Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cooking: Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough


After only three months into this sourdough game I have successfully passed on the love of making my own bread to a good friend of mine Fodder Fan Boy. I gave Clint some of my starter when I was in the Gold Coast and he's already baked a couple of times.

It's slightly scary having a mentee when I'm hardly a pro. However, one of the great things about Clint is that he's a researcher, refiner and constantly striving for perfection. We're two friends sharing tips. From speaking to Clint's wife the results sound awesome. "Tastes like Sonoma" was even said!!

Clint recently sent me the below from an article he'd read online:
A sourdough starter actually consists of 2 separate organisms which exist in a symbiotic relationship. There is the yeast and the lactobacilli.  Here's the cliff notes version of what's happening: All flavor really comes from the lactobacilli, all the puff from yeast. The yeast operate well at high temp. The lactobacilli at any temp.  Therefore, to develop highly flavored dough put it in the fridge. The yeast will be mostly dormant, giving time for the lactobacilli to produce flavor. The flavor takes a day or more.  So you have to keep the yeast on ice that long. Then you take it out of the fridge and let the yeast take over and produce gas. The yeast only needs an hour or two to do this part.

I hadn't read anything about the two different types of bacteria before so it was interesting to understand a bit more about what is going on. The recipes I've been following call for an 8-12 cold prove to let the lactobacilli do their thing. But could you go for a longer cold prove?

A piece of advice I had from the person that inspired me to bake sourdough is that you have to control the bread and not let it control you.

I've had a busy weekend, so it actually suited me to prepare the dough on Thursday evening and not bake until Saturday morning. This would mean an experimentation with a 36hr cold prove.

Baking Notes
This was my first time baking with spelt flour. I had a wholemeal spelt instead of the white spelt which the recipe recommended. I wasn't sure if this meant I should adjust any of the water quantities etc... I decided against changing quantities, but did do a mix of 80% wholemeal spelt and 20% white flour.

Just like with the Miller's Loaf using wholemeal flour seems to create a stiffer mix to work with than a regular white loaf. More hard work kneading by hand!

The dough didn't seem to have any visible side effects from being kept in the fridge longer than usual. I was worried a crust might have formed on the dough, but that didn't seem to be the case.

I did my usual trick of creating a hot (~30 degrees) and humid incubator in my oven for the final prove and went out shopping. When I got back and checked the dough after 2hrs it felt like it had over proved. When I pressed the dough it didn't spring back fully, leaving an indent in the bread. I decided to get it into the oven asap. The Bourke St Bakery book says not to score your bread if it is over proved. As I had two 500g loaves I decided to score one and leave the other as an experiment.

When the bread came out of oven there was no noticeable difference in size between the loaf I had proved and the one I hadn't. I really liked the shape of the loaves, which I made without using the bannetons again. I'm fearing they might have been a slightly wasted purchase.

The bread is a really tasty loaf with a nice crust (yay!), but I'm unconvinced that it is a true sourdough. The flavour or the wholemeal spelt flour is dominating and I'm not able to detect the characteristic sour flavour you'd expect.

Is that a facet of the flour or some error in my baking process? I'm wondering if the wholemeal spelt flour might as equally suited to a yeasted bread?

1 comment:

  1. If you don't bring at least one loaf of Sour Dough to the next D.T.W.C meeting expect 100 lashings.

    PS: It contains grain, requires yeast, has to start fermentation... that means it is on it's way to being whisky. Remember anything whisky related then you are required to blog about it on the D.T.W.C site as well.

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