Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weak bread

Plain flour's such an unattractive name. For once, the Americans have got it right, if verbose, calling it all-purpose flour. I've got a whim to make some pastry and cakes and so have bought a pack of apf (Waitrose Leckford Estate; protein actually quite high @ 11.8%). But before I cakeify, let's see what happens when you break the first rule, and use it for bread. I'm going for a very basic process, so:

300g apf
pinch (1g) salt
200g water, inc 1 tsp dried yeast

Agh, too wet, but I've prodded it about a bit with a spatula, rather than kneaded it, and left it to rise at 1000. (I think wet doughs need less kneading. The rising process does a lot more of the development in stretching the dough. That's my excuse.) More to follow.

1300 Update
The dough had risen nicely and looked somewhat drier, but kneading it was a sticky business. It's hard to describe exactly the feel of it; it held together well but was hard to shape. So I formed two short baguettes, and at 1530 put them in a 7 oven, on the stone and with steam. And here's how it looks:
There's nothing wrong with this at all. It may be the best French-style bread I've ever made (though that's not saying much). It has a similar taste to Waitrose's stonebaked baguette, unsurprisingly, I suppose, with a very nicely caramelised crust. I'll certainly do this again, maybe using an even weaker flour.

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