Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rustic Bread


Hot Cross Buns was the first recipe selected in the Hamelman Challenge and was largely a trial run. The next official recipe was the Rustic Bread. It along with Bagels and Rye filled out the first full month of recipes.

As a place to start, the Rustic Bread was an inspired choice. This is definitely a solid recipe and a practical place to begin. The inclusion of 10% rye and 10% whole wheat gives a bread that is neither a wimpy white bread nor an heavy, stogy whole grain bread. The use of a pre-ferment, rye, and whole wheat build a satisfyingly complex flavor. 60% hydration gave a loaf that had a more open crumb, but that will still relatively tight and useful as a sandwich bread. While I love ciabatta, it is not the most practical bread for a sandwich with a leaky filling. This bread would work fine. The only down side to the bread is the boules I’ve made have been a little too flat. This is something I don’t fully understand, but need to work on.

I’ve made the recipe three times now and definitely plan to continue making it. The first time through, I stuck closely to the original recipe. I used 10 rather than 9.6 oz of water and still had a shaggy pre-ferment. The only other problem I encountered was the pre-ferment did not completely mix into the dough on my first try. This gave a bread with a slightly marbled appearance. Otherwise, the bread was fine and the problem was easy to correct in subsequent loaves. I simply added the pre-ferment to the mixer in smaller pieces and a bit earlier.

The second and third tries I played around with the cooking methods. The second time around I made one boule using a cloche lid over the bread. (I soaked the lid and then preheated it along with the pizza stone starting in a cold oven.) With a 1½ pound loaf, the boule had too much oven spring. It expanded all the way to the cloche and stuck to it. Still, I got a great crust this way and a really good oven spring. With the third try, I tried a 1 pound loaf with the cloche and this worked nicely. Still, I was right to the limit of the capacity of my cloche. I’ve also used some of the dough to make smaller rolls decreasing the cooking time. This worked very nicely.

No comments:

Post a Comment