In Search Of The Perfect Loaf: Day #3

Today did not turn out as I had hoped. Mistakes were made.

I gathered the ingredients for today’s loaf and immediately knew there was something not quite right with my biga. After drawing off 1 cup for today’s loaf, there was only about 1 tablespoon left. That’s not supposed to happen… there was nothing left to feed for tomorrow’s loaf.

I processed the dough using the same recipe I used yesterday adding the 1 cup of biga between the water and flour, but I obviously mismeasured at least one of the ingredients. The dough was beyond slack… it was wet and runny. I poured it onto my floured pastry mat and proceeded to knead in more flour until it started feeling more like the dough I baked yesterday.

At the last minute, I decided to change how I was going to bake it. The one thing I’ve never quite liked about the  Breadtopia clay baker is having to raise the dough in one vessel while the baker is preheating in the oven. I decided to bake today’s loaf in an unglazed clay oven made by Römertopf.

Römertopf recommends soaking the clay so I put both top and bottom in a sink full of water for 15 minutes, dried it with a towel, and lined it with parchment paper (it’s unglazed). I shaped the dough and transferred it to the clay oven for the final rise — about 45 minutes under the light of my range hood.

As per some instructions I found on the Internet, I placed the covered clay oven in a cold oven, set the oven to 500℉, and set a timer for 45 minutes.

While the bread was baking, I made a fresh biga using the same recipe I used two days ago. Because I hate waste, I threw in that last tablespoon of the old biga. I immediately noticed that the volume of the fresh biga was significantly more than what I made before. It was also thicker. So, I must have mismeasured that as well.




When the timer dinged, I removed the lid and returned it to the oven for another 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, I realized I had made yet another mistake. The loaf was probably perfect after the first 45 minutes. Now the crust was a bit too dark and the loaf’s internal temperature was 192℉. Not burnt, but overdone.

However… even with all the mistakes, this loaf was better than yesterday. Wonderful texture and taste. I have high hopes for tomorrow’s loaf.







Posted in food.

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