Longest dough prep ever and a few experimental trials!
Since I got a few bread books as Christmas presents, (“Baking by Hand” and “Simply Bread”), I got a few more ideas for add-ins. As well, reading several of the posts (Leslie, Marianna, et al) on there in addition to Trevor’s book, I got inspired to try a few new things.
One was the management of my starter. I fed it 1:2:2 for 3 feeds after removing a portion from my NFNM starter and then the last feed was a 1:4:5 to give me an 80% hydration starter which I prefer to use because the consistency seems to be easier for me to mix into my dough. Well the 1:2:2 feeds worked well by doubling after 7-8 hours. But the 1:4:5 feed also took 7 hours to barely double. Time was marching on so I used it even though it really didn’t feel very fluffy, nor had huge bubbles in it. If I redo this, I will make the starter the night before and give it a full 12 hours to come to peak. So far, I don’t see an advantage on changing my method of making my levain, but this new method might just need some tweaking (like lowering my expectations on how long it will take to double whenI feed it 1:4:5).
So the two breads that got inspired from “Baking by Hand” were a Cranberry Walnut and a Seeded Multigrain. Each batch makes 3 loaves.
215 g toasted walnuts
75 g ground walnuts
160 g cranberries
750 g unbleached flour
202 g multigrain flour
50 g ground flax seeds
700 g filtered water
32 g plain yogurt
266 g 80% levain
22 g sea salt
115 g sunflower seeds
115 g sesame seeds
115 g millet
60 g brown flax seeds
60 g rye flakes
550 g unbleached flour
202 g multigrain flour
220 g Arva mills wholewheat flour
50 g ground flax
700 g filtered water
32 g plain yogurt
266 g 80% levain
22 g salt
I used the same method for both loaves.
8 am Fed the starter 1:4:5 (30 g starter, 120 g filtered water, 30 g whole wheat/90 g unbleached flour) I doubled this since I was making a double batch of dough. I expected this to double within 4 hours as per my usual method but it was moving very, very slowly. Giving it a big feed really slows it down.
8:15 am Made up the seed mix and toasted it in a dry frying pan. I divided the seed mix into 350 g and 100 g portions and then set aside.
8:30 am Ground the walnuts for the Cranberry walnut loaves. Realized that I didn’t have enough walnuts so I added pecans. Chopped the pecans up with a knife and dumped the pecan/walnut combo into a dry frying pan to toast. Well of course the finer bits burned so I ended up picking out the larger nicely toasted pieces and threw out probably 30 g or so of burned crumbs.
10 am Checked the levain, didn’t seem to be doing anything.
11 am Mixed flours, ground flax and water so no dry flour was evident and left to autolyse at room temperature of 73 F. Kept watching starter move at the speed of molasses in January.
12 pm. Checked the levain, it had risen a smidgen or maybe it was my imagination.
3 pm Time was marching on and the levain finally barely doubled so I added the yogurt and Levain. Once well mixed in, I did 100 stretches and folds. The extended autolyse gave me a nice window pane even before the 100 folds. Kept dough on counter as I knew we needed to go out and I didn’t see the point of having it move too fast and then slow it down in the fridge.
3:40 pm Did another 100 folds.
4:15 pm Put the add-ins and salt through stretches and folds and once mixed in, and did the last set of a 100 folds.
4:45 pm Since we needed to go out (sis in law’s birthday), the dough was put into the fridge.
8 pm We got back at 8 pm and pulled the dough out of the fridge and into a warm spot which is the oven with the lights on. The dough felt really stiff and unworkable at this point.
9 pm The dough was still cold and I did 4 very gentle folds to avoid tearing the dough. This was more to let the warmth reach the interior.
10 pm Did another 4 gentle folds as the dough was still quite firm.
11 pm By this time, the dough was much more supple and I sort of followed the method outlined in “Baking by Hand” to strengthen the dough. I wet the counter as per Alan (Alfanso) and then folded the dough in 3 letter folds from side to side and then from top to bottom. Then, I put the dough back into its bucket and back into its warm spot.
11:30 Did another set of letter folds on the wet counter. The doughs felt really heavy because of the amount of add-ins. The book recommends doing these every half hour so I followed suit.
12 am Another set of letter folds on a wet counter.
12:30 am Last set of letter folds on wet counter. I then figured that I had manhandled this dough enough by now with the 100 folds, the letter folds, the killing it in the fridge and so on, that I would just leave it alone until it was ready to divide. At 1 am, I thought it was ready because I saw some bubbles on the edge of the tub but when I turned it out, it felt like a brick and not airy at all, so I put it back into the tub and back in the warm spot.
1:30 am Finally, at 1:30 am, it looked and felt much better. Funny what a half hour will do. I divided the doughs and gave them a preshape on a floured counter. Once shaped, they were left to rest about 20-25 minutes.
2 am By this time, I had just about enough of this dough, so it gave it a final shape. The bannetons were sprinkled with a rice/AP flour mix and on top of that, I used the remaining seeds mix in the 3 bannetons that were going to hold the Seeded Multigrain. I put the dough into the bannetons seam side down and popped them into the fridge for 10-12 hours. Then I put the Golden🐕 in his crate and went to bed. The Golden was quite disturbed that I woke him up to move to his crate. The Sheltie is always loose so he just did his own normal thing which is to find a cool spot to sleep. ;)
Since I had 6 loaves on the go and none were for sale this weekend, this was the ideal opportunity for a few trials in baking methods. I had done the cold dutch oven/cold oven method as well as the hot dutch oven/hot oven method, but I hadn’t tried the cold dutch oven/hot oven. With 6 loaves, I could do all three and see what happens. I always put a round of parchment paper down first before placing the loaves in the pots to prevent sticking.
- Cold oven/Cold Dutch oven
Put one loaf of each kind in cold oven and cold Dutch ovens. Heat oven to 475 F. When oven reaches temperature, bake 20 more minutes. Then remove lids and drop temp to 425 F for another 22 minutes.
- Hot oven/Cold Dutch oven
Heat up the oven to 475F but keep the Dutch ovens on the counter. Once the oven reaches temperature, place the loaves in the cold Dutch ovens and load into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes at 450 F covered, and then bake 22 minutes at 425 F uncovered.
- Hot oven/Hot Dutch oven
Heat up both the oven and Dutch ovens to 475 F. Place the dough carefully into the hot pots and bake covered for 25 minutes at 450F and then bake a further 22 minutes uncovered at 425 F.
Loaves are from left to right: # 1 baking method to #3. Seeded multigrain are in the back while the Cranberry Walnut (aka Pecan) are in the front.
I don’t see many differences between the two cold Dutch oven bakes whether started in a cold oven or in a hot oven. The loaves don’t have a lot of rise and are more squat or of a larger diameter. They also don’t have much of the characteristic tears that I have come to expect from my breads. The ones baked in the cold Dutch oven and hot oven have practically none.
On the other hand, the preheated Dutch oven and oven produced loaves that had more oven spring and do have that characteristic tearing at the top. They are smaller in diameter and just look more attractive to me overall. This replicates the results I got from doing method #1 and #3 in a previous bake. So in terms of what I prefer, the preheated method wins hands down and I will continue with it.
I will try to get crumb shots when we cut into the loaves.