Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Lucky Guess

Some days, the unintended gives you what you wanted in the first place. It all started harmlessly enough when I wanted to bake another riff on my usual house loaf. I built my starter on Sunday morning.

30g  75% white starter
53g  water
56g  AP flour
19g  whole wheat flour

About 2 PM, I came up with the idea that I would soak my WW and multi grain flours at the hydration level I would aim at in the final dough, 70%.

100g  WW flour, from Gleeson Farm, VT
25g    multi grain flour
88g    water

The soaker didn't look very wet and the color, a dusty dirt color, was hardly inspiring. I just let it sit there hoping that enzymes and time would do some unseen magic if I just ignored my misgivings. After supper, I started my mis en place.

300g  bread flour
209g  water at 90F
15g    unsalted butter
9g      kosher salt
4g      dried malt extract

I mixed the DME and flour together. From there, I added most of my water into the starter bowl and whisked to loosen the slurry. That went into my mixer bowl and I used the rest of the water to clear out the remaining starter slurry into the bowl. Then I added about 40-50g of the flour, a large spoonful, into the bowl. Using the dough hook, I stirred up the bowl for about 45 seconds. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do this with the intent that the yeast will be better distributed. It's never done any harm and since I don't add another piece to be cleaned, I keep doing this. The Breadcetera blog suggests doing this with the whisk attachment and that works as well but it's another piece to be cleaned.
At this point, I added the rest of my flour, cut up the soaker into chunks to go into the bowl, and stirred with the dough hook for about 35-40 seconds to get a shaggy mass. After scraping the hook, I covered the bowl and let it start the autolyse period which lasted 25 minutes. I then added the salt and cut the butter in, folded the dough over, and began 3 minutes at low speed to combine the ingredients. A quick turnover of the dough and I went to the second speed for three more minutes. At the end of the mixing, the soaker was well mixed into the the dough.The dough was turned out on to a lightly floured surface for a quick knead and shaped into a ball. I placed the dough into an oiled bowl for a 2.5 hour fermentation and covered my bowl.
I did two stretch and folds at 50 and 100 minutes then turned out the dough for a rough shaping into a ball. I simply covered my dough with the bowl for 10 minutes to let the dough relax. I then shaped my dough into a batard like shape for my oval banneton. I covered the banneton with some plastic wrap that had been sprayed with Pam and placed the banneton in a plastic bag that was folded over for a long night's retarded proofing in the refrigerator.
In the morning, I took the loaf out of the fridge to let it warm up a little, just enough to calm my apprehensions about putting a cold loaf in a 475F oven. After the oven warmed up to 475F, I placed the loaf on some parchment paper for loading the loaf onto my baking/pizza stone and slashed the loaf. I used an inverted cookie sheet for a peel. I'm not sure about that pattern but I'm not competing so no harm done.
I loaded the loaf, misted the oven, and after closing the oven, lowered the temp to 450F for the first 15 minutes. I misted the oven a couple of times during the first 5 minutes of the bake. At 15 minutes, I pulled out the parchment paper and turned the loaf around. I turned the oven down to 425F for 17 more minutes. At the end of that time, the internal temp was 205F so I shut off the heat and left the oven door cracked open for 5 minutes. I then took the loaf out to cool on a wire rack. It crackled as it cooled in that funny rice krispies voice.

I'm not sure that the open quality of the crumb is visible. I either need a new camera with better resolution capacity or learn how to better use what I already have in my camera bag. However, the crumb is open and there is gelatinization evident. It tastes pretty good too. If there's one thing I would change right off the bat, I'd use more water in the soaker, perhaps a hydration of 100% instead of 70%. I can't quibble with the outcome. More to be added after I return from Wichita.

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