My Maiden Post: A Non-Experiment

Hiya, everyone! I love reading your blogs, so I thought I’d join you guys…whether or not mine is helpful to anyone. My blog url, Titch, which means small…pretty much describes my size but more so about my part in the sourdough world…I’m but a teeny player, since bread is not our staple diet. This name was given me by someone who has taught me much…about naturally-leavened bread, and, so, I’m dedicating this blog to him.

I had computer troubles for the past couple of days…you should’ve seen the state I was in, not being able to check out what my baker pals have been up to.

I thought I would make a study of how plain flour and bread flour affected my breads. Except that it didn’t work out the way I had planned. First of all - the flours. I swear (and I’m not in the habit of swearing) the packaging and labelling of food products in Malaysia will drive me mad! Flours, at least those manufactured by the local biggies, are all bleached, even bromated I suspect, so if I see any (unbleached) flours in organic outlets, usually of Australian and US origins, I grab ‘em. Bread/Strong flours are easier to find than normal plain flour. Go figure. The thing that gets me is that 99% of the time, the protein level is not stated. Sigh. So, here am I wanting to do an experiment…in one hand, I’ve a packet of flour which says bread flour, and, in the other hand, I hold a packet which tells me it’s plain unbleached flour. That’s all the info I have. Having no choice, I gave them the benefit of doubt. Plain flour should be around 10% level and Strong flour >11%, I assumed. I’m going to write a nice letter to these 2 companies right after this.

And, on to the Non-Experiment…this formula is based on the Pain de Mie. I’ve been working towards something which is more acceptable to local palates.
——– 50g 100% hydration starter ———–

220g plain flour*/ 200g bread flour*

65% hydration /70% hydration

——— 125g milk ———–

——— 2 tsp sugar ———–

——— 25g melted butter ———–

——— 1 tsp salt ———–

Both had 3 10 seconds kneads with 10 minutes rest

and, 3 fold and turns with 45 minutes rest in between.

I shaped Ms Plain but it didn’t look developed enough. So, into the fridge it went.

Mr Strong was highly gassy. I shaped it into a boule and left it to rest at room temperature (32 deg C) for 10 minutes. I had great difficulty slashing the relatively soft dough. Although oven spring was good, his shape spread a bit.
Ms Plain spent the next hour proving slowly in the fridge and also developing a nice skin which made slashing a pleasure. Her spring was just delightful and she held her ‘bouleness’ well.

* The reason why I added more flour to the plain dough was I thought it needed some help to retain its form due to the lack of gluten. OK…this makes sense only to moi….nonsense to the rest of you, lol! Well, you can see that this didn’t turn out to be a good experiment since I didn’t hold the hydration level constant…one variable too many.

I don’t know what to conclude…really. The Strong turned out with a more open crumb…must be due to its higher level of hydration. Both of them seemed to be as soft and light. The Plain loaf was more tasty…due to that extra bit of slow-proving in the fridge, I think.

Plain and Strong

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