100% Whole Wheat Tartine Bread
Refrigerated and Retarded proofing stage
This bread is rapidly becoming my everyday bread. It is my 'go to' bread when I need something to take with me to work. I will, for example, eat my way through most of both of these loaves while working nights this long weekend.
I made this bread at the same time as the previous loaves (the ones I baked for my wife, a 70% whole wheat with 30% high gluten flour), but I retarded this dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking it this morning. If you compare the two loaves, you would hardly believe that they are both hydrated the same -- 80%. This should put the lie to those who maintain that the crumb of a loaf is more dependent on the water content than it is on the amount of gluten.
I believe that 80% is a bit too high a hydration for this whole wheat flour, and next time I make it I'll drop it back a bit.
The loaves might have benefited from being folded in the bowl, too, but I wasn't around to do that. They wouldn't retain their shape when being formed, they felt sort of gummy.
One of the bowls was proofed in a porcelain bowl because I ran out of baskets. It is a bit misshapen, so I scored it down the middle.
Chad Robertson says on one of the videos that I've previously cited, that when he first retarded his dough it was due to exhaustion: he was falling asleep, and couldn't continue making his bread, so he placed the proofing loaves in the refrigerator thinking that he might be able to continue the next day. But he discovered that the taste was a revelation. From that serendipitous event, he developed his techniques for best bread ever.
The Tartine Bread book says you don't have to retard the dough, you can bake it right away after the proofing stage. But the flavour does improve immensely when you do.
I've discovered this the same way Robertson did. Working nights, I was only able to bake two of the four loaves I was making before I was forced to sleep. These two loaves were retarded in the fridge. I think I was also hoping that the coldness of the fridge might help the loaves retain their form a bit, once they hit the hot dutch oven to bake, but in that I was mistaken. The taste, however, was wonderful.
|Eaten with a bit of butter and a very thin slice of sage cheese that I picked up in Bayfield.|
There are layers of taste here that you cannot get from purchased bread, at least I never have. The wild starter indeed cannot be described as a sour taste, but it is mildly acidic. There is a bitter edge to the bread that is the whole wheat flavour I love. There is the sweetness of the crumb that unfolds in your mouth as the enzymes in your saliva do their work.
Still room for improvement. I find the crumb a bit gummy and it could have been baked another 4-5 minutes. This also might be fixed if the hydration is backed off a bit.
Notes to Myself
- Next time, try a 77% hydration for your 100% whole wheat dough made with a 100% whole wheat starter.
- Whenever possible, retard the proofing dough overnight in the refrigerator, the taste improves.
- Whenever possible, try folding the dough in the bowl during the bulk fermentation to improve its elasticity. Nice to know that you don't have to do this, though, if you get busy, like I did.