Sunday, September 16, 2012

White Whole Wheat at Work

I can't believe that after rambling on and on about (white whole wheat) flour and subsequently baking two loaves of bread with the Gold Medal flour that I forgot to take a picture of either loaf. I guess I was too busy stuffing my face with them. I did get a blurry pic of these slices right before I slathered them with whatever I was feeling that day and devoured them too.

Gold Medal's flour definitely felt different from Wheat Montana's. The dough was similar to when I added wheat bran to my other doughs. I think the flavour was the same though. 

I made pizza and a baguette today. Half the pizza was a taco pizza a la Pioneer Woman and the other half was pepperoni. The pizza isn't very photogenic though so I don't think I'll upload a pic. I didn't drain my black beans well and a few tried to go say hi to the pepperoni. I forgot to add pizza sauce to the pepperoni side and instead used a garlic sauce on top of the cheese so it looks a bit plain but really, it's filled with yumminess. I was too hungry/impatient to try to pose the pizza for a great picture. Ooh. Maybe I'll just crop out the pepperoni side of the pic.

So there we have it - black beans, chicken, different cheeses, and tomatoes. Lettuce was added right before I put a slice in my mouth. The hydration is really really really high since I was making a baguette which is usually 75% hydration. Since this is whole wheat which absorbs more liquid, I upped the hydration to 80% and then I felt adventurous and just added some more water. Crazy, sticky dough.

My starter wasn't very bubbly because I messed up timing so I really wasn't expecting much from this baguette. I just pulled it out of the oven a minute ago. Here it is fresh from the oven:

When it cools, I'll slice it but I'm not expecting the crumb to be very open. I'm surprised there was even oven spring. Handling the high hydration dough wasn't too scary so I think I will definitely try baguettes again. 

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Dropped Into My Life

I was reading Law Momma's blog and her post this morning inspired me to write. She's following a prompt given by Jana's Thinking Place. For five minutes, write about someone who was dropped into your life for a reason.

I've mentioned Michael before in this context but he's the one I feel moved to write about again. Somewhere in my old posts, you will find that I had a brain tumor - benign - and eventually had surgery. Booking that surgery was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I literally threw up after I made the call to the scheduler. The evening after I made that call, I got a message from Michael. We met years before but lost contact. We hung out that night and somehow it came out about my upcoming surgery. I had always been reluctant to talk to new people about my brain tumor. I definitely did not go on dates during that time. When exactly do you tell your date that you have a brain tumor and there may be no good night kiss because it might hurt and I will scream in pain and then curl up into a ball and cry? Or that you may only be able to talk for a short amount of time before you may scream in pain and then curl up into a ball and cry?

But I found myself talking to Michael about it. He asked the usual questions and for the 4 weeks leading up to my surgery, he literally and figuratively held my hand. He was insistent that I have as much fun as possible those 4 weeks. We were spontaneous. 3 some mornings would find us driving around South Beach looking for the best place to hang out. Some nights we'd just walk the beach.

The night before surgery, he came over, gave me a hug and while I sat there wondering if I should cry or not, he shushed me. There's no need to cry. I have already made up my mind about surgery. I  know the risks. I just have to do it.

He texted to make sure my mother had groceries before and after surgery. He heard my mother was craving cheesecake and brought her a huge slice.

Now don't get me wrong, I had lots of friends supporting me during this time. But Michael's actions just really touched me. I had been feeling like a burden to everyone around me who had been dealing with the effects of my tumor for 2 years prior. I didn't want to talk to them about it that much anymore. I didn't want them to see me crying when the pain hit and my Tegretol just wasn't working. I didn't want to tell them again that it was 6:30 and like clockwork at about that time everyday, I feel asleep.

Oops, my 5 minutes is up. But yeah, Michael came back into my life at a point when I needed a shoulder to lean on if necessary and someone to distract me from it all when I wanted that too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Flour Musings

I'm going through a phase where I'm baking a lot. I bake a loaf of bread at least 1 to 2 times per month, sometimes 4 times. When I first started baking sourdough bread, I used only all purpose flour. When a recipe called for whole wheat, I'd simply add more all purpose. I read a lot about people making dense loaves - bricks - with whole wheat. I was not interested. But more and more, the push to eat a little bit healthier made me reconsider my "no whole wheat flour stance". I found a flour mix in the supermarket - Ultragrain All Purpose flour - that contained 30% whole wheat flour. I grabbed it up on sale (and with coupons) one day and loved the results that I got. I don't know if it was my improved skill or the flour but I made some great loaves. (See round braided loaf of this post: Things I've Made Lately)

It was through reading about Ultragrain flour that I learned about white whole wheat flour. Essentially, this is flour made from a white wheat instead of the traditional red wheat. It's milder and of course a lighter colour. I took the plunge a couple months ago and bought a bag of Prairie Gold white whole wheat on My breads have been interesting. They have not risen as much as I'd like which may be a problem with my yeast and not with the flour. Whole wheat is going to take very active yeast to get a good rise. However, they are really flavourful.. You definitely get more of a white bread than whole wheat taste. It's like white bread with an oomph.

I loved the white whole wheat enough to order another bag on This time I went for the Gold Medal brand. By the way, you can find white whole wheat in stores. I have seen it in at least one store near me and it's rare that they have "unique" items around here. I just wanted to use my Walmart gift cards from Swagbucks and since the Walmart store near me doesn't have the white whole wheat, it was just easier to order it online. Back to GM. While the Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana was a creamy beige coloured flour, the Gold Medal is whitish with brown flecks. I wonder how much difference that will make. I am assuming that there is a difference in the milling process. But specific to my purposes, I wonder if those flecks will make it harder for me to develop gluten.

I used a bit of the GM flour to make laxoox this morning which was delicious! And I just fed my starter half white whole wheat and half all purpose flour. We'll see how my starter reacts. I've seen a lot of people mention baking their favourite desserts using white whole wheat so I think I may try a chocolate lava cake or dark chocolate cupcakes with it. I'm sure it will be delicious since the flour doesn't have a strong flavour. Adding Bob's 10 Grain flour to desserts is a challenge. A muffin can handle that flavour but a cupcake couldn't. That reminds me, I want to make some chocolate chip muffins. I think I will mix those up for the oven at the same time that I am making this week's bread. I wanted to use a low carb recipe that I found but I think I will deviate a lot. I want to use my remaining oats for slow cooker granola. And I don't have apple sauce. Hmm. I also don't have eggs. Ha. OK, the muffins will be delayed.

Wow..this went from flour to a what I want to cook soon post. Ha. The ramblings of my brain.

Until next time...

Disclaimer: The Swagbucks link is a referral link. If you use that link to sign up for Swagbucks, I will earn swagbucks too. Not sure what swagbucks is? Leave a comment. I'd be happy to explain.