This bread is the magic that can happen when you are busy making other doughs, cooking, and listening to the radio. And it happened even though I completely forgot to do the Jesus (cross) slash on the top. A nice no-knead sourdough bread with about one-third whole wheat flour, about 10 percent oats and a bit of whole wheat bran. I brought it to the office and it was gone by lunchtime.
Look at that nice open crumb. I am proud even though this is easy with majority white bread flour and a no-knead technique. Feel almost ashamed and considered not adding this bread to the list, but it is a different concoction. This is it for a while as I ponder a bread class and concentrate on the birthday bread books, which means I will be making more breads even at the end of a sentence I started with announcing a hiatus. Also, I am impressed that my little phone is capable of such a cool photograph.
12 oz. water = 362 g
30g oat flour
143g whole wheat flour
302g bread flour
1 tbpn whole wheat bran flakes
1 1/2 tspn salt
I combined the starter and water, taking a moment to acknowledge the wonder that the start floated. I had never noticed that before. Some say it is a sign that the starter is at a good phase and will prompt a nice rise, which, I have to admit, it did. Why only six grams of starter? I wanted an overnight rise and my warm DC-border kitchen (probably somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees) would speed up the process considerably.
In case one is baking during the winter or feels it is not a moral failing to have central air conditioning, for a normal 65-to-70 degree kitchen, I would add twice the amount of starter - about 12 grams - for a 12-to-16 hour rise.
I added the rest of the ingredients with the salt saved for last. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic and allow the dough to rise. I woke up at 4 a.m., as if the dough were whispering to me it was ready, and at 9.25 hours I put it in the fridge. I let the dough retard in the refrigerator for another 16 hours, basically until I arrived home from work.
Preparing the dough for final rise
I allowed the dough to sit, and perhaps rise a little, for a half hour before I touched it. I was busy making a challah to freeze (one of many) for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays (yes, we do not eat on that holiday, but we start out and end with big meals). There was plenty to do and bread #33 was the least of it. Maybe I will write another time with the recipe for my holiday cinammon raisin challah, except that I would have to measure the ingredients.
I did a stretch and fold on a well-floured cutting board, covered the dough with plastic, and allowed it to rest on for 15 minutes. I then shaped the dough into a rough boule and placed it in a well-floured kitchen towel that lined a nice, small wicker basket. I also covered the dough with the towel and the plastic I had used previously. Due to aforementioned other baking transpiring and the also aforementioned warm kitchen, there was only an hour available - and only an hour needed - for the final rise.
Pre-heat the oven an hour ahead to 500 degrees farenheit. I use a baking stone and the top of a la cloche so that a mini-Roman oven, with plenty of steam, is produced within my average modern oven. Those are in the oven to pre-heat so that they are incredibly hot when the dough goes in.
I baked for approximately 42 minutes. (I say "approximately" because I forgot to keep track and I had to add the minutes after I started checking at 30.) I employed the internal thermometer three times. I find I am using that new internal food thermometer not just for temperature, but for testing of how wet the dough is in the center.
The bread came out of the oven looking very pretty; I rushed to turn down the temperature, shape a round challah, and pop that into the hot oven for the next loaf of the evening. So busy, I did not even take the moment that I usually do to breathe and listen for crackling. But I did notice the gorgeous oven spring. This bread rose beautifully in the oven, something I always consider a bit of a personal miracle, like a good parellel park (maybe you have to be a New Yorker to appreciate that one).
A beauty inside and out
Conventional wisdom goes that if you are trying to set up someone on a blind date, mention that the prospect has looks and personality because if only personality is described that means the appearance is not good. I am expressly stating that this bread has looks and good taste. Despite forgetting to slash the top of the dough or to sprinkle on water or seeds - due to multiple challah making going on at the same time in the same kitchen by me, the same person - the bread came out wonderfully. Gorgeous oven spring and a great taste.
I brought this baby to work and left the bread out in the office kitchen with a stick of butter, after sending an email to my co-workers. The bread was gone before lunchtime, admittedly not a major accomplishment because only some weird green peanut brittle in the sweets onslaught of December managed not to get eaten. There were some compliments, which, of course, I appreciate. Here's another photo of the bread in the office kitchen.