A beer barm wholegrain batard
Firstly, I have a new song to kneed along to. The lyrics are relevant - I can only assume the idea for the video was conceived under the influence of something stronger than fermentation fumes.
The rhythm is slightly faster than my usual kneading rate, but in the same way top athletes often run to music that has a slightly faster beat than they find comfortable to improve stamina, my quest to be a finely honed baking machine will not succeed without a little pain and sacrifice.
Anyway, I wanted to make a bread for the table to go with a crunchy salad with a fairly weapon's grade french dressing and some cheeses. I made a 'bram' as described in Dan Lepard's The Fresh Loaf. This was done by taking 250g of strong bottle-conditioned ale up to 70 degrees C (I presume to boil off the alcohol) and then 50g of flour was whisked in. When cool, I added a tiny bit of pre-ferment from my sourdough starter (which is not quite ready at five days old but I couldn't resist). I left this mixture for 4 hours by which time it had doubled in volume.
- 500g whole grain flour
- 12g salt
- 250ml water
- 150g of the bram
- A tiny pinch of fresh yeast (maybe half a gram) just because my starter is a little green still.
Mix and knead (to the anthem above) and then 20 hours in the fridge. Shaped into a batard and left to warm and prove for 3 hours, then into the oven. I didn't get a photo of it whole (mouths to feed) but here's a crumb shot:
It's a shame one can't upload flavours to the internet but it's got a really moist, fluffy crumb that has a lovely malty, nutty flavour. Great for soaking up the salad dressing and you can taste it along side fairly powerful cheeses. I'll make it again for sure. Pleasingly light for a 100% whole grain - I tried to be gentle during the numerous stretch and folds and shaping, and the long slow fermentation helped a lot. My sourdough starter will be one week old tomorrow so this week I'll do my first sourdough. I seem to have regressed to eight-year-old boy levels of excitement. I shall also try and find a slightly more high quality camera (with a flash!) as these grainy, blurry iphone shots are letting the side down.