The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A series of unfortunate mistakes

UpsideDan's picture
UpsideDan

A series of unfortunate mistakes

This was an “oh my god, what do I do next” kind of process that somehow did not end up in the garbage bin.

I decided to make poolish from stone ground whole spelt using my regular white flour formula : 400 gr spelt, 400 gr water and 1/16 tsp instant yeast. I left the decision of what to do with it to the morning after. Probably due to much higher enzymatic activity, by the morning I faced a bowl of totally disintegrate spelt goo. No structure to talk about. I decided to be brave and continue. With this goo, I realized I should not add much water, and that it might help to add some high gluten flour to improve on the non existing structure. So targeting 70% hydration, I calculated addition of 400 gr strong bread flour and 165 gr water. In hindsight, the correct process should have been to mix the water with the spelt goo and only then, slowly mix in the white flour so it nicely integrates. Instead, I kneaded the flour and water together, making a 40% hydration dough and put it aside to hydrate. Holding it in my hand twenty minutes later, I realized this will never mix with the goo. So I used scissors to cut very small pieces, added salt and started mixing. This was like trying to make croutons dissolve in a soup - doesn’t work. So for several minutes I used the pincher method trying to break and integrate with some success. The lamps refused to disintegrate even after an hour so the hydration of the goo remained too high. At this point I started to slowly mix in more and more flour until finally the dough was workable. I guess the final hydration is around 60%

On the up side - I learned few more “how not to make bread” lessons and have a tasty polkadots bread for dinner 💪

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think you did a fantastic job of saving that bread. You should name that bread “Lazarus”!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and now you know how to make polka dot bread too!  Have you ever made crouton bread?

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Great story and nice save! Dude,  I've had so many mishaps where I stared at the dough mess I created, then stared at the trash bin.  And seriously contemplated tossing it.  But finished it and baked it and it was fine.  

Nicely done!