The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread

Today's bake was Daniel Leader's Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread, from his Local Breads book.  This bread combines a biga naturale for flavor with yeast for shorter, more predictable fermentation times.


The formula is straight-forward: the biga, water, equal parts whole wheat and bread flours, salt and yeast.  Final hydration works out to about 77%.  Based on Leader's description of the dough, I was expecting something almost in the ciabatta realm.  It turned out to be less gloppy than a ciabatta dough, perhaps because of the extra absorbency of the whole wheat flour.  Still, it was definitely better handled by the mixer than by hand.  I'm a little leery of his mixing directions, though.  First, he recommends an 10-minute run at speed 8 on a Kitchen Aid, followed by an 8-10 minute run at speed 10.  I didn't run it quite that long, or quite that fast, since I was seeing good gluten development.  Plus, the dough was clearing the sides of the bowl, even though it was very sticky.  The directions indicated that it probably cause the mixer to walk.  Hah!  I had to hold it down, what with the ball of dough slapping and releasing from the sides of the bowl.


After the mixing/kneading stage, the dough is dumped into an oiled container for 1-1.5 hours until it doubles.  It is then treated to a series of stretch and folds in the container (I used a plastic bowl scraper for this exercise), then allowed to double again.  Having finished bulk fermentation, the dough is scraped out onto a floured counter, divided in two, and (very gently) shaped into rough, rectangular loaves that are placed on bran-strewn pieces of parchment paper for their final rise.  The risen loaves go onto stone in a preheated oven, with steam.  The initial temperature is 450 F, which is dropped to 400 F for the second part of the bake.  Oven-spring was good.  The crust color is a deep brown, but not the near-black color promised in the formula.


The finished bread looks like this:


Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread


The crust is thin and crackly, although I expect it will soften because of the internal moisture.  The flavor is very good; closer to that of a yeasted bread than to a sourdough but with some complexity that isn't usually present in a straight dough.  There doesn't seem to be the bitterness that sometimes shows up in whole wheat breads.  The crumb is moderately open, though nothing like the big holes of a ciabatta.  That's not bad, since this will be used primarily for sandwiches.  The breads are relatively light in weight for their size, another indicator of an open crumb.  I'll have to get a crumb shot, later.


I will definitely make this again, although I may experiment with leaving out the yeast.  That should swing the flavor profile in a whole 'nother direction.  Before getting to that, though, I have my eye on a couple of different rye recipes from Local Breads.


Paul

Comments

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I'm definitely going to try this recipe. I love your description of the crust and the bread looks fantastic.


--Pamela

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hi Paul, This bread certainly has the looks of a lovely Country Loaf of Bread...maybe we could have a look at the crumb tomorrow?  I wish I could have a taste.  It looks like it would taste good with everything! I'll have to put it on the list!


Sylvia 


 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I would never be able to stand the noise of the mixer for that long!!  Amazing bread for all that. I bet it has a lovely taste. c

Moriah's picture
Moriah

I would never be able to stand the noise of the mixer for that long!!


...ipod ;-)  

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Pamela, thanks for your comments.  By all means, try this bread.  It tastes as good as it looks.


SylviaH, here is a picture of the crumb:


Crumb of Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread


The crust is very thin and, as expected, has become quite soft because of the moisture from the crumb.  The crumb is also quite soft, particularly for a whole wheat bread.  Hmm, this could make some really good hoagie rolls if you shaped it as rolls instead of loaves and then stored them in a plastic bag after they cooled.  That might be something that I need to look into on another occasion.  It toasts nicely, too.


Trailrunner, I took Mr. Leader's instructions about mixing more or less literally.  In hindsight, I almost wonder if he should have identified medium speed as 2, rather than 8, and high speed as 4, rather than 10.  At those speeds, the dough may well not have cleared the sides of the bowl (which would have matched his description) and needed the full duration specified.  At the speeds he specified, the dough developed very quickly and was slapping around the inside of the bowl very vigorously.  And, yes, it was noisy.  Thankfully, the finished product was worth the effort and the mixer doesn't appear to have been harmed.


Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Crumb shot is wonderful...even nicer than I expected!  Hoagie's....I made some way to small the other day...this recipe would have been perfect! 


Sylvia 

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Very nice open crumb on that 50% WW bread, Paul, and nice high profile on that wet dough, too - looks like a great recipe. I'm surprised it came out soft, though, since it is a lean dough. Perhaps try baking it longer at 420F rather than 400 so that the crust really does get very dark, if you want it more crisp? The high amount of whole wheat flour in the recipe should give a very dark (not burnt) crust, like what you would get with Hamelman's Pointe A Calliere miche here, (I use 25% WW to 75% AP in this recipe as opposed to first clear as David did) the high water content does necessitate a very long "bold" bake, though.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The bread did behave very nicely, when you consider its characteristics.  Maybe beating the snot out of it with the mixer does have a purpose.  I'm just not sure that I want to subject the KA to that kind of workout with any frequency.


Today, two days after baking, it seems firmer than it did yesterday although it still isn't as firm as, oh, a pain de campagne.  Maybe the moisture content was the primary contributor to the tenderness and it will become firmer as it dries somewhat.  I'm fine with the crust as is, both color and consistency.  I'm not quite sure why it was so much lighter than Mr. Leader described; my oven's actual temperature is generally pretty close to the advertised temperature.  Maybe it's one of those things that separates the commercial oven from the home oven.


Paul