This bread came out not so much dense as a bit wet, at least not quite as wet as the previous bread. Despite the early successes, it is becoming obvious that it takes time, perseverance and a willingness to learn to make good breads on a consistent basis.
Also, there was the nagging suspicion with this particular effort that I allowed the first rise to continue for too long. Looked like it had reached its peak. Should not have been left to rise for an entire day.
2 cups water
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
approximately 1/2 cup starter
1 tbsp caraway seeds
For the sponge
- 1/2 of all the flour
- 1/2 of the vital wheat gluten
- all of the starter
- all of the water
Do not add salt to the sponge. It inhibits all that good yeast growth and gluten development. Do not ask for more of an explanation. Go to the bread books for that. As with anything, there are differences of opinion and one baker's definitive statement is not always another's.
1. Mix all of the flour and the vital wheat gluten. This is the flour mix.
2. To make the sponge: Pour the water into a separate bowl. Mix in half of the flour mix. Do not measure. Approximately half will do fine. Add the starter. Mix well. Cover loosely with plastic. Leave overnight.
3. Add the salt to the remainder of the flour mix sitting in the first bowl. Cover and let sit overnight. Nothing will happen to this mixture.
4. When you awake and look at the sponge, you should see the lovely sight of a bubbly concoction. Basically, it looks like a lot of starter. Mine was left for 11 1/2 hours and was just a wonderful bubbly, active hive of fermentation. Lots and lots of bubbles and almost an airy lift at the top. When mix, it feels like a giant starter.
5. Mix in thoroughly the remaining flour mix (do not forget the salt). Mix well. This could take five to 10 minutes by hand. The dough appeared too wet and I ended up adding - yes, more mixing - 1/2 cup more, 1/4 cup at a time. Basically folded the extra flour in to incorporate air and because dough getting stiff enough that regular mixing not actually working. Dough still sticky, but able to separate from bowl. When leaving for work an hour later, dough was already rising.
6. Unfortunately, six hours was too long a rise (and I happened to leave work early that day). Oh well, was busy with a different project and there was no use getting too upset as it was already less than perfect, though not completely ruined. Perhaps, should have put in fridge, but totally lost here.
7. With somewhat fallen dough, sprinkled four on top; sprinkled flour on board and on hands. Did a stretch and fold. Left covered loosely with plastic for 15 minutes.
8. Heat oven to 500 degrees with baking stone and top of la cloche inside.
8. Put dough in well-floured bowl and covered with kitchen towel. Left for 35 minutes. Was not being too exacting as could tell this was not going to be an amazing bread.
9. Put dough with parchment paper onto baking stone and covered with top of la cloche. Let for 30 minutes.
10. Removed top of la cloche and parchment paper. Reduced heat to 425 degrees. Removed dough after 10 minutes.
No great oven spring. Tasted better than breads #11 and 12, but a bit dense, perhaps due to the rise mistake or because it was whole grain.
All in all, not bad exactly. At least the sponge went well and the starter worked - all valuable information. Managed to eat the bread anyway. Thirteen seems a long way from 108.