Thursday, 30 April 2009

War bread

The economic crisis hasn't got so bad yet that I have to make bread out of whatever is available like people do during wars and famines. However this bread does involve a bit of recycling of stuff that would otherwise get thrown away.

150g cold porridge
Handful of spent grain from Sunday's brew
Left-over sweet wort ditto
Enough chapati flour and strong white flour to make a soft dough.

I've heard of old-bread soakers and the odd handful of cooked rice making their way into bread, but recycling left-over breakfast porridge into bread somehow makes me feel filthy, like those people who fry everything in the same ancient bacon grease kept permanently in the pan. I try to put such thoughts out of my mind, but at the same time I'm not philosophically keen on my bread becoming a sort of bin for using up old stuff.

The bread is quite nice though. Chewy crust, nice oaty flavour. Here it is pictured with some of Iain's fantastic fennel salami from Gusto & Relish.

It's flat as a pancake because the dough is so soft, but that doesn't bother me too much.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Brown Beer #2

This is the first beer I've made for quite a while – I think it's been almost two months. I've been paralysed by trying to decided whether to get an electric boiler or keep on with the small stovetop batches. But my stocks are running low, so it's about time to get some more on.

510g Maris Otter low colour
2kg Belgian pale
100g chocolate malt

Mash at 65°C 60 min
Mash started 1345
Boil 1610
Finish boil 1738

40g Bramling Cross 90
10g First Gold 90
6g Styrian Goldings 5
8g Styrian Goldings 0

Hop tea made from 10g First Gold

Yeast: Muntons Gold

OG was 1050.

I just realised I forgot to add any minerals whatsoever to the water. Oops.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Blackfriars in the 1990s

Bit of history here. Here’s a report from BBC Scotland news about Williams Bros (before they were called that). It must be from the early 90s as it has the news of Heather Ale being revived. Almost as interesting is the footage of Blackfriars bar in Glasgow still selling Tetley Bitter and Arrol’s 80/–, a clear sign that it was one of Alloa's tied houses. Even though the breweries have got out of running pubs these days, most pubs in Glasgow are still easily identifiable as having been one of McEwan's, Tennents or Alloa in the past.