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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread with Fermented 8-Grain Mixture

Whole Wheat Bread with Fermented 8-Grain Mixture

EatDrink is one of those little "FREE PLEASE TAKE ONE" magazines that you find in various places around town that are essentially paid for by being full of advertising.  Most of the ads in this little glossy mag are from local restaurants, so it caters to people who are interested in food as entertainment (and that is virtually everyone with a penny of disposable income).  There are a few light articles, some recipes, and a few tips on timely travel spots.  As free mags go, this one is much better than most.  It must be expensive to produce, it is high quality paper and the writing is succinct and valuable to people who are interested in food.  Obviously the writers (like Chef Christie Massé, more about her to follow) are passionate about food, are interested in what's available locally, and they know their stuff.

One of the recent magazines (July/August)  had a couple-of-paragraphs blurb on "FreshFest" in St. Thomas (held in August), and a recipe for pizza from Writer and Chef Christie Massé of Crust Catering and Bakery in St. Thomas.

Massé is trained in psychology, art, philosophy and food.   She and her significant other, Chef Wil Gaynor started the Crust Catering and Bakery and they also provide artisan breads to the Horton Farmer's Market and Farmgate Markets in St. Thomas.  Here is a link to Crust's bakery page.  I'm sure that if I lived anywhere nearby this place I would never have had to learn how to bake a loaf of my own bread.

If you have time to wade through the online interactive pdf file of the archived eatdrink magazine, you will find Massé's original pizza recipe on page 44-45.

FreshFest Fire-Pit Pizza
The recipe for pizza caught the eye of my wife because it is a multigrain pizza recipe that contains ingredients from Arva Flour Mill's 8-grain mixture.   I happened to have some of that mixture on hand, so she thought I'd like to try it out.

Unfortunately, the recipe calls for soaker and biga that take 12+ hours to put together, and I didn't have time for that, on the evening when she wanted me to "whip up" some crust.  This recipe calls for time and prep.

But I got to thinking: why did bakers come up with soakers and bigas in the first place?  Wasn't it mostly to duplicate the fuller, more complicated flavours of a sourdough?  Why not just use sourdough to make this pizza?

Dividing the dough(s): Half gets the 8grain mixture folded in gently, the other half it is kneaded in

Well, my reasoning might not have been sound -- biga and soaker will make its own taste that is not sourdough-like -- but I decided to try some 8-grain mixture with the sourdough I had on hand.  It would still take some time, sitting overnight, but at least I would use up some of the sourdough I had on hand and continuously refresh.  I used my 100% hydrated whole wheat starter on both the dough and the 8-grain mixture, and then combined them at around the time of dividing the dough.  With half of it, I baked some bread, and with the other half of the dough, I used some of it to make a pizza.

And the result was my own pizza and bread that I am sure is nothing like Crust's Pizza and Bread.  But I've saved Chef Massé's recipe, and I might still try it some day soon.

My Pizza
I used about a quarter of the dough for the entire pan.  The folded-in 8-grain mixture was a bit chunky, but I just pressed it into place.  I used too much oil, and too much cheese, so the result was a bit too wet and greasy.  The dough was a bit sour.  Masse's recipe would have yielded better results, but I outsmarted myself.

My Bread
This was a bit misshapen.  Was it slightly over-proofed?  Probably: I baked the pizza first, when the dough was ready, so the bread had a bit longer to sit.

It tasted fine to me.  But it was a bit sour for most people's taste, I think: probably a soaker for the 8-grain mixture would have worked better, instead of adding 200g of sourdough overnight, to add ferment.  I could have used more of the mixture too: this was merely 100g or so of the mixture, per loaf, and although you can taste it in the bread, double the amount would have shown up better.

Notes to Myself
  • Watch for further articles by Chef Christie Massé.  She obviously likes to write, and knows a thing or two about bread (and pizza).  To find out what she's writing about recently, try Crust's Facebook Page, that seems to be updated frequently.
  • My pizza dough was a bit sour -- surprise, surprise.  I also put too much olive oil on the pan before making it, and it made the dough a bit soggy rather than crisp.  I would make Massé's recipe or mine again, but next time I would slide it onto a hot stone rather than just press it onto a tray like Jim Lahey does.
  • The bread was a bit sour too: the fermented 8 grain mixture added quite a bit of sourness on top of what was already in the dough.  But I liked it anyway.  Next time I think I'll divide up the amount of starter between the 8-grain mixture and the dough.  The idea of adding the 8-grain mixture at the very end of the bulk fermentation was iffy.  I think I overworked the dough by kneading it in at the last minute like that.  The bread turned out to be a bit flaccid.
  • Next time you make a bread like this, you can try putting 200g of 8-grain mixture into a soaker, which you can add during some of the turns of the bulk-fermentation stage of the dough.

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