Bread Again aka Bread # 4

I worked with a local baker for a day in hopes of picking up some tips and tricks regarding my pursuit of baking great bread.  I picked up a flour – water – starter ratio (3:2:1) and better idea of the final feel dough post kneading.  I kneaded a lot of dough that day.  I still have work to do in order to get the bread dialed in just right, but here is the next segment of my bread baking journey.

Bread # 4

(We’ll call it number four to be consistent with the blog, but it is really like Bread #9.)

1/4 Cup  Warm Water

2 tsp  Yeast, dried

In a medium bowl, add the water then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 or so minutes.

Add:

55 g  Water

Stir into the yeast liquid.  Then add your flours:

55 g  Whole Wheat Flour

55 g  All Purpose Flour

Stir it all up, cover, and let that rise for 2 hours.

The dough should be nice and poofed/bubbly by this point.

You’ll want to do this next bit on a kitchen scale.  Scrape the starter dough into a large bowl which is on the scale.  The starter should be   about 212 grams, give or take a gram.  This is now 1 part.

Add that starter:

424 g  Water (or two parts)

Stir it around to loosen up the starter a bit.  Now add 3 parts Flour which would be 636 grams.  The flour gives you some room to customize.  I used:

100 g  Whole Wheat Flour

536 g  All Purpose Flour

and

3 tsp  Kosher Salt

Mix all this up until the spoon becomes ineffective and then turn out onto a well floured surface.

Knead the dough for about 30 minutes.  Your are looking for the dough to be lightly tacky, but not sticky.  I ended up adding another 1/2 to 3/4 cup All Purpose flour during this kneading process…

Once you get the dough where you want it.  Toss it into a bowl, cover, and rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Then take your big ball of dough and separate it into two pieces forming each piece into a tight boule.  Put those back into the bowl, cover it again and let them rest for about 20 minutes.

Next, I did a final shaping making nice and tight, but also trying not to press out all of the air bubbles that were in the dough.

Place these onto a floured cloth, somewhat covered with the extra cloth.  Let it rise for another 1-2 hours.

About an hour before you expect to be ready to bake the bread, you’ll want to get your oven heating up.  Get your baking stone and a pan for a steam bath in place in your oven and preheat to 500 F.

Now your bread is ready.  Prep a peel or, as is my case, a wooden cutting board with a dusting of semolina flour.  Gently move the loaves to the “peel.”  Score the tops any which way you like, but aim for having your knife at a 45 degree angle.  Turn the heat on the oven down to 450 F.  Have a cup of hot water (from the tap is fine) standing by.

Open the oven slid on in your soon-to-be bread and pour the water into the hot pan.  Set your timer for 25 minutes and listen to the oven roar.

Cool on a wire rack.

Final thoughts:

The crumb was still a bit more dense than I want it to be.  The crust was a nice color, however, I didn’t get the spring I was hoping for, since “skin” looked as if it had sagged during baking.  See:

It could be that I didn’t shape the final loaf tight enough…  I probably could have baked it another 5 minutes and maybe next, time I’ll keep the oven 25 degrees hotter.  Another tsp of salt wouldn’t hurt either.

On the plus side, it wasn’t dry or crumbly.  It had a very nice flavor and texture, maybe a little bit more chewiness would be nice, but I won’t fault that.  At least not at this point.  Possibly adding 1oo – 200 g Bread Flour would help add a tough of chew.

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2 responses to “Bread Again aka Bread # 4

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