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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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Corn flour bread rolls

This recipe comes from an American collection of recipes published in 1918 and meant to provide people with ways to conserve precious resources such as wheat flour and sugar. Despite the economy of ingredients these rolls truly taste rich and wholesome, and are well worth trying.

Adapted to metric units and leaving out the lemon zest mentioned in the original recipe by Amelia Doddridge in: “Liberty Recipes”, 1918—USA which was digitized by Google and uploaded to archive.org.

Ingredients:

  • 120 g scalded milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 30 g sugar
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 3 g fine sea salt
  • 60 g corn flour
  • 5 g active dry yeast dissolved in 30 g warm water
  • 105 g to 210 g bread flour (or as needed – usually around 190 or more)

Instructions:

Pour the scalded milk over the sugar and salt, mix well and set aside to cool. Once the milk mixture is lukewarm add 105 g of bread flour and the dissolved yeast. Mix vigorously and let the sponge ferment,covered, until doubled.

When the sponge is light add the melted butter, egg and corn flour. Mix well at low speed then add just enough bread flour to make a dough that is very soft but well developed and just slightly tacky.  Do not add too much flour or the rolls will turn out dry and heavy.

Lightly grease a bowl and place the dough to rise, covered, until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 190° C.

Gently transfer the risen dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide it in 12 equal pieces. Shape each into small round rolls (the dough is too soft to keep well any other shape more complex than rounds or ovals). Place each roll onto a rimless baking sheet and lightly brush with milk.

Let the rolls rise, covered, until doubled. Brush again with milk then with sharp kitchen scissors cut a decorative pattern on each roll.

Bake for about 20 minutes until nice and golden.

corn-flour-rolls

I found this recipe mentioned at http://bakinghistory.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/corn-flour-rolls-bbd-12-small-breads/

About ‘sponge’ or ‘poolish’:

A poolish, also called a ‘sponge’, consists of equal (by weight) parts flour and water, with a small amount of yeast added (100% flour, 100% water and 0.2 – 1% dry yeast). The high hydration level makes it look more like a batter than a dough. A poolish is made several hours (at least 2 hours, but 8 or more hours is even better) before creating the final dough by adding the remaining ingredients. Because of the high percentage of water in the poolish, you need to adapt the amount of fluids in the remaing ingredients because in the end, your dough needs to have an average hydration of 60-66% (meaning a ratio of 100% flour to 60 – 66% liquids).

Sponge is a “pre-ferment” using baker’s yeast and its function is similar to a sourdough starter (which contains wild yeast and bacteria). A pre-ferment allows more time for yeast and enzymes to convert the starch and proteins in the dough. This improves the keeping time of the baked bread. Also, the bread’s flavours will become more complex.

Why the scalded milk?

The whey protein in milk weakens the gluten in the bread. Gluten is what gives your bread its elasticity and helps keep the bread its shape. It also goves your bread a “chewy” texture as opposed to dry and crumbly (something you’ll also see when kneading dough for too long, because that too damages the built up gluten). When the gluten structure is broken down, it will prevent the dough from rising properly. Scalding the milk deactivates the whey protein so there is no adverse effect to the gluten.

The final proofing:

The final proofing – when the rolls have been shaped and just before they are baked – ussually takes someting like 45 minutes at room temperature. However want them to be ready to bake when I get out of bed, so I decided to transfer the shaped bread rools to the fridge and let them ferment at 4° C overnight. The 8 hours at the slowed rate at which the yeast operates at that low temperature, should result in rolls that can be transfered to the oven straight out of the fridge in the morning. Ready for breakfast!

My remarks about the recipe:

I have never tried  a slow final rise in the frisge before – in fact, I never made these rolls before, so I will update the article tomorrow after I have baked and eaten the rolls.

There was another challenge: I do not have an electric mixer! When I formed the dough from the sponge and the additional ingredients, I ended up with a dough that was too sticky to manipulate with my hands. I added flour, but I wanted to avoid adding too much, so I decided on a “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique I have seen sometime ago in a video. What I did was use a plastic dough scraper to lift the dough up at one side of the bowl and then fold it inward, repeating this process for several minutes while rotating the bowl a bit after each stretch & fold. After a couple of minutes, the dough was a lot less sticky and nicely developed. Still too sticky to manipulate by hand, so I keft it in its bowl to rise, covered with shrink wrap.

Enjoy Easter! Eric

How to make UPC Horizon TV work in Linux

pipelight-logo
In an earlier article I have explained how you can use pipelight to run a Windows-based browser plugin seamlessly in your Linux browser. This solution makes use of a modified Wine under the hood. This way, you can for instance display web sites using Microsoft’s SilverLight technology (many dutch schools use a proprietary SilverLight based pupil management system), or use the Windows Flash Player which is much more up to date than Adobe’s plugin for Firefox.

The pipelight plugin loader also supports the Widevine content decryption module, which is used to decrypt a DRM-protected Flash video stream. Widevine is used by UPC‘s service to subscribers to watch television channels on your computer: Horizon TV. I pride myself to be the initiator for getting widevine support added to pipelight because I am a UPC subscriber, but when it actually got added, I found out that I could not make it work with Horizon TV. Bummer!

After a lot of frustration I accidentally stumbled across a thread on the UPC community forum, where cause of the issue was explained and the solution was provided.

The widevine plugin as installed by pipelight is actually too new! In order to make Horizon TV work in a Linux browser, you need an older version of the Widevine DLL. That older version is still available for download, but to be safe I made a copy.

These are the steps you need to perform to make it work: Download the Widevine plugin for Firefox (an XPI file); unzip it in order to extract the DLL file it contains; and then copy the DLL file into the wine-pipelight prefix where Widevine has been installed – this will overwrite the newer (but non-functional) version of the DLL with the older (but working) version.

$ wget https://dl.google.com/widevine/6.0.0.6678/WidevineMediaOptimizer_Win.xpi
$ unzip  WidevineMediaOptimizer_Win.xpi plugins/npwidevinemediaoptimizer.dll
$ cp -p plugins/npwidevinemediaoptimizer.dll \
    ~/.wine-pipelight/drive_c/windows/system32/

Thanks to Theo Band for the instructions! With these three commands, I was able to watch television in my Slackware Firefox browser.

upc_horizon_tv

Hope this helps some of you. Eric

 

Security update: OpenJDK 7u55 (created with icedtea 2.4.7)

On “patch tuesday”, two days ago, Oracle released their April update of the Java SE platform.

The new version of Java is “7 update 55″ and addresses several vulnerabilities. The IcedTea team have now prepared version 2.4.7 of their OpenJDK build framework which will compile an OpenJDK version in sync with Oracle’s release. Please read the announcement on Andrew’s blog for all the release details.

Update 55 Build 14 of OpenJDK 7  addresses these critical issues:

* Security fixes:

Please update your installed openjdk or openjre packages with this new version! You’ll notice that browsers like Firefox and Chrome/Chromium no longer load Java applets by default and ask you for explicit approval to load and run them.

You can visit the following URL after you upgraded your OpenJDK package (assuming you also upgraded to my latest icedtea-web package): http://java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp to verify that your Java plus the web plugin are working properly.

java_tested_7u55

Get my packages – they have been compiled on Slackware 13.37 and are usable on 13.37 as well as 14.0, 14.1 and -current! Get them preferably from a mirror site (faster downloads):

Further packages that are recommended/required:

  • Optional: If you want a Java browser-plugin you must install icedtea-web (OpenJDK itself does not contain such a plugin).
  • Required: The rhino package is a dependency of the openjdk/openjre package. It contains the JavaScript engine for OpenJDK.

Note that you should only install one of the two packages, either openjdk or openjre, do not install both at the same time or things will break! The openjdk package contains the jre (java runtime) as well as the java development kit.

Eric

Ready for download: KDE 4.13

I am starting a new cycle of KDE packaging. The KDE community announced the general availability of KDE SC 4.13.0!

After creating three new “dependency” packages (xapian-core, qt-gstreamer and eigen3), I built my new KDE packages on Slackware-current. I have not tested them on Slackware 14.1 and will not guarantee that they are even useable on Slackware 14.1. If you want a taste of KDE 4.13 then please upgrade to slackware-current.

What’s new in KDE 4.13?

In KDE 4.13, major improvements are made to KDE’s Semantic Search technology, benefiting many applications. To be specific: Nepomuk has been replaced by Baloo, which performs better and avoids the data duplication currently seen in KDE (copies of the same data, think of emails, get replicated between nepomuk, akonadi and virtuoso leading to large homedirectory storage needs). A nepomuk-to-baloo migration should happen automatically when upgrading to the new KDE (according to the build log, that feature has been enabled), but I have not checked yet if that worked. Note that nepomuk is still part of the software compilation, to facilitate the migration and to allow non-KDE applications additional grace time to port their semantic search support from Nepomuk to Baloo.

KDE 4.13 can be seen as another transitional release: with Plasma Workspaces and the KDE Development Platform frozen and receiving only long term support, those teams are focusing on the transition to Frameworks 5. Still, there are interface and feature improvements to be found in several of the major applications, such as Okular (the document viewer) and Kate (the document editor) among which support for Baloo. And there is another new package: the foreign speech trainer Artikulate.

How to upgrade to KDE 4.13 ?

You will find all the installation/upgrade instructions that you need in the accompanying README file. That README also contains basic information for KDE recompilation using the provided SlackBuild script.

You are strongly advised to read and follow these installation/upgrade instructions!

Where to find packages for KDE 4.13 ?

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/4.13.0/ and packages in /current/4.13.0/ subdirectories). Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server!

Postscript:

In two weeks, there will be another KDE 4.12 release; the final 4.12.5. Just like the previous 4.12 iterations, I will be compiling this on Slackware 14.1 and this final time, I will also publish them in the Slackware 14.1 directory of the ‘ktown’ repository, so that people running Slackware 14.1 and using slackpkg+ will automatically pick it up and get a nice upgrade to the latest super-stable KDE platform.

Have fun! Eric

LibreOffice 4.2.3 – addresses Heartbleed vulnerability

Last week was a black page in Open Source security with the publication of the Heartbleed vulnerability. For those of you who think the hype is overrated and no one will be able to get at your private keys and passwords, better check out the results of the Cloudflare Challenge (the SSL certificate for that site has been revoked in order to stop it from being abused so that page won’t load).  Cloudflare’s security engineers were unable to exploit the vulnerability and retrieve their server’s private key so they confidently made it a public challenge… and at least three people independently obtained the server’s private key through the exploit! Proof was given by posting messages signed with that same private key. Read all about it on the Cloudflare blog. Don’t take this vulnerability too lightly! Slackware 14.0, 14.1 and -current users should apply the openssl patch packages as soon as possible. And if your machine was exposed to the Internet, running a secure web server (https://) then it is wise to revoke your SSL certificate and create a new one. It may also be a good idea to change the passwords of the accounts on that server.

Not just OpenSSL-protected web sites are affected; regular “client” software can be abused by attacks when these applications contain the vulnerable code because they statically link to the openssl library. I’ll post some more later, but here is the first fix:

The Document Foundation added a fix for Heartbleed to their latest LibreOffice 4.2.3 (codenamed ‘Fresh’) release. It took an additional day for me to get rid of the bugs in my revised SlackBuild script, because I had decided to split the “big” libreoffice package in three sub-packages. The SDK documentation (several hundreds of MB) has now moved into a separate package “libreoffice-sdkdoc” which you will not need unless you are a developer. And the KDE integration libraries have been moved into their own package as well: “libreoffice-kde-integration”. It’s these libraries which give the LibreOffice user interface the “KDE look” when you are running KDE, and make it use the KDE file dialogs. Some people experienced issues in KDE which were solved by removing these KDE libraries, and the new sub-package was born to help you get a better experience out of LibreOffice on Slackware. Note that if you are on KDE and simply “upgradepkg” the libreoffice package, your application will suddenly look very out of style, having switched to a GTK look & feel. All you need to do is “installpkg” the new libreoffice-kde-integration package.

If you are in need of stability, note that the official statement from the Document Foundation is that LibreOffice 4.2.3 is “the most feature rich version of the software, and is suited for early adopters willing to leverage a larger number of innovations. For enterprise deployments and for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests the more mature LibreOffice 4.1.5“. You can find Slackware packages for LibreOffice 4.1.5 in my repository onder the “14.0″directory. They were built on Slackware 14.0 and work well on Slackware 14.1 and -current.

Packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Eric