Sunday, August 15, 2010

breads of the last ten days

I'm catching up on the breads I baked in the last ten days. First, I baked a couple of quick whole wheat breads  - half whole wheat flour, half bread flour. I'd been wondering whether I was overproofing my loaves, so I wanted to experiment with shorter fermentations. I divided the dough in half, and baked the first loaf after about 1.5 hours of proofing. As you can see, I had a blow-out, indicating it had not proofed long enough. I will continue to go with my instincts, instead of the usual proofing time suggested in most formulas.

This loaf was inedible. Unbelievably dense crumb. Couldn't bring myself to take a picture.

The second loaf of the same batch of dough was retarded overnight after shaping. The result:

Much better. Not a whole lot of oven spring. Taste still boring. The sesame seeds on the crust were the best thing. I miss the complexity of seeded breads.

A few days later, I experimented with long retardation.

the soaker (200 g dry):
  • farro (first time I'm using farro in anything)
  • steelcut oats
  • flax seeds (using much smaller amount than before)
Soaked in boiling water overnight, with a pinch of salt.

the dough:
  • sourdough starter (200 g)
  • whole wheat flour (400 g)
  • bread flour (200 g)
  • water (400 g +)
  • soaker, drained
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • salt (15 g)
Mixed very briefly, without the salt and the pumpkin seeds.
Autolyse for 30 minutes.
Added the salt and the pumpkin seeds, and mixed for 4 minutes in the mixer.
Gave it 3 s&f's at 20 minute intervals.
Covered and put in the fridge for retardation overnight.

Next morning, divided the dough into two, shaped the loaves, put one back into the fridge. The other one proofed at room temperature and baked as usual. That loaf had a very disappointing texture, mealy like the rye loaf that turned out terrible, though perhaps not quite as bad. This puzzled me to no end, so I checked my formulas and saw that both this seeded whole wheat and the seeded rye had a relatively low proportion of bread flour. I'm thinking that the amount of seeds and grains require the strength that the bread flour provides. The slices were better when toasted, but still not good enough.

The second loaf sat in the fridge for 3 days, then baked after an hour at room temperature. Significantly better. This long retardation seems to have helped the mealiness quite a bit. Wish I knew enough to understand why.

At first, this loaf seemed too sour, expected because of the long proofing. But the next day, the acidity seemed perfect. Generally, very happy with this loaf, though I think increasing the ratio of bread flour will make it much better.

The farro didn't give the same chewiness as wheat berries. I'll switch to wheat berries as soon as I get some more.

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