Meteil Hearth Loaf with Caraway & Onion

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 brink

Crust on the very brink of burning ends up with deep flavor and crunch

Airy crumb

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 Enhanced Whole Grain Hearth Loaf

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

Rye seigle ends cut and soaked

final dough flour & caraway seeds

final dough flour & caraway seeds

starter and soaker

starter and soaker

Too wet to cut into chunks

Too wet to cut into chunks

Note the commercial yeast bubbling away, there, ready to help.

With enough extra flour it came together

With enough extra flour it came together

My batards are getting better

My batards are getting better

Center cut and baking

Center cut and baking

The halo effect is from the steam bath in the oven

My most picturesque loaf so far

My most picturesque loaf so far

A teensy bit under-cooked, but still good

A teensy bit under-cooked, but still good

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

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 soaker, Friday night

whole wheat starter, Saturday morning

whole wheat starter, Saturday morning

soaker, Saturday evening

soaker, Saturday evening

starter, Saturday evening

starter, Saturday evening

soaker, epoxy ready

soaker, epoxy ready

starter, epoxy added

starter, epoxy added

commercial yeast, final booster

commercial yeast, final booster

smooth combination

smooth combination

get a sense of how it feels

get a sense of how it feels

rest until doubled

rest until doubled

Do Not Punch Down or De-gas at this Point !!!

form a batard

form a batard

bake until deep brown

bake until deep brown

gorgeous texture

gorgeous texture

 

 

 

* It is behaving so well, it bubbles and grows in the refrigerator !!!

Rye Seigle

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

whole wheat mother starter

soaker, Sunday night

soaker, Sunday night

pre-ferment, Monday morning

pre-ferment, Monday morning

yeast, molasses, honey

yeast, molasses, honey

epoxy method

epoxy method

kneading

kneading

one hour of rising

one hour of rising

punched down

punched down

waiting to rise again

waiting to rise again

panned as a batard

panned as a batard

a good start

a good start

flattened a bit

flattened a bit

looks like bread

looks like bread

a bit dense, but very tasty

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.