artisan bread with soft wheat -- it can be done!
A few weeks ago, I posted a question about using soft winter wheat for baking artisan bread. Here's the brief story. My wife and I are somewhat passionate about local food. Since we can only grow soft wheat here in Kentucky, I always assumed that I would have to buy flour milled from wheat grown in Kansas or the Northern Plains.
Fast forward to Monday when I was at the market and saw this:
... a bag of All Purpose flour from Weisenberger Mills, Midway, KY. Now, I have used their flour in the past, specifically their bread flour milled from hard red spring wheat, and it has performed beautifully. Check out the sticker on this bag, though:
Yup. Kentucky Proud, made from wheat grown in Woodford County, KY (also home of a fantastic bourbon, Woodford Reserve). I decided to throw out everything I thought I knew about flour and try to bake artisan bread with it.
The end result?
Not bad, right? I chose Hamelman's Baguettes With Poolish. I think this recipe provides a decent baseline, and really lets the flour speak for itself.
I will be the first to admit that this is far from my best loaf. The crust is a too pale and the scoring is nothing to write home about (I may have gotten a bit anxious and threw it in the oven too soon, but 30 minutes into proofing, it started to feel a little dead to the touch). The crumb is perfect for dipping in olive oil or slathering with spread. The flavor is quite nice, with just a hint of tang from the poolish, an almost buttery finish, and the subtle taste of wheat typical in a simple white bread such as this.
I think I will try a more advanced recipe next time, and see just how far I can push this flour.