Monday, February 9, 2015

Bread Number 67: Superb Whole Grain Sandwich Loaf

A superb sandwich bread that's also fine just with butter or jam
I was so pleased when I saw the impressive oven spring on this bread because I was a bit unsure whether it had overproofed. Made in a loaf pan, the bread is the appropriate sandwich shape and has a hearty, whole grain taste without being overbearing.  

Might be time for a new digital scale
Much as I love a good bargain and a company with a lifetime guarantee, the second go-around with the lower-end Escali scale might be the last. In the past couple of weeks, the scale has gone from a starting point of going back to zero upon request, then upping to 1 to the current situation of going up and up, maybe to six, and then weirdly changing numbers when I take a bit off the top (let's say if I put a bit too much flour in the bowl). Reliability is a necessary feature of a scale and if I cannot trust the numbers, the game is up.

Whatever happened with the numbers, and I hope they are accurate or very close, this bread came out perfectly. I needed a sandwich bread with a comfort-food taste for my daughter, who is recovering from minor surgery (the recovery itself not feeling so minor for a few days). For her, I added a little honey - raw honey - and coconut oil. This dough is majority whole grain with whole wheat flour and flaxseed meal. (I'm not an organic nut case, I also keep regular - yes, farmers market- honey.)

This dough was made with two soakers, though, I suspect, the soakers could have been combined. I also used more starter than usual because I left out a preferment phase and wanted the bread done by early evening on a Sunday, that being my get-into-bed-early night.

There is a table below with the amounts and when each ingredient went in. 
Hydration: 70 percent (including starter)
Whole grain: 66 percent

Soaker #1
283g water
360g whole wheat flour
5g salt

38g water
21g flaxseed meal

I mixed up each of the soakers in separate bowls, covered and let stand on the kitchen counter for about 16 hours.

both soakers
50g water
107g starter (100 percent hydration. I was aiming for 100 grams, and was uncertain whether I even had enough, when an extra bit plopped out of the jar and into the mixing bowl.)
140g bread flour
10g coconut oil
8g honey (in this case raw, which is solid)
5g salt 

Mixing, sitting, stretching, etc.
I mixed the dough ingredients by hand due to the refusal of the flaxseed soaker and the honey to integrate with the other ingredients. And my hands soon held as much dough as the bowl. A messy business. Due to the extreme stickiness and the small amount of dough, I added the bread flour. I also suspected that my daughter would prefer less of an extreme heartiness of totally whole grain bread. During her difficult few days, I wanted the bread to fit comfortably into the category of comfort food. [Photo of bread not taken until more than half eaten.]

After mixing, I let the dough sit, covered, for 10 minutes. I then did three stretch and folds, the first time with a couple of minutes of kneading, each 15 minutes apart. The dough was not nearly as sticky as it had been at first and progressively gathered strength. Keep covered and let the dough rise.

Earlier engagement
Having committed myself to another engagement, I left the dough covered on the counter for 4.75 hours and I was anxious that there would be overproofing. When I returned, the dough was almost flat, with a few tops of larger bubbles just poking above. Well, this is what experimenting is all about, taking the chance of a failure to test where the guideposts actually are.

At 4.75 hours, I did a stretch and fold flat on a well-floured cutting board; then covered and let the dough sit for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, I preheated the oven to 460 degrees - for one hour - and put the top of the oblong la cloche in the oven to preheat that as well.

I shaped the dough into a fairly rectangular mass, sprayed the inside of a loaf pan, placed the dough in the pan, and covered it. I let the dough rest for an hour. Yes, I performed the dent test, but I am never certain of those results. I did three nice slashes on top and placed the loaf pan in the oven. I covered the pan with the top of the oblong la cloche; not quite a perfect fit, but it does the job. I would not quickly jerk the oven shelf because the fit of the top of the la cloche on the loaf pan is not what one would call secure.    

I looked at a half hour and may I say, quite impressive oven spring. I was relieved. I kept the top of the oblong la cloche on for the entire baking time of 47 minutes. The taste is excellent and there was eating before I could take photos the next morning. My daughter was pleased.

Nice breads in future
Last weekend, I went on a flour shopping spree and purchased spelt, teff and coconut flours. They are sitting in the freezer, hoping beyond hope to be selected for the next dough. They will have to compete, however, with the current store of whole wheat, arrowroot and the very popular flaxseed meal. I almost bought more rye, as that is always a favorite, but I have made so many rye breads and the newflours deserve a chance. Plus, spelt is an old favorite as well; not forced to go into completely unfamiliar territory. I'm thinking of a spelt and teff combination for the next dough.

Here is the table. Lovely, no?

Water 283 38 50 371
Whole Wheat Flour 360

Salt 5
5 10
Flaxseed Meal

107 107
Bread Flour

140 140
Coconut Flour

10 10

8 8

P.S. Sean Connery is the quintessential Bond. And Bond drinks martinis, not beer. I won't budge on this.

No comments:

Post a Comment