Wednesday, July 15, 2009

precious little blisters

The weather.com site said it would stop raining by 7am. They were right on the money. The rain started letting up around 5:40. We were able to get the truck loaded and out of here by 6am. I loaded up the morning market pretty good. Last couple weeks we had some stuff left and we took it to the evening market.

Patti and I ate outside at Bluestone, on Central street in Evanston, last night. It was very comfortable, but I was shocked how quiet the street was. We left the downtown area here, streets were really, really busy. My dad always comments how "there aren't many parking places on Davis St". We are very fortunate to have the location we have. We are never short of walk in traffic. In fact our customer count is running a good bit ahead of last year. I think the addition of sandwiches has helped a lot. We have been making them since May 1st, '08. We are coming up on our one year anniversary of our computerized registers. I will be able to compare the months very easy. Also, create some very accurate numbers.

Filemon just loaded some sourdough bread in the oven. We have been having a problem with it not getting enough fermentation. It gets shaped in the afternoon, and baked the next morning. Well morning is anytime after midnight, right? They started baking it to early. The whole thing wasn't fully developed. The volume was good, flavour was good, but the crust wasn't right. Here in the states, sourdough loaves should be covered in blisters. If you look at the bread at Boudin bakery(I think they are still in Chicago), you will see loads of blisters. Probably the coolest bakery in the world, Boudin Sourdough at Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran. Unbelievable. You have to see it to believe it. Even then you will scratch your head. Anyway, loads of blisters. In France, the blisters are seen as a defect. I think they are cool. The bread in the oven is VERY cool. Looks like the back side of a Nestle Crunch bar, maybe coarser. The gluten structure starts to give way under the increased acidity from the natural yeast. Gluten in the presence of acidity gets stronger. But it can only go so far. The extensibility decreases, and the gluten web can't withhold the burst of carbon dioxide created during the initial oven spring. "Chimneys" are created in the dough, and the gas goes to the surface. The outside crust has a layer of moisture on it from the steam that was injected into the baking chamber upon loading the oven. The moisture increases the extensibility in the crust just enough, to allow the blisters to form.

Next time you pick up a loaf of sourdough, examine the crust. Oh, sorry, there are only a few places in the city you can find real sourdough. Panera Bread does a pretty good job. There's here, maybe Boudin, if they are still here. Don't have another name, I'm sure there is one or two more. Don't bother with the stuff at the grocery store, it's made with powdered acids. Stuff tastes like salt and vinegar potato chips.

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