Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A soaker loaf

These pictures show off my first, really successful sourdough loaf with a soaker as part of the formula. I was only minimally scientific in my development of the formula and I still managed to bake this without drama or trauma.
The soaker was 50g of home milled whole wheat and 50g of WheatMontana multi grain cereal. It was an overnight cold soak in 100g 0f water I added 1g of kosher salt to slow down the enzymatic reactions.
The rest was fairly straight forward. 250g of Dakota Maid bread flour, another 50g of whole wheat, 165g of water, 8g kosher salt, 4g of dried malt extract, and 180g of 80% hydration starter elaborated in a single build. I do something like that every week. It works for us. Nothing special was done in the mixing or, bulk fermentation though I did do an 18 hour retarded proofing in the fridge.
During the bake, I got an unexpected oven spring and an aroma that went into the corners of our little house on the edge of the prairie. That may or not have been caused by the enzymes in the soaker breaking down the starches into sugars such as maltose. The crust does look a little pale but this was a lean dough with no added fats or sweeteners.
In bread baking, the proof is not in the pudding but the eating. The soaker effort paid off well. the cereal added some color to the crumb but wasn't crunchy or objectionable in the eating. The crumb was reasonably open for a loaf with 25% WW and another 50g of grains. I think that I'll work on this formula a couple more times before I declare it done.
I have another soaker loaf cooling off as I type so the pictures will have to wait for a day or so. It's based on Hamelman's Oatmeal Wheat Loaf from the book "Bread". I substituted flaked malted wheat for the oatmeal and chose a sourdough starter instead of yeast. I can already tell that I'll have to work on that formula and will write on my tweaks in the next posting.
Outside, there are some early signs of spring. They are encouraging despite the forecast for snow tomorrow. I've seen quite a few leaves from daffodils starting up, the first tulip, and a patch of crocuses. Nothing of note is happening with all of our peonies. The stalks from last year do appear to have had some minor growth since I clipped them close to the ground last fall. I do admit to having pulled the straw mulch back from the garlic and saw probably 8 or 10 shoots. The rest will follow as the days grow longer and the ground warmer. It's not time to fertilize them yet. The fruitless pear tree lost the branches that I deemed hazardous to my head and health as I mow under the tree.
After that, no one should expect me to seek work as an arborist.
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