Friday, April 9, 2010

Kamut (2)

I haven't been bread-free for the last two weeks: I've just repeated various breads, so there's been nothing worth writing about. Even today, I'm basically repeating the earlier kamut mix, but I might go for a different shape. The big excitement will come later, since I've now bought some 00 flour. This is, I believe, very finely ground and most commonly used for pasta. In fact the packaging doesn't mention bread at all. But it has a protein content of 11%, which should be ok.

I've also been thinking about the "perfect loaf" programme. One of the striking things the baker said about his loaf was that it would be at its best after three days. That's counter-intuitive; our first thought these days is that the fresher the better. But it depends on the kind of loaf you're making, and the kind of purpose you have in mind. French bread notoriously only lasts for half a day, but a wholemeal loaf may well benefit from being baked too moist, with the intention that it dries out a bit before eating. The last loaf I baked was a bit of a disaster. It was a basic strong white flour mix, but wet, so at baking time I decided to use a tin. I then didn't bake it for long enough, so it came out (with difficulty) a bit damp and floppy. A day later, though, it was much better.

Another thing mentioned in the programme was that during the war bakers weren't allowed to sell fresh bread; it had to be at least a day old. This was a kind of rationing; people would eat it less greedily if it was a little less fresh. This may undermine the point I've made so far; or perhaps this led British bakers to produce bread that fitted this method. And maybe the London bloomer story isn't as far-fetched as I thought. All bakers seem to agree that a long rising period produces a longer-lasting bread. There are probably good chemical reasons for this, maybe to do with more of the starch turning into sugar.

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