Introducing, Herbert

I’ve been down and out sick for the last couple of days and spent all of it in bed.

As a result, I’ve been watching a whole bunch of Youtube vids to pass the time and, when I am able to, reading my brand spankin’ new copy of Peter Reinhart’s book Whole Grain Breads.

We’ve been getting 1kg, bi-weekly, deliveries of freshly milled whole grain flours since about October and sharing the bounty with J & Ms.R. It doesn’t really make sense to split one small bag every couple weeks and in the process make a huge mess everywhere, so we’ve chosen to alternate who gets the week’s delivery. This “better” method has each family getting a fresh bag of flour once a month. If we get something new (ie: rye or barley flours) like we did for the Christmas delivery, then I just split the bag in half between our two families.

So far, I’ve not used any of my flours because I had some regular store bought stuff that I had on hand that needed to be used up before I wanted to open my first bag of whole wheat flour. Every delivery we’ve received has since been residing in our deep freeze, as recommended by Country Thyme, to prevent the flours from going rancid.

I wanted to do something really special with these flours, especially with my first loaf, but knowing from past experience how different whole grain flour is versus regular, all purpose, flour can be; I knew that I would need some help and expert guidance. This is where my new bread book comes in. I am extremely keen on working with the Whole Grains cookbook and rather excited at being able to try a few new methods of bread baking which I am hoping will be successful.

I’m not even close to finished reading the book, but in the interim, having watched all sorts of Youtube vids, I am especially wanting to try my hand at making a sourdough starter again — but with a new-to-me method.

The video can be found, here. If you want to read the accompanying blog post, it can be found: here.

There aren’t all that many details to go with, so I’m just winging it as it shows in the video. We’ll see what happens over the next few days. Cross fingers and hope for a substancially bubbly and active yeasty beasty ^_^

Herbert, meet the world!

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In the meantime, since this new experiment will take at least a good solid week or more, given the temperature of our kitchen most days, I’ve been considering whether or not trying the “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day” method would be worth attempting at some point as well. The biggest reason I am shying away from trying it is because it would require me to go out and buy one specialized ingredient: vital wheat gluten.

There could be a possibility of needing VWG in any of Reinhart’s whole grain recipes, but since I’ve not read the recipes chapter yet, I really don’t want to buy a bag of it. In my mind, and this could be a very incorrect belief, I think of VWG as a food additive, and I would prefer that my breads have the least number of “growth enhancements” possible and in the meantime, would rather just steer clear of using it.

So where does that leave me?

I guess I have to patiently wait for Herbert’s appearance and read a little bit faster!

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2 thoughts on “Introducing, Herbert

  1. Good luck with Herbert. I look forward to hearing about his adventures.
    My box of Hodgson Mill vital wheat gluten shows the ingredient list as VWG + Vitamin C. It’s described on the “Verified Non GMO” box as being ‘wheat flour with the starch removed’.

    1. So what do you think of VWG in your bread baking?
      Does it help?
      Does it affect taste?
      Does it, indeed, aid in the rising of heavier-floured beads like whole wheat?
      What is your experience with it on the whole? ^_^

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