In my blog last week I mentioned that I had the levains all ready to go and was frightfully confident that the dough would be cooperative with my intention of a relaxing mix day...
Well - the weather decided to go in to random mode, and we had storm fronts rolling in from all directions fighting with high pressure fronts that thought we should be clear and sunny instead. It's a lousy shot (I'm a lousy photographer), but here's one of the cloud fronts traveling by:
I've almost gotten used to dealing with how my starters / levains / dough react to fast and furious pressure drops, but having 3 different batches on the go with the pressure going both up and down all day --- well, let's just say that my confidence in my last blog was highly misplaced, and relaxation was NOT in the formulae!
Along with the weather, I also had to deal with my lack of attention to a couple of teeny tiny little details, which added a bit more challenge to my plans...
First up on the schedule was putting together my current favourite 100% WG porridge bread --- which incorporates a porridge of 15g each of millet, oat bran, wheat germ, rolled oats, rye flakes, and barley flakes which is first toasted and then cooked (using isand66's easy procedure) with 40g dry milk powder dissolved in 260g of water. The past few times that I had prepared this, the final cooked weight was 240g (so, 110g of water to add to the hydration), and I got a bit too cocky and didn't pay any attention to the weight (I DID weigh it - just wrote it down without thinking about it) --- which, this time, turned out to be 290g (an additional 50g of water --- which I did NOT plan for).
The porridge was cooling while I mixed together the autolyse. I have been using a large levain for this one --- 252g @ 80% hydration (so, 140g soft white with 112g water, for about 23% prefermented flour). So far, so good --- after a rest, I added the levain and the salt to the autolyse (along with 5g diastatic malt), mixed it in and started kneading. During the kneading process, I ended up gradually adding another 40g of water just to make it feel "right".
After some relaxing kneading, it was time to ferment. The plan was to do stretch-and-fold every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours --- and to add in the porridge on the first set of folds. Well, the porridge didn't want to be very cooperative with this plan, so I ended up doing a set of 100 slap-and-folds just to get it fully incorporated (which was a first for me --- this was my first time being both comfortable and successful with this style of kneading). The next planned stretch-and-fold had me scratching my head and checking my notes - since the dough just felt WET. That's when I discovered the extra 50g of water in the porridge --- oops!
Ah well - no time to fuss about it. I just put it aside (except for the remaining stretch-and-folds) to ferment while I got on with the second dough on the schedule. This one was inspired by a Lazy Loafer post a while back, detailing a taste test on different flours at 25% in the same base loaf. The one with 25% corn flour got the best reviews, and I had some corn here to grind, so wanted to give this one a try. I used my stand-by 1-2-3 formulae, with 350g AP flour, 45g rye (which was in Levain #1 @ 100% hydration), 65g soft white (which was in Levain #2 @ 80% hydration), 65g hard red, and 175g whole corn flour. The use of the two levains was basically just to use up some that were hanging around in the fridge (added up to 15.7% prefermented flour), and the dough came together beautifully when I added the levains in after a 2 hour autolyse on the other flours. This one was also put aside (except for stretch-and-folds) to ferment.
The final dough in the plan was supposed to be another 1-2-3 at 50% whole grain, with a mix of rye and spelt and kamut to round it off (a re-run of a loaf that we'd enjoyed earlier). That was when I discovered the other teeny tiny little detail that I'd missed: I didn't actually have enough AP flour to make the loaf (what I thought was my next bag in the pantry was actually a bag of dark rye). So - my quick change of plan was to weigh out what AP I had left, which turned out to be 175g for the dough, with about 2 Tbsp left for bench work... Fine. I can deal with this. I tossed together the bit of AP with 100g spelt, 150g hard red, 100g durum, and 75g rye (with another 100g rye in the 100% levain) and the dough turned in to a 75% WG instead. I ditched the kamut for durum, since I wanted at least a bit more gluten strength, but still wanted some good extensibility. It was mixed, and put aside (except for stretch-and-folds) to ferment.
So - here I am with 3 lovely clear containers of dough, all ready to just relax while the wee yeast beasties do their thing. I poured another cup of coffee, and wandered over to check the 'puter, and felt the pressure drop as the thunder rolled. Hmmph. Well - it was a short but lovely break.
I wandered over to do the final S-F on the 100%, and noted that it was doing as usual, with some lovely bubbles but not really much increase in volume (for a dough with such a high percentage of prefermented flour, it is surprisingly the slowest moving dough I've dealt with). Fine. Then I grabbed the container for the 50% WG Corn dough for a S-F, and noted that it seemed to be increasing in volume a bit more than my 1-2-3's usually do, so planned on keeping a close eye on it.
Then I pulled out the 75% WG dough for the second S-F (we're talking less than 90 minutes from the time the levain hit the dough - and the room temp was 69 deg F) --- and found this:
That's almost doubled from where I'd left it 30 minutes before. Yikes!
This was the end of me relaxing, with each set of dough responding to the pressure changes - but doing it differently. The 75% WG was moving like mad, the 50% WG w/ Corn was practically breathing with the pressure changes (up then down, then up then down), and the 100% seemed to be aerating at a ferocious rate (judging by the moving bubbles visible through the container) but not increasing in volume. I ended up with the 75% pre-shaped, then shaped, and in to the fridge less than 3 hours from first mix, the 50% was right behind it at less than 4 hours from first mix, and then the 100% finally followed right after that at about 5 hours from first mix. Oh - and I managed to get them all pre-shaped and then shaped with that wee couple of Tbsp of AP flour that I had left --- with over a Tbsp to spare when I was done.
I breathed a sigh of relief, went out grocery shopping for an hour, and came back to find that the fridge hadn't obviously slowed things down, and that the 75% was NOT going to happily sit in the fridge overnight, and had almost doubled in the banneton. I fired up the oven, and found the dough already over-proofed by the time it was warmed up, but scored it and threw it in anyways...
While this was baking, I checked on the 50% with corn, and it felt like it was just about ready too, so as soon as the other one was out, this one got scored and baked. I got a lovely oven spring, and according to the taste and the crumb, it was proofed just right:
This had turned in to a much longer day than I had planned on, and I was getting tired and cranky and had passed the point of good judgement. There were still storms supposed to be rolling through all night, so I took a look at that 100% loaf in the fridge (which had maybe increase 10% in volume), poked it, and decided that it must be baked, too. Well, it should have been left over night, as it was muchly under-fermented --- granting a beyond massive oven-spring, and taking for-freaking-ever to finally get over 200 degrees. This puppy was about 3/4" below the top of the pan when it hit the heat:
So - my "3 Bears" bake of over-fermented, under-fermented, and just right... All of them tasted lovely, and got us through the weekend, all week, and were mostly sliced and frozen...
The freezer is well stocked with a selection of breads, which was what I wanted to have on hand for weeks like THIS one --- where there is no way that I would dream of cranking the oven up to bread temps. It's beyond hot for my taste (yeah, I know - 95 deg F is nothing to you die-hards in the tropics and Arizona - but we're not used to it here, and I don't have air conditioning), and the most I'm willing to do is get the oven up to 350 for an hour --- so some rolls happened while I was doing some meats at some ridiculously early hour of the morning while there was still a bit of cool in the air... but that's a blog for tomorrow.
Final take --- please DO try isand66's method of cooking porridge for breads, please DO try Lazy Loafer's taste-test winner of 25% corn flour, please DO try different mixing / kneading methods (since they feel and work differently with different doughs), and please DON'T skip the tiny details like extra water and shortage of flour!
Oh - and always watch the dough, and not the clock, and not any other dough at hand, and not what any random table or calculation says for timing. What should have been the over-fermented loaf - mixed first, with the highest percentage of prefermented flour, fermented the longest, and proofed the longest - turned out to be totally under-fermented instead, with no rationale behind the difference in how the other two loaves responded.
Keep having fun, and keep baking happy!