All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blunder Bread: A Sourdough Reinhart Hearth Bread Blunder

Blunder Bread

As I bake my way through "Whole Grain Breads" I am still hung up on the first of Reinhart's Hearth Breads.  Before I move on to the next recipe, today I wanted to try a variation with a sourdough starter, instead of a biga.  I also wanted to try one of these hearth loaves without any of the optional oil or sugar (see the last time I made it, with various sugars).

What I ended up with instead was a blunder bread, made due to an inexcusable blunder on my part.

I gathered all the ingredients late at night prior to turning in.  I refreshed my wheat sourdough mother-starter, intending to use only 398g of it in the morning.  So I left it and the biga on the counter overnight, along with the ingredients of the Final Dough.

Maybe I was overly tired when I measured the ingredients.  Yeah, that was it.  Overtired.  Not just stupid.

Mise en place, and then some: one of these things just doesn't belong...
I put all of Reinhart's recipes on recipe cards prior to baking them, to familiarize myself with the process.  But there is always so much more info in the book.  In the margins, for example, are ideas for optional ingredients (like the sourdough starter I am using here).  One can make such a bread with or without extra yeast.

Soaker and Sourdough before I went to bed.

Because I was referring back and forth from his book, to my card, I made a blunder in gathering the ingredients, one that wasn't corrected.  Can you tell from looking at the 'Mise en place' photo what the problem was?  Those of you who can diagnose a bread's problem from looking at the picture above might already have guessed: although the biga gets water to build it, the sourdough starter already has water in it. There is no water in the final dough.  But I had somehow mistaken the biga recipe for the final dough recipe.  I realized this the moment that I dumped the water on.  But nothing could be done about it at that point except to add more flour.

Here is the step-by-step method of my madness.

Ah, the sourdough has risen

It certainly has substantially more volume

I only require just less than 400g of it.

I cut it into small chunks and roll each piece in flour.

There is the soaker.  Looks like some of the gluten is breaking down in the moisture and enzymes.
I do the same with the soaker: I divide it into chunks...

... and roll each piece in fower.

Soaker and Sourdough pieces

Add the Final Dough ingredients.... hmmm, why does that look so wet?!

This feels nothing like a Reinhart loaf.  Way too much water.  WHAT HAVE I DONE?

WAY too much water.  Oh, now I see what I did wrong.

All I can do is add more flour.  I can't start again, that would mean I'd have to bake tomorrow, if I start again.

Knead in more flour.

Scrape all the sticky stuff off my hands and keep kneading in more flour.

Finally, the thing seems to hold a ball shape, more or less.

Knead it one more time and then form it as tight as possible, and place it in  an oiled bowl.

The dough gest covered and bulk ferments in a warm place.

Just over 1 hour.

Shape it and place in a basket.

45 Minutes later, it is ready for the oven.

Upended on the peel.  It is about to be scored and placed in the hot oven.

I did add more flour, as I kneaded this bread.  Maybe as much as 1 1/2 cups or more.  I didn't measure it.  I just added more and more wheat until the dough began to feel right.  It no longer felt like a Reinhart loaf, but hey.  As long as I have bread.

And of course, I'll still have to make one of Reinhart's Sourdough Hearth Breads before I can move on.

I baked it and, as was probably a foregone conclusion, the bread sagged a lot.  It flattened out miserably.

Crumb shots:


This bread stales quickly (is it because I haven't used the extra oil?).  The crumb is nice and airy, full of irregular holes.  It tastes okay, but not sweet like Reinhart's other loaves.  The sourdough taste is very mild.

Nice try, but this isn't a Reinhart recipe.  Next time I bake bread it will be a do-over.  A Muggins Bread.  J'adoube Bread.

Notes to Myself
  • Try, try again.
  • Not sure if the sourdough should be left out overnight on the counter like that.  Probably lost some of its 'oomph' by doing so.  You want it to be peaking when it hits your final dough.  So perhaps let it rise a couple of hours, then refrigerated it until 2 hours before your soaker is ready (12 hrs min.) and you are ready, to make bread.
  • Is it worth doing a taste-test bread-off competition using a loaf with sugar vs a loaf with no-sugar?  Or a loaf-off of a 100% sourdough vs a loaf with sourdough plus yeast?

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