Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sourdough Cia-baguettes

Made a variation on a recipe found here:
I added 4 g rye flour and replaced the last 4 oz. of bread flour with whole wheat flour for a more country/rustic feel.  
The final dough had a fairly high hydration level so the dough didn’t really hold the baguette shape.  If i kept working the dough to get a baguette shape I probably would have crushed a lot of the hole structure.  Instead I started to form baguette loaves and then stretched them out ciabatta style to make a cross between (hence the slightly corny cia-baguette name).  
If I lived in san francisco and could grow san francisco sourdough bacteria this would have that nice sf sourdough tang that would make them oh so incredible.
alas, i don’t so oh well.
did you know that boudin ships portions of their san francisco sourdough mother starter to their chain restaurants every day?  SF starters lose their SF-unique bacteria within only a handful of feedings of the starter so in order for their chains outside of the SF area to maintain daily SF sourdough bread they need a fresh starter from their plant.  
nice thing about the high hydration level in this bread is that it helped facilitate the large, irregular holes that are expected in good ciabatta (and even sourdough) breads.  water keeps the gluten strands within the dough “moist”, partially preventing the gluten strands from sticking together when baking.  Additionally the extra water allows the bread to expand without restrictions from the hardened crust.  Since the oven is a dry environment, the outer surface of the bread hardens before the interior can fully expand and thus becomes a “shell” that determines the final shape of the bread and how many holes you can have in your interior.  Stiffer bread doughs will form this crust earlier while looser/wetter doughs form the crust later b/c the extra moisture keeps the crust loose and stretch-able longer.

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