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Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Variation on Tartine's Flax and Sunflower Bread

A Variation on Tartine's Flax and Sunflower Bread

I really ought not try variations on these recipes until I have a go at the official version.  But hey.  That's the way I roll.

The changes I've made to the official Tartine Flax and Sunflower Whole Wheat bread:

    •    This is just a 20% Whole Wheat bread (Official Tartine WWBread is 70%)
    •    This uses just 1 cup of Flax Seeds (all I had)
    •    This uses another cup of Flax meal to make up for the lack of flax seeds.

flax seed and flax meal

toasted sunflower seeds

mis en place

Now, I should have known better.  The hydration on this little bread was way higher than I was comfortable with using.  Of the 4 cups of boiling water I put over the flax seeds and flax meal, I ended up pouring off about 2/3 cup, and not using it.  Still, this dough was really quite gooey to work with, and never mind forming it into a nice boule.  I had real trouble with this dough.
flax seeds and flax meal with some of the water poured off
flax seeds and roasted sunflower seeds added to dough
very wet dough with slimy flax seeds
pretty sloppy -- won't hold its shape

But it seemed to bake up nice.  If I had been baking it in a proper dutch oven, it would have risen more in the oven.  I think that the lid of this casserole dish stopped it from getting higher.
the cloth from the basket is saturated with wet goo
The scent of this loaf when mixing is great, and it is all due to the roasted sunflower seeds, which lend it a lot of interest.  I think that these roasted seeds complement the flax seeds wonderfully.
I just hope that the loaf is baked through: it feels a little flimsy.

My friend David gets this loaf
The first loaf out of the oven only got 40 minutes, and I felt that it was a trifle under-done.  The loaf I gave away got 5 minutes more. 

This is the crumb of the under-done loaf.  The crust texture is quite soft, and without a good knife, you would only be able to tear it.  The crumb inside is a bit gooey.  Very under-done.  Perhaps the gums released from the flax seeds and meal require a bit longer to bake, who knows?

The taste is okay, but the mouth feel of the overly soft inside is distracting.  When toasted, the bread becomes marginally better -- and the scent of the roasted sunflower seeds is released once more.  I'll still eat it, of course. 

I hope the one I gave David is better cooked, but I have my doubts.  I'll have to try this loaf again.

Notes to Myself

  • Read the recipe. This was one of the suggested variations of the whole wheat bread, not one of the variations of the Tartine Country Loaf. The hydration is different. If I had used 70-100% whole wheat, the hydration would have been fine, I'm sure.
  • You aren't scoring the loaves. Practice scoring the loaves. (But… with the casserole dish inhibiting the rise, what is the point? We are already as high as we can go...)
  • This loaf probably required 10-20 minutes longer to bake properly, i.e. 50-60 minutes in total.

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