Friday, March 16, 2012

Pain au Levain (bake day 2) UPDATED

My starter wasn't quite as active as it should have been and I had to dramatically increase the proofing time prior to bake.  The small boule I made yesterday was "OK" but the crumb was pretty dense.  Today's look's like it's going to be a little better...  Will have to check out the crumb tomorrow morning.

As anticipated, the crumb was pretty dense.  I probably should have fed my starter the night before.  I should also start monitoring the temperature of the dough and the room so I can collect some data on proofing times (just for the heck of it)  I'm pretty sure this just needed to be proofed a lot longer.  Unfortunately, since I was going out last night, I had no choice but to bake it (ready or not :) ) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pain au Levain (Day Two)

The mother starter had been in the fridge overnight.  It was cut up into a dozen or more small sized pieces and placed in the mixing bowl afixed with a beater attachment.  To this I added  312g of warm water and mixed on low speed until the starter was softened / mixed.  This was followed by the addition of 454g of flour and 17g of salt.  With the dough hook attachment, the flour / salt was slowly added until a course ball of dough was formed.  Total mix time on medium was about 4 minutes.  I then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

After the rest, kneading continued for about 3 or 4 minutes until the dough was soft, supple and tacky (but not sticky).  It was then kneaded by hand for a very short period of time, formed into a ball and left to sit uncovered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, a stretch and fold was performed; front to back and left to right.  Here's Reinhart's demo on a very high hydration dough.  It's amazing how quickly a totally unmanageable dough is quickly transformed after just one stretch and fold.  A bench scraper is an absolute must!

The dough was then flipped over, formed into a ball, covered and rested for 10 minutes.  This S&F / rest process was done three times over the next 30 minutes.  Once formed into a ball for the last time, it was placed into a lightly oiled, tightly sealed bowl where it will stay for 2 hours.  It is not supposed to rise much (because no active yeast is used) but it should show some signs of doing so before it's put into the refrigerator for overnight fermentation.  

Here's what it looked like after the final S&F...  I'll post a pic later once the two hours is up.  Tomorrow is bake day :)

UPDATE:  After 2 hours: Not a lot of action but there is activity.  Into the fridge it goes...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pain au Levain

I'm going to have a 2nd go at Reinhart's Pain au Levain.  I'll be using the "Mother Starter" I've kept going from the seed culture I made back on 9/1/11.  While one of my blogs does have this recipe, I'll just re-post it here.  

I diluted the mother starter with the warm water and then added the flour (I'm using King Arthur unbleached All Purpose and KA Red Whole Wheat).  Using a wooden spoon, I mixed all of the ingredients to a shaggy mess and then kneaded it on my un-floured countertop.  It was a bit sticky at first but quickly took the shape of a somewhat stiff, slightly tacky dough.  It's now sitting covered in a lightly oiled bowl.  This will stay at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.  By then it should be about 1.5 times its original size.  It'll then be refrigerated overnight.
DAY 1:  


⅓ cup (2.5 oz / 71 g) mother starter, cold or at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz / 142 g) unbleached bread flour
⅔ cup (3 oz / 85 g) whole wheat flour
⅔ cup (5.35 oz / 151.5 g) water, at room temperature

                                                        Here's how it started (1:30pm)    

UPDATE: (9:30pm) Lookin' good...