Pain au Levain with Red Fife # 2 and an Attamura bread
Pain au Levain with Red Fife 75% Sifted
Last week I posted a bake of this bread, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24636/sweet-amp-sour  that although a good loaf, I wasn't entirely happy with it because of it's close crumb and slight under baking. The finished loaf however resulted in a flavourful combination of the three different flours used in the mix, which I felt had good potential for an even greater flavour profile. One of the things I wanted to change from the last bake was the level of sour flavour, which was not as strong as I like. Since then I've been building my starter to a fairly stiff consistency to bring more acidity to it. With the warm temperatures we've been having here on Vancouver Island recently it's become a very active and tangy community of yeast cells. The mix, bulk ferment and final rise for Pain au Levain went well, giving me enough dough for two 800 gram loaves, one of which was shaped as a boule and placed in a brotform, and the other as a batard of sorts. I'd lined a wicker bread basket with linen and very clumsily sewn it into the basket to make a brotform, all the while suffering through stabbing myself repeatedly with the needle and hearing the occasional burst of laughter from across the room. It's not a thing of beauty but it does the trick, giving the dough a shape that's somewhere between a boule and a batard, or as David Snyder called a similar one of his, a 'boutard'. Both loaves went into a 500F oven turned down to 460F after 5 minutes and baked for 35-40 minutes with steam system in place during the first 5 minutes. With this bake I didn't have to rush off to a golf game, so the breads had a thorough bake, checking the internal temps for a 210F reading before I removed them to cooling racks and wrapped in linen. The loaves have a more pronounced flavour this time and a good sour tang that stays on the palate after eating. The crumb is more open than the previous loaf and with a bit of gelatinization as well. A good result for both loaves that I'm satisfied with.
Somewhere along the way during the 3 builds of the levain I over- scaled and wound up with more levain than I needed for the Pain au Levain mix I was doing. Hmmm... Well rather than return the excess to the starter, I decided to try making an Altamura type bread using Atta flour, or Attamura, a project that Varda http://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/vhaimo  has been working on over the last few weeks with some good results to show for her efforts.
The mix was made almost entirely with Golden Temple durum Atta flour except for the standard wheat flours and rye in the levain, roughly 67 grams total or 13.4% The levain was 27% of the mix, hydration was 70% (not counting the levain) and the salt at 2% for 500 grams of Atta flour. I did the mix using my new toy, a Bosh Compact, as it has a very gentle folding action when used on 1st speed that I felt would be just right for slowly developing the fragile gluten of the durum flour. The dough came together almost identically to ones that I've made previously using Extra Fancy finely milled durum flour, making a very smooth and supple dough. The dough had a temperature of 79.3F going into a 2 hour bulk fermentation and stayed in the mid 70'sF range throughout. Stretch and folds were done every 30 minutes and it was clear that the dough was gaining strength and fermenting well at each of these intervals. After the last S&F the dough was rested for 20 minutes and then shaped in a cap style by pressing the dough into a disk and folding it to almost meet the opposing side of the disk. The shaped loaf was placed fold down on floured linen and covered with another piece of floured linen for a final rise of 2 hours, then tipped on to a parchment covered peel and slid into a 450F oven on a stone.
So far so good, this might actually work I thought. The door of the oven was left open for the 1st 15 minutes, then closed for the duration of a 40 minute bake. No steam was used during the bake. After checking the loaf for an internal temperature of 210F, I left the loaf on the stone, turned the oven off and propped the door ajar to allow the loaf to cool gradually over the next hour.
The final result of this bake is something that looks like an Altamura type bread but has a deeper flavour than the one I made with Extra fancy durum flour a few weeks back. I actually prefer the flavour of the durum Atta flour over the X Fancy, which works out well as it's considerably less expensive and readily available here in B.C. I think two of the key factors in the success of this loaf was the high level of acidity contributed by the levain, as well as steady temperature during the bulk fermentation phase. Both Hamelman and Suas mention in their books 'Bread' and 'Advanced Bread & Pastry' respectively, that increased acidity and use of preferments will help strengthen the fragile gluten network of high ratio durum mixes. I'm satisfied now that a reasonably good loaf can be made using 100% (or very close to) Atta flour keeping these two factors in mind as critical to success.
Formulas and photos below.
Pain au Levain with Red Fife 75% sifted
Central Milling Artisan White Malted
Nunweiler Dark Rye Flour
Central Milling Artisan White Malted
All Purpose Organic White
Medium Rye Flour
True Grain Bakery & Mill Red Fife 75% sifted
Total Percentage &Weight
Total Prefermented Flour
Desired Dough Temperature-78F/25.5C
Mix the flours, levain, and water till all the flour is evenly saturated and autolyse for 1 hour.
After autolyse is complete mix the dough on 1st speed for 6-7 minutes, or by hand until the dough is smooth and cohesive with medium gluten development. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic for a 2 hour bulk ferment.
Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl every 40 minutes over 2 hours. Ambient temperature for this bulk ferment was 71-72F/21.6-22.2C . After bulk ferment is complete, divide the dough into desired weights and round lightly. Cover the pieces with cloth or plastic and rest for 15-20 minutes.
Shape the dough pieces into batards or boules, using brotforms, or free-shaping as desired.
Final proof of 1.45 to 2 hours depending on ambient temperature and scoring considerations. Tip the loaves onto a parchment/semolina lined peel and allow to air dry for 5-10 minutes before scoring. For the batard, a slightly shorter proof is needed to achieve the ear effect, which is done at a 30 degree angle not quite end to end.
The boule can be slashed as desired, but for the side slash pattern of the loaf pictured, it was allowed to proof marginally longer to avoid it blowing out above the side scoring.
Bake in a 500F/260C preheated oven, on a baking stone, with preferred steaming method in place. Bake for 5 minutes at 500F/260C, then lower the heat to 460F/237C, remove the steam system and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, rotating the loaves midway through the bake for even colouration. Check for an internal temperature of 210F/98.8 before finally removing the loaf to cool. Cool on a rack, wrapped in linen, for a minimum 5 hours, or overnight before slicing.