My most recent loaf was the best to date.
Meteil (less than 50%) rye baked as a “hearth” (not in a pan) loaf with caraway and onion flake.
The key? Spraying the crust with water at 2 minute intervals for the first 6 minutes (aka: 4 total sprayings,1 as it first goes in) to produce significant crunch.
Also, I stopped punching down to achieve a second rise before panning. I seem to have been exhausting the levin and thus creating dense final loaves with little to no oven spring.
Additional final adjustment was realizing that I was working so hard to make the dough not be “messy” that I was working in too much flour which (a) taxed the levin too much and (b) reduced available moisture to out-gas steam during baking.
Crust on the very brink of burning ends up with deep flavor and crunch
By foregoing a second rise and relying on the flavor development from the slow fermentation pre-dough portions, a much lighter crumb is possible
Altus is made by cubing old bread and soaking it in water until it completely hydrates. After a few hours, this is then added to the soaker when that is made.
In my case, I used the butt ends of the rye seigle from the other week.
Rye seigle ends cut and soaked
final dough flour & caraway seeds
starter and soaker
Too wet to cut into chunks
Note the commercial yeast bubbling away, there, ready to help.
With enough extra flour it came together
My batards are getting better
Center cut and baking
The halo effect is from the steam bath in the oven
My most picturesque loaf so far
A teensy bit under-cooked, but still good
My wild yeast starter is behaving much better* The rye seigle was a bit sweet for my taste, so I left the honey out of the recipe for the whole wheat hearth. This recipe came together more or less effortlessly and the result is delicious.
A story in photos:
whole wheat soaker, Friday night
whole wheat starter, Saturday morning
soaker, Saturday evening
starter, Saturday evening
soaker, epoxy ready
starter, epoxy added
commercial yeast, final booster
get a sense of how it feels
rest until doubled
Do Not Punch Down or De-gas at this Point !!!
form a batard
bake until deep brown
* It is behaving so well, it bubbles and grows in the refrigerator !!!
A seigle is a loaf that is more than 50% rye. This is going to be a tale told mostly in photos,
whole wheat mother starter
soaker, Sunday night
pre-ferment, Monday morning
yeast, molasses, honey
one hour of rising
waiting to rise again
panned as a batard
a good start
flattened a bit
looks like bread
a bit dense, but very tasty
So, the wild yeast starter I borrowed was mixed to a very different formula from Peter Reinhart’s and as a consequence, my pre-ferment didn’t rise and grow over the course of the day as it should. Thus, there was a struggle to get some levin action during the final mixing and the final dough is a bit dense and a bit too moist. But as a first attempt at very serious whole grain baking, I feel good about the results.
The good news is that I refreshed the mother over night and it is now very (very) active* so future loaves should be much less of a clutch effort.
* In fact, it may or may not have exploded all over the inside of a cabinet over night.