Monday, December 5, 2016

Artisan Breads

I can't believe I am so crazy with bread baking lately.  I had so much energy last week and did 4 bakes within a week.  I used to dislike my homemade bread as it was dense and not nice.  However, after acquiring the techniques from school, I love my breads so much as they are really delicious.  Homemade bread is certainly healthier than bakery purchased bread as I omit preservatives and bread improver. 
  I like Artisan breads as they look rustic and pretty, they have the crispy crust and tender/ chewy internal crumbs with nice aroma.   After learning the bread making technique, I come to realize Artisan bread is not as difficult as what I thought previously. Hence, I was determined to give this a try. 

I adopted school's method, i.e. using 66% of hydration and 33% f preferment.  Based on this formula, if I use 100g flour and 100g water for preferment, I would need 500g of bread flour and 296g of water.

I baked the bread at 210*C with 25 mins, this was the highest temperature I used so far. I dared not go further as I worried my oven couldn't take it.  The bread came out light brown and not very crusty.  My Chef advised that I should increase the oven temperature higher (probably 230*C or higher) so as to get a darker crust.  Given that my home oven has no steam injection, I sprayed some water over the crust in the middle of the baking.  My classmate told me that I should spray 3 times during the baking process, i.e. (1) the moment before baking (2) in the middle of the baking (3) 5 mins before bread is done.   

I prepared the preferment 16 hours before.  I supposed to work on the dough next morning 9am but due to not available, I chilled the preferment till I came back home which was in the afternoon.  

I realized no big air pocket in my bread, I was told to achieve big air pockets, I should only stretch and fold the dough and not to punch it.  As I did a degas during my the bulk ferment, I guess I might have deflated the air bubbles.

Though it wasn't perfect, I think my first try is pretty successful.  I will rectify my mistakes so that I can achieve a perfect bread in next bake.  

  • 500g bread flour 
  • 296g iced cold water
  • 12g salt (i cut down to 7g)
  • 2g yeast
  • 16 hours perferment using 100g flour, 100g water with a pinch of yeast

  1. Prepare the preferment by mixing flour,  water and a pinch of yeast together in a bowl. Cover and leave it to ferment for 16 hours.
  2. Prepare the bread dough by combining flour, salt and yeast in the mixing bowl and mix it till combined on low speed.  
  3. Add in ice cold water gradually on low speed, then the preferment and mix till desired dough (become a ball) is achieved. Increase to medium speed till windowpane is achieved (total about 10-12 mins).  
  4. Remove the dough from mixing bowl, round to ball and then cover it with cling film in a bowl.   
  5. Leave it to bulk ferment for 1.5 hours ( 2 hrs if in aircon room) but after 45 mins (1 hr if in aircon), remove the dough from the bowl,  slightly punch to degas the excess carbon dioxide from the dough (I was told to stretch and fold instead of punch in order to achieve air pockets), fold 2 slides to the center and then 2 more slides. Round and ferment for another 45 mins (1 hour if in aircon)  
  6. Dust table top with flour, use a metal scraper and portion into 2 or 3 doughs or  desired weight (300g or 450g). Always cover the doughs with a baker's couche to prevent hard skin)
  7.  Take a dough, stretch a bit and pull top and bottom and fold to the center.  Fold another 2 sides to the center and round the dough. Seam side up and cover it with couche.  Continue this till completing all the doughs and allow all to rest for 15 mins (Bench rest).
  8. Take out the dough to final shape.  Round the dough, ensure seamside is closed and faced down.
  9. Arrange all the doughs in the greased baking try, dust with a layer of flour and covered with baker's couche.   
  10. Leave it to proof for another 60-75 mins (1 hr 15 to 30 mins if in aircon), score with a blade.
  11. Bake at 230*C for 25-35 mins or till golden brown.
  12. Once bread is doneness, transfer to tray and let it to cool.

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