Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rustic Bread: Round Two

For round two, I used a recipe from "Bread Alone."  Unlike the La Brea bread book, this one does not rely on sourdough starter so I didn't have to do the whole feeding three times a day for three days gig.  This author also is very precise in measurements and temperature -- and in the type of flour you use.  There is an entire chapter on flour; the protein content needed and sources.  I mail ordered some high gluten, high protein flour and mixed it with wheat flour.  Three parts high gluten to one part wheat flour. 


The night before I wanted to bake the bread, I made my poolish.  I mixed water, a pinch of yeast and flour together and stirred until it all grabbed together and was smooth.  Then I covered it and put it in the refrigerator for a long fermentation.  You can also leave it on the counter for a few hours, but the book said that if I put in the refrigerator and slowed the process down for 12-15 hours, I would end up with a better tasting loaf.  Sounded good to me.  The next morning I took it out, put it on the counter and let it come to room temperature (about three hours).  In that three hours, it rose up and bubbled happily.


I added more water, flour, yeast and some salt.  I warmed the water up more than last time -- in an attempt to get my dough to the elusive perfect dough temperature of 78F.  The instructions gave a wide variation in the amount of flour to use -- it is a "feel" thing, depending on humidity and weather and age/type of flour.  I used the least amount I could manage as a wetter, stickier dough yields a lighter airier loaf in my experience.  I set the timer and kneaded for the prescribed 17 minutes (so much better than 45).  Then I put it in my proofing container (which is clear so I can see how much it rises) for about three hours.  It doubled and bubbled.  When it was ready to be deflated, formed and put in their baskets, I noticed that the dough didn't hold its shape well since it was so soft.  It rose nicely in the baskets but when I turned it out to bake, they deflated quite a bit.  Rats.  Then my razor snagged on the tops and deflated them even more instead of just cutting a clean line.  I slid them into the oven onto the baking stone, squirted in the water, and waited for the result. 


Nice color, nice crust but not as high as I would like.  Overall, I'm calling it a success but next time I will make the dough a tad bit stiffer. 

For dinner we had BBQ steaks, salad with a garlicky vinaigrette, and bread.  Glorious bread. 



Brett said this is the best tasting bread I've made.  I would have to agree. 

Bon appetit!

7 comments:

  1. Before I saw the above comment, I said to myself: That looks fantastic! It's true, I really did.

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  2. That bread looks awesome! Now I wonder where I could order high gluten/protein flour in South Africa...I might try the health food department in one of our pharmacies in town..How cool Brett thinks this is your best tasting sourdough bread ever!

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  3. Yum! I agree - it looks fantastic!

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  4. I admire your quest for the perfect loaf :) I absolutely LOVE good bread. Like an amazing shoe to an outfit :), good bread makes any meal special.
    The salad, steak and bread look beautiful and very mouth watering.

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  5. I so wish I was coming to dinner. You are so good at this. Brett has good taste and is one lucky man to be presented with your spectacular meals.

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  6. I want!

    Looks delicious, Annette.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.