Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paline: Sourdough Buckwheat Batard

Please watch this video. It is beautiful, and also the description this old man gives for the power for music is so simple, profound and wonderful! Almost Dalai-lama-esque! Especailly when the words come out on the page! Its awesome!

This is another bread coming from Daniel Leader's book Local Bread. It is important to note that there are several formula errors in this recipe. Here is a link to the published errata: Local Bread Errata. As you can see, Daniel Leader has made several corrections. I am not sure that the measurements for the buckwheat levain are correct. It was very dry and very crumbly, but this could be due to the fact that buckwheat has no gluten. In fact it is considered a berry. 

I freshly ground the buckwheat berries for this bread, and I was surprised by the color of the flour. The berry has a slight greenish tint to it, but the flour was a much lighter color, almost a very faint brown. The smell of the flour grinding, and later the bread baking brought back memories of my childhood. For the Jewish High Holidays, my mother used to make a dish called Kasha Varnishkas, which is prepared by boiling bow-ties and tossing them with schmoltz (chicken fat) and buckwheat groats. This happens to be one of my favorite Jewish foods. There is nothing quite like the smell of rendering chicken fat. I know I am studying to be a dietitian, but I still eat this dish. It is a good thing it is only made on special occasions. I remember my father's father used to love this dish, and my mom would prepare it when he came over for dinner. Just thinking about it is giving me cravings for this fat laden dish. 

Buck Wheat Berries

Freshly ground Buckwheat flour

I was very pleased when I noticed that this bread is prepared using a liquid levain starter. As I have mentioned before, I am partial to liquid levains because Jeffrey Hammelman is also partial to them (I must stay true to the Dave and Jeff connection). This sourdough build is a bit strange. It is only 26 percent hydrated. Usually builds are between 60 and 125% hydrated, but I went along with this one. The final bread was quite good, so I can not complain. 

Picture of mixed dough in bowl

This bread calls for an autolyse, which means that the flour and water are combined to form a shaggy mass. This mass sits for about 20-30 minutes. After this, the levain and the salt are added and the bread is mixed on first speed for three or four minutes then on second speed for an additional three minutes. Since this bread contains no instant yeast, it sits in bulk fermentation for almost four hours. Daniel Leader did not mention anything about folding this dough, but I went ahead and gave it a fold after 2 1/2 hours. It might not have needed it, but I got a wonderful picture of a super awesome fold. Take a look.

I was able to get the dough to stretch to over 3 feet across, what a beautiful fold!

After the fold, I let the dough ferment for an additional hour, then I divided the dough into 3 equal pieces and shaped them in to rough baguettes about 8 inches in length. Leader says not to worry about making the shaped loaves look too 'perfect'. They will not. In fact, they will look slightly knobby. Another thing to note is that this bread will not brown up like a traditional baguette. I am not exactly sure why this is so, but it may be due to the use of buckwheat flour. I dont quite buy this theory because the bread is only 25% buckwheat flour by weight, but it is possible.

Since this bread had such wonderful gluten development, I was able to transfer these breads onto the proofing board using just my hands. I did dust the board with some semolina flour, which always helps, but I was surprised how well they held up during the transfer. These breads baked for approximately 25-30 minutes. I personally prefer my breads full baked so I baked one of the three loaves for an additional five minutes. The photos below clearly show which one was baked longer. I also happen to think that the darkest loaf had the best shape, and that is the bread that I kept for myself. I gave the other two loaves to friends.  

I apologize for the terrible picture, my camera was dying

I made a wonderful dinner to go along with this bread. I had roasted chicken legs earlier in the week and I removed the meat and tossed them with some chili made with slow roasted onions, garbanzo beans and black beans. Take a look at the final product. It was delicious!

Chickpeas and Black Bean Chili with Slow Roasted Onion served with Buckwheat Baguette
Bake ON

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