I've been taking books from the local library to see if any are worth spending money on. Since there is a wealth of information on this site and the internet in general, I hesitate to spend money until I know whether or not it will be a useful reference. One of my recently borrowed books is Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish...which will also probably be a keeper. The Pain Au Bacon recipe caught my eye so I decided to bake it the Wendy way...meaning take a recipe for a guide, and adapt it to my way of baking and hope for the best!
Last night I created the levain/starter as follows:
100 gr Wheat Sour Starter
100 gr. Rye Sour Starter
200 gr. Whole Wheat Flour
200 gr. Water
Mixed it all together and let it ferment and at 11:00 p.m, I added 50 gr. WW flour and a splash of water, mixed it and went to bed.
This morning it had almost doubled in volume and looked pretty lively. I then put together 600 gr. of KA bread flour with 300 gr. warm water and let it sit for about 30 mins. I then added the starter, 12 gr. of salt and while the original recipe doesn't call for it, I added 12 gr. of yeast (being some impatient and can't wait days for a rise), mixed it in the Kitchenaid until incorporated and let sit another 10 minutes before I added a pound of bacon, minus 3 slices my husband ate, that had been cooked crisp and chopped up along with two tablespoons of the bacon fat. I then mixed it again in the mixer until it started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You could see the strands of gluten developing though it was still quite sticky and moist.
I tipped it out onto the floured counter and kneaded it with wet hands a few times and covered it with a bowl for 15 minutes. I then did a stretch and fold every 15 minutes for an hour before splitting the dough between two bowls that had been lined with flour dusted towels. I let the loaves proof a little less than an hour using the finger poke test.
Today I had to make do using an aluminum Calphalon dutch oven. I have ordered a Lodge and 2 bannetons.
Since the recipe made two small loaves, I cooked the other on a heated stone to see how the two compared.
I set the oven for 475 degrees f and heated both DO and stone together. I tipped the DO loaf out and put it in and covered it. The other loaf was put on a cornmeal strewn parchment covered cookie sheet and slid onto the stone, parchment and all.
Cooking time was 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. Stone loaf was done in 30 minutes and the DO loaf was done in about 15 more minutes....doneness checked with a thermometer. The Calphalon performed very well.
Meanwhile my husband is salivating and hovering over the bread with the knife. When we finally cut into the loafs, the one done in the dutch oven was much loftier with an incredible crispy crunchy crust...and while both loaves were really excellent the loaf on the stone while extremely nice and tasty, paled in comparison. I probably should have used some steam on the stone boule for a crispier crust.
This was a real successful bake and I'm very pleased with the results.