A Grab-Bag of Bakes
It's been a busy few weeks, both with baking and with other areas of life! As always, baking grounds me. The ritual...it's one of the best things about it.
These first few loaves were my first semi-official "commissions" from a coworker. I've baked dozens and dozens of loaves for my workplace, and dozens more as gifts, but this particular coworker insisted on compensating me; she wanted me to do the work of calculating my labor, my ingredients, and consideration of the prices of competition in the area. I still actually haven't settled on a price! This is the kind of thing that's really hard for me. Anyway, I ended up baking four loaves for her, all sourdough:
1) Everything Bagel-Style SD
2) Parmesan-Encrusted SD
3) Chocolate Chunk SD
4) Simple SF-Style SD
Then, I did a couple of 20% rye, 40% whole wheat torpedos with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
And finally, SD with browned butter and brown sugar, which tasted like a cross between brioche and a croissant! I wrote out the formula I developed and included it below. The hydration is slightly lower than it was on the pictured bake, but I think this will improve the ovenspring without hurting the quality of the crumb. Happy Friday to all.
Sourdough with Browned Butter and Brown Sugar
200 g 100% hydration mature white sourdough starter (however you want to create that levain)
280 g cool water
400 g all-purpose flour
80 g light brown sugar
80 g browned butter
11 g (sea) salt
1) Mix flour and water until combined, and autolyse for 2-8 hours at room temperature.
2) In a saucepan, bring the butter to a slow boil over medium heat. Watch very carefully--this will only take 2-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the burner right when you see it start to brown. You don't want sediment to start forming at the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool.
3) While the butter is cooling, mix your starter/levain, brown sugar, and salt in with the autolysed flour and water. I do all of my breads by hand, but I'm sure this would work beautifully in a mixer as well.
4) Add the browned butter, and mix for 2-4 minutes, slapping the dough against the side of the bowl as it starts to come together.
5) When all ingredients have combined and the dough is at low-to-medium gluten development, allow it to rest.
6) Perform stretch-and-folds every 30 minutes for the next two hours of bulk fermentation.
7) After the 2 hours of intermittant stretch-and-fold, allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it has increased between 60% and 80% in size. This should take 1-3 hours.
8) If you plan to bake that day, allow 1-3 more hours of bulk fermentation to allow the dough to fully double. I like to retard dough during bulk fermentation; in that case, it can go straight in the refrigerator for between 8 and 72 hours. The tang will increase over that time!
9) When you are ready to bake, shape and proof at room temperature. This final proofing time will vary widely based on ambient temperature! For a large batard or boule, my proofing time for this dough is usually 2-2.5 hours.
10) When the loaf has fully proofed, place it in the freezer for 20-25 minutes. This will help with scoring and ovenspring.
11) For one large loaf: Score and bake at 450 with steam for 18 minutes, without for 22-25 minutes, until very dark brown with blackened blisters.
Happy, happy baking to all, and to all a good week!