I don’t like to brag but… my bread skills are improving everyday. I’m averaging 2 loaves a week. I’d love to make a loaf or 2 a day, but work really gets in the way of my baking (and social life). I’ve really been investing in my new passion. I have now bought every tool recommended in the Tartine Bread book. Most recently; the proofing basket, Matfer Lame, and the lodge combo cooker.
I think I’m finally starting to know what the dough should feel and look like when it’s ready to be shaped, and baked and all things in between. I was going to make a batch of normal sourdough Monday night. I mixed my water and leaven and then I realized I was out of whole wheat and white whole wheat flours. I really wanted to add something to the bread flour out of fear that a white loaf would taste like paste so I went looking through my cupboards. I came across semolina flour that i have used for pasta dough and pizzas and thought it could add a nice rustic bite to the bread. I was concerned though, because I’m still trying to understand gluten levels in different flours so I didn’t have very high hopes for this loaf. Regardless, I mixed my loaf and let it proof over night in the fridge. The next morning before work I shaped the loaf, placed it in my new basket and placed it back in the fridge to rise again until I had a time to bake it.
I baked it late last night in my new cast iron combo cooker. The dough was pretty sticky as I was transferring it from the basket to the cooker and it somewhat fell flat as I was placing it down. Also, the dough was very fluid and it spread out as soon as it was flipped out of the basket. I scored the top of the loaf, covered the cooker and with low expectations placed it in the oven. After 25 minutes, I removed the top cast iron part and to find a somewhat deformed yet nicely risen loaf. The bread continued to bake for another 30 minutes before i took it out and let it cool over night.
In the end, although the shape was somewhat awkward, the crust was perfectly golden and crispy. The flavor was nicely developed and the holes! There is an amazing crumb to this bread. It is so airy and chewy in the inside and the crunchy crust is the perfect counterpart to the interior. I will make this again even if I do have whole wheat flour on hand to make a normal loaf.
I’m submitting this to yeastspotting.
350 grams warm water (about 80° F)
100 grams leaven
400 grams bread flour
100 grams semolina flour
10 grams salt
- Place 325 grams of the water in a large mixing bowl. Add the leaven by squeezing between your fingers until the mixture is homogenous.
- Add the two types of flour and mix with your hands until you have a shaggy dough.
- cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes
- add the remaining water and the salt. Incorporate by squeezing the dough through your fingers. At first your dough will break up, but eventually the dough will come back together.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl or proofing container and let rise for an hour.
- Wet your hands with warm water and reach into the container to pull the bottom of the dough up and over top 4 or 5 times.
- repeat this ever half hour or so for 4 hours, making less folds towards the end (you do not want to deflate all the air). At this point you can refrigerate the dough over night (my preferred method), or continue to the next step.
- Generously flour a work surface with All-purpose flour and dump the dough out onto the flour. The dough will be very loose. Prepare a proofing basket (or bowl) by lining it with a clean kitchen towel and sprinkling a mixture of rice flour and all-purpose flour on it.
- After the dough has rested, flour your hands and get to work shaping your loaves! The best way to do this is to gently flatten the dough, and then fold the top third of the dough down towards yourself, followed by folding the left and right sides in towards the center, and then the last bottom piece up and over. Think of it like you’re making a burrito.
- Next cup the dough ball’s sides gently with palms up and pinkie fingers closest together, and the majority of the surface of the dough still on the work surface, pull the dough towards you gently to create a skin on the outside of the dough. You want there to be tension in the skin, but you do not want to pull it hard enough to rip this outer layer.
- Flip the dough over and place it seam side up in your basket (or cloth lined bowl)
- Let the dough rise at least for 30 minutes, I prefer over night to help develop the flavor.
- Preheat your oven with the dutch oven or combo cooker inside to 500°F for 30 minutes
- place the loaf seam side down in the shallow side of the combo cooker. Use the lame and gently score the top of the bread.
- Cover the loaf with the deep side of the cooker and place in the oven turning the temperature down to 450°F
- bake the loaf covered for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for 30 minutes longer.