The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gingersnapped

[crossposted with much more detail from my own blahblahblah, yeastvillage.com]

A naturally leavened sourdough spelt is therefore HEALTHY (kinda!) and GOOD FOR YOU (mostly!) but most importantly it is EASY and AWESOME. 

My baking life is more of an after school special, which means that most breads don’t fit into my schedule unless I’m willing to be forgiving.  Sourdoughs especially require a long rise and need to be thrown in the oven right away to avoid the overfermentation/vinegar flavor.  This loaf proofed and doubled neatly overnight but lived in the fridge for the next 12 hours until I could get it into the oven.  It had an acid flavor that was just this side of a little overpowering to the nuanced grains (worked fine for me, cooking genius that assumes balsamic vinegar cures all ailments).

Really, what are you waiting for damn guy?

Recipe, lifted neatly from Breadtopia (instructions are my own, paraphrased for those who can’t manage the attention span necessary to watch a really nice video on the Internet [jerks])

530 grams (about 5 cups well fluffed up) whole spelt flour
350 grams (~1+1/2 cups) water
10 grams (1+1/2 tsp) salt
3 Tbs honey or sugar or 2 Tbs agave
1/4 cup sourdough starter

Disolve honey and starter in warm water and mix salt and spelt together.  Gradually add spelt+salt to water.  Cover and allow to autolyse for one hour (dough will be very wet).  Proceed with a series of three or four stretch and folds at fifteen minute intervals and allow to rise covered with saran until doubled in a container with a rounded bottom (depending on how active your starter is, may take anywhere from 4-6 hours).

Prepare oven for hearth baking.  Carefully move dough to baking sheet, cloche or clay bread crock (a more structured baking environment will allow for a prettier loaf).  Mist lightly with water and add seeds; or just proceed with slashing the loaf.

Bake at 450 for about 45 minutes until darkly browned.  Use your preferred method of steaming on the outset.  Allow to cool for at least an hour before cutting.

Bake at 450 for 45 minutes or until internal temp is 195-200.

gingersnapped's picture
gingersnapped

[crossposted to my general baking blagsite, yeastvillage.com!]

The day you find yourself laboring over a fine grained sieve sifting the bran out of otherwise a-ok whole wheat flour: might as well admit it you’re addicted to yeast.

relax piggybank, it's turkey

open up; sandwich time

Personal success: half batch + stretch and fold + autolyse with a hella wet dough and shaped! appropriately! neatly!  It looks like bread when it came out of the oven! (this is perpetually delightful and surprising)

Personal failure: forgot to score and got ants in the pants and pulled it out before the crust could fully harden.  The biggest advantage I’ve found to cooking in someone else’s oven — I tend to walk away and leave well enough alone (perhaps an important life lesson there).

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gingersnapped

my starter (affectionately named "dr. hip hop", which has definitely stuck) is definitely getting stronger with the twice daily feedings (have kept to co-op flour and will be moving back to bread flour today since i've run out until the weekend), although isn't really back to one hundred percent and still takes closer to 3.5 hours to double.  i have not been throwing away the extra that you scoop out of the dish -- i've been reserving and then cooking new loaves with it and running up a list of baked goods that also include starter.  it's not super strong, but i've been augmenting with some instant yeast and got great results.  i was a litlte irritated to have to do that at first, but the bread came out so great i was really excited to have made something good again.  i was just working with white flour, none of the healthy junk like i usually do, and everyone agreed that was the best :)  even me, miss weight watchers weird ingredients ancient grains only scarfed down a few white scraps when the opportunity presented itself.


questing right now to find the best white loaves.  if you google amish white bread there's a great recipe that comes up on allrecipe; that's where i subbed in the starter+yeast and it rose faster than anything i'd ever worked with before.  also used a tangzhong because i love the way the cooked gluten gets the bread so cottony.  but the perfecentages weren't quite right...trying again with another set of loaves with the same recipe but carefully noting my changes.  i reduced the oil (and subbed out half for coconut oil), upped the salt, made a smaller tangzhong so the recipe wouldn't be as wet and also mixed in 2 TB of chia seed gel (gives it a nice speckled look, plus the chia seed gel should hold in the moisture of the loaves similar to the tangzhong and give it a nice earthier flavor).  possibly it may taste to healthy.  if the dough still smells "healthy" when i go to bake it i'll coat it in melted butter, hopefully no one will notice.


i'm trying to really walk the line between good gluten development and dough that's too sticky.  too sticky/wet dough can have enough gluten development, but it's moot if you can't work with it.  the white loaves earlier couldn't really be handled, but with the reduced oil and my careful measuring and noting of the water, lessening of the tangzhong and fully incorporating the oil this time around the development was really really nice.  sticky but stretched with the consistency of a weak rubber band.


i baked up another set of loaves with a whole wheat, spelt and rye mixture.  haven't tasted it all yet -- had a really nice crusting (but not ideal, i wonder if it's possible to get such a typical artisan crust with whole wheat flour?  maybe that's another thing special to white).  this was 100% starter, and i left it out for a little less than 24 hours to proof (i haven't been able to revive a starter loaf that's gone into the fridge, and when i leave it out that long the sourdough gets SO SOUR.  it tastes like there's vinegar in the bread, but even better is that when you add a little bit of butter it tastes like cheesebread.  also my 12 hours plus work day prevents me from having too much control on rise times). 


i was happier with the crusting than the first time i almost burned the house down trying to work out the steam situation (and shocked i didn't burn myself), but the loaves were definitely too wet.  looking forward into cutting into one of them last night.  i did a tangzhong with a third of the spelt flour to see what would happen.  spelt has low gluten development so i thought super-hydrating it might be an interesting experiment.  i'm really fascinated by that particular method, especially since there's so little information available on it in english on the web.  i think it will end up with a wetter loaf/denser crumb, which with the vinegar taste is fine by me.

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gingersnapped

I've been trying to do too much at once.  It occurs to me today that although my sourdough has been going for over a month now, I've yet to really bake anything successful with it (except for the buttermilk cluster, which was an exercise in accidental genius and a lot of time, I think).  The problem is, I'm usually going after recipes that are so wacko or are so much my own creation (throw some spelt in here, whole wheat here, lower hydration, etc) that there are too many variables to tell what the issue is.


Tonight for a fried I was working on making a sweet Amish friendship white bread recipe, with a tangzhong (which, as it turns out, there are no good internet resources for figuring out how to do a conversion for), and also a sourdough starter.  This...was not a good idea.  Too much going on!  So I bit the bullet, continued winging it, and added the imprecise tangzhong and sourdough anyway as well as some regular proofed yeast.


I'm hoping this will come together.  The tangzhong loaf a few weeks ago was the most brilliant brilliant bread I've baked in a long time and disappeared at a party.  But I'm eminently frustrated by the sourdough ciabatta rolls which are struggling to come together in their proof box.  The yeast just never seem to come back from the deep sleep.


I'm going to spend the next few weeks focusing on strengthening my sourdough (I noticed that after feeding it bubbled, but stopped bubbling UP.  This is no good.  I need to go back to basics), baking with instant yeast, and working on a spelt tangzhong (is it possible?) and my stretch and fold and technique with super hydrated doughs. 


I'm super frustrated that I don't have enough time during the day to do things like feed my yeast x3, pull dough out of the fridge to warm up, etc.  Toting dough to work isn't the brilliant or convenient idea I'd hoped for now that the boss is back...

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