Baguettes are not really my favourite bread. One of the reason is that I really don’t know how a good baguette should taste, the other one is that I have a lot to learn before I can properly shape and score a baguette.
Here is my effort to bake Hamelman’s baguette with poolish. The recipes has a 30% of poolish and 66% of overall hydration. Here are some pictures of the procedure and the final outcome.
The crust turned out to be very very thin, the crumb was open and soft but not really airy. The taste is quite nutty, but not intense.
This is my first rye bread, and you’ll see what I mean, by looking at the results. After mixing the ingredients you know that you are on a different planet. No gluten: how can you even think to give it a shape? well apparently pentosans work, not really like gluten but they manage somehow to hold the dough together.
Reading the recipe one immediately realizes the huge difference with “usual” wheat breads: 30 minutes bulk fermentation, 50 minutes proofing. This means that the dough is not able to stand a long proofing.
The recipe require a soaker made with chopped rye. I bought whole rye and chopped it in a blender.
I fed my sourdough twice at 12 hours intervals, and the used 15 grams for the final build. I dind’t have a rye sourdough, so I just used my wheat sourdough. I scaled the ingredients so to have 1 kg of dough. I gently shaped the final dough and put it in a pullman pan for 50 minutes. But yesterday night I was a bit busy and temperature was around 28 centigrade, probably 40 minuted were enough. Then I baked it for 15 minute at 250°C and for 1 hour at 210°C.
Overall, and considering that this was my first rye bread, the result is not that bad.
And here comes the last June homework as a mellowbaker: Beer bread with roasted barley. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning but I must that I’ll bake this bread again. I find it very good with cheese.
But let’s start from the beginning.
First the recipe for one loaf of about 1 kg:
|Whole-wheat flour||120 g|
|Roasted barley||30 g|
I prepared the poolish in the morning and baked the bread late in the night around 11 p.m.
After 12 hours I mixed all the ingredients with the poolish, let it ferment for 2 hours, folded it once. Preshaped as an oval, shaped as a batard and let it proof in a banneton. Then I scored it, and baked it.
Here are some pictures
I found the dough very easy to handle, at 68 % hydration I expected something a little bit more loose, but the dough was absolutely easy to handle. This is probably due to the 20 % of whole wheat which absorbs a lot of water. Scoring the dough was very easy and for the first time I made two decent scores…well, at least for me. The importance of a proper scoring is sometimes underestimated.
There has been a long debate on how to properly malt and roast the barley at mellowbakers.com. I tried to sprout some barley, a (vegetarian) friend of mine gave me some suggestion, but in the end I decided that since I know almost nothing about barley I would just roast it without any attempt to malt. So I put some husked barley in the oven at 180 °C for 6 minutes, as Hamelman suggests, and then I ground it very finely. The final result is a powder with a light color (see pictures). This roasted barley gives a very nice flavour and aftertaste to the bread.
The beer. I live in Munich and Bavaria is the land of Weizenbier…but I used a Lager :) . The effect of beer on the flavour is really important, in my case it added a nice bitterness.
The techniques and the recipes are almost the same as the other Vermont sourdoughs but, as Hamelman says, the 5 percent difference in the levain and whole flour has a deep impact on the bread.
I scaled the ingredients so to have 1.8 kg of dough (two loaves of about 900 g each). I fed the sourdough just once and let it ripen for 12 hours, then I took 30 g of the mature culture and prepared the levain. Other 12 hours of feeding and then the final dough. I folded the dough just once, whereas for the standard Vermont sourdough I folded the dough twice. The dough was quite easy to shape. After shaping I a put the dough in two bannetons and then in the fridge for 10 hours.
I always forget that using bannetons for so long needs some extra flouring.
The crumb was not so bad, quite open
The bread is really good, I am still deciding which Vermont sourdough I like better. After three days it still has a very good taste and staling is just at the beginning.
As a devoted mellowbaker, I thought that baking Hot Cross Buns would be a kind of initiation ritual, so I did it on Friday.
Really delicious. I knew something about allspice, but I had never used it before Friday, it was a real discovery. Hot cross Buns are easy to bake, the most important thing, at least from my point of view, is to pay attention to a proper gluten development. I use a planetary mixer (kitchenaid) and I think that you should at least double the time that Hamelman suggests in second speed. He says 3 minutes in second speed, I would go for at least 6 minutes. I let it go for about 4 minutes then I added the currants and mixed for 3 more minutes, for a total of 7 minutes. I think this is necessary for a proper gluten development, or the dough is too soft and fragile.
One thing I don’t understand about the recipe. Usually when you have fats (like butter in this case) these are added after gluten development, I add butter with the flour only when I bake a tarte, in which case case gluten development is explicitly avoided. I understand that in Hot Cross Buns a strong gluten is not really necessary but still adding butter with flour was quite strange for me. Anyway, I have followed Hamelman and the results is really perfect.
Here are some pictures:
I will bake them again and again and again…
How is baking with rye flour? This is my first experience with this cereal. I know from theory that it does not provide a strong gluten network, and breads made with 70-90% rye are very compact with a strong flavour. This rustic bread has 10% of whole rye flour and 10% of whole wheat flour. Well the 10% rye gives a very interesting taste to the bread, although after this bread I must say that I am not at all a fan of rye, I am not used to its taste, but everything can change.
The ingredients together:
The dough was a little bit too sticky even after a long mixing. The final proof was made in a banneton and the oven spring was quite good. Here are some pictures
So this is my second loaf of Vermont Sourdough with Whole wheat flour. The first I made it, I proofed it for about two hours, but I had the impression that the dough was overproofed. This time I put the final dough in the bannetons and let then stay in the fridge at about 9-10 degrees for 9 hours (11 p.m. to 8 a.m.). The dough didn’t rise too much in the fridge and when I tried to unmold it was very stuck to the banneton (not enough flour on the bannetons?…this was just my second time). It took me a few minutes to slowly take the dough out without spoiling it.
Then I scored the oval bread with one very long cut, and the round one with two parallel cuts. Again, I must definitely improve my scoring ability. When I baked it…I was so surprised!! The oven kick was really huge.
Some pictures of the baking process:
This is the best bread I have ever made up to now.
My notes: The first time I baked the bread I fed my sourdough just once before the final build, this time I fed the sourdough twice. Retarding in the fridge for 8 hours has a strong effect on the taste and flavour. The crumb was much more open than the first time I made it. The bread was a bit more sour (perfect for my taste) and I think it has better keeping qualities, but I’ll report on this in a few days, if it lasts for so long :)