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Spiral slash pattern

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  • Spiral slash pattern

    There is a beautiful loaf in the photos section of "The Village Baker", so I tried that today. The bread in the photo must be huge, as it has 20 slash marks on it.

    Anyway, my loaf was fermented much of the day from only 50gr of starter flour to 450gr of finish flour. Then I shaped the loaf and let it proof overnight in a linen covered banneton. I did give it almost an hour to warm up before baking it, but you could see that it was more dense than the previous loaf that bake pretty nicely.

    It had that big oven spring explosion that I have been trying to work out. It looks like a big wart -- or burl on a redwood tree. A callous, or what a marshmallow looks like when you burn it in a fire. A knot, a bump, a hump. Quasimoto the bread.

    I'm leaning toward the underproofed; over sprung theory, but I can't figure out why a loaf proofed overnight would be so underproof.

    Oh well, it's fun trying to figure it out. I think the spiral pattern is pretty cool.
    Enjoy your weekend!
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  • #2
    Re: Spiral slash pattern

    quasimodo or not, it's still a beautiful loaf. Nice color.

    These are from yesterday's bake. The three on the upper right are pain Poilane from the Bread Baker's Apprentice. Nice taste- a little sour, moist but a bit dense, which is to be expected with nearly 100% whole wheat. The long loaves and the lower left round one are 85% ww. They got overproofed, unfortunately, so they didn't get good ovenspring. They taste great, though, and even overproofed, they have pretty decent texture.

    I just can't get mine to look as lovely as yours, though! Are you using rye flour as well?
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    • #3
      Re: Spiral slash pattern

      Hello Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the reminder -- I need to re-stock my rye flour. You definitely get a denser bread as your % of whole wheat goes up. Dutchoven wrote that good explanation on how the sharp edges of whole wheat cut the gluten strands and don't allow the structure to develop quite as well. Is that right?

      My lighter whole wheat loaves approach 50/50 white and whole wheat. Still, for a serious rustic loaf, the higher percentages of whole wheat, rye and even whole grains can't be beat.

      I don't have BBA in front of me. What is the baker's percent formula for their Pane Pollaine?

      I'm not sure about crust development. How hot is your oven at the start and end of the bake? How long is your bake? And what are you doing for steam? I've been enjoying the seriously crunchy crust. Great for toast. :-)

      Let's keep working on this.
      Last edited by james; 12-13-2008, 06:33 PM.
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      • #4
        Firm starter:
        barm 77.8
        whole wheat flour 100
        water 44.4

        Final dough:
        firm starter 62.5
        whole wheat flour 100
        salt 2.5
        water 62.5

        Yes, I think Dutch is quite correct on the gluten-cutting bran. When you knead it by hand, you can see how the bran bits are where the skin on the dough breaks. The BBA's recipe talks about the dough passing the windowpane test, but gee it's hard to do one with the dough tearing at the sharp edges!

        This bread has a much thicker, crunchier crust than my white loaves have had- but it also went longer in the oven. I bet I'm putting my dough in too soon, and the oven's too hot to leave it long enough. One of the drawbacks of not having an infrared thermometer. The mississippi test is only so accurate! I have a sprayer for steam- I use it until it's rolling up the chimney and put the door on- I tried venting it after 10 min last time, and that seemed to work better.

        I really need to be able to leave myself more time to heat up the oven, let it saturate thoroughly, and cool off the right amount. I've been so compelled to get it right that I've been baking a couple of times a week, and I end up having not enough time to get it right after all. Patience, patience. I haven't got much!

        Do you usually proof your loaves overnight in the fridge? I'm wondering if that's part of the lovely color you're getting. If you do, are they shaped or do you do it in the batch rise?

        The poilane is fabulous toasted with a drizzle of chestnut honey...



        • #5
          Re: Spiral slash pattern

          Cooler proofed breads will have more of the grain sugars still present in the finished loaf and therefore will have a slightly more caramel color after baking. It is due to the fact that the yeasts were "retarded"(no offense) by the cooler temps and did not consume as much of the sugars that the amylase enzymes broke out during that same time. You are probably not allowing them enough time in the oven. When you begin to smell it it still has to wait maybe a minute...you should really smell the caramelly smell not just bread. Until you get a IR thermometer you can do it the old fashioned way...a pinch of flour dusted on the floor of the oven...if it smokes right away it's too hot, 10-15 seconds almost there...in the neighborhood of 20 seconds should be just about perfect.
          "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
          "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch


          • #6
            Re: Spiral slash pattern

            I've never seen the pinch of flour test- I'll try that. I'm making some rye bread dough up tomorrow- so I'll see on Tuesday!