Feedback regarding PR's whole grain struan
I commented in the recent thread that I'm experimenting with the Whole grain Struan recipe in PR's Whole Grain breads book.
I have now made the recipe twice:
- using a soaker that I cooked "to order" for the bread: Bob's Red Mill 5-grain cereal and barley, plus some uncooked rolled oats. Used buttermilk in the soaker
- using the same soaker he details in the next recipe for the transitional struan, but with pre-cooked white basmati rice instead of brown rice. Also used buttermilk.
In both cases, I'm using a wild yeast starter, from the same book. The starter seems lively enough and the dough is rising in the times suggested in the book.
In both cases, the loaf baked for the same amount of time (20 min, turn, 25 min more). I keep a pan in the bottom of the oven and pour 1/2 cup or so of boiling water just after loading the loaf on the stone. I'm baking on parchment.
In experiment #1, the dough was SO loose I ended up adding a bit more flour, but really working with a very wet dough through the process. It made a nice windowpane after ~7 minutes of kneading. I had to use the french fold method, because it was impossible to knead in the standard way. The result was an awesome tasting bread with a few nice holes in the crumb, moist but very flat (I shaped a batard and baked on a pre-heated stone). I believe the barley was a very nice taste addition.
Experiment #2 was looking much better - the soaker had the consistency of the picture in the book. The dough, without any extra flour was firm and kneaded well in a similar amount of time. I was slightly worried about it being too dry - what a change! The loaf was pretty high (for a batard) in the couche but immediately upon hitting the stone, it spread out and became even flatter than the original loaf. Sigh. The crumb was closer/denser and the bread (though good) was not as nice tasting as the one made with the loose dough. It seemed a little dry, even 4-5 hours after taking it from the oven.
I have baked very successfully from Dan Leader's "Bread ALone" for quite some time and have never encountered this problem, despite having much less yeast in the recipe (I'm always surprised by the 2.5 teasp. added in the final dough of PR's whole grains - in addition to the starter). The boules are generally firm and rise well.
While I know that we'll have some awesome toast in the morning (especially coupled with my freshly made Saturn peach jam)....
BUT I really love the whole grains and taste of the breads from this book so would like to learn what parameters may be causing this incredible spread, even when the dough itself seems to be firmer.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts....