The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Andy's Gilchester Miche with Atta Flour

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varda's picture
varda

Andy's Gilchester Miche with Atta Flour

I have been admiring Andy's breads made with Gilchester flour for some time now - in fact since he posted this, and later this, and most recently this.   But I felt inhibited from trying it, since I didn't see any reasonable way to obtain the flour.   Recently Andy suggested that I might try using Atta flour, perhaps sifted to remove some of the bran.   The idea was to simulate the high extraction, low quality gluten properties of the Gilchester flour.   In fact I now have two different types of Atta in my closet - a 100% whole durum that I have posted on several times, and a more refined durum with some wheat bran added in, that I recently found at a local Indian grocery store (thanks Lynnebiz) both under the Golden Temple label.   I decided that rather than sift, I would just try the refined durum with added bran.    I proceeded exactly according to the instructions here with a couple intentional changes.   First the Atta flour rather than the Gilchester flour.   Second King Arthur AP rather than Carr's Special CC flour.   And one unintentional.   I autolyzed with starter rather than without.   I am so used to doing that that I didn't even check the instructions until it was too late.   Other than that I did the three starter feedings the day before, and left on counter overnight.   I did the first mix (before adding salt) in my Kitchen Aid, but did the rest of the mixing by hand very gently.    I also felt that more stretch and folding was necessary, so I did one more than the one that Andy directed.   And I baked in my WFO for around an hour.   I had a very hard time getting the oven up to temperature today since it has been extremely wet out, and no sooner was it up to temp when it started dropping off.   So while initial temperature was around right (600degF) by thirty minutes in it had dropped to around 380.  But fortunately crust had browned already and loaf had expanded.  

This is quite a large loaf - over a foot in diameter.   I had to score with my long bread knife - this dough is pretty wet, and a short blade would have caught in the dough.   We had this for dinner tonight - one slice was enough to cut in half for a chicken salad sandwich.   The taste is very mild given the high percentage of durum - that wouldn't have been the case if I had used the whole durum - but with very pleasant flavor.    Here is the crumb:

Reasonably even, but with mouse holes, which I've gotten every time I've used this flour.  

So in sum, I wish I had some Gilchester flour for this, but I think Andy's formula adapts well to this version of Atta and I'm glad I tried it. 

 

Comments

Franko's picture
Franko

Nice looking bread Varda!

I think the crumb looks terrific. If the biggest hole in it is the one pictured I wouldn't call it a mouse hole at all, more a character hole, for lack of a better word. From the crumb shot I can see the crust suffered a bit from the temperature drop of your oven, but  the exterior photo of the crust looks good to me. I'm really enjoying all these WFO breads that are being posted lately and yours is a fine addition to them.

Franko

varda's picture
varda

Maybe the mouse hole I showed would only fit a baby but there were a couple others large enough for his parents.   I assume that this is a factor of the fragility of the gluten and the rapid expansion of the loaf in the oven tears the strands, particularly since the holes tend to be at the top of the loaf where the expansion pressures are the greatest.   Perhaps using a higher gluten flour in the starter would take care of it.    Temperature control is one of the biggest challenges of baking in a WFO.   There's something to be said for turning a knob, which is what I'll be doing soon given the approach of colder weather.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Stunning bread Varda. You out did yourself. I'm with Franko on your WFO skills.

Eric

varda's picture
varda

Eric,  The only reason I was able to get a fire going at all yesterday is I've adopted the dry wood oven techniques you told me about.   It was touch and go yesterday.   I should have started the fire earlier to give myself more time to get it going, but I was busy with something else until the very last minute.    So I was throwing wood on it like a maniac trying to get it going.   This bread baking is a fun hobby but not a relaxing one.   Thanks so much for your kind remarks.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,
Great job with the bread, I am very glad to see you managed to work the formula so well with atta flour.

I do recommend that you substitute at least some of the AP flour with strong flour. My methods with weak local flours depend on producing stiff and well-refreshed leavens made with good quality flour. This should give greater strength and tolerance in the dough. The leaven should not be added at the autolyse stage.

Lovely large loaf!
Very best wishes
Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,  Next time I make this I'll use King Arthur Bread Flour in the starter.   KA AP isn't a weak flour, but the durum needs all the help it can get.    And I'll hold the starter until the second mix.    I'm thrilled to have had a chance to make this even in facsimile, after having admired yours for so long.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a large beautiful loaf.   The crumb looks delicious and the crust color is beautiful.  Wonderful wfo baking and, now adding the weather conditions, takes it even another step farther.  Very nicely done, Varda!

Sylvia

varda's picture
varda

It's nice to get your encouragement especially after such a challenging bake.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I will have to cover my oven for a couple of days for heavy rains.  It can sometimes have the rain water run inside and I don't want to have to go through that drying out period again!  

Sylvia 

varda's picture
varda

Not in San Diego.   I thought that was illegal.     I say this as it's pouring outside.   Rainiest fall ever.    I'm so glad I got my bake in yesterday during the only few hours of sunshine in the last week.    Nothing worse than a wet oven - cover up tight!   -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

Excellent bake, Varda.  It even has a bit of that reddish tinge that is so reminiscent of Andy's loaves.  Did you stick to Andy's formula (I am thinking specifically of mixing, fermentation and proofing times)? 

Best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Hi Syd,    It was tough, but I pretty well followed Andy's directions for mixing, fermentation and proofing times.   After three hours of proofing the dough was definitely ready, but the oven wasn't, so I popped it into the refrigerator for around 15 minutes.   But other than that...   One of the things that has appealed to me about Andy's Gilchester breads is the controlled expansion of the loaves.   I know we all like ears and so forth but this is a different style of bread, and I really wanted to see if I could do it.   I feel like I got pretty close, although my problems with the big airholes show that there's a lot of room for improvement.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

wally's picture
wally

I love the crust that a wfo creates, and yours looks fabulous!

Nice bake,

Larry

varda's picture
varda

I'll definitely miss the oven (perhaps less so the work that goes with it) when I have to go back to baking indoors.   I appreciate your comments.  -Varda

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like it the way it is!  :)

I would change one thing...  Dock the loaf instead of scoring.   I think the scores just make it flatten out more.  Docking with a wet toothpic about every 2-3 cm might do the trick.   

Mini

varda's picture
varda

Docking is a nice idea, but the main reason I tried to copy Andy's formula is that I wanted to see if I could get the controlled smooth expansion of the scores in the same way he did.   I would say I almost got it - needs more work.   The starter of this bread is made with bread flour, and the final dough is made with a weak locally available English flour or in my case Atta.   The only change Andy recommended is that I go with a higher gluten bread flour to help with dough strength given the weak gluten of the Atta.   This might give me greater height on the loaf and would hopefully solve the random and fairly large hole problem at the top of the loaf.   I used my usual bread flour misnamed as King Arthur All Purpose (11.7% protein).   Next time I'll use King Arthur Bread Flour (12.7% protein).   I almost did use KABF, but I'm such a creature of habit that I just grabbed the flour I'm used to using.    That's one reason it's good to follow other people's recipes - to get shaken out of habitual ways of doing things, and hopefully learn something new.   Thanks so much for your comments.  -Varda

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for flat score expansion and body building.  I do love the crust color and esp. the crumb.  :)  -Mini

varda's picture
varda

that gets eaten in around half a second, sometimes the aesthetics run away with us.  Thanks so much for your support (no really, I'm not quoting a Bartles and James commercial from the 80s.)  -Varda