Week 51: Oatmeal and all the feels

I am very happy to report that after a week of setbacks, last weekend was one of the best weekends for baking yet. The bagels and bread were both (IMHO) some of the best I’ve ever made and we had a fun Saturday talking to some of our favorite customers and making cookies (cookies will now be a regular thing FYI).

So what were the changes? TEMPERATURE and TIME. That’s it. I adjusted some formulas slightly to include additional helpings of our levain (starter culture) but really the biggest difference was keeping a very close eye on the ambient temperature and the length of fermentation. Sourdough/Natural leavening/Wild yeast is a super finicky beast and can really only do its best work at very specific temperatures (ideal = ~76F). Slightly lower is OK, it just takes a little longer, slightly higher also OK, just moves faster. But too far in either direction and you’ll end up with over or underproofed bread. 2 weeks ago, it was super cold in the kitchen (read: 60F) and the wild yeast just couldn't do their jobs. Last weekend, we not only cranked the heat a bit, but we watched the dough very very closely, checking the temp ever 30 mins to make sure it stayed even and moving it around the room to try to keep it warm. It worked. We’re employing the same techniques for the rest of the winter, including adding a small space heater and some other tools to monitor the fermentation.

This weekend will be a good one.

You can pre-order bagels (and bread) online They’re also a bit cheaper if you order them ahead of time and it guarantees you some bagels. Pickups start at 9:30 AM on Saturday.

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This Week’s Loaf: Oat Porridge + Oland + Upstate Levain + Kingston Country + Baguettes

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  • Oat Porridge is one our most requested loaves (it’s also one of the most time consuming to make which is why we don’t have it every weekend). It starts with a base of half whole wheat, similar to our Upstate Levain, with the addition of freshly milled oats which we cook down into a rich porridge. When this is mixed into the dough it gives it rich oatmeal flavor, while also making the texture extremely moist and rich. This bread also keeps the longest (besides the whole rye loaf) because of its high moisture content. Great with a giant pat of butter or jam.

  • Oland is a grain of Scandinavian origin that is now being grown and milled in Maine by Maine Grains. We mix it into a hearty boule that is becoming one of our favorite loaves.

  • Upstate Levain is our classic loaf with 50% local whole wheat (some of it fresh milled). Great for sandwiches.

  • Kingston Country is our take on a pain de campaigne, a French sourdough loaf, with mostly organic white flour and a touch of fresh-milled local whole wheat. Great for dipping in olive oil or your favorite schmear.

Now Playing: Darondo - Listen to My Song

A classic in the ‘lost album’ genre, Darondo’s unique soul/funk recordings were almost lost to time and only unearthed in the past couple of years. Besides the single ‘Didn’t I’ this whole album is full of funky cuts that will get stuck in your head and you’ll be grunting and shuffling along in no time.

Aaron Quint