Saturday, 28 August 2010

Bread to share

Today is Glasgow Harvest and I made some bread to take along. Everyone likes bread apart from anti-yeast nutters, so I'm hoping it will go down well. Making it also gave me practice in making larger batches of bread — I usually just do one or two loaves at a time, which is not really the most efficient way of using an oven. I decided to make a few light rye breads with a bit of rye flavour, but enough white wheat flour that the dough stays easy to work with.

As sourdough takes a long time, I had to start a while in advance. On Thursday I took the starter from the fridge where it had been languishing for a while, and refreshed it:
50g starter
200g rye flour
200g water
Then late on Thursday I stepped it up with more flour and water:
1000g rye flour
1000g water
450g goop from Step 1

Halp! It’s alive!
I ended up with 2300g of starter, as some inevitably gets left in the bucket, smeared on the walls, etc. It looked like a lot. Often I just make a straight dough with a small amount of starter, but didn't want to risk the finished dough not rising when it's supposed to. By Friday morning the sponge still didn't seem to be doing very much, but by the evening it was escaping onto the kitchen worktop.

Rather than calculate a particular percentage of rye, I decided just to add another 3kg of white flour to make the final dough. That meant I only had to figure out how much water and salt to add.

3000g white flour
1150g rye flour in the sponge from Step 2
=4150g flour.

For a dough of 59% hydration we thus need (4150 x 0.59) = a total of 2450g liquid in dough
1150g water already contained in the sponge
1300g liquid to be added

85g salt (2% of 4150g)

For a bit of fun, I used beer instead of water for the remaining liquid. It's only 3% and rather bitter. I wonder if anyone will notice?

As I’m of the school that believes in a minimum of kneading, 7kg of dough without a mixer isn't too bad. Just get your hands in, mix it up, let the dough itself do the work. Get it relatively smooth on the counter and it should look after itself.

Then just into the oven with it. I can’t wait to have some of this for breakfast.

Dough split up and proving

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