Thursday, October 23, 2014

Busy Week, Roasted Potato and Onion Fendu, More Pizza!

Thad, high on Tahquitz's Maiden Buttress
Gads! It's been a hectic week here at C&C! Normally, I like to get something up there to let the bread share know what to expect, but I got busy this weekend, climbing with Rob and Thad, working on the house, and testing out a variation on the Roasted Potato Fendu we made a few weeks ago. Pretty exciting stuff!

This week's loaf, the Roasted Potato and Onion Fendu has been a hit, at least if the early reviews are any indication. In keeping with the first two loaves, this one has a portion of whole grains that we milled ourselves. This loaf also incorporates some local ingredients. There's a good portion of Redlands-grown Yukon Gold potatoes from Jacinto Farms, and just a touch of oven-roasted onions from our own garden. I built this formula from some ideas gleaned from other formulas, but adding the onion was a bit of a challenge because I didn't was to overpower the bread with onion flavors. That would be fine if this were a pull-apart roll or something meant to be consumed by itself or with a little butter. It's a good loaf for that, but with the mild onion flavor, it's also excellent for what potato bread is best for (in my opinion); sandwiches. Most sandwich breads have ingredients in them to condition the dough and make it softer. This is usually some sort of fat or milk. Potato accomplishes the same thing (almost) while still leaving the loaf "lean," as there is nearly no added fat, just the tiny bit of olive oil that the onions and potatoes are coated with for roasting. The crust, you'll find, is more tender than the toothy crust you normally expect of an artisan bread.
Roasted Potato and Onion Fendu

This loaf is nicely shaped as a fendu (which I guess is French for "split" or "cleaved"). A fendu isn't scored before it goes in the oven. Instead, the formed loaf is split nearly in half by pressing a floured rolling pin right into the middle of the loaf. After proofing upside-down in a banneton, the resulting loaf spreads when it springs in the oven, resulting in a unique loaf that cuts up nicely into sandwich slices or toast. 

As the bread share rolls through week three, I have to say it's going at least as well as I had expected. We've made some small changes to our goals and approach, but largely it's going as planned (knock wood). The bread has been coming out nice, even though the formulas have been gaffed in small ways here and there. Natural levain is very forgiving. Delivery has been fluid. The oven hasn't collapsed under the strain, and our starter has never been so lively! For years it was stored in the refrigerator between bakes. Baking daily, it now lives on the counter, where it's most happy. The microorganisms that make everything happen do different things at different temperatures. At room temperature, the starter has a bouquet about it not unlike apple cider. There's no hint of the "sour" that dominates the starter when it's kept in the fridge. I'm reading "In Search of the Perfect Loaf" (a great read if you're into bread) and I like how Fromartz likens maintaining a starter culture to farming. It's actually a fitting analogy. The livestock are pretty tiny though. :)

Last night we had pizza with a friend (and Cam's former student). It's not got anything to do with the bread share, but I can't resist sharing pictures of these delicious all-sourdough margherita pizzas.

Another Delicious Pizza!
The Second Pizza's Toasty Crust


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