I like to tinker with my formulas over time. I haven’t done a country sourdough in a while and wanted to try it using a stiff levain. I kept the hydration to a comfortable 76% since I haven’t done this style of a bread in quite a while so didn’t want to go crazy high.
Overnight levain 74°F for 10 hours.
In the morning add to your bowl, water, rye and whole wheat flour, mix and allow to sit for 15 mins to fully hydrate the bran. Then add stiff levain, breaking it up into small pieces. Then add bread flour, mix well and allow to rest for 10 mins. Knead to build gluten. Add salt and bassinage hold back water until the dough feels well hydrated. Once well mixed and moderate gluten development, remove dough to bench and do a bench letterfold. Transfer dough to a bowl. Every 20-30 mins do a coil fold stopping when the dough feels strong and isn’t spreading quickly after a fold. Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for the remainder of bulk. Once the dough has risen 40% or pH dropped 1.0 then shape dough and place in a banneton. We will aim to bake when the pH has dropped by a total of 1.4 or the dough has had a rise of 70-80%. If doing a cold retard, can place in the freezer for 1 hour when the pH has fallen a total of 1.3 and after 1 hour in the freezer transfer to the fridge for baking the next day.
The next morning pre-heat the oven 500°F and set up for steam baking. 30 mins before ready to bake pour 1 L of boiling water into your metal loaf pan with the Sylvia towel rolled tightly inside to pre-steam the oven. When the oven reaches 500°F flip the dough onto a parchment paper sheet, brush off excess rice flour, score and then brush water onto the dough but not the main score. Transfer to the oven and onto the heated baking steel or stone. Pour 250 mL of boiling water into your cast iron skillet. Drop the temperature of the oven to 450°F baking with steam for 25 mins. After 25 mins vent the steam and remove the steaming gear. Drop the temperature to 420°F and bake for a further 20-25 mins, turning half way through and moving the bread to a rack instead of the baking steel.
This had a nice balance of wheaty flavour and sour tang from the overnight cold retard. I also actually did a cold retard of the levain as well for convenience which I’m sure also increased the flavour. As you can see, if you like blisters, the cold retard is a must. I also like to brush water on the outside of the dough after scoring as I find this helps get rid of remaining rice flour that I wasn’t able to brush off and this seems to enhance the blisters as well. Quite happy with the crumb from this bake.
truly stellar, Benny.
Thank you Rob, I am quite pleased with this bake. In particular, I love how the wheat stalks turned out of all things.
That's a gorgeous loaf !! I just found my diastatic malt that I purchased many many years ago. It was in the back of my basement fridge. Dug it out to use on the bagels I made today. They will be boiled and baked later. Your open crumb is stunning !! c
Bagels sound good, I’ll have to try them in the future. My diastatic malt was purchased quite a few years ago now as well. I unfortunately don’t have the extra space to keep it refrigerated so it is at room temperature. It still seems to work well enough thankfully.
Great bake Benny. Can’t improve anything on this one.
Thank you Ian, there’s always something one can improve, but I am happy overall with this one.
I however have a question Benito. Nothing else changed, would a 100% levain instead of a stiff levain bring different results? In other words, why do dyou use a stiff levain? Your dedication and uour results are an inspiration.
Thank you Michel, in making an overnight levain for convenience I have found I can control the degree of fermentation in the levain more easily than I can with a liquid levain. There are supposed to be other advantages as well in terms of flavour, my palate just isn’t sophisticated enough to taste any difference though. Yes you could do a liquid levain just adjust for the faster fermentation of the levain and reduce the hydration in the dough.
Really nice holes in the crumb. Good to see you getting back to the root of it all. I hope your mixer wasn’t having a sad because you hand mixed:-) Although I am curious to see you do the same bread in the mixer to see what the difference would be.
Does the white flour you use in Canada have DM already in it? I was wondering what effect you thought it had in the final outcome. I have had mixed results with it. When I tried it in long ferment pizza dough it seemed to add sweetness to the flavor and promote browning but there was a gummy effect to it as well. I may have overdone the amount. The DM seemed to provide a better rise when used with the home milled wheat loaves. I am not sure if it is better to add it to the water or the dry flour. One of the recipes called for it to be sprinkled on as it is being kneaded by the machine.
I hope you and your starter make it to FL
Thank you Don, but in fact I used the Ankarsrum Assistent to develop this dough and didn’t hand mix. I wanted to get as much practice with this mixer before I head south and have to hand mix everything. I’m pretty convinced that using the roller this mixer is as gentle as my hands are. Perhaps my slap and folds aren’t gentle LOL, I suppose if I only did Rubaud kneading that would probably be more gentle, but I get tired of Rubauds pretty quickly before a dough is fully developed.
I think I might just bum some starter off Alan since he offered some rye flour as well. But know Alan, who knows he might take back his offer LOL, just kidding of course. Just over a week and I’ll be back to semi-retired state rather than the work I’m currently doing for two weeks.
With “The Force” to produce that crumb. After seeing the Cristal bread and this loaf, that machine (with the right operator of course) looks very adept at gentle kneading and handling high hydration. I now have mixer envy!