Monday, March 17, 2014

Pain au Levain with Increased Whole Wheat; 81% Hydrated

This is another exciting Pain au Levain this one is also prepared with Jack Straw, my whole white wheat 100% hydrated sourdough starter. This bread also features a retarded proof meaning, that after bulk fermentation it was allowed to proof in the cooler, this one went for 18 hours. It went into the oven super relaxed. Actually it spread out so much partially due to the high hydration that I had the guide the loaf into a less wide and taller profile. I will show a picture of the bottom of the loaf to show you what I mean. I also shaped this loaf with Robertson approach of shaping a high hydration bread, since this loaf was 81% hydrated. 

This sourdough for this bread is hydrated at 125% and thus is only given 7-8 hours to build at room temperature. I actually increased the hydration to speed up the fermentation. I chose to retard this bread since I had some serious time restraints. I made another bread very big loaf, this one for a Saint Patricks Day Hoolie, thrown by the new friends John and Betty, two wonderful people who are in their prime of life. John is an Irish Soda Baker and I am excited to be sharing this large loaf with him. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Hoolie, as I was. It is an Irish get together, party in a small place; usually a residence. So I made this loaf on the big side again for everybody, and once again it barely fit inside my 3 Qt combo cooker. I baked this bread at 500 degrees mainly because I forgot to turn the oven down after preheating the cooker. It baked for about 60-70 minutes. About 45 minutes I realized I did not turn the oven down, so it finished at 425 for the last 20-25 minutes of the bake. Oddly the bread did not split open as my previous one did, but according to Doug Rae, a local baker in Maryland, this is because the dough was so nice and relaxed. I'll take that over the bread over-proofing. After about an hour the top of the combo cooker is removed and the bread is finished on the bread stone. This is a Mickey Mouse sort of thing, you can easily just keep it in the bottom of the combo cooker too, I am just a funny baker that way. 

So two hours after the levain, the autolyse is started. All of the flour and water are combined and allowed to mingle for about five hours. When the autolyse is complete the levain is added and the salt, and then the dough is kneaded by hand for about ten minutes. This dough is a hot mess at first, but give it three minutes of kneading and it really starts to come together. I think it would help the kneading process if the hydration of the starter was lower and the water in the autolyse was higher, this is due to the absorption of the whole wheat flour. Once the dough is kneaded it is gathered into a sort of ball and allowed to bulk ferment for three hours with 6 folds at 25 minute intervals. Since the dough is not divided a pre-shape is basically not necessary. Once again I shaped these loaves with the chad robertson method . YOu basically just keep folding the loaf into the 'seam' and then you pinch it to hold it together. It actually worked really well. Its a cool method for shaping a wet and tacky dough. The loaves were then retarded in my innovative cooled proofer for 18 hours. Then it is warmed at room temp for 45 minutes, which was most likely futile; and then baked as described above. 

The bread had good oven lift, and great coloration, just a bit weird that no splits developed, but I can not complain it allowed for a pretty cool clover stencil!

Have a great St Patricks Day from your Jewish baker at Hearth Baked Tunes

Bake on,

-DW, The Rye King 

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