Thursday 5 July 2012

Wholewheat bread with potato sourdough

This is another experiment in making bread with a wild yeast that went right. After throwing away a perfectly good potato yeast, I did some more yeastspotting on the internet at, and at, and found that I forgot a step in the sourdough yeast process.
One calls it experience. That little voice in the back of your head that tells you you have made a mistake. Again.
These experiments of mine are aimed at finding out what sorts of bread one can make on board a small yacht at sea. So far, most of the experimentation is successful. The caveat is that one needs an oven. All is not lost however. There is much to be done using leavened dough and baking bread in a pan.
Back to the whole wheat bread. The wild yeast for this one was extracted from boiled potato water, honey and white bread flour. All of which was left to ferment for a day or two. The resultant yeast was then fed twice before being used for making bread.
The dough after resting
Half a cup of this yeast was combined with a teaspoon of instant yeast, warm water, 2 teaspoons of sugar and half a cup of white bread flour. I was in a hurry. This lot proofed within an hour in my lukewarm oven. One cup of whole wheat flour and a pinch of salt was added to this mix to make the dough. I added some white bread flour as required to get a springy dough. This I kneaded for about five minutes or so. I also covered my hands in some sunflower oil before kneading to smooth the dough. The idea here is that one oils the dough's outside surface. This I got from some Indian bread recipes. The dough was then left it in the lukewarm oven for two whole hours to rise to double the original volume. After this the dough was kneaded down to original volume and rested for another 15 minutes in the baking tin. This allows the dough to rise slighly, but it also develops some texture that helps it to rise in the oven when baking, before the dough sets.
This loaf was baked at just under 200°C (about 390°F) for 30 minutes. I found that I need to have a slightly cooler oven, as mine has a fan. The fan spreads the heat more evenly and the baking is thus more effective. One can thus very effectively overbake your bread. This one wasn't.
I cut slits in the top crust after 5 minutes in the oven, then painted the top crust with cold water after 20 minutes. This helps to form a nice dark crust and the cuts helps to make space for the bread to expand while being baked.
The mix of potato sourdough and instant yeast is a bit like cheating on the wild yeast, but one still gets the wild yeast taste. I also like to think that the wild yeast helps the dough to form a more chewy crust. This loaf does not have the large bubbles formed by a true wild yeast but it still rose very well. I suspect that the coarser flour has something to do with this. Whatever the case, the bread is delicious and filling.

Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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