Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekly Bread

Update: I should have mentioned more clearly that this is basically a "no knead" type of bread. The extra moisture in the recipe allows for quicker gluten development so you don't have to spend a lot of time kneading to get good texture. 

Most of you that have been around here awhile know that I bake bread pretty regularly and usually weekly. Mostly it is sourdough whole wheat but there are times when something else strikes my fancy. Being a tinkerer I diddle with my basic bread recipe on occasion but I think I have pretty much settled on what I think makes a pretty nice loaf of "everyday" bread. Good for morning toast or good for a sandwich. Not too chewy but not too weak either and with a fairly close crumb and no big pockets to let the filling run out.

First of all you need a fairly wet dough which makes gluten development much easier which is important when you are using whole grains. To get a good flavor you need time and a sourdough poolish or yeast poolish is the answer.

I use King Arthur flour almost exclusively. It is easy to find in most grocery stores and it is very good quality. I use the KA All Purpose, White Whole Wheat, regular Whole Wheat and Bread flours. What follows is the recipe and method for my "daily" bread.

Daily Bread

The day before you need to refresh your sourdough starter or make a regular poolish. I keep about a cup and a half or two cups of my sourdough starter in the fridge and to it I add 200 grams of filtered water and 200g of all purpose flour. This is mixed well and covered and sits on the counter overnight and gets all bubbly and excited. If you don't have a sourdough starter(you should) you can make a regular poolish with 200g of water and 200g of all purpose flour along with a teaspoon of active dry yeast(or a 1/2 packet). This sits covered overnight as well.  Hint: make sure you use a big enough bowl for your poolish as it will grow overnight and you don't want it crawling around on your counter in the morning.

For the dough:
300g of white whole wheat(KA) or regular whole wheat
200g of bread flour
400g of poolish(either a good chunk of your sourdough or the entire regular poolish
300g filtered or bottled water
17g of salt ( I use kosher) mostly dissolved in a couple of Tbsp of warm water
1Tbsp honey

In a large bowl mix everything but the salt water until it is thoroughly moistened and there is no loose flour. Let this mixture sit covered for 20 minutes or so to let all the flour fully hydrate and the gluten begin to develop. After this rest add the salt water and using your hands fold this together until all the water is absorbed. Yes it is a squishy mess but the water will absorb with a little folding. BTW folding is where you take the edge of the dough, pull it up and over the center and press down and  then turn the bowl 90 degrees and do it again. When all the water is absorbed cover this slightly stickly dough and set it aside to begin the bulk fermentation.
Here is where folding becomes important. You will need to do a fold on the dough about every half hour or so. In each of these folds you need to make four folds. Using wet hands, bring the dough from the side and up and over, turn four times to get all the dough handled. Roll the dough over, cover and set aside until the next folding. You will notice the dough changing with each fold and rest and after 5 or 6 folds the dough will begin to come cleanly from the and  want to stick to itself instead of your hands and the bowl. You will also notice that the dough is rising a bit more with each fold and turn. When you reach this stage your bulk ferment is done and you can form loaves.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, cut in half and form the loaves of your choice. Put it in bread pans or keep it free form. The key to a nice loaf is pulling the dough into itself to form a nice skin on the top. Don't worry if you don't get perfection here it does take some practice and this is a bit of a wet dough which takes a little more practice and experience to get right.
Hey, the ingredients are pretty cheap and the actual time needed for direct attention is fairly small so even if it so bad you feel like you have to feed it to the birds or ducks you've gained some experience.
Anyhow, let the loaves double in size and then you bake.

I bake at 425F but that's a personal choice. My loaves usually take about 30 minutes. I also use a pan of water in the oven to add some moisture which helps a nice crust develop.

Give it a try and good luck...homemade bread is worth it. I gotta go fold and turn now.

1 comment:

Cookie Jill said...

Mmmmmm. Bread! :-)