While looking through my copy of "Manna" for a particular recipe, I chanced upon the chapter entitled "Vienna Bread". Vienna bread became very popular throughout most of Europe towards the end of the 19th century, with the arrival of roller milled white flour, compressed yeast and steam injected ovens.
It is characterised by a soft, fairly tight crumb and a thin crispy crust and is usually made as rolls or small batons.
I thought it was time I tried my hand at it. Banfield usefully provides a recipe using just 1.5lbs of flour - ideal for the home baker. I did have to think for a minute about the 3 gills of water in the recipe. A gill in England was a movable feast: a gill of beer is considered to be half a pint, but a gill of spirits is a 1/4 pint. A quick reality check on dough hydrations and it was obvious that this was 3 x 1/4 pint gills or 426ml. The dough is enriched, with a small amount of powdered milk, sugar and lard or butter.
Regarding flour, Banfield disparagingly talks about London Vienna bread, made with a high proportion of very strong flour so a "giant balloonic sphere can be presented to the public". After such a comment, I thought I should keep the proportion of Manitoba flour down to 25%. I didn't want Mr. Banfield turning in his grave. For the rest, I used Matthews organic bread flour. The spec sheet says it comes from Kazakhstan and/or Ukraine, so fairly close to Vienna... and it is not particularly strong.
Fermentation temperatures are kept low, which apparently helps to produce a thin crispy crust.
I bulked for 3.5 hours at 21C, with a knockback after 2.5 hours. Final proof for 0.5 hours. Scale at 75-80g with a bench rest of 15 mins. Final proof 30 mins. Water spray prior to baking at 250C with lots of steam. Boiled potato starch glaze near end of bake.
I'm afraid I can never get the hang of Kaiser roll shaping, and the stamp is a poor substitute; I prefer the crescents and knots!