This is the final loaf in my exploring bread  blog. I feel I finally tweaked the flours until I got "my perfect" bread, at least for this week. The bread is mostly unbleached all purpose flour which seems to do a very good job in making this bread. I'm going to continue to use it to see how it does for other breads. I also added home ground flours of wheat, barley, and rye. There really isn't much else to the bread but salt and water. It is a very simple loaf but the flavor is just wonderful for me. I make the preferment from a 100% whole wheat starter that is left out on the counter. The hydration is at 50%. The preferment is started with that and feed AP flour for two builds and that is what I use to ferment the loaf.
I add the preferment to cold tap water and break it up a bit. Then I add the flours and salt and mix it up until everything is all mixed together. The dough is then turned out into a oiled bowl and coved with a plate to keep the air off of it. It was late at night so I did two stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals before I went to bed. The next morning I checked it and the dough had risen only half way so I left it on the counter and went to work. When I got home the dough still hadn't fully raised so I placed the bowl in a sink of warm water. That got the dough moving so after a few hours I turned it out on to a bed of flour and let it rest for ten minutes. Then I did a rough shaping of a round and let it rest for another ten minutes seams down. I did the final shaping and placed it on parchment paper on the back of a pan. The dough was allowed to ferment another two hours. The oven was preheated to 460°F with the baking stone in the oven. When I felt the dough was ready I slashed it with the # sign and placed it into the oven. I cover the baking bread with an inverted roasting pan instead of steaming the oven. Experience has shown me that I get the best oven spring if I don't remove the roasting pan until the last 15 minutes of the bake. Total baking time is 45 minutes at 460°F and I get a wonderful dark crust.
So how is the bread and why all the different grains in it? I have been exploring different variations of this bread for a month and a half because it does taste so wonderful and one guideline that seems to work for me was the use of 15% whole grains of some sort. The whole wheat seems to give the bread a richer more intense flavor. When I started adding barley to the loaf the sweetness seemed to increase and the crust became a little bit thicker and chewier. The little bit of rye in the dough helped get just the right amount of sour flavor that I like. Now if your tastes are just like mine make the bread with the flour as I did. But if your tastes are different than mine you can adjust the flours and make your own "perfect" bread.
I took the bread to work for a pot luck and many of the cellar workers didn't know I made bread. Many of them were trying it and telling me how much they liked it. The crumb is amazing. I don't know how it got so much oven spring but it is a very open crumb with the rich flavor of the whole wheat and the little bit of sweetness from the barley. The crust is were the real action is for me. The barley makes the crust a little bit thicker and after it sits for a day it becomes a tough like chewy crust with a nice sour acid flavor. I caught the winemakers at work taking about the crust, I guess I have their attention now.
So much oven spring it looks like the bread is going to blow its lid off.