So, the third experiment with the T55, today....I’ll try to be short and quick this time…for a change. :p
In the third experiment with T55 flour, I decided to find out if the very long fermentation time in the first trial was too much for low gluten of this T55 to bear, especially the potion (about 50%) I used for poolish (6-7 hr + 21 hr = 27-28 hrs). So instead of using 100% T55 (save for small amount of Rye for poolish), I replaced about a half of poolish flour to my regular Waitrose Organic Strong flour to bring up the hydration level back to my usual 70% to see how and how much difference it’d make to the character of the dough. Because I’ve been using Waitrose Organic flours for a while and I’m quite familiar with its characteristics, I hoped hopefully it wouldn’t be to difficult to distinguish which characteristics in the dough were due to T55 and the others due to Waitrose’s one.
This is the combination of ingredients I used…..
Poolish - T55: 60g + Waitrose Organic Strong: 55g + Rye: 10g + Water: 125g
Main Dough – T55: 135g + salt: 5g + Water : 55g
Total hydration = a bit under 70%
All the procedures are left unchanged from the regular methods of my original (I mean, after borrowing and stealing the ideas from THE original formulae by Mr.Hamelman and M. Bertinett, mimicking and mutilating them as I wished) Hamelinet Poolisgh Baguette recipe.
The dough felt noticeably firmer than that of the first trial after all the ingredients for the main dough were mixed, though it wasn’t as firm as my regular dough with improvised UK flour mix, of course. But I could feel a sort of ‘core strength’ when S & F-ed in a bowl, which I didn’t feel when I once attempted to make a baguettes by using very similar combination of flours to this, the only difference being plain flour there instead of T55 flour this time (Yup! Been there, done that, too. :p) I found it very interesting because the protein level of the plain flour (Waitrose Leckford Estate Plain) I used then was much higher (11.8%) than this T55 (10.5%). Obviously the protein level, gluten level and, also, gluten quality are all different beasts, as I’ve been told many times by various books and experts, confirming that you really can’t fathom from simply by looking at the protein content on the packet.
After the 21 hrs cold retard, the dough looked much more promising than my first trial and it looked more ‘familiar’ than my second trial, maybe because the hydration level was back to my usual and, possibly, because of the inclusion of 25% Waitrose Organic Strong, my regular flour for poolish.
The ‘feel’ of the dough at pre-shaping, shaping and scoring stages were not bad, quite similar to my regular dough, though it was slightly softer and stickier, naturally. The razor got caught a bit when scoring, just like when working on higher hydration dough (←discreetly preparing an excuse for the pics that are coming), but doable enough (just…). Nothing like the first ciabaguetta disaster.
And this is how it turned out….
It’s not much of a looker at all, especially compared to the second trial’s (= 65% hydration, with accidentally shorter cold retard of 16 hrs).
However, inside was….….
Not too bad. ….though it’d be utterly outrageous to call it ‘honeycomb’ crumb. Far from it. Actually it's rather similar to my usual baguettes made with my regular, improvised flours. (which confirmed, again, I'd need more practices... a LOT of them.)
And the all important taste and texture….Wasn’t too bad, either. It was light and soft but definitely not fluffy, with a difinite light chew, almost just as I would like from a baguettes. When you pulled the crumb apart, it tore in a different way from my urual improvised UK flour mix baguettes; hard to describe how, but it was more properly ‘baguetty’ way; tore more easily with less resistance into narrower shreds than fatter chunks of torn crumb made from non-T55 flours, and, more significantly, the torn crumb pieces were more (sort of) transparent and with slightly more sheen. The crust is thinner and crispier than my usual; more properly baguette-like here, too. The taste was definitely better than the accidental-16 hr cold retard baguette I made last time, but not as deep or complex as the ciabagutta with 100% T55. And here again, the first taste you notice as soon as you but a piece in your mouth is saltiness, in a very pleasant and appetizing way. It’s milder than the ciabaguetta, but it’s there. Actually when I made the ciabaguetta, I also made a loaf of our current-favourite sourdough, replacing all the white flours with T55 to see how much difference it’d make, and the result of the flavour profile was the same; you taste the pleasant saltiness first and then all other flavours follow and mingle. Very interesting…..I first thought the lower protein level might be the cause of it, higher protein in UK flour masking the saltiness somehow, but then remembered my experience with all-plain flour didn’t show that ‘phenomena,’ so now I’m just intrigued and curious.
And the aroma was again, quite nutty, sweet and lovely, almost as good as the ciabaguetta, only slightly milder. I could also detect the familiar aroma of my regular Waitrose Organic White mingled with the French-y nutty aroma of the T55, and thought, “I actually quite like that, too” which was a bit comforting. ;)
So, now I know this particular T55 does have better flavour but could be difficult flour to work on with 70% hydration combined with 21-hr cold retard......And now you know I’m totalyly incapable of writing a short, concise blog entry. Sorry…..
Building on these experiences, my next experiment will be……………….Watch this space! :p
Lumos the Long and Winding