Whole Wheat Sourdough Multigrain Struan, Delayed Fermentation Method, Trial 2
Three months ago I attempted a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s book Whole Grain Breads—the multigrain struan, that is, the very bread that launched Peter’s baking career.
So, how’d that go?
Basically, it was an utter disaster. The deflated loaf was dominated by a vile concoction of bitterness, sourness, and saltiness, likely caused by the rancidity of the milk. Deeply disheartened by my results, I was soon assaulted by bouts of self-criticism and -doubt. I wanted to quit baking, take a long hiatus, and dwell in an abode of displeasure.
“Yo, snap out of it!” demanded an inner voice, “You ain’t no pro baker, you gonna make mistakes, so get off your stinky butt and bake—bake ’til you drop dead!”
Okay, then… But only because I like bread so much.
During the months that followed, I experimented with dough at various hydration levels, pre-ferments, techniques, and methods—all learnt to combat the recipe that plunged a dagger into my heart, making me bleed a river of melancholy.
Cross-stitched by greater confidence, that wound had closed.
(This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting.)
The primary objectives for the whole wheat sourdough multigrain struan were the following:
Adapted from the book Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads, the following adjustments were made to the original recipe:
Additionally, if available, I’ve listed brand names of the food products I used in the tables below. Disclaimer: This isn’t an endorsement. I’m simply indicating the names of the branded products used in my baking experiment.
Yield: 1 whole wheat sourdough multigrain struan (loaf)
Total Prep Time: N/A
Total Bake Time: 50 minutes
|Pearl barley||28 g||Origins|
|Flax seeds||28 g||Origins|
|White sesame seeds||28 g||N/A|
|Sunflower seeds||28 g||Origins|
|Whole wheat flour, Chilled||57 g||Gold Medal|
|Grain mix||168 g||N/A|
|Roasted sea salt||4 g||Hakata Noshio|
|Whole milk / Full cream milk, Chilled||170 g||Dutch Mill|
|Pre-Ferment: Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter|
|Whole wheat sourdough starter, 75% hydration||55 g||N/A|
|Mineral water, Room temp.||165 g||Mineré|
|Whole wheat flour, Chilled||220 g||Gold Medal|
|Whole wheat flour, Chilled||57 g||Gold Medal|
|Roasted sea salt||5 g||Hakata Noshio|
|Instant yeast||5 g||DSL|
|Palm sugar||20 g||Palma|
|Extra virgin olive oil||14 g||Campagna|
|Whole wheat sourdough starter, 75% hydration||398 g||N/A|
|Glaze & Topping|
|Chicken egg, Albumen / White, Chilled||N/A||N/A|
|Extra virgin olive oil||N/A||Campagna|
|Countertop convection oven, Refrigerator, Table cloth (Couche), Parchment paper, Spatulas, Strainer, Bowls, Mixing bowls, Pot, Mechanical kitchen scale, Chinese chef’s knife, Paring knife, Razor and wooden skewer (Lame), Spoons, Pastry brush, Oven mittens, Wire rack, Cutting boards, Unglazed clay tiles (Baking stone)|
Warning: Do not attempt my “recipe” (i.e., experiment) without considering the following; variations in room temperature, humidity, altitude, food products, kitchen utensils and equipment, techniques and methods, amongst other factors, will influence the outcome of your baked goods.
Before I began, I measured, prepared, and organized my ingredients and kitchen equipment. This includes:
- placing the unglazed clay tiles onto the lower rack of the oven
- placing the lid-closed metal pot onto the unglazed clay tiles
- cutting a sheet of parchment paper
Step 1: Assembled to prepare the soaker, the whole wheat flour, grains, seeds, salt and mixing bowl were retrieved.
Step 2: Once the said dry ingredients were placed into and hand-mixed in the mixing bowl, I fetched and poured the milk into the mixing bowl.
Step 3: With my hands and a plastic spatula, I mixed and scraped the ingredients until they were well blended. Shortly thereafter, the mixing bowl was sealed with plastic wrap, then refrigerated at 7°C / 44.6°F for approx. ten hours.
Step 4: One reason why I enjoy baking bread is that it often amounts to a few dirty dishes. Pastries, on the other hand, well, let’s not get into that.
Step 5: This is Abital, my dear and beloved sourdough starter. Prior to being baked, she was fed three meals…
Now that I think about it, it sounds as if I’m treating my starter like a death-row prisoner.
Step 6: Waking up at six in the morning, I coerced myself to remove the soaker from the refrigerator. After doing as such, the soaker was left to rest at above room temperature for two hours.
Of course, afterwards, I promptly jumped into bed and took a brief nap.
Step 7: After two hours had elapsed, I armed myself with a Chinese chef’s knife and divided the soaker into sixteen portions.
Step 8: With the side of the blade, I scooped each portion of the soaker and chucked it into a mixing bowl. Subsequent to that, I assembled the following materials: whole wheat sourdough starter, whole wheat flour, instant yeast, palm sugar, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.
Step 9: In this precise order, I poured the olive oil, salt, sugar, and whole wheat flour into the mixing bowl, then grabbed and dropped chunks of the sourdough starter into the mixing bowl.
Step 10: Mix, mix, mix, like an inebriated DJ I was!
Step 11: Upon the formation of the dough, I proceeded to knead the dough by repeatedly folding the dough in half for three or four minutes, then left the dough to rest for five minutes.
In the meantime, I thinly coated a separate mixing bowl with extra virgin olive oil.
Step 12: Once the dough was rested for five minutes, I kneaded the dough for a minute or two, transferred the dough into the oiled mixing bowl, sealed the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerated the dough at 7°C / 44.6°F for twenty-four hours.
Step 13: Let’s get this all cleaned up for tomorrow!
Step 14: Hello, my darlin’? How was your slumber?
Not bad, and you?
A bit sleep deprived, but it may be worth it after having you in my belly.
Step 15: Removed from the refrigerator and de-chilled for two hours, I pried the dough onto a cutting board, rounded the dough, transferred the dough onto parchment paper, applied an egg wash to the dough with a pastry brush, then sprinkled a heavy sum of poppy seeds onto the dough.
Step 16: Shortly afterwards, I slashed the dough with a homemade lame (i.e., razor on a wooden skewer), wrapped a flour-dusted table cloth around the dough to retain its shape, proofed or rested the dough for a total of one hour, then preheated the oven to 220°C / 428°F (convection on).
Note: Not displayed above, a tea cup and water bottle was placed adjacent to the table cloth to prevent it from becoming loose.
Step 17: One hour of proofing resulted in the above.
Step 18: Time’s up! Oven’s ready!
As smoothly and cautiously as possible, I removed the closed pot from the oven, removed the lid, transferred the dough into the pot (along with the parchment paper), closed the pot, reinserted the pot into the oven, then baked the dough at 180°C / 356°F for twenty minutes (convection on).
Once baked for twenty minutes, the lid of the pot was removed and baked for an additional thirty minutes at 180°C / 356°F (convection on).
Step 19: Gazing at the baked loaf with uncertainty, I removed it from the oven, tapped its crusty bottom and listened for sounds of hollowness.
*Thump, thump, thump.*
That sounds hollow enough…
Consequently, the loaf was cooled on a wire rack for over nineteen hours.
Step 20: Rinsing the above, I called it a good day and took a much needed rest.
After twelve hours of being baked, the top crust of the loaf was firm, with a tinge of softness, whereas the bottom crust was rigid. In contrast, the crumb of the loaf was somewhat moist to the touch, modestly firm yet tender. Moreover, when the loaf was in near proximity of the nose, a faint wheaty, nutty aroma, combined with a slight but pungent acidic odour, was discerned. In regards to mouthfeel and taste, the initial mastication (i.e., chewing) was distinguished by crunchiness and a strong nutty taste. Subsequently, the mouthfeel turned rather gummy and subtle notes of bitterness and butteriness emerged, finishing with a progressively sharp but mild tang.
Note: The whole wheat sourdough multigrain struan was stored at above room temperature.
For the next trial, I hope to make the following adjustments:
Nevertheless, I’m overjoyed with my results, which in many respects surpassed my expectations. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the help from members of The Fresh Loaf.
Thank you, TFL.
‘Til next week, farewell and happy baking. :)