Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's all gone a bit alchemy

Dear follower. Are you still there?

Never mind. My previous bread (& other stuff) blog foundered for want of a better word. Partly because of aggro hackers spam and my thinking whats the damn point.

My twitter friends Joanne at Zeb_Bakes and Debs at DebsLegge and her hubby Carl at CarlLegge who are far further down the road of self sufficiency and using nature's bounty than I could ever hope to be provided me with kefir grains. With what?

To get to my time of life (watch it!) and discover that there is a free and nutritious food within the scope of all of us is at the same time uplifting and a little disquieting as I have obviously not read in the right places. I shan't begin to explain what kefir is or how to prepare it as my benefactors have more than enough information to satisfy your (hopefully) inquisitive instincts.

I have previously made plenty of average bread and occasionally some good stuff. I am my own biggest critic which makes things hard really. I have dabbled with "sourdough" with some success (measured mostly by sons' consumption) but found my loaves a tad too "sour" for me mostly. It's a long story but I trouble to find a good resting/proving site in this house as  we need to keep a cool to cold house temperature for medical reasons (Urgh). Don't.

I set my kefir grains "working" in full fat Yeo Valley Organic milk at (cool) room temperature and after 24 hours there was a slight buttermilk flavour and nose to it. Not unpleasant but you wouldn't want to drink pints of it. Around 15 hours later there was something afoot. Some separation was apparent and a slight cheesy sourdough-like acidic aroma present. Not easy to describe but I knew there was fermentation going on. I strained the grains and used 200 ml of the "milk" in the kefir bread recipe as follows.

This was new ground for me and I referred continually to Joanne's wonderful site which has kefir recipes and also Cecilia's site who has experimented also with this culture.

I set a pre-ferment going with 

180g plain flour
200g kefir "milk"
100ml warm water
1 large heaped tbsp organic honey 

Stirred this several times over 24 hours. It was active and bubbling after 24 hrs but seemed to be separating a little so I fed 100g  (half a cup) of very strong bread flour and stirred.

Left overnight (a second night)  it was separating slightly and bubbling had subsided. Smelt like sourdough.

Added :

3 cups of very strong flour (probably around 400g)
1.5 tsps salt
tiny bit extra water

worked to a coherent mixture which was more jagged and spiky than bread dough and quite wet and sticky.
Emptied into very oily bread tin and baked for around 20 mins on 230 C and 20 on 200 C.

And it was like this :- 

Sorry not the best photo but it was around midnight and I was already counting sheep.

The added sesame seeds are my own particular obsession and not necessary.

Taste quite hard to describe but let's say light soft crumb thin crust like a milk loaf but with a slightly deeper taste akin to sourdough but not sour more like cottage cheese. Very popular in our house (who eat bread for England) and wonderful toasted.
Dead chuffed and will try this again.

1 comment:

  1. How did I miss you had a blog? Probably staring into space. Thanks for the mention and I love your description of how it tastes and eats, I am hopeless at describing the taste of things. Bri made a double batch of kefir starter with some elderly kefir that had been in the fridge for a week, and it still produced a volcanic preferment after being left at room temp for 24 hours. Yeast and bugs eh? Just can't stop them once they get a taste for doing something useful. Have a lovely holiday ! Joanna