SOURDOUGH BAGUETTES

[quote]
>have tried Jack Lang's aforementioned formula a couple of times this week, once with 5g of vitamin C, and once with a smaller amount (1g).
[/quote]

As this question has more technical content
I will answer this in the technical center

Sorudom, When I was in Melbourne several mnntha ago I was able to make naturally fermented sourdough baguettes using Australian bread flour and I even added 1-2% vital wheat gluten to improve the bread volume.
I found out that the flour 10.5-% protein content is not suffiicient for my needs so I fortified it with gluten.
The ratio of the starter to the dough flour is 30-40%. It was mixed with a spiral mixer to full dough development ( 3 minutes low speed and 8-10 minutes at fast speed until it reaches a desired dough temperature of 24 degree C as the starter was cold ( about 12-15 degreee C from refrigeration) then bulk fermented at ambient for about 8 hours at 25 degree C. then dough bin was rolled into the cold room to retard and it was divided after 6 hours in the bench, then pre shaped. Given an intermediate proof of half an hour and then molded.
Placed on baguetter trays and proofed for 3- 4 hours at 35 deg C where it was then loaded to the oven deck with lots of steam and baked at 230 deg C for 20 minutes, the temperature was reduced to 200 and further baked for 20 minutes . The bread comes out really good volume, and a 3 mm thick reddish brown crusts with slighlty open crumb structure and nice flavor..

I have noticed that the if the dough is not properly matured during bulk fermentation the bread appears heavy, and lower in volume.
That is why I used that method for my flour.

Going back to your question that if soft flour is better or to be exact it should be called medium gluten flour in the same genre as the French T55 which has an approximate flour protein content of 9.5%.
There is a likelihood that with Jack Langs method it will work milder flours but with stronger Australian flour I doubt about it..

Another thing is the Chorleywood style where the Jack langs recipe was based is suited to th medium gluten content of British flours but needs to be modified with Stronger Australian breadmaking flour.. Therefore if you give it longer mixing time the bread qualitites might improve but would your food processor will live up to the task?

I prefer to run that experiment in the institutional heavy duty food processor like the STEPHAN vertical cutter mixer.

Cool

41 comments

[quote="chembake"]
[quote]
I undeerstood the stiffer starter promotes more lactic than acetic acid, so altering the flavour profile.
[/quote]

That should be the way Jack but there is always an exception to the rule. there are starters derived from middleeastern cultures and even San Francisco that even if the starter hydration is reduced the tanginess remains distinct. This is likely due to higher heterofermentative critters in the form of Lactobacillus San Francisco, Lactobacillus brevis...in that particular culture.[/quote]

G'day chem and Jack,

I'd have to disagree with your original statement Jack; as far as I remember Spicher & Stephan make the claim that the reverse is the case. The Heterofermenataive group prefer a lower absorption rate and a somewhat cooler temperature range, while the Homofermentative group prefer a higher absorption and a somewhat higher temperature range.

Well, chembake.

I guess you have made it easy for me. I accept your offer to leave the forum. I think the point everyone else is making is that the price for such good technical advice should not be so high. We can no longer afford to keep you.

All the best chembake,

Graham

Listen up people!
I understand where we both stand and but if anybody dares to put his cockiness ahead like what an apprentice do to his mentor then he should be prepared for the worst. !

You people should be at least be pleased that I am not selfish in taking part of this forum for amateurs even providing answers to your technical questions sharing some ideas, giving my views on a particular matter.

I don?t want to spoil your fun showing to others the result of your labors but NEVER expect me to do the same as I don?t personally share the same interest for such form of exhibition. I had passed that point already during my formative years and frankly I never had any graphic collections of my works nor is interested in making one!

If you people have problem with that then count me out of this forum as there are others who wants my input more than you do!
Did I make myself clear?

Your right Mick this guy is really out there, until graham decides what do with this guy well I think he's answered my questions and as for the insults, ta!

Come on, Jeremy, you're wasting your time.

Chembake has made it very clear what he thinks about the rest of us, so just ignore him.

I'm afraid I'm one of those weak individuals who likes sharing ideas, feels ignored if no one responds to my posts and, shock horror!!!, gets pleasure when people comlpiment me. There's clearly no hope for me.

Mick

[quote]
doubt the ancients who first made bread actually sat on a computer dwindling away nonsense about pictures, we are a forum of whatever degree bakers, we bake for what ever reasons, but our experience is to share our common pleasure and that is bread, don't confuse it with your posturing and silly emoticons, just bake and prove your as good as you gleen yourself to be, I could read the same stuf you spot from any technical book!
[/quote]

Omigosh ! is that how you think? If I ever answer a technical problem I have already got the answers in my brain there no need to find a book about it.!

So it appears that I am right for the reason ?.envy or jealously is what is gnawing in side you!

Razz

That silly attitude that brought you insecurity and started this hullabaloo?

Sad

YOU SHOULD BE CRUCIFIED FOR THAT REASON!

Smile

Mad

So
Its just beyond your comprehension why I can?t answer a technical problem easily ?.will maybe that is a talent that most bakers seldom had in their repertoire?..including your beloved Jeffrey Hammelman

Cool

Tsk Tsk,,,,its just difficult for you to understand that if you are deeply involved in research and development answering a technical problem is as easy as taking a leak!

Cool

Eat your heart out private Shapiro??.go clean my bunk while you try to ponder the mystery about my special skill?.that is the envy of both Industrial and artisan bakers alike!

Regarding baking for show off I leave that to people like you that have so much to learn in this particular skill that you are so cocky to brag about!

BTW if you are still suspicious ....

Baking is in my blood
I had baked many things since I was 10 years old where I can?t barely reached the table where my dad had to make me a lower bench so that I can knead a dough properly.
I doubt if at that age if you did the same.
If I had to sum up all my total baking experience that amounts to nearly 40 years!

Now who is the incompetent wimp here ?

Razz

Regarding technical capability youc cannot just pick a book and get the answers you have to earn it and absorb those information and learn to apply it before you can effectively deliver it spontaneously tackling any problem related to that particular trade? It takes many years before you can do that efficiently.

I tell you if you are diligent enough and have the courage go to the university and take dual courses in chemistry and food science while woring as a baker . then Work in the baking laboratory , and get employment in the different bakery in technical responsibilities , do some teaching jobs ,work your ass out in R&D related fo work for several years that ranges from baking to confectionery , etc I bet it will take you another lifetime before you can beat me in my own game.!

Razz

I am not bragging that is a fact.
I met a few people of the same attitude as you insecure and jealous, tried very hard to reach my level but ended frustrated and humiliated..

Sad

You wanna try?

Razz

Be my guest!

Cool

Well you know I was actually a corporal, and back in the day we bush wacked our senior officer for less!
I doubt the ancients who first made bread actually sat on a computer dwidling away nonsense about pictures, we are a forum of whatever degree bakers, we bake for what ever reasons, but our experience is to share our common pleasure and that is bread, don't confuse it with your posturing and silly emoticons, just bake and prove your as good as you gleen yourself to be, I could read the same stuf you spot from any technical book!

Specialist 4thclass US Army retired!

[quote]
s for your opinion I am not looking for it, as for being a chef with bakers training as well, I won't stoop down as if I were doing push ups for some tight ass NCO (non-commisioned officer!)to gain his favor!
[/quote]

Private I am still your senior officer

Smile

?take twenty pushups on the double!

Laughing

If you have made bread for years and have understood the formulation chemistry and its ingredient interactions you will learn to see the abstract side of baking.
Whatever bread you make shares molecularly the same basic constitution. There might be variations in other aspects as dictated by how its made but essentially they are the same.
To realize the essence of bread beyond form is a form of spiritual awakening that make you refine your discrimination and see to it that Bread is the same but there are minor variation that varies according to taste, texture and other parameters depending on and what its used for,

[quote]
You can imagine a loaf but from what I observe is your mouthful of insults and really sour additude, your better off pinching a loaf
[/quote]

Private...I don't pinch noses, I sock em...!

[quote]
We aren't extruding bread from test tubes or machines, were using our hands, that requires senses just as in cooking, as well as sound and coordination
[/quote]

As you where private!?.Don?t tell that to a senior officer?.!
Take another twenty push ups! on the double!

BTW is that the way you think about my skills?LOL?okay no problem, I permit you wallow in the illusion of your doubts!

Laughing

Besides I am ambidexterous with machines and with my hands in dough making but you won?t see any pictures from me in your current lifetime

Cool

Razz

Private....you get C-rat for your senior officer double time!

Cool

Well I guess you would think of bread as some sort of abstract or whatever?
As for your opinion I am not looking for it, as for being a chef with bakers training as well, I won't stoop down as if I were doing push ups for some tight ass NCO (non-commisioned officer!)to gain his favor!
You can imagine a loaf but from what I observe is your mouthful of insults and really sour additude, your better off pinching a loaf!
We aren't extruding bread from test tubes or machines, were using our hands, that requires senses just as in cooking, as well as sound and coordination, something my friend I find your lacking, as a poet from Sulford once said "your like a night club in the morning, the bitter end..."
(John-Cooper Clarke)

Jeremy

[quote]
Jealous, no, Jerms not, it's Jeremy, but I suppose I have innoculated some of the germ and baked a few loaves, and yet I find it more interesting to share my ignorance in the baking so I can share with others who may have that special magic and can share!
[/quote]

Tee hee hee!

Laughing

Jeremy, now I know why you are so keen about pictures?.you are just an amateur and I am damn right as based on my years of experience dealing with apprentices (and the like) they have the cockiness to show their stuff and even challenge their mentoros occasionaly to make a better bread than what they have made .

Surprised

to gain respect from their peers.

Cool

So far from what I remember nobody from the ranks of bakery teachers from the baking school really succumbed to that cajolery.

Smile

You does not have the means to see the bread in its true essence?( abstractly ? the shape, form or appearance , the taste, texture and aroma are just vague descriptions of quality aspects what a good bread should be.
You have not reached the stage to look beyond those descriptors but still see bread in its crude form..as what you bake your self.

Sad

[quote]
Go ahead and just give advice chembake, a picture is worth a thousand words, or if your gruff and an old Army guy like me we say "shit or get off the pot!"
[/quote]

Jeery boy, I understand your predicament?having a cook background your perceptive ability is limited to what you feel, smell and touch etc.
There is no problem with that as I understand your limitation.

So you are an Army guy? eh ? I am also a sergeant before

?Teeeen hut!

Private?come forward! ?..put your shit in your pot !

Laughing

Jealous, no, Jerms not, it's Jeremy, but I suppose I have innoculated some of the germ and baked a few loaves, and yet I find it more interesting to share my ignorance in the baking so I can share with others who may have that special magic and can share!
TP, forgive them for they are just boy's!
Go ahead and just give advice chembake, a picture is worth a thousand words, or if your gruff and an old Army guy like me we say "shit or get off the pot!"

Jerms

[quote]
OK, chembake, so we know it's neither"approval, attention nor respect" you're after. Inspire us then. No pressure.
[/quote]

Inspire......? I have just participated here to share my distilled knowledge gained after decades or baking experience and scientific study......Graphics is not my style as I don't even have collected pictures of my works....and this Jerms guy think that I am fooling around... OK let him fool himself

Cool

In return I am always in a lookout for fresh ideas.....that is why I lurked and participated in many forums/newsgroup related to baking.

I have come to realize that there is another reason for Jerms attitude which is not connected to breadmaking....I came to feel that there is some sort of jealousy or envy over a girl

Surprised

.some sort of rivalry....or how romantic ...and how funny...I hope that I am wrong but I can't find of any other reason....

Think about it ...teapee....Jeremy is jealous when I post a reply to your post..He thinks I making a pass at you.....LOL!

Laughing

Teapee...May I ask .....are you the face that launched a thousand baguettes...

Laughing

Cool

[quote]
I do object strongly when a self opiniated loud mouth tries to personally denigrate others, and gives the impression that it is beneath his dignity to condescend to baking a loaf for exhibition.
[/quote]

HOLY SMOKE!

Surprised

So my words really brought you back to life..

Laughing

So I broken my version of Da Vinci code to make you return to this forum?
I am happy Bill!

Laughing

Halleluhah! .......Halleluhah!(.....Hallelijuha.................Hallelujah ... ................Hallelujah ! (to the tune of Handel's Messiah

Cool

)

Exhibition loaves are no big deal to me! I have seen lots of it after all the years! and they no longer arouse the sense of wonderment if compared during my formative years. My previous jobs in bakery R&D remove that bias..... that not any of these exhibitions and contests arouse my interests anymore.

Sad

If you understand baking (by heart )and breadmaking in particular artisanal or industrial you don't feel any attachement to it....
They are just bread

Cool

Which I always to tried to emphasize to fellow bakers ....to remove the romanticism about bread.

Cool

If they can't they are susceptible to being used by this companies that exploit the gullibility of these hapless bakers for advertisement and entertainment.

Razz

If people understand the flimsiness of (pride in victory and the shame of defeat )in any contests and rather focus that for any contender his main opponent is not another person but himself...

Cool

Then nobody is a loser but all are winners...

Cool

To feel at peace with your creations and unmindful of other opinions...
The thought 'merging 'yourself with your creation. say bread is the real attainment of breadmaking wisdom.
Winning or losing means nothing.....if you are happy with your bread and contented with your skills you will not go through great lengths to challenge your peers to competition..As you have won already by conquering your foolish pride and ignorance and accept with humility. that breadmaking is just a way to express yourself and its a way to learn about the dough and your self.

Cool

If somebody criticizes your works it will not affect you as you realized the truth within...

Cool

And that is the TAO of breadmaking..

Cool

Unfortunately most artisan bakers are shallow minded people if compared to their industrial counterparts

Sad

That is why I can't help but compare them to school kids challenging their peers to which can make best items, toys, etc......

Sad

Background music....the sound of Richard Wagner....Ride of the Valkyries )

Cool

But BTW
So even at your age you denied it but ....exhibited that shallowness....If you have really done 27 years of baking then what on earth are you worrying at that nobody is taking notice of your post?
You want to share to anybody then don't worry if nobody is not replying to your displays

Razz

May I ask?
Is it not a sort of craving for recognition your previous intent in quitting this forum.
Or just some sort insecurity brought by appearing senility?

Surprised

Thank the gods, Bill came back!
I give up on the chemical guy though, it's just heresy to have a talker rather than a doer yapping rather than baking tell us how little we are in every aspect, ta!

Jeremy
P.S. sorry TP

[quote]
I give up on the chemical guy though, it's just heresy to have a talker rather than a doer yapping rather than baking tell us how little we are in every aspect, ta!
[/quote]

Talker,,,?

Laughing

.....Jerms,,,,,I know who I am, what I can do and what I have achieved. I am contented with it. I have nothing more to prove to anybody. And no wimp can convince me to change my views.!
You are not happy with that...then try to live with it .

Mad

After a couple of squares of chocolate, I decided I'm going to give this another shot, because I care. I care about this forum. And, I care how Graham (& Son) is affected by all this hullabaloo in 'their house'.

Guys, we're supposed to be mature adults (oxymoron??)....except for Maedi who seems to be miles ahead in maturity than [i]some people I know[/i]. The thing I like about this forum is the general easy-going air, which allows some leeway in playfulness. Over the past months, we have learnt much [i]from[/i] each other and [i]about[/i] each other... some of us are more direct, some are very sharing, some are more reticent. Knowing each other so well, this shouldn't happen, unless you're a newcomer. The cantonese have this saying for times of squabbles..."yat yan siu yat goi", literally translated to "one person less one word". I know you're (mostly) from a society which is more verbal. But do give it some thought, OK? I'll shuddup now...I can hear someone humming loudly with hands over his ears.

Peace.


God gave me 3 girls for a reason. He knows I can't/don't know how to deal with [size=18]Little Boys! Hrrrmpppphhh!![/size]

If y'all can't be civilised, I'm outta here!


[quote="chembake"]
Jerms..in the place where I came .only amateurs and apprentices that have just learned how to bake are keen for exhibitionist approach...They are in dire need for approval and respect

Razz

[/quote]
In reply to the above post I PM'd Chembake with this:- Titled Think First.
"Chembake, that's just the sort of statement to encourage people to post their bread pics. BLOODY NOT!"

for which I received the reply:-
"hink first
What is worth thinking...?
Their senstivities....

Bill this forum is populated mostly by amateurs. I have come to realize that.only later and I have toned down my criticism as its not helpful.
Many of them have frail egos as well.
Therefore...
If they are happy with what they are doing then so be it. I don't give a damn.

But if some body wants to ask for my opinion let them prepare for my frank assessment."

Followed by:-
"Bill by the way why are you quitting this forum...? Its is because nobody take notice on your creations...?
BTW
Honestly ...
You are doing fine mate with those the pictures you displayed...
I am just worried that with your departure it might send a wrong impression that You belong to the group of people with shallow minds and fragile egos ?

To which I replied in my most polite manner

Twisted Evil

:-

"Chembake, I am nearly 62 years old and have neither a shallow mind nor a fragile ego. Having been baking sourdough for 26 years I am well aware of my standard of baking, and as you would be aware, during much of that time very few people even knew what sourdough was, so my need for an audience is non existent. I bake for my own personal enjoyment of good bread.
My efforts on the forum were to try and encourage those that may have a similar interest, and I do object strongly when a self opiniated loud mouth tries to personally denigrate others, and gives the impression that it is beneath his dignity to condescend to baking a loaf for exhibition.
If my words offend you, then that was the intent."

Boys! Boys! I'm going to disregard the above 4 posts.

OK, chembake, so we know it's neither"approval, attention nor respect" you're after. [u]Inspire[/u] us then. No pressure.

Cool


I am one of the very few people that are never impressed with coupe the monde contests?etc ...regardless of their reputation and honor?Their antics( the contestants) are no different from the apprentices that crave for attention?and respect...

Razz

People who want to compete for" show off "are not the kind of personalities worthy of my respect?IMO they are shallow minded people with fragile egos ...

Razz

I pity these people

Sad

They never realize that they are just used partly to put some entertainment value in a particular trades

Sad

If you know your stuff by heart and sure about your skills then why pit with somebody to show who is better?
It only shows the hidden insecurity that lurks within the psyche of those individuals.
Its sheer pettiness... no different from the antics of school kids.

Razz

Jerms..in the place where I came .only amateurs and apprentices that have just learned how to bake are keen for exhibitionist approach...They are in dire need for approval and respect

Razz

TSK TSK,
After France won the game against Spain I figured this would motivate you!
I think there should be a prerequisite to use this forum, bake it! Allez, monde dieu!

Jeremy

Chem-old chum,
There is a hint of some resistance, we have all bared our souls and loaves, be an old chim and share, no wonder Bill left!
Besides we won't judge you! Get out there and do a loaf for us all, like it's a job request!

Jeremy

[quote]
>....And so, the crowd builds up, calling out for Bread! Bread! Chembake! We want (to see) your bread!....
[/quote]

Guys I would love to share baking pictures if I have but unfortunately ever since I started my baking career as an apprentice until three decades later I never document what I do unless needed by the job ?it not just my style .

This had been the consternation of some of my friends upon seeing my work.

Sad

[quote]
Aacck! Pls disregard all my posts as having any contributive value to this thread. I present myself only as a comic relief The more water is added, the less flavour in the drink.
[/quote]

Teepee there was actually wisdom in this statement...

"The more water is added, the less flavour in the drink. "

That can be also applied in other forms of food processing. its simple its just about the right proportions of solute and solvent which offers the best quality for a certain food s.

Cool

....And so, the crowd builds up, calling out for Bread! Bread! Chembake! We want (to see) your bread!....

Seriously, I think it would be most educational to see how a good loaf of bread should look like. Various views and angles, please. And, different kinds of breads. Are we asking too much?

Wink


I'd love to see some pics of chembake's work, have you already posted some pics chembake? If so, could someone give me the directions as to where I would find such images?

Thanks
Maedi

[quote="chembake"]
[quote]Taking the analogy of making a drink from cordial. The more water is added, the less flavour in the drink.
[/quote]

You are right teepee....Less is more..

Cool

[/quote]

Aacck! Pls disregard all my posts as having any contributive value to this thread. I present myself only as a comic relief.

Laughing


Chembake,
Just curious if yu do home baking and if you are going to post some of your work?

Jeremy

This is what comes of posting too early in the morning.
I meant a high falling number/low amalyse activity, for the white baguette. I tend to use cheap plain pastry flour, about 9% protein.

The wholewheat, which should have all the germ in there would have more amalyse activity

[quote]
I undeerstood the stiffer starter promotes more lactic than acetic acid, so altering the flavour profile.
[/quote]

That should be the way Jack but there is always an exception to the rule. there are starters derived from middleeastern cultures and even San Francisco that even if the starter hydration is reduced the tanginess remains distinct. This is likely due to higher heterofermentative critters in the form of Lactobacillus San Francisco, Lactobacillus brevis...in that particular culture.
Another things is the cultures derived from hot climates may contain traces of bacterium aceti or the bacteria responsible for vinegar fermentation. Therefore this imparts a more pronounced tanginess regardess of the starter hydration.
On the other hand many of the French levain tends to reduce its tanginess if the starter hydration is reduced so it confirms the buffering effect of the increased flour solids.

By the way I remember earlier that you said that you are using a flour with low falling number. I see that you are from UK so that is likely the flour quality and it has indeed high amylase activity.
However the amylolytic activity is a prolonged process that starts right the dough is hydrated to the point the dough starts to become bread in the oven. The latter stage is where you will notice the improvement of oven spring as well as more noticeable crust color.

Cool

Higher amylase activity favors vigorous fermentation .

[quote]
Taking the analogy of making a drink from cordial. The more water is added, the less flavour in the drink.
[/quote]

You are right teepee....Less is more..

Cool

I undeerstood the stiffer starter promotes more lactic than acetic acid, so altering the flavour profile.

[quote]
I'm just reading "Handbook of Dough Fermentations" edited by Kerl Kulp and Klaus Lorenz (ISBN 0-8247-4264-8, available from CHIPS books)
Expensive, but excellent stuff for sourdough geeks.
Following hint in the book I am experimenting with using a stiffer starter (50% rather than 100% hydration). I think the results are more flavoursome
[/quote]

Its good to know that you have a copy of that Jack! Thats a good book but technical in content. But I guess you will be allright and certainly can digest the contents of that...

Regarding the reduction of water in the hydration, it actually promotes better flour buffering resulting in milder starter( less acidic)..Yes.. its can create better flavor which we can ascribe to more aromatic and less of the acidic tinge.
The biochemistry of that is slightly different from the slack starter.. the dough consistency promotes slightly higher pH so the flavor precursors that arise during fermentation is slightly different from the wet starter.
From my experience there is some subtle nuances of fruitiness and nuttiness...the lactic acid which predominates interacts more producing variants in flavor which could not occur if acetic acid predominates...
On the other hand regarding flavor difference
It also is a personal thing as some bakers think that a dough that is less acidic think as bland while those dough have high acidity are tangy have more noticeable flavor.

BTW flavor is also a subjective term so no two people can agree that one bread is better tasting than the other...only with statistics can we get quantifiable description of how that bread really rates in taste

Sad

In conclusion if you love the resulting bread then its likely that its has better flavor assuming that you don?t consider the other parameters for quality.

Smile

TP,
I am so embarrassed! NOt, can you get Bill Back for us?

Jeremy

Yes! Yes! Bill's back...........all thanks to ME! Not. So, you don't owe me one, Jeremy.


Now, I am thinking here, in my usual amateurish kinda way, why should hydration affect sourness? Shouldn't length of fermentation/proving time handle that? Hmm...thinking a bit more. Taking the analogy of making a drink from cordial. The more water is added, the less flavour in the drink. So, K & L may have something there....if length of proving time is constant in both. Dom, next experiment?

p/s Yippee! I made my 100th post! Ahead of you, Jeremy by 7, lol. Race you to the next 100.


Strange you mention that Jack, about the stiffer dough being more flavorful?
I was just looking at a book from Amy scherber from Amy's bread and she was saying that the higher the hydration of the levain the more acidic, whereas the stiffer tends to give a lighter flavour less sour?(more mellow would be a better term?)

Jeremy

Thanks. I meant, of course autolysis. Since its white flour with little germ content and a low falling number I doubt if there is much amylase activity.

I'm just reading "Handbook of Dough Fermentations" edited by Kerl Kulp and Klaus Lorenz (ISBN 0-8247-4264-8, available from CHIPS books)
Expensive, but excellent stuff for sourdough geeks.
Following hint in the book I am experimenting with using a stiffer starter (50% rather than 100% hydration). I think the results are more flavoursome

[quote]
am getting more convinced that one of the variables is the oxidation level of the flour, for example by premixing the flour the dough water and the vitamin C for an hour before adding the salt and the starter. I'm half convinced this the real reason for the "amylisation" step, and doing this gives much better gluten development before it is exposed to the acid in the starter, and the stretching as the gas bubbles expand
[/quote]

Hi Jack its good to know that you had a penchant for high speed mixing which is uncommon with artisan bakers...

Cool

The preblending of the flour,water and vitamin C or and letting it steep for a while, allows the enzymes( ascorbic oxidase) to convert the ascorbic acid to dehydro ascorbic acid( which actually is the oxidative agent) imparting an improving effect on the dough making it stronger.

Its not an amylazation step but some sort of Calvels autoloysis..technique.

Cool

This step encourage the flour to hydrate properly and what happens molecularly is that the flour protein is converted to gluten fibers instantaneously and thoroughly.
At that point when these gluten is stretched out, its develops faster or in lesser time than if the dough is immediately mixed after the hydration step.
Meanwhle the effect of the acidification is the swelling of the flour pentosans which contribute also to the dough strength by mimicking some of the gluten gas retention quality.

Indeed, the intensive mix method is for flours around 9%-10% protein.
Works well with wholemeal as well, since they are often effectively low protein.

I've recently had good results premixing the flour, water and vit C.
I am getting more convinced that one of the variables is the oxidation level of the flour, for example by premixing the flour the dough water and the vitamin C for an hour before adding the salt and the starter. I'm half convinced this the real reason for the "amylisation" step, and doing this gives much better gluten development before it is exposed to the acid in the starter, and the stretching as the gas bubbles expand.