Multigrain Sourdough Bread

I know that Christmas is gone already for 1 month but this bake was too interesting to wait for the next Christmas to post.

I bought this flour by mistake. I confused the classic bread flour package that I buy from the supermarket (that I use for cakes by the way, because its protein content is 10%) with this one. I have not noticed that the picture on the package showed some grains. Neither I read the title...
But well, I arrived home with 5kg of multigrain bread flour. When I try a new flour, I always test it first at 70% hydration: that is not too wet not too stiff, perfect hydration to compare. The protein of this flour was 13%, but not to be tricked... this was the protein content of flour + grains, so the flour should have had about 10-11%.

Would I buy this flour again intentionally? Probably not. I do not like the mix of seeds in the flour, I prefer to be able to select what seeds I put in my bread and in what quantity. More, I usually add the seeds in the lamination so this flour does not fit my process and starting to sift the seeds out of the flour does not seem efficient to me.

However, the dough behaved well, but with this new flour I wanted to take as much measurements with my new toy, the PH meter. Sometimes, I measure before the steps and after to understand the changes. You can find the numbers in the directions section for each step.

Conclusions of the measurements experience:
  1. the dough heats up slowly after the mix with a standing mixer
  2. every manipulation of the dough outside the bread proofer affects the dough temperature (like when put on the board, shaped etc)
  3. putting the bread into the fridge when the ph was 4.18 was a good decision
  4. my fridge had a higher temperature than the set (5ºC) as the dough before scoring got a temperature of 9ºC. This variance needs to be considered in order to avoid over proofing the dough in the fridge!

La Couronne Bordelaise / Bordeaux Crown Sourdough Bread

I wanted to try this loaf from the moment I first saw it. I though to be a complicated one but I manage to get it from the first attempt. The special thing about this bread is not the crumb, not the rise but the shape. It is about rising a thin piece of dough on top of the bread to achieve the look of a crown.
This bread is called La couronne bordelaise (translated as the Crown of Bordeaux) and of course, it is a French regional bread that you will for sure remember. 
The crumb is expected to be dense and soft with a crunchy crumb, especially the "crown" part. 
When raising in the oven, to me it looked like a blooming flower, such an impressive sequence to see in a speed up video.
The look of this bread is simply wow. It has a simple recipe, traditionally made with white flour and a small part of rye or whole wheat. It is also traditional that this bread is based on sourdough.
The stencil decoration of this bread is optional, but I think it gives a big effect to the final look of the loaf.

To see how I made it, the best is to watch the video. If a photo says a thousands words, a video says a million.

I introduce now a new thing in my baking because this Christmas, Santa came to me with a geeky tool, a PH meter. Since then, I started to test the dough at every step and note everything down. I've read a lot about baking based on the PH rather than the volume increase in an aliquot jar or by eye and currently, I am in the learning process with this new toy. As soon I will have some conclusions I'll happily share them with you. But so far, I experiment. That's why, I included in the recipes some notes, and here it is how they need to be read: PH - the PH of the dough measured before the step. DT: the dough temperature at the time of the measurement. (eg:[PH:4.54; DT:23.8ºC])

One first lesson I learned is that the temperature that I set for my bread proofer is usually higher than the dough temperature. It is not an unexpected discovery, I measured the dough temperature before and I knew that. But this time, I have measurements at each step. It is interesting to see how the temperature fluctuates through different steps because of the dough manipulation at room temperature (usually 20-21ºC during the cold seasons). 

This loaf I baked it when the PH was 4.2. Seeing the crumb, I feel it could have been proofed more. No, this bread is not underproved because the crumb should be on purpose closed and soft. Then, due to the particularities of this bread of rising the disk on top of the bread, staying close to the under proofing limit, I think it is a good idea. But I will test this assumption with my next loaf.

I still have much to learn about PH, and for the moment I just keep track of the measurements and make notes.