Saturday, May 22, 2010

The turbo broiler did not work as well as I had hoped.
Bag of Grade 1 Sulawesi Toraja green coffee

Roasted beans waiting to be packed.

Coffee Roasting

It was inevitable. The ideal companion to a good loaf of bread is a cup of good coffee. I have been able to source for good Columbian and Brazillian coffee from an old man in a HDB market. However, my last purchase from him disappointed me. I have to thank him instead because it led me to roasting my own beans. This was a project that has been on my mind all this while but then, green coffee beans are not exactly easy to find unless you are willing to buy hundreds of kilos of the stuff.

However, I managed to get samples of my favorite Mandheling and Toraja coffee recently. My first attempt was in my bread oven. Although the coffee that came out was good, I did not want to see another blizzard of coffee chaff whipping up in the oven chamber ever again. I had thought that a turbo broiler would have been an ideal substitute but to my horror, the highest temperature that it could go up to was 230C, not the 250C on the dial. Now that I am saddled with another red elephant, I decided to bake a bread with it. It turned out pretty good. I am convinced that it is possible to bake good bread with fairly basic equipment. You just need to know how dough behaves.

Since the turbo broiler was out, I had to resort to another basic equipment for roasting my coffee. It turned out better than I had expected. I under-roasted my first batch of Toraja but the subsequent batches made great coffee without the excess acidity of under roasted beans. This morning, I made 2 extra batches for my friends who are fellow coffee lovers.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Flour Test - Turkish Tezcan Un

I was given a kg of Turkish flour at the FHA 2010. My intention was to use it to make baguettes since it was a general purpose flour with 11% protein. However, due to my busy schedule, it did not happen. Instead, I used it to make some sourdough loaves.

The entire kg of flour was in the main dough. The sourdough starter of about 100% hydration was 400g. I used a hydration of 66%, surmising that it was typical of European flour. In the American system of calculation, this would have given it an overall hydration of about 71%.

I was quite happy with the result. The texture and flavor was comparable to the type 55 flour that I was using. Having had the opportunity to use American and European flour, I now have a better understanding of how these flours behave. It is hard to say which is better as both can produce bread with the deep aroma that I like. It all boils down to the process.