Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Variation on Pioneer Bread

Usually, I bake with a sourdough starter but since I have a large amount of active dry yeast in the freezer of downstairs refrigerator, AKA the beer fridge, I intentionally set out to bake a threesome of yeasted loaves.
This first loaf is from the recipes that are on the Kansas Wheat Commission web site. Originally, it's given using volume rather than weight measurements. There was also an extravagant overuse of yeast so I modified to use a pre-ferment to cut down to about 1/3 the original quantity. I proofed the ADY in warm water but instant dry yeast could be mixed in with the flour. Since the quantities are so small, just use the same measurements for IDY. I didn't have honey on hand so I used some pure maple syrup. There was no overbearing sweetness in the finished loaf.
I used a towel lined bowl for the shaped dough during proofing because I don't have a round banneton. That bowl may have been part of the reason I had trouble placing the dough on the parchment paper. I've since bought a 1.5 lb bag of Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Flour for dusting towels and bannetons to eliminate as many problems with the dusting flour as I can. Other Pioneer Bread recipes mention proofing the loaf in an oiled pie pan or cake pan. I'm not sure that would work out if I were to do a retarded proofing but it should work if you proof on the counter.


100g bread flour
72g water @ 85F
< 1/8 tsp ADY or <1g ADY
The idea is to use a small amount of yeast to have a longer flavor building development of the preferment. If your room temperature is warm, say around 80F, a small pinch of salt, <1g, will slow down fermentation. Don't watch the clock, watch the preferment so that when it's ripe, you can start your mixing procedure.


35g yellow corn meal
45g cold water
The corn meal and water should be stirred, covered, and either left on the counter or put in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This is inexact but the soak will soften the corn meal.

200g bread flour
65g white whole wheat flour
35g rye flour
155g water at 85F
1/2 tsp, <2g ADY
7g kosher salt
2 TBL sunflower oil, about 30ml
2 TBL maple syrup or honey, about 30ml

1. Add the ADY to the warm water and proof for about 10 minutes.
2. In the mixer bowl, add soaker, bread flour, white wheat, yeasted water. Mix for one minute at low speed or until the ingredients are a shaggy mass. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover for 20 minutes.
3. Add the rye flour, sunflower oil, maple syrup, and salt. Mix at low speed for three minutes to combine ingredients then 4 minutes at second speed.
4. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, knead for about 30 seconds and shape into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover.
5. Bulk ferment for 1.5 hours with stretch and folds at 30 and 60 minutes.
6. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover the dough and let it relax for 10 minutes.
7. This dough can be shaped into a boule or batard. It's a little big for an 8"x4" pan and small for a 9"x5" pan. As I mentioned above, it can be proofed in a well oiled pie or cake pan when covered, at room temperature, in the style of a pan de Horiadaki. I chose to make a boule and used a  6 hour retarded fermentation.
8. The loaf took about 75 minutes to get up close to room temperature and adequately proofed. Your times will vary, watch the dough not the clock.
9. The oven was preheated to 475F for about 30 minutes and the baking stone was situated in the middle. After placing the boule on parchment paper, I slashed the top and loaded the oven. The oven was turned down to 450F for 18 minutes. At 18 minutes, I turned the loaf around and pulled the parchment paper. I then turned the oven down to 425F and continued baking for another 17 minutes. The loaf was checked for temperature, internal temp was 204F, and pulled from the oven.

Despite my procedural errors that caused the dough to stick and some deflation, the loaf did have oven spring. The flavor is quite good and merits another attempt with better procedural discipline. When I get that right, I'll post a picture or two and then get to work on developing a sourdough variation for sometime next month. Questions and comments are welcome, especially from bakers who try their hand at this formula.

BTW, the first peppers are now on the plants. I have a couple of jalapenos and at least four chile de arbol have shown up for work.

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