I love experimenting with cold fermentation for developing flavorful bread dough. I started a new (for me) bread experiment yesterday, based on the technique of Peter Reinhart’s book “Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor“. In the book, Peter advises to mix both a mash and a biga, refrigerate for at least 12 hours, then mix up a new dough with the two plus a small amount of ingredients.
I decided that I would try mixing one biga mash together with no sugar, oil, salt and just a touch of instant yeast, refrigerate for a day, then mix up a new dough using the biga mash with new flour and ingredients.
The result was a fair success! A yummy fluffy high rising whole grain bread. I love a hearty dense loaf, but sometimes you just want bread to be light and airy!
I still need to work on this technique though, although the taste is fantastic, the “crumb” is usually too crumbly and the top crust pulls away. By the time I get to the middle/end of the loaf, it’s usually difficult to slice thinly. I think it might be an issue of not shaping my loaf properly, or it could be over-proofing (final rise). I don’t think it’s an issue of too much milk and/or oil but maybe my dough needs more water. It’s also possible that I am not kneading long enough, but that seems hard to believe since I’m using a machine for the final dough. I’ll have to do some additional reading on the Fresh Loaf web site, and maybe re-read Peter’s book. There is still so much to learn!
Anyway, here is my process.
Biga Soaker – Day One
It only take a few minutes to mix up the biga soaker dough.
Note: I use the West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker for all kneading.
Biga Soaker Ingredients
- 1 cup milk product. I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but I have used almond milk in previous recipes.
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 oz whole grain flour = I used 1.5 oz cornmeal and 2.5 oz barley flour
- 8 oz King Arthur white whole wheat flour, (for a total of 12 oz for ALL flours)
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
NO salt, oil, sugar just yet
Bread Machine Biga Directions:
It’s possible to process the bread dough using the “dough” setting, but you should NOT allow it to rise the bread. Shut off the machine after the kneading process finishes, and remove the dough before the warm rise step.
Here’s what I did:
- Machine knead for about 10 minutes
- Stop the bread maker for an autolyse rest for 20-30 minutes. During this resting time, leave the dough in the bread machine pan.
- Re-start the machine and knead again for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, shut off machine again, and allow a short rest of 2-3 minutes before transferring the dough (using wet hands) to a bowl.
- Cover bowl and keep in fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.
Bread Baking Day:
Take the dough out of fridge, allow to warm up for at least two hours.
Chop up dough into several smaller pieces, using pastry scraper or sharp knife.
In bread machine pan, add dough pieces with the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz white flour
- 2 Tbsp sucanat sugar
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1.5 tsp instant yeast
- Optional seeds or nuts (1/4 cup)
Baking Day Directions
- Using the bread maker dough setting, combine all ingredients in bread maker and allow the machine to do it’s thing including the rise.
- When machine is finished, wet hands, and pull dough out of the pan.
- Gently form into loaf shape and place into loaf pan (lined with parchment paper)- this is where I might be going wrong. I think I am not shaping the loaf correctly.
- Allow to proof for 30-60 minutes
- In preheated 375F oven, bake for 30 minutes
- Or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190F
- Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool for at least an hour.
Makes one 30 oz loaf (after baking and cooling) – even better, it’ll also make two smaller loaves too!
Total Fat: 3.5g