Alnwick Farmers’ Market
Friday 30th August 2013
I have really enjoyed reading other TFL regulars posting about their baking adventures in relation to their local farmers’ markets. I attended my own local market on Friday of last week and thought I’d do a short blog post with some photographs of the products I offer for sale. I’ve posted formulae for most of these more than once before, but it may be instructive for me to give more description for each of them here, as they are currently made.
Here are some photographs taken at the market to give a flavour of the Bread and Roses' range:
All these breads are now made using only natural leavens.
The Moscow Rye is unchanged; 100% rye sourdough, 3-stage process. It is an 18 hour first fermentation, followed by the addition of a scald to the sour to create a sponge. 4 hours more fermentation before making the final paste. 1-2 hour bulk and 1-2 hour final proof, then bake. They go into the wood-fired oven at whatever temperature the oven is at; with lids on the pans. A hot oven sees an 800g loaf bake in just over an hour. But I have baked them for a LOT longer on the dead oven.
The Gilchesters’ Miche is unchanged too, but I find a 2 hour autolyse combined with a stiff levain gives the best results for a dough with 73% hydration using very weak locally grown organic and high extraction flour.
Seeded Sourdough has a long history, as we baked a Special Seed Bread at the Red Herring many years ago using Pumpkin, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds. The soaker of Golden Linseed is from Jeffrey Hamelman. The stiff white levain is my own, as is the choice of 50:50 white flour to wholemeal. Similarly with the Five Grain Levain which is very much based on the Hamelman formula, but using my stiff levain.
The Spelt bread is still a work in progress. I like that it allows me to use more local flour from Gilchesters. I like that there is interest in this ancient grain. My formula uses stiff levain of strong organic white flour at 30% pre-fermented flour, 60% hydration, with wholemeal organic spelt making up the remaining 70% of the flour. I don’t like: it’s bitter!! I use a raisin purée to try to offset the bitterness [with mere occasional success]. The crumb is tight and the dough dries out too quickly; an increase to 71% overall hydration has helped a little…but results in even less dough tolerance, as the fermentation always races like a train. I definitely do not like the cost either! Ok, it’s “a pig” to mill, and the yield is a mere two thirds of what you can expect from wheat; but how do I justify £23 for 15 kg as against £12 for 15kg of the lovely Farmhouse flour? I should explain that the regular wheat used by Gilchesters is a single variety “rare breed” Sativa wheat, organically grown, sourced specially from Germany on account of no fancy biologist arsing about with its genetic make-up over the last umpteen years and more. Try as I might I often fail to convince those who worship as the alter of Spelt that the Farmhouse flour offers equal provenance, is just as safe a dietary bet for those with issues, and, actually tastes a lot better. So I’m stuck trying to make a better spelt loaf. This one is not bad, but you can see I’m not raving about it; and that is not good enough. I want to love all the bread I offer for sale.
Moving on; the white bread. I’ve changed tack here; this is a more ordinary white bread. I like it much better too. Nigel makes a much better white loaf than I have ever achieved using the Gilchesters’ Ciabatta flour and a liquid leaven. A lot of this is to do with his oven, I believe. Anyway I was really happy with the 800g offerings I came up with this time. In summary, I now use only the Marriage’s Organic Strong White flour. I use stiff levain, 60% hydration, with 25% pre-fermented flour. I autolyse the remaining 75% of the flour for 1-2 hours. The overall formula gives 68% hydration. Nigel uses an overnight fermentation for his white dough. That doesn’t work for me. 2 – 3 hours of bulk fermentation with a couple of folds, followed by 1.5 – 2 hours final ferment gives me the best results. Of course, the real difference is in the leaven preparation, and I remain in favour of well-fed stiff dough rather than liquid levain. Feedback from colleagues is favourable and positive. This is good, as I find it very hard to get REALLY enthusiastic about any white bread.
The Toasted Brazil Nut and Prune Breads are now made with levain only. Originally, I used an overnight Biga. I make these as 400g loaves, in order to make them a commercial proposition. And, they are really popular at the Alnwick Market; I sold a dozen of them, even at £2.80 each. Why do nuts have to cost £10/kg here in the UK these days???
The laminated paste does use baker’s yeast, as a “straight” dough. I use an overnight cold fermentation. Once the butter is incorporated, I give four half turns to laminate the dough. Typically, this would involve 2 half turns, one hour rest, 2 more half turns, then a further one hour rest. I used 1kg of flour in the formula, and 420g butter. Yield gave me 15 Croissants, 10 Pain Amandes and 10 Pain au Chocolats.
Autumn at Bread and Roses looks busy; very busy indeed.
Happy Baking to you all