Monday, September 22, 2014

Two New Fomulas

This weekend we gave a couple of formulas from Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast a try.  This book has been a great resource for techniques and formulas, and is a great read for anyone interested in bread in general.  Ken Forkish's story will be inspiring to anyone motivated to try something new, and the beginning of his book is the story of the start of his bakery, with comical failures and lots of "lessons learned."  It' s a good book.

This weekend's formulas included a first; a 100% commercial yeast bread. 

Slow-Ferment Whole Wheat
The 40% Whole Wheat Overnight Bread is a slow-fermented direct dough (everything is mixed at once) that is retarded by using only a small amount of yeast and then proofing the shaped loaves overnight in the refrigerator.  This gives time for more complex flavors to develop than you would be able to get if you used a traditional amount of yeast and had a two-hour rise and proof.
40% Overnight Whole Wheat with Einka Farro
I modified the formula slightly to accommodate the inclusion of a percentage of einka farro which i milled from whole berries I brought back with me from the Methow Valley of Washington state.  I can't say that the flavor was shockingly different, but I like to kid myself that it made a difference.  :)  You have to still use a lot of "regular" wheat when making bread with this stuff, since it doesn't produce a lot of gluten.

The dough over-proofed a bit, but the loaves still managed to spring up acceptably, yielding a much less toothy crust than the naturally leavened breads we normally bake, and a crumb that while not terribly exciting, was still delicate and light.  A nice loaf of bread, and better than what you'd find in the store, but probably not one that we'll make with any regularity. 

The other loaf was also something of a first as well, and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  The only downside to in (and this is a matter of opinion) is that there's not a whole lot of whole wheat in it.  Only about 10%.  Of course, there's nothing stopping me from modifying the formula in the future, but I figured I do things "by the book" the first time. 

 Twice-Fed Sweet Levain Bread
Twice-Fed Sweet Levain Bread
Forkish lists this in the section of his book entitled "Advanced Levains" or something like that.  It's not all that complicated...just a couple of extra steps.  He based his method and formula on Chad Robertson's method of using a natural levain but working hard to not develop any sour flavor. Indeed, the flours in this formula pretty much match Robertson's Tartine Basic Country Bread to a "T."  The levain is fed twice over the course of a couple of hours, then when the final dough is mixed, it's spiked with a small amount of commercial yeast.  This allows for a better rise, better oven spring, and a loaf that has different flavors due to the combination of natural fermentation from the levain and the additional flavors that you only get from commercial yeast fermentation.  The loaves looked pretty good out of the oven.

Bird's Eye Blistering on Twice-Fed Sweet Levain Bread
Loaves that incorporate a retarded fermentation (in a controlled proofing environment with reduced temperature) will usually exhibit "bird's eye," a blistering of the crust that can also be achieved by misting the breads with water as they are put into the oven.  Supposedly, these are bad form.  I guess you won't win any awards in France baking bread with these bubbles in the crust, but I find them attractive, probably because I know that it means that the bread has been given plenty of time to develop a lot of great flavors.  Here's a photo taken in the sun that really shows off the bird's eyes.

 I'll try to remember to photograph the crumb on this loaf when I'm able to cut into it.  Too soon, and I have to run some errands.

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