Friday, December 11, 2009

Kaiser Rolls recipe, and the Arrogant Bastard..

This is the recipe I've been using the past few times for my sandwich Kaiser rolls. I love 'em! They seem to stay soft and delicious for a really long time, too.. which I think is a bit odd, compared to my regular bread loaf, which starts to go hard after three or four days.

This is from King Arthur's site:

  • 3 cups (360g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (9 grams) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (177 grams) warm water

Manual Method:In a large bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, stirring till the dough forms a cohesive mass and begins to clear the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes (which gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid, and the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.) Knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. The dough should be quite stiff, but not at all "gnarly;" adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till it's noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.

Shaping:Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Shape the pieces into round balls, and then flatten them into 7" discs. Working with one ball of dough at a time, shape the balls of dough into 5 sided pentagon shapes, by folding the edge of the disc up towards the middle of the disc, equally, on five edges. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Dip the tops into whatever topping you like, for instance, poppy seeds as shown below..

Like this:

This photo shows a 1/2 risen roll, flipped upside right..

Place the rolls cut-side down (yes-cut-side down--this helps them retain their shape) onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the rolls, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they've almost doubled in volume, flipping them right side up a few minutes before baking so as to allow the tops to get rounded and not be flat from being upside down.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.Yield: six large kaiser rolls.. like these:

Arrogant Bastard.

This is a beer I had once in Denver, CO two years ago and have feared ever since. Ever since this year, I should say. That year in Denver, on a trip to the Great American Beer Fest with my faithful companion Jody, I had a pint of Stones 'Arrogant Bastard' at Falling Rock tap house. That beer beat me up, kicked in my face, spit in my eye, and threw me out of the bar. I could not finish it. It was so arrogant. Down right cruel, in fact. It was liquid sandpaper. It was the beer drinking equivalent of consuming a hand grenade. It was the beer drinking simile of trying to toss back a pint of running chain saw.

And, apparently, it was all bologna. I've had Arrogant Bastard since then.. In another bar, at my house, at the same bar, Falling Rock in Denver, 2009 in fact.. I've had Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and I've had Double Bastard, also at GABF. All have not measured up. I have not had had the same reaction to a beer as I had that first time with the Bastard in Denver. Was that a bad batch? Was that a *good* batch? Was that a particularly *mean* batch? Was that a special brew made just for the guests at Falling Rock at that particular moment? I don't know, but no beer since then has owned me as hard as that one did two years ago. And not tonight, either. 

Tonight's Arrogant Bastard was a fairly straightforward beer.. yeah, it was a little on the coarse hoppy side, but other than that, fairly standard. Dark Mahogany in color, not much head remained after the gentle pour of this bomber into a 22oz snifter. Take note of the photo. Again, it had an above-average hop aggressiveness, but it wasn't mean. I mean, my wife surely wouldn't drink this one, but I didn't think it was over the top. It got better, tastier, after it warmed up a bit. Stone Brewing won't tell you the particular hop variety, but it's one of those high cohumulone types. And this time, I drank it all. And I enjoyed it. Relished it, even. It was a good beer.  I lived to tell the tale, and would certainly drinnk another without fear. 

But now what? Before, I had a beer I knew could beat me. Something that took me out of the game once, and surely could do so again.. but I guess that one was a fluke. What's a fellow to do now? Where's my challenge? I feel a bit let down, actually.. like I've crested the mountain and am now relaxing on the walk down the other side.. 

I need another arrogant beer. I need a bigger, better, meaner bastard. Something to fear.. any suggestions? 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kombucha revealed, busted loaf, & pickled eggs..

Ha! Fixed that damn snowblower today. Sorta. Parts of it, anyway. The drive chain is still busted, but the thing starts and runs now. Jerk!

Here's the latest flat sourdough that I hurled into space (well, the back yard anyway.. ) this morning:

Darn things keep coming out flat. Just not rising enough. Talking with some folks on The Fresh Loaf website and they think I'm on the right track.. but still doing some trouble shooting on this.

Here's a shot of the Kombucha project.. the first one, not the second. This one is all bubbly in the bottle now, and tastes just FINE. *Really* fine, in fact.

The second version of the Kombucha monster is still churning in the jar downstairs, but really probably is done by now. Interested to see how that tastes, since I used Lapsang Souchong tea as the base.. heh.

Here's a pic of the jar of pickled eggs I made up a couple days ago, too.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic red vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 rings of onion (small onion)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • tsp of crushed red peppers
  • dash of all-spice/lawries stuff
  • 3 glubs of hot sause

All but the all-spice and hot sause brought to a boil then cooled. Add to 6 hard boiled eggs after. Easy as that. Only reason I used balsamic vinegar is I just didn't have *quite* enough white vinegar to do the job.. and now the whole project is a deep red color. Curious. We'll see how that works out, as I've never pickled eggs before and have no idea if I even will like them.

Speaking of eggs, this is becoming a pretty typical sight for a morning:

Four large eggs, ranging from 52 to 57 grams per egg. This is the girls' collecting bucket.. they like it, and keep them from breaking the eggs in their hands while trying to open the doors to bring the eggs inside. Kids are funny like that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The new, bestest thing.. and snowy chickens.

These chickens just got their first taste of real snow. And they're not that interested. I opened the door to the outside world this morning after collecting 4 eggs from the ladies to see hat they thought of the place. Only two were on the ground eating at the time, but nobody else came down after I unlocked the door.. and that's really unusual. They normally would have been out of that box like a shot.. but not with the 5-ish new inches of snow/slush on the ground. Have to keep an eye on them and see how they progress.. cause it ain't gonna get any nicer out there!

This is the new, bestest thing for breakfast here in my house. The two scrambled egg and shredded cheese, salsa covered and hotsause infused breakfast burrito. It is *awesome*. And no, I did not make that tortilla. I tried and failed in the past at that.. I know my limitations now, and tortillas are one of them.

My snow blower is broken again. The new drive chain is still on order.. but since that's hopefully gonna get fixed, the spark seems to have just given up the ghost just now.. and I was *almost* done, too. I also have no adequate shovel with which to shovel the deck or front walk.. so that project failed utterly.

I'm going to go make some bread to attempt to cheer myself up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

100 posts, IPA review (sorta) and.. snow.

So, it snowed last night. There's about an inch and a half on the ground out there. I hate it. My M/C hasn't been properly put away yet for the year, or my lawn mower, for that matter.. and the snowblower is still not fixed quite right. Heck, it's still upside down in the garage, in agony, from last year.

In other news, this was a really good beer. Surprised me, because it's good, it's been on the shelves here for who-knows-how-long, and I'm not sure I've ever even tried it before. I cannot remember any details on it, other than it had a fairly agressive flavor from the hops.. but I remember being rather pleased it it, overall. Go drink one, and lemme know how you make out.

According to Google, my *last* post was my 100th post on this blog. Sheesh. Hooray for me, 100 posts of dubious quality in just under one year. Well, if nothing else, it's a fairly permanent record of what I did and what interested me during that time.. should be fun to look over n my one year anniversary of this thing next month.

Had another 5 egg day today, although one was broken.. still counts as five. I am not supplying supplemental lighting for my chickens, and do not plan on it. If that light I installed there ever goes on, it'll be for heating purposes only, not for supplemental light for egg laying production. I get, normally, 3 or 4 eggs a day, and that seems to be quite enough to supply this family just fine, with a *few* extra to give out every other week or so. Maybe during the summer that will increase, but right now, it seems to be less extra than what I had originally thought. But for us, here in this house, we're just fine with 5 hens. I think I'd like one more, for a round 6, but 5 will do for now.

I broke out that 1+ year old Colombian bean that was giving me fits roasting a couple months ago.. nothing but disappointing cups, one after the other. I took a break from it, came back last week, and the results are now fantastic. I have no idea what was going on there. Weird.

Still no signs of souring activity on the surface of the Hanssens beer I did solo a while back.. will be 1 month's time this week, I think. Curious... might have to go find another sour beer to help that one along, maybe.

No pics for this, but had some experiments with a 10% pale ale malt bread loaf that I did yesterday.. there were some snafu's along the way, so I'll try the recipe again paying more attention as I go, and maybe dropping back to 5% barley malt next time. It did somethign weird and just collapsed in the oven as it was baking. It rose fine, although a little on the sort side, but when in the oven, the edges on parts of the loaf just sorta fell in on itself. When we cut it open, right out of the oven (I know, I know.. don't do that!), it as still *really* moist... and that's being kind. It was really actually sticky. I wonder what's up there, and does barley malt need special attention when baking with it? As opposed to regular barley flour, I mean? I'll look into that before next I try..

That's it, I'm hungry. Go click my Google ad before you go!