Week 21

Spring is in the air? Maybe? Someday?

While we all wait for Asparagus and any kind of green really, I’ve been working hard in the kitchen dreaming up things for the next Toast Lab and beyond. I thought the bagels came out great last weekend (and hope you did, too!) but I was a little disappointed by the Semolina loaves. I know a lot of folks don’t even notice and still think it’s great, which I appreciate! I really do! But I know my own mistakes and I’m working on improving the output and consistency in this new space.

To that end, I’m looking at changing up the way I do baking each week. Instead of changing up everything each week, I’m thinking of offering one standard loaf and one (or some weekends more) LAB loaf - i.e. a rotating cast of formulas that I’m still working on. This way I can really hone in on that one standard loaf and people can reliably get the same bread each weekend. The question - what should the standard loaf be? I’m debating between what I call the Kingston Country (which is on the menu this week) or the Upstate Levain (which was the first week of Bread Lab in the new space). They are very similar loaves, the main difference is the amount of whole wheat flour. The Country is mostly white flour (with a bit of whole wheat) where the Upstate Levain is more than 50% whole wheat. If you have an opinion, let me know!

IMPORTANT NOTES:

This Saturday (3/24), there will be no bagels and no lab. I’ll be making just enough for shares and will have to leave Rough Draft by noon. If you can’t come before noon, that’s fine, there will be a loaf for you labeled and you can ask for it at the bar. If you can’t make it at all this weekend or you want extra loaves, please let me know ASAP. Rough Draft is now open at 9AM and the first loaves will be out shortly after.

The following weekend (3/31) I’ll be taking the weekend off to visit my family in NYC for Passover. I’m thinking about trying to make some (not kosher but maybe fun) Matzoh. Let me know if you’re interested - pickup would be the Weds before.

There’s a lot of cool stuff planned for April (and some off weekends due to travel). Stay tuned!

This Weeks Loaf: Kingston Country + Spelt/Rye Pan Loaf
 

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Kingston Country is our version of a French Pain de Campagne. It is around 10% NY grown whole wheat and the rest is organic King Arthur white flour. A large amount of white flour and high hydration (lots of water), make this a bread with a very soft and open crumb. Maybe too open for sandwiches but great for sopping up sauce or butter.

I’ve been wanting to experiment with larger amounts of rye flour in bread because I love the flavor. This LAB loaf is high in whole Rye and Spelt flours and is baked in pans. It should last on a shelf for a long time (because of its high percentage of whole wheat, and strong bake) and will be great sliced thin with some fresh cheese or gravlax.

Now Playing: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Not a new album, but for some reason one that I keep coming back to. Of course, I love Pavement, but something about the themes and catchiness here (“Stick Figures in Love”) have me humming it constantly. My kids can attest to me air-guitaring to a lot of these riffs.

Aaron Quint