The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cromarty Cob

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wassisname's picture
wassisname

Cromarty Cob

This week I tried the Cromarty Cob from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley.  The element that makes the bread distinct is the use of a healthy dose of rye starter instead of wheat starter to kick-off the fermentation.  Aside from that, this bread could be put together in whatever way suits your taste.  I decided that my taste would be well served by the formula as written (and I was not disappointed!).  The flour blend is a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and white flours.  For the whole wheat component I used freshly milled hard red wheat, and for the white component I followed the recommendation in the book – AP flour in the leaven and bread flour in the final dough.  I didn’t change much, but I did double the formula to end up with one great, big loaf (about 2kg of dough).  I also reduced the water by just a touch, fermented a little cooler and baked a little hotter.

I couldn’t resist the "C" for Cromarty scoring.  Actually, I appreciate the suggestion, because I still have the hardest time deciding how to score my loaves!  I decided to snip it in with scissors - I didn't trust myself to get it right with a blade.  I think the effect was pretty nice.

The result was great.  A hearty loaf with a soft crumb and substantial crust.  Though, I think the crust would have been even better with a hotter bake.  The rye sour adds an extra dimension to what would already be a flavorful loaf.  The only problem I had was underestimating the vigor of a liquid rye sourdough.  The 200% hydration rye sour ferments at an astonishing rate compared to my stiff whole wheat starter.  My first attempt at this loaf was… not good.  Now that I know what to expect, however, I plan on keeping my starter this way at least until the weather gets hot.  The aroma of the rye starter alone is worth it!  I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner.

Marcus

 

 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

scissored C and know it came out better than any slashing I could muster.  I've never even tried white levain over 166% hydration so will have to give a 200% rye levain a go just to see it work away.  This has to be a tasty bread and the crumb is as good as the crust.  Well Done and

Happy Baking Marcus

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, dabrownman.  I may be using the scissors more often on fragile doughs, as my scoring can be a little heavy handed. 

This is my first time keeping a liquid-ish levain of any kind, and I must say, I do like how easy it is to just stir it together.  It's one to keep an eye on, though.  I thought my kitchen was cool enough to leave it out overnight... HA!  It erupted all over the counter.  From now on the feisty thing will be spending most of its time in the fridge.

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful loaf.  That crumb looks perfect and this must taste great.

Regards,
ian

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks Ian, it makes a good, simple everyday kind of bread.  It lends itself well to sandwiches, too.

Marcus

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Gorgeous color and crumb. I love a substantial crust . A mighty loaf for sure. I keep thinking I should get his book but I have a hard time convincing myself I need another cookbook when I don't use the ones I have !  Thanks for posting. c

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, trailrunner. If you have a few bread books already, this one probably won't tell you much you don't already know, but it's a book that I like for its motivation as much as anything - I have a hard time cracking it open without wanting to go straight to the kitchen to put some dough together.  The relaxed, practical take on home baking is nice, too, if you are at all like me and sometimes get a little wrapped up in the details.  Happy baking!

Marcus

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Getting wrapped up in details is not one of my problems :) I have others though  LOL !  If he has a relaxed view I think that is a bigger selling point for me than any other. The new books out in the US with 22 page directions for making bread leave me completely cold. Have no interest and find my bread is exceptional with very little attention other than rudimentary techniques perfected over decades of baking and applied sensibly. I look forward to more of your bakes from this book. A used copy is quite reasonable...I shall probably be unable to resist after your sales pitch !  Happy Baking to you too. Caroline

wassisname's picture
wassisname

If ever there was a subtitle in need of a bread book, "rudimentary techniques perfected over decades of baking and applied sensibly" is it! That's right up there with, "Constructive Neglect", the title of a section on sourdough starter maintenance in Bread Matters - one of the most relaxing writings I have ever read on the subject.  Well said.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

thank you marcus. It sounds like Bread Matters has lots in common with my thinking about bread. I do believe you have given me the best reason of all to purchase it :)  Like-minded bakers need to support one another!  Thank you. c

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It looks really good.

David

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, David!

Christl's picture
Christl

Ahhhh Marc, "why are you so faaar away", well maybe a good thing, with such bread the butter would worm itself 

back into my fridge. It looks awesome, I could live of crust like that alone. 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

It's pretty darn good even without the butter :)