Pass the Salt aka Bread #2

Recap from Bread #1, I wanted to reduce the chewiness and enlarge the air bubbles in the crumb (the inner bready part) while preserving the crisp crust and flavor quality.

So, without further ado, Bread #2:

2 cups Bread Flour

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tsp Kosher Salt (This was kind of an oversight, it really should have been at least 2 tsp.)

3/4 cup Starter #1

1 cup Water, Room Temperature

The goal of replacing some of the bread flour with all purpose flour is to reduce gluten which is what contributes to the structure of the bread. Bread flour is higher in gluten than all purpose.  Another way of adding gluten to the dough is through the act of kneading; the more you knead, the more you build gluten.  Not enough gluten and the bread does not rise and has a dense crumb.  Too much and the bread can become chewy and tough.  Since the previous bread was too chewy, I figure that by reducing the gluten, the bread would be less chewy.

So, anyway, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl.

I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Bread 2 was kind of a rush job and I had in my head that I only used 1 tsp salt in the last bread, but no.  Adding only 1 tsp of salt is definitely not enough.  Please start with 2 tsp.  You’ll be happier.

Once the flour and salt are satisfactorily mixed, stir in the starter and the water.  Stirring with spoon until it no longer makes sense to do so and then turning out onto a floured surface and kneading.  Add more flour as necessary to achieve a soft smooth dough.  I tried to do this less than last time, see gluten comments above, but I was also pressed for time so it worked out that I had less time to get the perfect texture of dough, as well.

Form into a rough ball and let it rise for about 2 hours in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.

Next, flour your hands and a peel or as is my case a wooden cutting board.  Reshape the dough…  I broke with the traditional boule here and went more of a rustic baton…at least that’s what I’m calling it.  If anyone knows the correct name of the shape, pass it along.  So, longer and a bit wider than the boule.  Place it on the floured peel dust the bread with flour and cover with plastic wrap.  I used the same wrap, just flipped it so the side with moisture was facing up.  This rose for another hour or so.  During this hour, I preheated the oven with baking stone to 450 F.

When it was ready to go, I made a slit down the center and slid it into the oven.  The dough was, I thought, a bit moister than the last one so I decided not to spray any water, this time.  I baked it at 450 for 15 minutes before turning it down to 350 for another 25 minutes.

Then it was done and I let it cool.

In summary, the crust is a bit thicker and crisper than Bread #1.  The texture of the bread is successfully less chewy, but as it turns out, it is not chewy enough, go figure.  The crumb is about the same as last time.

Also, as noted, the bread needs more salt.  It is very pretty looking for a loaf of bread.  Bread #3 coming soon…

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