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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everyday Bread #36 - Reinhart's Basic Sourdough from BBA

Continuing to bake some sourdough.  This is part of the experiment that I started a couple of days ago (Everyday Bread #35).  Today's 2 loaves were baked with the rye motherstarter elaboration.

I didn't knead for 14 minutes, more like 4.  And it was much wetter than the dough I used the other day.  In fact, it started like glop, but I just used the heel of my hands to stretch it outward a few times, and it quickly formed its gluten and became easier to work with.  I did give it a 5 minute rest, and then I kneaded another minute, and that seemed to work okay.  I oiled a bowl and let it sit, covered.

It was a high humidity day, this morning, when the dough was sitting for its bulk fermentation.  I gave it 2 1/2 hours.  I don't think it precisely doubled.  Then I folded it once on the counter.  I set one to proof on the pizza peel, coated with a ton of cracked wheat to help it slide off later; the other one I put in a couche lined basket.

This afternoon, we could hear the thunder, and it must have rained somewhere nearby, because it became distinctly cooler.  Once again I only waited about 2 hours, and I don't think the dough precisely doubled.  But I preheated the oven at 1 1/2 hours, and stuck the first dough in to bake when it was preheated 30 minutes.

This was the dough on the pizza peel.  It was starting to flow again, sideways and lengthways, so it got stuck on the peel on either end, and that explains why it is so misshapen.  I had no great hopes for it, but there was some nice oven spring.

I really have to clean out the oven.  Something has dripped down onto the bottom near the element, and every time you open the oven door at high temps, the fire alarm goes off.  Not exactly a soothing environment with which to achieve the perfect zen loaf.  I am always rushing the oven door opening and closing, and running over to wave some wind at the alarm to get it to shut up.

The boule ended up a little too close to the edge, and part of it dripped over.  I should have called this blog 'bread fail blog', or something similar, because no loaf of mine ever seems to turn out right.  This boule didn't have much oven spring.  I thought I had folded them about equally.  I know that I formed them differently, but I felt that I had pulled the gluten cloak approximately similarly in both.  Maybe I should have put the seam down in the basket, I didn't do that.  But it was sticking to my hand, and I thought it would work better this way for this dough.

I didn't follow Reinhart's suggestions for oven heat for these loaves.  I preheated to 475 degrees, and kept the temperature there for the entire bake.  I did turn the loaves at the 10 minute mark, and then baked for another 15 minutes.  I used steam.

The crumb is quite nice.  The holes that my wife demanded for her jam are there.  I quite like the chewiness of the crust, and the cracked wheat gives it a nice flavour -- a nuttiness that you don't expect.  I'm not sure that my wife will like that chewiness, though.  To my tastebuds, I can't detect any sourdough scent or flavour, and neither can I detect the rye motherstarter from which the entire loaf has risen.  Despite its ugly shape, this bread tastes good.  I wonder if I can make a whole wheat version of this, and still get a nice rise?

[Update: my wife quite likes the crust.  "Even the seeds are nice," she said, not realizing that they were cracked wheat.  She likes the fact that she can taste whatever she puts on it -- like her egg salad, made with our very own home-grown eggs.  To me, that just means the bread itself has no flavour.]

Notes to Myself:
  • Next time you try a batard shape, put it on a couche to proof, and then try moving it to a floured peel to slide into the oven, see if the moisture content stays in the couche and you are better able to move the loaf so that it doesn't stick to the peel.
  • You aren't scoring your loaves: is that why they don't have the oven spring?  Once again, try upending the basket on the floured peel before transfer into the oven on the stone.  Once you have it on the peel, you can score it and then slide it into the oven.

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