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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Bread making with Polish flour

Flour here in Poland, and I have looked into this quite extencivly, is low protine, 7 -8%, winter wheat, spelt is also available. This posed some difficulties to start with as it is not very easy to use a recipe you find on a uk or US website and get the results you expect.  I did not really start to get good results from my baking until I abandoned this idea and looked for other parts of the world where they also have a history of baking with low gluten flour. After experimenting with various doughs I have found that rustic styles, similar to ones found in southern Italy work realy well.

My usual bake starts with my own sourdough starter that I expand by adding 500g of flour and 500ml of water.  I use a 100% hydration for my starter and sponge in order to keep the calculations simple. I ferment this sponge overnight or all day before adding 2kg more flour with 30g of salt and enough water to end up with a nice wet, 78% approx final dough.  A 20 min rest and a 10 minute hand kneeding is enough to develop the dough ready for fermentation.

Fermentation ats every stage is done cool, around 15 deg C, in order to heavily favour the yeast action of bacterial development in attempt to produce a subtle sour flavour rather than a more sour bread that is achieved at higher temperatures. Fermentation takes at least 8 hours.

The dough is divided into different sizes depending on the tins or trays I am using, rolled on olive oil and then left to rise.  I don't really shape, the dough is too wet for that, instead I bake in the tins.  This is a part of my process that I will  change once the oven is built, as I plan to cook most of my bread directly on the brick hearth.

I will go into the baking part of the process in later posts as we have only just got a new oven for our kitchen and with only two bakes complete, I am far from having this optimised and ready to blog about it.