Sunday, February 20, 2011

Richland Farms

Compton, the early years

Type "west caldwell street and south center street, compton, ca" into Google Maps and you'll find yourself in the middle of Richland Farms, a section of Los Angeles zoned as agricultural. There are no sidewalks or streetlights and the residents own and raise horses, cows, pigs, chickens (and roosters), and other farm animals.

In the LA Times California section is the story, Farming in Compton's core, telling about the lives of the largely black and latino neighborhood of truly urban farmers.

The residents want to join together to form an "...agricultural collective, which would allow residents to pool their produce for sale, and to operate a petting zoo."

I imagine that after today's article they will be contacted by other Angelenos interested in urban farming, but then again, I might be wrong. Maybe I'll just have to contact them myself.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Buckwheat Lessons

Well, at least they taste good.

These loaves deflated the moment the blade touched the surface of the bread as you can see by my hesitation marks. There was a bit of oven spring, but overall they were a disappointment.

The two loaves contain a total of 3 ounces of buckwheat flour. I proofed them for 2 hours before retarding. They probably need much less time. They're 70% hydration. Less water would probably give them better structure.

I wonder if soaking the buckwheat first might help.

I have not found much online, or in any of my bread books, on baking with buckwheat flour. If anyone out there in TV land has any hints, don't be shy. I'll keep trying as the flavor of the bread is worth the effort.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Saga Continues

My bread has improved but I'm having problems with burning on the bottom (of the bread). See the photo below.

The bread on the left is today's effort, on the right, a bread I baked on Wednesday.

Here are the changes I made with today's bread.

1. started with a cold pan and a cold oven.
2. raised the dutch oven to a higher shelf in the oven.
3. put the dutch oven on an insulated cookie sheet.
4. lowered the oven temperature from 500 to 450 after 15 minutes
5. baked covered for 27 minutes
6. baked the bread with the lid off for 26 minutes

There was less oven rise, but that could be because I fell asleep yesterday forgetting to put the bread in the fridge. Instead of 3 hours rise time, the bread rose about 8 hours.

The flavor is not as rich and nutty. I'm not sure why.

As bad as the burn is on this bread, it tastes great - even the burned part.

PS If you're wondering about the flour pattern on the bread, it comes from the cheap plastic colanders I bought at the 99c store to proof my bread.