Barley Porridge and Flax Bread
This is a tweaked-to-suit-my-routine version of the barley and flax seed loaf in Tartine No. 3. The biggest change was to the leaven – all whole wheat flour, 75% hydration, and more of it. I also switched from barley flakes to cracked barley because that is what I had access to. The rest of the numbers I just put together in whatever way I thought would give me the greatest margin for error.
And, this was the inaugural bake in my new cast iron combo cookers. I never thought I would take the leap, but my curiosity finally got the better of me. I must say, I am impressed. The size and shape limitations mean that I will never rely on them entirely, but they do make things simpler (and I don’t have to worry about setting the wet towels on fire!).
The method stayed pretty close to the one presented in the book, so I will avoid going through it in detail. One change I did make was to do the turns at shorter intervals, 15-20 minutes, to accommodate the faster fermentation brought on by the increase in leaven. The dough was also drier than I anticipated, so I added a bit of water with each turn.
As for the result… I like it! Crust, crumb, flavor: all good. There is a nice nuttiness from the flax seed and the barley smooths out any rough edges from the whole wheat. OK, I need to reduce the salt a bit, but that’s easy enough. This is one of those loaves where I can tell I got the fermentation right and the rest mostly followed from there – I wish I could do that every time!
Odds and ends – The formula may look a little wacky because of the porridge. So it goes. I don’t know if there is a convention on how to present this. In the end I treated it as an add-in, otherwise the percentages get so skewed as to make them meaningless. As for the rest, I tried to present the basic info so you could take whatever mathematical leaps tickle your fancy. The one measurement I regret not having taken was the weight of the porridge after cooking. So it goes, again.
Oh, and check out the book. It reads a little like the blog section here on TFL. No wonder I’m enjoying it so much!