Saturday, September 26, 2015

Over-the-hill sourdough, spent grain bread, and whiskey-cherry-chocolate ice cream

I was out of town again last weekend, but managed to make a couple of breads and some ice cream.

The first bread was the usual sourdough, but with a starter that was long in the tooth. The second was a bread machine recipe that used the spent grain from my guys' initial attempt at brewing beer. I say attempt because it'll be a month before we know whether they succeeded. Thank goodness bread doesn't take as long.

Sourdough bread

Tired starter produces misshapen yet tasty sourdough

The sourdough was the same Josey Baker recipe I usually use, except:
  • The starter had last been refreshed over 24 hours before, so although it smelled great, it was way past peak activity/volume.
  • I refrigerated the dough after the last "knead" (on Friday), not returning to shape it until Sunday evening, and not cooking it until Tuesday morning.
  • Since it seemed very wet, after shaping it I put it in the fridge with a kitchen towel over it, instead of plastic wrap.
Covered with a kitchen towel, not plastic wrap

I put it in the basket seam side down, meaning not to slash it. However, it was so nice and dry after its rest that I did end up slashing it, and it (for once) cut nicely. I probably shouldn't have slashed it, though, because it might have grown taller without the cut.

Before going into the fridge

Fresh out of the fridge, 2 days later: barely risen, with weird dry spots

The resulting loaf was wide and misshapen, but it still tasted really good. I thought it might be extra sour due to the acetic acid encouraged by extended refrigeration, but it wasn't, probably because the yeast was barely alive and the dough was on the wet side. (See Tips for Manipulating the Sourness of Your Sourdough and "Where does the sour flavor come from?" in King Arthur's guide to sourdough.)

The final result
It looks burned but doesn't taste like it

Spent grain bread

This was a good bread that I will make again, although perhaps with more interesting grains and fats. I used Hensperger's whole-grain daily bread recipe (p. 181), which calls for 3/4 cups cooked whole grains and 2 T canola oil. In addition to the usual salt, yeast, and gluten, the recipe also calls for honey, buttermilk (I used powdered) bread flour, a bit of whole wheat flour, and an even smaller amount of rolled oats.

Spent grain bread

I liked the texture and flavor, but the spent grains didn't seem to add much flavor, and the oil certainly didn't contribute any. Next time I might try farro and olive oil, or perhaps buckwheat and hazelnut oil. So many possibilities. I might also try real buttermilk.

Whiskey-cherry-chocolate ice cream

This ice cream was similar to the version I made before, except I used bourbon instead of rye, candied jarred cherries instead of rye-soaked fresh cherries, whole cherries instead of quartered cherries, and TJ's semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead of whatever I used before.

I also was low on cream, so I used some half-and-half and more milk than the recipe called for. All in all, the fat and alcohol content was lower, and this ice cream wasn't quite as delicious as before—I mostly blame the cherries not being chopped. We also overcooked the eggs, which might have affected the flavor and consistency (although we strained the mix, as usual, so at least it was smooth).

Next time, I want to try this:
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 T whiskey
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • ~1 cup quartered candied cherries (TPS p. 185), perhaps with a bit of their syrup
Sorry, no pictures this time.

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