The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Happy dance!

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Happy dance!

I have been on a baking hiatus, of sorts, realizing that the stash of bread in my freezer needed to be reduced.  Having worked through that gradually, I finally got around to baking again the weekend before Labor Day.

What my mouth wanted was something robust, chewy, mildly tangy, and thoroughly wheaty.  And it had to serve as a reliable foundation for sandwiches.  What to do, what to do?  Leader's Local Breads beckoned, and in it I found the Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche, modeled loosely after the Poilane miche.  After checking the metric weight quantities (which are generally less error prone than the others in this book) and deciding that it was safe to proceed, I hauled my starter out of the refrigerator and gave it a couple of good feeds.  It didn't take long for the starter to bounce back to vigorous health, especially with kitchen temperatures just slightly below the 80F mark.  It more than doubled in less than 5 hours!  

For once, I stuck pretty closely to the formula and process.  The one deviation of note was that I dissolved the levain in the water before adding the rest of the final dough ingredients.  Since I mix by hand, I find it easier to do that than to mix the levain into the already-mixed dough as Leader instructs.  Other than making my life easier, I don't see that it makes any real difference in the outcome.  Because of the warmth of my kitchen that day, I did have to trim fermentation times to avoid over-fermenting the levain and the final dough.

The outcome, by the way, was stunning!  A deep, brown-verging-on-black crust, lightly crackled; a firm, moist crumb; a heady aroma redolent of toast with sweet and tangy overtones.  I can't remember a recent bake that I was happier with than this.  And then there is the flavor!  It was everything the fragrance promised, and more.  Roasted nuts and malt, a gentle hint of acidity, a down to earth wheatiness, and other good things that I don't have words for.  The crust, after cooling, was more leathery than crisp but that played well against the moist coolness of the firm crumb.  The crumb texture is rather fine-grained for this style of bread; that comes from the extended kneading that Leader recommends.  Frankly, I didn't knead it as long as he recommends and I might even cut it back to just a couple of minutes of kneading for future bakes, combined with more stretch and folds to build strength.  That would open the crumb somewhat, but not to the point that condiments would be oozing out of sandwiches.

Here's a picture, which doesn't do the bread justice:

Good stuff, even if it is me that says so!

Both our daughters and their families were with us for the Labor Day weekend, which gave me the excuse to do some additional baking.  The tally for the weekend included Portugese Sweet Bread as rolls for barbecue pork sandwiches, sourdough English muffins for one morning's breakfast, and lemon oat scones for another breakfast.  Fun!

Now I need to finish testing the breads that I plan to teach at the Culinary Center of Kansas City, starting in November.  More fun!

Paul

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I thought so, too.

Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Where's the sandwich and the accompanying half-sour?..,

Wild-Yeast

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

My sandwich efforts are much more pedestrian than dab's, I fear.  And we haven't made any pickles this year.

So, no pictures of either.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Sounds like a great tasting bread Paul.

I bet it would be great grilled with some olive oil and herbs.

Look forward to hearing about your plan for your class.

Ian

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Hadn't thought about treating it like a bruschetta.  Gotta write that idea down for future reference.  Thanks!

I'll do a separate post about class plans one of these days.

Paul

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Beautiful, Paul.

-Floyd

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's always a relief when I can get a loaf that size from banneton to oven and then back out again without messing up something.  

Paul

wassisname's picture
wassisname

That’s a beauty Paul!  One of my all time favorite breads.  Such a simple bread, but the complexity of flavors really is hard to describe.  I think you got it spot on.  I could just about live on the crust alone.  Happy sandwiching!

Marcus

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

In this case, I'd say that 80% or so of the flavor comes from the crust, Marcus.  All those wonderful Maillard reactions produce more than just color.

Thank you!

Paul

proth5's picture
proth5

 - but I must have missed the thing on the class - can you catch me up?

Pat

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I've signed up to teach five different bread classes at the Culinary Center of Kansas City during their winter term.  Details to follow.

Thanks,

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

about the best looking whole wheat miche that these eyes have ever seen!  It just has to taste great or there is no bread god worth having.  Send me 4 slices and I'll send you a 2 slice sammy fit for that bread, or it might have to be open face :-)  No wonder folks like Leader's Local Breads so much.  If the other breads are this good then it is a classic bread book.

Very nice baking Paul.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's a shame that Star Trek-style transporters don't exist.  I'd happily have sent some your way to experiment with.  It's a bake like this that makes me think that I might actually get good at this baking thing, eventually.  Some of the flavors reminded me of the Fevere bread that I blogged about some months back.  Granted, the breads are different and Fevere does better on a bad day than I usually do on a good day but I can dream, right?

Local Breads, though receiving deserved (and some undeserved) criticism for errors, has some excellent formulae.  It is definitely one to have on your book shelf.  Maybe you can cajole Santa into dropping a copy under your tree at Christmas.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

out for ITJB edition 2 but I've been pretty good , when compared to other years,  so maybe Santa will cough up another bread book:-)

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Hello Paul:

 I wish that my home were closer to Kansas city than here in VA.  I would love to attend your class. I had follow your post in TFL and also saw your intern work at the Back home Bakery. I know that your class at the Kansas city  Culinary center will be excellent.

 I am unable to take any classes here in Roanoke area since the Culinary class at Virginia Western college required that I take the two years degree seeking program in order to just learn bread baking!  I am also  know that your class will be a lot cheaper than others. Bummer! I would love,love to be able to do it.

 I will follow you on your next post about your classes.

mantana