Winebaking Part II: what happened?
A while ago I posted a question about the possibility of baking with wine - whether it could be done, what the tricks might be, and general anybody-know... I received so much helpful tips about procedures, and recommendations of the Vinafera wine flour, and links and ideas. User yozzause had the excellent idea of adding wine to a recipe I was familiar with, and using a starter, so I finally, finally worked up the guts to try that...
I took a very basic formula for a honey wheat germ bread I'm quite familiar with. I didn't want to use up all the resources in our pantry, so I made it in a very small proportion. Essentially, I went with white flour, active dry yeast, a bit of vital wheat gluten and a little bit of wheat germ, honey, butter, and moisture – I replaced half the water with red wine.
I had been advised that the alcohol present in the wine could inhibit yeast development, so I attempted to burn away the alcohol on the stovetop; simple enough. It’s quite a basic recipe of mix, knead, rise, shape, proof, and bake, and it went normally – a good rise on the dough and the loaf, and a fine oven spring.
Argh! But I was so disappointed! Usually, this bread has a nice, wholesome, slightly sweet taste with the flavor of some wheat without the heaviness, and I’d hoped to contribute a bit of the red wine flavor. Best part: purple dough! I loved the crimson touch. Worst part: bitterness! Though the crumb was soft and quite normal, the taste, once rested, was pretty harsh to me. I skipped that one. Inexplicably, my husband liked the bitterness!
But I’m wondering whether the bitterness is an inevitable product of adding alcohol to a recipe, or whether I did something wrong, or if this was simply the wrong recipe – anybody have any thoughts? Suggestions? Again, thank you all, for everything!
p.s. I did find this recipe for an ancient Roman bread made with must, the early juices of fermenting wine, and I think perhaps I’ll try that, and I thought others might be interested too! The site has a number of ancient and medieval breads: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/roman/fetch-recipe.php?rid=roman-mustacei