Hamelman's Pain Rustique
Late last week my wife and I were invited to my step-son and fiance's new home for a 'get acquainted' Sunday dinner with her parents and grandparents, so I thought it might be a good idea to bring a loaf of something or other to contribute to the meal. We've met them all previously but not knowing their tastes I decided to go with a bread using poolish rather than a sour levain style bread, settling on Hamelman's Pain Rustique which uses 50% prefermented flour in the formula. The poolish was made on Saturday night and sat for almost 12 hours before being mixed with the other ingredients after a 30 minute autolyse, producing a very slack dough similar to Ciabatta. After 40 minutes of bulk ferment it needed some stretch and folds in the bowl before being able to develop it on the counter using the slap and fold technique. The dough had two stretch and folds over the course of the next hour with a small addition of flour to tighten it up to a point where it could hold a loose shape, then divided into 2 unmolded rectangular shaped loaves, placed seam side up on floured linen for a final rise of 30 minutes. I had a bit of difficulty flipping the first on to the peel and it deflated slightly, but the second loaf held it's shape during the transfer. The loaves were given a single slash and baked at 460F for 35-40 minutes with a spray or two of water during the first 5 minutes. It's been a while since I've baked an all wheat dough and I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it can smell while it's baking, especially when it has a good percentage of poolish in the mix. The first loaf came out the way I expected it would, looking worse for the poor handling during transfer, but the second made a nice loaf with a bit of an ear along the slash. Everybody seemed to enjoyed it for it's open airy crumb, chewy crust, and that it paired so well with the delicious saucy braised short ribs our future daughter in-law had made for the main course of the meal. I've been eating sour rye bread of one type or another since the beginning of the year so this was a welcome change for it's fresh wheaty flavour and light porous crumb, and one that I'll be making again in the months to come.
I'm afraid the crumb shots are a bit too yellow due to light conditions and the flash on my phone camera. The actual colour was a creamy off white.