2021-06-21 On The Road Again!
In which Mike talks about discovery on a road trip, and yet another mixer test (sigh)
Hello Bread Heads!
On the road again..... first of all, we had a great vacation! We went to Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. Our son lives there and we wanted to visit. The last time we saw him and his friend Meghan was in November, 2019 for Thanksgiving. It was a great visit! And then I got home and ran into 2 months of health issues, which then segued into the Covid-19 pandemic, so travel was out of the question. It was grand to hit the road. I'm going to post some notes in weeks to come to one of our other blogs, The New Burgundians. where we talk about things that aren't sourdough related.
We will have classes in July again. On July 10 we'll again offer our perennial favorite, an Introduction to Sourdough. On July 24, we'll offer our class on Flavored Breads. This was prompted in part by our trip, as we'll discuss below. The registration forms should be up on Sourdoughhome Saturday.
This is a story about one of my favorite breads, our New Mexico Green Chili bread. When we worked, my wife went to conferences and I accompanied her and did tourist things. During a conference in Albuquerque, I stopped in at the Golden Crown Panderia. They are famous for "The Original New Mexico Green Chile Bread". When I had that bread, 12 years ago, I was blown away. I love chiles, and this had a nice touch with Hatch Green Chiles. It also had herbs and spices and was decorated on top with a little kokopelli
It was a beautiful loaf that tasted great! It moved me so much I made a similar loaf in our bakery. It was very popular. We never did work out how to add the kokopelli on top of the loaf, so it was an unadorned loaf. The recipe is in our "Flavored Breads" cookbook. If we can figure out how to make this in class, we will. The big hangup is, of course, distributing the Hatch Green Chiles to students.
I was very eager to see the bakery again, it had been over 12 years since I was last there. We ordered a pizza with a Hatch Green Chile crust which was great, some blue corn cookies called Biscochitos which were amazing, a Morocco mint iced tea which was great (I think they get their teas from the New Mexico Tea Company, just up the street from them. Nice folks there too!) and two loaves of the long remembered Original Hatch Green Chile Bread.
Remember that cute kid you dated in high school? The one who, years later, had you wondering, what could have happened if you'd gotten married? They were SO cool, SO attractive, SO intelligent! And then at the high school 50 year reunion you see them again and they just aren't the same? And even though they are no longer cool, attractive or intelligent, they still want to make out in the corner? Yeah....no longer intelligent. Or classy.
The bread was no longer white but had a tan color. My guess is they added some Sonoran wheat to the formula - that's a popular whole wheat in that area. Also, the bread was a uniform color, no more peppers, herbs, and spices distributed through the bread. It was, well, less attractive. And the cool kokopelli on top? Gone, replaced with a dusting of seeds and herbs. Musicians probably get tired of playing the same song again and again. It must suck to be Mick Jagger and have to, yet again, play "Satisfaction" (but he probably laughs all the way to the bank). So, musicians and bakers change things up. Is it an improvement? This time, no, not for me. Luckily, I remember how my high school flame looked, and how this bread looked. I can live with memories, and my own version of this bread.
The moral of the story is to be careful when you try to improve a recipe - mere change is not the same as improvement. Still, we're working on a recipe for the blue corn biscochitos. Biscochitos are the official state cookie of New Mexico and there are at least 400 authentic recipes on line. I'm playing with it. Mine probably won't be authentic, but they will be good. When I nail it down, I'll post a link to it in one of the Mike's (more or less) Weekly Baking Tips.
Mixer tales - Several readers have written me asking about how to use the Ankarsum mixer on large batches of bagels. There is a steep learning curve for using that mixer, and it has a really unhelpful manual. So, I have put together a video that shows how I make large batches of bagels. The upper limit that works for me is 31 bagels, just shy of 3 dozen. At this point, some flour and dough try to escape the mixing bowl, but the mixer handles it well. When I go to 36 bagels, there is an unmanageable eruption of flour and dough. Still, 31 is near to being a worst case scenario.
My preference is to use the hook that comes with the Ankarsum. When I bought it Giselle Hall of Mountain Top Milling (which is, sadly, no longer in business) told me, "Just don't use the roller, I have no idea why they include it!" I've used the roller a few times and generally agree with Giselle. Some people variously feel that the hook doesn't do anything, that the hook only tears the dough, and that it's slow.
My usual advice is to se the Ank's timer for 5 minutes, set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and walk away. Just walk away. The usual issue for these people is that they are micro-managing the mixer and expecting it to work like other mixers they've used. It doesn't. It works like it works. When you come back in 10 minutes, you'll find the dough well on it's way to being nicely developed and ready for another 5 to 10 minute mix, depending on the dough and the size of the batch. With the size of this batch, I had to snoopervise the initial mix a bit more than I usually do.
With the 31 bagel batch, I gave the bagel dough 20 minutes of additional mixing and the dough was quite nice. Almost as nice as the dough from my FAMAG 8S spiral mixer, but that's a story for a different set of videos.
Until next time, may your dough always rise, no matter how much you've messed around with your formula!