Friday, January 2, 2015

Bread #64: Barley & Cornmeal Twist on a Whole Wheat Bread

A nice bread, a good bread, but not a wowsa experience. Still, a good bread for a breakfast with butter or jam and some tea or coffee. In my opinion, the barley flour perhaps muted the taste of the whole wheat. I'd be interested in any opinions about the addition of unusual flours and whole grain ingredients.

This bread was fashioned on Reinhart's multigrain hearth bread from his book Whole Grain Breads. I say fashioned because I got discombobulated (the Yiddish word fottottled is really more accurate) with all of his do-this-wait-five-minutes- and-do-that instructions. I literally took this dough into my own hands, and a nice bread resulted.


57g whole wheat flour
100g barley flour
70g cornmeal
171g water
5g salt

50g starter
197g whole wheat flour
150g water

In separate bowls, of course, mix up the soaker and the biga. Cover each and let each sit out on the kitchen counter all day or overnight. I let these sit for 14 hours as I am off from work all week - woo hoo! The biga had very little rise due to the cold kitchen, which is why I let it sit for extra hours after I turned on the heat in the morning.

16g whole wheat flour (because I ran out)
41g bread flour
5g salt
Add soaker and biga

Mix well. There was optional sugar - in the form of agave or honey - and fat - in the form of butter or oil - in the recipe, but I went plain. Truth be told, I think this bread would have been tastier with a wee bit of sugar substance. Another caution, if you will, is that the 86 percent of whole grains did not allow for the satisfying use of the windowpane test, which is a much better experience with a 70 percent-and-higher white flour dough.

After mixing, I kneaded for two minutes, rested for 10 (covered), and briefly kneaded again for one or two minutes.

Let rest covered for 30 minutes and did a stretch and fold, with three stretch and folds each 30 minutes apart. I then covered the dough and put it in the fridge. My daughter, home from school, wanted to shop and have lunch - with me. Ah.

Resting and dough preparation
Five hours in the fridge and I took out the dough and placed the cold bowl in a large bowl with very warm water. That heated up the cold bowl. I only left the bowls this way for 10 minutes or so, but I left the dough untouched for an hour.

I then did another stretch and fold, left the dough covered on a board for 15 minutes. I shaped the dough, put it on a well-floured kitchen towel, in a small wicker basket, and covered. I let the dough rest for an hour while the oven heated up for an hour.

A crack - oh no
At this point, I preheated the oven to 500 degrees for one hour with the top of the la cloche on the baking stone. I noticed a small crack in the top of the la cloche. More on that below. Reinhart advises a lower temperature, but I had already departed significantly from his process.

Just prior to placing in oven, I turned the dough onto an oven peel and did a cross slash on the top with a lame. A sharp knife will do. The lame is fancier, and not expensive, but I admit it was a gift from a dear friend; I did not run out to buy it.

At 30 minutes, I reduced the temperature to 460 degrees and removed the top of the la cloche. I let the bread bake for another 10 minutes. Total baking time of 40 minutes.

Nice oven spring. Small loaf. Great crust. Good taste.

Post script
With my next bread, essentially a repeat of bread #35, but with cornmeal and whole wheat, the crack in the top of the la cloche went from hairline and about two inches long to about six inches long and a bit more than hairline at the bottom, where it started. I don't know what happened. I always preheat this clay object with the oven. I do remove it and I have never just let it cool down inside the oven. I'm a bit anxious to use it again, but also sad, honestly, because it is such a divine tool for making wonderful breads. I will have to seek out advice about whether it can be repaired.

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