Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Grain Bread

This bread is an experiment using the Easy Bread method that can be found on (I can't stand the song.)  The method is similar to the New York Times No-Knead Bread that many of us are familiar with.  I used the easy bread recipe:

 3 cups of all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt, and
1/4 tsp yeast.

To this I added 1/2 cup Red Mill 5 Grain Cereal and the remaining, about 200 grams, of the 50/50 poolish living in my refrigerator. 

Everything is combined until the flour is wet, then set aside to rise for a long time.  In this case it was until the dough tripled.  The dough was then stretched and folded twice and placed in a bowl to rise for a couple of hours.  I turned it out onto the peel with parchment and baked it for 10 minutes at 450 F, then for 10 minutes at 425 F, and finally for 10 minutes at 350 F.  I used steam, a cup of hot water in the cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven.

The loaf needed a little more salt, but tasted delicious and the crust was crackling crisp.  Really good.  All in all a good loaf that is easy to make and tastes good.  Next time I will put the 5 Grain Cereal on the top of the loaf.  Make it look nicer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I have been working with a poolish of 50 wt percent flour and water with about 1.2 tsp of yeast, no salt, aging in the refrigerator. Today's experiment was to make a loaf of whole wheat bread, or more like half whole wheat and half white flour with a texture more like store bought bread or plain white bread. this loaf is the result and worked just as expected. All the ingredients are weighed in grams.

I began with some dough scooped out of the refrigerated container. 365 grams said the scale. That is about right, because I wanted about 1.5 pound load or about twice that for the final quantity.

Plain white bread uses milk, butter and sugar in the recipe, so I will need to add milk. The amount needs to be half of the poolish, or 187 grams. I weighed out this quantity and warmed it. I did the same with the whole wheat flour which lives in the refrigerator, too. I added 1 TBS of vital wheat gluten and about 2-1/2 tsp instant yeast to the flour and about the same quantity of sea salt. This all got stirred together and added to the poolish with the warm milk till all of the flour was incorporated. At this point the dough is very wet and about a 50% bakers percentage. It needs more flour. The question is: How much?

I started with 365 grams of 50% poolish and doubled it with WW and milk. Now there is 365 grams of flour and 365 grams of liquid. For the kind of bread I am trying for the ratio should be 60 bakers percent. The final amount of liquid should be 0.6 x the amount of flour. If we divide the amount of liquid by 0.6 we get the total amount of flour needed, or 608 grams. We already have 365, so we need 243 grams more. I weighed it out. Today I am using White Lily Bread Flour. The whole wheat flour came from a local Tennessee miller and was in a white paper bag at a country fair near Pigeon Forge. The snippet of the bag in the plastic container in the refrigerator doesn't say who the miller is.

I scooped 3 or 4 TBS of sugar into the mix, and added 2 TBS of melted butter and stirred these in, too. Then this was put on the mixer with the dough hook and kneaded. As the dough began to be kneaded in the mixer I incorporated most of the additional white bread flour. I set the remainder aside to knead in by hand as needed. The dough kneaded in the mixer for about 7 minutes. I then kneaded in the remaining flour on the board, shaped it into a ball, greased my big plastic bowl and turned the ball in it to grease the whole thing. I covered it and went outside to mow the lawn. August it HOT this year.

When the lawn was done, I shaped the risen dough into a loaf with rice flour on it and put it in a pan to rise again. I turned on the oven to 400 and went back outside to do some trimming. That done, the loaf, now nicely risen, [unlike the last time when I forgot and it flowed over the rim of the pan] was slashed and popped into the oven with steam for 30 minutes. I sat and watched it rise and drank a beer as I cooled down from the HOT outside work.

The loaf looks a little darker at one end than at the other. I should rotate the loaf during the baking cycle. [The convection oven is worse with the tiles in place.] I could have let it cook for another 5 minutes with the door open and the oven off, but the crust looked done so I didn't. Also there was a little too much oil on the surface of the risen dough and the crumb shows the swirl marks if you look closely.

My college student grandson says even the crust is good! He liked the bread and the sliced ham enclosed in his sandwich. I will do this again. It is pretty easy.