Saturday, August 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Boule #2

After some nice feedback and advice from Syd at the The Fresh Loaf forum, I mixed up another batch of the 25% WW bread formula I've been working on.  My only (very small) complaint about the last boule was the crust.  It just didn't stay "crunchy" for long.  As a matter of fact, it lost all of it's crispiness while it was on the cooling rack.  This, I was told, is caused by not driving off enough moisture during the bake; the steam from the inside simply moistens the crust and softens it as the bread cools.  Turns out that I may have done a couple of things to contribute to that...

This batch was exactly the same as the last one i.e., ingredient weights, mixing speed, kneading time, overnight retarded bulk fermentation, etc...  However, I paid particular attention to the proofing of the dough after forming it into a boule.  Every 5 minutes I did the "finger proof test" while the oven was pre-heating so the oven would be ready (this time :) ) when the dough was ready.  I was able to see / feel the changes in the dough over time.  At around 20 minutes, (after poking my finger in the dough) it sprang back slowly while still leaving a small indentation.  This must have been just right because the oven spring for this bread was even better than the last one (that I thought I over proofed a bit).

I also played with the baking temps / times a bit to see if this improved the crust.  I'll get a pic of the crumb up later but I'm sure it's going to be just fine.  I proofed the dough in my $1 proofing basket lined with a textured towel dusted with flour (to get the cool markings)  Neat huh?  :)

Make sure you click on the pic to enlarge it  (the iPhone sure does take awesome pics!)

Here's a shot of the crumb...  tastes great!