Sunday, April 10, 2016

50% Whole Wheat with Biga

This is another bread coming from Ken Forkish's book and this is the first bread that I have made in a very long time which contains a pre-ferment that does not contain sourdough or levain. This is also the first time I have created a biga in probably 2 years. I went ahead and skipped the other three breads in Forkish's prefermented chapter because, as is the usual for most of his formulas, they contain very little whole grains, and I have a hard time with that. 

My palate and my life's mission to eat wholesome food does not align well with most of his formulas. That being said, I still intend to bake through his book, but I will pick and choose those formulas that allow me to be true to myself and my health goals. There are several breads in his book that contains very little whole grain, but I will still bake them.  However, I will ignore the ones that I am not excited about. The good news is that after this bread, I will be moving on to some levain breads. In the future I will go back to the more white formulas but I will adapt the recipes so that they contain a bit more fiber. 

This biga is 80% hydrated, which is probably the highest hydrated biga I have ever worked with. This bread also contains a high preferment with 50% flour. It is almost like pain rustique in that way (though a biga is used rather than a poolish). The biga is allowed to ferment four roughly 13 hours. It has a slightly fruity alcohol-like aroma when it is ready. The dry ingredients are then mixed and the final dough water (100 degrees F) is added and it is made into a rough mass. I failed to stop here and kept pinching and folding because I forgot about the biga. To compensate for this,I spent a bit more time in the pinching and folding phase to make sure that the dough was uniformly mixed. The dough then received 3 folds in 15 minute intervals for the first hour and then was allowed to bulk ferment for 2.25 hours.

The dough was then divided and when I was about to shape this bread, I had an epiphany. I realized that this could be made in the style of a cabiatta, which gets folded on itself into whatever shape the baker would like. It is then placed in a well-floured linen and baked as is. It has the consistency of cabiatta dough, something I intend to come back to in the future. I did not want to deal with a possible failure, so I shaped this bread into boules and placed them seam side down in flour dusted and wheat bran dusted cane baskets. These breads are then allowed to proof for one hour at roughly 70 degrees and are then baked in the Forkish way in my 3 qt and 5qt combo cooker. 30 minutes covered and then15-25 minutes uncovered. I again used tons of flour to prevent the bottoms from scorching. 

I brought a loaf with me to my mom's house but decided to give in to my mother's new next door neighbors who are juts the kindest folks. They let us use their cooler for my sisters wedding shower to store our food, and even trudged over to our house in the snow that morning to drop stuff off. I was glad to have given them a change to enjoy some artisan bread form my melodic hearth!

This is what it looks like when I removed the lid

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Forkish Overnight White

This is the first time that I have made a bread that is completely devoid of wholegrain in years, and I almost feel bad about it. My brain is trying not to accept the fact that there are two loaves from the devil cooling on my kitchen counter. It just does not have the same appeal to me as a rich whole grain bread does. Perhaps it is the inner dietitian in me. I mean fresh hearth bread, is fresh hearth bread! And it has taken great will power to resist these loaves all afternoon, but eventually my will power will fail and I will give in to the temptation. It always does. My career in weight management has certainly taught me that much. 

I am really enjoying this Forkish book. The main reason is that I am just happy to be baking again. I am also very pleased to have the motivation to fit this into my busy schedule and I am most happy that his method of bread production is very conducive to the working and commuting baker. I finally found a way to balance the time between the working week and the weekend to bake. This has been my struggle for the past 15 or so months. Since taking his book out of the public library, I have purchased a 12 qt Rubbermaid container with a lid, which is going to come in handy in the future. I have also purchased parchment paper, but so far, that experiment has not gone as well as I had hoped. Kelly will certainly get great use out of the sheets though. 

The overnight white starts out with a 30 minute autolyse of all of the flour. The yeast and salt are then added and the folding and pinching method is used to incorporate all of the ingredients. I made sure to keep my hands damp during this process because it helps to keep it from becoming overly gucky and overly frustrating. The dough is then given three folds within 90 minutes and is then allowed to ferment at room temperature for 12-14 hours. This long ferment can happen because the dough contains very little yeast. 

After a visit to my parents, and just before going to bed, I checked on the dough. The dough had not moved very much. I removed the middle rack from my oven, heated it to the warm function for two minutes, stuffed the vent with foil and turned the oven off. I then placed the 12 qt rubbermaid tub in the oven and let it sit overnight. When I woke up the dough was nearly four times the size. It is possible that the dough moved a little to far along. The dough was then turned out and divided. 

I have begun sprinkling flour in the places where I will divide the dough. I find that this makes the process much cleaner and easier. The dough was then shaped into two boules using the fold and pull method described in Forkish's books. This method works quite well for dough with hydrations over 70%. The dough was then proofed for 60 minutes while the oven with cast iron combo cookers was preheated to 475. The bread was baked for 30 minutes lidded. The lid was then removed and the bread baked for an additional 15 minutes. I was happy with the appearance, but later noticed that the bottoms were not quite right. The breads would probably have benefitted from another 2-3 minutes in the oven. The parchment paper was annoying to get off of the loaves and I know that I am going to need a lot of practice to perfect this technique. But not to worry, because I will have plenty of loaves to practice on in the near future. 

I will probably be giving both of these loaves away; one to my in-laws for Easter and the other to friends or neighbors. So a crumb shot is not an option and my will-power has won out over temptation for this day. 
Not a fan of this one, I did end up eating some, gave it away to someone with a less particular palate. More to come! Many more, many more!

Please take good care and of course, bake on.
-DW, The Rye King

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rugbrød: Danish Rye Loaf

Boy, ever since I have had my starter really going I have been on a Miscovich Kick. I realized there are so many breads in his book that I have not made yet. I got so caught up on the 75% pain au levain that I left a lot of unexplored waters. I am still to get my hands on durham flour that is not semolina, but I see this happening in the not too distant future. There is at least five or six breads that I have not attempted either because they lack whole grains or because I do not yet have the ingredients. This is going to change very soon. I have made Rugbrød before, but I have never made it this well. The only thing I really did differently this time was I made sure my starter was very ready for action and I withheld the fennel seeds. I withheld the seeds for two reasons, one is I wanted a rye that I could taste nothing else but the rye and I wanted to see what kind of flavor and sour I could get out of this bread. I say that because I really like the texture of this bread, its dense but for a bread with as much rye as this one has it has a nice crumb. With very small holes and it is a great vehicle for cheese and spreads.

This bread begins with two preferments: a white levain which is hydrated at 100% and the rye sour which is hydrated at 82%. The rye starter contains roughly three quarters of the prefermented flour. Miscovich has adjusted the hydration of these preferments in such a way that they will be fermented in the same amount of time, always a step ahead he is! Always! There is also a rye chop soaker, which I off course used, which is hydrated at 200%. This provides no crunch to the bread but rather a chew to the crumb. A subtle addition.

The mixing of this dough is very simply, and although Miscovich does not recommend mixing this one by hand, I did it anyways, I had no choice really. All of the ingredients are combined together and I then kneaded this bread for about 7 minutes. I used a bowl scraper to do this, by continuously folding the dough in on itself until it gained structure and smoothness. This dough is a sticky one and I can see why Miscovich recommends the mixer. This bread also contains black strap molasses, which adds another depth to the dough.

The cool thing about this one is there is no bulk fermentation. This dough is placed directly into the rye flour coated pullman pan. I was nervous so I first rolled the dough in rye flour. So my loaf did not get the variegated appearance that I was hoping for. After baking this one, Miscovich informed me that if I had went straight from the bowl to the pullman pan I would have achieved the Rugbrød look, which is what I am going to do next time. 

The baking is unique the bread is baked in a covered pullman pan at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, the heat is then reduced to 400 and baked for 15 more minutes. The lid is removed and the oven is reduced to 325 and baked for an additional 45 minutes. I needed an additional five minutes for firming up the sides, for which the bread was removed from the pan and finished on a baking sheet on top of my baking stone. 

I am very pleased with this bake as well as my other bake this weekend, but I would like to try a few things with this recipe as the base. I would like to add some seeds to this, I am thinking pumpkin and sunflower and maybe just a hint of sweet molasses. Just to give it a bit of a different spin, to see how it comes out.

If you like rye you need to bake this bread, its a winner and one I will be coming back to over the years. Plus when you are in a time pinch, its works well, but just remember the bread cures for 48 hours after baking, but its worth the wait!

Lemon and Ginger Sweet Rolls

Here is something that you do not see coming out of my oven very often, at least not made by my own hands....... sweet bread! Recently I was gifted with a six month subscription to Fine Cooking. For the most part, I do not make much use of  it because of the amount of "nutritionlessness" within its pages. Well, it was one of those snowy and cold New England nights and nothing warms my heart like a good enriched dough swirled with butter and spices and covered in a glaze. I got pretty creative with this one. I started off with a lemon and ginger dough; then went with a brown sugar and nutmeg interior swirl, and finished the rolls off with a lightly-scented almond glaze. 
I am continuing to experiment with my new Nikon camera. I am particularly fond of the semi-manual shutter speed and aperture mode right now and I used those features to take some photos of this bake. I am slowly learning. I am so glad we got a new camera because it is motivating me to not only bake more often, but also to be more creative with how I display my breads and creations. This makes my wife Kelly happy and it also involves her a lot more in the process. I think that it's kind of cute. She gets all excited about what basket to use, where to place the boards, and what books to have in the background. Actually she is quite helpful and we make a great team.

When I saw the freshly grated lemon zest and the ground ginger in the bowl, I realized this could be an awesome artistic photo. I played around with focus and lighting and I came up with this picture. I really like how the bowl is slightly out of focus and blurred in the foreground and how the color of the lemon zest is so bright and fresh looking. The earth tones from the ginger round out the picture. I think that this picture almost captures the aroma from the lemon and that is why I love it so much.
There is something about Macro photography that I really love, and because of this my goal is to get a decent Macro lens down the road. I want one that I can dedicate to taking food macro photography. For now I will settle for the camera mode. (I have done some research and it looks like a great lens will set me back close to $450…used!) I really enjoy taking food pictures from angles that we normally do not view food from. For this one, I went down to the level of the medium, in this case, the dough lathered with butter and sprinkled heavily with light brown sugar and a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. I got as close as I could. It captures the light in an almost romantic way. My job is in the field of food addiction in Boston and I also serve as a consultant to a substance and food treatment center in Toronto. Trust me. I really know how romantic sugar can be!
 I took this picture rather quickly. Kelly was in a rush to get it into the oven and I was in the way. There is something about it that I really like. All of the buns cuddled up together to stay warm, and there is a wonderful shine to them from the egg yolk and water wash. I was playing with aperture settings again to take this picture, but it is hard to notice the gradient of focus because the other rolls are so close to my primary subject.
 Kelly and I took a few pictures of the finished product after the almond glaze was drizzled. The best part about this glaze is the use of a technique that I learned many years ago from one of my professors in culinary school. Basically, you make a claw with all of your fingers (none of them touching one another) and dip your fingers into the glaze and then shake your hand side-to-side rather vigorously over the rolls. The final result is something like this. I was trying to have a main roll in focus and to have others out of focus in the background, again we used an Aperture setting. What fun it is to bake, photograph the results with Kelly, and finally to eat these rolls.

Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pain in my Levain, 69% hydration

The New Year is here, and I have come to the conclusion that once and for all, I must figure out what the hell is wrong with my oven. It just does not make good bread. I have found that no matter what I do, when using a combo cooker in this oven, the bottom ALWAYS chars. I tried blocking the heat with a pizza stone. No luck. I tried blocking the heat with a 50 pound block of marble courtesy of my best man, Cookies. Still no luck. I have tried using a hot pan; I have tried using a cold pan; and I even tried starting in a cold oven. No luck with any of these. Another problem that I was having was that the dough has been sticking to the cast iron. Perhaps this is due to using the pot inside a campfire during my bachelor weekend. I decided that I would do a trial run using parchment paper to prevent the sticking. However, I discovered at the last minute that I did not have any parchment paper.

 So I decided to use an old technique of using ice cubes and a screaming hot pizza stone. I made Richard Miscovich’s 69% hydrated Pain Au Levain, a bread that I have come to really enjoy. The sourness that I get from my starter with this formula is wonderful. It is light and subtle but also present, and not harsh at all. The only variation that I made to his recipe was in the timeline. I let the bread ferment in a pretty cold kitchen for 9-10 hours. I did this because lately there has been a lot happening in our kitchen. Kelly has recently taken up cooking on Sunday nights (which is delightful) and she was using the oven. The bread was moving pretty slow so I just kept holding off with my loading time. I think that the bread could have easily used another fold because it did not quite get the expansion that I was hoping for. That being said, the density of the loaf is nice and I enjoy really chewy bread. The final bread also had an irregular air-hole pattern. I think my starter would have benefited from being prepared in a warmer area, but all-in-all, I am pleased with the bread. Before baking this, I mentioned to Kelly that I was going into the bake with relatively low expectations. I have to admit that it came out pretty darn good. I wish the bread didn’t rip at the seam and I was hoping for a bit more horizontal growth, but the bottoms were not burned and the taste is great. The oven problem is not solved, but I did achieve a good bake.

The other new addition to my baking scene is our new Nikon SLR 3300. Kelly and I would like to get into photography. In preparation for our upcoming Honeymoon to the Greek Islands this fall, we purchased a camera. So far, so good, but I have a lot to learn. I am in the process of picking up some books, but I think I am going to speak with the people who I know that take excellent photos and see what tips and hints they have. I must admit that we did go a little crazy with a Kitty Photo Shoot, but it was a lot of fun. I feel that my cat is just as attention-seeking as I am…which is alarming to say the least. 
One funny story before I let you go. The other day my wife asked our cat Lilly, (who mind you, never meows) if she was a person trapped in a cat’s body. Lilly leaped at Kelly and actually meowed. So the cat is out of the bag!....She never makes a peep and usually gets our attention by knocking magnets off the fridge or trying to tip over her water bowl!
Well, it is good to be back, and at least have a tentative baking option. My next loaf will probably be a Miche. I miss ripping it apart with my teeth, and it has such a wholesome almost protein-like grain flavor. It is hands down, my favorite kind of bread to bake and eat.
Bake on

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some Love from the Mr. and Mrs.

It has been a darn long time since I have been able to just take a moment to sit down and write. I can not believe that my wedding was nearly a month ago, how time flies. Its funny, ever since I realized that the oven in my apartment is an absolute piece of shit, I have not been writing. I used to always find time to blog, no matter how busy I was, but it has escaped me lately. I have to tell you, people always tell you" Planning a wedding is maddening" but you always think you will be different you will plan ahead, and it will be smooth sailing....Guess again buddy!! You will do your very best and it will come down to the line! But in the end every detail was worth it from the Ketubah to the food to the speeches to the weather. As my future wife came walking down the grass aisle to the Chuppah it started to flurry, I had my little snow globe queen!!

Let me explain to you just how much I miss baking, this is a conversation I just had with my wife the other night

Wife: 'Honey, I am going to be home late, and I need to make a treat for the staff meeting tomorrow'
Husband: 'I'll make pumpkin muffins as soon as I get home'
Wife: 'Really'
Husband: 'Yes, that is how much I miss baking, I do not even like making muffins, what has gotten over me' 

I literally never make quick breads, they just don't touch the amount of satisfaction that I get from making and baking hearth bread. Actually this weekend I was planning on baking a sourdough bread, a 56% whole rye and I went to grind some rye flour and all of my grain was covered in grain bugs, I was upset, I gave up for the day on the idea of baking. I literally had nothing to bake with, what choice did I have. Even though my oven is pretty much useless for bread I still feed my starter every week and it continues to thrive. The closest I can come to baking bread these days is making pizza, which I actually made for the first time since my best man Isaac was in town a few months ago. It felt great to throw something on the stone.

I have also been cooking more interesting food of late, my coworkers have been talking about recipes and it really has motivated me to make some new things. I have a swedish split pea soup on the stove right now, which is spiced with thyme and marjoram and is finished with a bit of dijon mustard, something I have never made before. The plan is to make an Apricot Chickpea Soup later this week with quinoa, tomatoes and cumin. I came across 6-7 recipes in a nutritional magazine that just look fantastic. I always like to see what other dietitians are cooking for their spouses and families. The other thing I have been doing recently is making fresh fish, I do not know why, maybe it was the cost but I have not been making salmon, and again after a conversation at work I came to the realization that i could make two meals for two people with about 8-10 dollars worth of fresh fish and since then I have been making it about once per week. Kelly loves the stuff!! I am excited to be cooking again and soon I will be baking again, I still need to figure out how to coerce my oven into submission.

Once we have our photos from the photographer I will publish a post with my favorites, but I leave you with a great picture from a friend, walking into Yichud as husband and wife. It was so good to see old friends, going all the way back to my elementary school days and having my friends all meet each other and answer "how do you know dave" what fun!!

As Always, Bake On!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Olive Sourdough

This is another formula taken from Misky's book and a good one but I have some trouble shooting to do with my oven, and it is really starting to frustrate me. I think the elements are off, I believe that the bottom element is blasting and the top element is working undertime. I am going to start experimenting with my dutch oven baking process. Maybe starting with a cold pan will work better, I typically pre-heat them, even though  I have seem relatively similar results with either approach. I am also going to try keeping a baking pan on the bottom shelf of the oven to see if it helps to distribute the heat a bit better. Because to spend nearly 24 hours on a bread and to see the bottoms become carbonized, is just hell on the bones. I think an over thermometer is probably in order as well. The bread can be salvaged, I can trim of the burnt bottom off of each slice, but I miss that chew on all sides.

This bread is based on miscovichs 68% hydrain pain au levain, which is such a nice base, I have been using the higher hydration 75% mostly, because its easier to mix by hand, but the 68 as just as nice. The only changes that are made to this bread is an exchange for whole rye flour in place of whole wheat flour and the addition of 400g of olives. I have to be honest, I only had 150g of olives so it is a bit sparse, but there is a delicate olive flavor that pervades through the inner crumb. It really nice to eat on its own. There is something about the crumb that is almost too soft. Too easy to chew. I think I am just used to much heavier breads. These lighter breads are not baked in my oven very often, they provide a different kind of challenge as opposed to the 75-100 percent whole grain breads that I bake on a more regular basis. Shaping is one thing that is more difficult. Which I will talk about in my next post on Rustic Bread with Rye. They are more supple and I find them to be stickier and much less forgiving.

I started the build for this bread in the morning and with my new 110% hydrated wheat starter (not whole wheat) bertha it was really ready for action at 5 pm, by the time I got home for work. I quickly started the autolyse stage as I knew I wanted to get some sleep eventually, and I typically do not retard my breads. I do not have a large enough cooler, and I have more success with mixing and baking on the same day, although my schedule would probably benefit from a two day breads as I commute into Boston 5 days a week.  The salt was added the dough was kneaded and then the olives were added and mixed in by hand. The bread goes into  bulk fermentation for 2.5 hours with two fold 45 minutes apart from each other. The bread is then divided and shaped into boules and allowed to proof for another two hours. The breads are then baked in a dutch oven for twenty minutes at 450 and then the lids are removed and then are finished on the oven rack for 15-20 minutes. By the time the lids were removed the bottom of my breads were carbonized, they were not pitch black but they were certainly scarred and scabbed. I was frustrated but I knew that most of the bread would be able to be salvaged and by the time they came out of the oven I was pleased with the crust I had achieved especially on the one baked in the non-linen-lined brotform. I did utilize rice flour in my baskets, which I feel was a very big helping in keep the dough from sticking to the basket, which is something I will continue to do moving forward. Over all this bread was Okay, we had some user error and some mechanical failure, so all in all I can not complain too much! To spend hours on something and to have it come out subpar is never a good feeling, especially when you hold your baking at a certain level.

Well here to my next bake being even better! And lucky for me its already in the oven right now!

-Bake On

Rustic Bread with Rye

Well this is a bread that I am baking with Kelly's step brother in mind, he is graduating high school and he is always complaining that my bread is too grainy and healthy, so I thought I would settle with 20% whole grain, coming from rye, 50% preferment flour in the form of pate fermente and a full bake. As the bread is in the oven I can not report on the finished product, but I always spend much more time on the process anyways.

Pate fermente means old dough, often times one would simply use yesterdays dough in todays bread but since I am not running on a commercial level, I prepared my own. It was 100% bread flour, 60% water, 1.8% salt and 0.5% yeast. I allowed it to sit on my counter for 8 hours and It lived in the fridge for the last few hours because it was moving very quickly. After scaling the ingredients for the final mix, I combine the flour salt and water and a few chunks of the pate fermente (about 1 inch cubes) and start to knead for 30 seconds, then add a few more chunks. I follow this process until all of the pate ferment is in the dough and I kneed until smooth and all incorporated. This bread has a large amount of prefermented flour and also has a pretty long bulk fermentation over two hours for a yeasted bread, its also has a short proofing time 1.25 hours. I like when my breads are front loaded, I find it easier to manage, I tend to spend more time paying attention to the baking of the loaves, which is a bit more difficult as my oven has no window and also I am using two dutch ovens one 3 Qt and one 5 Qt. I have made several changes since my last bake, moving the oven rack up and using a non-preheated dutch oven, and I am hoping these do not burn.

The final dough is 20% whole rye, and its a puffy one to work with, between a very high amount of pre-fermented flour and the yeast and a lot of white flour. I just opened my first DO, and this bread is huge, I need to work on my shaping quite a bit. It is really a good thing I prefer to bake whole grain breads. Practice, Practice, Practice! I will have to start making a bread like this at least one per month so that I can hone my skills on the bench, because they have gone slack with lack of use. Well it will taste good anyways!

Bake On

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Three Stage Sourdough Rye with Rye Soaker

This bread has been a long time in coming. I have been waiting a long time for the weather to warm up so that I could produce a new starter. I have had a very difficult time finding a warm enough area in my apartment to accomplish the task. But finally, here in New England, we started to get some warmer weather. As soon as that happened, I pulled out my mill, and ground up some rye kernels. I decided to go with different starter process. I think that it is much easier. I used my friend Ralph's approach, which is quite simple. Essentially, you just add water and flour each day without taking any of the build away, except for once during the process. This cuts out a bunch of unnecessary scaling, which is nice. As per usual, this formula starts with rye. I had some difficulty getting it rolling, so I stuck with rye flour for the whole process and I increased the hydration by between 15 and 25%. In the past I have found that the increase in the hydration helps the seed to grow faster. 

In biology, water is an essential component for growth. And like other bacterial organisms, water activity increases bacterial growth. Personally, I am also a fan of a wetter seed. The weather got colder, so I did have to use my oven on a very low temperature for a few days to continue the build. I am happy to report that by the seventh day the starter was ready to use.

I had originally planned on making vollkornbrot to test-run this sourdough, but I decided that I wanted something a little different. Actually, it's something that I have not done in a very long time. I settled on a Three Stage Rye with a few modifications. I decided that I wanted to use a grain soaker so I substituted rye chops in place of 11 percent of the whole rye flour. I soaked the chops for the last 8 hours of the sourdough build.

Now is as good a time as any to explain how to create a basic three stage rye build. Since I needed roughly 600g of starter, I decided to use 100g of rye flour and 100g of water with each feeding. I started off with 50g of Rye Seed. I fed it roughly every 6-8 hours, give or take an hour for my sleep schedule and my long day cooking for Kelly's mom who needed our help. The build handled itself just fine. The three stage build provides great flavor and excellent keeping quality.

The dough comes together very quickly. Most of you know that I have been kneading my doughs by hand since my mixer broke. I have to be honest with you, this is the kind of dough that would benefit from a mixer. The dough is so sticky from all of that fermented rye flour. I simply combined all of the ingredients, including the soaker, and kneaded for five minutes. The dough is then fermented for 60 minutes at room temperature and then shaped into boules/batards and proofed at room temperature of another hour. I had preheated the oven to 460 degrees (although it is a dial and I can not be certain of its accuracy). I chose not to preheat my dutch ovens this time, because the past few times my oven has burned the bottom of my loaves. This loaf requires a serious time commitment with the feedings and all, so you want it to work out.  I baked these breads at 450-460 for twenty minutes, removed the lids from the dutch ovens and then reduced the temperature to 415 and finished the bake.

I really am very pleased with the way that loaves came out. I did remove them from their dutch ovens and finished them on a cold sheet pan that was placed on the hot baking stone. This helped keep the bottoms from burning, but the bottoms are still slightly over done. They actually have a pretty good taste, but they are hard to saw through. I am also pleased with the chew and the crust. I was not expecting an open crumb from this loaf, so I am quite pleased with the structure. I think I am going to use this as a base and perhaps add some raisins and/or some chopped prunes. That would be super tasty. I am also glad that I used a grain soaker. I think it added a moistness to this bread and also a little texture. In the future I will dust with bread flour for greater contrast and to give the loaf a more clean finished look. 

Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pain au Levain with Toasted Barley Flour and Black Sesame

The Rye King is back in the Swing! 

It has been way to long, it seems like it has been months since I last baked a bread. This one has been a long time coming. This baker is a happy to announce that his starter is up and running. She is off to a slow start, but that is nothing a little freshly ground rye flour can't solve. 

Today I decided that it was time for a feeding with rye flour. Since when I started the building process I did not have access to rye flour, because I was in the process of moving, it was a slower start, and do to my commuting schedule I was only able to feed it once per day in the evening. The other factor is that overnight when my starter is doing its thing it is cold as hell in my kitchen, since I have been turning the heat down, so that is not exactly helping, but I must say, the advantage to an unheated room is a very handy retarder. It really has been cold and snowy here in central New England of late. We have been absolutely blasted with snow. My home town of Worcester is currently number one in the country for snow fall which is absurd. This never happens. This must be another one of Al Gore in convenient truths, global freezing.

I am so happy that my kitchen is now more or less in working order, its not perfect, but all of my bread related things have a place, and that is a decent start. I really was not sure what I wanted to bake this week, so I went back to my 75% hydrated Pain Au Levain. I knew I wanted to try out a new grain with it, so I ground some whole barley kernels and then I toasted them lightly in the oven at 200 degrees for thirty minutes, to make them slightly more aromatic. Setting this aside, I was putting my kernels away and saw some black sesame seeds and decided that this would be a nice addition. Having never baked with black sesame, I went on the lighter side, 1 percent by weight. I think I could have gone with two or three percent, but I did not want to overpower the bread as that was the main change and flavor that I was looking for. 

The autolyse for this bread included all of the flour including the barley flour the levain and the water, the salt was held back until the final kneading. The bread was then hand kneaded for about four minutes. It was covered with a wet linen and was fermented for three hours with 5 folds. I tended towards a longer fermentation period secondary to the colder temperature of my kitchen. The barely absorbed quite a bit of water, I would have expected this dough to be much looser. I shaped this bread into a rough boule and placed it in a linen lined brotform that was dusted with bread flour. The bread then proofed overnight in my guest room (roughly 50 degrees). I did notice that in the morning the loaf had a slight skin, but I was pleased that this did not inhibit oven spring too much. I gave the bread four parallel slashes with my favorite red paring knife. And placed it in a 3 qt dutch oven pre-heated to 500 degrees. I then reduced the oven to 450 degrees and baked the bread covered for 20 minutes and then removed the cover and baked an additional 20 minutes. 

The bread came out with a wonderful earthy, crust with nice yellow tone around the gringe! I am very pleased with the appearance of this loaf. And excited to try it! 

After review, this loaf needs help, its dense, I think my starter needs to really get its act together!