100% Whole Grain Goodness and Fiasco. A tale of two cities.
I put my new grain mill to work this weekend. The first thing I did was bake the teaching loaf in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book. Note, the master formula is not error free. Under ingredients and method he states to use all of the soaker, and then states use all of the soaker (or biga) when he should have said starter (or biga). See, I read these things, Peter!
More substantively, the master formula states to chop the soaker and the starter or biga into 12 pieces each and to "sprinkle some of the extra flour over the pre-doughs to keep the pieces from sticking back to each other."
What am I missing, here? Why would you flour the pieces to prevent them from sticking if the goal is to mix the 24 pieces and combine them into a uniform mass? Seems that flouring the pieces is counterproductive.
Anyway, back to the story.
The just-combined dough:
The bulk rise:
In the pan -- you can see the pan was a bit too small to contain the dough:
The bakes loaf:
The crumb (this is my PB&J sandwich. It is a little wet with jelly to the right of middle:
Overall, I am not thrilled with the bread I baked. It tastes fine and is not heavy. But it is also a bit too crumbly. It is difficult to slice thin and when sliced sandwich thickness, it does not hold up very well.
That said, I assume that this is the fault of the baker and not the formula. Although, if those who make this loaf regularly tell me that the bread is always easily torn and this is the best you can hope for from whole-grain goodness, my expectations can be adjusted.
After baking the sandwich loaf, I went back to Tartine and looked at his whole wheat recipe. That formula and instruction set is fundamentally flawed and I can't even figure out what is supposed to be done with it, because while he says the whole wheat requires extra hydration, he does not give a formula for 100% whole wheat, leaving me wondering how much extra hydration is needed if I decide to go 100% whole wheat.
It is flawed for a second reason also -- whereas the basic country loaf discusses 750 grams (50 grams reserved to add with the salt) of water, the whole wheat description mentions 800 grams of water, mentions nothing about a reserve, and tells you mix the dough and says nothing about when to add the salt (if I recall, it actually refers back to the basic country loaf, but has you starting after the salt has been added).
Anyway, I figured if 800 grams was used with 800 grams of whole wheat, then I should add more than 800 for 100% whole wheat. However, using 845 grams produced a dough that was rather wet.
I autholyzed overnight at room temperature, added the leaven and let it bulk ferment for 4 hours at 70 degrees. The dough was bubbling at the surface. But it was very wet. I did not know whether I should shape it or let it sit longer. So I shaped it. Unfortunately, it was too loose and so I followed his directions after seeing a too runny bench rest and did another pre-shape. This time it held together much better, so I finished the shaping and added it to my basket.
After proofing for 3 hours, it rose considerably but it had the consistency of Jell-O and did not look like it would make it out of the basket.
To my surprise, I successfully predicted that the dough would not come out of the basket. No way, no how. It was stuck good what I was able to tear out, was a big gloppy mess.
I baked it anyway. I am afraid to cut it.
It came out like a dense rock. I didn't bother scoring it because the "it" was not really a loaf.
I am ashamed to have wasted so much flour. I don't know if my 86% hydrated dough was the problem or if I should have let it sit overnight in the fridge to let it dry out. Unfortunately, I am not yet "there" with knowing whether dough is overproofed and I was a little concerned that leaving it for too long in its whole wheat state, would result in overproofed dough -- especially when I was seeing bubbles at the surface after only a few hours.
I also made whole wheat pizza with the other half of the dough (with 1/2 of that, still in the fridge). The pizza was chewy and not bad, but not nearly as good as the tartine basic country loaf with white flour. In part, it was not a fair test because I did not cook it on a preheated pan, but it was just too wet and stretchy to bake it that way and instead I dropped the goopy dough into the rectangular pan, stretched it out a bit and baked it in a hot oven.