Friday, June 28, 2013

Bread - Number 25: Spelt/Rye Sourdough - Successful Starter and Kneading

Bread - Number 25: Spelt/Rye Sourdough - in a rush and with life happening all around

Some musing before recipe appears below.

Must admit with the following stuff in life going on, I rushed through this bread and its redo. No pictures were taken and, admittedly, the recipe is a bit scant. The question is always whether to count a bread as another bread in the 108 or as a redo when there is always something different the next time around. Warning: What counts as another bread and whether to make one bread a few times before proceeding to the next are completely arbitrary decisions, inconsistently made.

In the midst of creating a spreadsheet for the breads, getting out of town for two consecutive truly special family occasions, and preparing for my workplaces' annual week-long conference, this bread got short shrift. Not too much description, but a bread worthy of a redo.

Also pondering life with said special occasions both being markers of time and of important milestones. I had always imagined having children and raising them has been a joy. I wish I could turn back the clock and live those days with them all over, even the ones where I could not figure out how to breast feed a crying baby, or the peeing on the subway in Brooklyn, or even the teenage death stares. I remember all of the times holding my girls as infants, reading to them for hours, the hugs, the "I love you"s, the afternoons with friends at the playground, drawing as we waited for their dad to come home, and doing homework at the kitchen table, their laughter, their debates, their beings filling our home.

Now that I am free of most parental responsibility, I have fallen into this bread obsession. My husband is encouraging my addictive behavior, having purchased a nice set of bread books for my birthday. About a year worth of lovely reading awaits. He is happy to eat the breads, the more delicious the better.

A confession: By the time this post is up, we have already enjoyed breads #26 and #27. A little behind in writing these up. Sneak preview - my starter is fabulous. Woohoo!

Praise for Breadtopia
Here is bread #25, from Breadtopia. This is the whole grain sourdough. There are two videos with the recipe, which are quite helpful and reassuring. Mr. Iowa is my idea of what a teacher of a neurotic student should be. I watched the videos twice.

Ingredients and instructions in stages
100 g. water
60 g. starter (added only 9 g. when I tried the recipe a second time)
118 g. whole wheat flour

Day #1 - morning
Mix sponge. Cover with plastic. Leave on counter for a day or overnight. Use Danish whisk to feel special and admire its design. Use digital scale for accurate measurements and push to back of mind that your great grandmother probably did not use a scale.

I forgot to take pictures or note the nature of the sponge at the start or before adding the dough ingredients.

The second time I made this bread, I only added 9 grams of starter and the first rise lasted 17 hours - and that with whole wheat flour right out of the freezer.

Day #1 - evening
137 g. water
43 g. rye flour
125 g. bread flour
85 g. spelt flour
13 g. salt

Mixed sponge and dough ingredients. Kneaded for 10 minutes in the bowl. I put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Day #2 - evening
Woo hoo! Nice rise. Celebrate the small successes along the way. I shaped the dough and put it in a towel in a wicker basket. As yet, I've resisted the urge to buy a professionally recommended proofing basket. Make sure the towel, bowl, or proofing basket is well-floured.

I let the dough rise for only two and a half hours - supposed to be four - placing the dough in the refrigerator for about 20 hours.

Day #3 - afternoon
Since I had gypped the rising time the day before, I let the dough rise on the counter for four hours. About an hour before baking, preheat to 500 degrees; make sure to place baking stone, la cloche or whatever else in the oven to heat. The dough was well-risen when I put it into the oven. Baked for 30 minutes, then removed top of la cloche, reduced heat to 450 degrees and baked for another few minutes. Forgot to write down how much time.

I forgot to decrease the oven temperature when I first put the dough in the oven. I forgot to do the slash at the top. Still, the bread forgave and it was yummy. Could have risen more. Definitely a do over.

On the second try, I did the star slash on top. As if on cue, this bread came out very nice and with that soft, wonderful crackling sound that signifies a good bread. Really good crumb and an excellent taste.

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