Popular Posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XX: Spanish Sourdough Bread—other Guys make Sourdough Breads, too, you know!”

The Steve Miller Band’s fifteenth album, “The Steve Miller Band Live!” came out in 1983, and didn’t grab a Gold or Platinum Record. Still, the album showcased the band for the shows they were presently doing and in our view, was a great representation.  We think that it should have done as well as the earlier albums from “Fly like an Eagle” onward and highly recommend that you buy it so by all means take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 500 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 Vladimir Gdansk

END Commentary 08-10-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 3,321.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk


 Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XX: Spanish Sourdough Bread—other Guys make Sourdough Breads, too, you know!

Bakersfield, CA, 08-10-2011 W:  Our bread for today is another, wonderful sourdough bread that was developed after I spent time working with a baker from Spain.   Spanish bakers are a different breed and don’t always favor the heavier doughs their Germanic and French neighbors like to make but are somewhat closer to the Italians in that their breads are lighter.  The fact is, people around the world bake sourdough breads of some sort as in the “old days,” one could not walk down to the nearest supermarket and buy fresh cake yeast much less dry or active dry yeast.  They had to carry their yeast with them in the form of sourdough starters that they borrowed from replenished, and borrowed from again.  Many times, these starters were older than the bakers using them as they were broken down and sent off with a newlywed so she could begin her own baking saga with her new family.  Much like the primitives had to carry fire with them in order to use it again and again, they carried their starters along as well.  The cultivation of yeasts has been with us since the times of the Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and other Middle Eastern cultures found out how the fermentation process worked so they could produce beer and bake bread.  We are the beneficiaries of their studious natures as they worked hard to develop the baking procedures we still utilize today.

Today’s bread will seem similar to others we’ve made but trust me, it’s not, it’s got its nuances, its differences in textures, its subtlety of flavors, and its own personality.  It is one that you will come to know and to enjoy and will find it very much different from the rest.  It has been my lifelong work just as it has Stinkbug’s and Brian Carrick’s to develop a wide repertoire of different breads with which to intrigue the world and to stimulate a renewed interest in baking science.  I mean, if you can do something on your own without having to resort to buying your breads at the local bakery or from the purveyor, for God’s sake, then you are doing the Lord’s work, so-to-speak.  Don’t take the easy way out—learn how to bake and find someone to bake your own breads, you will become famous for it over time.


Yield: 2 Medium-sized cylindrical loaves:

The Starter
Tepid water

Bread flour

Rye sourdough starter

The Bread
Tepid water

Fresh cake yeast

Starter from above

Malt flavoring

Kosher salt

Vegetable oil

Whole wheat flour

Bread flour
Yellow cornmeal

Egg whites

Cold water

Melted butter

Poppy seeds (optional)


1.      Set-up the starter the night before by combining the tepid water, bread flour, and rye sourdough starter; blend well.  Place in a plastic or glass bowl and wipe the rim with some of the starter and place a towel atop it.  Press down on the rim to seal it and set it someplace warm in your kitchen like a high shelf or over an unused oven.  Leave there overnight until the next morning when it will be time to bake.  The starter will rise and fall several times during this time as it captures the wild yeasts from the air around it and incorporates them.  This is a normal process.

2.      The next day, combine the yeast with the tepid water in the bowl of an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook and begin rotating on low speed.  Add the rest of the ingredients up to and stopping at the bread flour.  Blend together well.  Then, begin scaling in the bread flour along the sides of the bowl, bit-by-bit, until it’s all used up.

3.      Now, due to the time of the year, the humidity, and the quality of the flour, it may take MORE flour to get to where we want: continue adding flour while mixing on low speed until the dough climbs off the sides of the bowl and onto the dough hook and remains there as it continues to rotate slowly about the bowl. If it pulls back onto the sides of the bowl, continue adding flour until it remains on the hook for about ONE minute—then stop mixing, and scoop the dough out onto a lightly-floured work bench.

4.      Rub your hands with flour and sprinkle more atop the dough and begin to knead it. Knead it firmly until smooth and elastic to the touch—about 4-8 minutes. This is firm dough so you have to knead it briskly but if too firm, knead in a little warm water on your fingertips but don’t go overboard and get it sopping wet.

5.      When it’s somewhat smooth and springy, form it into a ball and place inside a metal bowl or pot that’s about twice the size of the dough ball and flour lightly top, bottom, and sides. Cover with a slightly moist cloth and set it someplace that’s relatively warm and free of drafts so that it can proof. Take care not to shake it or to jiggle the bowl and allow it to double in size, about 40-45 minutes but keep an eye on it. Preheat your standard oven to 400°F and place a pot of water over a low flame. Have a couple of fire bricks ready but don’t place atop an open flame—yet.

6.      When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and re-round it into a ball and replace the slightly moist towel atop it and return it to its warm shelf of spot in your kitchen to rise a second time. The second proof will take about half the time of the first so once on the shelf, turn your oven onto 425°F and place the bricks over an open flame on your stove top or lay atop electric burners. While you’re waiting, beat together the egg and the teaspoon of milk and push through a sieve to break up the albumin so it’s nice and homogenous.  In addition to this, spray a sheet pan with PAM and dribble a little salad oil on it and gently rub in. Sprinkle the pan with the cornmeal and have ready.

7.      When the dough’s risen again, deflate it and turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured tabletop and prepare for the final proof. Divide into two equal portions and knead briefly and form into a ball. Cover with a slightly moist towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes—in this way, your dough develops an outside wall of gluten which will create marvelous bread.

8.      Now, with your hands, begin rolling the dough balls 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 cylinders, 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.

9.       Allow your loaves 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 sesame or poppy seeds if using them. 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.

10.  While the loaves are 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! 

11.  So, when the loaves 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 loaves 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!

12.  When these delicious loaves are 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!

13. 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!

People tend to think that sourdoughs come only from France, Germany, and Eastern Europe when, in fact, they come from all over the world as starters was the way that people baked bread each and every day. They couldn’t go down to the store and buy some yeast and come home and whip up a new batch of bread each day. So, they perpetuated their starters which in time took on flavors of their own and this gave character to their breads.  Sourdough starters will last for as long as there is someone around to feed, nourish, and replenish it.


Yield: about four cups’ starter:

Boiling water

Yellow onion, peeled and chopped

Reserved onion water

Fresh cake yeast

Medium-rye flour


1.      Boil the onion in the six-cups of water until its soft and falling apart. Mash it up and push it through a sieve and discard whatever’s left. Retain 2 cups of water and if you don’t have enough, add some and make sure it’s tepid, about 70°-80° F.

2.      Stir in the yeast and blend in the flour and stir until nice and smooth. Like the other starter, store in either a glass or plastic bowl. Follow the same steps regarding the fermentation process as previously explained. During the next THREE days, it will also rise and fall but not quite to the same extent.

3.      When time’s up, check it out and if it looks like a bubbly mud patch, it’s good to go but if it’s red or black, throw it out and start over. So, follow the same routine as explained under Steps #7-10 in the preceding recipe but use rye flour instead of bread or all-purpose flour. In making the formula to replace one cup of starter, use 1 cup medium-rye flour and 1.75 cups tepid water as rye soaks up a little more liquid.

4.      Make your rye sourdough starter when you make your white one but note that it will be awhile before we use them so you will have to feed them both. The reason we won’t be using it immediately is that the RYE starter is more difficult to make than the white one so it might require 2-3 times to get it up and going before success is achieved. But all of you serious bakers, these are the things that are necessary to do so put your shoulder to it and get going, don’t be a slacker, a sniveler, or a whiner! Man up and do it right!

This is a more difficult sourdough starter to create than the traditional white sourdough starter so be prepared for some failures right from the start; however, if you achieve success the first time around, you are on your way to becoming a master baker!

As I said yesterday, I 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.

This will do it for today but I think I will be returning tomorrow to make some more bread.  Making bread is almost a therapeutic act for me, it’s something I can do by myself, go in and turn the radio up and get lost in the baking process.  Being able to bake sourdough breads from scratch can lead to some marvelous jobs you might not otherwise be able to get so learn all that you can and don’t be afraid to get your hands (and feet) wet! Once you’ve become a baker, you will be one for the rest of your life! Enjoy!    

Thank you!

V. Gdansk

V. Gdansk

Cook IV, CWC, ACF, and the Washington State Chef’s Association

This is me back in the 1980's when I was the Executive Chef at a country club in the Napa Valley. I spent many years working in foodservice, having begun as a young boy working for my father in his restaurant over on the coast in Pismo Beach. Foodservice is in my blood and it's something I still do actively every day in my late eighties.


END Commentary for Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk

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 Vladimir Gdansk

Recipes created by Chef Vladimir Gdansk on March 03, 1982 in Pismo Beach, 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 STINKY


This is #1123, an 18” x 24" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “The Covey." 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 II
  This is a photo of the Stockdale Country Club sometime in the summer of 1988. Featured are chefs Stinkbug, Chepe, and Joe Pesigan, dishing up a classic Cherry Clafoutis. 

  This is another shot of the Stockdale Country Club in the summer of 1988. Featured are Executive Chef Juan Aguiree, Cecelia Aguirre, and Stinkbug. 



Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 08-09-2011, 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.




Vladimir Gdansk, Yeast Bread Seminar, Bread Seminar, Rye Breads, Sourdough Breads, Classic Bakery Recipes, Gourmet Breads, Bakery Recipes, Breads, the Steve Miller Band, Spanish Cuisine,  


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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave comments! Thanks! The American Institute of Culinary Politics-Elemental News of the Day!