Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sourdough with Whole Wheat

There is only one reason I am baking this bread, well there are always at least two reasons I bake bread, so that makes three reasons.

The usual two reasons are that bread baking is awesome, and I love bread. The third reason is that I need to make sure that my new liquid sourdough starter is ready. As you may have noted from my previous post, that I was in the process of rebuilding my liquid sourdough starter.

Kevin- the liquid levain
This is a time for change in my life. I will be moving on to German Rye Breads, and I wanted to have a 100% pure New England liquid sourdough starter. When compared to my Ohio starter, the new Worcester sourdough starter is much more pungent and acidic. I think that it is because the yeast strain is very different here. When compared to the liquid starter that I began in Ohio and was feeding in New England, this starter is much different and I am excited about baking with it for the first time today!

And the sourdough build
This is another masterful formula from Hamelman and I can not say enough good things about this bread. Stay tuned for a review of his book which will be coming soon. This bread is a very simple variation on his Vermont Sourdough, which I recently baked and posted on, Woostah Sourdough. The difference between the Sourdough with Whole Wheat and the Woostah Sourdough is the inclusion of whole wheat flour in place of rye flour. Rye flour is used in sourdough bread to give it a little kick because rye provides a favorable environment for microbial growth. I must take this opportunity to provide you with an interesting psychedelic fact: a fungi which is found to grow on spoiled rye, is a psychedelic hallucinogen. An excerpt from Wikipidia states:
"Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in the Middle Ages. The epidemic was known as Saint Anthony's fire, or ignis sacer, and some historical events, such as the Great Fear in France during theRevolution have been linked to ergot poisoning. Linnda R. Caporaelposited in 1976 that the hysterical symptoms of young women that had spurred the Salem witch trials had been the result of consuming ergot-tainted rye. However, Nicholas P. Spanos and Jack Gottlieb, after a review of the historical and medical evidence, later disputed her conclusions."
This bread is 10% whole wheat, and although this inclusion is very small, it makes a bread with many characteristics that are different from the sourdough that is made with 10% rye flour. Another bread, which is made with 15% rye flour, happens to be my favorite. I have not baked this bread in over a year, so I chose it to test out my new starter. The starter is mixed and given 12-16 hours to build. I woke up with the intention of mixing the bread at 7 AM, but the levain was not yet ready, so I place it in an oven preheated at 100 degrees and shut off after a few minutes. I kept it in this environment for 45 minutes while I took a short nap. This really helped the starter. The levain, flour, and water were then mixed into a shaggy mass and allowed to sit for 30 minutes. Once again, I placed this in the slightly warm oven. After thirty minutes, the salt wass added and the dough was mixed on second speed for two minutes. There was significant gluten development in this dough, even prior to mixing on second speed.

The autolyse with salt added
Since this bread does not contain any yeast, it required a long and slow fermentation. This bread receives two and a half hour of bulk fermentation, not including the autolyse, and then two and a half hours of bulk fermentation. I did this in a brotform. My plan is to try a new scoring pattern. This bread can receive one or two folds. I decided to use only one fold which was given after 75 minutes of bulk fermentation. I am hoping that by using only one fold, the final bread will be less tight. I had the urge to adapt this formula to being a Sunflower Seed Levain, but I resisted the temptation. I will have to add that to my to do list.

I am posting about this while I am baking and I have some time during the bulk fermetnation to tell you about what will be coming up in the future at hearthbakedtunes. I am really looking forward to the coming year's bread journey. In 2013, I will be baking many Authentic German Ryes. With some inspiration from my good friend Alexander, who will be helping me by translating the German words that I can not find in the dictionary. The German language is very cool, in that it will combine a string of adjectives to a noun. For instance the word for rye bread is Roggenmischbrot (roggen=rye, misch=brown, brot=bread). I have learned about twelve German words so far. This adventure also requires quite a bit of baking math, so that I can share these formulas with my readers in a 2 loaf formula size rather than a 36 loaf size. I do not know about you, but I can barely fit three loaves in my oven, never mind three dozen. Here is a list of some of the words I have learned:
  1. Roggen -rye
  2. Weizen -wheat
  3. Weiss - white
  4. Mehl -flour
  5. Grob -whole
  6. Wasser -water
  7. Hefe -yeast
  8. Vollkorn -whole grain
  9. Brot -bread
  10. Sonnenblumen -sunflower
  11. kerne - seed
  12. Dinkel -spelt
  13. Misch -brown
I know that I am going to learn many more words, and I am going to become much more comfortable baking more of these dense, rye breads, which I have come to love!

I was proofing this bread in the oven, in the brotform, but my Mom needed to bake some triple chocolate bundt cakes, so I had to remove the baskets from the oven and place them on the counter near the stove. So far, the loaf is proofing nicely and I expect a very good boule of levain. As soon as the cakes are taken out of the oven, I will blast the oven to 550 degrees, in order to to get the stone as hot as possible. In addition, I will place 4 ice cubes in a cast iron pan in orden to moisten the oven. This will not serve as steam, but will help to moisten the oven. I learned this technique while reading excerpts from Bread by Hamelman. I found that this helped my last artisan bread which was a Normandy Apple Bread, so I will make it a habitual practice.

This bread proofed in the brotforms, upside down for a total of 150 minutes, If this bread is not retarded over night, it is important to ensure that it does get a long proofing time. I do like a good retarded sourdough, but I have had a really good feeling about this bread throughout the entire process. As soon as I mixed the liquid levain build, I knew Kevin would perform well. Oh, It is important to note that I have named my liquid levain "Kevin", because all of the Kevin's that I know who are tall! And I know Kevin will help my breads grow tall.

The boule
Everything that I did for this bread, the kneading, the folding and the shaping came out perfectly. Even the flour rings from the brotforms were pristine. True to form, however, everything did not go perfectly. I ran into some trouble in the second to last stage which is the loading. I tried putting the bread on the stone directly from the brotform.......bad idea! The bread got stuck a little bit and I got really frustrated. I intended to make a new scoring pattern, which almost looks like a paw or claw, but in anger, I just slashed the bread quickly twice and shut the oven door. I had to open the oven 30 seconds later to steam it because in my frustration and anger, I had forgotten this important step. You will see that the bread is certainly not a perfect circle, but I am rather fond of the final shape..... it has a little character. "Dr. Dance" one of my best friends noted that it looks like a snail. I would have to agree. It has a unique and rustic appearance, almost earthy. Here is a picture of the final product. 

The finished Loaf (Kevin 1.1)
I am very pleased with the rings. I am becoming a huge fan of brotforms! To be honest I keep on going back to this photo and each time that I look at it, I fall more in love with it. The best thing of all is that I will be enjoying this with Kelly and her four housemates at a Christmas Chili Dinner. There is no sense in being humble about it, DW is known for his chili.

Bake On
-DW, The Bread Baron


  1. Try mixing a little rice flour in with the flour in the brotform, Maybe a 50 50 mix (I use all rice flour but it's not as pretty.) Rice flour is like Teflon and you won't get the sticking. Looks fab!

    1. SFBI recommended the same thing! I will have to start grinding my own brown rice flour also!

  2. Beautiful! It does look like a snail! I like it!

  3. I think the most interesting thing about the brotforms is how they show the movement/pathway of the bread while it bakes. You can see where the rings used to be together, but aren't anymore. But you can't really tell this regularly (well, maybe you can, but a lay person like me doesn't see it.) Do you think you will always use the brotform now that you have it?
    ~Alex aka Dr. Dance

    1. I think I will use the brotform enough for them to be present, but not so often that they become commonplace in my baking! I save them for the breads that I really want to have a beauty to them. Some of my rye's really need a sort of dirty look, open, less symmetrical, so I will keep these baskets for the more visually appealing loaves!