The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chasing the dragon

thirdworldbaker's picture
thirdworldbaker

Chasing the dragon

Hi Everyone. I am from Pakistan and the only bread we have here is the simple pan loaf that is super bleached and super cottony. i became obsessed with bread in 2014 while over at a breakfast at my friend's house in the UK. he cut out a little toast out of a far brown looking bread that him and i had bought the evening before from a small bakery in Coventry, UK. I wasnt expecting anything special as he buttered a slice for me but since that day i cant cant forget that little piece of bread. I finished my studies and came back to Pakistan but like my first love i cant forget that bread. I have been following this website for years now but have only registered since i have managed to get a deck oven and started baking. Ive been doing a lot  reading and research so "theoretically" i am not a novice but practically i cant even knead properly so i went ahead and bought a hobart style stand mixer but it has only one speed (not sure of RPMs). Ive made a few attempts but the white flour here is very substandard. I get it from a famous mill around here and they say that the gluten varies between 8-9 percent. But despite adding vital wheat gluten it still feels weak and slack. I have been making great thin crust pizzas at home with this flour without extra gluten. they turn out crisp and chewy at the same time and thats how i like pizza. but with bread the list of problems has forced me to register and now i admit that despite my theoretical mastery i suck. Also, i have noticed that many of the books that i have read are quite misleading and call for too much yeast and no retardation or prolonged fermentation which i think is the key with bread and pizza both. Enough said i hope some of you more experienced people here would take time out and help me get the same high again. 

list of questions:

1. is Gluten the only difference between weak and strong flour?

2. what is the best way incorporate gluten into the flour or should it be dissolved in water?

3. I know how to sprout and make Diastatic Malt. would it be as good as the one i order from abroad? (only one brewery in pakistan and they stopped making it 6 years ago)

4. when and how should diastatic malt be added to the dough? Can i long-ferment the dough in refrigerator after adding diastatic malt?

5. Should i use Ascorbic acid? when and how should Ascorbic acid be added to the dough? Can i long-ferment the dough in refrigerator after adding Ascorbic?

6. Cant get the temperature right. My oven is a deck oven with a stone base and the temperature can go up to 400 degree Celsius (750 Fahrenheit). where and how should i adjust? 

7. Oven doesnt offer steam so i use a heaxy cast iron tray and add stones to it and then add water to than as soon as i put my bread in. Is there something like too much steam? ive noticed that when i bake in dutch oven the surface isnt shiny enough but with lots of steam the crust becomes shiny.

8. what temp should the poolish or levain be allowed to rest? what temperature should the kneading be finished at? what temperature for first rise? what for the final? what temperature should the fridge be for long fermentation? (please mention Fahrenheit or celsius)(the temperature can get up to 50 Celsius in Summers (8 months in a year) and in winter falls to 10 Celsius or even lower) 

Please help me with this u guys as I am mental about this stuff and ready to experiment everyday

clazar123's picture
clazar123

http://hanseata.blogspot.com/2010/06/weizenbroetchen-german-rolls.html

This is a good article and recipe for a German roll that uses a low protein flour. It works well and the AP (maida?) flour available to you may work just fine. The trick is to develop the gelatinous starch in this flour. There should be enough gluten.

There have been several posts over the years about whole wheat and milling in India. Some of the problems have been that the high local temps while milling allow the flour to reach over 52C and as a result the starch was damaged. Great flour for flat bread but not strong enough to support the rise on loaf breads. You would have to experiment with locally sourced flour or mill your own! (Another learning curve!)

So your challenges are: the local flour, altitude?, high ambient temp? new-to-you oven.

The oven will be a learning curve but only for about a dozen bakes. The shininess sounds like a bit too much steam for a little too long. Sounds like a bagel crust!

I have no knowledge of using a deck oven or high temp oven-that is a whole specialty, I think. I have also never used malt but many people here have and I'm sure they will jump in.

thirdworldbaker's picture
thirdworldbaker

Thanks clazar123...the ambient temperatures are a big issue..these day while the weather is fairly pleasant it stays at around 30 Celsius indoors...for most part of the year it's around 36-37 celsius...but i have airconditioning and can control temperature...i think the flour definitely goes above 52 celsius while milling and from what i have heard up to 80 degree celsius...Even if i get a little mill (the traditional Chakki) i would still have no white flour...A friend here is importing italian 00 flour which he supplies to some pizzerias around, do you think it would would be a good idea to switch to that? Also my question still begs to be answered: Is guten percentage the only difference between weak and strong flour? if so, will i be able to get a strong flour by just adding some vital wheat gluten to my flour (maida)?

clazar123's picture
clazar123

 

 

I would make some delicious experiments. You have to become familiar with your new oven, after all. Make 3 versions of the same recipe using the different flour combinations. First I would use the maida by itself, then try maida with a small amount of vital wheat gluten and lastly try the Italian 00. I guess a 4th variation would be 00 flour with wheat gluten. One word of caution regarding wheat gluten-it will make your bread much chewier so go easy on the amount-1 or 2 teaspoons per loaf.

This is a post that talks of using tipo 00 flour:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/35746/00-flour-and-bread

I have never used 00 flour or maida so please post your results! I did make the broetchen using AP (USA) flour cut with pastry flour. Worked beautifully. You can always make bread pudding or bread crumbs from failed loaves.