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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  10:11:16 AM  Show Profile
I would suggest using the organic throughout the entire process.

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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  10:14:02 AM  Show Profile
Sandy - Don't use a damp towel during the rise. Also if you have a free form loaf you will not get a significant vertical rise. It will mostly spread out.

I am working on three different mothers right now and am noticing significant differences in the three. I will let you know my findings after I bake with them next weekend.

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country roads
True Blue Farmgirl

442 Posts

Melissa
Shinglehouse Pa
USA
442 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  10:55:39 AM  Show Profile
Julie, can I bake the dough in my cast iron bread pans? Does it have to be covered when you bake it?

Take care, Melissa.

Farmgirl # 352

~Think happy thoughts~
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Carrie W
Farmgirl Legend/Chapter Guru

411 Posts



411 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  11:00:01 AM  Show Profile
Hi girls-

Just baked my first loaves yesterday and they also turned out hard, but I think I over baked them because my oven temp is off a little and they were still doughy inside when the crust was done. I also let them rise WAY longer than normal because of little rising action. After reading the entire thread here I have these comments:

First of all, the "hooch" can be reduced by adding a little extra flour. Most sourdough "sponge" recipes I have saved over the years call for equal amounts of flour and water. The MJ way uses slightly more water so the "mother" will be more watery. I had this problem in the beginning but added some extra flour and found a happy medium.

I also got bubbles on day 2 and sourdough odor on day 3 so I started using a wet towel at this point since my yeasts had been "caught". The dry towel is to allow more air into the container...once your sourdough action begins you can move to a moist towel.

Using the organic WHITE flour will help reduce the "brick" like consistency of your loaves. Stick with the white flour and keep trying. Add some whole wheat to the actual bread recipe as opposed to adding it to the "mother" if you like a heavier loaf, but even when using yeast I find that whole wheat recipes rise slower.

Kneading your dough before rising will increase the action of the gluten. (Another whole wheat secret!)

When making free-form loaves you will use a lot of extra flour. MJ says this in the recipes! They need to be a firmer dough in order to hold their shape. This will require a little longer rise time!!!! Just be patient and don't expect a lot of rise like with yeast where it doubles in just a couple hours! Using white flour will be more successful, but wheat flour will just require some kneading and nice warm rising.

My cinnamon bread was dense, but OH so good with butter. The farm loaf was more sour than I wished, but I'm going to work with the mother and see if I can mellow her a little with more white flour. I ended up with more whole wheat than I liked because my daughter mixed my flours up not knowing that I was keeping them separate on purpose. This is standard routing for us because white flours work better in most recipes, and wheat flour offers more nutritional value. So...we compromise and mix them up before filling the flour container.

I'll be baking again soon and will share my experience!!

carrie m

www.totallykadeshfarm.blogspot.com

Farmgirl Sisterhood #147

Tis better to weep at joy than to joy at weeping--Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
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Quintessential Kate
True Blue Farmgirl

175 Posts

Kate
Tyler TX
USA
175 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  12:33:08 PM  Show Profile
My mother has been "brewing since Saturday......and this morning when I walked into the kitchen I senses an odor that is usually not present. DUH!!!!! Took me a couple of minutes and a little investigating.....even before my first cup of joe to figure out it ma "Ma"...that's what I call her. I am using an organic white flour from my healthfood store...."something, something Mill"....but KA. I am very optimistic the fruits of my labor will be favorable. Since my house stays on the cool side, I might give it a couple of more days past the seven before I attempt a loaf of bread. I'm using water purified by R/O....
I'm loving this thread....and learning a lot.
Ciao, Kate

Heart of Texas
Chapter
AKA: Hot Farmgirl #234
http://quintessentialkate.blogspot.com

Today is my best day!
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  12:33:44 PM  Show Profile
Melissa - yes you can use the bread pan and no it doesn't have to be covered. Just be sure to watch the temperature.

Carrie - thank you for your responses.

Keep in mind that we are trying to eliminate the kneading process which is the reason for the slightly higher water content of this mother. The higher hydration will keep you from having to knead the final dough as much. That being said - if you like the kneading part (I do) it wont hurt if you want to knead it a little bit!

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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  12:36:56 PM  Show Profile
Hi Kate! We were typing at the same time! Welcom to the topic! We look forward to your input!

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nampafarmgirl
True Blue Farmgirl

494 Posts

Kim
Nampa ID
USA
494 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  3:28:44 PM  Show Profile
I just started mine on Sunday. I call her Theresa, for Mother Theresa. My HB wants it to be a manly bread, he wants to call it Angus, for Angus Young in AC/DC. What a dork, naming your bread after a guy????? Anyway, I have been reading the tips, I will let you know how mine turns out in a few days

Kim
Farmgirl Sister # 302
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Huckelberrywine
True Blue Farmgirl

1607 Posts

Michelle
Rosalia
1607 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  4:00:50 PM  Show Profile
ROFL Angus! You need a 'his' and 'hers' sourdough couple. I love the one Ronna gave me...still going fine. I'll have to get them out and get them warmed up again. They've been hybernating in the fridge. Anyone know why the older starters are so hearty and withstand more neglect? Mine must be grandmothers. :)

We make a difference. http://huckleberrywine.blogspot.com
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  4:07:15 PM  Show Profile
Starters build a relationship with the air surrounding it collecting yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms. The longer it lives in an environment the more harmonious it becomes. That is partially why those of you who had issues with your first loaf may not want to give up on your starters yet.

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K-Falls Farmgirl
Chapter Leader

2096 Posts

Cheryl
Klamath Falls Oregon
USA
2096 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  5:58:35 PM  Show Profile
Well... I let mine sit in a cast iorn pot average temp in the house 70 degrees today. Put in a bigger pan than I wanted to use. It has flattened since I put it to raise today. It has been 9 hours and I just put it in the oven. I think it looks like somebody else posted as it is flat. I will make another attempt starting tomorrow..I'll give it the taste test tonight.

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Cheryl
Farmgirl #309
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
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K-Falls Farmgirl
Chapter Leader

2096 Posts

Cheryl
Klamath Falls Oregon
USA
2096 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  6:18:23 PM  Show Profile
Okay, Like Chessie *Karen* my bread looked just like hers.. tasted good.. I will not use the cast iron pan I used as it was probably the reason for a flat loaf. I will try it again... I used well water and Bob's Red Mill organic white flour Organically grown Umbromated unbleached white flour.

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Cheryl
Farmgirl #309
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
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chessie
True Blue Farmgirl

403 Posts

Karen
Vista CA
USA
403 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  6:55:11 PM  Show Profile
Hey Cheryl, Although ours were flat breads, let me tell you, it makes a perfect foccacia bread! Slice it im half. Into two thinner disks and use to make sandwich. delish! Do it quickly as the bread does not keep long when it is this flat. it goes hard quickly...
big yeah - artisan bread baking the MaryJane way!!!

www.edgehillherbfarm.com "where the name is bigger than the farm, but no one seems to mind"
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K-Falls Farmgirl
Chapter Leader

2096 Posts

Cheryl
Klamath Falls Oregon
USA
2096 Posts

Posted - Jan 20 2009 :  7:30:18 PM  Show Profile
Yes karen, I know what you mean...We have been cutting off pieces and there is only 1/2 loaf left just warmwith butter..yummmmmy!( there wont be any left over for tomorrow dinner..!)

http://www.k-fallsfarmgirl.blogspot.com/
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Cheryl
Farmgirl #309
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou

Edited by - K-Falls Farmgirl on Jan 20 2009 7:30:42 PM
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boonedesigns
Farmgirl in Training

10 Posts

sandy
danville OH
USA
10 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  05:04:33 AM  Show Profile
Mine was flat and needed a chain saw to cut. I would be fine with a foccacia bread but not a hockey puck. Maybe next week.
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Quintessential Kate
True Blue Farmgirl

175 Posts

Kate
Tyler TX
USA
175 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  05:39:40 AM  Show Profile
This thread is fascinating....but getting long....so I might be a bit redundant here, but I'll chance it. Have any of you baked your bread in a Romertopf clay baker? Just seems like the soak of the pot prior to the bake would put the moisture in....and then once the pot had "dried"...you should get a nice brown loaf. I'm intrigued by La Colache....but turned off by the fragile nature of it. But I have a Romertopf and just think it makes sense. Please let me know what you think.

P.S. I looked at my previous post....and was blown away by all my typos. My ring finger on left hand was almost amputated at the first joint about 10 days ago...and this "hunting and pecking" is most frustrating. I can type 50 wpm.....but can only hunt and peck about 15...lol!Besides that...my bandaged finger covers w,e,a,s,d & r. But no problem......cause I can still feed and stir "Ma".
Ciao, Kate


Heart of Texas
Chapter
AKA: Hot Farmgirl #234
http://quintessentialkate.blogspot.com

Today is my best day!
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  05:47:28 AM  Show Profile
Kate I believe Ronna made mention of the clay baker but didn't say weather she had used one or not. I have never tried a clay baker. If you have one and do please let us know how it works.

Girls if you can give me your specifics (type/brand of flour, water used etc) I can try to help you figure out the problems!

Farmgirl Sister #17
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AuntPammy
True Blue Farmgirl

488 Posts

Pamila
williamstown wv
USA
488 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  06:07:42 AM  Show Profile  Click to see AuntPammy's MSN Messenger address
Has anyone used spring water? I was just wondering if I need to go buy some distilled water. My husband and son want me to get started on this but I have been procrastinating.I think I will start mine this week-end. I tried the bread from Mother Earth last week and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. This is even easier!!!

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadow." Helen Keller

www.auntpsalmostheaven.blogspot.com
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  06:48:35 AM  Show Profile
I am using spring water in mine. I couldn't get any distilled water at the store.

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LynnMarie
True Blue Farmgirl

612 Posts

Lynn
Staunton IL
USA
612 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  07:27:41 AM  Show Profile  Send LynnMarie a Yahoo! Message
quote:
Originally posted by willowtreecreek

Remember that sourdough starter is a living organism. It is made of wild yeasts that have been captured from the air. The starter will consume starch in the flour, and it produces alcohol (hooch) at the end of the process.




Since the starter has to consume starch from the flour, I guess spelt flour won't work as it is a protein.

If anyone has tried spelt flour, please let me know if any steps need to be changed.


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"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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Huckelberrywine
True Blue Farmgirl

1607 Posts

Michelle
Rosalia
1607 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  4:07:45 PM  Show Profile
I did use spelt flour, but not to feed my mother. I added it during the other steps. It has been so long ago, I think the loaf was heavier/didn't rise as much. If you like pita bread, it ought to be nice for those as the rising doesn't matter so much. Same proceedures, just cook really hot really fast and if it doesn't puff up all at once in the center making a nice pocket like wheat flour will do, just slice a pocket in.

We make a difference. http://huckleberrywine.blogspot.com
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  4:10:53 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
I made bread today using yeast from the store and it was a total bust as far as flavor goes. Ick. I think I am spoiled on Sour Dough! I can't wait until I can get my starter going!

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
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Pearlsnjeans
True Blue Farmgirl

246 Posts

Vicki
West Haven Utah
USA
246 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  5:34:04 PM  Show Profile
Today was day 4 for my "mother". It was bubbly and had a slightly good sour smell. I don't have a cast iron pot, so will have to use the cookie sheet with parchment paper method. From all I've read here, my bread may be a bit flat! Bread has been on my mind all day today ! Can I make it to Saturday?!

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 21 2009 :  5:47:15 PM  Show Profile
Hey Girls! I have a recipe to share with you. This might be good for those loafs that are a little on the hard side but still tasty! No need to waste all that hard work! I adapted this from a baked french toast recipe my mom and dad use at their Bed & Breakfast. Let me know what you think.

Baked French Toast with Apples and Nuts
3 tablespoons butter
1 sourdough loaf, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, chopped pecans etc.)
2 tart green apples, cored and sliced
2 sweet red apples, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
Honey or Real Maple Syrup
Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Arrange the bread slices into the dish in a single layer and set aside.

Beat eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in buttermilk, milk, sugar, zest, vanilla and nutmeg. Sprinkle the nuts over bread, then pour egg mixture over the top. Using the back of a large spoon, press the bread slices down firmly to make sure that each is well covered with the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, remove baking dish from refrigerator and allow contents to come to room temperature. Remove plastic wrap and bake until golden brown and custard is firm, 45 to 55 minutes.

While the French toast is baking quarter, core and thinly slice the apples. Arrange apples in groups onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, overlapping them slightly and alternating the colors; set aside. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then remove from the heat and stir in orange juice; brush apples with butter mixture.

During the last 20 minutes of baking time for the french toast, place the apples in the oven and bake until tender.

To serve, cut french toast into pieces and transfer to plates. Top with apples and drizzle with honey or Real Maple Syrup.



Farmgirl Sister #17
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Quintessential Kate
True Blue Farmgirl

175 Posts

Kate
Tyler TX
USA
175 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2009 :  7:03:47 PM  Show Profile
My mother...aka "Ma" is being made with organic unbleached white flour...although not KA, and bottled "spring water".....which says on the bottle it has gone through a reverse osmosis filtration, and it is doing great. Today is day four and it has a slight sour aroma and is bubbling like champ ....especially after I feed her. I have decided to make 2 loaves on my baking day...one will be in my clay Romertoph pot, and the other in my small cast iron dutch oven which belonged to my grandma. My cast iron pot came sans a lid, but I found one on Saturday while my DH and I were out "troving". I hope to be able to take pics of both loaves so you can see the outcome of each. I am really enjoying this subject!! My 86 year old Mama stayed with us for a couple of days this week cause she was feeling a little bad, and I wanted to be able to keep an eye on her. Anyhoo......I gave her my MaryJane magazine to read, pointing out the article on the bread, and when I took her home today we mixed her up a starter. I told her if she would wait I would giver her a start from mine......but she was too excited and wanted to start her own. She named hers "Thelma"....after her mama.
Ciao to all,
Kate

Heart of Texas
Chapter
AKA: Hot Farmgirl #234
http://quintessentialkate.blogspot.com

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