Friday, December 31, 2010

Bake, bake, bake

The first loaf is done and on the cutting board so to say. It's a country loaf from J Hamelman's "Bread". I chose it because, first I want to use my supply of active dry yeast that I keep in the freezer and I was intrigued by the very large amount of preferment used, about 50%. The preferment is in the style of a biga and is about 60% hydration, really firm. I started it a room temp and then set it in the basement at around 60F to slow down the fermentation. It was good to go after 14 hours despite using around 1/16 t of yeast.
The loaf is very light and had good oven spring. I miss the added flavor of that my starter  contributes but the clean flavor from using so little yeast compensates. This is a good recipe for new bakers to try out since it uses a preferment that should be convincing of its utility to someone who has never used or heard of preferments before. There are a couple of other variations included in "Bread" that are based on using strictly bread flour or an AP like KAFs or DMs AP, both of which are in the 11.5-12% protein range.
This is a recipe to bake again and the other versions should be good for occasions when folks might be reluctant to eat a sourdough because they're wary of the name sourdough. I do have pictures of this loaf and will post them when I can figure how to use Photobucket to attach them.
I've got my pain de levain and sourdough walnut and raisin loaf warming up after their 18 hour retarded proof in the fridge. They should be ready for loading in the oven by mid afternoon. Once baked, they'll be on the way to the NYE dinner in Farley, MO.

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