- Reach for the sourdough starter (140 grams) that’s just been fed, instead of using a preferment that will take time to develop. My wild yeast colony was lively and ready for work. This sourdough starter is an 100% hydration levain, built with all-purpose and whole-wheat flours in equal portions. The natural levain is expected to improve the keeping and eating quality in breads. (No sourdough starter. No problem. The rye preferment in the Bien Cuit’s recipe is a good option.)
- Use a blend of whole-grain wheat and dark rye flours (25%) to make the finished bread more wholesome. Lower the percentage of white flour (the powdery white endosperm–almost entirely void of nutrition) to less than 60% of the total flour weight.
- Use buckwheat flour (15%), which has no gluten, to the highest amount feasible, to inject some bold flavors. In many ways, this bread reminded me of a similar sprouted buckwheat bread I posted earlier.
- Include a larger amount of caramelized onions (70 grams) to heighten the sweet note of the bread. I used a whole onion for the recipe.
- Try my hands on new scoring patterns I saw in Bien Cuit.
- Meanwhile, keep hydration at a manageable (74%) level.
|Delicious looking burnt crust|
The highlights in red in the cheat sheet below showed all the changes I made to the recipe. Along the way, I had my share of doubts. The dough was very sticky and seemed to tear apart as I folded it. Should I be using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour? I held back some water and salt (reduced to 10 grams) until the first fold. The dough was not easily extendable until close to the end of the bulk fermentation phase. I wanted to give the dough as much time as it needed. All in all, it took about five hours. I should have expected that. It’s wintertime in the Northeast!
I was prepared to start from scratch and do over.
After 12-hours of cold ferment, the loaves did not seem to be ready for the oven. (Didn’t pass the dimple test.) I took them out of the fridge and let them sit on the counter for about two hours at room temperature. Next they went into the preheated Dutch ovens. Baking was the best part of the whole process; the aroma was amazing. The loaves turned out better than I’ve expected. It is one of the most full-flavor breads I’ve had for a long time. I can’t stop eating it. Savory and sweet in the same bite, with an incredibly moist, tender and delicious interior. The crust was rich and dark. Bien cuit (well baked, but not overdone), indeed!
|Denser and darker crumb resulted from 40% non-white flour|