I’ve been experimenting with sprouted whole wheat flour (KA flour, not the home milled varieties) wondering what’s the upper limit I can deploy, without compromising the decent open crumb texture. Started with 30% and then increased it to 50%, a few days ago. Mistakenly I put in 100 grams more water than intended. I had no choice but to add a little more sprouted flour. Unfortunately, at the stage after autolyze, the dough won’t be agreeable with that much more flour. Gritted my teeth and, reluctantly, I had to deal with a much wetter dough than I’m comfortable with.
Well, those are the situations, until you are tested, you don’t know how far you can go beyond the usual boundary, real or imagined. Can’t believe even bread making is a mental thing. Didn’t think I can handle a wetter dough than 80% for hearth breads. A siren would go off at that marker, screaming danger! I just don’t go there.
To my surprise, the finished loaf was much more open than the 30% sprouted bread I made and posted recently. See the side by side crumb comparison in the last image. (30% on the left and 50% on the right.) More pictures of the 30% are shown here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/51613/special-saturday-wannabe-falling-short.
The major factor was none other than the hydration level. No doubt, there were differences between the two bakes: flaxseeds addition to the 50%, preferment amount, autolyze duration, cold retard. They were not meant to be controlled experiments. To me, the key contributing factor to the better outcome of the 50% sprouted bread has to be the higher hydration, 84% vs. 65%.
This was a breakthrough for me, but just with the bread: I no longer fear a high-hydration dough. It’ll take me to some underexplored and rewarding territories, I am convinced.
I made pear and goat cheese crostini with the bread. If you need an idea what to make for mom as part of a breakfast or lunch spread on Mother’s Day, consider making this crostini. The sweet smoky flavor of the grilled pear and the creaminess of the goat cheese is a winning combination. There is no better way to show off the bread you’ve labored for a long time to perfect.