Crunchy Pork Chops of Savoriness

Hello again!  This cook blogger (clogger?  coogger?  No…) still exists!

This is short, sweet, and to the point.  I have finally found a way to cook pork chops that do not disappoint me.  Previously, I managed very dry chops.  Dry chops are great if you are trying to make a saddle, shoes, or want to show someone how much to dislike them joining you for dinner.  Moist, savory chops are how you tell your mouth that you love your taste buds.

My chops have been about 1″ – 1-1/2″ thick.  Obviously, this needs to be altered for thinner chops.

  • Use an oven-safe pan (like cast iron)
  • Heat about 2T oil in a pan; get it warm, but not smoking
  • Preheat boiler to High
  • Set top rack to one position down from the top
  • Rinse chops; pat dry; sprinkle with salt
  • Place in pan, salted side down; cook for about 4 minutes this way
  • Crank burner to high
  • Salt current-upside of chops.  Dash with a bit of pepper and rosemary*
  • Flip and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Stand chops on their fatty side (or non-bone side) and cook for about 2 minutes
  • Place chops salt/pepper/rosemary side down; pepper and rosemary the current up-side
  • Place chops in oven and cook for 4 minutes
  • Flip chops; cook for 3 more minutes
  • Remove and let rest for 3-5 minutes

Enjoy very moist, savory chops.

A variation of this, which is where I started is the following, adapted from an Alton Brown recipe:

  • Adjust oven racks to have to lower rack one up from the very bottom; and top one down from the very top
  • Set broiler to high
  • Use an oven safe pan
  • Oil the chops, lightly coat with salt, pepper, and I always add rosemary
  • Cook for 3 minutes on the lower rack; flip and cook for 3 more
  • Cook for 3 minutes on the upper rack; flip and cook for 3 more
  • You might want to do 4/4/3/3 for better doneness; sorry, only experience will guide this
  • Cover and rest chops for 3-5 minutes
  • Again… enjoy.

* See, there’s that rosemary thing.

2d6 Rolls of Munchies

The bread recipe I keep carrying on about has other variations that I haven’t fulled explored. Recently I attempted rolls and felt like I had a whole new Class Trait that I’d never explored.  Of course, learning more that baking is scientific, I carefully measured things out to yield 24 rolls.  The original recipe calls for about 12 rolls from the entire dough but I decided that those Troll-sized rolls might be a bit too much to go with a meal.  My current pattern is to take half of the dough and make a loaf of bread, and then use the other half to make 12 rolls in an 8×13 pan.  The pan helps the rolls keep a taller profile; I tried half of the original batch on a cookie sheet and they rolls were more the shape of mushroom caps.

The rolls are simple (following my 1 loaf, 12 rolls method here):  divide half of the dough into 4 equal parts.  Using a scale here helps.  Then divide each of those lumps into 3 equal parts; using an even smaller scale here helps.  This may sound a bit retentive, but it helps the rolls to bake evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350F.  Let cool until safe to handle, and I usually remove them from the pan with a plastic spatula (won’t scrape the pan) and then cool on a cookie rack.  These can be frozen just fine.

Baking is science, not improv.

My results so far:

  • Wheat recipe:  nice light rolls.
  • Spent-grain recipe:  dense rolls; not interested in repeating.
  • Molasses wheat rolls:  I can see why these were a cousin’s favorite

I may repeat the wheat rolls with some rosemary in them.  I’m a wee bit of a rosemary addict.  (Tip:  don’t snort it…)

I imagine these rolls could be replicated with other bread starters.  Eh?  Eh?  (Let us know how it turns out…)

Meteil Hearth Loaf with Caraway & Onion

My most recent loaf was the best to date.

Meteil (less than 50%) rye baked as a “hearth” (not in a pan) loaf with caraway and onion flake.

The key? Spraying the crust with water at 2 minute intervals for the first 6 minutes (aka: 4 total sprayings,1 as it first goes in) to produce significant crunch.

Also, I stopped punching down to achieve a second rise before panning. I seem to have been exhausting the levin and thus creating dense final loaves with little to no oven spring.

Additional final adjustment was realizing that I was working so hard to make the dough not be “messy” that I was working in too much flour which (a) taxed the levin too much and (b) reduced available moisture to out-gas steam during baking.

Crust on the brink

Crust on the very brink of burning ends up with deep flavor and crunch

Airy crumb

By foregoing a second rise and relying on the flavor development from the slow fermentation pre-dough portions, a much lighter crumb is possible

Bubbling Cauldron of Endless Bread Production

How to create your own wild yeast starter from thin air.

I was going to do this pictures again, but as it turned out, they’re all incredibly boring. Just small bowls of pale dough with a few bubbles here and there.

But, I can tell you that the method Peter Reinhart advocates in his whole grain bread book, the one developed by Debra Wink of the King Arthur Baking Circle, does work, even if you’re a bit of a ham handed improviser rather than a proper baker.

After five days I now have a 200 gram wad of spongey, bubbling mush which, if portioned out correctly, will never stop making wonderful bread.

I really do highly recommend this book. The results are fantastic and I’ve only just scratched the surface on these recipes.

Altus Enhanced Whole Grain Hearth Loaf

Altus is made by cubing old bread and soaking it in water until it completely hydrates. After a few hours, this is then added to the soaker when that is made.

In my case, I used the butt ends of the rye seigle from the other week.

Rye seigle ends cut and soaked

Rye seigle ends cut and soaked

final dough flour & caraway seeds

final dough flour & caraway seeds

starter and soaker

starter and soaker

Too wet to cut into chunks

Too wet to cut into chunks

Note the commercial yeast bubbling away, there, ready to help.

With enough extra flour it came together

With enough extra flour it came together

My batards are getting better

My batards are getting better

Center cut and baking

Center cut and baking

The halo effect is from the steam bath in the oven

My most picturesque loaf so far

My most picturesque loaf so far

A teensy bit under-cooked, but still good

A teensy bit under-cooked, but still good

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

My wild yeast starter is behaving much better* The rye seigle was a bit sweet for my taste, so I left the honey out of the recipe for the whole wheat hearth. This recipe came together more or less effortlessly and the result is delicious.

A story in photos:

whole wheat soaker, Friday night

whole wheat soaker, Friday night

whole wheat starter, Saturday morning

whole wheat starter, Saturday morning

soaker, Saturday evening

soaker, Saturday evening

starter, Saturday evening

starter, Saturday evening

soaker, epoxy ready

soaker, epoxy ready

starter, epoxy added

starter, epoxy added

commercial yeast, final booster

commercial yeast, final booster

smooth combination

smooth combination

get a sense of how it feels

get a sense of how it feels

rest until doubled

rest until doubled

Do Not Punch Down or De-gas at this Point !!!

form a batard

form a batard

bake until deep brown

bake until deep brown

gorgeous texture

gorgeous texture

 

 

 

* It is behaving so well, it bubbles and grows in the refrigerator !!!

Rye Seigle

A seigle is a loaf that is more than 50% rye. This is going to be  a tale told mostly in photos,

whole wheat mother starter

whole wheat mother starter

soaker, Sunday night

soaker, Sunday night

pre-ferment, Monday morning

pre-ferment, Monday morning

yeast, molasses, honey

yeast, molasses, honey

epoxy method

epoxy method

kneading

kneading

one hour of rising

one hour of rising

punched down

punched down

waiting to rise again

waiting to rise again

panned as a batard

panned as a batard

a good start

a good start

flattened a bit

flattened a bit

looks like bread

looks like bread

a bit dense, but very tasty

a bit dense, but very tasty

So, the wild yeast starter I borrowed was mixed to a very different formula from Peter Reinhart’s and as a consequence, my pre-ferment didn’t rise and grow over the course of the day as it should. Thus, there was a struggle to get some levin action during the final mixing and the final dough is a bit dense and a bit too moist. But as a first attempt at very serious whole grain baking, I feel good about the results.

The good news is that I refreshed the mother over night and it is now very (very) active* so future loaves should be much less of a clutch effort.

 

 

 

 

* In fact, it may or may not have exploded all over the inside of a cabinet over night.