The Fresh Loaf

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Leader's WW Genzano Country Loaf, almost

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Leader's WW Genzano Country Loaf, almost

With few exceptions, most of my baking in the past weeks has been, well, pedestrian.  One of the exceptions would be Bernard Clayton's Pain Allemande Aux Fruits.  There's no way a bread like that can be pedestrian, even if the baker's efforts aren't stellar.  There was also the treat of introducing a young South African friend to the simple joys of a Southern-style breakfast featuring buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy and fried apples.  We initiated him into the Kansas City fellowship of barbecue with lunch at Jack's Stack on another day.  He is also now a fan of key lime pie.  But I digress.

A little more bluntly, I've been baking but haven't invested much of myself in the effort.  And it has showed in some rather medocre, if still serviceable, breads.  So I tried to do something about that this weekend and I'm pleased with the outcome.

Back in April 2009, I blogged about the Whole Wheat Genzano Country Loaf from Leader's Local Breads.  I said that it was so good that I would make it again.  Now, almost three years later, I have.  Almost.

The almost refers to three departures from the formula and process presented in the book.  The formula calls for 250g of whole wheat flour in the final dough.  There were only 140g left in my whole wheat flour container.  How did that happen?!  Faced with a hurried trip to the store or improvising, I improvised by subbing in 60g of whole rye flour and another 50g of bread flour to make up the difference.  So, technically, this is no longer Leader's Whole Wheat Country Loaf.  Rather, it is Paul's Now What Do I Do? Loaf.  The second variation is in the mixing regime.  As with my previous bake, I just don't see the purpose or value of the extended high-speed mix that Leader recommends.  After 10 minutes at speed 6 on my Kitchen Aide mixer (note that he recommends 8-10 minutes at "medium speed" which he defines as speed 8, followed by an additional 10 minutes at speed 10), the dough was already clearing the sides and bottom of the bowl and I was able to pull a windowpane.  That, of course, was after switching off the machine which I had been forcibly holding down on the countertop so that it didn't launch itself.  The third and final variation is that I preheated the oven at 500F and then turned it down to 450F after steaming and loading the bread.

In terms of being more purposeful with this bake, I made sure to pull my starter from the refrigerator and refresh it in ample time for it to be fully active.  The biga naturale was prepared and allowed to fully ripen.  I maintained the prescribed fermentation temperatures.  With the exceptions noted previously, I hewed to the formula and process, only deviating where necessity dictated or experience suggested.  Most importantly, I paid attention to what I was doing.  When it came time to shape the loaves, which is an exercise in minimalism, I was very careful to be gentle.  As a result, most of the gas in the dough was retained in spite of this being a sticky dough that wants to latch onto whatever it touches.  I even did a mini-hearsal of what movements I would need to take to get the shaped loaves onto the stone in the oven, which led to my reorienting their position on the peel.  Based on the loaves' development in the oven, I chose to pull the steam pan at about the 9-minute mark.  That seems to have been a good call, based on their coloring.

Given all of that, was the outcome perfect?  Of course not.  But I'm pretty happy with the bread.  Here's why:

The color on these loaves is much closer to what Leader describes in the book than what I achieved with my previous bake, so my decision to preheat to a higher temperature paid off.  Although the loaves sang softly while cooling, the crust retained its integrity instead of crackling.  Here's a closer look:

The higher preheat temperature had a couple of other effects.  One was to boost the amount of oven spring.  The loaves are probably almost twice as tall as they were when they first hit the baking stone.  The second effect is that the crust is thicker and chewier this time around.  I'll take that, given the richness of the flavor that comes with the bolder bake.

The crumb from one angle:

And face on:

One loaf exhibited slight tearing along the bottom, which suggests that I could have let the proofing run another 10-15 minutes.  However, the dough was so gassy that I was concerned more about overproofing.  

This is a good bread.  The rye doesn't stand out distinctly but it definitely adds another layer to the flavors.  The crumb, a day after baking, is moist, cool and firm.  The crust requires a definite bite and some deliberate chewing.  It went very well with today's dinner of brined pork loin. This week's sandwiches should be good.

My advice (mostly to myself) is to pay attention to the details because every detail matters and good bread is worth the extra effort.

Paul

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

That is fine looking bread Paul.  And judging from the volume and lovely high, round shape you got, the dough was adequately developed.  So good call on your part not to continue with the mixing.  And just what is a key lime pie?  Sounds very interesting. :)

All the best,

Syd

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Thanks for your comments, Syd.  Mr. Leader's directions for mixing almost seem predicated on a higher-hydration dough, such as a ciabatta.  In both of my bakes, I've experienced good gluten development without going to those extremes.  Maybe the  whole wheat flour absorbs enough moisture that the dough is less slack?  If so, that should have been recognized during recipe testing.  Or maybe the published water quantity is a bit less than originally intended?  I'm not sure.  In any event, I can get a good bread without subjecting my equipment to additional abuse.  It would be interesting to experiment with an extended autolyze and some S&F in place of the machine mixing sometime.

Here's the Key lime pie recipe that I used.  Key limes, aka Mexican limes, grow in the southern extremities of the U.S. (think Florida keys) and in Mexico.  Hence the variation in the names.  From what I've read, they orginated in southeast Asia and were carried to the Americas by early explorers and settlers.  Key limes are smaller than Persian limes and more nearly spherical.  Colors range from deep green to a combination of pale yellow and green.  Most that I have seen are approximately the size of ping-pong balls, so it takes quite a few to provide the required amount of juice.  Their flavor is somewhat different than Persian limes.  I find it to be much more intensely aromatic and more acidic (in a good way), as well.  You can make the pie with Persian lime juice and it will be good.  It just won't be a Key lime pie.  As you can see from the recipe, the pie is dead simple.  I should point out that it fits in a 10-inch pie pan better than in the 9-inch pan mentioned in the recipe.

Paul

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks for that recipe Paul.  It is a bit like a lemon meringue pie with a sour cream topping instead of the meringue.  It sounds delicious and I will have to try it.  I wasn't sure what Graham crackers were so I googled them and came up with this recipe which also looks great and will no doubt serve to distract me even further.  And I agree with Khalid:  those photos look great.

Syd

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

If you do make the crackers, Syd, be sure to include some whole wheat flour.  It does make a difference in both flavor and texture.  The finished cracker should be thin (2-3mm), crisp, and well-aerated.  I know that sounds like a contradiction but that's the way they are. 

The closest equivalent that I've found outside the U.S. is a digestive biscuit, which isn't quite the same thing at all.  But it would substitute well in the crust.  In South Africa, we also used crushed tennis biscuits for this type of pie crust.

Have fun!

Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It looks delicious, Paul!

David

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It is!

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Have you purchased a new camera, Paul? Those are some excuisite bread shots!

The bread looks exceptionally beautiful, inside out. The crumb is very appetizing.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's a Canon Rebel T3i / EOS600D, depending on which part of the world it is marketed in.  We were blessed with a beautifully sunny day (not a sure thing in January here in Kansas), which helped the lighting.  And, as with the bread, I tried to be more purposeful in composing the photos, rather than just taking a snapshot.

Thank you for your comments.

Paul

varda's picture
varda

it sure came out looking great and a wonderful crumb.   Re key lime - I recently bought a jar of key lime jelly in the fancy british import section of the supermarket.   Really delicious and somewhat confusing.   -Varda

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I'll be sure to grab a jar for myself, Varda.  

Thank you for your compliment.  I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out, too.

Paul

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Way to go, Paul!

I have done Genzano about six times now (not often I can reasonably use a huge loaf in a reasonable time and I have refused to make small Genzanos). Your accomodations look great!

Well done!
Jay 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

in their titles, Jay.  I haven't yet attempted the big one, so you are out in front of me with that bread.  If I ever build a WFO, I'll try that one; it just seems a bit daunting for my home oven.  This is the version that is closer to a ciabatta in size and shape, albeit made with whole wheat.  

Thank you for your comments.

Paul

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Paul,
The crust on your bread is bringing back memories of the darkly-colored crust of the loaf Jay posted about...
both loaves look so tasty!
:^) from breadsong

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a lovely wholesome looking loaf with a beautiful red color cast to the crust.  It sounds delicious with the pork loin.  Your kitchenaid sounds just like mine...well mine is probably more of a dancer.  It's just the artisan model.

Sylvia