Friday, January 23, 2015

Sprouted Wheat Levain

This is another vollkornbrot but in a whole new way (get it whole!... I crack my self up)! This is another brilliant formula from Richard Miscovich's new book, at it is my favorite so far and for so many reasons! First its made with sprouted flour, which is just a cool process and a cool idea! Second it is 100% whole grain, even the levain is fed with 100% whole wheat flour. Its heavy, yet light! Third it just takes so long to make, its a process and I am a bread baker because I am in love with the process.

Let us first begin with the sprouting of wheat berries. 

  1. Rinse any amount of grain in a colander, and place the grain into a container. And cover with plenty of water.
  2. Soak the grain for 36 hours, changing the water after six hours if you feel it is necessary (I did not)
  3. Rinse the berries and allow to to sit covered for 24 hours, rinsing every 12 hours (I let them sit in a flat layer on a sheet pan covered with slightly dampened bakers linen). 
  4. Rootlets will start to emerge after about 24 hours. 
  5. Once the shootlets are about the length of the grain or berry they are ready
  6. Place the sprouted berries in a dehydrator or on the lowest oven setting. (I used my oven and cycled my heat turning it on 170 degrees for ten minutes and turning the oven off for 5 hours and repeating as it was convenient for me.
  7. The last step is grinding the berries and allowing the flour to age. I aged my flour ten days, but you could also use the flour 'green' or just after grinding.
Here are two pictures the first is of the berries after the sprouted and the second is after the drying process As you can see they have lost some of their size and the shootlet itself is almost gone. I want to note that this grain took a long time to grind, I am thinking that it might have been better to let them dry a bit longer, or to use a dehydrator. It is on my bread wish list of things I would like to get for my future baking. 

When you smell the flour, it really does smell like sprouts, which I found to be weird. I was really questioning whether this would make a good bread, but don't you worry. The bread that this high maintenance flour makes is incredible! So good that I am contemplating making sprouted rye flour right now! 

The levain is 65% hydrated and yet it gets very fluffy. You get a pretty good idea of how light this build is by this picture. I found this impressive considering it was only 65% hydrated and most builds that are made with whole grain flour are quite heavy even at hydrations close to 100%. This build sits at room temperature for 8 hours and by that time it was more than ready.

As mentioned before, the final dough also is 100% whole grain although I must admit that I was 60g short of a happy meal in terms of my sprouted flour, so I added 60g of bread flour. Next time I am going to make much more berries. For the amount of time that goes into it, I mine as well get more yield. 

The final dough is 90% hydrated and of course contains no added yeast. There is a short 20- 30 minute autolyse and then the levain and salt are added and the dough mixes for 3 minutes on first speed and 2 minutes on second speed. With the occasional swipe down of the bowl with a rubber spatula. This is a very sticky dough due to the sprouted grain as well as the high hydration. This dough bulk ferments for two hours with three folds in 30 minute intervals. I did not quite stick to this perfectly as I fit a workout in during the bulk fermentation phase. 

The dough is then preshaped, allowed to rest for 20 minutes and shaped into boules and allowed to proof inside cane baskets for 90-120 minutes. After 100 minutes the dough was more than ready to begin the heated transformation into bread. 

I preheated my oven with my stone and my large cast iron skillet, which I added five ice cubes to right after loading the oven with the loaves. I have to be honest, the dough stuck to my baskets, I was a little skimpy on the dusting and paid the price, but considering the high hydration and my folly, the finished product looks great and tastes even better. THe sprouted grain and the natural malt that is produced really adds wonderful coloration to the loaves! I have not had a prouder dough moment in a long time! This bread is a winner! I think I am going to start adding sprouted grain to a number of my different breads. Especially some of my rye breads. I think this flour will take them to the next level. 

You have got to get your hands on this book and you have got to bake this bread! Thank You Misky for a another bread miracle! 

Bake On

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