Week 8

Well, this has been one of the busiest weeks of Kingston Bread Lab ever.

Earlier in the week, I was testing out some new baking processes and tools and in the past 48 hours I mixed 64 lbs of dough by hand and baked 48 individual loaves (and not a single dud). That’s more bread than I made in 2016 in total.

All of this is for the Northern Grade Barn Days in High Falls where I’ll be today, selling that bread from ~11:30 until I sell out.

Also! If you were a founding subscriber - your tote bag is finally arriving this week. They’ll be ready for pick up next week.

This Weeks Loaf: LOTS

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I made 6 different types of loaves this week: Upstate Levain, Mini Miche, Semolina Sesame, Seedy Wheat, Spelt Levain, and Rye Shokupan (that’s almost my entire repertoire at this point).

Rye Shokupan is new and something I’ve been working on for a while. It is the only bread I make right now that is not naturally leavened and includes butter, milk, and eggs. Shokupan is Japanese Milk Bread (or Toast Bread). I got obsessed with this recipe a couple years ago when searching for a really good white sandwich bread and a versatile dough I could use for other things (buns, etc). It is lighter than a brioche (less butter) but has incredible lasting power because of it’s mixing method: you pre-cook a percentage of the flour into a paste with water and milk. My twist on it is to include a small percentage of local rye flour. Even though it's a small amount, you can taste it and I feel it enhances the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.

Recipe: Bread Storage Pro Tips

OK - Not really a recipe, but forgive me with the business this week. I’ve gotten a bunch of questions about how to effectively store my bread so here are my tips:

  • If you don’t cut it open, all the levain bread will last for at least 4 days if not more.
  • Once cut, only slice what you need and keep the bread balanced on its cut side down to prevent it from drying out.
  • Overnight, Instead of putting the whole thing in a plastic bag, wrap just the cut side in plastic wrap. The problem with wrapping the entire loaf is that it will make the crust soft and soggy (maybe that’s your thing, but if you haven’t noticed - I like crisp crusts).
  • If you want to freeze it, it's actually better/easier to freeze it pre-sliced. Toast individual slices to serve.
  • Old bread makes great croutons - just tear slices, toss with a little olive oil and toast in a 400F oven for ~15–25 minutes, checking every 5, until they're fully dried out and a little brown. Once cool, you can store these in an air-tight container for a couple weeks.

Now Playing: Monogold - Good Heavens Spotify

The O+ Festival is this weekend in Kingston. Monogold is one of the bands that helped start it all, and though they aren’t the biggest name in the festival, they totally rock. They played at the firstCatskills Conf and took the house down. Listening to it this week, in hopes of getting to see them play this weekend.

Aaron Quint