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Let Me Take You On A Slow Rise
Controlling rise times with sourdough

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Our newsletter logo - Caricature of Mike casually tossing a loaf of bread in the air with the words, "Mike's (more or less) Weeklly Baking Tips" next to the drawing

2019-11-10 A New Page and Contest Results

Total Cinnamon Rush With Milk
Sometimes I forget to do good things, and this time I forgot to do a GREAT thing. Before we opened the bakery, back in 2004, we made the most amazing cinnamon rolls - or sticky buns - ever!

A few people said if we sold them, it would make our fortune. Sadly, they were too expensive to make, so we couldn't make them at a price our customers would be willing to pay. Sometimes I think we should have given them away for a week and then started charging for them.... yeah, they ARE addictive! (Hey kid, the first one's free!)

We got the original recipe from Bernard Clayton's wonderful book "Small Breads" and converted it to sourdough as we were going through a serious "everything is better with sourdough" phase we really haven't ever gotten over. The sourdough really adds to the rolls. So, go check out the Total Cinnamon Rush rolls recipe. You might thank me later. Your dentist probably will.

We've updated our class schedule, it is below and on our schedule page.

Our 4 week contest to see who could find the most typos and errors on our web page has ended. I am delighted that we have some truly eagle eyed fans! The last week, we only had two entries. Teri Potratz won with 16 errors found, Derek R came in second with 9. Teri will receive a large printed copy of whichever of our cookbooks she chooses, while Derek will receive a digest sized printed copy of whichever of our cookbooks he chooses.

Jacey, last week's winner, comes out ahead with 21 errors found. Jacey will win a free class at Bake With Mike. The joy of winning may be somewhat mitigated by the fact Jacey is in Spain and we aren't covering travel costs. I think we'll offer Jacey a bundle of all of our cookbooks, including our soon to be released "Flavored Breads", printed and full sized. We'll see what Jacey thinks.

We will, of course, send emails directly to all the winners to let them know what they've won.

Our Production schedule. I hate to announce schedules. There is an old joke that goes, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans." Even knowing the risks, I do it to keep myself honest and focused. In any case, we keep making plans. And hearing God's laughter.

There are three recipes I need to bake one more time ("just ONE MORE TIME! Honest!") to try and get some good pictures. I am hoping that will happen this Tuesday or next. That should make the "Flavored Breads" book available well before Christmas. We'll announce that here, of course.

Our "Introduction to Sourdough" book was our first book. It is over 18 years old. We've learned a lot about sourdough, and putting books together since then. It will get a long overdue re-do after the start of the year. Of course, all the people who have already purchased a copy and who signed up for the Introduction To Sourdough mailing list will be able to get the updated edition at no cost.

After that, we're get back to working on a more ambitious project, "Breads From The Bakery". We may change the title since someone told us that there IS more than one bakery in the world.  Who knew?

It will focus on the many breads we made and sold when we were the Colorado High Attitude Bakery and then as Mike's Bread. With luck, that will be done in time for Christmas next year. We are thinking of making it available as a Print On Demand book through Amazon, though that is COMPLETELY up in the air.

Downloadable book progress - Many, many people signed up for the Intro to Sourdough, Mastering Flavorful Breads and Back To Bagels mailing lists. We are still getting people signing up for the lists. Once that flood stops, we'll setup all the subscribers so they can download the books they have purchased any time they want. We'll send all those people emails to let them know how to access their downloadable cookbooks. I'm hoping that will happen by Thanksgiving. I know I'll give thanks if that gets done as there are a few minor technical hurdles to clear.

In passing, I have to say I REALLY like the Easy Digital Download system we added to the new web site. It lets people download copies of their purchases immediately. In the past, I used to have to wait until I received notification from PayPal that payment had been received, and then email the cookbooks to the customer. This is a LOT less hassle for the customer, and for me. In the past, vacations were a problem since we weren't always available to email the cookbooks.

My wife gave me a copy of "Poilâne: The Secrets of a World Famous Bakery". It is a beautiful book and I am delighted she gave it to me. However, Apollonia Poilâne more hints at the secrets than sharing them. She suggests that sourdough is caught from the air, and has readers start a sourdough culture using yogurt. Then 2 days later she has the reader make bread with that brand new culture and a generous addition of bakers yeast. All in all, I'm not enthusiastic about the recipes or the bread making content. I am quite certain that they don't do it that way at the bakery!

However once you get past the bread making information, that book gets better. There are lots of touching stories about the history of the Poilâne family and their bakeries. And there are some great things you can do with bread, along with what looks like solid croissant and puff pastry recipes. If you are trying to start a bakery to compete with Poilâne, this book won't help you. However, there are good things there. After the bake on Thursday, I'll be making their miche, chevre, thinly sliced radish and roe sandwich - it looks gorgeous! If you get the book, please let me know what you think in the comment section below. While I am not enthusiastic about the bread recipe, I am going to be making and baking the miche recipe Thursday, and will share photos and tasting notes in the next Mike's (more or less) Weekly Baking Tips.

It may be worth noting that one of my favorite breads starts its starter with buttermilk or yogurt, so my skepticism may be misplaced. It's is Katrine Kirk's Rugboed. It is a coarse Danish rye bread that is a sheer delight. The recipe was shared in the newsgroup, and can be found here. Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Until next time, may your dough always rise, even if you started your starter with yogurt.

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