And here comes the last June homework as a mellowbaker: Beer bread with roasted barley. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning but I must that I’ll bake this bread again. I find it very good with cheese.
But let’s start from the beginning.
First the recipe for one loaf of about 1 kg:
|Whole-wheat flour||120 g|
|Roasted barley||30 g|
I prepared the poolish in the morning and baked the bread late in the night around 11 p.m.
After 12 hours I mixed all the ingredients with the poolish, let it ferment for 2 hours, folded it once. Preshaped as an oval, shaped as a batard and let it proof in a banneton. Then I scored it, and baked it.
Here are some pictures
I found the dough very easy to handle, at 68 % hydration I expected something a little bit more loose, but the dough was absolutely easy to handle. This is probably due to the 20 % of whole wheat which absorbs a lot of water. Scoring the dough was very easy and for the first time I made two decent scores…well, at least for me. The importance of a proper scoring is sometimes underestimated.
There has been a long debate on how to properly malt and roast the barley at mellowbakers.com. I tried to sprout some barley, a (vegetarian) friend of mine gave me some suggestion, but in the end I decided that since I know almost nothing about barley I would just roast it without any attempt to malt. So I put some husked barley in the oven at 180 °C for 6 minutes, as Hamelman suggests, and then I ground it very finely. The final result is a powder with a light color (see pictures). This roasted barley gives a very nice flavour and aftertaste to the bread.
The beer. I live in Munich and Bavaria is the land of Weizenbier…but I used a Lager . The effect of beer on the flavour is really important, in my case it added a nice bitterness.
The techniques and the recipes are almost the same as the other Vermont sourdoughs but, as Hamelman says, the 5 percent difference in the levain and whole flour has a deep impact on the bread.
I scaled the ingredients so to have 1.8 kg of dough (two loaves of about 900 g each). I fed the sourdough just once and let it ripen for 12 hours, then I took 30 g of the mature culture and prepared the levain. Other 12 hours of feeding and then the final dough. I folded the dough just once, whereas for the standard Vermont sourdough I folded the dough twice. The dough was quite easy to shape. After shaping I a put the dough in two bannetons and then in the fridge for 10 hours.
I always forget that using bannetons for so long needs some extra flouring.
The crumb was not so bad, quite open
The bread is really good, I am still deciding which Vermont sourdough I like better. After three days it still has a very good taste and staling is just at the beginning.
As a devoted mellowbaker, I thought that baking Hot Cross Buns would be a kind of initiation ritual, so I did it on Friday.
Really delicious. I knew something about allspice, but I had never used it before Friday, it was a real discovery. Hot cross Buns are easy to bake, the most important thing, at least from my point of view, is to pay attention to a proper gluten development. I use a planetary mixer (kitchenaid) and I think that you should at least double the time that Hamelman suggests in second speed. He says 3 minutes in second speed, I would go for at least 6 minutes. I let it go for about 4 minutes then I added the currants and mixed for 3 more minutes, for a total of 7 minutes. I think this is necessary for a proper gluten development, or the dough is too soft and fragile.
One thing I don’t understand about the recipe. Usually when you have fats (like butter in this case) these are added after gluten development, I add butter with the flour only when I bake a tarte, in which case case gluten development is explicitly avoided. I understand that in Hot Cross Buns a strong gluten is not really necessary but still adding butter with flour was quite strange for me. Anyway, I have followed Hamelman and the results is really perfect.
Here are some pictures:
I will bake them again and again and again…
How is baking with rye flour? This is my first experience with this cereal. I know from theory that it does not provide a strong gluten network, and breads made with 70-90% rye are very compact with a strong flavour. This rustic bread has 10% of whole rye flour and 10% of whole wheat flour. Well the 10% rye gives a very interesting taste to the bread, although after this bread I must say that I am not at all a fan of rye, I am not used to its taste, but everything can change.
The ingredients together:
The dough was a little bit too sticky even after a long mixing. The final proof was made in a banneton and the oven spring was quite good. Here are some pictures
So this is my second loaf of Vermont Sourdough with Whole wheat flour. The first I made it, I proofed it for about two hours, but I had the impression that the dough was overproofed. This time I put the final dough in the bannetons and let then stay in the fridge at about 9-10 degrees for 9 hours (11 p.m. to 8 a.m.). The dough didn’t rise too much in the fridge and when I tried to unmold it was very stuck to the banneton (not enough flour on the bannetons?…this was just my second time). It took me a few minutes to slowly take the dough out without spoiling it.
Then I scored the oval bread with one very long cut, and the round one with two parallel cuts. Again, I must definitely improve my scoring ability. When I baked it…I was so surprised!! The oven kick was really huge.
Some pictures of the baking process:
This is the best bread I have ever made up to now.
My notes: The first time I baked the bread I fed my sourdough just once before the final build, this time I fed the sourdough twice. Retarding in the fridge for 8 hours has a strong effect on the taste and flavour. The crumb was much more open than the first time I made it. The bread was a bit more sour (perfect for my taste) and I think it has better keeping qualities, but I’ll report on this in a few days, if it lasts for so long
The first time I made it, I couldn’t wait enough, almost no proofing, then I had to bake, it was late. I just miscalculated all the timing. But yesterday i baked it again, I cut it this morning and the bread is very good (at least for me).
For this bread you need a liquid levain. However usually I keep my sourdough as a stiff dough at 50% hydration. After I studied some articles on liquid levain I decided to move all my culture to a higher hydration (I still keep a small piece a 50% just in case something goes wrong with the liquid one.) This is the fourth day that my yeast and bacteria are living in a 125% hydration system and they seem quite happy.
In my liquid levain I couldn’t observe any big change in volume but just a froth on the top. Is that normal? these are just my first experiences with a liquid sourdough.
I have also bough two bannetons, one oval and one round, I used them for the bread and I already love them.
Here are the final results:
I am quite happy with the bread.
So, this is my first entry and hopefully I’ll be able to go on describing my work as a home baker. I am from Naples, south Italy, and this means that I love pizza, but I am also quite picky about it. I might be “unpolite” to the rest of the world…but I rarely eat pizza outside Naples (though I had a very good pizza in Minneapolis), which doesn’t mean that anywhere in Naples you can have good pizza, there are places where they sell a really cr… pizza but other places where it is just delicious (I am sure “Michele” is famous abroad). That said, I tried Hamelman’s pizza, and my wife (from Turin) immediately said “no doubt, this is the best pizza you have ever made!”.
Now let’s come to the crust. I used Hamelman’s percentage formula and prepared enough dough to make 5 crusts of about 250 g each.
And this is my result:
The dough is not technically a neapolitan pizza in which there is no oil, and the procedure is completely different. But Hamelman never claims it to be neapolitan, so this is just a comment. I folded the dough twice, not once as Hamelman suggests, but now I think that one was enough. The dough is very extensible, but I find it a little bit too wet to be easily handled. In the past seven months I used to make pizza dough with at most 60 % water. I cut the dough into pieces of about 250 grams each (“panetti” in Italian) which is the size of a regular pizza in an Italian pizzeria.
Taste: just good, very good, not too crisp.
The dough was very light and soft.
Final result: I’ll try this dough again next Saturday since I overcooked the first two pizzas, and I think that my biga was over-ripen.
Oh, I almost forgot, the topping was of course just tomatoes and mozzarella, and a few basil leaves.
Update 1 (01/07/2010) : just a short update on the dough. It is a little bit too puffed up. Too many bubble, due to the large amount of yeast. For the next time I am going to try a completely different version based on a poolish. I’ll post about it later.