Spring is in the Air…and in the Oven
Mixed Flowers and Mixed Flours
Our plum tree blossoms are gone and it’s leafing out (background of challah pic below). And Daylight Savings Time stole an hour today. So it must be Spring (despite the drizzle outdoors). The baking this weekend followed the dinners. Roast Chicken calls for Challah. Fresh Pasta and Lamb Ragu calls for Sourdough.
The Challah bake was just the usual. No experiments. Maggie Glezer’s recipe is perfect enough. Always reliable and always delicious.
The Sourdough bake involved some tinkering with my “San Francisco Country Sourdough” formula. It had been a couple months since I’d last played with this part-whole-grain pain au levain. I upped the percentage of whole wheat to 11%. I used Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft (enriched) white flour. I baked it into a large batard (one kilo) and two mini-baguettes.
I think the evenness of the crust color on the baguettes may be due, in part to the malted barley flour in the Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft flour, and in part to the thorough pre-heating of my oven and stone. The darker edge of the grigne on the batard shows I forgot to turn the oven down after the loaf went in until I removed Sylvia’s Magic Towel set-up (d’Oh!).
The crumb texture is very nice, moist and medium airy, just as I like it. It has a good sour flavor. I let the liquid levain ripen for 16 hours and the dough retarded for about 16 hours. My sourdough-lovin’ spouse describes her ideal sourdough simply as “fairly- but not super-sour, moist and chewy inside, crispy outside”. She says this one hit the mark. One baguette gone already.
Here’s the tweaked formula:
San Francisco Country Sourdough (Sourdough Pain de Campagne) version 3-13-11
Yield: Two 750g Loaves; or Three Mini-Baguettes (235g each) and one 800g Loaf; or One 1000g loaf and two 250g baguettes; or…
100 grams AP flour
24 grams Whole Wheat flour
12 grams Whole rye flour
170 grams Water, luke warm
28 Mature culture (75% hydration)
FINAL DOUGH (67% hydration, including levain)
640 grams All-Purpose flour (83%)*
85 grams Whole wheat flour (11%)**
45 grams Whole rye flour (6%)
435 grams Water at room temperature (56%)
17 grams Salt (2%)
306 Liquid levain (48%)
* 3-13 used CM Artisan Baker’s Craft (malted)
** 3-13 used CM Organic Hi-protein fine whole wheat
1. LIQUID LEVAIN: Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F
2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency.
3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F: 3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 30-strokes at 45-minute intervals. Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes. If the dough has not increased in size by 75% or so, let it go a bit longer.
4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional): After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.
5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: [Note: if bulk retarded, let dough come to room temperature for 30-90 minutes before pre-shaping.] Divide the dough into pieces and pre-shape. Let sit on board for 30-45 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.
6. PROOFING: Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates. Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.
7. BAKING: Slash loaves. Bake with steam, on stone. Turn oven to 460 °F after it hits 500F after loading loaves. Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes (10 for baguettes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (for 750g loaves; less for smaller loaves). Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary. When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.