The Fresh Loaf

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Not Exactly Vermont Sourdough

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Not Exactly Vermont Sourdough

Most of my bread for the past couple of weeks has come from the freezer, rather than from the oven.  That's a good thing in that the freezer needs to be cleared out but not so satisfying as baking.  It also means that I've had a pretty steady diet of rye bread.  Again, that's a good thing but it was time for a change of pace and taste.

What I wanted was something wheaty, something sourdough.  I turned to Hamelman's Bread and came across the formula for his Vermont Sourdough with Wheat.  That didn't quite do it for me, since it simply swaps out the small amount of rye flour in the standard Vermont Sourdough for an equally small quantity of whole wheat flour.  After a second scan of the ingredients, it occurred to me that I could use equal quantities of bread flour and whole wheat flour, along with 1 ounce of rye flour, to make up the flour bill for the bread.  That would let me keep most of the qualities that have made Vermont Sourdough so beloved by many while satisfying my craving for a thoroughly wheaty bread.

The rest of the process was very much by the book, with two exceptions.  First, everything was mixed by hand, so as to avoid straining my KitchenAide mixer (and because I really, really like to have my hands in the dough).  Second, the whole wheat flour in the bread is from the Great River Milling Company.  It is a very fine-textured flour and it has a high protein content; a bit north of 14%, if memory serves.  I very much enjoy the Great River flour and hope that Costco continues to carry it.  As written, the formula is 65% hydration.  My first guess was that I would have to bump that up to 70% to accomodate the flour's  moisture absorption.  As it turned out, hydration had to be increased to 72% just to moisten all of the flour for the autolyze.  While kneading the final dough, still more water was added, bringing the final hydration closer to 75%.  It could have handled even more water without getting gloppy but I had enough to make a manageable dough that wasn't too stiff.

Since the temperature in my kitchen was around 65F and since I didn't want to be baking at 2 a.m., I used my Brod & Taylor proofer to keep everything at a comfy 75F for both the bulk and final ferments.  That resulted in the dough doubling in volume in just 3-4 hours, which fit very nicely around the errands that had to be run on Friday.

More for appearance than anything else, I rolled the shaped dough in bran before the final ferment.  Chef Hamelman's baking instructions produce a boldly baked loaf.  The bran made a nice highlight against the deep mahogany color of the crust.

 

Given the 15 minutes of kneading, and the not-massive hydration level, the crumb is fairly even and smooth but not tight.  Since the intended use is for sandwiches, it works better than a very open crumb that allows condiments to drip all over one's clothing.

The flavor is exactly what I was jonesing for: wheat!  The dark crust contributes plenty of caramel and toffee notes, with a hint of chocolate in the background.  The crumb is firm and chewy, while remaining moist and cool.  No squishy marshmallow bread, this.  It is robust and makes a substantial base for sandwiches.  

It's back to the freezer after this disappears but for now, life is very good.

Paul

Comments

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Paul,

I am curious as to how long you baked this and at what temperature.  It looks great.

Jeff

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The baking instruction calls for "normal steam at 460F for 40-45 minutes."  In this instance, the bread was in the oven for the full 45 minutes.

Paul

evonlim's picture
evonlim

hi Paul,

looks and sounds like a bread i would love a lot! inspiring pictures.

my first bread book is Hamelman's Bread :) love this book but there are not many pictures of bread in this book. 

evon

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Do try it for yourself; you will know for sure whether or not you like it!  :)

I like the book, too, and have only begun to experiment with the different formulae.  The second edition seems to have quite a few pictures, although they are grouped at intervals in the book rather than appearing on the same pages as the formulae. 

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Satisfies the wheaty nerd in me too, Paul! It looks very appealing.

with the flour percentage used, this recipe is transformed into Hamelman's whole wheat levain ( with a hint of rye).

Life is good with such bread!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Guess I should have read a little farther, huh?  Oh, well, I'm happy with how the bread turned out.  Maybe I can call it Kansas Sourdough, instead.  :0

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You got some beautiful bread there.  I'm with you on the more whole grains if possible.  Your crust and crumb are really good and the spring / rise is impressive.  Has to taste great!  Have been thinking about KCMO lately with fond memories of my Dad parking the car at the A's games at the old Brooklyn Stadium.  Imagine building a stadium today that didn't have any parking at all :-)

Happy Baking.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Every now and then, it's fun to make a white or mostly-white loaf of bread, if only to be reminded how silky smooth the dough can be.  For my tastes, though, breads with a significant percentage of whole grains are more appealing. 

Here's another KC memory prod for you: I saw some Wolferman's English Muffins when I walked into a Hen House supermarket last weekend. 

Not much imagination required for stadia without parking.  Both the Minute Maid Park (baseball) and Toyota Center (basketball) in Houston rely on nearby parking facilities, instead of their own.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

grocery store when a a kid with my brother as sack boys and cart pushers.   Most profitable job I ever had and a great teacher too.  The thing about Brooklyn Ball Park was that there was no off site parking facilities nearby either.  You parked in folk's front or back yards on game day.   Those guys made a lot of money for the time and for many it was their only income besides selling BBQ on their lawn after the game.

After the game you would retrieve your car and buy some  BBQ for dinner to take home right from your parking stall.  The ball players from around the country would hit the home BBQ's too and they took KC BBQ back to the hotel with them and then on to every major city their team came from.  Ball players loved to play in KC.   This is how KC BBQ  became famous and copied all over the country.   Before 1922, when the A's moved from Philly to KC, KC style BBQ and folks selling BBQ was virtually unknown around the rest of the country.   But just a few years later it was considered the very best and copied by so many others.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Khalid referred above to Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain. Keep reading and you will find it. It is delicious and may be just what you are looking for.

David

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I will have to try the Whole Wheat Levain in the not-too-distant future.  There are so many interesting breads in that book!  No telling how long it will take to get to all of them.

Paul

MarieH's picture
MarieH

Your wonderful bread demonstrates how one should be willing to experiment to make bread that pleases one's palate. You inspire!

Marie

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's easier to experiment when someone like Chef Hamelman has provided such a solid foundation.  And having (ahem) a few years of experience under one's belt lends a certain confidence, whether or not it is warranted.  :-0

Paul