Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to use the scale...

This is my first attempt at making a dough using weight versus volumetric measurements.  I have an iPhone app called "Ratio" that calculates the amounts needed for various baking recipes.  For bread, it called for a 60% hydration (flour to water).  However, I've read that a 67% hydration is pretty good, so I decided to give that a shot.  What I ended up with was a very sticky mix that was difficult to handle.  I used Reinhart's stretch and fold method.   I don't know,  I didn't think I was making any progress but it did seem to get easier to handle as I went along.  I didn't do it exactly as the video but I do think the end result was OK.

The dough definitely got easier to handle after a while.  I popped it in a bowl, sealed the top with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  From what I've gathered, slowing down the fermentation adds to the flavor of the finished bread.

We'll see how this looks in the morning.  It's supposed to double in size.  I'll take it out tomorrow morning and let it warm up a bit (about 2 hours).  Then I'll form this into two "batards".  After looking at a bunch of videos, there's a lot more involved into the forming and cutting of the dough than I thought.  I'll have to post links to some of the videos I've watched.  Pretty amazing :)

Seed Culture: Day Two UPDATE

OK...  I moved the bowl to another location and, well, forgot about it :p  It didn't really look like it was working anyway (may have been too cool because of the A/C? ) I'll try  making a poolish or pre-fermentation soon.

2nd update:  I just realized that, even after 48 hours, there may NOT be any noticeable fermentation activity.  I'll probably start that after I work with the poolish I made yesterday.

Well, nothing exciting to report...  as the instructions suggested, there's not much in the way of bubbling after just 24 hours.  However, it is a little foamy and it's taking on a bit of an aroma.  Tomorrow afternoon, I'll start phase two which simply calls for the addition of more flour and water to phase one's ingredients.  It can take anywhere from one to four days before fermentation causes it to be very foamy / bubbly.  Geez,  for the time involved, this must surely result in a special bread.  Otherwise, why would anyone take the trouble to go through all of this?  :)  Once the seed culture is done, I still have to make the "Mother Starter".

After 24 hours:  The bubbles here were mainly the result of some mixing  (the cream color is mostly poor lighting)