Generally speaking the loaves all ended up proofing a bit too fast. Maybe for that reason, I didn’t get all the holes I was hoping for in the crumb. It could also be because I used more whole grain than indicated, both in the poolish and in the levain. Anyway like the Olympic torch, the burning desire for the perfect Abbey loaf has now passed on to me and this summer I plan to forge ahead in my own quest for the holey crumb. I also plan to tweak the recipe a bit by adding no commercial yeast at all in the final dough.
400 g all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
- I pretty much followed the indications given by Alexander in the original recipe, except that I did the autolyse before adding the salt (salt tightens the gluten networks, slowing down their development, which is the opposite of what the autolyse is supposed to achieve. See Hamelman’s Bread, page 9). Alexander may have the monks add it earlier so that they don’t forget it later (as happened to him once).
- I also did one fold after one hour and another one 30 minutes later. I also baked at 475 F instead of 500 as my oven gets really hot and at 500 F, the bread turns dark before it is fully baked.