Bread and the Joys of Jumping

First things first.  The new flour kicks a$$.  Imagine being forced to hand write with a chunky purple crayon on a sidewalk.  You know you can write well but everything looks like crap.  Then, finally, you are given a pencil and some creamy smooth writing paper.  Brilliant!  All along you could do better and just needed the right components.  Here are the first three loaves of sourdough I made with the new flour, Sperry Organic Bread Flour:

Sourdough from Sperry Organic flour

As soon as I added this flour to my bin I noticed a difference, as its creamy yellow color contrasted with the generic organic AP flour I’d been using as a stopgap.   With my first touch of the dough, I knew this was something better, as it had strength and a supple feel.  While the old flours were always a sticky mess, with the Sperry I am working at high hydration but the dough is still manageable.  Once baked, the flour again showed its superior characteristics.  The bread came out with a rich reddish brown crust, crackled like fireworks when it came out of the oven, and produced a crispy crust and toothsome crumb without being overly chewy.  And all this for $18 for a 50lb bag.  Finally!

Better flour makes better crust

Great color from the new flour

Now on to the joys of jumping.  Sunday morning, Toddler Harbat and I went to an amphitheater at the top of a local mountain.  Silly me, I thought the incredible 360 views would be the main attraction.  TH zoomed over to a chain hung between posts and stepped over it.  Then back again.  Then to the next chain.  Over, under, around.

“Do you want to go up to the top and see down to the little cars the size of ants?”

[silence, then running toward the stairs]  “Let’s climb the stairs, Babbo!”

C'mon!

So we climbed up the stairs.  Then jumped down them with theatrical two-footed jumps.  Then jumped UP the stairs, winding us both.  I’ll point out the boots and cow purse are necessary stair-jumping gear.

We eventually made it to the top, but the only fun part was jumping back down the stairs.

“C’mon Babbo!  Let’s jump!”

I said c'mon!

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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7 comments on “Bread and the Joys of Jumping
  1. Babs says:

    OK–so the bread looks fabbo and I want some RIGHT NOW! But seriously…the real hit is the famous cow purse and the hot boots. The girl has a chance at The Next Top Model on Bravo!

  2. Giovanni says:

    Dear psoutowood:

    I’ve been hunting for good flour. I would too easily buy a 50Lb bag. I bake at home and know the difference between untreated flour and store-bought bleached/enriched junk. Where did you buy it from? Online? Would you mind sharing this information?

    Thanks!

    • psoutowood says:

      Hi Giovanni,

      I buy my flour at a bakery supply company outside San Diego. It took a little hunting. The best way to find a source for flour is to call your local artisan bakery and ask where they get flour. If you live in a big city there’s sure to be a supplier that can probably sell right to the public. If not, ask the bakery if they’ll add an extra bag to their order and you can pay them. They are usually very cooperative with home bakers. Good luck and happy baking!

  3. Giovanni says:

    Thank you so much for a rather quick reply! Well, here’s what I did. I emailed General Mills and they directed me to a local supplier… I’m nowhere near California, and artisan bakery is not as big of a hit here, except for breads available in Target or Whole Foods. So I called the company and left a message with someone at the top. I’m hoping to hear from them tomorrow. It’s quite a drive for me, but I will gladly make that trip!

    So, do you notice any difference when you bake artisan breads like ciabatta? You see, typically it’s a very wet a sticky dough, especially if you use generic flour…

    Those three loafs look amazing, by the way.

    Thanks!

  4. psoutowood says:

    I find the quality of flour makes a huge difference, as does the protein level. I really like the Sperry organic bread flour, as it has enough protein for good structure. For a while I was mixing it 50/50 with the Sperry Hy-gluten, but found there was too much elasticity and it took forever for dough to stretch out to make pizzas. If you’re making artisan bread I’d stick with bread flour, and quickbreads and such can use all-purpose. Good luck getting that flour. You’ll find you go through 50 pounds faster than you think.

  5. Giovanni says:

    Do you have basic proportions/ingredients for those nice looking loafs? What did you use your Sperry organic flour for?

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