Caputo Flour and Bread Making
Over the years, I've read a lot about the differences between North American and European flours: our wheats have a tendency to be harder varieties that require more hydration to get proper results. Because of the protein and gluten content, doughs made from them want to spring back when they're being manipulated and formed. European flours, by contrast, are blended and have a tendency to be softer and more extensible, requiring somewhat less hydration to achieve the same desired result. To this point, it was all theory for me.
Since then, I have tried Italian flours from several mills, but I didn't really notice all that much of a difference.
Then, along came the FedEx truck with a box full of Caputo that James kindly sent me for review. Revelations happen seldom in this life:D . I made two small loaves of Pane Pugliese using half Caputo and half Fancy Durham flour, pushing the hydration to somewhere in the 70 per cent range. This very wet dough was an absolute wonder to work with: silky and smooth, and when it came time for the stretch and fold maneuvers, there was absolutely no springing back. During streching and folding, depending on hydration, hard bread flour sometimes wants to tear. Not so Caputo. Excellent....so far.
I baked them and left with Wendy to run errands. Planned, when they were cool, to cut them and take some photos of the crumb. Unfortunately, two teenage girls, who were not in the loop, stayed behind. When we returned, there was nothing left to photograph but crumbs. "What was the whole structure like?" I asked, plaintively. "Good, yummy, peanut butter and jelly" they said. "Fine," I said, "I'll be sure to pass that one on." Mentally? "Grrrr, sizzle." But, and here's the kicker, there were other breads on the cooling racks, and they chose the Caputo ones. Humm.
Now I'm absolutely certain I didn't eat that much as a teenager. Then again, Kate, Wendy's daughter, is as tall as I am, and she's 13. Looking at a 6 foot 18 year old I think.
No worries. I'll make it again, and more of it. Chain up scavengers, loose guard cat, lock bread away, bring out, cut, take pics.
As a bread guy, my rating of Caputo thus far is 10 out of 10. I've read what Caputo has to say about their flours, grain selection and milling methods. I'd have to say they're all true. I'm thinking focaccia.
Re: Caputo Flour and Bread Making
We agree 10 out of 10. This weekend we made Ciril Hitz' recipe Pane Francese - extending it to make boules instead of rolls. We added a little malt to the final mix. Basically it was 1120 grm Caputo flour, 672 grm H2O, 8.4 grm yeast for the biga -room temp overnight. Then cut it up next day and added it to 95degreeF H2O - 1176 grms, autolyse added 1632 grm more Caputo flour and about 4 teaspoons of Diastatic Malt. Mixed 4 min. then knead <5 min-window pane test. Rest in bulk 90 min. shape and rise 45 min, bake 480F and wow. Crust was to die for and crumb had fantastic taste. This made 12 good sized boules.
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