Monday, January 20, 2014

White Wheat Vollkornbrot with 25% Rye, 100% Hydrated; A mistake gone terribly right!

I have to admit that this bread was a complete mistake. It is funny how some of the finest creations are developed accidentally. It is often the case that something goes wrong with a process; so you use your experience and expertise to try to correct things, and somehow you manage to not only salvage the situation, but you end up with some amazing results.

Recently I re-connected with an old friend and baker Douglas Rae, who is the owner and founder of Evergrain, A bakery and cafe in Maryland. Kelly and I are planning a trip in the near future to visit him and his bakery. I am eager to bake with Doug for a few days and absorb all the knowledge I can. If you want to learn how to do things in life, seek out people who are successful and humbly ask them for advice and help, usually they are more than willing to help out an eaeger pupil! PLus there is always something that you can add to their practice, even if its small! Doug has been baking bread for many years, since high school, and his work is strong, creative and wholesome. I look forward to being around him and learning from a true professional. 

The Wet dough 

This bread was supposed to be his miche formula which is 25% Rye and 25% spelt. His levain is 100% hydrated and whole wheat. I used white whole wheat flour and whole rye flour, both home ground. I replaced the spelt with white whole wheat. Here is the kicker! This bread is supposed to by 88% hydrated, but I read the formula too fast and confused the levain hydration with the final dough hydration and ended up with a 100% hydrated levain and 100% hydrated dough. "Kneadless" to say, this bread was very wet. I noticed my mistake after the second fold. Doug's instructions are for a 20 minute autolyse with all of the flour and then a short mix for five minutes on first speed. Three folds in twenty minute increments, then a 30 minute rest. The dough is then divided and proofed for about 1.5 hours and given a strong and full bake. 

Since my hydration was so high, after the second fold I started folding every 12 minutes until the dough had fermented which took about 75 minutes. I then divided the dough in half and gave the bread a ciabatta/ pain rustique sort of shape. Then I allowed it to proof on a very well-floured linen. The bread rose for about 70 minutes and then was baked at 460 degrees with regular steam for 60-70 minutes. (the larger loaf took a bit more time to bake than the smaller one). 

Adjusting the folding schedule for this bread really helped. The resulting crust is fantastic and crunchy and the crumb is moist, tender, and relatively open, considering the amount of whole grain and the inclusion of twenty five percent whole rye flour. Kelly noted that this bread has a bit of an acid kick, which I attribute to the inclusion of the Rye.

All in all, I am pleased with this bread, and I am excited to start playing with hydration levels in my own creations. I really like these wet, heavy breads. I would like a slightly more open structure in this bread and I think that if I reduce the whole wheat to 65% and add 10% white flour, it will help to make this a better bread. I am also going to reduce the hydration to 90-95%. I am excited about playing with this bread. I also might have to bring the salt up due to the addition water. Maybe additional 0.2% will make a difference.

Make Mistakes, and the mistake will make you....better!

Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

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