I recently started actively posting on The Fresh Loaf, taking advantage of the friendly and knowledgeable group of bread enthusiasts more than willing to impart their vast universe of knowledge.
As I’ve said, I find myself on a slippery slope…Amazon Prime is my friend as I arm myself with all of the tools of the trade. Already possessing a vast array of the necessary tools including a Kitchenaid Pro Line mixer thanks to my generous brother-in-law a few years back, I now own various other items like bannetons, a Lodge cast iron dutch oven, Danish bread whisk, various plastic proofing and bread storage containers, and am furiously borrowing books from the library, trying to decide which, if any, are worthy of my hard earned dollars when the internet gives me info for free.
Enter Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish….I like this book and am probably going to drop some bucks on it along with Baking Artisan Breads by Ciril Hitz which is the source of the Challah bread recipe given to us back in October when Knitting Club attended a bread baking class. Ciril Hitz has a facility in Massachusetts, closer than King Arthur in Vermont, and I’m seriously thinking of signing up for one of his sessions….but that’s for another day.
Having had a great success with the Pain Au Bacon recipe from the Forkish book, I decided to take the new dutch oven for a test drive using the Field Blend #2 recipe. So I studied the recipe trying to decide on a way to bake it the Wendy way. One other thing that has puzzled was the Baker’s Percentage formula but I think the lightbulb finally lit and I understand it.
50 gr Wheat Sourdough
50 gr Rye Sour
400 gr KA Bread Flour
100 gr KA White Whole Wheat
400 gr Water
I mixed it all up in my 2 quart container and put it in my proofing box, aka the microwave. The next morning it was all nice and puffy having more than doubled in volume. One thing I realized is that Ken Forkish has you make huge amounts of levain and toss most of it away….next time I’m going to scale the levain for the recipe…in the meantime I did something dangerous…I used the entire amount of the levain, lowering the amount of water and slightly increase the bread flour and in my unscientific way, I ended up with a 74% hydration dough….his is 78%!
For the final dough I decided to skip the Whole Wheat and use all Rye flour since we always like a good rye bread…the final dough mix:
600 gr KA Bread Flour
250 gr Rye
600 gr Water
ALL of the levain
20 gr salt
7 gr yeast (more than he called for….cockpit error on my part…but what the heck).
I mixed the flours and water and let it autolyse for 30 minutes, then added the levain, salt and yeast. I put it back in my proofing box and and every 20 minutes for the next hour and a half I pulled it out and stretched and folded it in the 6 quart container.
Back into the proofing box and bulk ferment until 2.5 times its original size. This took about 3.5 to 4 hours. It was quite fluffy and bubbly.
I poured the dough out onto a well floured counter and worked it with the dough scraper lightly, splitting it into two and gently working each half into a boule. After a five minute rest, I reshaped each boule and gently placed it into one of my new, well floured bannetons,. Each dough filled banneton was then encased in a plastic bag and placed into the refrigerator for what I hoped would be a lengthy overnight retardation.
Checking on the refrigerated loaves at 9 p.m. I realized they were not going to make it the entire night and were overflowing their bannetons due to my mucking up the quantities in the recipe.
I baked them in their dutch ovens after gently coaxing them out. In retrospect I should have scored them a little as the seams I had hoped would bloom had apparently sealed shut from the wetness and weight of the dough in the baskets.
Removing the covers after about 20 minutes they were rising and browning up nicely and one had a bit of a split.
And upon removing them from the oven, they had the nice circular design from the bannetons and were a rich, golden brown.
Impatient after 30 minutes to check the crumb and taste the bread, I cut into one of the loaves to reveal a nice crumb structure and a sour rye flavor which….to quote Ron….was phenomenal! Guess its a keeper.
I plan to make this bread again with a slightly dryer and lesser amount of dough so it doesn’t overflow its containers!
All in all it was a successful bake even though I did my best to muck it up!
Cutting into the loaves revealed a nice crumb.