Country Bread In a Steamy Oven
I joined in the Dutch Oven craze with a Pain de Campagne bake a few weeks ago, and the outcome was fine, but I think I get my best results with Sylvia’s magic towel technique. So, for my first try at a Tartine-like Country Bread, I baked two sloppy boules on the stone.
I used the formula Brother David posted last week (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21389/country-bread-freshmilled-flours, except I used professionally-milled flours rather than home-milled (since I don’t have a hackmesser of my own, nor a KitchenAid grinder attachment [which would not be very useful in that I don’t have a KitchenAid <geez, this sentence has lots of digressions>]). I used my favored white flour, Central Milling Co.’s Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft, along with KAF Whole Wheat flour and BRM Whole Grain Spelt flour. (This was the first time I’d used spelt flour and now I have a hankering to fry up some of those small Pacific surf fishes so I can have smelt on spelt.)
The 77% hydration dough was silky and malleable, but it was gumby-in-a-toaster-like to shape. With a good deal of flour on the board and on my hands, I managed to form pretty tight boules. I proofed one in the garage (52 F) so they could be baked in succession without the second one being overproofed.
As soon as they were gently plopped from the bannetons to the peel, they spread out. But they did rise nicely in the oven.
And there was much crust crazing.
And this is kinda what I like the inside of my bread to look like.
The texture is about ideal for me—very moist, tender and airy crumb, but with some chew to it. The flavor is good, but not the most interesting. Not quite sour enough and I miss the touch of rye I usually have in my Pain de Campagne.
I think the next test is to try to get the flavor of San Francisco Country Sourdough with the crumb texture of this loaf. Maybe 70% white/20% whole wheat/10% rye with 75% hydration and a three hour primary ferment.
Of course, Tasha thinks I should forget about bread and learn to bake kitty treats.