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Basic country bread

I've finally got a loooooong desired ingredient in my pantry: a special flour called Manitoba. After looking for months from where to buy it, I found a serious English website to deliver to me 25kg of this flour at a decent price. If you are wandering what is so special about this flour, well it's all about gluten or proteins. The usual flour I can get from supermarket or farms around my house, it has 10-11% of gluten. I was admiring so much the breads made with American flour and I was craving for that kind of flour. But Manitoba is not American flour is Italian. It has instead the same particularities, a high gluten percentage (15%). I need to say this because is funny, this adventure is quite international: Italian flour that resembles the American one, sold by an English website,  delivered to Belgium and baked by a Romanian :)) )
So, my dream came true, the flour arrived to my house and I was so excited to try it.

My first choice was an old recipe of Chad Robertson with which I was not very happy how it succeeded before and at that time I have blamed the flour. It was now the time for a big retrial.

Lots of hopes, and indeed when I have combined the flour with water and sourdough, what I have obtained was a dough that resembled more to the glue. Its structure, instead of breaking by itself, it was like an elastic. However, the hydration of this bread was awful. Even after 4 stretch and folds didn't get any shape, and when I have put it on the board it was running all over the place. I have blamed the flour before but was not its fault. Salt had nothing to do, and I couldn't say that my water is too wet for my bread :D. It is something else that I've missed in this recipe to be considered a success. Chad Robertson does a kind of autolyse with sourdough included. Comparing to Ken Forkish recipes, the fermentation is done in a shorter time. I am not sure what is the trick of this recipe but it doesn't impress me at all.

Nevertheless, the more I bake bread, the more I become my own critic so, lets see the things globally: the bread was great as taste. Not so bubbly crumb as I was expecting (as I had to add 100g more flour when shaping) but when you take a bite, there is nothing that you can say bad about it.
I also reduced the amount of salt, just as a trial, and I can conclude that I prefer the version with 20g of salt instead of 15g.

This was my schedule and recipe this time:


Ingredients:

Preferment:
  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 100g water (25ºC / 78ºF)
  • 17g liquid sourdough

Final formula:
  • 800g Manitoba flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 700+50ml water (27ºC/80ºF)
  • 200g preferment
  • 15g salt

Directions:

  1. Friday 22:00, prepare the preferment by mixing all ingredients in a bowl and let it covered at room temperature (21ºC / 65ºF) for 8-12 hours
  2. Saturday, 9:00 AM, in the mixer's bowl add 700ml water with the preferment and the 2 types of flour. Start the mixer for 3 minutes just to insure that all ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Let the dough rest for 45" (kind of autolyse).
  4. Saturday, 9:45 AM, add salt and the remaining 50g water and mix well for 10 minutes.
  5. Saturday, 10:00 AM, cover the bowl with a lid and do the bulk fermentation for the next 3-4 hours. In this time do 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes (10:30; 11:00; 11:30; 12:00). DDT 26-28ºC / 78-82ºF.
  6. Saturday, 14:00, remove the dough from the bowl and put in on a board.
  7. Do some more stretch and folds and preshape as a big boule.
  8. Let the dough rest for 20-30".
  9. Saturday, 14:15, shape the breads and lay them in floured banneton .
  10. The final fermentation is done for 3-4 hours at 24-27ºC / 75-80ºF, so until 18:00
  11. Saturday, 13:30, 45" before the bake, preheat the oven and the dutch oven with its lid at 260ºC / 500ºF.
  12. Saturday 18:00, put the loafs in the hot cast iron pot. Dust to top of the bread with rice flour to avoid sticking,
  13. Score the bread with a sharp blade.
  14. Put the lid on and put the pot back in the oven.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on keeping the same temperature and then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 30".

The recipe was taken from Chad Robertson - Tartine Bread. (Basic country bread)

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