Spiced Light Whole Wheat Sourdough Batard
Pound, pound, pound 'til the wheat berries were ground. Bounded by a creed to heed to the flavours of the grain, I pained and maimed my fingers, arms, and shoulders.
After nearly an hour of mortar-ing and pestle-ing, the seeds bled a fine sand of flour, blotched with bits and grits of bran and germ. And what did my efforts amount to? Just twenty-eight grams (or one ounce) of freshly ground flour.
And that's why grain mills exist.
Based on Peter Reinhart's "Transitional Country Hearth Bread" recipe from his book Whole Grain Breads, the above loaf contained a set of firsts:
- My first time shaping a dough into a batard
- My first time incorporating freshly ground flour into dough (albeit only 3% of total flour weight)
- My first time converting my former rye starter to a white starter
- My first time boldly baking a loaf until lightly charred
Look at those blisters, like bubbles in boiling water. Some of you may find this mesmerising. Others may think my loaf had succumbed to an illness---bread pox maybe?
Hoping that two parallel ears would form, I scored two cuts along the length of the dough. As you can see, it didn't turn out as expected. Perhaps my incisions weren't deep enough. Or perhaps my slashes weren't properly angled. Or perhaps both.
Well, that ain't right...
I was aiming for a slightly open crumb but what I got, it seems, was a tunneling effect. Was this the result of poor shaping or gluten degradation? I don't know, really. Moreover, the bottom crust was thin and pale brown. Evidentally, my baking stones (i.e., unglazed clay tiles) weren't hot enough.
The flavour profile:
After being cooled for more than twelve hours, the loaf had permeated my room with a deep, complex, and wheaty aroma. After sinking my teeth into the flesh of the bread---pleasantly chewy and slightly moist---I became grossly bewildered; my taste buds registered subtle sweetness and mild nuttiness. How was this possible, I pondered. This bread wasn't contaminated with sugar or nuts. Was it the freshly ground flour? Yes, it had to be!
As I chewed, savoury toastiness and a tinge of bitterness progressively unveiled itself, likely caused by the scorched crust. But wait, where was the tang? Reflecting on my past actions, I faulted my overfed starter and one hour bulk fermentation for the lack of piquancy.
All in all, it was a good loaf. Just a lil' more practice and I can perk up the flavours a notch or two.
:) Thanks for reading my post. Have a happy baking and wish you all the best,
P.S. Please feel free to input your tips and suggestions. It'd be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!