Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Wheat Beer Sourdough
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.
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%)
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.