not getting enough of what it gets from daily feedings.

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Georgiaberry Mobley
True Blue Farmgirl

79 Posts

Georgiaberry
Fouke AR
USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2009 :  04:46:37 AM  Show Profile
Interesting . . .

Farmgirl Georgiaberry

always busy at SunshineForDinner.com

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GailMN
True Blue Farmgirl

222 Posts

Gail
Hutchinson Minnesota
USA
222 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2009 :  05:25:05 AM  Show Profile  Send GailMN a Yahoo! Message
Georgiaberry - altho not related to the thread topic, I was looking at your website, wish I lived closer to you. Toward the end of the site there is a Sweet Potato Spice Muffin referenced, wondering if you would share the recipe. Thanks.

Gail


Farmgirl Sister #506
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2009 :  07:00:15 AM  Show Profile
Girls - here is what I know about hooch. It is basically an alcohol biproduct created during the fermentation of the starter. It isn't "bad". But is usually indicitive of a hungry starter or a poorer quality flour. Typically the lower the quality the more hooch you will get because the flour doesn't contain the right balance of nutrients to keep your starter well fed. Hooch can add a VERY strong almost bitter sour taste. Some have suggested pouring off the hooch. When I was using the KA and Gold Medal flours I had a lot of hooch. I combated it by increaseing the amount of flour by a tblespoon or so or by feeding twice a day. When using the MaryJane flour I have not had any hooch at all. Hope that clears up some of the confusion.

Farmgirl Sister #17
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Mamarude
True Blue Farmgirl

107 Posts

Anna
Durango Colorado
USA
107 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2009 :  3:40:57 PM  Show Profile
So I went out of town last week and, missed two baking days. The morning I left, I mixed up a loaf of sourdough before I covered and put my starter to bed in the refrigerator. I left it with my 82 year old Grandmother with instructions to let it rise all day and bake before dinner. She called later, and said they ate the whole loaf at one sitting, and it tasted just like her mother used to make! She said she was so happy I was starting to do things the "old" way. It made me feel good, I guess I'll have to go to 3 baking days, 2 for my family, and one for my grandparents!

Cherian
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Georgiaberry Mobley
True Blue Farmgirl

79 Posts

Georgiaberry
Fouke AR
USA
79 Posts

Posted - Jun 18 2009 :  03:57:11 AM  Show Profile
Thanks Gail - I wish we all lived in walking distance, like a big farmgirl commune. That would be fun. I am embarrassed to admit that I can't find the reference you are referring to on my own website LOL LOL, but I think that I remember making sweet potato muffins from a recipe in a magazine. If I have time later I will scout in my cookbook/recipe area and see if I can come up with it.

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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jun 18 2009 :  08:22:30 AM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Oh Cherian! That is so wonderful! And what a great compliment from your grandmother!

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jun 19 2009 :  10:13:08 AM  Show Profile
I keep meaning to ask why can't you use metal with the starter?

I use plastic or wood but keep forgetting to ask the question.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jun 20 2009 :  06:22:19 AM  Show Profile
Diana - Using a metal spoon wouldnt "ruin" your starter. the problem is more what will happen to the metal. The sourdough starter is very "acid" and by allowing it to sit in a metal bowl or by using a metal spoon it can begin to eat away at the metal. The suggestion is more for the life of your utensils. It takes a very long time and repeated exposure for anything noticable to happen but it is just one of those tips that has been passed on for years and years! Once you mix in the baking ingredients the acidity is deminished so you really wouldnt have any problems when baking in metal. Hope that clears it up!

Farmgirl Sister #17
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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jun 20 2009 :  08:36:56 AM  Show Profile
Yup, I just kept thinking and you know how that can get.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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