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Sunday, July 17, 2011

“Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XVII: Castilian Sourdough Bread—a Treat from the Iberian Peninsula”

Today, we begin promoting another of the great bands from the psychedelic 1960’s, Big Brother and the Holding Company which originally did not begin with the late great Janis Joplin but who came to the band a short while later.  Anyhow, this is their first album, “Big Brother and the Holding Company” which was released in 1967.  We suggest you buy it by using the handy link which will take you directly to Amazon.com so you can buy it NOW! Tomorrow, we will begin promoting another band from the 1960’s, Big Brother and the Holding Company! Thanks, the Elemental News of the Day.


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 523 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Pedro R. Munoz

END Commentary 07-18-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,916.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, July 18, 2011 by Chef Pedro R. Munoz


 Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XVII: Castilian Sourdough Bread—a Treat from the Iberian Peninsula

Bakersfield, CA, 07-18-2011 M:  I have a yeast bread recipe for you today which is the first one in quite awhile as we don’t do a great many of these anymore.  Sadly, it’s difficult to say that nowadays, it’s cheaper for a foodservice establishment to buy its breads and fulfill its bread needs rather than baking their own.  That is how it is nowadays and that makes it difficult for aspiring restaurant bakers like most of us who had the opportunity to have come up in a time when home-baked goods were appreciated if not beloved!

We tend to think of sourdough breads as coming primarily from France and from Germany but they come from most other European countries as well.  Sourdoughs were a way of carrying one’s starter yeast cultures and each day’s bread would be based on it as well as throwing a piece of yesterday’s raw dough into day’s bread.  This may seem strange but this is how it was in the days before we could go to the local supermarket and buy (1) fresh cake yeast; (2) active dry yeast; or (3) SAF Quick-rising yeast just as could buy baking powder and baking soda.  Virtually all of these older breads were based on the cycle of life and our starters and our sponges and our leftover pieces of raw dough gave rise to the next day’s bread. 

I realize that this may seem almost unsanitary but in an older article we explained about how to maintain and keep a sourdough starter alive and there’s nothing unsanitary about a living, breathing collection of millions of wild yeasts attracting newer and fresher yeasts from the air around us. Nature is a fascinating entity and like I said, it’s based on the cycle of life, and it’s only in modern times that most of us have forgotten what it took to maintain one’s standard of living and just as we needed fire, we needed our yeast cultures.  Nowadays, most people simply don’t have time to maintain sourdough starters nor do they have time to bake bread. If they do decide to bake breads, there are chemical products that will create an instant sourdough as opposed to the time-honored way.  Here at the Elemental News of the Day, we do it the way God intended for it to be done! 

Today’s sourdough bread hails from the Iberian Peninsula, a wonderful “Castilian Sourdough Bread” that is a Spanish creation that Stinkbug created back in the 1980s at the Brennerville Country Club based on his readings of bread lore back then. He was a dedicated baker of European breads and probably knows more sourdough cookery than anyone else writing for END.  He was always proud of his talents and when he moved to Maui in 1989, he took his beloved starters with him aboard Aloha Airways.  He stowed them in an overhead compartment on the trip over packed tightly into Styrofoam containers but had no idea that a change in air pressure would make a difference; let me tell you—it did—THEY BLEW UP IN THE COMPARTMENT!  I think it’s safe to say that in the present fear of terrorism and bombs, Stinky might have been arrested for packing a biological time bomb because when it blew up, the starter blew out all over the compartment—he lost his starters that he had used, fed and watered lovingly for close to a decade. Poor Stinkbug!


For one (1) small-sized loaf:

The Sponge:

Tepid water
Bread flour
White sourdough starter


1.      Note—as usual, we will be employing the “Brick Method” so get out your fire bricks. 

2.      Twelve-to-sixteen hours (12-16 hours) ahead of planned baking time, prepare your sponge by blending the first TWO ingredients listed and stir until smooth. Stir in your prepared starter and mix until totally smooth.

3.      Next, wipe the rim of the starter bowl (remember only use porcelain, glass, or plastic and NEVER metal for your sourdough starters!) with a finger dipped in starter and seal then with a cloth towel or napkin but NO plastic—it needs to be able to “breathe.” Replenish your original starter and place it alongside your sponge in a semi-warm spot such as a high kitchen shelf or an unused oven. Allow to ferment the specified time.

The Bread:

Tepid water
Fresh cake yeast OR .25-ounce Active Dry Yeast or SAF Quick-rising yeast
Malt extract or flavoring
Whole wheat bran
Minced black olives
2.5-3 +
Bread flour
Egg beaten w/ 2 teaspoons of cold water for egg wash
Whole fennel seeds
Melted butter


4.      The next day when it’s time to bake, combine water and yeast in a bowl, stirring until it’s dissolved.  After that, blend in “sponge” and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

5.      Next, blend in salt, malt, bran, and olives, combining well.  Finally, begin to scale in the bread flour along the sides of the mixing bowl as your dough hook or paddle rotates on low speed. Scale it in a cup at a time and let it mix in and remember, the amount of flour varies from time to time, it depends on factors such as the temperature of the air and humidity so add whatever it takes to get the dough to pull off the sides of the mixing bowl and onto the hook—and stays there. When it is on the hook and no longer feels “sticky” but does feel “elastic,” or “alive” to your touch, it’s ready to round.

6.      On a lightly-floured tabletop, knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes. Pull it over and down towards you and then fold the sides over and round it into a ball. Continue doing this for the specified time or if it feels like a living thing, round it into a ball and place inside a lightly-floured bowl twice the size of the dough.

7.      Cover with a mildly moist towel but not sopping wet and then place someplace relatively warm and free of drafts like a high kitchen shelf or unused oven.  Allow it to “proof” or to rise until doubled in bulk, about 30-45 minutes.  Then, gently deflate, re-round, and return to the bowl to rise again—the second time requires about half the time of the first proof.  Preheat standard oven to 400°F or convection oven to 350°F.

8.      When dough’s risen again, remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured work surface and briefly knead.  Place it in a corner of your work bench and cover with a towel and allow it to sit for 10 minutes—as it does so, it will develop an outer skin of gluten which will produce some fabulous bread. If you’re using the bricks, get them onto a burner and get a pot of water boiling and ready.

9.      Now, once time is up, begin to roll into a loaf.  With your hands, begin rolling the dough ball down from the top all the while scrunching the left and right sides inward and rolling the dough over it; what you are doing is forming a tight, cigar-shaped cylinder. Keep one hand on either side turn with your fingers while pressing the ends shut with your thumbs. When you’ve rolled up your cylinder, press the seam shut after moistening it with some cold water and fold it slightly over itself. Place on the prepared sheet pan and cover with a dry towel and return it to the proofing spot for one last, final rise

10. Allow your loaf to almost double in size for about 15-20 minutes at most. When it has, lightly brush it with the “egg wash” mixture and then liberally sprinkle with the fennel seeds. Finally, dip a sharp knife in melted butter or olive oil and slash 4-5 diagonal slashes approximately .25-inch deep cuts across the top. Into each slash, sprinkle a little kosher salt to add additional flavor.

11. While the loaf is rising, place a roasting pan that’s about 4-inches deep inside your oven and place the HOT bricks within it. Taking care to avoid the rush of steam, pour about 2-inches of boiling water in around them and shut the door and allow the oven to steam.  When the loaf is ready to go, insert it into the steamy oven and let it rise quickly with the steam. After about 10 minutes, pull the bricks out along with whatever water is left and lower heat 375°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes OR until you can pick the loaves up in one gloved hand and rap on its bottom; if the loaf sounds hollow, it’s done and ready to go and if not, put it back in the oven and let it continue baking until they sound hollow. The idea is to check it at about the 30 minute mark but you also need to know your oven’s temperature and the best way to do that is to buy an oven thermometer and place it inside. I cannot say how important this step is, if you don’t know how hot or how cool your oven is, you will never be able to bake a proper loaf much less a cake! 

12.  So, when the loaf sound a dull hollow, pull it out and place it atop a wire rack to cool on all sides. Drizzle with melted butter 3-4 times in order to achieve a gorgeous gloss and as you do so, the crust will soften naturally. This will make for truly fabulous loaf so good luck, my friends. Practice makes perfect and this loaf is one of the ones that is fairly easy to make and generally can suffer a lot of punishment so don’t be afraid, jump into it and go for it!

13.  When this delicious loaf is done, serve right away or finish cooling. A fresh loaf such as this can sit out for about a day covered by a towel or a cloth and then, you will have to wrap them up. Generally, if a loaf isn’t eaten within the first day, you need to slice it and wrap it up in airtight plastic bags and freeze. Bring out what you need and heat up quickly in your microwave oven 10-12 seconds at a time. Always eat as soon as possible as fresh-baked bread is only good when it’s utilized right away. We are not filling it up with all sorts of chemical preservatives so use your common sense and always do the right thing—your common sense won’t let you down!

14. To reheat bread, wrap in plastic wrap and heat in the microwave and if you can, avoid regular ovens.  One last word of advice: to slice bread properly, you need a good bread knife so invest in one as there’s no point in crushing or trashing a wonderful loaf of bread with a crappy knife. Pick one up at the local restaurant supply store when you pick up your oven’s new thermometer! If you don’t have a good restaurant supply store, order what you need from Amazon.com because they have everything! 

Well this is how you do it and it’s not all that difficult, it just takes some time and some dedication, bread-baking is something that a person decides they’re going to do and don’t use fancy bread-baking apparatuses or other new-fangled gizmos that department stores sell. I try to do it in the ways they did it in the Old World as I see it as a dying art that Stinkbug and some of the others of us spent years learning how to do.  Try it, you’ll like it but once you have your starters alive and living, it is a duty—like feeding your fish or aquatic turtles or anything else living and breathing that depends upon you!  It is a responsibility so treat it as such! There, how’s that for a lecture?

Like my friend, Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein yesterday, I, too, have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came. Anyhow, have a great day and we’ll meet again. Take care.  

Thank you!

Pedro Munoz

Executive Chef Pedro Munoz
CEC, American Culinary Federation, Inc.

This is me at an awards dinner in San Diego for the Chefs de Cuisine in 1978. I began my culinary career in the 1950's and had the good fortune of working with many different chefs before meeting my good friend, Stinkbug, in the mid-1980s in Bakersfield.


END Commentary for Monday, July 18, 2011 by Chef Pedro R. Munoz

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Pedro R. Munoz

Recipes created by Chef Pedro R. Munoz on April 17, 1968 in San Diego, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!



          EL PESTOSO

This is #1316, an 8” x 10" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “The Wave." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures I

 This is a shot of Brian Carrick playing with the Magnolia Hilltop Brewers doing the vocals on "Johnny B. Goode" at Garces Memorial High School on 11-04-1978.

This is a shot of Chuck Swartz, guitarist and vocalist with the MHB, at Garces Memorial High School on 11-04-1978. 

This is a photo of bassist/vocalist Victor Gaona at Lake Isabella, CA, on 10-06-1978. 

This is a photo of Vernon McMahon, left (guitar and vocals) and Victor Gaona, right (bass and vocals) at an undisclosed gig somewhere in Kern County, CA. 

This is another photo of drummer Brian Carrick at the Garces gig of 11-04-1978 in action. 

 Here's another photo of Victor Gaona in action at Lake Isabella, CA, on 10-06-1978. 

This is a shot of Vernon McMahon (left) and Victor Gaona (right) in action on 08-21-1977 at West High School. 

This is another shot of a pork chop getting ready to hit the fire at Shamrock in Bakersfield, CA.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 07-18-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Chief Editor: Stinkbug.

Assistant Editor: Moses Scharbug III

Proofreader: Amos Mosby Caruthers.

Beer: Smokehouse.




Pedro Munoz, Yeast Bread Seminar, Bread Seminar, Sourdough Breads, Sourdough Starters, Classic Bakery Recipes, Gourmet Breads, Bakery Recipes, Breads, Big Brother and the Holding Company


Trademark of Quality c/o the Elemental News of the Day and Magnolia Hilltop Brewers Productions 2011 of Bakersfield, California, the United States of America.


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