I loved Trailrunner’s “Look ma, almost no hands…” bread method and decided to give it a shot. This bread is almost the same recipe, but scaled to making three loaves and with the addition of some flax. The ingredient list is similar to Trevor’s European Peasant loaf so I decided to have some fun with names and call this a Canadian Settler loaf because of the inclusion of maple syrup in it. Carolyn, I hope that you don’t mind me renaming your bread!
So to start off, I began by following Carolyn’s method but I just couldn’t resist throwing in a few folds during the bulk fermentation and I ended up doing my usual pre-shape, rest and final shape. I also took her advice and did the proof in the fridge rather than the bulk fermentation. I did have to add more water than her original recipe because of my very thirsty flour and I couldn’t get things mixed using just a spatula. I ended up diving in using my hand to be able to first get the flour wet enough for the autolyse and then later, to mix in the salt and the levain.
I really think that my Canadian flour absorbs a lot more water than others around the world as my dough never seems to be as wet as what I see in pictures here, especially at the autolyse stage. It takes a lot of squishing and working to get all of the flour wet and I often have to add 50 or so grams of water to be able to get that shaggy dough.
And I almost forgot, this is my first foray back into yeast water since baking a few bricks a couple of years ago. I made two yeast waters, one with raisins and one with apples. The raisin yeast water seemed to activate more quickly than the apple but I am unsure of what it is supposed to look like when you use it. Is it carbonated like pop or soda? All the raisins were floating and there were some bubbles but the liquid itself did not look carbonated at all when I used it. The apples floated the whole time so hard to tell when that one was ready. I figured that it was good enough after a week in a warm spot. I didn’t have time to do a test with flour and figured that with almost 18% prefermented flour, it wouldn’t be a disaster if the YW wasn’t ready. Both smelled amazing though with that piece of orange peel in it. One wouldn’t think that using a bit of orange peel would make such a difference but it does.
So here is what I did:
210 g spelt berries
113 g kamut berries
63 g rye berries
825 g unbleached flour
50 g freshly ground flax (got this idea from one of Mutantspace’s recipes)
25 g maple syrup
30 g plain yogurt
425 g yeast water (I did about half raisin and half apple)
200 g filtered water
22 g salt
430 g 2 stage 100 % hydration levain (method follows below)
- Mill the spelt, gamut and rye berries separately. Sift the bran out and reserve the bran and all of the spelt for the levain. Place the sifted kamut and rye flour in the dough bucket or bowl. As an aside, I received the Komo sifter as a belated Valentine’s Day gift and had a blast using it to sift out the bran. I used the middle screen but next time, I will use the finer screen. It sure beats sifting by hand.
- Prepare a two stage levain (à la Dabrownman) by using 23 g of active starter, 210 g of filtered water and 210 g of bran/sifted spelt flour making sure that all the bran makes it into the first build. I left this overnight. The next day, feed again 210 g of filtered water and 210 of spelt flour. This doubled in less than 3 hours.
- Right after the second feed, place the remaining ingredients except for the salt and the levain in the dough bucket. Mix well to a shaggy dough and let rest while the levain is rising. I placed both in a warm spots, the dough in the oven with the light on and the levain in the microwave where I had heated a cup of water. Carolyn said that her dough got puffy while autolysing but I didn’t really see any activity with mine.
- Once the levain has doubled and is starting to recede, mix in the salt and the levain. This is where I tried doing this with the spatula but it wasn’t mixing in well so I just dove in with my hand and mixed it as per usual.
- I put the dough back into its warm spot and gave it two sets of folds each an hour apart. Then I let the dough rise only 25 to 30% which took about 3 and half hours. I didn’t let it go to 50% or double because I was trying to repeat my success with oven spring when I made my version of Trevor’s European Peasant loaf.
- Just before turning out the loaf, I gave it one final set of very gentle folds and turned the dough out on a lightly floured counter. I am definitely using a lot less flour than in the past. Divide into 3 loaves or 2 larger loaves. I preshaped the dough very gently into a boule by bringing the edges to the middle, turning it over and then gently shaping into a round with the dough scraper. I let rest about 15 minutes and then did a final shape by cinching the dough “à la Trevor” and tightened the boules’ skin by pulling on a dry counter surface.
- The boules went seam side down into floured bannetons and were covered with plastic bowl covers. Then into the fridge for the night.
- The next morning, they were baked as per usual (thanks to LazyLoafer for her method): Oven and pots heated to 475 F, parchment rounds in the bottom of the pots, and boules baked covered and seam side up at 450 F for 25 minutes and then uncovered and baked for a further 22 minutes at 425 F.
I was very pleased to see great oven spring! I think I might have been over fermenting my dough since I seem to be getting much better oven spring when I let it go only 25 to 30%. We will see what the crumb looks like when I cut them open.
This write up is already long enough but unfortunately, I am not done, in case you made it down this far. Ha ha! Only four loaves out of the 8 that I have for sale were spoken for and I do have a friend that only buys bread if it has fruit in it, so since it was her birthday on Friday, I decided to make one batch with fruit. In addition to the above recipe, at the autolyse stage, I threw in 25 g poppy seeds, 25 g hemp hearts, 75 g chopped medjool dates and 75 g cranberries as well as an additional 50 g of water since the add-ins absorbed a fair bit of the hydration. Otherwise, the recipe and method is the same as above. Here it is fresh out of the oven.
I tried to give credit for techniques and ideas so that we can see how much we influence each other in our baking. There are many others such as Minioven, CedarMountain, Ian, Bread1965, Rue, Icedemeter, and Leslie just to name a few that I haven’t mentioned in this post but have definitely impacted my thinking and practice. Pretty amazing really!