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calendar   Monday - January 20, 2020

Give Us This Day

Two Thirds Bread

Today’s bread is so simple recipe that you can remember it and never have to even write it down. I call it 2/3 bread.

The flour mix is 2/3 white flour to 1/3 whole wheat. The white flour mix is 2/3 bread flour to 1/3 all purpose. Hydration, the amount of water relative to the flour, is up to you. 67% - 2/3 - would work just fine, but for this batch I’m using 70%. Wetter dough - more “slack” - makes a loaf with a more “open crumb”, which means bigger air bubbles inside. People like that. The amount of salt you use is up to you. 1.5% is standard, but I usually use 2.5% or even 3%. Anything more than that and the yeast slows down and the loaf starts tasting salty. I put in 20% sourdough starter, which adds lots of flavor but is not really necessary. Starter has it’s own kind of yeast in it, which will make the dough rise if you have the patience of Job. Instead, I make a hybrid that uses starter and a 2/3 measure of instant yeast. Usually. For hybrid bread, the less dry yeast you add, the slower the rise, and the slower the rise the more sourdough flavor you’ll get. So this actual loaf has 1 teaspoon of added yeast, while the standard measure or the packet of yeast you buy in the store is 2 1/2 teaspoons.

Use your baker’s math to adjust the amounts, depending on how much bread you want. This is why you want a digital kitchen scale.

600gm flour:
     400gm white flour:
        266gm bread flour
        134gm all purpose flour
     200gm whole wheat

120gm fed sourdough starter at 100% hydration (half flour, half water by weight)

Ok, that gives us 600 + 60 = 660 grams total flour weight, so use between 13gm (2%) and 19gm (3%) salt. I used 18 in this batch.

With that much flour, 2/3 hydration (67%) works out to 402gm of added warm water. But don’t forget that the starter has 60gm of water in it, so together this adds up to 70% hydration. This is at the edge of “no knead” dough; you can just mix it and leave it alone and it comes out fine. However, a bit of kneading (stretch and fold technique, about a dozen rotations per knead) really helps, as does a bit more water. It’s very cold and dry today, so I used 420gm added water, which yields a 72% total hydration.

Whisk the flour and salt together, then mix in nearly all the warm water. Leave it at the “shaggy mess” stage, and let it autolyze for ... 2/3 of an hour. This breaks down the starch in the flour and makes for a better loaf. If you add in only 2/3 of the water, it will work but will make a brick. The yeast and starter solution will mix in eventually with a stand mixer, but it’s kind of a pain. Use all the water, saving out a splash or two to warm up your starter if it’s cold from the fridge.

After the flour has been autolyzing for half an hour, get the yeast going. In a smaller bowl, pour the dry yeast over the starter. Add a tsp sugar if you want. Add the remaining splash of water and stir it in. Let it sit.

After the autolyze, mix it all together, let it rest a bit, then use the bread hook to knead it for 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a covered greased bowl, and hand knead it once every half hour for 90 minutes if you want. Do the usual rise until doubled, then knead gently once more, shape your loaves, use the proofing baskets if you have them, blah blah. Standard bread making procedure.

I did this one “no knead” style, although I used the mixer to knead it really smooth for 5 minutes first. Set it and forget it; let’s see what happens.

I’m going to bake this in my Dutch oven. 475 for 20 minutes covered, then 20 uncovered at 450. I’ll probably put sesame seeds on top because we like them.

The recipe as show makes 2 1/2lb of dough; 1156gm. It’s almost exactly 1 quart by volume. That’s enough for 2 regular loaves, 1 giant boule, or 3 or 4 baguettes.  Ok, now on to the bulk ferment, the first rise.

Volumetrically marked plastic containers are awesome for rising bread. No more figuring out if it’s not quite doubled, or a bit more than doubled, or going by time. Grease ‘em up, put in the dough, see how much you’ve got, and figure out what twice that is. I buy the square ones by Cambro, which are indestructible, and we use them for everything else from flour storage to leftovers in the fridge.




Update: This is why I use the Cambro buckets. 1 hour at 78° and the dough had doubled. The dough is perfect. I took it out, cut it in two, gave things a light stretch and shaping, and put them in the bannatons. Then back in the warm environment to rise again. I’ll pull one out after half an hour and put it in the fridge to bake tomorrow or the next day, and one will bake this afternoon. After two years of baking, I finished off my 1lb brick of SAF Instant yeast, so I bought and opened a new one. Fresh SAF yeast is powerful stuff. It lives in the freezer and lasts forever.

Further Update: I think a slower rise and more kneading lead to a more open crumb. The first loaf wasn’t tight, but it didn’t have the big open bubble holes inside that bakers strive for. Tastes great though. I’ll bake the other loaf and see how that one comes out.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/20/2020 at 09:02 AM   
Filed Under: • Food •  
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