Friday, January 14, 2011

Mishaps along the way

The pictures of last week's focaccia never made it onto the hard drive. It must have been operator error somewhere along the line. I do intend to try the formula again with some modifications. First thing will be to better plan my preferment. The cool room temp of 69F isn't conducive to fast yeast growth. Somewhere in hard drive's baking files is a spread sheet on sourdough effectiveness vs. temperature but I don't have one for dry yeast. The preferment was only out for two hours before mixing the main dough. A 4 to 6 hour period might be a better choice until Spring or Summertime baking season commences. Second, bread flour should give me a puffier end result, better for dipping in EVOO. The batch was a little over 900g, 2 lbs., and I used the second half for a pizza. Even though the hydration was around 75%, the dough worked out for a crust. I used a half sheet and have to try a round crust for a pan the next time. This dough may be right for Chicago deep dish pie.

The picture on the left is an oval loaf I made with 22% Heartland Golden Buffalo flour. The flavor is, to use a cliche, sublime. The next time I take out the GB, I plan on using the Heartland AP with malted barley flour. I understand that the barley flour helps for a more vigorous fermentation. I could be wrong but I take my baking as a craft where the mistakes are usually edible.

Today is full of projects. I have a WW loaf with rolled oats proofing downstairs presently. That loaf is for Carol to give to some friends. The basement temp is 60F so the proofing is slow. I also have a pizza dough down there. I borrowed from Maggie Glezer's book on this one. After the dough is mixed and briefly kneaded, the dough is rise slowly for 6-8 hours and then shaped. It's a first time attempt. Since the dough is yeasted, it should rise even if I ignore it in the cool 60F cellar.

I have another another pre-ferment to start this afternoon for tomorrow's house loaf. The use of two small seeds from my starters in one preferment does seem to build a new flavor. If we end up going out, I can just put the loaf in the downstairs fridge for a long, retarded proof. Baking it on Sunday shouldn't be a problem and I may do the "magic dome" trick where I place my boule on the baking stone and cover it with our large stainless steel bowl. That will bring out the blisters on the crust. The better the loaf looks, the better it seems to taste.
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