My conversion of Peter Reinhart’s Pate Fermentee and French Bread
To begin, this is just the process I used to work up to 455 grams (just a frac over 16 ounces) of 65% hydration Pate Fermentee.
Build up 100 grams of 100% hydration starter to 455 grams at 65% by adding 129 grams water and 113 grams each AP unbleached flour and unbleached bread flour (total flour added 226grams).
I delayed adding the salt for 30 minutes. (Who knows why! I just thought that if I added the salt straight away it might inhibit the production of the yeast.)
Okay, then knead for 6 minutes until tacky but not sticky. Well mine was a bit sticky so I incorporated a little more flour before setting aside in an oiled container for the night. I’m thinking by morning, it’ll be right to go. We’ll see. I had a feeling 3:00 AM would be the mark.
No.. I didn’t stay awake all night, but I thought the pate fermentee would be risen and by 3 AM it had, so a one minute knead and into the fridge. Not too hard to manage.
I didn’t realise that PR’s final dough contains commercial yeast!!! I thought I was going to convert this bread to a fully wild-yeasted dough. Oh well, I don’t have time to figure all that out now and I’m sure if I had just left this dough without the yeast it would have been perfectly alright. It just would have taken a few more hours to develop and I don’t want it too sour. So commercial (only ½ tspn) it is. Ten minutes kneading it by hand took it to a nice ‘window pane’ test. So at 8:30 AM the dough is set aside to prove. It may take longer than 2 hours to double because of my addition of natural starter to the pate fermentee, I don’t know. Once again, we’ll see.
I went out for a couple of hours and home by about 10:30 AM. Oven on for a good pre-heat, then slash loaves (oooh I hope I do it right!) Here is the result.
As usual the crumb shot is missing. That's because it is still not that impressive. No nice big holes! At lease my French bread looks nice this time. My first attempt (using a different recipe) turned out like mini bommy-knockers! These tasted so good we ate two of them for afternoon tea with friends. They were a big hit!