11 October 2009

Fermented bread

A couple of weeks back, I decided to make another couronne. This time with wholemeal and I decided to follow the recipe in Richard Bertinet's Dough book. Needless to say, I mis-read again and instead of 200 g white flour and 300 g wholemeal flour, I did it the other way around. Which actually doesn't matter.

I made a double batch. And as recommended in the book, I saved 200 g to use next time I bake. It's quite clever, I thought - you keep it in a box in the fridge, which allows better control of the growth. And I'm in control, not the yeast. Yes, that made perfect sense.

Then it should be fed with 400 g flour and 200 g water after two days and after that every 7 - 10 days in the same way. So, I made sure that I had the same proportions of white and wholemeal flour in the feed mixture - 160 g wholemeal and 240 g white. I ended up with an extremely stiff dough and the stuff about baker's percentages started swirling in the back of my mind. In the original recipe it's 500 g flour to 350 g water. Hmmmm. Never mind, the book says that a stiff dough will result. And as perhaps many beginners, I just plain refuse to throw away any parts of the dough that might be useful, so into a bigger box the ferment went and back in the fridge.


A few days later and it's swollen nicely. And a week after feeding the ferment, I couldn't resist it any longer and made more bread. This time I decided to make a boule and rolls as per Lundulph's request.


I need to practice the slashing, it's just about visible on the boule, but it had disappeared almost entirely on the rolls. I also made the mistake of placing them in paper cups, thinking I'd save myself some strenuous dish washing. Instead, I had to dip each roll in water for a few seconds, then carefully peel off the paper, which had stuck ever so nicely to the rolls. Bah!

But it looked very nice and perfect for sandwiches, I think.


I also didn't notice any particular difference in flavour, but perhaps it's because it was wholemeal and not pure white bread or that I hadn't kept it for a long time.

The freezer now contains a too high ratio of bread vs other food, so I won't be baking for some time. But I have a new recipe that is first in line, which I'm very excited about.

Overall, it was interesting. I'll give it another go with white bread, where the flavour difference may be more obvious.

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