So important: No tragedy resulted from a violation of my personal no-bread-making-activity-before-5-a.m. rule.
Flaxseed, whole wheat and arrowroot with sponge, soaker and long preferment - sounds much more difficult than it is. Basically, there's 20 minutes of weighing and mixing one day and either the next day or that evening another 10 to 15 minutes; then maybe a total of another minute prior to baking. This might be a bit of an exaggeration. Still ... Easy, but impressive, delicious and beautiful. [Photos are of my hometown of Brooklyn, NY and bread #66.]
I mixed up the soaker and the sponge for an overnight rest. The next day, mix the two, add a few more ingredients, do some stretching and folding, and put in the fridge if you have an actual life to attend to. When you decide to bake, once the oven is preheated and the dough is shaped, you are done. A dough that leaves plenty of time to go out to the diner with the spouse, and even say yes when he presses to go shopping for those kitchen cabinets you said you would find, because the whole kitchen project seems to have embedded different time lines and senses of priority in our brains.
I made this bread twice as my digital scale is acting peevish, making me wonder if it is either having hiccups or preparing itself for permanent retirement.
Everything in grams
|Whole Wheat flour||174||174|
Is that not a gorgeous table? So neat, so clear about which ingredient was added and when. Such a visual representation. How sad, it was not saved with its cheery orange lines. That's what made it gorgeous. In case the table is not one's preferred format, the ingredients are listed at the end of this post.
Okay, that's an 80 percent hydration dough. The table does not include the unweighed sprinkling of sesame seeds on top just before baking. I should also say that I used the same Danish whisk, uncleaned in between sponge and soaker, so that the soaker would get a wee head start on fermentation, which it did. Not much as there was salt in the soaker.
Always remember to cover the bowl. I used shower caps to cover the bowls of soaker, sponge and the dough. The shower caps can be cleaned and are reusable.
4 a.m. and no mishaps
The soaker and sponge were made at 4 a.m. I put the heat up in the kitchen early so that they would be ready to be mixed into a dough about mid-day. Yes, I could have mixed up the soaker and sponge the night before, but I got lazy in the evening and we had a nice gathering until late with the spouse's colleagues from the office.
The only difference between the first and second tries of this bread was in the amount of starter, which I accounted for in adjusting slightly the bread flour and water amounts. The activity of the dough and the eventual bread all turned out the same.
Resting, mixing, and so on
9.75 hours for the soaker and sponge to rest. Mixed up the dough and did three stretch and folds, plus a couple of minutes of kneading, every 15 minutes. Let rest for thereafter for 3.5 hours. I admit I started out with only 40 grams of bread flour to add to the final dough, but added more right away, then 20 grams with each stretch and fold, because the dough was so sticky. About what I did the first time before the digital scale had a tantrum and would not permit further weighing. Fortunately, it came back to life with the next bread.
At the end of 3.5 hours, my brain turned off due to the 4 a.m. wake up. I could not decide what to do with the sticky dough that had risen nicely. Shape and put on a floured towel in a bowl? Put in an oiled bowl? A loaf pan? I procrastinated. Just shoved the dough bowl, with its shower cap cover, into the fridge.
I only left the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. My husband asked if we were going to have fresh bread for Monday morning and I suddenly remembered - OMG, time to get ready to bake before the brain shuts off for the evening. A 4 a.m. wake up does not bode well for nighttime thinking.[Photo of the door to Mile End Deli. Great chopped liver and I'm a vegetarian. Still, could not resist when it was made with schmatlz.]
Preheat oven for one hour at 470 degrees with dutch oven inside.
I removed the dough bowl from the fridge and lightly, perhaps not so lightly, sprinkled flour on top and underneath all around the dough, to prevent utter stickiness. I shaped the dough quickly, sprinkled on sesame seeds and did three slashes on top. I put my floured hands underneath the dough and pretty much dropped it into the dutch oven. I remembered to put back on the oven mitts before placing the lid on the dutch oven for baking.
Try not to be nervous, but rather achieve a sense of calm, when removing the top of the dutch oven prior to placing the dough inside, and then when plopping the dough in the dutch oven. I use oven mitts and a kitchen towel. Super hot.
Total baking time of 45 minutes; I removed the top of the dutch oven at 30 minutes. Kudos to my thermometer for telling me when the bread was actually fully baked as it looked lovely way too early to be taken out of the oven. Beautiful brown bread and so, so good. This is why I learned to make bread. Yum-mmmmm-y.
Here's the promised list of ingredients
Totals for all ingredients
Water - 372g
Bread flour - 180g
Starter - 100g (82g on the first try, with adjustments elsewhere)
Whole wheat flour - 174g
Flaxseed Meal - 47g
Arrowroot flour - 69g
Salt - 10g
Ingredients listed in order of appearance for each phase.
100g bread flour
174g whole wheat flour
47g flaxseed meal
5g salt (Don't sweat this. The last time I mistakenly added 6g and then only 4g to the final dough. That goes for almost any ingredient and life in general.)
69g arrowroot flour
80g bread flour (Added 40g initially, and 20g each at points thereafter in an effort to reduce stickiness - or, for those accustomed to more technical terms, hydration.)
Update - Made this one again, a little differently
I took out the arrowroot flour, substituted cornmeal and increased the whole wheat flour share just a bit. Also added sesame seeds on top. At 475 degrees, the bread took 40 minutes to bake in the dutch oven. Totally great.