Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hydration, hydration, hydration!

And I'm not talking about exercising!  I'm talking about bread making.  I attempted Peter Reinhart's Whole Wheat Bread today after putting together the poolish and soaker yesterday.  I tried my darnedest to keep the dough rather wet and almost but not quite sticky.  For kneading - I did some traditional kneading toward the end but mostly did French folds. Also, I cheated and used half all purpose flour in the final dough.  After rising 30 minutes I did a stretch and fold with the dough, then another 30 minute rise followed by a second stretch and fold.  A third 30 minutes and another stretch and fold.  Then finally, I divided the dough into two equal pieces, stretched them into two rectangles and allowed them to rest for about 5 minutes before finally shaping the loaves and putting them in 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pans (2).  I let them rise for 60 minutes (should've been 90 but my kitchen was 80F so thought I hour should suffice.  Into the over they went at 350F for 55 minutes. They rose in the oven to a nice size (about an inch over the top of the bread pans.  I am quite happy with the results- nice light - good crumb, good crust.  Next time I'll reduce the cheater flour by 1/2 and replace with more whole wheat flour that I will also grind as fine as I can on my Fidibus 21 flour mill.    The key for me is to keep the dough just a bit wetter than I would normally do and it seems to work!  Yay!

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