Thursday, January 24, 2013

An Abfrisch Imitation

This bread has its beginnings in a book about Viennese bakers in the 1930s and was brought to my attention in a post on the Wild Yeast site by a blogger who uses the handle of "Plotzblog". He has excellent taste in the formulas he chooses to post and his execution is outstanding. His posts are in German, a language whose surface I barely scratched in two years of study in high school and now have have very little retention at all after some 45 years. Google translator may be my friend in some cases but the translation from German to English seems to indicate that there are troubled relations between the languages these days.


Be that as it may, I was ready to take a second attempt at this bread. The translated formula starts off with a two stage build of a really stiff biga clocking in at 50% hydration built up over 5 hours. Plotzblog used fresh yeast, a commodity that isn't readily found in retail outlets in the KC, MO area. So I improvised by using a small amount of starter and expected a much longer build that finally finished in 24 hours.When I uncovered the starter, I could hear a sizzling sound which I took to be fermentation gas escaping through the moistened starter.
The posted formula for the main dough specifies 5 g of yeast. His formulas are usually very precise so I figured that dry yeast was intended. The bulk fermentation is listed as 30 minutes at 24-26C so I used 4 grams of active dry yeast for a slower bulk fermentation that I could observe and control better.  I threw in a stretch and fold after 45 minutes and began the preshape at 1 hr 30 minutes.

Even though I proofed the loaf in my very cool garage, 50F temperature, the dough rose vigorously and after 2 hours it was time to fire up the oven. I thought I was getting really close to over proofing.
After slashing the loaf, I loaded the loaf onto the baking stone in a 450F oven for fifteen minutes. The oven was lowered to 400F for the final 22 minutes after I turned the loaf around. At the 37 minute mark, the internal loaf temperature was 205F and it was time to cool off on a wire rack.

I didn't slice the loaf for 20 hours after drawing it from the oven. Even though I estimate the hydration to be around 64-65%, it turned out to be moist, soft, and somewhat sweet. Mrs PG really likes the crust on this loaf. Since I have another loaf cooling off as I type this post, I plan on slicing the remainder of this rye bread to freeze and use the slices when I want to eat something that I expect to go well with this bread. It does merit regular bakes once I get the final tweaks in. I think it can stand a little more hydration and I'd like to try caraway seeds, a combination of caraway and chernuschka seeds, or rye chops.

First Stage (Frischel)
36 g whole rye flour
18 g water
6 g starter

Second Stage (Abfrisch)
All of Frischel
123 g whole rye flour
62 g water
At this point I added 22 g more water to make the mixing easier. It helped but it was still very dense. This adjustment was subtracted from the main dough water.

Main Dough
All of Abfrisch
340 g bread flour
220 g water at 85F
4 g active dry yeast
10 g kosher salt

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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