Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes and adapted it a bit. I don't usually bake or eat mostly white breads but I just had to taste my Chicago levain and by using no other flour than all-purpose (except for a smidgen of rye), I was hoping we would be able to savor it in all its glory. I am glad to say it worked (thank you, Jeffrey!). The bread has zero acidity and a delicate lactic aroma. It smells like the first breeze of spring over the prairie. Not that I ever saw the prairie or what's left of it but I am blessed -or cursed, depending on the occasion- with a vivid sensory imagination and the starter is from the Midwest after all. Since the prairie is what I saw with my mind's eyes when I inhaled the breath of the proofed dough, I couldn't resist stenciling one of the loaves with flowers and calling it the Prairie Loaf. And when that loaf came out of the oven in full bloom, I knew I had to bring it to my favorite plant whisperer, the friend who helps make our CSA such a happy place (thank you, Rita!). I shaped the other loaf as a bâtard in memory of the long rustic loaves my eighty-year old grandfather used to go get from the nearest village on his Solex motorized bicycle.
BreadStorm (the software I am using for my bread formulas) to do it for me.
Using the drop-down scaling menu, I entered the amount of flour in the levain (which I calculated by dividing 160 g by 175 then multiplying by 100) and in a flash, the weights of the other ingredients were recalculated and I was ready to mix. Sweet! Thank you, Jacqueline and Dado Colussi for having thought up this amazing software, and, Dado, a thousand thanks for this beautiful starter! And as you probably guessed, dear readers, there is a Meet the Bakers Dado and Jacqueline Colussi in this blog's near future. Thank you for your patience!
- Build the levain the night before
- On the day of the bake, mix levain, water and flours until incorporated and all the flour is hydrated (I mixed by hand)
- Let this shaggy dough stand, covered, for 30 to 60 minutes
- Add the salt and mix until the dough is cohesive and supple, adding water if necessary to obtain a medium consistency
- Transfer to oiled container and cover
- Do two folds at 50-minute intervals
- Let ferment for another hour and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (it might become acidic if you wait any longer)
- Pull the dough out when ready to shape and proof
- Divide in two and shape as desired
- Proof until ready (the length of the proofing depends largely on the room temperature. A loaf is ready to go in the oven when a small indentation lingers when you palpate it gently with one finger)
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in pre-heated 450°F/232°C oven, applying steam at the beginning
- Cool on a wire rack