The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Asking a Centaur to stay for the weekend...........

Kiseger's picture

Asking a Centaur to stay for the weekend...........

A Centaur has a man-stomach and a horse-stomach. And of course both want breakfast. So first of all he has porridge and pavenders and kidneys and bacon and omelette and cold ham and toast and marmalade and coffee and beer. And after that he tends to the horse part of himself by grazing for an hour or so and finishing up with a hot mash, some oats, and a bag of sugar. That's why it's such a serious thing to ask a Centaur to stay for the weekend. A very serious thing indeed.     C.S. Lewis.  The Silver Chair

A glorious week of fine warmth in London, all the pubs having duly disgorged their customers into the street and the parks teeming with picnickers and kite flyers.  When we finally get a proper summer here, it is rather marvelous.  My niece had come up to see me on Friday; after wandering around the museums, we came home for tea to try my bread - success!  The Husband disappeared early Saturday morning for his regular training so I had the kitchen to myself.  Having made the Tartine 3 Oat Porridge on Friday morning, I was allowed just one more bread for the weekend.  I am generally gearing up for the multi-sprout, soaker, nuts, seeds and dried fruit breads that DABrownman and CAPhyll have been regaling us with recently.  But just before I go there, I wanted to try Ken Forkish's Field Blend #2 - in part because David Snyder said I'd like it (and in truth, it was high time to do as one was told!!).  This worked well, although I am still not getting the oven spring and bloom I am aiming for, but for fun I opted for the scissor cut grigne.  Up on Sunday morning to bake, go riding and then off to Richmond Park for a picnic with The Husband's tri team.  After an hour of watching three very athletic men trying to put up a small gazebo, the ladies decided to take over and a fiesty duo got it up and standing in 15mins.  The magic of having put up this little haven of shade on a blistering day is that everyone proceeded to sit in the baking sun and put their bikes under the gazebo.  Lots of puce faces by the late afternoon!!  The training team descended on the bread like a pack of Centaurs, stamping their hooves in satisfaction and making odd braying noises.  Lovely bunch, they are.  Fascinating discussions (....!) about how to improve transition times, sports nutrition, how to take fast turns in the rain......argh!!!!   Luckily, I found a like minded "non-sport" type in the crowd of Centaurs and we talked about food instead!!  Time for home, to sit on the patio with another slice of bread with olive oil and parmesan and a glass of La Vougeraie (a magnificent Clos de Vougeot white).  Two breads I loved and will make again.

Forkish "Field Blend #2"

A few changes here:

1.  I am using a starter which is 80% hydration, 60:30:10 BF, WW, Rye.

2.  I added 30g toasted wheat germ, which I included in the autolyse.

3.  I autolysed for an hour.

Otherwise, I did this "by the book".  It was about 24C/75F in my kitchen, the BF took about 4hrs and the final proof was 11hrs in the fridge at ca.6C/43F.  It was definitely just ready the next morning, coated with bran and baked in the DO for 30min at 250C/480F and then lid off for the last 20min.  The crust looks a bit dusty because of the bran, added on a whim.  Judging from the crumb shot, I probably should have degassed slightly more when shaping but the potential flying crust seen here at the top of the loaf didn't show up in the rest of the loaf.

Adding the wheat germ was a good idea, it adds some depth to the flavour.  This had a very mild sour tang, with the rye really coming out - David Snyder was absolutely right (as always), this bread is a keeper.  This was tested with a variety of French cheeses, a Larzac ewe's cheese called L'Estaing, a fresh Italian Caprino goat cheese, a Beaufort from the Savoie region (made from raw cow's milk) which is more subtle than a classic Comte.  All suitably accompanied with a glass of solid burgundy.  This seems like a real "trencher" bread to me, so we're having an English classic of "devilled kidneys on toast" tonight!


Tartine 3 "Oat Porridge Bread"

1. I followed his "double" method by fermenting the porridge with some levain and water for 24hrs, then cooking it in its liquids before mixing.  I added the mix after the second fold. 

2. I did not add the almonds or almond oil, I wanted to try this out as a pure "porridge" bread first. 

3. I stupidly forget to add the wheat germ, although I cannot say that this was a real loss - while I'm sure it will have more depth with the WG, it was absolutely delicious without.

4. Because I decided to try a 3hr autolyse, I did not add the leaven until 2 1/2hrs were up, I then added the leaven and left it for a further 30 mins and then added the salt and extra water.  Not sure this made any difference.

5. One note on the porridge overnight soaker: I have read a lot about adding salt to soakers but for the purposes of this "first attempt" at this bread, I followed Heilige Chad's recipe.  I'd welcome thoughts about when it is right/better to add salt to soakers - in this case, it seemed to be just fine without but he adds levain to his soaker so it seems to be a different process from the usual straight scald, but I may be missing a trick here! 

I was expecting lots of porridge lumps in the final bread as it was a sticky mass that went into the dough, but it really does "melt" into the bread.  The BF was ready in about 3.5hrs, after the pre-shape and bench rest, it proofed in a 6C/43F fridge overnight.  Baked in the DO at 260C/500F for 20mins with the lid on, but struggled to get my oven to come down past 250C/480F after that.   It still came out well, a nice bold bake (you can't tell with the oats on the crust, but it is a proper dark brown).  The crumb shot shows that while there were lots of good holes, the rest of the crumb is actually quite dense - I think this may have to do with my technique rather than the recipe?

This is a definite keeper, I will add the WG next time and will probably toast it first.  My niece was over so she had this as her afternoon snack on its own and with butter and cherry jam and I had some with the remains of some St. Felicien cheese.  It came out mild with no sour tang which I think is better to allow the warm oaty taste to stand out, with a mellow mouth feel.  It's also fabulous toasted with sardines and parsley and a little glass of St Joseph white. 

Life isn't all fricasseed frogs and eel pie.  C.S. Lewis.  The Silver Chair




dabrownman's picture

how god bread can be when paired with some fine cheese and wine.  Transition times and such remind me to eat and drink just a little bit more:-)   Your two breads look like they would pair with just about anything tasty.  Love both of them and the write up too.

Well done and happy baking. 

Kiseger's picture

I am right there with you on the whole transition times and such, I outright guffawed when someone mentioned that they had to give up alcohol for the month before a big race.....   I doubt I'll be invited to one of their parties again, but that's fine as I'll be pigging out on something tasty instead!!  

CAphyl's picture

Kiseger:  The breads look wonderful.  All must have been delicious. Bread and cheese (especially English cheese!) are heavenly.  My next recipe is going to have to be a porridge bread based on your featured breads and Ian's.  He has made many different kinds, and you are both inspiring me.  (I have another bake ready to go tomorrow; fingers crossed).  We have heard about (and seen in photos on Facebook) the wonderful UK weather.  When I see our friends and family in the UK in T-shirts and the kids in the blow-up pool and at the beach (without jumpers), I know that it is truly summer.  Can you hold on to some of that good weather as it won't be long until we are there for two weddings?

Love the literary beginning to your posts and your C. S. Lewis quotations. Please keep it up. When I was in the UK recently, I had to write a letter to the Times, as the food editor wrote a column about a food trip he made in the U.S. and it was pretty unflattering (not about the food, but the Americans!)  As an American (who is not really thin skinned, I must say) and an honorary Brit (married to a scouser; I should point out that the food editor also insulted Liverpool and all of the north), I felt I had to respond.  To describe the writer of the column, I quoted the great American philosopher, Bugs Bunny, who so famously said: “What a maroon!” The Times letters editor really liked it, but I can see I have a long way to go to get close to your literary quotations.  I'll work on it.

Good luck with your next bakes.  The soakers are so much fun; you'll love it....All the best,  Phyllis


Kiseger's picture

Really thank you so much, very kind indeed.  I'm glad you've enjoyed the post, I guess my main hobby when I'm not baking is reading.  I can only recommend this bread - it's been hovered up and has disappeared in no time.  Have just started my first sprouted grains, so am quite excited for my next bake!!  Looks like rain next week, but hopefully it will clear up and be sunny for your trip over.  I will send up a plea for restraint to the old anglo-saxon god of the sky and thunder called Thunor!!