Another newbie attempt at whole wheat
I've actually had 2 whole wheat breads since my last bread baking post. The "baguettes" were not particularly pretty, but they tasted fine (especially when used as pizza). see: http://pojosbreadblog.blogspot.com/
The bread after the "passable" baguettes was also 25% whole wheat but at a 75% hydration with a preferment (100% hydration poolish of whole wheat). Unfortunately, my skill level is nil when it comes to forming any shape when the dough is that sticky. I ended up with a nasty looking baguette and something more akin to a ciabatta than a batard. Both took too many tries to form, were most definitely over-proofed and the results reflected it. In my newbie attempts to date, these were my only two true failures.
Last night I put together a 62% hydration dough using the 25% / 75% whole wheat flour to white. The fermentation took place in the fridge overnight (around 12 hours). This was so much easier to form into a boule! I let this proof after forming for about 40 minutes (while the oven pre-heated). The finished bread looked wonderful. This is the only one I've made so far that had a nice oven spring. I used a combination of normal bake and convection bake at different oven temps (to control the color of the crust). Here's what it looked like:
Now the crumb was, as I expected, somewhat denser than the higher hydration doughs I've made but it was not "heavy" if you know what I mean. I'm guessing that the addition of the olive oil makes it that way. While I did steam the oven for 15 minutes or so and sprayed the bread / oven 4 times during the bake, the crust was not as "crunchy" as I thought it would be (although it had a very gentle crispiness to it). The flavor however was exceptional!
I guess I'll keep working on this particular hydration until I get the hang of handling it. All in all, I think this one was was my best to date. I'll stick with a winner for now. :)
Here's the formula (I didn't completely fill out the form, but you'll get the idea: