I was jonesing for some bread. I was completely out, already a day previously having eaten my last crust. But I couldn't bake on the 21nd, I had to do all my last minute Christmas shopping. So it was on the 22nd that I baked. And I guess my exorphin depletion was so bad, my hands were shaking, my eyes weren't seeing straight, I could barely measure the ingredients. The two loaves I baked were total failures. This was the worst of them.
I eat it, nevertheless. I shove the rough slices into my junkie mouth, tasting them with my junkie lips. I'm addicted to bread, even this awful, miserable loaf.
I had been reading the adventures of another bread head, hmcinorganic, who posts on the Fresh Loaf Blogs. Good ol' hmcinorganic: he, or she, whoever it is, made a whole wheat sourdough that sounded interesting to me. They made a "123" Sourdough bread, with Whole Wheat.
Ah, the Fresh Loaf Blogs. At least they are a community of like-minded addicts. Me, I'm on my own. Not even as interesting as a social drinker. I'm a closet bread-eating junkie. And at times like these, I think its just as well. My bread is obviously not ready for prime-time. A couple of people this Christmas season asked me for one of my loaves of bread. No sir. My bread ain't good enough for human consumption. As evidenced here.
Mis en place
I admit that I like baker's percentages, rather than these 123 conceptualizations of the bread (as in 1 part starter, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour(s)). hmcinorganic used 9 oz, 18 oz, and then 27 oz for the bread he/she made. I measured mine out in grams, but it is the same 123 ratio (the salt is just 1 Tbsp, not really counted in the 123 formulation):
- starter 255g
- water 510g
- apflour 510g
- wwflour 255g
- salt 15g
But I needed that exorphin fix. I was in a rush to get to that rush.
I waited 6 hours before adding the salt, to give my sourdough wild yeast a head start
Then I kneaded in the salt
And I set the dough in a bowl to rise
What went wrong?
Leaving aside the 15g of starter, the total flour 885g is 100%; total hydration 630g is 71%. So why did this bowl of dough jiggle like jello? That is not such a high hydration dough. I saw it jiggle, I stretched it and folded it a couple of times in the bowl before turning it out into a highly floured basket. It felt more like a 90 percent hydrated dough -- had I mismeasured? The dough was in the bowl 14 hours -- probably too long, but we had to go and cut down our Christmas tree); then the dough was in that basket an hour and a half before I preheated the oven. Was it overproofed?
Before one of the in-the-bowl stretch&folds
After one of the in-the-bowl stretch&folds
Just before putting it in the basket
I guess I should have seen that it was too sloppy to make a nice free-standing loaf.
I guess I should have realized that there was no gluten structure to hold it up.
I guess I should have floured my basket a lot more.
Dough in the basket: is it too tired?
So it wouldn't come out of the basket onto the stone (I suspected this, so I decided to skip the step of putting it on a pizza peel). I ended up just upending the basket onto the stone and closing the oven on the whole thing, hoping that in 10 minutes it would harden a nice exoskeleton and would then come out of the basket more freely. Junkies looking for their fix don't think clearly.
Keeping an eye on the upended basket in the oven so it doesn't burn
Just get the dough out of the basket already!
Of course, with my basket on a hot stone in a 450 degree oven, I had to watch it carefully so it wouldn't catch on fire. This made me very nervous.
At about 8 minutes in, I decided that the basket was getting a bit brown and I'd better remove it before it caught fire.
The dough just blobbed out onto the hot stone. I thought, maybe if I give it one more stretch and fold here on the hot stone, maybe it will at least not drip over the side of the stone. So I shaped it one last time, right in the oven.
Ay Carumba. What a mess.
This is just sad.
And then, just to top it all off: it is not even baked long enough.
These crumb shots don't do it justice. It really is still gooey inside.
Look at the goo on that knife!
The junkie, with trembling hands, cut himself a slice and toasted it, not caring what it looked like.
Bread only an exorphin junkie could love.
Notes to Myself
- Where to start? So many mistakes here, you can't really call this bread.
- I bet that not even would the chickens eat this. You must eat it all by yourself. As punishment.