A busy baking weekend
This was a busy baking weekend for me. Thursday night I started the levain for a batch of "my" sourdough bread, which I baked on Friday night. It turned out quite acceptably in the end, but I was most excited about the maiden use of my new 1 pound oval willow proofing baskets that I picked up on a Christmas week field trip to SFBI/TMB Baking. I made this dough with a pretty low (64%) hydration because it was my first use of these baskets. I did not want the dough to stick to them and mess them up before I could get them seasoned and broken in. Given that, I had little trouble with the dough in handling, but I continue to struggle with proper proofing. I have adequate conditions, but my "tester" is not yet properly calibrated. All in all, though, they turned out pretty well. They were good enough that the loaf we kept for ourselves dissappeared with tonight's lasagna dinner!
Here are the loaves after baking and cooling.
Here is a shot of the crumb of one of the loaves.
The crumb came out about as expected at that hydration. It was tender, and not too chewy, and the flavor was only mildly sour thanks to the pretty short bulk fermentation I allowed. It's gone though, so I'd best not be too critical!
That was Friday. On Saturday I was looking through Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible" over my morning coffee, wondering what I should bake. When I came across the recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye I recalled how often my wife has reminded me that she loves good rye bread. I recently purchased some good rye flour in hopes of trying some pumpernickel bread one of these days and thought: "Why not?". So I read the recipe a couple of times through and then gave it a try. I must say it turned out to be less difficult than I expected. I had the most difficulty judging the proofing (big surprise eh?) and would have over-proofed it. I was saved by my own poor planning.
I planned to bake these loaves one at a time in my La Cloche baker. Because of that I decided to go ahead and start baking early, so we could get on with dinner. I had the oven and La Cloche preheated, and although I did not think it was quite proofed enough yet, I baked the first loaf. It turned out to be a good thing I think. The loaves below were baked sequentially, one after the other. The La Cloche only had a few minutes between bakes to recover temperature, so it was probably a little cooler when the second loaf went in, compared to the first. The difference in size between the loaves is more owing to differences in my handling during shaping though I believe. In any event, the loaves baked up very nicely, and here they are.
And the crumb looks like this.
A final crumb shot, with a thank you to Rose Levy Beranbaum for her wonderful book.
I'm pretty sure that big hole in the dough is from my shaping of the loaf. I was trying hard not to knock all the gas out of it while shaping it, and I think I did not get it well sealed together. I consider it a petty good first effort though, and look forward to having another go at it. I know I can get rid of it easily enough. My wife raves about this RLB recipe almost as much as the Cracked Whole Wheat I bake from the same book. The more I bake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible", the more excited I get.