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!


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

  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!

  3. Yum! I agree - it looks fantastic!

  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.

  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.

  6. I want!

    Looks delicious, Annette.


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