29 March 2015

SoCamJam Red Bread

Recently, I discovered a compelling urge to bake bread after wanting to make a sour-dough pizza.   The embarked upon 5-day creation of sour-dough starter for pizza has now sublimated other desires.  

Starting with a wet "sour-dough" starter or levain at 100% hydration (50 grams water for every 50 grams of flour, usually only white) my initial three variations included a 65% hydration Greek version which takes 24 days to come to maturity.   Guess I was hook, line and sinkered by then!  

I now prefer an 80% hydration levain with 1 gram of whole wheat flour for every 4 grams of white flour to 4 grams of water, refreshed every 24 hours but always used after 6 - 8 hours of refreshment.   I can make good sour-dough pizza with this levain and have ended up baking and baking bread.

Spreadsheets account for any changes and variables in temperature, time, flour, water, yeast and salt, as I test and refine new breads to bake.

Early on I decided to give away at least 1/2 of what I produce for free.   I now have some happy neighbours and friends getting whole loaves as I want the entire journey to be understood.

Ask for advice about how to get started and I can but direct you to Ken Forkish's "Flour, Salt, Water, Yeast" which sets out easy to follow guides.   The rest is up to you and the mad scientist inside.  Bread making is a bit of art and a lot of science as well.  My maths has improved by each rise.

This red bread is an assisted levain.   It uses red malt, white, whole wheat, and light rye flours to produce 2 loaves, proofed in covered wicker baskets using a 30 minute autolyse, 4 stretch and folds followed by final retarded proof in baskets to produce a wonderful bread I prefer not to grignette at all.  Assisted as in addition to levain it uses 2 grams of quick yeast.  The project I am currently with is for a perfect overnight pure levain country blond.

Below are images of early bakes.  Unfortunately, the final version looked so good it got eaten before any thought of taking a picture!   The Maillard reaction produces a caramel dark moreish crust.  Bake it until the colour is brown-violet for the best of all tastes.  Don't cut this one at all.

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