Saturday, June 27, 2009

Survival of the fittest

Finally a break in the action. Been nonstop since 3am. I didn't get to involved in the bake for today. Things fell into place pretty well yesterday, the folks really responsible for gettin' things done here, handled it all very well. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way. This morning I was helping get things sorted out for the farmer's markets and there was a number of loaves of cracked wheat bread that need to be sliced. I obliged, I figure it beats workin'. Nearly every time, myself, even some of the bakers, see the first loaf of a new batch of bread sliced, they ask to see the inside, the crumb. Every time I slice a loaf of bread, I look at the crumb. Maybe portion a loaf into two halves and smell it. Nothing tells you more about the roots of a loaf of bread, than the aroma. Imagine what your kitchen would smell like with that in the toaster.

I gotta say, the cracked wheat bread this morning had an amazing aroma. Had a real heavy fermented smell, not like beer, it was more rounded than that. We sweeten it with half honey and half molasses. It has a ridiculous amount of prefermented flour. We use prefermented dough(old baguette dough) for the starter. A day before the bake we measure out equal parts of cracked wheat and water. we blend them together, and it sits at room temperature, overnight. This part is called a "soaker". We soak all of our dry grains. For instance, we soak the seed blend that goes in all of our grain breads. We soak that at 59%(100 ounces seed mix, 59 ounces water). We make our own seed mix, all organic. We use equal parts of oatmeal, hulled sesame seeds, flax seed, sunflower seeds & millet. We soak the coarse rye meal that goes into our pumpernickel bread. If you don't presoak dry grains, during and after the baking process, the grains will draw moisture from the dough or baked loaf. In dough form, a dry dough will yield a loaf with a tight crumb, the extensibility of the dough is penalized. In baked form, a dry dough will yield a loaf with a very dry, brittle crumb. It will also have a very heavy crust.

One other thing that a lot of bakers don't realize, is that every cell of yeast is encapsulated in water. The water is necessary to allow the transfer of carbon dioxide from the yeast cell into the dough. As bakers, we put a lot more yeast in dough with a higher concentration of sugar to make up for the drying powers of the sugar. In bread dough we put 2% yeast based on the flour weight. In a higher sugar dough like cinnamon roll dough, or danish dough, it might be as high as 7%. This is because the hygroscopic properties of the sugar. In the mixer it becomes "survival of the fittest". In the flour, the wheat protein and the starch will fight each other for the available water. when they are finished fighting it out, the sugar will come next. If there isn't enough water to go around, the sugar will take from the yeast cells. When we mix our dough's here, we try not to put all the water in at the start of the mix. We might start with 85%,or so. As the mix takes it up, we'll add more. This allows a chance for all things to get hydrated evenly. We'll add slowly until the right consistency is achieved. In those high sugar dough's we will only put half the sugar in, at the start of the mix. That way the gluten can come together, without having to fight with the sugar.

Gotta get upstairs and laminate some croissant dough. we're short girls in the store as well, what else is new.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home