Whole wheat, Laurel's Kitchen and a pre-ferment question
I finally picked up the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, and I'm really enjoying it. It's so well written, and written with such enthusiasm -- really infectuous.
I have noticed a few places where the advice is not the best. For instance, they recommend storing whole wheat sourdough bread (she calls it "Desem" -- Flemish for sourdough. They got the recipe from a Belgian baker) tightly wrapped in the fridge. Stale city!
And their method for making a whole wheat starter from scratch requires something like 10-15 lbs of freshly ground whole wheat flour, which is far more than I've ever needed. Also, I don't think you need a home mill to make a starter -- any good quality whole-wheat at the grocery store has worked just fine for me. (Not that I'm not intrigued by the idea of grinding my own flour. It is a lot cheaper in the long run and I've heard many people attest to better tasting bread with fresh flour. But plunking down a couple hundred for a WhisperMill is just too painful to contemplate at the moment.)
Don't get me wrong -- there's a lot of gold in there too. I'd heard about their advice to let the whole-wheat dough rise twice before shaping long before I bought the book, and it's made a big difference in the flavor of my whole wheat sourdough. And the "Loaf for Learning" chapter is an excellent primer for beginners. Probably the best I've read.
Anyway, the book has inspired me to work on yeasted whole-wheat breads, if for no other reason than I've got about 1.5 lbs of instant SAF on the shelf and in the fridge. At the rate I'm (not)using it, the yeast is actually in danger of going bad. I've been pretty much all sourdough, all the time for the last four months.
This long-winded explaination is all for this question: Does the letting the bread rise twice before shaping eliminate the need for a pre-ferment like a pate fermente (old dough), poolish or a biga?
I'll probably test it out this weekend with two loaves, one with a biga and one without, but I figured someone here had to have had some experience with it.
Oh, and do any Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book affectionados have a specific recipe that I just HAVE to bake? I've got my eye on the molasses bread and the buttermilk loaf, but there's a lot there.
Any I should avoid?
Once I've plowed through a dozen recipes or so, I'll probably post a full review.