First Soaker and Biga!

Peter Reinhart Whole Grains

Well it was my first try at a soaker and biga. Whoo hoo!

I followed a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

I followed the Multigrain Stuan recipe on page 102. Actually I shouldn’t even be calling them recipes, (thanks Pen!) they are actually called “formulas”

I started out very well. I added a whole mess o’ grains and flours to the soaker. I mixed a combination of corn meal, barley flour, wheat bran, oat bran, oatmeal, and rye flour, added the salt, whole wheat flour, powder buttermilk and water. I kept it on the counter until this morning.

The Biga was just as easy to mix. I used my bread machine, and mixed the whole wheat, instant yeast and water. Shaped it into a ball, and allowed it to rest in the refrigerator until this morning.

This morning, I warmed up the Biga for a couple of hours, then, along with the grain soaker, I cut it up into smaller chunks with my pastry cutter.

This is where I went astray. I mistakenly read the wrong section on the page, and thought there was 3/4 cup of liquid. oops. That was the Biga! So, for the final dough, I poured water and the rest of the ingredients into my bread machine and let it knead. Hmm, it looked awfully soupy and that’s when I realized my mistake! Ugh!

I had to add a ton more flour, I kept adding and adding until it finally looked normal. I figured since it was so messed up, I better allow the machine to go through its paces. I kneaded for 10, then rested for 20, then kneaded again for 10.

Then I removed the dough and let it rise in a bowl near our wood stove for about 60 minutes. There was really a lot of dough, so I figured it might work better as two loaves; I divided the dough with my pastry cutter, and shaped into loaves.

After baking and cooling, I started slicing for tomorrow’s lunch sandwiches. Eh, not so good. The crust came apart from the crumb. Oh well. I had a few bites of crust, and it was surprisingly alright, considering the salt and sugar flavor was diluted from all the extra flour.

I’m not giving up, and will definitely try again. It was a great learning experience, and a mistake that I will probably not repeat again! haaha!

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