Winter temperatures have finally arrived, that's a good enough excuse to spend an afternoon in the kitchen preparing porridge for bread.
For this batch, I've cracked Spelt(dinkel) in the mill, (almost fine enough to call it coarse flour ) and have immediately stirred it into double the amount of water. I've used a double boiler, and carefully brought the temperature into the range of 58c to 65c. This requires regular stirring and temperature monitoring, over the course of two and a half hours the amylase enzyme, which is naturally present in the grain, converts starch to maltose, the concoction sweetens and darkens in colour.
It is important afterward to deactivate the amylase by heating the mix up into the high 80's celsius.
This is then left overnight and continues to darken as it cools, in the end, it looks as though it contains a hefty shot of molassis.
The formula also contains a second porridge, a simple preparation made with one part small flake oats to four parts boiling water. This is also made the day before and allowed to cool off.
Swiss ruchmehl (high extraction wheat flour) makes up 87% of the dry goods, spelt 8% and oats the remaining 5%. The total hydration is in the 75% range. Total salt 2.1%
As per usual, I've gone with hybrid leavening: the levain made up 15% and 0.5% fresh yeast went into the final dough.
The dough was prepared in the spiral mixer, 10 minutes in low, seven in second gear, end temp. 26c.
The total bulk rest was 90 minutes, the dough was gently stretched out and folded back together at the 60 minute mark. I've scaled the loaves at 675 grams, rounded them firmly then covered the balls with a plastic sheet and given them a 10 minute intermediate proof before molding to final shape. The final proof took place, seam up in bakers linen. (Sieved with low extraction spelt flour) After 90 minutes, I turned the loaves over onto the loading boards and gave them a shallow score with a perpendicularly held razor blade. After a further ten minute rest, I peeled them into the 250c deck oven, and applied a small amount of steam. After 10 minutes the steam was released and the oven temp. reduced to 210.
The total bake time was 55 min, the loaves weighed in at 570 grams.
I get excited eating this bread, slice after slice. The spelt concoction (Aromastück) provides the building block for intense aroma development and a pleasant natural sweetness. The levain balances with a sour note and the oat porridge makes for a moist crumb. The crust is deliciously caramelised and has splendid chew to it
The process is a little time consuming but every few weeks, I seem to find the time to stir up another batch.