What can I say, I like big loaves. I have made the Tartine Country bread a number of times in all sizes, from 500 gm to 2 kg, and am always happy with the results. I refreshed my starter when I returned from a week away with the intention of trying the whole wheat loaf as well. On my last visit to Central Milling I picked up a 5# bag of Acme Organic Whole Wheat flour, so what better bread to test it on. I pretty much followed the method in the book, with a small deviation because I forgot to hold back the required 50 gm of water to add with the salt after the autolyse, so I had to add some extra water. The formula was supposed to be 80% hydration, and the extra water took it up to 83%. The formula is quite basic:
Levain 200 gm 20%
Water 830 gm 83%
WW flour 700 gm 70%
AP flour 300 gm 30%
Salt 20 gm 2%
I made a double batch and shaped them into 1 miche at 1950 gm and three smaller boules at around 700 gm each. The bulk ferment was about 4 hours at a controlled 74˚F with S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min. After shaping, I retarded the miche and one smaller loaf overnight (about 16 hours), and continued proofing two of the smaller loaves for 3 hours. Baking was on a stone heated to 500˚F which was reduced to 460˚ when the boules were peeled into the oven. Steam for 15 min. then turn on the convection to 425˚ for 20 min. more, rotating as necessary. For the miche, the convection temperature was 415˚ and the convection bake time was 35 min.
The loaves showed lovely bloom and grigne. I have been playing with different scoring lately, and I like the effect using two interlocking half-circles. A bit cumbersome to do on the large loaf, but it's a nice look. I think the bake times could have been a bit longer. Though the loaves registered over 205˚ and were left in a cooling oven with the door cracked open for 10 min., I didn't get the nice singing and crackling crust like I do on the Country Loaf, which I suppose is due to the higher hydration dough and not being baked out completely.
The crumb on this bread is sublime - airy and with a fairly soft chew. The flavor is nutty and wheaty with a distinct tang on the retarded loaves (I didn't get to try the others). Curiously, the 2% salt seemed a little on the light side. This photo is the crumb of the smaller loaf - I'll post the miche once I cut it. The final size of the miche was about 10 inch diameter and 4 inch tall at the dome.