Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wheat Beer Sourdough

It has been 95 degrees the past couple days, which is the ideal temperature for yeast and bacteria production (note: body temperature is 98). My sourdough culture has reached new levels of growth. This is a photo of the starter a mere two hours after a feeding, exploding with growth all over the counter, floor anything it get its grubby hands on. It may as well enjoy its few remaining days in my kitchen. My bread final exam is tomorrow, after which point this yeast is going down to Chinatown.
We were charged with making our own formula for bread for tomorrow's final, and I'm going to go ahead and toot my horn and say that my bread is pretty good. I'm pleased. The bread pictured above is a wheat beer sourdough with a bulgur wheat soaker. It's got a little spelt flour, just cuz, and yeasty beer for the flavor. It's nutty and has little sour kick to it. And with the weather the way it is, it took no time to rise.

I have somehow, in only 10 days of class and under the tutelage of a great chef, gotten the hang of breadmaking. There are 12 steps that didn't seem straightforward at first that I now more-or-less understand. I know what the bread feels like when it's time to move to the next stage. It's not something you can teach or talk about, it's just known. Once it's mixed, the dough feels this certain way with this certain stickiness that then gets worked out when you ferment and proof it. I mastered the art of shaping at work after forming 200 little pitas into perfect round balls before rolling them out. I do still get impatient and I mess things up a little (notice the exploding portion of the finished loaf above), but I know where I went wrong. I had to run and the bread wasn't quite finished proofing, so I baked it anyway. (I didn't learn any patience in this class unfortunately.) I don't have a spray bottle at home, so the crust of my bread was a little thicker than I'd like. But I know. I understand the process. I can work with the ingredients instead of trying to force them to work for me. That's something.
Wheat Beer Sourdough:
Levain Build:
6.1 oz. whole wheat flour (93.5%)
.5 oz. spelt flour (6.5%)
4 oz. wheat beer (60%)
1.2 oz. sourdough culture (20%)

2.1 oz. cracked (bulgur) wheat (33%)
4.1 oz. water (66%)

Final Dough:
32.9 oz. bread flour (85%)
5.8 oz. spelt flour (15%)
26.7 oz. wheat beer (69%)
2.2 oz. water (5.8%)
.9 oz. salt (2.3%)
11.8 oz. levain build (30.6%)
6.2 oz. soaker (20%)

Build the levain 12 hours or so before you're ready to start the rest of the process by mixing it together, covering it with plastic and letting it rest overnight.

Make the soaker by boiling the water and then pouring it over the wheat and letting it set for 10 minutes.

Assemble the rest of the ingredients. Mix the ingredients until shaggy, let sit for 20 minutes. Work the dough by kneading it until its surface is smooth and the gluten has just about fully developed. Let ferment in a covered bowl for 2 and a half hours, stretching the dough out and folding it over twice during that time. Divide the dough into 20 or 22 ounce portions. This recipe makes 88 ounces, more than enough for four loaves of 20 ounces each. Shape the portions into rounds or batons. Proof for another two hours. Bake at 440 degrees for 40 minutes.


Jamie said...

I love that you just posted about sour dough. I've been reading about sour dough all week and really want to start my own.

Good luck on the final!

green--bean said...

Holy cow! Quite the explosion, if I may say so. And such warm temperatures, for May.

The final product looks fantastic. Our sour dough starter had to be retired, since we weren't making it enough and it became too much of a struggle. However, I am hoping to start a new one this summer, and perhaps if our temperatures get that high, ours will be exploding too!

Happy baking!

Jess said...

I, for one, am excited about your bread know-how. Though I've successfully made bread many times, I still don't feel that I "get it". So congrats! Beer sourdough sounds amazing.