What is the best flour to be used for bread?
We are talking about the quality of wheat flour. The good flour is always expensive. Is the expensive flour is a better quality compared to the cheap one? It is a mystery to me.
A cheap Australian wheat flour, a plain brand of a supermarket for baking home bread is it good enough? Let’s see, I am trying here, and only the end result will tell.
Baking Two Country Loaves based on Tartine’s Book
35g sourdough starter
900g white plain Australian Flour from a supermarket
100g whole wheat Australian Flour from a supermarket
700g water, 50g water mixed with 20g salt
|The Dough Ingredients|
In a large bowl, place the water and add in the leaven, and mix together
Add the flour, mix thoroughly by hand until you do not see any bits of dry flour.
|Mixing the flour and water|
|Flour and water mixture|
Lets the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes. Do not skip the resting period. Working with the nature of the dough, the resting period allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell and then relax into a cohesive mass.
After the resting period, add the 20 grams salt and the 50g water warm water to the dough. Incorporate the salt by sneezing the dough by your fingers. The dough first will break apart and then will re-form as you turn it in the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a clear plastic container, it is easy to clean and you could see the
aeration of the dough as it develops.
*The dough has now begun its first rise, called the bulk fermentation. This crucial step should not be rushed, as its primary purpose is to develop flavor and strength in the dough. The speed of fermentation greatly depends on the ambient temperature of your kitchen. The ideal temperature would be 78-82 degrees to accomplish the full bulk fermentation in 3 to four hours.
*The dough is never kneaded on a work surface. The dough development that bakers usually achieve by kneading is accomplished here by giving the dough a series of ‘turns’ in the bowl during the bulk fermentation.
* To do a turn, dip one hand in the water to prevent the dough from sticking to you and then grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough. Repeat this action two or three times so that all the dough gets evenly developed. This is considered one turn.
During the first 2 hours of the bulk fermentation, give the dough one turn every half hour. During the third hour notice how the dough stars to get billowy soft, and aerated with gas. At this later stage, you should turn the dough more gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough.
*Proper development during the bulk fermentation enables the wet dough to hold its shape as a loaf, and the baker must watch for signs of development and determine when the dough is ready. During the first hour of the bulk fermentation, the dough will feel dense and heavy. Watch how the surface become smooth, soon after you turn the dough. By the end of the third hour, the dough will feel aerated and softer. A well-developed dough is more cohesive and releases from the sides of the bowl when you do the turns. The ridges left by the turn will hold their shape for a few minutes. You will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. More air bubbles will form along the sides of the container. these are all signs that the dough is ready to be divided and shaped into loaves.
|The dough after the completed the bulk fermentation|
* If the dough seems to be developing slowly, extend the bulk fermentation time. Watch your dough and be flexible.
After the two hours bulk fermentation, the dough lets be resting for one hour, undisturbed.
Now it is ready for the first shaping.
*Use the dough spatula to pull all the dough out of the container onto an un-floured work surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and use a bench knife to cut the dough into two equal pieces-this recipe makes enough bread for two loaves). As you cut the first piece use the bench knife to flip it to that the floured side rests on the work surface. Do the same with the second piece of the dough.
At this point, you want to incorporate as little flour as possible into the dough. Fold the cut side of each piece of dough onto itself so that the flour on the surface of the dough is sealed on the outside of the loaf. The outer surface of the dough will become the crust so you may use more flour on your hands to avoid sticking.
The first shaping has done, two rounds dough, cover with bowls, and rest for 22 minutes (the bench rest)
After completed the bench rest, time for the final shaping. One is a Batard and the other one is Boule.
|The final shaping for a Boule, rest for 2 minutes before putting it on to the basket for proofing.|
The Boule is on the floured basket ready for proofing for 3 to four hours, before the baking. However, if you want to bake in the morning, retard the dough by putting the dough in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the baskets with a plastic bag.
|The Boule on a proofing basket|
In the morning, place the Dutch oven with the cover in the oven, set it to 250 degrees C, it takes 45 minutes to reach the ultimate heat. When the oven has reached the heat, take the basket out. Place the dough on a pizza peel lined with baking paper, score the dough. Take the pot (Dutch oven) out from the oven, open the lid and put the dough which is sitting on the pizza peel, transfer and place in the hot pot. Replace the lid, now put the covered pot in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
After twenty-five minutes just gone, open the oven, and take the lid out and put it away safe as it is very hot. You could see the dough with oven spring, golden and shiny . Close the oven, and continue baking without the lid for 25 minutes, until the dough looks dark chestnut brown.
Remember, that a recipe makes two loaves. One is for the Boule and the other one is for the Batard.
|Freshly Baked Batard|
How good is that two beautiful loaves come out of my oven, a successful baking indeed, time was well spent.
It’s beautifully sliced, it has open crumb and a good crust, still slightly hard though. But it’s Delicious.
Happy to bake again, today baking is good and in next time is only gets better. Almost official now that I will be a monthly baker. One loaf is plenty as the family is not very keen to have it. During the baking day, the kitchen smells so delicious, so inviting like a true home, a happy home and the family loves it.
Did the cheap flour make the bread? I am not sure. In this case, the baked bread was not perfect but good enough, I think it’s due to lots of things, one of them is I have not mastered the art of the baking.
The flour that I have been using is home brand of any supermarket, good strong flour from white wings products, special bread flour which is specifically for bread making.
To make it worthwhile, the long process and all the procedures of the making – baking sourdough bread, I have decided that bread flour is the one I am going to use. Stay with it!
Until Next Post